Tag Archives: Researching Family History

Patience is the Key When Researching Family History

In Ireland researching my Moore family history from the 1600s I was reminded again that there are no shortcuts in discovering your genealogy and family history.

On my father’s side I am very fortunate to have an 850 page resource researched and written by a cousin, Timothy J. O’Rourke, in 1973.  “Maryland Catholics on the Frontier”, traces my Moore family lineage up the paternal line starting with Nicholas Moore born in Maryland in 1712. His father is listed as “possibly” William Moore.

This very complete and well documented history amazes me every time I go back to it. In 1973 there were no quick answers via the internet and digital images. The book represents years of on the ground research and document searches.

Since I started my quest to find more about my mother’s ancestors, Crittenden and West, I have also been able to add to my knowledge of the Moore family with online digitalized copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and other documents verifying the research already done.

Our family’s oral history tells me that our ancestors immigrated to the United States in the Maryland area from Ireland in the 1600s. Not finding any definitive information online I got it into my head that a visit to Dublin (I was going to be in Europe already) and the genealogy department of the National Library of Ireland might provide some clues.

I was blown away by the antiquities available to research in their manuscripts sections, land documents from the 1500s and 16oos and even earlier.

1622 Mortgage Ireland.JPG

!5th and 16th Century deeds.JPG

However, I quickly realized that I was trying to make a very difficult leap from Maryland back to Ireland without enough information. I had thought maybe studying manuscripts with Irish Moore genealogies from the 1600s would provide me the clues that I needed. I did indeed find some genealogies with similar family naming patterns but none that mentioned family members moving to the United States in the correct time period.

I found documents with given and family names that could be a match to my family, but without enough detail to make a connection.

It this one of my ancestors - 1675.JPG

I met with a genealogist in at the National Library. She reminded me of what I really already knew. I was trying to skip a step. If I could not find what I needed about my Maryland ancestors online I needed to start in Maryland, on the ground, visiting libraries, court houses, churches and scouring documents in person.

In my quests for more information in both my Crittenden and West lines I already knew that my key links, when I was stuck, were found by going to Oklahoma and Arkansas and spending weeks examining papers that I could only access in person. Hours, sometimes days, spent finding nothing only made the reward that much greater when I would find a key piece of the puzzle of my family’s history when I was least expecting. Often when I was on the last piece of paper after four to five hours in a library or court house I would find my great reward.

I am already scheduled to go to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama in the fall of 2016 for the next step in Crittenden and West research. I now know that what I need to schedule next is a trip to Maryland to immerse myself in the Moore history of the 1600s and early 1700s.

I am confident that by remembering that I have to go back one step at a time, and that skipping a generation can lead to false assumptions, I will find the next missing piece in the link from Maryland to Ireland for my Moore ancestors.

Once I find that link I will go back to Ireland and search once more through hand written Moore family trees and land documents, like the one below with its awesome seal. When I do, I hope to be able to piece together the story of my family in Ireland.

Look at this seal from the 1600s.JPG

 

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Filed under Family connections, Journal, Land, Research

New Native American Records on Ancestry Contain Valuable Information

Ancestry.com, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the National Archives at Fort Worth partnered to digitize records from the forced relocation of five major tribes, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and the Seminole.

According to the press announcement, The Oklahoma Historical Society and the National Archives had a lot of information on the Five Civilized Tribes, including birth and marriage histories, but none of the information had ever been digitized. Ancestry.com, proposed the joint project, and took on the cost of scanning the records.

The new records contain information from the years 1830-1940 and supplement information Ancestry.com already had available on its site.

Not everyone has access at home to Ancestry.com. However, many historical societies, research centers, and local libraries have Ancestry available at no charge. Make some calls to find one near you.

