Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Berriman McLaughlin's Place -- Butler County, Pennsylvania

Butler County Pennsylvania is # 28 Jefferson County Ohio is just west of #12
about sixty miles on the National Road

    In genealogy, location is everything!  Without knowing the place where our ancestors lived we are like a rudderless boat.  For years I have pondered over where Berriman McLaughlin and his wife, Catherine were between 1799 when their second son was born in Hampshire County, Virginia and 1808 when Berriman appears in Jefferson/Harrison Counties, Ohio in land and tax records.

     Yesterday, August 3, 2014 I finally found him.  He was in Butler County, Pennsylvania on the1800 census.  Now you may ask "Pat, why didn't you see that before?  Census records abound in the world of genealogy."  The answer is, "I do not know. I can't explain it.  Unless it is because I didn't have a focused goal before and I didn't have a relentless attitude before."

     My new theory is that unless you have those two attributes for a brick wall person you won't find them, even under your own nose.  But because my new book is about Berriman McLaughlin, I had those two tools up front when I was at the Cheyenne Library yesterday.  I was focused on him.  I am not going to analyze my shortcomings any longer, I just want you to know I was puzzled as well.

     I found this when I walked past a book on the top shelf at the Library and it said, "Hey, I am over here, pick me up."  I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked and found Baryomon McLaughlin in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Another book had the AIS census data listed which showed him with two little boys under age five and a little girl under age 5.  That was his family make up in 1800 for sure.  (AIS means Accelerated Index System for United States censuses)

     I didn't find this until 4pm and they were closing at 5, it was terrribly cold in there, I was tired after looking at so many "other" books" getting background information for my book, and  I was ready to head  home.  I figured I would continue at home.  I still couldn't quite believe my good fortune.  With a place, now I could look for land, tax, vital records etc, etc.

     First on the agenda is to locate where this county is exactly, and when it became a county.  It was part of Alleghany County until 1810 when it was officially formed.  Another unknown thing is why was he listed in Butler County when it wasn't a county yet?  Probably some underlying thing about knowing in advance that a county would be eventually formed, and it would be called Butler? I never can answer all the questions in this business.

     Next I went to USGenWeb and looked at the Butler County website.  There was a database called Land Warrants and Patents. Why not take a peek here?  When you don't know anything about the person at all, you look at everything available.  And there he was ----  an ORIGINAL land owner in Butler County with a Warrant dated January 1804 and a Patent returned June 1804!! Berriman was born in 1776, so he was age twenty eight when he got this land warrant.  Just a young family man starting out in the only way possible, buying, developing, and living on cheap land. Of course, selling it and making a profit to buy land in Ohio is the next chapter.

     All of this led me to the Pennsylvania State Archives and learning about those first land records. Also, a way to order copies of the actual documents.  Need I tell you it was about midnight when I called it a day and went to bed.  My poor eyes were screaming at me, and my poor brain was fizzled.  BUT I am happy to report that I have my order ready to mail to the Pennsylvania State Achives this morning, in a few moments actually.  You will be the second to know as soon as I receive them.  Isn't life exciting?  In the meantime, I have to really get my book started now.

     Stay tuned, Patj

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