William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my 5th great-grandparents. From the wording of the two land deeds, they were a part of an original 150 acres land grant. These are the steps I took to show the land they sold was the same land granted to William in 1796.
As I had already transcribed the deeds all I needed to do was to abstract the call lines and convert the poles to feet for the Tract Plotter. For the Johnston to Tennis land deed:
Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole Call Line: S83E 120 poles (1980 ft)
to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole Call line: N36W 168 poles (2772 ft)
to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole Call line: S70W 44 poles (726 ft)
to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining Call line: S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)
As can be seen below the call lines for the Johnston to Tennis tract calculate to 59.6 acres while 62 acres were seen in the deed.
Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run
The same was done for the Johnston to Kounts land deed:
Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole Call line: S38E 40 poles (660 ft)
to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole Call line: N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)
to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole Call line: N83W 120 poles (1980 ft)
to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole Call line: S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)
to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole Call line: S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)
to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole Call line: S10W 50 poles (825 ft)
to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one poleto the Beginning Call line: N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)
The Johnston to Kounts tract calculates to 81.13 acres while 88 acres seen in the deed.
Merging the two tracts
After plotting the tracts I combined the two. The call lines N83W 1980 ft (Kounts) and S83E 1980 ft (Tennis) are the common boundary mentioned in the deeds. To combine them I used PicMonkey. The Tennis tract was reduced in size to match the scale of the Kounts tract.
The original 150 acres land grant
I looked at the original land grant of 150 acres only after I’d plotted the two land tracts side by side. I transcribed the description of the land, plotted the call lines, and came up with the same boundaries seen in the image (above) where the two were attached to each other.
…lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the waters of Indian Creck a branch of New River and adjoining the Land of Patrick Kenan, Edward Fleathers and Samuel Black and bounded as followeth to wit. Beginning at a black and white oak, corner to Kenan and with the same South thirty eight degrees East forty poles two white oaks North fifty two degrees East one hundred and eighty two poles to a red oak and two white oaks on Fleathers’s line and leaving the same, North thirty six degrees West one hundred and sixty eight poles to four Locusts, South seventy degrees West forty four poles to two white oaks, South thirteen degrees East one hundred & fourteen poles to a double white and Chesnut oak, on the top of a hill thence South thirty two degrees West sixty six poles to a Chesnut and black oak, South seventy degrees West ninety poles to two white oaks, South ten degrees West fifty poles to two white oaks corner to Kenan thence North sixty degrees East ninety one poles to the beginning…
Call lines: S38E 40 poles (660 ft) N52E 182 poles (3003 ft) N36W 168 poles (2772 ft S70W 44 poles (726 ft) S13E 114 poles (1881 ft) S32W 66 poles (1089 ft) S70W 90 poles (1485 ft) S10W 50 poles (825 ft) N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)
At the time I knew Patrick KEENAN was a neighbor as my 6th cousin David Fridley had found the records of sale for two tracts of land totaling 150 acres and extracted only the short description of the land. It appeared to be a match but without the 1798 records which I transcribed in my previous post, I couldn’t be 100% certain.
Now with all three deeds “in hand,” I was able to compare and prove the 150 acres granted to William JOHNSON on 10 May 1796 is the same land he sold in two parcels in June 1798 to TENNIS and KOUNTS.
William JOHNSON used the Land Office Treasure Warrant number 12841 issued 2 July 1782 to obtain the grant of 150 acres in 1796.
Why would William JOHNSON use a treasury warrant issued to Edward KENON (KEENAN)?
The Library of Virginia has an interesting guide states, “At any time in the grant process after the treasury warrant was purchased, the purchaser could assign (sell) the right to part or all of the land described in the warrant.”
Apparently, Edward KEENAN assigned or sold the right to 150 acres of the original 1470 acres he purchased to William JOHNSON. Could there be a story behind this? Why did William JOHNSON sell the land only two years after he received the grant?
A complete transcription of the 1796 land grant to William JOHNSON will be share in a later post. Next week I’ll be making an announcement…
I’m reviewing William and Amy’s records and looking into opening some doors which have remained closed mainly due to my not having access to Virginia records from their period. Instead of starting with the earliest records, I’m going to move back into time.
In the General Index to Deeds of Kanawha County William JOHNSON Sr. wasn’t listed as a grantor nor as a grantee. He was not found on the land tax records of the county. Apparently, he did not acquire land during the seven years he lived in Kanawha County.
David Fridley, my double 6th cousin through William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON and through James SIMS and his first wife Phebe _____, has been supportive when it comes to researching our common ancestors over the years. We e-met in the days when mailing lists were active on Rootsweb and still keep up via email and Facebook.
David once mentioned two land records he’d abstracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County. He hadn’t noted the book or page number at the time. The deeds indicated William JOHNSON and his wife Amy deeded a total of 150 acres on Lick Run on 25 and 26 June 1798. As this was the last mention of them in Greenbrier County we believe they must have left for Kanawha County around 1798.
At the end of July, I located the deeds David found many years ago while checking into new collections on FamilySearch. The first thing I did was to send David the citations.
Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run
William JOHNSTON and Amy his wife sold 62 acres on Lick Run to William TENNIS as seen in the following deed.2
This Indenture made this 25 Day of June one Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety eight Between WIlliam Johnston and Amy his wife of the one Part and William Tennis of the other Each of the county of Greenbrier & State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Amey his wife for & in consideration of the some (sic) of Five Shillings Current money of sd [said] State to them in hand Paid on or before the seling and delivering of their presents the Receipt whereof the Dead (sic) Hereby acknowledged have Bargained & sold & by these presents doe Bargain & sell unto the sd William Tennis and his heirs or assigns a certain tract or Percil of Land Containing sixty two acres it being part of a survey of one Hundred & fifty acres Granted to the sd Johnston by paten, lying & being in the county of Greenbrier on the Waters of lick run where sd Tennis now lives & is Bounded as followeth (to wit) Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining with its appertainances to the sd William Tennis and his Heirs to the sole yeo? & behoof of the sd William Tennis his heirs or assigns forever and the sd William Johnston & Amy his wife for themselves and their Heirs Doth covenant with the said William Tennis and his heirs the said tract or parcel of land from themselves and their heirs to the said William Tennis and his Heirs or assigns against all and every person or persons whatsoever will warrent and will forever Defend in Witness Whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and seals the Day and the year above Written.
Signed seald & Delivered In the Presents off………………………..Williams (his mark) Jonston Seal Edward Keenan John Johnston………………………………Emey (her mark) Jonston Seal Michael Kounts
At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798 This Deed from William Johnston to Wm Tennis was prest in Court & provd by the Oaths of Edward Keenan John Johnston & Michl Kounts and ordered to Record. ………………………………………Teste ………………………………………John Stuart C.G.C. (Clerk Greenbrier County)
Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run
William JOHNSTON and his wife Amy sold 88 acres on Lick Run to Michael KOUNTS as seen in the following deed.[^3]
This Indenture maid this Twenty ___ day of June one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight between William Johnston and Eamy his wife of the one part and Michael Kouns of the other Each of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for and in consideration of the sum of one Dollar current Money of said State to them in hand paid on or before the Sealing and delivering of these presents the receit whereof the do hereby Acknowledge have bargained and sold and by these presents doe bargain and Sell unto the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs and Assigns a Certain Tract or parcell of Land containing Eighty eight Acres & being the Land sd Johnston now lives on Lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the Lick Run Joining the Land of Edward Keenan Isaac Palton and Kounces own Land Bough of Keenan & being the S.W. End of said Survey of 150 Acres and is bounded as followeth (to Wit) Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning with all the appertainances thereunto belonging to the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes to the sole use and behoof of the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes forever and the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for themselves and their Heirs doth Covenant with the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs the said Tract or Parcil of Land from themselves and their Heirs to the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs, against all and every Person or Persons whatsoever will Warrant and will forever defend in Witness whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and Seals the Day and year above Written Signd, Seald & Acknowledgd in the Presents off……………………………William (his mark) Jonston Seal Edward Keenan John Johnson………………………………….Eamey (her mark) Jonston Seal Wm Tennis
At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798 This Deed from William Johnston to Michael Kounts was presented in Court and proved by the Oaths of Edwd Keenan John Johnston and William Tennis and the same is order to Record ………………………….Teste …………………………..John Stuart
Interesting thoughts from David
When I contacted David with the citations he wrote, “Thanks so much for following up with these citations! There’s an awful lot of data I have still from my days decades ago of visiting courthouses that need adequate citation today, and I’m thankful for the increasing amount of digitized records on FamilySearch.”
