Friday, January 11, 2008

Sources, Sources, Sources...

So, in doing my research, of course, I am digging into various sources from the past.

My great, great, yeah many great grandfather Piercifor was fostered in Uniontown, PA. Family history has it that he and his family came over from Wales to the Philadelphia harbor. His parents died either en route or in quarantine. The lovely man, of course, goes and puts that he was born in Pennsylvania on every bloody census. I swear, if I ever meet him I'm going to kill him.

Anyway, the lovely people at Great Bethel gave me the list of ministers back through the centuries and I found the Rev. William Brownfield. Per the census of 1820, he was the proud head of the household to one child. That one child was between the ages of 10 and 15. Piercifor would have been 13 on that census. Lovely people that they were in the 1820s, the only person whose name mattered was the head of the household. So I cannot know for certain that it was Piercifor; but, the evidence seems to indicate that it very well could have been. I'd give it a 3 out of 5 for source. Certainly nothing to build bridges on...but enough to keep me poking around.

Along that vein, I contacted the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. They will happily poke around records that I can't get to (since I'm so far away) for a fee, of course. Almshouse records, Orphan Court records, cemetery records, etc. Though they then point out that the Almshouse records do not cover the 1820s. Of course not, that would be too easy.

Right now, my only real shot at tracking this blasted ancestor down is the Orphan Court - or maybe church records. The church records really depends on the church and what they considered pertinent to their parish.

I have found a copy of the passenger arrivals to Philadelphia over that period at the local University library. I hope to get over there this weekend to poke around. Passenger arrivals, 1819-1820; a transcript of the list of passengers who arrived in the United States from the 1st October, 1819, to the 30th September, 1820. by United States. Dept. of State. If I am right and the 1820 census of William Brownfield is indicating Piercifor as the child, and if family history is correct...then my ancestor would have arrived prior to the census and prior to the cut off of the book's listing (30 Sep 1820).

On to a different branch all together, and it appears I've found a source for the arrival of Hans Gartner in 1752. HACKER, WERNER. Auswanderungen aus Baden und dem Breisgau: Obere und mittlere rechtsseitige Oberrheinlande im 18. Jahrhundert archivalisch dokumentiert. Stuttgart [Germany]: Konrad Theiss, 1980. Page 342. Now, if I could get a hard copy of the book, I'd be thrilled. An English version would be even nicer since I develop a rather nasty headache about 10 minutes into trying to decipher German.

And on toward another branch, I got in touch with a cousin the other day. It was really neat getting to talk to him. Actually, I've gotten in touch with two cousins in the last week. One is in Texas, and the other in Illinois. Both are genealogy buffs. I only got to actually speak with one cousin. The one in Texas and I are playing phone tag at the moment. However, the cousin in Illinois had all sorts of fun facts, and I loved listening to him talk about the family. He's 77 and is the nephew of one of my great grandmothers. He is searching around for a copy of the last revision of the Bushue family book and is going to send it to me. This makes me very happy.

So, all in all, it's been pretty productive. Even if Piercifor is making me want to pull my hair out...

Ok. I must be a masochist, I know. But, really - it's a lot of fun.