The 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia Voter List

My friend and follower Brian S. Miller called me the record whisperer. His comment reminded me I hadn’t been checking the catalog at FamilySearch to see if new old records were available to view online. I’d been too busy working on my last series of posts on a Luxembourgish family to even think about other things.

Half of my ancestry is Luxembourgish with a few more distant ancestors coming from areas of France, Germany, and Belgium which were once part of Luxembourg. It hasn’t been difficult to find birth, marriage, and death records for these ancestors and their collaterals. My paternal side of the family tree which includes ancestors who lived in West Virginia and old Virginia for more than 200 years has been more arduous.

I have a frustrating brick wall at the 2nd great-grandfather level for one of these West Virginia ancestors. Compared to the rest of my tree, his branch is short and stubby!

A Reminder to Check the FamilySearch Catalog

Fayette County, West Virginia, is the first location I usually check for new collections as my Dad and many of his ancestors lived in the county even before its formation in 1831.

Map of West Virginia highlighting Fayette County

On Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I discovered a database I had not seen or been able to access. I can’t keep a secret when it comes to new collections which may help others. I immediately posted the find to the Facebook group for Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy.

Did your male ancestor live in Sewell Mountain, Mountain Cove, or Fayetteville in April-May 1866? If he was of age, he may have registered to vote. I found these lists on FamilySearch which include the age and place of birth of the person of interest.

Being a long-time user of the FamilySearch, I posted the link to the catalog not realizing how many group members were not familiar with this important tool on the site.

After several members commented the link was not working I revised my post. It was a long weekend and traffic to several genealogy sites was higher than normal causing temporary this site can’t be reached errors.

Screenshot of FamilySearch page with Evernote annotations.

In my revised post, I included instructions to scroll down to the camera to view the images to the non-indexed browse-only records. I added a short description of the collection which has six items for three districts with the names of voters being listed in alphabetical order. I also let new users know they needed to sign-in to the FREE site.

The 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia, Voter List

Here is the link to the collection: Register of name of voters : 1866. Since not all are familiar with FamilySearch or some may need a refresher course on using the site, here are simple steps to view the images. The link will take you to this page:

You aren’t there yet! To see all images, you need to either use the little > to go to image 2 of 154, image 3 of 154, etc. or click on the tiles icon on the left to view all images. You can then click on any of the images you might be interested in.

The items in this collection have many blank images. An item starts at the Begin image and ends at the End image. After studying the six items I learned they are for three districts – two similar copies of the same information for each district. At the end is a seventh item for the year 1867. Below are the direct links to the first page of each item for a district.

Item 1: Sewell Mountain 1

Item 2: Mountain Cove 1

Item 3: Fayetteville 1

Item 4: Sewell Mountain 2

Item 5: Fayetteville 2

Item 6: Mountain Cove 2

Item 7: Fayetteville 1867

Why is this set of records important?

Consider when the voter list was created. In 1866, three years after the state of West Virginia was formed. Immediately following the Civil War period when many records were moved to other locations or missing.

The fields on the form include:

  • Names of persons registered
  • Whether Sworn
  • Age – includes men between 21 and 84 years of age, i.e. born 1782-1845
  • Place of birth
  • Time of residence in ward, township, or district
  • Time of residence in state
  • If naturalized, date of papers and by what Court issued [in some cases this field was used to record honorable discharges from US militia service]
  • When registered

The list may be the only record you will find for the place of birth of an ancestor born between 1782-1845. Example: Enoch WOOD was in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1830; in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1840; and in Fayette County, Virginia, in 1850 per the census. The 1850 census had all of his children listed as born in Virginia. Enoch and his wife Margaret JOHNSON had been known to be members of the Sand Fork Missionary Baptist Church in Gallia County, Ohio, before transferring to the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Fayette County. Their sons Levi and Felix WOOD are on the voter list with Gallia County as their place of birth.

Are you searching for naturalization papers? Example: Daniel McGuffin, age 36, born in Ireland, was naturalized in 1855 and his papers were filed in the County Court of Alleghany, Virginia.

The voter list could help you add events to your ancestor’s timeline. When and where was he born? Did he serve in the US militia? Was he naturalized? The voter list may be the last record your ancestor created before leaving the county or passing away.

And the search continues…

My 2nd great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY was NOT found in the voter list. Family tradition is he died in a logging accident in the 1860s. Does this mean he died before April-May 1866 when the voter list was created? Perhaps. However,  the three districts didn’t cover the entire county of Fayette. Other names are missing from the voter list including William’s father-in-law Elijah WOOD who died in 1885.

If you haven’t recently checked the catalog at FamilySearch take a moment to do so. If you’ve never used the catalog an Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog is a good place to learn more.  Please leave a comment if you make a discovery. Happy hunting.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!

A little over a week ago a Facebook friend, the descendant of a half-sibling of my 2nd great-grandfather’s half-sister (let that sink in), shared a post I wrote in 2014.

52 Ancestors: #26 William Clonch abt. 1807-1863

Note: As of 13 January 2019, the 2014 post has been updated with sources and images. 

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was a challenge to research. Ralph Hayes worked on the CLONCH families years before I did and posted his finding on the CLAUNCH surname mailing list on Rootsweb as well as in other forums popular over 17 years ago. Most of the descendants of William’s father Dennis CLAUNCH use the CLONCH spelling. Dennis had brothers whose descendants go by CLAUNCH.

William CLONCH never married my 3rd great-grandmother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. He left land to her and her children in his will in 1863. In 2011 after FamilySearch added the collection of West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971, I went in and found his will and transcribed it. It was only then that I actually saw the words he had written, naming her children with the DOSS surname.

In my 2014 post, the transcriptions were included for the will and three other records produced at the time the will was ordered to be recorded.