He further wrote, “It’s also useful to revisit the original documents, since there’s more to be learned from a current perspective, for example noticing that “Eamey E. Jonston” included a middle initial, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.”
I hadn’t noticed the use of the middle initial. When I transcribed the deeds I saw where David thought a middle initial was used. However, I believe it is a scribble and meant to be her mark.
Here are close-ups of the “signatures” on the recorded deeds. I don’t think these are their actual signatures.
Taking a closer look at the names, on the bottom image, it is clearly noted these are their marks. William appears to have signed with an x. The mark copied into the book by the clerk for the second deed (bottom) looks similar to the E in the first name Eamey and likely why David thought she was using a middle initial. I believe Amy’s mark is two close or consecutive circles. It must be noted that Amy’s name was spelled Amey, Eamy, and Eamey in the records above.
David also considered the price paid for the land and sent me a map with the location of the land. He wrote:
I also looked at the neighbors and grantees to see if there might be a family relationship given the very low price William sold his land for, but I’m not finding any right away. The price is a relative pittance compared to what land in the Shenandoah Valley was going for at the same time, but then, this was fairly remote, and I doubt William had any quantity of good bottom land that would make it more valuable. I’m attaching a map I created showing Lick Run in context of Monroe Co. with an inset showing the specific topography of Lick Run. It is a branch of Indian Creek, so the bottom land was only down by the creek. (There is another Lick Run in the SW portion of the county that emptied into Hans Creek, but looking at the other records of Tennis/Keenan/Counts-Koontz, it is apparent it is the Indian Creek one.) William Tennis resold this land sometime after 1800 and headed to Adams Co., OH (bordering KY on the Ohio River). A list of his transactions (including the one with William) is compiled at https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.westvirginia.counties.monroe/439/mb.ashx. In this list are a number of land transactions from 26 June 1798 that involved William Tennis and Edward Keenan, some of which were also witnessed by John Johnson (doesn’t appear as Johnston), and one by a Thos Johnson. I wonder if either is related.
David refers to the land being in Monroe County. He is correct in terms of present-day geography. When William and Amy sold it in 1798 it was in the part of Greenbrier which would become Monroe County the following year.
Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on
With the sale of the land in Greenbrier County in 1798, the family of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON were getting ready for their northwest move to Kanawha County where William died in 1805.
Next week will take us further back when I discuss how William JOHNSON came into the 150 acres he and his wife sold in 1798.
Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, images 37 of 380 (page 52). Johnston to Tennis deed for 62 acres (25 June 1798, entered 26 June 1798). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V4RY?i=36&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). ↩
Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, image 80 of 380 (page 145). Johnston to Kounts deed for 88 acres (__ June 1798, entered 26 June 1798)(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V45L?i=79&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). ↩
My friend and follower Brian S. Miller called me the record whisperer. His comment reminded me I hadn’t been checking the catalog at FamilySearch to see if new old records were available to view online. I’d been too busy working on my last series of posts on a Luxembourgish family to even think about other things.
Half of my ancestry is Luxembourgish with a few more distant ancestors coming from areas of France, Germany, and Belgium which were once part of Luxembourg. It hasn’t been difficult to find birth, marriage, and death records for these ancestors and their collaterals. My paternal side of the family tree which includes ancestors who lived in West Virginia and old Virginia for more than 200 years has been more arduous.
I have a frustrating brick wall at the 2nd great-grandfather level for one of these West Virginia ancestors. Compared to the rest of my tree, his branch is short and stubby!
A Reminder to Check the FamilySearch Catalog
Fayette County, West Virginia, is the first location I usually check for new collections as my Dad and many of his ancestors lived in the county even before its formation in 1831.
On Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I discovered a database I had not seen or been able to access. I can’t keep a secret when it comes to new collections which may help others. I immediately posted the find to the Facebook group for Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy.
Did your male ancestor live in Sewell Mountain, Mountain Cove, or Fayetteville in April-May 1866? If he was of age, he may have registered to vote. I found these lists on FamilySearch which include the age and place of birth of the person of interest.
Being a long-time user of the FamilySearch, I posted the link to the catalog not realizing how many group members were not familiar with this important tool on the site.
After several members commented the link was not working I revised my post. It was a long weekend and traffic to several genealogy sites was higher than normal causing temporary this site can’t be reached errors.
In my revised post, I included instructions to scroll down to the camera to view the images to the non-indexed browse-only records. I added a short description of the collection which has six items for three districts with the names of voters being listed in alphabetical order. I also let new users know they needed to sign-in to the FREE site.
The 1866 Fayette County, West Virginia, Voter List
Here is the link to the collection: Register of name of voters : 1866. Since not all are familiar with FamilySearch or some may need a refresher course on using the site, here are simple steps to view the images. The link will take you to this page:
You aren’t there yet! To see all images, you need to either use the little > to go to image 2 of 154, image 3 of 154, etc. or click on the tiles icon on the left to view all images. You can then click on any of the images you might be interested in.
The items in this collection have many blank images. An item starts at the Begin image and ends at the End image. After studying the six items I learned they are for three districts – two similar copies of the same information for each district. At the end is a seventh item for the year 1867. Below are the direct links to the first page of each item for a district.
Consider when the voter list was created. In 1866, three years after the state of West Virginia was formed. Immediately following the Civil War period when many records were moved to other locations or missing.
The fields on the form include:
Names of persons registered
Age – includes men between 21 and 84 years of age, i.e. born 1782-1845
Place of birth
Time of residence in ward, township, or district
Time of residence in state
If naturalized, date of papers and by what Court issued [in some cases this field was used to record honorable discharges from US militia service]
The list may be the only record you will find for the place of birth of an ancestor born between 1782-1845. Example: Enoch WOOD was in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1830; in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1840; and in Fayette County, Virginia, in 1850 per the census. The 1850 census had all of his children listed as born in Virginia. Enoch and his wife Margaret JOHNSON had been known to be members of the Sand Fork Missionary Baptist Church in Gallia County, Ohio, before transferring to the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Fayette County. Their sons Levi and Felix WOOD are on the voter list with Gallia County as their place of birth.
Are you searching for naturalization papers? Example: Daniel McGuffin, age 36, born in Ireland, was naturalized in 1855 and his papers were filed in the County Court of Alleghany, Virginia.
The voter list could help you add events to your ancestor’s timeline. When and where was he born? Did he serve in the US militia? Was he naturalized? The voter list may be the last record your ancestor created before leaving the county or passing away.
And the search continues…
My 2nd great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY was NOT found in the voter list. Family tradition is he died in a logging accident in the 1860s. Does this mean he died before April-May 1866 when the voter list was created? Perhaps. However, the three districts didn’t cover the entire county of Fayette. Other names are missing from the voter list including William’s father-in-law Elijah WOOD who died in 1885.
If you haven’t recently checked the catalog at FamilySearch take a moment to do so. If you’ve never used the catalog an Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog is a good place to learn more. Please leave a comment if you make a discovery. Happy hunting.
Over the years I’ve received several inquiries for help from women wanting to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Many want to prove lineal, bloodline descent from my fifth great-grandfather William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805), a Revolutionary soldier, who died in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.
I have few records for William JOHNSON Sr. which were created during his lifetime or immediately following his death. While checking into new records available online at FamilySearch, I found a record which has not been alluded to in compilations or family trees I’ve viewed.
