Thursday, February 28, 2013

F is for Farmers and Fraternal Organizations - Family History Through the Alphabet

If my father had stayed put on the farm, I might have grown up a farm girl.  (I think I would have loved it!)  For a possible multitude of reasons, he moved from farm to small town and my future was forever changed.  But I have farmer ancestors as far back as I've been able to trace.  Some of them include
  • my father, Lee Doyle.  He lived on a farm from his birth in 1913 until the death of his father in 1933.
  • Gust Doyle, my paternal grandfather.  He worked a dairy farm until his death in 1933.
  • William Doyle, Gust's father, who was a farmer from his youth until near the time of his death.  Though he turned over the ownership of the farm to his son, he continued to work there regularly.
  • Fred Gerner, my father's grandfather, who owned several farms in succession. 
  • Dixon Bartley, my father's maternal great-grandfather.  He was a farmer in Butler County, Pennsylvania.
  • Thomas Smith, another Butler County, Pennsylvania, farmer ancestors.
  • Jacob Saylor of Mercer County, Ohio.
  • William Bickerstaff, one of maternal great-grandfathers, who was a farmer in Jefferson County, Ohio, during the 1800s.
  • Jacob Bell of Jefferson County, Ohio.
Farming in our family skipped a generation.  My daughter is now a farmer's wife.

If your ancestors farmed between 1850 and 1880, you may be able to learn more about them on agricultural censuses.

Fraternal Organizations
Do you have ancestors who were members of fraternal organizations?  Perhaps a Mason, a Rebekah, or an Odd Fellow?  Some fraternal organizations are commonly recognized by their acronyms; others we have to search to find what those letters mean.  I have ancestors who were members of the International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF); Rebekahs, sister organization to the Odd Fellows; the Masons; Eastern Star, sister organization to the Masons; Loyal Order of Moose (LOOM); and Knights of the Golden Eagle (KGE).

I've been interested to learn more about these organizations because they help me put my ancestors in the society around them.  I also understand that it may be possible to obtain some genealogical information, especially for immigrant ancestors, from some of these organizations.  It may depend on the willingness of the individual with stewardship over the records.  (I've been unsuccessful in getting a response to my request for IOOF records.)  If you choose to search, you'll need to find the locality where your ancestor became a member and/or the headquarters of the organization.

Cyndi Howell of Cyndi's List wrote a blog post, The Age of Fraternal Organizations, in which she shared information about the purposes of fraternal organizations and ways to find more information.

If you'd like to learn a little more about the Masons, Diane Hewson wrote an excellent article, Friday's Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge - F for Freemasony, on her blog, Family Stories: Photographs and Memories.

Lastly, if you haven't a clue what those initials mean in that old newspaper article or obituary, they may refer to a fraternal organization.  Check Genealogy Research: Complete List of Fraternal Organizations: A-L or Genealogy Research: Complete List of Fraternal Organizations: M-Z.  I don't know if the list is really complete but since there are several hundred entries, there's a good possibility you might find what you're looking for.

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Photographic Tribute to My Father on His Birthday

My father, Lee Doyle, would have celebrated his 100th birthday today had he still been alive.  I'm sorry he's not.  Dad was generally a no-nonsense kind of guy but he had a healthy sense of humor, too (which, in my opinion, we didn't see often enough).

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I hope the angels are celebrating you today!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Morbid:  Grey Days and/or Death

Either it's the February clouds or perusing too many probate records that's causing this gloomy feeling.  (Or maybe it's not finding Christian Gerner in any of the 145 files through 2443 pages of the Butler County, Pennsylvania Probate records #G466-G610.)

Searching the probate records is interesting (and time-consuming!) but reading lists of a person's possessions that were sold makes me sad.  Did no family member want them?  Did they sell by auction?  Was there an estate sale or a tag sale?  If any of these were my ancestor I'd head to contemporary, local newspapers and look for sale ads. Thankfully, clothes were not on this list.  I think I would have cried.

