23 May 2010

Great Census Problem Swap

Do you have someone you can't find in the census?  I do!  Wanna swap problems?

Ordinarily I'm very, very good at finding people in the US censuses and I have found many problem listings for other people.  But, I still have a few of my own Census Problems!  I think new perspectives might help, so I'm starting "The Great Census Problem Swap!" 

We can swap problems for a while and see where it takes us all.  I'll give info on one of my problems.  If you care to spend some time on my problem, just post one of YOUR census problems as a comment and I will work on yours!  I promise to give it my best shot!  

Clara Eveline (Davidson) Porter in the 1900 US Census?
In 1900, Clara was probably recently widowed, her father had just died, and her only daughter had been married in the past year. Clara should be 50-52 years old and probably with her 16-year-old son, L. Willis.  How far could she have gotten?  

Clara was born 24 Jun 1848 in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont, daughter of Titus Davison and Hannah Bascom.  Clara appears to have always used the spelling DAVIDSON, while Titus consistently used DAVISON.  She married Celim Homer Porter 22 Mar 1870 in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont. 

I have Clara in all of the following censuses:
  • 1850 & 1860 in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont with her parents
  • 1870 in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont with Celim and his parents
  • 1880 in Woods, Chippewa, Minnesota with SA (Celim), and sons George, Frank, and William (who I believe is also called Roy G.).
  • 1910 & 1920 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California with son L Willis

But I cannot find her or son L Willis anywhere in the 1900 census.

Daughter Cora May Porter was born 16 December 1881 in Kerkhoven, Swift, Minnesota and son L (Leslie?) Willis Porter was born 28 Mar 1884 in Big Stone, Grant, South Dakota Territory.  However, Willis's birthdate is from a Delayed Birth Certificate filed many years later.  

I believe her husband Celim died 23 March 1898 in Grant, South Dakota, but I only have a family note to that effect.  I do have formal sources for a 1906 probate in Vermont with no mention of a date or place of his death. Clara's father, Titus, died 22 May 1900, in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont. 

Other family in the 1900 census
Son George C. is in St. Anthony precinct, Franklin County, Idaho with his family.  Daughter Cora is in Big Stone Twp, Grant, South Dakota with her new husband.  There is a Frank Porter, 24, single, butcher, living along in Fort Pierre Stanley, South Dakota, but I don't know for sure if this is Clara's son.  There is a Roy G., 23, born Iowa, in the 8th ward, Omaha, Douglas, but I don't know for sure if this is Clara's son.

Two of Clara's three remaining siblings are still in Milton, Chittenden, Vermont for the 1900 census.  The third, Willis A. Davison, is unaccounted for; I think he had left Vermont. 

At some point, Clara acquired a farm in what is now Bottineau County, North Dakota; the legend is that she won it in a poker game.  There are also family legends that Porterville in California got its name from the family and that son L Willis was a cowboy in Texas before coming to California.  (His first wife was born in Texas.  Their only child was born in 1913 in Los Angeles.)  

Finding Clara or her son L Willis in the 1900 census will probably not give me any earth-shattering new info.  It will just fill in some missing info.

Who is your biggest census problem?  If you care to share, I'll be glad to give it a try!  Have a great day!

21 May 2010

Great Resource: Los Angeles City Directories

My biggest problem in tackling the "To Do" piles is that even just one brief item to check out in a newsletter can keep me busy all afternoon! This week, it was one tiny, little article in the May 2010 Questing Heirs Genealogy Society's Newsletter [1] reporting that the Los Angeles Public Library had added the 1923 edition of the LA City Directory to their digital collection.

I have made the trip to the Los Angeles Public Library in downtown LA a few times; their genealogy collection is quite good. I have used the cumbersome microfilm copies of the directories to track approximate arrivals in and movement around Los Angeles for my Hegwer, Porter, and Keating lines. But I had no idea that any of the directories are online! Wow! And anyone can access them from home: no library card required! (Of course, if you do have a card, there are lots of other databases you can also access.) Note that this is the library of the City of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County library system is a completely different entity [2].

