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You might think that with a first name of Theodrick researching the surname Johnson would be easier.  However, every name seems to take on a life of its own as people interpret how to spell and/or pronounce it.  This name adheres to those issues finding it as Theodrick, Theodric, Theordoric, Theoderic, Theo, Theodore, Theordore, Theodorie, or simply T.  Now add other Theodric’s to the mix and you have truly a confusing and yes frustrating mess.  But no genealogy journey would be fun if it were a straight, smooth line.  Or would it?

My arduous research journey lead to discovering that my 3rd great grandparent’s were Theodrick Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson nee Hubbard.  With all that hard work I’ve wondered whether simply sharing their names would suffice as my post for the week.  But that would be pretty boring to you so let me share a few images and details to provide a ‘feel’ for their lives.

Theodrick and Elizabeth married on November 12, 1843 in Clinton County, Ohio.


Their first two or three children were likely born in Clinton County but definitely in Ohio.  Sarah Jane (my 2nd great grandmother) was their second child born March 5,1848.  Some researchers say that their 3rd child born on January 3, 1849 was born in Indiana but the census indicates he was born in Ohio. Certainly, the family was in Indiana by the time Theodrick purchased 40 acres of land in Grant county, Indiana on April 10, 1850 and he and his wife had 7 more children there.


Theodrick’s land record.

Theodrick was a farmer and over the years the value of his real estate & personal property grew.  Both Theodrick and Elizabeth could not read or write but all of their children could undoubtedly because once they got to be 6 or 7 years old they all attended school. (source: censuses)

Year Real Estate Value Personal Property Value
1850 $500 question not asked
1860 $2,000 $500
1870 $6,000 $12,000

The 1877 Sims, Grant County, Indiana land ownership map shows the location of Theodrick and Elizabeth’s 160 acres in section 13 and it is easy to note the proximity of their neighbors some of whom became family.


In the same book as the map, line drawings of neighbor’s homes help us imagine the area.  Can’t you just imagine the buggies out for a Sunday afternoon trip?


On February 14, 1877, Elizabeth’s 54th birthday, her husband of 33 years died at the age of 65.  Their children’s ages at that time ranged from 31 to 12.  I’m sure that continuing the farming was a priority and twenty-three years later, in 1900, Elizabeth was still in Sims living with her second youngest son, Thomas, who was likely farming a portion of the land his father purchased in 1850.  At that time all of Elizabeth’s 10 children were still living, which seems remarkable during a time when so many didn’t live to adulthood.

A few short years later, on December 19, 1903, when Elizabeth was 80 years old she died.  In nearby Marion, Grant, Indiana a large monument marks her and her husband’s graves in the cemetery named Estates of Serenity.


Theodrick & Elizabeth Johnson were my biological paternal 3rd great grandparents.

No Story Too Small offered a challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. 
Each of my posts for this challenge will include in the title “52 Ancestors Challenge” and will have the tag of 52Ancestors.