Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More on Marrying Age

Yesterday I discussed ages at which ancestors married and shot the average age theory to pieces!

Here are some additional marriages from roughly the same period:

Arent Jansen Prall [b. c1646] & Marie Billiou [b. 1650] married in 1670 [ages 24, 20] Dutch
Pieter Prall [1672] & Maria Christopher [c1674] married c1694 [ages 22, 20] Dutch
Aaron Prall [1698] & Mary Whittaker [c1700] married 1728 [ages 30, 28] Dutch, Eng. [his 2nd]

John Rhodes [1658] & Waite Waterman [1668] m. 1684/5 [ages 27, 17] Eng.
John Rhodes [1691] & Catherine Holden [1694] m. 1714 [ages 23, 20] Eng.

Roger Williams [1604-6] & Mary Barnard [1609] m. 1629 [ages 23-5, 20] Eng.
Resolved Waterman [1634] & Mercy Williams [1640] m. 1659 [ages 25, 19] Eng.

William Brewster [1565] & Mary _______ [1568] m. 1590-93 [ages 25-28, 22-25] Eng.
Jonathan Brewster [1593] & Luucretia Oldham [1600] m. 1624 [ages 31, 24] Eng.
John Turner [1624] & Mary Brewster [1627] m. 1645 [ages 21, 18] Eng.

Hugh Mahurin [1665] & Mary Campbell [c1668] m. 1691 [ages 26, 23] Scot-Irish
Ebenezer Mahurin [1691] & Bathsheba Joyce [1692/3] m. 1718 [ages 27, 25/6] Scot-Irish, Irish
Seth Mahurin [1729] & Mary Hazen [1734] m. 1753 [ages 24, 19] Scot-Irish, Eng.

I tried to mix things up a bit, although most couples hailed from New England.
Average age for grooms [26]; for brides [22]

Hey! This bunch came pretty close to the standard!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ancestral marriages, later than you may think!

One big issue in genealogical research is determining when a couple got married. There seems to be an illusion that once people hit the American shores, marriage age hit the mid-teens. In some cases that may have been true, but as a general rule couples followed the customs of their homeland.

In Great Britain, the average marriage age during the 17th and 18th centuries was about 28 for men and 25/26 for women. There were exceptions, of course. Some married a bit older, some a bit younger. As generations passed, the marriage age tended to drop. By the 20th century, couples were marrying in their late teens or early twenties with greater frequency than their immigrant ancestors.

Circumstances could play a roll in the marriage as well. If a girl was "with child" and in her mid-teens, a quick marriage could be in order. The husband could be anywhere from 16 to 50 [or older]. Play around with an age gap like that in early census records!!

There were cases where girls and boys married in their early teens [think Romeo and Juliet] and nobility had their own set of customs. Most of the folks who came to America from the British Isles were a few generations removed from noble bloodlines, if they had any at all.

 In looking at my early Land ancestors, marriage ages vary a bit. They are also estimates for the most part:

Francis Land & Frances _______. Francis was born about 1604 and they married about 1638, when Frances was 24. Mr. Land was an exception to the rule, marrying younger than 28.

Renatus Land [b. c1641] & Frances Keeling [b. c1646] married c1665. Renatus would have been 25; Frances 19. Once again, the couple violates the rule. Especially Frances!

Robert Land [b. c1672] & Phebe Bonney [b. c1684] married about 1700. Robert holds true to the average, but Phebe really breaks the trend at 16.

Edward Land [b. c1710] & Eleanor McClanahan [b. c1715] married between 1730 & 1734. This couple really pushes the envelope! Edward would have been 20-24, Eleanor 15-19.

All four generations are working on estimates for birth and marriage years to this point. As a result they may not be terribly good examples. Additional research needs to be done on all of these families. A check on marriage customs for their particular home shires needs to be examined as well.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Research Day Coming

I think enough frustration has built up with my Virginia research. I have gone through the Indiana State Library catalog and listed every resource book they have on Virginia and the area where the new ancestors lived. That sets up a day of research at the library. Hopefully some solid  documentation will shed some light on these families.

If the ISL fails, Fort Wayne would be the next stop!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 23rd & 25th

Although it's a bit belated, I wanted to pay a brief tribute to three terrific people who have since passed.

