I’m continuing on my search for information on John M. Smith (17?? – 1835). Here’s what I know:
- Russell County Kentucky was formed in Dec/Jan of 1825/26.
- John Smith “of Russell County” bought 100 acres in April 1827 and appears in the Russell County tax list for the first time.
- On Dec 31, 1827, John received a land grant along with James Gilbert for a total of 200 acres. (If anyone knows why “joint” grants were given, I’d love to know! I’ve ordered the land grant films, but I’m impatient!)
- I have the tax listings for John every year through 1835 when he died.
- John’s land was partially in Russell County and partially in Wayne County.
- Two of John’s sons, George and Elias, also appear in the tax lists, giving me approximate dates of birth based on when they appear for the first time.
- In 1847, the “heirs of John M. Smith” sell all of their shares of land to their brother, Elias. This deed mentions that the deceased Solomon Smith’s land was one-sixth of the estate. Based on this deed, I know the names of 5 children – George, Elias, Mary Jane, Elizabeth and Solomon. Was the last sixth for their mother?
I’ve been trying to find where John M. Smith was before Russell County. Was he in the same area, which was Wayne County before Russell County was formed? Or did he immigrate from somewhere else? I have one tiny clue in a great-grandson’s biography, but so far, I have not been able to confirm it. My “Smith Feast” is the fact that there are many John Smith’s in every county that I look at. Obviously, because this is early 1800′s, I have no census records to see which John Smith might be my John Smith. My “Smith Famine” is the fact that Solomon Smith does not appear in any tax lists or deeds other than the deed mentioned above.
I decided to look for clues in land and court records. I currently have films of the first 3 court order books. I began by using the index to look for records. As I was scrolling through the film, I happened to stop on a page and John’s name popped out to me. This was an “Ah-Ha” moment for me – the index didn’t include every mention of a name, only the names of those who initiated something in the court. Back to the beginning of the film! I began to read (ok, I skimmed) every page and found many things.
- John was a Justice of the Peace from 1830 till his death.
- John was quite often asked to survey the best location for new roads in his part of the county.
- John was the administrator of the estate of John B. Smith (another “famine” as I cannot find this name anywhere else!)
- John took in a “poor boy of the county”, John Asberry, who became his son’s apprentice after John died.
I had been focusing on locating anything with John’s name so I was concentrating on files before 1836, but yesterday, I began to skim Book 3 and found two “pleasant” surprises:
- Sept 1840 – George A. Smith (son of John) became the administrator for the estate of Solomon Smith. Ah-ha! A more specific date of death. Because Solomon never appears in the tax records, I am guessing that Solomon was not yet 21 at his death.
- Oct 1840 – Elias Smith (son of John) became the administrator for the estate of Benjamin Smith. There is more than one Benjamin Smith in Russell County, but I have never researched them because their ages and locations did not match my family. I went back for a closer look and discovered that this Benjamin does appear in the tax lists, but only once. In 1840, his is listed between Elias and George. He owns no land, but does have a horse. From this record, I am guessing that he had turned 21, and was therefore born around 1819. I believe this is the name for the final sixth of John’s estate!
I’m happy to have found these names and dates, but as usual, I have many more questions. For my “feast” name – which John Smith is my John Smith? For my “famine” names – who was John’s wife? I have yet to see her name anywhere, even in deeds. Who was John B. Smith? Was he related? If so, how? Was he from Russell County? If not, will this be the connection I need to show where John M. came from? Where can I find more information on the “estates” of John M. Smith, John B. Smith, Solomon and Benjamin Smith?
Today, I will continue reading through Book 3 to see if there is more to glean. I’ve ordered and am greatly anticipating the films for the Kentucky Land Grants and Russell County deeds. I’ve looked at the deed film before, but now I know that I can’t rely on the index. And I found an online index that shows that there is an indenture that involves 3 of the siblings – including Benjamin – so I’m anxious to see what I’ll find next! Sadly, Spring Break begins just when I expect these films to arrive. So these mysteries will be swirling in my mind as I lay on the beach. How strange is it that I’m kinda wishing I didn’t have to go???
