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Family File Hijinks

When Good Things Go Bad

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My intentions were good today. I’ve gotten a lot done and I’ve even watched my football team fail miserably. I was making progress in my huge project of a more organized family file, when I came across the image above. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Just the first time it was so blatant. For example, on certain censuses, the whole last 5 lines of Elliott County, Kentucky are missing. I’m not talking on the last page. I’m talking the the last five lines on each page of a whole enumeration district.

The real question is this, if the image looks like that, How did they index it? Oliver Quesenberry and his wife Mahala are in the index, but obviously not on the image above.

If they are using something else, is there any way for someone to get their grubby hands on it. Since this isn’t an isolated problem, I was just wondering the work around. I know the most obvious is to go to my local historical society or library and check out the microfilm. However, my library doesn’t carry the census or microfilm that I’m aware of, and I’m not in Kentucky. I’m in Maryland… which isn’t anywhere near Kentucky. Well, closer then California is to Maryland but you get my point. The historical society would be an option but I doubt they carry the Kentucky districts but I’m not opposed to trying.

When I came across the missing lines in Elliott County, I checked on FamilySearch, and they were also missing the lines. I just assumed that they were all using the same images of the census. Am I right in thinking this? I was going to look through on FamilySearch this time, but I am unable to view the images. This isn’t vital to my research obviously because research doesn’t hinge on the census. My thoughts are just to turn this into a learning experience for myself.

So that’s how my Sunday has gone and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Margaret Slusher, you might have been found!

As anyone who researches their genealogy knows, the women can be hard to track down once they leave the house. It gets doubly hard in very rural areas where records might not have been kept. I run into this problem a lot in my Kentucky/Ohio research. One of my more recent “brick walls” is Margaret Slusher. I say “brick wall” because technically it isn’t. I know who her parents are and I know who her husband is. I even know the year she married. However, in 1860, she’s not living with her new husband or her parents. I’m a stickler for the details, so it bugs me when I can’t find people in certain censuses. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but most times it’s just you’re not looking in the right place. The key to the problem is Margaret’s marriage to James Mays happened in September of 1860.

What a lot of people forget is that most censuses take a few months to complete, however, the enumerator is supposed to record the data as it reflects the household on a certain day. In 1860, that day was June 1, 1860.

I was transcribing the surrounding households of Joseph and Nancy Slusher, Margaret’s parents, when I came across William Jenkins household. At the very end, it shows a 20 year old Margaret Slusher. Since I don’t know my Margaret’s exact birth date yet, this one definitely fits with her estimated birth. The birthplace of Virginia fits. It’s the little tick that the blue arrow points to that interests me now. That tick is to show that the person was married within the year. I’d say this is my Margaret. I got very lucky that she didn’t get missed in the census all together since her marriage fell at such an awkward time of the year for the census. 🙂 I also got lucky that the Jenkins household gave Margaret’s maiden name. If they hadn’t I might have just had to live with not locating Margaret on the census.

Robert Love, You’ve been Verified!

A few months back, my long lost cousin Grace sent me a copy of her Love family outline. In it, I found Martha Love and Robert Love, who were not in my records of the Love family. Martha was quite easy to track down with the Walker family. I didn’t find any evidence on Robert though. I’m being very discriminatory about who I put in my family file, so Robert wasn’t put in yet, but he was in my notations. Until last night.

I was sitting around last night, feeling sorry for myself because my family file got corrupted. It was no major deal because I did have backups. The only problem is my most recent backups were also corrupted. So I ended up using the gedcom backups I have as a secondary backup. Have I said backup enough for you?

Back on subject, I decided I might as well spend a tiny bit of money and buy some credits from Scotlands People. I’ve seen a lot about the site but I’ve never actually used it because of the credits issue. Well, I didn’t let that hold me back last night!

I found Andrew Love and his family in the 1841 Scotland census! As far as I know, this is the first and only census record that Robert Love appears with the family. Granted, the census does not say he is Andrew and Agnes’s son, but I don’t need them too. I am just trying to verify old family lore. Therefore, now I know there should be a birth/baptismal record for Robert and I finally have a year to look in!

Welcome to the family file Robert Love! The water is nice and freshly un-corrupted!

In slightly related news, I had a major genealogy moment while watching the Robin Gibb episode of Who Do You Think You Are. Not only did he visit Paisley, Scotland, the homeland of the Loves, I also spotted John Love, teacher in the book about the school he was researching! I haven’t connected John to my tree yet, but I think he’s Andrew’s brother. They lived down the street from each other for many years. I probably should have saved some of my credits to look up John. Oh well, there’s always next time!

Lillian Redford, you’ve been found!

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a surprising brick wall breakthrough. One of the biggest ones was Lillian Redford. It was a little bit harder because her brother named one of his daughters after her. So things always got a little confusing. Until 30 minutes ago. I was just going through some California City Directories, clicking the green leaf reluctantly in Family Tree Maker.

