Does your genealogy have a brick wall FAN club that involves several branches of the surname along with lots of same name issues? Well, the parents of my ancestor, James Crawford (1772-1854) has such a FAN club.

While working with some other researchers from the FAN club, but unfortunately not my line, I created a ‘traditional’ time line outlining the information I had on the individuals in the FAN club.


This timeline included all of the facts for each individual in the time line. Thus, it is long. I used color coding to identify various lines and counties.


Even though the data is here, this form of timeline hasn’t helped me advance my research.

Yesterday, I started a different version of a time line. This timeline has the different family groups across the top and the year down the side. In the intersecting cell, I’m recording brief info about the event and the county/state where they lived. I’m using color coding for the locations.



For this timeline, I limited the people to the following:

  • two James Crawfords of Preble County (James/Sally and James/Martha)
  • their suspected mothers: Rebecca Crawford and Mary Crawford (md Moore)
  • suspected uncles of one of the James Crawfords: James/Rebecca and William/Elizabeth
  • suspected siblings: Sarah Crawford (William Sellers) and Mary Crawford (James Sellers)
  • step-sons of my ancestor: Henry Duggins and William Duggins
  • daughter of my ancestor: Polly Crawford md John Stoner

By looking at the information in this format, I’ve been able to track the land transactions. This has allowed me to quickly see which tracts of land only had one transaction (purchase or sell), allowing me to look for the other transaction.  I’m also seeing other ‘holes’ in my research of these people. Hopefully, as I fill in those ‘holes’, I will find records tying these Crawford families together.

I’m thankful I tried looking at the information from a different perspective!



Tennants in Common

I’m trying to use deeds to help separate information for two James Crawfords who resided in Preble County Ohio at the same time. They both owned parts of section 14, Township 7 North, Range 2 East.

As discussed in my post, James Crawford of Preble County, I use the selling of the land to figure out which James Crawford owned the land. I also use their wife’s name to help me keep them straight. James and Sally are my ancestors while James and Martha may or may not be related.

James (Martha) Crawford filed a patent for the Southwest quarter of section 14 township 7 North, range 2 East in 1812.


Four years later, my ancestor, James Crawford along with William Sellers, husband of Sarah Crawford filed a patent as ‘tenants in common’ for the northwest quarter of section 14 township 7 North range 2 East.


After looking at an article about Tenancy in Common, I now understand the exchange of land between James Crawford and William Sellers in 1821. Basically, James purchases the West half of the quarter from William Sellers


and sells the East half of the quarter to William Sellers.


Preble County Ohio Deed Book 5 page 86

The final land transaction involving James Crawford’s land is after his death. His step-son, William Duggins, and his widow, Sally Crawford, sell the land. Within the deed is a statement that the land was transferred to William Duggins by Nelson Crawford, James’ son and heir.


The purchase of the land as ‘tenants in common’ by William Sellers and James Crawford adjoining land purchased by another James Crawford just makes everything more confusing. William Sellers wife, Sarah Crawford, is believed to be the sister of the James Crawford (b1770) who married Martha Knight. If that is the case, then why is William Sellers essentially sharing land with the James Crawford (b1772) that married Sally Duggins?

Research Logs

Do you have one task that ‘genealogy experts’ recommend that you just don’t seem to be able to tackle? For me, that tends to be a research log.

Even though I have a ‘research log’ from my early days of research, I haven’t been consistent with keeping that log — especially with Internet searching. And, I really could use a comprehensive research log now!

I have the opportunity to apply for a ‘brick wall’ consultation at the upcoming Topeka Genealogical Society conference in April. As part of that application, I need to submit a list of sources already checked. With forty years of research and a lot of same name issues, I could really use a complete research log!

For this application, I am going to submit James Crawford (1772-1854) of Preble County, Ohio as my brick wall ancestor. James married Sally Duggins in 1799 in Garrard County, Kentucky before migrating to Ohio by the early 1800s. The research question I would like assistance with is “Who is James Crawford’s father?

Seems simple enough, right. Unfortunately, there are a lot of same name issues with researching this ancestor.

  1. Next door neighbor in Preble County, Ohio was James Crawford (1770-1833) who married Martha Knight in 1793 in Lincoln County, KY. This James Crawford migrated from Preble County, OH to Warren County, IN where he died. Also migrating to Warren County, IN from Preble County, OH at about the same time was Nelson G. Crawford, the son of James and Sally (Smith Duggins) Crawford.
  2. There is a third James Crawford (1758-1836) living in Madison and Garrard counties in Kentucky prior to 1800. This James Crawford was married to Rebecca Anderson and migrated to Jennings County, IN and then to Jefferson County, IN.
  3. Garrard County KY histories refer to a Rev. James Crawford. There was a Rev. James Crawford (1752/3 – 1803) at Walnut Hill Presbyterian Church in Fayette County, KY. Rev. James Crawford was married to Rebecca McPheeters.
  4. DAR applications by descendants of James Crawford and Rebecca Anderson appear to have records mixed up with a James Crawford (1757-1836) who resided in Fleming County, KY. This James Crawford was married to Sarah Vansant.

So, I not only need to identify sources I’ve checked for James and Sally (Duggins) Crawford, but also sources I’ve checked for all of these other James Crawfords.

To start re-creating such a research log, I used RootsMagic to print an individual summary report, complete with bibliography for each of these James Crawfords. I then copied the bibliography entries into Notepad where I could remove the leading punctuation and clean up any other errors.


From Notepad, I copied the entries into Excel. Since there were blank lines between each bibliography entry, those blank lines copied over to Excel. To eliminate the blank lines, I sorted by the bibliography column. This pushed all of the blank lines to the bottom of the list.


