I can't find a birth record for an ancestor of mine, Samuel McReynolds (1847-1905).   The reason I am trying to find this is that I have no idea who his parents are and I am hoping to find that out.  There is more information in the related question Finding a marriage record for Samuel McReynolds?

I have a death record for Samuel McReynolds (with no parents listed) in which it states that he was born in Saline,Missouri on 13 December 1847, he died November 13 1905 in California. I know this is the correct death record as his wife is listed. He doesn't show up in Saline, Missouri on the 1850 Census though.  There are 2 other Samuel McReynolds born in Missouri around the same time and I have concluded that Samuel's parents ARE NOT John McReynolds and Lucinda Meadows or Allen McReynolds and Martha Cooper.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Hi, Amy -- welcome to G&FH.SE! We have edited your question a bit to make it easier to read and fix a couple of mistakes (like the reference to the 1950 Census). Was the third son born in Walla Walla, Washington? I would also like to see the newspaper article, so if you have the publication information, could you add that to your question?
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:57
  • 1
    @PolyGeo -- I edited the title because I think asking for how to find vital records in three states is too broad a question; the answer will be different for every state in the USA. If we really need to answer for finding vital records in three or four different states, I wonder if it might be better to have separate questions for the birth records and the marriage records, since Amy has Samuel's death record already.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 14, 2015 at 0:44
  • @PolyGeo -- if we want to split this into two questions (one for Oregon/Washington-area records, and one for Missouri) then I can cut-and-paste my answer.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 16, 2015 at 18:09
  • @JanMurphy That sounds like a good idea but I think the question split will best come in Amy's name. Perhaps you can provide her with a "bare bones new question" to ask, and once asked you will be able to edit it along the lines you are thinking and then answer it. Naturally, if your edits are not in line with what Amy was thinking she will be able to roll them back.
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:36
  • Amy, if you don't mind, could you ask a new question about finding the marriage record of Sam and Sultana? That way I can copy my answer over as an answer to your new question, and delete the answer here. You (or we) can edit this question to be about finding the Missouri records, leaving Rusty's answer in place, and we can link the two questions together so people can see they are related. Here's how: 1) Open a new tab in your browser 2) hit Ask Question 3) use the edit function under this question to open the edit screen 4) copy & paste
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Without the context of the surrounding community -- knowing the friends, neighbors, and associates -- we can miss important clues. We can start by narrowing the time frame for when Samuel McReynolds came to Oregon, and then working backwards from there.

A search in the FamilySearch catalog for Umatilla County, Oregon shows:

The Fresno Bee newspaper article you posted in your other question said Samuel had been involved in mining, so it might be worth it to take a look at these Umatilla county mining claims:

Miners travel all over the country to find work. If you can find other people who came to the area from Missouri, that might give a hint as to friends, associates, and neighbors of Sam's family back home.

The other record sets I would check, just in case, are these:

Being born in December 1847, Sam is perhaps too young to have served at the beginning of the war, but he might have been called up at the end. A quick check for other men named Samuel McReynolds could also give you some hints about how many same-name candidates you'll have to contend with when you search for records in Missouri.

If you find candidates in the National Park Service indexes, sometimes a search of Google Books will turn up published rosters and histories of the units they served in.

Another untapped resource is to widen your search and study the area itself -- find bloggers who write about other people who lived in the areas you are interested in. You may not find your own family in their writings, but if they talk about how they found records and maps and other things, it will give you ideas of where else you can look for things. While I was searching for information about the town my father's family came from, I discovered a blog post with a railway schedule. I hadn't looked at the map, so I hadn't considered how people might have traveled on the train.

  • 2
    How can I possibly thank you!!! This obviously took you a good deal of time, and I so appreciate your help. I am a novice at this so I needed some directions on where else to look. Thanks for giving me exactly that!!! Mar 16, 2015 at 21:05
  • 1
    @amymcreynolds Many others have helped me -- this is how we pay it forward! At G&FH.SE the idea is to not just answer the question but to show the reasoning behind what we do so others coming along later can get help from the previous answers. You can also self-answer your questions to share your own research. It helps to work from what you know and go outward in SMALL steps instead of trying to make the big leaps. Writing out how you know things and where you find them, and why you think you have the right person, is a good way to be more confident about your progress.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:11
  • 1
    @amymcreynolds Here's my answer to the question What records are available at a particular locale? which might give you more ideas. I should also warn you that I edit my answers as I find interesting blog posts or new resources coming online. I'll try to come back later and add some links for finding Oregon and Washington newspapers online.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 16, 2015 at 22:20

"Samuel's parents ARE NOT John McReynolds and Lucinda Meadows or Allen McReynolds and Martha Cooper."

According to several trees on Ancestry.com, John and Allen were both sons of Joseph (born 1776 in NC) and they had two younger brothers - Logan and David.

1830 and 1840 censuses for Saline County, Missouri show a Samuel McReynolds (born between 1780-1790) living two doors down from Joseph.

Also, your Samuel (born 1847) is listed in a McReynolds DNA project

  • 1
    Rusty, is this really an answer? A Samuel McReynolds on the census in 1830 and 1840 can't be the same as a Samuel McReynolds who was born in 1847, and your references to the older Samuel don't have links to the records on FamilySearch, or any of the other information about who might be in the household that would help someone figure out if the older Samuel might be the father of the younger one. Could you beef up this answer, please?
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 15, 2015 at 17:09
  • Yes, this really is an answer. Before it was edited 14 times by you and others, his question was "Who were the parents of Samuel McReynolds? Any suggestions?" and these are suggestions. Three father candidates in Saline County at that time are Logan, David, and Samuel. I gave the older Samuel's birth as between 1780-1790, so obviously he's not the child Samuel born in 1847, but maybe a brother to Joseph. Mar 18, 2015 at 6:49
  • Adding "Three father candidates in Saline County at that time are Logan, David, and Samuel. I gave the older Samuel's birth as between 1780-1790, so obviously he's not the child Samuel born in 1847, but maybe a brother to Joseph." to your answer would make it something that I would upvote.
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 18, 2015 at 8:51
  • It's true that the question has been heavily edited as we've tried to improve the question quality. However, in the body of the question, Amy asked specifically how to find vital records. That part of the question has never been changed, and that's why I felt that your answer, which only referred to the census candidates in Missouri, was a bit of a non-sequitur. If you don't have time to edit your question to add links to the census records in question, then PolyGeo or I or another community member can do so.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 18, 2015 at 16:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.