Archive for ‘Crawford’

January 23, 2013

Google earth and me

Yesterday, I was thumbing through the binders, my old, not yet fully retired, system for organizing the family info, when I came across a land record for a George W. Crawford in Arkansas.  I printed it years ago from the bureau of land management’s online records. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was “my” George Crawford (1810, NC – aft 1880, prob. AR) or “the other” George W. Crawford (1813, TN – 1882, AR). I didn’t have time to look at it in depth, so there it stayed, forgotten, tucked in amongst other forgotten pieces of miscellaneous Crawford “documents”, until now. For reasons of doing better genealogical work and cleaning out some paper, I want to determine if this land belonged to my ancestor or another George.

Good genealogical research requires one to work from the known to the unknown. One George, “my” George W. Crawford, is found in Mississippi in the census records of 1850[1], 1860[2] and 1870[3]. Nearby is his likely father, Thomas, who can be found in the 1840 census of nearby Pickens County, Alabama with a male appropriate to George’s age category in the household[4].  In 1841, in Itawamba County, Mississippi, George married Jane Mangum. Jane is the daughter of John Mangum, who also lived in Pickens County, Alabama[5], and was enumerated there in the 1830 census prior to moving to Itawamba County, Mississippi. After the end of the Civil War, and after living in Mississippi for most of his adult life, George and his family moved to Polk County, Arkansas. He is enumerated there as G. W. Crawford along with his family in 1880 in Cove township[6].

Also in Polk County, Arkansas, in Mountain Township in 1880, is another George Crawford. This George is enumerated in Marion County, Arkansas in 1850[7], then in Mountain, Polk County Arkansas in 1860[8], 1870[9] and 1880[10]. Many people have confused the two and mashed them into one person. An examination of their family members shows that they aren’t. That’s a topic for another blog post.

The land record is for land in Polk County, Arkansas, S30, T2S, R28W of the 5th Principal Meridian, filed with the Bureau of Land Management in 1890[11]. Whose land record is it likely to be? Both men are said to be deceased by this time.  However, filing BLM records years after the actual possession is not uncommon. The land record could be for a son, as both had sons named George W.  Another possibility is that the land was granted to an unrelated George Crawford. It was not uncommon for people to receive land grants in a place where land was made available which was not where the applicant lived. The land was then sold for cash to buy land closer to home. There are nearly 800 George Crawfords listed in the census index search for 1880. Given all those possibilities, it still could be the land of one of the Polk County men or their sons. But which one? Is there a way to find a clue regarding to whom the land was granted?

Can we learn anything about what family might have owned the land before looking at the deeds in the courthouse or on microfilm? The date is not particularly helpful. Is there any other information which can be determined just from the land record? Geography may help. Cove is in the Middle of the county,  Mountain is in the northern part of the county. Is there a way to use the Township and Range of the land grant to determine where where this land is located relative to the townships, above? Ordinarily, the bureau of land management’s online records are the starting place to locate the lands. However, for whatever reason, the page refuses to load for me today. I don’t own a plat map of Arkansas. I need to find another way to find the land on a map without spending money. Because I’m cheap. Did the name Crawford in my ancestry not give you that hint? Fortunately, there is a site, Earth Point with a Township and Range Search, which works with Google Earth to map the land description! These are both free! The results, though not absolute proof of which family likely owned the land, were very interesting.

Here is the land:
Here it is in relation to Cove, Polk, AR:
And here it relative to Mountain, Polk, AR

This map made the relationships much more clear. Though more research is needed in the deed records of the county in order to be certain, the land is likely that of a George Crawford who lived near Mountain Township. Unfortunately, I probably still need to keep the copy, if only to be able to point to it and say: “Not our George”.

[1] 1850 United States Federal Census, District 6, Itawamba, Mississippi, Population Schedule, page 313A (stamped), dwelling 156, household 159, entry for George Crawford, 40, born in NC,, (   : accessed 2012) digital image online of NARA Microfilm Publication M432, roll 373, Washington, D. C.

