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12 February 2016

One Name Place Study: That's Everyone, Now What?


For about two years, I have been on the hunt to crack through the brick wall of my ancestor William James Townsend. I've previously shared information from his Civil War pension file. I learned many details from the documents in the file but I still had questions left unanswered.

What I know about William James Townsend (b 1842 - d 1889) was detailed in a previous post. In the 1880 Census, I found William but one of his daughters, Ida, was not in his home when she wasn't yet married. The discovery of Ida in the home of another person named Townsend led me to ask the question, who else is in Franklin County, Ohio in the 1880 census with the last name Townsend?

There were around 50 persons named Townsend in the 1880 Census with 15 of those as either heads of the house. My quest launched a monthly series throughout 2015 to analyze the records pertaining to these specific Townsend families and individuals.

Of the Townsends listed, these are the ones that could possibly be related to William.


Truro, Franklin, Ohio:
  • John Townsend b. 1814 in Maryland (parents born in MD)
    • Could be related, possibly a father, uncle, or other older relative  (28 year age difference between William and John)
Columbus, Franklin, Ohio:
  • James Townsend b 1828 in Ohio (carpenter, married, parents born in Ohio, in  Insane Asylum)
    • Could be cousins (14 year age difference between William and James)
  • Robert Townsend b 1842 in Ohio (38, boarder, single, Brick Moulder, parents from OH & PA)
    • Could be related (William and Robert are the same age)
  • Fred W Townsend b. 1847 in Ohio (33, boarder, single, Marble Cutter, parents from OH)
    • insufficient additional information to analyze relationship (possibly related to Robert Townsend listed above)

Groveport, Franklin, Ohio:
  • Jno Towsend B 1836 in Ohio (parents from Maryland; Farm Laborer)
    • This is likely William's older brother. (Jno is living next to Edward in the 1880 US Census)
  • Edward Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (parents from Maryland, Farming)
    • This is likely William's younger brother (William's daughter is living with him in 1880)
  • Perry Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (25, farmer, parents from Ohio)
    • This is likely William's younger brother and (clues point to likely sister as well)
  • Elisabeth Townsend b 1867 in Ohio (13, servant, parents from Ohio, in the home of Wm and Ruth Wildersmith)
    • This is William's Daughter! She's in a separate home, just like her sister Ida

To state all of this in a different manner, I discovered a daughter hiding in the census record, and three likely brothers and thus one likely sister. There are other potential relatives but more digging is necessary to prove these relationships. In researching the three likely brothers, one of their death records provided a name of William as the father. I'll add a question mark after that name as it's still very, very, very suspect. Here is what I believe to be William's childhood family.

William Townsend (b. Maryland or Ohio)
  1. John H Townsend, m, (1836 - 1883)
  2. William J Townsend, m,  (1842 - 1889)
  3. Milby Townsend, f,  (1844 - 1908)
  4. Edward J Townsend, m, (1846 - 1923)
  5. Perry Townsend, m, (1855 - )

So the big question is, now what? Well, I need to comb through all records pertaining to these individuals. I need to look for relatively exhaustive evidence to prove or disprove this theory. These records are in the realm of inferential genealogy as direct evidence is not likely to be in existence and have enough evidence to prove this theory.

My greatest wish is for a Townsend of Franklin County, Ohio to discover this analysis and help me piece together more about these Townsends. There are others listed towards the beginning of this post and perhaps a thorough researching of their names would be helpful. However, I want to stay focused, especially since the Townsends aren't the only relatives beckoning me to seek after their stories.


Previous Posts:
William Townsend's Pension File
What I Know about William James Townsend
Where's Ida in the 1880 US Census?

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