My Farmers in Sullivan County, Indiana

One of my favorite blogs is Genealogy à la carte. One of their regular features is “This week’s Crème de la Crème.” In it, Gail Dever provides a listing of what she thinks are the best genealogical blogs and articles of the past week. It focuses on Canadian genealogy and, although I have no known Canadians among my ancestors, I invariably find something that is of interest to me. This week’s edition included a notice of Miriam Robbins blog posting “New Page: Farm and Farmers Directories.”

I perused the entries in the blog post and saw that a new directory for Sullivan County, Indiana was listed. That link brought me to “Art Souvenir of Leading citizens and farmers’ directory of Sullivan County, Indiana” published by the Sullivan Times Co in 1896. I have ancestors who lived in Sullivan County, so I wondered if I could find any of my ancestors listed.

Map of Indiana showing location of Sullivan County
Sullivan County, Indiana

Using Family Tree Maker 2017, (My preferred genealogy software.) I went to the places tab and selected Sullivan County, Indiana, USA and discovered I have 88 individuals associated with Sullivan County. I started entering surnames in the search function and found six individuals that were ancestors of mine and were in the directory.

The following are entries I discovered. Facts new to me are Green bolded.

Beard, J. N. born in Crawford County, Ills., 1859. Came to Sullivan county 1894. Farming 120 acres, situated 7½ miles northwest of Sullivan, Turman township. Owner, A. Hopewell.
[A. Hopewell rented 120 acres to J. N. Beard.]

Hopewell, A., born in Sullivan County, 1847. Owns 336 acres, situated in Turman Tp, 6 Miles N.W. of Sullivan. Mr. Hopewell served the last six months in the Civil war, 53rd Ind. Vol Inf.

Nash, S. W., Assessor of Truman Tp., born in Sullivan county, 1853. Farming 40 acres situated 7 miles northwest of Graysville. Owners, Barnes Heirs. P.O. Hutsonville, Ills. There are several Barnes families that could have owned this property. [I would need to do a title/deed search to determine for certain.]

Taft, Alonzo, born in Sullivan County, 1870. Farming 65 acres, situated 2 miles southwest of Sullivan. P.O. Same.

Taft, William., Born in N.Y., 1842. Came to Sullivan county, 1849. Owns 20 acres, situated in Curry tp., ¾ mile east of Shelburn.

Thompson, Albert, born in Sullivan county, 1823. Owns 260 acres situated in Fairbanks Tp., 12 miles northwest of Sullivan. P.O. Fairbanks.

None of these individuals were direct ancestors, but several were uncles and aunts.

Future research:

Worth further investigation is the “Barnes Heirs” owning 40 acres. My 2nd great-grandfather, Nelson Barnes, died in 1884. Could this 40 acres be remnants of his estate? If so, why hadn’t the estate been settled in the ensuing 12 years? If not, whose estate was it that was owned by the “Barnes heirs.”

Sources:

  • Art souvenir of leading citizens and farmers’ directory of Sullivan County, Indiana – 1896 : Sullivan Times Co. Cn : Free Download, Borrow, And Streaming : Internet Archive.” Internet Archive. Accessed July 28 2019. https://archive.org/details/artsouveniroflea00sull/page/n7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina and Halifax County, NC Websites and Assets.

Howell/Vincent
General Help
Website Reviews (North Carolina)

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Background.

I have been researching my wife’s 3rd great-grandfather, Burkett Vincent. I really don’t know much about Burkett. He appears as the head of household in the 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses. I also speculate that he appears in the household of Philip Vinson, his apparent father, in the 1790 and 1800 censuses. I have no birth record for him, although he was probably born between 1775 and 1780 in the North Carolina colony. I also have no death record for him, although he appears to have died before the 1850 Census.

He was apparently married twice. His first wife’s name is unknown and it appears that they had five children, 2 boys and 3 girls, between 1804 and 1820. I don’t know the names of any of those children. He was also married to Elizabeth Rose. With her, he appears to have had seven children. William, John, James, Elisha, Susan, Nancy, and Burkett. Born between 1814 and 1824.  It is possible some of the seven children were part of the initial five. I am pretty sure that Burkett was born, married, and died in Halifax County, North Carolina.

