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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Corporal Thomas Nelson, the Person I Wish I Had Known

Since I last wrote, in June, so much has happened with my research concerning Corporal Thomas Nelson.

I found that the rule of confirming research data is very important.  If you will recall, I had thought that his wife, Eliza, passed away in Wisconsin while living with a daughter.  Since then, I found that not to be true.
Eliza passed away in DuPage County, Illinois  on the 23 of January in 1920.  This is what I found in the Illinois Death Index :

Eliza Nelson
Birth Date:abt 1851
Birth Place:Virginia
Death Date:23 Jan 1920
Death Place:Hinsdale, DuPage, Illinois
Burial Date:26 Jan 1920
Cemetery Name:Bronswood Cemetery
Death Age:69
Occupation:None
Race:Black
Marital Status:W
Gender:Female
FHL Film Number:1562397

This is a document that I wish to order from the State Archives.  It lists her burial place as Bronswood Cemetery.  However, I read the original burial index, which stated that originally Mrs. Nelson purchased a burial place for her deceased husband and herself.  But a notation mentions that she sold  the plot that was meant for herself.  Furthermore, I believe that the records at the cemetery office do not have a record for her burial there.  I will visit the cemetery this week to confirm this and ask if they will allow me to see the plot purchase records for her husband and the adjoining lot.  There should be confirmation as to her selling a plot either to the cemetery or to another person, if indeed she did so.

Next, I browsed the Illinois Marriage Index for DuPage County, Illinois which can be found at this web address : http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases/marriage.html  It covers 1763 - 1900.  The index search shows this result :

• Illinois Statewide Marriage Index    ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index
Search Criteria: Nelson, Thomas

Nelson, Thomas     Bussell, Eliza    1886 02 05   Vol 1  Page 99  Lic. 1287  DuPage County

The last name of Bussell sounded a little strange to me, so I proceeded to search this a little more. FamilySearch shows that her surname was Russell, which made more sense to me. However, It could also be Boswell.    It also stated the name of the officiate as Dorathy, P. M.  I assume the initials stand for Protestant Minister, but a little more research will make things more believable.

I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in August.  Sitting in the audience of Tim Pinnick, a known African-American researcher, I learned more about the types of evidence and resources that I should be using for this couple.

Since I knew the town of residence, I proceeded to look for city directories for the Nelson family.  I did find one which I photographed with my cell phone.  It appeared that Mrs. Eliza Nelson lived on South Vine Street in Hinsdale, Illinois.  It matched with the census records that I found.

The Civil War Pension Index provided two cards : One which was for Thomas Nelson's application for an invalid pension in 1897, and another for the Widow's Pension application in 1911 where Eliza had applied for support.  Each has an application and certificate number.  I'll use those to request the compiled and full file for the supporting papers of each request.

A nice trip to the library in Hinsdale proved to be very beneficial with my work.  They had microfilm of The Hinsdale Doings, a local newspaper which is published weekly and provides many years of local information.  Looking at the first page of the 21 January 1911 edition, there I found a rather nice obit for Mr. Nelson.
After I research a bit more that is mentioned in the obit, I'll report back and reveal what more I have found on our Civil War Veteran that I Wish I Had Known.  Wish me luck.  This is getting good.

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