Saturday, July 30, 2016

Announcing the "Neighbors" Series.

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blog posts over the last week. I thought I had posts scheduled through the end of the month, but when I logged in last night, I discovered that I'd stopped a little shorter than I thought.

I will continue posting a few more pictures from my Oregon and Washington trip, but I will schedule those to run about every third or fourth post for the time being.

In genealogy, we always hear about the importance of researching the neighbors of our ancestors. When I first began my research, the common advice (back in the days of microfilm rolls instead of digital images) was to record the 10 people before and 10 people after one's ancestor's entry. I occasionally have heard a speaker extend this to 20 people in either direction. I generally compromise and go with about 15 as I've often spotted people just beyond the 10 that I knew were very connected to my ancestor.

My new series will focus on the neighbors of my ancestors. The blog will provide me with a means to shore up some of the research. Although I will not strive to research the neighbors at the same level of depth that I research my actual ancestors, I will probably dig a big deeper into each of them than I have in the past.

The hardest task, of course, was choosing which ancestor and which census year comes first. 

I decided to start with the census year selection first. My choice is 1880. I'll probably have to use the 1840 census for some persons, but the 1850 to 1870 censuses will be there for the backwards journey. I'll have to deal with the absences of the 1890 census in going forward, but the censuses and records from 1900 forward give more and more information. The censuses used, of course, will vary depending on the age of the neighbor in 1880.

I decided to begin with my maternal grandmother's father, Dock Hans Hester. When selected him, I knew I would end up with a lot of cousins and associates when selecting him which would provide excellent insight for readers into the importance of researching the neighbors. Many of these people are probably already in my genealogical database, but I suspect I will discover new things on each.

Although my ancestor, Dock Hans Hester was born in 1851, the 1880 census is the first in which he appears. The family lived in the "Lost Corner" area of Monroe County, Mississippi and was missed by enumerators in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses. I have read through the censuses for both Monroe and Itawamba Counties in 1860 and Monroe, Itawamba, and Lee (which was formed in 1866) for 1870. They just are not there. By 1880, Dock was already married. He married Mary Ann Harris on 20 Nov 1877 in Lee County, Mississippi.1 Dock, Mary Ann, and their daughter Georgia A. resided in Boyds Precinct, Monroe County, Mississippi in 1880.2 Although probably residing in the previous household, 16-year-old Watt Rawlins who boards is actually the person listed on the line with the dwelling and family number. He will be one of the persons researched in the series.

The neighbors (mostly head of household) by dwelling/family numbers:

114 - J. B. Hester; also residing in the house as a boarder is Watt Rawlins
112 - M. L. Morris; also residing in the house is Mrs. M. R. Wilson, his mother-in-law, and some of her children
109 - H. B. Ridings; also servants Lucinda Thomas and Sam Estes
108 - Jo Thomas
107 - J. D. Ridings
106 - Lee Jones
105 - J. M. Ridings
104 - H. Swinigen
103 - John Williams
102 - D. Ridings; also servant Jane Thomas
101 - O. G. Loveless
100 - J. D. Loveless; also sister-in-law F. J. Sterling

116 - Peter Lucas
117 - Patsey Bradley
118 - Sallie Lucas
119 - Thomas Gray
120 - G. W. Green
121 - J. D. Conwill
122 - J. F. Conwill
123 - J. W. Cook
124 - H. A. Black
125 - Bluford Hughs; also daughter-in-law S. J. Herndon
126 - Y. J. Conwill
127 - Mrs. N. F. Conwill; also boarder Nancy Gray
128 - J. C. Rawlins
129 - Jim Houston; also brother-in-law Steve Shumpert
130 - Mrs. A. Rhudy

I'll begin the series by researching those in households prior to Dock by order of proximity and then move to the ones residing after him.

1 Photocopy of D. H. Hester-Miss M. A. Harris marriage bond, Lee County, Mississippi marriage books, 20 Nov 1877. Incomplete citation in database that needs to be corrected; also "Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 30 July 2016), entry for D. H. Hester-Miss M. A. Harris, 20 Nov 1877; citing Hunting For Bears, Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935 (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004).
2 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, SD 1, ED 139, p. 294A (stamped), p. 11 (written), dwelling 115, family 115, lines 25-27, Dock Hester family; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 July 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 658.


Life Goes On said...

i think this is an interesting challenge. I will watch for your posts and also plan to do the same challenge.

I have 2 families that I know so little about. I have not looked at families around my grandmother to see if I can expand on them.


Lori Thornton said...

I certainly had not looked at them at the level I'm going to attempt to in this series. My first post went up yesterday, but because I'm researching at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History this week, my Friday post will likely be about something interesting I found there. I may end up doing the next neighbor instead. It really depends on what time I get home Thursday evening and/or whether or not I have time to schedule a post tonight.