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Posts Tagged ‘Brick Wall’

Patience Suddarth

Posted by dwsuddarth on 9 July 2011

One of my most elusive and most intriguing ancestors is Patience Suddarth.  I first encountered Patience on the 1820 Crawford County, Indiana census.  She is enumerated as ‘Patience Suddreth’ and is the head of household, 26 – 45 years of age.  Also in the household are two young boys, one 10 – 16 and the other under 10 years.  Enumerated immediately before Patience is ‘James Suddreth’ and immediately after is Jeremiah Tadlock, husband of James’s sister, Sarah Suddarth.

There is definitely a relationship between Patience, James and Sarah.  Just what exactly that relationship is has not been confirmed.  James is 25 years of age at this time (born 1795) and Sarah is 17 (born 1803).  Looking at the 1820 census record, Patience would have been between 26 and 45, so she could be a sister to James and Sarah, their mother, an Aunt, or some other relationship.  It is also not clear from this record whether Patience is a widow or had never married (we cannot be sure that Patience is the mother of the two boys in the household).  I have found no other records for Patience in Crawford or surrounding counties in Indiana, and I do not find her anywhere in the 1830 census.

I do, however, find someone who could possibly be her in the 1810 census.  The 1810 Casey County, Kentucky census lists a ‘Peashant Sutheard’, head of household, between the ages of 26 and 45.  Additionally, there is another female in the household, under 10 years of age, making her born between 1800 and 1810.  There are also two young boys in the household, both under 10, so born between 1800 and 1810 as well.  Is this the same Patience Suddarth as was found in Crawford County?

I believe it is.  The age on the two census records agrees.  If this is the same Patience, she would have been born between 1775 and 1784.  James Suddarth, enumerated in the 1820 census immediately before Patience, enlisted at the Casey County, Kentucky courthouse in 1813 to fight in the War of 1812.  Additionally, James is found in Casey County tax lists for the years 1812 – 1814.  There is also a John Suddarth found in the Casey County tax lists in 1809 and then again from 1812 through 1815 and in 1817.  I have not found John in the tax lists for 1810, 1811 or 1816.  Neither John nor James are found in the Casey County census in 1810.

So, we know that there are Suddarths in Casey County at the time.  We also know that James from Crawford County, Indiana, is from Casey County, Kentucky and is found on tax lists there.  But what about the children found in the census records?

The Suddarth family of Crawford County, Indiana consisted of 4 brothers and 1 sister, according to a letter written by Jerry Suddarth in 1899.  These brothers were James, born 1795; Benjamin, born 1801; John, born 1811; and Lewis, born 1812.  The sister was Sarah, who was born in 1803.  In 1810, the female found in the household is the right age to be Sarah.  Of the two boys, Benjamin was born in 1801, so he would have been under 10 at the time of the census.  James would have been 15, so it is possible that a mistake was made in the census.   James could also have been in another household at the age of 15 and this is another child who died young.  I think that with all the other evidence, that either of these situations is very likely.  The 1820 census in Crawford County, Indiana shows two boys, one under 10, and the other 10 to 16.  I think that it is very likely that the one under 10 is Lewis and that the one who is 10 to 16 is John (he would have been 9 at the time; it is very possible that he was reported and/or marked as being 10.  James and Sarah are each in their own households in 1820.  Benjamin has not been found in 1820.

No other records have been found which mention Patience.  This is not surprising for a female at that time.  I am pretty confident that the Patience found in 1810 is the same as the Patience found in 1820.  If that is the case, then I believe that she is not a widow, but that Suddarth is her maiden name.  This of course leads to all kinds of questions, such as whose children is she raising, both in 1810 and 1820?  Are they hers and she was never married or are they the children of a relative that she has taken in and is helping to raise?  I am sure that there are many other possibilities, as well.  Patience will remain one of my favorite ancestors to research, hoping to uncover more of her life’s story.


