Answering Comments: Bartholomew Taylor and Nancy Dismukes

Quick Comparison of the two Bartholomews

I previously talked about my Bartholomew in multiple blog entries. These entries have sometimes attracted comments from other people looking for information on Bartholomew Taylor. Just not always mine. The most popular one being in Bartholomew Taylor: The Big One. In the comment section there are a few people inquiring about Bartholomew Taylor who married Nancy Dismuke in 1819.

My Bartholomew

I can say with certainty that my Bartholomew Taylor is not that Bartholomew. My Bartholomew was born in Somerset County, Maryland in 17551 and lived there until 1796 when he left. He eventually ended up in Bracken County, Kentucky.  I learned this information from Bartholomew himself. He gave a sworn statement to the court when he was applying for a Revolutionary War pension.

Pension declaration of Bartholomew Taylor

3rd where were you living when called into service, where have you lived since the revolutionary war, and where do you now live?

Answer, I lived in the county of Sommersett aforesaid when called in to the service and lived in said county until the year 1796 and until I removed to Bracken County Kentucky where I have lived ever since and where I now live.

– Revolutionary War Pension application of Bartholomew Taylor, 19 May 1834, Bracken County, Kentucky

So from here, we infer that my Bartholomew was in Maryland and then migrated to Kentucky. He does not mention Georgia anywhere in his comments about his history. There will be more on my Bartholomew in another entry!

The other Bartholomew

From what I can find, there isn’t a lot known about the other Bartholomew. If I’m honest it would take me months, probably longer to even familiarize myself with this group enough to really tackle the question of any connection between the two. I did some quick searches just to see if maybe there is a chance.

The Marriage of Bartholomew Taylor and Nancy Dismuke

Baldwin County, Georgia, Marriages, 1806-1925, Book A, 1816-1842: 21, Taylor-Dismuke, 1819; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 29 Oct 2023).

On Ancestry, I was able to find a marriage record between Batthew (Bartholomew) Taylor and Nancy Dismuke in 1819. Like most records of the time, parents information isn’t given here. This doesn’t mean no parent information will be available. Just that it isn’t on this particular page or record. There still might be land transactions, marriage bonds, or other court records that will give hints to who is connected with these two. If I were hunting this Bartholomew’s origins, my next step would be land and court records to establish a timeline around this first known event. To see what he was up to and see if there is any hints about where he came from. Are there other Taylors around? If he’s the only one, is there a family he seems to gravitate towards?

The Will of Bartholomew Taylor

“Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 October 2021), Meriwether > Wills 1831-1903 > image 257 of 705; citing various county, district, and probate courts.

Looking at the 1840 will on file in Meriwether County, Georgia, it seems the two Bartholomews are definitely in two different places at the same time. It is nice to see the children’s names laid out, this would help to establish a bigger timeline of the family to see if there are more connections to other Taylors. I would even venture far enough on this case to trace the friends and others mentioned in the will that aren’t Taylor or Dismuke. You never do know where those connections will come from.

All of this information doesn’t mean the two families aren’t connected at all. There just isn’t enough information on all the Taylors to know how far and wide they’ve spread right now. It’s been notoriously difficult to trace them. They do love to use the same names over and over again. 😂

I really hope those searching for answers about Bartholomew can find answers. We all have a bit of an uphill battle it seems like, no matter the Bartholomew.

Author’s Note: I am an out of practice, amateur genealogist. None of the thoughts above are meant to deal in certainties or conclude anything other then my rambling thoughts. In fact, I’m also an out of practice blog writer. So we are really dusting off the cobwebs lately!

  1. This sworn statement gives Bartholomew’s birth year as 1755, where it is mentioned other places as 1756. This is for another entry though. ↩︎

Sucked into the DNA Trail

Here I am again, after another absence. This one was partially on purpose. Sometimes you just need a mental break from genealogy. It’s not a bad thing. Over the years, I’ve learned it helps me to focus better if I just walk away from it for a week or two. The rest of my break, I have been working on learning about DNA. Oh, man has that been a journey! I’m obviously still learning and probably will never fully understand.

