Another William

Do you encounter same name issues when researching your family history? Most readers of this blog are likely aware that I struggle with same names, particularly with my James Crawford research. Not only do I have two men named James Crawford in the same area at the same time but I have three in the area of Kentucky that became Garrard county.

With my James Crawford research, I’ve used the names of their spouses to help identify the various lines. But, James Crawford is not my only encounter with same name issues. I’ve also struggled to separate Hiram Currey families. With my Currey research, I used their occupation and place of residence to keep them separate.

  • Hiram Mirick Currey – possibly my 4th great grandfather; lived in Champaign county, Ohio and was treasurer for the state of Ohio
  • Hiram M. Currey (1787 – ?)- my 3rd great grandfather; lived in Peoria County, Illinois and was a lawyer
  • Hiram M. Currey (1835-1901) – my 2nd great grandfather; lived in Leavenworth county, Kansas and was a farmer
  • Hiram Miles Currey (1866-1943) – my great grandfather; buried in Dodge City
  • Hiram Meyrick Currey (1827-1898) – lived in Illinois and Indiana and was a medical doctor
  • Hiram Merrick Currey (1818-1874) – lived in Kentucky and was a pastor

In total, I have 14 men named Hiram Currey in my file. All but one of them has a middle name starting with ‘M’. While I’m still trying to document the family, I believe they all may descend from Thomas Currey of Adams County, Ohio. Not only does this provide confusion, but when one adds in those spelling the name CURRY it gets even more complicated.

Then, there’s my William Thompson duplicates. My ancestor, William T. Thompson (1820-1898) migrated to Wapello county, Iowa from Indiana. William was married to Mary Ann Evans. Also living in Wapello county, Iowa was William Thompson (1813-1892) who was married to Mary B. Hogle. Both of these William Thompsons lived in the same county, were married to a ‘Mary’ and were farmers. Fortunately, my ancestor, Mary Ann Evans Thompson, often went by Polly Thompson, which helps to separate the records. Another help is the fact that the ‘other’ William Thompson was born in Ireland.

Thankfully, other genealogists have shared their experiences researching people with the same name. Recently, Elizabeth Shown Mills shared how she researched ‘Separating Same Name Men, War of 1812‘ on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Not only did she talk about her research methods on the webinar, but she has shared her Samuel Witter research reports on her website. (Scroll down to Witter or search for Witter and then click VIEW to see each of the reports.)

Thus, one would think that with my own experience and the knowledge gained from professional genealogists, I would have been more aware of the possibility for a ‘same name’ issue with my EVANS research. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I was caught off guard when I did a newspaper search for ‘William Evans’ in McLean county, Illinois and came across the article “William Evans’ House Stood at Grove, Gridley” in the 2 Jan 1944 issue of the Pantograph. At the time, I was researching William A. Evans (1858-1944), son of James Allen Evans Jr (1826-1903) and grandson of my ancestor, James Evans (1793-1863),

When I started reading the article, I thought it was about the William Evans [LH3P-4BZ] I was researching. It wasn’t until I was over half way thru the article that I encountered the first indication that this was about a different William Evans. The William Evans [L7JT-1HR] in the article was born in 1775 and his father served during the American Revolution. So far, I haven’t been able to find a connection between the two EVANS families on FamilySearch. However, knowing that there is another EVANS family in early McLean county, Illinois will hopefully keep me from mixing up these two families.

William Evan’ House Stood at Grove, Gridley

by the Observer

The first house built within the present limits of Bloomington is not now standing.

It was the home erected by William Evans for himself at the southeast corner of Grove and Gridley streets.

That spot was not within the limits of the first survey for the town of Bloomington, for the eastern lmits of the town in the first plat was at East street.

Mr. Evans’ house however, was soon within the limits of the little city, for it was not long after the first survey that additions were made to the area first included.

As House Appeared

The picture of the Evans house shown in connection with this article was probably the building in its later years, as the photo indicates that the house was in a more or less dilapidated condition.

In its original form, the house probably did not have the front porch or the extension to the rear.

Mr. Evans made plans for building his house almost as soon as it was definitely decided that the town of Bloomington was to be the county seat of McLean county.

That decision was made in 1831 when Dr. Isaac Baker completed a survey of part of the land donated by James Allin as site for the county seat. An auction sale of lots within the area first surveyed was held on July 4, 1831.

A Pennsylvanian

William Evans, whose home was first erected within the present city limits was one of the earlier settlers of the county. He came here from Pennsylvania, as did many others of the first settlers.

His father was a soldier of the American Revolution. William was still a baby when the historic fight between Great Britain and her American colonies was beginning, the date of his birthday being Sept. 1, 1775.

He was still a youth when he began his dentures in the western wilderness, which were to land him in McLean county eventually.

It was in 1824 that Evans reached the area of this county first located at Old Town timber. Then he found another farm that suited him better, and that land was part of the place which was later to become his home. The farm itself was within the Bloomington city limits — as now constituted

First Year’s Crop

Evans broke the first sod on his “City” farm and raised a crop of winter wheat in 1828, according to the record. The county seat had not yet been platted at that time.

The farm later became the land from which the first and second additions tot he original town of Bloomington were platted. James Allin laid out the first addition. Jesse Fell and a Mr. White laid out the second.

The Evans family lived a pleasant and happy life in the house they first built in Bloomington. Mr. Evans brought his wife to this county, for he was married in 1800 to Effie Winebriner. His first wife died in 1839, and Mr. Evans was married two years later to Mrs. Martha Day.

The Evans family was of mixed Welsh and Irish descent. Mr. Evans was better educated than the ordinary pioneer of those days. He was a quiet and unassuming man, but shrewd in business and endowed the the “milk of human kindness.”

Evans was one of the first white settlers who was able to deal peaceably with the Indians which occupied this region when the first settlers came.

His attitude helped to smooth over the hostility of the Indians which they showed toward the whites in the first years of white occupation.