August 23rd marked the 76th wedding anniversary of my parents, Hugh Prall & Ruthjane McHugh. They were great parents. I think they did a pretty fair job of raising their only kid. Both grew up in Indy and once they got me through college and into the work force, they were off to retirement in Florida. One or both were at all of my Little League games. Mom was a den mother for Cub Scouts, manned the concession stand for several Little League games and taught me to bowl. Pop saw me through math classes in Jr. High and High school, shot baskets and played catch. We went to a slew of Indians and Reds games over the years. There were annual vacations to Florida and one to California. Mom handled the paperwork for my Dad's business, bowled, golfed, volunteered at th hospital and was a pretty good artist. She saw to it that I got through ceramics, charcoal and oil classes to improve my art skills. Pop ran a very successful tool and die shop and saw me through my teens!

August 25th would have been Mom's 95th birthday. It would have also been my Pop's mother's 131st. Grandma was the #1 babysitter for me and was an all-around wonderful person. I still remember the last Christmas present she got me, a really nice dinosaur set! 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My new Virginia folks

I have several new Virginia families that I am working on with ties to my Land family. They were based in the Lower Norfolk and Princess Anne Co. area before the Lands headed to the Carolinas and Kentucky.

The families are Land,  Keeling, Bonney, McClanahan, Moore, Thorowgood and Buchanan - so far. As you may have gathered from my previous two posts, they are a frustrating lot!

Online trees with documentation are helping, those without are confusing the issue. Then again, some with documentation aren't helping either!

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pet Peeves continue!

Aargh! As I continue to work on my "new Virginia ancestors," I seem to be spending more time explaining why somebody doesn't fit rather than adding him/her to the pedigree chart. I came across one that was a combination of two men - the possible father of my ancestor and another by the same name who was born 45 years later!

I know I've made some bonehead mistakes in my research, but it pays to check vital statistics befor assigning an identity to a given individual.

Hopefully, these Virginians will get easier to deal with. I guess I need to go to Virginia Beach or Salt Lake City!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pet Peeve Time

It is once again time to vent! I am currently working on my Land family of Lower Norfolk & Princess Anne Cos., Virginia. Documentation is hard to come by on-line for this bunch. In generation #2, however, the will of Renatus Land is accessible - an extraction at least. Renatus gave the order of birth for his three sons [Renatus - eldest, Edward - 2nd, Robert - 3rd] & two daughters [Elizabeth - eldest & Ann]. Exactly where the girls fit in the birth order is up for grabs.

Without exception, undocumented trees offer 1665 as the marriage year for Renatus & Frances Keeling. Nearly every tree has Robert born in 1665 & Renatus, Edward & Elizabeth all born before 1665. Ann consistently is assigned a 1669 birth. That means a colonial Virginia family of the Anglican faith had three children out of wedlock & married the year the 4th child was born.

If the Lands married earlier, say 1655, the year before the birth of the 1st child, Frances, who was born about 1646, would have been 9 years old. No chance!

If 1665 was the marriage year, the Land babies would have started arriving about 1666, with subsequent arrivals about 1668, 1670, 1672 & 1674. So, a possible birth order could be Renatus [c1666], Edward [c1668], Elizabeth [c1670], Robert [c1672] & Ann [c1674]. The girls are the wildcards; they could fit in anywhere in the order.

Please!!! If you have even an estimated marriage year for a couple, make sure the dates of birth for the kids fit!

There is always the exception to the rule, but most babies - especially in colonial times - arrive after the parents tie the knot.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Genealogy Conferences

If you have the opportunity, attend a genealogy conferences. Many local genealogical and historical societies have an annual conference. State societies also offer annual conferences. The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society offer annual get-togethers as well. The New England Historic and Genealogical Society offers a variety of regional programs. Some state libraries will combine with local/state societies to put on a yearly program.

Most of the conferences will cover a three to five day period offering a variety of tracks covering different topics. Regional research, ethnic research, using a specific set of records, and technology are among the topics that might be on the schedule. Prominent national and local speakers are scheduled to present the topics.

One of the best features is the vending area! National and regional conferences generally offer a wider variety of vending options [local and national societies, book vendors, technology companies, software companies, etc.] State conferences tend to have a focus on county society booths.

