Monday, April 30, 2012

Tilden John Custer

Tilden was born 19 jan 1880 in Mills, Potter, PA
He married Jennie Elizabeth Franell in PA before 1904 and after 1900 census
Family is found on 1900-30 Census records
He died from an accident 5 may 1936 in Buffalo, Erie, NY
Buried in Bald Eagle Cemetery in Blair PA with Jennie and two children
Have found no record of his birth of any kind
The 1880 Census in Mills is very poor quality

We could use some info on this family to find his parents

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Amanda Stein

Amanda was born abt 1815 in SC according to Census records
She married Elijah Bryant abt 1831 in KY
Their life together and children are well documented
She spent all her married life in KY and died there in 1885
Her parents and life before marriage are unknowns

Any info on this family would be appreciated

1940 Census-Who cares?

This is a report on the progress on indexing the 1940 census as of 24 of April from FamilySearch:

1940 US Census Indexing Report—April 24, 2012

We’re half way into our 4th week of indexing the 1940 US Census and we’re making excellent progress. As of April 24th we have the following statistics to report:
  •  So far 18.9% of the entire project has been completely indexed.
  • We have 83,795 indexers and arbitrators working to index and arbitrate the census records.
  • Five new states have been indexed and are being processed in preparation for posting on They include: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah.
  • The Delaware index has been posted on and is available for searching.
  • An additional eight states are 90% or more indexed. They include: Alaska (98%), Arizona (95%), Florida (93%), Idaho (99%), Nevada (99%), Vermont (92%), Virginia (99%), and Wyoming (98%). To see the status of each state, visit the page.
  • A total of more than 26 million records have been indexed and arbitrated to date.
We continue to see new people signing up to be indexers and arbitrators. In the last 4 days we’ve added nearly 8,000 new indexers.  That’s remarkable! With our numbers growing and with each of our indexers and arbitrators getting more experience under their belts, we are finding that each day we outperform the previous day’s work. This is great to see this kind of excitement. As we’ve said before, please tell your friends and neighbors about your indexing experiences. Show them how they can be involved.

Thank you for joining this effort to index the 1940 US Census. It’s good to see so many people enjoying themselves as they give of their time to help the entire community by indexing this valuable collection of American records. (end of Quote from

What does it matter that there is such excitement and what does it mean for the future of research and records availability? It is a clear indication that there is a broad interest in making records available at no cost! That does not imply that there are no costs, just that those cost are not passed on to those who will get the benefits of a free product! This is not the only example of such cooperation resulting in a good product and free to search. The 1880 Census index, Ellis Island and cemetery records are other fine examples. We heartily endorse these efforts and encourage many more. Some States, such as Illinois, are indexing their Vital Records and making them available. However, there are still States that have made their records private and thus only available to close family members with a fee! Pressure must be placed by citizens of those States on their legislators to change this archaic practice and open their records!

We congratulate all organizations and individuals who are promoting, in any way, free access to records!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Silas Henry Sweet

Silas was born about 1836 and died before 1898
He married Malvina Augusta Garner 13 feb 1860 in Franklin, Ohio
Children were Emma Jane, Henry Charles, Cinthia Lucinda, Lewis, Wm, Mary Elsie
Civil War veteran
Family appears on 1860 and 1870 Census records
Have not found Silas on 1850 Census

Any info on this family would be appreciated!

John Edward Mitchell

John was born 12 mar 1872 in Buncombe, North Carolina
He married Lillian Isabella Alderman 22 nov 1894 in Wayne, NC
He died 6 jun 1921 in Richmond, VA
They had two children: Robert Edgar and Lillian
Have not been able to locate John on 1880 census with his parents
Lillian's father was  Amariah Biggs Alderman, a minister and the family was possible Quaker
Anyone familiar with this family?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Andrew Jackson Ward

Andrew Jackson Ward was born 16 mar 1833 in Illinois to unknown parents.
He first appears on 1870 census in Johnson County Illinois, having married Mary Jane Taylor 2 nov 1855. They do not appear on 1860 Census.
The family is on the 1880 Census in Williamson County which borders on Johnson.
AJ, as he was known, died before the 1900 Census, 30 jan 1899 in Pine, Ripley, Missouri.
We have a picture of his headstone
Found no record of AJ on 1850 census. They were farmers and owned land in Williamson in 1857.
Moved from Illinois to Ripley Missouri 1880-1899
There were 9 children in the family and we have a lot of information on them

We would welcome any information on this family that would help to extend the pedigree for AJ and his wife Mary Ann. We have her parents, but nothing beyond.

