HomeArticlesUsing Pre-1850 Census to Find Family Relationships (broadcast 2015 Apr. 1)
Using Pre-1850 Census to Find Family Relationships (broadcast 2015 Apr. 1)
August 31, 2019
>>Andrea: Welcome to the National Archives
Know Your Records Program. We are broadcasting live today from the National Archives building
in Washington, D.C. although our presenter today, Jean Nudd, is calling in from her home
in New Hampshire. Before we begin our broadcast today I have
a few tips to share with you. For those of you on site, I am hoping that you have picked
up our handout. We ask that you hold your questions until the very end of the program.
And when you have those questions, please use the microphones in the aisles.
For those of you watching on YouTube, you can also access those same handouts from this
web page. There’s a hyperlink there that says Handout. You will also find the presentation
slides and there is a link to the live captioning. So from New Hampshire, we are pleased to have
Archivist Jean Nudd’s presentation entitled “Using Pre-1850 Census to Find Family Relationships.”
Jean Nudd is an archivist in College Park, Maryland, in Research Services; however, she
works from home in New Hampshire. She is an avid genealogist and lectures frequently on
using federal records and doing genealogy. She has given presentations to the Federation
of Genealogical Societies in Boston, New England Regional Genealogical Conference, Ohio Genealogical
Society’s Annual Conference, and many more. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming
our speaker, Jean Nudd.>>Jean Nudd: Thank you very much, Andrea.
Welcome, everyone, today. We’re going to talk about using our relatives, our ancestor’s
relatives, to find out about our ancestors. This is called using collateral lines. And
it can help you identify all of those numbers in the 1790 to 1840 census. It gives them
names. The first place we start with this on our
methodology, on slide 3, is to check the 1850, 60, 70, censuses to see if we can find people
who may be related to our ancestors. So we’re going to look for families with the same surname
in the same location or same region as our ancestors. What we want to do when we’re doing
this is also look for older people in the households because frequently during that
time period a lot of people, especially older people, would live in the same household with
their children. Then we’re going to look at genealogies, town
histories, be church records, newspapers, whatever we can find to help confirm those
possible siblings that we found and the possible families. Because on slide 4, the next slide,
we’re going to also look for the parents, as I said, going to check every family, match
ages, previous and future years, to find the family.
And on slide 5 then we’re going to confirm this with other sources. So especially familysearch.org
is a great place to look, USGenWeb, local historical societies, etc.
Now, I like this presentation a lot because it’s really based on my own research into
my family. I started out researching my father’s side of the family. He’s old-time New England.
No one came after 1700 in his family. So I had a lot of fun. I would go from Massachusetts
up to Central New Hampshire where my mother was living at the time, and I would regale
her with all of these stories about the wondrous things I found out about my father.
My mother was an only child so she was slightly egocentric. Not to say that all only children
are but she was. She took this for about two or three visits before she really got upset
with me and said, “I’m still alive, Jean. Why aren’t you researching my family?” I said,
“Mother, tell me. I will be happy to research your family.” She got very happy and she said,
“I remember my grandmother Sophia, not Sophia, Sophia Goodman Park. I sat on her lap as a
child and she would tell me stories about the wagon train from Ohio to Iowa. And her
father’s name was Isaac Goodman and he was a polish Jew.”
So I went back to work all excited to work on my mother’s side of the family. And I looked
for Isaac Goodman. I’d come in early. I’d work over my lunch break. I’d stay after work
and look for Isaac Goodman. I did this for three weeks. And there wasn’t any Isaac Goodman
anywhere in the United States, never mind in Ohio or Iowa where he was supposed to be.
So I drove back up to New Hampshire to see my mother, fuming the whole way. I got in
the house and I said to her, “Mother, Isaac Goodman never existed.” And I swear to you
with a straight face she looked at me and she said, “Of course not, Jean. That wasn’t
his real name.” Now, granted, she should have told me that to begin with. But I very calmly
said to her, “Ok, mother, what was his real name?” To which she responded, “I don’t know,
Jean. I was a child. They didn’t talk about such things in front of me. Ask Dorothy. Dorothy
will know.” Well, Dorothy is the only cousin my mother
ever kept in touch with. I immediately went to the phone and called Dorothy. She was in
her 90s at that point. Luckily for my mother, Dorothy was home. I told Dorothy what my mother
had said. Isaac Goodman, polish Jew, immigrant ancestor. When she stopped laughing — and
that did not help my mood any — she said, “First of all, Jean, that’s very typical of
your mother. His name wasn’t Isaac, it was Israel. And he wasn’t the immigrant. His father
Jacob Solomon” — she knew him as Solomon Goodman was the immigrant. And he wasn’t polish.
