Category Archives: Genealogy

Branching Out

Here’s another lesson in why it’s important to research siblings, not just direct line ancestors. I had hit a brick wall on my Thompson line, after realizing that the link between my great great grandfather, William Thompson, and who I thought were his parents was bad.

This is what happens when you rely on other people’s research. Everything seemed reasonable, but when I looked closer, it was a flaming hot mess. So I removed a whole bunch of folks from my working tree and started over again. Thing is, there was very little to go on. Thompson is such a common name, and the only concrete info I had was that William was born in Atlanta and had a brother named Roy.

So after exhausting every avenue with William, I started looking at Roy. Lo and behold, I hit pay dirt. I had a scribbled note from either my mom or grandma saying that Roy had lived across the street from Beulah. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was. I was able to figure out that the W. Roy Thompson in the 1930 census was, indeed, “my” Roy, based on the street address.

There was another mom or grandma note that Roy had married a woman named Avis, and there she was with him, in the 1930 census. They were living at 1411 Beatie Avenue. I found my great great grandmother Estelle (Roy’s sister in law) living at 1412 Beatie Avenue in the 1910 census. Beulah was Estelle’s daughter and Roy’s niece. So there we have Roy living across the street from Beulah, albeit the time span was a bit long between the two events.

From there, I was able to piece together that Roy’s first name was Wiley, and I found his WWI draft card, where he lists his father as J. R. Thompson, living at 585 Lee Street.

That was enough of a clue to get me to the next generation back. James R. Thompson married Martha J. Edmonds. James fought in the Civil War (on the wrong side). His right arm was shot off below the shoulder at Sharpsburg, in 1862. He survived, so there’s a pretty large military pension file for him. For reasons unknown, he and Martha lived separately. I found her and Roy in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, and she’s listed as married, but no sign of James. I haven’t found him (yet) in any of the censuses, but I haven’t looked very hard, either. That’s something for another day.

I did some quick and dirty scanning of other people’s trees (always entertaining, but dangerous if you take it too seriously). It looks like that line goes back to Adam and Eve. I’ll stop tracing it when the real documentation runs out. Some of those trees I looked at had 10-12 “sources,” but when you look closely, they’re all “Ancestry member tree” or “Millennium File.” Run away from those. They are not fit to crib clues from. I promise, if you try, it will end in tears.

Oh, and everyone and his brother seems to think that William Thompson’s middle name started with a D. It was Boring. No idea where the D is coming from. He spells it out nicely on his WWI draft card, where he is inexplicably working as a cook in Washington DC. But the contact person he lists is Estelle Hoover at the same address I have her at, with my great grandfather Louis living with her, so I know it’s all legit. Just one of those strange family history mysteries.

And because I love a visual aid, here’s the new family group screen from Legacy.

William Boring Thompson and Estelle H. Hoover

Now, for part two: City Directories. I love them so much it’s not even funny. I just found Martha J. Thompson, the newly discovered mother of William Boring Thompson and Wiley Roy Thompson, in the 1903 Atlanta city directory. She was living with William and his wife, Estelle, at 73 Kelly Street. Roy is also living with them.

There’s the final piece of evidence I needed to feel 100% confident that I finally had the right parents.

Atlanta City Directory 1903

Atlanta City Directory 1903
Ancestry, “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” database and images, Ancestry ( : accessed 14 May 2017); citing Atlanta City Directory 1903, volume XXVII, [Atlanta, Georgia]: Foote and Davies Company and Joseph W. Hill, 1903, pages 1179-1180.

This, by the way, was two years after William Thompson and his brother in law, Adolph Taylor Hoover, were recorded in the Atlanta city directory as co-owners of a butcher shop (cleverly named W. B. Thompson and A. T. Hoover Meats). Apparently that business crashed in burned. Or maybe it was sold to a larger company, like Hormel.

[ETA: You may notice that Martha J. Thompson is listed as the widow of John R. in the 1903 directory. I have no explanation why, at this point. I know they were estranged, but she describes herself as married in the 1900 and 1910 censuses. Nor do I know why his name is listed as John in the directory, when everywhere else he’s James. For now, the address is the most important clue. The city directories are full of weird mistakes. As far as I can tell, James R. Thompson died in 1919, a year after he was listed as a contact person on his son, Roy’s, World War I draft card.]

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Slow Progress

File Properties

I don’t think I’ll ever have one of those family trees that goes back to Adam and Eve. That seems to be the goal of some folks, but I’d rather do solid research. At this point, I have almost 5 sources for each person, on average. That’s the number that matters to me, not the small number of individuals.


