Sponsored Links

You are here

Educated Guesses

Genealogical research sometimes involves making educated guesses and seeing where those guesses lead you.

The two brothers who “went to Texas” are a case in point. In my last blog I made it clear how little we know about those two brothers. Here is what we know:

  1. Two brothers (of my great-grandfather George Lafayette Hill) “went to Texas” and were never hear from again (based on notes from my grandmother).
  2. They were most likely born between 1826 and 1835 (based on census records).

That’s it.

We don’t know their names, when they “went to Texas”, or how old they were when they “went to Texas.”

So here is what we have to work with:

  1. The 1830 census shows four boys born between 1826 and 1830
  2. The 1840 census shows one boy born between 1826 and 1830 and two born between 1831 and 1835
  3. One person of unknown age and gender whose initials are “J. R. Hill” who was in Georgia in December 1868 to sign off on the sale of their father’s last 20 acres of land.

Census records are notorious for inaccuracy, so that’s something to keep in mind as we look at the differences between 1830 and 1840. Given the time and location and general conditions, it’s entirely possible that of the four boys less than 5 in 1830, only one survived until 1840. It’s also entirely possible that in the 1840 census boys were counted as being 5 to 9 who were actually 10 to 14 years old.

In situations like this, I generally go with the more recent data. In this case, that means 1 boy born between 1826 and 1830 and 2 boys born between 1831 and 1835. Given the other scant evidence, it seems likely one of them was “J. R.” who was in Georgia in 1868, and two of them are the brothers who “went to Texas”. I’m going with J.R. being the older one. That leaves the other two born between 1831 and 1835 as the “two brothers.”

So the first educated guess is about when they left. If they were born between 1831 and 1835, that means they were 18 years old between 1849 and 1853. Given the history of Texas, it seems to me that emigration from Georgia to Texas in the early 1850s is likely.
So I can look for Hills showing up in Texas (or Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana) in that time frame, but what first names will I focus on?

That’s where the second educated guess comes in.

One thing I’ve noticed with families I’ve looked at in the southeast during that time frame is naming conventions. Very often the first son is named for the paternal grandfather and the first daughter is named for the maternal grandmother. In this family, the mother was Zillah (named for her maternal grandmother and Zillah’s mother was Martha Frances. I only know of two daughters, one named Nancy and one named Frances. So it looks like maybe they stuck to tradition in that case.

I know Zillah’s father’s name – William Abijah Poole. I don’t know who James’ parents are. Other clues I won’t go into right now make me suspect they were Thomas Hill and Eleanor “Nellie” Highfield.

None of the sons I know about are named Thomas or William, so those are the names I’m going with for the two missing brothers – Thomas and William. Since I have notes indicating the father James was known as “Jimmy”, then perhaps the sons were known as Tommy and Billy, or maybe Tom and Bill.

That’s one reason I was interested in the William Robert Hill whose Y-DNA is kinda close (see my previous blog). I can easily imagine Tom naming a son after his brother Bill.

Now, I have no idea if these guesses are even close, but they are reasonable guesses. And they at least help me narrow the focus of my search. There are some other guesses that could come into play with regard to this family, but I will save those for a future article.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer