Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Research Revisited

Over the weekend I wanted to locate a letter that had been sent to a relative from the Ohio Historical Society concerning an ancestor's service in the War of 1812. It took me awhile to locate it because I had forgotten which relative researching back in the 1970s had sent the query. When I could not find it in my correspondence with the daughter of the one relative, I finally looked at the correspondence with the son of another and found it.

The main reason I wanted to look at the letter was to determine where Ohio Historical Society had gotten the information in the letter. I remember that it basically stated that the ancestor had gone to fight and never come back and that a small stream was named in his honor. I discovered it also stated that he'd lived where a cemetery was now located, and that they'd suffered a house fire. Those were things I really didn't remember from previous research. However, I was extremely disappointed in the letter. No sources were cited. I have no idea where the correspondent from OHS had obtained the information. (If only they'd written a nice research report that met BCG standards!) I've never been able to locate proof that he served in the War of 1812 even though it is family tradition that he did and that he died in 1814 in a Detroit hospital of illness and never returned from the war. He's not listed on any of the rosters I've found for Ohio soldiers. (Although in revisiting this, I discovered that another ancestor of mine did serve so now I have a little more research to perform on this ancestor. I think what surprised me about this ancestor's service was that he was widowed with a small child. He also travelled back to New Hampshire to wed his second wife--the one from whom I'm descended--during the years of the war. I just had never looked for him in the war records for those reasons.)

I also found some other helpful hints in some transcriptions of other letters that had been sent. One was a letter from a relative written in 1905 which included some interesting family information -- some of which appears to be more hearsay than truth based on previous research. However, I did find a few clues that I wish to examine more closely.

I'm discovering that I really need to revisit some of that early research and see what I missed when I was a less experienced researcher. Apparently I missed quite a bit.

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