Today’s post will be a little different. Instead of posting a narrative comprised of facts from my database (RootsMagic) I will be explaining how I finally found my 4xgreat-grandfather in the 1880 U.S. Census. I had searched for him on and off for several years, but never managed to find him. It turns out there was a very simple reason for that. Instead I found him the hard way, by tracing other family members. Either way, at least I have him…even if he is still a brick wall for me…for now.
To get to John Albright, we start with Charles Beggrow. Charles is my 2xgreat-grandfather and the father of Mary Caroline Beggrow who married last week’s ancestor Thomas Smith McClish. Charles Beggrow was born in Ohio in 1870 and his parents were John and Lena (Carolina) Beggrow, my 3xgreat-grandparents. John Beggrow died in 1896 and he will be the focus of a future post. His wife Lena died in 1920. They had 2 children, Charles, and another son Albert. After John’s death, Lena was found in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census’ with son Albert. And as a side note, they were particularly hard to find in the 1900 and 1910 years. Beggrow had been indexed as Becknor (though to me it read Beckroe) and as simply Bigg*. Lucky for me they had stayed in the same location because I resorted to going through the entire census for their township!
My clues to Lena’s parents were slim. First, in the census, it was always said that she was born in Germany and her parents were born in Germany. Also, her 1920 Ohio death certificate listed her father as John Albright, born Germany. Sadly, it did not list her mother’s name. Despite thorough searching, I have not been able to find a marriage record for John Beggrow and Lena. However, thanks to naturalization records, I know when John immigrated and where he was from. Since I could not find a marriage record in Ohio, I thought maybe they married in Germany prior to immigration. However, John Beggrow was listed as single on the passenger manifest and the records for the area he was from (Mecklenburg-Strelitz) are not yet digitized online (though microfilm do exist). So, a record of a marriage in Germany has not been found yet either. I also have not been able to find John and Lena in the 1870 census even though John immigrated in 1868 and their son Charles was allegedly born in Ohio in 1870.
So, with the sparse clues of only the name John Albright and birthplace of Germany, how on earth could I find him? Well of course I searched on Ancestry and FamilySearch for John Albright using Germany as a birthplace and residing in Ohio in 1870 and 1880. (Under the assumption that if John Beggrow was single when he immigrated, then the Albrights, including Lena, must have also immigrated.) Sadly, I was never able to find a John Albright that seemed appropriate.
So, how was I finally able to break down this wall? Siblings. Technically a niece. In the 1880 census, John and Lena Beggrow are residing in Franklin County, Ohio with their 2 sons, Charles and Albert, and a niece, Sarah Martin. Sarah is 4 yrs old. I had previously done a cursory search for Sarah Martin, but never with satisfactory results. So I decided to give it another try. I did not know for sure whether she was a biological niece of John or Lena, but I knew the 1880 census placed her as 4 yrs old and born in Ohio. So, she would have been born around 1875. I happened to know that Ohio began recording births at a county level as early as 1867. So I went directly to the “Ohio, County Births” collection at FamilySearch.
At first, I struck out. You see, there was no entry for a Sarah Martin born between 1874 and 1876 in Franklin (or Pickaway) County. But then…I decided to search on the last name only. So my search was for: Martin, Franklin County, 1874-1876. I was not overly hopeful, since Martin is a fairly common name, but I had nothing to lose.
I had a promising result. An entry for Martin, with no first name, born 07 April 1875 in Marion Twp., Franklin County. And the kicker? Her mother’s name. Johannah Albright. When I saw that name, Albright, I may have yelled “SCORE” and startled my dog! Opening the actual image of the register, there was indeed a “no name” Martin, female child of Charles Martin and Johannah Albright, born in 1875. So, it looks like this could be Sarah and with her mother being an Albright, she would be the biological niece of Lena.
So what next?
Well first, I looked for the marriage of Charles Martin and Johannah Albright. Which I did find. They were married in Franklin County in 1872. However, I could not find a Charles Martin with wife Johannah/Joanna/Hannah/Anna in the 1880 census, so something clearly happened to at least one of them.
Next, I went back to the “Ohio, County Births” and expanded my search to look for additional Martin children born between 1872 and 1880 in Franklin County. Only now I added data to the fields for “Father’s First Name” [Charles] and “Father’s Last Name” [Martin]. And my results included 2 more children. First, Barbara Martin, born in 1877 to Charles Martin and Hannah Albert [easily Albright]. Second, John Martin, born in 1878 to Charles Martin and Hannah Albright.
Now Sarah has 2 siblings. But if Sarah was with John and Lena in 1880, where were Barbara and John, her sister and brother?
Armed with these new names, I went back to the 1880 Census. Since Barbara was a more unusual name (ok, John Martin is not as bad as John Smith but you have to admit Barbara is more unusual for the time) I began with her. I was looking in the 1880 Census, for Barbara Martin, born between 1876-1878 in Ohio, age 2-3 yrs old, residing in or around Franklin County. And what exactly did I find?
Barbara Martin, a granddaughter, living with Frederick Albright and Mrs. John Albright in Pickaway County, Ohio. (That is the county directly south of Franklin County for those not familiar with Ohio.) I couldn’t believe my eyes! Now of course, I immediately opened the image since I don’t 100% trust indexes and transcribed data. But it was real. The image confirmed the household to be: John Albright, age 66; Mrs. John, age 60; Frederick, son, age 26; and Barbara Martin, age 3, Grd-Dau. Have I finally found John Albright, the father of Lena Beggrow? Why yes. I sure have. And as I scrolled to the right, I immediately found out why my searches had not found him previously.
You see, I always used a birthplace of Germany, since that is what Lena had specified. However, on the actual census, his place of birth and that of his parents was written: Stralitz. And the same for his wife and the same for his son Frederick. Stralitz. For Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Which was not indexed as Germany but instead, at least in this instance, had been indexed as Poland. Which is why my searches never found him.
John Albright. Found.
Oh, other questions remained. Where are they in 1870? When did they immigrate? What is Mrs. John Albright’s name? Why can’t I find the marriage of John Beggrow and Lena Albright? What happened to Charles and Hannah Martin? But for now…it was time for a celebratory glass of wine!