Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

One of my  “sturdiest” brick-walls has been the inability to find any trace of my 2nd great-grandparents, Joseph Rogers and Susan Hannah Knox. I have no primary evidence of their existence. Nothing.

What I do have is their names on the SS-5 application of my great-grandfather Charles Arthur Rogers:

ChaARogers ss5

What I do have is their names on the death certificate of my great-grandfather Charles Arthur Rogers:

ChaARogers DC

What I do have is the family tradition told by my grandmother:

“My daddy ran away from home as a child because he knew that if he didn’t, he’d end up killing his step-father, who was mean to his momma!”

A few details from this story:

  • When he initially ran away, his two brothers George and Henry went with him, but later turned back.
  • A family headed to Texas picked up Charles and allowed him to travel with them, ending up near Round Rock, Texas. Charles then worked for the family for a time to repay their kindness in helping him.

So, what was my logical first step in locating Joseph and Susan Rogers?

The US Federal Census, of course!

My great-grandfather was born in April of 1870, so off to Ancestry I went…

I have searched page-by-page through the entire 1870 Montgomery County, Kentucky census and found no family even close to Joseph, Susan, Henry, George and Baby Charles Rogers.

Ok, so Charles’ father died and his mom remarried. The earliest that Joseph could have gone to the Great Beyond would have been ca July 1869, nine months before Charles was born. Did he die so soon after Charles was “created” and then Susan remarry so soon after his death? Not likely, but still possible. So I looked for any family that fit that description: Husband, wife, at least 2 sons or 3 sons, depending on when the census taker actually arrived. In 1870, the official census day was June 1, so if the census taker arrived after June 1, there should have been an infant in the household, right? So maybe Charles was the oldest child and George and Henry were younger, which might explain why they returned home rather than run away as Charles did. So I looked for a household with an infant, a household with something close to Susan as the mother and Rogers as the surname… still nothing. Or maybe Susan as the mother and an infant in the household and some other surname. Nope. Did the new family pack up and leave Montgomery County with an infant in tow and miss the census taker? Who knows!

I think I may have located Susan Knox in the 1860 Mongomery County census:


Here is Sarah Knox, age 10, which would have made her of child-bearing age in 1870. And the names Susan and Sarah where used interchangeably in those days. Is she my Susan Hannah Knox? I don’t know for sure…

I have also looked online for marriage, birth, death and cemetery records with no success. I have located 1 Civil War record for a Joseph Rogers from Kentucky, but there is no way of knowing is he is my Joseph Rogers.

As I still know so very little about Joseph and Susan Rogers, I am hesitant to write to the Montgomery County courthouse for any records they have. I can’t give them enough details to allow them to find any documents without an exhaustive search, which I doubt that the courthouse folks have the time or desire to do!

The same with the local library or RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness) volunteers. I know so little and I certainly don’t expect someone else to do my research for me.

So, I have been at a dead end, until a few days ago…


One thought on “Finally…. a clue!

  1. Delia Furrer says:

    I cannot wait to find out what else you have learned! I really enjoy reading other researcher’s “case files” and the steps they take to uncover each clue one by one. That’s why we enjoy it so much, the detective work.

    I have several brickwalls of my own that I am currently at a loss as to how to proceed. Maybe there will be something to learn here.


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