[2] 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Itawamba, Mississippi, Population Schedule, page 204, dwelling 1344, household 1344, entry for George Crawford, 60, born in NC,, (   : accessed 2012) NARA microfilm publication M653, Roll 583, Washington, D. C.

[3] 1870 U.S. census, population schedules, Itawamba, Mississippi, page386A, Household 243, Family 243, entry for George Crawford, 55, born in S. Carolina,, ( : accessed 2012); digital images online of NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 732, Washington, D.C.

[4] 1840 United States Federal Census, Pickens, Alabama page 337 (stamped), entry for Thos Crafford [sic], one male 15-19, one male 20-29, one male 30-39, one male 50-59, one female 20-29, one female 50-59,,  ( : accessed 2012) digital image online of NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 12, Washington, D. C.

[5] 1830 United States Federal Census, Pickens, Alabama, page 111 (stamped), entry for John Mangum, one male 5-9, two males 10-14, one male 15-19, one male 60-69, one female under 5, one female 5-9, one female 10 – 14, one female 30-39,,  ( : accessed 2012) digital image online of NARA microfilm publication M19, roll 2 Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[6] 1880 United States Federal Census, Cove, Polk, AR, page 526D, dwelling 178, household, 183, entry for G.W. Crawford, 67, born in NC, father born VA, mother born VA,, (  : accessed 2012) NARA microfilm publication T9, Roll  54, Washington, D. C.

[7] 1850 United States Federal Census, Marion, Arkansas, Page:  312B (stamped), dwelling 47, family 48, entry for George Crawford, 37, birthplace Tenn., ( : accessed January 2013) digital image online of NARA microfilm publication   M432, roll 28,  Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[8] 1860 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Mountain,  Polk,  Arkansas, page 625 (stamped), dwelling number 223, family number 212, entry for George Crawford, 45, birthplace Tenn., ( : accessed Jan 2013) digital image online of  NARA microfilm publication M653,  roll 48,  National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[9] 1870 United States Federal Census 1870,  Mountain,  Polk,  Arkansas, page  298B (stamped), dwelling number 508, family 508, entry for George Crawford, 57, birthplace Tenn.,,

( : accessed Jan 2013) digital image online of NARA microfilm publication   M593, roll 61,  National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[10] 1880 United States Federal Census, Mountain,  Polk,  Arkansas,  enumeration district 131, page 566B (stamped) page  566B, number 153, family 153, entry for George Crawford, 60, birthplace Tenn., father’s birthplace Tenn., mother’s birthplace, Tenn.,,

(  : accessed January 2013) digital image online of NARA microfilm publication T9, roll  54, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[11] Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records ( : accessed 2003), George W. Crawford, Polk County, Arkansas, Homestead certificate H697.

August 17, 2012

Will the Real Nancy Catherine Nixon PLEASE STAND UP?

On the wall of my Uncle Jesse’s home, in his living room, over the sofa, was the only piece of artwork I remember from his home. It was a picture, said to be of James Nixon and his bride, Nancy Catherine Nixon. The only picture I have that survives in our immediate family, is a photocopy of a photo taken from the original, below.

A few years after going online with my genealogical search, another descendant of Nancy Catherine Nixon contacted me. She had a picture of James and Nancy Catherine Nixon said to be from their wedding day. She asked if I would like to have a digital copy. “Of course!”, I replied, although I fully expected to receive another copy of the picture above. What I received is the picture, below. As you can see, comparing the two photographs, these are not the same people. Either the couple above are James and Nancy Catherine or the couple below is, but they are not the same couple.

I don’t have the original of either photo. So, I am not able to look at the photos or tell anything about them by physically examining them.  Although  I do know that photo number one, from my uncle’s house was oval and in an ivory frame which was very ornate. I think I remember something else about the photo which hung on the wall, which, if I am not imagining the memory, dates it to a precise time period. I will elaborate about that at the end.

