Follow-up to “Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records”

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide. Enjoy…

The article, Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records, indicated several steps that were followed in my personal research. The purpose of the article was to show how deeds can be used to retrace the trail of an ancestor. Leading up to the steps I followed in the deed research, I listed nine items as “Facts Known (in the order they were found)” to show what information I had learned about Philip Reynolds before starting in the deed research.

Soon after this article was published I received an eMail from a reader in Maine. The reader asked some pertinent questions about the nine items and my course of action. The questions made me realize that perhaps I was too brief in explaining the facts and how they were obtained, particularly for someone who had not done this type of research before. Therefore, I would like to answer the questions with this public response — perhaps others have had similar questions and may benefit from the answers.

You can find the entire article Tracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records in the GenealogyBlog archives.

Follow-up Q and A:

Question: Item 1 showed John Dollarhide in Jasper County Indiana in 1850. Item 2 had John Dollarhide in Tippecanoe County in 1840. How did you know to look for John in Tippecanoe County in 1840?

Answer: Since there was no county with the name Jasper in Indiana in 1840, I had to find when it was formed as an official county and from what county or counties it was taken. When I first did this research, all I had was a copy of the Handy Book for Genealogists, which lists every county in the U.S. and tells the date of formation and the parent county from which a county was formed. That book told me that Jasper was formed from White and Warren counties in 1836. But checking the Heads of Household 1840 census for these two counties for evidence of a John Dollarhide did not pay off. (I read every page of both counties). So, next I checked a modern map of Indiana to see what the adjoining counties were to White and Warren counties, which added the current counties of Benton, Carroll and Tippecanoe. I read the census pages (on microfilm, located at the Seattle Public Library, where I was doing this research at that time) for these three counties, and it was not until I searched Tippecanoe County that I was able to locate a John Dollarhide as a head of house. I did this research back in the early 1970s before there were census indexes to all of the states. Today there is a published census indexes to the heads of households for the entire U.S. 1840 federal census, including Indiana. Finding John Dollarhide in 1840 is now a much easier task — just look at an online 1840 census index, where he can be found with his full name, state, county, and page number on the microfilmed originals.

Question: Item 3 stated that John Dollarhide married Lucy Reynolds in 1836 in Tippecanoe County based on a copy of their marriage record. How did you find a copy of their marriage record?

Answer: In the 1840 Tippecanoe County census, John Dollarhide was a head of household in the “20 to 29″ age category. A female of the right age to be his wife Lucy was in the “15 to 19″ age category, and there were a couple of children in the “under 5″ category. It seemed logical to assume that John and Lucy were married just a few years before 1840, so I took a chance that they were married in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The Handy Book told me that the Clerk of the Circuit Court was the keeper of marriage records for Tippecanoe County, that marriage records were available from as early as 1830, and that the county seat was Lafayette, zip code 47901. I wrote a letter addressed to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, IN 47901, asking for a check of the index of marriages that occurred in that county from 1830 to 1840 for anyone with the name Dollarhide. I offered to send whatever fee was required to have a copy made of any marriage record that was found. I received a response from the clerk’s office saying there were two marriages involving Dollarhides during that period, one for a John Dollarhide and a Lucy Reynolds in 1836, and another for a Jesse Dollarhide and a Nancy Murphey in 1837. I was quoted a fee to have copies made, which I sent by return mail, asking for copies of both marriage records. (Jesse turned out to be John’s brother). Had I not received these documents after writing to Tippecanoe County, I would have repeated the exercise for all of the surrounding counties with similar letters to the clerks there.

Question: Item 6 stated that the 1820 Ohio Census Index had only two heads of households with the name of Philip Reynolds. What is the 1820 Ohio Census Index? Where did you find it?

Answer: All of the names of heads of households from the 1820 Ohio census were extracted and arranged in alphabetical order by volunteers from the Ohio Genealogical Society back in the late 1960s. The name index was published in book form by the Ohio Library Foundation and has been reprinted or reformatted by other publishers since. Today, the 1820 Ohio census is indexed online at several websites.

Question: Item 7 stated that an obituary for Philip Reynolds from an 1878 Corvallis, Oregon newspaper was found. How did you know to look in this newspaper in 1878 for the obituary of Philip Reynolds?

