County Histories: More on the FAN Club

Last time I mentioned that looking for the collateral relatives or those in the FAN Club (friends, associates, neighbors) of your ancestor can be quite revealing. Let’s look at an example of what I mean.

Throughout this research on S.C. Dimick, I realized that his biographical sketch mentioned that they lived in Toledo a few years before going to Wood County. Toledo is just a county to the north, not very far away from where Samuel finally settled near Bowling Green. Looking at city directories for Toledo, I discovered that he worked for “H. M. Clark & Co.” who were manufacturers of tin and “Jappaned Ware.” Basically they made metal plates that were covered in enamel and painted. Here are some examples of “Jappaned Ware”:

Images from Wikimedia Commons.

I’m going to be honest here. It took me a while to look for a county history entry for H. M. Clark. But when I finally got smart and started researching him and his company. I discovered an amazing county history entry, in a county history in … South Dakota! Through the power of internet searching I found it in South Dakota. I would never in a million years thought to have looked there, so I’m ever-thankful for the technology we have today to bring these disparate sources right into our homes and computers.

The following table shows the key datapoints from each biographical sketch:

Samuel Cook Dimick (OH)H. M. Clark (SD)
Born Lyme, NH 1835Born Lyme, NH 1832
In “hardware business” in NH, which he later soldWas a clerk in a store in NH, opened his own general store which he sold in 1868
Congregational Church in LymeCongregational Church in Lyme
Moved to Toledo (abt. 1871)Moved to Toledo 1868
Engaged in can manufacturing until 1875Operated manufacturing establishment until 1881
“Disposed of that business” and moved to Wood County, OhioSold his business and moved west to “Dakota”
Married Mary Marshall, 1860 in Lyme, New HampshireMarried Alice E. Dodge, 1856 in Lyme, New Hampshire
Side-by-side comparison of the biographical sketches of Samuel Cook Dimick and his associate H.M. Clark.

Samuel Cook Dimick and H. M. Clark lived nearly parallel lives. And it seems most likely that Samuel went to Toledo to work with Clark in his can manufacturing business.

The lesson I learned and I hope to share with you is to research the FAN club, those people living around and beside our ancestors. They might reveal important information on your ancestor.

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