Dangling From A Tree Limb

Govanstown Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

As I said earlier, Samuel Whittle has been an exercise in patience. The census records are usually our best bet for tracking someone through their life span, but Sam has been a tough nut to crack. To recap, we found Sam on the 1880 Federal Census by the “leaf” on Ancestry, and then on the 1870 by using the wildcard search Sam* Whit*. I was still at a loss on the 1860 and 1850 census.

I tried searching by the individual census year using his full name, the first wild card, and then by dropping to Sam* Whi*, but there were too many individuals and nothing that jumped. I switched to names and options that might have led to mis-indexing. I tried the spellings that looked close visually: Wittle, Whiffle, Whistle, Whissle, Whillle, Whillie, and countless others. There are an amazing number of Whiffles in Maryland!!!! I tried Samuel, Sam and Saml. I then tried searching for Samuel, Sam, and Saml with no last name and just scanning – way too many options for that to be productive.

I even tried Heritage Quest Online through the Pima County Public Library System. There was no match for Samuel on the 1860 Federal Census. The reason to check with Heritage Quest is that it may have been seen differently by the person creating the index. If the name was transcribed wrong by the folks that did the transcription from Ancestry, you might never find it. However, if someone else did the transcription for Heritage Quest they might have done it correctly. Most libraries have Heritage Quest Online as do the Family History Centers so you should always check for your lost people on both it and Ancestry.

Unable to find Samuel, I tried Eliza Whittle and promptly found her on the 1860 census.1 She appears at age 42, living with Elizabeth Whittle, age 74. Both are Seamstress and Elizabeth Whittle is born in Pennsylvania. I’m still holding to my best guess that Elizabeth is most probably her mother-in-law. I added Elizabeth to the Whittle family tree with a husband on Unknown2 Whittle as I had made Eliza’s husband (Samuel’s Father) Unknown1. I was not able to find Eliza’s 1850 census record at that time.

I decided to follow Elizabeth Whittle for the moment and see if she appeared in 1850. I found her enumerated as Elizabeth Wittle and also found the rest of the family – enumerated in the same dwelling as Wigle.2 How they got from Whittle to Wigle is beyond me, but no wonder I could not find them.

1850 Census For Elizabeth Whittle
1850 Census For Elizabeth Whittle

The very first thing that strikes me when I look at the record is – still no men!!! Where are the Whittle men? The record does not give me a marital status, but they listed themselves as widowed on later census records.

We can now add Susannah Barber and her probable daughters Lucretia and Amanda E. into the mix. I would guess that Susannah is the daughter of Elizabeth Whittle and living at home with her two young daughters. More missing men!!!!! I’m telling you – you do not want to be a male Whittle!!! Even Samuel and Charles are missing in 1860!!!

1. 1860 U.S. census, Baltimore, Maryland, population schedule, District 9, p. 93 (Handwritten), dwelling 624, family 611, Eliza Whittle; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Oct 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 468.
2. 1850 U.S. census, Baltimore, Maryland, population schedule, District 1, p. 456, dwelling 3224, family 3225, Elizabeth Whittle; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 28 Sep 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 280.

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