During Amazon Prime Day this year, I purchased three 23andMe DNA tests. I had previously tested myself and my Dad on Ancestry. I thought since I had never used 23andMe before, I might want to go ahead and re-test my Dad to see the differences between the companies. In addition to testing my Dad, I also tested my mother and her brother.

Information Overload

The biggest thing I’ve gotten from DNA test results is information overload! Learning from my fellow genealogists, I know that the cure for information overload is learning and organization. The overload comes from not understanding what you are looking at. That means I have to learn more and I have to find a better way for my brain to process it. Okay, that’s definitely something I can do!

My Dad’s Ancestry DNA matches

The image above is the Excel spreadsheet that I made to wrangle my DNA matches. This is after I watched about 10 DNA webinars, and some of them I watched twice. The main problem I have found from a research standpoint with Ancestry DNA matches is you have to go into each tree and click on multiple things to see all the information. From a research perspective, that’s a lot of wasted clicks and time.

Before carpel tunnel sets in, I wanted to have a way of pinpointing a focus subject without having to click 3,987 times. The following are my headers and the reason.

The Explanations

  • Username: Ancestry uses its own messaging system for DNA matches, so I made sure to put down the username of all my matches. In the case of someone who has a manager of their DNA test, I put Username (managed by Username).
  • Predicted Relationship: This is the relationship that Ancestry thinks I share with the person. I have 473 4th Cousin or closer matches and my Dad has 223. That’s a lot. Not only is that a lot but there are hundreds of pages of more distant matches. I chose to stick to the 4th cousin and closer matches except for the case of Shared Ancestor Hints. If I had a distant cousin match but we also shared an ancestor hint, I added them to my spreadsheet.
  • Shared Hint, Common Ancestor: This is my favorite column. This one shows me who is already showing as having an ancestor match with me. Before I actually started tracking these matches, I didn’t realize I had so many on my Dad’s side. I always assumed most of my matches came from my mother’s well-documented side.
  • Public or Private Tree?: This one speaks for itself. I’m able to tell at a glance if the tree is public and might hold a lot of clues, or if I’m going to need some caffeine and my thinking cap. Probably some patience too.
  • Unlinked Tree: This is one of those hidden, but wonderful clues into those Private trees everyone is so upset about. Sometimes, if you are lucky, someone has an unlinked family tree on their account. In Ancestry, you have to go in and link test results to a tree. People don’t always do that and they certainly aren’t required to. However, sometimes they might have a tree already online and just haven’t linked their results to it. Of course, you can never be sure unless you ask them if those results go with that tree, but it’s better than no information at all.
  • Shared cM: This is the section I know the least about. This number is how Ancestry determines that Predicted Relationship. Mostly what I know is the higher centi-morgans you share, the closer your relationship. There are tons of tools and charts out there that break this down much better than me!
  • Confidence Level: Ancestry gives every match a confidence level. It was pretty interesting to compare my results with my Dad’s. Some of those High results were Extremely High for him or even the other way around.
  • Shared Matches: A simple yes or no. There aren’t many no answers but now I’m able to see them with 1 click of my mouse.
  • Contacted: This column is for if I’ve contacted the person yet or not.
  • Matched with Kathleen or Dad?: The column says something different for each tab. On my test, it’s an easy way for me to see what is most likely a paternal match. On my Dad’s test, it was an easy way for me to filter out the yes answers and delete the no answers after copying the tab. It saved me from re-typing 83 matches.

What about Notes? What about those 23andMe results?

Well, I’d like to tell you all about it but I can’t! The Notes section will take a little bit more space to explain and this entry is already really long. As for 23andMe, GEDMatch and other DNA results, I’m still figuring out how to organize them. This is a work in progress, but you can be sure I’ll keep my family and friends updated!

Moore Children

Last time that I wrote here, I was wondering why Mary was so contrary. In that post I decided that I would need to search out more records for Mary’s children. I just didn’t have nearly enough evidence to decide if the family that lived on Long Island was the right family. The first step in that journey was to order the birth records of the other two known children in the family.