He was German. And he wasn’t Jewish. He was Lutheran. But other than that, your mother
had it all right.” Slide 6 shows us a photograph of Israel Goodman.
And slide 7 shows my mother’s genealogy. You will see in the bottom right-hand Israel Goodman.
My mother’s grandmother, Rosanna Sophia Goodman Park.
Slide 8, when I finally went back to work after that discussion with my mother and Dorothy
and learning when we look for an I name — we don’t just look for Isaac, we look for any
name. I find in Iowa, on the 1860 census, Israel Goodman. He’s right there at the top.
He’s a mason. And he’s born in Pennsylvania. We can also reason from this, if you look
closely at it, Israel William, age 6, was born in Ohio but Elizabeth J., age 3, was
born in Iowa. So we know the wagon train from Ohio to Iowa went sometime between 1854 and
1857. Now, slide 8 — slide 9, excuse me, gives
us useful slides to where to look for cousins. Because at this point I said, well, I looked
and looked, couldn’t find any more records on Israel Goodman. Let me see if someone else
might be looking for an Israel Goodman. So I went on rootsweb. At that point we didn’t
have all of these. I’m talking about back in 1998. We didn’t have the full-name indexes
on Ancestry. We didn’t have any of that stuff. So I went to rootsweb. And they had queries,
they still do. And in searching a query, up comes someone look for Israel Goodman.
And slide 10 shows us the e-mail that Val sent me after I responded to hers. She was
so excited to find someone also looking for Israel Goodman. She had him born in Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania. She said, Jean, will you please go down to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,
and see if you can find anything about him? And I did. Israel Goodman born in Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania, was born, married, and died there. So he wasn’t ours. But you can
see she knew all of Israel and Elizabeth’s children. She had all of their dates of birth
and places of birth. So that was very useful. But she didn’t have any information that she
gave me at that point on his siblings. So slide 11. Here’s the census for Delaware,
Ohio, for Israel Goodman, mason, born in Pennsylvania. And right next door is Franklin Goodman, also
a mason, also born in Pennsylvania. Sounds pretty good.
We look further down in Franklin’s household, we see Rosanna Goodman, age 64, born in Pennsylvania.
Could be mother. Slide 12, I look further in Delaware, Ohio.
I find a Levi Goodman, age 35, also a mason, also born in Pennsylvania. And living in his
household was his wife Sarah, daughter Clarissa, a Jacob Goodman aged 77, born in Germany.
Things are looking up. I keep looking in Delaware. And I find living
in a boardinghouse, a Julia Goodman, age 29, also born in Pennsylvania.
So my next step is to take these names, possible ancestors — there’s also in here, there was
an Adam. On the censuses he and Israel were the same age so I discounted Adam to begin
with. So I go to the 1840 census on slide 14 and
there’s two Jacob Goodmans in Ohio. One is in Delaware and the other one is in Brunswick.
Slide 15 shows you the Delaware County schedule for 1840 and as I say, a whole bunch of numbers
and age brackets. You take those numbers and we plop them on
a blank form, like I did on slide 16, we see that they line up very well with the children.
Except we have one extra. We have Julia, but we also have another daughter unidentified.
And the other Jacob from Brunswick I put his numbers below that. There’s a lot more kids
there than I have possibilities. Doesn’t rule him out entirely but makes the first Jacob
Goodman look much better as a possible father. Slide 17 is another find from the 1840 census.
A Moses Goodman who may also be a sibling of my Israel.
Now I go back in 1830. I don’t find any Jacob Goodman in Ohio. So I go back to Pennsylvania.
