Same Name

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.

Wedding Tales – True or False?

weddingMy parents, Eugene and Roberta Crawford were married on June 9, 1951 in Emporia, Kansas. When they would talk about their wedding, they would always tell stories of the ‘flood’. According to my dad, his parents, his best friends and many of the Dodge City guests had trouble getting into Emporia because of flooding.

My mother’s stories centered around her father, who ran the local movie theater. In the 50’s the movies came in large rolls which had to be returned as soon as the last showing was over. According to mom, her father had to take the reels out of Emporia by row boat and trade them for the reels for the new show.

For the longest time, I assumed that these flood stories associated with their June wedding were about the great flood of 1951.


It was likely 1993 when I realized that the flood of 1951 was in July and not June. The above image verifies the July 1951 flooding in Emporia. The article is from July 19, 1951 issue of The Emporia Weekly Gazette (Emporia, Kansas) found on

So, was there flooding at the time of my parents wedding — or did they attach stories from July to their wedding memories? Since Emporia was surrounded by flood waters in July, my grandfather would have had to take the movie reels out by boat. However, my dad’s parents and friends would not have had a reason to travel to Emporia from Dodge City in July by automobile.

So, was there flooding that made it difficult to travel from Dodge City to Emporia in early June of 1951? With the Neosho River on the North and East sides of town and the Cottonwood River on the South side of town, it is possible that roads were closed due to flooding.


Currently, the primary route from Dodge City to Emporia is Highway 50. (Blue line on the map)


A look at a map from 1950-1951 shows that there were only 2 highways into or out of Emporia: Kansas Highway 99 from the North to the South and U.S. Highway 50S from the West to the East. (Map available on KDOT: Historic State Maps)


Kansas Highway 99 crosses the Neosho River on the North side of town and the Cottonwood River on the South side of town. According to the 1950-1951 map, US 50S paralleled the Cottonwood River from Florence to Emporia. The highway crossed the river at Florence. If both rivers were flooding, then both highways likely would close and the town would have been cut off.

Two newspaper articles verify that the Cottonwood River was flooding the weekend of June 9, 1951. Both articles are from the June 11, 1951 issue of The Emporia Gazette. On page 2 of the paper is an article about sightseers going across the bridge at Soden’s Grove (where Highway 99 crosses the Cottonwood River).


The second article was on the first page of the paper and discussed flooding of the Cottonwood River along the highway at Elmdale.


Based on the newspaper accounts, the Cottonwood River was flooding the weekend of my parents wedding. This flooding may have impacted US highway 50S from Florence into Emporia. While we have the technology to warn us of road closures, my grandparents likely were unaware of the flooding issue until they reached a flooded roadway. A lot of backtracking would have been needed to get around the flooded Cottonwood River. June 10, 1951 issues of other newspapers report flooding on the Saline River, Kansas River and Blue River.

Thus, I believe the tales of family members and wedding guests having a difficult time getting to Emporia for the wedding to be true.


Honoring Those Who Served

In honor of Memorial Day, a group of bloggers initiated the “Honor Roll Project“. As stated on the project home page,

Just find a military honor roll in your hometown park, or in front of a civil building, or inside on a plaque – Anywhere!  Photograph it, transcribe the names and post it to your blog.

There are several ‘military honor rolls’ in Seneca, Kansas. The most prominent one is the wall on the East side of town.

Memorial (640x483)

About two years ago, I photographed the wall. Although not the best photos, they have been shared in an album on the Nemaha County Historical Society‘s Facebook page. The album is titled, Seneca Military Wall.

I have been working on transcribing all of this info. The Civil War portion of the wall has been transcribed into a spreadsheet and shared on the web page: Civil War (and Earlier) Names on the Wall. For a more complete list of names on the wall, see 2018-05-28-Military-Wall. (Note: transcription is NOT finished!)

I invite everyone to participate in the honor roll project! Find your relative’s name on a flag post, roll of honor, or other military memorial. Take a photograph, transcribe the info and share using the hashtag #honorrollproject.

Let’s flood the Internet in honor of those who served!

Same or Different?

