Wednesday, January 9, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Finding Samuel Johnston Challenge

This is my second year working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I have enjoyed writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I have been working on this brick wall for many years. A blog post from 23 January 2014, sums up what I knew about the family.

Since that post, I’ve collected tax and land records for Samuel in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. By figuring out who his neighbors were, I might discover where he was previously before Mississippi. His children were born in Alabama, but I have no idea yet which county.

Here is the land mapped out for Samuel and his neighbors. He purchased his piece of land from Isaac Pearson/Person on 31 March 1856.[1] In the 1854 tax list, his neighbors were listed using the description of their land.[2]

So what I’m doing now is creating a neighborhood to find families to research. One way is to record the ten families listed before Samuel in the 1850 census and ten families after him. I’m using a spreadsheet and did the list for the 1860 census as well. One key could be families who also have children born in Alabama in the 1840s, just as the children of Samuel and Elizabeth Johnston. Perhaps they came from the same location.

The reason to expand this study is families were tied together in kinship, either by blood or some other way. It made traveling to new places safer. Working together gave them a chance to succeed. It is likely that neighbors who live near him could be kin, but kin with surnames I’m not familiar with yet.

This next week, I’m attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy taking the Advanced Southern Research course. Our pre-class homework was to do this community study, creating the spreadsheet of the census records and beginning the process to research Samuel’s FAN club.* I’m looking forward to learning some techniques to help me with this challenge.

[1] Mississippi, Yalobusha Co Deeds, Bk P, p 638, J.O. Pearson to Samuel Johnston, FHL film 891096.
[2] "Mississippi State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951," Yalobusha Co, County Tax Rolls 1854, Box 3964, p 57, Saml Johnson, digital image, FamilySearch (, FHL digital 4857892.
* FAN club (Friends, Associates & Neighbors) was coineded by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Copyright © 2019 by Lisa S. Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

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