Recently, I worked on a United States Frontier case. The client had found an entry for a possible ancestor in a muster roll for War of 1812 soldiers. It was dated February to March 1815 for the 51st Virginia Regiment, recruited from Frederick County, Virginia. The family believed this was their ancestor who moved to Fairfield County, Ohio by the 1820s. However, it had to be proven.
In this case, I decided that a link proving the two men were the same individual might be established by taking all the men in the February-March 1815 muster roll and determining if any went to Fairfield County. My subject in himself was difficult to trace since he never owned land, nor did he appear in court records. He simply moved around working on different farms. If he was the man from the 51st Virginia Regiment, then he never even applied for a pension.
I carefully targeted sources in Fairfield County, Ohio through which I could quickly run the names of the 51st Virginia soldiers. In this case, I chose sources which would give me the best coverage of white males or heads of households. My list looked like this:
- 1820 Federal Census of Fairfield County
- 1831 Quadrennial Enumeration of Fairfield County
- 1839 Quadrennial Enumeration of Fairfield County
- Index to Grave Locations for 1812 Soldiers in Ohio
I found several names common between the 51st Virginia Regiment list and my targeted sources. Unfortunately, most names were too common to make any judgments. However, there was one very uncommon name, which appeared in both places. In fact, it was so uncommon that it had to be the same person. He also settled in one of the townships where my subject had settled.
In conclusion, I felt more confident about pursuing the Frederick County, Virginia sources. I also felt better prepared to continue the task of comparing those findings with what I already knew from my Fairfield County, Ohio research. I highly recommend this strategy for such similar difficult cases!
If you would like professional help with your family history, call Heritage Consulting at 877-537-2000.
Dwight Radford, Professional Genealogist