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

Four Brothers From Indiana

Posted by dwsuddarth on 8 April 2010

In a previous post, I mentioned that there are four men in Southern Indiana in the early 1800’s who may or may not be brothers.  It has always been assumed that they are brothers, but there has been no evidence found to support that conclusion.  That is no longer the case.  In the letter written by Jerry L. Suddarth, he mentions that his grandfather, James, had brothers Benjamin, Lewis and John.  In addition, he tells us that James had a sister Sadie.  Sadie is a nickname for Sarah and there is a Sarah Suddarth in Southern Indiana at the same time as the others.  The information I have found for the Suddarths in Southern Indiana in the early 1800’s is as follows:

  • James, born 1795 in Virginia
  • Benjamin, born 1801 in Virginia
  • Sarah, born 1803 in either Virginia or Kentucky
  • John, born 1811 in Kentucky
  • Lewis, born 1812 in Kentucky

This information matches the information given in the letter.  However, if these five a siblings, why is there such a large gap in the birth dates between Sarah and John?  By looking at the locations of the births, it would appear that the family moved from Virginia to Kentucky sometime between 1801 and 1811.  According to the 1850 Crawford County, Indiana census, Sarah was born in Kentucky.  In the 1860 Crawford County census, her birthplace is given as Virginia.  The large gap in the birth years could be due to the family’s migration between 1801 and 1811.  However, another possibility, which I think is more likely, is that there are two different mothers here.

It would seem likely that James, Benjamin and Sarah were born to one mother and John and Lewis to another.  This could indicate that the mother of James, Benjamin and Sarah died sometime after 1803 and that the father remarried, possibly after migrating to Kentucky.  This suggests that any extant death and marriage records should be searched in Virginia and Kentucky for the time period between 1803 to 1811.  In addition, the six-year gap between the births of James and Benjamin may indicate the birth of additional child who died while young.

While it may seem a large undertaking to search death and marriage records in all of Virginia and Kentucky, the letter does provide a clue to help narrow down the areas to begin searching.  Jerry Suddarth mentions that the two brothers settled in Albemarle County, Virginia and that the family went from Virginia to Tennessee to Kentucky to Indiana.  It is very possible that the family migrated to Kentucky along the Wilderness Road, which went Southwest in Virginia, dipped into Tennessee, then turned Northwest through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.  The Wilderness Road then went up to Lincoln County, Kentucky, not far from Casey County, which is where James has been located in 1813.  Therefore, looking in the counties through which the Road passed would be the place to begin.

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

Chipping Away at Brick Walls

Posted by dwsuddarth on 9 March 2010

You never know where that one piece of information which can help chip away at a brick wall may come from.  As I have written about in a previous post, my biggest and most stubborn brick wall is that of finding the parents of my 3rd great grandfather, Lewis Suddarth.  I recently received something in the mail which took a brick or two out of that wall.

I was looking at the Daughters of the American Revolution website and did a search for Suddarth in their Genealogical Records Committee Index.  Included in the results were some names that I recognized from my past research.  I sent a request for the copies of the pages indicated and received the packet the other day.  In the packet was a copy of a letter written by Jerry L. Suddarth, English, Indiana in 1899.

I knew that Jerry L. Suddarth was the grandson of the James Suddarth which I have been researching.  I have been conducting research into James because I believe he may be a brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Lewis.  If I can find out more about James, it may lead me to Lewis’ parents.  I have transcribed the letter below:


English, Ind Nov 6, 1899

Mary Suddarth

Model Tenn.

Yours 3rd Inst. has my attention.  I suppose you and I are related as I have always been informed any one spelling the name “Suddarth” are decendants [sic] of two brothers Lawrence Suddarth and James Suddarth who came from Scotland prior to the revolution, that each were in revolutionary war — They settled in Albemarle Co. Virginia.  I am a decendant [sic] of Lawrence Suddarth, my Grand Father was James Suddarth decendant [sic] of Lawrence, my Grandfather have brothers, Benj, Lewis, John, and Sister Sadie.  My Grand Father had children David B, James, Jeremiah, Lucinda and Sadie, my father is the only one living, his name is David B.  our decendants [sic] went to Tenn from Va. then to Ky. and then to Indiana —

We are all Republicans–

Be pleased to hear from you further,

Yours Respect,

Jerry L. Suddarth


There are many clues and pieces of information in this letter.  First is the information regarding his grandfather, James, and his brothers Benjamin, Lewis and John, as well as a sister Sadie.  In my research, I have turned up all four brothers.  In addition, I have a Sarah which fits in with the same generation.  Sadie is a nickname for Sarah, so I am pretty sure that this is the same person.  Of course, the biggest clue is that he is descended from a Lawrence Suddarth and that Lawrence had a brother named James.  According to the letter, they were from Scotland and settled in Albemarle County, Virginia.  In addition, it mentions that both brothers fought in the Revolutionary War.   The migration route of the Suddarth family is also mentioned in the letter.

Note that the letter does not, however, name James’ father.  It claims that James is a descendant of Lawrence, but does not indicate the exact relationship between the two.

All of this information needs to be researched and verified before it can be taken as reliable.  In future posts, I will begin deconstructing the letter in more detail.

