Re: William Collins/Magdalena Ihli
I'm not related to this Collins either, but I enjoy a good genealogical puzzle.
I had found much of the same information, but have been focusing on the Washington, DC, origins.I agree, the census records are very consistent that William H. Collins (son of Magdelena Ihli Collins) was born in DC in 1888.This also means that Magdelena was residing there. But in the 1880 census she is with her parents in Stephenson County, Illinois.
The search of land purchase records with the Bureau of Land Management show that a William H. Collins (not the son) bought land in Hughes County, South Dakota, in October, 1889.About the same time October, 1889, a Thomas J. Collins also bought public land in Hughes County. These two purchases were in the same township -- Harold township.
Were Thomas J. and William H. related?Can not find anything after 1889 on Thomas J. Collins.
William H. Collins (the elder -- if he is William H's father) also bought land just north in May 1888 in Potter County.
So what was the scenario?Did William Collins meet Magdalena on a trip north to Dakota to buy land, marry (where did they marry) ... then return to DC where son William was born -- because the son William H. was born in DC.
In the 1888 City Directory for Washington, DC, there are a total of 18 "William" Collinses. Doing a bit of cross-checking between the directories and census records, many can be ruled out.
Incidentally, the William Collins in the 1880 census, born 1863, occupation "apprentice to coachmaker" gets ruled out because he is still there in the 1900 census.
I can't develop a final proof either.However, my main possibility is a group of Collinses farming out on Broad Branch Road. They first show up in the Washington DC City Directory in 1887:
William, farmer, Broad-branch rd
Thomas E., farmer, Broad-branch rd
Henry, farmer, Broad-branch rd
Jackson, farmer, Broad-branch rd
John, farmer, Broad-branch rd
Edward, farmer, Broad-branch rd
They appear again in 1888 including William and Thomas, but in 1889, these two are missing:
Andrew J, gardener, Broad-branch rd
James E, gardener, Broad-branch rd
John F, gardener, Broad-branch rd
John W., gardener, Broad-branch rd
Were William and Thomas now in South Dakota?This is not proof, genealogy research is too full of meaningless coincidence!
In the 1900 census for District of Columbia, I find this household on Broad Branch Road:
1900 census:DC / Broad-branch Road
Collins, James E Collins (1845 DC)
----Mary E (1847 DC)(married about 1862)
----Thomas F. (1881 DC)
----Louis R (1884 DC)
Also, on the same page is Barbara E. (Collins) Atz (1862 DC)
Going back to the 1880 census, James (born 1845) and Barbara (born 1862) are among those found in the census as follows:
1880 Census:Washington, DC (Enumeration District 001)
Collins, James E(1845 DC DC DC)
----Sarah E.(1842 Md Md DC)
----Andrew J(1871 DC DC Md)
----William (1874 DC DC Md)
----Charles (1876 DC DC Md)
----Laura V. (1879 DC DC Md)
Collins, Andrew(1853 DC DC DC)
---- Florence (1879)
Collins, George (1821 DC DC DC)
Collins, James(1814 DC DC DC)
---- Mary (1828)
---- WILLIAM(1857 DC DC DC)
---- Barbary(1860 DC DC DC)
This William Collins (born 1857 in DC) is my main possibility as the husband of Magdelena.I know it's speculative, but perhaps it could serve as a lead for someone's further search.