My great-grandmother was Winnie Mae Hutchinson (1871-1913), wife of Hiram Currey. Winnie died when my grandmother was 10 years old. With the loss of her mother at an early age, my grandmother lost connection with her mother’s family. My grandmother’s desire to learn more about her Hutchinson grandmother is what started my genealogical journey. Thus, I have been researching my grandmother’s grandparents, Albert and Julia (Harding) Hutchinson, their children and grandchildren for years in an attempt to learn about my grandmother’s aunts, uncles and cousins. Since Albert and Julia both died before my grandmother was born, her aunts, uncles and cousins would have been the only members of her mother’s Hutchinson family she could have possibly known.

Although my grandmother lost contact with her first cousins, DNA is allowing me to reconnect with some of those Hutchinson cousins. I have a couple of matches that Ancestry classifies as 3rd cousins. Shared matches hinted that these ‘3rd cousins’ are Hutchinson cousins. One of those matches did not have a tree but provided me with her parents’ names, Thomas and Jeanette Hutchinson. According to my DNA match, Thomas Hutchinson was born in Missouri in 1929.

In my research, I had a Thomas Hutchinson born in 1929. I had this Thomas as the son of Thomas G. Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The primary source for this relationship was the 1940 census record for Thomas Hutchinson living in Ward 8, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri (sheet 19A)



Unfortunately, I did not have enough research to prove that the Thomas in my research was the same Thomas as my match’s parents. Since I shared enough DNA with my match to indicate that we could be 3rd cousins, I started trying to prove/disprove a relationship between the two Thomas Hutchinson’s.

One of the documents I located was an application for a marriage license in the Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013 for Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The application was dated 23 Jan 1956. According to the application Guy Hutchinson was divorced and Minnie Hanson was single.



I also found the marriage license that was dated 1 Jun 1956. The marriage was witnessed by Rosalie Rankins and George A. Rankins. Since I have a Rosalie Hutchinson Rankins as the daughter of Thomas G. Hutchinson, it is possible that the Rosalie Rankins who witnessed the marriage was the daughter of Guy T. Hutchinson.


With Rosalie Rankins as the witness on the marriage license, I began to wonder whether the Thomas G. Hutchinson in the Missouri records was the same person as Guy T. Hutchinson in the Oregon/Washington records. Sine the 1940 census indicated that Thomas G. Hutchinson’s wife was named ‘Minnie’ I also began to wonder whether the Minnie of the 1940 census was the Minnie Hanson of the marriage license.

An obituary transcript for Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson from the 19 Dec 2000 issue of the Oregonian (courtesy of Genealogy Bank) supports the theory that the Minnie of the 1940 census is the same Minnie Hanson of the marriage record.

Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson, 90

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000
A funeral will be at noon Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2000, in Bateman-Carroll Funeral Chapel in Gresham for Minnie E. Hutchinson, who died Dec. 15 at age 90.

Mrs. Hutchinson was born Aug. 12, 1910, in Kansas City, Mo. Her maiden name was Hanson. A homemaker, she moved to Gresham in 1946 and lived in Canby since 1963. She was a nurse’s aide for the Canby Nursing Home in the 1960s. In 1954, she married Guy T. Hutchinson; he died in 1962.

Survivors include her sons, Thomas, Ronald, Donald, James and Joseph; daughters, Mary N. Mitchell, Martha B. Belk and Rose V. Rankins; 36 grandchildren; 67 great-grandchildren; and 47 great-great-grandchildren.

Interment will be in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The family suggests remembrances to Full Gospel Community Church in Milwaukie.

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The names of the children in the obituary are similar to the names of the children in the 1940 census. The obituary identifies a daughter as Mary N. Mitchell who may be the Nadine Hutchinson in the 1940 census. Included in the obituary, but missing from the census was a son named Joseph.

Another document that supports the concept that the Minnie Hanson of the Washington marriage license had previously been married to a Hutchinson is the 1943 obituary of Minnie’s brother, James Hanson. This obituary includes Mrs. Minnie Hutchinson as a sister of James Hanson. (St. Joseph Union-Observer, 13 Aug 1943 – found on


At this point, I do not have enough evidence to prove that the Thomas G Hutchinson and wife Minnie of the 1940 Missouri census record are the same as the Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson. I do have verification from my DNA match that her grandparents were Thomas G (or Guy T) Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.

