By Don Taylor
[Occasionally, I am asked about my process of solving difficult genealogical process and breaking through brick walls. The following describes one of my methods.]
Lenora Busbee is one of the brick walls I have on my wife’s Howell/Vinson line. Lenora seems to have been called by several names, Eleanor, Ella, Elnora, and Lenora. When I have a brick wall I try to take a logical approach to breaking down the wall. Sort of shake the tree and see what might fall out. My steps include:
- Determine what my genealogical question is.
- Define what I know.
- Define what I surmise and/or what my hypothesis is.
- Develop an approach to answer my genealogical questions.
The simple genealogical question is what are the names of the parents of Lenora Vincent (Née Busbee).
What I think I know:
Lenora went by several name, Elnora, Eleanor, Lenora, and Ella. She was born between 1817 and 1827 in North Carolina and she married John Vincent/Vinson about 1844. All records I have discovered indicate her maiden name was “Busbee.”
What I surmise or hypnotize:
Because she was born in North Carolina and was married in North Carolina, I assume she was in North Carolina during the 1840 Census and she will show in the 1840 Census as a child between 13 and 23.
My approach is to look at the 1840 Census for Busbee/Busby families and analyze which family she is likely to have been a part of and determine if her likely parentage. With some luck, I thought I might even be able to determine which family is hers.
For this type of search, I like to use Ancestry.Com. For search criteria, I used:
- Last Name: Busbee (Exact & Similar) and
- Location: North Carolina, USA (Exact to the Place)
The search yielded four results showing Busbee/Busby families in North Carolina during the 1840 Census.
Name County Females
Jas F Busby Gates County 1 female under 5
1 female 20-29
James Busbee Wake 1 female 15-19
1 female 40-49
Mary Busbee – Wake 1 female 15-19
1 female 20 to 29
1 female 40-49
Johnson Busber – Wake 1 female 15-19
1 female 20 to 29
1 female 40-49.
(Note: The Mary Busbee household of 1840 also included one male 10 to 14 which I will use below.)
Jas F. Busby – Unlikely
The only male in the house from 30 to 39 years of age. The 1 female 20 to 29 is most likely his wife.
James Busbee – Possible
The female age 40-49 is likely James’ wife, but the female 15 to 19 might be Lenora.
Mary Busbee – Very possible
It is likely that Mary Busbee is the female 40 to 49. That leaves two females in the household, one 15-19 and one 20 to 29.
Johnson Busber – Possible, but unlikely.
The surname is similar but not the same sound; however, Johnson does have females living with him that could include Lenora.
So, I am going to assume that James Busbee or Mary Busbee is likely Lenora’s parent.
James Busbee shows in the 1850 Census with his apparent wife Elizabeth, and two boys. The female 15 to 19 could still be Lenora.
The only Mary Busbee in the 1850 Census in North Carolina is the 24-year-old Mary living with an apparent husband, Larking Busbee. No help there.
1830 Census – In 1830 I would expect Lenora to be identified as a female aged 3 to 13.
The Alford Busbee family consisted of two females one under 5 and one 20 to 29. Mary Busbee would have been 30 to 40 years old then so Alford is not likely the father.
The Polly Busbee family consisted of one male under 5, one female 5 to 9 and one female 30 to 39. This family has the exact same makeup as the Mary Busbee family of 1840.
The Ransome Busbee family consisted of one male under 5, and two females under 5 and one female 15 to 19. Again, this could not be the Mary Busbee family of 1840.
Finally, there is a William Busby living in Northampton county, who has two females under 5, one, female 5 to 9 and one female 20 thru 29 living with him. The female 20 to 29 is unlikely to be the Mary who would be from 30 to 39-years-old.
My look at the potential parents for Lenora are down to only two likely sets.
- James & Elizabeth Busbee of Wake County, North Carolina. A well-to-do family consisting of three boys, 2, ages 5-9 and one age 15-19 and one girl age 15 to 19.
- Unknown & Mary/Polly Busbee, née unknown of Wake County, North Carolina.
A modest family consisting of a single mother, one boy, age 10 to 14, and two girls one 15 to 19 and one 20 to 29.
There is one more bit of information which may help. In the 1850 Census, there is an Eliza Beasley living in the John & Lenora Vinson household. I have long thought that she is probably related to either John or Lenora. Beasley is close enough in sound to Busbee that she could be a spinster sister of Lenora. If so, she would have been 5 to 8 years older and would fit the older girl profile in both the 1840 and 1830 census records for Mary/Polly Busbee. The 1840 Census indicates that living in John’s family was a girl who is presumed to be his sister Nancy, so this Eliza is unlikely a sibling of John.
- Determine the names of the children of James and Elizabeth Busbee of Wake County, North Carolina.
- Determine the names of the children of Mary/Polly Busbee née unknown of Wake County, North Carolina. Mary/Polly appears to have died or remarried before 1850.
I’ll look closely at these families as my next step the next time I research the Howell/Vinson/Busbee line.
————- Disclaimer ————-