A typical conference day:
[1] Vending open about 9:00.
[2] 1st session [maybe 3-5 tracts] from 9:15-10:15
[3] 2nd session from 11:00-12:00
[4] lunch from 12:00-1:30 [often with 2-3 society luncheons]
[5] 3rd session from 1:30-2:30
[6] 4th session from 2:45-3:45
[7] 5th session from 4:00-5:00

Other events: General opening session on 1st day, early opening for vendors on 1st day and  conference banquet on final day.  Research opportunities are available at local libraries, with extended hours offered. Special historical tours or programs may be offered as well.

A state or local conference might be best for your first venture. You should take in a national conference at least once. They generally move from one region of the country to another each year.

Check Cyndi's List for its conference page. Also check the FGS and NGS websites, as well as for NEHGS programs.

Expense can be a concern. The conference and add-ons [banquet, special programs, etc.], hotel room, airfare or gas money, meals, vendor purchases can add up in a hurry, so plan your costs.

My conference list includes Orlando, Boston, Pittsburgh and Ft. Wayne. Ohio Gen. Society [Cincinnati, Toledo, Cleveland], Midwestern Roots in Indy [5x], NEHGS weekend conferences in Fort Myers and Sarasota.

I have been a speaker at OGS, Willard Library in Evansville, Salt Lake Institute, the Marion Co. Gen. Society, African American Gen. Group Conference and a few other county societies.

Also deserving of mention is the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy held each year in January.  SLIG  offers a week-long program focusing on one topic with some research opportunities available. Check out the Utah Gen. Association website for details. For the first time since 2001, I won't be attending due to the organizers dropping Problem Solving from the course offerings. Still, the courses offer good info and instructors are nationally renown.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Research Suggestions for "Newcomers"

I outlined the arrival of my ancestors from 1621 - 1852 for a few days. I thought maybe you "newcomers" [post-Civil War immigrants] might like some tips on research.

[1] Census records [federal and state] for 1870-1940.
[2] Birth records [indexes and digital images]
[3] Marriage records [indexes and digital images]
[4] Death and cemetery records [indexes and digital images]
[5] Naturalization records
[6] Immigration passenger lists
[7] Compiled genealogies, local histories, etc.
[8] Ellis Island website
[9] Military records
[10] "Home country" records

I've always been a bit envious of those folks whose ancestors arrived during the late 19th - early 20th century. A ton of records have been generated for the 1880s on. Naturalization papers and detailed immigration records, for example, would be wonderful resources to have for the late 1600s!

Note: For those of you who believe your ancestors came into the States through Ellis Island, be sure to check the date of arrival. You may need to check out Castle Garden. Ellis Island opened about 1892 [not sure on the exact year]. Castle Garden was its predecessor.

Also be aware that there were other ports of immigration on the Atlantic coast: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Savannah, Galveston and others. Don't forget Canadian ports! If your people came in from the west, check LA, San Francisco and other Pacific coast ports.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Catching up on research: You never know what you'll find!

I finally managed to sort through a pile of notes, documents and miscellaneous papers. Among the families I now get to work on are Land, Very, Twiss, Dally, Crail, Prall, Faucett, plus a few others.

I started going through the Land material and may have opened an interesting can of worms! I may be adding a few prominent Virginia families to the mmix - subject to solid documentation. They are mostly English in origin; although a Scottish couple could be factored in. Keeling and Thorowgood appear to be two of the more interesting families. Adam Thorowgood/Thoroughgood was a prominent early settler the colony. Thomas Keeling married his daughter, Ann.

The Jamestown Society page offers a few promising leads.

More when I update the families that needed additional research and upates.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


As frequently mentioned in previous posts, my ancestors decided on Indiana as their home. We missed statehood by a few years.

The Faucetts, led by 73 year-old patriarch John, settled on tracts in Marion and Hendricks counties in 1824. They were joined by the Clarks about a decade later.

The Crails probably came up through southeastern Indiana into Ohio during the early 1800s before going back to Indiana during the early 1850s. [There were brief forays into Ontario and Chicago.]

The Crousore-Smith-Reeder-Reel contingent swung through Rush, Madison and Delaware counties before calling Howard County home about 1847-49.

Catherine O'Neil arrived a few months after landing in NY City in 1852.

The Wolarys came to Grant County during the 1850s, but returned to Ohio about 1864.

The Pralls arrived in Grant County about 1877; also a return for a recently married Wolary.