Did William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) leave a will?
I recently found the Administrator’s Bond for the estate of the late William JOHNSTON (sic).1 His son John applied for the bond which is dated 9 April 1806 a little over three months after 22 December 1805, the date of death many researchers show for William in their family tree.
1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William JOHNSON
Know all men by these Presents that we John Johnston Henry Morris & Charles Woodey King are held and firmly bound unto David Ruffner William Morris Henry Brown & Fleming Cotts Gentlemen Justices now setting for the County Kanawha. In the penal sum of one Thousand dollars to be paid to them or their Successors and for the payment we bind ourselves our heirs Executors or Administrators Jointly & severaly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 9th day of April 1806. The Condition of the above Obligation is such that whereas the Said John Johnston hath Obtained letters of Administration of the Estate of William Johnston Dec out of the County cour (sic) of Kanawha. Now if the said John Johnston Administrator of the goods chattels & credits of the said Deceased do make a True and perfect Inventory of all & singular the Goods Chattels & credits of the Said Deceased which have or shall come into the hands, Possession or Knowledge of him the said John Johnston as in the hands or Possession of any other person or persons for the said John Johnston and the same so made do exhibit unto the County Court of Kanawha when he shall be Thereunto required
by the said court and such goods chattels & credits do well and Truly Adminestor according to Law, and further do make a Just and True Account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said Goods and Chattels & credits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said Administrator the same being first Examined and allowed by the Justices of the said court for the Time shall Deliver and pay unto such persons respectively az are entitled to the same by Law; and if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the Deceased and the same be Proved in Court and the Executor Obtain a Certificate of the Probit thereof and the Said John Johnston do in such case being required render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in Force and Virtue. Acknowledged in Open Court……………………..John Johnston Seal Teste…………………………………………………………….Henry S. Morris (his mark) Seal A Donnally Ckl…………………………………………….Chs. W. King Seal
The bond was acknowledged in Open Court however no date was given. The entries before and after the bond were entered during Kanawha County April Court 1806. The bond itself was dated 9 April 1806.
William JOHNSON did not leave a will
The wording of the bond indicates William JOHNSON did not leave a will. This is unfortunate as a will might have included the names of his children. A document desperately sought after by descendants who are trying to prove descent from this Revolutionary War veteran.
John JOHNSON’s obtaining letters of administration of the estate of “William JOHNSTON” is suggestive of a relationship but not proof John was his son.
The consensus is William JOHNSON Sr. died on 22 December 1805. An early source with this date is Ross B. Johnston’s articles on West Virginians in the Revolution2 written between 1939-1947. Per the front matter in the republished work, “the sources of this material are notes from the files of the Pension Office at Washington, from the pension applications in West Virginia counties, and from the minute books of the older West Virginia counties, copied by W. P. A. workers on the project sponsored by the West Virginia Commission on Historic and Scenic Markers; from notes of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the Revolution, and other patriotic societies; and from a large miscellaneous group of published and private sources.”
I placed a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook asking for help with a reliable source for the date of death. Lucy Light Slaich who applied and was accepted to the DAR in 2010 through William JOHNSON did not need to prove his date of death. She indicated Mr. Johnston’s article on William JOHNSON in the 1998 reprint, was originally published in the April 1943 issue of the West Virginia History journal. The compilation which was used by prior applicants is no longer accepted by DAR.
Not satisfied, I continued to sift through information which has been collected over the years and found a 1911 publication which gives the dates of death for William JOHNSON and his wife Amy NELSON.3 Laidley in his compilation of representative citizens of the city of Charleston and Kanawha County wrote an article on Julian M. JOHNSON (1847-1932), a great-grandson of William JOHNSON through his son William JOHNSON Jr. This is the earliest source, although not primary, I have for the dates of death of William and Amy.
Did the estate generate other records?
While the administrator bond was found in the “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” collection, I turned to the “Court record book, 1803-1880” collection in search of entries about William JOHNSON’s estate in Kanawha County.
As William supposedly died on 22 December 1805, I checked entries in 1805 and 1806. The court was held on the 12th and 13th of November 1805; 11th day of February 1806; 11th day of March 1806; 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th day of April 1806; 13th of May; and 10th day of June. Little business was taken care of during the winter months. By April business had picked up and the court was held four days instead of the usual one or two days. It was in April when John JOHNSON made a motion to obtain an administrator bond for the estate of his father.4
Motion granted for administration
On the motion of John Johnston who made oath and together with Henry Morris, Charles W. King his securities entered into & acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $1000 conditioned as the law directs certificate of administration of the estate of William Johnston dec’d granted him in due form.
Appraisal of personal property ordered
Immediately after the bond of administration motion was granted another entry was made referencing the estate of William JOHNSON. (see image above)
Ordered that Edward Rion, Edward Hughs, James Sims & John Campbell (or any three of them) being first sworn before a Justice of the Peace for said do appraize the Personal property of the said William Johnston decd and return appraisement to the next court.
From entries during the year in the court orders as well as in the land books (which include personal property tax lists of the period), I was able to determine Edward RION should be Edward RYAN.
Interesting was the mention of James SIMS as one of the four men who were ordered to appraise the personal property of the deceased William JOHNSON. James and William were neighbors. Three of the JOHNSON children married three of the SIMS children: Susannah JOHNSON and Martin SIMS in 1800, John JOHNSON and Elizabeth SIMS in 1802, and William JOHNSON Jr. and Nancy Ann SIMS in 1814. I was not expecting to find a record for James SIMS who like William JOHNSON was my 5th great-grandfather.
Further searches in the collections available for viewing online on FamilySearch did not turn up the appraisement of the estate.
Finding the bond documents William JOHNSON died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. Is it possible there is a family Bible in the home of one of his descendants which would prove the dates given in Laidley’s 1911 article?
I have a few more records for William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON which I’ll be sharing. Recent discoveries which I have not had time to evaluate. It would be nice if other descendants would join in on the fun and share records they’ve uncovered. Together we can do a better job researching these ancestors.
Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film # 008152450, Deed books v. C-D 1805-1817, Deed Book C, page 122-123, image 69 of 582. 9 April 1806 Administrator’s Bond for John Johnson for the estate of William Johnson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-KSNR-L?i=68&cat=56556 : accessed 26 April 2018). ↩
William Sydney Laidley (1839-1917), History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens (Richmond-Arnold Publishing, Chicago, Illinois, 1911), page 979. “William Johnson, Sr. died on Gauley December 22, 1805. His wife lived until December 23, 1837.” Article on Julian M. Johnson, great-grandson of William Johnson and his wife Amy. (https://archive.org/details/historyofcharles00laid/page/978 : accessed 8 Oct 2015). ↩
Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Court record book, 1803-1880” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film #521643, DGS #8613717, Record book v. 3 1803-1819, image 178+179 of 857. Administrator Bond and Order to Appraise estate of William Johnson, dec’d. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34Z-SSJ3-N?i=177&cat=295049 : accessed 8 October 2015). ↩
Finding an index to the church records for Luxembourg City helped add several generations to my 5th great-grandmother Margretha BREGER‘s branch of the family tree. I was so excited and motivated that I began looking for a way to find more information on her husband Jean MAJERUS whose parentage is was unknown.
Who were the parents of Jean MAJERUS born between 1765 and 1773 in Luxembourg or France? When and where was he actually born?
Keys: Known Facts
The following records were found for Jean MAJERUS and included some information which may help with the research questions.
• Birth records of four children born in 17971, 17992, 18013, and 18064 included the father’s signature showing he was literate and could write. His occupation was listed as drapier or clothier on the first and as fileur de laine or wool weaver on the last three. His age was only found on one birth record, in 1806 age 33 years.
• Census records from 18435, 18466, 18477, 18498, and 18519 included the place of birth for Jean. In 1843 he was 80 years old and born in Luxembourg. In 1846 he was 82 years old and born in Boulé. In 1847 he was 85 years old and born in Bouvigne, France. In 1849 he was 86 years old and born in Boulé, France. In 1851 he was 86 years and 6 months old and born in Felz (Fels or Larochette). In all of these, he was without an occupation which is not surprising considering his age.
