Monday, October 31, 2011

Census Records And Biographies- I Just Love 'Em

My struggle and continued research on the VAN SICKLE name has led me to one Moses Van Sickle (1806-1891) of Fulton County, Illinois.  While I cannot connect my own line with this branch of the family name, it is Mr. Van Sickle's connection with Southwestern Ohio and his unknown ancestry that has grabbed my attention.  Hey, that sounds just like my family!

At least [I believe] I've had more success with researching the ancestry this branch.  Both Mr. Van Sickle's biography from History of Fulton County, Illinois (1879) and Portrait & Biographical Album of Fulton County (1890) have been very helpful.  It was from the ladder that confirmed many facts, including:
  • Moses was the son of Abraham and the grandson of John, both of whom were born in New Jersey.
  • The Van Sickle family removed to Pennsylvania when Abraham was "quite young".
  • The family lived in Venango County, Pennsylvania before moving to Ohio in 1815.
  • John died in Hamilton County, Ohio and his son Abraham in Butler County, Ohio (circa 1817).

Census records that span over 30 years clearly show that Moses was born in Pennsylvania, and so I know that the Van Sickles were in the state from as early as 1806.  Census records also show both a John and Abraham in Venango County, Pennsylvania in the 1810 Federal Census. Though there were none by the surname recorded in Venango County, pre-1810, a John Van Sickle is enumerated in both the 1790 and 1800 Federal Census in nearby Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

1810 Federal Census, Venango County, Pennsylvania
Check the actual census rather than the index.
John Van Sickle (Line 4), spelled here as VAN SIGLES,
was listed in an index as VANRIGLES.
If I were to guestimate the birth year of Abraham and John based upon the age of Moses, I would say Abraham was born circa 1781 and John circa 1756 (assuming both were age 25 when their son was born). The age does fit with the census information for the John of Westmoreland County.  
A check in John Waddell Van Sickle's book on the surname show a very likely match-  a John, baptized in New Jersey in 1757, who had five children including one called Abraham, and who had another son who was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  This son also moved to Dearborn County, Indiana, which borders Hamilton County, Ohio.  Bingo- I'm convinced!!
Back up...I've been fooled many, MANY times before.  I've learned enough through the years to know that although the Van Sickle book is a great resource, it is not a family Bible.  And so, though my tree on this branch does list the above to be true, there is also a big fat "Ancestry Not Proven" comment besides John's name.

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