The Moore Children Birth Certificates

All three Moore children

The Things that match up:

  • Place of Birth is the same for all children
  • M. Friedman, M.D. was present at all three births.
  • Parents names are the same on all three.
  • Father is listed as an Insurance Agent on all three.
  • The birth order is correct (Mary first, Robert second, William/Lawrence third)

Things that are slightly off:

  • Marion Moore is the name the oldest child and only daughter is known as in all other records. In her birth certificate she is listed as Mary Florence Moore.
  • Mary Johnson-Moore’s birthplace is listed as Brooklyn on Robert’s birth certificate and Babylon, L.I. on Mary/Marion’s birth certificate. On William/Lawrence’s certificate only U.S. is given.
  • Great-Grandpa Moore’s birth certificate is listed under Lawrence Moore. In all the documents I have for him, he lists his name as William Lawrence Moore. Grandpa Moore even told me that his father had a hard time finding his birth certificate when going to the Vital Records office. The middle name being listed as the birth name makes sense. I also have a certified copy of the same certificate dated for 1942.
  • Chicago, Illinois is the listed place of birth for the father, Robert Moore Sr. The family was living in Chicago at the time of Robert’s birth but unfortunately Chicago couldn’t find a birth record for me at the time. William/Lawrence’s birth certificate only lists U.S. for the place of birth.


Just basing my conclusion on the three records above I can say some things for certain. Mary Florence Moore, Robert James Moore, and William Lawrence Moore are definitely siblings. They are definitely the children of Robert James Moore and Mary Johnson. They lived at 518 Railroad Avenue between 1898 and 1901. Robert James Moore Sr. was working as an Insurance Agent between 1898 and 1901.

Using the same three records, I’m strongly leaning toward a few conclusions as well. I’m almost certain that Robert Sr. was born in Chicago and Mary was born in Babylon, Long Island. I can’t say for certain that the Johnson family from the last post is Mary’s family, but it’s definitely moving in that direction.

The last conclusion I can make is that my family, in general, does not like to use the names on their birth certificates. We still do that today! 🙂

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

It’s not fair of me to call Mary contrary. I don’t even know Mary. However, her blood is running through my veins. Maybe that gives me a little wiggle room to be a little cross with her for being so hard to track sometimes. The funny thing about Mary is that before my Genealogy Do-Over, I didn’t even think Mary was that contrary. It’s all these new rules I put in place for myself. They keep me second and third guessing everything!

Records of Mary’s life

Mary E. Johnson is the first time that my Genealogy Do-Over has made me sweat. It would be easy to just add in the family I believe to be hers and continue working off that assumption. The problem with that being, can I prove that is actually her family? The answer to that is nope, not even a little bit. It’s going to be so bad of me to admit what I thought before, but I have to do it. That’s the whole point of starting fresh.

The following record is the first record I am able to use to see into Mary’s life before she married. My great-grandfather’s birth certificate just gives her maiden name, which helped, but doesn’t say anything about her parents.

Mary Johnson and Robert Moore Marriage, 1896

How I know this is the correct couple
  • The names of Robert, his father Wm. H., and mother Mary all match up with what I know.  This is the first instance I have of Mary’s maiden name. (Robert’s mother)
  • In 1900, my Robert does list his occupation as an Insurance Collector.
  • While the address given for Robert’s residence isn’t familiar, his brother’s ran a printing business just down the street at 1567 Broadway. Maybe the brothers decided to move into an apartment together close to work?
  • I have found records for Robert’s siblings that also give their mother’s maiden name as Starret.

Where I Went Wrong Before

Previously, when I did a search for Mary I just typed in what I knew and I went with the top result. Not just because it was the top result, but because it was the only result of Arthur, Ann, and Mary Johnson in a household with the right ages. Jackpot, this must be them! Oh boy was I green.

Most of the Mary Johnson’s I was finding didn’t have an Arthur as a father or the parents weren’t born in Ireland. In fact, I was getting a lot of Sweden results when searching for Ireland. Maybe I should reverse that and look for Sweden to see if more Ireland pops up? The family below is the only family living in the New York City or surrounding area to fit the bill. I know Mary was born in New York. The family below was living on Long Island in the village of Babylon. So far there is nothing to connect my Mary Johnson to this family. For now that means not linking this family into my main family line.