• Death record from 185210 shows he was 87 years old (born about 1765) and born in Felz (Fels or Larochette). He was the widower of Margaretha BRECKER. The information was given by a grandson who would have only known his grandfather’s birthplace by word of mouth.
Keys: Place of Birth
From the above records, Jean’s place of birth was seen as being either Boulé in France or Larochette (Felz or Fels) in Luxembourg. Boulé is not a place name in France. However, Boulay which is pronounced the same lies in the Moselle department in northeastern France. His age fell in the time range 1765-1773.
A Door: A Possible Match
Last year when I gathered the above records, I located a baptismal record for a child named Jean MAJERUS born in 1769 in Felz in the parish of Nommern.11
On 21 April 1769 Joannes was baptized, the son of Jean MAJERUS, blacksmith, and his wife Anna Catharina, a couple living in Feltz. The godfather was Joannes HANSEN from Feltz and the godmother was Catharina GILLEN, the wife of Nicolai GILLEN of Scharftenhoft (sic, Scherfenhof). [rough translation]
This record fell within the date range. No marriage was found for this couple in Luxembourg. I consulted the family book of Nommern12 and found they were included in the book with only this child; no marriage date and no parents. This would suggest they may have only been living in the Feltz (as seen in the record, today Fels in German and Larochette in French) and the Nommern area at the time the child was born.
The residence of the godmother and her husband was spelled Scherferhof in the book which is in pdf form and easily searchable. I checked for other entries for the GILLEN couple and found the wife was listed as Maria Catherina MAJERUS when she was named godmother of a child in 1783 (page 283, family #896, child #5). There was no entry for them as a couple, only entries in which one or the other was a godparent.
The baptismal record of Joannes MAJERUS with godmother Maria Catherina MAJERUS, wife of Nicolas GILLEN, cannot be proven to be a record for my Jean MAJERUS as there is not enough information.
A Key: Was Boulé meant to be Boulay?
When the census was taken in 1846 and 1849, Jean MAJERUS and his wife were the only persons in the household. One of them must have given information about their ages and places of birth. It was on these two census sheets that Boulé was given as Jean’s birthplace. In 1849 it specified Boulé was in France. Searching for this town did not turn up any exact hits. I tried other spellings as é sounds the same as ait, ais, and ay and found Boulay-Moselle in the Moselle department in northeastern France, not far from Luxembourg.
A Door: Geneanet
I did a broad search for MAJERUS in Boulay on Geneanet, a genealogy site used mainly by European users to share their GEDCOM files. Four trees and a marriage record abstract were found.
There is no farm called Schressenhoff in the parish of Medernach. Could this be Scherfenhof? All fours trees had this couple, Jean MAJERUS and Catherine ALBERT who married on 17 August 1767 in Boulay. Three of the trees included children, two sons, Jean born 2 June 1766 and Barthélémy born and died in 1772.
A Door: Archives Moselle
The above-abstracted information for the 1767 marriage of the MAJERUS-ALBERT couple would have to be confirmed by consulting the parish records of Boulay on the Archives Moselle site.
These are the general conditions for reuse of images of public information held by the Departmental Archives of the Moselle: The departmental council of the Moselle has not deliberated on the establishment of licenses in case of reuse of public information it publishes on the site http://www.archives57.com. As a result, the reuse of the digitized archival images disseminated by this site is free (sections L. 321-1 and L. 323-1 of the Code of relations between the public and the administration).
After reviewing the conditions for use of the images I did searches for the birth record of the child Jean and for the marriage record of the MAJERUS-ALBERT couple.
A Key: 1766 Birth/Baptismal Record
Jean was born on 2 June 1766 as the natural son of Catherine ALBERT. The record did not give the name of the father.13 In the margin of the church register, children were listed with their baptismal name and their father’s surname or in the case of illegitimate children, with their given name and the phrase a natural child of followed by the mother’s name.
Could this illegitimate child be my 5th great-grandfather Jean MAJERUS? The time period and place of birth fit.
A Key: 1767 Marriage Record
Was Catherine ALBERT, the mother of little Jean, the same woman who married Jean MAJERUS on 17 August 1767 in Boulay as seen in the trees?
Three banns were read in Boulay and one in Medernach
Groom: Jean MAJERUS, the underaged son of the deceased Jean MAJERUS and (his widow) Elisabeth AMBROS, farmers at Schrefsen Hof in the parish of Medernach
Bride: Anne Catherine ALBERT, the of age daughter of Jean ALBERT, cordonnier (shoemaker), and Louise BECK of the parish of Boulay
The dispense for the two banns in Medernach was allowed by Jean Philippe the Archbishop of Trier
Consent of Nicolas GILLEN, a farmer at Schreffenhoff and guardian of Jean MAJERUS
After the bride and groom were joined in marriage they declared having had Jean, the natural son of Catherine ALBERT, born 2 June 1766 and baptized the 3rd of the same month, before their marriage. The son was declared a legitimate child of the couple through this marriage.
Four witnesses were present, all relatives of the bride and from Boulay. Her father, a brother-in-law, and two maternal uncles. None of the groom’s family were present.
The bride declared she could not write and signed with her mark. The groom, witnesses, and priest signed.
The information found in the marriage record confirmed Jean, the natural son of Catherine ALBERT, was the son of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT and was legitimized with their marriage.
The years between 1766 and 1784
Following the birth of young Jean in 1766 and the marriage of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT in 1767, the couple appears to have moved to Larochette in Luxembourg before 1769. In Larochette (Feltz) they had a son Joannes in 1769 whose godmother was Catharina GILLEN, wife of Nicolas GILLEN, a farmer on Scherfenhof. This same Nicolas GILLEN had been the guardian of the father of the child in 1767 when he married. This would suggest a close family relationship between Jean MAJERUS and Catharina MAJERUS, wife of Nicolas GILLEN.
By 1772 Jean and Anne Catherine were back in her hometown as she gave birth to son Barthélémy on 25 February 1772. He died on 5 March 1772. His parents were living in Boulay at the time. His surname was spelled MACHERIUS.15
On 2 January 1784, Anne Catherine ALBERT died in Boulay. She was the widow of Jean MACHERI (sic, a variation of MAJERUS).16 This would mean her husband died between 1772 and 1784. I checked the death index for 1780-1790; he was not listed. For the years 1772-1780, there is no index and all records would need to be searched to find his death record – if he died in Boulay.
Have the research questions been answered?
Who were the parents of Jean MAJERUS born between 1765 and 1773 in Luxembourg or France? When and where was he actually born?
It is not known if Jean born in 1766 and Joannes born in 1769 were both living at the time of their mother’s death in 1784. They would have been 18 and 15 years old. As my Jean MAJERUS or his wife gave his place of birth on the census as being in Boulé (sic, Boulay), France, I have come to the conclusion he would have been the son born in 1766 in Boulay.
Jean born 2 June 1766 to a single mother, Anne Catherine ALBERT, was legitimized when his parents Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT married on 17 August 1767 when Jean became Jean MAJERUS. The grandparents of little Jean were named in his parents’ marriage record: Jean MAJERUS and Elisabeth AMBROS as well as Jean ALBERT and Louise BECK. The ALBERT and BECK lines now have placeholders for several generations with RED tags to indicate research needs to be done to prove these names.
Keys and doors made it happen but also a place called Scherfenhof
I am convinced finding Scherfenhof mentioned in the 1769 baptismal record in the Nommern parish and in the 1767 marriage record in Boulay, France, was not a coincidence. They must be connected.
Jean MAJERUS deceased before 1767 and Elisabeth AMBROS will not be as easy to research however their being a married couple from Scherfenhof is an important clue.
Scherfenhof, known as Schäerfenhaff in Luxembourgish, is today part of the commune of Heffingen and lies between Larochette (Fels) and Christnach off of C.R. 118. Location of Scherfenhof (see the middle of the map).
