Census records are the mainstay of genealogical research. One of my favorite census records is the 1895 Minnesota State Census. Not only does it provide much of the information you would expect in a Census – Name, Age, Sex, Race, Place of Birth, and Occupation – it provides information about how long males over 21 have been in the state, how long they have been in the Enumeration District, and if they were a soldier or sailor in the War of Rebellion (Civil War).
When I learned my new cousin (See: Keep Trees Wide, Not Deep) was a descendant of Jessie M. and Nancy A (Mannin) Barnett, I wanted to add a bit more about them and their children into my tree information.
Sure enough. I learned Jessie (and presumably the entire family) moved to Minnesota about March 1883 (12 years and 2 Months before the 1 June 1895 Census) and moved to May Township (Township 134, Range 31) about March 1886 (9 years and 2 months before the Census.) Sarah being born in Minnesota and Albert being born in Kentucky confirms the arrival in Minnesota date. I also learned that Jessie was a soldier in the War of Rebellion. I also received confirmation about several of the children’s dates and places of birth. Finally, the census showed one child, John M. Barnett, whom I had no record of before. The 1895 Census does not provide relationships; however, it is a fairly safe bet that John M was the son of Jesse and Nancy. I tentatively added him to my listing of children and will work to confirm the relationship later.
My transcription notes:
1895 Minnesota Census – Jessie Barnett, Cass County[i]
Enumeration Date was 1 June 1895.
Township 134, Range 31 (May Township)
Name Age Born Res. St/ED Occ. Mos. War
Barnett, Jessie M. 46 KY 12, 2; 9, 2, Farmer 12, Soldier
Barnett, Nancy A. 46 KY
Barnett, Albert M 14 KY
Barnett, Sarah M. 12 MN
Barnett, Martin W 9 MN
Barnett, John M. 7 MN
Barnett, Jessie W 4 MN
[i] “Minnesota State Census, 1895,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQ6T-52G : 26 November 2014), Jessie M Barnett, Township 134N, Range 31W, Cass, Minnesota; citing p. 3, line 21, State Library and Records Service, St.Paul; FHL microfilm 565,765.
During the last meeting of the Maine Genealogical DNA Interest Group, someone asked if it is better to have a tree that is deep or a tree that is wide. I mentioned that, for autosomal DNA test matches, a wide tree is best. The sheer number of potential 5th and 6th cousins is daunting. But, more importantly, the likelihood of your sharing DNA with a 4th cousin is only 69% and the likelihood of sharing DNA with a 5th cousin is only 30%.[i] Consequently, knowing your 10th great grandparents is of little use in matching DNA cousins. (Consequently, knowing your 10th great grandparents is of little use in matching DNA cousins. There are two exceptions to this, Y-DNA tree (paternal only) is useful for connecting trees on a Y-DNA match. Also, X-DNA can provide a similar usefulness.)
The importance of having a wide tree was exemplified recently. I was contacted through 23 and Me by a, potentially, 2nd to 4th cousin (I’ll call B.J.) I took a look at the match using 23 & Me‘s new She and my aunt Barbara shared 88cM across five segments. My mother shared 50cM across two segments; interestingly enough, I also shared 50cM across two segments. Looking at what segments all four of us share is an excellent example of how sticky DNA segments are. All three of us shared the same sticky chunk of DNA.
We exchanged basic tree information, she mentioned her ancestors were a Mannin and a Barnett. When she said that, I knew we were related and I was pretty sure I knew exactly how. Nancy Ann Mannin married Jessie Monroe Barnett about 1867 in Kentucky. They later moved to Minnesota and settled May Township in Cass County, Minnesota.
A couple more email exchanges and I learned that B.J. and my Aunt Barbara were third cousins their common ancestor was Enoch Mannin. Enoch was one of those pivotal people in my genealogical research and I knew a lot about him and his descendants. I even had B.J.’s mother (but not her father nor her) in my family tree records.
Thanks to 23 and Me for providing the tools to connect with another cousin.