“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within – – not without.” ~ Poirot – Agatha Christie
Genealogy research is hard, time-consuming work. For some, the work is enjoyable, but nonetheless, it can be very hard, and occasionally mind-numbing. Doing genealogy research is part records collection, intuition and plain old detective work. Analysis of collected records is an integral part of the process. Having the largest archive in the world means nothing, records must be organized in some way and then analyzed; otherwise, they are just ink on paper. At some point, every researcher must stop and analyze what they have collected. Documents exist in an historical context. They answer questions and generate more.
One of my biggest genealogy challenges over the years has been tracing the family of my grandmother Gladys. She was an excellent archivist of the papers relating to the Yegerlehner family, but she left much of her own family’s history in the shadows. She did not have a positive relationship with her father so it was not particularly surprising that few artifacts survived. I inherited a two page, written family chart and some photographs from the Foster side of the family. On her mother’s side, even less was left behind. Gladys had a close relationship with her mother so the lack of information was distressing at first. A handful of photographs and some old quilts are all that remain. When I started my genealogy journey in 1994, I asked Gladys for information about her family. She sent me a copy of her birth certificate that included her parents’ names: Emma Laughead and J. E. Foster. Over a year ago, I wrote a post about what I knew about the Laughead family. Since then, I have earned my Genealogical Research Certificate from Boston University, completed over 1/3 of the ProGen program, and begun working as a professional genealogist. In addition, I began DNA testing all of my immediate family members (and beyond).
With my newly developed skills, and hundreds of DNA cousins, my quest to find the parents of Joseph Laughead intensified. The last few months have provided me with many new possibilities.
Start with what you know:
Using and creating graphic organizers is a great way to visually present information extracted from documents. Joseph’s life has been hard to trace because of the lack of readily available 19th century records. The family moved around quite frequently. His surname has been spelled both Laughead and Lawhead over the years in various documents. Lots of misinformation has been published as well. For example, just because the SOUNDEX code puts Lawhead, Laughead, and Lloyd in the same grouping, does not mean that the family ever spelled their name Lloyd. Starting with the documents I have already collected over the years, I created a timeline of the known events in Joseph’s life:
- c1817 – Born in Pennsylvania.
- 1838 – January 19th married Cassandra Harding in Belmont County, Ohio.
- c1839 – October 22nd first son Elisha born in Ohio.
- 1840 – Household of Joseph Laughead of Somerset Township, Belmont County, Ohio consisted of three individuals: one male under 5 years (Elisha), one male 20-29 (Joseph), and one female 20-29 (Cassandra). A John Laughead was enumerated several lines above Joseph.
- c1840 – January 5th son James Henry born Marietta, Washington County, Ohio.
- 1842 – November 16th son John William born in Ohio.
- 1845 – Between 1845-1848 daughter Mary Ellen born in Ohio.
- 1848 – April 1st A land grant was purchased at the Marietta Land Office; 39.98 acres of land in Monroe County, Ohio, which borders Belmont county to the south. The land is located in the south east corner of the county near the Ohio River.
- 1850 – February 26th daughter Louisa Jane born in Ohio, likely Guernsey County.
- 1850 – November 8th Household of Joseph Lawhead of Seneca, Guernsey County consisted of the following individuals: Joseph, Casander, Elisha, James, John, Mary E., Louisa J, and Bathsheba Lawhead. Next door resided the family of William and Ruth Coen and their 2 year old son John.
- c1852 – son William born in Ohio.
- 1860 – June 25th Household of Joseph Lawhead of Center Township, Greene County, Indiana consisted of the following individuals: Joseph, Casander, Elisha, James, John, Mary, Louisa and William. Next door lived the family of John Lawhead (aged 84, born in Pennsylvania) with Susan, Elisha G. and three Talbots (Ruth, Elizabeth, and William).
- 1861 – November 3rd son James Henry married Martha Lafoon in Greene County, Indiana.
- 1863 – November 26th son Elisha married Sarah Reynolds in Greene County, Indiana.
- 1866 – September 2nd son John William married Elizabeth Abbie Abrahms.
- 1867 – March 18th daughter Mary Ellen married James Hash, in Greene County, Indiana.
- 1867 – March 19th daughter Louisa Jane married Ahart Hash, in Greene County, Indiana.
- 1868 – December 5th – son James Henry married for the second time, Margaret A. Rea, in Greene County, Indiana.
- 1870 – August 11th Household of Joseph Lawhead of Steel Township, Daviess County, Indiana consisted of the following individuals: Joseph, Cassandria, Mary E. and William A. Two young boys Joseph and George Sherman were also part of the household. Son John William and his family lived next door.
- 1873 – February 27th son William married Charlotte D. Abrahms in Daviess County, Indiana.
- c1874 – son William dies, leaving a widow Charlotte and a daughter Ora.
- 1880 – Have been unable to locate Joseph or Cassandra on the census record
- 1883 – July 12th Joseph’s death
- 1883 – Burial IOOF Cemetery, Edwardsport, Knox County, Indiana
There are many gaps in the timeline and lots of questions to be answered. My original question still remains to be answered – Who were Joseph’s parents?
1840 U. S. census, Belmont County, Ohio, Somerset Township, p. 10 (penned), line 14, Joseph Laughead; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 378.
1850 U. S. census, Guernsey County, Ohio, population schedule, Seneca Township, p. 474 (penned), dwelling 3045, family 3067, Joseph Lawhead; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 684.
1860 U. S. census, Greene County, Indiana, population schedule, Centre Township, p. 75-76 (penned), dwelling 530, family 530, Joseph Lawhead; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 262.
1870 U. S. census, Daviess County, Indiana, population schedule, Steel Township, Washington Post Office, p. 12 (penned), dwelling 90, family 90, Joseph Lawhead; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 306.
Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records (http://www.glorecords.blm.gov : accessed 4 April 2014), entry for Joseph Lawhead, Monroe County, Ohio, no. 14230.
Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 4 April 2014), memorial page for Joseph Lawhead (1817-1883), Find A Grave Memorial no. 52,810,778, citing IOOF Cemetery, Edwardsport, Knox County, Indiana.
Greene County, Indiana, Marriage Records, June 1858-October 1866, v. G: 325, Elisha Lawhead and Sarah Reynolds, 26 November 1863; citing FHL microfilm publication 1317805.
Greene County, Indiana, Marriage Records, June 1858-October 1866, v. G: 325, James Lawhead and Martha Lafoon, 3 November 1861; citing FHL microfilm publication 1317805.
Greene County, Indiana, Marriage Records, October 1866-December 1870, v. H: 264, James H. Lawhead and Margarett A. Rea, 5 December 1868; citing FHL microfilm publication 1317805.
Greene County, Indiana, Marriage Records, October 1866-December 1870, v. H: 77, James Hash and Mary E. Lawhead, 18 March 1867; citing FHL microfilm publication 1317805.
Greene County, Indiana, Marriage Records, June 1858-October 1866, v. H: 80, Ahart Hash and Louisa Lawhead, 19 March 1867; citing FHL microfilm publication 1317805.
Illinois Department of Public Health, death certificate no. 24333 (1920), James H. Lawhead; Department of Public Health, Springfield.
“Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941,” index, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014), William A. Lawhead and Charlotte D. Abraham.
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” database and images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 April 2014) Joseph Laughead and Cassandria Harden, 19 January 1838; citing Belmont County, Marriage records 1833-1838, v. 4: 30.
“U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900,” index, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 April 2014), John William Lawhead and Elizabeth Abbie Abrams, 1866.
© Deborah Sweeney, 2014.
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