Both photos are said to have been taken on their wedding day. There are some distinct differences which may fix the date and solve the mystery of the identity of the two couples. For one, couple number one is dressed more formally with garments which appear to have been made especially for the event. Secondly, the style of dress of both couples is distinctive and not likely due to regional differences from the same time period. That is, the garments indicate that these photos are most likely from different eras. Perhaps details of their garments can help date the photo.

From the hat, the neckline on the dress, etc, it appears that the clothing in picture number one is more formal. The second couple’s clothing is less formal and looks to have been less costly, perhaps indicating that they had less money than the first as Nancy two’s dress appears to have been taken from her closet, one of her best dresses, rather than a dress made especially for the occasion.

The first photo has been digitally corrected to make it lighter.  It was a very dark photocopy as you can see, above.  Few details can be seen in the original picture. One thing that is apparent, is that the man is wearing a four in hand tie. Once the image was enhanced, the notched lapel on the jacket became apparent. It is outlined in the image to the below.

The first photo, the Uncle Jesse photo, digitally corrected to make it lighter, shows that the man is wearing a tie or cravat knotted at the neck with a notched lapel on the jacket. It is outlined in the image to the left.  The points on the collar of his shirt have a tight spread and line up approximately with the centers of his eyes.
In the second, the man’s lapel is either not notched or is notched in a different location of the previous photo. The lapel is outlined in the photo, left. There is a possibility that a notch is located just above the bottom of the picture. The man is wearing a bow tie and his shirt collar is wider spread, lining up with the sides of his face.

Both men have moustaches. James one’s moustache is smaller.

Picture of the two possible Nancy Catherine Crawfords

Nancy One and Nancy Two

Both women are wearing necklaces, the beads can be seen on both. The second woman’s necklace clearly has a drop or lavaliere and is of a “choker” style as it appears to be tight and sets high on her neck. The first woman’s necklace sits comfortably where her neck meets her shoulders. No clearly visible collar appears on her dress, the photo is not very clear and details of her garment are not very visible. There are some slight differences in intensity which suggest that her neckline of her garment was oval or v-shaped and exposed some skin on her upper chest, or perhaps there is a sheer material, organza, or some other type covering the area. If a sheer fabric were employed, then the cost of the garment increases, organdy, batiste and sheer silk fabrics were costly. Unfortunately, we cannot see the full dress in either picture, to see how the sleeves are made and how the waistline and hip area was shaped, to see if there were a bustle, or some other information which would tell more about the garment to be able to determine a time period with greater accuracy.

Nancy One’s neckline, her new husband’s lapel and her hat, appear to  me to date to the 1840’s. Her neckline appears similar to the style of that in the image to the left, from Wikipedia. Her hair may also be in the ringlet fashions popular at the time. However, she is not wearing the bonnet style of hat popular in that time period. In fact, her hat looks to be like those popular during the 1860’s and 1870’s, which could clearly date the picture to the 1878 date of James and Nancy Catherine’s wedding. The James One’s tie is more of that of the 1870’s. James Two’s tie is more like one from the 1890’s.

Additionally, the wealth and location factors need to be considered. Then as now, those with less means to have the latest fashions or in a location where news of what is current may lag behind for some time are not as current or in style. These people may have been five or even ten years bIsaac Densonehind in updating their apparel which makes dating the picture using the fashions difficult. Compare, for example, the image to the right, said to be of my second great grandfather, Isaac Denson (1793-1875). Isaac wears a cravat at his neck, a style popular in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Was he current in his fashion or lagging behind? To answer that, consider that, according to the 1850 census, the value of his property Isaac was a wealthier man than the Crawford’s and the Nixon’s. In the 1850 census, the value of his property is listed as $1900. The property value of Nancy Catherine Crawford’s father, George Crawford, is listed as $150. James Nixon’s father, John Nixon, had property valued at $320. Isaac Denson was likely to have had the economic means to wear the current fashion. Isaac was a prominent man in his community, therefore, he probably updated his fashion, at least his tie, on a regular basis. In this fashion plate, also from Wikipedia, the men are wearing the same distinctive tie as Isaac. Therefore, this picture of Isaac, can be dated to the 1840’s or a later.

