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.

Georgia Kate

Sentimental Sunday

Apparently I have the matriarchs on my mind right now.  I know historically the men have been the bread winners.  For the most part, family the women kept the home and the family together.  It was no different for Georgia.  I do love her name, Georgia Kate.

Back in 2014, I wrote about my great-grandmother Georgia Kate Holt Sublette.  We discussed her obituary that I had found.  Since then, I have found her death certificate.

Death records can be very enlightening as they tell us the cause of death as determined by a physician or a judge.  It also gives information on additional family members that we might have not any prior.

Death Certificate

Death Certificate

Georgia died on June 3, 1950, of a heart condition, myocardosis.  The death certificate indicates it was sudden.  The informant for the family information is listed as Mrs. Harry Foster, we know her better as Claudia Sublette, Georgia’s eldest child.  Georgia was 63 years old.  The death certificate also states Circulatory failure and myocardial degeneration as antecedent causes.

Georgia Sublette

Georgia Sublette

In the 1910 census, we see Georgia is living with her husband and three children, Claudia, Annie, and Lacy.  It also shows that her husband, John Thomas was a farmer.

2-Susan Holt, Georgia Sublett, Lacy and Clarice-Pete- 001

In the 1920 Census, we see that Georgia and her husband are living with their four children (Mary E, age 2; we know her as Mae) and John Thomas’s father resided with them.

In the 1930 Census, it shows the John Thomas and Georgia own the property in which they lived.  Mae and Clarice are still in the home.  Georgia’s mother, Sue Etta Wood Holt, has come to live with them.  Additionally, a boarder is also residing there, Ralph Dudley.  He is probably there to help work the land.

By following the census, 1940, in addition to Georgia’s mother, there is a nephew living in the home.   Fred Sublett, 34 years old, he is the nephew of John Thomas.  He is living in the home as a Farm Laborer.  We can presume that Fred was working the land as John Thomas was a Maintenance Patrolman for the State Highway system.  We also learn that the value of the home is $1500.  I wonder why Lacy  didn’t stay home to work the land.

Georgia Kate circa 1940's

Georgia Kate circa 1940’s

Georgia was born to Gilbert Walker Holt and Sue Etta Wood on 26 March 1883 in Naruna, Virginia.  She was the oldest of nine children.  In the 1910 census, Georgia and John Thomas Sublette are listed as married.  It seems like the approximation of their wedding date is 1901.

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

4-JT Sublett and Georgia 001

I do not have much more information than this.  So until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Birthdays are a funny thing

 

We take for granted that you will always remember the day your child is born. Today, we have pictures, videos, documents to fill out, stork signs to put in our front yard. This was not always the case. If you are into genealogy, you look for birth records, these are a type of holy grail. It gives us birth information for the child. It also gives us information on the parents. The birth, death and marriage records are considered vital records. Historically states did not keep vital records until the 1900’s. Each state is different and started keeping them at different times. So, as a genealogist, you need to know what year the state in question started keeping track. Prior to vital records, people used the family bible as the place to indicate the vital records for one’s family. However, family bibles did not always last, they got lost, and they went to one family member so you might lose crucial information.

Ancestry.com recently uploaded Virginia Vital records that were previously only available individually at $12.00 a pop. I know, because I have given the state many dollars. So, the other day, I went through my family tree and tried to get these vital records for all of my Virginia ancestors.

I came across one of my great-aunts records. It was a “delayed certificate” as she was born prior to 1912, the year Virginia started recording vital records. I had her recorded as Anne Holmes Sublett. However, the record indicates that her father John Thomas Sublette and her mother Georgia Kate Holt had named her Annie Holmes Sublette (notice the “e”, we will talk about that later). Well, the funny thing is that they must have brought the family bible in with them as it indicates that the bible was published in 1902 and the mother had recorded the birth in the bible as 1908 or 1909, but they were attesting that Annie was born on 7 February 1904. I tend to believe the vital record instead of the bible because in the 1910 census, she is listed clearly as 6 years old. Lacy (my grandfather) was listed as 11/12th (meaning he was 11 months old), and that is accurate information. I do wonder why Annie’s mother got it wrong?

Annie Holmes Sublette

Annie Holmes Sublette

Okay, let’s talk about that “e.” When my ancestors first arrived in the new world their name was Soblet, but at some point the name was changed to be more phonetic, Sublette. My grand-father dropped the “e” at some point because he thought it was uppity.

I met a third cousin while blogging, his family kept the “e.” It is interesting because some of the Soblet descendents that traveled to Kentucky and Texas and beyond also dropped the “e.” I can tell you it does make researching ancestors more challenging when you have to search Soblet, Soblets, Sublet, Sublette, and Sublett to make sure you find everyone.

Annie was a character from what I understand.  Here a couple of pictures of her.  Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Annie Sublette

Annie Sublette

Annie Sublett

Classy Annie Sublette

Unknown friend and Annie Sublette

Unknown friend and Annie Sublette

Elusive Ancestors

Elusive Ancestors and breaking the brick walls

I have been researching my ancestors for several years now. Some familial lines are easier to trace than others. I know I have discussed my brick walls in the past. But sometimes by writing about them, you are able to clarify details in the process. That is what I am doing today. It is a hot June day and instead of melting in the sun, I am inside desperately trying to piece puzzle pieces together.

I recently made friends with a fellow genealogist searching the Moss family name. This line has been intangible to me for some time. I have never felt confident with the connections I had made. She has in her line that a Moss married a Moss. Excuse me for a moment while my head mildly explodes. Is this why I can’t seem to untangle the mystery? In order to prove or disprove something in the genealogy field, you must have some set standards of proof. While I am a still a neophyte in this regard, I do my best.

 

Let us look at the Moss facts. I know that Thomas Irving Moss was born 20 Jan 1877 in Buckingham County, Virginia. The items that support this are his World War I and World War II Draft Cards. I know he married my great-grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks on 30 August 1913 (I have the certificate of marriage).   On this Marriage Certificate it indicates that his parents names were Thomas and Margaret Moss. It also lists him as widowed. My newly found friend’s research indicates that Thomas Irving Moss married Mahala K. Newton prior to Carrie Lou. So, I will need to find verification of this at a later time.

My friend, Ms. Kim also sent me an electronic version of Margaret Ann Moss’s Death Certificate. The certificate lists her parents as Thomas Moss and Lucy O’Bryant. It is signed by T.I. Moss. The date of death is 12 July 1915. So, is this Thomas Irving Moss’ mother? We need to look at signatures. Are these the same people?

 

 

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

If it is, then I am going to have reconstruct my line. What are your thoughts.