Archives.com recently introduced the US Census into it’s database of records. To get the word out, there is a contest listed on the Geneabloggers website! Write a blog post linking to Archives.com about how to use the US Census. What are your tips and suggestions for beginners.
Here are my two tips for successful searches:
Spelling – perform broad searches that can include variations of both first name and last name. One of my favorite misspellings is Walter Scales instead of Walker Seales (took me a long time for find him).
Search without names – perform searches for an individual based on information besides the name. I was trying to locate ancestor Jane Hathorn and her family in the 1880 census. I searched for every spelling variation of Hathorn that I could remember all over the state of Mississippi with no luck. Then I searched for a Black female aged within 10 years of Jane Hathorn’s suspected birth date. Eureka! The entire family was in the same vicinity of where they should have been. The difference was that they were now Thompsons.
For family history, the census offers a glimpse into our ancestors lives if just for a moment.
Employment – I love to know where my ancestors worked in the past. As I have followed the various lines around the state, I was able to see a generational shift from farming to other forms of employment. Today, there are no farmers in the family.
Families and Names – A friend of mine recently remarked that she believed that by time her grandfather and his younger sisters (11 – 14 of 14) that her great grandmother was tired and just looked out the window and picked a name. Hence, the last four children are Oakley, Peony, Rose and Myrtle.
I look forward to reading the other census posts!
- Mattie Wright Hill and L C Hill
I’m taking some time today to get reorganized and really focus. I was on vacation last week and had a lot of fun spending time with family and collecting information. I have photos to scan and documents to transcribe and index. However, none of these things have anything to do with the current projects that I’m working on.
The Seals / Wright Family Tree: I’m spending the afternoon with the Seals and Wright families of Oktibbeha County, MS. I will be organizing existing data and following up with my dad and Aunt Louise that they are indeed recording their stories. I’m also waiting for a response from the Family Reunion committee about putting an asterisk after the surnames to show that Hill / Wright should more accurately be Sampson / McBride. (I don’t actually think that will happen). As you can see from the photo above, I’ve scanned a photo of my Grandma and Granddaddy Hill (check).
African American Special Interest Group: I will be speaking at the September meeting of AASIG, a special interest group of the Dallas Genealogical Society. I am able to present on a family line and can’t decide if I want to present about the search for Jesse Hill, my 4th great-grandfather or Myhalia Hathorn, my 4th great grandmother. I think that both of their stories and the research methods used are very interesting.
2011 Georgia Family History Expo: I will be presenting “Using the Genealogical Proof Standard and U.S. Census Records as a Foundation for Creating an Effective Research Plan” at the expo in Gwinnett, GA. I’m moving this one to the top of the list as my handouts have to be turned in shortly.
Examiner.com: Last year, I signed up to write for Examiner.com as the Garland Genealogy Examiner. Last month, I received my first check – the minimum $25.00 for a payout. It was only $25.00 but I was so excited. Since, I am super competitive, I’ve challenged myself to get that $25.00 every other month by publishing 25 articles every two months. Today, I will begin writing my articles for next week. The beginning of a month is always easy because I publish about upcoming local genealogical events! I’ll let you know if I get the $25.00 for September.
Okay, maybe I should have called this Genealogy Months…
I am working with my cousins to plan our 2012 family reunion. I am not a big part of the planning process. My main task is to complete research on the Seals and Wright families back to 1870 and complete a book of some sort that will be available for each family at the reunion.
Because I am prone to disorganization, I am spending the day not only organizing existing information but creating a detailed task list tied to my outlook calendar so that everyday there is a reminder that are things to do. I am also going to brainstorm about how to best present this information accurately in what seems like a short time (10 months)!
I am very excited that my family has asked me to do this! It often seems that I discuss the family history more with people outside the family than actual relatives.
No more procrastinating, I’m off to work!
