Sunday, March 29, 2015

Researching the Facts

I made my first research trip to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library. The cold windy weather absolved me of any guilt for holing up indoors on a Saturday.

The library is loaded with volumes dedicated to the genealogical history of counties across the United States. Happily, the entire collection is free to peruse after the library recently eliminated the research fees they used to charge.

Burial Surveys
I hoped to find published copies of cemetery surveys for Lawrence County, Ohio, so I could determine whether Burr Dornon was among the enumerated burials. I pulled each book for Lawrence County off the shelf and carefully thumbed through every single page, purposely not relying on the indices in case something had been overlooked.

Despite my methodical review, there was no listing for Burr. However, none of the published surveys in DAR's collection were older than the 1980s.

According to the overview of Scottown Cemetery (where it's speculated a stone for Burr may have once existed), there were two surveys conducted some 50 years apart. Those two surveys were found to have discrepancies between them.

Where is the initial survey that was conducted 50 years earlier (c. 1930s)? I want to get my hands on that one!

Having exhausted the library's resources on Lawrence County, I next pulled the volumes on burials in Jackson County, West Virginia, which is located just across the Ohio River from Lawrence County. Burr's family lived in Jackson County in 1860 up until the Confederates briefly invaded in September 1862.

Again, no luck. There was no mention of a burial for Burr anywhere. I decided to set the question of his death and burial aside for the afternoon.

Exact Birth and Marriage Dates: A Task List
With easy access to all of the library's indices on births and marriages, it occurred to me that I should see if I could find other missing records for the Dornons.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but my family tree has exact dates for several Dornon family life events with absolutely no sources to provide confirmation. These dates came from relatives - now deceased - who began work on our genealogy years ago. Sadly, they weren't the best documented trees. I took them as starting points, but have yet to locate evidence that corroborates the facts.

Among the exact dates without documentation are:
  • Burr Z. Dornon birth: November 15, 1812
  • Burr Z. Dornon marriage to Sophronia Rogers: March 5, 1835
  • Sophronia (Rogers) Dornon birth: May 22, 1815 (may be calculated based on the age on her headstone)
These dates are so specific they had to have come from a record, right? I just need another trip to the DAR library.

Also, since I'm sketching my to-do list, where are the Dornons in these records:
  • Burr and his father Andrew in the 1820 and 1830 censuses
  • Sophronia (Rogers) Dornon in the 1870 census
There's never a shortage of questions to research. More to come...

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