Tag Archives: county history

County Histories: Clues to Other Records, Newspapers

Last we found S. C. Dimick in the census records, in 1870 still in Lyme, New Hampshire and in 1880 he was living in Wood County, Ohio. Let’s look at other clues in his biographical sketch that lead me to other records.

Newspapers

I found several news articles for S. C. Dimick who was involved in the Wood County Farmer’s Institute. In 1886 he served as the president! The institute also resolved to thank various people. Included was a thanks to Mrs. S. C. Dimick for her paper on “Butter Making and Marketing” as well as an essay by Mr. S. C. Dimick on “Ensilage.”

“Farmer’s Institute,” Perrysburg Journal (Ohio), 12 February 1886, p. 3, c. 4.

I also located his obituary stating that he “died from grief” just days after his wife died.

“Died from Grief,” Marietta Leader, (Ohio), 3 May 1903, p. 3, c. 4.  

Neither of these news articles gave any clues about when or why they moved to Ohio from New Hampshire.

Next time, we will examine clues in land records.

County Histories: Looking at Census Leads

When looking at the details found in Samuel C. Dimick’s biographical sketch, let’s start with a basic one. Let’s look at him in the census. For each of my research subjects, I try to find them in every census they should be in. For Samuel, we will just look at a couple that I focused on because I primarily wanted to know why he came to Ohio from New Hampshire. We can’t always answer ‘why’ questions in genealogy but we can make some good educated guesses if we find the right information. So, I wanted to figure that out if I could.

1870, Lyme, Grafton County, New Hampshire

In 1870, Samuel was living with his wife Mary in Lyme, New Hampshire. He was 34, she was 35, and they had two sons, Marshall, age 2, and Burton, age 6 months. Samuel’s occupation is hard to make out, but it looks like “R.M. & Tin Plate Manuf.” I only knew he was a farmer from my earlier research.

1880, Center Township, Wood County, Ohio

By 1880, he was living in Center Township in Wood County, Ohio, which is near Bowling Green. He is listed as a farmer.

These two censuses at the bookends to his migration to Ohio. Sometime between 1870 and 1880 he and his family made the move. We will continue to look for clues about his life in the county history and see what more we can learn.

County Histories: Follow Every Lead

In the last blog post, we looked at the general family information we found in Samuel C. Dimick’s biographical sketch. Now let’s discuss all of the minutiae and details that we (and by ‘we’ I mean I) might gloss over the first (or second, or tenth) time we read a biographical sketch.

When I began researching Samuel, I didn’t know anything about him, of course, so the details that were important to me at that time were the main biographical points we looked at in the last post. However, as time moved on, I gained more experience, and I wanted to know more specific information about him and his family, I started focusing on some of that minutiae. Sometimes we just aren’t ready to absorb information from a source. And that’s ok, as long as at some point in your process (this could be many years later), you go back and review your previous research.

After really digging into the details, I was able to compile a list of other sources I needed to examine to verify those details and get more information:

  • Census Records
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Land Records
  • Land Ownership Maps
  • Vital Records
  • City Directories
  • School Records
  • Agricultural Census
  • Indian Reservation Records
  • Revolutionary War Records
  • Expand search to other states mentioned in the sketch: New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Minnesota

Over the next several posts, we are going to look at some of these in detail. I won’t go over each and every one, because, well, that could get boring. But, there are some highlights I want to hit that really opened some new research avenues and helped me understand Samuel’s life better and in more detail.

County Histories: More Details on Samuel Cook Dimick

“We now come to the personal history of our subject, who, after attending the district schools of Lyme, entered the high school of Orford, N. H., where he completed his education. After working on his father’s farm for a time, he removed to Wisconsin, where he was in the lumber business for a year, and, on the expiration of that time, went to southern Minnesota, where for a year and a half he had charge of a government farm on the Indian reservation…

“In 1875, we find him a resident of Center township, Wood county, where he purchased 120 acres of the old Williams farm, and has here since made his home. He has one of the best orchards in the township, and his excellent farm has been brought under a high state of cultivation by industry and good management, with its attendant hard labor…

“Mr. Dimick was married at Lyme, N. H., in 1860, to Mary Marshall, who was born in 1835, and they became the parents of two children, the younger of whom, Burton C., born November 4, 1869, died July, 1889…

““…Marshall C., born December 13, 1867, was educated at Toledo and Bowling Green, and now has a half-interest in the homestead farm, to the cultivation and improvement of which he now devotes his energies. He is a young man of good address, genial and industrious, and is one of the most enterprising and progressive farmers of Center township…”

I only shared some of the most vital or interesting bits about Samuel in the quotes above. In the full sketch, some of the things we learned about him include:

  • Born: 23 June 1835, Lyme, New Hampshire
  • Married: 1860, Lyme to Mary Marshall
  • Children: Marshall Chester and Burton Cook
  • Occupations: Farming, lumber, hardware store, can manufacturing
  • Other locations: New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin
  • Land ownership: bought 120 acres of the “Old Williams Farm” in Wood County, Ohio
  • Extensive details on Mary Marshall’s family background

We have also been able to reconstruct family groups from this biographical sketch. Here is what we learned about Samuel:

We were also able to reconstruct his wife’s family:

Next time, we will start looking at some of the information in more detail and discuss following every lead from these sketches.

