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January 24, 2014


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Thanks so much for these insights on how you do your family tree. They are so helpful. I learn from what you do.

Geoff, I have used the State Census of New York for my
William Wright Williams. Nice information on his children but can't put him with his parents in
Sullivan County New York. He died across the Delaware in
Wayne County PA in 1888. I even found his family burial site.
I also am letting him rest for awhile.

I love how you provide us with all these tips and show the images, but is there any way the images can be clearer?

WOW, Geoff, I learn something new each time I listen to you. You can find the list of the States and the Years that they conducted a State Census here:


Eunice - yes, click on the image to enlarge it.

Reply to Grace. Click on the image and it will be enlarged making it clearer.

Thank you so much Geoff! I am listening to the CD's and learning so much! Legacy 8 is fantastic! I've recommended it to my cousin in Texas! Have a happy day!


I have no knowledge about your previous research.
So, some inquiries?
Which is his birth surname: Riley or Williams? It is possible that he was not truthful when he filled out the Civil War Pension form stating that he enlisted as Riley, but Williams was his real name.
Some background- NO one in mid-19th century New York City would take an Irish name by choice. The Irish that immigrated were mostly Druid and spoke Gaelic, but no English. They were largely from the outlying areas of Ireland and they were farmers without job skills that easily transferred to an urban environment. Signs in business windows advertising available employment stated "No Irish". Free African-Americans were more desirable as employees.
Eventually he, or his whole family caught on and changed their surname.
Yes, they might have moved to Buffalo to escape this extreme prejudice and to make their transformation complete. They would have found more acceptance in Buffalo with the large number of Irish who stayed after the completion of the Erie Canal. They may have been disgusted by the amount of snow! So, they moved back to NYC.
Is it possible that he was an immigrant?
He could have lied about his birth place. Even his birth date may have changed depending on what was expedient. In a 19th century census my great-grandfather is listed as born in Ireland. This was NOT true. I have an ancestor with a grave monument stating that she was an immigrant from Germany? This is NOT true.
It was quite normal for a 10 year old to have free-range of the city. During colonization, especially on the frontier, it was normal for a boy to go shoot supper starting at age 7 or 8 yrs. old. When my own grandfather was orphaned in early 20th century NYC, he went to work in Manhattan at EIGHT years old in order to help support his family; he was a newsboy.I am a native of New York City; at ten I daily took a NYC public bus to school (I went to a private school.) during rush hour by myself.
Also, it is possible that he immigrated alone! (Yes, that happened a lot and he may have done that at ten. The whole family might have come in stages.)
Starving boys and men were lured into enlisting in the Army as they came off the boat. Though they were promised THREE meals a day, that usually wasn't the reality.
My first inclination is that that he is an Irish immigrant with a lot of Blarney in him.

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