Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors: #6 Henry Clay Paris/Parris/Parish

Henry Clay Paris


I have come to the conclusion that some surnames are easier to research than others.  Paris is not so easy since many towns are named Paris. I found the digital image of a Civil War Pension Index card on Since it showed he served from the State of Illinois, I went to the Illinois State Archives website and searched for Henry in their Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls database. 
Illinois Civil War Detail Report
Rank: PVT
Company: B
Unit: 30 IL US INF
Personal Characteristics
Residence: ROCK CREEK, IL
Age: 21
Height: 5' 4 1/2
Eyes: BLUE
Complexion: LIGHT
Marital Status:
Occupation: FARMER
Nativity: KY
Service Record:
Joined When: OCT 1, 1864
Joined Where MT STERLING, IL
Joined By Whom
Period 1 YR
Muster In OCT 1, 1864
Muster In Where MT STERLING, IL
Muster In By Whom
Muster Out JUN 4, 1865
Muster Out Where WASHINGTON, DC
Muster Out By Whom LT NOYES
The Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls database is a transcription of each soldier's entry in the record series, Muster and Descriptive Rolls (RS 301.020). The database contains information about over 285,000 soldiers from Illinois who served in the Union Army during the War of the Rebellion. Each entry includes all of the information that was recorded by the Illinois Adjutant General in the original Muster and Descriptive Rolls. Entries for each roll include soldier's name; rank; age; height; colors of eyes, hair, and complexion; occupation; marital status; birthplace; residence; date, place, and term of enrollment; name; name of mustering officer; date and place of muster out; name of mustering-out officer; and remarks concerning transfers, promotions, injuries, or special duty.
Fred Delap of Kansas, Illinois, a volunteer with the Edgar County Genealogical Society, entered the information found in this database from microfilm of the 89 volumes of original Muster and Descriptive Rolls provided by the Illinois State Archives. Delap discovered that the published Adjutant General's Reports included soldiers that were not included in the original Muster and Descriptive Rolls. To make the database as comprehensive as possible, he also extracted the information from the first eight volumes of the nine volume publication, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois. (The ninth volume lists veterans of Black Hawk, Mexican, and Spanish-American Wars.)
I had forgotten about the document shown below and until I was organizing my many binders of genealogical data accumulated over the past thirty years.  This document was among my grandmother's belongings at the time of her death and it was passed along to my father.  About seven or eight years ago, it was given to me.
I was fortunate to receive this original certified pension approval document.
While still on the Illinois State Archives website, I conducted further searches for Henry Clay Paris using all variations of his name.  I found his marriage to Frances Conover in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index.
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index

Date: 1869-09-12
Volume: A
Page: 365
Lic No.: 2526
County: MENARD
 Unfortunately, Menard county marriages are not indexed in the Illinois Marriages database on  To obtain a copy of their marriage record, I need to contact either the county clerk or IRAD.
From the Illinois State Archives website: 
Copies of marriage records included in the Statewide Marriage Index may be obtained from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System if IRAD holds marriage records for that county or from the county clerk in the county in which the marriage occurred.
  • Request a Marriage Record from IRAD — Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD) hold original marriage records or microfilm copies for many Illinois counties. The IRAD holdings include marriage records for over seventy of the 102 counties in Illinois. Consult the Local Governmental Records Holdings Database to see if IRAD has marriage records for the county and date of the marriage you are requesting. Type the search term MARRIAGE in the title field to return all marriage records in the IRAD holdings. If IRAD does have marriage records for the county you are searching and for the pertinent time period, write the appropriate IRAD depository and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. The addresses and telephone numbers of the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories are listed in the IRAD section. Marriage record searches are free, but a small copy fee will be billed for records found. IRAD provides uncertified copies only. Certified copies must be requested from the county clerk.
  • Request a Marriage Record from a County Clerk — County clerks are the official custodians of all marriage records recorded in Illinois counties. To obtain copies of marriages found in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, write the appropriate county clerk and include in your letter all of the information on the marriage given in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. Only county clerks may issue certified copies of marriage records. Search and copy fees will vary from one county to another.
  • Copies of marriage records are not available from the Reference Unit of the Illinois State Archives in Springfield.
This is on my to-do list.

In trying to research in Kentucky where Henry was born, it got a little trickier.  There is a Paris, Kentucky so doing a Google search was fruitless.  I also tried USGenWeb and too many hits for the name Paris that referred to Paris, Kentucky proved frustrating.  I think perhaps, a trip to Madison county Kentucky might be added to my to-do list.

The 1870 Federal Census shows Henry and Frances living in Township 14 Range 4 West in Menard county. The post office is listed as Sallula.  Living with them is a young man, Alvin Martin, age 12.  Their relationship is unknown to me, at this time.  Jump ahead ten years and they are living in Elk county, Kansas at the time of the 1880 Federal Census.  Frances is enumerated as Sarah F. and they have three sons, Volna P. age 7, Decatur R. age 5, and   Claudie E age 1.  According to this document, the first two sons were born in Missouri.  This gives me another clue to find records in the State of Missouri.  I preliminary search on Missouri Digital Archives didn't yield any relevant results.  I have two ways to search for the location in Missouri, I can find death certificates for the two boys or I could put together a possible route they would take from Menard county to Missouri using the trails available in 1872.  Death certificates take time so in the meantime I will search to find a route they may have taken from Illinois. Using I created a map from Petersburgh, IL to Elk, KS.  This is roughly a 500+ mile journey.  To narrow down the route they might have taken around 1872 to Missouri, I would need to locate historical maps showing where covered wagons would travel.  I would then be able to narrow down my search to a specific county or counties. This is another addition to my to-do list.

Here is a modern map:
Volney Peter Paris was born in December 1873, I don't have a death date for him.  Decatur Paris was born in August 1874.  Neither of these men are listed in the SSDI, but I do know that both lived in Oklahoma.

Henry Clay Paris moved his family to Oklahoma by the 1900 Federal Census.  It is possible he would have gotten a homestead through the Federal Government.  I have been trying for a couple of days to get General Land Office Records to load in my browser without success.  A disclaimer appears as a tooltip when you hover on the link to Land Records that states the contents of this system are not fully 508 compliant.  It gives a phone number to call for assistance.  This is definitely a bummer!  I have used this site often to find land patents for my ancestors.  I should be able to find Henry's homestead papers in the county courthouse where he resided.  One more item added to my to-do list.

Henry died in 1918 in Chester, Major County, Oklahoma and his widow Frances filed for a widow's pension.  This pension is another on my to-do list.  Sarah died in February 1924 in the same location.

As you can see, my to-do list is quite extensive for this line.  On a Facebook group, a member submitted a spreadsheet that she created to track her research.  I took the pdf version she posted and re-created it in Excel and added an area to track state census records in addition to federal census records.  Having a research log is vital, and an electronic version is awesome!  

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