Asaph John Hall

Asaph John Hall was born 17 oct 1801 in New York
Married Chloe Sackett Merchant 26 feb 1823 Cazenovia, Madison, New York
Died 17 dec 1836 in Fenner, Madison, New York

If you know of this person or are related to him, we would appreciate info!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thompson/Brown Family

James E Thompson was born abt 1844 in New York.
Married Catherine M before 1869 in New York City Area.
1870 Census family is in Brooklyn
1880 Census in Brooklyn
1910 Census in Richmond, New York
Children  were: Joseph F, Catherine, Annie, Maggie and Sarah

Robert E Brown was born abt 1832 in New York
Married Mary E Wood before 1855 in New York
1860 Census in Middletown, Richmond, New York
1870 Census in Castleton, Richmond, New York
1880 Census in Staten Island, Richmond, New York
Children were Susan, James J, Deborah, Morgan, Dominick Raymond, Emma, Sarah, Mary, Robert, Henry, & John

The connection between these two families? Dominick Raymond Brown married Catherine Thompson. We have been unable to trace these lines any further than shows here. We don't have maiden name for Catherine M, or parents for James E Thompson or Robert E Brown. Being in the NYC area, there are many possibles.

If you are related to these families or just have information on them it would be very much appreciated!

James Painter

James was born 9 sep 1854 in Tennessee and died 16 sep 1907 in Lewisville, Lafayette, Arkansas.

A search of 1860 and 1870 census shows nothing for such a person born in TN.
He appears on the 1880 Census in De Roane, Hempstead, Arkansas.
On 28 jul of the same year he married Elizabeth J Burns in Hempstead.
By the 1900 Census in La Grange, Lafayette, Arkansas they have three children:
Hattie E Painter
Carmen E Painter
Dewey Jennings Painter
The marriage record does not show parents of bride or groom.
Census records spell name different ways

Would appreciate any info on this family!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Albert Kimball Dane Family

Albert Kimball Dane appears on a number of records, but this post will deal with the 1850 Census in Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts. Family # 1030. extracted the surname as Dare but that is incorrect as proved by other records where the spelling is correct. The family is listed as follows:

Albert K Dane     43
Mary H      "         42
William H Roberts 17
Mary A    Dane     13
Lucy B        "         11
Albert P       "          7
Eliza E (Ellen)  "       3
Emma K          "       0
Joanna Knowlton    63
Margaret Kennedy  17

Everyone in the family was born in MA except Margaret who was from Ireland
Learned from other sources, Mary is daughter of  Joanna. Albert and Mary had their first recorded child in 1837, so they were likely married in 1836

Of particular interest is the child listed first with the different surname: William H Roberts. Who is he? Is he a child by Mary with unknown father from previous marriage? Since he is listed first in the family it is unlikely that he is a simply a visitor or servant as is likely with Margaret. Mary was 25 when he was born.

He is the correct age to be the same person as W H Roberts, the subject of a previous post by that name.

 Are there descendants of Albert alive you can shed light on this family? There may also be members of Knowlton family who may be familiar with the story here. I would appreciate any light that be shed on this and will be happy to share what I have learned as well.

WH Roberts

WH Roberts appears on 1860 census with wife Sarah age 26,. Frank K 3 and Mahala D 4/12. They were born in MA, NC, MA and OH respectively. They are in Spencer, Hamilton, Ohio. WH is listed as Conductor on Railroad. That is only record of family that can be confirmed. On 1850 census is William H Roberts age 17 with Albert K Dare family. He is listed as first child and may be the son of Mary H, the now wife of Albert. There is also listed at bottom of family Janna Knowlton 63. That surname is important because Frank "K" as listed on the census is actually Frank Knowlton Roberts.

