The Lowest Branch of the Family Tree

Govanstown Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

Now that I’m comfortably sure I have the right man, I’m off to Ancestry for the basic grunt work – this is actually my favorite part! Put in a name and see what magic happens. Sometimes you get absolutely nothing and sometimes you get the whole family line. It’s like Christmas – will Santa give you the underwear you need or the IPod you want?

Once on Ancestry, I decided to create a family tree for Samuel, so I put in my known information for Samuel N. Whittle, born about 1842. This is based on the age 50 listed in his 1892 obituary. Place of birth was loaded as Baltimore, Maryland since I don’t know if he was born in Towson, where his mother died, or if I will just find him in Baltimore County. Death date: 7 Oct 1892 in Allegheny City, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. I determined the County by doing a Google Search for Allegheny City and looking at the Wikipedia entry. I found that Allegheny City existed from 1788-1907 and is now part of the North Side of Pittsburgh. He went long way from his home in Baltimore, to fall out of a window!!!

I had no paternal information to put in, so I skipped over to his mother and entered her as Eliza, with no Surname and a birth date of about 1816 in Baltimore, Maryland, along with her death date and place from her obituary. After moving through the next few screens I was back on the Pedigree page and found the “Shakey Leaf” for an Ancestry hint. One entry popped up for the 1880 census for Samuel A. Whittle, and mother Eliza with a residence in Towsontown, Baltimore, Maryland. At the bottom of the page, line 47, I found the Head of the Household Eliza Whittle age 64 (b. abt 1816), Samuel N. age 37 (b. abt 1843) listed as her son. The initial is an N and the transcriber merely made an error with the A. Also in the home is Grand Daughter Clara M. age 14 (b. abt 1866) and Grand Daughter Maggie S. age 11 (b. abt 1869) both born in Maryland. Samuel is listed as a Plasterer and both he and Eliza are listed as Widowed.1

1880 Federal Census for Samuel N. Whittle
1880 Federal Census for Samuel N. Whittle

A quick check of the next page shows six more members of the household that are Boarders. All six men are in the construction trade and probably work with or for Samuel. I make a note of the names in case any of them appear later. It is possible they are related in some way to Samuel. There could easily be a Brother-In-Law or Cousin in the group. Looking two pages in front and two pages to the rear of the main entry showed no other Whittles. I accepted the census record to Samuel and moved on.

Searching from the Family Group page in Ancestry brought up no other entries. A basic search from the main search page for Samuel Whittle brought up no other entries for my guy so it’s time for a different style of searching.

Future Research
  • Newspaper search for Pittsburgh papers on 7-10 Oct 1862 for the fall from the window
  • Baltimore City Directories for Samuel Whittle to see if he owned his own business

1. 1880 U.S. census, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, Towsontown, enumeration district (ED) 246, p. 10 (handwritten), dwelling 13, family 13, Samuel N. Whittle; digital image, Ancestry ( : accessed 28 Sep 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 496.

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