Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finding a 19th Century American Farm Family in Argentina: Sarah Anderson and Moses Hougham

Experienced genealogists know that family traditions and online family trees are filled with errors, and that relying on the Internet alone is not a good strategy.  My experience searching for Sarah (Anderson) Hougham, my paternal great-grandmother's sister, reminded me, however, that one ignores family traditions or online family trees at their peril, and that the Internet is powerful and constantly changing.

A mystery that has long fascinated me is "What became of Sarah Anderson and her husband Moses Hougham?" All I first knew about the Houghams was on a scrap of paper, probably written by my aunt in the early 1930s, listing my great-grandmother's siblings, with their birthdates.  Next to Levina Anderson's name is written "one who married Houghman (sic) and went to South America.  Address was Mrs. Moses Houghman Rosario, Tala, Entre, Rios, Republic Argentina."[1] However, Levina Anderson never married, died at age 19 in 1857, and is buried in West Cemetery, Eagleville, Harrison Co., Missouri.

In 1994, I checked a microfilmed marriage index from the Family History Library (FHL) and discovered that it was Sarah Ann Anderson who married Moses Hougham in DeWitt Co., Illinois in January, 1844. Today, it is much easier to find the marriage on the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. Later that year, again using FHL microfilm, I found Sarah and her family in the 1850 census living in McLean Co., Illinois, [2]  but I could not locate them in subsequent U.S. census records.   (Sarah's maternal grandmother, Rachel Downey, lived with Moses and Sarah Hougham in 1850, but Rachel is another story).

When did the Houghams move to Argentina? How could I find them there? Why would a Midwestern farm family move to South America? Do I have cousins still living in Argentina?

In late 2007, I stumbled across the Argentina National Census of 1895, with images, on the Family Search pilot site. After searching for Moses Hougham with no results, I remembered that married women often use their own surnames in Spanish-speaking countries. So, I plugged "Sarah Anderson" into the search engine, and there they were: Moises Hougan, age 74, a farmer, and Sara Anderson, age 72, both born in N.A. (North America), living in Rosario del Tala, Entre Rios, Argentina.  The census indicates Sarah had 5 children and had been married for 52 years.

I had confirmed the Anderson family story: Mrs. Moses Hougham did live in Argentina!  But would I be able to find more about them? I obtained some information on how to research in Argentina and discovered there were still people living in Argentina named Hougham.  However, other research priorities, and life's daily responsibilities, took priority and I soon put Sarah and Moses aside.

Yesterday, on a whim, I tried again. Although Hougham is an uncommon name, it can be difficult to search because it is often spelled or indexed incorrectly. After poking around on Google and Ancestry Public Trees, I discovered the family may have lived in Oregon before moving to Argentina.[3]

Armed with the Oregon clue, I found the Moses Hougham household in Lane Co., Oregon in 1860, although Ancestry indexed them as Mack and Elizabeth Hougan.[4]

On Google Books, I found an 1886 Catalog of Machinery Manufactured by the Westinghouse Company containing a testimonial from Moses Hougham of Rosario, Argentina, probably written in 1885, extolling the virtues of a grain separator:

Putting together the information that can be gleaned from the 1850 and 1860 U.S. census records, and the 1895 Argentine census, Sarah Anderson and Moses Hougham were probably the parents of five sons:

  • John Hougham, b. about 1845 in Illinois.  He lived with the family in the US in 1850 and 1860.  According to an extracted marriage record in the IGI, Juan Hougham married Eladia Garcia on 17 Apr 1880 in Rosario, Colonia, Uruguay.  Could this be the same person?
  • Evan Hougham, b. about 1846 in Illinois. Perhaps he died before 1860, as he is not living with the family in Oregon.
  • Anderson Hougham, b. about 1856 in Oregon.
  • A[a]ron Hougham, b. about 1861 in North America, probably Oregon. Aaron, his wife Adela Peyrot, and three young daughters (Sara, age 3, Elena age 2, and Evangelina age 1 1/2), were enumerated next to Moses and Sarah in Rosario del Tala in 1895.
  • Noe (or Noah) Hougham, b. about 1863 in North America, probably Oregon. He was living with Sarah Anderson and Moises Hougham in Argentina in 1895.

I can't find the family on the 1870 or 1880 US census, so they may have moved to Argentina as early as the  mid-1860s.

Much work remains to answer my questions, but in about 30 minutes online, I narrowed the time frame for their move by more than 20 years (about 1863 to 1885, instead of 1850 to 1895),  I found more details about the family, and I have new clues to investigate.

