Friday, March 9, 2012

Brick wall tumbled down

You should have seen me doing a happy dance at the Montgomery County Record Center in Dayton, Ohio.
I never suspected I would find the “smoking gun” that would link my wife’s ancestor, William Hendrickson, to his parents and to New Jersey. I had been searching for this for 45 years.
I had collected a pile of records pertaining to the Hendricksons in the Miami Valley of Ohio -- Montgomery County and the nine surrounding counties. A family group had started to take shape when I made a day trip to Dayton for a search in the deeds.

What I found were two quitclaim deeds that showed that William Hendrickson, who was born 15 May 1815 in New Jersey and married Sarah Sinks on 28 Aug 1834 in Montgomery County, was the son of William Hendrickson and Ellen/Eleanor Emmons.
I had first seen the senior William Hendrickson’s name in the 1828 and 1829 tax list that showed Wm. Hendrickson’s heirs owned an 8-acre parcel near Dayton. William purchased this land from Philip Shoe on 3 Apr 1827 and, obviously, died shortly after.
Tax lists from 1830 to 1839 showed the same parcel owned by an Eleanor or Ellen Hendrickson.
That was when I visited the Montgomery County Record Center and found the two quitclaim deeds.

In the first deed (Book M2, pp 381-383) dated 15 Sep 1835 and recorded 17 Mar 1847, Albert Henderickson, William Henderickson, Samuel Wallace and Rebecca Wallace his wife (late Rebecca Henderickson), Hendrick Henderickson and Alexander Mitchell and Ann Mitchell his wife (late Ann Henderickson), “the heirs of William Hendrickson decd” sold the land to Jesse Kepler and Mary Kepler his wife. The deed makes clear that Mary Kepler was also an heir of William Hendrickson. Additional information in the last paragraph of the deed identifies Mary Hendrickson as wife of Albert, Sarah Henderickson as wife of William and Catharine Henderickson as wife of Henderick.
Not all of the signatures on the deed matched the names of the people in the deed. Sarah Hendrickson, wife of William, signed as Sally. Alexander Mitchell signed as Erick. And there was a signator not named in the deed -- Elias C. W. Henderickson.
Samuel Wallace and Rebecca Wallace acknowledged the signing of the deed on 16 Sep 1835 in Montgomery County and William and “Sally” Henderickson on 19 Sep 1835, also in Montgomery Co.

Albert and Mary Henderickson acknowledged the deed on 18 Sep 1835 before a justice of the peace in Miami County, Ohio.
Erick Mitchell acknowledged the deed on 23 Dec 1837 in Montgomery County, but not his wife Ann. Similarly, Henderick Henderickson acknowledged the deed before a justice of the peace in Montgomery County, Indiana, but not his wife Catharine.
Elias C. W. Henderickson was the last to acknowledge the deed on 28 Jul 1843. Further research showed that this Elias was born 10 Jun 1822 in Ohio, so he had just turned 21 when he acknowledged the deed.
Further research also showed that the Erick Mitchell was in fact Erick Matchett. I can see how a clerk might have puzzled over that name and decided to go with the more common spelling in the deed book.

In the second quitclaim deed
(Book M2, pp 383-384) also dated 15 Sep 1835, Ellen Henderickson sold her dower right as widow of William Henderickson to Jesse and Mary Kepler for $20. She acknowledged the deed the same day.
(If you would like copies of my transcripts of these deeds or access to the pictures of the deed book pages, let me know.)
Some additional records that help to tie this family together include:
- The marriage of William Hendrickson to Eleanor Emmins on 4 Apr 1800 in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
- The baptism of Albert Hendrickson, son of William Hendrickson and Ellenor Emmens, on 6 Sep 1801 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Monmouth County,
- The marriage of of Joanna Hendrickson to Errick Matchett on 15 Jan 1821 by Rev. John Fountain of Cheesequake, N.J. Present were Hendrick Snyder & Richard Matchett.
- The 1870 census of Jackson Twp., Montgomery Co., Ohio, in which Eleanor Hendrickson resides in the household of Jesse and Maria Kepler. She is aged 89 and is identified as “Lives with daughter.”

You can see a more detailed report on this family, with sources, on my webpage.

In my initial survey of Hendricksons in the Miami Valley of Ohio and beyond, I ran across a William John Hendrickson who was said to have lived in Licking County, Ohio, and whose wife was Eleanor Emmons. This Eleanor was reported to have been born in 1776 in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and died in 1853 in Johnstown, Monroe Twp., Licking Co. I have not been able to determine the sources of this information beyond the fact that it appears first in an Ancestral File entry and later in a Pedigree Resource File submission.
This William may be the man who purchased land from the government in 1829 and shows up in the 1830 and 1840 censuses of Monroe Township. In both of those censuses, the oldest male in the household was born between 1791 and 1800, making him too young to have married Eleanor Emmons in Monmouth County in 1800. Similarly, the oldest female in these censuses also was born between 1791 and 1800. There are four children with the couple in the 1830 census and seven in 1840.
There is a Wm Hendrixon in the 1850 census of Monroe Twp., Licking Co., in the household of Mary Heckathorn. This William was born about 1805 in New Jersey. No female who could be his wife or Hendrickson children are with him.
I would love to correspond with anyone researching this Licking County family.

Lastly, I need to credit Elizabeth Shawn Mills and Marian Pierre-Louis. Ms. Mills spoke last year here in Kentucky and I’ve attend two excellent webinars by Ms. Pierre-Louis. I got lots of good information and research ideas from both of them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Coming soon

   To a computer screen near you . . .
   The 1940 Census.
   Let me tell you who I'm going to look for first . . . ME!
   Yup, I confess, I'm that old. Well, just barely, actually. In the 1940 census I should be listed as "10/12" of a year old living with my parents and grandparents at the Flat Iron, a country store in Indiana.
   This may be the only search I do in the raw microfilm images (no scratched-up microfilm, all digital images, all free).
   I'm confident. I'll wait for the indexing to be completed.

   So, let's get with it, folks. I don't want to wait forever.
   If you are not already an indexer, get started today so you'll be up and running by April 2. Go to this website. Follow the instructions to download and run the software. You will be prompted to create an account.
   That's all there is to it.
   But, before you download that first batch, read the tutorial. I recommend going to the Help menu first and clicking the Resource Guide. Or just go here.

   In the center top portion of the page, select Indexing Tutorial. You might also want to download the User Guide and leave it on your desktop for ready reference if you have a question.
   Then download your first batch. Pick an easy one to start.

   Every time I find a new record on FamilySearch, it reminds me to give something back -- index something for someone else to find.
   I don't find it a chore. I enjoy indexing. I've been doing it for several years and I think I've indexed a little over 14,000 names. That's not really a lot compared to what some really dedicated indexers have done.
   Every little bit helps. You do your part and I will too.