|Elusive Nathaniel Mills,|
born circa 1800 in New York,
nothing more is known
What's especially strange about this is that I have yet to find a census record of William in 1850. He would have been 18 and may have still been living with his parents, assuming they were still alive. I don't even know Nathaniel's wife/William's mother's name but you'd think that knowing William and Nathaniel's names I would be able to find the family quite easily, especially with a simple name like Mills, which would be unlikely to be recorded incorrectly. According to my grandmother, William had two sisters named Belinda and and Mary so theoretically, this should make the family even easier to find. So why I can't I find them on the 1850 census?
There's a few possibilities. One is that my grandmother got their names wrong, perhaps his name isn't even Nathaniel. Alternatively, he could have died before 1850 and/or William might have been living with another family. I considered that he could have been apprenticing but he later became a Railroad Agent and I'm not sure that is something you apprentice for, since it's not really a "trade". His sisters could have been older than him and already married. My grandmother's information says Mary married a man with the last name of Morton and Belinda married Beals. But again, I can find no conclusive records, especially considering I don't have defined birth years for them, don't know the first names of their husbands, and have no idea where they lived.
This brings me to the point that William moved around a LOT as an adult. The first record I have for him is his marriage in 1855 in Ohio (no parents names listed). So already he'd gone from where he was born in New Jersey to Ohio at some point before he was 23. Within only five years, he shows up on the 1860 census with his young new family in Illinois. By 1870, it's back to Ohio but a different county this time. 1880? Still in Ohio but yet another different county. By 1900, they're in Kentucky and by 1910, William is an old man living with one of his daughter's and son-in-law in Tennessee. He finally moved with them to Alabama, which is where he died in 1919. I have his death record and there are no parents names listed.
So knowing that he moved around a lot - even before he turned 23 he had migrated at least once across a few states - that could place him virtually anywhere in 1850. And who knows where his potentially already married sisters could be. This makes it really difficult to narrow things down. It's even possible the family was simply unrecorded because they were literally on the move when the census was taken which means I'm wasting my time looking for the 1850 census.
This has been my most difficult brick wall, I have gotten literally nowhere with it since the start of my genealogy research. At the moment, my only hope is of finding a birth record for William but not knowing where in New Jersey he was born (and being born in 1832, before state issued birth certificates) makes that almost impossible to track down.
So I'm putting this out there in hopes someone else is searching for the elusive Nathaniel Mills or one of his family members and can help me out. Or if you just have any tips at all, I would be grateful!