I have had several people ask that I share my research approach and some of my links.

Typically, my “first pass” uses I am familiar with and use for everyone. I use my various search tricks in doing so. For example, I might use “Vincent of Halifax” and North Carolina as a search term. For newspapers, I often use the individual’s address as a search term.

My regularly used “First Pass” sites include:

My Special North Carolina Links (Second Pass)

I had 29 Links in my North Carolina Bookmarks.  I went through them to clean them up and determine if any of them are particularly useful in my quest. Several links I moved to a separate subdirectory for bookmarks – Counties. I deleted several links as not being useful. I ended up with 11 North Carolina links I think are useful, and another four which are county sites, that make up my second pass.

Top 3 (In my opinion) – Non-Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. North Carolina – County Formation Maps – Interactive Slideshow. – Select a year and see the counties as they existed then.
  2. Digital North Carolina – Includes Yearbooks, Newspapers, Images, Memorabilia, City Directories & Audiovisual.
  3. North Carolina Digital Collections – Browse 26 separate collections or use a single search.

Top Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. $$ – North Carolina Pioneers – Databases for several states – $150.00 per year – I’m not currently a subscriber, but I’m thinking about it.

Other North Carolina Sites worth checking

  1. East Carolina Roots – Genealogy & History of Eastern North Carolina.
  2. North Carolina Encyclopedia (NCpedia) – Biographies, State Symbols, Counties, Geography, World War I, Digital Textbook.
  3. North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data – 216,000 land grants from 1663-1960.
  4. North Carolina State Government Publications Collection – Session Laws of North Carolina
  5. North Carolina State Historic Preservation – HPOWEB GIS Service (General Audience) – Note: This site requires Adobe Flash player to use.
  6. North Carolina State Library
  7. North Carolina State University Libraries

Counties – List of Counties

Finally, in my “2nd Pass” are county focused links. In my case, I have done research in the following counties and have these in my bookmarks.

  • Cabarrus County – Cabarrus Genealogy Society – Concord, NC.
  • Halifax County – NCGenWeb – Includes a list of resources. For GenWeb sites, I prefer doing a Google search of the county’s site.
  • Martin County – NCGenWeb
  • Martin County Register of Deeds – Full System, Includes Old Deed Books U (08/26/1866) thru 0XXXX; There are no “I” books, nor book N-05. Also, there are scanned index books for 1925 through 1984.

Review other potential sites (Third Pass)

For my “Third Pass,” I basically, review the following webpages for resources I haven’t used in my first and second passes. These are specifically for North Carolina; however, the concept works for any location. State and County resources recommended on these sites.

The Ancestor Hunt – North Carolina (for newspaper, obituary, and BMD suggestions.”

Family Search Wiki – North Carolina Online Genealogy Records.
Family Search Wiki – Halifax County, North Carolina Genealogy

Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina
Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina – Halifax County

$$ Ancestry – North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)
$$ Ancestry – Halifax County, North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)

Road trip or hire a genealogist – (This is a 4th step if needed).

  1. North Carolina State Archives. – Includes a listing of the various records held by each county by the County Offices. It is a very important document to review before a trip to the County Offices.
    1. The Halifax County Guide is here.
    2. The Martin County Guide is here.

Vigo County Public Library

Some time ago, I was researching ancestors who lived in Vigo County, Indiana. While researching, I found the Public Library there had some excellent genealogical resources. I added their website, http://www.vigo.lib.in.us to my bookmarks and promised myself that I’d return.

Of particular interest to me was that their website has marriage records from 1818 through 1958. They also have a database of obituaries from 1900 to present and an obituary lookup service.

When I research, I usually focus on an ancestor and see what records I can find for that ancestor. In this case, I thought I would work backward from my usual process.  I took the Vigo County Public Library site and their databases, then searched to find various individuals I had in my tree who lived there.

