Monthly Archives: March 2012

Another Lesson in Census Records

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!

Big Clue

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!


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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Census


An Entertaining Old Will

While at the library today, doing research for a couple of clients; and reading some old Hamilton Co., OH wills; I came across one will that I couldn’t help but chuckle about. Seems this fellow wasn’t too pleased with his wife and youngest daughter.

The last will and testament of William Porter was duly admitted into Probate Court, 3 April, 1816. In part, it reads….

First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Mary, the sum of Two Dollars in cash, together with what she has already had in the North half of said quarter section on which I now live, as she would not live with me no longer but left me and went away by an agreement made with her and my oldest son Thomas Porter who was to keep her in a descent manner for me giving him up the north half or eighty acres which I give a deed &c for that reason she is to have her interest in these two dollars in of her Dower.

William goes on to say…

I do also give and bequeath unto my oldest son Thomas Porter one dollar in cash and no more, only the eighty acres which I have already deeded to him on our<agreement, and give unto my oldest daughter Elizabeth Andrews the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars; also unto my youngest daughter, Mary Porter the sum of five dollars as she left me before she was eighteen years old without my consent; and my youngest son William Porter I will and bequeath all the remainder of my estate both real and personal.

So… William seems to make it pretty clear that he is not real happy with his wife or his youngest daughter. I did find it a little odd that William referred to his wife as his

“beloved wife”

and then goes on to say that she wouldn’t live with him anymore.

My assumption is that his youngest daughter probably went to live with her mother, and William wasn’t happy with her because of that.

Who would have thought that an old will could be entertaining?

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Wills


Old Kentucky Divorce Case

Sorry it has been so long since I have had a chance to blog.  I have been quite busy with genealogy research these past few weeks.  Since folks count on me to help them break down their brick walls; that must always be my first priority.

Before I get started with my little story of the Kentucky Divorce case; I want to ask everyone to let me know about any genealogy subjects you might like me to blog about.  If there are specific areas of genealogy that you would like to learn more about; please let me know; and I will try to accommodate.

Since I needed a day of from research; I thought I would take this opportunity to do a little writing.  This comes from research of part of my personal research.  For many years now, I have been researching the descendants of my GGGGG grandfather, Barnabus Branham.  Barnabus was born about 1745 in VA.  He died sometime during the 1830’s in either Cumberland or Clinton Co., KY.  This blog will be about a great grandson of his.

James K.P.Branham was born 2 Jan. 1855, in Clinton Co., KY.  He was a son of Branabus Branham (not to be confused with his great grandfather, Barnabus) and Lovina Davis.  James was united in marriage to Amanda McWhorter, 21 May 1874, in the neighboring county of Russell.  Their marriage lasted only a few years.

While doing research at the Kentucky State Archives, in Frankfort, KY, several years ago; I found the divorce case of Amanda and James.  It gives many details; and tells of the disappearance of James.

Amanda filed for divorce from James on the 2nd day of September 1881.  In her original complaint, Amanda states (transcribed as is original) “she and the defendant James Branham were legally married in Russell County, KY on the 21st day of May 1874 and lived together as husband and wife until about the 28th day of January 1878 when the defendant without any cause or fault upon the fault of the plaintiff abandoned her and left the state of Kentucky and has ever since lived separate and apart from her and has made no provision for the support of the plaintiff and their infant child a boy six years of age .  The plaintiff states that the said cause of the divorce and abandonment occurred in Russell County Ky within five years last part.  She states that all the time of said separation and at the present time and for twelve months last part she has had a continuous residence in Russell County.  She states that the defendant is a nonresident of the State of Kentucky and his place of residence and post office address is not known to her.”

Although not yet divorced, James was found to have married Maude Canzada Morris on 16 May 1876, in Clay Co., TN.  It is interesting to note that Amanda’s own statement says that she and James lived together as husband and wife until “about the 2th day of January 1878.  This means that James married Maude 2 years before he left Amanda.

According to a deposition given by George W. Evens, James was accused of committing a robbery in the edge of Tennessee and “ran off from that and has never returned”.  He goes on to say that Amanda has lived at her father’s since then.

James and Amanda were the parents of Lewis Arthur Branham, who was born 18 May 1875, in Russell County.

James went on to have 10 more children with Maude Canzada Morris.  He was found on the Clay Co., TN census records of 1900 and 1910.  Only recently, I was able to find him on the 1920 census of Mississippi Co., AR.

There were always many questions regarding James K.P. Branham.  Finding that divorce record answered several of those questions.  It was always rumored by descendants of James; that he had committed some sort of crime, and ran off to Kentucky.  The deposition of George W. Evens, in the divorce, verified that.

An Interesting Point

As some of you may be aware; I run karaoke at our small local tavern here in Redkey.  Until recently, I ran karaoke there every week, for about 12 years.  Although I still run karaoke there; I now only do it once a month. Anyway….  The deceased husband of the lady that owns the tavern, was a great grandson of James K. P. Branham.  According to her (the tavern owner); her husband must not have known anything about his great grandfather, and the mystery surrounding him.

On A Personal Note

Spring is finally near; and I am looking forward to the warmer weather.  Paid for my membership to my favorite golf course today; and am even planning on playing 18 holes with my son, tomorrow afternoon (although it will only be about 50 degree).  I am ready to get the clubs out of the garage; and back into the trunk of my car; where they will likely remain until the end of October (except when they are on the back of a golf cart; of course).

We just helped my 24 year old son move out, and into a place of his own 2 weeks ago.  Although he lived on his own for a couple of years previously; he had moved back home over a year ago; and was ready to get back out on his own.  He found a nice little apartment (in a Tri-Plex); that is in a pretty convenient area for him.  He is only 7 miles from work; and about 20 miles from us.  He seems to be pretty content with his new place; and is working hard to afford living in his own place.  Of course we have tried to help him a little; picking up various items for his new place and such.

I hope everyone has a pleasant and enjoyable weekend.


Posted by on March 9, 2012 in General Genealogy