Thomas Webers who compiled the Nommern family book using the church and civil records for the period 1637-1923 appears to have recorded all families found in the registers during this period. He also compiled family books for Medernach, Larochette, and Heffingen – all towns in the immediate area of Scherfenhof. I searched all of them for Scherfenhof and for the family names MAJERUS and GILLEN.
I noted miscellaneous instances of Scherfenhof (with various spelling variations) being found in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines.
Death and burial information were found for Nicholas GILLEN17 and Elisabeth AMBROSI (spelling as seen on the death entry).18 Both Nicholas and Elisabeth died on Scherfenhof in 1787.
By following the timeline of the entries found in the family books, the GEDCOMs, and miscellaneous records, a chronological history of Scherfenhof came to light and is in part supported by the 1766 census.19
A Peter MAJERUS was living on Scherfenhof as early as 1722. He was the father of Conrad MAJERUS who married twice in Echternach, in 174320 and 1745.21 Conrad’s not remaining on Scherfenhof could mean he was not the oldest child.
I believe Jean MAJERUS, husband of Elisabeth AMBROSI (also seen as DITGES in 1776) and father of the Jean MAJERUS who married in France, was likely the oldest child of Peter. As the oldest child he would have taken over the farm and homeplace and following his death, it would have gone to his oldest child. This would explain the presence of his widow and several children on the 1766 census listing above. Nicolas GILEN (sic, GILLEN) was the head of household in the 1766 listing for Scherfenhof. Also in the household were Peter MAJERUS, Elisabeth MAJERUS, Catherine GILEN, Angelique MAJERUS, Catherine SCHMITTEN, and Conrad FABER.
How are these people related? Anna Catharina MAJERUS was likely the oldest child of Jean MAJERUS and his wife Elisabeth AMBROSI (DITGES). She married Michel FABER before 1756 and they had a son Conrad FABER born about 1756. Between 1756 and 1766 Michel FABER died and his widow married Nicholas GILLEN. They would have a son Michel GILLEN but only after the 1766 census. The firstborn son of Anna Catharina, Conrad FABER would take over Scherfenhof after the death of Nicholas GILLEN in 1787.
The other children of Jean and Elisabeth were Conrad, Jean, Peter, and Angelique. Conrad, possibly named after his uncle, had married in Waldbillig in 1765. He was listed as the of age son of Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof.22 Son Jean was likely living in Boulay, France, as his son was born there in 1766. Peter was the son of Jean MAJERUS and Elisabeth DITGES per his 1776 marriage record.23 Angelique was very likely a daughter of the same couple. No marriage has been found for her.
This rounds up the individuals I found who likely made up the family group of the deceased Jean MAJERUS and his wife Elisabeth AMBROSI (DITGES). No baptismal records were found in the Nommern parish for these children but there was the fragile connection to Scherfenhof as seen in their marriage records, the 1766 census, and baptisms where Nicholas GILLEN, manager of Scherfenhof, was the godfather of several of the grandchildren.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
It took me a year to write about 48 sets of 4th great-grandparents = 32 of my husband’s and 16 of mine. In 2014, the first year I blogged, I wrote about all of my paternal ancestors from my father to my paternal 4th great-grandparents. They made up only a quarter of my children’s tree. As the stories were coming along so well I decided to continue with the rest of my children’s ancestors up to their 4th greats in 2015 and their 5th greats in 2017-2018.
The next logical step would be to do their 6th great-grandparents. Of the 128 sets, 15 are brick walls – 5 paternal and 10 maternal (with the 10 being American ancestors). If I limit research and writing to one set a week I could get them done in a little over two years.
These are the names of the ancestors divided into the paternal and maternal sides:
Our children’s paternal 6th great-grandparents:
(256 & 257) Adami MEDER and Elisabetha ESCH
(258 & 259) Joannes REINERS and wife Maria: Susanna LAMBERT’s parents
(260 & 261) Michaelis WILMES and Barbara JACQUEMIN
(262 & 263) Mr. SCHEID (SCHOOD) and Anna Maria FETH
(264 & 265) Brick Wall (paternal grandparents of Théodore REIFFER)
(266 & 267) Brick Wall (maternal grandparents of Théodore REIFFER)
(268 & 269) Joannes CLOOS and Anne Marie KLAREN
(270 & 271) Nikolaus THEWES and Gertrud LESSEN
(272 & 273) Joannis ADAM and Margaritha (first married to THOMMES)
(274 & 275) Jacobi WOLTER and Marie Elisabeth MEYERS
(276 & 277) Joannes SCHENTEN x KOECHER and Catharina KOSTERS
(278 & 279) Parents of Cathérine OBERECKEN
(280 & 281) Mathias LORENS and Eva FRENTZ
(282 & 283) Petri STENGENFORT and unknown wife
(284 & 285) Joannis PREISER and Anna Maria FETH
(286 & 286) Petrus SCHRANTZ and Anne Marie HAMEN
(288 & 289) Jean “Joannis” SCHWARTZ and Maria HEINZ
(290 & 291) Mathia HALER and Angela ALENTS
(292 & 293) Johann Gerard TRIERWEILER and Elisabeth KERSCH
(294 & 295) Carl HOFFMANN and Angela ROSPORT
(296 & 297) Philippi SCHMITT and Apollonia MATTES
(298 & 299) Matthias PLEIN and Margaretha VALERIUS
(300 & 301) Johann WOLLSCHEID and Anna Maria WILLWERT
(302 & 303) Johann BARTHELMES and Eva BARZEN
(304 & 305) Johann Peter GORGES and Anna Maria HORSCH
(306 & 307) Nikolaus RODENS and Anna SCHUE
(308 & 309) Brick Wall (parents of Caspar BOTZ) (310 & 311) Brick Wall (parents of Magdalena MASEN)
(312 & 313) Nicolaus SCHERFF and Helena OTTO
(314 & 315) Dominique STEIMETZ and Helena “Magdalena” KOCH
(316 & 317) Daniel and Elisabetha CLEMENS
(318 & 319) Matthias WEBER and Anna Margaretha FEILEN
(320 & 321) Henri and Magdalena CREMERS
(322 & 323) Joannes VENANDI and Maria HOSINGER
(324 & 325) Johann THIVELS alias FRIEDERICH and Catharina FEDERSPIEL
(326 & 327) Martin HUNTGES and Marguerite MAY
(328 & 329) Johann Heinrich “Henri” MERKES and Anna ROSS
(330 & 331) Anton WAGENER and Catharina PIRSCH
(332 & 333) Mathias HASTERT and Anne NIEDERKORN
(334 & 335) Jean SCHMIDT and Maria LENTZ
(336 & 337) Leonard GRITIUS and Marie NEIEN
(338 & 339) Jean SCHETTERT and Anna Catharina SCHAACK
(340 & 341) Jean Baptiste SCHAEFFER and Catherine SCHAACK
(342 & 343) Nicolas GREISCH and Susanne ROLLINGER
(344 & 345) Michel WECKERING and Anna Maria DALEYDEN
(346 & 347) Brick Wall (parents of Marguerite LASCHEID)
(348 & 349) Jacob BERNARD and Jeanne CAPPUS
(350 & 351) Valentin GREBER and Christina STEFFEN
(352 & 353) Dominique PEFFER and Marguerite SINTGEN
(354 & 355) Nicolas PIERRET and Anna Maria ROBINET
(356 & 357) Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY
(358 & 359) Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie Catharina REULAND
(360 & 361) Pierre ZWANG and Anne Marie HUSCHET
(362 & 363) Johann WELTER and Anna Maria FELTES
(364 & 365) Jean DHAM and Marie WELTER
(366 & 367) Nicolas KIMES and Anna Maria STRENG
(368 & 369) Peter MERTES and Marguerite BIVER
(370 & 371) Johann DONNEN and Barbara CHRITOPHORY
(372 & 373) Casparus ERPELDING and Gertrudes JEHNEN
(374 & 375) Peter CONRADT and Anna Catharina ROEDER
(376 & 377) Petrus RUCKERT and Anna Catharina SPEYER
(378 & 379) Petrus MICHELS and Susanna MARTIN aka MERTES
(380 & 381) Peter SCHMIT and Rosa CLEMENS
(382 & 383) Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN
Our children’s maternal 6th great-grandparents: The American families
Our children’s maternal 6th great-grandparents: The families of the greater Luxembourg area
(448 & 449) Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG
(450 & 451) Michael WELTER and Katharian KLEIN
(452 & 453) Matthias SCHRAMEN and Anna Barbara LEIBRICH (BURG)
(454 & 455) Sebastian SCHMITT and Maria LORANG
(456 & 457) Nikolaus WEYMAN and Maria Katharina HUSS
(458 & 459) Gerard MALAMBRÉ and Barbara BIESDORF
(460 & 461) Johann Bernard WELTER and Maria BRIMERS
(462 & 463) Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER
