For my genealogy research, ‘brick walls’ and ‘same name’ often go hand in hand. Hiram M. Currey and James Crawford are two examples where a ‘brick wall’ also involves working thru ‘same name’ issues. In the case of Hiram M. Currey, I have four generations that go by that name. To further complicate the issue, there is another Hiram M. Currey that is about the same age as my Hiram M. Currey of Peoria, Illinois. My James Crawford research is more complicated. I have identified three James Crawford families in the same area of early Kentucky. Histories of the region refer to a Rev. James Crawford who is likely the Rev. James Crawford — a fourth James Crawford.
Over the years, I have been able to figure out the relationships between the multiple Hiram M Curreys and to separate the multiple James Crawfords. I have found the following techniques useful:
- Perform a reasonably exhaustive research of all people of the same name in the same area and time period
- Research the descendants of all of the people of the same name for at least three generations
- Use land records
It was thru land records that I was able to separate the various James Crawford families — including the two that lived adjacent to each other in Preble County, Ohio. When they sold land, their wife’s name was included in the deed along with her release of dower. For example, Preble County, Ohio Deed Book Volume 10, page 282 shows James Crawford and his wife, Martha, selling land in 1829.
Likewise, a deed in volume 5 page 86, shows James Crawford and his wife, Sally, selling land in 1821.
By looking at the wife’s name on the land records for the sale of land, I was able to separate the various James Crawford families. In addition, I was also able to track their migration.
Since I have done reasonably exhaustive research on each of these families, I have located a will for both of the James Crawfords who resided in Preble County, Ohio in 1820. I have also found marriage information for their children. Recently, I have been able to use that knowledge to figure out which one is which in the 1820 Preble County, Ohio census.
Below is an image showing the transcription of the 1820 Preble County Ohio census for Crawford and related families.
Since I wasn’t sure whether the James Crawford shown on image 2 or the James Crawford junior shown on image 4 was my ancestor, I decided to compare the family group sheet for James and Martha to the census to see if I could figure out whether James and Martha were on image 2 or on image 4.
I used the same procedure for the family group sheet for James and Sally.
The family information I have for James and Martha seems to match the James Crawford census record on image 2. However, when I match up the family information for James and Sally to the James Crawford junr census record on page 4, it becomes obvious that there are additional people — particularly females — living in the household that are not on my family group sheet.
Thus, I have more family members — and more records — to find.