Although the Simmons family is recorded in SE Indiana in 1820, it would be the 1840s before the family would settle here full-time. [Henry, Tipton and Howard counties]

The McHugh clan came to Indiana from Chicago about 1912/3. A recent McHugh-Crail marriage and job transfer led to the move.

The Cawbys and Trislers were in Indiana from Kentucky by 1850.

The Gulley family left Kentucky during the 1820s and settled in Decatur Co.

Between 1882 and 1913 the families found their way to Indianapolis.

Marriages: Gulley/Cawby; Faucett/Clark; Faucett/Cawby; Crail/O'Neil; Crousore/Simmons; Simmons/Crail; McHugh/Crail [in Chicago]; Prall/Faucett; Prall/McHugh and here I am! :)-

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ohio: Was settling there a law?

Many years ago at a national genealogy conference, I joked with the staff at the Ohio Genealogical Society booth that it must have been required for families to settle in Ohio before heading on to Indiana or points further west. They agreed it should have been law.

Ohio was home to a number of my families before they permanently settled in Indiana. A few missed Ohio by one state - they called Kentucky home before migrating to the Hoosier State.

Clark, Crail, Crousore, Faucett, Hurin/Mahurin, Jennison, Miller, Moore, Prall, Reel, Reeder, Simmons, Smith, St. John and Wolary were Ohioans before becoming Hoosiers. Some of the families were joined in marriage before moving to Indiana.

Barlow, Cawby, Gulley, Land and Trisler were Kentuckians before crossing the Ohio River into Indiana.

The families that settled Kentucky came from Virginia. A few had spent time in Maryland or Pennsylvania first.

Ohio families came from New York, New England, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Virginia and even Kentucky.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Coming to America wrap-up

By the end of the Great Migration [1642] 59 of the 60 families that were to settle in the Plymouth or Massachusetts Bay colonies had arrived. The other family arrived about 50 years later.

There were roughly 90 families that came from western Europe and Great Britain to make their homes in America. 74 arrived during the 17th century, 11 followed during the 18th century and the final 4 arrived between 1830 and 1852.

New Netherland/York saw 13 families reach her shores. 12 arrived by the 1750s and the other a century later.

The stretch from 1680 to 1699 saw a flood of arrivals in Pennsylvania, mostly Quakers [English and Welsh.]

Probably the most scattered pattern was in Virginia: the 1630s to the 1720s. Several of the Quaker families would also make Virginia their home during the 1700s.

The English populated Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, with a few Scots or Scots-Irish mixed in.

New Netherland was to be the home of Dutch and Walloons, with one family of Swedes added. A handful of English came in after Britain took control in 1664 and 1673.

Although a couple of Irish Protestant families arrived early on, my Irish Catholic ancestors didn't arrive until the 19th century.

The families that I don't have arrival dates for were English, German, Scots, Irish or Scots-Irish in origin and were Americans by the 1770s.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Coming to America: Breakdown by Decades for my Ancestors

Here is a breakdown by decade for my ancestors; at least the families that I have a year of immigration for:

1620: Plymouth [1]
1621-29: Plymouth [1]
1630: Massachusetts [7]; Virginia [1]
1631-39: Plymouth [6]; Massachusetts [26]; Rhode Island [2]; New Netherland [2]
1640-49: Plymouth [3]; Massachusetts [10]; New Netherland [5]
1650-59: Plymouth [1]; Massachusetts [1]; New Netherland [1]; Virginia [1]
1660-69: Rhode Island [1]; New Netherland/New York [3]
1670-79: Massachusetts [2]; New York [1]; New Jersey [1]
1680-89: Pennsylvania [5]
1690-99: Pennsylvania [3]; Massachusetts [1]
1700-09: none
1710-19: New Jersey [1]; Virginia [1]; Maryland [1]
1720-29: Virginia [1]
1730-39: none
1740-49: Pennsylvania [1]
1750-59: Pennsylvania [2]; Maryland [1]; Virginia [1]; New York [1]
1760-69: none
1770-79: none
1780-89: Maryland [1]
1790-99: none
1800-09: none
1810-19: none
1820-29: none
1830-39: Pennsylvania [1]
1840-49: Pennsylvania [2]
1850-52: New York [1]

I have a minimum of 8 families that I do not have a year or decade of arrival for. All eight fall into the pre-Revolutionary War era. Documentation on ancestors from these families begin before 1776; most before 1750.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coming to America: 1800 - 1860

The 19th century saw the industrialization of the North begin and the growth of agriculture continue in the South. Immigration was slow for the first 30 years of the century, but westward migration was strong. The 1830s kicked off a new wave of immigration as canals, railroads, towns and factories required people to build them. Mining opportunities sprang up as well; coal and lead in the east and gold in California. Still, most Americans were still living off the land as farmers.