Answer: Note that sometimes genealogical research is tedious and time consuming, such as my example above in searching page after page of census records for a number of Indiana counties just to find John Dollarhide in 1840. On the other hand, once in a while, we genealogists get lucky. That is what happened to me with the Philip Reynolds obituary. It was a gift. After some time had gone by between item 6 and item 7, I was lecturing at a seminar in Northern California where a man came up to me and said he knew I would be there that day, and that he had recently been in Oregon doing some research on his families. He had come across the name Dollarhide, and copied the record for me. He presented me with an envelope that had a copy of the obituary for Philip Reynolds. I didn’t even know Philip had gone to Oregon! This was one of those wonderful surprises that we run into in doing research. Now, to have found that obituary the hard way, I would have needed to know that Philip had lived in Corvallis, Oregon. Before receiving the obituary, that information would have come to me if I had traced all of his daughters, who they married, and where they lived throughout their lives. This work was done after I learned that Philip had moved to live with one of his married daughters in Corvallis, Oregon. I found that same daughter’s marriage record in Tippecanoe, County, Indiana. As it turns out, she was married about the same time as her sister, Lucy Reynolds and another sister. I later found the sister’s family living in Oregon after the census index was published for the Oregon 1870 census. And, of course, living with the family was none other than Philip Reynolds. By knowing the place was Corvallis, Oregon, it would be a natural step to survey what newspapers were available for that time and place. (The Oregon State Archives in Salem would be good place to look for old newspapers). Online resources such as would also be a great place to search by the person’s name when doing research today. I would have found that obituary eventually. But, I will have to admit, it is great fun to get this type of information for free, and not having to work for it.

Question: Items 8 and 9. Phillip Reynolds living with a daughter in Oregon per the 1870 census and living in Iowa with another daughter in Iowa per the 1860 census. How did you find him living with these daughters in these census records? I am assuming they were married and had different names than Reynolds?

Answer: The 1870 census research for Oregon was done before there was a name index published, but with the obituary for Phillip Reynolds, I had the married name of the daughter (who was named as a survivor) to use for a search of the entire county. Corvallis is the county seat of Benton County, Oregon, so I began searching the microfilmed census schedules for Benton County to find the Corvallis section. Finding the right family did not take that long, and Philip Reynolds was living with them. Later, I was able to find another daughter of Philip Reynolds using a published census index for Iowa 1860. One of the Reynolds sisters married a man named Amos Freel in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in 1837. Although at the time, I wasn’t sure she was a sister, finding that marriage record gave me the name Freel to use for a search in published census indexes from 1850 and on. I found Amos Freel and family in the 1860 Iowa census, and Philip Reynolds was included in the family, which confirmed to me that I had the right sister.

Question: In the “Course of Action” section: Checked library sources, county sources, and county histories for Trumbull and Miami County, Ohio, 1820. What and where are library and county sources? What did you check for?

Answer: Library/county sources are any published materials for a particular county. These may include indexes and/or extracts from cemeteries, censuses, tax lists, directories, newspapers, and other local source material; including indexes and/or extracts from county records, such as births, deaths, marriages, deeds, wills, probates; or they may include any published county history for a particular county of the U.S. These published materials specific to a particular county can be found in libraries and archives. Obviously, the libraries or archives in the county of question will have the best overall collection of these books, microforms, or electronic media. A state library or archives will be an excellent source for these materials as well. But the best starting place to determine what sources have been published for a county is the Family History Library catalog, which is online at

I hope I have answered the questions to your satisfaction. If not, please feel free to contact me again. That offer is to anyone reading this. But, be advised that if you write to me and I find your questions interesting, you may find yourself featured in this column.

Note: I might repeat that Philip Reynolds has become one my favorite ancestors. It appears that after his wife died in about 1843, the man never worked again — he just moved in with a daughter until she couldn’t stand it any more and then moved to another daughter’s home. I found him living with three different daughters in census records, and since he had nine children, his average stay with each lasted only three to four years. In all, he managed to live off his kids for nearly thirty-five years. I have decided that this is a man I would like to emulate. Trouble is . . . I only have one daughter, and three days staying with her family is about all they can stand.

Additional Reading
Red Book 3rd Edition, by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D.

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