(464 & 465) Peter BUBELREITER and Gertrud LAMBERTI or BOSEN
(466 & 467) Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN
(468 & 469) Peter MERTSCHERT and Susanna “Anna” SCHNEIDER
(470 & 471) Theodor MERGEN and Gertrud THELEN
(472 & 473) Johann Nicolaus WAGNER and Anna Maria KLEIWER
(474 & 475) Johann HARTERT and Elisabeth HEINZ
(476 & 477) Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS
(478 & 479) Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THEILEN
(480 & 481) Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
(482 & 483) Jean SCHMIT and Eve DUCKER
(484 & 485) Jacques PHILIPPART and Catherine SINGER aka KETTER
(486 & 487) Henri MEUNIER and Margaretha KILBOUR
(488 & 489) Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENDT
(490 & 491) Nicolas TRAUDT and Barbe BILL
(492 & 493) Johann CONSBRÜCK and Barbara SCHMIDT
(494 & 495) Sébastian LANSER and Maria Catharina HASTERT
(496 & 497) Nicolaus FRANTZ and Angela BARTEL
(498 & 499) Nicolaus KIEFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ
(500 & 501) Joannis FRISCH and Margaret ZEIMES
(502 & 503) Peter HUBERTY and Jonannata BEREND
(504 & 505) Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER
(506 & 507) Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN
(508 & 509) Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (COLLING)
(510 & 511) Johannes HAMES and Agnes HEITZ
Where should I begin? I believe each tiny twig on every small branch of the larger branches in the family tree is as important as the next. If I continued in the same order I’ve been writing about the previous generations, I’d start at the top of the lists above and work down. However, I want to get my Luxembourgish side done first!
My youngest brother turned over his AncestryDNA test to me three years ago. On our paternal side, my brother’s DNA has confirmed the paper trail is correct for the American lines and we have not had any surprises. However, the brick walls are still standing.
On our maternal side, matches are few. This is not surprising as these lines remained in Luxembourg up until my birth. Maternal matches on Ancestry are for the most part America descendants of Luxembourg emigrants from the 1800s. The highest maternal match is a 4th cousin once removed (4C1R) with 44 cMs on 3 segments. We share Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY, my 4th great-grandparents (children of 501 through 504).
This is how I’ve decided to proceed. Ancestry now shows a helix icon for the ancestors who are on the ThruLines in trees which are linked to DNA tests. In this screenshot, we see my maternal grandmother’s mother Catharina FRANTZ and all of her ancestors. On the right are the 5th great-grandparents from 496 to 511. Working from the bottom up I opened each to find the first couple with matches who share DNA with my brother and have the ancestor couple in their tree.
And the winner is…
Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN (506 & 507) have 8 suggested matches descending from three of their children.
Two of these matches have been proven as well as several more who do not have their trees linked to the DNA. A nice group of descendants split between a line which went to America and a line which moved from Luxembourg to Belgium to Switzerland to England.
Two matches come through a line in which I found an interesting phenomenon: a man who was married twice – to sisters – both with the same name. Yes, this has caused errors in online trees which need to be corrected.
Three matches share a very small amount of DNA with my brother (between 6-11 cMs). Their trees are incorrect and the common ancestors cannot be the CORNELY-EVEN couple.
Lëtz Research – Luxembourg Research
Researching Luxembourg families has become easier for me over the years. I have several advantages over the descendants of Luxembourg emigrants. As 3/4 of my children’s family tree is Luxembourgish, I’ve learned how to easily locate a civil or church record. I’m fluent in the languages used in Luxembourg records and have learned the most commonly used Latin terms. I had a great teacher in my father-in-law who helped me decipher the handwriting in the records during the early years. When all else fails, I have my genealogy society Luxracines and its members who are even more skilled in Luxembourg research.
It’s Time to Start Working on a New Generation
The posts may not be ready on a weekly basis. The objective is to get back to researching family groups with the intention of going back further in time on several lines which have not been researched. By starting out with the Luxembourg families, I hope to make connections with cousins descended from Luxembourg emigrants and interested in learning more about their roots in this beautiful country.
Next week I’ll begin my posts on my children’s 6th great-grandparents with Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN of Wickrange in the commune of Reckange-sur-Messe in Luxembourg.
Last Sunday I gave feedback to Ancestry on my ThruLines. As I was writing the feedback message I realized it might be good material for a blog post. At the end of the feedback message, I let them know I might use it in a post.
Wowsers! Those ugly grrr!! images I’d added to my great-grandfather’s step-mother and all of her ancestors are missing.
Could it be Ancestry took my feedback into consideration and got the step-relationships fixed? Had they been ready to roll out a fix before or after I sent my feedback? Does it matter? Well, yes, I would like to know why it happened so quickly following the feedback I gave. I want to know if this step relationship bug in the ThruLines was solved for everyone or just for me.
I’m seeing Milla Susan PETERS as my great-great-grandmother. I’ve been hoping to see her ever since they gave me Nancy Elizabeth JOHNSON, the 2nd wife of Gordon Washington ROOP, as a potential 2nd-great-grandmother showing half-cousins as full cousins.
Why, you ask, was I so excited about one ancestor being corrected? One right ancestor means I should be seeing her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents in my ThruLines. All of these ancestors are from lines with many descendants who have had their DNA tested.
Although Milla Susan’s ThruLines shows only two DNA matches, the next generations have many more matches:
107 DNA matches through Jordan N. PETERS (father of Milla Susan)
33 DNA matches through Rachel PROFFITT (mother of Milla Susan)
68 DNA matches through Zachariah PETERS (father of Jordan)
129 DNA matches through Kesiah LIVELY (mother of Jordan)
113 DNA matches through David PROFFITT (father of Rachel)
110 DNA matches through Sarah COCKRAM (mother of Rachel)
123 DNA matches through Joseph LIVELY (father of Kesiah)
128 DNA matches through Mary L. CASH (mother of Kesiah)
97 DNA matches through Augustine “Austin” PROFFITT (father of David)
97 DNA matches through Elizabeth “Betsy” ROBERTSON (mother of David)
231 DNA matches through Edward COCKRAM (father of Sarah)
232 DNA matches through Mary WORTHAM (mother of Sarah)
It’ll take time to confirm each match is a descendant of the ancestor he/she is listed under as the lines down are only as reliable as the trees ThruLines uses to make the connection. The large number of matches for the PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines was expected due to the families being large and having many descendants.
But wait! Not only was the step-relationship corrected for Milla Susan PETERS, but I am now seeing <<drumroll>>
William is my most frustrating brick wall. Sarah Ann’s branch and all matches associated with it are very important. I hope they will help me to sort out all the matches for her side. This would leave only matches which will point to William’s unknown parents and ancestry. At least that is the way I believe it should work. ThruLines is showing potential parents for him which I cannot accept at this time.
Sarah Ann WOOD’s ancestry is bringing in many matches which will also have to be verified.
