My maternal grandmother's maiden name was Davis. Her father's first name was Samuel and her paternal grandfather was Daniel. This information was verified with death certificates, cemetery records and censuses. According to my great-great-grandfather Daniel's death certificate, his father was William H. Davis from Milton,NY and his mother was Emily Martin from Lloyd,NY.
Before I subscribed to Ancestry.com I had looked at the social security death index online, read the message boards and even created my tree for free. The first census I ever looked at was the 1880 U.S. Federal Census which is available for free at Ancestry.com. This census shows a Daniel J. Davis, age 21, with an estimated birth year of 1859 and parents William H.d Davis and Emily Davis. My Daniel Davis was born January 1, 1860. I wrote down the details of this census. I wasn't sure if this was my g-great-grandfather who is listed with his parents and six siblings. After I bought my annual subscription to Ancestry.com I checked the 1870 U.S. census and found Daniel again. This time there are two more older sisters listed and also one of the questions asked is whether deaf & dumb blind, insane, or idiotic. Daniel J. Davis is listed as deaf & dumb. My g-great-grandfather was a deaf-mute. I was pretty sure that I had the right Daniel Davis. How many Daniel Davises were born in Milton,NY in the year 1860 to William H. and Emily Davis and were also deaf-mutes? The 1860 census has Daniel's older sisters Susan and Adelia living with their parents William H. and Emily in Marlborough,NY. The post office for this area was Milton; same town that Daniel was born in. I don't know why Daniel Davies wasn't listed in the 1860 census. His birth date was January 1st and the census was counting "every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1860, was in this family". Was he not counted because he was only 6 months old? Even with Daniel missing from the 1860 census I was still sure that these were my ancestors. I added their names to my tree on ancestry.com and attached the census records. The 1850 U.S. Federal Census has an 18 year old William H. Davis living with Edwin and Adielia Bortlet (Bartlet?) and their two children in Marlborough,NY. Every census I checked for William H. Davis has the town listed as Marlborough so I'm guessing that this 18 year old is my William H. Davis and he was living with his sister and brother-in-law. Four years later he and his wife Emily were blessed with a daughter who they named Adelia. I haven't found William H. Davis before 1850. I don't like the censuses before 1850. There are quite a few Davises in Marlborough,NY and I don't know if any of them are mine.
According to the censuses I've checked, William H. Davis was born abt 1832. I have no idea who his parents were and until I find out when and where he died (to get birth info), I'll never know.