23 March 2012

Who are you, Joe? - a research case study - part 1

The other day I was showing my husband Troy what I was working on...starting to investigate the Taylor Family. He asked how many generations back I had for his various lines and I showed him. On his mother's side (which I haven't even begun to look at) he had up to 9 generations back! On his father's side, I told him that any of the names we had I had personally added to the database - no one had given me anything to work with. So, his Lund side which I have already researched extensively (although there is always more work to do) went back 6 generations. His Taylor line...not so much. So, looking at the pedigree he asked about one man in particular - "Who is Joseph Taylor?"

As you can see I didn't know Joseph's parents...he's was the end of the line. When I opened up his person window, here's all I had:
All I knew was that he was born in Kentucky. The only sources I had for that information was his daughter's death certificate, which gave me his name and birth place and the 1900 census which just listed her father's birth place as Kentucky. That's it! So the search began.

I was trying to show Troy right then how I go about researching people and thought I might try to find Joseph Taylor with his daughter Ada Rose in a census. I knew a lot more about Ada -
I figured since she was born in 1872 I would try to find her in a census as a child living with her parents. I already had her living with her husband in the 1900 census, the previous census 1890 was destroyed in a fire so I decided to search for her in the 1880 census. I did a quick FamilySearch search and here's what I got -
Now, FamilySearch didn't have the images online for this, so all I had was the index. Here, Ada is listed as 7 years old living with her mother Hannah, no Joseph Taylor as her father. Discussing this with my husband I reasoned - Perhaps Joseph Taylor had already died by now?!

My next step was to go to the local Family History Center and download the original image.

Note: Why not just search for Joseph in the 1870 census. Here was my reasoning - I know nothing about him except his name, that he was born in Kentucky (and I knew that only according to his daughter Ada's death certificate which her husband filled out, and a census that may or may not be accurate) I have no idea how old he is or where he would have been living in 1870. I believe his wife's name is Hannah, but how many Joseph Taylor's married to a Hannah might there be in the 1870 census? So I thought I better exhaust the 1880 census before moving on.

To be continued .... can you hardly stand it?

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