41 DNA matches through William A. W. DEMPSEY.
45 DNA matches through Sarah Ann WOOD (wife of William A. W.)
87 DNA matches through Elijah WOOD (father of Sarah Ann)
93 DNA matches through Rachel HONAKER (mother of Sarah Ann)
92 DNA matches through William WOOD (father of Elijah)
90 DNA matches through Mary Ann McGRAW (mother of Elijah)
162 DNA matches through Frederick HONAKER (father of Rachel)
154 DNA matches through Rachel WISEMAN (mother of Rachel)
70 DNA matches through Bailey WOOD (father of William)
95 DNA matches through Nancy _____ (mother of William)
147 DNA matches through Martin McGRAW (father of Mary Ann)
109 DNA matches through Margaret “Polly” _____ (mother of Mary Ann)
173 DNA matches through Hans Jacob HONEGGER (father of Frederick)
30 DNA matches through Maria GOETZ (mother of Frederick)
202 DNA matches through Isaac WISEMAN (father of Rachel)
204 DNA matches through Elizabeth DAVIS (mother of Rachel)
Another New Feature
ThruLines are now connected to the tree linked to a DNA test. On the pedigree view of the tree, there is now a DNA symbol in on the left to turn on this feature which adds a little blue ThruLines icon next to the ancestors’ names. William, Sarah, and Milla are ThruLines ancestors but in the pedigree view above they haven’t been updated. I discovered this about the same time my ThruLines were fixed on Wednesday.
Did the feedback I sent on Sunday to Ancestry on the ThruLines help them to get this fixed? I will likely never know. But I believe this was a lesson in giving the best feedback possible to help the team to get ThruLines working correctly. As I wrote in my feedback to them, ThruLines could be a powerful tool.
This is the first of two posts on Ancestry‘s ThruLines regarding an issue I have had with the new feature.
Access to ThruLines™ Beta is available to customers without an Ancestry subscription for a limited time.
Unfortunately, hundreds of user trees on Ancestry cannot be taken into account when building ThruLines. The Legal Genealogist went ballistic last Saturday and wrote How do we know? It’s an excellent post with an example of a user tree which cannot be taken seriously. Judy G. Russell recognized the errors in the tree but can a computer program do the same? I think not.
This is not meant to provoke negative comments concerning Ancestry and the features offered by them. This is about giving feedback concerning a known problem in hopes of getting positive results.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
I have given feedback several times before [concerning the reason I am not satisfied with ThruLines] and will try to be more detailed as there is a bug in the system which has not been fixed.
I realize, at this time, ThruLines is a free tool on AncestryDNA. However, your long-time customers’ experience in family history research should be taken into account. We can work together to get this fixed.
The problem is a known bug in the system as other users have complained about it on social media. Some users who gave feedback say their ThruLines were “fixed” within days. I do not believe Ancestry has taken the step to go into one user’s ThruLines to fix this bug. I strongly believe it was a coincidence the users’ ThruLines were corrected after feedback. It is more likely another user’s tree, which was being used to build the connection between the ancestor and the match, had been corrected and this resolved the issue.
This is the issue I have with ThruLines’ “step bug”
I am seeing a step-parent as the parent in the ThruLines. The information is correct in my tree. No other tree is being used to create this ThruLines ancestor. Along with this step-parent, I am seeing all of her ancestors, unrelated to my line, as my ancestors in ThruLines. Not as POTENTIAL ancestors with a dotted borders – they are being shown as ANCESTORS.
The ancestor who is showing up incorrectly in ThruLines is:
The pedigree of the incorrect person in my tree:
I’ve added images to her ancestors showing they are NOT the ancestors of the home person and/or test person. [This is so that I can quickly recognize them on ThruLines.]
This is her husband, my 2nd great-grandfather, in my tree. His information is correct and includes his two wives and their respective children:
This is the pedigree of his first wife, my 2nd great-grandmother, who along with all of her ancestors are NOT showing up in my Thrulines. There are many DNA matches for people who descend from her PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines, on the match list, but they are being ignored by ThruLines.
I want to stress that ONLY entries in my tree are being used for this (incorrect) ThruLines ancestor. No other user tree is being used to make this connection between the half-cousin matches whose relationship is incorrectly calculated to full cousins.
I understand the idea of ThruLines and believe it could be a powerful tool. One problem will always be the hundreds of trees which are incorrect due to sloppy research, i.e. accepting hints without looking at dates, places, names, etc.
However, in this case, the tree being used is correct and ThruLines is overriding my information and picking the wrong person in the tree. I have no experience in programming. I can only tell you where I am seeing the bug. I’m fully aware of the fact that detecting the source of the bug may be more difficult.
Thank you for your time. In hopes of a quick resolution to this problem,
I wrote the above last Sunday but didn’t want to post it on my blog without giving Ancestry had a bit more time to fix the issue. This was the first time I included links to the specific areas where the “bug” was detected. Will this kind of feedback help resolve the issue I have with Ancestry‘s ThruLines?
Last week Edmond‘s name was released from the last will and testament of Elizabeth Clark written in 1841 and recorded in 1844. Elizabeth mentioned Frances C. Harrison and her husband John in the will.1
As I tried to follow Edmond either forward in time or back, I found John Harrison was listed in the 1840 census of Mason County. In his household were one male 10 thru 14, one male 50 thru 59, one female 50 thru 59, one female 70 thru 79, and 4 slaves. The enslaved persons in the household were 2 males under 10, a male 24 thru 35, and a female 10 thru 23.2
Was the older woman in the household Elizabeth Clark? If this was the household Elizabeth was living in, would Edmond be the young man age 24 thru 35? Or was John Harrison the holder of all four slaves?
There is a reason I looked into the Elizabeth Clark will. In 1850 my 4th great-grandmother Nancy Beasley, widow of Dennis Clonch (also seen as Claunch), was enumerated as Nancy Clonch age 75 in the household of John W. Clark age 56. Also in the household was her 12 years old grandson Dennis Clonch.3 Nancy died in the 1850s. John W. Clark was seen in the household of her son William Clonch in 1860.4 Who was this John W. Clark and was there a family connection between him and the Clonch family? Could there be other records which would clear up the matter? Those were the questions I asked as I searched for other Clark persons in the county.
At this point, I found the will of Elizabeth Clark and the census record in which she may have been enumerated. Who were John Harrison and his wife Frances C. and why were they mentioned in the Clark will?
A marriage record was found in Mason County for John Harrison and Frances Oldakers. They were married by B. K. Craig in 1834.5 As both persons were in their 50s in the 1840 household, there was the possibility one or the other was widowed prior to 1834.
Off to the Will Book for another will
John Oldaker wrote his last will and testament in June 1833 and it was recorded in November 1833.6 Did he leave a widow?
