Wednesday, May 24, 2023

But First, a Detour . . .


Family history research progress is never as straightforward as we would hope. While settling on a strategy of learning more about Lyman Jackson, my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandfather, by searching for biographical sketches of his many grandsons, I hit an unexpected jag which bumped me onto a detour. Well, make that two detours. At any rate, let's take a few days to review some additional resources I found  for this extended Jackson family.

Remember the judge we found in Atchison County, Kansas? The one whose biographical sketch contained some gems tucked alongside a few disputable genealogical legends? Apparently, Judge Horace Mortimer Jackson not only ensured that details of his family history were preserved in his biographical sketch in History of Atchison County, Kansas, but that a fuller account be preserved through his own efforts.

Apparently, the judge wrote his own Jackson family history, a forty-four page typewritten manuscript which he called The Family History of Michael Jackson. And you know I wanted to get my hands on a copy.

Though I didn't know the date when it was written—I was looking for public domain material with hopes to see posted copies freely available online—I tried my hand at searching for the book on Internet Archive.

No luck there.

I did, however, discover that there was a copy housed at You know how that goes: the collection is so large that sometimes, looking for a specific, puny, single item means it can get lost in the shuffle. A very big shuffle.

There was a delightful interlude, thankfully, which presented itself in the form of yet another research detour. Apparently, a very generous—and thorough—blogger named Peter J. Clarke set up a website which he dubbed Irish-American Family Histories. I noted with glee his subtitle: "Free Irish Genealogy eBooks."

A Google search led me to the section in his extensive directory which contained clickable links to all family history entries for surnames beginning with the letter I through M. Quickly scrolling to the section for J, I found exactly what I was looking for: the judge's manuscript.

Yes, it was at FamilySearch, as I had already suspected, but by utilizing Peter Clarke's guide, I was led directly to the right online spot in the enormous holdings at FamilySearch. Thus, I now have the chance to read the entirety of Horace Jackson's manuscript for myself, and explore what he discovered about all the other sons and daughters of Lyman Jackson.

With that tool now in hand, perhaps tomorrow, I'll be better equipped when I revisit the other detour I encountered yesterday: searching for the Uncle Abner mentioned in Lyman's grandson Lysander Jackson's biographical entry we found the other day. Apparently, once I discovered his name, Abner was not that difficult to find—and was someone else who led me to more information on Lyman Jackson's extended family.

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