September 2012

The mystery of John Bradshaw:

John Bradshaw was born about 1 June 1778 near Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky.  This is known from the Bible which belonged to his grandmother.  Of course, this was probably written by his grandmother, and not by anyone who was living at the time of John Bradshaw!

In the same Bible entry, it is stated that John Bradshaw died 1 June 1834.  And, it is clearly 1834!  This date is incorrect, as his will is dated 9 June 1838, and the will was probated on 10 June 1839.

So, who were the parents of John Bradshaw?  The only record I have found thus far for John Bradshaw is his marriage to Catherine Huffman 9 November 1809.  This was found in the Marriage Records for Bourbon County, Kentucky.  However, I have found no other records for John or any other Bradshaw’s in Bourbon County.

I have investigated the Bradshaw’s of Virginia.  I have traced all that I have found!  And, none of them led to John.  There were also Bradshaw’s in Maryland.  I have had no luck with tracing them – there are many gaps in the records.

There is a family story that John’s mother was named Mariah.

Does anyone have any ideas?  Maybe someone has Bradshaw’s in their family!



About 10 years ago, I was researching diligently for information on my husband’s male ancestor, who had lived in Connecticut and moved to western NY state.  I posted a query on a rootsweb message board under the family name.  Imagine my surprise when I received a reply from someone in Virginia!  A man in Virginia had gone to an antiques store in Virginia, and had purchased photographs for 10 cents each.  One of the photographs was that of the ancestor!  So, the man had looked on the rootsweb list hoping that he would find someone connected to the photo – thus returning the photo to someone in the family.  He came upon my query first, contacted me, and then I responded to him, telling him that I would like the photo.  I then paid him the 10 cents and the postage, and now have an original photo of the ancestor!

I was able to return the favor two years later, when the man contacted me once again.  He told me that he always made a copy of the photo before sending the original – thus having a copy to give to others in the “family.”  However, there had been a flood at his house, and all of the photos he had collected had been lost.  He requested a copy of the photo.  I, of course, sent a copy to him right away.

When researching the “how did the photo get to Virginia” question, I discovered that the male ancestor’s sister had married, and the couple had moved to Virginia.  Thus, the sister took the brother’s photo with her, and the photo ended up in an antiques store in Virginia.  This discovery led to finding more about the male ancestor in Virginia (even though he never lived there).


Have you found the agricultural census for your ancestor?  Many of these are labeled non-population schedules.  Finding this will give more of an insight into your ancestor’s life.  You can discover what crops were planted, what animals were bred, whether or not it was a good year for crops!  During this past spring and summer, there has been a drought in the area in which I live.  Imagine what will be found in future years when comparing the corn production from one year to the next!


Did your ancestor get married twice to the same person?

Maybe your ancestor and the spouse-to-be had a marriage license in one county or state, and then both moved.  When they got to their new location, they again got a marriage license.  And, then they got married.  So, in the records, they acquired 2 marriage licenses, and had one marriage certificate!

So, if you find your ancestor’s marriage license, do not conclude that they were married there until you can confirm with a marriage certificate!


When reading old census records, have you found it difficult to decipher the handwriting?

When trying to figure out the letters in your ancestor’s name, compare the letters in a more common name – find a “John” on the page – compare the letters in your ancestor’s name with those written as John.


Have you ever looked at a census and found the names alphabetized?  One must be careful when searching for a name in the alphabetized list.

Yes, the information is handwritten.  And, no, the census taker did not visit the residents in alphabetical order!  For many early censuses, the census information was written down by the census taker.  Then, the information was transcribed into the census books.  And, this was done with the names in alphabetical order.

Have you ever edited information that you have transcribed?  And, after reading a few times, have decided that all of the mistakes were found?  I have done this before.  And, I have included the information in a report that has been sent to a client.  The client has decided to continue with research, so more research has been done.  Upon adding the new information to the report, I have found more mistakes in the transcription! How could this be – I read, reread, and read backwards!

So, next time when you are looking for an ancestor, don’t assume that there were no mistakes made when the information was copied into a census book!


I know that I have mentioned Family Tree Maker before.  But, thought I would mention it again.

One of the things that I like about FTM is the “trees” that can be produced.  One can make an Ancestor Tree, a Descendant Tree, or an Hourglass Tree (this shows both ancestors and descendants of primary person).  And, it is possible to make a tree for any number of generations!  One other feature which I like is that the user can specify what type of information to put on the tree – does not have to just be the name of the ancestor/descendant.

This is so-o-o-o helpful when trying to keep everyone straight!  Especially those with the same names!


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