$10.00   One Desk.
    4.00   One Couch.
    1.00   One Rocker.
    4.00   Morris chair.
    2.50   Office Chair
  10.00   Watch & Chain.
    2.00   Clock....

And seeing lists of funeral expenses is depressing, especially when they are itemized so specifically.

$200.00  Casket and Services 
  100.00  Vault
    10.00  Embalming 
    15.00  Motor Hearse
    14.00  Slumber Blanket 
      2.00  Lining Grave
      1.50  Underwear
      1.00  Cleaning Suit
    60.00  Cemetery Lot & Opening Grave

$    7.00  Digging grave
  143.00  Funeral expenses
    19.40  Probating will etc.etc.
  162.74  Inheritance tax in full
      1.00  Medicine
      7.50  Medical services
      1.25  Flowers for grave

Death has not come close enough to my door to require that I dispose of a loved one's possessions or plan and carry out a funeral.  I hope it never does.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

More "G" Surnames in Butler (Pennsylvania) County Probate Records

Below are the surnames beginning with the letter "G" which are included in FamilySearch's Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994 > Butler, Probate files 1808-1917 no G466-G610 and H01-H30.  The records in this set were probated between approximately 1908 and 1918, though some of the wills were written many years earlier.

At this time this collection is not indexed but can be browsed.  The numbers after each name, below, indicate the image numbers, not page numbers.  Type the number into the box at the top of the FamilySearch page and click the arrow to go to the page.  When I noticed a name variation or a middle name within each file, it is noted in brackets.

Gillghrist, Maria [Mariah] 5
Graff, Peter 10
Graham, Jane 19
Gilghrist Curtis R. 23
Glenn, Mary A. 25
Gallagher, Andrew 38
Garvin, Catherine 114
Graham, N. McCloud ~123-128 (These papers seemed to be out of order, not in their own folder.)
Gilbert, Alexander 129
Gormley, Martha J. 134
Gibson, Elizabeth 139
Glass, Maude Elizabeth 164
Goodwin, Mary Jane 172
Gillgrist [Gilchrist], Zila [Zilla] 189
Graham, Elizabeth 193
Graham, Mary [A.] 212
Gravatt, Daniel 253
Graham, Julia R. 258
Graham, Nancy [E.] 265
Gunthrie [Guthrie], Benton H. 303
Gardiner [Gardner], Mary [A.] 328
Gill, Hugh 335
Gormley, Neal 340
Gibson, Mary J. 347
Gaertner, George 374
Graham, Hugh 378
Gibson, Isabel [Isabella G.] 385
Groom, James W. 391
Greer, Grizzella 510
Gahagan, Giles S. 515
Garvin, Wilson 534
Gilliland, John 560
Gallagher, Elizabeth [Lizzie] 565
Geibel, Margaret 580
Grubb, John 593
Graham, James 608
Grant, Frederick C. 628
Graham, Agnes 641
Gallagher, Matilda 647
Goehring, S. M. 652
Goucher, Addison 659
Graham, Joseph H. 661
Geiss, Phillip H. 669
Goldinger, Daniel 679
Gunst, Natalia 714
Graham, Thomas 744
Grubbs, Adam M. 748
Gilmore, Quinton B. 753
Goehring, John 759
Gillgrist [Gilgrist], Mary 803
Gold, Mellie 848
Gold, James 852
Geible, Joseph 869
Garing, Christian 876
Glenn, Daisy 884
Glossner, Jacob W. 902
Graham, John [A.] 910
Gruver, Matilda 931
Glace, George 957
Grossman, Nathaniel S. 967
Goehring, Jane 998
Galbraith, Anna D. 1003
Graham, Eliza S. 1015
Gilleland [Gilliam], Lewis [Louis] D. 1022
Grove, Leon [Vance] 1048
Grossman, A. V. 1056
Graham, Thomas 1092
Gillgrist, Elizabeth 1098
Green, Henry 1102
Geibel, Charles 1116
Groom, Andrew [Duke] 1125
Gibson, James H. 1138
Gilliland [Gilleland], Ella [Ellen] 1143
Greer, Sarah [Elizabeth] 1171
Gross, Charles P. 1207
Graves, Sedden [M.] 1238
Garvin [Mary] Lauretta 1244
Gerwig, Paul 1265
Gould, James 1279
Gold, Edward Milo 1289
Graham, O. P. 1295
Garfield, Mae 1324
Gerberding, Catharine 1331
Gibson, G. C. 1339
Gage, S. [Stephen] W. 1341
Greenwalt, Louis 1377
Gravatt, Harry S. 1385
Grossman, A. W. 1389
Galbraith [Galbreath], Robert S. 1394
Giesler, Albert J. 1413
--missing Estate File G-555, name not known 1433
Gold, Jane 1434
Grossman, John 1440
Grieb, Valentine 1465
Glenn, Mollie E. 1481
Graham, Oliver 1522
Graham, Elizabeth 1528
Gibson, Charles R. 1530
Griesbach, Gustev [Gustav] [Adolph] 1540
Geohring, David 1558
Gates, Harry H. 1562
Graham, Edmund [T.] 1637
Grant, William [N.] 1650
Goehring, Sarah 1656
Gillam, Geo B. 1709
Greenewalt [Greenawalt], Henry 1714
Gassert, Peter 1767
Geibel, Peter 1818
Grubbs, W. J. 1821
Gibson, John C. 1827
Grossman, John S. 1851
Garvin, Charles L. 1883
Glossner, Bessie C. 1938
Given, Thomas 1953
Gallagher, Sarah 2005
Grossman, Harry [H.] 2018
Goettman, Regina 2032
Gill, Anna L. [Lauretta] 2039
Gray, C. G. 2048
Gribbeu [Gribben], James 2053
Gorn, Mary O. S. 2072
Gold [Gould], John S. 2076
Gillgrist, Thomas N. 2086
Gelbach, P. D. 2100
Grieb, John 2111
Ganter, Sadie [Sarah] E. 2116
Gilliland [Gilleland] [Gilland], Samuel E. 2141
Gibb, Samuel A. 2159
Gardner, Henry H. 2172
--Estate file G-594 is missing but no notation was made.--
Griffin, Archibald 2179
Golden, Owen 2185
Gahagan, Henrietta 2189
Gibson, Wilmina L. 2225
Graham, Josephine 2229
Gilmore, John C. 2233
Gillman, Olive 2262
Gormley, Genevieve M. 2265
Green, Sebastian 2269
Goehring, Gallert [Gellert] 2280
Graham, Catharine 2304
Ginder, Albert H. [Rev.] 2322
Gerard, Joseph 2384
Gibson, William 2410
Graham, James 2422
Glenn, James C. 2443-2454

I'm offering this as a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).  I hope someone may find this list helpful, but I especially hope someone may find an ancestor (more easily) because of this list.


Friday, February 22, 2013

E is for Ephemera - Family History Through the Alphabet

I think I learned it -- or perhaps I inherited it -- from my mother, this love of all things paper.  I save them, these bits of beauty:  ornamental wrappers from embroidery floss, ticket stubs, cartoons clipped from newspapers, old and beautifully printed button cards, stickers, stamps, paint chips....  You name it, if I like it, I might save it.  For years I made blank wall calendars which I filled and decorated with these fading pieces of glory.

Those calendars with their glue-bound memories are ephemera married to ephemera.  They will not last long. When I began I knew nothing about acid and lignin eating away paper.  It's only been in the last twenty years that knowledge of preservation has become common to the general public.

My collection of ephemera is very different from my mother's.  We are from different eras.  She saved programs from special events; pamphlets of poetry; decorated paper napkins; newspaper clippings; greeting cards; and anything else that caught her fancy.  She also carefully saved some items that were my father's.  I'm grateful she saved them but sad to see them being slowly destroyed by invisible invaders.

