Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Search for Thomas Smith Continues - 1850 & 1860 Census Records

Thomas Smith, Sr., was identified as the father of Rebecca Smith Bartley in an article about her golden wedding anniversary. I found a man named Thomas Smith in the 1850 U.S. Census living in Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. He was 57 years old (therefore born about 1793). Based on names and his age, he could be - but may not be - Rebecca's father. I feel the need to gain more information about Thomas so he can be ruled in or ruled out.

I didn't find Thomas Smith in the 1860 U.S. Census, but Apple from Apple's Tree found Henry Smith, 10 years older Thomas in 1850 and with children of similar names as Thomas. They could (or could not) be the same man.

What to do? I decided to search for Henry Smith in the 1850 census, thinking that if I found him, I could conclude that Thomas and Henry are two different men. (My search assumes - rightly or wrongly - that both men lived in Parker Township in both 1850 and 1860.)

This is what I found in the 1850 census:

in Buffalo, Butler, Pennsylvania:
Henry Smith, age 31 (born about 1819) with
Margaret, age 21
This Henry is too young to be the father of Rebecca Smith Bartley who was born about 1817. This Henry could be a brother....

in Buffalo, Butler, Pennsylvania:
Henry Smith, age 28 (born about 1822) with
Hannah, age 25
Louis, age 3
Smith, age 1
This Henry is also too young to be Rebecca's father but could be a brother.

in Muddy Creek, Butler, Pennsylvania:
Henry Smith, age 27 (born about 1823) living alone
This Henry is too young to be Rebecca's father but could also be a brother.

My conclusions are that Thomas and Henry may be the same man; or, Thomas may have died between 1850 and 1860. If the latter is true, Henry may have moved to Parker Township, Butler County, from another county or state before 1860.

Research continues. I'll share the results of another census search in my next post.

Oh, those Smiths!


  1. Just found your blog and now subscribe. I too have Smiths. With common name Samuel P(GF), Samuel G (GGF), Samuel M (GGGF)b 1789. Currently looking into books written about the history of Mercer County, New Jersey. Trying to find Sam M's parents(could be another Samuel). Boy! they had a lot of Smith's in the 1760-70's and no records. Also looking into Church records as well. Hoping this will crumble the brickwall. Maybe these type sources could help you. Happy Hunting!

  2. Hi, Larry. Thanks for following my blog. Perhaps you can give me some insight for discovering and distinguishing Smiths. You had a hard one with 3 Samuels in a row! I'll see what I can find with church records. Thanks again.


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