Monday, May 29, 2023

Initial Impressions


I've decided I'm not impressed with that annoying habit people had of listing their given names by initials only. For one thing, though the custom might have seemed so proper during a given era in our country's history, it makes finding ancestors more complicated on listings like census records. How was I to know, for example, that David Bardsley Jackson would list his name on the 1850 census—my first chance to discover a listing of all his children's names—as D. B. Jackson? Of course I wouldn't find him. I was having a hard enough time grasping that he no longer lived in Erie County, Pennsylvania, like the rest of his family. I wouldn't have thought to look at all the Jacksons in the country listed by their initials only.

Once again, to the rescue came those much-appreciated grandchildren of Lyman Jackson, my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandfather and father of the elusive David Bardsley Jackson. In this case, the particular grandchild was the Jackson family historian, Horace Mortimer Jackson—whom we first met when discovering his biographical sketch in an Atchison, Kansas, local history book—who led me to the right census entry. 

It wasn't even thanks to Judge Horace Jackson's manuscript that I found his father's 1850 census entry. It was simply thanks to searching for Horace in the 1850 census. That led me back to his childhood home in Illinois, where the head of the household was listed as D. B. Jackson. I took the liberty of rashly leaping to the conclusion that D. B. and David Bardsley were one and the same.

Speaking of Horace Mortimer Jackson and his manuscript reminds me that I am hoping his written account of the Jackson family history will clear up yet another run in with initials: that of Lyman Jackson's two other grandsons who were both named Cornelius Jackson. Though the Jackson manuscript only runs for forty four pages, it does pack a bunch of family history information. I've been working my way through the accounts and gleaning the particulars on names, dates, and locations. My next step will be to verify those details for myself with documentation.

While I'm working over that process in a more general way, though, I couldn't help take a peek to see whether Judge Jackson could provide any help with the two men known as C. H. Jackson. It's time to get the particulars on each one of those men. We'll take a closer look, tomorrow, to see whether this family history volume can be of any assistance on this one initial detail.

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