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Exploring My Ohio Roots

The recent release of seven Ohio webinars on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars site has me taking another look at my Ohio roots. I have four generations of Ohio relatives starting with the arrival of David Silver in the early 1800s. I've often wondered what tempted my ancestors to leave Maryland and head inland to Ohio.

Ohio is known as one of the most important states genealogically speaking because of its role as a migration state. Many people settled there or passed through on their way further west.

My Silvers followed an unexpected, at least to me, route in America. They arrived in the 1600s from Scotland and settled in New Jersey. Then the family moved to Harford County, Maryland in the years before the American Revolution. Finally, two sons, David and Amos moved to Ohio by 1809.

My Ohio ancestors were farmers, and while I've been able to find out basic information about them such birth and death dates and census enumerations they have been somewhat elusive to me. I'm very lucky that a book was published called Our Silver Heritage by Benjamin Silver. It does fill in dates and spouses as well as children for the various lines. Otherwise the information on my line is fairly scarce.

One of the most interesting and revealing documents that I was able to find about my Ohio ancestors was a 1850 US Census non-population schedule (agricultural) for Alpheus B. [listed as A.B.] Silver, son of David.  There are 41 entries of names on the page where he is listed and they read as who's who of the Silver family across 4 generations. I see the surnames for the wives in my Ohio Silvers - Kimmel, Barnes, Bair and Binkley. I can imagine how neighbors grew up together and married. It also makes me wonder how many of the other surnames on the page are also family members that I haven't been able to connect yet. The Ohio wives have been particularly tricky to trace.

Alpheus B. Silver
1850 non-populations schedule showing Alpheus B. [A.B.] Silver, courtesy of

In addition to names, the non-population census was revealing in other ways. Alpheus Silver was the second most prosperous farmer on the page with a farm cash value of $3500 in 1850. He had $203 worth of livestock and he was growing wheat, Indian corn, buckwheat and oats. He collected 130 pounds of wool from his sheep and made 300 pounds of butter. He also had an orchard and manufactured hay. I can almost imagine his farm and the amount of labor it would have taken to accomplish all that work.

Regrettably I came up empty when searching for newspaper records.

With the newly released Ohio webinars from Legacy, I now have more resources at my fingertips. These presentations cover probate and court records which I haven't looked into yet. I still have quite a ways to go!

How much success have you had with your Ohio ancestors? How many different types of records have you been able to find?


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After the death of my ggg-grandfather John Jeffers in Harrison County, Ohio, his land was divided among his heirs. The land record listed all eight of his children with their spouses and counties of residence. Since his will (given orally a few days before his death) had only listed two children, this was a treasure.


What a great find! And a great reminder that we need to check multiple records. Just think if you hadn't found that land record!


Similar to Dana but in a different set of records, after the death of my gg-grandfather's widow in Monroe County, Ohio, one of the younger sons (of their 17 children) filed a "friendly lawsuit" with his siblings or their descendants named as defendants. The court document contains the names of all the living children and their places of residence, where found, as well as the names of the children of the deceased siblings. This was especially helpful for the married names of daughters who had married before the 1850 census.

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