Friday, August 26, 2016

Tip: Finding a Newspaper Article That Is Not Online

If you know of a newspaper clipping but can't find it online, maybe it hasn't been digitized. If so, a great place to find out what repositories have copies of it is at the Chronicling America site.

I've been working on my Dickson family of Tennessee. A 1998 post on RootsWeb by David Walker mentioned an 1846 legal notice. The notice is in regards to the estate of my 4th great grandfather, James Dixon [or Dickson], and also mentions his son, my 3rd great grandfather, Joseph Dixon/Dickson. But, I could not find this article on any of the digital newspaper sites. So, I followed these steps:

Step 1: Go to Chronicling America to see who carries this paper. To do this, go to their site and click on "US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present." Enter the known information. I entered "Tennessee" and "Academist," which was the name of the newspaper mentioned on RootsWeb. The results showed just one newspaper which was published in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee in 1846.

Step 2: Click on the link to that newspaper and then click on "Libraries that Have It" in the blue strip near the top. The short-lived Academist has copies in five locations.

Step 3: Find the correct date. I know from the RootsWeb post that I am looking for the paper December 2nd, 1846. Since the dating system is a little bit confusing, I'm including two examples.

Chronicling America screenshot showing dates available for the Academist newspaper
at Duke University Library
Example 1: The above example shows Duke University Library's holdings for the Academist. Under dates, it states: <1846:3:18-12:2>  This means they hold all of the published newspapers between the dates of March 18th and December 2nd of 1846. Also, note that these are available as "original" copies, so they are not microfilmed images. Duke would be one place I could find my article.

Chronicling America screenshot showing dates available for the Academist newspaper
at the Tennessee State Library& Archives

Example 2: This second example shows Tennessee States Library & Archives' holdings for the Academist. First of all note that these are available in microfilm format which is different than what Duke holds. The Archives holds the following dates: <1846:3:18, 4:1-5:27, 6:10-7:1,15-9:9, 10:28- 11:4, 12:2> This means they have the following copies from 1846, the only year this newspaper was published: March 18th, April 1st through May 27th, June 10th through July 1st, July 15th through September 9th, October 28th through November 4th, and December 2nd. Since I need December 2nd, this is also a place I could find my article.

Step 4: If none of the locations are nearby, your final step is to contact one of the repositories, or hire a researcher, and have them look up the article. For my article, I chose to contact the Tennessee State Library & Archives. I talked to the reference librarian who first verified they had the paper and date I needed. Then he told me how to send $10, the out-of-state fee, for the clipping. I am now in the process of waiting 4 to 6 business days to receive an emailed clipping of this legal notice! I am hoping it has other helpful information, and I'll be sure to post about it when I receive it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Unchristened" 13-year-old

As I was working on my Boyers family, I came across a curious entry on a 1850 census record. One of the children in the household is listed as "Unchristened Boyers." After finding this record, I searched Ancestry for all census records for an individual with the "first name" listed as "unchristened." There were 84 results. Some of these were actually listed without a first name, but a researcher has added "unchristened" to the name field. All of the other 83 children are babies who appear to be less than 12 months old.

1850 U.S. census, Cocke County, Tennessee, population schedule, District 11,  p.397 [printed], dwelling 761, family 761, Isaac Boyres household; image, Ancestry ( : accessed 20 August 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M432, roll 874.
But, this "Unchristened" Boyers was listed as 13 years old! The family appears to have listed the children by age, so the age appears correct. And, this male is listed as attending school that year, which again dispels the possibility that he is actually an infant. I have no idea why a 13 year old would be listed as unchristened. Any ideas?

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 23 August 2016); Record, David Boyer (1837-1891), Memorial No. 37564026, Records of Sarah Ottinger Cemetery, Cocke County, Tennessee. Photo by Marie & Dale V. Used with permission. [Thank you!]

From what other researchers have done, it appears this "unchristened" boy was actually David Boyer who was born on June 3rd, 1837 and died on November 15th, 1891. He is buried at Sarah Ottinger Cemetery in Cocke County, Tennessee.

If anyone has additional information, the person I am really interested in on this census record is the last one: James Boyers [highlighted yellow] who is 21 years old. As you can see, he is not listed in age order as the other "children" are and I don't believe he is one of Isaac and Elizabeth's sons.  If anyone has more information about James, I'd love to talk!

My email address:

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Unusual Name for a Child

May I present, Doctor Franklin Boyers? He's only 10 years old, so this is quite an unusual given name. I guess this is one way to make sure your child grows up to be a doctor!

1870 U.S. Census, Prentiss County, Mississippi, pop. sch., Booneville, page 423 [printed], dwelling 47, family 47, Mary Boyers household; microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls, roll 746; (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration), digital images, ( : accessed 7 June 2016). 
P.S. Summer is almost over and my intense genealogy course is, too. I hope to be blogging regularly in just a couple of weeks!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Married in a Buggy

While researching my great, great grandfather, Reuben Houston Ward (aka Rev. R. H. Ward), I came across this short, sweet newspaper article today:

LINDEN, Sept. 22.-(Special.)- James W. Lewis, Circuit Court Clerk, and Miss Dickson were married by Rev. R. H. Ward at his residence on March Creek Sunday afternoon. The couple came to his residence in a buggy, and stopping under the cool shade of a beech tree they called for the minister. He went out and while seated in the buggy they were united in the bonds of humanity. The newly married couple started at once for Linden.