Arthur Johnson household. 1880

The Temporary Solution

I’ve already found this family in the census returns between 1860 through 1880. That includes the 1865 New York State Census. The 1875 State census would be grand but Suffolk County, where this family was living, was lost. What to do with that information? It’s a waste to just throw it out. Technically while there is nothing to say this is my family, there is nothing to say that it isn’t. The dilemma was how to keep track of this family without adding them in and possibly assuming in the future that they belong there.

Adding an Un-linked Person to Legacy

My solution is to add the family un-linked into my main genealogy file. This allows me to follow all my same procedures and keep things organized. If after researching them, I decide they are the right family I can just merge them into my main line. Carefully of course!

What Next?

My Orphaned Johnson Family

My plan for now is to keep researching this Johnson family. I will try to build the family out from this starting point. If I can rule them out of my search, I will consider moving them to a separate file. Another option is to start a Johnson file where I can research multiple Johnson families and keep track of them. I don’t mind having one orphaned family in my working file, but anymore and I’m afraid it will turn into a mess.

Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t start off with a new Johnson file to begin with. While it would have been better keeping it away from my working file, I didn’t have other families in that area at the time that looked promising. Had I found 2 or 3 families that were living around each other, I probably would have gone that route.

Open to Suggestions!

I am going to be open to suggestions when it comes to the Johnsons! My main priority is still going to be my Do-Over. That means gathering as many documents for my Mary Johnson’s children before spending too much money buying records trying to identify her parents.

Current Research Plan tab

For the curious, I’ve included a screenshot of what my plan tab looks like right now in my Research Log. The List tab is the big list of names as I’m verifying them. It’s what tells me who is next to document. This is really working for me! I don’t know how I would keep it all straight otherwise.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to update everyone again soon!

Genealogy Do-Over: Not Found

Today I am going to be writing about my recent experience with the New Jersey State Archives. I previously told you about what they did find for me. This time I’d like to tell you about what they didn’t find. As always, if you’d like to learn more about the Genealogy Do-Over, head over to Thomas MacEntee’s page, now called Abundant Genealogy.

My order from the New Jersey State Archives

Back on May 24th, I made an online order to the New Jersey State Archives. I am trying to fill in where I’m missing documents for my ancestors. That means my first step is heading to the Order List of my Genealogy Log, where I’ve been tracking the records I need to find. Note: These are also entered as “To Do” items in my genealogy management program.

Genealogy Research Log – Order List

As you can tell from the screenshot, I only have Priorities “Done” and “High” checked in my Priority column. Filters are my favorite thing about Excel. With this New Jersey order I decided to start putting what date the records came in. This way I can start tracking how long it usually takes to get a records request back from somewhere.

When I was looking through my Pedigree, I realized I still have an “Abt” date for the birth of Jane Parkin. That was my deciding factor in ordering the birth records of Jane Parkin and Clifford Redford. Adding Clifford’s in was a little bit of a bonus because I knew what his date was from multiple records. Since I was asking for a search for Jane’s record,  I added a bit of a guarantee that I would at least get something back when I added in Clifford’s record.

What I received from the New Jersey State Archives

The response to my Record Search

Now the question becomes, What do I do with this information? It might be easy to shrug off and say, Oh well! The problem being 10 years down the road, I won’t remember what I actually searched for at the Archives. That’s not helping my new and improved tracking methods either. The great news is that I have a Search Attempt tab in my Genealogy Research Log. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel here, I just need to write down what was searched and what was found… or in this case, not found.

My Search Attempt Log

My Search Attempt Log

This log was up and going months before I sent away for my New Jersey records. What I found reassuring was that when I went to enter in information for this search, I didn’t have to change a single thing about my log. The required fields were already in place. I must be doing something right these days!

The Archives gave me what databases they searched and the criteria used. That made is easy to just fill those into my log like I actually did the physical search myself. I made sure to add that the index record on Family Search was a newspaper article.

Not Quite Done

That’s not the end of the line yet. I still have one more step to do.

The last step

As you can see, at the top of this list of files is the scan of the form the archives sent back to me. It’s right there and at a glance I can see that I still need the birth record and I can see quickly what was already searched.

Man, I just can’t believe how sporadic my research has been over the last 8 months, but how the organization methods and processes are keeping me right in line! I can also update you a little and say that since this record search, I found Jane’s siblings in a birth index with their father being listed under his middle name Walter. So that’s my next step!

