Sunday, February 19, 2017

Research Plan ... What is a Research Plan anyway and why would I need to use one?

You may have heard from other researches that you should start with a research plan. However, you may not know what one is or what it looks like.

Put simply, a research plan is a list of resources that you want to look into while answering a specific question.   Using research plans help you focus your search, it keeps you on track, it also tells you what your ultimate goal is.

There are a few parts to a research plan including the goal you want to accomplish, the analysis of what you already know, and a list of sources and repositories that you want use to help you reach the goal, and even possible future research that may add to the list of sources.

There are many great resources on writing research plans available for free on the internet including the following:

Elizabeth Shown Mills 

Below is one of my research plans for my 2nd Great Grandfather John Guy Goodwin.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Goodwin Family - John, Mary, Felix

I was able to break through one of my walls yesterday.    My 2g grandfather John Guy "Papa" Goodwin, even though I have had his death certificate for a while which listed his parents as Felix Goodwin and Mary Hedgcoxe, I had a hard time linking John to his parents and I could not figure out why.  

John was born 10 June 1872 in Texas and died 25 Dec 1953 in Sierra Blanco, Texas.   John married Annie Wood 12 June 1893.   Their wedding certificate only listed their names, the clerk and the Rev who performed the marriage, no witnesses listed, no parents or birth information.  I could not find John in the 1880 census, no matter where I looked.    I was able to locate John and Annie in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 (John as a widower), 1940 (John as a widower), but not before this.  

I wanted to confirm that his parents were indeed Felix and Mary as well as his birth location.  However, I could not find this family together at all, the only thing I had to go on was his death certificate which named them as his parents.   I was able to locate a brother Felix G who was living with John and Annie in the 1900 census in Hickory, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) - this gave me hope, perhaps Felix G was named after their father.   Or perhaps the person who filled the death certificate for John thought Felix was his father when they were brothers.

Trying to research Felix and Mary Goodwin proved to be a bit of an issue, you see this name combination is not all that uncommon as it turns out.   But which set of these Felix and Mary were my 3g grandparents?

I started to look more at the Felix G Goodwin that I did know.   His birthday from the 1900 was Sept 1863, he would have been 9 years old when John was born, so he definitely was not John's father.   The census also listed Felix G as being born in Indiana while John was born in Texas.  There is a start, the family moved at some point between 1863 and 1872 from Indiana to Texas.    I started to piece together a timeline.

Sept 1863 - Felix G Goodwin was born in Indiana
Between 1863-1872 Goodwin family moved to Texas
June 1872 - John Guy Goodwin was born in Texas
June 1893 - John Guy Goodwin and Annie Wood were married in Collin, Texas
April 1900 - John Guy Goodwin & Annie along with Felix G were listed as living in Hickory, Indian Territory, (Oklahoma)
April 1910 - John Guy Goodwin & Annie were listed as living in Tarrant, Texas
1920 - John Guy & Annie were listed as living in El Paso, Texas
1924 - Annie died and was buried in Denver (what is she doing in Denver - that is another story)
1930-1953 - John Guy was listed as living in Hudspeth, Texas, where he died and was buried.

I found Felix Goodwin and Mary Hedgcoxe had married 1 Jan 1849 in Floyd, Indiana.  With Mary's "unusual" family name I was fairly certain I have the correct couple.   But finding Felix and Mary together in census records was a little bit more complicated, I could not find a Felix and Mary in Floyd county but did find other Felix and Mary Goodwin families in various locations in Indiana.

I started by searching the major websites (FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindmyPast, MyHeritage) for Felix G (the brother) in Texas and Oklahoma.   After 1900 I could not find him, I found several Felix Goodwin's however I could not determine which was was him, I was able to find several that were not.   Felix was listed as single in 1900, I found a Felix in 1910 but he was married with 2 children who would have been born before 1900.   I found a Felix who died in Dec 1872, that wasn't him either.    I found a link to a memorial on Find a Grave for the Felix who died in Dec 1872, he was buried in Collin, Texas.   Wait - hold the phone - I know that location - that is the same county where John and Annie were married in.   His memorial listed him as Felix George Goodwin spouse of Mary Ann Hedgcoxe, who had died and buried next to Felix in March 1880.   Also linked to Felix George and Mary were two additional children Maggie Mary Goodwin Herndon and Leroy M Goodwin.

I thought to my self, that his John's father and mother.    Now just to prove it.    I started looking for Felix George, Mary and Felix in the 1870 census.   I found the family in both 1870 and 1860 in Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana.    I also found that Felix registered for the Civil War Draft on 1 July 1863 in Clark, Indiana.   Although I was fairly sure that this was the correct Felix and Mary based on the location and the combination of Felix, Mary, and Felix, Maggie, Leroy, a new sister Fanny, and brother (in 1870) Oliver.    But John Guy was not born yet, so I started to think about what sources would link my John Guy to this family besides the death certificate and the one 1900 census with Felix G living with John.   Felix George had died when John Guy was less then 6 months old, then his mother died when he was 7, this means there must be guardianship papers for John Guy in Texas. Another search of Ancestry lead me to the Probate/Guardianship papers of Felix Goodwin who at the time was over 14 but not yet an adult when left as an orphan.

Within these 75+ pages there was one single paper that mentioned brothers John and Oliver.   Also within these pages was a request for guardian ship of Felix by a J.R. Herndon, but that was not the man married to their sister Maggie.   Additional reading found that the sisters refused guardianship of the three young boys Felix, Oliver and John.   J.R. Herndon turned out to be the brother of Maggie's husband Benjamin.    The older brother Leroy had actually died in Jan 1880 just 2 months prior to their mother.   J.R. Herndon's application for guardianship was denied, he did not meet the qualifications needed.    Guardianship of Felix was granted to J.W. Baines.   I next found the Probate/Guardianship papers of John Goodwin, age 7.   J.R. Herndon also applied to be guardian of John, but this request was denied too.   J.W. Baines was given guardianship of John as well.

I next found the Probate records of M.A. Goodwin, mother of Maggie, the late Fannie Goodwin-Gillespie (leaving her son Frank as heir), Felix, Oliver, and John.    M.A. Goodwin left an expansive farm of 2500+ acres spread across 5 counties in Texas, initially valued at $8000.   After Felix and John turned 21 years of age, each was given 320 acres of land which was held in Probate for them, 320 acres of land was given to Frank Gillespie held in Probate for him by his father W.C. Gillispie, and 320 acres of land was given to Maggie Goodwin Herndon and her husband Ben Herndon.   The rest of the estate was sold off and proceeds divided among the heirs.

My next research steps will include: searching for the guardianship papers of Oliver, the probate records of Felix George Goodwin, as well as tracking down what happened to the land passed onto John Guy, I also want to find out where Felix George and Mary were born - the 1870 census shows they were born in Indiana but the 1860 says they were born in Ireland.   But at least now I have the proof I needed linking my John Guy to his parents Felix George Goodwin and Mary Ann Hedgcoxe.

John Guy Goodwin
Born:  10 June 1872 in Collin, Texas
Died 25 Dec 1953 in Sierra Blanco, Texas