Lewis-Dickson Marriage, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, 23 Sep 1897, page 5, column 3,
digital image, ( : accessed 20 July 2016).

"Miss Dickson" was Minnie Jane Dickson (1869-1962) who was also my 1st cousin, 3 times removed. Her father, Jacob Tipton Dickson (1843-1931) was the son of my 3rd great grandfather, William Kennedy/Canady ("W. K.") Dickson (~1811-possibly late 1860s).

Wouldn't you love to find a marriage article like that about your ancestors?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Success! Finding Wrongly Transcribed Names on Census Records, Part 2

A few months ago, I shared how I had some success finding wrongly transcribed names in census records by searching for neighbors instead of the people I was actually researching. I am also having success finding people by using "exact" searches without a last name. Here's an example:

The family of John M. and Matilda Boyers was located in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1830. In 1840 and 1850, they were found in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. The 1850 household included the parents, who were listed as ages 49 and 44, and eight of their younger children with ages ranging from 3 to 17.  Although it is possible the parents died before 1860, it is unlikely all of the children had also passed away. So, why couldn't I find them after 1850?

1850 U.S. Census, Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Southern Division, population schedule, page 93B & 94A, dwelling #117, family #117, John Boyres [sic] household; image, ( : accessed 9 July 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M432, roll 382.

Here's how I ran the search for an 1860 census record without using a last name:

  • On Ancestry, click "SEARCH" then "Census and Voters Lists"
  • In the right column, click on "1800s censuses"
  • In the right column, click on "U.S. Federal Census Collection"
  • Near the bottom of the page, click on "1860 United States Federal Census"
  • Then, fill in the search terms

I first tried one of the daughters, Lucinda, since her name is fairly uncommon:

  • First name: Lucinda and set to "exact"
  • Last name: [leave blank]
  • Birth Year: 1840 then click on "exact" and change to "+/- 5 years"
  • Birth Location: Mississippi, USA and set to "exact" for "this place"
  • Lived In: Tishomingo County, Mississippi, USA and set to "exact to this place"

Screen shot of Ancestry and the information I filled in

After clicking "SEARCH," only 11 results showed up. The 10th hit was for a "Lucinda Rogers," who was, in fact, my Lucinda Boyers!

1860 U.S. Census, Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Corinth Township, population schedule, page 469 & 470, dwelling #3168, family #3168, John N [sic] Rogers [sic] household; image, ( : accessed 11 July 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M654, roll 593.
The same steps worked using her brother, "David E," with changing the birth year to 1844. Even using the mothers name, Matilda, and choosing "lived in Mississippi" (not Tishomingo County) only got 8 hits and one of those was for Matilda Boyers/Rogers!

It really helps if you have rather unusual first names. And, though searching for the son, David, resulted in over 400 results when searching for "lived in Mississippi," by changing it to "David E" as it appears on the 1850 census, you decrease the number of hits to only 8.

Let me know if you try this technique and it helps you find one of your missing families!

Monday, July 11, 2016

A. L. Merrill: County Commissioner (Clinton Co, PA Trip, Part 1)

Two weeks ago, I visited Clinton County, Pennsylvania with three of my dad's first cousins. We spent some time at the Ross Library in Lock Haven briefly researching our Stewart, Merrill, McClintock/McClintick, and Close families.

Entering Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA
Ross Library has a wonderful card catalog. Each card indexes a specific person and record. The records I saw included the Clinton County marriage license docket 1894-1897, the library's "local history/memorabilia" albums and photograph collection, and various newspapers including: the Clinton County Times, the Clinton Republican, the Clinton Democrat, and the Lock Haven Express. I believe the library has all of these newspapers on microfilm, but they are not digitized.

A card from the card catalog at Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA.
We looked through the card catalog and were eager to see what was in this "memorabilia album" about my great, great grandfather (their great grandfather), A. L. Merrill (aka Augustus Lippencott Merrill). We showed the librarian the card, and he left to retrieve the item. He came back with a scrapbook page which included this...

Card located at Ross Library, Lock Haven, Clinton Co., PA.

This is A. L. Merrill's business card from when he ran for County Commissioner! I believe he was commissioner from about 1905 until 1915. I loved seeing this card and was able to actually hold it in my hands!

Photo of me at Ross Library.

Behind me, you can see the incredible card catalogs. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time, but I spent mine going through the Merrill cards. There were dozens of cards, so I used my cellphone to take photos of the cards that interested me. When I returned home, I discovered one which hadn't registered when I took the photo. It's for an A. L. Merrill, but it is not my great, great grandfather...

Another card at Ross Library.
Instead, it is one of his two "missing" babies that I have listed on my ancestry tree! So, now I have a name and date of death for one of these little ones.

Besides this card catalog, they also had a traditional file cabinet that held files by surnames. There wasn't a lot in the surnames I was looking for, but I wish I would have taken a photo of something I did find. It was my own request from about 1999 asking for obituaries of various family members from Clinton County! And, behind it, they had stapled copies of all of those obituaries. I should have written a note and updated my email address in case someone else discovers this file at a later date.

Lastly, while writing this article, I uncovered another item: I found a photo of A. L. Merrill from 1907, just a few years after he became commissioner! We are in the process of trying to track down the original of this photo in the hopes that I can get a better copy and permission to share it.