New Jersey State Archives: Above and Beyond

I’m currently working on a post about how I deal with negative searches from repositories. Today, I’d like to shine a spotlight on the New Jersey State Archives. Recently I ordered 3 records from them. Two were birth certificates and one was a death record.

A Little Background

The death record is connected to the William Wallace Love and Jane Menzies thing from 1890. No one that I’ve talked to has been able to find her death record yet. One of the reasons seems to be confusion surrounding her actual day of death. The family record that was passed down to me gives the date as September 17th, 1890.

Typed Family Record, Llewellyn’s Boxes, 1986; privately held by Kathleen Moore, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Lexington Park, Maryland. 2005. This collection was taken from Llewellyn Thorward-Moore’s house after her death. They resided with her son until 2005, when they passed to Kathleen Moore.
However, from the Newark Evening News article, published September 23, 1890:

Mrs. Love died yesterday from the effects of her injuries.

That would put her date of death as September 22nd, 1890. Thinking about the circumstances surrounding her death and the trauma that the children must have experienced, I can understand the confusions over the date. I can’t even imagine what those children were going through.

Another perspective to factor in is the date of my family record. The most recent death on that record is my 2x Great Grandmother Jennie Love-Thorward in 1960. According to my previous family tree, the next death would have been Agnes Love-Wambough in 1966. That means my family record was written between 1960 and 1966, almost eighty years after the event. Agnes would have been 11 and Belle only 2 years old when their mother died.

Recent Find

Screenshot of FamilySearch result

Technically, this isn’t a recent find. I actually saw this a few years back and decided I’d look into it later. However, I was already ordering from the Archives and I was kind of comfort-spending anyway, so I decided to look at this again and see if it warranted a record order. I decided that it did! The date is the right time. The husband’s name fits. I even told myself that because the coroner was involved, the death certificate just might have been filed in Trenton and that’s why it has been so hard to find! Without any other thought, I sent off a record request and made a note to them that I had found an index entry on FamilySearch for Mrs. Love but that it might be Jane or Jennie Love.


My results took a little under a month to come back. The envelope came pretty thick, I didn’t know what to think. All 3 record responses came in the same envelope. Only one of requests was found in the archive. When a repository can’t find a record you’ve requested, they send you a form showing what they searched. I keep those “Not Found” responses for my records so I can keep track of what I’ve already paid for.

Death Search, Not Found

As you can see from the scan above, the Archives tried really hard to find what I was looking for. They checked their internal sources and the online sources. Searching the online index didn’t help me either, which should have been my first hint. The surprising part comes when I got to the comment section. You’ll remember I mentioned in my record request that I found Mrs. Love on a death index on Family Search. Until I got back this response, I had forgot to even look to see what the index was for. It was listed as a collection of New Jersey Deaths, so I just assumed it was some sort of Death database.

What It Actually Was

My Results

Turns out that my Mrs. Love actually appeared in a Trenton, NJ newspaper announcing her death. It seems the person fulfilling my request looked up which FamilySearch index I was talking about and found it for me. They ended up sending me a copy of the article, the front page of the newspaper, and gave me specifics on where my article appeared in that paper. How is that for genealogy kindness?

Can we all just hug an archivist employee today? Thank you for being so kind as to go above and beyond for us genealogists who sometimes just send a request off without much thought.

Update to the Parkin Children

I have a breaking genealogy update for you! This is less than an hour old for me. I was so excited, I just had to share it.

The Parkin Children in 1905

This is an update to the entry I wrote about the Parkin Children in 1905. I concluded that entry by assuming the three youngest Parkin children were living in an Orphan’s home but couldn’t be sure. I did go the long way around to that answer. This afternoon, I was reading my Facebook groups and a helpful member posted that the images were now available on FamilySearch to everyone. Well, alright then, let me put down my lunch and go look, STAT!

Finding Them Again

The great news is I was able to just go right to the transcription from before. The images were already digitized on FamilySearch, just not viewable outside a research center.

“New Jersey State Census, 1905,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 07 June 2017), entry for Orange Orphan Society; citing film no. 1688595, image 641, family 78.

