Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Historical Boundaries

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has presented us another challenge for the week!  

Hey Genea-philes, have you recovered from your tryptophan coma on Thursday?  Wake up - it's SATURDAY NIGHT!  Time for more GENEALOGY FUN!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to the Historical U.S. County Maps page on Randy Majors website ( ) .Read the whole page for tips on how to use the tool by entering a current geographical place in the United States and a year (from the drop down list) at the top of the page.

2)  Pick one place of interest and enter the name of the place (a current town/city or county) and choose a year from the dropdown list.  Use the Back < and Forward > arrow links to move forward or backward in time.

3)  Note the Historical jurisdiction for the place you selected for each year.  Write down the list from 1790 to 1900.

4)  Post the place you selected and the historical jurisdictions for that place in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status or google Plus Stream post.

5) Think about  the jurisdictions that came up - have you looked in those jurisdictions for information about your ancestral families that were in that place?
 Here's mine:

I picked Sheffield, Lorain County, Ohio, a small town in northern Ohio near the lake, as I had ancestry there for a decent stretch of time in the 19th century, and there was probably some boundary changes over the time period suggested.  I assumed there would be changes, but it was definitely interesting to see exactly what they were, and why they happened in some cases.

1775: Apparently the area was not associated with any larger jurisdiction, or at least the utility was having a conniption fit trying to retrieve the information. 

1779: In very late 1778, the Commonwealth of Virginia incorporated the area including Sheffield into Illinois County, which has since become extinct.  

County name as of 1/1/1779: Illinois (Va., Ext)
Full place name: Sheffield, Illinois (Va., Ext), Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Wednesday, December 09, 1778, ILLINOIS County (Va., extinct) created by Virginia to encompass all territory north and west of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River claimed by Virginia on the basis of its 1609 charter; ILLINOIS County included all of present Ohio. Hening, 9:552-555, 10:303-304; Robinson, 55

 1790: In 1786, this region was not part of the cession of lands by Connecticut, and was designated as the Western Reserve tract.  How did Connecticut get this area from Virginia?

County name as of 1/1/1790: Western Reserve
Full place name: Sheffield, Western Reserve, Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Thursday, September 14, 1786, The U.S. accepted Connecticut's cession of lands north and west of Pennsylvania and the Ohio River, except for a tract (Western Reserve) lying north of 41 deg. N. Lat. (Conn. southern line) & extending 120 mi. west of Penn. (Terr. Papers U.S., 2:24 n. 62)

 1810: In early 1809, this area became part of Non-County Area 3.

County name as of 1/1/1810: Nca 3
Full place name: Sheffield, Nca 3, Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Tuesday, February 07, 1809, Non-County Area 3 attached to GEAUGA lost some area to creation of HURON. (Ohio Laws 1808, 7th assy., ch. 48/p. 194; Chase, 3:ch. 377/pp. 2110-2111)

1820: Soon after, in 1812, Sheffield was placed in Cuyahoga County.

County name as of 1/1/1820: Cuyahoga
Full place name: Sheffield, Cuyahoga, Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Tuesday, February 18, 1812, CUYAHOGA lost overlap area to HURON, ending dispute dating from 22 Jan 1811. (Ohio Laws 1811, 10th assy., ch. 46/p. 122; Chase, 3:ch. 391/pp. 2115-2116)

1830: In 1827, Sheffield finally became part of Lorain County, as some areas were swapped between Lorain and Cuyahoga counties.

County name as of 1/1/1830: Lorain
Full place name: Sheffield, Lorain, Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Monday, January 29, 1827, LORAIN gained some area from MEDINA, lost some area to CUYAHOGA. LORAIN gained non-county area over the waters of Lake Erie as its limits were extended to the northern boundary of Ohio [not mapped]. (Ohio Laws 1826, 25th assy., gen., pp. 99, 111; Chase, 3:ch. 456/p. 2142; 3:ch. 458/p. 2143)

1850: (Yes, I skipped a bit, as nothing much happened...) In 1846, Ashland got some land from Lorain, but it didn't affect Sheffield, which is now in the north central part of Lorain County.  Also, this is as early as I have yet been able to place any ancestors.  James Day was counted in the 1850 US Census in Sheffield, Lorain County, Ohio.  He was born in 1807 in Massachusetts, and moved here to be a shipbuilder.  He and a partner made fine quality ships for use on the Great Lakes.

County name as of 1/1/1850: Lorain
Full place name: Sheffield, Lorain, Ohio, USA
DETAILS: Effective Tuesday, February 24, 1846, LORAIN lost some area to creation of ASHLAND. (Ohio Laws 1845, 44th assy., loc., secs. 1-2/pp. 172-173)

This is the last county boundary change affecting Sheffield, Lorain County, Ohio.  I have yet to search any earlier than about 1850, but should do so, as I need to find when James Day actually arrived in Sheffield.

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman