One Name Study: Who else is in 1880?

Tessa Keough discussed the basics of a One-Name Studies in her webinar entitled “Who Does That?” An Introduction to One-Name (Surname) Studies. I loved the title and the question “Who Does That?” My answer is, “I do! Well, sort of.”

In quickly researching the concept of searching for the occurrences of one name in one place and best practices for the process, I have found several One Name Study organizations. That is a little more intense than what I’m seeking to accomplish I simply want to see if any other Townsends in Franklin County, Ohio are possibly related to William James Townsend, my 2nd great-grandfather. If I find a Townsend living in Franklin County who is not likely to be a relative, I will stop researching that line rather than become an expert knowing all the migration and backstory. For those who seek to have guild approved studies, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

Given that William James Townsend is in the 1880 US Census and there is a possible brother in the same census, where it is likely that his daughter is living, I want to see what other Townsend families are in the 1880 US Census to see if I may find other relatives.
Steps Taken:
  1. Used (best way to do this)
  2. Selected Census Research and filtered to 1880 US Census.
  3. Entered the following terms, on 1880 US Census Search page:
    • Towns?n* for last name
    • Lived in Franklin County, Ohio, USA
  4. Pressed Search

Ancestry returned the following list of individuals, which I then organized by town and only listed the head of household (or Townsends in other homes):

Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio:

  • Elizabeth Townsend. B 1838 in Scotland
  • William Townsend b 1842 in Ohio (38, laborer, parents from OH)

Truro, Franklin, Ohio:

  • John Townsend b. 1814 in Maryland (parents born in MD)

Columbus, Franklin, Ohio:

  • N.S. Towsend. B 1816 in England (user added Norton Strange, parents from England; Professor State University)
  • Wm Townsend b 1820 England  (60, married & single? Patient in Insane Asylum)
  • James Townsend b 1828 in Ohio (carpenter, married, parents born in Ohio, in  Insane Asylum)
  • George A Townsend b 1840 in New York (40, parents from NY, Merchant)
  • Robert Townsend b 1842 in Ohio (38, boarder, single, Brick Moulder, parents from OH & PA)
  • Fred W Townsend b. 1847 in Ohio (33, boarder, single, Marble Cutter, parents from OH)
  • Henry H Townsend b 1845 in PA (35, parents from England, Marble dealer)
  • Ella Townsend b 1855 in Connecticut (25, sister-in-law, works in Box Factory)

Groveport, Franklin, Ohio:

  • Jno Towsend. B 1836 in Ohio (parents from Maryland; Farm Laborer)
  • Edward Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (parents from Maryland, Farming)
  • Perry Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (25, farmer, parents from Ohio)
  • Elisabeth Townsend b 1867 in Ohio (13, servant, parents from Ohio, in the home of Wm and Ruth Wildersmith)

Marion, Franklin, Ohio:

  • F Towsend B 1835 in England (parents from England; Paper Box Maker)
  • Nettie Townsend b 1858 (22, servant for the Bobbet family who were Gardeners, no birth/parent location provided)
There are around 50 persons (if I include everyone listed in the census) with 17 heads (or other homes). The two names in blue are my great-grandfather William and Edward Townsend, who may be his brother. Right now, the birth locations of Ohio and Maryland look the most promising over the New England and England references.
To break down a brick wall, sometimes you have to investigate who else was around at the time of your ancestor.
Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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