This is a summary of the very confusing information I have about Michael Singleback. I believe he is the maternal great-grandfather of my ex-wife.
In researching George Walter Singleback, Sr., I came across his World War 1 Veterans Compensation Application to the state of Pennsylvania. Dated 1934, it had much information, including the names of his deceased parents: Jennie (Edwards) Singleback and Michael Singleback, both late of DuBois, Pennsylvania.
The previously mentioned Devereux Tree suggests that George Sr.’s father was Michael Singleback and that his mother’s name was Jennie. The 1900 US Census for Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania seems to back that up.
Mary Singleback (Fulton), youngest daughter of George Sr., is my former mother-in-law. In 2004, she wrote me that she didn’t know George’s father’s name, but that his mother’s name was Ada Gorton Shettler.
Working from the 1900 US Census for Reynoldsville and the Devereux Tree, I developed this search at Ancestry for Michael in McCalmont, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. I searched there because of the 1920 Census for McCalmont, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania linked in the Devereux Tree.
That search led me to a death certificate for Michael Singleback, born 18 March 1864 in Germany, died 8 June 1928. That date of birth generally matches the census records. For marital status, it shows him “Divorced” in block 5, but in block 5a, shows him as widowed of Jennie Singleback (the words “married” and “divorced” are lined out). The informant is George Singleback of Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, which certainly seems like it would be George Sr., who did indeed live in Johnsonburg.
This all seems to indicate that George Sr.’s parents were indeed Michael and Jennie Singleback, except for Mary Singleback’s letter and George Sr.’s death certificate! That document lists Michael Singleback as George Sr.’s father, but lists Ada Gorton as his mother. Back to square one.
I have located an Ada Gorton who lived in DuBois in 1880. That same Ada seems to have been married at one time to Lawrence Shettler, making it likely that that’s the person Mary Singleback was referring to. I cannot find a marriage record for this Ada Gorton to Michael Singleback, although the marriage license for Ada Gorton and Lawrence Shettler indicates that Ada was previously married, having been divorced in March of 1899.
At this point I’m not sure who Jennie is. While the Veterans Compensation Application lists her presumed maiden name as Edwards, I can’t yet find a marriage license for Jennie or Jennifer Edwards and Michael. I did manage to locate a marriage license for Michael Singleback and Jennie Lewis though. The July, 1890 document has Michael aged 27, which basically fits what I have (I think he was born March 1864). It also lists Jennie as age 14, and a “Meary” (or Merriam, later in the document) Brink giving her permission for Jennie to marry. I have no clue who Meary Brink is. She’s specifically listed as a parent, not a guardian, and no father is listed for Jennie.
The marriage license indicates that Jennie was born in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, but I have not yet located a birth record for her.
I assume at this point that Jennie Edwards/Lewis either died or left Michael, and that he eventually had a relationship of some sort with Ada Gorton.
Mary Singleback was born three years after Michael died (1931 vs 1928). It’s entirely possible that Ada was introduced to her as “Grandma Ada,” even if she and Michael were never married. That doesn’t explain listing her as Michael’s spouse on George Sr.’s death certificate though.
For 2018, my primary goal is to clearly establish Michael’s history. I have little useful information about Jennie. The Devereux Tree suggests that Michael left Germany via Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland which makes me think Meredith Devereux may have more information regarding immigration. I also want to figure out where Ada Gorton Shettler figures into the family.
If you’re related to Michael Singleback, please contact me. I suspect there are several descendants working on filling in the details of his family, and I’d love to collaborate on the work. You can use the Contact form here, or the Suggest tab on his page at my genealogy site.