I thought that I would ask to see if anyone on here might be able to shed some light on an ancestor of mine.
I am trying to find more information about my great great grandfather, James D. McDonaldwho lived approximately Aug 29, 1838 to Jan 28, 1901. His middle name was most likely Duncan. The following are the facts that I know. He is listed as being born in Barnesville, Ohio on a few sources. According to census records of 1900, he claimed that his father was born in Pennsylvania and that his mother was born in Scotland. Unfortunately, I do not have the names of either of his parents. At some point prior to the Civil War (I do not have any exact date), he moved to Indiana. Before the war, I found in the 1860 census that he was living with another family in northern Brown County, Indiana. I know that it is him because I found a reference to him signing up for the 82nd Ind. Inf. from the same small, rural location several months later. In 1861 he eloped with his wife to nearby Morgan County where he married, Matilda E. Haskett, who was apparently also from the area of Belmont County, Ohio (whether he knew her or her family prior to leaving Ohio, I do not know). He served as a corporal in the 82nd Ind. Inf. during the Civil War, but in 1862 in Louisville, he apparently suffered from a hernia and he was used for light duties as a signalman or in the reserves in some capacity for the rest of his service. Later in his life, he moved to Franklin, Indiana where he was elected mayor in 1896. He was re-elected in 1900 before dying in office in 1901. I have an obituary from the local paper of the time listing his children, but it gives no details of his life or family in Ohio, other than his birthplace.
As opposed to the facts above, the following is simply speculation on my part. I have checked census records in Ohio during the time that he should have been in Belmont County without finding an exact match. A few possibilities for this that I have considered include: the information that he provided to the census takers about either his birthplace or his parents' birthplaces might not have been accurate, the family might have moved away from Barnesville soon after he was born, he might have been going by another name such as his middle name at the time, or something happened (like his parents' early deaths) which forced him to move and/or live with other families in the area or nearby. Based upon local burial records on Find a Grave, I am leaning towards the possibility that he moved to either Muskingum or Guernsey County, Ohio with or without other family members. I have found several references to a "James McDonald" or to potential parents that would be of the right age and/or birthplace in several nearby areas, but I have not been able to specifically narrow it down. Also, I assume that he must have had a decent education for the time because his primary occupation seems to have been as a teacher (as shown in multiple censuses over the course of his life).
Anyway, sorry to go on for so long, but if anyone has any information about McDonalds living in the Muskingum or Guernsey County area that might match up with the above information, please let me know. Thank you for your time.