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Overheard on the Message Boards: Ogg Family in Ohio
by Rhonda R. McClure

Each week Rhonda answers a question from the GenForum message boards and gives her expert answer here. We'd love to hear anything you have to add. Go ahead and leave your comments on GenForum with the original message.

February 20, 2003
See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Q: I am looking for information on the Ogg family. In particular Andrew F. Ogg who married Deborah B. Carr in Ohio, Athens County, Ames Township on February 7, 1850. He was about 42 at that time and she was 28. Family stories say he was married with children before his marriage to Deborah. My problem is that I have been unable to find who he was married to or who his previous children were. I would also like to know who his parents and possible siblings were. It is said he was born in Pennsylvania. Andrew and Deborah had two confirmed sons Andrew Ancil Ogg and Samuel Carleton Ogg who both ended up in Washington State in their early to mid twenties. Family stories also say he was involved in the mining industry. Andrew and Deborah moved to Ohio, Athens County, Rome Township and lived there up until the 1870's until they are no longer found on the census. Where did they go? Help! I'm sure someone out there knows about this branch of the Ogg family. -- Stacy

A: Given Andrew's age in 1850 and at the time of his marriage to Deborah B. Carr, there is a good probability that he did have another family. Unfortunately you have no doubt felt the frustration of the lack of names for every family member in a family listed in a census before 1850.

We often spend a lot of time in the census, especially now that it is available online, thus making it more easily available to us at any day or time. There are other records, though, that you will want to investigate in your attempt to pick up the parentage and first family of Andrew F. Ogg. When combined with census research, these additional records will supply you with a better view of the family as a whole.

Don't forget to combine other records with census research.

Initial Research

After reading your message, I went in search of information on Andrew Ogg in the census. As you mentioned I found he and Deborah listed in the 1850 census in Ames Township, Athens County, Ohio. Andrew was aged 42 and listed as a carpenter, born in Ohio. Deborah was age 28 and born in Virginia. Also living in the household is a William Ogg, age 18, with the same occupation as Andrew — carpenter — and born in Ohio. I began to wonder who William was.

A search of the 1860 census index did not reveal Andrew to me. I suspect, though, that he was misindexed if you have found him. It would be nice to find him in the census, if you haven't, to help determine which of the ages and places of birth is more accurate for Andrew, given the discrepancies in the 1870 census. The 1870 census found Andrew and his family of four children and wife Deborah living in Rome Township, Athens County, Ohio. Here Andrew is listed as age 65 and a house carpenter born in Pennsylvania. Deborah is age 50, also born in Pennsylvania. In addition to Andrew Ancil — listed as Ancil, age 14, and Samuel, listed as age 10, the family also has two other children — Mary, age 18 and teaching, and John age 16, listed as a farmer.

The discrepancy in Andrew's age means he could have been born anywhere between 1804 and 1808, and of course you now have the two places of birth for him in Virginia and Pennsylvania. By 1880 it appears that he has died, which does not surprise me given his age in 1870. Of course, verifying it will require using the records mentioned below.

As I mentioned earlier, I was intrigued by the 18 year old William Ogg that appeared in the 1850 census in Andrew's household. Unfortunately the lack of relationships until 1880 makes it necessary to try and find those relationships in other records. The first thing I did with William was to try to pick him up in the 1880 census. I found a William Ogg, age 47, born in Ohio, occupation house carpenter, living in Dover, Athens County, Ohio. He listed his parents as born in Pennsylvania and New York. Not knowing where the first wife may have been born I decided to investigate this William a little further.

The next search took me to the various compiled databases of GEDCOMs that are available. I did find one entry for a William Ogg, who was born 14 May 1833 in Ohio. His parents were listed as Andrew Ogg, born 8 May 1797 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania and Lucy Wright born 24 Sep 1797 in Pennsylvania. The problem with this family is that this particular Andrew appears to be too old to be your Andrew and he was listed as dying 8 Sep 1866 in Athens County, Ohio. I had also found a marriage for an Andrew Ogg to a Lucy Munsell in 18 Jul 1822 in Ames Township, Athens County, Ohio. In an attempt to prove that this might somehow be the first family, I went back to the 1850 census, where I noticed there was more than one Andrew Ogg living in Athens County, Ohio. It is possible that William is a cousin of Andrew F. Ogg, and he wanted to learn the trade of a carpenter, because in reexamining the 1850 census pages, I did find the family of Andrew Ogg and wife Lucy with children. As expected both were born in 1797/98 and Andrew was listed as born in Pennsylvania and Lucy as born in New York. This meant back to the drawing board.