This letter was found in ‘Tennessee DAR GRC report; s1 v197: genealogical records’. I had traced the family from Southern Indiana into central Kentucky.  I had thought that they came to Kentucky from Virginia.  They did, though possibly through Tennessee.  You never know where you are going to find information which may help break down that wall.  One letter found in a Tennessee DAR report yields many clues to the origins of the Suddarths of Southern Indiana.

Jerry L. Suddarth Letter

Posted in Indiana, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

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 »

The Parents of Lewis Suddarth – The Search Begins

Posted by dwsuddarth on 26 September 2009

In trying to find the parents of Lewis Suddarth, I quickly realized that I would need to expand my research.  Up to this point, the records have been fairly easy to locate and have, with a few exceptions, provided direct evidence as to parentage, birth dates and locations, etc.   The records that I have been able to find for Lewis, however, do not provide that information as neatly and exactly.

Lewis is found in three census records; the 1860 Crawford County, Indiana census where he is enumerated as the head of household, 47 years of age, born in Kentucky; the 1850 Crawford County, Indiana census, enumerated as head of household, 38 years of age, born in Kentucky; and the 1840 Crawford County, Indiana census, enumerated as the only male in the household, between 20 and 30 years of age.  All three of these census records indicate that he was born around 1812-1813 in Kentucky.  Lewis would have been about 18 years of age in 1830. I have not found him enumerated in the 1830 census, however.  Therefore, it is likely that he was living with a relative at this time.  Lewis had died before 1870.

I began trying to find out his date of death.  Research into further records turned up a land record dated 21-November-1868, where Lewis’s wife Lydia bought land from their eldest son James.  This, combined with the 1870 census record, would seem to indicate that Lewis had died by this date.  The 1870 census record lists the youngest child in the household, Andrew, as being 2 years of age.  The 1900 Crawford County, Indiana census reveals that Andrew was born in September, 1868.  Since relationships are not indicated on the 1870 census, checking the 1880 census reveals that Andrew is, in fact, Lydia’s son.  Although that does not mean that Lewis is the father, that is most likely the situation.  Further research needs to be conducted in order to either locate a record stating this or to further build a case.  If Lewis is, in fact, Andrew’s father, we can narrow the date of Lewis’s death to between December, 1867 (9 months prior to Andrew’s birth) and November, 1868 (the sale of land to Lydia by their son James).  The actual date is probably closer to November, 1868, as the land was most likely sold shortly after Lewis’ death.  So far, research in area newspapers has not turned up anything regarding his death.

Lewis left a few other land records and a record of his marriage to Lydia Stroud on 26 August 1839. Lydia was born about 1823 in Indiana.  At the time of their marriage, she was around 16 years of age and Lewis was around 27 years of age.  They were married in Orange County, Indiana, which is just north of Crawford County.  This marriage record is the earliest record I have found for Lewis.

Since the earliest census record I could find for Lewis was the 1840 census (enumerated as ‘Lewis Suddard’), I looked to see if there were other Suddarths in the area in 1840. Also enumerated in 1840 in Crawford County was John Suddarth (enumerated as ‘John Suddard’), 30-40 years of age; Benjamin Suddarth (enumerated as ‘Benj Suddearth), 30-40 years of age; and James Suddarth (enumerated as ‘James Suddearth’), 40-50 years of age. James immediately jumped out as a possibility for Lewis’ father.  In researching James, I discovered that he was born 1795 in Virginia.  His wife, Malinda, was born 1797.  Lewis was born around 1812-13.  If James is Lewis’  father, he would have only been 17 or 18 at the time Lewis was born.  Malinda, James’s wife, would have only been 15 or 16 at the time.  Although this is possible, I believe it is very unlikely.  Furthermore, the John Suddarth found in the 1840 census is most likely a brother to Lewis.  According to his gravestone, John was born 6-August-1811.  Census records indicate that John was born in Kentucky, just as Lewis.  In addition, they are enumerated only 3 households apart on the 1840 census.  If, in fact, John is Lewis’s brother, and a son of James and Malinda, James would have been 16 and Malinda 14 at the time of John’s birth.  This, also, is highly unlikely.  Therefore, I do not believe that James and Malinda can be either John’s or Lewis’ parents.  Further research into James and Malinda’s family has shown that they are not the parents of John or Lewis.

In order to find Lewis’ parents, I have been researching the other Suddarths found in the census, as records for Lewis have not been found.  Hopefully, research of James, John, or Benjamin will help point me to Lewis’ parents.

Posted in Indiana, Suddarth | Tagged: , | Leave a 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 »