I wrote further in the post:

The land left to Mary E. DOSS and her children by William was sold by his heirs in 1892 to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will:

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892, John W. and wife Mary E. Clonch, Alexander and wife Bertha (sic, Tobitha), Charles and wife Mary, Thomas and wife Missouri, Joel and wife Betsy, heirs of William Clonch to Louvenia Patterson all of the Mason County, West Virginia, property in Clendenin District, Mason County, West Virginia. According to these records, William Clonch is the father of the Doss children. Note: I don’t have images of or a true transcript of this record. A look-up would be appreciated. 

When my Facebook friend shared the link to William’s post, one of her friends made a comment about the missing record. This lead me to take a new look at FamilySearch‘s catalog to see if land records for Mason County, West Virginia, might have been added since the last time I checked.

I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!

Last year while working on my Rewriting the Biography of James SIMS 1754-1845 series, I found tax records for the area he lived. And it seemed each time I went in to look for something another collection had the camera icon indicating the digital images were available. If the counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, and Fayette where the SIMS families lived were going online then wouldn’t the rest of the West Virginia counties also be updated?

I went to the catalog and searched for Mason County, West Virginia, and began looking at the list of records. I opened up Land and Property and found Deed books, 1803-1901. These are browse-only records and include the grantor and grantee indexes as well as the deed books for 1803 to 1901.

I went straight for the record I’d requested over four years ago. It was there in Deed Book 53, on pages 202 through 204 – but I won’t be sharing an image or transcription in this post.

The deed books have an index at the front and I noticed there was another record for a CLONCH individual, my Alexander CLONCH, the son of the above mentioned William. When I read the record I knew I had to take a closer look at the grantor and grantee indexes. I found, in all, five deeds dealing with the land left to the children of William CLONCH. Transcriptions will be shared in a separate post next week.

Folks, pass the word around to check the FamilySearch catalog. They may have collections of interest to you with the camera icon instead of the camera with a key (indicating restrictions) or the microfilm icon.

Clonch cousins, sorry for keeping you hanging. If you can’t wait until next week, go to the catalog, and do the searches I did. Happy huntings!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Using the Back Door at FamilySearch for Missing Records

Almost all of my research for the Luxembourg families in my family tree takes me to FamilySearch. The collections I use the most are for civil records, church records, and census.

The Luxembourg Church Records, 1601-1948 are the last new addition (for Luxembourg) to the FamilySearch site having been added on 9 January 2015. I wrote a post when they went online.

Included in the collection of church records are the Tables des mariages 1700-1798 (index organisée par l’époux/l’épouse), a card index of marriages performed in parishes in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before 1800.

1790schwartzhaalermarriagecard
An example I used in my post 52 Ancestors: #8 SCHWARTZ-HALER Family of Osweiler

How this neat tool came to be

The Luxembourg Association of Genealogy and Heraldry (ALGH) was founded in 1984 and has its headquarters in the castle of Mersch. It does not have an internet presence. ALGH launched a huge project when the association was still young. A team of volunteers extracted all marriage information from the 156 old parish registers from before 1800 onto index cards.

The project took years to finish. The original aim of the ALGH was to make xerox copies of the index cards by parishes for members to consult in their headquarters making it unnecessary to go to the original.

FamilySearch microfilmed the marriage index cards in 1995 and included them in the church records collection for Luxembourg when they were digitized in 2012 and finally went online in 2015. The cards are in alphabetical order by groom’s and by bride’s surnames for each parish. They are also accessible in alphabetical order by groom’s surname for the entire country in Grand Duché du Luxembourg.

Why did I have to use a back door?

As I’m now working on the paternal 5th great-grandparents of my children in Luxembourg, I’ve gotten into an area which is no longer covered by the civil records kept in the country. Most of these ancestors were born, married, and had children before 1800. These can only be documented by searching through the church records.

Records after 1800 are relatively easy to access as civil records are indexed in the tables décennales, decennial tables produced every ten years since 1802. However, church records are not indexed and very hard to read.

1781marriagewilmescolman
1781 Marriage Record for Gangolphus Wilmes

I check the card index for marriages first as they make it easy to search for marriage records in the church records collection. Most of the time. In the example at the top, for the marriage of the SCHWARTZ-HAALER couple, the volumes and page numbers of the records are notes. Not all persons who filled out these index cards gave this information but the records can still be more easily found as the cards include the date and place of marriage.

However not all ancestors married in the town they lived in, so finding the card is not always easy. Some married in neighboring towns or in the town a bride was from. To be sure I didn’t miss anyone, I checked all persons (this works for grooms only) of a surname in the cards for the entire country.

And this is where I had a problem. The links for marriages of grooms with surnames from BIVER to HEISDORF are missing.
missingsurnamesmarriages
https://familysearch.org/search/image/index?owc=STH8-K6D%3A1501324901%3Fcc%3D2037955

I went to the FamilySearch catalog to find out where they might be found. I refined the search with Luxembourg as the place and church records as the subject. Under Luxembourg Church Records Indexes I found 8 entries including Fichier des actes de mariage avant de 1800 (index cards of marriages before 1800).

collectionoverview
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/760002

Scrolling down to the Film Notes I found the collection is divided into 30 films including the missing ones (outlined in red).

themissingfilms
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/760002

The camera icon is my back door to access the cards for grooms with the surnames BIVER through HEISDORF.

Happy Huntings!

This back door at FamilySearch can be used for any and all of their collections. When you go in through the front door, the name of a collection may not reflect the complete content of a collection. Not all records are indexed and not all browse only records may be showing up in a list as seen in my example above of the missing marriages for Luxembourg. Get into the habit of checking the FamilySearch catalog for the town, county, state, or country you are working on. Happy Huntings!
bestwishescathy1© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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