Thursday, September 15, 2011

Searching, Scanning, Going Cross Eyed

You would think after 17 + years of research that either myself or Alicia would find some way to match Robert with James (who we think is his father). But the problem lies that when Robert was born (c 1840) it was not required by the county, state, or federal government to record births. And, when Robert died, it was not required by the government to record deaths. Yes, no obits or birth announcements in the paper either. So, what next?

I have searched through the county records and scored through many, many rolls of microfilm. And we have not been able to conclusively match them together. However, through tax records we have linked them together. Talking to a professional genealogist, this might be the only way we can link them together. So, we are linking them as father / son, with the understanding that we will continue looking.

So, what is next? Well, next blog is about the occupations of our ancestors. Talk to you then.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Next?

Well, it is obvious that I still do not have proof as to who Robert's parents were for sure. About two months ago, I sent off for the pension file of James C Elzy (whom Alicia and I believe is Robert's dad). James was killed in the Civil War.

Anyway, I found a pension with Mahala Highland's name attached to it. Could there be any mention of Robert in it? I finally got the report -- 19 pages long! My heart was beating so hard when I was reading it.

Basically it said a couple things: James died in the war. His second wife, Mahala Highland, died a couple years before James. Mahala's mother, Matilda, was seeking the pension for James' and Mahala's daughter, Margaret Ann. Margaret was the only underage child (under 16). There was a notation for when and where James and Mahala got married, Matilda's statement that she was present at Margaret's birth (but there was not a doctor or midwife), and mention that William and James (older siblings of Margaret's) were over the age of 16. No mention of Robert, who we believe is the son of James' first wife, Rebecca Caswell.

The file I received was only the small one -- I did not send off for the $75 file. Do I or do I not? Will I ever run down Robert's parents? More searching........

Thursday, May 19, 2011


As I was looking in today for Robert Elzy or James Elzy (to try to end the suspense to see if James was Robert's dad), I found a James and Robert living in the same house in early 1860. HOW EXCITING. Robert was born, according to census, in 1837 (we have 1840). James's wife was Mary (we had Rebecca and Matilda). But that is ok. I have found birth, death, and census, along with funeral records, and even headstones incorrect. So this could be right or wrong.

I have to do more searching, but could this be him?

Tata for now.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why we Hunt

My genealogy search is a joint effort between me and my cousin Alicia. We both want to know who our grandparents, great grandparents, gg grandparents etc are. What kind of people were they? What were their occupations? Were they in the military? Any famous people?

The surname ELZY is not that hard to find because it is unusual. But know what? It is harder than you think. ELZY can be spelled ELZY, ELLZEY, ELZEY, ELSEA, ELSEY, ELZIE, and that is just a few of the spellings. You have to assume everyone with this last name living in Jefferson County, Kentucky is related to us. This is regardless if the person is white, black, orange, or purple. We all have the same last name; it is unusual; and even in the same family line, the name is spelled differently.

Every other year Alicia, her mom Brenda, and I go to Louisville, Kentucky to search for our ancestors. Occasionally my mom Pat tags along. We go to libraries, archives, genealogical societies, and every cemetery you can find. Yes, Alicia and I have crawled through woods (which thankfully did not show us any snakes). We have driven in the hills, up people's driveways, and down each country road looking for cemeteries, regardless if they were on a map or not.

We are trying to find where ELZY ELZY was buried. If it is in a cemetery where there are documents, perhaps we can see if someone who we believe is his grandson, Robert Elzy, was listed on the cemetery papers. We believe we know who Robert's parents are, but have no concrete proof. Even if we found where he was buried, it is a good probability that there is no headstone. That is what we have found with a many other number of Elzys.

We are trying to do the "reasonably exhaustive search" as defined by the National Genealogical Society. But come land records, no census records, no city directories show Robert living with James (who we believe is his father)??? I looked on and their earliest city directory is 1861. Guess what? Robert moved to Illinois and was shown in the Moultrie County census in 1860. So that is no good! In fact, in the Louisville City directory for 1861, there is only a Richard Elsey and no other variations of the spelling!

I searched for over 2 hours to look in the Civil War pension files. I was looking for James C Elzy (or Elzey). I found an initial document, but the meat of what I want is not online. Not at,, or So I guess I need to get my wallet out and order it.

Until next time.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Hello. This blog will be for my adventures with searching for my Elzy ancestors. I began searching about 1995, looking for my grandmother's brother. To make a long story short (and I will elaborate later in another blog), we found her brother, still alive, still looking for her. Grandma had passed, but William came to find out his sister never stopped loving him or looking for him. And, as a result, we found nieces and nephews my grandmother did not know she has. We have made close bonds with the Roderick's and have reunions every year. This year's reunion is this weekend. Oh what fun awaits!

Anyway, back to genealogy (thus the name Elzyology - genealogy on the Elzy family.) Last week I attended my first genealogy conference - National Genealogical Society, in Charleston, SC. I made a new friend, learned some things I did not know, and reinforced some I did.

Here are a couple things that I gleaned from the conference. First, check your bookcase before you go. There were so many vendors at the conference, and I wanted it all! I am glad I used some blinders because several items I wanted, I already had.

Second, bring lots of paper. I attended an average of 4 classes per day. Several were very informative. Even though you may know a lot about a topic, for example census records, you will learn a lot of new things. There had to be three to four sessions just on census records. One good class was using census records, city directories, and obituaries together. Another good class was "I see what it says, but what does it mean?" relating to land records and wills. This class was so good, that I am ordering the CD. I found that some things I thought I understood in wills are not that. So, I need to go back to all my transcriptions of wills and reread them.

Third, just because you are a professional, this does not make you a good speaker. I had at least two classes where the presenters read every bit of their notes. It is rude to get up and walk out, but I wanted to. One class in particular had the presenter reading her notes and not providing us details but rather examples.

I could go on and on, but I want to apply some of what I learned. Time to get my research out and see where I need more work.

Until next time