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Monday, October 26, 2009

Be creative in your Genealogy search techniques

Howard's Question:
I need help making out a name That might be misspelled in The 1910 Census for Salem (Rockingham County) New Hampshire. There appears a Listing For a John HOSELLIN and wife Celista and family for that year. However I can't find that family name in any earlier or later census for New Hampshire. My guess is that this has been misspelled and garbled in The handwriting. Are there any guesses or records of how this name was meant to be written? Since this
family had resided there for generations. Thanks for any advice.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Howard, When you are stuck reading a very garbled name, and are trying to find the family in earlier records, here is what I do:

First I make sure I have viewed the image to see if I can read the handwriting any better than the indexer/transcriber did. If not, I search for the family in earlier census *but* I do not use the surname!

So in your case, when you go to that 1910 census you see some great clues - approximate years of birth for John and Celista, plus locations. You also get a list of children and a grandchild and daughter-in-law, with approximate years of birth and locations.

I looked at the image on and it is very hard to read.

If I were you, I would pick either John or his wife Celista or one of the easier to read names of their children - and search for them in 1900 census. You won't find the children any earlier, as the first birth year is 1888 and the 1890 census is mostly missing.

I did find the family in the 1900 census records by using my no surname search. I tried John with wife Celista but that didn't pan out. I tried Celista born in Massachusetts 1851 plus/minus 2 years but again no hits. So I went to the children. I started with Alonzo but nothing, tried Pearl and again nothing. I had narrowed my search to New Hampshire since the children were all born in that state. But when I got nowhere, I opened my search to all of USA.

Once again I used a child's name, I opted for looking for Pearl born 1889 +/-2, in New Hampshire, with a father John. Bingo - there is the family living in Haverill City, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Father is recorded as John Haseltine, mother Celesta (note the variant spelling of her first name). There are many children so you should have some fun ahead of you.

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