Do you remember learning about the scientific method in school? While I’ve never done any serious scientific research, I taught and used the scientific method as a high school science teacher. The scientific method is similar to the genealogy proof standard. It all starts with an observation that leads to a question and then searching for evidence to answer the question.

When it comes to my messy Evans family, the birthplace of James’ wife, Sarah is raising questions. According to the 1860 census record from Warrick county, Indiana, Sarah was born in North Carolina.

Based on the information from the census, Sarah would have been born about 1801 in North Carolina. Various family trees, including the FamilySearch tree, show John Garret and Barbara Ingold as the parents of Sarah Garret Evans. According to the FamilySearch tree, John Garret and Barbara Ingold resided in Guilford, North Carolina.

The census alone doesn’t raise any questions. However, combined with the marriage record, the questions start. Sarah Garret and James Evans were married in 1818 in Warrick County, Indiana. So how did Sarah Garret get from Guildford County, North Carolina to Warrick County, Indiana when the parents appear to have stayed in North Carolina. Not only do the parents remain in Guilford county, but so do most of the siblings. Of the eight siblings, none lived in Warrick county, Indiana

  • Jane Nancy Garret Coble lives in Green County, Missouri, in 1860
  • Eli Garret lives in Whitfield, Georgia in 1860
  • John Garret lives in Jackson County, Iowa, in 1860
  • Mary Polly Garrett Alexander lives in Guilford county North Carolina in 1860
  • Simon Garret dies in Guilford county, North Carolina in 1862
  • Solomon Garrett lives in Whitfield county Georgia in 1860
  • Bailey Garret lives in Guilford county, North Carolina in 1850
  • Matilda Garret lives in Guilford county, North Carolina in 1850

A search of the 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850 census indexes for the Garret surname in Warrick County, Indiana does not find anyone with that surname.

If Sarah Garret did not travel from North Carolina to Indiana with a sibling, then perhaps she was married in North Carolina before moving to Indiana. This theory is supported by the Warrick County Indiana death certificate of Nancy Emily Brewster. According to that death certificate, Nancy was the daughter of James Evans (born Oregon) and Sarah Williams (born North Carolina).

If Nancy is the daughter of James and Sarah (Garret) Evans, then the death certificate would suggest that Sarah was married to a Williams prior to her marriage to James Evans. This theory is supported by the 1870 Warrick county, Indiana census record for Sarah Evans. A Sarah Evans of the appropriate age and birth location is living in a Williams household.

Besides the death certificate and census records, there is DNA data to support (but not prove) this relationship. One of my brothers has four matches showing Sarah Garrett as a common ancestor thru Nancy Evans Brewster.

Or, a different look at the information raises other questions.

  • Is Nancy Evans the daughter of a different James Evans and Sarah Williams?
  • Does the FamilySearch tree have the wrong parents for Sarah Garret?

At this point, all I have is questions.