Thursday, August 20, 2009

Generations Gone By Made Me Do It!

Seriously, my dear bloggy friend who writes Generations Gone By rekindled that genealogy bug in me after a four year hiatus when she told me of Footnotes free access to the 1930 census for the month of August. I just had to type in a few names, just for curiosity's sake. A few emails back and forth later, and I've been hooked again! Of course, Footnotes didn't give me all I wanted, but then I discovered that my local library subscribes to, another super cool genealogy site. So it was I found myself sitting at a computer library yesterday afternoon, talking to the monitor about a missing relative when a lovely woman named Nancy set down next to me and asked what I was doing. As fate would have it, Nancy has been involved in genealogy for 40 years because she's adopted. A few tips here and a few keystrokes there and my missing relative was found!

So, Generations, this post is for you!

Remember these kids? Well, their father (who would be my great grandfather on my maternal side) is Morton Smith, born about 1872 in New York. His father is Richard P. Smith, born in Pennsylvania in roughly 1837...this would be my great-great grandfather. His father, who was also named Richard P. Smith, was born in Pennsylvania on March 13 1799. Then my great-great-great grandfather was William Moore Smith, born in Pennsylvania on June 1, 1759 and, finally, my great-great-great-great grandfather was, in fact, William Penn Smith, born Sept 7, 1727 near Aberdeen, Scotland and died in Pennsylvania May 14, 1803. Gens, you know some of the other names (closer to our generation), so, how'd I do?

Movers and shakers in a brand new country, these are some fascinating people.

Things I have learned in the short time I've been doing this: Did you know they don't release census details until 72 years after the census was taken? That means we won't have 1940's census until 2012 and we won't have 1950's census until 2024! Did you know that the census from 1830 only counted male heads of household? Gee...weren't we forgetting a bunch of people? Finally, based on data I've found, Morton had to have been married twice. I wonder what happened to his first wife. She did give him a son, yet another Richard P. Smith, in 1893. I didn't spend much time on her, though, because she's not my great-grandmother. Wife number two is my great grandmother and I haven't found her family yet.

Having said all that, I can't believe Gens did this to me...I'm like an addict! Now, on to the women!

What about you all? Any missing relatives?


Anonymous said...

Ah another convert.

Actually to clarify a few things. The censuses 1840 and before counted the male heads of households, but broke the households down by age groups, so we can tell how many 0-5 year old girls and boys, 5-10 year girls and boys etc were living in the household. The problem is that those children could be children, grandchildren, apprentices... So we can't assume if a man had 8 children living with him that they were all his. I found one family where there was a much older couple living with my younger ancestors. Probably one of thier parents. But how many of the children belonged to the older parents?

You did some awesome genealogy work there in just a few short weeks though! I am very impressed. Maybe I should give you the information on Susan Markham. LOL

Andrea said...


Melissa Henning said...

So fascinating to read! Thanks for sharing :). The entire left side of my family is missing lol. Seriously though, my dad's side. I don't know him, and all I know is that he was a ward of the state until age of 18. I think he has a son out there somewhere named Michael. That's about all that I know. I don't think I have enough information to search with.

Dani Joy said...

The William Penn of Pennsylvania? the one who it was named after? WOW! That´s so cool!

I have wanted to find my relatives who were said to have come from Germany and Holand seens how I now live out here. My greats came from there.

It sure would be interesting. I can see the importance for you, especially.

Beth in NC said...

That is SO interesting!!! I love finding out stuff about my family. I just learned this week that my great, great grandfather was a prisoner in the Civil War. I also had a great, great, great, great (I guess) ... maybe one more great -- was in the Revolutionary War.

Very interesting!