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Searching City Directories

Searching the Atlanta City Directory

There is a lot of great information in the old city directories, but you cannot rely on the OCR used to generate the index entries. You really need to search each and every year for your location manually, if you want to find everything. Why? Doing so will help you pinpoint marriages, deaths (maybe), and migration dates.

To do so, at Ancestry, you use the drop-down menu to navigate between years. Occasionally there will also be a drop-down menu for various directory titles covering the area, as well. Searching the index at Ancestry for my great grandmother, I only found a handful of entries when in fact, there was a nearly full run of entries spanning 1920 to 1950.

Atlanta City Directory 1923
Ancestry, “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” database and images, Ancestry ( : accessed 12 May 2017); Helen Basquille page 231; citing Atlanta City Directory, volume XLVI, Atlanta, Georgia: Atlanta City Directory Company, 1923.

This entry was not picked up by OCR, probably because the scan is kind of grim. You can see that she was a stenographer at Hormel. She was about 28 years old in 1923, and she worked for the company until she retired.

Atlanta City Directory 1947
Atlanta City Directory 1947

My great grandfather didn’t die until 1954, so I don’t know why my great grandmother was listed as his widow in 1947. They were divorced in the early 1930s, so maybe she figured he was dead to her?

1930 United States Census
1930 United States Census

If you look at the far right column, you’ll see that my great grandmother was described as a widow. I thought it was an enumeration mistake or a misinformed informant, until I saw the same thing in the 1947 Atlanta city directory. I wish I knew what was going on.

The last year Helen was listed in the Atlanta city directory was 1950. I found her in the Austin, Minnesota, directory in 1953. I knew she had moved to Minnesota around that time, but this helps pinpoint the date. And yes, I can and will ask my mom when Helen moved, but it’s nice to have tangible evidence to back up the claim. Early 1950s is about right, as that’s when my grandma started having kids. Grandma was an only child, and I’m sure her mom wanted to be closer, after the grandbabies started arriving.

City Directory Searching #genealogy #research #dayswork

I don’t print out index entries for the city directories. Instead, I make a list on paper. It’s tedious, yes, but it helps keep you from missing entries. It also makes it easier for patterns to pop out. So you can see that my great grandfather, Logan Louis Thompson, only lived with my great grandmother for a short period of time. They were married in 1924, and he was gone by 1930.


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William Basquill

“National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914,” database with images, Findmypast¬†( : accessed 11 Mar 2017), HMS Indefatigable training ship register, 1886, page page 344, William Basqwell; citing Liverpool Maritime Museum, archive reference D/IND/3/2/4, folio number 344

William was born in Ashton Under Lyne in 1872 (not the East Indies), to John Basquil and Ellen Gillen. His story is a little bizarre, and the pieces don’t fit together easily, so there’s margin for error. However, I think I have it pieced together correctly, despite the strange anomalies.

For a start, look at that 1886 apprenticeship paper. It states that his father was a soldier, killed in “Afghan,” and that his mother had deserted him. Neither of those things seems to be true. I can find no indication that John Basquil was ever in the military. He was still alive in the 1881 census, where his occupation was “grinder” in a factory. John died in 1890, so was not enumerated in 1891’s census. Ellen was, though. In 1891 she was living in Stockport with William and his younger sister, Mary. All three are working in a cotton factory.

William’s mother, Ellen, died in 1894, in the Cheshire Workhouse. She was 44 years old. His sister, Mary, gave birth to a son named Thomas on 19 April 1896, also in the Cheshire Workhouse. He was illegitimate. She died in the workhouse on 2 May 1896, just a couple of weeks after giving birth. Orphaned Thomas managed to live for a year, dying 19 May 1897.

Clearly, these folks were incredibly poor. I suspect that it was less a case of Ellen deserting her son as it was that she had no options and was forced to seek aid in the workhouse. William and Mary were likely left to fend for themselves, with the result that William ended up in the Boys’ Refuge in Manchester, and from there, apprenticed to the captain of the HMS Indefatigable.

His apprenticeship began in 1886 and was to last for a term of three years. However in 1888, he deserted the Indefatigable to join the crew of the City of Carlisle, again as an apprentice. And that is where everything gets weird.

The City of Carlisle was sailing to Portland, Oregon. On 12 November 1888, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, as the crew were lowering the sails, William was struck in the head with a clew iron. The injury was terrible, and William could well have died. And given the apparent lack of concern and aid from the ship’s captain, it’s miraculous that he didn’t.




