James Austin Davis (c1850-1909) was my maternal 3rd-great grandfather. What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have discovered about him.
1. Vital Records
1.1. Birth Certificate
James was born circa 1850 in Indiana, according to census records1,2, although it was also reported as 18513 or 18524.
1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper
If James' birth was recorded in a newspaper, I've not located it yet. Will need to check with local libraries and state archives to see if they have any newspapers from the time period.
1.1.2. Bible Record
I'm not aware of any surviving Davis family Bible that might record his birth. Will continue to reach out to family members in the hopes that one can be located.
1.1.3. Baptismal Record
I do not know of the church affiliation of the Davis family.
1.1.4. Adoption Record
There is no indication that James was adopted.
1.2. Marriage License
James married Mary Ellen Swafford on July 3, 1873 in Monroe County, Indiana5. Mary Ellen was born August 30, 1854 in Monroe County, Indiana. They had two children and apparently were divorced before 1880. Mary Ellen died January 28, 1932 in Monroe County, Indiana.
1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if mention was made of James and Mary's wedding.
1.2.2. Anniversary Notice
James and Mary's marriage lasted less than 10 years.
1.2.3. Divorce Decree
Need to search court records in either Monroe County, Indiana or Owen County, Indiana for divorce record of James and Mary. By the 1880 census, Austin was no longer living with the family, and Mary was remarried in November of 1884. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.3. Death Certificate
James died June 12, 1909 in Logansport, Cass County, Indiana. I thought I had a copy of his death certificate, but apparently have not sourced it in my database. Will need to add this to my "to-do" list for my next research trip.
1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper
Will need to search contemporary newspaper records to see if mention was made of James' death. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.
1.3.2. Funeral Home Records
Somewhere in my files I have the records of the funeral home who handled James' body after his death. I thought I had sourced that data in my files, but apparently I have not. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.
1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph
There is no tombstone for James. His body was sent to the Indianapolis Anatomical Board. A memorial page has been set up at the FindAGrave website and can be seen here.
2. Census Records
2.1. Federal Census Records
2.1.1. 1900 Federal Census
On June 2, 1900, James was enumerated in Cass County, Indiana at the Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane3, as James A. Davis, inmate, born 1851 in Indiana.
2.1.2. 1880 Federal Census
On June 3, 1880, James was enumerated in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana2, as Austin Davis, age 30, inmate, insane, born Indiana. He could not read or write and had no occupation. He was a resident at the Owen County Assylum.
2.1.3. 1870 Federal Census
On August 22, 1870, James was enumerated in the Lewis Walden household Stinesville, Monroe County, Indiana4, as Austin Davis, age 18, born in Indiana. His occupation was listed as hired labor.
2.1.4. 1860 Federal Census
On June 18, 1860, James was enumerated in the Joseph Langwell household in Washington Township, Monroe County, Indiana1, as James A. Davis, age 10, 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 yet examined these types of census records to see what light they might shed on the Davis family.
3. Military Records
3.1. Draft Registration
No draft records have been located for James.
3.2. Pension Records
I am not aware of any military service by James or his father that would make him eligible to receive military pension benefits.
3.3. Service Records
No service records have been located for James. He was too young for the Civil War, and by the Spanish-American War was in an asylum.
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 James. Will add this to my "to-do" list for my next research trip.
4.2. Plat map / county map
Plat maps of Owen and Monroe Counties, Indiana will need to be searched to see what information might be relevant to my search for James.
5. Supplemental Records
Supplemental records available for research on James 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. Joseph Langwell household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Washington Township, Monroe County, Indiana, page 14, dwelling 46, family 46; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 282, page 687.
2. Owen County Assylum, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana, ED 259, SD 4, dwelling 28, family 28; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 303.
3. Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane, 1900 U.S. census, Cass County, Indiana, population schedule, Clinton Township, ED 131, SD 11, sheet 3; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 362.
4. Lewis Walden household, 1870 U.S. census, Monroe County, Indiana, population schedule, Bean Blossom Township, page 1, dweling 1, family 1; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 344.
5. Monroe County, Indiana Marriage Records, Book 5, page 442.
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.