Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Searching for John R. Petty's Parents - Part 2

In Part 1, a possible father for my 2nd great-grandfather, John R. Petty, had been identified based on their geographic proximity in adjoining counties in the 1860 census, both being named John and John R.'s age falling in line to be a sibling to the children listed for John Petty. Obviously that's not enough to prove a relationship so let's keep going.

Finding John Petty in the 1850 census turned out to be a big problem - so far it's been impossible. I searched every way I could think of in Bradley County and moved on to the same exercise in McMinn County. Nothing. The search was expanded to all of Tennessee and Georgia. Still nothing. I eventually browsed the entire Bradley and McMinn 1850 census page by page but still did not find the Petty family. I did find a James and Nancy Petty (both 64 years old and the only two in their household) living in McMinn County in 1850 who could be candidates for the older John Petty's parents.   

Based on the ages of John Petty's children, he would have been married in the 1830's so I moved back to the 1840 census. There was a John Petty in McMinn County who could be this John Petty. That household was composed of 1 male 5-10, 1 male 20-30, 2 females under 5, 2 females 5-10 and 1 female 20-30. The adult male fits in John's age range and the adult female would probably be his wife. If John R. was a son in this family, he would have been the male 5-10. The three sons listed in 1860 were all born after 1840 so that still fits. Assuming Martha from 1860 was a daughter, she would have been one of the 2 females under 5. That leaves three more daughters not found with the family in 1860 but they would all have been old enough to be married by then. This could definitely be John Petty's household twenty years before the 1860 Bradley County census record. 

In addition to not finding the elder John Petty's family in the 1850 census, I didn't find my John R. Petty in any other household either. (Another reason to believe he's a part of this family? I think so.) I'm pretty much convinced that either the family was missed in 1850 or the page they are on is missing from both Ancestry and FamilySearch.

There is more that seems to tie John R. to this family. That's coming up in Part 3.


  1. Did you search in North Carolina? It is not too far from where you are looking.

  2. Claudia - Yes, I should have added that I've also searched NC and AL.