In my post "Introducing the Porter Family of Knox County, Ohio" I stated that one of my brick walls was the location of William Porter's residence (where he came from) before he migrated to Knox County, Ohio in the early 1800s. In the 1850 federal census it lists William as having been born in Connecticut, and in the 1860 federal census it lists William as having been born in New York. Since I have established that a son, Orrin Clinton Porter, was born in New York, I know that William at least lived in New York before coming to Ohio. But where?
William Porter is a fairly common name so I have found a lot of men with that name living in New York prior to 1840, which is when I've first found William living in Harrison Township, Knox, Ohio. This would take some time if I didn't try to narrow the field right from the start.
First I considered migration patterns. Where in New York would it be easier to travel to Ohio during the early 1800s? I looked at the history of the Erie Canal and found that it was completed in 1825, and it's path ran through Oneida County, New York. In 1830 I found one William Porter living in Hartford, Oneida, New York and another that lived in Augusta, Oneida, New York. Both these Williams fit the family dynamics for this time period. I also found a couple history snippets about the Porters in Augusta, Oneida County which stated that they had originally came from Connecticut. That looked good! Further investigation found that the William Porter in Augusta had died in 1841. The other William Porter is still found in Oneida County in 1840.
So next step was to create a list of William Porters, born about 1794, living in New York in 1830. I chose 1830 first because I felt there would have been at least one son, aged 5 to 9. I base this upon the assumption that a William Lee Porter (1821-1878) who is found in Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio is also the son of my William Porter. Each record was examined to see if the family unit fit mine. I don't remember how many William Porters I discounted but I finally found one living in Chautauqua County, New York who looked good. At that time the family looked like this: two males 0-4; one male 5-9; one male 30-39; one female 0-4; one female 5-9; two females 10-14, one female 30-39. I also found this family in the 1820 census. At that time the family consisted of one male 26-44, two females 0-9, and one female 16-25. This family is not found in this area in 1840. I looked at FindAGrave and did not find any graves listed for this family. I know that FindAGrave does not contain every grave in a given area, but I used this as another way of not discounting this family at this time.
Tomorrow I wll continue this investigation and how at least a hole was finally made in this brick wall.