Tag Archives: Dimick

County Histories: Strategies and Tips

When looking for county history entries regarding your ancestors or collateral relatives, I have a few tips and strategies for you.

First, look for county histories published in the areas where your ancestors lived. For Samuel Cook Dimick, I found him in the Wood County, Ohio county history, but also found mention of him in a few publications in Grafton County, New Hampshire. Don’t limit yourself to where they ended up. Expand your searches.

If you find the county history on a digital repository such as Google Books or Internet Archive, those services have decent searching capabilities and OCR (optical character recognition). You may also see if a supplemental index exists. The original county histories were rarely indexed though you may find a Table of Contents that lists the names of the subjects of the biographical sketches. When I began working on Samuel Cook Dimick, I was fortunate to discover that the Wood County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society had published an index to the Wood County history.

Title page of the Wood County Index.

One book that has been a valuable resource for identifying county histories, has been A Bibliography of American County Histories by P. William Filby. This book contains a state-by-state listing of county histories. Some county histories encompassed several counties in one region. County histories can also be found at the local public library of the county that the history is about. If you cannot find a digital copy, don’t forget the public library. Utilize the local library’s catalog or WorldCat to help you find a copy.

You may be able to find most of these county histories in online digital repositories because many of them are coming out of copyright and are in the public domain. The benefit of these is that you can download them right to your computer. You may find different versions online, or the digitization my have lumped volumes one and two together rather than as separate books.

There are a lot of places to find digitized books these days.

There are probably more, but these are my top places to visit to find county histories.

County histories are a valuable resource full of information on topics of community context. They give us fantastic clues on our ancestors and provide a lot more research avenues for us to follow. Remember, though, the information in them is subject to scrutiny. These sketches are very rarely documented and were written by the family, usually, so the details may have been embellished to make the family sound more prominent. That’s not to say they should be completely discounted or tossed aside. So far, I have not found an error in the information I have been able to corroborate on Samuel Cook Dimick from his biographical sketch. These sources should be an integral part of your research plan when researching your ancestors.

County Histories: Other Records, Indian Reservation Records

Last time we looked at the land records we discovered for S. C. Dimick’s father, Chester. The statement from the county history mentioned that S. C. worked on an Indian Reservation there. Possibly he saw an opportunity for his father to invest in land once he got there. We don’t know. There are no records or letters that have been handed down in my family that indicates how this came about.

I did want to confirm that S. C. Dimick worked on an Indian Reservation in Minnesota, as described in the biographical sketch. The following map indicates what Indian Reservations were in Minnesota. The land was located in Mill Lacs and Morrison counties. And there is a reservation in Mill Lacs:

We found S. C. Dimick in the payment list:

Congressional Serial Set, Issue 1046: First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1859-’60, 229.
Close-up and highlight of S. C. Dimick, paid on 14 Oct 1858.

This record confirms that S. C. Dimick was the Superintendent of the farm and was paid $195.14. When I was in Washington, D.C. in August 2019, I looked for records that might give more details but was unsuccessful in locating any more information about his employment.

This does not explain the family’s move to Ohio, but it does speak to Samuel’s personality trait of what seems to be always looking for adventure and opportunity. I have written about S. C. Dimick in a newspaper advertisement (see this post) which also seems to speak to his penchant for seeking out opportunities.

We will look at some other records this sketch led me to.

County Histories: Clues in Other Records, Land (Part 2)

Last time we looked at one statement that led to the deed for the “Old Williams Farm” that S. C. Dimick purchased. This time a clue to land prior to his purchase of the Old Williams Farm.

The second statement from the sketch: “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.”

At this time, land was often acquired from the Federal Government by special acquisitions such as homestead, timber, and mining claims, or by a cash sale. This led me to the Bureau of Land Management website: https://glorecords.blm.gov This website has a database of land obtained from the Federal Government, searchable by name, location, land description, etc. Thinking about the above statement, I looked for S. C. Dimick in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. I searched by the surname only first. I did not find any records for him in Wisconsin, but I found some intriguing information for him in Minnesota.

BLM Website Searching for Dimick in Minnesota.
Search Results at BLM website.

There are a lot of entries for Chester Dimick. Do you remember Samuel’s father’s name? It was Chester! Well, I thought there might be the possibility of a man by the same name, so I took a closer look at one of the original documents.

Chester Dimick, (Morrison County, Minnesota), Land Patent No. 886; Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records (www.glorecords.blm.gov/PatentSearch : downloaded August 2015).

The original patent names the purchaser as “Chester Dimick of Grafton County, New Hampshire.” I fairly certain we are working with the same family.

