Posts tagged ‘Google Earth and Genealogy’

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 Ancestry.com 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:
Land_S30_T2N_R28W
Here it is in relation to Cove, Polk, AR:
Land_S30_T2N_R28W_and_Cove
And here it relative to Mountain, Polk, AR
Land_S30_T2N_R28W_and_Mountain

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, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=8054&iid=4200044_00172&fn=George+W&ln=Crardford&st=r&ssrc=&pid=3427234   : 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, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7667&iid=4233366_00211&fn=George+W&ln=Crawford&st=r&ssrc=&pid=38703049   : 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, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7163&iid=4273831_00107&fn=George&ln=Crawford&st=r&ssrc=&pid=36222712 : 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, Ancestry.com,  (http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/view.aspx?dbid=8057&path=Alabama.Pickens.Not+Stated.65&sid=&gskw=Thos+Crafford : 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, Ancestry.com,  (http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/view.aspx?dbid=8058&path=Alabama.Pickens.Not+Stated.3&sid=&gskw=John+Mangum : 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, Ancestry.com, (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=6742&iid=4239966-00036&fn=G.+W.&ln=Crawford&st=r&ssrc=&pid=6565858  : 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., Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=8054&iid=4193068-00013&fn=Newton&ln=Crawford&st=d&ssrc=&pid=9805410 : 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., Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7667&iid=4211307_00095&fn=George&ln=Crawford&st=d&ssrc=&pid=17688348 : 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., Ancestry.com,

(http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7163&iid=4259291_00054&fn=George&ln=Crawford&st=d&ssrc=&pid=13908978 : 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., Ancestry.com,

(http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/view.aspx?dbid=6742&path=Arkansas.Polk.Mountain.131.10&sid=&gskw=George+Crawford  : 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 (http://www.glorecords.blm.gov : accessed 2003), George W. Crawford, Polk County, Arkansas, Homestead certificate H697.

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