Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Hunt is Afoot! The Search for Missing Ancestors. The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
We are on the hunt. The horn is sounded and cousin Angie, astride her mount, has quickly moved ahead. The dogs pick up a scent and lead her toward the forest. I follow.

Angie sent an email with a possible lead to a missing ancestral line today. Of course, being the every curious, I had no choice but to join in the search and decided to let you all see the joy and agony that comes from searching for ancestors.

This is a step by step accounting then of my afternoon.

12:05 P.M. Email from Angie stating a possible clue to the identity of Grandma Violet's Grandparents on her father's side. We start with the Relationship Chart

The family line continues for Eldora Elizabeth Fiddler. The family line ends on the Pierce side with Edwin.

Angie finds a Edwin Pierce in the 1880 Census and sends the link to me. (Click to Enlarge)

I look at this entry in the Census for Coles County Illinois and see Edwin is listed as 15 years old at the time and living with a (Male) Pierce aged 24 and his wife, Emma Pierce age 20. In addition there is a 7 month old baby named Maude Pierce. According to this entry, Edwin was born in Illinois around the correct year of his birth. Our Great Great Grandfather was also born in Illinois. One source records his birth as 1862. This census would make his birth year 1865 (if this is truly the correct Edwin Pierce). I had trouble reading the name of the male head of household. After a bit more searching I found another source for the Census.

This is the same 1880 Census information but typed out by Ancestry.Com. Now we see the name of the head of household. If this is our Edwin, then I assume from this information that Gregory must be Edwin's older brother. He is living away from his parents.

My next step was to try to find the parents of Gregory Pierce. I found them all listed again in the 1870 Census (click to enlarge)

I was correct but we see an error in the record. The Census taker records him as Edward not Edwin. The good news is that we have the parents listed. If this is our G G Grandfather then his parents were Harrison and Lavina Pierce.

In this entry we learn the birth place and date of Harrison's birth.

And in this entry we see the listed information for Lavina Pierce. Of course, is this Edwin (Edward) really our Great Great Grandfather? Well, the birth year is off by a couple years but the Census records Edwin's birth as "about" 1865. This Edwin was born in Illinois as was our GG Grandfather.

The jury is out. What we have is a possible lead that must be investigated further.

Then hunt is on!


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