Using Census and City Directories

Mom says I have been focusing too much time on my paternal side.  She is right of course!  I guess part of the reason is because of the new Whitehead Archives that I discovered through my friendship with my cousins.  There are plenty of stories and challenges on the maternal side to conquer.  So here it goes.

When first researching an ancestor, you usually start with the US Census records. The US Census is a decennial census written into our Constitution.  This is done to align the seats of the House of Representatives.  If you recall in your history class, each state gets two state senators.  The House of Representatives however is done by census numbers.

 

In terms of genealogy, the census provides the best snapshot of your ancestor over time.  Each Census is different in that different questions are asked.  The United States Census is gearing up already for the 2020 census.  You have to wonder what type of questions they will ask.  Or at least that is what a genealogist wonders.  Long gone are the days of door to door enumerators.  The census is given by US Postal Service.  There are still census takers that go door to door in order to provide for undercounting due to illiteracy, homelessness, etc.

 

A city directory is another gold mine for a genealogist.  Because unlike the census which is done every 10 years, a directory is usually done yearly.  Lynchburg, Virginia has their directories indexed and online.  I am very lucky because a huge chunk of my ancestors lived there.  It is through these records that I can trace my ancestors’ movement over time.  One of the reasons I blog about my ancestors, it helps to see the holes in my research.  Believe me there are plenty of holes in this one.  One of the reasons for the delay is that I have been researching Emma.  There are still holes, but I believe you can begin to see her in context with the life she lived.

Emma Frances Heath is my 2nd great grandmother on my maternal side.  Emma was born 15 June 1862 to William Heath and Rhoda Elizabeth Hyman Heath.  I know little about her parents and will have to research them more in-depth.  However, I want to show you how to track your ancestors through the Census and City Directories.

 

The 1870 Census shows Emma is living with G.B Fergerson and his wife Sally Fergerson.  She is listed as a niece and 10 years old.  Also living in the home is the Fergerson’s 3-year-old son, Stephen and a Farm Hand.  If you noticed the discrepancy in the date of births you are not alone.  Her tombstone has 1862 on it.  It is likely that the census take rounded up or down.  The location is Brookville, Campbell County Virginia.  Her uncle is listed as a farmer.  Because I have not researched this side for very long, I am not sure what happened to her parents.  Her mother seems to have passed away in 1871, Emma would have been 9 years old.  So it seems obvious that Sally was likely Rhoda’s sister.  However, what is not clear is why Rhoda would have died in Dayton, Ohio.  I will have to look into that.  So much genealogy to do, so little time….

In the 1880 Census, Emma is 19 years old, wife to her 28-year-old husband who is working as a farmer.  She has 2 daughters, Annie and Rosa.  They are living next to other family (Hicks) who are also farming.  (Census: Amherst County, 15th District)

By the 1900 Census, Emma is listed as 36 years old, Lemuel is 49.  This census is great because it asks how many children born and how many still living.  She had 10 children.  They ranged in ages on this census from 2 years old to 19.  Her sister-in-law, Mary,  is also listed there.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Amherst, 12th District, Pedler).

In the 1910 Census, Emma and Lemuel are now living in the city.  Lemuel is listed as working as a Watchman at the Foundry.  The census asks the same question about children.  This time, Emma is listed as having had 12 children but only 7 are still living.  Three of the older daughters are listed as still living at home and working at the shoe factory.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 87, Lynchburg Ward 3)

In the 1920 Census, Emma and Lemuel are still in the city.  Lemuel is listed as a gardener for the city.  He is listed as 68 years old.  Emma is listed as 57 years old.  Her daughter Iola and her husband Charles Worley are listed as living there.  Charles is working as a shoe maker at the factor and Iola is not working.  There are also two boarders listed (it appears they are married).   (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 12, Ward 3)

 

On 29 May, 1923, Emma’s husband, Lemuel dies, he was 74 years old.

