Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sarah Ann Handley, The Key to Piggott Doors

A couple of days ago I received the death certificate of Sarah Ann Handley. From census information I figured that she was the aunt of George W. Piggott, artist and I just had a gut feeling that she was connected to my 3rd great-grandfather George Washington Piggott, but I wasn't sure how.

After I gave her death certificate the once over and compared it to all my notes, I was flabbergasted at what I discovered. She was my third great aunt!

Sarah died June 3, 1884 of exhaustion due to probable cancer of omentum. Her age at death was seventy four years, three months, and 16 days. After calculating I came up with a birthdate of September 19, 1809. Wait a minute, that's the same exact birth date I have for Sarah Ann Piggott. Then I noticed that their death dates are the same! I have had the info on Sarah Piggott since 1994. Her birth and death information came from LDS Temple records of proxy baptisms and listed Abbie Ann Piggott as the relative. She was George Washington Piggott's daughter.

Oddly, this death certificate doesn't ask for parent's names, but where they were born. Sarah Handley's father was born in London, England. Guess what? So was Sarah Piggott's. Their mother's were both born in New York. Hmm.

Now the Sarah Ann Handley,  mother of Theodore Wallace Handley, I have been chasing around in the census records showed birth dates of about 1820, not 1809. There's one more thing I needed to check before I was certain this was the same Sarah Handley from the census records.

According to the death certificate Sarah died at her home, 336 East 17th street, New York. A look at the New York City 1884 directory reveals that Theodore W. Handley, Lawyer is indeed living at that same address. And, guess who else was living there? You guessed it, George W Piggott.

Another clue is that Sarah Piggott's sister Phoebe who was married to Jacob Handley, lost a five year old child named Theodore Wallace Handley on June of 1838. Sarah Ann Handley's son Theodore Wallace Handley was born about 1838.

So I think that this is enough evidence to say that Sarah Ann Handley and Sarah Ann Piggott are one and the same. Now I see that her sister Augusta also shaved about ten years off of her age. Those tricksy Piggott girls!

So where does George W. Piggott the artist fit into all of this? His death certificate states his father's name was William. I did find this passenger information:

Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945
Wm  Piggott - merchant
Arrival Date:
1 Sep 1840
31 Years
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1809
Port of Departure:
La Guaira and Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Ship Name:
Port of Arrival:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Microfilm Roll Number:

Source Citation:  Roll:  M425_57;  Line:  3

The birth date matches with Sarah and Augusta's brother William, who was born in 1809.  He was actually Sarah's twin. Which makes perfect sense why little 7 year old George W. would be sent to live with his aunt Sarah in February of 1860 after his father died in December of 1859.

So this means that George W. Piggott, artist is my first cousin 4 times removed.

I have been trying to put this Piggott family together for years! This death certificate really made me do the happy dance!

Leslie Ann


  1. Hurray for you Leslie Ann! Congrats! It's definitely time for a Genealogy Happy Dance! Let the music begin! =)

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

    Have a great weekend!



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