Basquall v. The City of Carlisle, v. 39F, no. 14-52, 30 August 1889, District Court, D. Oregon

First, there are still some details that are incorrect. William is no more a native of Dublin than he is the East Indies. But at least here, his parents are described as living, and in Stockport, too, which is correct. And despite those inconsistencies, you can see that this is indeed “our” William. He served first on the Indefatigable, then later on the City of Carlisle. This is our guy.

So he survived his ordeal, went to trial to sue the captain for gross negligence, won his case, and was awarded the sum of $1530. Not a huge amount of money, even then, as compensation for nearly dying, but I’m sure he was glad to have it.

His story doesn’t end there, though. He returned to England, where he was enumerated in the 1891 census, living with his mother and sister, in Stockport. Later that year, he joined the British Army. He was discharged in 1903 and in 1904 he married Catherine Cohen (her second marriage). They had two children of their own (William and Mary).

William re-enlisted in 1918 and again in 1919.

The military stuff is interesting, because it ties some things together.

Distinctive Marks
United Kingdom, “British Army Service Records 1914-1920,” William Basquill, short service attestation form signed 7 Oct 1891, Bury, England; digital images, Find My Past, Find My Past ( : accessed 11 Mar 2017).

Transcript: “Scar back of head, slight varicose veins, slightly knock kneed, scar on abdomen, birth mark left thigh”

This is indeed our William, and he’s had a hard life.

Death Certificate

He ultimately dies in 1940, at the age of 67, of myocardial degeneration and carcinoma of the oesophagus.

All of that research, and this isn’t even a branch I can tie in to my own tree. Hmf.

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James Basquill

Massachusetts Death Index
Ancestry index page for James Basquill’s entry in the Massachusetts Death Index on 18 Mar 2015

I printed out this index page from Ancestry almost two years ago. I haven’t really worked on this family since then, so it’s just been sitting in my file. I’m glad I had a hard copy, though, because otherwise I would have thought I was losing my mind.

Massachusetts Death Index
Ancestry index page for James Basquill’s entry in the Massachusetts Death Index today

This is what the index page looks like today. Same source information, same reference number, volume, and page number. Same everything except now the death date is 1977 instead of 1964.

Massachusetts Death Index
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Health, Registry of Vital Records and Statists, “Massachusetts, Death Index, 1901-1980,” database, Ancestry¬†( : accessed 4 Feb 2017), James Basquill death 1964, volume 2, index volume 124/125, page 145, reference number F63.M363 v.124/125; citing Massachusetts Vital Records, Index to Deaths, 1961-1965, Aakeson-Chmura, volumes 124-125. Boston, Massachusetts: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Facsimile edition. Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Rec. Date: 4 Feb 2017. Cit. Date: 4 Feb 2017.

Always check the original image, if there is one. Always, always, always. This isn’t a great source, given that it’s just an index. It’s several times removed from the actual death certificate, but it’s clearly a better source than the index entry at Ancestry. You can see that someone transposed the columns for year of death and age at death. James died in 1964 at the age of 77, not in 1977.

I have no idea when or how the Ancestry index page was changed. Usually when a user submits an edit, they retain the original information, so you can see that it was changed, and they give a link to the edit and the person who submitted it. This gives no hint that it was ever other than it is now.

James isn’t part of my main line, so I’m not likely to order his death certificate. The index entry may be all I ever have to prove his death date and place. It’s supported by the Social Security Death Index and a photo of his grave marker at Findagrave. None of those is, by itself, sufficient, but together they provide proof enough for me, given that this is a collateral line.

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Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

It’s going to be another research weekend, starting with some light reading.

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Slow Progress

File Properties

I started a total do-over for my genealogy database last January. And by total, I mean total. I switched from using Family Tree Maker to Legacy Family Tree, and instead of importing my old tree from FTM, I opted to start fresh. I’m re-entering every single item by hand, and re-researching everyone and everything as I go.

This is not a sprint race. I occasionally look at my file properties, to see what sort of progress I’m making. It seems like the number of individuals only barely creeps upward, but on the other hand, everything is well researched. I have an average of 4.8 citations for each person, so what I’ve got is solid. That makes me happy.

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Margaret Basquill: Housewife

Certificate of Death
Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 14238 (1948), Margaret B. Moorman; digital image, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” FamilySearch¬†( : accessed 26 Jan 2017). Rec. Date: 15 Oct 2016. Cit. Date: 26 Jan 2017.

I’m still working on the families of Nicholas and John Basquill, who settled in Jackson County, Ohio. Margaret is the daughter of John Basquill and Margaret Daughan. She married Elmer J. Moorman in 1869. As far as I can tell, they had no children.