I speak with my cousin Comel Hawthorn (she is a Hathorn who married a Hawthorn) about once a month to catch up about family in Prentiss, MS. I share information that I have found on the family and more often than not she tells me that whatever I’ve found can’t possibly be right. Today, I got her good! She is waiting for me to send this information to her and has told me that her retired sister will follow up on research.
The information – A Freedmen’s Bureau Contract listing our 4th great-grandmother being given one acre of land by N.C. Hathorn along with 4 other adults and 1 dependent adult. The dependent adult was Sanco Hathorn, enslaved son of N. C. Hathorn. The other adults all mulattoes would also take the name of Hathorn. I told Comel about my conversation with the 3rd great-granddaughter of N.C. Hathorn and that everyone knew that Sanco was his son. The location of N.C. Hathorn’s other enslaved children was not known. I told her that the other children may have been those listed in the contract including our Myhalia Hathorn.
Comel was silent before saying, “I don’t know if the other children will say this, but I was always a little scared of the way that Papa looked. His hair was what you would call wavy. And his eyes were light colored. Hazel, I guess we would say now. Though I think they were green. He had light skin lighter than your Aunt Elna who looked most like him. We didn’t associate with White people when I was growing up so one day when a White man came over to talk to Papa about something. I asked if that man was kin. He looked more like Papa than anyone else. I was told to hush up because that was a White man. But he looked like Papa – same coloring, same hair, same eyes. I wonder if we ain’t related to those White Hathorns?
Proof? I don’t know if we’ll get it. I just don’t know if there is any document out there that will tell us the reason that N.C. Hathorn chose 5 adult slaves to give an acre of land after Emancipation.
L.C. Hill receives first pension check for 41 years of service
The picture above was published in our 2000 Family Reunion book. To date, I have not found the newspaper from which it was taken. The article is transcribed below:
FIRST TO GET PENSION – L. C. Hill (R), employee of Co-op Creamery and Dairymen, Inc. for 41 years, receives his first pension check from John Moore (L), assistant manager of the industry’s Mississippi Division. Hill is the first employee of 700 at Dairymen Inc. to take advantage of a new pension program offered by the company. A & M Dairy in Starkville is a subsidiary of Dairymen, Inc. (Staff Photo – Brumfield)
L.C. Hill is my grandfather.
The Wright Seals
Well your Aunt Kate, we called her Kate but her name was Virginia, anyway I have her original birth certificate and it says Letha Ann on it
So began the family history overview with my Aunt Louise. I just sat there shaking my head and my aunt just smiled. You know almost everyone had different names she told me. Like Uncle Pap, he was really Prentiss. While she talked, I scratched through notes and tried to grasp the entire family line of multiple Prentisses, Ediths and Eulas plus the never-ending initials – LA, MC, and NF. What do the initials stand for? Nothing.
Then Aunt Louise had an idea. We were thinking too big, trying to map too much at once. We were going to pick one family group and begin there. No more looking at the WRIGHTS and the SEALS. We were picking one family and sticking with it no matter what fascinating document we found or family lore that we happened upon.
We created our family group sheet
James Mann Wright married Sallie Seals in 1900 Oktibbeha County (no record located at Archives, will have to contact county)
Their children were Mattie, Prentiss, Edith, Eula, LA, Letha Ann (died in infancy), NF and MC.
Aunt Louise is going to record all the memories that she has of her mother’s siblings and the stories about her grandparents. I will complete the document research and we are going to get this family mapped out!
Aunt Louise using Family Tree Maker
This week, I will be visiting family in Prentiss, MS and will have the opportunity to speak with my Aunt Nell. She is not really an aunt, but the widow of my 2nd cousin, Toxey Hathorn. I remember her from my childhood as a beautiful woman. She was short and slender and had the most beautiful black, black hair that was always wound into a bun at the nape of her neck. She and Toxey had 13 children.
I am trying to find the most important questions to ask her and have come up with the list below. I know my Dad and my brother will there telling me to leave her alone so I won’t have much time!