California Death Index, 1940-1997 via Ancestry.com

My only question is, “Why now?” I have searched for Lillian a million times over the years and it’s never yielded a result. They must have done an update of some kind that added new records or maybe a refined search algorithm. I don’t quite care though, because I finally have something on Lillian after 1920!

A Dilemma, but Not Really

Now that I’ve come to the top of my Mays Family information, I’ve run into a dilemma. Except it’s not really a dilemma. I’m determined not to clutter up my new family file with sourceless information. The only problem is I don’t think most of my Mays family information is sourced. I’m starting to believe what I have is second hand information. So the dilemma is what to do about all those Mays children that I’m unsure of.

The obvious choice is don’t put any of them in. It’s the right thing to do. The problem is, there’s a lot of people I’d be leaving out.

OLD Family File

As you can see from the graphic above, in my old file there were seven children for William and Frances Mays. In my new file, there are only two. Hopefully I can find documentation for the others. Part of the problem is that I have census and vital records for a lot of them, but they don’t lead back to William and Frances currently. So I have to find a way to link them back before I add them.

West Liberty, Morgan County, Kentucky. 1860 Census.

I just wish they didn’t make it so tempting! Look at all them just sitting there! How much more obvious can you get. The Mays family was always right next door to each other.

Mays and Barker Families

Today is a beautiful day, and it’s making me feel very productive. I’m sitting in the living room on my laptop and talking with Grandpa Moore. He’s already cleared up some Thorward things for me that I was unclear on. Today is devoted to the Mays family though. I’ve got to keep moving forward towards my summer goal.

I’m up to Millard Mays in my family file. I know he married Nora Barker. I was looking in the Kentucky Birth Index on Ancestry.com to verify some of her children on the census. I ended up having to go to some more extreme measures to find one of the children, because they just weren’t showing up for some reason. When I did that, I might have found out what happened to Millard’s sister Barbara.

It just so happens there was a Barbara Mays who was giving birth to Barker children. Knowing the Mays family like I do, this isn’t at all surprising for me. To be honest I’m finding that I look for these connections more then not. It’s just the marriage pattern of the family.

I was mainly looking for the younger children, but there are some things I really like about this 1930 census record. Barbara has a son named Millard! Lorene from the Birth Index is there, but Robert, the youngest is not. A quick check of the Kentucky Death Records gave me a big idea of what Robert and Barbara Barker went through with their children. They had three stillborn children and Kline who died at one month of meningitis.

Unfortunately, nothing I found actually gives me clues on whether this is my actual Barbara Mays. I haven’t fleshed out enough of the Mays family to know how many other Barbaras there might be. I’m going to add this family into my FTM file, without identification numbers but with sources. That way when I find out where this Barbara fits, it’ll be an easy merge.

The next task I might work on is linking Nora Barker, Robert Barker and Lela Barker (wife of Luther Mays).

Parkin Progress

Sometimes I get so engrossed in my current “treasure trove” that I forget small progress is still progress. Sometimes a record that just confirms what you already know is just as great as one filled with new insight. Then sometimes you end up in the middle of those two.

In the case of William R Parkin‘s death certificate, that’s what I ended up with. I found a little bit of new information and a little bit of verification. Nothing too spectacular though. The only bad part about this record is it almost got lost in the shuffle because it happened to arrive in the same envelope as the George Yohn/Josephine Doremus marriage record.

Verified Information:

  • William’s middle name is definitely Richard. I was already almost positive of that since his widow is listed in the city directory as “Richard’s widow” after his death.

New Information:

  • Stone Cutter being his Primary Disease. I’m sure it’s his occupation which contributed to his death. In 1880 he was listed as working in a Sand Paper factory.
  • Burial at Rosedale Cemetery. I had no idea where any of the Parkins or Redfords are buried, so this gives me a place to start!

Revisiting an Old Entry, Menzies Style

I’m revisiting an old entry today. That entry is the one from September titled, Menzies News. In that entry I examined a census record that I thought might be William Menzies in 1861. This is important to me because only a few of the Menzies siblings stayed behind in England. William strikes a cord with me because in a letter to his sister he wrote, “I am quite sure I will never stay in England all my life as I am quite tired of it.” I can’t help but wonder if he ever made it.

In the entry, I also mention that I found a marriage record for William Menzies and Ellen Patterson. The only problem was I couldn’t be sure that was my William. The index on familysearch.org only had the name of the groom’s father listed. With such common names like John and William, and no other clues, I couldn’t be sure if this was in fact my William Menzies.

That all changed yesterday. You see on April 19th, Ancestry.com added a huge number of Liverpool, Lancashire, England Church Records. This includes baptisms, christenings, marriages, and burials. I was fortunate enough to find the marriage record that I questioned so many months ago.

