Sunday, October 09, 2011

Testing My Skills

As part of my journey to certification, I like to pit my research skills against unknown individuals.  I am always looking for opportunities to research and this past summer while in a Loveland, Colorado antique store I found some interesting pictures.  There were three pictures that appeared to be from the same family based on the names on the backs.

I thought it would be fun to blog about this research project. My goal is to try to put the family group together and then see if I can find any descendents who would be interested in the pictures. 

Floyd Gilman is the first subject and in the picture he looks to be about 8 to 10 years old.  Alta V. Gilman is the next picture and she looks to be older possibly a sister or mother of Floyd.  The last picture is Emma Gilman Harwood who looks younger than Alta but is apparently married to a Harwood.

Floyd Gilman
Alta V. Gilman

Emma Gilman Harwood

 It is not clear on these digital images but the location of the photographer was Freeport, Illinois.  A quick query was done on Google to determine Stephenson county Illinois as the location for Freeport.  Based on the subjects in the pictures I thought the time period would be sometime between 1870 and 1900.  Using Ancestry to start the search I choose the 1880 US Federal Census and I choose Floyd Gilman as my first search subject.  I choose Floyd because of his name.  Floyd is a unique name and unique names narrow the search.  Also the fact that he is male makes searching for him easier as he will not have a surname change.

I was successful on my first query: Floyd A. Gilman age 6 is found in the family of Valentine Gilman age 50 and his wife Elmira Gilman age 45.  The family is living in Erin, Stephenson, Illinois.  Unfortunately the other two photograph subjects are not listed as living with this family in the 1880 census, so further research was necessary to be certain I had the correct Floyd Gilman. 

The next step was to check the 1870 US Federal census for Stephenson county, Illinois to see if the same family could be located.  Initially I searched for Valentine Gilman age 40 living in Stephenson county, Illinois.  Surprisingly no candidates came up on the search.  I then tried to search for Elmira Gilman in Illinois and happily found the family in the 1870 census, although Valentine is listed as Valson and Gilman is Gillman.  However, the children from the 1880 census are in the 1870 census as well as the two other subjects of this project, Alta and Emma Gilman.

Stayed tuned for the next episode.  Additional census records as well as marriage records are explored.

1880 US Federal Census, Illinois, Stephenson County, Erin Post Office, pop. sch., digital image  (; accessed: 16 Jul 2011), ED 171, p. 8, dwelling 72, family 72.
1870 US Federal Census, Illinois, Stephenson County, Erin Post Office, pop. sch., digital image (; accessed: 8 Oct 2011), p. 20, dwelling 147, family 143.

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