Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Little "Break"

I don't really have anything family related to talk about as I have not done any research during June.
The reason...on June 1st I was hiking with some friends, fell crossing a stream and broke my finger.  It sounds harmless enough but it is my middle finger on my right hand.  Of course I am right-handed.  So with a splint that basically immobilizes my entire right hand, using the computer, writing, or doing anything has been a challenge.
The x-rays taken at the time also revealed an enchondroma (benign bone tumor) in the knuckle.
That means surgery in July, so more recovery time.  Sigh!
Today I am actually finally able use the mouse and type a bit with my right hand (trying to do this left-handed was UGLY!!!), so I thought I would post a quick update.
I'm trying to gather some paper files that I can sort through until I can get some dexterity back in my hand. Seems like a great time to catch up on filing.  I hate filing...which was apparent when I opened my file cabinet!
Gotta get to it...


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time For A Refresher

Although I have been researching my family for over 10 years I cannot honestly say that I am completely comfortable navigating any of the repositories I have used.

I am lucky in that on this side of "the pond", most of my research is contained in a couple counties in Maryland, as well as Baltimore City and York County in Pennsylvania.  My family apparently saw no reason to venture outside of this small corner of the world once they got here.  I haven't either as I live in the same area as my ancestors.

Because my research is so concentrated in Maryland, I should be an "expert" at searching Maryland repositories.  However, I feel my knowledge is woefully inadequate.
I am a member of several local societies and groups but have not taken advantage of their services.
I am relatively comfortable with the library system and knowing what library branches have what material.
I am comfortable with finding records for various local cemeteries.
I have been to the Maryland State Archives numerous times (although not as many times as I would like), mostly for death, marriage and church records.  I know that there is a lot more available there and I have not yet explored all of it.
I have not done any courthouse research, honestly it intimidates me.  I need to get over this and become more familiar with the records available at local courthouses.
There are a lot of records (or at least indexes) available on-line for Maryland and I am pretty familiar with those resources.

One set of records that has been available on-line and I need to delve into more are Land Records.  I have had accounts to access these records for quite a few years and have done a few searches (admittedly, mostly on myself). 

So I decided to take a stab at improving my skills this year and since this year is almost halfway over I need to get cracking!
What luck that the Maryland Genealogical Society is holding a Basics+ Workshop on Maryland Land Records and Resources this Saturday, May 31!!
I am all registered and am looking forward to attending.  This will be the first genealogical event I have attended (sad, I know...but you gotta start somewhere) but certainly not my last.

I AM READY TO GET MY LEARN ON!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

While at my local public library the other week I stumbled upon a tidbit of information on my 4th great-grandfather Charles Henry.  I have Henrys on both sides of my tree and Charles in in my maternal line.  I have no reason to believe that my paternal and maternal Henrys are related and have never found any evidence to dispute that theory.  The DNA results from my mother's test seem to support this as well since she is not matched to any of my paternal Henry matches.
Also, the Henry surname is more common now but I have found that in the 1800s it hasn't been all that difficult to track the different "groups" of Henrys.

