David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Search Engines!

Not long after I got married, about 28 years ago, I found a bound "family history" book at a discount store here in town. I thought it was one of the greatest things I had ever seen. It started with a record of our marriage, and then it took my husband and me through each of our family trees. I was pretty lucky. I knew the names of my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. For many people, that is a lot of information. But, after I filled out those names and what dates I knew, I still had quite a few blank spots to fill. Back then, my resources were pretty limited as to where I could find further information. I remember asking my paternal grandmother about her lineage and she told me her grandmother was a "Jacks". She couldn't remember much more.

Fast forward to 2002 and the availability of a myriad of resources on the internet and genealogy CD-rom programs.

I don't enjoy driving and I'm limited to the amount of time I can actually research outside my home, so the internet has been my lifeline to my family history research.

I was able to find out from my aunt that my 2nd great grandmother's first name was "Ella". So, armed with the knowledge that I had an ancestor named "Ella Jacks" I headed for my free trial membership at one of the first genealogy websites. Lo and behold, I found her with her husband , Eli, and her father and mother in law, Elkanah and Catherine Jacks. They were living in Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio, so I knew for sure it was them. Now, I had more names to search, but the census records gave me only so much info.

I headed for the message boards, trying to link up with distant "Jacks" cousins. In short order, I began to discover the entire "Jacks" family tree.

At that point, search engines became even more valuable. Searching for an uncommon name like "Elkanah" seemed like it had some very good potential for return. I wasn't disappointed. I discovered that Heritage Pursuit had several vintage history books, printed, in full, online. In The History of Clinton County, Ohio, by Beers, 1882, I found a particularly interesting story.

from the History of Clinton County, 1882
Mrs. Catharine Jacks came into the township in 1818. She was born in Woodford County, Ky., March 15, 1795, and died in Richland Township June 25, 1880. She was the daughter of Timothy and Betsey (Hoblit) Bennett, who moved to Warren County in 1800, and to Clinton County in 1801, where they located on a farm east of Wilmington. Catharine married Joseph Doan in September, 1813, and moved with him to Indiana, where they remained until 1818, when they came to Richland Township, settling on the McClintock farm where Mr. Doan died September 2, 1825, leaving seven children. On the 7th of May, 1826, Mrs. Doan married Elkanah Jacks, by whom she had five children. Her first husband came to Richland Township from North Carolina in 1810.

Mrs. Doan married Elkanah Jacks. Okay. Catherine was married once before she married Elkanah. Check. And she was the daughter of Timothy Bennett and Betsey Hoblit. HOME RUN! Two more names, two more ancestors.

The next thing I found, IN THE SAME BOOK was this paragraph:

Union Township-Timothy Bennet is credited with being the first to locate a home within the limits of what is now Union Township, having settled east of the site of Wilmington in the month of March, 1801. No other family arrived for over two years, or until the fall of 1803, when George Haworth became the second settler in the township.

What? My 5th great grandfather was the FIRST settler in Union Township, Clinton County, Ohio. Hey, doesn't that qualify me to be a member of The First Families of Clinton County?

Guess I had better join the genealogical society there. (Which I soon did!)

I found Timothy and Betsey's children in history books in Tazewell County, IL, which led me to finding their gravesites on findagrave.com.

You see how it works? Sometimes, you have to get creative in the manner in which you search, but you won't find anything unless you look for it! Seek and Ye Shall Find!


  1. BTW did I say Thank you? Thank you my friend.
    This is a great post. I love the way you map out how you researched the subject and where you found information. So true, seek and ye shall find...sometimes, it takes patience. ;-P

  2. Lori,
    I got a thrill just reading about your first searches. Very similar to mine, except I dinna mind driving and am out and about ----- but in the back reaches of civilization. Well not really, but enough so that the internet is my friend. Seek and Ye Shall find --- ancestors and friends.

  3. So true. You never know what you'll find until you seek. I found a family history book on one of my lines and imagine my suprise to find myself in it! Apparently I went seeking and found myself!

  4. You have expressed so well the fun and the thrill of the search and how one "aha" moment can lead to more "aha" moments. Love it!

  5. ...and I am so glad to find you and your blog. Your family history search is like so many... doors and windows just keep opening to new stories. Good luck as you find your way through each one!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your comments! Your encouragement means so much! I love the geneabloggers community. Reading your stories just makes me want to learn more about my own family.