 

For the 1930 Census, Emma is listed as living with her daughter Carrie (my great-grandmother) and her family in a rented home at 1715 Main Street.  Thomas, Carrie’s husband is listed as a carpenter for the housing industry.  Emma’s three granddaughters and grandson are also living there, including my grandmother!  James Hicks, her son, is living next door with his wife, Helen.  (1930 Census, Lynchburg, Independent City, Enumeration District 110-21, Ward 3)

In the 1940 Census, Emma is listed as 77 years old.  She is now living with her other daughter Willie and her family at 2014 Tulip Street.  Willie and Clyde Driskill are listed as owning the home.  Clyde works at the US Post Office as a mail carrier.  Also living in the home are their six children, Clyde Junior, Frances, Doris, Daniel, Robert and Ruth.  Also living on the street is Lessie Driskill, Clyde’s sister.  She has their parents Daniel and Emma Driskill living with her.  She is also listed as owning her own house.  She works at the shoe factory.  (1940 Census: Lynchburg City, Lynchburg, Enumeration District 111-25, Ward 3)

Emma Frances Heath Hicks dies on 4 September 1945, she was 83 years old.

 

Below is a timeline that I was able to create from the Lynchburg City Directories.  The abbreviations used did vary within the directories.  The husband’s occupation was usually mentioned.  However, after Lemuel died, Emma was listed as widow.

 

Year Location Other
1907 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1908 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1909 2113 Elm Av Watchman
1910 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1913 2113 Elm Av farmer
1914 2113 Elm Av watchman
1915 2113 Elm Av watchman
1916 2113 Elm Av farmer
1917 2113 Elm Av No occupation listed
1920 2113 Elm Av watchman
1921 2106 Main farmer
1923 2106 Main No occupations any
1924 2106 Main widow
1925 Not found No Data
1926 1721 Liberty widow
1927 1715 Main widow
1928 1715 Main widow
1929 1715 Main widow
1930 1715 Main widow
1931 406 Walnut widow
1932 2014 Walnut widow
1933 2014 Tulip widow
1934 2014 Tulip widow
1935 2014 Tulip widow
1936 2014 Tulip widow
1937 2014 Tulip widow
1938 2014 Tulip widow
1939 2014 Tulip widow
1940 2014 Tulip widow
1941-1944 Missing    
1945 411 Westover Blvd widow

So, if you wandered onto this page for a genealogy hint, it would be to use your US Census and City Directory data to start your ancestor development.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

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A biography of Leroy Hicks

Leroy Hicks was born to Blansford and Mary Polly Peters Hicks in 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia.  He is my 3rd great-grandfather.  Leroy was the oldest of 11 children born to Blansford and Mary.  Through research it looks like he stayed his entire life in Amherst.  Thomas Jefferson was the President of the United States in 1806.

Amherst County Virginia, was formed in 1761 from parts of Albemarle County.  The major crop raised in Amherst was tobacco.  The James River forms the eastern boundary.  The Appalachian mountains help form the western boundary.

On 4 February 1834, Leroy married Permelia Ware in Amherst County.  The couple went on to have 10 children.  Andrew Jackson was the President from 1829-1837.

Child Year of Birth
William 1834
Robert D 1836
James 1838
John Nicholas 1843
Margaret V 1844
Sarah Ann 1846
Robert L 1847
Charles W 1848
Lemuel Dabney 1849
Mary Ann Elizabeth 1854

 

The first thing that seems odd is that two children were named Robert.  This may not actually be the case, the Census takers didn’t always hear or write things correctly.  And, if you have that many children you might forget one or two.

According to the 1840 US Census, Leroy was living with his wife in Amherst County.  There were 6 total people.  The 1840 Census only broke individuals out by race, age and sex.  So we know that there were two boys under the age of 5 (Robert D and James), 1 boy between 5-10 (William), 1 male between 30-40 (Leroy), 1 female between 20-30 (Permelia), 1 free male person of color between 10-24.  I did look at the US Slave Schedules for 1850 and 1860, I did not find anything to indicate that he owned slaves.

In the 1850 census, we learn that Leroy’s family lives in the Eastern District of Amherst County.  The names are confirmed.  We also see that the value of Leroy’s real estate is $150 dollars.  His family also lives near his brothers Preston and Bluford.  During this time period the slavery debate was raging across the United States.

In the 1860 Census, Leroy’s family is still living in Amherst and Abraham Lincoln was elected President.    The value of his person estate is listed at $390 dollars, his eldest son is still living at the residence has a personal estate of $275 dollars.  We have the children’s name and ages.  I will have to look to see which of his sons if any went to fight in the Civil War.