A Return to Athens County

Knowing that there were now three Andrew Ogg individuals in Athens County, Ohio in 1850, I began to ask myself what record types you could use to differentiate your Andrew from the others. I then turned my attention to the Family History Library Catalog to see what might be available on microfilm from the Family History Library.

While compiled sources such as the World Family Tree and other GEDCOM databases may offer clues, when you combine those with the information found in the census along with other original records, you begin to be able to weed about possible families, as we just did with the William who was born in 1833. While he may still be a relative, it does not look like he is a son of Andrew F. Ogg from a first marriage. Knowing Andrew Ogg was married to Lucy in 1822, does actually help us with the research that would need to now be undertaken, especially the land records.

The good news for you is that Athens County is well represented at the Family History Library. They have many records that you would need to investigate further including

  • Death records
  • Deed records
  • Probate records
  • Taxation records

Each of these records is looked at in detail below to see how you may find the information you need through them, even though you will never find a census page for Andrew's possible first family.

Will the Real Andrew Ogg Please Stand Up

The four record types below will help you in identifying and separating the three Andrew Ogg individuals who appear in the 1850 census. We have already found quite a bit of information on one of them, the Andrew Ogg who married Lucy and was born in 1797 in Pennsylvania. The other Andrew Ogg was only 23 and unmarried in the 1850 census, making him almost a non-issue when it comes to working with most of these records.

Death records. I honestly believe that your Andrew F. Ogg died some time between 1870 and 1880. Fortunately there are death records from 1867 to 1908 available on microfilm for Athens County, Ohio. While there was at least one other Andrew Ogg who died in Athens County, he did not die during this time period. The Andrew Ogg who married Lucy and had a son William, among others, died 8 September 1866, just before these records were begun. The other Andrew, who was 23 may appear in these three volumes of death records, but at the least you should be able to eliminate him based on age at time of death. It is likely you will find your Andrew mentioned here. How much additional identifying information you will find, though, will depend on who supplied the information that was recorded in the death register.

Deed records. These records may prove to be the most beneficial in your research. In most cases, you will find that a woman signed when her husband sold property. By going through the deed indexes and then at least abstracting the basic information for each entry, you should be able to put together a time table of land that was purchased and sold by those with the name Andrew Ogg. Because of the inclusion of the wife's name on the deeds where Andrew is selling land, you should be able to determine which Andrew is selling land and then, based on the land description, know which Andrew bought the land originally. Don't forget that some of that land may have originally be purchased from the federal government, so you will also want to check the Bureau of Land Management database to see what land appears there under the name of Andrew Ogg.

Probate records. Probate offers you the best chance of identifying family relations, especially if all three Andrews left wills. For Athens county, you will find that there is a general index to probate records that begins in 1800 and goes to 1966. There are actual probate records, which include dockets, bonds, and guardianship for the years 1842 to 1897. Finally there are wills from 1814 to 1879, also with a general index.

Taxation records. While the tax lists won't mention the family members as you want, they will help you in determining when your Andrew first owned property that needed to be taxed. He could have married as early as 1824, and the tax lists begin in 1816 and go to 1838. You will want to be sure that you look through each year and write down or photocopy each entry for anyone named Andrew Ogg. Comparing the taxes from year to year should help you to separate the two different Andrew Ogg people who have apparently only about a ten year difference in age.

In Conclusion

As you begin to combine this information from all of the above mentioned records you may be able to determine if indeed your Andrew F. Ogg had a first wife and other children. You should find his death (as well as Deborah's I would bet) in the death records and may be able to pick up something on his probate. Don't ignore the probate records and look only at the wills. If he died intestate he will not appear in the wills, but you may still find enough identifying details in the probate records to know that it is your Andrew.

See Rhonda's Previous Columns

Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is the author of the award-winning The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at rhondagen@thegenealogist.com.

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