Question: Can you find Edwin W. Johnson born around 1871, in Saline Co. Missouri?
Answer: I picked this particular example, because it helps illustrate an important point, the three most useful pieces of information to find someone are:
- Birth Date
- Some location
Where do I begin?
I go to the 1880 search page because that will be the first U.S Census Edwin will be in.
- Edwin W in for first and middle names with no filters.
- Johnson in for the last name filterd by exact, phonetic and similiar
- 1871 and Missouri for the birth information
- Saline County, Missouri, USA from the type ahead and choose restrict to exact.
The first result is an Edwin W. Johnson, this very well may be the Edwin W. Johnson that is being searched for.
He is the grandson of John I. Lunback. There is also a Jennie M. Johnson who is the daughter of John Lunback who is widowed.
Is this Edwin’s mother? Probably. (Not for sure, relationships are always to the head of the household.)
I do notice that Edwin’s mother was born in Ohio, and Jennie was born in Ohio.
So what next? I would try and find Jennie and Edwin in the 1900 census, as well as John and Matilda Lunback in the 1870 census.
Is Jennie living with them? Or can you find Jennie and her husband in the 1870 census? Note that this census says that Edwin’s father was born in Tennessee, but I would guess Jennie and husband were living in Missouri.
Then you might want to start searching for marriage records for Jennie and if you find a husband for her, you can look for his death record. Since Edwin was born in 1871 you could guess that Jennie was married in 1870 or before.
If you have a name, location and approximate birth date, you can usually come up with a census, or maybe a few that might be your person. From each census record you can then use the clues on the image to direct your search from there.