Here is a summation of the land obtained by Chester in Minnesota:

  • Fifteen different land patents
  • Cash sale entries ($1.25-2.00 per acre)
  • Dated on 3 separate days between 1857-1859
  • Totaling 1607.44 acres in Morrison and Mille Lacs counties

To give you context on where the land was located:

The following shows the sections the parcels of land were located in in these three township/range. The land was near each other but not all of it was adjoining.

I have not yet looked for the deeds of sale to determine just how much Chester might have made on this land investment. I just haven’t taken the time yet. However, it is on my genealogical to do list.

As far as I can tell, Chester never lived in Minnesota. He was always found in New Hampshire in the censuses. This appears to have been an investment situation. S. C. Dimick was only in Minnesota for a year or two, working on an Indian Reservation. We will look at those records next.

County Histories: Clues in Other Records, Land (Part 1)

There were a few statements in S. C. Dimick’s biographical sketch that led me to examine land records.

First: “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.”

Wood County, Ohio, Deed Book 48:123 (1876), County Recorder’s Office, Bowling Green, Ohio; FHL microfilm 409,648.
Close-up, describing the 120 acres purchased.
Ohio, Wood County, 1886 (Philadelphia: Griffing, Gordon & Co., 1886), 17; digital image, Historic Mapworks (www.historicmapworks.com : accessed 15 March 2015).

This map shows approximately where that 120 acres were located. This is after he sold some of the 120 acres to some relatives of his daughter-in-law.

Samuel bought this land outright. It was not a military warrant, or homestead, or some other acquisition from the Federal Government. So, this did not answer why he moved his family to Ohio. We will keep looking at the clues.

Next time, more land clues.

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.


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: 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.

Maps: Visualizing Your Ancestors – Types of Maps – Topographical

When it comes to understanding ancestral migration patterns, it really helps to look at a map. The reason an ancestor ended up in a certain location might be explained by geography, and more specifically, topography. Using a topological map can be quite helpful in understanding some of the potential “whys” for things our ancestors did.

Topography is “the arrangement of the natural and artificial physical features of an area.”1 Examining the physical features can explain a possible migration route or why they stayed in a particular location.

One excellent example of topography affecting migration is that of large mountain ranges. Let’s look at Virginia as an example. Let’s say you had ancestors in early Virginia and they wanted to move west to the “frontier.” They set off past Richmond only to discover a large mountain range in front of them. The Blue Ridge Mountains caused a lot of adventurous folks to head north or south to go around them.

Map of Virginia from FreeWorldMaps.net

This barrier caused more settlements to the north and south. As I imagine it, you make a long journey to get around these mountains…why not just stop here a spell? And then just never leave. I imagine that happened quite a bit.

My ancestor, Samuel Cook Dimick, moved from Lyme, New Hampshire to Toledo, Ohio. One account says that after the business he was working for began shutting down (or he decided to quit working there, it isn’t clear) he was to move on further west (perhaps to Minnesota where his father owned some land). But someone told him of land for sale just one county to the south and he decided to stay in Wood County, Ohio. And that’s the reason I was born in Wood County, Ohio and not Lyme, New Hampshire.

We will continue our look at types of maps that can help us understand our ancestors’ decisions and circumstances next time.

1. Definition of “topography” from Oxford Languages (https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/)↩

Maps: Visualizing Ancestral Migrations

To understand our ancestors’ movements and decisions, sometimes consulting a map can clear up confusion. I have a simple example from my own research.

One of my favorite lines to research are the Dimicks. They moved from Massachussetts to Connecticut to New Hampshire and then later to Ohio. I find that I try to do too much in my head sometimes. My brain likes to try to convince me that I can remember things…corrrectly. Well, this demonstration just goes to show two things. One, I can’t remember much very well, and two, using a map is invaluable.

Here’s how I “thought” their migration went:

Gif demonstrating my imagination of how the Dimicks migrated.

It is an unusual migration pattern to cross back over a state you’ve already left. It’s not unheard of or impossible, of course, but usually, people migrated in more of a straight line. This realization got me to look at the exact locations of the Dimicks in each location.

When the Dimicks arrived in America in the 1600s, they lived in Barnstable, Massachussetts, which is located out on the hook of Massachussetts. Now this migration makes more sense:

The actual migration path of the Dimicks.

By looking at a map, instead of depending on my memory, the Dimick migration makes a whole lot more sense. This is now one of the first things I do when working on a project. I look at maps and get a good visual perspective on where all of the people involved were located.

There are several types of maps that can be useful for this. We will look at them in more detail next week.