Monday, May 28, 2012

Bourbon or Nicholas County, Kentucky?

This is part of a deed appearing in Nicholas County, Kentucky's deed book E on pages 367 and 368 where Augusta and Belinda Newman sell a 37.5 acre parcel in Nichoas County.

The deed indicates that the deed of purchase took place in April of 1815 and was recorded in Bourbon County.

Nicholas was formed from Bourbon in 1799 before these transactions took place. We're working on finding out what's going on and will have an update. There is also some language in the deed that is a little strange regarding claims of previous owners.

One of those previous owners' granddaughters will marry sons of Augusta Newman, but that's another story.

Stay tuned.

We're working on an update

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Migration Clues in Surrendered Bounty Land Warrant

The image that accompanies this post is from the surrendered bounty land warrant file for Catharine Blain, based upon Elam Blain's Revolutionary War service.

I wrote about Catharine's application in a recent issue of Casefile Clues. If the depositions in her application had not provided a time frame for the family's move from Muskingum County into Delaware County, this document would have been helpful.

The color scans of these documents are wonderful. We'll be discussing these materials in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

The image that is included in this post has been reduced from the original TIFF scan that I received. The original file was 52Mb and it has been reduced in size for our blog post here. Readers who want to see the entire thing can click on the image below for a the original sized image.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Issue 10 is out

Email me at if you don't have it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tracking Ira Sargent's Siblings

Regular readers of Casefile Clues will remember Ira Sargent--my former brick wall ancestor.

While on my trip to Salt Lake's Family History Library, I decided to revisit his siblings and see if I could track them and see if it would provide any clues related to Ira and his parents, Clark and Mary (Dingman) Sargent.

I have made some progress on Ira's sister, Minerva (Sargent) Stroebel who died in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, in 1943. Her death certificate is transcribed on FamilySearch, but I'm going to get a copy of the actual record while in Salt Lake.

Minerva has not been located in the 1940 census, but her one married daughter has. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thinking Outloud About Some Names

This is a longshot and may have absolutely nothing to do with the problem I'm working on, but I'll at least throw my thoughts out there.

The next issue of Casefile Clues discusses an 1848 affidavit made by Rebecca Mullen in the Revolutionary War pension application of Catharine Blain, widow of Elam Blain. According to a WorldConnect posting--not the most reliable thing in the world, Rebecca has several children including one named Aden Mullin. One of the other deponents is a man named Rulif Adams whose first name may have actually been Roolf.

I've only started working on these families and my research on them will only be complete enough to determine if they connect to the family of Catharine Blain and her husband Elam.

What is interesting is that the names Roolf and Aden appear in my mother's ancestry which hails from Ostfriesland, Germany. Roolf isn't the most unusual name, but Aden is not all that common. I'll just have to keep my eyes (and ears) open.

Name origins can sometimes be a clue. There may be more to this later--or it may be a coincidence that turns out to be a dead end.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Update on Miriam Pierce--from Mishawaka, Indiana

I'm reasonably certain this Miriam Pierce is the one for whom I am looking in Mishawaka, Indiana. She appears as the wife of David P. Pierce, who in this 1908 City Directory of South Bend (actually Mishawaka) appears with a wife Miriam. Keep in mind that I have little to go on for Miriam other than the fact that she's mentioned in a 1912 letter written by A. C. Ormond of the First Presbyterian Church of Mishawaka as being a great-granddaughter of Elam Blain. Blain is a Revolutionary War veteran who I am researching.

David P. and Miriam appear in the 1910 Census and if there was any doubt I had the correct person, it has been eliminated. A. C. Ormond appears as a neighbor of the Pierces. That was almost too easy.

PennSaint JosephIndiana; Roll: T624_377; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0148--David P. Pierce and Anna M. Pierce

David P. Pierce appears in the 1920 census a widow living on Main Street in Davidson, North Carolina. The connection to the Ormonds appears to be more than just neighbors based upon this census entry as David P. is listed as Alfred C. Ormond's father-in-law.
1920 Census Entry for Alfred C. Ormond, Davidson, North Carolina.

Work will continue on Miriam while our goal is kept in mind--determining her descent from Elam Blain in hopes of locating more on his family. Tracking Miriam is done just to the point where it helps complete the picture of Elam's immediate family. I'm not interested in tracking down all of Elam's descendants. And I'm tracking all my sources even though our citations here are incomplete.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Claims 110 Years After the War Provide Clues

One of the problems with Elam Blaine who died in Delaware County, Ohio, in the 1840s is that he left no estate record or probate to delineate his heirs.  Fortunately, his Revolutionary War pension (particularly the application of his widow Katharine) lists at least the names of his children. The boys are not the problem--it is the daughters.

