My Great-Great Grandfather, Michael Joseph Rice
Posted by dwsuddarth on 3 March 2010
Posted by dwsuddarth on 26 January 2010
I recently received the death certificate for my second great-grandfather, William Monroe. This is a significant find for me, as no one in the family had any idea of when or where he died.
William Monroe was born about 1850 in Scotland and came to the U.S. sometime before 1888, the first year I have been able to find any record for him in the U.S. William’s son, William Hart Monroe, my great-grandfather, was born in Scotland in 1880. He first appears in the 1900 LaSalle County, Illinois census, as does his brother, James, and his mother, Annie. Everyone in the family had always assumed that William Monroe came to the U.S. and went directly to LaSalle County. However, that was not the case.
To find out when he died, I searched in indexes for LaSalle County and for the state of Illinois. I knew he died sometime between 1881 (when he appeared in the Scotland census) and 1910, when his wife Annie appeared as a widow in the LaSalle County census. The search through LaSalle County records turned up nothing. The search at the state of Illinois’ online database turned up too many William Monroes (and Munros) to be of any help. In addition, none of the Williams listed had died in LaSalle County. I searched land records in LaSalle County trying to place him there at a specific time, but found nothing in either the Grantor or Grantee indexes.
I then decided to research other family members. I started by researching his wife Annie. A visit to the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild turned up the probate file for Anna [Annie] Monroe. Inside that file was a court transcript of the Proof of Heirship. In the court testimony, Annie’s son James testifies that his father, William Monroe, died “March 12, 1895, I think”. Returning to the state of Illinois’ database, I searched again and found a William Monroe who died 12 March 1895 in the city of Chicago. I immediately sent for the certificate, but wanted to do some more research to be sure I had the right person.
Since the 1890 census does not survive and William died prior to the 1900 census, I started by looking at the Chicago city directory for the year 1895. I did not find a William. I did, however, find an Annie Monroe listed. Beside her name in the directory was ‘wid. William, h 218 Centre av.’. I traced Annie forward in the city directories through 1900. She does not appear in the 1901 directory. I also traced William back through the directories to 1888. Each time, he is listed with an occupation of stonecutter. The 1881 Scotland census also lists his occupation as a stonecutter. It looked like I found the right William Monroe. As an additional check, I looked at the 1900 census for Cook County, Illinois. Annie Monroe is listed, at the same address as is in the city directory. All of the information on the census corresponds with other information I have for her.
When I received the death certificate in the mail, I confirmed that information on the certificate corresponds with information I already know, such as William’s occupation as a stonecutter, his place of birth being Scotland and his place of death listed as 218 S. Center (sic) Av., the same address where I found his widow, Annie. The bonus for me, however, is that the death certificate lists his place of burial as Calvary Cemetery, which is on the border of Chicago and Evanston, Illinois. I am looking forward to visiting the cemetery to see if I can find his grave site.
What started out as a seemingly hopeless task – finding William Monroe’s death date – has turned into a fascinating story. I am not sure that he ever was in LaSalle County, Illinois. Through city directories, I was able to discover when he came to Chicago, where in the city he lived and how long his widow stayed in Chicago after his death. I am continuing my research on William, hoping to find out more about his life. He died at a very young age – 45. I believe he lived a very interesting 45 years, however.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 10 January 2010
Pedigree charts are a basic tool used in genealogical research. They tell, at a glance, the direct line ancestors of an individual. Additionally, they offer one an easy way to see what basic information is still needed for any particular individual in that line.
I am posting pedigree charts for all of my direct lines to help those who may share some of the same family names, as well as an illustration for beginners of what a pedigree chart looks like. The numbering of the chart is very simple. The person you begin with is always number 1. That person’s father is number 2 and the mother is number 3. Numbering continues in this manner with the father of a certain individual always being that individual’s number times 2 and the mother being the individual’s number times 2, plus 1. Except for the first person, the males will always have an even number and the females will always have an odd number.
