Sunday, October 12, 2014

Using a Timeline to Untangle Your Roots

Sorting out people with the same name is one of the challenges the family historian faces. Aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and cousins, oh, my! Sometimes the sorting is simple and other times complex. The proliferation of bad information on the internet has made the task much more difficult.

To sort out the David Maddoxes in Pickaway County, Ohio, I used a timeline, which is a tool suggested by professional geneaogists. In this exercise, I listed by date each piece of evidence that I had found and a few assumptions.

When building a timeline, an important concept is to ignore the spelling on the records. Most spelling before 1900 was phonetic: the clerk wrote what he heard. Capture all documents that you think may apply. Try to ignore the online noise, except to find clues. Look for more evidence than the census. Only one third of my collected evidence consisted of census records.

The goal was to answer two questions.
  • Who served in the Civil War?
  • Who bought land in 1847?

I started with the 1850 census, which listed three individuals named David Maddux/Maddox. I assigned each one a number, based on birth order:
  • David Maddox/Maddux #1 was the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather. 
  • David Maddox #3 was the brother of my 2nd great-grandfather and the nephew of #1.
  • David Maddox/Maddux #2 is unknown, but likely was a distant cousin of the other two men.

I then assigned a person to each document where it was clear to whom it applied. This document applies to David #2, this one to David #1, etc. At the end, I rearranged and color-coded the list to group the documents by the person they pertained to. It then became easier to assign the unclear documents to the right David. Most of the fuzzy documents don't give an age, so have to be examined in the larger context. I also searched out and found other evidence to add facts and build the proof case.

At the end of the exercise, it was obvious that David #2 and David #3 served in the Civil War, while David #1 did not. David #1 is the only one of the three who was old enough to have purchased land in 1847. I also checked the 1840 census to see if there was an earlier David, but there was not a good candidate.

Here's the latest timeline for the three men.

# Date Recorded Name Location [OH assumed] Record Age Event
1 08 Oct 1847 David O P Maddox Monroe Twp, Pickaway Deed DV22-393 [21] 38.5 acres purchased from Lazarus Maddox
1 20 Sep 1850 David Maddox Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1850 Census 24 Owned land $500, with Elizabeth age 52 land $900
1 31 Jan 1852 David Madox Monroe Twp, Pickaway Deed DV27-435 Sold 1/8 part of land of Lazarus Maddox [deceased] to Joseph Madox
1 23 Jun 1853 David Maddox Pickaway County Marriage [27] Maria Tammadge [Talmadge], bride
1 02 Jun 1853 David P Madox Monroe Twp, Pickaway Deed DV28-126 Joseph W Madox sold to David P Madox - 5/8 of Lazarus' land
1 25 Feb 1854 David P Maddox Monroe Twp, Pickaway Deed DV29-004 With wife Mary Maria, sold 5/8 of Lazarus' land to John A Maddox
1 est 1855 D P Maddox Pickaway County School roll Parent of Jas Talmage
1 09 Apr 1856 D P Maddox Pickaway County Deed DV31-472 With wife, final land sale in Pickaway (bought from Bolin, sold to Kendrick)
1 25 Aug 1860 David P Madux Pleasant Twp, Madison 1860 Census 24 Wife Mary M age 27, land 890, Rebecca J 6, John W 4, Orpha 1
1 02 Jan 1862 D P Maddux Pickaway County Tombstone, wife of D P Mary M Maddox death, buried Yankeetown Cemetery
1 04 Dec 1862 David Maddux Madison County Marriage [36] Mary [Watson] Moler, bride
1 01 Jul 1863 David Maddix Fairfield Twp, Madison Civil War Draft 35 Class II registration
1 18 Jul 1870 David Maddux Fairfield Twp, Madison 1870 Census 43 Wife Mary 32, Rebecca 16, John 14, Arthur  (Orpha) 11, Daniel Moler 10
1 25 Sep 1872 Madison County Marriage Rebecca J Maddux marriage to Albert A Gray
1 6 Jul 1880 David Maddux Fairfield Twp, Madison 1880 Census 54 Wife Mary 52, no children
1 2 Jun 1900 David Maddux Fairfield Twp, Madison 1900 Census 73 Birth Sep 1826, widower, boarding with William Knowles age 84
1 31 Jul 1907 David Perry Maddux Columbus, Franklin Death Certificate 80 Birth 30 Sep 1826, son of Lazarus and Elizabeth, informant Rebecca Gray
2 31 Oct 1850 David Matux Perry Twp, Pickaway 1850 Census 13 With [Asa] Collins 40 and Mary 37, William 11
2 28 Nov 1858 David Maddux Pickaway County Marriage [21] [Mary] Elizabeth Timmons, bride
2 12 July 1860 David Maddox Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1860 Census 22 Wife Mary E age 21, no land, no children
2 10 Oct 1862 David Maddux Camp Chase, Columbus Civil War Enlistment 25 Enlisted in Company G of 113 Ohio Volunteer Infantry
2 18 May 1865 David Maddux Civil War Discharge Discharged early from unit
2 David Maddux Date and place of death would be in pension files
2 17 Nov 1866 David Maddox Civil War Pension Widow Mary E Maddox files on David Maddox, 113 OVI Co G
2 23 Jun 1870 Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1870 Census Elizabeth Maddux (servant) 30, Mary 9, living with George Timmons 63
2 10 Nov 1872 Pickaway County Marriage Mary Elizabeth Timmons Maddux wed to Robert Spencer Leach
2 9 Jun 1873 David Maddox Pickaway County Guardianship Robert S Leach guardianship of Mary E Maddux, age 12
2 30 Jun 1873 David Maddox Civil War Pension Minor child by guardian Robert S Leach on David Maddox, 113 OVI Co G
2 14 Jun 1880 Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1880 Census Mary E Leach 40, spouse R.S. 34, Mary Maddux 19
2 4 Nov 1880 Pickaway County Marriage Mary Elizabeth Maddux marriage to William J Porter
2 01 Jun 1890 David Maddux, dec'd Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1890 Veteran Census Mary E Leach, widow of David Maddux
2 27 Jun 1900 Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1900 Census Mary E Leach 62, spouse R.S. 54, grandson CW Porter b. Dec 1882
3 20 Sep 1850 David Maddox Monroe Twp, Pickaway 1850 Census 7 With William 27 and Nancy 26, Lewis age 4, Willliam infant
3 15 Aug 1860 David Mattock Scott County, IL 1860 Census 16 With William 41 and Nancy 39, Lewis 15, Wm 11, George 8, Joseph A 4
3 13 Aug 1862 David Maddox Exeter, Scott County, IL Civil War Enlistment 19 Enlisted in 129 Illinois Infantry, Co F, Nativity Pickaway, Ohio
3 15 May 1864 David Maddox Resaca, Georgia Service File Wounded in side
3 20 Nov 1864 David Maddox Madison, Georgia Service File Taken prisoner and paroled, never discharged, no further records

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