Inspired by the things I've been learning from Michael John Neill's "CaseFile Clues," from Lisa Louise Cooke's "Google Earth for Genealogy" CDs, and from some of the ideas we have discussed during the gatherings about Inferential Genealogy, I changed my approach to this problem.
I have downloaded from the General Land Office portion of the Bureau of Land Management internet site copies of all the information pertaining to my great grandfather's land in Jefferson County, Missouri.
I first mentioned this great grandfather in my blog of March 8* of this year. He existed only as a character in family stories. As a beginning genealogist, I could find no records for him anywhere. The family stories said he was a soldier. Efforts to verify that found me one or two soldiers by that name, but no clear way to identify "my" William T. Dorrance.
The G.L.O. records include the image of the scripwarrant issued under the act of 1850 "to William T. Dorrence Private in Lieutenant Scott's company Fourth Regiment United States Infantry Florida War." On Oct 1, 1852 my great grandfather received a land patent for 160 acres in Jefferson County, Missouri. Now I have two time periods and a verified place of service on which to base further research.
The only "new" technique involved came from Lisa Cooke's approach to the G.L.O. From the "Historical Atlas Map of Jefferson County, Missouri, 1876" I located the land owned by William Dorrance (spelled Dorrence as in the G.L.O. papers). I then used the land description from the map in this atlas to get the land patent details from the G.L.O.
I know that I'm still very far from having made connections between me and my great grandfather that meet Genealogical Proof Standards. And I still have no clues to his childhood. I need to do more research in Jefferson county; such as "What happened to half the land?" "What happened to his sons after he and his wife died?" I need to follow up on the military information. And so on, … and so on.
LOTS of work ahead. But it looks easier now. William T. Dorrance has a document!
Here's to facing our frustrations,
*Sorry. I haven't learned how to turn this reference into a hyperlink.