Using Family Tree Maker 2017, I went to the Places tab, then selected Vigo County, Indiana. I immediately saw that my tree had 34 individuals associated with that place.  Most were Roberts and Lister but had several Volkers from two of my grand-daughters’ maternal line.

The Vigo County Marriage Record Database has five searchable fields of which you can use one, two, or three at a time. The process was speedy and easy to use. I was able to discover three new marriage records, and one of them was the marriage of Stewart Volkers and Irene Garver, two of my granddaughters’, 2nd great-grandparents on their mother’s side. A great find.

Next, I used a similar process for the obituaries. The “Wabash Valley Obituary Index: 1900 to Present” includes four fields to search with. I used the minimum I could to see if a record existed. For example, when I searched for “Volkers,” I found 28 records. The first names were presented alphabetically, so it was easy to see how many of my known Volkers were there. On more common names, like “Hart” I added the first name to see if any of my known Harts were in their obituaries. Both of my known Harts were there.  I found many obituaries in the Index that were of interest. At this point, I could have ordered all of them through the library for $5.00 per obituary, but I thought it might be more prudent for me to see what might be available with the newspaper and obituary sources I have access to, first. Having the obituary name and year of death makes searching those other sources quick and easy.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.comNewspapers.Com has several Terre Haute (Vigo County) newspapers from 1900 to 1973. Six of the obituaries of interest were available on Newspapers.Com.

Of particular interest to me is the obituary of Stewart Volkers, the great-grandfather of two of my granddaughters. Altogether, I was able to add 39 new relatives to my tree, thanks to the Vigo County Public Library. That makes for a good day of genealogy.

My foray into the Vigo County Public Library online resources reminded me of the importance to check out the genealogy resources available online at local libraries and local historical societies for places your ancestors lived. They often have a wealth of resources available.



City Directories – 2019 Update

US Census Records are essential records used in genealogical research. They are a treasure trove of information; however, they come out only once every ten years leaving huge gaps.  With the 1890 census having lost so many records in a fire, often there is a twenty-year gap in our family research.  Don’t overlook city directories as a potential source to fill in those gaps.

Many cities and counties have had directories published over the years.
They were created for salespeople and merchants to be able to contact businesses and individuals.  Every publisher had their format for information they presented, but if you find one that includes your ancestor, it can be the source for new information.

Typically, city directories give the name and address of the head of the household.  Often they give the wife’s name, usually in parenthesis, and sometimes the names of adult children living at the same address. They also typically provide the occupation of the individual.  Sometimes there is a reverse directory included which goes by street address and contains the names of the individuals living there. Always look for your ancestor in the name section, the business section, and, if included, the reverse directory to see who else might live at the address.

Sometimes a directory can provide an answer to a question or clarify what was happening.  As an example, for many years I thought a great-grandmother of mine moved from one address to another on the same street.  I thought it was odd, but not unheard of before. A city directory revealed that they renumbered the street one year. The neighbors stayed the same, but the numbers changed for all of them.

Directories often show maps, street name changes, addresses of businesses, churches, schools, cemeteries, post offices, hospitals, newspapers and the like.  Some will give a history of the city as well as the names of elected officials.

Another significant bit of information often given is if a person is a widow.  That can be key to narrowing down the year of someone’s death and provides a “died before” date.  In some occasions, the city directory may even list marriages, and deaths, including date, during the previous year.

Online Resources

Google Books is always worth a quick look to see if they have a directory you need. Go to books.google.com and then enter in the search box: City Directory [city of interest].  You may be surprised at what is available online. I noted the 1850-51 City Directory for Portland, ME, was available as a free eBook.

Probably better than Google Books is Google’s US Online Historical Directories site. A click on “Maine” shows that eight of the 16 counties have directories online and that seven Portland City Directories are available online.  Five of those directories are accessible through Don’s List, which is one of my favorite online sources for information. Check them out at: (www.donlist.net).

