Monday, June 4, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter W

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

So I thought that the W surnames in my database would be a breeze. For the most part, these people married someone earlier in the alphabet and I had already looked for additional information about them. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It started off by finding a few deaths and marriages for the Warren women in my tree since I had neglected to search for them under their married names in the Massachusetts and Connecticut published vital records.

Then I got to Eleazer Washburn, son of my fifth great grandparents Eleazer Washburn and Rachel Paulk. One of those shaky leaves appeared and I found images of the Springfield, Massachusetts vital records on This led to finding the birth records of Eleazer and his brother Roswell along with the marriage of their parents, Eleazer and Rachel. Now that I had a new record set, I searched for more Washburns (didn't find any), but I found what I presumed to be the Paulk family. Some internet searches on the Paulk family led me to two journal articles detailing the family of Rachel's mother back to Massachusetts in 1666. I still need to analyze the article and add it to my database.

Then started reviewing the information I had for Harriet Washburn. A family history had told me that she was the daughter of Eleazer and Rachel, born after the migrated to Ohio. Another shaky leaf lead me to census records after her marriage to William Flick/Fleak. Analyzing the tally marks on the 1820 and 1830 census for Eleazer, I realized that she didn't fit into the family. Some research into the older woman living with her in 1850 showed that she was actually Eleazer's niece and the daughter of James Washburn. A few searches later and I had found another article detailing the family back 2 generations and leading to another article about the Mayflower. I still need to deal with all of that information.

I finally make it through the Washburn family, finding the marriage of Flora Washburn to James Russell on 21 October 1891 in Ross County, Ohio and following them to Lewis County, Washington where she died in 1930.

The next find came when I started reviewing the Weiss family in Heimbach, Germany. I realized that I had only found my direct line in the German indexes on FamilySearch. And even those I hadn't tried very hard to get back another generation. So I found the Weiss family and its collateral lines in the indexes and will at some point order the microfilm and get the original records. Then I realized that I had probably never done the same thing on the Bank family in Bleichheim, Germany. No wonder I could never find them. They were actually the Von Bank family. So there were some more branches added to the tree.

I had also neglected the Westrich family in Bruecken, Germany. They got the same treatment with the same results. But then I got shaky leaves telling me that Jacob Westrich and Anna Margaretha Huber immigrated to Ohio. I still need to do the research on this information, but if it's true, it means that my immigrant ancestor had both sets of grandparents in America when he crossed the Atlantic.

Again, I thought I could sail through the rest of the Ws. But I was wrong again. I found the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Andrew Works. Not sure why I never looked for these before. I also found the probate for his probable father, Joseph, in Owen County, Kentucky. Andrew reportedly died in 1824, but I didn't find any probate for him. It looks like I'll be having some more fun in deed records to make sure I have the right guy.

And finally I was done with the W surnames. I can't believe how much I found and it will take me all summer to finished analyzing everything I found. No X names, so just 2 letters left.

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