Finally, what about that memory that I have of the Uncle Jesse photo? I remember was that it was not viewable from any angle other than straight on. That is, my mom pointed to the picture when I was on my way through the room, being a child of nine, I was itching to run outside and play with my cousins. She said something like “see that picture, that’s your great grandmother and great grandfather”. I probably shrugged my shoulders, she was thinking that I was indicating I was not so impressed, when, actually, I couldn’t see anything but a dark image, possibly resembling a negative, my memory is sketchier on the photo-negative part. My mother then stood me right in front of the photo in order to see it. If all of that is true, and my memory isn’t being inventive, then this means it was probably a Daguerreotype. Which means it was not of my great-grandparents, but could be of my great great-grandparents, George Crawford and Jane Mangum as Daguerreotypes were only made from 1840 to 1850.

March 3, 2012

Watch out for that leaf is a great tool. Their commercials seem to imply that all you have to do is enter a few names and Presto Magico your entire genealogy will unfold with the touch of a leaf. This is as naive as my belief, when I was a wizened sage of 17 and just starting my genealogical pursuits, that all the records were on file, birth certificates, marriage records, death certificates, etc. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Granted there are many researchers of high caliber willing to share. There are, however, significant problems with some of the information that others upload. Information can be inaccurate and is usually unsourced. Unsourced information is actually better for researchers who know enough not to accept everything given to them as fact, just because someone says it is so. The more dangerous error is when sources are attributed to an event that aren’t really about that event.

For example, the Thomas Crawford of McMinn County, Tennessee who married Priscilla Barnett. If I click on the leaf in my FamilyTreeMaker next to the name of Thomas Crawford, born in Virginia, whose wife’s name is not yet known to us, I get a links to trees which suggest that he is the son of Samuel Crawford and Nancy Forgey, some skip the Priscilla Barnett as wife part altogether.  My information and that of other researchers indicates that the Thomas Crawford, who was married to Priscilla Barnett, was born in 1788 in Tennessee or South Carolina and died in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1839. This would make it highly unlikely that he would be alive and enumerated in Itawamba County, MS. Thus, Thomas Crawford of Tennessee could not have been the Thomas Crawford who fathered Meeky Crawford Evans and others.

Which brings up Meeky Crawford Evans. Meekey, possibly Mary Ann, Crawford is presumed to be a daughter of Thomas as she is living near him in the Federal Census for 1850 of Itawamba County, MS. Thus she could not have been the Mary Crawford enumerated in Lowndes County in 1860, with a different husband and different children.

All of this could possibly happened because one person got a leaf, then merged and before checking the facts and the sources. Moral to the story watch out for that leaf.


