Saturday, June 5, 2010

Surname Saturday - Olmstead

The Olmstead Family

This week's choice for a surname to feature was fairly easy since today's research on has resulted in dozens of new additions to my family tree. This is especially enlightening since up until a few weeks ago, I had been researching the family using the spelling Almstead until I discovered  the "Genealogy of the Olmsted Family in America" - a book compiled by Henry King Olmsted in 1912. This resource came to me through a Google books search.

It was in this book that I found my great-great grandmother, Eliza Ann Olmstead and her husband, John Laymon. From this reference, I discovered her parents, Eben Andrews Olmstead, who was born in 1812 and Anne Archibald, who was born in 1817.

Many of the Olmstead family settled in Illinois and thanks to the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763 - 1900, I found even more Olmstead marriages - and confirmation of the information in the Henry King Olmsted book. If you have any ancestors who lived in Illinois during this time frame, I highly recommend the marriage search on that site.

According to, the majority of Olmstead families in the United States in 1940 lived in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with some in Indiana and Illinois, which would have been my line of Olmsteads. By 1880, the name concentration was heaviest in New York and Michigan and still a large number in Illinois and many having moved further west to Iowa. By 1920, there were Olmsteads in all of the states except Wyoming and Nevada.

While this newly discovered family line offers a wealth of new information, I'm looking forward to tracing the lineage of my great great great grandparents, Eben Omstead and Anne Archibald, back another generation, as well as documenting their descendants as close to present day as I can. It's always exciting to find those new branches of the family tree.

The headstone of John Laymon and Eliza Ann Olmstead is located in Hardy Cemetery, Hardy, Nuckolls county, Nebraska.

The Olmstead Name in History

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