My next step is to try and locate a Hutchinson-Hanson marriage record in Missouri (or Kansas). I also need to check for land records for Thomas G. Hutchinson in Buchanan County, Missouri. If Thomas Hutchinson owned land in St. Joseph, then the sale of that land might show that he moved to Oregon.

I will also continue researching the children of Thomas and Minnie. Hopefully, I will acquire a ‘preponderance of evidence’ to support my theory that Thomas G. Hutchinson and his wife Minnie are the same couple as Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.





Briles Homestead

HOMEThe Briles family came to the Kansas Territory prior to the Civil War. Alexander Briles is listed on the 1859 territorial census in Coffey County, Kansas. On 1 Dec 1860, Alexander Briles received the patent to the Northeast quarter of section #12 Township 23 South of Range 15 East of the 6th Prime Meridian. This land became the family homestead for generations. The land was passed down thru the family to John Franklin Briles (1916-2004) and his children.

1860-Briles-Alexander-PatentThe United States of America
To all to whom these presents shall enter, Greeting
Whereas, In pursuance of the Act of Congress, approved March 3, 1855, entitled “An act in addition to certain acts granting Bounty Land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States,” there has been deposited in the General Land Office Warrant No. 76,800 for 160 acres in favor of Margaret Baker, widow of George Baker, Private, Captain Hook’s Company, Virginia Militia War 1812
with evidence that the same has been duly located upon the North East quarter of Section Twelve in Township Twenty three of Range fifteen in the District of Lands subject to sale at Fort Scott Kansas containing one hundred and sixty acres
according to the official plat of the survey of said Lands returned to the General Land Office by the surveyor general the said Warrant having been assigned by the said Margaret Baker to Alexander Briles in whose favor the said tract has been located.
Now Know Ye, that there is therefore granted by the United States unto the said Alexander Briles, as assignee as aforesaid and to his heirs
the tract of land above described: to have and to hold the said tract of land with the appurtenance thereof unto the said Alexander Briles, as assignee as aforesaid and to
his heirs and assigns forever
In testimony whereof, I, James Buchanan President of the United States of America, have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed.
Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, the first day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty fifth
By the president: James Buchanan
By J A R Leenard Sec’y
J. N. Granger Recorded of the General Land Office

(United States Bureau of Land Management, “General Land Office Records,” database with images, BLM.Gov ( : viewed online April 2018), Briles, Alexander.)


#52Ancestors / #Homestead

Feeling Lucky – and – Grateful!

In thinking about a ‘lucky‘ post for a ‘52 Ancestors‘ post, I couldn’t think of any family stories where someone got ‘lucky‘. Without an idea about what to write about, I was going to skip this prompt.

My thoughts then turned to a DNA study group meeting on Monday at the Topeka Genealogical Society. As I was thinking about using new tools to look at my DNA results, I realized that I am LUCKY to have quite a few second and third cousins that have had their DNA tested on Ancestry.

Having seen McGuire charts used to show DNA results, I decided to use these matches to begin constructing a McGuire chart for my Crawford line.

Screen Shot 03-09-18 at 08.00 PM

I was able to enter the number of shared cM for myself and my brothers on the chart. However, I was not able to enter the amount of DNA shared between any of these cousins and any of the other cousins. Even though my McGuire chart is incomplete, creating this chart helped my figure out the relationships between these cousins.

By looking at my data in this way, I realized that one of my 3rd cousin once removed matches had quite a bit more shared DNA than my other 3rd cousin once removed matches. At this point, I have no idea what this means. However, I would not have been able to make this observation without creating this McGuire chart.

Will I repeat the process and create a McGuire chart for some of my other lines? At this point, I doubt it. First, these charts would be much easier to create if there was a way to ‘print’ a  box family tree descendancy chart to Excel. Second, I don’t have as many known close cousins on my other lines.

I feel lucky that my 2nd and 3rd cousins have been willing to have their DNA tested. More than that, I am grateful that they are contributing to the family research in this way.


Mary Foster Crawford

This week’s writing prompt for 52 Ancestors is ‘Strong Woman’. I have a lot of strong women in my family, including those young mothers modeling for their children what it means to be a gentle, kind mother while being a strong woman. Thus, it was hard to decide who to write about.

I’ve selected my great-great grandmother, Mary Foster Crawford (1842-1929) as an example of the strong women in my tree.

