Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do Some Random Research

Hey genealogy buffs - it's Saturday Night and time for more Genealogy Fun!  Play along with us and tell us about it.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to follow Chris Staats' rules (from Freaky Friday: Random Research Reports)  for picking a random person's name and then doing some online research about that person.  Here are Chris's rules:

1. Go to The Random Name Generator and click the red “Generate Name” button at the top of the screen

2. Go to and enter your generated name in the search box on the main search page. [Randy's add:  If you don't have, go to and do it there - it's free.]

3. From the results, your research target will be the first census result for your generated name.

4. Using whatever online resources are at your disposal, see what else you can discover about your random person and write about it. It can be a formal report complete with footnotes, or just a “research story” about what you tried, problems you overcame, or success you had. Maybe you want to create a research plan for practice?

5. Post about it on your blog or wherever you wish, and link here to tell Chris about it.  Tell Randy about it too as a comment here or a comment on Facebook or Twitter.

Here's mine:

1)  My random name was "Johnie Stanley."

2)  I was surprised to see that Ancestry had quite a few matches in the US Census records with exact matching of first and last names.

3)  The first census record was for the 1930 US Census, and the first person named "Johnie Stanley" was: Johnie E. Stanley - male, white, age 59, married to Mirtie for 27 years, born North Carolina, parents born NC/NC, a farmer, residing in Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina  (Year: 1930; Census Place:  IngramsJohnstonNorth Carolina; Roll:  1701; Page:  8A; Enumeration District:  19; Image:  744.0.)  The indexer misindexed his first name - it is clearly "Johnnie."

4)  I found these additional records on

a)  1920 US Census: Johnie E. Stanley - male, white, age 49, married to Merta," born NC, parents born NC/NC, a farmer, residing in Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina (Year: 1920;Census Place:  IngramsJohnstonNorth Carolina; Roll:  T625_1307; Page:  10B; Enumeration District:  52; Image:  472.)

b)  1910 US Census: Jonie E. Stanly - male, white, age 39, first marriage, for 9 years, born NC, parents born NC/NC, a farmer residing in Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina (Year: 1910; Census Place: Ingrams, Johnston, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1119; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 49; Image: 134. ).  The indexer misindexed this name - it is clearly "Johnie Stanly"

c)  1900 US census:  John E. Stanly - white, male, born Jun 1870, age 29, single, born NC, parents born NC/NC, a farm laborer, son of William R. and Sarah Stanly, residing in Four Oaks, Johnston County, North Carolina (Year: 1900; Census Place:  Four OaksJohnstonNorth Carolina; Roll:  T623_ 1202; Page:  11A; Enumeration District:  57.)

d)  1880 US Census:  John E. Stanly - white, male, age 9, single, born NC, parents born NC/NC, at home, son of William R. and Sarah Stanly, residing in Ingram, Johnston County, North Carolina (Year: 1880; Census Place:  IngramJohnstonNorth Carolina; Roll:  969; Family History Film:  1254969; Page:  431D; Enumeration District:  161; Image:  0397.)

e)  1870 US Census:  1870 US Census:  John E. Stanly is not born as of 1 June 1870.  The Ruffin Stanly family resided in Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina with the same wife's name (Sarah) and all children appeared in the 1880 census (Year: 1870; Census Place:  IngramsJohnstonNorth Carolina; Roll:  M593_1145; Page:  415A; Image:  208; Family History Library Film:  552644.).

f)  John Ruffin Stanley died 11 Feb 1951 in Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina.  He was white, age 80, birth date 13 October 1870, parents were William Ruffin Stanley and Sallie Blackman, residence Ingrams, Johnston County, North Carolina ( North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.).

g)  The Proffitt-Penny Family Tree on Ancestry Public Member Trees includes John E. Stanly - he was married to Myrtle Benson.  This tree takes the Stanley line back several generations.
h)  There are no family trees on Rootsweb WorldConnect that have John/Johnie Stanley/Stanly or his father in them.
i)  I found no matches on GenealogyBank for Johnie Stanley or Stanly for this particular person.
j)  I found no matches on for this particular person.
k)  With most of the above information, I found the marriage record for J.E. Stanley to Myrtle Benson on 14 April 1901 in Ingrams township, Johnston County, North Carolina ( online database: North Carolina Marriages, 17y59-1979).
Not bad for 45 minutes!  Thank you, Chris, for a fun research time.


RAH said...

Hi Randy,

I had a go on my blog

A good way to avoid doing some housekeeping on the database!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Actually, Randy, I did this a week ago today (well, nearly so, at least). I got note from someone, and it referenced a KINNICK relative that I only had the man and woman as a married couple on my database. I posted it on my Surnmane blog, THE KINNICK Project:
Bill ;-)

Donna Hansen Peterson said...

Hi Randy,
Thanks for the fun! See my blog at

Caro said...

Hi Randy, What a great idea. You can see my post at:

JenS said...

Hi Randy,
This was actually quite interesting & I'm now very curious about my random person. My post is here:

Mavis said...

I'm late but my efforts can be found at Random Research