1820s - 1830s: Americans migrated to the Mexican state of Texas.

1830s: British, Irish Catholics, Germans, Scandinavians and Central Europeans began to enter the US to take jobs on the canals, railroads, etc.*

1830 -1840: French immigrants joined the Brits and Germans.

1841 1850: The Potato Famine in Ireland forced Irish to flee their homeland for opportunities in America.* [Prior to 1845, most Irish immigrants were Protestants. After that the majority were Catholics.]

1848: The end of the Mexican War opened up the Southwest to settlement.

1849: The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, brought in immigrants from all over Europe and started immigration from Asia, primarily China.

1850 -1855: Germans made their way into the Midwest.

1860: With Civil War on the horizon, immigration slowed again.

The stage was set for the last few families to join the mix. The McHughs arrived during the early 1830s to mine coal, lead and to farm. The Wagners and Laubschers arrived by 1841[lead mining] and Catherine O'Neil in 1852. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Coming to America: 1783 -1800

Immigration came to a near standstill as the new country got on its feet.  Loyalist moved to Canada, the Caribbean or England. Americans moved west. Kentucky saw the most growth. Settlers started to move into the southern territory that became Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other southern states. Others headed for the Ohio and Northwest Territories, today's Midwest.

A few of my ancestors were making the move down the Ohio River and following Boone's trail through the Cumberland Gap route and other paths into Kentucky. No new Americans came over that I know of.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Coming to America: 1763 -1783

This 20 year period saw the 13 colonies become a nation and wage war against the best army in the world, that of mother-country Great Britain. Immigration from Europe slowed to a halt. There were a few European military officers who came over to help the cause of Independence. Much of the movement was west into the Kentucky and Ohio country.

1763 - 1783: Scots, Scots-Irish, Northern English, Dutch, Germans and Swedes continue to enter the colonies.* Many move into the western frontier. Slave trade and indentured servitude continues.

1775: Daniel Boone leads settlers into Kentucky.

1776 - 1783: Unwelcome arrival of British and Hessian soldiers in the US.

By the end of the American Revolution, a large number of Hessian soldiers who had been captured or deserted elected to stay in the States.

*I had very few ancestors arrive in the Colonies/States during this period. Dr. Peter Trisler may have been the only one. Probably 85 - 90% of my ancestors were residing in the US by war's end.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Coming to America: 1700 -1763

The 1st half of the 18th century saw an influx of Germans, Swedes, Scots and Scots-Irish into the colonies, especially the South and the western frontier.

1700 -1725: The Quakers continue to settle in the Middle Colonies.

1707 - German immigrants settle in the Palatine region of  New York.

1709: Germans and Swiss settle in the Carolinas.

1715 -1750: The Piedmont is settled by Germans, Swiss and Scots-Irish.

1715 - 1775: Scots, Scots-Irish and Northern English move into the colonies, mainly in the South. Major immigration in 1737, 1740 and 1770.]*

1727: Germans and Scots-Irish migrate from Maryland and Pennsylvania to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and the Carolinas. 

1729: French establish settlements in the Ohio River Valley.

1730- 1740: Groups of Quakers remove from Pennsylvania to Maryland and into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.*

1732: Scots-Irish move from western Pennsylvania into Virginia and the Carolinas.

1733: Group of Jews settle near Savannah in Georgia.

1740: Influx of Irish into the Southern colonies.

1750: First venture into the Kentucky country.

1751: Scots-Irish settle along the Tennessee River.

1755 - 1763: French and Indian War.

1763: Settlers start to move into the regions west of the Allegheny Mountains.*

*Most of my Quaker ancestors settled in Virginia during the late 1730s. A handful of  families, probably from northern England, also settled in parts of Virginia. A few families migrated into western Virginia before 1755.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Coming to America: 1642 - 1700

The colonies continued to grow during the latter half of the 17th century with new groups being represented.

