When I first became interested in finding out about our ancestry, my mother asked me to find out who Oscar Vanhorn was. Her cousin was heavily into the research of her(our) family roots and we had no idea who Oscar was or how he became such a fixture in our Vanhorn family. Over the years he seemed to follow our family, but we can not find a direct connection.
The first time we notice him, he is living with my great, great, grandfather, George W. Vanhorn and his wife, Nancy Jane Campbell Vanhorn. The year is 1870 and they are living in Indiana. According to this record he is twelve years old. This would have made Nancy around 15 when she had him,and though possible, highly unlikely. This is not to say this didn’t occur back then, it most certainly did. However, other facts tend to lead us elsewhere.
By the 1880 census, Oscar is living with his mother, Polly Nodine. I believe I had found that Polly was once a Vanhorn and married a Nodine. Unfortunately, for me, I no longer have that record of proof and proof is everything in the world of ancestry.
According to his obituary, Nancy refers to him as her brother. Having read several obituaries of my relatives, and knowing that they were not always accurate, I do not believe she is his sister. I’ve also read, in trying to understand ancestors obituaries, that it wasn’t uncommon to refer to a relative as a brother even if he wasn’t. His obituary also states that he was married and divorced, without children. He lived his final years out with our Great-Great Uncle, Frank. Frank was the son of George W. and Nancy Jane.
When Oscar died, he was buried a couple headstones from George W. and Nancy Jane. On a recent visit to Nebraska, I requested his death certificate. The only new thing I discovered is that his father was named Robert. According to this certificate, Frank gave the information and no mother was known.
We continue to rack our brains and search for Oscar. He seems to hold the clue to more ancestors. Unfortunately, at this point, he remains a mystery. Someday, hopefully, we will find him in our records. Until then, the question remains, who is Oscar Vanhorn?