Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Researchers Need to Search all Available Websites

Last week at the end of one of my genealogy classes an attendee approached me about an ancestor by the name of Ami who fought and died in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Being the curious researcher that I am, I decided to look for someone by that name in online records about that battle. Known as Custer's Last Stand, there is a large monument erected to the memory of the soldiers that died in this battle.

The best site I found for information on the soldiers that served is the
List of soldiers, officers, and civilians at the Little Bighorn at:


On page nine there was:
Cheever, Ami L Private May 26, 1849
Elizabeth PA Farmer Sept 21, 1872 With Custer's column-Killed - Died June 25, 1876 Little Bighorn

Not being completely sure this was her man, I decided to press forward and see what records could be found for him. The presentation for today's class was on WorldVitalRecords.com so we started with the records found on this website. The records included:

1. Findagrave.com information with a picture of the memorial and a close up with Ami Cheever with his birth 26 May 1849 and death 25 June 1876. Actually going to the Findagrave website there was more information posted about him.

2. 1860 US Census record in Eighth Ward, St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri for the following group:
Ami Cheever (age 36)
Mary Cheever (age 22)
Chas Cheever
Emily Cheever (age 14)
Hattie Cheever (age 12)
Ann Cheever (age 9) (Should be Ami, male)
Carrie Cheever (age 7)
Eva Cheever (age 5)
Mary Cassey (age 17) (Domestic)

3. Newspaper Archive Collection (23 articles, none of them appear to be about the son, some may have been about his father.)

4. There were eight Google book listings:
1876 Facts About Custer & the Battle of the Little Big-Horn
(Information on Ami Cheever)
Cyclorama of Gen. Custer's last fight against Sioux Indians, or the Battle ... (Ami Cheever included in the list of soldiers)
The Monthly Journal of Agriculture (Could be information on his father)
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of ... (Information on Ami Cheever)
The Northwestern Miller (Could be information on his father)
They Rode with Custer (Not enough information provided)
The New England descendants of the immigrant Ralph Farnum of Rochester, Kent ... (Not enough information provided)
Custer in '76: Walter Camp's notes on the Custer fight (Not enough information provided)
Moving on to ancestry.com there were the following documents:
1. 1860 US Census record in Eighth Ward, St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri for the same group as above.
2. Findagrave.com connection with same information.
3. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 with burial information about Ami Cheever.
4. U.S., Registers of Deaths in the Regular Army, 1860-1889, with the registration of the death of Ami Cheever.
5. U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 , with the registration of the enlistment of Ami Cheever.
6. New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records Index, 1654-1949, with a listing for his sister Caroline Cheever Lee, listing their parents.

Then at familysearch.org the following records were found:
1. "United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934" (This file is for the pension application of his mother Nancy in 1879)
2. "Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915" (For Ammi Cutter Cheever born 4 May 1851 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, Father Ammi Cheever and Mother Maria Peoples)
3. "Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910" (For Maria E. Cheever to James W. P. Dyer 30 June 1874, her parents listed as Ammi Cheever and Maria C.)
4. "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915" (Death of Maria E. Dyer 19 Nov. 1912, listing her parents as Annia Cheever and Maria Sanford)
5. "Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915" (For Caroline Cheever born 18 March 1853 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, her parents listed as Ammi Cheever and Maria Cheever)
6. New Hampshire, Death and Burial Records Index, 1654-1949 (For Caroline Cheever Lee 6 June 1943, same as found at ancestry.com)
7. "Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915" (For Sanford Cheever born 8 Feb. 1855 in Boston, Massachusetts, his parents listed as Ammi Cheever and Maria P.)
8. "England Marriages, 1538–1973 " (For Sanford Cheever to Isabella Munro Waugh in 1894 in Saint Mary, Edge Hill, Lancashire, England, his father listed as Ammi Cutter Cheever)
9. "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915" (For Maria Louise Richards Cheever, 9 July 1905, wife of Sanford Cheever)
10. "Massachusetts, State Census, 1865", includes the following people in the household:
Household           Gender  Age        Birthplace           
               Rachel E Sanford              F          64y         South Carolina  
               Maria E Cheever               F             18y         Mass     
               Harriet C Cheever             F             16y         Mass     
               Ammi C Cheever               M           14y         Mass     
               Caroline B Cheever          F             11y         Mass     
               Sanford E Cheever            M           9y           Mass     
               Eliza Mcconnell                F             45y         N S        
               Albert J Sanford                M           29y         Mass
11. "Massachusetts, State Census, 1855" , includes the following people in the household:
Household           Gender  Age        Birthplace           
Amia C Cheever                M           30           Massachusetts
Maria Cheever                   F             27           Maine      
Emily Cheever                   F             8             Massachusetts
Harriet Cheever                             7             Massachusetts
Ami Cheever                     M           4             Massachusetts
Caroline Cheever              F             2             Massachusetts
Sanford Cheever               M            0             Massachusetts
Wilson Haliburton            M           22           Maine      
Joseph A Haliburton         M           19           Maine     
Rachael E Sanborn           F             47           Maine

12. "United States Census, 1850", includes the following people in the household:
Household           Gender  Age        Birthplace           
Annis C Cheever                M           25           Massachusetts  
Maria Cheever                   F             22           Maine   
Emily Cheever                   F             3             Massachusetts  
Harriot Cheever                 F             2             Massachusetts

13. "New York, Marriages, 1686-1980" (For Ammi Cutter Cheever to Emma Jane Morris 20 June 1874, his listed as Ammi Cutter Cheever and Maria E. This record suggests that Ammi married before he died.)
14. 1870 United States Federal Census Boston Ward 11, Suffolk, Massachusetts   (This is the only listing found for a Nancy Cheever)
Household Members:      Name    Age       
Geraldine Gove                 24           All born in Massachusetts, 6,000/6,000, Keeping house
Carrie A Gove                    22          
Marion A Gove                  21          
Nancy C Cheever              50          
Bridget Hogarty 27           Born Ireland

The final website accessed was fold3.com to look for additional information on the mother's pension file. The record found is similar to the one found at familysearch.org, but does not include the mother's name. There were 406 matches when searching for Ami Cheever.
This was where my research stopped on this project. It was a wonderful example of the wealth of information available. The point made is that each website with available information needs to be searched and re-searched, as they may have additional information. My class in three weeks will focus on fold3.com and I will continue searching for Ami Cheever there and provide an update to this post.
While some of the information about Ami Cheever is quite varied, in all likelihood he is probably the same person. The pension file will probably help to explain the family story. Why were the children found in 1850 and 1855 in Boston and in 1860 in St. Louis with their parents and 1865 living with their probable maternal grandmother? Did their father remarry to a Nancy? Did Ami marry Emma Jane Morris in 1874, prior to his death in 1876? A lot of the confusion lies in father and son having the same name.
There are still more websites to be searched and then record repositories where they lived. The class attendee has just been given the basis for further research. My hope is that she shares the pension file when it arrives. Are you as curious as I am?


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Susan!!! This was an excellent post. I am really impressed with the thoroughness of searching through all of these sites. Good job!