I think of ephemera as a family historian's delight.  Those pieces of paper that were never meant to last longer than a brief time give me insight into the personalities, interests, and activities of my ancestors.  Granted, I really only have ephemera from my parents, but even at that, it helps me get to know them a wee bit better, especially their younger selves.  That my stoic father saved his own father's obituary hints at a tender side of my father that I never saw.  That my mother clipped poems published in newspapers hints at the artistic side of her that was not so evident in her frugal lifestyle.

An ancestor's ephemera is one of those things that you either have or you don't.  You can't retrieve it if it was never saved.  And if it's not properly preserved, it can't be retrieved, either.  If you have old family papers, guard and protect them carefully.  For the few items my parents saved, I'm truly grateful. 

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona! 


Friday, February 15, 2013

D is for Details - Family History Through the Alphabet

D is for details.  D could be for documents, death dates, death certificates, or a number of other topics but I think details are one of the most important aspects of family history and genealogy.  Without attention to details we would have a jumble of names, dates, and locations without much sense to it.  Without details there is much less value in our family history research.

There are two kinds of details that claim my attention when I'm searching for my ancestors and placing them in the context of their environments.

Details #1
Attention to these details assure (or help ensure) that I've found the correct man or woman who is my ancestor and helps solve and/or prevent problems.
  • Six siblings are located.  The death certificates of the 2 older siblings list "unknown" for the name of the mother; the death certificates of the 4 younger siblings name the mother.  The informants were children of the deceased.  Why did the informants of the 2 older siblings not know their grandmother's name?  Was there a rift between the 2 older siblings and their mother and they never spoke of her?  Was their father widowed and remarried and never told his older children the name of their mother?  Perhaps the father and mother divorced when the 2 oldest children were little and the subject of their mother was not a topic of discussion.  Finding the details of the situation will lead to accuracy.
  • The will of an ancestor names his wife and 4 children.  The wife's name is the one you've found in other records but the 4 children's names are not.  This detail deserves more attention.  Perhaps these are two different men or perhaps there were two wives and two sets of children.
  • Family legend tells names of the parents, all the children, when and where they were born, and where they were buried.  You find them on the census, but it's nowhere near where they were born or buried.  Same family or not?  Go beyond family legend and get the details.
The list could go.  I know we've all encountered situations that require more research to get to the details that clarify names, relationships, locations, dates, etc.

Details #2
These details help me place ancestors correctly in the environments in which they lived and give a better understanding of their lives. 
  • Knowing that a city of 100,000 people today was a town of 1,400 in 1832 changes the way we understand an ancestor's use of the word "town" instead of "city" when he or a local newspaper described the location.  It changes images of what his or her life might have been like in a small town.
  • When we read a word in context that doesn't fit the current meaning of the word it's worth investigating.  For example, she may not have been talking about her waist, the physical area around her middle, when she referred to buying a new waist
  • When we learn than an ancestor traveled 60 miles in a day, we imagine a very slow pace.  For the ancestor, that may have been pushing the horses to near exhaustion or traveling longer than 12 hours in one day.
  • Understanding that going to a store meant giving a list to the person behind the counter, then waiting to have the items pulled changes our view of shopping.  Learning the prices of various items and the value of their farm may change our idea of an ancestor from impoverished to a person of means.

I love learning the details that let me learn more about the lives and times of my ancestors, as in this last group, but even more, I want to know that my ancestors are my ancestors.  That's why I search for details.

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona!

Happy ancestor hunting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Still No Christian

As far as I can tell Christian Gerner died in 1899 without a will.   If he died intestate I thought I might find him in probate records of the time and county where he lived.  Therefore, I searched Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994, specifically Probate files 1895-1907 no G343-465.   Many thanks to Michael Hait for leaving a comment on my post, No Christian, pointing out that these records are available at FamilySearch.