I have four different pedigree charts, one for each grandparent. In this way, I can organize my filing system into four main families, each with a different color coding for its files. The first one is for my grandmother’s family line, the Monroes. Names included in this chart are Monroe, Studebaker, McLaughlin,Stilwell, Robertson, Hart, Locke and Braton. As you can see, a four generation pedigree chart will yield 8 different surnames.
The following link will take you to the Monroe family page, where you can access the pedigree chart: Monroe Family
Posted by dwsuddarth on 2 January 2010
Having looked at the 1930 census for William Monroe, I looked at the 1920, 1910, and 1900 census returns. In 1920, the family is enumerated in Farm Ridge Township and is living on a farm, which William owns. He is listed as being 39 years of age, from Scotland. The columns which specify his naturalization and year of immigration are marked “Un” for unknown. Also enumerated in the household are the following:
- Elsie, wife, age 35, born in Illinois
- Gladys, daughter, age 16, born in Illinois
- May, daughter, age 15, born in Illinois
- Ruth, daughter, age 13, born in Illinois
- Will, son, age 12, born in Illinois
- Douglas, son, age 8, born in Illinois
- Estaline, daughter, age 6, born in Illinois
- Augustus, son, age 4, born in Illinois
- Cecil, son, age 2, born in Illinois
Comparing this data with the information from the 1930 census, I notice that Gladys, May and Ruth are children which are not found in 1930. It is most likely that these three daughters had married by 1930. In addition, there is a Douglas enumerated in 1920, but not in 1930. There is also a James in 1930 which is not found in the 1920 census. These do happen to be the same person, as James’ middle name was Douglas. All the other children match the 1930 census.
In 1910, the family is again enumerated in Farm Ridge Township, on a farm. The family unit appears to agree with the other census records. In addition, William’s year of immigration is noted as 1888 (the number is very difficult to make out; it could be 1880, 1881, 1885, 1886 or 1888). Enumerated next to William is a Mrs. Anna Monroe, age 62, born in Ireland. She is widowed and is listed as the head of household. There is also a James Monroe, age 27, living in the household and is listed as her son. It is very likely that this is William’s mother.
In the 1900 census, William is found in Farm Ridge Township working as a Farm Laborer on the farm of Fred Munns. His date of birth is listed as Oct. 1881 and his year of immigration is listed as 1886. He is listed as a naturalized citizen.
Having found William in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses, it is time to begin putting together and correlating what has been learned.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 23 November 2009
When searching census records, I make up a census inventory for each person. That way, I have a record of what census records I have found and where they were living in each of those years. For William, I started with the 1930 census.
Knowing where the family was from (I know where my grandmother was born), it was not difficult to find the 1930, 1920, 1910 and 1900 census records. In 1930, the family is enumerated in the city of Marseilles, Manlius Township, LaSalle County, Illinois. From the census, I get the following information:
The family is living at 850 Washington Street in the town of Marseilles, Illinois. William H. Munroe [sic] is the head of the household. He is renting the house that his family is living in for $20 per month and they do not own a radio set. Many of his neighbors, with a couple of exceptions, are also renting their homes and do not have radios in the home. William is listed as 49 years old, making him born around 1881. This is right in line with the birth date of 17 October 1880 that I found in the family history book. Further information on the census states that he was 22 years old when married. If he was born in 1880, that would put his marriage date in 1902. Again, that is right where it should be if the book I have is correct. Then things begin to get interesting. According to the census, William was born in Scotland, as was his father. His mother was born in Ireland. This means that William must have immigrated to the US at some point. Looking further in the census, his wife, Elsie was born in Illinois. Therefore, William most likely immigrated before 1902, the year of his marriage. Unfortunately, the column on the 1930 census which is to be used to record year of immigration contains a number 1 in a circle, not a date. In addition, the column which is to be used to record naturalization contains ‘Un’ for unknown. Finally, from the 1930 census, we learn that William is working as a laborer in a carton factory.