The Last Will & Testament of John Oldaker of Mason County, Virginia – 1833
I John Oldaker of the county of Mason & State of Virginia do hereby make my last will & testament in manner & form following that is to Say. I give and bequeath all my estate that shall remain after my Just debts are paid to be disposed of as hereinafter mentioned. I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Frances C. Oldaker all my estate real & personal (except Items hereinafter disposed of) for & during her natural life & after her deceas (sic) I give and bequeath the same to my grandaughter (sic) Frances J. McMullin (except Items hereinafter disposed of). I give & bequeath to my beloved wife Frances C. Oldaker in fee Simple to make any disposition of (during her natural life or at her Decease) she may think proper my negro man named Harvey& my Negro Girl named Hariettwith her future of spring together with the sum of one Hundred Dollars. I give and bequeath to my friend & brother in law Benjamin K. Craig my Rifle gun with the aparatus thereto belonging. In case my Grandaugher Frances J. McMullin should die under the age of twenty one years old & without a Servicing heir of her body, I give & bequeath all that otherwise would be her right & title in and to my estate to my friends Benjamin K. Craig & Polly A. Craig, his wife & their heirs. It is my will & I do hereby give & bequeath to my beloved wife Frances C. Oldaker the wright & power to convey by warrantee Deeds certain tracts of land sold by me viz. one tract to Carter Newcomb lying on Eighteen mile creek for which the said Newcomb holds my Title Bond with conditions, one other Tract to Robert Summers lying also on Eighteen mile creek for which the Said Summers holds my Title bond with conditions on their the Said Newcomb & Summers complying with the conditions in Said title bonds their Deeds are to be made. And Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my friends Benjamin K. Craig & Matthew D. Brower executors of this my last will & testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my Seal this 15th day of June 1833. . . . . . his John X Oldaker Seal . . . .mark Signed Sealed published & declared by John Oldaker, as & for his last will & testament in the presence & hearing of us at his request and in his presence here subscribed our names as witnesses. Henry Harriss R. Summers Wiliam Wallace At a court held for Mason county Nov. 4th 1833 The last will and Testament of John Oldaker decd was proved by the oaths of Henry Harriss and William Wallace subscribing witnesses thereto. And is ordered to be Recorded. Upon the motion of Benjamin K. Craig an executor named in the will of Jno. Oldaker decd who made oath thereto & together with James Craik his Securety who entered into & acknowledged their Bond in the penalty of Two thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted him for obtaining a probat of the Said will in due form of Law. Teste Thos. Lewis clerk
Frances C. Oldaker was the widow of John Oldaker. What was her maiden name? John Oldaker mentions his brother-in-law Benjamin K. Craig and his wife Polly A. Craig. Was this the same B. K. Craig who married Frances C. Oldaker and John Harrison in 1834?
Benjamin K. Craig married Mary A. Clark in 1826.7 If Benjamin was John’s brother-in-law, could his wife Polly A. (Mary A.) have been Frances’ sister?
This would explain Frances C. Harrison aka Frances C. Oldaker being mentioned in the will of Elizabeth Clark. There was no mention of children in the 1841 will nor did Elizabeth include a relationship descriptor for Frances other than her being the wife of John Harrison. Was Elizabeth an unmarried sister of Frances and Polly? Or an aunt or even their mother?
John Oldaker left Harvey and Hariett to his wife Frances C. in his will in 1833. Frances married John Harrison the following year. In 1840 enslaved persons were found in the household of John Harrison – a man and a woman along with two young boys. Could this couple be Harvey and Hariett whose fate was left in Frances’ hands per her first husband’s will? Or could the man be Edmond mentioned in Elizabeth’s will and the other three enslaved persons of Harrison?
The Census and Slave Schedules
No entry was found in the index of the will books of Mason County for John Harrison or Benjamin K. Craig. Neither were found in Mason the 1850 census.
Polly A. Craig died in Putnam County, West Virginia, on 10 November 1865. Her death was reported by her son Lewis Craig. He gave her deceased husband’s name as Benj. K. Craig and her parents as William & E. Clark. Polly, per her son’s information, was born in Culpepper County, Virginia.8
With this information I located the widowed Polly A. Craig in Putnam in 1850 with three children.9 She was also on the Slave Schedule with two children, an 8 yo male mulatto and a 6 yo female mulatto.10
While browsing the schedule I noticed the name John Harrison with a 32 yo black female, 11 yo black male, and a 3 yo black female. 11 Checking the census, I found John and Frances C. were living in Putnam County in 1850.12
There is a known anomality on the 1860 census of Putnam County. The enumerator recorded all persons with an initial instead of first name and middle initals. This makes it difficult to find persons when searching for first names. However by limiting the search to the surname only, I found Polly A. Craig with her children13 as well as John and Frances C. Harrison. 14 Polly and John were also on the slave schedule. Polly with a 15 yo female mulatto (possibly the 6 yo from 1850)15 and John Harrison with a 12 yo female black (possibly the 3 yo from 1850).16
The will of John Harrison was written 11 April 1867 and recorded 10 May 1867 in Putnam County.17 He mentioned his wife Frances C. Due to the lateness of this will he did not mention enslaved persons.
Edmond, who was supposed to be freed per the 1841 will of Elizabeth Clark, was not with either the Craig or Harrison families as a free person. There is no male old enough to be Edmond on the slave schedule for either Polly A. Craig or John Harrison.
From the numbers found on the slave schedules in 1850 and 1860 for John Harrison it is possible Harriet named in the Oldaker will was with John and Frances C. in 1850 with two children. She is not with them in 1860. As with Edmond, there were no males old enough to be Harvey.
Frances was found in the 1870 census in the household of her step-son Josiah Harrison.18 Frances’ first husband had given her in fee Simple to make any disposition of (during her natural life or at her Decease) she may think proper my negro man named Harvey & my Negro Girl named Hariett with her future of spring. It would seem that Harvey and Hariett were no longer with Frances C. at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
One final note for anyone searching for Edmond, Harvey, and Hariett. The Craig and Harrison families likely did not move from the time of the above mentioned will until 1850 as Putnam County was created on 11 March 1848 from Kanawha, Mason and Cabell Counties.
1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029689; NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Mason; image 44+41 of 69, Sheet 232A+B, Line 9, John Harrison. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 March 2019). ↩
1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_959; Image 297; Virginia, Mason, District 38, image 47 of 165, Sheet No. 385A, Lines 28-30, HH #333-334, John W. Clark household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). ↩
1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1361; FHL Film: 805361; Virginia, Mason County, District 2, image 25 of 68; Page No. 46, Lines 21-30, HH #345-316, Wm Claunch household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2019). ↩
West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages 1853-1970. Marriage of John Harrison and Frances C. Aldakers (sic, spelling per index) (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12175291&Type=Marriage : accessed 20 March 2019) ↩
The Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Clark of Mason County, Virginia – 1841
I Elizabeth Clark of the county of Mason & state of Virginia do hereby make my last will & testament. I give and bequeath all my estate except Edmondwho shall be free at my decease & a bond against Zachariah Garten of twenty five dollars with interest for three years to Frances C. Harrison. The above named bond I bequeath to John Harrison husband of the said Frances C. Harrison of the county of Mason & state of Virginia. In witness whereof I hereby set my hand and seal this 30th day of Sept. 1841.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . her . . . . . . . . . . .Elizabeth + Clark Seal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mark Signed Sealed & publicly declared by Elizabeth Clark as & for her last will and testament in the presence & hearing of us, at her request & in her presence have subscribed our names as witnesses. James Koontz William Harrison William Oldakers
At a Circuit Superior Court of Law & Chancery for Mason county held at the Courthouse thereof April 16, 1844. The last will and testament of Elizabeth Clark deceased was proved by the oaths of James Koontz and William Harrison two of the subscribing
witnesses thereto and is ordered to be recorded. And there being no executors named in said last will & testament, and the said testatrix having died more than three months ago, and no person applying for administration it is ordered that administration of the estate of said decedent with her will annexed in due form be committed to Peter H. Steenbergen sheriff of this county. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A Copy Teste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Georg W. Stribling clk
The Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Clark was written in 1841 in Mason County1 during the time when the county was part of Virginia. Mason County borders on Ohio, a state which abolished slavery in its original constitution when it was formed in 1803.
Edmond who shall be free at my decease
I found it heartwarming that Elizabeth Clark did not give any further description of Edmond as was usual in records of the time. She wrote simply that he should be free after her demise.
No trace of Elizabeth Clark was found in the 1840 census. John Harrison was found in Mason County in 1840.2 Both he and his wife were 50 thru 59 years old. There was a young boy aged 10 thru 14 as well as four enslaved persons in the household: 2 males under 10, 1 male 24 thru 35, and 1 female 10 thru 23. There was also an older woman, age 70 thru 79 years. Could this have been Elizabeth Clark?
Also on the same census sheet are Thomas Garton mentioned in the will, as well as two of the three witnesses, William Harrison and William Oldakers.
Mrs. Clark died about the end of 1843 or the beginning of the year 1844. Was Edmondmentioned in her will still living? Did he have family living with a slaveholder in the area? What became of him when she died?
1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029689; NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Mason; image 44+41 of 69, Sheet 232A+B, Line 9, John Harrison. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 March 2019). ↩