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21 April 2018

Harriet Newell Dickson or Dixon 1814-1894 one lady with an remarkable family

Harriet Newell Dickson or Dixon 1814-1894, which is correct? Both! Death date on Find a Grave proclaims 20 May 1895. Death date in her will reads 25 May 1894. Is this one lady or two? One! Start with the obvious, ha, ha. Harriet married John Sindel or Sindle in 1830 or 1831. Everything has to be placed in history. Many people including census enumerators were poor spellers. Many people had accents and English was not their first language. How does the researcher make any judgment calls?

For every event, date, location, and relationship, ask, “How do I know that…?” Keep looking; try not to use one source only! New information comes to light daily both digitally and in paper boxes! Patti Lee Hobbs in an APG webinar “Better Together: Making Your Case with Documents and DNA” expects the researcher will do an exhaustive research of common records. These records include probate, land, vital, court and tax. The webinar was held in April 2018 and may be viewed at Legacy Family Tree webinars.

Different documents carry different weight. My example, Harriet’s digitized probate of her will carries more weight than a 1906 book which may have an error from the information gathering to the author to the typeset. Yet, a printed book from 1906 is better than an abstract of the chapter from that book. The will was transcribed into the Ohio probate court book. Hopefully the transcription is correct. This is not the will written in Harriet’s own hand. The historian would expect the date to be correct, at least the year. So a check of the records before and after read 1894.

Remember, no one sets out to purposely make errors whether in a family tree or a legal document! It is up to the family historian to gather all the past information and present a logical conclusion based on the evidence for that event in that date and time. As new information becomes available, the conclusion may change or be stronger.

Harriet’s page on Find a Grave provides an obituary and the mention of a book by Estill Sindel. As of the writing of this blog, I was not able to locate either. What information do I have? See Roots Digger tree on Ancestry. Where did I find it and my personal conclusions?
My choice for surname is Dickson. Both Dixon and Dickson are used interchangeably. The reasons I chose Dickson over Dixon for this article include the Ohio marriage registry, and in mother’s will, James Dickson was a witness. The 1870 LaSalle County, Illinois, census uses Dickson. Many other census and books list Dixon as his given name. As a researcher, we find many variations of surname spellings.  James Dickson witnessed Harriet’s will. Question, what is the relationship between James and Harriet? How is Dickson or Dixon’s name recorded in the LaSalle County, Illinois, land records? This question means that I may want to plan a road trip to LaSalle County, Illinois, to search for land records.
Will Records, 1853-1899; General Index, 1853-1972; Probate Place: Fulton, Ohio.

Death date of 25 May 1894 was chosen because of the probated will. Please look at my Roots Digger tree on Ancestry. Will Records, 1853-1899; General Index, 1853-1972; Probate Place: Fulton, Ohio. Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Ohio County, District and Probate Courts.

Recommended books on this Sindel family:
Google books: Hoffman, U. J. History of LaSalle County, Illinois: Together With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Prominent and Leading Citizens and Illustrious Dead. Chicago: the S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906.  accessed 18 April 2018

Mikesell, Thomas, ed. County of Fulton: A History of Fulton County, Ohio, from the Earliest Days, with Special Chapters on Various Subjects, Including Each of the Different Townships; Also a Biographical Department. Madison, Wisconsin: Northwestern Historical Association. 1905.accessed 17 April 2018 on

My connection to Harriet Nowell Dickson Sindel, she is the mother-in-law of the first cousin of the husband of my second great-aunt. Yes, I enjoy the hunt. More directly my relationship,
Mary Jane ARMSTRONG (1864 - 1906)
2nd great-aunt
Mary Jane BAKER (1841 - 1875)
mother of Mary Jane ARMSTRONG
Laura Eleanor ARMSTRONG (1856 - 1931)
daughter of Mary Jane BAKER
Nettie Ethel COUCH (1884 - 1965)
daughter of Laura Eleanor ARMSTRONG
Mildred Louise SCHULER (1919 - 2008)
daughter of Nettie Ethel COUCH
Selma Ethel KAMPE
You are the daughter of Mildred Louise SCHULER

As a researcher, always ask yourself, how do I know that? Where did the information come from? Please share your information and conclusions. Thank you!

Happy tree climbing and roots digging! Selma