Access the directories at http://www.lapl.org/resources/en/.  [Personally, I cannot find a way to easily get to this link from their home page!]   Select the link to the 'Los Angeles City and Street Directories.'  Once you get there, the search engine for the site is super easy. Of course, just to test it, I put in my names and found some new-to-me info!

This image is from p. 1082 of the 1942 Los Angeles City Directory.  Leonard Benjamin HEGWER was one of Great-Uncle Henry Hegwer's children with his second wife, Flora Wallace. A meterman with the city power company, Leonard appears in the 1929, 1936, 1938, 1939, and 1942 Los Angeles directories, each time at a different address! Interestingly, the listings also vary by who else is recorded with him:

1929 -- alone
1936 -- Louise I.
1938 -- Louise T.
1939 -- alone
1942 -- Dollie

The 2 listings where Leonard is listed without another name don't bother me; I know there are many instances where the directories do not show spouses. My records show that a marriage license was issued in Los Angeles for him and Louise Isabelle Ferguson in 1924, but I don't know if 'Dollie' is Louise.

Genealogy lessons for today
  • The newsletters from local genealogy societies can have all sorts of wonderful goodies in them.
  • Freely accessible digital collections at libraries are rapidly growing.
  • Working on the ToDo pile can create more to do!
  • Leonard is very collateral for me, so I probably won't spend any more time on his marriage(s?), but it does remind me that new info can turn up when you least expect it.

Line of Descent
Carl Benjamin Hegwer = Maria Rosina Ilgner
Henry Hegwer = Flora Wallace (his second marriage)
Leonard Benjamin Hegwer = Louise Ferguson and/or ????

Disclaimer & Notes
I do not receive any special consideration from any of the entities mentioned in this blog post.  I have a library card for both libraries mentioned and I am a Questing Heirs member.  For the directory image, first I saved and printed the page I wanted.  Then I took a digital photo of a portion of the page and cropped it.

[1] Questing Heirs Genealogical Society meets in Long Beach, California. Both their monthly newsletter and monthly meetings are always very interesting.  Past issues of the newsletters are available to anyone at the website.

[2] A library card from the Los Angeles County Library is free to temporary or permanent county residents.  I can access Heritage Quest from home and use my local branch for inter-library loans for lots of genealogy sources! 

14 May 2010

Two Different Ideas from One Blog Post

I follow Arlene Eakle's blogs since she has a lot of interest in the MidWest, Kentucky, and good research in general.  Her new blog post, "American Mobility Declines in the 21st Century," gave me two new ideas!  

First, she talked about mobility in this country, citing a 2008 statistic from USA Today: 57% of Americans reported that they have never lived outside the state in which they were born.  Very interesting!
If I look at my pedigree chart from me back through my great-great-grandparents, I have a total of 25 individuals.  Only 8 of them lived solely in one state (or county of England): me, Mom, and 6 of my great-great-grandparents: one in Missouri, 2 who spent their lives in Vermont, and 3 who stayed in Yorkshire.  That's only 32%.  If I'd stopped calculating at the great-grandparent level, it's only 13%! And, that's assuming I never move out-of-state....

Secondly, Arlene finished the post with links to 3 new state memory websites:  Virginia, West Virginia, & Kansas.  Of course, I quickly linked to Kansas Memory, which was created by the Kansas State Historical Society.  There are lots and lots of goodies there, including a blog for the site.

Clicking on Chase County on the state map, led me to 71 items, all of which were interesting in one way or another.  Most of it was too recent to directly pertain to my direct line, but one of the items is a copy of the 1901 ten-page plat book for Chase County!  Each page is fully viewable/savable.  Here is a part of Twp 18S Range 7E:
I didn't see any HEGWERs in the book, but here are some closely related FINKs and BOENITZ/BENNETTs.  Other pages have FREYs, DRUMMONDS, and UMBERGERs.  All in all, it is super interesting to see where these cousins were living in relationship to each other.

