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Have you revisited the research trips you took and the things you left undone? Four years ago, I took a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit cemeteries, especially Green Lawn Cemetery. Green Lawn Cemetery in massive and is said to be the fifth largest in Ohio.
At the time, was on the hunt for a collateral relative in Selection L. At the time, I couldn't find him.
Many people have a printed family history book in their home, or discover their family names in a book at a genealogical library and set out to do research from this starting point. What if you don't have such luxury? Are you out of luck? Were there no previous ancestors who crafted a family history to bless the lives of others?
Maybe, but maybe not. There is a place that you could find out. It's generally not going to be quick or easy, but it's worth investigating.
When growing up, I was insistent that you spelled my German last name with an S-Z. Any other variation was wrong and I believed that anyone who spelled it differently would not be my relative. I was alone in thinking spellings for last names was fixed. I only correct people when they pronounce my first and middle name incorrectly.
Having learned from a variety of sources about the need to generate a list of name variations, I have attempted to create such a list for the Pueseckers who are members of my Maeck FAN Club.
The individuals I'm researching settled in Franklin County, Ohio beginning in 1845. Few Pueseckers have left that area, which makes my research location narrow.
I entered the last name into the 1890 Veterans Schedules starting at the first variation and working my way down the list. I finally when I used the #7 Pusaker name variation. And the record discovered used the #10 variation.
|Source Citation Year: 1890; Census Place: Prairie, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: 69; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 123|
Ancestry.com. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
And this, new to me, record says that Charles (#11 on document) was in a Rebel Prison for 31 days! Ohhh.... that's a juicy story.
I searched the U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. in the same method and found an 1872 entry with the last name of C Busiker.
|C. Busiker, Collection Number: G&M_30; Roll Number: 30. Ancestry.com. U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.|
Now, there is a map line going through the last name, so perhaps it is spelled Pusiker. Both of these are new variations but it was discovered searching for Variation #2 Busacker.
Those are just some of the record collections and the discoveries I made for Pueseckers by having a running list of spelling variations. Truthfully, it took some time to discover the B and P connection. Once I had, it made finding more records so much easier.
What name variation lists do you have? What is the most surprising name variation you've uncovered?
The mystery of my 5th great-grandfather Effingham Townley, likely of New Jersey in the mid to late 1700s is giving me a headache. He's a brick wall tracing my line back to him as a descendant. However, a will for an Effingham Townley dying in 1828 and naming a son John Townley is the brick wall from him tracing down the family line. Could inferential genealogy bridge the gap?
Inferential Genealogy is giving me a headache. Anyone willing to help me examine a situation?
I found a will for an Effingham Townley for 1828. On a 'mostly' sourced Family Tree, I mapped out all of the Effinghams from a specific county in New Jersey. There are a few other Effingham Townley's floating around but not from Essex County.
|Can Inferential Genealogy break down my brick wall?|
The tree, upon which this diagram was based, does not follow John Townley, son of Effingham and Rhoda.
I have an ancestor John Townley who migrated from New Jersey to Cincinnati, Ohio. A death record indicated that John's father was Effingham. Census records and death records for John's children say his origin is New Jersey. John's son Asa Townley's interment record, ordered by John - the father, said Asa was born in Elizabeth, Essex, New Jersey. Given Asa's siblings (thus John's other children) are from New Jersey, I infer that they were from the same New Jersey town given their births are around 1790. I'm hesitant to extrapolate a birth location for Effingham from the same town as well. EXCEPT, when I searched for Effingham Townleys in New Jersey in the mid-1700s, I found a number of men with this name. So, I sketched out the relationships to see the likely candidate for John Townley's father.
I searched for Effingham Townleys in FamilySearch that had source information. I found a number of men and their families already constructed in the tree. I discovered a few things:
- The Effingham-George-Effingham-Charles-Col Richard line is a line that was approved by DAR for admission as George (between the Effinghams) was a patriot.
