James L Laird – Nebraska Congressman 1889

You would think it would be easy to find a family tree for a congressman, notable, prominent citizen from the state of Nebraska but it’s not.

I found this intriguing Obit “A Congressman Dead” with the picture of James L. Laird and thought that I could easily find a home (family tree) for it, so I followed my usual procedure but had “NO LUCK”.

James L. Laird Obit
James L. Laird Obit

Even if you have an accomplished life there is no guarantee that you will be put on someone’s family tree. Mr. Laird was not married (at least it was not mentioned in the write-up) so there are no off spring who would have produced family tree branches and who would have some relative creating a family tree today.

The above obituary even had a subsequent write-up right underneath it.

2nd write-up
2nd write-up

Since there was a lot of information about the work life of James L. Laird I went ahead and created a fake family tree for him in the hopes that by doing so I would get a ”family tree hint” from Ancestry.com but I did not get such a hint.

Family Tree
Family Tree

As you can see on the fake family tree, I was able to put in his name (James L. Laird), date of birth (1849) and date of death (1889); information provided by the newspaper write-up, but for the other family members I had to put in approximate information.

For instance the father Mr. Laird (I assume the father had the same name as James) is listed as just Laird and the birth date as 1829. In the profile page for the father I put in ”abt. 1829” since James was born in 1849 and thus the father had to be at least 20 years old when James was born. For the father’s death date I put in ”before 1889” because in the write-up they state that James would be “…interred in Parkview cemetery in Hastings, alongside of his father, mother and brothers.” So from the write-up I know that both his father and mother have died before his death date of 1889, and I know that he had at least two brothers.

The family tree thus contains a father, mother, son 1, son 2 and James, but no other family members because I was unable to find any. Both the father and mother have approximate birth and death dates but the son’s only have approximate death dates ”before 1889”.

findagrave site
findagrave site

Findagrave Web Site

Once I created the fake tree I was sure that I would be able to find census records in which I would be able to find the names of the family members, but I found none. There are people named James Laird who are born around 1849 but none with the exact date ”20 June 1849” as was given in the newspaper. I was able to verify the date by finding him listed in the ”findagrave” web site, but I was not certain that they didn’t get it from the same place I got it, so I searched some more and found a third confirmation for the date in:

”Herringshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century.”
page 567
“LAIRD, JAMES, soldier, lawyer, congressman, was born June 20, 1849, in Fowlerville, N. Y. He moved to Michigan; and served in the union army from 1862 to the close of the civil war. He settled at Hastings, Neb., in the practice of law. He was elected a representative from Nebraska to the forty-eighth congress; and was re-elected to the forty-ninth and fiftieth congresses as a republican. [p.567]”

I found an unusual record which I think many family tree owners overlook and that is an order form for the headstone.

Headstone Order
Headstone Order

I was able to find many records for him but no records which contained family member’s names or dates so I put the file into my “NO LUCK” folder.

I am hoping that this blog will be read by someone who has this James L. Laird on their family tree but the tree is just not on Ancestry or other web related family tree sites.

The one good thing that came out of this mystery and subsequent blog was that I noticed a crucial element in the production of screen prints. That crucial element is…

I will write-up a blog about production of screen prints and that crucial element.

Thank You.

To View the Original item,
Select St. Joseph Sunday Herald in box below:

St. Joseph, Missouri
St. Joseph Sunday Herald
August 18, 1889

4 thoughts on “James L Laird – Nebraska Congressman 1889

Add yours

  1. Update: It is now Feb 2014 and I came across a story about the Civil War and Libby prison. I knew I had seen that prison name before so I did a search in my files for it and I found it in the James Laird “No Luck” folder. I then reread my files and found a message from Catherine Renschler of the Adams County Historical Society; I had written her and she provided James’ parents names. “His parents are Rev. Robert and Emma Louise Laird”. with that new information I was able to find a page on FindAGrave with his parents and brother’s info. I updated the tree, but still have not found a “real” family tree for him. I guess my tree will be his family tree as I am finding out more and more about the family… Thank You. Jose

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