The information I had about Charles before my library find was mostly derived from the U.S. Federal census.  No information on him was mentioned by any family members, bible records, pictures, etc.
I originally found him in 2003 by finding his son, my 3rd great-grandfather John Baker Henry in several U.S. Federal censuses and working backwards.
  • Charles does not appear in the 1900 U.S. Federal census, neither does his son John.  I did locate a death date for John of 1896 and Charles does not seem to appear in any other households in the 1900 census.  I assumed he was deceased by 1900.
  • Charles appears in the 1880 U.S. Federal census in Waverly, Baltimore County, Maryland as the widowed, 78 year old father of John B. Henry.  He is listed as a wheelwright who was born in Maryland and both his parents were born in Maryland.  He has dropsy.
  • He appears in the 1870 U.S. Federal census in the 8th District (Ellen Gowan Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 66 year old living in the household of John B. Henry.  His occupation is listed as "as of family" and he was born in Maryland.
  • He appears in the 1860 U.S. Federal census 8th District (Cockeysville Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 56 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland.  In this census he is the first person listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and John's wife, 3 children and a 13 year old black female whose name is hard to read.
  • He appears in the 1850 U.S. Federal census 1st District of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 48 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland. He is the first listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and a 24 year old black female named Malinda Howard.
  • He appears in the 1840 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland.  Since only the head of household is listed I estimate that this is the correct Charles Henry based on the other heads of household on the page compared to the same in the 1850 census.  Listed in the household is a white free male between 10-15 (I assume his son John), a white free male between 30-40 (I assume Charles), a white free male between 40-50 (unknown), a black free male under 10 (unknown) and a black free female between 24-35 (unknown).
  • He appears in the 1830 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland. Again, I am assuming it is him based on the other heads enumerated on the page.  I do not think that Charles has a "tick mark" because although he is named, listed in the household is a white free male under 5 (I assume his son John), a white free female between 10-15 (unknown), and a white free female between 20-30 (unknown but maybe Charles' wife?).
  • I did not find Charles in the 1820 U.S. Federal census but I didn't expect to.  He would have been a little young to be head of household in 1820.  I did find a John Henry in the same area as the later censuses for Charles.  Since Charles' son was named John, could this be Charles' father?  I noted that but haven't gone any further,
Next I checked the Baltimore City Directories for the years between 1870 and 1900.  I started with 1870 because the 1870 census had Charles living in the Cockeysville area of Baltimore County (therefore not listed in the Baltimore City directory) and the 1880 census had him living in Waverly (listed in the Baltimore City directory).
  • I found the first listing for these Henrys (John B.) in the directory in 1879.  So I assume it was around this time that the family moved from Cockeysville to Waverly.  However, Charles was not listed in the directory until 1882. 
  • Charles is listed in the directories for 1882 through 1884 as a Wheelwright in Waverly.  John B. Henry, Charles D. and William R. Henry (John's sons) are listed as Blacksmiths in Waverly.
Based on that I figured, Charles was born about 1803 in Maryland and probably died in the mid 1880s.
Cursory searches in the Land Records (at the time not so easy to navigate) did not turn up any records for Charles.
Searches in the Baltimore Sun archives (through the library) were tedious and yielded nothing on Charles.
Searches in the State archives for Baltimore City yielded nothing on Charles.


So, that is what I had until my library visit.  I was not there to do family research but I decided to take a look in the Maryland room on my way out.  I perused the books, mostly the same ones I have looked at in the past. Then I spotted a new looking book "Index of Obituaries and Marriages in the (Baltimore) Sun  1881-1885".  I thought to myself, "Well, I had already searched the Sun and not found anything so this is probably useless".  But, I had to take a look anyway.  It was published in 2009, so I am pretty sure I haven't looked at this book.
I searched my typical surnames and then got to the Henrys on page 224.
Charles D. Henry married Charlotte V. Blatchley in 1882.  I know that, this is my 2nd great-grandparents, nothing new. 
I almost missed the entry right above that line:
"Henry, Charles (81 yrs.) d. on 83-Jan-4 [83-Jan-6: 2B, 4E]."
Wait, 1883 - 81 = 1802.  That is close.  I quickly logged into the Sun archive, pulled up the Jan. 6, 1883 edition and turned to page 2.

HENRY-On Thursday, 4th inst., CHAS. HENRY, in the 81st year of his age.  
His friends and relatives are requested to attend his funeral, from his late residence, Waverly, Baltimore county, at 10 A.M., this Saturday, 6th instant.

Promising, right age, right place.  On to the second article on page 4.

Mr. Charles Henry, who died at Waverly on Thursday at the age of 81 years, was one of the oldest citizens of Baltimore county. He formerly resided in the vicinity of Cockeysville, but he removed to Waverly some seven or eight years ago, where he carried on a blacksmith and wheelwright business up to the time of his death.  He was highly esteemed by his neighbors as an honest and useful citizen.

Wooooohoooooo!  I am 99% sure that this is him, I have to leave that 1% just in case.
Temporary exhilaration.  I am so happy to have found his obit, but a little sad that there was no burial location listed.  Grrrr.
But, now that I have a death date it is time to do some more searches.  Off to another library to search some more local newspapers that are not available on-line, another check for a death certificate and some more cemetery searches.

So far my new searches haven't given me any new information but I'm refreshed by this new lead.  Hopefully I will have a good update on this ancestor to blog about soon!