Mary Foster was born in 1842 in Warren County, Indiana. Like most women of that time period, most of Mary’s story comes from the story of her father and her husband. Since Mary’s father, Zebulon, was listed as a farmer on the 1850 census in Pike Township, Warren County, Indiana, Mary likely was raised on a farm.

At the age of 17, Mary married Washington Marion Crawford on 4 Mary 1860 in West Lebanon, Indiana. According to the 1860 census, Washington and Mary Crawford were living in Jordan Township of Warren County, Indiana. The young couple was establishing their home on a farm worth $2000 at the time. An affidavit included in Washington Marion Crawford’s military file provides more information about their farm life:

State of Indiana Warren County

Before me the undersigned authority personally appeared Washington M Crawford who being by me first duly sworn says my age is 46 years.

In the matter of my claim for Pension No 170744 my occupation has always been that of a farmer for five years preceeding my enlistment in Co H 2nd NY Cav. I worked on a farm for my father in Washington township Warren County Ind except the last year prior to the breaking out of the war. I moved to Jordan township and began farming for myself.

Mary’s life as a young wife changed when her husband enlisted in Company H of the 2nd New York Calvary. Washington Crawford’s affidavit continues to tell the tale of the young couple.

I continued there until August 3rd 1861 when I enlisted in the army in the above named Co and regiment. I was in all the engagements the regiment was in from the time of its organization until the 22nd day of Sept 1863 when I was taken prisoner in an engagement betwen Gen Kilpatrick and Gen Stewart near Liberty Mills, Va.

Whether Mary knew of her husband’s capture is unknown. Washington Crawford’s military record suggests that she may not have known since he is reported as “Missing in Action since Sept. 22, 1863” on several Company Muster Rolls including the March and April 1864 report.

Washington Crawford was imprisoned at Belle Isle in Virginia from his capture in Sept 1863 until March 1864. Then he was transferred to Andersonville Prison in Georgia. His affidavit continues with the story of his imprisonment.

The circumstances under which my disability was incurred was hardships of prison life such as being confined with thirty five thousand men on about sixteen acres of ground with insufficient food and no shelter except a government blanket which makes a poor shade and no shelter from the rain whatever I passed the winter of 1863 and 1864 in Belle Isle and in March 1864 I was taken to Andersonville Ga where I incurred the disability during the summer of 1864. I went from there to Charleston SC was there eighteen days and was then taken to Florence SC where on the 7th of Dec 64 I was paroled in the agreement between the two commitioners to exchange ten thousand sick

When her husband returned from the war, the young family moved in with his mother so his mother could help care for him. For the next few years, the family moved around a lot as Mary’s husband was under constant medical care, leaving Mary to care for their growing family.

I arrived home in June 1865 and remained on the old homestead with my mother and was treated by Dr Tebbs and Dr Greely who are both deceased. In 1866 I lived in Jordan township tried farming. and received treatments from Dr Frankeberger who is also deceased. in 1867 I lived in Washington township followed farming and was again treated by Dr Greely. I remained in Washington township until 1871 when I moved to Pike Township and followed farming there until 1873 when I again moved to Washington Township where I have remained to the present and have been following farming. …

I am not above to do more thane one fourth as much of any kind of farm work as I could before the war … all the work I do must be done under great difficulties and with great pain. I am frequently confined to the house and sometimes to my bed

Mary was fortunate to be surrounded by both her husband’s family and her family during this time. The need for family support is likely why the family moved to Dodge City Kansas in 1885. Washington’s brother, James H. Crawford, had moved his entire family to Dodge City in 1878. With family and land drawing them westward, the family moved to Dodge City where Washington Crawford paid $2 at the Garden City land office toward 160 acres of land in the SE 1/4 of Section 31 township 28 South of range 26 West. At about the same time, the family began the construction of a boarding house on 2nd Avenue in Dodge City.

In 1886, Washington and Mary faced another struggle as their daughter, Carrie died of consumption. A little over three years later, Mary would bury her husband, Washington Marion Crawford, next to her daughter.

It was the boarding house built in 1885 that provided a livelihood for Mary as she continued to raise her children.

I wish I knew more of the story from Mary’s eyes. I believe she was the glue that held the family together as they faced the after affects of her husbands imprisonment during the civil war. Thus, Mary Foster Crawford, is my example of a ‘Strong Woman.’