Periodically, I will share examples of research inquiries we in the TNGenWeb Project receive via email. Helping researchers is key to what we do and providing guidance has the potential to be of great help to others. Perhaps you’ll pick up a tip or two that will help you in your research? Here is a query I received last week and luckily enough I was able to quickly find an answer using the new historical newspaper collection of the Memphis Daily Appeal newspaper at the ChroniclingAmerica website.
The question: Researcher L.W. was searching for more information on a marriage between Ellen V. Howlett and James M. Moorehead (Moorehead). Their marriage is documented in Shelby County, Tennessee January 30, 1862. In searching for the bride, L.W. located a woman named Ellen Howlett living in Madison County, Tennessee in the 1850 census in the household of a G.C. Howlett. Knowing that Madison is very close to Memphis, she wondered if the Ellen in the census record the same as the Ellen marrying James in Memphis?
Well guess what came to make this question an easy one to answer? The recent addition online of past issues of the Memphis Daily Appeal newspaper. The issues are at the ChroniclingAmerica.gov website and were just added in July. The dates span 1857-1876.
Since the couple was married in Memphis, perhaps there would be a notice in the newspaper that would tell us more about them? Often, marriage notices provide information such as the hometown of the couple and at times even lists their parents and relatives.
Off to the ChroniclingAmerica website I went to search. Once there, the easiest thing to do since I had the specific marriage date was look at each page of several issues – from Jan. 30th to up to two weeks out to be safe. Sure enough, on page 4 of the February 1st issue I found it! The notice informs us that they were married by the Rev. Mr. Harris and that Ellen Virginia Howlett was indeed from Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee.
A quick search for Howlett (and spelling variation) families in the county confirm that she is the only Ellen and/or Virginia. However, the story is not over just yet. L.W. is now in the process of trying to find out if this particular Mr. & Mrs. Moorehead are her ancestors or not. There is information that suggests otherwise, so the search continues. But isn’t it great to have these kind of resources at our fingertips?