They’re all born in Pennsylvania. So when I look on slide 18 for Jacob Goodman in Pennsylvania
in 1830, I come up with four possibilities. One from Albany, two from Reading, the South
Ward, and one from Londonderry. Slide 19, I’ve chartered those all out with
the numbers and ages of the children. The two in South Reading fit the best. And on
slide 20 I show you the names of the children that I know and how they fit in that relationship.
Slide 21 we go back to 1820. Now, this is where you can start if you have someone who
appears every year in the census like this Jacob Goodman in Londonderry. He’s also there
in 1840. So I’ve also looked at the Pennsylvania census for 1840 to rule out the people who
stayed in Pennsylvania. Right? Because we know that they’re not our person.
Slide 22 I’ve chartered those out for you as well.
Slide 23 shows 1910. We keep going backwards charting out all of those people.
Can I definitively say which one is mine? No, I can’t. Not yet.
Slide 25, my graduation patterns are an interesting thing to study, especially when you’re doing
something like this. And maps can be very useful. Slide 26 shows an article that I used
on using maps. Slide 27 is a map of Pennsylvania showing
you that Berks County, which is where Reading is — and, of course, when I went to Lancaster
for Val, I drove through Reading to get to Lancaster. And I drove through Reading to
get home. I could have stopped and done research had I known.
Slide 28 shows you where Reading is in relation to the rest of the state.
Slide 29 is a map of Ohio. Boy, does Ohio have a lot of counties. And Delaware is just
about smack dab in the middle of the state. And slide 30 shows you where Delaware County
— Delaware Township is in the County of Delaware. Now, another confirmation when you’re using
collateral research is to look at my graduation patterns. Often groups of families relocated
together. It’s very rare that an ancestor moved all by themselves. Very frequently they
would move together. So to check out migration patterns and to
do cluster research is a useful technology. What we do is slide 31, we search the census
in the place where our ancestor migrated to, in this case Delaware, Ohio. You write down
all the surnames. I know it sounds daunting but now you can just do an all names search
on Ancestry and give those parameters and print it out. You didn’t have to write it
down like I did when I did this back 10 years ago.
So we’re going to write down all the names of the — surnames of the people born in the
state same state. It’s also a good idea to get their first names and their ages.
So I start with 1850 Delaware, Ohio. I then check all the surnames in 1840 against that
to see how many of them were there at the same time as Jacob. There were 47 men living
in Delaware in 1850 who were born in Pennsylvania living in Delaware County, Delaware City.
24 of those or just about half were also there in 1840. 19 of which, both surname and given
name check. But, of course, it could have been bigger because since I didn’t write down
all the ages, Israel and Levi, there’s some hidden ones who may have been there in 1840
but still in their father’s household and so they don’t show up.
And then again using an Ancestry database we check the surnames for 1830 index in Pennsylvania.
And here nine of the surnames appeared in the census in the South Ward of Reading just
like my possible Jacob Goodman with four exact matches of surname and given name. Not proof
but a good confirmation that it’s a possibility that my Jacob Goodman was from South Reading.
So I did go back and visit the Berks County Historical Society, slide 32. I visited the
website first. There’s a lot of stuff on USGenWeb for the Berks County Historical Society. And
that’s a very good place to look if you’re doing Pennsylvania research because most of
the counties in Pennsylvania have historical societies. They have a lot of church records
available. And some of them like Berks County, put these online.
So slide 33 shows us the church records. The society has an online index database. I found
Jacob Goodman, slide 34. And I found 25 John Goodmans. Franklin’s name was actually John
Franklin. But I didn’t find any Levi, Julia, or Rosannas. I found six Israels.
This is slide 36. We’re going to skip over slide 35 and go right to 36. Unfortunately
none of these match up. And when I actually — don’t we all forget to go look at the actual
information about databases? When I looked at the information, it turned out that the
stuff online for South Reading Ward church records all predated 1800. So they were useless
to me anyway. Then I visited the Delaware County Historical
Society online on USGenWeb. Slide 37. They have available on their website the database
of cemetery records. And that such found, slide 38, a listing in the Oak Grove Cemetery
for Jacob Goodman and slide 39 also one for John Franklin Goodman. He says he was born
in Kutztown, Berks County, Pennsylvania. This is one of the proofs that I found eventually.
