Sunday, March 24, 2019

Adding Relatives To My Tree Through the 1880 Census

While I haven't posted lately to the blog, it doesn't mean I haven't been actively researching the family tree.  My latest project has been to systematically work through my RootsMagic database and update/add to relatives from the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.

Why add relatives this way?

Not only am I able to make sure that I have a more complete picture of the lifetime of my immediate relatives, I've also been able to add additional descendants from family groups that are roughly in the time frame of my great-great grandparents.  Many of these families had not been traced down into the current generations, and by adding the newly found members to my database, I'm one step closer to tracing the lines down to the present day.  Doing so will come in handy as I continue to have 2nd-4th cousin matches through the various DNA testing sites whose connections I don't always immediately recognize.

Why the 1880 census?

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census was the first census to actually indicate the relationship to the head of the household.  While the 1850 census was the first to name all of the individuals listed in the household, the relationships were not spelled out.  Many assumptions have been made through the 1850-1870 census about the relationships to the family members which have later turned out to be incorrect.  For example, all of the children in the household with the same surname might not be children of the couple.  

How I'm doing this:

Using my RootsMagic database, I'm using the RootsMagic Explorer to search for anyone who was born before 1880 and died after 1880, as a starting point for relatives to search for.

Doing this gives me an individual to start with.  If I already have a 1880 census fact sourced for this individual, I move on.  However, if I don't, then I try to find them in the 1880 census using based on the other facts I have about the family.

Note that there are many individuals I have in my database that should appear in the 1880 census, but I don't yet have enough identifying information (names of spouses/parents/children, etc.) in order to positively identify that the census record found matches the individual in my database.  In those instances, I have to skip them and move on to the next individual.

Creating the sources:

Once I've found a record for a relative, I create a census record fact and add it to my Master Source list at RootsMagic.  I then tie each individual who appears in the household to that event.  I am using the date that the census was enumerated on the page, rather than the standard June 1, 1880 date that was given as a guideline by the census department.  I find it interesting how many census takers were delayed in getting the actual rounds done in taking the census.  Of course, not all of them have the best handwriting either, so often I am having to use my best judgment on the spelling of a name if I cannot make it out clearly.

Who I'm including:

I'm adding all members of the household that I find, including boarders, servants and other non-relatives.  While this does add some "unconnected" members to my family tree in my database, one never knows what ties will later be found.  For instance, I've already discovered instances where the "servant" in the household was actually a relative (niece/nephew), but was not listed as such by the census taker.  Additionally, these individuals in the household are part of the FAN group (Friends, Associates & Neighbors) who may later interact through marriage or land dealings with your relatives.  It's better to include them when you find them rather than having to go back and add them in later.

Database Expansion:

Since my database is synched with my Ancestry Tree, each time I add an indvidual to my database that kicks off a whole series of 'hints' on that site for additional information as well.  I'm trying to not go down the path of chasing those bright shiny objects just yet.

Next Steps:

Right now, I'm searching my database for everyone who was born before 1880 and died after 1880 to including them in my search parameters.  Later, I will go back and exclude the death date parameter, as there are many in my database who I do not have a death date yet.  My thoughts are that by doing this process systematically, I will eventually have captured as many individuals as possible with a census fact for the 1880 census.

Then, the hope is to repeat this process working forward to the 1900 census or even backwards to the 1870 census.  The possibilities are only limited by my time and willingness to keep going.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Season's Greetings

Playing Santa, Christmas 2018

Here it is now late December and it's been over 8 months since my last blog post.  The New Year is fast approaching - time when folks begin to make resolutions and talk about the 'new me', etc.  I'm not so sure that with the turning of the calendar you will see much change in me.

I have been remiss in keeping up with this blog, but I don't want to make excuses. It has been an interesting year.  There were a lot of things going on this year that I should have blogged about, besides the usual day-to-day travails of work-life balance.

I've made some interesting new connections through DNA that I plan to blog about soon.  Additionally, I attended the NGS conference this year and have been trying to implement some of the techniques I learned there to become a better researcher.  I'm working (again!) on cleaning up my RootsMagic database and digital file organization.  I want to continue to utilize the 52 Ancestors-type posts to work out research problems and accurately document my family.