1640 - 1675: Heavy import of indentured servants to [primarily] the South continues. The slave trade continues as well.*

1650 - 1664: Protestants from The Netherlands, Northern France, Wallonia and Flanders [Belgium], fleeing from Catholic rule in the Low Countries, establish settlements around New Amsterdam, on Staten Island and in the Hudson River Valley.*

1664: British take control of New Netherland and former Swedish territory from the Dutch, renaming the colony and it's capital, New York and New York City. Dutch regain control, but permanently lose the colony in 1763.*

1667 - 1681: Quakers from England settle in West Jersey.*

1682: William Penn established the colony of Pennsylvania as a haven for Quakers.*

1682 - 1700: Quaker immigration continues from British Isles.*

1683: Germans and Dutch settle in Germantown area near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.*

1680s -1700: Immigration from British Isles continues.*

*During this period many of my Huguenot and Dutch Reformed ancestors settled in New Netherland/New York. My Welsh Quakers arrived late in the century. A few families arrive from the Ulster province of Northern Ireland. Ancestral families in the colonies at about 80%, maybe higher!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming to America: 1607 - 1642

Following my TV viewing promotion from yesterday, regular programming continues:

There were a few failed attempts to settle the eastern seaboard of North America prior to 1600. The Spanish were entrenched in southwestern North America, Mexico and Central and South America.

1607: English establish the Jamestown settlement in Virginia.

1613: The Dutch establish a trading post on Manhattan Island, opening the door to the establishment of the New Netherland Colony.

1619: Indentured servants are imported to Virginia, including  about 40 West Africans. These Africans, like their primarily English counterparts work off their indentures. Some of these Africans become slave owners.

1620: The Mayflower arrives in Plymouth Harbor. Pilgrim refugees establish the Plymouth Colony.*

1621 - 1629: A scattering of English settlers arrive in Plymouth and Virginia.*

1620s -1664:  The Dutch colony of New Netherland, with it's capital of New Amsterdam is established. Protestant Dutch, Walloon, Flemish and Huguenot refugees from the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France flood into the colony to escape Catholic rule.*

1623: Settlements are established in what would become New Hampshire and Maine.

1630: The Winthrop Fleet arrives in Massachusetts; the Puritan settlers establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the city of Boston, kicking off the Great Migration that lasts until 1642.*

1634: Maryland is colonized by English Catholics.

1635: Connecticut established by settlers opposed to Puritan government in Massachusetts Bay.*

1636: Rhode Island established by Roger Williams and his followers in opposition to Puritan government in Massachusetts Bay.*

1638: Swedes establish a colony in the Delaware River Valley and christen it New Sweden.

1640 - 42: Beginning of heavy importation of indentured servants from British Isles and slaves from West Africa, especially into the Southern colonies. The Great Migration comes to an end, as English settlement in New England colonies slows.*

*I can claim immigrant ancestors during these periods. I would hazard a guess that upwards of 40 -50% of my ancestors arrived between 1620 and 1642. They settled in Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, Rhode Island and, eventually, New Netherland.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Legends and Lies: The Patriots

Before I jump into bringing my ancestors to America, I wanted to recommend a TV series. Legends and Lies: The Patriots airs on the Fox News channel on Sunday nights. It is also available On Demand through many cable services. The show is the brainchild of Bill O'Reilly. Even if you are not a fan of O'Reilly and Fox News, the series is worth checking out for the historical value.

Each episode has focused on one or two Patriot leaders: Sam Adams & Paul Revere, John Adams, Ben Franklin, George Washington [two: as general & as president], Thomas Jefferson, Francis Marion, Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, so far.

The casting of the historical figures is not the greatest, but the stories are very good. The series tries to debunk the legends of the men and reveal facts that haven't been revealed in the history books. For example: George Washington, we were taught, could not tell a lie. Yet, the General put together a masterful spy network during the Revolutionary War. We one the war, in part, on G.W.'s ability to fabricate the truth.

The series has strengthened my respect for Washington and John Adams and lessened it somewhat for Jefferson and Hamilton. I was leaning in those directions, anyway.

O'Reilly also has a "companion book" for the series. I'm just starting on it. In the forward he asks "Which side do you think you would have chosen?"

I looked back at where my ancestors were living in the mid to late 18th century: Massachusetts [in what today would be Boston suburbs], western New Jersey [not far from Washington's Delaware crossing], New York City, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Which side did they choose? Nearly all families were represented in the local militias, Continental Army, or supplying goods to the troops.

