Along the way, I experienced many dead ends and wrong turns. The Hillsdale (Michigan) County Courthouse burned in 1864, so there were no marriage or birth records. My dad's older sister said (somewhat doubtfully) that she thought Ruth and Charles' father was named Henry Prosser. That sent me off to find Civil War records for Henry L. Prosser, of Birge's Western Sharpshooters, only to find that probably wasn't him. I sent for the Civil War pension records of every male Prosser who fought in the war and received a pension. Then I discovered that my great-great grandmother Rhoda (Wilsey)
Prosser had remarried, to Henry Jones, making her ineligible for a pension. Rhoda Prosser Jones died tragically and mysteriously in 1883, and Henry Jones' Civil War pension records didn't give any information about her first husband.
Over the years of research, I discovered that Charles Prosser had indeed gotten married, in 1884, to Amanda Quay, and they had a daughter named Lottie. But I lost track of him after that - he wasn't to be found on the 1900 census anywhere in Michigan.
Until about four years ago, when (trying one more time) I plugged Charles' name into the search engine at Ancestry.com, looking for "Charles Prosser, born 1864 in Michigan" - and got a hit. There was a Charles Prosser living in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife Anna (also born in Michigan) and his 4 sons. Careful analysis showed that this could very well be my great-grandmother's brother - he was a printer, and this possible second family did not overlap with his first one.
And just because I want to know everything about everybody (a good trait for a genealogist), I started tracing the sons: Lewis, Raymond Walter, Charles Albert, and Earl Augusta. I couldn't find Lewis anywhere, and in fact he wasn't mentioned in Charles' 1910 obituary. Raymond married Marie Bonine, and they lived in Oak Park, Illinois, where my Aunt Myrl visited them in the 1930's. They had a son named Don, and I traced his descendants to California, and found them on Facebook. Earl Augusta married Lottie Alder, and they also moved to California. They had no children.
Charles Albert was another mystery - I found his World War 1 Draft Registration card, where he was living in Detroit, but didn't find him after that. Until earlier this year, when I sent a message to someone who had a family tree on Ancestry. She replied that Charles Albert Prosser had married her great-grandfather's step-daughter, Irene Leroux. With that information, I was able to find them on the 1940 census, with three children, all born between 1923 and 1929. More exploring online told me that the two older children had died just within the last couple of years, but the youngest son, in his 80's, was probably still alive. Online directories found his current address and phone number, and so I called him and introduced myself. He was pleased (if bemused) to hear from me, and told me that his father never talked about his family. Over the next few weeks we exchanged a lot of information by email, and when I asked about doing a Y-DNA test through FamilyTreeDNA, he readily agreed.
Words cannot describe the elation I felt when FTDNA notified me that the results had been posted, and I signed in and saw that we had two matches, and both of them with the last name of Prosser.
I've been corresponding with Allen Prosser, who coordinates the Prosser Surname Project for FamilyTreeDNA, and he's given me some great information. I found the wills and probate records for Ichabod Prosser (1744-1818, John Prosser's grandson) and Ichabod's grandson Daniel Prosser (1796-1890) and his wife Celia Prosser (1801-1892). And I've hired a professional genealogist in Rhode Island to find out more about John Prosser in the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society.
I have gained so much information in just the past few months, it makes my head spin! And it proves to me, once again, that "there is ALWAYS something more to find!"