I think I’ve come to the realization that people just sold or gave away their bounty land warrants to just any old person.  There was no need for a relationship between the two people other than money changing hands.  It is a very disappointing thing, as I was really hoping to discover some new relative or significant person in the family.  I suppose it is not to be.  Apparently, Richard Pinkham had another 160 acres of bounty land that he sold or gave to someone named Joseph Vila, Junior, for some land in Harrison County, Iowa.

So I have given up that line of inquiry for now.

Instead, I have been busy trying to puzzle out the family relationships between the McCabes and the Sloweys.  Census records, BMD records, land records, and any other records I could get my eyeballs on was fair game.  Remember all the craziness I went through trying to figure out who Anton Heerdink was?  This was pretty much the same thing … except with more common names (hooray).

2014-09-06 20.37.00The first thing I did was make sure I had accounted for the entire Patrick Slowey/Catherine McCabe family unit on all applicable census records.  Using this handy-dandy form, I was able to visualize the flow of all the children into and out of the household.

Here’s the part where I hang my head in shame …

In the process of reviewing all the information I had for this family, I discovered that I already had a death certificate for Bernard Slowey that named his mother as Katherine McCabe AND I already had a death certificate for John Charles Slowey that named his mother as Catherine McCabe.  I simply had not added them to my database yet.  So … lesson learned.  Probably best not to dwell.

genealogist shaming

I actually learned a few (other) things from this exercise:

1. A second look never hurts.
2. I will probably not be using census records to determine Patrick’s birth date.  He just doesn’t age normally.
3. I’m growing increasingly more confident that the Ellen Slowey found in the 1880 census with Mary and John McCabe is the daughter of Patrick and Catherine.

This means that John, Mary Jr., and Ellen McCabe are likely Catherine’s siblings and Mary Sr. is likely her mother.  Now I just have to piece together their family.  I’ll start with the census records and see what happens.

This family apparently spent very little time living in the same house at the same time.  I found Catherine in 1850 enumerated with her brother John and apparently two other brothers, Hugh and Barney, in the household of Hugh and Ellen Lavis in New Diggings, Wisconsin.  The brothers all had an occupation of “smelter.”  So I did a little ‘digging’ of my own (ha … see what I did there?) and discovered that New Diggings was an old lead mining town.  So their occupation makes sense.  However, their ages make no sense.  Hugh is 27, John is 21, and Catherine and Barney are both 20.  Maybe it was common for men to puff up their age in order to find work during the 1850s?  If so, that would make sense.  Catherine’s parents – Charles and Mary – were living in Benton, Wisconsin in 1850 with another brother Terrence (also age 20) and sister Mary (age 13).

The 1860 census shows Mary (probably a widow by this time as I never see Charles in a census again after 1850), with John (age 25) and Bernard Slowey (age 7) li2014-09-06 23.17.57ving in Benton, Wiscsonsin.  No idea WHY Bernard is living with his uncle and grandmother, when the rest of his family is living together in Kendall, Wisconsin.  Daughter Ellen (age 18) is enumerated in Benton, but as a domestic in a hotel.  I cannot locate daughter Mary in 1860.  By this time, son Hugh has married a woman named Jane and has three children; and daughter Catherine has married Patrick Slowey.  There are many Terrences and Barneys in the 1860 census, and I haven’t narrowed those down yet.

In 1870, we find Mary, John, daughter Mary, and daughter Ellen living in Seymore, Wisconsin.  They are all still living together in 1880, but in Yankton, Dakota Territory, and granddaughter Ellen is enumerated with them.  I’m having a hard time locating any of them in 1900 census – I’m pretty sure Mary Sr. is deceased by then; and Mary and Ellen are either married or have moved away from Wisconsin and could be pretty much anywhere.  John is likely still in South Dakota, but there are a lot of John McCabes – and (so far) none with a Mary and an Ellen living with him.

I will probably need to see if any probate records exist for Mary Sr., and/or for Charles and work from there to determine where everyone ended up.

Another task for another day …


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A Genealogist Shaming … and more info on the McCabes! — 16 Comments

  1. When I did my house history I tried to tie the first two owners together and found the heirs had sold the warrant to a land speculator who had nothing to do with the family. Spent a lot of time on that one.

    As for ages on census. I don’t ever believe any of them. I don’t think they knew how old they were. It’s not like today when you have to put your age on several forms a year. I bet some of them never wrote their birthday anywhere. Maybe on the church records but how often would they do that? I use the first recorded census as a guide hoping they had an idea how old the kids were when they were still under 11. One of my great grandmothers changed age depending on the age of her new husband. I’m still wondering how she explained adult children living in the same town when she married her last husband and made herself 15 years younger than she was.

    • Toni, I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I don’t know if I get more upset about catching myself doing something dumb or about wasting so much valuable time … it’s a toss-up, I think. Incidentally, I’d be interested in hearing grandma’s explanation too 🙂

  2. Where did you get that wonderful form? I can see how that would help me make sense out of my ancestors movements. BTW, I have several Slowey, Slowi, Slowy, Slove, ancestors in my family who came to the US from Germany.

    • Joan, unfortunately I cannot remember where I got it … only that I didn’t build it, so I don’t want to distribute the form without permission from the original creator. I can tell you that it is created in Excel and is pretty straightforward (no formulas or anything). You are more than welcome to enlarge one of my images and try to make one of your own.

      Please email me about your Sloweys … I’m curious – did any of them end up in the Dakotas?

    • Thanks Elise! (Apparently) I feel it’s important not to take yourself too seriously. 🙂

      For visual thinkers (like me), that form is a godsend. I’m going to have to look back through all my emails and try figure out who sent it to me so I can give them credit. (I should have remembered that genealogists go nuts for new forms LOL).

  3. Great post! That form is awesome. I will be making one for myself at some point today. It will really help with an issue I am having! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wonderful pic – believe me you are NOT the first to do that. Great (simple) form, makes a strong visual of the household changes. (on my to do list, the one that does seem to get done)
    ” He just doesn’t age normally.” Applies to so many in all our trees. Love those who manage to turn back the clock every ten years for the census – I too wonder how they explain this – seems to be a byproduct of new spouses.

    • I have also noticed that new spouses tend to have a “youthful” effect on our ancestors, Judy … unfortunately, I can’t even apply THAT logic to these folks. Good luck on your list 🙂

  5. Many people sold their land to speculators. You can tell who the speculators are by looking at whose name shows up the most as grantees or assignees. It was a huge occurrence in the mid-1800s. I bet some of your ancestors off loaded their land to one or two of them!

    No need to hang your head in shame. At least your found the death certificate! I’m also bad at that. I get so excited about ordering a death certificate, then I have to wait for it, for like, forever and then by the time it arrives, I’ve (of course) moved on to something else! It’s a normal occurrence for our kind I’m sure.

    • I’m glad you mentioned the speculators, Ginger. I had forgotten about that little tidbit. (Also glad I’m not the only one who gets completely distracted by some other shiny thing before I’m finished with the other!)

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