I consider myself an unapologetic feminist, but today I had another reminder of just how insidious the patriarchy really is. We’re soaking in it, and it informs everything we do, whether we like it or not. We don’t have a choice in the matter.

As I was entering information from Margaret’s death certificate, I saw that her occupation was listed as “housewife.” I am ashamed to admit that, until today, I’d been neglecting to add that information to women in my database. It’s not a real job, right? Only I know it is a real job. I truly do. I can’t explain why I haven’t been giving these women credit for their work, but that’s going to change NOW.

Margaret B. Moorman
screenshot from Legacy Family Tree

I rather like the way the default occupation sentence reads, at the bottom of the screen: She worked as a housewife in 1948 in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, United States.

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Edward Basquill and Mary Broderick

1910 United States Census

1910 United States Census

I had a hell of a time finding this census record. I found an as yet unmarried Edward in the 1905 New York State census, and I found him with wife Mary, three children, and Mary’s mother in the 1920 United States Census. Both times he was living in Troy, New York. I thought it was unlikely (though possible) that they would have been living somewhere else at the time of the 1910 census, so I started searching for Edwards who were born in Ohio around 1878. Though you can see in the index entry that someone has corrected the spelling of the first name, it wasn’t coming up for me.

And obviously, searching for either Basquill or Basqu*l* wasn’t going to help, either. I finally left both name fields blank and searched Troy, Rensselear, New York for all people born in Ohio within five years of 1878. I thought that might be too big a net, but I was out of alternatives for narrowing it. It worked, though. There he was, with the last name of Pasquill. An easy mistake for an enumerator to make, because P and B sound similar.

Normally I’d switch to searching for one of the children or his wife, but the children were all born after the 1910 census, and I don’t yet know when he and Mary were married. Now that I’ve found them together in the 1910 census, I can narrow my guess for a marriage date to sometime between 1905 and 1910.

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John Daughan

So many questions answered! I found this young man and his younger sister Mary in the 1870 census, living in Jackson, Ohio, with John Basquill and his wife, Margaret Daughan. I knew the two kids were related to Margaret, but HOW? John Daughan was 13 years younger than Margaret, so that’s a big stretch, but not impossible, if they were siblings. But they could also have been Margaret’s niece and nephew or even cousins. Without more information on the kids, I just couldn’t hope to figure it out. (I have zero information on Margaret, before her marriage to John. Partly because the last name has been recorded as everything from Daughan to Dugan to Vaughn. I found John’s and Margaret’s marriage license, but no parent names were listed. Meaning that tracing the relationship of the kids to Margaret, via her family, is so far impossible.)

So I searched the Chronicling America website at Library of Congress, and I found this obituary. Such a horrible story. John was only 27 when he died. But it confirms that the John Daughphine (see what I mean about the name?) I found in the 12 Jun 1880 census, who was living with the James Carr family, is “my” John (James’ daughter Susan was living in the same household). And that, along with the obit, confirms that the 7 Sep 1880 marriage license I found for John Daughan and Susie Carr, is for “my” John, too.

This may not pass the genealogical proof standard (three sources for each fact), but I think it’s pretty convincing evidence.

Death of Johnny Dauhan
“Death of Johnny Dauhan,” The Jackson Standard, 23 Oct 1884, p. 3, col. 3; digital images, Library of Congress ( : accessed 16 Jan 2017), Chronicling America. Rec. Date: 15 Jan 2017. Cit. Date: 16 Jan 2017

Death of Johnny Dauhan

On last Saturday morning Johnny Dauhan, a young Irishman of this place, met a horrible death at Springfield, Ohio. In company with a man named John Farley, he was tunneling for a sewer, under Limestone street, and was working some eighteen feet below the surface. About thirteen inches of the mass above them was clay — the rest sand and gravel. A portion of this was left unpropped, and a street car passing above precipitated the mass of sand into the tunnel. Farley leaped for the mouth of the tunnel, and saved his life. Dauhan was caught by the mass and crushed and suffocated.

The body was taken out and brought to Jackson, on Saturday. On Monday the funeral took place, under the auspices of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, of which deceased was a member. The remains were interred in the Catholic Cemetery, east of town. The Wellston Division A.O.H. attended the funeral.

Dauhan was married, a few years ago, to a daughter of Mr. James Carr, and a sister of Mrs. Marshal Owens. Mrs. Daughan has been dead for some time. Johnny was a warm-hearted, whole-souled Irish boy, and one of the most popular of our young men. His death will be mourned by a large circle of friends, a large number of whom followed the remains to the cemetery. Deceased was a brother of Mrs. John Basquill.

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