Disproving Same Alexander – Census Records

I’m struggling with ‘same name’ issues. Particularly in regards to Alexander Crawford. I believe there are two different Alexander Crawfords.

  • Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1788 and likely lived in Pulaski County, Kentucky
  • Alexander Crawford, son of Rev. James Crawford of Fayette County, Kentucky and grandson of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters

Other researchers disagree with me. Thus, I’m on a quest to locate documentation to hopefully resolve this issue.

Today, I’m working with census records. Since these are all pre-1850 census listings, they can’t be depended upon to prove family relations. However, they can help establish places of residency.

Using the family information for Rev. James Crawford from the book Descendants of Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford, I can determine approximate ages for the various census years.

NameBirth YearDeath YearSexAge 1810Age 1820Age 1830Age 1840
Rev James Crawford17521803m    
Rebecca McPheeters17551830f556575 
Martha Crawford17751831f354555 
Alexander Crawford17821845m28384858
Mary Crawford1784f26364656
Elizabeth Crawford17891845f21314151
Sarah Crawford18011841f9192939
Rebecca Crawford18051830f5152535

Using the above chart, I can then look at the census records for Fayette County and compare the tick marks to potential family members.

In the 1810 census for Fayette County, Kentucky (where Rev. James Crawford lived), I was able to find a Rebecka Crawford as the head of household on the census with 12 total people in the household:

  • Free white males 26-44: 1 – son – Alexander Crawford – age 29
  • Free white females 10-15: 1 – daughter Rebecca Crawford – wrong age – she would have been 5
  • Free white females 16-25: 3 – daughters Sarah age 9, Elizabeth age 21, Mary age 26
  • Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Rebecca Crawford
  • Number of slaves: 6
  • number of household members under 16: 1
  • Number of household members over 25: 2
  • number of household members: 12

In the 1820 census for Fayette County, Kentucky, I was able to find Alexander Crawford listed as a 26-44 year old male head of household.

  • Males 26-44 — 1 – Alexander age 38
  • Females 16-25: 2 – sisters Sarah age 19 / Rebecca age 15
  • Females 26-44: 2 – sister Mary age 36 / Mother Rebecca age 65
  • Slaves – Males 26-44: 2
  • Slaves Female under 14:5
  • Slaves Female 14-25: 2
  • number of persons engaged in agriculture: 3
  • Free White persons over 25: 4
  • total free white persons: 6
  • Total Slaves: 9

Alexander Crawford again appeared as the head of household in the 1830 census for Fayette County, Kentucky.

  • Males 40-49: 1- Alexander age 48
  • Females 20-29: 1 – sister – Rebecca age 25
  • Females 30-39: 2 – Sisters Sarah age 29, Mary age 46
  • Females 70-79: 1 – Mother Rebecca age 75
  • Free colored persons Females 24-35: 1
  • Slaves Males 24-35: 1
  • Slaves Males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves Females under 10: 3
  • Slaves Femlaes 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Females 24-35: 2
  • Free white persons 20-49: 4
  • Total Free white persons: 5
  • Total Slaves: 14
  • Total free colored persons: 1

The 1840 census of Fayette County, Kentucky also lists Alexander Crawford as a head of household.

  • Males 50-59: 1 – Alexander age 58
  • Females 30-39: 1 – Sister Rebecca age 35
  • Females 40-49: 1 – Sister Sarah age 39 or Mary age 56
  • Free colored persons – males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves males under 10: 9
  • Slaves males 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Males 36-54: 1
  • Slaves Females under 10: 7
  • Slaves Females 10-23: 2
  • Slaves Females 36-54: 2
  • Persons employed in agriculture: 4
  • No. white persons over 20 who cannot read and write: 1
  • Free white persons 20-49: 2
  • Total free white persons: 3
  • Total free colored persons: 1
  • Total slaves; 23
  • Total all persons – free white, free colored, slaves: 27

The above census records support an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, Kentucky between 1820 and 1840. Although there are a few discrepancies, the tick marks appear to line up with the Rev. James Crawford family structure. Thus, there is support – but not definitive proof – for the theory that the Alexander Crawford in these census records is the son of Rev. James Crawford.

If there are two separate Alexander Crawfords, then there should be a second set of census records. I used the information I had compiled on the family of Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County, Kentucky to create a similar table showing ages of the family members in the various census records.