Having indexed a lot of English Parish Records for Family Search, I knew that the marriage records also had occupation of the father as an entry on the certificate. So when I found the marriage in the index, I didn’t just throw it out. I made a notation of the indexed information for coming back to later. Now I am 100% positive that this is my William Menzies. John Menzies was a Sawyer by trade in 1841 and 1851. Therefore I know it is him. Also serving as witness to the marriage is Helen Scott, or how I know her Helen Menzies-Scott. I found her marriage record too by the way (with sister Margaret serving as witness)!

New information that comes with this record is Williams occupation as a dentist. As a refresher, two of his siblings were druggists/pharmacists. This is important because the William Menzies I found in the 1861 England census had an occupation of Mechanical Dentist. At the time, I realized for this family a dentist isn’t out of the ordinary. Most of the people I see are laborers and farmers. So when I found a family full of druggists, a dentist doesn’t seem to be such a stretch.

I still don’t know where William’s wife is during this census but I’m almost sure she is still alive. I’m going to try looking for her elsewhere, but we’ll just have to see what comes up.

When I plugged William Menzies and Ellen Patterson into Family Search, it brought up two more possible children. One, George Menzies, who served in the Spanish American War and died in Minnesota, and Arthur who lived in Boston. I haven’t linked either one of these through Derby baptismal and birth records yet. It’s on my To Do List though! Their birthplaces and dates fit exactly. I just have to get the paper evidence to back it up.

Now I’m off to find more!

Note: I am a paying World Membership Customer on Ancestry.com and I volunteer through FamilySearch’s indexing program. Other then those associations, I have no connection with these websites. I was not compensated to mention them or write things about them. Please don’t sue me, my fluffy pajamas have to be thrown away and I’m hanging on by a thread.

George Yohn… again


I received my order of records from the New Jersey State Archives on Saturday. The record you see above was too big to fit onto my scanner, so I tested out the app recommended to me for my iPhone. It worked pretty well! Especially under the conditions I was trying. It would have probably worked a bit better in daylight on a flat surface.

Anyway, onto the record. The record I sent for was the marriage record for George Yohn and Josephine Doremus. I’m currently trying to figure out if George Yohn is in fact George Thorward. What I like about the above record is that the marriage date fits with what I know for George and Josephine. I also like that Josephine Doremus is listed. There was another Josephine Doremus in the 1870 census but she was living in Newark and not Caldwell. In 1880 there is no trace of Josephine and George Yohn. Only Josephine and George Thorward. Everything about the above record fits with George Thorward except the Yohn last name. It is a bit disappointing to see the parents names listed as “Not Known” for George. Though it raises another question. Did George lose his parents when he was young? Did that prompt his immigration to America?

I did search the online index for name changes on the State Archives website but I found no trace of any Yohns or Thorwards. I’d love to get my hands on some local history books from the church or even the newspapers. My Grandpa told me that there is some stuff in local books about the Thorwards because they were integral in the Methodist Church of Caldwell.

Included in the envelope with my records was a note from the Archives. They explained to me that they included the entire page as counties were only required to report once a year the births, marriages, and deaths from their county. Individual records weren’t issued by the State until June 1, 1878. So the record they sent me is actualy for the whole period of May 1871 to May 1872. So to me that tells me, if another Josephine Doremus had married George Thorward in November of 1871, it most likely would also be listed on this page.

I’m getting closer and closer to confirming my assumption that there was a name change. Once that happens, I’ll have more questions. Was Thorward the original German name or was Yohn? Did George adapt Yohn when he immigrated and then wanted to change it back? Were the children born under the name Yohn? Will this impede me in finding their birth records?

Previous entries in the George Yohn craziness:

More Webb Confusion

Okay, so I thought if I took a little time to do some Webb family research, it’d be a break from the frustration of the Mays family. I was wrong. In fact, I was so wrong I might be right. After finding the treasure trove, I wanted to take another look at the information it gave for Reuben H Webb and his wife Ann Thompson. I’m not doubting the biography but there was something that stood out glaringly for me. I don’t know what to do about it. However, it kind of fits in with the fact that Reuben moved around a bit after losing the land he cleared initially.

You see, on FamilySearch.org it has in two separate databases that Reuben Webb married Ann Thompson on 15 Feb 1806. Why my original family file says 1805, I’ll never be able to tell you. That’s how crazy my file is.

I was very excited to see the top result pop up. It’s a new database added at the end of March. It has the original microfilmed images that were used for indexing in the first place! So I quickly clicked it. The only problem is I can’t find the marriage anywhere on that page. I even paged back to 1805 to see if it was there. Still not there. So if the marriage isn’t on that page, the question needs to be asked. Where did this record of the marriage come from? Does this point to an error?

Once again I’m left with more questions then answers. You can bet I will go through these page by page if it means finding my ancestor. My only thing is, the biography of their son says they were married in Kentucky. So which version is true? I thought actually seeing the record would alleviate my confusion. That obviously hasn’t worked for me yet!

Edit: I checked my records. The 1805 date came from the Ancestry.com Ohio Marriages, 1803-1900 database.

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