I had to go out to Berks County, into Delaware County, Ohio. I suppose I could have written
a letter but that’s not anywhere near as much fun. I went out to the cemetery. Never been
to a cemetery doing research before. It was quite an experience for me, on a very rainy
day. The only day I had there to do it, though. And I said I want the deed that goes with
this plot in the Oak Grove Cemetery. The gentleman said to me — so typical of researching my
mother’s side. “Well, we’re sorry, but that deed book was destroyed in a flood.” Ahh.
However, they did happen to transcribe the deed book into a database before it was destroyed
in the flood. And guess who bought that plot in the cemetery. None other than Israel Goodman
who would not have bought a plot for someone who wasn’t his father. At least now I know
for sure that this Jacob Goodman is Israel Goodman’s father. So another place to keep
looking for that evidence to support the findings that we’re getting in this collateral research
is family search. Slide 40. This is not what the website looks
like now so we’ll skip to slide 43. We’re going to do a play search to find out what
they have available for Delaware County, Ohio. Under place we’re going to put in Delaware.
And then under part of, we’re going to put in Ohio. And the results come up on 44. It
gives us choices. We can look in the County of Delaware. We can look in the City of Delaware.
We can look in Delaware Township. So those three. But Delaware Township is actually in
Defiance County. So we have several levels of government here we can search.
Slide 45 shows you the different types of records they have.
Slide 46, if you click on newspapers it gives you a title of what they have for newspapers.
Slide 47 gives you further description of those newspaper abstracts.
Slide 48 shows you the church records, the possible church records.
Slide 49 shows you, again, the definition of what those church records actually are.
And slide 50 is the County listing. Shows you the type of information you might find
for the County. Slide 51. When I did this for Pennsylvania
I looked at Reading and I found naturalizations in the 1830 census. One of the neat little
things in there is there will be a little slash in the box if the person was an alien.
And since we know Jacob Goodman was born in Germany, not in the United States, I looked
for that slash to determine which one of those Jacob Goodmans might be mine since either
was a possibility in South Reading. But lo and behold neither had a slash meaning that
my Jacob Goodman was probably a naturalized citizen.
So this index of naturalizations in Reading, Pennsylvania, was very interesting for me.
But when I go to slide 52 and look at the actual listing, we see a George Goodman, a
Rueben Goodman but no Jacob. Oh well. So if he naturalized, he didn’t do it in Reading.
Slide 53, one of the other things ancestry has available is marriage records from Delaware
County, Ohio. If you look at slide 54, there we see Adam,
Franklin, Israel, Levi, and lo and behold that other daughter Mary C who married in
1849 and therefore she’s not on the 1850 census as a Goodman.
And then I found in the 1880 census a little more definition about his father when he says
that his father — the first census where they actually tell us where their parents
were born — he doesn’t say his father was born in Germany. He says his father was born
in Ortenberg. When it finally fell into place I said that’s
too simple, can’t work again. So I decided I would try it again on another brick wall
and see if it worked again. So slide 56 shows you the methodology. Again,
looking at 1850 census to see if we can find our ancestor siblings.
Slide 57 we’re going to use the indexes and we’re going to fill in those blanks to see
if we can identify the names of the people who those numbers represent.
And slide 58 we’re going to confirm our findings using local records.
Slide 59 shows you that this is my father’s mother, Florence Louise Hill. And my brick
wall on this slide, again, bottom right-hand corner. What is it about the bottom right-hand
corner on my genealogy charts? Thaddeus Pollard Atherton. Now, this is a family where it doesn’t
matter what record I find for Thaddeus Pollard Atherton, he’s always Thaddeus pollard Atherton.
He’s not Thaddeus Atherton, not Pollard Atherton. He’s Thaddeus Pollard Atherton. I have all
of his children’s birth records, marriage records, death records. I don’t have his birth
records. I have his death record. I have his marriage record. I have him on all the censuses.