Additional Notes and Sources:

[1] I am embarrassed to admit that, while I remember seeing this handwritten document in my youth, I cannot find it in my files.  All I have is this transcription, probably typed by my mother in the early 1960s.

[2] 1850 U.S. census, McLean Co., Illinois population schedule, Randolph Grove, p. 86 (stamped), 171 (penned), dwelling 1461, family 1494, Moses Hougham household; digital images, ( accessed 28 Oct 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 117. 

[3] Fosilfndr (user name), "Boyer Family Tree," entry for Moses Hougham, Ancestry Public Member Trees. This tree provides source citations for the 1850 census, a family bible for Moses' father Isaac Hougham, and "Illinois Marriages, 1790-1860."  It lists 6 children:  Noah, Richard A., John G., Evan G., an unnamed boy born in 1856, and Aaron, b. 30 Aug 1861 in Portland, Oregon, d. 20 May 1909 in Rosario, Argentina.  The dates and places of birth and death for Aaron are said to be from the back of a photograph.  The tree also states Moses Hougham died in October, 1898, "shipwrecked in Argentina," but provides no source citation.

Also, Barbara Jean Barbre Evans, Hougham family file, Nancy McNabb's HomePage.  Mrs. Evans indicates that "supposedly, two of Isaac's sons settled in Argentina," but she names only Moses and several daughters as children of Isaac Hougham.  She states that Aaron Hougham "married ____ Piamontes (born 23 Oct 1859, St. Germanstowne, Italian descent)," providing the same dates and locations of birth and death as the Boyer Family Tree.

[4] 1860 U.S. census, Lane Co., Oregon population schedule, Eugene, p. 257, dwelling 148, family 148, Moses Hougham household; digital images, ( : accessed 28 Oct 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1055.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Using Legacy to Create a Research Notes Summary

Recently, RootsMagic 4 unveiled a new Research Notes Report.  While RM4 is an excellent program that I use periodically, if you dread the thought of switching programs and having to clean up thousands of source citations, there is a way to produce a similar report in Legacy.  For information about the purpose and use of a Research Notes Summary, see this recent post on the Transitional Genealogists Form (TGF) list by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

The primary differences in Legacy are these:

*Each segment will be identified/separated by a bullet, not a line.

*Comments cannot be blocked and indented; however, you can italicize, bold, and/or underline to highlight them.

*Transcriptions/abstracts and comments must be entered in the Event Note field, not in the Source Text/Comments field.

*If you want a complete timeline, you will need to create "duplicate" events for birth, marriage, death and burial.  You can mark these added events as private so that you can control which reports they print in.


1.  For each document or fact, create an Event (remember that you can add customized Events, so you can call it anything you want).  Enter the date, location, and (if desired) description, then transcribe or abstract the document into the Event Notes field.  Double space, type COMMENTS, enter your comment, and highlight with B/I/U. 

If you want only a summary sentence or two, not the full transcriptions/comments, to appear in other reports, compose that summary and enclose everything else in double brackets [[example]] to mark the raw data as "private."

2.  Click on the Event Sentence Override tab and enter:

[Desc] [Sources]


I would encourage you to experiment with other structures like:

[Notes][Sources] *or*



so you can customize the report to your preferences.

3. Attach the source citation.

4. Save the Event, then from the Event list, ensure you have Set Order chronologically (little black arrows toward the lower right of screen).

5. From the Reports Menu, choose either the Individual Report (if you are okay with only end notes), or the Descendants Book Report (if you want footnotes).  The remaining instructions will be specific to the Descendants Book Report, but you will need to make similar changes if you use the Individual Report.

6.  From the Options tab, ensure Index Options, Title Page, and Generate Table of Contents are unchecked.  Set the number of generations to 1. Under the Heading Layout tab, change the title to Research Notes Summary for [FullName], for example.  From the Wording tabs, erase any of those pesky canned sentences that interfere (you can always reset to default later).

7.  Click on Report Options and set each tab as desired; the most important ones IMO are: under Privacy, check Print Private Notes (if you have used the double brackets described above), and/or Include Events Marked Private, if necessary, under Include, check Event Information (I leave almost everything else blank),  under Sources, check Print Source Citations as Footnotes, and  under Format, click on Event Narrative Format and select Bullet Point each Event.

You are now ready to print.  However, you may want to print to an RTF file and make some minor changes in a word processor, such as deleting the "First Generation" subtitle, the basic BMD sentences that will be out of sequence, and the children's information.

This process is not as complex as it may sound.  The main problem I have is remembering to consistently enter the data as I have described in the Event Notes field.