1.) What were the names of your parents?
2.) Where did you live?
3.) Where were you and Toxey married? (I have a lot of marriage records, but I really don’t know if anyone was married in a church or if you just went to the JP.)
4.) Do you remember Thelma’s (my grandma) first husband, Eddie Johnson?
5.) What happened to him?
6.) Do you remember Papa’s (my great-grandfather) brothers and sisters? (I have my list to confirm with her. Estus Hathorn is the unknown. I remember his son, Buster, was called a cousin. However, I don’t know if Estus was a brother or a cousin himself.)
7.) Do you remember Bill and Harriet Hathorn? (my 2nd great-grandparents)
8.) What did they look like?
9.) Do you remember John and Anna Holloway? (I believe we are related to the Holloway family, but my family says no)
10.) Why were they living with Bill and Harriet?
I’m very excited about my trip and will give a follow-up and pictures from the field!
When I finally uncovered my great-grandmother’s parents, I found a Griffith married to a Griffith. This week has been dedicated to sorting through the Griffiths and trying to find a filing system that will keep the two lines distinct in my mind and on paper.
Idella Griffith’s parents were Isom (Isam, Isham) GRIFFITH and Mira (Myra) GRIFFITH. Her siblings were:
Eliza m. R.A. BLOUNT; Nathan; Ophelia; Ada; Oliver; Fronie; Willie; and James (1893 – 1967) m. Hattie MCNAIR.
Contained in the orange binder is the family of Isom Griffith:
Father: Orange Griffith born in Mississippi
Mother: Icy born in Kentucky
Siblings: Elvira, Norvel, Alfred, Lucy, Milly
Griffiths of Kentucky – Searching through records for Hiram Griffith who settled in Covington County in the 1830s with his wife Icy FOUNTAIN from Caldwell Kentucky.
Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contract – located a contract for Icy, Elvira, Alfred, Lucy, Milly and Isom bound to Milton Griffith, son of Hiram Griffith of Kentucky.
Contained in the dark blue binder is the family of Mira Griffith:
Father: Dennis Griffith born in Virginia
Mother: Eliza born in Mississippi
Siblings: Isaac; Malley; Harry; Dennis; Sarah; Elizabeth
Unable to locate family in Freedmen’s Bureau contracts. I will have to start with 1860 slave schedules.
I think that even though I have divided the two families into separate binders that I should track them together. The community of Holledays Creek, Mississippi was very small and I doubt that GRIFFITH was chosen randomly as a surname by both families.
Once again, the little family history corner of my living room is a mess. There are papers and books stacked haphazardly in the corner. My projects are swirling around in my mind but I haven’t put them in my OneNote notebooks! So this week, I’m going to get re-organized, re-focused and get to work!
The Hill Family – I want to thank everyone who sent me emails about the Hill Files to nowhere. I really feel energized again about this leg of my journey. I am going to Mississippi in a few days and have already called my aunt and cousin to review some of the clues I received from other family historians. Also, on my task list is to order the birth certificate for my grandfather’s sister, Dina Hill. I never ordered it because I had her death certificate. Then I thought, she is the only child that could possibly have a birth certificate filed near the time of her birth because she was born in 1919. Well after the state requirement for birth certificates! I’m giving it a shot.
The Wright Family – I haven’t explored the Wright family at all. I will continue to collect stories and set up some time to begin record searching once I get to a stopping point with the Hill family.
Rosie Sampson – The mysterious matriarch of the Hill family. I have the List of Educable Children for Oktibbeha County which lists a Rosie Sampson with parent/guardian Neal? Sampson. A definite next step is to locate Neal Sampson in the census. I am waiting for FHL film for marriage records. I believe that she married Otis Ratley/Ratliff in 1919 or 1920.
My goal for today is organize this information in my virtual notebooks and set up my task lists and not to get off track! I’m paying my daughters 50 cents per hour to file and catalog items so we should be able to accomplish this today.