The American Indian Records category at Ancestry now includes:

• Michigan Native Americans History, 1887
• Military and genealogical records of the famous Indian woman, Nancy Ward
• Minnesota Native Americans, 1823
• Minnesota Native Americans, 1851
• North Carolina, Native American Census Selected Tribes, 1894-1913 Free Index
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 New!
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian and Pioneer Historical Collection, 1937 New!
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 New!
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Photos, 1850-1930 New!
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934 New!
• Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Marriage, Citizenship and Census Records, 1841-1927 New!
• Oklahoma Osage Tribe Roll, 1921
• Oklahoma, Historical Indian Archives Index, 1856-1933 New!
• Oklahoma, Indian Land Allotment Sales, 1908-1927 New!
• Origin and traditional history of the Wyandotts: and sketches of other Indian tribes of North America, true traditional stories of Tecumseh and his league, in the years 1811 and 1812
• Osage Indian Bands and Clans
• U.S., Cherokee Baker Roll and Records, 1924-1929 Free Index
• U.S., Citizenship Case Files in Indian Territory, 1896-1897 Free Index
• U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940
• U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes (overturned), 1896
• U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 Updated!
• U.S., Ratified Indian Treaties and Chiefs, 1722-1869 New!
• U.S., Records Related to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910 New!
• U.S., Schedules of Special Census of Indians, 1880 Free Index
• Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen, 1890-93

I have already found valuable information in the Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959. I knew my grandmother, Eliza Crittenden, was born in Going Snake District and that by the 1900 census she was living with her mother and younger brother in Township 16, Indian Territory in what became Okay, Oklahoma.

Two of my research questions have been, when did she move from Going Snake District and where else might she have lived.

Newly released censuses show my grandmother living in Going Snake in 1883, 1886, and 1893. In 1896 at age 10 she is living in Cooweescoowee District, now Nowata County.

1896 Cherokee Census

1896 Cherokee Census

This provides some insight as to why some of grandmother’s Dawes allotment land was in Nowata County, and to why my great grandmother and my Uncle Isaac Crittenden had moved to Nowata County by the 1910 census. They had some history in that county, something I did not know before seeing the newly released 1896 census. Unfortunately, this census was released just days after I had been in Nowata County on my research trip.

I know that in 1890 in Going Snake, when my grandmother was 13, my great grandfather, Moses Crittenden, was a farmer with improvements on his land valued at $2000. The land had four dwellings and nine other structures. He was the only one farming this land which had 120 enclosed acres, 116 of which were under cultivation. I also know that he had 100 hogs and that the farm produced 1600 bushels of corn in 1889.

1890 Cherokee Census

1890 Cherokee Census

This is the kind of rich information about my grandmother’s life that I have been seeking. The first years of my research it was thrilling to fill in the blanks of great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, etc.

What my heart has been craving is knowing more about my ancestors’ lives, what their daily lives were like. Why did they make some of the decisions that they made to move from one place to another.

The new information available online, combined with the many threads of details that I uncovered about their lives on my recently completed research trip to Oklahoma and Arkansas, is weaving the rich tapestry of their lives. It wraps around me and enfolds me in the family.

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Filed under Cherokee Roots, Dawes Allotment, Journal, Research

Meeting My Crittenden Relatives

Yesterday was a memorable day on my family history trip. In Warner Oklahoma I met my second cousin, Bruce Crittenden, and his daughter Susie.

Me, Susie (Bruce's daughter), 2nd Cousin Bruce Crittenden

Me, Susie (Bruce’s daughter), 2nd Cousin Bruce Crittenden

Susie and I found each other online a couple of months ago when she wrote me a note after reading Cherokee Roots Blog. She introduced herself as Moses Crittenden’s great great granddaughter. As Moses was my great grandfather that meant that Susie’s father and I are second cousins.

Moments after meeting Bruce yesterday I could feel my eyes welling up as I had just met my first descendant of Moses Crittenden and the first blood relative of my extremely large Cherokee family outside of my mother’s immediate family.

This was the culmination of five years of research that started with a search for my grandmother’s Cherokee ancestors. I could have never guessed what an inspiring and surprising journey it would be.

After almost four weeks on the road in Oklahoma and Arkansas I took some time to go to the cemetery where Anthony Crittenden, my grandmother’s half-brother is buried. Being there with his grandson and great granddaughter added special meaning to this moment.

Great Uncle Anthony Crittenden's Headstone

Great Uncle Anthony Crittenden’s Headstone

I will be sharing more memories and discoveries from this trip over the next few weeks.

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Filed under Cherokee Roots, Family connections, Journal