Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Original Records Are Always the Best

I finally came to the place in my tree while cleaning up, that made me acknowledged that for years I had let stand another person's research that was based on an abstracted record.  It was time to search for the records that the other person had abstracted.  This was not new to me.  I had done this with my Hero's line and discovered an abstracted record in respected published book had left out a child entirely.
The search in the probate records on FamilySearch was a bust.  The records did not go back far enough.  I then turned to the FamilySearch Wiki , search for my county and state, which helped me find there was a searchable database for the county. Had I gone there first, I might not have found it as it is not intuitive to discover... The area of records is under holdings... I did find the probate indices and searched. They were there, the two men who died within months of each other and the focus of my research.  They had come to Madison County, Mississippi Territory as Squatters apparently as one shows up in the 1809 Mississippi Territory Squatter's Census.  The hash marks with him indicate the other man and his family in the household.
I ordered the files, and lo and behold, the previous abstracts did have some relationships incorrect. Yep, the original is ALWAYS best!  My problem now is to try and figure out the relationships.  On the 1809 Squatter's Census the dates are not helpful as to if it would brother or father and son relationship as, it just lists 21 and up.  They died in late 1814 and early 1815.  I always love it when more information flows in, but wish some could have been definitive.
What I did learn was some of the life style and crops they must have grown.  They did not have slaves, so they must have done most of their work as a family.  Which is pretty much the way the Mississippi Territory Squatters were described.There was a Flax Spinning Wheel for sale, and cloth. I gather they grew the flax, spun it into cloth.
One of the women in the file had made a coat. It apparently was for the burial of the one who is thought to be the older of the two men. So they must have also made clothing for others. There were also, sheep, wool, and cotton mentioned. They purchased a 5 gal jug of whisky for use as  the property was being sold.
They apparently were not teetotalers and knew how to loosen people up, ;-)  or all were friends and it was a type of social.  Maybe someone has a better understanding of the people of that time.  I love reading Judy Russell's, The Legal Genealogist, blog posting.  They have broadened my look as I search through the files.  If you haven't subscribed to her posts, it is not too late.
I am now digging into Mississippi Territory and Georgia Territory records in the hopes to discover something to clarify the relationships.  Another researcher has found a family they think could be this one in South Carolina.  Deed Records, here I come.
This post has really served as a thinking ground for me as I am trying to sort out what I have found.  Maybe you have suggestions or it will help you in your journey too.
See you next month!


  1. Fran, I could not agree more, original records. And, reviewing as you are doing here. Both powerful tools in our research.

    1. Thanks for commenting Carol. I value your thoughts.

  2. One of the main reasons was created was to bring the world's original records to people everywhere. Many people do not realize that over 90% of the records needed for family history are not online (as identified by FamilySearch). Plus, even if the record is online, often what is online is not the same as what is on the original record as this article so well points out. Thank you for writing this.


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