My GGF James MacAvoy (McAvoy) was a Civil War soldier at the age of 17 under the alias of James Avoy. I started my search for him in Troy, NY where family legend has it that he lived as a lad. My elderly relatives said that he was a bound boy to a storekeeper in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Eventually I obtained his CW pension papers from Washington, DC and in them he explained that he was a bound boy (apprentice so to speak) to a Henry Dillatush in New Brunswick, and that the reason he enlisted at 17 and dropped the "Mac" from his name was to get away from his "employer".
I never did locate any information on him in Troy, NY, but I put a query on the Middlesex County, NJ GenConnect site and was contacted by a descendant in the Dillatush/Delatush/Dillentush etc. family who is related to Henry Dillatush my GGF's mentor in New Brunswick. She sent me a Delatush descendency chart, but it didn't mean much to me other than to show how Henry fit into the overall scheme of things. It said nothing about James MacAvoy. I checked the census for 1860 in New Brunswick and sure enough James was listed in the household of Henry Dilatush and his mother. I seem to have dead ended at this point.While going through some additional pension papers for James MacAvoy I made two discoveries, [brackets mine]:
There is a letter from Eleanor D. Thompson of Boston, Mass dated 4/11/1898. An excerpt from the letter states "have known James McAvoy since he was seven years of age[in 1853], at which time my mother [Esther Cox Delatush] took him in our family, and he lived in the family until my mothers death in 1861. We were then living in Jamesburg NJ. When he was about twelve years old , we moved to New Brunswick NJ"
There is another letter from James T. Dillentush dated 4/7/1898. An excerpt from this letter states "I have known him since he was a boy as he was bound to my Uncle Henry Dillentush"
By checking the descendancy chart for Henry Dilatush, I believe the following is correct; Eleanor Delatush (1826-????) married 1st George VanHorn, and 2nd _____ Thompson. Her father was Jacob Delatush and her mother was Esther Cox. Henry Dillentush (the man my GGF James was bound to) was the brother of Eleanor (Delatush) Thompson. James T. Dillentush was the son of John Delatush and MarthaSutphen, and was the nephew of both Eleanor (Delatush) Thompson and Henry Dillentush.
So, where does that leave me? Well, I have many questions to answer; Esther Cox's husband Jacob Delatush died on 12/13/1852. In ~1853 Esther took in my GGF James MacAvoy to live with her and her family. Why did she take James into her house? Was he an orphan? Was he homeless? Esther had grown children by then. Was James an illegitimate child of one of Esthers daughters? Was he the child of one of Esther's sisters, cousins etc.? Did James mother (a relative?) die young? Was he one of the "Orphan Train" children?
In the 1870 Middlesex County Census for New Brunswick, New Jersey, James states that he was born in "NY", and that both his parents were born in "NY".
Esther moved to New Brunswick in 1858 to live with her son Henry Dillatush (eventually James' mentor) who ran a "Canal Store" there. Esther died in 1861, and that's pretty all I know right now.
If any of this information looks even vaguely familiar to you please contact me.