I am looking for information on my 2g-grandfather William Oscar EDISON (recorded this way from 1880 on, but I suspect the name may have earlier been EDSON) who was reportedly born Oct. 15, 1842 in St. Joseph County, Indiana. Family tradition says that he was part Indian but I have no idea which tribe.He is also said to have fought in the Civil War.
On the 1880 census, he stated that both of his parents were born in Pennsylvania, but in later censuses (1900, 1920, 1930) he stated that he "didn't know" where they were born, only that they were born in the U.S. I don't know whether to attribute this to old age, or to the fact that he may have thought his parents were from PA but later found that they weren't.
He married Samantha Ann REA Sep. 12 1872 in Green Township, St. Joseph Co. IN, and they had four children: Daisy Izora b. 1875 (my great-grandmother), Mont Rea b. 1878, Ivanilla b. 1881, and Leo Oscar b. 1888. He died in St. Joseph Co. Sept 28, 1930 and may be buried at Potato Creek State Park.
Some preliminary research has shown that the Miami and Potawatomi tribes may have been in this general area in the early 1800s. Given his rather English-sounding name I rather suspect that he was either of mixed blood, or had changed his name in order to blend into American society. I have not yet tried to obtain his birth certificate (if one exists) or death certificate, as I am not sure whether I need to have an exact city/township of birth/death in order to get it, but I plan to look into this.
Can anyone give me any advice as to how to search further, and whether it is likely that I would be able to obtain a birth certificate for him at this early date?Any help would be greatly appreciated.