How about me? Which side would I have chosen? Knowing myself as I do, early on I would have probably remained part of that third of the Americans who remained neutral. As the war dragged on, I'd have come around to it. I think I would have been there as a member of Washington's Army or smuggling goods to the Army. Maybe I'd have made a halfway decent spy! :)-


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Coming to America

Covering the next several posts, I am going to take a look at immigration patterns up to the outbreak of the Civil War. The reason I am using the Civil War as a cut-off date is simple: Everyone was here by then! My ancestors, that is.

Beginning with the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 and ending with the arrival of Catherine O'Neil from Ireland about 1852, both sides of the family had made their way from Europe to America.

Many of you have ancestors or immediate family who are relative newcomers to the USA. Others of us claim early America heritage.

For me, the ancestral background is heavily Western European, with a tiny dose of Northern European blood mixed in.

Great Britain dominates the contribution to the family: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Continental Europe: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Flanders/Wallonia/Belgium/Northern France, German States, and Sweden.

These folks arrived in several colonies: Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Netherland/New York and migrated into others: Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.

In addition to the above colonies that became part of the US, families found their way into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin & Kentucky. We would call other states home later on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

State Census Records

Most of the states have some census records. It may be a handful of counties or just one or two years. Several states took a regular census on the '5' year [1855, 1865, 1875, etc.]. For a list of states with census years available see the following link:

The following states have not taken any censuses: CT, ID, KY, MT, OH, PA, VT

The state census can be a big help for those missing records between 1800 and 1900. Just hope your ancestors lived in a state with a good census.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Arizona Territory / Indian Census

Two other federal census schedules of note:
[1] Arizona Territorial Census 1864 - 1882 [years enumerated: 1866, 67, 69, 74, 76, 82] 
[2] Indian Census Rolls 1885 - 1940 - if you have Native American Indian heritage, check it out.

Both are indexed at

Final census installment: State Censuses!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

US Federal Census Mortality Schedules 1850-1885

From 1850 -1880 the government kept a mortality schedule taken on 1 June, covering the previous 12 months [i.e.: 1 June 1880 - 1 June 1879]

[1] name, sex, age, color, if widowed
[2] birthplace, birthplace of parents [1870-80]
[3] month of death
[4] occupation
[5] disease or cause of death, number of days ill
[6] where disease was contracted, length of residence at current place [1880]

1885 State Mortality for Colorado, Florida, Nebraska

States: AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, IA, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, MT, NE, NH, NJ, OH, NC, PA, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI

Saturday, August 6, 2016

1850-1880 Non-population Schedules

From 1850 to 1880 a record was kept for agricultural, manufacturing, social statistics and supplemental schedules.

States: AL, CA, CT, GA, IL, IA, KS, ME, MI, MN, NE, NY, NC, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA Terr.

Agricultural: lists farms, plantations, market gardens with the following:
[1] name of owner, agent, manager
[2] total acreage & value
[3] value of machinery, livestock
[4] amount of staples produced
[5] value of animals slaughtered

1880 - categorized by owner, tenant, sharecropper

Industry/manufacturing: manufacturing, fishing, mercantile, commercial, trading businesses listed with annual gross product over $500.
[1] corporation, company, industry, type of business
[2] capital investment
[3] quantity & value of resources used
[4] quantity of yearly production
[5] number hired

1870 - separated child and adult labor
1880 - companies were categorized

Social & supplemental
[1] cemetery facilities within city with maps, closures, etc.
[2] trade societies, lodges, clubs, etc.
[3] churches with history, membership by county

[see for more info]

Friday, August 5, 2016

1890 Veterans Census

A census of Union Civil War soldiers and widows was taken in 1890.  The following information was recorded:

name of soldier, sailor, marine or widow - rank - regiment or vessel - date enlisted - date discharged - length of service - PO address - disability incurred - remarks

The following states are indexed on D.C., KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NY, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK/IND TERR., OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

Check your State Archives or Library for a Veterans' Census if your ancestor lived in the A-D states. For example: Indiana took an Enrollment of Soldiers, Widows and Orphans in 1886, 1890 and 1894. The same basis information is recorded as in the 1890 Vets' enumeration. [Card index at State Library; searchable by county & township at the State Archives]

I located my CW widow, Catherine Crail, in the 1886 Enrollment. Be aware of spelling errors! Catherine was indexed under 'Creal.'