Other members of the household include the following:
Place of Birth
|Son||22||Illinois||Pipe Fitter – Carton Factory|
|James||Son||18||Illinois||Laborer – Dairy|
From this census record, I can begin to fill in the pieces of William’s life and begin to verify some of the information I already have. In addition, this census tells me that I should consider trying to find more information regarding his immigration. I also am going to need to begin studying up on Scotland and the records which may be available to me there, particularly a birth record for William. First, though, I need to find the other census records to see what else I can learn about William.
Click image to view
Posted by dwsuddarth on 23 November 2009
I recently dug out an old family history that I was given back in 1979 at a family reunion. This family history was done to document my father’s mother’s side of the family. Looking through it has prompted me to begin researching this line in more depth.
My great grandfather’s name was William Hart Monroe. According to the family history I have, William was born 17 October 1880. He married Elsie Belle Studebaker 26 November 1902. William and Elsie had twelve children, the second being my grandmother, Mary Ellen (Mae) Monroe. According to the family history book I have, William died 15 November 1948. In addition, the book names his parents as William Monroe (no birth or death dates given) and Anna McLaughlin (12 May 1851 – 17 November 1920). No other information is given for this line.
Since there are no sources mentioned in the book, I need to verify the information given. The first thing I always do when beginning a new line is try to find all census records which pertain to the person I am researching. Since William was born in October 1880, he should not be listed on the 1880 census. Therefore, I need to find census records for William for 1930, 1920, 1910 and 1900. Once I find those records, I can see what information is on them and see where to go next.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 7 November 2009
I have updated and continue to work on the Suddarth pages of this site. I have added pages for James Suddarth, born 1795 in Virginia, who I have discussed quite a bit on the blog. In addition, I have put in a page for Patience Suddarth. I don’t know much about Patience. I think she may be the mother of Lewis Suddarth, but I really do not have anything to support that theory other than the 1820 Crawford County, Indiana census. I do not feel that this is enough to state anything regarding the relationship between Patience and Lewis.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 31 October 2009
I was at my parent’s house recently and was going through some old pictures with my father. There were two which I was especially excited to find. I was fortunate in that both of them were labeled by my grandmother when she gave them to my father.
The first is of my second great-grandfather (my father’s mother’s paternal grandfather), William Monroe. Although I do not know too much about this line yet, I do know that William was born in Scotland and came to the United States sometime after 1880, settling in LaSalle County, Illinois.
The second picture is of my great-grandmother (my father’s mother’s mother), Elsie Belle Studebaker. Elsie was the daughter of Jacob Studebaker and Mary Jane Stilwell. Elsie was born in 1884 in LaSalle County, Illinois and married William Monroe’s son, William Hart Monroe, born 1880 in Scotland. William and Elsie had 12 children, one of whom was my grandmother, Mary Ellen Monroe, born 1904 in LaSalle County, Illinois.
Elsie Belle Studebaker
Although not in the best shape (I believe they are actually photos of tintypes or ambrotypes), it is still exciting to find these pictures. I have made copies of them and have stored them in a safe place, so that future generations may also be able to enjoy them.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 31 October 2009
I have been searching for the parents of my third great-grandfather, Lewis Suddarth, for many years now. It seems to be one of those problems that just does not want to be solved. Having run into a dead-end in trying to research Lewis, I have begun researching other Suddarths who lived in southern Indiana at the same time as Lewis, hoping that by doing so, I may learn more about Lewis.
The first person I decided to research who would seem to have a connection to Lewis is James Suddarth, thinking he may be a brother. Throughout the years that I have been researching the Suddarth family, however, I have heard and found posted online that James is Lewis’ father. The only reason I have ever seen for making this connection is that James is the only Suddarth in southern Indiana who is old enough to be Lewis’ father. So, has the solution to my puzzle been right under my nose all the time? Is James the father of Lewis?
