I spent the weekend poking around my Smith family line. Fate dealt me a cruel genealogical blow: a set of third great-grandparents named Joseph and Mary Smith.
For months, I just put that research on the shelf. It was preferable to study a different (easier) line with a less common surname. Have you ever tried to research Joseph Smith? It is really frustrating. To make matters worse, I believe mine is German, so I have to look at Schmidt and Schmitz, too.
Well, this weekend I decided to bite the bullet. My Joseph and Mary Smith are found living in Kilkenny Township, Le Sueur County, Minnesota in decades' worth of censuses. I think they had at least 12 children, including my great-great grandmother Mary.
The research I was doing this weekend was more like fishing. I just surveyed what was out there for Joseph Smith. One of the records I found was a cemetery transcription for a Joseph Smith (9 Aug 1826 - 4 Dec 1903), of Kilkenny, Le Sueur, Minnesota. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery with the following notation (according to the record):
VET. CO I 2 REGT. MN. SP. MARGARET DALHEIM. BORN IN BLANKENHELM, GERMANY.
Hmmm.....sounds promising. I located this particular Joseph Smith in the Civil War pension index at Footnote. Is this my Joseph Smith?
I have a trip coming up to Salt Lake City later this month. On my to-do list is to research and sort out all those Smiths in Kilkenny, Minnesota. If all the records and numbers add up during that time, I'll consider ordering the pension file for this particular Joseph Smith. I have a good feeling about this hunch.
[Note to my family. Joseph and Mary (poss. Margaret) Smith had a daughter Mary Ann Smith in 1865. She married John B. Lenertz. That particular John and Mary Lenertz are Buster's grandparents.]