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Neighboring Counties

Submitted by Susie Martin-Rott

So you've looked all over Henry County and didn't find those illusive ancestors...you might want to try your luck in the counties which border Henry County.

One handy little trick I have tried with much success is to take a map of the area, check the scale of the map (for example on the map I use 1" = 10 miles). Get a compass like you used in geometry class in school and set it to draw a 1" radius. Put the compass point on the town you THOUGHT you ancestors were in and draw a circle on your map. Then look and see if you crossed any county or state lines doing this. That tells you where you might want to search next. If you have no luck at 10 miles, try 20. Usually if I don't find the family I am looking for within about a 25 mile radius, they probably had left the area. If you don't have a compass, a pin and a piece of string with marks at the proper interval will give you a visual well enough to see if you've "left the county".

In my case, I was looking for my great grandfather's Woodward family on the 1860 census...at that time he was a young boy of about 14 and I did not find any Woodwards in Kewanee where I had found him in 1870. I drew my little circle with the 10 mile radius and discovered I had crossed the Bureau county line...sure enough, I found the family I needed in adjacent Bureau County.

Adjacent Counties

Rock Island Whiteside
Henry Bureau
Mercer Knox Stark