In Charlotte's papers, she had pieced together very little about her grandfather (and my great-great-grandfather) Joseph Daniel Merrow. She notes he was the son of John Joseph Mereaux and Angeline Burdenau. He had an older brother Alexander and a younger brother named William. His grandfather Joseph, was a brother to his wife Josephine's grandmother Rachel, which made them second cousins.
Charlotte also notes that the Merrow surname had gone through several changes over the years; Merrow, Mero, Mereaux, Miraux.
Apart from that, little else was known of his ancestry. Today, I can take advantage of the huge amount of available online genealogical databases to push the Merrow family history a little further back. Here's what I've been able to uncover so far.
I've found Joseph and his parents John and Angeline in the 1870 U.S. Census, living in Detroit, Michigan.
The listed ages are a little bit off, but that is not unusual for early censuses. Here their surname is spelled Miraux. Older brother Alexander is there, as is younger brother William.
I have not found yet any further records relating to this specific family, but if we accept the account that John's father Joseph was a brother to Rachel Amireau, Josephine's grandmother, that would mean he would most certainly be Joseph Amireau (b. 1792). The Amireau/Amirault family is well studied Acadian family that goes back many generations to the early days of the French settlement of what later became Nova Scotia.
With this connection made, here is what the Merrow's direct ancestral line would look like:
Joseph Daniel Merrow (1851-1922)
John Joseph Miraux (c.1815- ) + Angeline Burdenau (c.1811-c.1880)
Joseph Amireau (1792- ) + Sarah Stockwell (c.1796- )
Jean Baptiste Amirault (1755-1835) + Marie Archange Desmarais (1768- )
François Marin Amirault (1720-1799) + Cécile Bourg (c.1729-1795)
Joseph Amirault (1689-1774) + Marguerite Laure (c.1695- )
François Amirault dit Tourangeau (c.1644-c.1726) + Marie Pitre (c.1666- )
François Amirault, born in Tours, France, apparently arrived in Port Royal in 1671 aboard the ship L'Oranger. He was a soldier, who once his service was finished, remained in the New World as a settler of Acadia.
His descendants were forced from their homes during the expulsion of the Acadians during the French and Indian War of 1754-1763. Thousands of Acadians died as a result of this upheaval at the hands of the British. Some deported Amiraults managed to escape to Quebec and later Ontario, and from there eventually some became the Mirauxs/Meros/Merrows of Detroit.