What’s the one word you need to remember in genealogy research?

Genealogy, Family history, family research

Nancy Estice Nance is the grandmother to my grandmother here, Flora A Nantz Frueh

If you happened to catch my blog post Sunday I played along with Randy Seaver‘s Saturday night Genealogy Fun. It was Ancestor Roulette and in a nut shell I randomly picked an ancestor and needed to state three facts I knew about them.

My gg grandmother Nancy Estice Nance was the ancestor that was chosen and beside her vital information I could only come up with two facts about her. I really felt I’d let her down. So I’ve spent my available time doing some online research about Nancy Estice Nance.

I did know that both Nancy and her husband, my gg grandfather James W. Nance were born in Ohio. They lived in Washington Township, Jackson County, Ohio. They were married 18 Sep 1859 and were the parents of my g grandfather William A. Nantz (not sure yet why the surname spelling changed in this generation) and both died in Van Wert County, Ohio.

So I launch my research from these facts. Of course they don’t show up in several census’ (when is this supposedly simple step ever easy?) So I browse through the entire 1860, 1870 and 1880 census for Washington Township looking for them. I’m always amazed at the flourish with which enumerators write or the creativity indexers use in deciphering a name. The surname Nance was spelled Vance in one census and Name in another. I have to admit looking at the writing I can see where these errors came from.

I did find that James and Nancy had five children, not just my g grandfather. That lack of information is due to my poor researching habits years ago in my genealogy career. I somehow thought researching only my direct line was the way to go. Silly, silly me!

Coincidentally one of James and Nancy’s children was named Ella Cynthia! Ella in one census, Cynthia in another and Ella Cynthia somewhere else. I mention this because I never find the name Cynthia in my research – never ever – and to think my gg aunt’s middle name was Cynthia is cool!

So James and Nancy, with the kids, moved from Jackson County to Pickaway County, Ohio between the 1870 and 1880 census. They made that stop before they went on to Van Wert County between 1880 and 1890. Once I located my gg grandparents I took a look at their neighbors in the same census.

I was in the 1880 census in Pickaway County and found a Moses Nance, 23, single head of household and then a Thomas Nance, with wife Harriet and son James M. Hmmmm. I now go back to the 1870 census in Jackson County and find both Moses and Thomas as two of the children of Matthew and Cynthia (Name) Nance. I know my James at this time is married and head of his own household.

So could Moses and Thomas be brothers of James? Did they all pack up and leave Jackson County for Pickaway County? Are Matthew and Cynthia the parents of James? That would make them my (previously unknown) ggg grandparents? If Matthew and Cynthia are James’ parents then he named his daughter Ella Cynthia after her grandmother! Is there an actual Cynthia in my ancestry? My own ggg grandmother? Wee-doggies!!

I have loads of research to do to prove any of this but the possibilities are exciting! It took a little perseverance to get this far, browsing every page of several township’s census’. I know there’s much more hard work ahead but I’m sticking with the word of the day. Perseverance! Once I’m able to prove or disprove any of this I’ll report back here to you and hopefully I’ll have more on Nancy Estice Nance, which is who I started with in the first place!

Tell me what family history nugget have you found that you chalk up to perseverance? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear your story.

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7 thoughts on “What’s the one word you need to remember in genealogy research?

  1. Great story! My own best ‘nugget’ is the location of the house of Hendrickje Stoffels, the mistress, model and business partner of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. I’m a descendant of her brother.

    I found a deed of sale where all siblings sold their parental home in Bredevoort in 1653. The deed named the neighbors, but no directions or street names. I then went through about 10,000 unindexed, untranscribed pages of court records between 1614 and 1700 and noted down details of very house sold in Bredevoort and its neighbors. Creating this giant jigsaw allowed me to reconstruct the exact location of the house, which was revealed during a conference in 2006 to celebrate the 400th birthday of Rembrandt.

    • Wow Yvette! That’s such a cool story! 10,000 index cards is mind boggling! Congratulations to you and your perseverance that revealed such an important historical fact! You have made a great contribution to the art world, genealogy research and your family’s genealogy! That’s so great!
      Thanks for reading my post and sharing! I appreciate it so much!

  2. I totally share your frustration at deciphering cursive for surnames. Indexers don’t know what to make of all those curves and peaks and swirls. I can see how Nance becomes Vance or Name, like our surname Kirven becomes Kewin. I hope you find that you are related to Cynthia! That has the makings of a nice discovery.

    Yes, perseverance is all. Frankly, I think it’s a necessary quality for people who take up family history. What’s that old saw about success as “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”?

    • . . . and throw a tiny bit of luck in there too! LOL!! (although I’d take a big dose of luck if the genealogy gods wouldn’t mind! :) )

  3. Isn’t great when the answer to one question gives you ten new questions? I know you’re enjoying your genealogy a lot more since you switched from direct line genealogy to full family history. It’s so much more fun when your research forms a family around an ancestor and you can “see” him or her as part of a family interacting together. I’d bet this is where your name, Cynthia came from. Looking forward to the rest of their story when you’ve found it.

    • Debbie ~ Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You are so right! I’ve enjoyed and learned so much more now that I research the family instead of just my direct ancestor. I truly get a handle on the area where they lived, the family dynamic and so on.
      You can be sure there’s another post coming when I can tie up a few loose ends here!
      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

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