Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 6

In my last post about my search for records concerning Russell Smith and his purported father, David Smith, in Oneida County NY, I noted that I had ordered microfilms at the FHC for Will Abstracts and Deed Indexes of early Oneida County.

The films came in last week, and I spent two days reviewing them, with the following results:

1) Abstracts of Wills of Oneida County NY, 1798-1848. Volumes 1 and 2 (1798-1832) were on FHL US/CAN Film 0,851,122, Item 3. There were indexes for both Volumes 1 and 2 (I was confused because the index for Volume 2 was before the Volume 1 abstracts, and the index for Volume 1 was before the Volume 2 abstracts). Right now I am only searching for Smith, but the indexes helped identify persons named Smith mentioned in the will abstracts, and witnesses named Smith. Unfortunately, there were no David Smith or Russell Smith entries in the indexes. I copied all of the Smith entries onto my flash drive as JPGs using the microfilm scanner/computer system.

A typical will abstract looks like this:

p.338. JAMES SMITH of Remsen, Oneida Co.
Dated Feb. 8, 1811, Probated Aug. 17, 1812.
Mentions: wife Elizabeth, son: Seth, James, Joab, Oliver, Bohan; children of my dau Hannah Rogers, decd.
Executors: wife; son Bohan
Witnesses: Ezra Green, Enoch Rogers, Seth Smith
Signed: James Smith.

2) Deeds, 1791-1901, Oneida County NY. The Grantee Index for names Sm-V, 1791-1884 was on FHL US/CAN Film 0,364,854, and the Grantor Index for names Q-S, 1791-1884 was on FHL US/CAN Film 0,364,846. For reference purposes, the Grantee is the person who BUYS the property, and the Grantor is the person who SELLS the property.

These books have columns of information listed by year, including the first name(s), last name, other party, liber, page and date recorded.

The Grantee (Buyer) index had only two entries for a David Smith or a Russell Smith:

* Liber 12, Page 204 and 205; 1805, Sep 30; Grantee: David & Wait Smith &al; Grantor: John Murray.

* Liber 12, Page 607: 1087, May 23; Grantee Russell Smith; Grantor John Lansing Jr..

The Grantor Index (Seller) had quite a few entries for a David Smith or a Russell Smith:

* Liber 9, page 77: 1801, Sep 1; Grantor David Smith; Grantee Prosper Rudel.

* Liber 11, Page 158: 1803, May 14; Grantor David and Wait Smith &al; Grantee Ambrose Curtis.

* Liber 12, Page 418-420; 1806, Nov 4; Grantor David and Wait Smith &al; Grantee Samuel Potter.

* Liber 13, Page 521; 1806, Jan 21; Grantor David Smith &al; Grantee Orremon Tuttle.

* Liber 21, Page 561: 1812, Jun 10; Grantor Esther & Russell Smith; Grantee Henry Smith.

* Liber 23, Page 21: 1813, Jan 12; Grantor Esther & Russell Smith; Grantee Chas Leffingwell.

* Liber 27, Page 47: 1817, Apr 11; Grantor Esther & Russell Smith; Grantee Nehemiah Muscoll.

* Liber 27, Page 366: 1817, Sep 5; Grantor Esther & Russell Smith; Grantee Benjamin Rudol.

* Liber 30, Page 196: 1818, May 7; Grantor David Smith; Grantee Jos. Northrop &al.

* Liber 34, Page 372: 1822, Jun 8: Grantor David Smith by exrs; Grantee James Butter.

* Liber 35, Page 150: 1821, Sep 27; Grantor Ruth, widow of David Smith; Grantee James Barrow.

* Liber 36, Page 20: 1822, Jun 8; Grantor David Smith by exrs; Grantee James Butter.

* Liber 44, Page 489: 1827, Nov 12; Grantor Esther & James C. Smith; Grantee Wm Dayton.

The actual Deeds are on many microfilms (there are two volumes per microfilm for these years). I have ordered Volumes 11-12 on FHL US/CAN Film 0,364,861 because there are two deeds with David Smith as a party and one with Russell Smith as a party, including the only instances of them as Grantees (buying or receiving land). I'll order more next time. They cost $6.20 each now at the FHC for a 6 week rental.

There are several intriguing deed references here:

* Several deeds list David and Wait Smith - was Wait a brother, sister or wife of David Smith? Who are the &al? That usually means other family members are a party to the deed - perhaps this is a deed from David's wife's family.

* Several deeds list Russell and Esther Smith. This is the only original record I've found so far of a wife's name for Russell Smith, and it matches the name given in the obituaries for two of their sons. There is also the possibility that, since Esther Smith is mentioned by name as a Grantor (that means she signed the deed and perhaps released her dower rights) that the deed may be for land passed to Esther (and Russell?) by one of her family members.

This research process is long and slow because of the need to order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They are coming within 10 to 14 days, so I can use my time "waiting" by doing other research tasks. When I can read, copy and transcribe the deeds, I will get only several at a time, and I'll have to order more microfilms, wait awhile, and recycle the process over and over. This is, of course, how genealogy research was done before the Internet for every type of genealogy record! There is something to be said for having time to think about what research opportunity should be pursued next. The problem is that you get distracted and don't complete the task in a reasonable time.

There are three alternatives to doing this research by renting FHL microfilms and reading them in San Diego -

* Go to Oneida County NY and try to find and copy the records at the courthouse or other repository. Right now, it's too cold in Oneida County for me to do that! The airline and hotel costs would be high, but it would be fun (hi Apple!).

* Go to Salt Lake City and visit all of the microfilms in the Family History Library. This is by far the quickest way to get the answers, but there is a cost associated with this option also. This would be fun, too!

* Hire someone in either Oneida County or Salt Lake City to do the research in these records. My guess is that this task would take about 4 hours to complete, which would be cheaper than going to either place (say $200 in SLC, $100 in Oneida County). But that would take all the fun out of the search, wouldn't it? I'd rather do it myself, perform the happy dance at the FHC if I'm successful, or berate the genealogy gods if I fail.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

It is indeed cold! Utica is not anywhere near the top of my list of fun places to visit but there is always the brewery tour.