NameBirth YearDeath YearSexAge 1810Age 1820Age 1830
Alexander Crawford17671823 / 1838m435363
Margaret McElwee17661832f445464
Adams Crawford17891869m213141
Andrew Crawford17911878m192939
Martha Crawford1801f91929
John A. Crawford18031838m71727
Shelby Crawford18051870m51525
Harrison Crawford18081870m21222

Unfortunately, the census records for Alexander Crawford in Pulaski County, Kentucky are more difficult to line up with these known family members. In the 1810 census, this could be explained if one of the sons and his family was also living in the household

  • Free males under 10: 4 – ? grandsons?
  • Free males 10-15: 3 – sons John, Harrison, Shelby
  • Free males 16-25: 1- son Adams or Andrew
  • Free males: 45 and over: 1- Alexander
  • Free females under 10: 1unknown
  • Free Females 10-15: 2 — ? granddaughters?
  • Free females 10-15: 2 – unknown
  • Free females 16-25: 1 – daughter Martha or wife of Adams or Andrew
  • Free females 26-44: 1 – wife Margaret
  • Number of household members under 16: 10
  • Number of household members over 25: 2
  • Number of household members: 14

The 1820 census of Pulaski County, Kentucky showing an Alexander Crawford is even more confusing. If this is the same family, then Alexander likely has at least one if not two daughters-in-law living with him along with several grandchildren.

  • Free white males under 10: 2 – ? grandsons
  • Free white males 10-15: 2 – ? grandsons
  • Free white males 45 and over: 1 – Alexander Crawford
  • Free white females under 10: 1 – ? granddaughter
  • Free white females 10-15: 1 – ? granddaughter
  • Free white females 16-25: 2 – daughter Martha Crawford and 1 daughter-in-law or 2 daughters-in-law
  • Free white females 45 and over: 1 – Margaret McElwee Crawford
  • Free white persons under 16: 6
  • Free white persons over 25: 2
  • total free white persons: 10
  • Total all persons: 10

A search of the 1830 Pulaski County, Kentucky census for Crawford does not include an Alexander Crawford in the results.

This study of Kentucky census records does support

  • an Alexander Crawford living in Fayette County, KY at the same time as an Alexander Crawford lived in Pulaski County, KY.
  • the Rev. James Crawford family unit living in Fayette County under the name of Rebecka Crawford in 1810 and Alexander Crawford in 1820, 1830 and 1840.

Since the Pulaski County, Kentucky census records are hard to match up with the family unit of Alexander Crawford and Margaret McElwee, it is hard to conclude that the Alexander Crawford shown in these records is the husband of Margaret McElwee.

Thus, I need to locate more records to support my position that these are two different Alexander Crawfords.

Same Alexander?

Do you struggle with ‘same name’ issues in your genealogy research? I know that over the years I have struggled to either separate two people or prove that the records I found apply to my ancestor and not to someone else of the same name.

My newest struggle is with someone that I currently can’t even connect to my tree. I found an Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1788. This marriage is one of four Crawford marriages that occurred in early Lincoln County:

  • 1788 – Alexander Crawford married Margaret McElwee
  • 1791 – Mary Crawford married James Sellers
  • 1793 – James Crawford married Martha Knight
  • 1796 – Sarah Crawford married William David Sellers

My ancestor, James Crawford married Sally Duggins in 1799 in Garrard County, Kentucky. Garrard County was formed from Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1796 — the year Sarah and William Sellers were married.

Thus, these 5 Crawford couples were married in the area of 1788 Lincoln County, Kentucky within an 11 year time period. Based on the marriage bonds and some land records, it is believed that Mary, Sarah and the James that married Martha Knight are all children of Rebekah Crawford who purchased land in Garrard County from George Douglas.

Since my ancestor, the James Crawford who married Sally Duggins, lived in the same area as the James Crawford who married Martha Knight, it is thought that they are somehow related, possibly cousins.

So that leaves Alexander Crawford. Is Alexander a sibling to Mary, James and Sarah? Or, is he possibly a sibling to my James Crawford?

In hopes of proving that Alexander Crawford is a sibling to one of these two families, I’ve done some research on Alexander. Although I haven’t done extensive research on Alexander, I have established a basic timeline for him.

Birthabt Jan 1767Augusta County, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
Tax1789Lincoln, Kentucky, United States
Tax1800Pulaski, Kentucky, United States
Residence1810Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky, United States
Residence1820Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky, United States
Death7 Jul 1823Pulaski, Pulaski, Kentucky, United States9
Burial1823Mount Pleasant Baptist Cemetery, Pulaski, Pulaski, Kentucky, United States

Since my goal was to figure out whether this Alexander Crawford was related to any of the other Crawford families in early Garrard County, Kentucky, I started looking at trees hoping to find someone with parents for Alexander Crawford.

