When I head to Ft. Wayne this summer for the FGS conference … I’ll be driving from Chattanooga. Not because driving 9-1/2 hours by myself is my favorite thing to do, but because I plan to make some stops along the way: Evansville, Mt. Vernon, and Indianapolis. My peeps are from all of those places.
In preparation for my visit, I wanted to make sure I had all the information I could get my hands on about my maternal line: Crowe, Stiker, Gray, Heerdink. In doing so, I realized that I was missing census records from 1880 and 1870 for my Heerdinks.
I knew that Anthony (Anton) Heerdink was supposedly born in Germany. Yep, that’s all I know about him. Well … that, and he married Mary Diefenbach at some point. Anthony is my 3rd great grandfather. His daughter, Jeannette (Jennie) was born in Evansville, Indiana in June 1871. She was also married in Evansville on 20 Jun 1894. I have no information on her and her family between those dates.
I thought, “psh. Quick search on FamilySearch and I’ll have these records in no time. Heerdink isn’t even a common name!”
HA HA HA HA HA! Famous last words.
Heerdink is indeed very rare. As a matter of fact, there are exactly 4 in the 1880 census and 12 in the 1870 census. At least, according to the indexes (and those 12 in 1870 were initially indexed as “Hardin”, so there’s that.)
In an effort to avoid doing a page-by-page search of all of Evansville, Indiana (there are 17 enumeration districts), I did the V-8 forehead bop (you know what I’m talking about) and thought “I should use Steve Morse’s website to find their enumeration district!” Brilliant!
Except that you need to know where they lived. Hmm.
Wait. Didn’t I download a bunch of city directories for Evansville? Oh yes, here they are. (Duh.) So I opened up the 1878 directory and there, on page 136, is Anton Heerdink, a tailor, living at 204 Harriet.
Back I go to Steve Morse. I changed the census year at the top of the page to 1880. I select the state and the county.
Since I don’t know which ED they live in, I leave it to search “all EDs.” Then I used the street name as the keyword.
These are my results. There are 2 EDs containing addresses on Harriet St. I don’t know which side of the street the Heerdink house is on, so I’ll just have to look through both. It’s still better than 17 EDs at roughly 30 pages each. Amiright?
Well, the first ED was a bust. I finally got to page 27 of 33, and found Harriet Street. The house numbers on Harriet went from 274 to 288, and not a Heerdink to be found. But I looked at the rest of the pages anyway.
The second ED wasn’t much better. Page 1, Harriet Street. Scroll down … there’s 204. Wait. Someone named William Vedders is living in that house. Argh! I looked through all 30 pages anyway. Because I could.
Back to the city directories. 1881 – no Anton Heerdink. 1882 – no Anton Heerdink. This is not looking good. Nothing for 1883, 1884, or 1885.
Back to the drawing board. Now even a page-by-page search of all of Evansville wasn’t looking very promising. Something somewhere MUST have a clue to where these people were living in 1880.
I performed a “survey” of all census records on FamilySearch for “Heerdink” in Indiana only. I started with FamilySearch because their search automatically includes alternative spellings, and limited my search to Indiana because I didn’t want to be completely overwhelmed all at once. I got several hits: 7 in 1940, 3 in 1930, 8 in 1920, 3 in 1910, 2 in 1900, and 1 in 1880. Also got a couple of WWII draft registration entries.
I tried to think of the best way to match these families up through the years. Turns out, scissors and tape work just fine.
Now I just have to figure out whether any of these link up with what I know about MY Heerdinks … and where the heck the rest of them went. Then, more searching!
(I’m really hoping that someone with the same Heerdink ancestors reads this and emails me to say “oh, I found those census records years ago … here you go.” before my next blog post)
Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
Copyright 2016 - Jenny-ology.com
Disclosure: Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you purchase a product using one of those links. There is no additional cost to you. Occasionally I receive free products to review, which will be indicated in my review posts. All opinions are my own, regardless of compensation. See my full disclosures at the link above.