Thursday, August 4, 2016

1850-60 Slave Schedules

On 1 June 1850 & 1860, enumerators were to account for slaves in the following states:
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North & South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and, curiously enough, New Jersey.

Generally, only the number of slaves was recorded, but some enumerators recorded names.

[1] age, sex, color
[2] name of owner
[3] if a fugitive from another state
[4] number of slaves manumitted [freed]
[5] if deaf, dumb, blind or idiotic
[6] number of house slaves [1860 only]

In some cases slaves were listed in family groups, but generally were listed eldest to youngest.
The number of slaves gave hint to the size of the owner's property. A large number of slaves suggested a plantation. 1-2 slaves might be a clue to a small farm or business.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Census Review

I am focusing on 1850-1940 with this review.

[1] 1900 introduces the month and year of birth - double check it! The info could be wrong.
[2] 1900 and a couple of others list children born/living. Check your list of kids to see if you overlooked anyone.
[3] Immigration status: Year of immigration may be wrong. [my gg-grandmother shows 3 different years. Foriegn women who married US citizens were granted citizenship, so avoided naturalization process.]
[4] Birthplace for individual & parents: It could vary from census to census. Foreign birthplaces could be general or specific [i.e.: Germany one year, Baden the next]  You could also draw a blank or 'unknown.' Check all censuses available for the birthplace of your ancestor.
[5] Age at last birthday: Nobody lies about his/her age, right? Confirm! [Example: 23 in 1850, 28 in 1860, 32 in 1870.] If you don't know the month of birth, you might want to go with two years. [45 in 1850: could have been born in 1804 or 1805; put 1804/5 or c1804, c1805, etc.]
[6] Confirm that sons/saughters arenatural and not step. The records generally showed 'stepchild', but not always.
[7] Some stepkids were listed with stepfather's surname rather than thier birth surnames, make sure of relationships.
[8] Accuracy depended on who gave the info to the enumerator. If no one was at home, a neighbor might have been queried. Names, ages & other details given could be questionable.
[9] From year to year, names could vary. If a daughter was named Nancy, Nan, Nancy, Ann, Annie could have been given. Mary Louise could have been Mary in 1860, Louise in 1880 and Lou in 1900.
[10] For 1850-70, don't assume relationships based on order. Since no relationships are given, mistakes can easily be made. For one of my families, researchers had assumed that a spouse of one of the sons was a sister in 1850-60.
[11] Not everyone in the family is necessarily going to be at home.
       [a] a child could have been apprenticed to a neighbor or married sibling.
       [b] the mother might have moved in with a pregnant daughter to help out.
       [c] the father or a son might have gone to find work elswhere, been in the military, etc. and 
            returned for the next census.
[12] Families may have been on the move or simply missed or left out by the enumerator. Look for them the next time around. [Then again, missing from three censuses?! My James & Mary Crail are noshows in 1850-60-70. Yeah, I know, old stry! :)-]
[13] Spelling can be an issue. Due to poor handwriting and sloppy indexing, people can be overlooked. Get creative with spelling. Look for unusual first names. Check known neighbors and relatives, in case they are there, but didn't get indexed. If your family was in, say, Kentucky in 1850 and Ohio in 1870, but missing in 1860, check Indiana.

Confirm all you find in the census, it ain't perfect! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

1940 census

Enumerated: 1 April

[1] address
[2] home value, owned, rented
[3] person, relationship to head
[4] sex, race, age, marital status, education, birthplace
[5] citizenship
[6] residence on 1 April 1935
[7]employment status for those 14 & older
[8] occupation, number of weeks employed, income

Supplemental questions [may not be included for all on page]
[1] birthplace of parents
[2] natural language
[3] veteran status
[4] Social Security details
[5] occupation, industry, worker class
[6] women: number of marriages, age at 1st marriage, number of children

All US states & territories available

Monday, August 1, 2016

1930 Census

Enumerated: 2 April

[1] address
[2] residence: owned, rented, value, if farm, if owned radio
[3] personal: sex, race, age, marital status, college attendance, can read & write, birthplace & parents' birthplace
[4] language spoken, year of immigration, if naturalized or alien, can speak English
[5] veteran, war served
[6] occupation, industry or business, worker class, if employed previous day
Servicemen enumerated at base

All US states and territories available