Thursday, July 23, 2015

Where Were They in 1870?

I like maps. And since family history tends to be glimpses of tiny details, all separate from one another, I like to stop and get a big picture now and then.  So I'll start with the kind of very basic information that you find in genealogy: Raw info from census and birth and death records.  Names, dates, places.

I'm looking at my great-granparents on the "Spear" side -- or my father's side of the family.  His side is the side that all ended up in Benzie County, Michigan.  Benzie is the central spot of my childhood, and the stage on which most of the stories and legends I've heard took place.

But in 1870, none of my family was there yet.  Also, in 1870, three of the great grandparents hadn't been born yet - though they soon would be. In Maud's case her parents (FrankVinson and Nancy York) hadn't likely even met yet.

Still, except for Frank and Nancy, all their families were living in or near they were born.

This all comes from U. S. Census data, which can be tricky (and conflicting, as in the case of Maud's mother, Nancy York), so I tried to find additional info to back it up where possible.

And yet, all the tiny bits of data do lead up to a story -- and a mystery.  It's not just raw facts, and points on a map.

So tomorrow we start with Frank Vinson and Nancy York, Maud's parents.  In 1970, he was living in a boarding house and working in a saw mill.   She was only 13 years old, and was not living with her parents, but rather with relatives who do not appear in any other census -- at least not in any form I can tie to these specific people.

It is enough of a puzzle that I will likely start with her, even though I have the least hard information....

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