Child Age
William 26
Robert D 24
James 20
John Nicholas 18
Margaret V 16
Sarah Ann 12
George S 10
Charles W 16
Lemuel Dabney 8
Mary Ann 6

 

In 1866, his wife of 32 years dies.  Leroy was 60 years old.

In the 1870 Census, Leroy and his family are living still living in Amherst County.  The value of his personal estate is listed as $100.  I wonder if the value is diminished because of the state of the Union or if he saw father time coming and gave his land and assets to his children.  Another interesting item on this census is that the census asks about the ability to read and write.  The census indicates that the three boys and the oldest girl living in the home cannot read or write.  The youngest daughter, Mary, age 14 is listed as attending school.

Leroy dies on 20 March 1871 in Amherst Virginia.  It is unknown where he is buried.  In June 2012, I went on a genealogical visit with my mom, aunt and sister to Amherst, Virginia.  We visited three Hicks cemeteries, but some stones were in rough shape.  I did not find his.

I usually like to add pictures to my stories but I didn’t have anything that fit.  So, instead I am going to put some pictures from the genealogical visit in 2012.  I was so blessed to have this time to learn from my Mom and Aunt.  Their stories give shape to the facts and figures of genealogy.

In from of Hicks Country Store

In from of Hicks Country Store

Formerly Hicks Property

Formerly Hicks Property

Mom and Carol

Mom and Carol

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

The coin purse

Sentimental Sunday

I previously have written about my great-grandmother Carrie Lou Hicks Moss. She was born in 1888 in Amherst County, Virginia. Her birth record states it was April 4, 1888. However, her granddaughter Carol seems to recall that she celebrated her birthday on the first day of spring (March 21). Her death certificate says that her date of birth was 21 March 1889.

My mom moved away after getting married, so we do not have many of the traditional mementos from the family. The same is true on my father’s side. So as a result, I believe my quest for information grew.

When I made my genealogical visit to Virginia in 2012, my Aunt Carol gave me some family keepsakes. Carol gave me the change purse that was in her grandmother’s possession when she died, 6 May 1956.

There is a note that my grandmother, Virginia Odelle, had written. It has sixty-cents in it. She had a 1949 half-dollar, and 10 pennies. (An aside, it was a Ben Franklin, silver dollar and since it was 90% silver, has value in both its history and it’s melt value, but it is not going anywhere.)

Note Odelle wrote

Note Odelle wrote

Carrie Lou's coin purse

Carrie Lou’s coin purse

It is not a historical heirloom by any nature, but it is a piece of both Carrie Lou and her daughter Odelle and even my Aunt. It is a simple sheepskin change purse. That is it. Nevertheless, when I think about the women that carried it, and the women that kept it safe, I cannot help but feel nostalgic. You can envision what type of women they were…sentimental.

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

So today, as I got out the coin purse and re-examined the contents, I feel a connection to my family’s history. What do you have that you treasure from your ancestors? Please share.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards!

 

 

 

Cousins and more cousins

 

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Cousin “as a child of your uncle or aunt or a person who is related to you but not in a close or direct way”.

Since I started to explore backwards I have been amazed at the number and kinds of cousins I have met (via the internet). It is truly remarkable.

The first cousins I met on my journey were my mother’s cousins. I met them when I was a little girl, but after I started exploring my genealogical roots, I got to meet them and get to know them as adults. I previously wrote about them, see my July 2013 post.

Another cousin I met while exploring backwards was Mary Stevens.  She is my second cousin 1x removed.  Her father carries the Steven’s name and as such we have many familiar names in our line.  We met via Ancestry.com and have shared a lot of information with each other.  She and I have even shared our online family tree.

Recently I met Anne Moore Vaught, my first cousin 1x removed. Her mother, Martha Ann Whitehead was my grand-aunt. Anita stumbled onto my blog in search of a Facebook page about growing up in Oglethorpe. After we reconnected and exchanged emails, I found out more about her and her parents. She in turn introduced me to her daughter, my second cousin. It was through the connection with Anita and her happy accident that I went to find this Facebook page and met more cousins. I have not placed them all yet, but several of them seem to be doing similar research.

Another cousin I met recently was Father Ronald Crewe, who is my second cousin 2x removed. His mother’s maiden name was Kersten. I took a chance and contacted him blindly through his work email. I am so glad I did. Since then, I have learned much more about the Kersten’s in Wisconsin and Cicero as well as the homestead in Belgium.