Frank appears on subsequent records with his wife and family. Have not located the family of WH and Sarah on any other records with that exception, including 1870 and 1880 Census records where they should appear. Is anyone familiar with this family? Was his name William H? Did the parents die before 1870 and so where were the children before Frank appears on 1900 census? There is no record of Mahala other that 1860 census. Was WH the son of Mary (Dare)? So many questions and no answers.

Any help with this family would be very appreciated!

Extraction and Indexing

Extraction is the process of making information on a document into a more useful form. For as long as cameras were available for that purpose, paper records have been filmed and stored. Those films were then available to peruse on film readers. This was a great improvement in record preservation, and still goes on today. That process also made it possible to store vast amounts of information in a relatively small area. The down side is that, unless there was an index included on the film, it was a process of looking through endless images to find the desired document. There was also no guarantee that the desired record was even on the film, and so much time was and is still lost in unproductive searches. The next step was to index the film by adding another film with the new index and referencing the other film. This was a big improvement, but still required going to the place the film was located, putting it on the reader and finding the right page. That process is is still used extensively in the lack of anything better being available.

Where are we now in this process of improving access to records? As just stated this the best that is available in many areas, mainly because of cost. Paper copies are still being lost by disintegration due to improper storage, fire, water, etc. Even more sadly, paper is discarded because of lack of storage space. Once a paper document is lost due to any cause it often cannot be replaced, and the information is lost forever!

With the advent of computer technology, there are now options that were not even imagined just a few years ago. When I started "doing genealogy" it was an entirely different process than it is now. My first records were hand written or typed. The sheets were bigger than a standard typewriter, so to type group sheets and pedigree charts required a special typewriter which I never had. Copies were made on a mimeograph because copiers did not exist yet. This was only 50 years age and how thing have changed!

The process of making indexes is clearly not new and has been done since records were kept. Sometimes, because of the chronological nature of the record, such as vital records, the record itself was an index if you knew the date when the event occurred. Even those records usually were indexed by the person keeping the record on a yearly basis. The books were then labeled accordingly. Records are still kept in that fashion where digital records are not used yet.

There are computer programs now that can take a paper or film record and make an editable copy of that record. What does that mean is terms of access? When it is possible to scan an image and make such a copy it can be done at incredible speed and without even having to look at the image except to make corrections. That technology is now being used to convert images to digital format where it can be stored and thus accessed, in a very small space. That is where E-books come from.

Millions of rolls of film are being processed, as we speak, to make these records available to search by computer and other means being offered. Computers as we have known and loved, are getting smaller and mobile and who knows what is next. We can now share information wherever we may be, with anyone we wish, anywhere in this big world! The filming of records being done now, is being done with digital cameras,
which eliminates the film copy of the record. All of these improvements add speed and accuracy to the process. Much of the film digitization and indexing is expected to be completed, at present rate, in about 8 years.

Enter the 1940 US census and the wild excitement over that record and the process of making it available to use by the public. Census records are private for 72 years from the date they are recorded, which is why it is just now being released. The estimate of time to provide an index was six months. It is exceeding expectations at this point. The original excitement may wear off and the process slow, but it appears to be heading in the other direction. There are tens of thousands who are working on this record. The process is three fold: Extraction onto computer, second extraction of same record by another person, and arbitration by a third if there are discrepancies in the two records. That record is then entered into the dbase for that area. This becomes part of what will be the final product-An index of the 132 million persons enumerated on the Census with very valuable information on who they are and relationships.

Where are we in this process? As of this time we are 14.19% complete with two States complete and many more nearing completion. This link will take you to the page where you can see the results on every State.

Want it faster? Sign up and do it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to my blog

This is going to be new experience in some ways, but dealing with a subject I have been familiar with all my life, which is getting extensive! I will be concentrating in these posts on brick walls I am working on for clients and other pertinent items.
Particularly excited to be helping build an Alliance of professionals in the Genealogy field known as GARB (Genealogical Alliance for Reciprocal Benefit) The balance of the post is a press release which can be viewed on my website:

Have a great day (it is dark and dismal at the moment here in Highland)

Don Challis