Brick Busting

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Hey all and welcome back to The Hogue Connection! Today, I thought we’d get together to try a little brick busting on our shared Hogue Family Tree. What’s brick busting you ask? Often you are tracing an ancestor and can’t find anything new about them. For instance, you can’t nail down that person’s parents. It seems you have run into a brick wall. At least that’s what they call it in the world of genealogical research. I’m going to present some cases with important missing data. Hopefully, another researcher will read this and help us out!

Brick busting involves many things. It’s important to check out the folks that live around the ancestor in question, for one thing. Elizabeth Shown Mills, pro genealogist and lecturer, came up with a method to do this. Known as the FAN Club, it involves investigating the persons Friends, Associates, and Neighbors. This is helpful because of the availability of census records. You can check out more of Elizabeth’s articles here. I use this method quite a bit, but on these examples it hasn’t paid off. I won’t investigate our biggest brick busting opportunity in this post, namely the ancestors of my fifth great grandfather John Hogg (1732-1795). We’ll look at three other related ones instead.

Brick Busting…Hollin (NOT HAFER) Hogue.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing it, but it seems every time I look at other Hogue trees out there, my great-great-great grandmother is recorded as Hollin Hafer. Not always, but way too often. One I looked at yesterday had her name as Hollace Hallen Hafer Hogue. One was Hollis Hollin Hafner. Now I didn’t check them all, but there are about 287 trees on and most of them have her name listed incorrectly. The correct listing should be Hollin (1795-1875). Or Hollin (NMN or FNU). These initials stand for No Maiden Name or Family Name Unknown. I’ve seen researchers use these terms as a reminder for their own purposes. I think even Hollin Hogue is better than the ones I mentioned above.

Most of these Hafer names, as I mentioned in RED RIVER TRAILS, come from a mistake made in indexing the 1870 Census of Cherokee County, NC. This error gets magnified every time someone copies and pastes the info from one family tree to another, without verifying sources. It’s very easy to build a tree that way on Ancestry. In fact, many of my known cousins have this error in their trees. Obviously, these researchers have added all the indexed name ideas to their tree, too. Let’s fix it!

Seems Pretty Clear To Me!

I have only seen Hollin’s name on three documents ever. On the 1850 Census of Murray County, GA it’s spelled Hollen, and indexed as Hallen. Could probably be interpreted as either, or Hollin. The 1860 Census of Blount County, TN shows clearly that the spelling is Hollin, and it is indexed as such. The aforementioned 1870 Census is hard to read, but if you reverse the colors and zoom in, it looks like “Hogue, Hollan” to me. What do you think?

Unfortunately, it was indexed as Hofer, Hollace. You can see the problem. Anyway, this is my Brick Wall #2. We’ll need help brick busting on this one. First, though, lets get all of those incorrect name listings fixed as soon as possible! (Sure, Mike, no problem!) Some researchers I found on FindAGrave (owned by Ancestry) have done a great job on some of the Hogue bios on that site. They call themselves “Mountain Links” and have interviewed Hogues in the NC homeland and have really enhanced the experience there. Please read the listing for James L. Hogue here. It’s a great compilation of info on his family. I especially like one of the first lines: “James was the son of William G & Hollin Hogue. It’s unknown what his mother’s maiden name is.”

Brick Busting…Sarah Caroline Hogue and her husband, Rufus Marcus.

I’ll call this Brick Wall #3 for now. Sarah Caroline is William and Hollin’s youngest child. She was born around 1839, probably in Burke County, NC. Like her mother Hollin, her name shows up on three census reports. These reports are: 1850 Murray County, GA, 1860 Macon County, NC, and 1870, Haywood County, NC. We know that she married Rufus Marcus (spelled Marcuss on the marriage record) on 11 Dec 1854 in Macon County, NC. Based on Confederate Army records, Rufus was born in 1832 in Burke County. He is listed on the 1860 census with his wife and first two children. After that, there are no records of him that I have found. I should mention that Sarah was listed on the census and marriage record as Caroline, so that was her preferred name. No records of her exist after 1870.

Rufus and Caroline had three children. They were, as follows: Candice Holland (there’s that name again!), born in 1855 in Cherokee County, NC, Dewitt, born in Blount County, TN in 1859, and William, born in 1861, also in Tennessee. Remember that on the 1870 census of Pigeon, Haywood, NC, Caroline, Candice, Dewitt and William were living alone; there was no sign of Rufus in the area. It’s possible that Rufus had died at this point. His war record indicates that he was with his regiment in 1863. Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to dig up anything on Dewitt and William, after 1870, either.

It’s Hard To Be Optimistic On This One.

So, brick busting is going to be difficult with this family. Our only ace in the hole is Candice. We know that she married William Porter McMahan on 7 Aug 1875 in Sevier County, TN. She likely lived there the rest of her life, passing away in Sevierville on 28 Mar 1939. They had three children together, Robert, Alice and Walter. W.P. McMahan passed away on 16 Dec 1901. I would say that perhaps some clues are available through the McMahan family, but the information available on Candice’s death certificate aren’t promising:

The informant, daughter Alice (Mrs. J.C. Tarwater), did not know Candice’s mother’s first name. She got Rufus right, though.

Brick Busting…it ain’t easy, but it’s what we do!

We definitely have our work cut out for us, don’t we? I thought it would be fun for my cousins that read this blog to see what it’s like when we go through the brick busting exercise with a prominent brick wall on our family tree. We just have to keep hammering away!

One final note…I got to meet, in person, my first second cousin on the Hogue side here a couple of weeks back. So, a shout out to Debbie Mish! Thanks for the meet and greet. She’s been very helpful with filling in some information from her side of the family.

That’s it for now. Thanks for visiting The Hogue Connection and reading my blog. If you have any information that will help or brick busting efforts, please send it along. By the way, the images on this post I saved from If you want to go back to the Home Page, click here.

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