County Histories: Samuel Cook Dimick

Biographical Sketch of Samuel C. Dimick in the county history for Wood County, Ohio.

I know this image is incredibly tiny and I’m not expecting you to read it. I’m going to share some of the main points and highlights and some things I’ve learned and some things I’m still working on from this particular biographical sketch. If you want to read the sketch in its entirety, click here.

Samuel Cook Dimick is one of the ancestors I focused on early in my genealogy-hood. My paternal grandmother, Marge, was a Dimick. She was very interested in the Dimick family history and we were able to take her on a trip to New England to visit some ancestral towns and cemeteries. She had a copy of this book in her possession. So this was a book I was familiar with early on. This biographical sketch shares so much information about Samuel C. Dimick and alerted me to things I had not found in other records.

The sketch contains many of the usual things you would find such a general genealogical birth, marriage, death information.

“Samuel C. Dimick is the proprietor of one of the most noticeable homesteads in Center township… He comes from sturdy New England stock, and was born in Lyme, N.H. on June 23, 1835… “His father, Chester Dimick, was also there born July 6, 1802, and was a son of Samuel Dimick, a native of Dorchester, Mass. The latter aided the Colonies in their struggle for independence, and was married in the Bay State to Abigail Cook, who was born August 12, 1767, and was a daughter of Samuel Cook, of Vermont, who was also one of the heroes of the Revolution. This worthy couple passed their last days in Lyme, N. H. and to them were born twenty-one children.”

Pretty typical of general biographical sketches in county histories. This one traces ancestor back to the Revolution. The county histories generally were a celebration of our immigrant ancestors the formation of the country. We will continue exploring this sketch in future posts.

County Histories: What’s In Them?

If you haven’t used a county history or found your ancestors in one, I encourage you to look. Later in this series we will get to some search and locating techniques. Let’s discuss what you might expect to find in a county history.

Many county histories have two parts, even if they are not formally called out. Generally speaking, there is the part that discusses the history of the county, of the place, itself. This section will contain information on topics such as: early geography, geology, Native American tribes in the area, early settlers, the first towns in that county, the first government officials, the first churches, schools, and so on.

Table of Contents from the Wood County, Ohio county history.

From the table of contents for the history from Wood County, Ohio, you can see several topics just from this one section of the page that would be of interest to genealogists: newspapers, medicine, military, churches, schools, early pioneers, agricultural societies, etc.

You might find more modern publications such as Patterns and Pieces from Lyme, New Hampshire. As you can see, many similar topics are included.

Title page from Patterns and Pieces.

Then there is the second section, the section with the biographical sketches of our ancestors. These biographical sketches usually followed a male and his lineage back to the immigrant ancestor. Sometimes you will also get a lineage from his wife back to her immigrant ancestor, usually along her father’s line. If you are lucky, you might find a photograph or a sketch of your ancestor (I have not been that lucky yet.)

Next time, we will look at one of my favorite biographical sketches.

County Histories: A Valuable Resource

County histories have been a huge help to my research over the years and so I wanted to take some time to discuss them. There are definitely pros and cons when it comes to working with county histories. Big pro, often they were informed by family members, people who should know the data being published. Big con, there are rarely citations, well because of the previous “pro” mostly. Why would you give a citation for something you know from firsthand knowledge or at the very least, family lore?

The author’s copy of the county history for Wood County, Ohio.

County histories are, well, histories of a particular county. You may also find regional histories that encompass several counties in one. Primarily, they provide a history of the area and sometimes biographical sketches of many of the citizens of that county. They are sometimes called “mug books” or “vanity sketches.” Traditional county histories were published by companies who sold “subscriptions” to the book in order to have a family’s sketch included. You may also find county histories that were funded as a project by a county or town for an anniversary, or by a historical or genealogical society in that town.

Generally speaking, county histories became popular around 1876, at the centennial of the United States, and typically followed the lineage of that family back to their immigrant ancestor as a way to celebrate the growth of the nation. These books were published for about a 45-year period until about 1920. You may also find some books that could be considered county histories published near the bicentennial in 1976. Some of these later publications may be in the form of oral history interviews and recollections.

These county histories are not just an excellent source for a large amount of information about a family, they also contain valuable information about the formation of the county or region as well. Over the next several weeks, we will look at county histories, many as they related to personal research projects and how they guided my research.