August 14, 2010

Thomas Crafford / Crafurt / Crawford

I have Crawford’s on both sides of my family tree. They are different Crawford’s, one branch is from Georgia, with the earliest well proven ancestor having been born in NC in 1774. The other is from Mississippi, with the earliest, well proven ancestor born in Virginia in 1784. The latter, Thomas Crawford born in Virgnia in 1784, is the subject of my post.
These Crawford’s are my maternal Crawford line, via my Great-grandmother, Nancy Catherine Crawford. Nancy Catherine Crawford was the daughter of George W. Crawford and Jane Mangum Crawford. George W. Crawford, we think his middle name was probably Washington, was born in North (most likely) or South Carolina between 1810 and 1813. The reason we are uncertain of his birth place is that he states it variously as North or South Carolina in the censuses in which he is found. According to family researchers, George died in Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas, certainly after the 1880 census.
In 1880, there are two George Crawford’s born about 1813, give or take 10 years, in Polk County, Arkansas. My ancestor is in Cove township, listed as G. W. Another George Crawford is enumerated in District 131, Mountain, Polk, Arkansas. The “other” George is stated as having been born in Tennessee, and is enumerated with daughter Sarah, 20, born in Tennessee, and sons Benjamin,17, and James, 13, both born in Arkansas. “My” George, is listed as 67 years of age, born in NC, enumerated with wife Jane, 54, born in Alabama, daughter Mary J., 21, sons William D., 15, and George W., 13 and grandaughter, Frances Boling, 12, all of whom were born in Mississippi.
Frances Boling presents her own set of mysteries. Simply stated, it is unlikely that Frances is a grandaughter as she can be found in the 1870 census living in the household of John T. Boling, with other siblings, George, Elizabeth, Jackson, Thomas, Jane and Nancy. Backing up to the 1860 census, to find the name of Frances’s mother, we find the John T Bolund family living next door to the James Crawford Family, in Itawamba County, MS, with presumed wife Nancy, born in 1827, in South Carolina, still living. Other household members are George W., 7, Rachel E., 5, Isabella M.C., 4, Daniel J., 3,and Thomas J. 1/12. Nancy can’t be a daughter of George and Jane, George would have been about 14-17 at her birth, Jane would have been about 3 when this Nancy was born. Certainly, had this Nancy been a child of George alone, there would have been some evidence of that by now,. It is unlikely that John T and Nancy were just good friends of the Crawfords and, once both had died, Frances went to live with them, moving with them to Arkansas, as other family members of Frances would likely have objected. More likely, Nancy is somehow connected to the Crawford family, possibly a sister to George, at the very least she is somehow connected to the Crawfords.
Our George is found with his family in Itawamba County, Mississippi in censuses prior to 1880, the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses find them there. In 1850, he states that he was born in North Carolina. He is 40 years old and has a land value of $150. He is listed with wife Jane (Mangum) Crawford, Amanda F, 8, Thomas J., 5, John C., 3 and my great-grandmother, Nancy C., 8/12. The next family is Thomas Crawford, aged 65, born in Virginia, with son James, 26, born in SC. After Thomas, the next family is Jacob Johnson, wife Catherine Crawford Johnson, 43, born in North Carolina, and their family. At the top of this page is Moses Crawford, born in South Carolina, brother to Catherine, James and George.
In 1840, Thomas Crafford is listed in Pickens County, AL with 1 male 15-19, 1 male 20-29, 1 male 20-39, 1 male 50-59 and two females, one aged 15-19 and one aged 40-49. These ages align nicely with George, Moses, James and Thomas for the males. Catherine Crawford Johnson and Meeky Crawford Evans were married and living nearby, as is Miranda Crawford Hancock. The young woman in the household is most likely Frances Crawford Griffin. The female aged 40-49 was likely his wife and she died after 1840 in Pickens County, Alabama. As there is an Evans family connection and George and Crawford were born in North Carolina, there is some speculation as to whether or not the marriage record for Thomas Crawford and Unica Evans is for this Thomas. Thomas Crawford of Itawamba County, Mississippi.
I have seen some researchers suggest that “my” Thomas was married to Priscilla Barnett and was the son of Samuel Crawford and Nancy Forgey. Most researchers indicate that the Thomas Crawford, who was married to Priscilla, was born in 1788 in Tennessee or South Carolina and died in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1839. He certainly wasn’t alive in Itawamba County, MS in 1850 if he died in 1839 in Tennessee! Thomas of Itawamba County was born in Virginia in 1785. Although it is possible that there was a divorce, there is no evidence or record or family tradition of a divorce; also, he is enumerated in Alabama in 1840, with a woman of the right age as a wife in the family group. Priscilla is enumerated in Polk County, TN in 1840. Names are repeated in the Mississippi Crawfords with frequency. We see repetitions of the names Rachel, Nancy, Frances, George W., James, Thomas Jefferson, but nothing of Priscilla, Barnett, Agatha, William, etc. From this evidence, Thomas Crawford of Itawamba County, MS can’t be connected to Samuel Crawford and Nancy Forgey.