We moved to a new house this year.  There have been illnesses, car accidents and other things that life has thrown our way. Yet through it all we've been blessed and are looking forward to the New Year with anticipation.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Itinerant Farmer, George Washington Haley (1840-1892), 52 Ancestors # 17

George Washington Haley tombstone
Mt. Zion Cemetery
Jay County, Indiana

The 17th Ancestor in my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my paternal great-great grandfather, George Washington Haley (1840-1892).  George is number 20 on my Ahnentafel list, and previously I've written about the details of his life in an Exploratory Analysis post.

I am descended through :
* his son, # 10 Eli Weldon Haley (1866-1957), married # 11 Cora Belle Metzner (1868-1955), in 1888.
* their daughter, # 5 Ruth Pauline Haley (1911-1990), married # 4 Ord Wehrly LeMaster (1906-1971) in 1932 - my grandparents.
George was born May 16, 1840 in Hardin County, Ohio1,2, the son of George J. and Rachel H. (Gary) Haley.  His father was a minister in the Evangelical Association, and the family moved around a bit.  By the time of the 1850 census, George was a ten year old student in Jackson Township, Sandusky County, Ohio3.  At the recording of the 1860 census, George was a 20 year farmer in Claridon Township, Marion County, Ohio4.

Sometime around 1862, George moved to Ashland County, Ohio, where he married Mary Jane Sherrick on October 14, 18621.  I am not aware of any military service during the Civil War for George, and none is alluded to by his obituary or the biographical sketches.

George is one of my relatives who moved around a lot and I need to do more research in land records.  Between 1863 and 1869 the family was living in Seneca County, Ohio, but by the 1870 census they were all enumerated in Harrisville Township, Medina County, Ohio5.  During this census, it was recorded that George was a U.S. citizen whose father was of foreign birth and his real estate was valued at $2730.  

The family of George and Mary grew to six children by the time of the 1880 census, when George was farming in Liberty Township, Seneca County, Ohio6.  The children were Andrew Frank (1864), Eli Weldon (1866), George David Ellsworth (1868), Rachel Emma Pernina (1869), Charles Wesley (1872) and Carrie Mae (1877).  Sometime before 1884, the family moved to Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana were the seventh child, daughter Ora was born.

George died December 3, 1892 and is buried in the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Jay County, Indiana2,7.  At the time of his death he was only 52 years old.  I located his estate records at the Jay County Historical Society, and discovered he had an estate of less than $500.

George W. Haley estate packet No 1277 Box 86
Jay County, Indiana
The documents that make up this estate packet will be the subject of a future post.  Basically, the widow had to declare that the estate of personal and real property was less than $500.  The actual inventory showed a total value of $458.75.  Albert Graves and Henry Muller were appointed to be appraisers of the estate.  Albert was later George and Mary's son-in-law, marrying daughter Carrie.

According to his obituary, George had been sick for about one year before he died.  George is one of my ancestors that I need to learn more about, even a picture of what he looks like is unknown to me at this point.


1. "Biographical and Historical Record of Jay County, Indiana", Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1887, page 665.
2. George W. Haley obituary, Evangelical Messenger, New Berlin, Pennsylvania, December 20, 1892, page 811. 
3. George Haley household, 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Jackson Township, Sandusky County, Ohio, dwelling 79, family 81; National Archives micropublication M432, roll 726.
4. George Haley household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Claridon Township, Marion County, Ohio, Marion P.O., page 28, dwelling 201, family 197; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 1006.
5. George Haley household, 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Harrisville Township, Medina County, Ohio, Lodi P.O., page 10, dwelling 90, household 101; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 1241
6. George W. Haley household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Liberty Township, Seneca County, Ohio, ED 193, SD 1, dwelling 401, family 405; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1065.
7. Jane Ann Spencer, Williamson & Spencer Funeral Homes Inc. Portland and Pennville, Indiana Burial Records Book One 1892-1899 (Portland, Indiana:Williamson & Spencer Funeral Homes, Inc., 2008), page 27.

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.