From the image, I can definitely say the children were living in the Orange Orphan Society in 1905. I believe they fudged Hazel’s age to get her in since children 10 and under only were allowed. Hazel would have been 10, maybe even close to 11 at the time.

Excuse Us but you were in the middle of a Do-Over? Bright Shiny Object Distracted you?

Well, technically yes. However, I had already done the Parkin children in my Do-Over so technically, I don’t feel bad! Actually, I will go back for everyone that I have a 1905 New Jersey State Census citation for and update their information. Since the database now has images, the citation has to be written slightly different to include the fact that there is an online image.

What is it? You definitely want to say something else.

Okay, so if I’m being completely honest, and I try to always do that… Okay, I looked up the father of the Parkin children. I was curious, I jumped ahead. Even though technically he’s further down on my Do-Over list. I know you guys will agree with me it was okay to jump ahead a little bit.

“New Jersey State Census, 1905,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 May 2017), entry for Ann Parkin household; citing film no. 1688600, image 339, family 857.

Guys, I think the oldest Parkin child, Anna M. Parkin, might have lived to at least 1905! There at the last entry of the Parkin household is May Parkin, born May 1893. Anna Parkin only showed up on the 1900 US census for me so far, but in that census her birth date was listed as May 1892. This could be her with her father, uncle and grandmother in 1905. How exciting! There might yet be a lost branch of the Parkin family tree.

Wedding Wednesday: William Harmon Mays and Sarah E. McDaniel

This is my only official document from Sarah E. McDaniel’s lifetime. Numerous other researchers from the  area have said they’ve tried looking for a record of Sarah’s death and haven’t seen it. I haven’t actively searched for the record yet which makes me uncomfortable saying it isn’t there. Even if it isn’t an actual death record, there might be something else that leads to that.

Rowan County, Kentucky, Marriage Bonds, 1800-1913, 5: 327, Mays-McDaniels, 19 Oct 1905; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 May 2017).

Sarah is mentioned again on her only child’s marriage record. It seems that she probably went by her middle name of Elizabeth in her adult life. That is the name that was crossed out in the census and that is what she is listed as on her daughter’s marriage record. All we really know about Sarah is that she married at 17, had her child at 18, appeared in the 1910 census but was crossed out, and her husband was remarried and living in Ohio by 1918. The years in between 1910 and 1918 are a mystery. To find out more, it looks like I’ll have to expand my search to her F(amily) A(ssociates) N(eighbors) network. This could be a great Mystery Monday topic!

Wedding Wednesday: William Harmon Mays and Iva Belle Moyer

Today’s Wedding Wednesday is for my great grandparents William Harmon Mays and his second wife, Iva Belle Moyer. Next week I will post the record for his marriage with his first wife.

1918 marriage of William Harmon Mays and Iva Belle Moyer

As far as I’m aware, there are no known photographs of William or Iva. There are a few family members who remember them at the end of their lives but I haven’t been able to find any pictures of them.

There is a lot of jumping around going on with my posts since I’m working on my Do-Over. To help orientate anyone who is confused on where people belong on the tree and just how far back I’ve gotten into my Do-Over, just scroll a little further for an updated pedigree screenshot.

The current pedigree

My Pedigree

As you can see, I have only gotten back to my great-grandparents but I’m pretty close to doing my last set! I’ve been systematically going through my research plan and I’ll update you on that soon.

Just for the Curious

You might be curious about what the little red error boxes on my pedigree screenshot mean. Those are my program telling me that three of my grandparents were born quite awhile after their parents marriages. The program suggests that I might have to look for other children born between the marriage and the birth of my grandparents. According to family knowledge there are none, but we all know that can be wrong!

Parkin Children in 1905

One of the things I’ve been trying to do with my Genealogy Do-Over is to fill in blanks I missed before. One of those big blanks is the state census records. For my Mom’s side, I’m not even sure if there were state censuses taken in Rural Kentucky or Virginia. I’m going to look and be sure though. My Dad’s side is much easier because I know New York and New Jersey had state censuses. This week I’m going to highlight what I would have missed if I didn’t look at the 1905 New Jersey State Census.