This was my first experience searching probate records.  I wasn't sure how they were organized other than that surnames beginning with the letter G were grouped together and that the years in the group were from 1895 to 1907.  In these probate files, the records are not filed alphabetically except by first initial.  They are, however, filed in a generally chronological order.  I assume they are filed by the date they were admitted to probate.  As I looked at some of the records I noticed that a person may have died 3 years before a probate file was opened. 

I searched through image #2273 which was file G-427.  The will in that file was written in January, 1899; the individual died in July, 1904; and the will was admitted to probate in November, 1904. 

Christian Gerner died in February, 1899.  He was not in any of the files I perused.  Would a probate file have been opened after 1904?

According to the 1880 Agricultural Census of Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, Christian Garner (who may or may not be Christian Gerner) owned at least 43 acres of property.  Perhaps my next step should be a search of property records/deeds.  I hope they're available online or on microfilm!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

"G" Surnames, Butler County, Pennsylvania Probate Files, 1895-1903

Note:  Since I originally posted this list I've finished looking at all the records in Butler County, Pennsylvania Probate files 1895-1907 no G343-465 and have added the names and image numbers.

Below is a partial list (through image 2004 and about the year 1903) of individuals whose last names begin with the letter G and whose wills were probated in Butler County, Pennsylvania, between 1895 and about 1903.  These names appear on the FamilySearch collection, Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994, specifically Probate files 1895-1907 no G343-465.   (At this time, this collection is not indexed but can be browsed.)  The numbers after each name below indicate the image numbers, not page numbers.  Type the number into the box at the top of the FamilySearch page and click the arrow to go to the page.  Again. this is a partial list which goes only to page 2004, about the year 1903. 

Search hint:  Use your mouse to click on this page, then press the F3 button on your keyboard.  A search box will appear at the bottom of your screen where you can type the name of the person for whom you're searching.  When you're finished with the box, click on the "x" at the left and it will disappear.  If you search this way, remember to search name variations, too.

