James Butler Family – Name Possibilities Search Chart

Problem:  Locate James Benjamin Butler family on 1910 census.  They should appear in Hardeman County, Texas, based on the birth locations that I have for their two oldest children.  I’ve looked for them many times, searching multiple ways and browsing through every page of the Hardeman County censuses.  However, I’ve never systematically tracked my searches.  I want to take another stab at locating this family and I want to make sure I touch all the bases.   The idea for this chart came from a webinar that I watched on Saturday, called “Seeing the Patterns,” by Michael John Neill and offered as part of the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Series.

Family members that should appear in 1910:

James Benjamin Butler b. 1880, Murray County, GA

Maud Angeline (Whitener) Butler b. 1885, Murray County, GA

Floyd David Butler b. 1907, Hardeman County, TX

James Benjamin Butler, Jr. b. 1910, Hardeman County TX










This is just a snippet of the chart (the whole thing is four pages long).  The entire chart includes every possible combination of searches I could think of for Ancestry.com.  It includes the four people who should appear in the household, crossed with county & state searches, then progressing to soundex and surname searches with filters for birth place, then birth date.  Wild card searches are also incorporated.

If I don’t get any hits at Ancestry, I’ll move on FamilySearch.  They don’t have images for 1910 (their links point back to Ancestry), but their index may be different and their search options are different, so it’s worth a try.  The portion of the chart for FamilySearch is based on the search parameters allowed at that site.

Then, if I still don’t have any hits, I’ll move on Fold3.  Fold 3 only has 1910 census images for four Texas counties at the time I’m writing this, so I’m not going to make the chart yet, but will wait for them to get more images uploaded.

It was an interesting exercise to think through all these search possibilities before I begin actually searching.  I don’t usually operate this way and I’m sure I’ve missed search combinations by not mapping out the plan ahead of time.

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  1. says

    I do hope this works. I’ve been trying some new wildcard searches since RootsTech with mixed results. Perhaps I need to be as disciplined as you. Please let us know what you find!

  2. says

    I look forward to hearing your results. I make lists of combinations to search, but you is much more comprehensive. I want to try your approach.

  3. says

    Twitter: genealogycircle
    Fascinating! I’m like Lianne, I don’t plan my researches at all.
    Certainly I’d have to be more successful with a plan. I look forward to your results and in the meantime I’m going to start planning my research a little more, getting away from my hit or miss method!
    Thank you for this post!

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