I have just begun research for a new Client; and was quickly reminded of the importance of paying close attention to census records. My research for this client, is to try to find the parents of Almer Manor; who was born about 1835, in Tennessee. He first appears on the 1860 census of Johnson Co., IL; with his new wife; Sarah; whom he had recently married. Although this client has searched for many years; she has never really found any clues as to his parents.
As usual, the first thing I started doing; was to locate Almer in the census records; beginning with the 1860 Johnson Co., IL census; and transcribing his family in the census records. Almer is the only Manor in Johnson County in 1860. He and his wife married there in 1859. I have not been able to find Almer on an 1850 census in Tennessee or Illinois. Since Almer was the only Manor in Johnson County in 1860; I decided to check for any Manor’s who might have been in Johnson County in 1850. No luck. None there. So…. I decide to move on in locating Almer and family in the census records after 1860.
By 1870, Almer and family family begin appearing on the census records in nearby Jackson County, Illinois. He was in Kincaid Township. Once again; I search the entire County for any other Manor’s who might appear there. There was one other Manor household in the County. This household was headed by a David Manor; who was born about 1833, in Tennessee! And… it just so happens that David is in Bradley Township; which borders Kincaid Township!
So… We now have this David Manor; who is living in a bordering township to Almer; who was born in the same State as Almer; only a couple of years earlier than Almer. And… his is the only other Manor household in the County.
To make David even more interesting; is the fact that I find a couple of his children buried in the same cemetery as some of Almer’s family. Although I cannot say for certain; without further investigation; it is likely that this cemetery was near the township borders of Kincaid and Bradley; and that Almer and David did not live all that far from one another.
Based on this new information; I have likely found a brother of Almer. This means I now have a new route I can take in trying to find Almer’s parents. In other words; if we can’t find Almer’s parents; we can search for the parents of David. If found; we will likely be finding the parents of Almer as well; since they were likely brothers.
Having found this David in 1870; I knew I needed to search for him in earlier census records as well; looking for other clues. According to the 1870 census, David was born about 1833, in Tennessee. His wife, Christine, was born about 1831; also in Tennessee. They had a 10 year old child, who was born in Missouri; an 8 year old, born in Missouri, a 6 year old, born in Missouri, and a couple of younger children, born in Illinois. Based on this information, I knew David should appear somewhere in Missouri in 1860. It didn’t take me long to locate David and family on the 1860 census of Oregon County, Missouri.
1860 Census of David Reveals More Clues
The 1860 Missouri census, of David’s household, reveled even more clues. Bennett; who was the oldest child of David, per the 1870 census; was in fact, not the first child. In 1860, David and his wife have a 3 year old daughter, Elisabeth. Elisabeth provided another clue. She was 3 years old; but was born in Tennessee. Because David, his wife, and their first child were all born in Tennessee; I now know that it is likely that David and his wife married in Tennessee. This would seem to indicate that Almer and David’s parents probably did not come to Illinois. After all, David remained in Tennessee until after he was married.
That 1860 census of David, provided yet another good clue. Living with David and his wife, was a Porter Manor, who was 22 years old (born about 1828). Once again; it is likely I have found another brother of Almer.
What We Know Now
We now know that it is likely Almer had brothers David and Porter. We also know that it is not likely that their parents brought the family to Missouri or Illinois.
With this new found information; I now have more ways of finding Almer’s parents. Since Almer seems to appear in Illinois by himself; sometime prior to 1859; it would have been very difficult to find his parents, without knowing where in Tennessee he had come from. However; I now have some options.
My New Options in Order to Find Almer’s Parents
1. I will do a thorough search of the 1850 census in Tennessee; in hopes of finding a household that includes Almer, David and Porter. If I can find such a household; I will likely have found the parents.
2. I can search for a marriage for David and his wife, in Tennessee. If I can find their marriage; I will know what County to search for the parents in.
3. Since a death certificate has never been found for Almer; I can search for a death certificate of David; or even of his wife. Their death certificates should name their parents. Even if I cannot locate a death certificate for David; I have already found his wife in the death index; and can obtain her death certificate. Finding her parents; and knowing what County they were in about the time David and she married; will give me a place to also search for Almer, David and Porter’s parents.
The Lesson in This
The lesson in the above is not to have “Tunnel Vision” when searching for our ancestors. In other words; don’t focus solely on your known ancestor. If searching records of that ancestor get you no where; look for possible siblings. Those potential siblings can lead you to the same place your are trying to get to. There’s always more than one road to our destination. If you run into a dead end on one road; search for another road, and follow it.
Especially when dealing with a surname that is not so common; always be sure to check the County which your ancestor is in, for others of the same surname. Pay attention to their approximate birth places and years. These can tell you if they were in the same States as your ancestors; and if they were there at the same approximate times.
I truly hope this experience helps someone else, in the search for their ancestors.
Have a great weekend!