Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One more small bit of information

I've been trying to find more information about my Devier J. Lanphear alias Smith in Dodge County, Wisconsin, where he lived from about 1843 to about 1867. I figured out (finally) that if I could find a land deed or a tax record in the 1857-1867 time frame that I might be able to figure out when he turned age 21, and therefore if he was born in 1839 or 1842 (I have two different original source records with those dates, although all of the derivative source and secondary information records indicate 1838-1840).

It turns out that the vital records, probate, tax and land records (and presumably other court records) for Dodge County burned in 1877. Oh well! I wondered why there weren't any microfilmed records for this time frame in the Family History Library Catalog (although there is an undated land records index book that I need to see).

What other resources are there for Dodge County? I found the Dodge/Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society website that has collected quite a bit of information for the 19th century, including newspaper clippings, cemetery listings, etc.

I clicked on the Burnett township cemetery listings for Burnett Corners Cemetery (Section 20 NW), and checked for SMITH, and there is Devier's adopted mother, Mary (Bell) Smith, who died 12 May 1865, aged 60 years, 19 days at death, the wife of R. Smith (that's Ranslow) in row 9. The death date matches the family paper information that I have handed down over four generations, so I know it is her (there is another Mary Smith who died 25 December 1864, aged 58 years, 7 days).

I still haven't solved my "missing land and tax records" problem, but I've added one more small piece to my ongoing Smith puzzle. I'm going to write a query to the Dodge/Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society asking for advice. If anybody has information about 1857-1867 land and tax information for Dodge County, Wisconsin, please contact me at rjseaver@cox.net.

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