Gilliland, Rachel 1
Geibel, Charles 35
Gold, Nancy 517
Green, Charles 521
Graham, Matthew 537
Gilghrist, William 545
Grossman, Eliza 553
Goepfert, Martha 558
Gephart, John 597
Gibson, Mary V. 633
Ganter C. F. 640
Graham, Samuel 667
Goldtharp, John 730
Graf, Adam 765
Gilghrist, John 773
Gallagher, Ferguson W. 826
Gotgesell, Clemence 830
Guble [Geibel, Geible], Jacob 835
Grieb, L. M. 867
Green, George 874
Gerbach, Gertrude 895
Graham, O. P. 910
Gallagher, James 936
Goehring, Sarah 978
Gutgesell, Gertrude 991
Glenn, John N. [Neill, Newell] 996
Goebel, Elizabeth 1016
Graham, Mary E. 1022
Gilkey, T. A. 1028
Gold, Adam 1044
Gribben, Anna Maria 1082
Greer, John 1100
Galagher, Michel 1117
Glace, Mathias 1130
Gogen, Mary A. 1136
Godard, T. C. 1158
Gillespie, Manassas J. 1162
Glenn, Samuel 1167
Goldthorpe, Horatio 1212
Gilkey, Martha A. 1240
Glasgow, John 1245
Griffin, Sylvester 1279
Glace, Catherine 1309
Goehring, William 1357
Goetz, John A. 1428
Graham, Hiram 1452
Graham D. [Daniel] K. 1458
Glenn, William 1496
Groves, Charles 1501
Glenn, Robert F. 1509
Grossman, Hugh 1531
Graham, Clara 1537
Green, Sebastian 1557
George, Mary J. 1588
Greer, William [H.] 1592
Griffin, John D. 1634
Graham, Walter [L.] 1636
Graham, John C. 1641
Gregg, Harry L. 1643
Gill, Martha 1668
Galbreath, John 1673
Gibson, Sarah A. [Alice] 1723
Gallagher, Peter 1747
Garvin, Newton 1755
Gunst, John 1808
Gohman [Grohman], John 1943
George, Harry [P.] 1974
Grossheim, George W. 1999
Gilkey, Elizabeth 2004
Gibson, Nancy 2050
Gardner, Barnard 2076
Garvin, Wilson 2081
Gilfillen, Margaret 2100
Gibson, [W.] James 2103
Garvin, Benjamin 2115
Grossman, Malinda 2132
Gerlach/Garlach, George 2152
Gallagher, Joseph 2169
Gerchen, Charles H. 2202
Graham, Wilson W. 2220
Galbraith, John [Rev.] 2224
Gilfillan, Mary Ann 2270
Gallagher, Edwin F. 2274
Green, Thomas S. 2301
Goetz, Margaret 2311
Geschwind/Geschwine, Elizabeth A. H. 2319
Grant, Robert J. 2376
Gansz, Elizabeth 2381
Gilmore, Joseph 2387
Grieb, Carrie 2413
Gilleland/Gilliland, Maria A. 2418
Glasgow, Margaret 2446
Graham, Seth W. 2480
Gilgrist, James G. 2485
Gephardt, Ann Lena 2490
Gregg, Mary Catherine 2513
Grant, Robert N. 2553
Grier, Samuel L. 2600
Gibson, Robert 2605
Glace, Rosa A. 2660
Graham, Charlotte A. 2665
Gibson, John W. 2670
Garvin, J. W. 2680
Gilliland, W. J. 2707
Garvin, Margaret 2711
Golden, Patrick, 2734
Gerner, Philip A. 2740
Green, Joseph A. 2820
Gibson, Harvey 2825
Graham, Thomas 2848
Griffith, H. P. 2883
Galebach/Gelbach, Sophia 2977
Gaisford, J. C. 2991
Gattings/Gattins, Esther 2998
Gibson, Eli [L.] 3007
Graham, Susannah 3032
Gray, Joseph S. 3042
Greer, Joseph 3062
Graham, N. McCloud 3068
Gerlach, Charles 3082

There are 3141 images in the collection.  I stopped at image 2004, in 1903, because the man I was trying to find died in 1899.  My method for searching was to move forward 5 images at a time.  If that image showed a different name, I went back 4 images, then forward 1 page at a time until I found the next name.

This post is an offering of a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).  Since I had to search page by page I thought I might as well write down the names and image numbers.  I hope it will be helpful to anyone using a search engine to find an ancestor whose name is on the above list -- at least until the images are indexed.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Microfilm vs. Digital -- Pros and Cons

Last week I cranked through a roll of microfilm at my local Family History Center (FHC).  This week I clicked through a roll of (unindexed) digitized online film images at FamilySearch.  While cranking I was thinking how much easier it would be if the film had been digitized.  While clicking I was think how much easier it might be if I could crank.  I decided to jot down the pros and cons -- just as a reminder to myself.

Microfilm - Pros
> can choose the speed at which to view the pages
> can choose positive and negative film images (depending on reader)
> speed of viewing is dependent on legibility of the records

Microfilm - Cons
> eye strain from scrolling images
> must crank
> must adjust lenses
> speed of viewing is dependent on legibility of the records
> must leave home to view film
> film available only during FHC's open hours
> can print only if viewing on a reader with a printer attached
> must photograph if no printer is available
> images may have dust specks from the microfilm reader's lenses

Digital - Pros (with internet connection at home)
> can view 24-hours/day
> can enlarge to look more closely
> can download and view offline
> can print  images
> images are clear
> images are usually clean and dust free
> can choose positive or negative views

Digital - Cons
> viewing may be slow depending on how long page loads take

The best option, in my opinion, is digital images that have already been indexed.  Of course there's always the possibility of indexing errors which could cause an ancestor to be missed (but page-by-page views would probably still be available).

