Lovina (Travis) Morgan is my great great grandmother. I found her maiden name on the death certificate of her daughter. Many years ago I found the tombstone for her and her husband (John Morgan) in the Arkport Cemetery. It gave her birth year as 1825 and death year as 1898.  She married John about 1848 and they had 4 children. Seeing as she was already married in the 1850 census, there weren’t any parent’s listed.

The 1855 census said that Lovina was born in Steuben County. I have a list that I made of the early census records for all the Travis families in Steuben County. Eliminated a bunch except for two; Ira  and John B. Travis. Ira was born in 1772 and would have been 53 when Lovina was born. John didn’t have any young girls on the 1840 census.

I tried to find  death certificate for Lovina many years ago. Arkport is a village in the Town of Hornellsville, Steuben County. I contacted the Town Clerk and she said that she didn’t have any record. I also tried the City of Hornell which is next to the Town of Hornellsville.  Again, no record.

When the NY death index came online in 2018 one of the first that I looked for was Lovina. She wasn’t listed in there either. Her husband John Morgan had died in 1882 and he wasn’t in the death index either. I knew that vital record for 1882 were not always recorded but by the time that Lovina died in 1898; there should be a record. Maybe the the problem was the early Clerk of Hornellsville not recording all the records.

In December I was on Ancestry.com and one person had Lovina married a Asa Razey. At first I thought that it must be wrong. But then again, Lovina is not a common name. I checked the NY marriage index and there was Lovina Morgan marrying Asa Razey on March 7, 1886 and in Hornellsville. That led me back to the death index. There she was. She died March 6. 1898 in the Town of Fremont. That is the town to the east of Hornellsville.

I made a trip at the end of December. First stop was to the Town Clerk of Fremont. She was busy but said she would send me the information on the death certificate. Next stop was to the Steuben County Surrogate Court to look at Lovina’s estate papers. They ended up making me copies from their computer system. Those records only listed her 2nd husband and her children. There wasn’t any clue as to any relatives named Travis.

The Fremont Town Clerk had a hard reading the death record so she took cell phone pictures and emailed them to me. The column in the picture on the right is labeled “Father’s Name and Birth Place.” All it says is Traves, VT.” Let down again! Then the column for mother’s name is blank. That’s because her second husband didn’t know her parents. If she had died before her first husband, I would bet that he would have known her parent’s names.

I had so many hopes that I was making progress but so far I’m still stuck. I wonder if I will ever be able to figure out who Lovina’s parents are.


  1. What a story! I have a similar situation with my ancestor Rachel King Atwater. Not sure if King was a family name or a name of a first husband. Some things will never be known I guess.

  2. Hi! Things like this are what make research so much fun.

    Is there any chance the other Travis families mentioned in the census might be siblings, grandparents, and/or cousins?

    Good luck for continued fun and for future answers!

    • I think all the Travis’ in Steuben County are related. There are a bunch of Ira Travis, a bunch of Sylvenus Travis and that is an unusual first name. I’m still digging and maybe someday I will get the family figured out.

      • Hi. I’m convinced you will find her parents, grandparents, and beyond.

        Did you know that William B. Travis (1809 – 1836) was a hero of the Alamo here in Texas? The Travis name is important all over the state.

        Was Lovina buried with John Morgan, instead of with her second husband?

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