We have to start in 1900

The Parkin Family in 1900

The above screenshot shows the Parkin family in the 1900 United States Census. Your eyes don’t deceive you, the census shows them as the John Walter household. This is the family though, and it took me years to find them under John’s middle name instead of his surname. Here you can see all 4 children with their parents. We have Anna who is the oldest, Hazel and Jennie who are close in age and the youngest Walter who is just under a year old.

The family is living in Newark, New Jersey at the time of the census. John’s family is living nearby in East Orange, New Jersey. Jennie’s family is unknown to me at the time. In the 1880 Census the family was living in Baltimore, Maryland but I have found no sign of them after that.

The 1905 Census

I first started looking for the Parkin family in 1905 by searching for them by name. This family is filled with very common names, except for one. That one unique name is Hazel. Hazel is the reason for most of my finds in this family. If it wasn’t for Hazel, I might not have looked twice at the following record.

Alledged Parkin children in 1905

Notice my caption says alleged. I can’t be sure that these are my Parkin children. First off, I’m not looking at the actual record, just a transcription. Second, the ages are a bit off. I don’t have a place of birth and there are no relationship indicators. This is probably one of the most sparse records I’ve ever looked at.

I was curious on how to figure out what was happening here, but I didn’t know where to start. Like anything else you do, you have to start with what you have in front of you.

The Head of the Household

I took the name at the top of the household and tried to search for it in both 1900 and 1910 to see if Sarah and Henry were at the same place. My thinking was that if they were running a children’s home, they might have been listed as doing it in another census. I couldn’t find them in either census year by using the index search and I didn’t know where to start on a page by page search.

My next step was to see if I could find them listed in the city directories for 1905 because that would give me an address. That was the one place I was positive they were. The transcription gives no other information but I had another option. Using the information in the citation, I did a catalog search for the film number on FamilySearch to see what else I could find out.

Thank You FamilySearch for your Catalog

Catalog Search

FamilySearch’s catalog is one of my favorite resources. You can drill down exactly where every piece of information you are looking at came from. You might not always like it or understand it, but the information is there. I might have had to search all the city directories before hitting the right town if I just looked at what I saw in the transcription. It was great to see that only a few towns were listed for this film number and one jumped out at me. I knew that John’s family lived in East Orange and so I thought that would be a perfect starting point. Truthfully, I was glad not to see Newark listed. Newark is a big city and I wasn’t looking forward to looking for a needle in that haystack!

Orange Directories

Orange City Directory, 1905

Looking at the city directory, I was able to see a Mrs. S. T. Horton was a matron at 197 Harrison, East Orange. There was also a Henry B. Horton who was an attendant at 197 Harrison. Yes! More information, but I still don’t know what this place was. The first thing I like to do when I reach the end of where my known information drops off is turn to my friend Google. Lucky for me, I found out that at one time 197 Harrison Street was the Orange Orphan Home. This information was found on numerous Message Boards on’s forums. There was lots of talk from people whose relatives had worked there and others who lived there.

Entry in American Medical Directory

Google Books even has a 1921 copy of the American Medical Directory. There I found an entry for the Orange Orphan Home, which was established in 1854. None of this tells me why the Parkin children were living at the home in 1905, especially given their father was alive and living with his mother in 1910. Their mother doesn’t appear with the family again in census records, so I assume she must have passed away between 1900 and 1905. Also, the oldest child Anna Parkin was last spotted on that 1900 US Census also, so I fear that something happened to her also.

Conclusion and Plans

This information would be unknown to me if I hadn’t looked at the 1905 State Census. In 1910 the children were living with family members. Jane and Walter were living with their grandmother and Hazel was living with an Aunt. In 1920, Hazel was married and her brother and sister were living with her. Jane/Jennie married my Great-Grandfather Clifford Redford in 1923 and I’m still looking for what happened with Walter. I have no record of him after the 1930 US Census.

My plans are to find the death records for John Walter Parkin and his wife. Without a clearer date for their death, it might take a few tries to get them. I’m hoping that the more I work the Genealogy Do-Over on this family, maybe I’ll pick up some more information to help me out. My current strategy of starting from me and working backwards means that I still have plenty of family members that Anna might have been living with.

I’ll be sure to keep you informed!