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