Monday, September 5, 2011

Finding your ancestors in the U.S. Census

The census can be one of the best places to find your ancestors. In the 1790 - 1840 the census only included the heads of household. But, from 1850 - 1930 the census included all members of the household and a variety of other useful information.

Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, so most people will not be able to locate ancestors. The 1940 census will be available in mid April 2012, but will not include an index at first.

Always look for the latest census available for your ancestor, then work backwards. Looking in the census will provide you with a location for your ancestor so you can then search for other records in that location.

Be aware that census enumerators did not always get the information correct. Sometimes they were told wrong information and sometimes they wrote down the information incorrectly or how they thought a name should be spelled. So when you look in the indexes and don't find your ancestors don't give up. Try different surname spellings and keep an open mind about how your ancestor may be listed. Also, try different indexes from different companies.

Here is an example, my Great-Great-Grandfather Curtis Alexander Galttana is found in the 1870 census indexed with the name Goltahne. But, another company indexed it as Goltatine, which is the way I read it.
I was able to find Curtis Galttana because he was listed directly below his brother-in-law on the census. Which is another tip you should always do, when you find an ancestor on the census always look at the whole page and a few pages before and after to see if other family was living nearby. Many times families lived near each other.

This census also shows his occupation, which was a salt maker. He was working for his brother-in-law who owned the salt mine.

Searching the census is a great way to learn about your ancestors. Such as, name, age, spouse, children, occupation, home value, immigration dates, other marriages and much more. has recently announced the addition "of the complete U.S. Census to its already billion-record-strong database." Remember the census started in 1790 and currently  runs through 1930.

Thanks to geneabloggers for having a contest to win a year membership with

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday - John Galttana arrested for "Intoxicating Liquors"

Imagine my surprise when I found this article on my Great Grandfather John Galttana from Texas in1922.

Apparently, my grandfather and Mr. Miller were arrested for "possessing intoxication liquor for the purpose of sale"

I can just imagine my ggrandfather John Galltana and Mr. Miller sitting in the front of the wagon with their "load" tucked under blankets in the back, while driving their horses down Weatherford Road in Fort Worth.

My cousin (once removed from my Hardee side) Mary Galttana told me that her husband, "Bill" Galttana (also my first cousin once removed from the Galttana side) had told her about when the police came to the house and searched for the still. Bill was about eight years old and was scared to death with all the commotion. He said the police found the still and took it apart and hauled it away.

When I was in Fort Worth I went to the courthouse and asked how to get information on this and the lady took my name and number and said she would call me, but never did. I need to follow up on this because I would love to find out what happened. Did he serve time?

I had been told by family that John Galttana liked to party. The family would take the wagon to town and then the kids would be tucked into bed under blankets in the back of the wagon and then John would go off to party. I do not know if his wife, Mary Jane went with him or stayed with the kids. Then the next day they would pick up their supplies from town and head back home.

Here is the article transcribed:
Fort Wort Star Telegram Dated Jan 22, 1922, page 5

Thirty Gallons of Liquor and Still Captured
Thirty gallons of corn whisky loaded on a wagon which S.E. Miller and J.C. Galttana admitted was enroute to Fort Worth, were it was to have been sold, were confiscated on the Fort Worth-Weatherford road Saturday afternoon by Constable A. B. Carter of Azle and Constable  J. C. Payne of Newark.
Charges of possessing intoxicating liquor for the purpose of sale were filed in the Justice Court against Galttana and Miller. In statements they made to Assistant District Attorney Will R. Parker they admitted that it was "two run" corn and that they had intended it for the Fort Worth market.
A fifty-gallon still was taken by the officers. It was in Parker County near the county line and is believed to have been used in making the thirty gallons of confiscated liquor. It was still warm indicating that the thirty gallons had just been made.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sports Center Saturday - Lee Hefley Football Player

Lee Hefley
This is a photo of my grandfather Lee Hefley from 1935. He played football for Downs High School in Downs Kansas. He also played basketball and ran track. From looking at the background of this photo I would guess this photo was taken on the farm owned by his parents John and Grace Hefley.

Seems Lee started a life long love of sports as his son played football, basketball and ran track too.
Lee's son, ready for football

The love of sports has continued in my son too. He has played baseball, basketball, football, soccer and ran track. He currently plays his favorites sports of ice hockey and lacrosse.

Lee's grandson, ready for hockey.  Photo from 2003.