24 September 2012

Research Trail: Wasted effort or teachable moment?

The Franklin County, Ohio 1872 Historical  Atlas and Plat Maps 1842, 1856, 1883 reference book can be a great tool, if you know how to use it. For the most part, I used it really well. Here's a case where I didn't fully develop my research question, so I'm not sure if I had a teachable moment or wasted effort. You decide.

Samuel Curtis Brown is a bit of a brick wall to me. He was born on 3 Aug 1821 in Maryland1. Samuel married Martha Gordon on 15 Oct 1846 in Logan, Hocking, Ohio according to the family bible. In the 1860 US Census, Samuel and Martha Brown are living in Groveport, Franklin, Ohio2. For the balance of his life, he and his family lived in Franklin County, Ohio.  So naturally I figured that since Samuel (my 2nd great-grandfather) was from Franklin County, I should look up his property.

I used the index for the above listed record for the name of Samuel Brown. I know it's not an uncommon name, but I felt I was looking for clues. I found a listing for Franklin Township in 1856 for the name Sam Brown.

Published: Franklin County Genealogical Society., J.A. Caldwell (Joseph A.)
Sam Brown property circled in yellow

So, did I spend my time wisely looking at this map? I don't think I did, but I could be wrong.

In the 1860 US Census, Samuel was listed as 39 years old had worked as a laborer. He had $40 worth of personal estate and no property value. He was also in Groveport.  Groveport is east of Franklin Township.


It seems to me that Samuel didn't have enough wealth to have property. And with this property west of where he's known to have lived, I doubt this was him. It's possible that Samuel was in transition, but how would I prove that?

(An interesting note... I can't find Samuel in the 1850 US Census. I found his wife Martha3 listed in the home of her parents. But Samuel and Martha should have had two children at this time. These children were not in the US Census either. Now, they might be in the US Census and I'm just looking in the wrong place. How to solve that, I have no idea).

I suppose to have spent my time more wisely with regards to Samuel Brown, I would have focused on him being in Groveport, not Franklin Township. I would have looked for him as a property owner starting in 18704 but not before that as he didn't have any real estate listed in the 1860 US Census.

I didn't mind looking at this map, just in case, it was my Samuel Brown. I'm not going to be near this record again any time soon. But, perhaps I could have used that time focusing on other records instead. It's a fuzzy area to determine, but at least I'm learning for this experience.

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1. Emma Virginia Brown family bible.
2. U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1860 database, FamilySearch. Groveport, Franklin, Ohio, citing p. 13, family 101, Samuel Brown, Head of Household; NARA microfilm publication 803962.
3. U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1850 database, Ancestry.com; Census Place: Groveport, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: M432_680; Page: 226A; Image: 468.
4. U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1870 database, FamilySearch. Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio, citing p. 6, family 38, Samuel Brown, Head of Household; NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 552699

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