Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Robert Leroy Thompson brick wall

I posted several times back in January about my search for the ancestry of Robert Leroy Thompson (born 12 Aug 1880 in Huntland, Franklin County, TN, died 26 Sept 1965 in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC). He married Lillian Daniel (born about 1900) of Anderson County TN in about 1917. In some records, he is known as Leroy Thompson - no Robert.

The family had military records from World War I and memories from his four daughters, one of whom is still alive. The four daughters included Gwen Margaret Thompson (born 7 May 1921) and Lois Elizabeth Thompson (born 18 July 1926). After Robert left the Army, he attended college in Georgia and they reportedly lived in southwestern Virginia and in Kingsport, Sullivan County, TN where Lois was born.

Robert Leroy Thompson's parents, according to all the family records and the death certificate, were William A. and Lydia (Childress) Thompson. They had at least one other child - William Thompson - before Robert's birth. The family says that Lydia died when Robert was 3, and his father married again. The records also say that William A. Thompson's parents were William S. and Parthenia (Dean?) Thompson.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results. I'm going insane checking census records for these families. I cannot find ANY census record for any of these three families.

I started in the 1930 census, hoping to find Robert Leroy and Lillian Thompson somewhere with their daughters Gwen and Lois. There is one Robert L. Thompson married to a Lila living in Guilford NC with a young daughter, Hazel. I don't believe that this is the right family. I've tried looking for just the children, for each of them with either their given or middle name, etc. I've tried searching for just Robert (or Leroy) and Lillian, using wild cards and spelling variations, without success. They are just not in the 1930 census records with any of these names (now watch someone find them - of course, that's what I'm hoping for - I'm not that proud!).

I also can't find them in the 1920, 1910 or 1900 census records.

In the 1880 census, there are Thompson families in Franklin county TN, but none with a son William or parents William and Lydia Thompson. I've looked
for parents named William and Lydia and son William (using wild cards) without success.

In the 1870, 1860 and 1850 census, there are not entries for William and Parthenia Thompson - and alternative spellings, using wild cards, etc.

So there are 7 sets of census data without a hint of three generations of this family. What are the odds for that? If the chance of an incorrect census index entry is 20%, then 0.2 to the 7th power is 1 in 78,125. Those are pretty long odds!

Did this family change their name at some point? Did they hide from the census taker every year? Were they dropped off from a UFO?

This mystery is driving me crazy. I have not had this experience before.

Any other suggestions out there? Please share them - I need all the help I can get.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My research led me to find that William Thompson of Huntland, Franklin County Tn is my ggggg grandfather. His will was written about 1824, and I think that his descendants are documented in that area. Rodney Lucas