Another cousin I met online was through the website, Ancestry.com. Billie Jean is my second cousin 1x removed. We share a history from the Hicks side of my family tree.

Each of these individuals have been so generous with their time and resources. I want to thank them for their friendship that has evolved. It is with their resources that I have been able to add to the family tree, this blog and eventually, a book (I hope).

So here is to cousins! They provide a whole different connection to your past.

 

 

 

 

 

“Whoa, take’er easy there, Pilgrim”

I always wondered why John Wayne said Pilgrim so many times. Anyhow, Recently, I have been thinking about Pilgrims.  I even wonder to myself if I can call myself a descendent of a pilgrim. I have found information that leads me to believe that I am a 9th generation Pilgrim. Let me tell you why.

I was researching the old family tree and shaking some of the ancestral leaves when I noticed that I had an ancestor that died in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This got me thinking, when he got here and how.

 

Here is a little timeline about the pilgrims just for a refresher.

  • 16 Sept 1620-Mayflower leaves England
  • 16 Dec 1620-Mayflower lands arrive in the New World
  • 16 Mar 1621-Contract between Indians and Pilgrims
  • 15 Oct 1621-First “Thanksgiving”
  • 15 Nov 1621-Second Ship “The Fortune” arrives
  • 15 Jul 1623-Two More Ships arrive

(Reference: http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/the-pilgrims–4)

 

Robert Hicks was on the second ship, so he did not make it in time for the first Thanksgiving, but he got there as quick as he could. His wife came over on The Anne, which arrived in the summer of 1623.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

(Photo source: http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~aaperez/ebooklesson1.html)

Robert was a Fellmonger in England. What the heck is a fellmonger? Essentially, he was a leather worker. He was a dealer in hides and skins. When he came to the New World, it looks like he became a farmer.

Robert was married to Margaret.  Some believe her maiden name was Winslow. Some of this information is still speculative, as I have not confirmed it all. Nevertheless, it appears that Margaret could have been his second wife. Regardless Margaret comes to America with her son Samuel and Lydia on the Anne in 1623.

So this is the way my line goes like this.

My mother’s grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks was the daughter of Lemuel Dabney Hicks, who was the son of Blansford Hicks, who was the son of William Hix, who was the son of Samuel Hixs III, who was the son of Samuel Hicks, Jr. who was the son of Samuel Hicks, who was the son of Robert Hicks who came over on the Fortune and landed near Plymouth in 1621.

Consequently, my mother who always considered herself a daughter of the south, now realizes she has a Pilgrim heritage. I think she will be okay with it. The character of a person that decides to leave EVERYTHING they know to set off for the New World is a valiant person, and it is good to know that character and genes are in us too.

This Thanksgiving is going to be different, I can already tell. I am already thankful for so much in my life. I will pause this year to reflect with a little more familiarity about the brave people that risked everything to come to the new world almost 4oo years ago.

 

Until later, you will find me exploring backwards. By the way, my pilgrim name is Patience Jameson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentimental Sundays

In the summer of 2012, I planned a genealogy trip to my mother’s birthplace.  What happened along the way was an opportunity to reconnect with family members and to visualize for myself the rich history that was in our family.

I had been discussing this trip with a genealogy friend I made online.  Rita, she had provided me with some photographs of family headstones via the website Findagrave.  It was this friendship that spurred in me an idea that I needed to get my feet on the ground in order to explore backwards.  There is only so much I can do from a laptop and an internet connection.

So, as I began planning, people started to get excited.  I reached out to my mother, who in turn reached out to her sister.  My sister also decided to come along.

Now, for any of you that has planned a genealogy trip, you were a step ahead of me.  I knew I wanted to go to this grave site that Rita had told me about.  Problem was it was on private property.  Rita and her husband Bill, stated it would be no problem, they had contacted the local Sheriff and was informed that the owners of the property do not live there full-time and the Sheriff would unlock the gate for us.

There were other locations that I wanted to visit.  I wanted to go to Buckingham, Virginia, where my great-grandfather was born.  I wanted to go to Amherst, Virginia to see the grave sites of the other side of the family.  I also wanted to go to libraries to do some research.  Well, now I had an entourage to accommodate.  It didn’t take me long to come to the decision that it was going to be more valuable for me to get this quality time with my Aunt, Mother and cousins then being stuck in a library.  The library would always be there, but the memories of my most precious resources (family), might not be.

