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Archive for the ‘Methodology’ Category

The Monroe Family – Beginning the Search

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 in Methodology, Monroe | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Is James the Father of Lewis?

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 in Indiana, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Using Tax Lists

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.

Posted in Kentucky, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

James Suddarth

Posted by dwsuddarth on 26 September 2009

In trying to find the parents of Lewis Suddarth, I decided to research the other Suddarths found in Southern Indiana in the early 1800’s.  I have been unsuccessful in locating information about Lewis prior to his marriage in 1839, so I am hoping that research of other Suddarths may lead me to clues about Lewis.  I decided to begin with James Suddarth, as I had the most information about him already collected.

James Suddarth was born 22 March 1795, according to his gravestone.  He first appears on the 1820 Crawford County, Indiana census, enumerated as ‘James Suddreth’.  He is the only male in the household and is enumerated as between 26 and 45 years of age.  In addition, there is one female between 16 and 26 years of age and 3 females between 0 and 10 years of age.  Also enumerated on this census, right below James, is a Patience Suddreth and then a Jeremiah Tadlock.

Patience is the head of household and the only female enumerated.  She is also between 26 and 45 years of age.  In addition, there are two males in the household, one between 0 and 10 and the other between 10 and 16.  Since Lewis was born about 1812 – 1813, he could be the male child between 0 and 10.  The male child between 10 and 16 could be John Suddarth, who was born 6 August 1811.  There is a possibility that Patience is Lewis’s mother.  I have not been able to find any other mention of Patience in any records.  In addition, she appears to have died or remarried by 1830, as I have not been able to locate her on any census record for 1830.  I have searched Indiana marriage records and have found no indication that she had remarried.  Therefore, I believe she had died by 1830.

Jeremiah Tadlock was the husband of Sarah Suddarth.  According to census records, Sarah was born around 1802 in Virginia.  I believe she is a sister of James Suddarth.  These three, James Suddreth, Patience Suddreth, and Jeremiah Tadlock, are listed in order, all next to each other on the census.  There is no doubt that they are all the same family.

In researching James, I decided to look into his military service, because inscribed on his gravestone is ‘Served in War of 1812, Shelby Campaign, Kentucky Militia”.   Since I knew he was born in Virginia, I now could establish that he migrated to Kentucky, probably as a young boy with his parents, and then as a young man, to Southern Indiana.  I consulted the ‘Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Soldiers of the War of 1812’, published in 1891.  I found a ‘James Sudduth’ who served in Captain Jesse Coffee’s Company, Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Davenport.  But how could I be sure that this ‘James Sudduth’ was my James?

Since he served in the Volunteer Kentucky Militia, there are no federal records of his service.  All service records, including enlistment records, would be kept at the state level.  I contacted the Military History Museum in Frankfort, Kentucky and found out, to my great dismay, that Kentucky destroyed all of its military records for service prior to the Civil War, because it needed more room to store the vast amount of records which were generated after the Civil War.  This took place in 1874.  Being able to find no records in the State of Kentucky, I decided to see if James had applied for a pension or bounty land because of his service.  I had no luck in locating a pension.  However, I did find that he applied for, and received, bounty land for his service.

James Suddarth of Crawford County, Indiana, applied for bounty land three times; twice in 1850 and once in 1855.  In one of his applications made in 1850, James states that he served under Captain James Coffee in the Sixth Regiment of Mounted men commanded by Col. Davenport.  I could now state that the James Sudduth listed in the Report of the Adjutant General was, in fact, my James.  The application further states that James volunteered at the courthouse in Casey County, Kentucky on or about the 18th day of August, 1813.  The application goes on to describe his service in the war.

I now had a location in Kentucky where I could continue my research.  If James was from Casey County, Kentucky, and lived there in 1813, it is very possible that Lewis was born in Casey County, since he was born around 1812 – 1813.

Military records, especially pension and bounty land files, can yield great information.  They can give you new clues to follow up on and also provide some background and context to what was going on in your ancestor’s life.  In this case, the clues from the bounty land file gave me a location in Kentucky to continue my research.

Posted in Kentucky, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Brick Walls

Posted by dwsuddarth on 21 September 2009

Anyone who has done genealogical research for any length of time has run into the dreaded brick wall.  If you haven’t, you will eventually.

My biggest and hardest brick wall concerns my 3rd great grandfather, Lewis Suddarth.  For years, I, and a lot of other genealogists, have been trying to find Lewis’ parents.  There are many theories out there.  But there is no evidence or a solid case built to support any of these theories.   I am convinced that there is no document out there which will directly state the relationship.  Therefore, a case will need to be made using many pieces of indirect evidence.  I have been ‘collecting’, if you will, indirect evidence for years.  Finding his parents involves researching collateral lines, neighbors and acquaintances.  I am going to attempt to present a case study of the research that I have done, along with my thinking behind the theories and conclusions I reach.  I hope to do two things with this.

First, I hope that by recording the research, methodology and thoughts, that I may finally be able to get around this wall.  Second, I hope that this can be used as a teaching and learning tool.  I hope that you may pick up some tips, ideas and methods that could help in your own research.  Additionally, I hope to learn from others of things I may have overlooked, clues I may not have seen and methodological processes that I am not using effectively, efficiently or at all.

Genealogy is a pursuit that is both solitary and shared.  I have spent many solitary hours looking through courthouse books, library and archive materials and anything else I can find which may yield that elusive clue.  However, I have also spent many hours sharing and collaborating with others.  I know we all have.

I welcome and encourage your comments and suggestions.

Posted in Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »