Researching A Mariposa 49er
Researching the family tree of Jarret M Ridgeway, a fellow who came to Mariposa in 1849, was a surprising success. It led
me back to England, in the 1600's. I had no idea how far back I might be able to trace this family when I started this quest.
I had been asked by a reader to "pick any fellow from Mariposa's past and walk me through the research process you would
I had no idea what I would find.
I must admit, not all searches will yield so much detail and references as this quest did.
I chose an obituary at random from the Mariposa County Obituaries database:
Here is the information I began with:
Jarret M. RIDGEWAY
March 17, 1866, Mariposa Gazette
In this place, on Friday, March 9th, 1866, after an illness of a
few weeks, JARRET M. RIDGEWAY, aged 57 years and 6 months.
Mr. RIDGEWAY was born at the Blue Springs, Tennessee, and raised
in Alabama, from which state he emigrated, and settled in Texas. He
and his family came to this State shortly after the discovery of Gold,
and have resided in Mariposa since 1849. He was an excellent citizen,
and a kind and affectionate husband. He leaves a wife and eleven
children, and a large circle of acquaintances to mourn his loss.
[Tennessee and Texas papers please copy.]
The first search I did was the Mariposa , California, 1850 census - and
sure enough he is there- note that the youngest child, Josephus, was
born on the trail from Texas to California- From the census I was able
to learn his wife's first name, the names of his children born prior to
1850, and found that two children of a different last name were included
in the Ridgway 1850 household.
51 B 39 48 48 Ridgway, Jarrett M 40 M
Merchant 1,500 TN
51 B 40 48 48 Ridgway, Ann 27 F
51 B 41 48 48 Ridgway, Mary 11 F
51 B 42
24 October 1850
52 A 1 48 48 Ridgway, Jas A 9 M
52 A 2 48 48 Ridgway, Dianna 6 F
52 A 3 48 48 Ridgway, John 4 M
52 A 4 48 48 Ridgway, Josephus 1 M
Rd to CA
I found these two children also living with the RIDGWAYS in
52 A 5 48 48 Muggett, Almada 11 F
52 A 6 48 48 Muggett, Almira 4 F
There is something further to explore- who are these MUGGETT
children? - are they related to the RIDGEWAY family?
Did their parents perrish on the trail to California? are they "cousins"?
Also note- that although the obituary has an "E" in the
Ridgeway name, it is absent in the census data.
Spelling is not always constant in any surname research.
Checking to see if the RIDGWAY family established
themselves as land holders in Mariposa County I checked the index
of Federal Land Patents in Mariposa County---
MD 0050S 0210E 011 9290 1890/10/17
RIDGWAY JAMES A
MD 0050S 0210E 034 10137 1891/04/14
RIDGWAY JOSEPHUS H
MD 0050S 0210E 035 10137 1891/04/14
RIDGWAY JOSEPHUS H
MD 0050S 0210E 028 10181 1891/04/14
MD 0050S 0210E 029 10181 1891/04/14
MD 0050S 0210E 032 10181 1891/04/14
Further research of these patents, giving exact location, and how to order a copy of the patent is found here. They are
also in the process of making copies of thesepatents available online- for free!
These three Ridgeway births are found here:
July 1, 1876- Mariposa Gazette
June 26th, to the wife of James A Ridgway- a son
April 22, 1872- Stockton Daily Independent
at Mariposa, April 12, to the wife of James A Ridgeway, a son
May 24, 1879- Mariposa Gazette
In Mariposa, May 21, 1879 to the wife of Joseph Ridgway, a daughter
James A Ridgway served in the Civil War
The LDS Family Search
site was really a jackpot of information. I was able to trace the RIDGEWAY family back to the 1600's in New Jersey
(they immigrated from England) and learning the maiden name of Jaret's wife- Ann (Barnart) I traced her ancestors back to New
York in the 1600's, also arriving from England.
Be sure to note the source of the information provided on the LDS site- they
make note if the information comes from documents or was submitted by
The California Pioneer Project, sponsored by the
Native Daughters of the Golden West Index was the next site
visited. These Ridgways are listed in their index, and a copy of each individuals record can be ordered for only $2.00 each-
check the website to see more details.
Ridgeway Eliza J. 52-102
Ridgway Catherine Sarah 63-265
Ridgway Christopher Columbus 13-67
Ridgway Didama 63-276
Ridgway Edward W. 13-68
Ridgway Eliza Jemima 63-268
Ridgway Elizabet Ann 63-273
Ridgway James Abner 63-275
Ridgway Jaret Menifee 63-271
Ridgway Jonathan 63-269
Ridgway Josephus Henderson 63-270
Ridgway Margaret Isabella 63-266
Ridgway Martha Madaline 63-267
Ridgway Mary Milam 63-274
Ridgway Rebecca Eugenia 63-277
Ridgway William Jaret 63-278
I found many more references to this family on the internet.
It is important that you also find documentation to support any of this information. You can place" this information in your
tree- but don't "plant it" until you have confirmed or located resource documentation.
Mariposa County History and Genealogy Research