A great big 'Thank You!' to the Kansas Historical Society for such a great website!  Thank you, Arlene, for such a thought-provoking blog post.

07 May 2010

First Friday Folder: Joshua Lassell & Mary Burnap

This is the second in (hopefully) a habit of regularly picking a folder that I have not seen for a while and giving it a once over.  I thought last month's folder cleaning went well!  With any luck, this process will eventually lead to either more room in the file drawer &/or better plans on what to do next!

Seventh-Great-Grandparents Joshua Lassell and Mary Burnap
Both Joshua and Mary were descendants  of Great Migration immigrants.  Joshua was born 18 February 1688/1689 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and died 11 April 1767 in Kent, Litchfield, Connecticut.  Mary was born 6 January 1686/1687 in Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, and died before 1740, probably in Connceticut.  They were married 14 Dec 1714 in Windham, Windham, Connecticut.

I picked this particular folder because I haven't worked on these lines for a while but had a nagging feeling that something was pending, and I was right!  Organizing the contents of this folder was easy since there were only 2 items in it about Joshua and Mary, but there were several things for Mary's ancestors.  I had verified her lines, but had not made the folders and had just stuck info in with Joshua & Mary.

So, I made 5 new folders and printed out new family group sheets for everyone.  I saw that while I had cited it for his ancestors, I had neglected to site one of the main sources for the LASSELL line in any of Joshua's events:  Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis [1].  A three volume set, this book is considered to be a reliable source for early New England information.  I was led to its Lassell info by Hollick's New Englanders in the 1600s [2], which is a wonderful index to recent, quality research.  I've had the book for 3 years now, and still haven't finished following up all the excellent citations it gives.

As for a plan for further research, there are no big controversies around this couple.  The only big thing I'm missing is death information for Mary (and I will keep an eye out for it), but if greater greater minds than I have not found it yet, I will put it toward the bottom of the research list.

While filing the new folders for BURNAP ancestors, I saw that I had not yet removed the folders for the  Martha Swift line, which I believe is NOT part of my ancestry.  So, in removing Swift, Hatch, Wing, Dillinham, etc., this FirstFridayFolder effort still resulted in having more room in the file drawer even though I added 5 folders!  Hurray!

There are still many early New Englanders with entries in Hollick for me to find, read, and synthesize.  What I really need is a plan to more efficiently use my time!

It's only 2 months old, but First Friday Folder is working for me so far.  I feel a sense of accomplishment from today's efforts! 

Surname Line of Descent:  Mary Burnap
Thomas Burnap = Johanna Norrys  (my 14th-great-grandparents)
Thomas Burnap = Alice Cramphorne
Thomas Burnap = unknown
Tobert Burnap = Ann/Agnes Miller
Robert Burnap = Ann
John Burnap = Mary Rice
Mary Burnap = Joshua Lassell

Surname Line of Descent: John Lazell
John Lazell = Elizabeth Gates (my 9th-great-grandparents)
Thomas Lassell = Mary Allen
Joshua Lassell = Mary Burnap
Isaac Lasell = Bethiah Woodward
Abigail Lasell = Joseph Palmer
Zenas Palmer = Lydia Marshall
Lydia Palmer = David Bascom
Hannah Field Bascom = Titus Davison
Clara Eveline Davidson = Celim Homer Porter
L Willis Porter (my grandfather)

[1] Walter Goodwin Davis, Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966): A Reprinting, in Alphabetical Order by Surname, of the Sixteen Multi-Ancestor Compendia (Three volumes).  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1996. The Lassell entry is in Vol. 2, pp. 412-415+.

[2]  Martin E. Hollick, New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005.  Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.

I receive no special consideration from these publishers.  I bought my own copy of Hollick; I access Davis at a local Regional Family History Center.