And I found several trees showing Rev. James Crawford and Rebecca McPheeters as the parents of Alexander. This lineage would make the Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee a grandson of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters.

Although Rev. James Crawford may have been an itinerant minister, he did not live in the Garrard County area. Instead he raised his family in Fayette County. Thus, I decided to look at information about the descendants of Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford to see if the Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County was a grandson.

Thus, I turned to the book, Descendants of Alexander & Mary McPheeters Crawford: Pioneer Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia by Amanda Crawford Arbogast Forbes and Lucetta Crawford Smmis. This book identifies the children of Rev. James Crawford as

  • Mary Crawford – died unmarried
  • Martha Crawford (1775-1831) married Charles McPheeters
  • Alexander Crawford (1782-1845)
  • Elizabeth Crawford (1789-1845) married Joseph Galloway
  • Sarah Crawford (1801-1841) unmarried
  • Rebecca Crawford (1803-1833) unmarried
p. 205.

Also in the book is some information from the Fayette County, Kentucky will of Alexander Crawford.

p. 206.

Comparing the information I have compiled for the Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County, Kentucky with the information in the book about descendants of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters, I don’t believe these two Alexander Crawfords are the same person.

However, I am basing my conclusion on one book. Since that isn’t sufficient evidence to convince others, more research is needed to support my conclusion. Perhaps in the process, I will stumble on something that leads to information connecting the Alexander Crawford of Pulaski County to the Crawfords of Garrard County.

Sources for Alexander Crawford who married Margaret McElwee:

        1. Dodd, Jordan R., Kentucky Marriages Early to 1800 (: Precision Indexing Publishers, ), p. 49.

        2. “Family Tree”, database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : viewed online November 2016), Alexander Crawford / Margaret McElwee Family; undocumented and unnamed family tree submitted by wendyhar, [contact information for private use]; Crawford Tree.

        3. Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave (www.findagrave.com : viewed online 3 September 2020), memorial for Alexander Crawford (1767-1823), Find a Grave Memorial no. #186274065, created by Sandra Lytch, citing Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky;, Alexander Crawford.

        4. Kentucky, Lincoln County. Tax Books, 1787-1875.  Film #DGS 007834472. Alexander Crofford, 1789 : image 104; digital images, Family Search http://www.familysearch.org : viewed online 4 September 2020.

        5. “Kentucky, Tax Lists 1799-1801,” database online, Genealogy Publishing Company, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : viewed online August 2019), Alexander Crawford.

        6. “Kentucky, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes ndex, 1810-1890,” database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : viewed online July 2019), Alexander Crawford.

        7. 1810 U.S. Census, Pulaski County, Kentucky, population schedule, Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky, image 16, Crawford Alexander; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : viewed online August 2019).

        8. 1820 U.S. Census, Pulaski County, Kentucky, population schedule, Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky, image 7, Alexr Crawford; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : viewed online August 2019).

        9. “Family Tree,” database, Ancestry.com, Alexander Crawford / Margaret McElwee Family.

        10. Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave (www.findagrave.com : viewed online 3 September 2020), memorial for Alexander Crawford (1767-1823), Find a Grave Memorial no. #186274065,

        11. “Family Tree,” database, Ancestry.com, Alexander Crawford / Margaret McElwee Family.

        12. Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave (www.findagrave.com : viewed online 3 September 2020), memorial for Alexander Crawford (1767-1823), Find a Grave Memorial no. #186274065,

Todd to Crawford Deed Fayette County Kentucky

Fayette County, Kentucky County Court, Deed Book B, 1786-1807
FS Film 1490705 item 3 DGS 8201383
Image 481 – Index C
Crawford Jas Todd [?] D 57

Image 532 – Deed on page 57 – 14 March 1780 Levi Todd and Jane his wife to James Crawford

