Thursday, April 3, 2014

Barbara King Harris Comstock - a mystery solved

As I've already written several times - I have accumulated a large number of pictures and documents simply by being persistent and reaching out where others normally wouldn't.  The pictures of Barbara's husband David Barkley Comstock that I posted in my last post came from the great grandchildren of two brothers of my 2nd great grandfather.  When I introduce myself to those people it takes a moment to explain how we're related!

Barbara was born May 15th, 1829 at Edinburg, Saratoga County NY, the 11th of 11 children of John Harris and Esther White.  The problem I had was that until last week I only knew about 4 of her brothers and her, and the gap between her and her preceding brother was 10 years leading me to believe she was possibly not their daughter.  I had seen dozens of online family trees listing Barbara as their daughter but had no proof.  I tried tracking down her death certificate to no avail and was really frustrated with this.  Then my Cali connection came through for me again, this time in a big way.  She found in her aunt's belongings the following 2 pages of family notes:
 These papers not only gave me birth, marriage and death dates for Barbara's parents but gave me 7 siblings I wasn't aware of (6 if you count that I had a picture of Royal sent with the other Comstock photos but no way of knowing who he was).  Additionally the second paper helped explain why she had "King" in her name - it was her father's mother's maiden name!  I about fell out of bed (yes, I opened them on my phone in bed when I woke up - always have to check my email for this kind of stuff before I get up) when I read these pages.  I'm told more good stuff is forthcoming and I can't wait to see it!  I'm told letters between the Comstock families in Grand Rapids MI and Sacramento CA exist so I'm hoping to see the handwriting of my 2nd (and do I dare hope 3rd) great grandparents? 

Here is Royal Harris, officially my 3rd great grand-uncle.  I've already tracked down a direct descendant of his and am hoping to find a death record for him soon.  I find him up until 1880.

I know very little about Barbara's life other than marriage to D.B. Comstock and subsequent family.  After losing David she moved to California but apparently found love again with the Canadian George Tibbett who she married February 28th, 1882 at Grand Rapids MI.  Unfortunately other than that record he's a phantom so I don't know what happened to that. 

 On the left is another photo taken from my grandmother's cedar chest.  It saddens me that my grandmother didn't take the time to show me these things.  Perhaps she had forgotten they were there.  I know she never knew her personally but when my grandma died and I found all of this it makes me wonder how much more about their lives I could have known.

These 3 photos on the right are from the California connection.


Barbara died of "exhaustion" January 28th, 1894 at Palermo, Butte County CA. I stumbled on her obituary using genealogybank - was very surprised and thrilled to find it.  I had a volunteer confirm her burial in Old Oroville Cemetery - he had to completely uncover the marker as it was buried in grass. 
Grand Rapids Press February 10, 1894


  1. Chris,

    I want you to know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Thank you Jana - I appreciate the "publicity"! I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well :)