We had a great adventure that weekend  I think my sister visited more cemeteries than she thought she would, but we also got to walk on the land that our forefathers farmed.  I also got to spend time with my Aunt Carol, my mother’s only sibling and to see things from her perspective.  My mother has a phenomenal memory and was able to provide details to the places where they played as children, went to school and blossomed into adulthood.

I will not trade that trip for all the money in the world.  I got some great family pictures from that day.

Two generations of Sisters (Amherst, VA)

Two generations of Sisters (Amherst, VA)

This is a picture of my sister, mother, Aunt and me in front of the Hicks General Store in Amherst.

Property surrounding Wares Gap Cemetery

Property surrounding Wares Gap Cemetery

This is a picture of the property surrounding the Wares Gap cemetery.  This property once belonged to my family members.  The cemetery was so overgrown, had it not been for the extra lawn equipment that Rita and Bill brought, I would not have been such a success.

Overgrown cemetery

Overgrown cemetery

 

During this great adventure, I also got to visit with my first cousins once removed, Nashella and Larry.  Additionally, I got to meet with Joan, whose husband Charles was also a cousin.  Given that they had remained in the geographical region during their life time, gave me a distinct opportunity to learn some things that might have gone unknown.

Larry told us about the local Postmistress in Naruna.

Naruna Postmistresses Home

Naruna Postmistresses Home

Also, after befriending this little old lady who resided in my great-grandfather’s home, Larry told us about what the house looked like before the remodel.

Larry and Nashella give us a short history on John Thomas Sublett's home.

Larry and Nashella give us a short history on John Thomas Sublett’s home.

Overall, it was a trip of a lifetime.  So for all of the genealogists out there, don’t forget to get outdoors and to tap into our most treasured resources, our family!

Until then, I will continue to explore backwards!

 

Carrie Lou a Gibson Girl?

My mother recently came down for a visit.  It was great having her here.  We spent some time going through my family photos that I have collected.  We came across a few of her grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks Moss.  I wrote about her previously, but after finding these pictures, I think there is more to tell.

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

According to her birth certificate, her name was Caroline.  When Carrie Lou Hicks was born on March 21, 1888, in Amherst, Virginia, her father, Lemuel, was 38 and her mother, Emma, was 27.

As she came of age in the early twentieth century, historically there was a shift taking place in America.  Consumerism was growing in terms of magazines and fashion.  Gibson Girls were the rage.  These women were displayed in magazines like Harpers, Scribners.  These women displayed self-confidence.  “The envy of all who knew her, the Gibson Girl remained aloof of her surroundings but not to the extent of haughtiness(Source: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/gibson.htm).

Most women during this time still lived and work on the farm.  However, Carrie Lou and her family moved from the farm in Amherst to the city (Lynchburg) sometime between the 1900 and the 1910 census.  The 1910 Census shows that Carrie and two sisters (Allie and Elizabeth) worked as stitchers at a shoe factory(Craddock & Terry Shoes).  Carrie’s father, Lemuel, also worked at the factory as a Night Watchman.

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

On August 30, 1913, Carrie married Thomas Irving Moss.  It appears that she stayed home while raising their three children.   In the 1930 Census, she is listed as not working.   However, at some point, Carrie went back to work as a she is found to be working as an Operator Room Repair for the public schools in the 1940 census.  While she is listed as employed for the census, the census also indicates that she had been unemployed for 50 weeks that year.  Carrie only had a 5th grade education (source: US Census, 1940).  As you recall there was a depression going on.  In April, 1935, “FDR signs legislation creating the Works Progress Administration. (Its name would be changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration.) The program employs more than 8.5 million individuals in 3,000 counties across the nation” (Source:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/rails-timeline/).

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

At some point she started working in the cafeteria at John Wyatt School.  Carol Sublett Johnson recalls lacing up her corset for work since her arm was in a sling.  Betty Sublett Whitehead recalls Carrie bringing home cookies from work.

Carrie died in 1956, according to her death certificate, she died from pulmonary insufficiency and anoxia.  She was 67 years old.