Page 57

This Indenture made this fourteenth day of Marcy
the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty
between Levi Todd and Jane his wife of the county of
[Fay]ette and Commonwealth of Virginia of the one part and James
[Cra]wford of the aforesaid county and Commonwealth of the other part
[wi]tnesseth that the said Levi Todd and Jane his wife for an
[in] consideration of the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds
[between] them paid have granted bargained and sold and bye these pre-
[sen]ts do grant bargain and sell unto the said James Crawford
[a] certain tract of land on which he now lives, on the waters of
[the] East fork of Hickman being part of said Levi Todds pre-
[em]ption granted him by patent estimated to contain one hun
[dre]d and fifty acres or more or less (a plat of which is hereto an
[nex]ed) bounded as follows, Beginning at a large white oak
[nev]er before cornered for the above mentioned Levi Todds preemp
[tion], running thence North sixty degrees west two hundred and
[twen]ty poles with the heirs of Hugh McNary deceased to a small
[whi]te oak corner about 3 1/2 poles from a small branch and near
[Wa]lnut Hill meeting house : running thence north East one hun
[dre]d and twenty eight poles to a red oak corner and a red oak
[an]d white oak growing from one stock, thence running South
[six]ty degrees East one hundred and sixty five poles to a white
[?] corner thence South twenty degrees West with Daniel Mosebey
[on]e hundred and twenty six poles to the Beginning to have & to
[ho]ld the said tract of land with all its appurtenances unto the
[sai]d James Crawford his heirs and assigns forever to his and
[?] only proper use and behoof. And  the said Levi Todd and
[Ja]ne his wife do for themselves their heirs executors and administrators
[?] covenant and agree with the said James Crawford his heirs
[and] assigns that he or they may at any time and at all times here
[af]ter continue enter in and upon the aforesaid tract of land
[a]nd premises and the same freely and fully and quietly

page 58

and enjoy with all its appurtenances forever, and that the
premises aforesaid are and shall remain free of and from
all former or future gifts grants bargains sales dower judge
ments executions and incumbrances whatsoever by the said
grantees or any other person or persons done or permitted
and also that they do and will warrant and forever defend
the said land and premises from themselves their heirs and
the claim of all persons whatsoever. In witness whereof the
said Levi Todd and Jane his wife have hereto set their
hand and seals the day and year above written
Levi Todd (seal)
Jean Todd (seal)
Signed Sealed & acknowledge in presence of
Eli Cleveland
Thos Hall
William McNary

Plat

Fayette County March Com 1786
This deed was produced in court proved by
the oaths of Eli Cleveland Thomas Hall and William
McNary subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded
Test Levi Todd Co Com

Fayette County December Court 1804
This indenture of bargain and sale from Levi Todd
and Jean his wife to the late Revd James Crawford was pro
duced in Court and is ordered to be again recorded agreeably
to law the former record having been destroyed by fire
Test David Todd DC

Same Name Issue with Ancestry Hints

Is something causing Ancestry’s hinting system to merge people of the same name?

I’m in the process of trying to disprove several Crawford men as the father of my James Crawford of Preble County, Ohio. Today, I’m trying to work on Rev. James Crawford (1752/3 to 1803) of Fayette County, Kentucky. I’ve found James Crawford [LZN5-SCD] in some of the Fayette County, KY records on Family Search. However, I have yet to find anything that would link James to his children. Thus, I decided to see if the Ancestry tree hints would help.

I’ve had Rev. James Crawford along with several other Crawford families from early Kentucky in my tree for quite some time. Thus, I expected to find legitimate hints. Instead, I found a lot of hints for other James Crawfords, whom I also have in my tree. At first, I just assumed that other researchers had confused some of these Crawford families in their trees. However, when I looked at the hints for Ancestor Member trees, I realized that I was ONLY seeing member trees for a DIFFERENT James Crawford.

All of the suggested trees were for James Crawford married to Rebecca Anderson. These trees also had Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters as the parents of James Crawford. When I looked at the hints I ignored, there were some hints that pertained to James and Rebecca of Indiana.

In addition, there were hints for James Crawford of Fleming County, Kentucky. This James Crawford married Sarah VanSandt.

Thus, it appears that multiple trees are merging these various James Crawford families.

Since the hints, suggested trees, and suggested member connects link to these other families, I’m beginning to think some computer algorithm is suggesting that these James Crawfords are the same individual versus separate men. I’m also curious as to why my search didn’t generate any hints for the trees that contain Rev. James Crawford. 

When I searched Public Member Trees for James Crawford with a death date of 1803 in Fayette County, Kentucky, I did find several trees — trees that should have been suggested in my original hint search.

What I also discovered, is that there is no agreement about Rev. James Crawford’s wife and/or parents in these various trees.

I don’t know whether I can influence these results, but I am going to try by .

  • Contacting the various tree owners for James and Rebecca Anderson and James and Sarah Vansandt to see what data they might have indicating that these James Crawfords are the same individual
  • Contacting the various tree owners for Rev. James Crawford to find out what data they might have for his wife and/or his parents.

On a positive note, when I did a search for James Crawford, died 1803 in Kentucky, the search found images for the correct James. Unfortunately, that same search did not find member trees for the correct James.

My question to the blogging community: Have you noticed people of the same name being combined by the Ancestry hint system? If so, would you have any idea what is causing the issue?