Followup:  A chance meeting, Part 2: clues to Benjamin Avery Posten’s parents

A chance meeting, multiple researchers and a tenuous hint. What do these things have in common? All lead to the same question and, possibly, a partial answer. Who are the parents of Benjamin Avery Posten? In my last post, I related the story behind my joining this search. In this post, I share some of what I, and others, have found Including a possible link to Benjamin’s parents.

The chance meeting was between my dad, Daniel Richard Posten, and George Avery Posten in the rural town of Mannford, Oklahoma. Dad and George had similar family stories of two immigrant brothers. Dad was born and raised in Pennsylvania. George’s grandfather, Benjamin Avery Posten, was born in Pennsylvania. The two families could be related!

As I became more adept at genealogy, I started a family tree for George. I admit that I was curious.  Other researchers have traced the family back from Oklahoma to Pulaski county, Missouri. Census records for Benjamin consistently recorded Pennsylvania as his birthplace. The paper trail seems clear and accurate.

At least one researcher asserted that Benjamin was born in Huntington County, Pennsylvania. The evidence? Volunteer Enlistment papers for B.A. Posten, dated 15th August 1862. [1]  Handwritten information (underlined here) on the document: “State of Pa town of Mercer, I, B.A. Posten, born in Huntingdon Co. in the state of Pa and now a resident of Mercer County, aged 24 years. . . .”  While not conclusive (first name would have been nice!), information is consistent for Benjamin’s birth year and state of birth.

One tenuous hint has been linked to Benjamin in online trees. The identity of Benjamin’s mother was based on a single 1850 census record from Mercer county, Pennsylvania. [2] The family includes:

  • Caleb Corbin, 64, M, farmer, value of real estate $400, birthplace: MD.
  • Sarah Corbin, 63, F, birthplace: MD.
  • Delia Corbin, 36, F, birthplace: Pa.
  • Benjamin Corbin, 10, M, birthplace: Pa, attended school.

As I look at these records now, I would have guessed that Delia was Caleb and Sarah’s daughter-in-law and possibly a widow. Perhaps those who researched Benjamin’s ancestry had information that they did not share online? Perhaps this was a best guess with the hope of finding more evidence later? Either way, I accepted their inference at face value and continued infrequent searches about this family.

 The 1860 census record for Mercer county shows 68-year-old Sarah Corban [sic] living with 45 year-old Delia Hanna and 4 year-old Sarah Hanna. [3]  The two census records led researchers to speculate that Benjamin’s mother was “Sarah Delia/Adelia Corbin Hanna.” The name of Benjamin’s father was also speculation and included a man named Benjamin.

Editorial comment: Family trees are often built on such speculation and “best guesses.” It seems reasonable that a male child would be named after his father. Genealogists search for evidence to support or deny such claims.  

NOTE: Benjamin appears to have married in 1859 possibly in Mercer county[4] although I haven’t found an 1860 census record for him. If anyone has found this record, please share!!

Return now briefly to Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. B.A. Posten himself, in his 1862 enlistment papers, reported that he was born in Huntingdon county.  I compiled a history of our Posten family in 2012.[5] As I researched Dad’s family, I found other Posten families in various parts of Pennsylvania and included an appendix for “Possibly related families”. Several Posten families lived in Huntingdon county through the 1800s and early 1900s. Heads of household appearing on a single page of 1850 census for Cass Township[6] included Cornelius Posten, age 72, John Posten, age 36 and James Posten, age 31. I suspected that John and James were sons of Cornelius. I did not pursue that question.

Back to the present. I started Genealogy Do-over in 2017. My genealogy files were a mess! Organizational goals led me to genealogy standards and the realization that my 2012 effort at writing our family history was a good start but far from meeting those standards. I continue to revise my original work. Looking for new information about those ‘possibly related families’ is one part of that revision. And, that circles back to a possible link between Benjamin Avery Posten and other Huntington county families.  STAY TUNED!


This has certainly been an interesting journey. As I wrote, I realized the many twists and turns of this search. Benjamin Avery Posten’s family may or may not be related to us. I met other researchers along the way.  I guess it’s partially the thrill of the hunt.

 One goal is to keep blog posts under 1500 words. With about 860 words here, I met that goal here. Being concise is not one of my strong points!

What I learned (again). Value of sharing research with others. Share your guesses and the reasoning behind them.

What helped? Previous work done on Benjamin Avery Posten family and Huntington county, Pennsylvania families.

What didn’t help? Incomplete citation of sources. Not having contacted other researchers sooner. My initial idea to submit this information for publication in a genealogical journal.

To do: share findings that link the families, and identify Benjamin’s parents, in next post.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2021


[1] Member Photos & scanned documents, Ancestry (  :accessed 21 Oct 2021), “Volunteer Enlistment B.A. Posten, 1862,” document copied at Gettsyburg NMP, posted 11 Jul 2016 by k30galla1; provenance and date copied uncertain; believed to have been found by an older family member and handed down with family papers.

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Mill Creek, p. 263B, dwelling 192, family 192, Delia Carbin [Corbin] age 36; digital images, Ancestry (  : accessed & downloaded 17 June 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M432, roll 796.

[3] 1860 U.S. Census, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Mill Creek, p. 163 (ink pen),p. 459 (stamp), dwelling 1165, family 1121, Sarah Corban age 68; digital images, Ancestry ( : viewed & downloaded 12 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653.  

[4] Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents, Ancestry (      : accessed 4 October 2020. “Posten Marriage License,” handwritten scanned copy, posted 30 Jan 2007 by”‘kdbrown300.”

[5] Susan Posten Ellerbee, A Posten Family of Northeastern Pennsylvania, typed manuscript (Yukon, Oklahoma, 2012); copy available from author on request; descendants of Thomas Postens (1782-1854); collateral and possibly related families.

[6] 1850 U.S. Census, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Cass township, p. 209 (stamp), dwelling 66, family 66, Cornelius Posten age 72; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed & downloaded 17 June 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm M432, roll 784.

One thought on “Followup:  A chance meeting, Part 2: clues to Benjamin Avery Posten’s parents

  1. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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