I have written quite a lot about James on this blog. James was born 22 March 1795 in Virginia. His wife, Malinda, was born 13 September 1797 in Kentucky. These dates come from the grave marker for James and Malinda located in the Marengo Cemetery in Marengo, Indiana. According to all census records for Lewis, he was born about 1812 in Kentucky. Therefore, when Lewis was born, James would have been 17 years of age and Malinda, 15 years of age. Although I believe this to be unlikely, it is a definite possibility.
Looking at census records for James, I have found the following:
1820 Crawford County, Indiana -
- 1 male 26 to 45
- 2 or 3 females under 10
- 1 female 16 to 26
There are no males Lewis’ age listed in James’ household in 1820. If James was the father, we would expect to see at least 1 male under 10 enumerated.
1830 Crawford County, Indiana -
- 2 males under 5
- 1 male 30 to 40
- 1 female under 5
- 1 female 10 to 15
- 1 female 30 to 40
Again, there are no males Lewis’ age listed in James’ household in 1830. If James was the father, we would expect to see at least 1 male 15 to 20 enumerated. The only male children in the household are under 5, too young for Lewis.
Lewis married in August 1839 and is enumerated as head of household in 1840:
1840 Crawford County, Indiana -
- 1 male 20 to 30
- 1 female 20 to 30
Is it possible that the enumerator just put Lewis in the wrong column in 1830? I believe this to be highly unlikely, but let’s look at the 1850 census for James:
1850 Crawford County, Indiana -
- James Suddarth, age 55, born Virginia
- Malinda Suddarth, age 55, born Kentucky
- David Suddarth, age 19, born Crawford County
- James Suddarth, age 15, born Crawford County
It is clear from the 1850 census that the 2 males under 5 listed in the 1830 census are David and James and that Lewis was not a member of the household in 1830.
Based on a very simple and brief analysis of census records, I do not believe that James is the father of Lewis. Of course, there is always the possibility that Lewis was not living in his father’s household, but I have found no records to indicate that this would be the case. I believe saying that James is the father because he is the only Suddarth in the area who is old enough does not take into consideration evidence readily available in the census records. Thus, I will continue my search for Lewis’ father.
Posted by dwsuddarth on 12 October 2009
Tax lists can help your research in many ways. Because taxes were collected annually, they can help to fill in the years between census enumerations. In addition, in most cases, they can provide information regarding land and property ownership.
James Suddarth enlisted in the Kentucky Militia in 1813 for the War of 1812. He enlisted on 1 January 1813 at Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. He then enlisted again on 18 August 1813 in Casey County, Kentucky. I consulted the Casey County, Kentucky tax lists and found the following:
|Sutherds, John||1809||Casey||above 21|
|Suddith, John||1812||Casey||above 21|
|Sudderath, James||1812||Casey||above 21|
|Suddearth, John||1813||Casey||above 21|
|Suddearth, James||1813||Casey||under 21|
|Suddearth, John||1814||Casey||above 21|
|Suddearth, James||1814||Casey||under 21|
|Suddearth, John||1815||Casey||above 21|
|Suddith, John||1817||Casey||2 above 21|
James first appears in 1812. He is listed as above age 21. However, the James I am looking for was born in 1795, making him only 17 in 1812. He would not have been 21 until 1816. All the other years in which he appears, he is listed as under age 21. In the Casey County, Kentucky Court Orders Book 1, 1806-1817, page 250, the following appears:
June the 27th 1814
Satisfactory proof being made to the Court that James Southerd stands charged with the County for two tithes one in 1812 and the other in 1813. when he was really under age it is therefore ordered that the sheriff of this County have a credit for said tithes in his collection of the County levy.
Even though James was listed as above age 21 in 1812, this document tells us that he was actually under 21. This document also states that even though he was listed as under 21 in 1813, he was still taxed.
Further examination of the tax lists show that John did not own any land (he was not taxed for any land). If this is true, there would be no land records to assist in locating and tracing him.
However, from the tax lists, it appears that John may be the father of James. With this new information, I will begin a search of all available records for a John Suddarth in Casey County, Kentucky.