top of page

Subscribe for Updates

Congrats! You’re subscribed

The Timeline Exposes the Holes in Your History

By Robin Foster

In Wills May Determine Slavery in the Family, I discussed how I had reached a point with researching Eliza, the mother of Anderson, where I did not know which way to go next. I decided to create a timeline to help find my way.

Create a timeline illustrating life events for the ancestor you are researching. Include historical events and localities. This will help you stay on track as you research, identify inconsistencies, and pinpoint periods of time that are not documented.

This is how my timeline looked for Eliza using the records I discussed so far:

Eliza (mother of Anderson)

1847 (Feb 1st) Burwell Chick left Elisa in his will to his son Pettus W. Chick

1870 US Census living next door to Pettus W. Chick

1876 mentioned in will of Pettus W. Chick

1878 mentioned in last will of Pettus W. Chick

1880 US Census living next door to Pettus W. Chick

1900 Census Eliza is living next door to Anderson Chick, her son and Wife of Pettus W. Chick, Sarah Chick.

Now with this timeline I could immediately see a resource that I could use to fill in more details:

1869 SC State Census


1869 State Census," images, Greenwood County Library accessed 27 Nov 2013), South Carolina > Union; microfilm

This census only names the head of household and gives:

  • number of males and females between 6 and 16

  • number of males over 21

  • total number of males and females

In Eliza’s household, there was one male between six and 16, four males, and one female. Everyone was listed as “colored.” With this information, a comparison can be made against the names of children listed with Eliza on the 1870 census.

In the household of Pettus W. Chick, there was one male over 21 with a total of one male and two females. One of the females listed in Pettus’ household is probably is wife, Sarah. The other female might be a member of Sarah’s Henderson branch of the family.

Other resources or events that I might trace for Eliza would be:

  • Freedman's records

  • Death of Eliza

  • Will for Eliza

  • Agricultural Census

  • Burial date and place

If I was tracing a male over 18 instead of a female, I would look through the 1868 SC Voter's Registation and the 1869 militia roll for the SC. I always explain to those that I help that when we research, we are not only looking for people. We are also researching records!

1. Create a timeline to help you figure out what you do not know.

2. Study records that exist that will fill in the gaps on your timeline.

3. Never give up!

Come find out what resources we are using in our Facebook Group! Genealogy! Just Ask!

Untitled design (26).png
Modified 1- My Best Genealogy Tips Finding Formerly Enslaved Ancestors_edited.jpg
Recent Posts
Robin R. Foster
Robin R. Foster
Untitled design (71).png
Check out this genealogy book: Books2Read
ebook cover (1).jpg

©2014-2024 Genealogy Just Ask, LLC. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

bottom of page