Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Random Search: William T Lancaster & Julia A Cannon

Here’s another great challenge from Randy Seaver of Genea-musing.  You can see his blog post here.
1) We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Research tonight...
2) Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very first person on your list of C surnames is. Or the first person on your list of J surnames. Or P surnames. Or any other name you need to research. Your choice!
3) What do you know (or not know) about this person based on your research? It's OK to do more research if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!
4) How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
5) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.
This seemed like fun. I tried picking some letters in my RootsMagic program but kept coming up with people who were still alive, which I don’t want to write about here.

Earlier today I was working on entering tax records for my Lancaster families in Kaufman County, Texas, and I realized I didn’t have death dates for William T. Lancaster and his wife, Julia A. Cannon. What a perfect pair to work on with this challenge.

William T. Lancaster was the third child of Ellis W. Lancaster and Elizabeth S. Neel, born about 1837 in Missouri. Sometime after 1850, the family moved to Kaufman County, Texas and the family was found in the 1860 census, taken on the 5th of July 1860, as abstracted here:[1]
Lancaster, E.W., 50, born in VA, a farmer, land worth $3000, personal property $830. 
      Elizabeth S., 58, female, white, b. KY
      Wm T, 22, male, white, farming, personal value 500, b. MO
      Geo W, 21, male, white, farming, personal value 500, b. MO
      Linace, 18, female, b. MO
      Catharine, 14, female, b. MO
      Martha J, 12, female, b. MO
      Hannah, 10, female, b. MO
Olds, Ben, 19 male, Mas Carpenter, personal value 750, b. MO
Boystone, R, 25, male, Mas Carpenter, b. KY
Neil, Wm, 17, male, farm laborer, personal value 4000, b. TN

Here you see William T as a 22 year-old male with personal wealth of $500. This personal wealth could be the ownership of horses, wagons, or cash.

A few months later, William married Julia A. Cannon on 25 Oct 1860.[2]  Julia’s family also lived in Kaufman County, not far from William. Julia was born about 1845-46 to Emberry and Minervia Cannon.
Kaufman Co, Texas Marriages Bk 1a, p 68, Lancaster-Cannon
By the 1870 census, William and Julia were living in Milam County, Texas.[3] William’s occupation was retail merchant with $2000 worth of real estate and $5000 worth of personal property. He lived with Raymond S. Porter, also a retail merchant, his wife, Julia, child Ella, and possibly sister-in-law, Callie Cannon. A Mullatto nine year-old male named Marion Graham also lived with them as a servant.
1870 Milam Co TX - William Lancaster in the Raymond S. Porter household
In transcribing the Kaufman County tax records, W.T. Lancaster appeared twice, 1872 and 1879. But was he in the Milam County tax rolls? I went to to search the “Texas, County Tax rolls, 1846-1910” database and images. Putting “Lancaster” and “Milam” in the search boxes came back with no records. Then I tested the database and entered only Milam for the county with no names and it came back with no records. So Milam County has not yet been indexed.

I could also browse though, so I selected Milam County and then 1870. There were 48 images and they were listed by rough alphabetical order. The “L” names would be a bit half way so I selected page 20 and then worked my way through the L names until I found W.T. Lancaster.[4] He had 1 town lot in Duvilla worth 400. That was all besides the poll tax that he paid tax on.

1871 tax list had the taxpayers listed by address and there were 80 pages. I decided not to look for W.T. I do have him in the 1872 Kaufman County and his tax basis was for two pieces of property totaling 85 acres and worth $1121.[5] He also had 2 wagons or carriages worth $50, 3 horses worth $150, 2 cattle worth $10, and a $100 worth of miscellaneous items for a total of $1381.  Now the discrepancy between the census value and the tax value could be that he didn’t have to report “everything” he owned, only those items requested. 

