Mary Ellen (Swafford) Davis Gilliland (1854-1932) was my maternal 3rd-great grandmother. What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have discovered about her.
1. Vital Records
1.1. Birth Certificate
Mary Ellen was born August 30, 1854 near Stinesville, Monroe County, Indiana. The 1900 census lists her birth as August 1854 in Indiana1. The State of Indiana did not require birth certificates until 1907.
1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper
If Mary Ellen's birth has been recorded in a newspaper, I have not yet located it. Will need to check with local libraries and state archives to see if they have newspapers from the time period.
1.1.2. Bible Record
I am not aware of a Swafford family Bible might record her birth. Will continue to reach out to extended family members in hopes that one can be located.
1.1.3. Baptismal Record
I do not know of the church affiliation of the Swafford family.
1.1.4. Adoption Record
There is no indication that Mary Ellen was adopted.
1.2. Marriage License
Mary Ellen married James Austin Davis on July 3, 1873 in Monroe County, Indiana2. James was born circa 1850 in Indiana. They had two children. They apparently divorced before 1880. James died June 12, 1909 in Logansport, Cass County, Indiana.
Mary married Robert Farrell Gilliland on November 15, 1884 in Monroe County, Indiana. Robert was born November 27, 1849 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. They raised two children in Monroe County, Indiana. Robert died August 4, 1916 in Whitehall, Owen County, Indiana. I need to obtain a copy of their marriage license. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if mention is made of either of Mary's marriages.
1.2.2. Anniversary Notice
Mary Ellen and Robert's 25th wedding anniversary would have been November 15, 1909. Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if any mention was made of any anniversary celebrations.
1.2.3. Divorce Decree
Will need to search court records in Owen County, Indiana to see if a record can be located relating to Mary Ellen and Austin Davis' divorce. In the 1880 census of Owen County, Mary Ellen was living back with her father, and Austin was a resident of the county asylum.
1.3. Death Certificate
Mary Ellen died January 28, 1932 near Dolan, Monroe County, Indiana. The cause of her death was uremic poisoning. I do not yet have a copy of her death certificate. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspaper account to see if Mary's death was mentioned. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.3.2. Funeral Home Records
Will need to search the local historical society to see if they have copies of funeral home records to see if I can learn anything about the arrangements for Mary. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph
Mary Ellen's tombstone in Methodist Cemetery in Ellettsville, Monroe County, Indiana has been photographed3. A link to her memorial page at FindAGrave is located here.
2. Census Records
2.1. Federal Census Records
2.1.1. 1930 Federal Census
On April 28, 1930, Mary Ellen was enumerated in the Peter W. Decker household in Montgomery County, Indiana3, as Mary Gilliland, grandmother, female, age 75, widow. She was born in Indiana, her father was born in Ohio and her mother born in Indiana. She could read and write and spoke English.
2.1.2. 1920 Federal Census
I have not yet located Mary in the 1920 U.S. census.
2.1.3. 1910 Federal Census
On May 3, 1910, Mary Ellen was enumerated in Robert F. Gilliland household in Richland Township, Monroe County, Indiana4, as Mary E. Gilliland, wife, age 55, married 25 years. She was the mother of 4 children, 3 of whom were still living. She was born in Indiana and both her parents were born in Indiana. She could read and write and spoke English.
2.1.4. 1900 Federal Census
On June 9, 1900, Mary Ellen was enumerated in the Robert Gilliland household in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana5, as Mary Gilliland, wife, age 45, born August 1854. She had been married for 16 years and was the mother of 4 children, all living. She was born in Indiana and both of her parents were born in Indiana. She could read and write and spoke English.
2.1.5. 1880 Federal Census
On June 14, 1880, Mary Ellen was enumerated in the Peter Swafford household in Washington Township, Owen County, Indiana6, as Ellen Swafford, daughter, age 24, single. She was born in Indiana and both of her parents were born in Tennessee.
2.1.6. 1870 Federal Census
On July 8, 1870, Mary Ellen was enumerated in the Peter Swaford household in Franklin Township, Owen County, Indiana7, as Mary Swaford, age 15, housekeeper, born in Indiana.
2.2. State Census Records
The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919 and 1931. These, however, were merely for the purposes of legislative apportionment.
2.3. Agricultural Census Records
I have not examined these types of census records to see what light they might shed on the Swafford and Gilliland families.
3. Military Records
3.1. Draft Registration
Not applicable, as Mary Ellen was female.
3.2. Pension Records
I am not aware of any military service by either Mary Ellen's father or husbands that would qualify her for a military pension.
3.3. Service Records
Not applicable, as Mary Ellen was female.
4. Land Records
4.1. Deed Records
Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Owen and Monroe Counties, Indiana to see what records might mention Mary Ellen. Will add this to my "to-do" list for my next research trip.
4.2. Plat map / county map
Plat maps in Owen and Monroe Counties, Indiana will need to be searched to see what information might be relevant to my search for Mary Ellen.
5. Supplemental Records
Supplemental records available for research on Mary Ellen include city/county directories, court records and will and probate records. Will add these to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1. Robert Gilliland household, 1900 U.S. census, Owen County, Indiana, population schedule, Clay Township, ED 106, SD 2, sheet 4, dwelling 92, family 93, National Archives micropublication T623, roll 396.
2. Monroe County, Indiana Marriage Records, Book 5, page 442.
3. Peter W. Decker household, 1930 U.S. census, Montgomery County, Indiana, USA (Brown Township); ED 54-3, SD 6, sheet 8B, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4. Robert F. Gilliland household, 1910 U.S. census, Monroe County, Indiana, population schedule, Richland Township, ED 40, SD 2, sheet 2, dwelling 289, family 296, National Archives micropublication T624, roll 371.
5. Robert Gilliland household, 1900 U.S. census, Owen County, Indiana, population schedule, Clay Township, ED 106, SD 2, sheet 4, dwelling 92, family 93, National Archives micropublication T623, roll 396.
6. Peter Swafford household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Washington Township, Owen County, Indiana, ED 251, SD 25, page 12, dwelling 112, family 112; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 303, page 284.
7. Peter Swaford household, 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Franklin Township, Owen County, Indiana, page 24, Deem P.O., dwelling 163, family 163; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 348, page 206.
This post was developed as part of the series relating to Building My 2011 Research Template, an attempt to systematically document and source the details of my ancestors' lives. Comments regarding this template and the conclusions drawn in this article are welcomed.