Carol Sanderson, Editor
Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor
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All of us have at one time checked the census for our ancestors. While it is much easier today with indexes and online census files it is still hard to find our ancestors. Some reasons are poor quality microfilm and indexers who have a hard time reading the handwriting of the census takers.
I received a query, about a month ago from a John Murray. He had been given a copy of the 1930 census for the street on which he lived in 1930. He did not believe what the census showed. According to the census, the people living at (this was the address format in 1930) W 133 23rd Avenue were William T (or F) Murray, his wife Hazelle, and mother-in-law Alice Fellows. John was 8 years old in 1930. He said he never knew any William or Hazelle Murray so he wanted me to find out who was living at W 133 23rd Avenue here in Spokane.
It seemed as if it would be pretty easy to find his parents in the 1930 census index I have on CD. His father's name was Garnett H Murray and his mother was Florence B. Murray. I checked for a Garnett Murray in the index and nothing. I checked for Florence Murray, there were several in the index, but none in Spokane. So then I tried looking for John Murray age 8 in Spokane, none in the index.
When I got to the library, I first checked the 1929, 1930 and 1931 city directories. All three showed Murray, Garnett H. (Florence B) a tailor, Old National Bank building, home W 133 23rd Avenue. They also showed Murray, William T. (Hazelle F) a car dispatcher Great Northern Railroad home W 824 25th Avenue. William would have lived about 9 blocks from Garnett and John. Also in the city directories is a street directory, where you can look up an address and it lists the name of the person living at the address. It also lists all the neighbors.
Next I went to the census films. Since our library has a book to let you look up an address and it tells the Enumeration District that address is in, I checked that first. Both addresses were in Enumeration District 101, W 133 23rd was on page 18A, and W 824 25th was on page 23A.
Page 23A of the census lists the family at W 804 25th as Zimmerman, W 808 25th as Mason, W 812 25th as Weightman, W 818 25th as Irwin and W 824 25th shows Murray, William, wife Hazelle and mother in law Alice Fellows. All the people match the city directory list for that street.
Page 18A of the census lists the family at W 211 23rd as Richter, W 207 23rd as Broom, and at W 133 23rd as Murray, William, wife Hazelle and mother in law Alice Fellows. All the rest of the columns match the information for William Murray and family from page 23A, ages, birthplaces, occupations, etc. Richter and Broom are correct as far as the city directories show. However, no Garnett Murray as the city directories show living at W 133 23rd Avenue. How did William, Hazelle and Alice end up twice in the census? Where are John, and his parents Garnett and Florence? I could not find John, Garnett or Florence in the census index, so I guess they were not in the census. I could not come up with a reason for the error but maybe someone reading this newsletter can.
Have you ever looked for ancestors in the census and could not find them? Census errors were and are very common. So be sure to check the information you get from the census since these are considered secondary sources. One should try to back them up with other sources of information to verify them.
Not all of our ancestors immigrated to the colonies of their own free will. Some were sent over as indentured persons, some who didn't have the money for passage indentured themselves, and some were prisoners who were shipped to the colonies. Many of the first settlers of the Georgia colony were in the latter group and a lot of those in the other two groups made their way to the southern colonies such as Maryland and Virginia. They worked on the plantations growing tobacco and other goods that were to be shipped back to England. These people worked from five to seven years to earn their freedom. At that point they could own land and belong to a church. Their rights as freemen were returned to them. As the African slave trade became more predominant there were fewer indentures.
Some people today call those indentured people or at least some of them "slaves." I am not sure that I agree with that terminology but each one has a right to his own feelings.
In the 1700s there was a lot of the above going on. England was full of unrest. Some people wanted to get away from it so they signed an agreement, an indenture with a merchant or shipper for passage to the colonies. Part of the unrest in England was due to the English Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell. In 1700 he was fighting the Scots who were on the side of Charles II.
One of the battles took place in a town called Dunbar. It is on the shores of the North Sea not too far from the English border. The Scots had Cromwell backed up to the North Sea with no place to go. Had the Scots not followed the advice of the church leaders/soldiers, they could have starved Cromwell's men into submission. However, they didn't. They listened to the churchmen who had General David Leslie send home his mercenaries. That left an army of mainly untrained men, ill armed and not too disciplined. The churchmen persuaded Leslie that he should move off Doon Hill that gave him such a good command over Dunbar. He moved off the hill, against his will, and set up camp. When Cromwell's troops attacked early in the morning, it was a surprise. The battle was lost to the Scots. Leslie and a small contingent fled to regroup and fight again.
There were 5100 Scots captured and forced to march south into England. Many escaped but those who were recaptured were given no quarter and were put to death. There was little to feed the prisoners and they drank "from puddles of rainwater and fetid ditches" along the way. They began dying because of their wounds and sickness. This march has been likened to the Bataan death march by American prisoners of the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor in World War II.
A bout 1500 prisoners died during this march. On September 11, 1700, almost 3000 surviving Scots were housed in Durham Cathedral. They were given no fuel and little food. By October 1700, nearly 1800 more Scots had died. By November of that year only 1400 of the men who had survived the battle and march were alive. Nine hundred of these men went to the colonies in America...namely Virginia, Massachusetts and Barbados. More of the others were indentured to the French Army.
Those that went to Massachusetts were aboard the ship Unity. They were indentured to the Saugus Iron Works and some of the townspeople. They filled the terms of their indenture and then went on to make a place for themselves in the colonies. Many New Englanders today descend from these men who gave so much of their lives to finding freedom. Were these men slave? or indentured people? Whatever your answer, they were given given a chance at freedom.
I am sure that many of them found it hard to talk of their lives in the "auld" country as there is not much known of them over there. I am one of those people. My brick wall is finding just where my ancestor came from instead of just "Inverness shire." Perhaps someday the puzzle may be solved as more and more clans are using DNA testing to find their larger family..
Indentured? Slave? It depends upon how one looks at those people who came over and made the best of their position. I am proud of the way they made their way with all of the hardships they had to endure.
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