Here is the "assignment" for tonight's SNGF:
1. Identify one "elusive ancestor" family (perhaps one you just found, or one you've not found any information about), and the county/state that they resided in. Tell us the family name and the county/state.
I decided to look for James Madison Graham.
He was born between 1825 and 1826 in Ohio, possibly in Licking, Pickaway or Ross Counties.
Between 1830 and 1840 he moved to Delaware County, Indiana.
By 1850 he was in German, St. Joseph, Indiana. He left there in 1852 and headed west to California.
In 1860 I found him in Vacaville, Solano, California.
By 1870 he had wandered off. He may have been in Chillicothe, Livingston Co, MO or Northern Reese River Valley, Lander Co, NV. Then again, maybe not.
In 1880 he may have been in Nebraska City, Otoe Co, NE.
I can place him in Hoyle (now Ames), Wood County (now Major), Oklahoma (still Oklahoma!) by 1895. He died there in October 1897 and is buried in Ames Cemetery.
I have a lot of places to look for James in!
2. Go to the FHL Catalog, find the resources for that county/state.
I'd really like a peek at his will or probate record. So I put "Major, Oklahoma" into the search box and it returned No matching places found!
Next I put in just Oklahoma and was given three choices, Oklahoma; Oklahoma, Oklahoma; and Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. I clicked on the first.
Oklahoma - Court Records - Indexes looked interesting so I clicked and learned that it was an index of Oklahoma Ministers licenses. I'm pretty certain I won't find James there.
Oklahoma Emigration and Immigration looked interesting and it is, covering various Indiana and Russian/German topics but again I wouldn't expect to find James there.
Oklahoma - Land and property - Indexes might include him, however I found his record on the BLM site.
I finally worked my way down to the Probate listings. There are some DAR collections of old will transcriptions. Probably not what I'm looking for but I could order them. Probate records 1892-1904, Northern district Cherokee Nation looks like it covers Indians only but I could take a look to be sure.
So I finally started to wake up a little I guess, because I went back to the search and put in just "Hoyle" for which I got "No Matching Places Found" GRRRR I put in Syracuse just to see what would happen and since that worked fine I went back and put in just "Ames" and clicked on Oklahoma, Major, Ames. Here it told you that it used to be called Hoyle!
There are only two topics, Newspapers and Vital Records. The VR link has BMD for 1901-1905, too late for me. Both topics list the Gloria Zerr Collection of Oklahoma Records. They cover 1893-1896 and 1901-1905. Of course James had to die in a year not covered!
I won't bore you with the other searches I did but I went back and looked at Solano, California.
3. Identify at least three items from the FHL Catalog that you need to look into in an effort to further your knowledge about that family's history. Tell us about them.
There are some films I would like to look at for Solano, CA. James' brother-in-law, Thomas Newton Buckles and some of his family were also there along with a Martha Graham I have yet to identify but who was living with both Thomas and James.
- Solano County, California State census index (979.452 x22c). Since this is the year that James and Thomas supposedly went to California I would really like to look at this one
- Solano County marriages/divorce, ca. 1823-1923. I know Thomas Buckles remarried and I would like to know if James divorced Elizabeth and remarried. There was not number on the page so I clicked on film notes and there was a break down by alphabet so I guess would need to order both Bay - Cri (2073285) and Gay - Jom (2073318)
- California, Solano - Land and Property; Deed Books, 1848-1920; Deed Books. There are several and they span just a few years each so I don't see a grabtor/grantee index film I guess I would start with the first couple and then order more and keep working through them
- Solano County Genealogical Society Pioneer file, 1860 -1910; Bro - Det (2051991) and Gor - Kil (2073166)
- There are several others that I could order, but the above look the most promising.
4. Do you know where your nearest Family History Center is? If not, go here and look for it. Tell us where it is.
I live between two FHC's. One is in Liverpool, NY and the other, slightly closer to home is in Pulaski, NY. Neither is convenient (I live in Snowville which is located in the middle of Nowhere) and they have very different hours. If I were to go during my break it would be closer to go to the one in Liverpool but I could make it to Pulaski and back. To go in the evening the distance to the Pulaski location would be more convenient but they are only open one evening per week and I generally have a conflict.
5. Are you willing to make a commitment to go to the FHC and rent microfilms in order to pursue that elusive ancestral family? If so, tell us about your commitment.
Commit? Getting to a FHC has been on my to-do list for a very long time. Family and work commitments have thus far kept me from getting there but as my schedule changes I hope to make my first visit later this spring.
I would like your opinion as to whether I might have a better experience going to a FHC in a busy metro area or one in a large village, but with fewer open hours?