Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beyond The Census: A Family Story

I am far from an expert writer, but I guess this means if I can write a family story anyone can.

First of all you will want to make a timeline of all your facts and sources, I like to use Note Pad because I can transcribe or copy/paste into it easily. Next you will want a word processor, preferably one with a grammar checker, and thesaurus. I also use a free text reader so I can hear how it will sound.

I previously did an article, “What Is In A Census”, now I hope to show you what is possible when you add all you have found. Again I am going to use Thomas Chapman of Rocheport Missouri, built from censuses, newspapers, ship manifest, county histories, cemetery & vital records.

Thomas Chapman was born 9 Jan 1824 in Northallerton, Yorkshire, England and moved to Stockton, England by 1830. He came to Boone County Missouri about 1841, possibly departing Liverpool, England on the ship “Ebro” and arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana on 2 Jan 1840.

My first account of Thomas Chapman in Boone County was on the 1850 census where he lived with Henderson Wheeler, the local blacksmith, where Thomas was working as a wagon maker. Thomas continued working as a wagon maker for most of the rest of his life. In 1860 he had real estate in Rocheport worth $200 and a personal estate of $200, and 1870 his real estate was worth $400 and a personal estate of $300. Not a rich man compared to his neighbors. He did become a respected citizen of Rocheport where he or his son Thomas became the Mayor of this community.

In the Daily Democrat 16 Dec 1872 it was reported, “he had seen the first and last rrilroad engine--the first in 1830 or 1831, at Stockton, England and the last at the depot at Columbia, that day. Mr. Chapman is a native of Stockton, and when quite a boy saw the first train of carrying coal from the coal pits in Derham county to Stockton on the Tees. The road was first constructed for horse cars; but at the time named a rude steam engine was made and attached to a coal train of 18 or 20 coal wagons, the train traveling at the rate of only about two miles an hour.”

Thomas married Sarah Hulett 22 Feb 1854 in Boone County Missouri. She was born 14 Apr 1838 in Rocheport Missouri, the daughter of Edward Hulett. They had 11 children: Thomas (20 Nov 1854-25 Oct 1935), James Buchanan (15 Nov 1856-24 Nov 1942), George William (9 Jul 1858-20 Sep 1952), Mary S. (6 Jun 1860-23 May 1918), Sarah (31 Aug 1862-25 Jan 1940), Elisa (27 Aug 1864-22 Sep 1875), Emily Hulett (2 Nov 1864-13 Feb 1901), Mildred Victor "Millie" (15 Nov 1868-8 Aug 1938), Guy (23 Jan 1871-29 Mar 1906), Niel (born 18 Jan 1873-), and Annie Wilton (about Jan 1877-29 Mar 1953).

Thomas died 13 Mar 1894 in Rocheport Missouri of pneumonia. He left a wife and nine children. Funeral services were conducted Wednesday morning at 11 o'clock by Rev. J. H. Wood.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What Is In A Census: A Family Story

Way to many people will look at a census and just see dry facts & don’t look at what all is going on in these documents. Quite often with just a few censuses a nice picture of your family will start appearing.

Here is the story of Thomas Chapman of Rocheport, Missouri that is built from just those dry facts so many people over look.

Thomas Chapman was born about 1824 in Northallerton, England (1). By 1850 he had immigrated to Boone Co. Missouri (2). Here he lived with Henderson Wheeler, the local blacksmith, and worked as a wagon maker (3).

By 1860 he owned his own home (4) in Rocheport (5) and continued working as a wagon maker until after 1880. He married Sarah about 1864 (6), Sarah was born about April of 1837 in Missouri (7). They had 11 children (8): Thomas, James, George, Mary, Sarah, Elisa, Emily H, Millie, Guy, Niel, and Annie W. (9). One of the children died by 1900 and another by 1910 (8).

Thomas Chapman Passed away by 1900 (10). After Thomas’s passing his wife Sarah A. stayed in Rocheport living in their home (11) with her children George, Emma H. and Annie W. and in 1910 only Anna was left in the home. Sarah passed away by 1920 (12).

1. Uncommon but the 1850 & 1860 listed the town he was born.
2. 1850 was the 1st census he appeared on.
3. 1850-1930 shows who is in the house, and their occupation.
4. 1860 & 1870 showed real estate.
5. 1860, 1880, 1900 & 1910 shows town of Rocheport.
6. 1900 gave number of years married even though she was a widow
7. 1860 shows his wife & 1900 gave month and year of birth.
8. 1900 & 1910 shows number of children living & dead.
9. 1860-1910 had the names and ages of the children.
10. 1900 his wife is listed as a widow.
11. 1900-1920 shows living in home or farm, rented or owned, and if it is mortgaged.
12. 1920 Sarah appeared on no more censuses.

Now if this story was built using only censuses, just think what could happen when you find newspapers, county histories, land, cemetery, church & vital records, just to mention a few

Free blank census forums can be downloaded here:

Elyse90505 on YouTube is working on a set of census videos that make it very easy to understand what you can find on these censuses. I suggest you check them out

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Looking For Suggestions

I am looking for suggestions & feedback so here is a way to help me make this blog more interesting. Let me know if you are on dialup which makes the videos hard to watch. Would you like to have the videos embedded in this page or do you prefer links. Let me know what you would like to learn.

Use the Comment part of this message or use the Contact link on the bottom left of this page to send me a private message.

I will continue to try and keep this blog educational, report local genealogy happenings and share free resources.