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.

Raleigh Hopper Mathews

When Raleigh Hopper Mathews was born on October 30, 1809, in Oglethorpe, Georgia, his father, Littleberry, was 23 and his mother, Jerusha, was 19. Raleigh grew up in Oglethorpe County and lived there his entire life. To give some context to this time period, James Madison was president of the United States. At that time there were 17 states. When Raleigh died, Lincoln was president and the country was at war with each other and there were 34 states in the Union.

 

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Raleigh or Rolly as it was written on many documents was the oldest son of 14 children. Raleigh married Mary Ann Dowdy on 26 October 1835, in Oglethorpe County (Palmer, 1994). According to records that I could find, they had 11 children. Mary Ann Dowdy (1818-1889) was the daughter of Richard and Nancy E. Jones Dowdy.

Raleigh’s four eldest sons all served in the Confederate States of America. Fleming Jordan Mathews (1836-19908; Surgeon), Francis Marion Mathews (1838-1925), Richmond Butler (1842-1932) and Berriam McPheron Mathews (1843-1864? presumed to have died during the war). The youngest son, James Calvin Mathews (1855-1937) was too young to fight. Raleigh himself died during the first few months of the Civil War, he was only 51 years old.

I keep thinking about Raleigh’s wife, Mary, she would have had to bury her husband, and wake up every day knowing that four of her sons were off at war. The strength she must have had to carry on to attend to her other seven children (Cena Ann (my 2nd great-grandmother), Sarah Jane, Emma Jerusha, Mary Susan, James Calvin, Nancy Ella and Martha E.  Then in 1864, she loses another son Berriam to the war (I am still researching this event).

Additionally, what a financial toll this would have. In the 1860 Census, the value of property for Raleigh was $2000 and the value of his estate was $5000. In the 1870 Census, Mary’s property value was listed as $1000, and the value of her estate was only $500.

Sources:

Genealogy of the Mathews Family of Ancient Wales, England and America by Jerry Mathews Palmer, February 3, 1994.

US Census

 

 

Another Tract of Land

One of the important things about genealogy is placement of our ancestors in the time and space in which they lived. I have learned more about history than I ever thought I would.

Recently, I found another piece of property for sale that has a family Tract name. The name Holt was my great-grandmother’s maiden name. Georgia Kate Holt was born 26 Mar 1883 in Naruna, Campbell County. I wrote about her father, Guilford “Walker” Holt last July on this blog.

Holt Aerial

Google Image of the Holt Tract

Google Image of the Holt Tract

The interesting thing about find this property is to ponder all of the life’s events that occurred here. Georgia Kate was the eldest child of Sue and Walker Holt nine children. Raising nine children is rough anytime but this was after the Civil War, and the Wild West was in full swing. Jesse James and Billy the Kid are both shot and killed. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument are both completed before the turn of the century.

Georgia and her siblings were born and raised in Campbell County. The census records indicate that they lived in the Falling River District, which is located near and around the town of Naruna. Tobacco was the major crop for Campbell County. “Brookneal served as a major tobacco market for many years” due to its proximity to the Staunton River (Campbell County Website). This was probably the crop of my ancestors.

 Georgia Holt Sublett 001

I cannot seem to find the marriage date for Georgia Kate and John Thomas, however, according to the 1910 Census, we find them living in Campbell County, and luckily, one of the census questions was how long in present marriage. They indicated 9 years. Therefore, it is safe to assume that sometime after the 1900 census, they married. There is no way to know how far away the lived from her parents. We do know that they remained in the same Enumeration District (Falling River) during the 1910 and 1920 census. Georgia’s father dies in the spring of 1929. On the 1930 Census, Georgia’s mother Sue Etta Wood Holt is now living in the home with Georgia and her husband John Thomas.

Georgia and John Thomas go on to have children of their own: Claudia, Anne, Lacy, Mae and Clarice. We have already discussed my grandfather Lacy Luke Sublett, but we will soon discuss the others.

JT Sublett and Georgia 001

Until later, help me explore backwards.  If you have anything to add, please let me know.

 

 

 

Workday

One of the great things we can learn about our ancestors was their employment.  What did they do for a living?  Were they in agriculture, politics or factory life?  Just for fun, I am going to list some of my ancestors and their occupation.  I believe the 1850 Census was the first time occupation was asked.

Walter Everett Whitehead, was my great-grandfather.  In the 1900 Census, he was listed as a Merchant.  Some of my family owned a general store, Stevens, Martin and Company.  Business was good, as cotton was king at that time.   Walter was also a politician.  He served as a Georgia State Senator from 1911-12, and then again 1937-38.

Peter Kersten, my great-grandfather, after arriving in the United States when he was 21, went to work at a brewery.  He is listed as working there for both the 1900, 1910, 1920 census.  However, by 1930, he is listed as an Elevator Operator for a Radio Company.  By the 1940 Census, he was 67 years old and was not working.

Peter Kersten

Peter Kersten

W. E. Whitehead Georgia State Senator

W. E. Whitehead
Georgia State Senator

 

 

1890 Census

One of the first brick walls a young genealogist learns is 1890 US Census.  This census was destroyed by fire in the 1920’s.  As such, there are large gaps in information.  When I post other biographies of key family members, I will not address this missing census.  When possible, other primary information has been gathered to complete the void left by this census.  However, in many cases it is a large enough void where families are all but lost.

If you want to learn more about the lost census, I have attached a link.

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1996/spring/1890-census-1.html