Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thomas Jefferson Gorin - Easy to Research - 52 Ancestors #31

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Easy: We ended July with" Challenging,” so it seems fitting to begin August with “Easy.” Which ancestor has been pretty easy to research?

Thomas Jefferson Gorin
A somewhat easier-to-research ancestor (at the third-great-grandparent generation) is Thomas Jefferson Gorin. I mentioned him in my Gorin Surname Saturday post. I have written about one of my oldest photographs, an ambrotype, of him here. (A note in with the photograph identifies him!)

The best source I have for him and his family is the 1856 family bible, which I wrote about here. It includes several obituaries which paint a wonderful picture of his life.

Thomas Jefferson Gorin was born on January 27, 1808, in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, to Revolutionary War veteran, John Gorin, and Elizabeth Franklin. He was the tenth of eleven children. Barren County had only been created ten years earlier, from Green County and Warren County. It was settled by Scotch-Irish and yes, Glasgow was named for the city in Scotland. (See Wikipedia.)

It is the family bible that tells me he married Mary Ann Bowman on December 27, 1831. They had eight children:
Mary Elizabeth Gorin (1833-1891)
James Edward Gorin (1835-1896)
Laura Gorin (1837-1853)
Emma Gorin (1839-1901)
Unnamed daughter Gorin (July 1842)
Ellen Gorin (1844-1858)
Thomas Gorin (March 1847-November 1847)
Florence Gorin (1851-1925)

Some of these children we wouldn't know about except for mention in this bible!

He was a tobacco merchant and a banker. The easy thing about researching him is that I can find him and his family members in (most) U.S. Census records. In 1840, his household (East of Barren, Barren County) includes a "free colored female" between the ages of 10-23, and six slaves in addition to him, his wife, and his four young children.

In 1850, the family is in Glasgow and he is listed as a Merchant with real estate valued at $2,500. There are five children, three of whom are in school.

1850 U.S. Census, Glasgow, Barren, Kentucky; Roll: M432_191; Page 402A;
Record for Thomas J. Gorin.

The 1850 U.S. Census has a separate slave schedule (at as 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules) which lists only the name of the owner and the ages, sex, and color of slaves. Just so you can see what this kind of schedule looks like, I share it here. He owned a 27-year-old mulatto and four younger blacks. It's so frustrating and disappointing that these people are not named.

1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules, Glasgow, Barren, Kentucky; page 195;
Record for slaves of Thomas J. Gorin

In 1860 and 1870, "Thos. J. Gorin" is a "Banker" in Glasgow, enumerated with his wife and a child or two. (His wife died later in 1870, and youngest daughter, Florence, married in 1880).

His son, James E. Gorin, was living in Louisville with his family in the 1870s. By 1879, he was living at 664 3rd Street (near Oak) according to the Louisville City Directory. The city directory for 1880 also lists Thomas at that address, but he isn't listed in the census with his son's family. I also haven't found his youngest daughter, Florence in 1880, which makes me wonder if they were traveling or moving from Glasgow to Louisville in early June 1880 when the census was taken.

Thomas Jefferson Gorin died on January 11, 1883, in Louisville, and is buried in Glasgow. (See his FindAGrave memorial.) This memorial, linked to the memorials for his parents, his wife, his siblings and his children, again shows that he has been easy to research. Imagine what I will be able find when I ultimately visit Kentucky!

With my new subscription to, I found a digitized version of one of the obituaries pasted into the front of the family bible.

The Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), January 12, 1883, page 8, col. 7.
Obituary for Mr. Thomas J. Gorin.

An Esteemed Citizen Dead.
  One of Louisville's most esteemed citizens, Mr. Thomas J. Gorin, died of heart disease yesterday morning at 4 o'clock, at the residence of his son, Mr. James E. Gorin. Mr. Thomas Gorin was born in Glasgow, Ky., and spent most of his life there, being a prominent tobacconist and banker of that place. He has made this city his home for several years past, and his many friends will regret the sad intelligence of his death. He leaves four children, Mrs. Henry Murrell [Emma], Mrs. John A. Lee [Florence] and Mr. James E. Gorin, of this city, and Mrs. D. M. Ashby [Mary Elizabeth], of Glasgow. His remains will be taken to Glasgow for interment this evening, on the L. and N. train, at 12:45.

I descend from Thomas Jefferson Gorin as follows:

Thomas Jefferson Gorin
Elizabeth Adsit
Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr.


  1. I enjoyed both your challenging and easy stories, Elizabeth. How wonderful to have the sampler and Bible with genealogical information. You've given me incentive to sign up for as obituaries can provide such good details.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed these posts. Yes, the sampler and the Bible are some of my most treasured genealogical items. Look at the list of newspapers and locations at both and to see which newspapers might cover areas where your ancestors lived. I've had good luck with both.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.