Gene Notes

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review, Search, and Find Something Else!

I wrote this before I read cousin Karen's Genealogy Frame of Mind blog. Sometimes it blows my mind.

While searching for a different Percival earlier in the week, I thought to go back to the pilot Family Search site and browse the 1865 New York State census. Now, this is like going back to microfilm and doing a line by line  search. But since the 1865 is not yet searchable, I knew I needed to look at the city of Portville, where a lot of Percivals lived.  These are very distant relatives and relate most closely to the Percivals who lived in Palo, Ionia county, Michigan.

You know, I always felt the problem with the census is the person who transcribed it. Not to mention the person who indexed it. Part of that was finally finding Jabez Chapman Percival on the 1850 census in New York. I had repeatedly overlooked the census record for Jacob Percival. Apparently the transcriber had written James, and then wrote Jacob over it. Both, incidentally are incorrect. Oh, and his name was Perciful, yet his wife on the next page was written as Ann Percivill and then the following people: Sophia, age 30; Sarah, age 28, (I was trying to link her to Jabez - bingo); Wm, age 21 (occupation: Boatman); and Sharlotte, age 16. The only name new to me on this long lost census is William, age 21. And occupation Boatman? He was in a landlocked county!

Back to the 1865 New York State census. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the 1865 state census. One of the things that I appreciate the most is this column heading: In what county in this state, or in what other state or foreign country born. Not that this transcription is much better, but They are listed as:

1. J. C. Percival, male white, age 78, born Conn. Parent of 9 children. Then the next heading is No of times married 1, now married,

2. Emma Percival, female white, 72, wife, born Conn. nothing under children, married 1 time, now married.

3. Sofa Percival, female, white, 47, daughter born Rancelor (that would be Rensselaer County, New York - I have trouble spelling that also!) Single, no occupation.

4. Gorden Percival, male, white, 38, son, Rensselaer, single, joiner. Employed in Portville.

5. Wm. Percival, male white, 36, son, Rensselaer, single, Capt on Vessel. No place of employment (remember, landlocked Cattaraugus county).

Two things that concern me is the wife's name. Her name was Ann, not Emma. Also, after looking at other pages, the number of children is under the head of household's name and not the wife's. So that works.

The bonus, parent of 9 children and I have all of them:

1. Jabez Chapman Percival, Jr, born 1816 - moved to Palo, Michigan. Married Polly Brooks. Died 1906.
2. Sophia Percival, born 1818, never married. Unknown when she died.
3. Sarah Ann Percival, born 1820, married Dr. Thomas S. Jackson, died in 1899 in Florida.
4. Edward Burnham Percival, born 1822, married Caroline Wright and remained in Portville. Died in 1907.
5. Mary E. Percival, born 1826, married William Magill and died in 1914 in Florida.
6. Joshua "Gordon" Percival, born 1827, remained in New York state, single. Died in 1922 in Olean, NY.
7. William R. Percival, born 1829, boatman, Captain, Pilot, last found in NYC in 1880.
8. Julia Percival, born 1831, married Elisha Stannard, died in 1919 in Albany, New York.
 9. Charlotte Percival, born 1833, married Hiram B Smith and died in 1910 in Olean, New York.

Eventually I hope I will find those elusive death records for William and Sophia, but the intense satisfaction of knowing I found all the children - I'm savoring that!

Addendum: When searching the New York death records on the Pilot Family Search site, I found the death in Manhattan of George Percival, who died in 1849. He was the son of Benjamin Percival and Phebe Swift. His birth year was given as 1811, which I did not have. Published records of Nantucket, Massachusetts actually gave his death date and that he died in New York, otherwise, I probably would not have matched him up.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Does it get any easier to keep track of all these people? I know that reading the newspaper articles about them has made them seem more real to me, but the sheer number of generations just boggles my tiny, little mind.

  2. That's what genealogy programs are for. It boggles my mind too. Years ago, a guy contacted me through Western Wayne Genealogical Society about this branch (in Palo, MI) if I was connected to them. I told him I didn't know anything about them. Of course, now I can't locate him, but can say yes we are!

  3. Your comment about boatman intrigued me so I looked up the family on the 1850 census and found them in Albany County. Albany is where the Hudson River connected to the Erie Canal. Based on his 1880 record he seems to have worked the bigger boats on the Hudson.

  4. Good Point. When you drive on the NY Thruway, you are often parallel to the canal. I never even thought of that.