Another excellent source for directories is the Internet Archive (www.archive.org) and has Many Maine directories. A quick search of Directory Maine yielded 257 results including directories for Lewiston, Casco Bay, Bangor, and Portland.

One of the best sources for Directories is Family Search. After logging in, select Search – Catalog. Then under titles, enter Directory and State.  For “Directory Maine” there are 64 results returned. Be sure to look at the available directories closely. There is a directory for “Greater Portland” and directories for “Portland” which are separated by quite a bit.  Many of the directories are still only available on microfilm at various libraries but pay attention to them as they are likely to become available online soon.

Of course, Ancestry has many directories available with a subscription.  A search for “Directory” in the title with a keyword of “Maine” yielded 27 results. Several of them were city directories.

Off-Line Resources

Many libraries and historical societies have city directories in their possession. It is always worth an email or telephone call to find out if a library has a city directory. Often, they will do a look-up for you without charge or for a small fee.  Occasionally the directories have been microfilmed so be sure to speak with a reference librarian who knows the various collections available on microfilm. Sometime those resources may be ordered via interlibrary loan.

Scarborough Historical Society & Museum Collection[1]

Thomas Henley Collection, Shelf K-12

The Scarborough Museum has a small collection of city directories of Portland, including the following:

  • 1942 – Thomas Henley – K11
  • 1952 – Thomas Henley – K11
  • 1956 – (Upstairs Archive)
  • 1963 – Thomas Henley – K04
  • 1965 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1970 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1975 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1977 – Thomas Henley – K12

These directories are available for members to use at the museum for research.  If you cannot make it to the museum, the Genealogy Volunteers will be happy to look up a couple of names for you. Just let them know the surname and the year.

Of course, if you have a Greater Portland city directory, or another directory that includes Scarborough, please consider donating it to the museum.  We would be extremely pleased to add it to our collection.

Other Public Collections

 The Scarborough Public Library also has many city directories including Greater Portland & Surrounding Communities from 1960 thru to the current 2019 directory.

The South Portland Historical Society also has many city directories, plus it is a great museum to visit. Check it out.

Finally, both the Maine Historical Society in Portland and the Maine State Library in Augusta have substantial collections of interest to genealogists that include many city directories. Either are great resources.


Endnotes

  1.  I am a volunteer at the Scarborough Historical Society and Museum. I am using it in this article as an example of what might be available at any local historical society.

Ancestry DNA – DNA Story

One of the kits I manage, I’ll call “JS,” has received his Ethnicity Estimate and he now knows he is 88% descended from England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe, 10% from Ireland and Scotland, and two percent from Germanic Europe. Pretty cool.

Ancestry also provides some pretty maps indicating a person’s ethnicity. In his case, the three ethnicity areas overlap.

Ancestry also provides connections to “Additional Communities.” In his case, there are:

  • “Lower Midwest & Virginia Settlers,” which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee.
  • “Mississippi & Louisiana Settlers”, (Mississippi & Louisiana)
  • “Tennessee & Southern States Settlers”

From my research, I’ve learned that JS’s great-grandparents were as follows.

  • Great-grandfather was from Illinois/Indiana[i].
  • Great-grandmother was from Indiana/Michigan.
  • Great-grandfather was from North Dakota/Michigan.
  • Great-grandmother was from Michigan/Minnesota.
  • Great-grandfather was from Tennessee.[ii]
  • Great-grandmother was from Tennessee.
  • Great-grandfather was from Tennessee.
  • Great-grandmother was from Tennessee.

Six of his eight great-grandparents are from the area identified by Ancestry which is as expected. However, the Mississippi & Louisiana settlers is somewhat of a surprise, and not seeing northern Midwestern ancestors was also unexpected. But although the Ethnicity Estimates and Communities are fun and interesting to see, there has to be more. For $99 (regular price) there has to be more, and there is. DNA Matches is the next big part of the process and in my next blog, I’ll describe what to do with them.



Endnotes

[i] Ancestors with two states listed were born in the first state and died in the second state listed.

[ii] The ancestors born in Tennessee also died in Tennessee.