All about John…

No this is not a post about the John family. This is a post about John GEORGE.

In going about my research on the GEORGE family, (that would be in relation to Grandma Dick’s grandmother Rachel GEORGE), it appears that William GEORGE and his wife Margaret arrived in Tyler County, Virginia in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Don’t know exactly yet. They had at least 4 children, although I might have found a fifth – but that is another story. The only one of their children I could find no information on online was John GEORGE.

Now John is not a direct ancestor, but a 5g Uncle. Which doesn’t matter to me, because I research all my relatives, if possible, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. In this case it was just a matter of curiosity. What the heck happened to John? Why does no one have anything on him online?

So commenced my hunt.

My first major puzzle piece was a land record in Tyler County, and because John was selling land, his wife’s name had to be listed. Diadamia. What a lovely name. This was the first tidbit I had found of his wife.

The last major puzzle piece, that pretty much put the picture together, was another land record. This one was recorded in Tyler County, but it had been sent from Elkhart County, Indiana in 1838. Wow! Major news. So my next move was to check all the census records for Tyler County for the GEORGES and make a list of who was living there as early as I could find them. John has moved out of his parents home and was living with his wife by 1810, he was about 26-29 years of age. So according to the census’ and the above land record they stayed in the area until sometime between June of 1838 and September of 1839, which is when they moved to Indiana. This find was confirmed with census records in the area of Elkhart County.

John died by 1846. I know this because in searching the Indiana vital records online for information on the children, I found a record of his wife having married a Kinsey in 1846. Diadamia and her new husband are found together in 1850 in Elkhart, but by 1860 Diadamia had also died (confirmed by census records).

I know of at least 4 children for the couple: John, William, Elizabeth, and Cassandra. Elizabeth and Cassandra each had married in Virginia, the former to a Jacob Sailor, and the latter to a Lewis Pitts. They had traveled with their parents and their own families to the wilds of Indiana. Eventually, the Pitts family traveled on to Nebraska which is where Cassandra died. Elizabeth’s family stayed in Elkhart. I do not know what happened to John or William yet, and I might or might not pursue their whereabouts.

So I have pretty much solved the mystery of John GEORGE. I am sure there are more records in Indiana that could give me even more information on the family, but that can wait for another time. So many surnames so little….well you know.


Improvements in transcriptions… has a database on their site of Hamburg passenger lists. That would be those people leaving Germany from the port of Hamburg. Recently there has been an update to the database which includes an index of the records from 1850 to about 1890, I think, anyway is covers the dates I need. The great thing about this index is that it is the Archives in Germany that is doing it. Which means that the information from the transcription will be more accurate.

In my case, I was hoping to see a refinement of the entry for  Frederick William John and Henrietta Volk in the records. Which I did. The transcription confirmed that which I believed to be true, but wasn’t quite sure of, F W John and his wife Henrietta both indicated that they were born in Altraden, Posen, Prussia.

It’s not ground breaking news, but it makes me feel better about including the information in my own records. FW’s brother August did not have to give the same information when he emigrated in 1855, he only had to say where he was from, that could just mean where he last lived. We have that information.

At this time there are very few accessible records for Altraden for me to look at. I do keep checking up on Posen websites as there are a few indexing projects going on from church records, but it might be a while before we find anything, if ever.

What’s in a date?

Elza Shepard
Elza Shepard

Elza Shepard celebrated his 93rd birthday with big fanfare surrounded by friends and family. There was even a write up in the local paper about it.

The only problem is Elza was never 93 years old. He was born anywhere from 1845-1847 according to census records from 1860-1930. The most accurate census would be the 1860 one where his is living with his parents Hartley and Susannah Shepard and he is 13 years old. Most of the census records agree with the 1846-1847 time period.

His death record indicates he was born in 1841. Death records are notorious for having this kind of information wrong, especially the early ones where birth records don’t exist. I can say with great confidence that it is incorrect. Elza probably forgot when he was born and over time the date changed and was mis-remembered.

So in actual fact when Elza died he was no more than 88 years old. A great age to celebrate anyway.

More union soldiers, a wedding and a death…

I am back from my trip to Salt Lake City. Who would think that a weeks vacation could be that exhausting.

I spent many an hour looking bleary eyed at microfilm. All in an effort to find something new about our  ancestors. I am happy to say that I did find a tidbit or two.

Firstly, until just this last week I had no idea when Jennie/Jannett Smith Rosa Lavelley died. I did know it was after 1870 and before 1898 (according to her ex-husband, Abram Rosa’s, pension). But this week I found a quit claim deed filed in Berrien County, Michigan labeled ‘Jannett Rosa, by heirs’ to Michael Smith [her brother]. The incriminating bit of information in that index entry was the ‘by heirs’ part. The deed was filed in 1877. Okay, it didn’t give me the exact date of death, but now I know that Jennie died between 1870 and 1877, a much shorter date range. Who knows, maybe a bit of digging in my own backyard will turn up more on that issue, after all she lived in Oconto.

Secondly, the Buchanan family has been researched by others, but some of what they have put out there is wrong. I now know that Margaret and William Buchanan died in Jackson County, West Virginia. Margaret in 1883 and William in 1891. I found their death records online. Easy peasy. Well, after Margaret died, William must have been feeling a bit lonely because he married again in 1884 to an Emily Duke. How do I know this, land records. William and Emily are selling land together to family, etc. in Jackson County in the 1880s. It took me a while to realize that the name of his wife was Emily in the deeds as I am mostly just photographing records and looking at them later. I am glad I did though. Now I can add Emily to the records. I even confirmed the marriage by finding their certificate online.

Thirdly, After learning about Emily, I dug around on Ancestry to see if there was something I missed about William Buchanan in their online records. William is the first Shepard side ancestor I have found to have been an actual soldier in the Civil War. He joined the Union’s 17th Regiment, Company D, Infantry. He was only in the war for about a year, the same as F. W. John. He appears to have survived the war without any incidents. But, he didn’t live long enough to file a pension having died in 1891. Emily his wife died by 1900, as we know from the land records. When she died the land she inherited from William, had to pass on to his children: Jane, Ebenezer, Rebecca and Sarah.

All in all I have had affirmed in my mind the importance of land records in doing one’s research. It can lead you to finding all kinds of little gems.

This is the page from the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule showing William Buchanan.