Sunday, December 23, 2012

Who Is This Guy?

I am working on a little something. I have only started working on it so I don't know the answer to the question yet but the question is, "Who was Gazaway Sims?"

John Lewis (1801-1880) named one of his children Gazaway Sims Watkins Lewis (1859-1929). John had a habit of given his children long names so there isn't anything unusual about the name on the surface, however, when I started looking at the census records for John and his family I found something.

In 1840 (19 years before John's son was born), John was living next door to a man named Gazaway Sims.1 The two men seem to be about the same age. Interesting. In 1850 we find the two men still living near each other.2 John is listed as being born in NC and Gaz is listed as being born in GA. I was really hoping that there was a NC tie between the two men but right now it doesn't look like it is going to go in that direction. When we look at the 1860 census, the two men are living next to each other and now little Gaz has been born.3 I don't see Gazaway Sims in the 1870.

There is obviously a tie between the two men. This is a good example of collateral genealogy. I hope to find out more about John by researching Gazaway. Was Gazaway a relative of one of John's wives? (He had 4 so that will be a little bit of work). Or, was John related to Gazaway's wife? Maybe he was just a good friend and neighbor? Was he an arch enemy and John named his son Gazaway just to make him mad? Okay, that one is a little far fetched but you get the idea.

Only one person has Gazaway Sims in their family tree on Ancestry.com. That tree is private so I have emailed the owner to see what he might know. I have added Gazaway Sims to my database as an unrelated individual which means I can add information to him as I find it just like any other person in my file. If I ever do find a connection, I can easily link him to the family. I already have a ton of tasks lined up on Gaz's research calendar. I pretty much treat him just like anyone else in my file. I need to put together a skeleton of information to include when and where born, when and where married and to whom, when and where died and buried and then follow him through all of the available census records (some of that is already done) so that I can construct a timeline. After all that I will delve into land records, tax records, probate etc. It is no different than working on one of my direct line ancestors.

I am hoping to find something really cool but the possibility exists that I will never find any sort of connection. That is just the way it goes. Even if I don't find anything helpful for me, the time spent won't be for naught. There might be another researcher out there that has Gaz in their line and my research will be of value to them.


11840 U.S. census, Columbia County, Georgia, District 6, p. 300 [stamped], lines 8 and 9, Gazaway Sims and John Lewis households; National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 39.

21850 U.S. census, Columbia County, Georgia, population schedule, p. 278 (stamped), dwelling 686, family 686, John Lewis household; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 66; 1850 U.S. census, Columbia County, Georgia, population schedule, p. 276 (stamped), dwelling 655, family 655, Gaz B. Sims household; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 66.

31860 U.S. census, Columbia County, Georgia, population schedule, Districts 1, 2, and 6, p. 34 [penned], dwellings 274 and 275, families 274 and 275, John Lewis and Gazaway Sims households; National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 118.


Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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