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24 July 2012

How to use Ancestry.com and their ‘suggested records’


Have you noticed the “suggested records” on the right side of the screen on Ancestry.com? Do you know how to use them? These suggestions can lead to new and fascinating discoveries or lead down the blind rabbit hole.  My example is the Schuler family of Lockport, Will County, Illinois. While researching for Genealogy: How to research family relationships from census records,part 4, the 1860 U.S. population schedule census index lists an Eliza  Shuler and Elizabeth Shuler. As a family historian, I want to place Eliza and Elizabeth in their correct family.

Next to the 1860 census index page for Eliza Shuler, the “suggested records” refer to the John Shuler family of Lockport, Illinois in 1850. Another suggestion refers to Elizabeth in the John Shuler family of Ottawa, Illinois in 1850. Can the family historian assume the suggestions are correct? Always search for more verification and documentation. These suggestions may be correct; these suggestions may be mixed up, these suggestions may be completely wrong.

Matching the 1860 and 1850 census indexes, reveals that the 1860 Eliza is the 1850 Elizabeth. Others in the same home in both censuses include John, Charles, and Mary. Family records identify Eufen in 1850 as Ann in 1860. The Schuler family has resided in Lockport, Illinois since 1840.

Who is Eliza Shuler, 17, servant to Stephen Douse? Could Elizabeth enumerated in the John Shuler home and Eliza the servant enumerated with Stephen Douse be the same person?  Is she working? What became of her after 1860? More research is needed to answer these questions.

21 July 2012

Who is Stephen Shuler in the 1860 U.S. census?


In the 1860 U.S. population schedule census, Stephen Shuler is enumerated with Ann Shuler. Who is Stephen Shuler? The census is for Lockport, Will County, Illinois. Stephen would have been born about 1859. During past interviews with family members, no one remembers an infant named Stephen.

The 1850, 1860, and 1870 U.S. censuses are relationship clues only. They do NOT state the relationship to the head of the house as found in future censuses. From the census page it is impossible to state that the seven names below Ann Shuler are her children. Other documents offer relationship information that John, Elizabeth, Charles, Mary, Caroline, and Agnes are her descendents. But, who is Stephen?

Several possibilities:
  • ·         Stephen died as an infant. Infant graves have been found, but none are unaccounted.
  • ·         In 1870, Stephen Kirchner lived in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The Kirchner surname pops up while researching collateral kin. Could this be a relative visiting the home?
  • ·         Eunice Gooding, 43, was enumerated next to Ann Shuler, 41, they be neighbors and friends? The Schuler property on Madison Street, Lockport, was originally owned by Gooding. This researcher has linked a Stephen Gooding to the Lockport family. Could this be the neighbor child playing next door at the Shuler home?
  • ·         Remember, Ann’s native language is German. She may not have understood the enumerator’s question.


The answer to this question is very elusive. But as a researcher, I must NOT jump to conclusions and say that Stephen is the son of Ann. For further census research suggestions, read How to research family relationships from census records, part 4. The four articles on Examiner.com demonstrate how to construct families using digital census records. My Schuler family is the example.