Do you have any other pros or cons to add to this list?


Friday, February 8, 2013

W. C. Robert Meinzen - A Birthday Collage

William Carl Robert Meinzen
Son of Henry Carl & Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen
8 February 1892 - 9 June 1979
Happy Birthday, Grampa!


Monday, February 4, 2013

No Christian

Maybe Christian Gerner does not want to be found (though, to be honest, my search is just beginning).

His obituary death notice told nothing about his family.  It gave only his death date, age, and location of death.  But by having a death date, I hoped I would find a will.  So on January 22, I placed an order at FamilySearch for a microfilm from the Family History Library.  I ordered Butler County (Pennsylvania) Will Books Volumes O-P, 1898-1903, FHL Film #895107.  The film arrived on Friday or Saturday.   The Family History Center (FHC) is open on Monday mornings from 9 a.m. - noon.

Mondays are busy days at home, picking up after the weekend, doing laundry, organizing for the week, but I gave my morning to a search for Christian and went to the FHC to look at the microfilm.  After viewing the film once without finding Christian, I went through the entries for 1899-1901 a second time.  Still no Christian Gerner.

I can think of three reasons why there would not be a will:
  1. He disposed of his land and all his possessions before his death.
  2. He filed his will in some other county. 
  3. He died intestate (i.e., without a will).  Was his death sudden and unexpected?  (Though who, by the time he's 60, doesn't know that death is imminent?)  I think it was common in the 1800s for wills to be written after a person became ill:  maybe Christian really didn't have time to write a will.
Are there other reasons why he would not have a will or why his will would not be in the 1899 will book?  Might his executors have waited more than two years to file the will in court?


Sunday, February 3, 2013

C is for Census Dates - Family History Through the Alphabet

Maybe you're like me and can't remember the census dates? I thought having them listed all in one place would be helpful.  Maybe they will help you, too.

 United Kingdom Census Dates from U.K. The National Archives
  1801  Tue Mar 10 - head count only
  1811  Mon May 27 - headcount only
  1821  Mon May 28 - headcount only
  1831  Sun May 29 - headcount only
  1841  Sun Jun 6 - ages rounded
  1851  Sun Mar 30
  1861  Sun Apr 7
  1871  Sun Apr 2
  1881  Sun Apr 3
  1891  Sun Apr 5
  1901  Sun Mar 31
  1911  Sun Apr 2

United States of America Census Dates from The United States Census Overview
  1790  Mon Aug 2 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1800  Mon Aug 4 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1810  Mon Aug 6 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1820  Mon Aug 7 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1830  Tue Jun 1 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1840  Mon Jun 1 - names of head of household only, others tallied
  1850  Sat Jun 1
  1860  Fri Jun 1
  1870  Wed Jun 1
  1880  Tue Jun 1
  1890  Mon Jun 2
  1900  Fri Jun 1
  1910  Fri Apr 15
  1920  Thu Jan 1
  1930  Tue Apr 1
  1940  Mon Apr 1

The census, an enumeration of a population, is often a family historian's first line of inquiry when beginning research.  We use census records to locate individuals geographically, to define who was living in a home on a specific date, and often to acquire other information, depending on the census year and what questions were on the census form. 

Imagine this scenario:  The census date is June 1 and a husband/father dies on June 2.  The census taker arrives on June 5 to enumerate the family.  Census takers' instructions told them to ask for information as of the census date even if they arrived a week later.  In this scenario, the husband/father should appear in that census because he was alive on the census date of June 1.  All census takers may not have complied with those instructions but knowing them may help explain why someone is shown as living in a particular census and you have other information that indicates he died before the census taker visited the home.

Other sources for information about the U.K. censuses include 1911, UK Census Online, and Census Helper.

Another source for information about the U. S. censuses and questions asked is 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking:  Population and Housing Questions, 1790-1990.

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona!

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