Sunday, May 01, 2011

I Found My Great Grandfather ... Sorry Aliens!

I have been obsessing about my great grandfather, Harold John Crow(e), for the past couple of weeks.  As I mentioned in my post here, I totally blamed Aliens for abducting the entire family.   Sorry about that, Aliens.  You guys get blamed for a lot of stuff, but not this time.

I was seriously ready to pull out my hair, but then I stepped back for a second and thought about it.  I was writing down the name "Crow" and I wasn't being especially careful.  Then I looked at it.  It was hard to read my own handwriting, especially with letters that could so easily be mistaken for other letters ("r" for "n" and "w" for "m", etc.).  Then I had one of those A-HA! moments.

I decided to systematically go through the 1920 census images by hand.  I know - almost enough to make your eyes bleed.  I started with where I knew he was in 1910 (Spencer County, Indiana) and where I knew he was in 1930 (Posey County, Indiana).  I also knew that he had been married in 1920 in Posey County, Indiana.  That's where I started my search (thank goodness!)

I pulled up Posey County records and started with Black Township.  I searched every line on every page for Districts 47, 48, and 49.  No dice.

I went back and chose Mt. Vernon City, Ward 1.  I got to page 15 and found something that looked like "Crow" but I couldn't be sure.  The first names looked like Amos and Luana.  No way I could make that look like Charles and Ida (I tried, believe me).  I kept looking ... there were 13 more pages.  Then lo and behold, on page 26, there he was.  I had to know why I wasn't able to find him.  It clearly said "Crow" when I read it.  It had been indexed as "Cron."  After looking at it, I could see how it might have been misread:

... and there is Harold on line 48 at age 20 and still single (don't worry, he'll be married before the year is out).  It shows him as a soldier in the U.S. Army.  Yep, that's my man.

I literally found this information 15 minutes ago and had to share it immediately.  My first brick wall success!  Woo hoo!  I can't wait to share my good news with everyone in SecondLife tonight!


Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Hey, congratulations, Jenny! Can you ask the aliens to release my family now? ;-)

Unknown said...

I can try ... there's a bit of a language barrier, so I'm not sure what I promised in return, but I'll see what I can do :)

Greta Koehl said...

Excellent detecting! I have now officially lost count of the times that I have had to read through the census listings for a particular location to find my ancestors. Lucky for me, they often lived in low-population townships or counties.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Greta! I have a feeling I'm going to be doing quite a bit of this in the future. The key is to narrow it down as much as you can ... I found that out the hard way :)

Anonymous said...

You go!

Persistence pays off. I've found that it is helped with generous doses of caffeine...

Congrats on breaking down your brick wall.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Dee! Persistence, check. Caffeine, check. Turns out double-stuff Oreos don't help too. :)

GeniAus said...

Great sleuthing, Jenny.

Hope your eyes aren't feeling the strain too mcu.

Susan Clark said...

Clapping and applauding! It really does take digging in the trenches.

I'm a big fan of a glass or two of wine when everything starts to blur. Somehow it clears my vision, lol.

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