Unfortunately, there is a good chance that several of those daughters married in Pennsylvania where marriage records are difficult to obtain.

The married name of one daughter is provided in the pension file. Her name was Katharine (Blaine) Wickiser. It is the others that is the problem.

However, there is a letter from January of 1912 that may shed some light on the problem. A minister from Mishawaka, Indiana, wrote a letter on behalf of Mrs. Miriam E. Pierce requesting information on whether she was entitled to Elam Blaine's military warrant.

Blaine's widow had already received his warrant so Pierce was out. However, in the letter regarding her request, it is stated that Pierce's grandmother was a daughter of Elam Blaine. Perhaps if we can trace the ancestry of Miriam Pierce, it may be possible to find one more daughter of Elam Blaine.

Unless of course, Katharine (Blaine) Wickiser is the grandmother. But it's worth a shot to give this "backwards research" a try.

26 January 1918 letter from A. C. Ormond to Commissioner of Pensions on  behalf of Miriam E. Pierce in regards to the bounty land warrant of Revolutionary War veteran Elam Blaine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Provenance, Legal Papers, Warrantee and Quit Claim Deeds

 I returned from a short trip to visit my parents and do a little bit of court house research for an upcoming article today.

I received a copy of some estate papers that were in the collection of an attorney who passed away some time ago. One of the issues I'm working in involves the provenance of these papers. I have no doubt that they are what they say they are but this is always a concern with materials of this type that are not "official" copies of records or materials. How something gets to your possession should always be documented in your files--at least as best you can.

I copied a warrantee deed from 1881 from a relative where he deeded property to his mother that he would not technically own until after she died. I'm working on determining how "standard" this situation was.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Elam Blain's Descendant Wants His Patent

30 January 1912 letter from Pension Commissioner to A. C. Ormond
Those unfamiliar with Revolutionary War pensions may be surprised to find that there are often letters decades after the pensioner's death in the file. This is a letter written in response to an inquiry about obtaining Elam Blain's bounty land for Revolutionary War service. These letters can potentially contain significant details about descendants of the pensioner, frequently descendants who were hoping to get a benefit from their ancestor's service.

If I had been unaware of the fact that a bounty land application had been received for Blain's service, this letter made it fairly clear.

Of course, there is also an indication on the "cover packet" of Blain's pension that he received a bounty land warrant.

The cover of Elam Blain's pension packet--notice the indication that a bounty land warrant "BLW 5213-160-55" appears in the right hand portion.
I've got a copy of Elam Blain's entire pension file. A search of the Bureau of Land Management website referenced the patent that was issued for Blain's service. Of course the patent was actually issued in someone else's name--the assignee of Catharine Blaine, Elam's widow.
Land Patent issued to Titus Knox, assignee of Catharine Blain, widow of Elam Blain
Next on my list is to get a copy of the actual warrant from the National Archives.

And there's another clue in one of those "give me great-grandpa's land" letters that may help with the research. We'll discuss Blain's pension in more detail in upcoming issues of Casefile Clues.

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When Was Elam Blain Born?

Of all the documents in Elam Blain's Revolutionary War pension file, only two give his age on a specific date in time. These statements of age are made on affidavits early in Blain's application for a pension based upon his service in the Fourth Continental Regiment of Light Dragoons. He was living in Ohio at the time of his application. The ages and dates they were given are.

Aged 60 on 1 May 1818.

This means that Elam was born between 2 May 1757 and 1 May 1758.

Aged 61 on 10 August 1820.

This means that Elam was born between 11 August 1758 and 10 August 1759.

The only problem is that these age ranges do not overlap meaning they are inconsistent. One or both of these ages are incorrect. While the ages do not agree with other they are not significantly different.

What am I to do? 

The first thing is to consider how reliable I perceive the ages to be. I should look at the pension act under which Elam applied and see if there was any age requirement that was a part of it. That could impact the perceived accuracy of his age or it could have impacted when he applied.

Elam's pension file indicates that he lived through the 1840s. Checking for him in the 1840 census and before is advised. Those censuses do not provide precise ages, but would be helpful in determining the reasonableness of these ages. There is always the possibility that an age is "fudged" for a pension. Census ages can be off, but for slightly different reasons.

Once we have the census age ranges for Elam, we can refine our estimate of his year of birth.