Unfortunately, that only gets sources that I’ve cited in RootsMagic. I had drawers full of research that would need to be added to this list of sources used. Fortunately, I have scanned most of that research. Unfortunately, I named the scanned files with the Dollarhide code I used to file the paperwork.


Since the code was part of my citations in Master Genealogist, I can find the paperwork when working from a source in my program. However, these file names don’t tell me where I got the information in each of those files. When I open the file, it is usually a handwritten document (remember my research is up to 40 years old).


Unfortunately, I don’t have a full citation on these old notes. However, I usually have a fairly accurate title. When I started working my way thru my Ohio notes, I was just Googling the title. Part way thru, I realized that I could probably find the information faster using WorldCat.


In some cases, I didn’t have enough of the title to find it via WorldCat. In those situations, I used the FamilySearch catalog and searched for the place associated with the resource. Then I drilled down to the type of information (history, tax, deeds, probate, etc.).

familysearchbibSo far, I’ve been able to find the bibliographic information thru either WorldCat or FamilySearch. This bibliography information was added to my Excel spreadsheet along with the filing code.


In the process, I also took the opportunity to change the file name so that it included an abbreviated version of the title of the resource.


In some cases, these files were actual copies of records. In those cases, I changed the file name to indicate the type and source of the record.


Yesterday, I managed to make it thru the process of identifying and renaming my Ohio files for Crawford. However, I still need to do my Kentucky files and my Virginia files. Since I have done some FAN club research, I should also add the files for Duggins and Sellers along with the bibliographies for the females appearing on the early Kentucky tax lists: Rebecca Crawford and Mary Crawford.

Lesson learned:

Use better file names

Keep a research log!




Ultimate Challenge

Have you ever found two men of the same name in the county records and tried to figure out which record is for which man. Most genealogists encounter this difficulty sometime in their research. I have several of those conflicts in my tree. However, my Hiram Currey same name challenge is an ‘ultimate challenge’.

My great-grandfather, Hiram M. Currey (of Dodge City, Kansas) was the son of Hiram M Currey and Angelina Jane Burke of Leavenworth, Kansas. I believe this Hiram M. Currey was the son of Hiram M. Currey of Peoria, Illinois and the grandson of Hiram M. Currey of Champaign County, Ohio. Thus, I have a potential of four generations of Hiram M Currey’s with very little direct evidence tying them together.

My research on this line began with Hiram M. Currey of Leavenworth. Hiram M. Currey married Angelina Burke in 1856 in Weston, Missouri. By 1860, they were living on the Kansas side of the border. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any records in Platte County, Missouri or Leavenworth County, Kansas to directly tie Hiram Currey to his parents or siblings. The only information I have that might tie Hiram M. Currey of Leavenworth to parents is from the family Bible. According to the Bible, Hiram Currey was born in 1835 in Peoria, Illinois.


Armed with that one bit of information, I began my search with the census. I didn’t find a 15 year old Hiram Currey in Peoria Illinois — nor any Currey family with a male around 15 in Peoria. I did find a Hiram Currey in the 1840 census in Peoria who had a male child under 5. Thinking this could be the father of Hiram Currey of Leavenworth, I started researching Hiram Currey of Peoria.

According to the Atlas of Peoria County, Illinois, Hiram Currey was a lawyer. The History of Peoria County indicates that Hiram Currey was a member of the Peoria Company during the Black Hawk War in 1832. There are several other mentions of Hiram Currey between 1825 and 1844 in Peoria County. Unfortunately, these histories do not contain a biography, nor do they help in identifying parents or siblings for Hiram Currey, the lawyer. So far, I haven’t found any record that might indicate what happened to Hiram Currey after 1844.

I believe the Hiram Currey of Peoria is the same Hiram Currey that was admitted to the practice of law in Rush County, Indiana in 1822 (Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Indiana).

With no information on his family, I started looking for potential fathers and found Hiram Mirick Currey of Champaign County, Ohio. This Hiram Currey served as treasurer of Ohio in 1818. As treasurer, he was involved in the court case, Osborn v. Bank of the United States. Because of this court case, there are a lot of references to Hiram Currey in various newspapers of the time until about 1822. Sometime after 1820, Hiram Currey may have moved to Indiana. So far, I haven’t found any records that identify Hiram Currey of Peoria as the son of Hiram Currey of Ohio.

In the process of trying to learn more about these Hiram Currey families, I came across a biography for Dr. John Currie of Darlington, Montgomery County, Indiana in the History of Montgomery County, Indiana by Beckwith. This biography names Providence M. as John’s father and Thomas as his uncle.

Thus, I started researching several Curry/Currey/Currie families: Hiram of Ohio, Providence and Thomas of Indiana and Hiram of Peoria. It was by researching all of these men that I discovered a land transaction between Hiram Currey of Peoria and Thomas Currey of Carroll County, Indiana.


As I continued researching their families, I found Thomas’ widow, Jane in the 1850 census. Living in her household was a 15 year old male, named Hiram.


Since the probate record for Thomas does not include a child named Hiram, I believe this 15 year old Hiram Currey to be the Hiram Currey who married Angelena Burke in Weston in 1854.



Even though my paper research is based on a lot of pieces of indirect evidence, I do have DNA evidence to support my conclusions. I have a match with a descendant of Caroline Kelso, whom I believe to be a sister to Hiram Currey of Leavenworth. I also have a match with a descendant of Hiram Currey of Ohio thru Hiram’s daughter Jane Guttridge. These DNA matches are not enough to prove this lineage – but they do support it.

So my ultimate #52Ancestors challenge has been and continues to be collecting data to support (or disprove) a lineage of four Hiram M. Curreys:

  • Hiram of Dodge City
  • Hiram of Leavenworth
  • Hiram of Peoria
  • Hiram of Ohio