Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Little Help From My Forum Friends

When I groused, the other day, about my loss of research material regarding the John J. Jackson family, I didn’t want to complain too loudly. You see, I thought maybe—just maybe—I’d have another way out of the dilemma.

And I did.

I owe my thanks to the efficiency of online genealogy forums, and in particular, to one member of the message boards at and Can I help it if the very person who came to my assistance was another “outlaw” like me, married into this family which includes so many Sniders?

My query—which I actually sent to Rootsweb’s OHPerry mailinglist about the time I wrote my sniveling post—basically asked for help from anyone having access to the book, Pioneers of Perry County Ohio by 1830. That was the volume I had noted, during my family’s trip to the Allen County Public Library last summer, as the source of a biographical sketch on John Jackson—the copy I had discovered, upon return home, to be missing.

With the immediate helpfulness that is the hallmark of online connectivity, I heard back from a distant Snider relative who had the book and was willing to scan the page in question and email it to me.

The biographical sketch of John Jackson turned out to be much the same as the paragraph I located in the 1883 history book yesterday—with an added bonus: it names John Jackson’s wife. (Of course, there are several other details that will be of help, too, but I’ll cover those tidbits on another day.)

In addition, the article gave its source, citing a report in the New Lexington Tribune from September 28, 1876.

And yet, as you may see yourself, I still feel that some of the details may not be entirely correct, putting me in the awkward position of having to conjure up documents during an age where such details were not officially recorded by any government entity.

Here’s what the book had to say about John and his wife:
Mr. Jackson was first married in 1816 at Bellefontaine, Missouri to Sarah Howard Ijams, daughter of Wm. Ijams (sister of William, John and Joseph Ijams) who later died in 1825. In January 1818, he accompanied his wife, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law across the Mississippi at St. Louis to Bearfield Township, Perry County Ohio, where they arrived the latter part of August.
As I mentioned before, I do not feel confident about that wedding year or location. Of course, I can easily blame any possible discrepancies upon the source: a newspaper report. However, that won’t yield me the truth of the matter.

Yet, see that date? The one in the phrase, “who later died in 1825”? Who was it, I want to ask, who died in 1825? Does the writer mean to infer it was John’s wife, Sarah? It may not have been—not, at least, in that specific year. Could it have referred to Sarah’s father, William Ijams? If so, why would John be traveling that rugged pioneer turf in 1818 with his mother-in-law but not his father-in-law, if the man was still alive at that point?

There are some points at which a researcher may initially be overjoyed to discover a new genealogy resource, and yet, later discover that the thing invokes more questions than the answers it originally provided. Such may be the case with this man’s brief biography. And yet, I’m still grateful to have it. It provides a map to further treasure, if I can use its hints wisely.

Above left: Karl Bodmer, "Confluence of the Fox River and the Wabash in Indiana," watercolor, 1832; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. I did a quick search for John Jackson marrying 1816 with a 2 year spread in Belefontaine, St Louis, MO, and didn't get any good results. I put Bellefontaine in my genealogy software's gazateer, to find what county it was in in MO, and noticed that there is also a Bellefontaine in Logan county, OH. Perhaps the biographer got the 2 Bellefontaine's confussed. When I read that paragraph, I thought the 1825 death date was for Sarah, but it is something else to check out, because it isn't 100% clear.

    1. Thanks for taking a look at that marriage information. I don't doubt that John Jackson may have been in Bellefontaine--although I'll check that listing for Logan County, too, which is a good point--but I really have qualms about accepting that the marriage took place in Missouri. Yet, as I'll post in a few days, the Missouri connection may be traceable owing to his military service. One way or another, we'll find a way to figure this out.

  2. Oh finally I can post a comment. I have been trying forever!! I have to do a work around in order to comment on many blogger blogs. Okay here goes... LOL good thing I copied and saved.

    I am with you sister in digging LOL. Today I found the death certificate and it has my Carter as being born in Wake County. Uggg not anywhere near where he or his parents lived. Yet his draft card says Forsyth County. I know enough to pull your hair out right!?

    1. It all depends on who is reporting that "information," I've found. Frustrating, though. I've learned never to trust only one piece of evidence--gotta have two or three before I'll settle down and be convinced about it. Even headstones can get it wrong!

      Too bad about having to do that work around, Cathy. Glad you got through! Thanks for stopping by...and for persevering!

  3. Thank you for the warm welcome. I look forward to reading your posts!

    1. Jennifer, thanks for stopping by here. I certainly enjoyed reading your blog today.

  4. I read it as her father died also. So glad you have friends/relatives that had the same reference:)

    1. Always helps to have another set of eyes looking at it! It is rather enigmatic, isn't it? However, the document will tell...if I can find any!


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