There was also an 1879 tax list in Rockwall County (Kaufman Co split into two and this part was now Rockwall Co) and his total worth for tax purposes was $1277.[6]

In 1880, the family was found in the census.[7] William and Julia were hotel keepers. They had four children. Here is the abstract without all of the boarders:
Lancaster, Wm, w, m, 44, mar, hotel keeper, Missouri, VA/KY
                Julia, w, f, 33, wife, mar, keeper hotel, Alabama, TN/AL
                Ella, w, f, 17, daughter, single, Divorced, TX, MO/AL
                Ollie, w, m, 7, son, single, at school, TX, MO/AL
                Mark, w, m, 3, son, single, TX, MO/AL
                Carl, w, m, 1, son, single, TX, MO/AL

Now the trail was cold and it is time to do some research. has Texas death certificates in a database and images called “Texas Deaths 1890-1976.” It was time to see if I could find William or Julia in the death records.

Well, I struck out there. No record came close to either William T or WT Lancaster, nor for Julia Lancaster. It was time to look for some hints. I went to the family trees in and poked around. Several trees had William T and Julia but the last record sourced was the 1880 census. Some trees listed death date for both as “bef 1900” indicating that they were not found in the 1900 census.

FamilySearch Family Tree has one William Thomas Lancaster, born 1837, son of Ellis Lancaster and Elizabeth Neel, husband of Julia A.Cannon.  He is LC5S-MRH. This is probably the right person but again, no hints to the death date or place.

I decided to look at for any memorials for this family. The only ones I found were for one of their children: Ollie Edgar Lancaster (1871-1947).[8]

Back to and I found census records for Ollie, his wife, Bessie, and son, Cohn for 1910, 1920, 1930, and for Ollie and his son in 1940. I will download these and enter them into the database.

So I have extended the family a bit but still no death date or place for William T. and Julia A. Lancaster. Newspapers would be a good place to search but will have to be done by microfilm as there are few Texas papers online. There are also other children to search besides Ollie and maybe their obituaries might give some clues.

More for another day!

[1] Texas, Kaufman, 1860 U.S. census, pop. sched., Kaufman, p. 41, dwelling 338, family 340, E. W. Lancaster household, digital images,  ( accessed 20 Jan 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), M653.
[2] Kaufman Co, Texas, Marriage Bk 1a: 68, Lancaster-Cannon; FHL microfilm 1302500.
[3] Texas, Miram, 1870 U.S. census, pop sched, Devilla, p. 304A (stamped), dwelling 1535, family 1543, Raymond S Porter, digital images,  ( accessed 7 Mar 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., M593, roll 1598.
[4] “Texas, County Tax rolls, 1846-1910,”Milam Co, 1871, p 22, W.T. Lancaster.
[5] Ibid, Kaufman Co, 1872, p 34, W.T. Lancaster.
[6] Ibid, Rockwall Co, 1879, p 13, W.T. Lancaster.
[7] Texas, Kaufman, 1880 U.S. census, pop. sched., Terrill, enumeration district (ED) 38, p. 114 C & D (stamped), dwelling 66, family 67, Wm Lancaster; digital images  ( accessed 7 Mar 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., T9, roll 1315.
[8] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave (, Memorial# 57268107, Mission Burial Park South, San Antonio TX, Ollie Edgar Lancaster.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family


  1. Well done! Hope you can find the death dates & places you are after. I'm curious about how you added the footnotes... did you just type them in? Or is there someway to do that with blogger?

    I did the challenge, too, and came up with a handful of new facts for the husband of my great grand aunt!

  2. Hi Dana. Thanks for your comment. I usually write my blog post first in Word using the footnote option under References. Then I copy and paste the whole thing into Blogger. The links then stay. Michele Simmons Lewis told me about using Windows Live Writer but I haven't used it enough to feel comfortable about it. It, too, saves the footnotes and creates real superscript footnote numbers.
    I had checked out your blog post, too, and liked how you answered Randy's questions directly under each one. You did find a lot of stuff and have a nice list of stuff to find.


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