Thaddeus Pollard Atherton. And on every one of those except his death
record says he was born in Newfane, Vermont. I went there. It’s a have, very, very small
town. The town clerk was very, very nice. She pulled out everything, which wasn’t a
whole lot. And we looked and looked and looked. We spent about three hours looking through
books, old books. And there was never an Atherton recorded in the town. But on his death record
his children say he was born in Claremont, New Hampshire. I figured that somewhere in
that area, because all of those towns, Newfane, Vermont, Claremont, New Hampshire, are fairly
close together. There’s just the Connecticut river dividing them.
So slide 60, here’s the birth record, born in Franklin, New Hampshire, the central part
of the state. Father’s place of birth. Newfane, Vermont.
Slide 61. In my research for Thaddeus Pollard Atherton usually — well, frequently children’s
names back in the time period we’re talking about had relationships to other members of
the family. So I figured that Pollard had to come from somewhere. And I found in my
local library a Pollard genealogy. It was two volumes. It was not indexed. It took me
two and a half years to index it. And the only Atherton I found in the book — well,
there was two. And slide 61 shows them to you.
Captain Thaddeus Pollard. Ring any bells? His first daughter Zilpah, born in 1767, married
in 1786 Peter Atherton. They also had a son who married a Phoebe Atherton. Those were
the only Athertons in the whole two volumes. Slide 62, I told you I love charts and maps
and all of that stuff. So here I am charting and mapping again all the towns that I’m checking
in and around Claremont, New Hampshire, and Newfane, Vermont.
Slide 63. I went on Ancestry. Looked and looked and looked for all the Athertons I could find
in New Hampshire and Vermont. Slide 64, slide 65.
And slide 65 — 66, yes, we find about 3/4 of the way down the page, Levi Atherton, age
62, living in Claremont, New Hampshire. And in his household is a Sophia, a Fanny and
Larinda M. Atherton. That is not a common name.
Israel — Israel. Here I go back to Israel. Thaddeus Pollard named his first daughter
Larinda M. Atherton. Ok. This may be a good starting place. There’s also a Frederick in
Claremont. Slide 67, there’s the actual census in 1850.
They’re the first Family. You’ve got Levi Atherton, Fanny, Lorinda, Fredderick and Lavina.
Maybe sisters? So I go back and I look in the queries for
anyone looking for a Levi Atherton. I find Lori Allen Piper. And Lori has on her family
tree a Levi Atherton with a Sophia when they were born in Claremont, New Hampshire, and
the family, including Lorinda. But what’s it miss something a Thaddeus Pollard. When
I checked the census, I found out that he was born about 1817. So there’s room in there
for Thaddeus who was born in 1814. He could fit.
So I send off an e-mail to Lori Piper. And I say, hi, I think that I may have an ancestor
who fits in your family tree. Where did you get this information? And I told her a little
bit about Thaddeus. And she wrote back to me and she said, oh, no, no, no, this is from
the family Bible. It lists all the children who were born and your Thaddeus isn’t there
so he’s not one of my Levi’s children. So I write back to her and I said, “When was
your Bible published? And is it all written in the same handwriting?” Well, it turns out
her Bible wasn’t published until the 1860’s. Remember I said Thaddeus was living in Franklin,
New Hampshire, which is in the central part of the state? And on the map I showed you
that Claremont is over by the Connecticut River in the western part of the state. So
that makes me wonder if he was estranged from the family and whoever wrote this Bible didn’t
realize that there were other children. So that was the assumption I went under. Whether
it’s true or not, I’m not quite sure. So if I look in 1840, lo and behold there’s Levi
Atherton in Claremont, New Hampshire. And, again, when I chart it out, slide 70, we see
a Levi Atherton and all the children that Lori mentioned along with my Thaddeus. And
look! See sons. And Thaddeus fits in there along with Fredderick and Dan.
I love it. I love it when things work out right. And in 1830 you see the same thing
occurs. It fits very nicely. Slide 70. Now, I don’t know about you but
when I’m hitting a brick wall, I tend to copy everything I find on that surname. Hopefully
someday it will turn out to be useful. And that just happened to be the case in the Athertons.
Because when I was having all of this trouble, I thought, well, let’s look through the Atherton
file. It’s one of the biggest files I had because I’ve copied a lot of stuff about Athertons
and none of them proved to be mine except for — Slide 71. One of the things I copied
was a book on Vermont warnings out. There were no Thaddeuses listed. However, there
are Levis listed. And there are Peters listed. Slide 72 shows us Levi Atherton, his wife
Sophia, and their children Sophia and Fanny. Now, this is 1809.And Thaddeus isn’t even
born until 1814. Where were they warned out of? Newfane, Vermont. On slide 734, the warnings
out for Brookline. In 1806 we have Peter and Zilpah with their children — I love it — Levi.
And further down on the page in 1807, Sophia and Peter were warned out again out of Brookline.
On slide 74, in 1811, Peter and Zilpah and two of the children are warned out of Rockingham,
Vermont. Again, all Windham County. All of those little towns that cluster around Newfane,
Vermont. For those of you who aren’t from New England
and don’t know what a warning out is, in the Colonial era and up into the Federalist period
towns were actually responsible for the indigent poor. And later on you get poorhouses. So
in order to not have to support these very poor people, towns would warn them out. If
they gave them warning, it meant that we’re not going to support you. You’re on your own.
It didn’t mean they had to leave town but it warned them out saying winter comes, you
can’t take care of yourself; the town is not going to help you out. So that’s what a warning
out is. Slide 75, I couldn’t find Levi anywhere on
the 1810 census. So I looked at Peter and I thought, ok, let’s see if we have some of
the surnames for Peter and Zilpah’s children. We have some of the names for Levi and their
children. And I plot them out. And it doesn’t only fit; it’s an exact match. So it seems
to me that Levi was probably living with his father in 1810.
On slide 76, I went over to Claremont and looked at the death books. We have Levi Atherton.
He’s second up from the bottom. He’s age 82 when he died in 1888. `68. No. Couldn’t be.
It’s got to be — anyway. No parents’ names, no place of birth. Totally not helpful.
On slide 77, here we go again looking at those collateral lines. We find Albert most of the
way down the page. He was — says he was born in New York. Well, whoever answered the question.
One thing we don’t get to fill out is our death records. His father born in Massachusetts,
mother in Vermont, his father is Levi Atherton, mother is Sophia Rutter.
Slide 78 shows us Fanny Atherton, born in another little town in Windham County. Father
born Harvard;mother, Newfane. Father Levi Atherton. Mother Sophia Rutter.
One of the great things is we have town reports every year and they publish the births, marriages,
and deaths. So that’s a — makes it very easy to use them.
Slide 79, I went back to 1790 in Newfane, Vermont and look to see if there were any
rutter, r-u-d-d or r-u-t-t-e-rs. Lo and behold, there was a Philip. There he is. He’s one
adult in the household. Slide 80, I looked at the microfilmed vital
records for Vermont and I find a Sophia Rutter born in Newfane, Vermont, in 1784, father
Philip, mother not given. Always useful. So what were we going to do? Slide 81. We
try to find siblings in 1850 forward that we can match up to our ancestor. We then take
those names and use them to identify those numbers in 1790 to 1840. We check out death
records, birth records, marriages, probate, taxes, obituaries, church records, whatever
we can find to confirm these parents and siblings in these relationships.
So using a combination of federal and local records maybe you can bust down your brick
walls like I did here. Thank you very much. Do I have any questions?
>>Andrea: Thank you so much. It’s an amazing amount of sleuthing that you showed.
I have a question for you and then we’ll open it up to the audience. At the beginning you
showed some National Archives charts that had some years and then the census at the
top. Do you know where we can access those charts? I thought they were very helpful because
you had the person’s name written in and then the number of children under the various age
groups.>>Jean Nudd: Yes. You can’t really do this
without those. You can print them off for free from Ancestry. And I believe familysearch
may also have them available. You used to be able to pick them up at any National Archives
location. I don’t know if that’s still the case.
>>Andrea: Thank you, Jean. I might look into that and add it as a link to this video.
>>Jean Nudd: Great.>>Andrea: Do we have any questions from the
audience on site? If you do, I ask that you use the microphones on the side so that we
can pick up your question. A very thorough, thorough presentation, Jean.
We really appreciate your time.>>Jean Nudd: Certainly. If people need to,
they can e-mail me. [email protected] if they think of a question later.