- There are additional written family histories that have George's lineage to a Col Richard Townley (pre-Revolution).
- Effingham, son of George, would be too young to be my John Townley's father.
- George's father, Effingham, is deceased before my John is born in 1801.
There were three other Effinghams in Essex County. Knowing my John's birthdate of 1801, I could rule out a few more men.
- Effingham Sr is not a candidate as he is deceased before John's death.
- Effingham Jr could be the father, but his children are largely born in the 1720s, so it's more likely that he's not the father of John, who moved to Cincinnati.
Once again, assuming my original analysis that places John Townley, born 1801 in Elizabeth, New Jersey based upon his son's death record (of which John provided the information), then the most likely candidate for John's father is Effingham, son of Richard, who married Rhoda.
Now, my readers, I need your help. Inferential genealogy, as defined on the FamilySearch Wiki, is "how family historians can accurately deduce ancestors’ identities and many aspects of their lives by digging below “surface information” in genealogical records and combining information from several sources. Useful in many situations, inferential methodology is especially helpful where records do not state relationships."
I have a number of questions. Can you answer them?
- Do I have enough negative evidence to rule out who can't be John's father?
- Do I have enough combined evidence to make the case of John (b 1801, died in Cincinnati) is the same John mentioned in Effingham Townley's will of 1828 in Elizabeth, New Jersey?
- What evidence makes this theory is probable?
- Where are the flaws in this theory?
In short, am I doing inferential data wrong?
I hope those of you who are moving beyond the beginner basics will come to know how tricky inferred genealogy can be, but that there are possible ways to break through perceived brick walls. Hopefully, we discuss the analysis process we can all benefit from learning together, and perhaps someone will weigh in on my analysis thus far.
If this post was over your head, remember What is Family History?
To Learn More about Inferential Genealogy, check out these posts from the genealogy community:
How to Beat Brick Walls With "Cluster Genealogy - by Diane Haddad
10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall - Interview by Lisa Louise Cooke.
City directories are an easy to understand and amazing resource for finding your ancestors and relatives. When they are searchable, you can quickly find hundreds of relatives over decades with a simple mouse click. You gotta love those computer programmers who made it all happen.
And as much as I LOVE city directories, there is one thing I don't care for.
When a reader asks a blogger a question and a challenge presents a deadline, the stars align so that I can put on my teaching hat (the one I love best to wear).
Dana Leeds, The Enthusiastic Genealogy, posed the question "How do you create your blog post graphics?"
Initially, I wanted to answer Dana's question through a step-by-step long-form written tutorial with screenshots showing every step of my process. The teacher in me felt this was not the best way to answer her question. Recently, I discovered how to create video tutorials so I could talk and walk others through my process. It was so easy I wish I had attempted this skill earlier. Perhaps sometimes a teacher has to become a student in order to better teach?
Are you a beginner research who wants to take the 'next-step' in researching your family after discovering them in census records? City Directories are your next stop on the genealogical research journey to fill in the gaps between the census records or to extend a person's life after a record trail ends.
Ancestry.com is my go-to resource for City Directories online. I have accessed city directories in state repositories, which is great. However, there's no reason to make an in person visit to a library to access a bound book if a digitized version of that same book is available online.
Do you have a relative who disappears from census records 10 years after your last record of them? Follow them through city directories and you might discover within 1-2 years when they left that location. You won't know where they went, but at least you know when.
Do you know when a particular ancestor changed residences? Following an ancestor through city directories can help you determine which year your family may have purchased a property. That knowledge helps narrow your land records search for deeds of sale or purchase.
Do you know when your relatives changed occupations? By following an ancestor through city directories, you might discover they weren't always the milkman. Perhaps they did a stint as a bar tender or an ice delivery truck driver.
In the post Sherman Brown and the City Directories, I detail exactly how much information I gleaned from the records and how amazing the discoveries are. Read that post (here) and then go find your ancestors in the directories!