So I began to do a Google Book Search in hopes of finding some published books that would serve as a guide to me. So I searched for Zaccheus Downer 1799 in hopes that this would distinguish him from other Zaccheus Downers.
The first book I found was "The Downers of America: with genealogical record" by David Robinson Downer. The book was published in 1900 by the Baker Print Company. On pages 87-88, my Zaccheus Downer is listed. Here is what the book says on page 88 about Zaccheus Downer:
"Zaccheus, b[orn] at Springfield or New Lisbon, 8 Mar, 1799. Rem.[oved]
(1st) to Perrysburg, N.Y. and in Nov, 1864, to Sullivan, Ind., where he d[ied]
in Sept., 1876."
This book looks pretty favorable to me since a lot of the facts that it stated are things that I have already proven or that fit into my theories. The only thing that doesn't fit, is that Zaccheus was born in Springfield or New Lisbon because New Lisbon was not created until 1808 (from a town named Pittsfield). Springfield makes more sense as a place of birth for Zaccheus, since Springfield was created in 1797.
This book also gives me a look at who Zaccheus' parents and siblings are. However, I have nothing to prove or contradict the book with Zaccheus' parents and siblings - so I'll need to do more searching.
Using this book as a guide, I have decided to make a to-do list of what I want to find for Zaccheus, along with some ideas as to where I can find each item. Below is what I came up with
- Possible Baptism Record: I searched the Family History Library Catalog and found a church record book for Otsego County, New York - the county in which Springfield and New Lisbon are located. My hope is that a possible baptism will be listed for Zaccheus, which would hopefully support my birth year theory. The title of the film is Record book of Rev. Daniel Nash and the film number is "FHL US/CAN Film 17137 Item 13"
- Possible Marriage Record: I searched Family History Library Catalog and found a microfilm reel that includes marriage information that has been extracted from local newspapers. The title of the film is Marriages taken from the Otsego Herald and Western Advertiser and Freeman's Journal, Otsego County, N. Y., newspapers from 1795-1850 and the film number is "FHL US/CAN Film 924751 Item 2". This could lead me to a marriage record for Zaccheus.
- Possible Probate Record: I searched Family History Library Catalog and found microfilm that could have Zaccheus' probate records, such as a will. The title of the film is Will records, Circuit Court, Sullivan County, Indiana, v. 2, Dec 31, 1874-Oct 14, 1891 and the film number is "FHL US/CAN Film 1392994 Item 1"
Of course, my final thoughts are that I have a lot of work ahead of me. This line is proving to be a more difficult, frustrating, and yet all the more interesting. I am excited for the things that I will be learning as I research this line and I'm even more excited about the possibilities this line could provide for me.
Since my main frustration with this line is a lack of source citations in the many trees that list Zaccheus, I've decided to make it more of my mission to pay extra close attention to sourcing this line. I also plan on sharing all of my successes with this line in hopes of helping other genealogists with this line and giving them something concrete that they can follow. So expect to see a lot of postings on message boards and to this blog with those successes.