Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Distracted Genealogist with OCFRD*

I'm sitting here [Friday evening] sipping a glass of Cherry pinot noir from a winery in Canton, Michigan courtesy of our trip to Michigan last summer to visit younger daughter.  I've been taking every opportunity to take a break from my census project. I started with 169 census reports that I've found since January 1st all relating to the Percival lines I've been working on that went from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, New York and other locales. It's nowhere near as daunting as the 350 plus I worked on last year, but it gets those OCFRD* juices going and sometimes I just have to stop, pull back and think.

I work in fits and spurts.  Sometimes those fits and spurts will last for weeks. Sometimes I just gather all the information that I can and then work on entering it all. Other times, I just pull census till there's no more records to find, then I print them up in batches and start entering the info. I don't usually enter servants into my genealogies. I might note that Mr and Mrs Smith have two maids and a cook enumerated with them, but not their names. Sorry, but the servants are not part of the genealogy! 

I was thrown a curve ball today (spring training starts soon, eh?) when entering a 1900 census when I realized I hadn't found an 1880 census for Delos Percival and family. Since entering a Percival (soundex) choice in Ancestry did not yield Delos, I tried searching for him by first name only by county - Oneida and state - New York. Happy dance when the search resulted in Delos Pererille.  Remember, SPELLING DOESN'T COUNT!  And enumerated with him, his wife and one son was Sarah Bronson, housekeeper, and she is listed as his sister. 

Whoa.  Could she be one of the children of Moses and Susan Seegar (Segar)? I went back and took a look at the 1870 census, and sure enough, Sarah Bronson again enumerated with him as a servant. The 1870 of course does not give relationships. That was the end of my luck though. I have no idea that she is indeed Delos sister. She could be his wife's sister and it could be an error by the census taker. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a marriage record, a death announcement or anything to prove or disprove this. Also, 1850 really is a bad year to be searching in New York since I have been able to find Moses and Susan and most of their other children. For now, she is tentatively entered as a daughter of Moses and Susan with a caveat of how the information was obtained.

I will agree that my method doesn't always work for others, but it seems to really produce results for me. I will put it aside and hope for more success at a later date.

Happy Hunting

*Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disease.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I tend to enter those servants, hired hands, and boarders, because they often end up being related to the family, or at least be children of neighboring families.

  2. In the 20+ years I've been researching, I think this is the first instance I've found of a relative being a servant of the householder I am researching. That I couldn't identify as family, that is. Usually I find my relatives as servants in other households.

    A lot of my research is in Kentucky, and most of those servants post 1860 are black. In the northern states, if my family lines were wealthy enough to have servants, they were usually Irish servants.