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A Major Brick Wall

From: Susan Axley
DearMYRTLE,
Sure hope you can help point me in the right direction! I've been looking for the parents of my great grandfather for sometime, and can find no clues. Great-grandfather's name was James H. Vores (Voris) born in Franklin County, PA in 1838. He died in 1905 in McConnelsburg, PA. There is no birth record as they kept no records there in that time period. (I've checked vital records, court house records, historical societies' records.) I have the newspaper article about his death in 1905. There was no obituary [and] no death certificate. I've even gotten his [US] Civil War record. Nothing there either. I have some unverified information that his father may have been named Andrew and all the census [records] have is that James' father was born somewhere in Virginia. James had a brother George with no further clues. George died sometime between 1905 and 1910 somewhere in PA. I've not found any marriage records either. Help! Any ideas? Anything would be so very much appreciated.

DearSUSAN,
You've overlooked a few good places for clues on your elusive ancestor.

ITEM: The complete (not selected) US Civil War Pension file will have a required form where the serviceman must list family members including wives & children with birth and death dates. If there was a divorce, it must be listed with date and locality. If she outlives the pensioner, look for the widow's pension where she lists WHEN and WHERE she was married to the soldier. What you are looking for is the marriage record itself (in case it lists parents) and to learn which localities to begin searching through more diligently.

ITEM: You'll also turn to church records of:
-- christening
-- marriage
-  burial

Even if you have to order the microfilm from every church in the town! You ARE desperate to know the answer, so let's do it!

ITEM: You haven't mentioned reviewing the probate docket for ANYONE named Vores/Voris in the counties in question.

ITEM: Do a broad "all US" search for your ancestors in online census image indexes at both Ancestry.com and HeritageQuestOnline. Remember that the 1880 index is free at: http://www.familysearch.org

Then painstakingly go through each entry, to draw assumptions about OTHER localities where your family could have lived. Then search those courthouse records for probate, marriage, land records, etc. Broaden your search to include churches in each area looking for the christening, marriage & burial.

ITEM: By the way, a search of the 1880 US Federal Census at FamilySearch.org for:
James Voris
Census: 1880 United States Census
Exact Spelling: Off
Returned 127 entries with the following spellings:

Voorhees
Voorhis
Voris
Van Voorhees
Van Voorhis
Voorhies
Voorhus
Voorheis
Vorus
Vorous
Vorys
Van Vorhies

ITEM: Try modifying your checklist when searching ANY index to include at LEAST these additional spellings of the surname. Then try each search without the given name. With a name like "James" its entirely possible he "went by" another name.

--------------------------------------------------------

A refined search of the 1880 US Federal Census at FamilySearch.org for:
James Voris, (born sometime between 1828 - 1848 in Pennsylvania, United States)
Census: 1880 United States Census
Exact Spelling: Off

Returned the following entry:

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
James VOORHIS Self M Male W 35 PA Carpenter PA NY
Annie A. VOORHIS Wife M Female W 29 PA Keeping House PA NY
Edward VOORHIS Son S Male W 11 PA At School PA PA
Chester VOORHIS Son S Male W 9 PA At School PA PA
Harriet E. VOORHIS Dau S Female W 7 PA At School PA PA
Mattie I. VOORHIS Dau S Female W 5 PA At School PA PA
Samuel W. VOORHIS Son S Male W 2 PA At Home PA PA
Samuel D. ANDUS Nephew S Male W 25 PA Laborer Day PA PA
Census Place Canton, Bradford, Pennsylvania
Family History Library Film 1255104
NA Film Number T9-1104
Page Number 131C

HERITAGEQUESTONLINE CENSUS INDEX:

-- 1850 US Federal Census (look for 12 year old James in Franklin County, PA.) -- Not available

-- 1860 US Federal Census (expect him to be 22 years old) we find in a search for all US From: HeritageQuestOnline through Godfrey.org:
-- Indiana Results: 2 (ages 30 & 36, too old)
-- New York Results: 2
---- VORIS JAMES 48 M W NY NY ROCKLAND ORANGETOWN 1860
---- VORIS JAMES P 23 M W NY NY ROCKLAND ORANGETOWN 1860
-- Ohio Results: 1 (age 7, too young)
-- Pennsylvania Results: 2
---- VORIS JAMES 73 M W PA PA MONTOUR N-WD DANVILLE 1860
---- VORIS JAMES 19 M W PA MONTOUR S-WD DANVILLE 1860

I think the James P could easily be your James H, with just a transcription error.

-- 1870 US Federal Census (expect him to be 32 years old) we find in a search for all US From: HeritageQuestOnline through Godfrey.org:
-- VORIS JAMES 40 M W KY IN JOHNSON WHITE RVR TWP 1870
-- VORIS JAMES B 60 M W NY NY ROCKLAND CLARKSTOWN 1870
-- VORIS JAMES F 26 M W NY NY ROCKLAND ORANGETOWN 1870
-- VORIS JAMES S 45 M W OH OH MONTGOMERY 11-WD DAYTON 1870

-- 1900 US Federal Census (expect him to be 72 years old) we find in a search for all US From: HeritageQuestOnline through Godfrey.org:

-- VORIS JAMES 29 M W IN IN DELAWARE MONROE TWP 1900
-- VORIS JAMES 48 M W OH OH FAIRFIELD RUSH CRK TWP 1900
-- VORIS JAMES 42 M W OH OH HAMILTON DELHI TWP 1900
-- VORIS JAMES 75 M W OH OH MONTGOMERY 3-WD DAYTON 1900
-- VORIS JAMES C 36 M W IN IN SHELBY MORAL TWP 1900
-- VORIS JAMES E 47 M W KY KY KENTON 4-WD COVINGTON 1900
-- VORIS JAMES F 57 M W NY NY ROCKLAND CLARKSTOWN 1900
-- VORIS JAMES O 22 M W OH MIL PHILIPPINES 22ND INFANTRY 1900
-- VORIS JAMES S 35 M W IL KS WYANDOTTE 4-WD KANSAS CITY 1900

The ONLY likely fellow by this spelling would be the 75 year old James of 3rd Ward, Dayton, Ohio, who is reported to have been born in Ohio.

Having said all of this, ol' Myrt here believes the COMPLETE pension file will be your best guide. WHY? Just because the 1880 Census says he was born in PA, doesn't mean it's true. We are not sure who provides the information on a census record. But we know James had to sign the forms for his pension application, and subsequent forms for changing his rate. In those forms, as mentioned, he must list his birth date and place as he knew it. You can work the locality records from that point.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt      :)
DearMYRTLE,
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207
http://www.DearMYRTLE.com 

 

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