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Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 |
I’ll be at the Allen County Public Library this week-end. I’ll have plenty of time to make digital copies of the records you need in your research! Click the Personal Assistant tab at the top for details. I’d love to help you out!
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Posted in Organization, Research on March 13, 2011 |
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As promised yesterday, I’m posting the log sheet that I created to keep track of what I’ve researched on specific microfilm reels. I’m using Excel for this file with margins set at .25 for top and bottom and .45 for left and right. It’s created to be sheets for 2 different microfilm – 1/2 sheet each. I cut them apart and hole punched them to put in my Research Planner which is a Franklin Covey Compact Planner.
Click Blank Microfilm Logs to download the form.
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Posted in Organization on March 12, 2011 |
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I have a problem. I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes called “Type A” personality. My husband sometimes says I’m OCD. All I know is that I never feel organized enough. I don’t have a very good memory and I often repeat research that I’ve already done. So when I decide to spend money to rent a microfilm or two from the FHL, I feel a tiny bit of panic. Have I ordered this before? If so, where are those scans? Did I look for a specific person? Did I do a quick scan for all of the people in my tree that fit the time period? Have I found more information on a family since I looked at the film?
When I read how “real” genealogists do their research (I consider myself to be a really serious hobbyist ; ) I read alot about research logs. Write down the date, the book or film and what you found or didn’t find. Which sounds like a great idea. But who in the world can remember WHEN they researched something? This has never worked for me, so consequently, I don’t have a research log – I have several types of research logs. Is this the most efficient way of recording my research? I’m not sure yet, but it’s WAY better than what I did a couple of years ago.
I have a research log for each person I’m researching, which I absolutely love. But I also have a log sheet for individual books. Title, author, call number, citation, date researched and what I looked for and found. Now when I grab a book off the library shelf, I can look to see what I’ve already looked for and if I made copies or not. As of this morning, I also have a log sheet for microfilm.
My book and microfilm logs are designed in Excel to fit in my research planner, so each log fits on a half sheet of paper. I hole punch them and keep them in my planner. I’m spending a couple of hours at the library this morning as 4 films that I ordered arrived yesterday, so I’m going to give this a test run and then I’ll post the file tomorrow when I think I’ve “perfected” it.
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I was using my Research Log this morning and I was thinking about how helpful it is to me for keeping track of what I’ve already searched. I thought I might re-post this blog from 2009 to see if it could help anyone else. Happy Researching! ~Lisa
Last week-end, I had a 3 hour car ride to contemplate what my “ideal” research log would look like. I had printed out my notes for Joseph Scott (1832-1914, Russell County, Kentucky) and purposely did not bring along anything else so that I would be totally focused on the one family. For 3 hours, I read and re-read the notes jotting down questions and making sure all my little scraps of paper and post-it notes were included. I decided to create a 1 page document with Joseph’s basic vital information along with a timeline of locations for his family. After that, I began making a list of questions I have along with a list of sources I could search to find the answers. I also included sources I had already searched.
Of course, I used Excel to create the log so that it will be easy to update and easy to adapt to other ancestors. I had already created a database of sources available at the Allen County Library for the counties I research in, so those sources were easy to add to the log. I’m in the process of searching the Kentucky Archives catalog and the FHL catalog for additional sources that I don’t have access to at the library. I’ll also add web sites that could help my research. My ultimate goal for the log is to have a record that I can add to my ancestor’s folder so that when I grab the folder to take to the library, the log will be waiting. I’ll know what I’ve already researched and what I want to look-up on my next trip. I need to be able to update it quickly, especially if I read an interesting article or twitter tweet that gives me a new idea of a source to search. But more than anything, I need to FEEL organized and confident that I have thoroughly analyzed my notes and that I don’t need to take the time to analyze them again. That, more than anything, keeps me from working on my research. I don’t usually work on my research unless I have a full day – which I seldom have during the school year. So if I can take smaller chunks of time to do the analyzing – and creating the log – then I’ll be more likely to jump into my research when opportunities do present themselves.
So here my the first version of my research log. While I don’t want this log template to become a huge project, I am trying to think if there are other things I need to add to be as effective as possible. It just occurred to me that I should include a list of people that I know are also searching Joseph along with email and snail mail addresses.
Please feel free to comment if you think something else would be helpful!
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