Every genealogist knows that land ownership maps can provide a wealth of information on where ancestors lived and clues as to how they lived plus innumerable other benefits. When I pulled up the 1860 Landownership map for Jackson Township in DeKalb County, Indiana, I was expecting all of the above, but what I wasn’t expecting, was perhaps a clue as to how my great grandparents met.
The overall theme of the RootsTech conference this past week was telling our stories and the stories of our ancestors. This is something I have always tried to do, but sometimes there just isn’t enough information to fill in the missing pieces that allow you to tell the full story. I’ve found that the “hows” of marriages and relationships can be the most problematic sometimes. Who would ever have thought that a landownership map would give a clue to the how?
When I pulled up this map, I found my 2nd great grandfather, John Warshler, as a large landowner in Section 14 up toward the northeast corner of the township. This find, I had fully expected. What surprised me was finding my other 2nd great grandfather, Isaac Farver, as a smaller landowner less than a mile to the south in Section 23.
The proximity of the two farms could suggest that my great grandparents met not later in life as they were adults, but may very well have grown up knowing each other and interacting as children. I grant that this is completely a supposition on my part, but there have been additional, unverified clues, that both families were involved in the church that was “near the farm.” Since both farms are in the same area of the township, it is likely that the church for each family was one in the same!
Now my challenge is to take my hypotheses about their interactions as children and their involvement in the same church and start on a new hunt to prove those! Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to fill in the story of two people who grew up as sweethearts and ended up raising a family together. Or…maybe this will all prove to just be a bad hypothesis and I will find a completely different story. Half the fun is in the digging!