Jeremiah SIMS 1730-1768 Culpeper County, Virginia

Door 7The door in this brick wall isn’t budging!

The parents and siblings of Jeremiah SIMS are unknown. Jeremiah, the father of James SIMS 1754-1845 of Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia), was born about 1730 and died in 1768 in Culpeper County, Virginia. In his will he mentioned his nephews Thomas GRAVES and Jonathan SIMS and his loving friend Edward SIMS. Further research is needed to determine the parents of these nephews.

It is believed by some that Thomas SIMS and Rebecca PETTY were the parents of Jeremiah but this has not been proven. For research purposes I’ve attached two sets of parents to Jeremiah: an [–?–] SIMS and Thomas SIMS & Rebecca PETTY.

RMSR, a researcher who spent years researching the SIMS line and searching for the parents of Jeremiah, passed the torch on to me this past summer when she sent me her entire “Sims Library”, weighing in at nearly 40 lbs.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Chiseled in stone: “Veuve Schloesser 1800-1889”

Door 6When I began doing genealogy in the early 1990s my families in Luxembourg were the first I researched. With the information found on grave markers, I went about collecting marriage records as these include dates and places of birth for bride and groom, ages and places of residence of parents, and dates and places of death for deceased parents. From these, I learned that Veuve SCHLOESSER was Anna Maria CONSBRÜCK, the widow of Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER who died in Metz, France, in 1841. The registrar searched the 1889 death records in Echternach and our local priest checked his records but nothing was found.

With the 1843-1900 census records for Luxembourg now available at FamilySearch.org, I finally found the answer. She wasn’t born in 1800 but in 1810 and didn’t die in 1889 but in 1897 (age 87). I located her death record and found other records to prove her parents and both sets of grandparents. I’m working on finding records for them which may get me back even another generation.

1963-12-04 CemeteryAll this time I thought that my families in Echternach all came from other places in Luxembourg before the 1880s. Now I can trace CONSBRÜCK, SCHMITT, LANSER, and HASTERT back to at least the mid-1700’s in Echternach.

1963-12-03 CemeterySo another lesson learned: even if it is written in stone, it pays to check all records available for the full story.

Note: For nearly 20 years I thought that my Schloesser-Consbrück family came from France because their children were born there and the father died there. I am now really happy that these families (still looking for Schloesser) came from the town I live in!! So now you know why this is included in the header for my GEDCOM file: This is a work in process and corrections are being made all the time. WHAT YOU COPY TODAY MAY NOT BE CORRECT TOMORROW.

Update 23 January 2013: After talking to Rob Deltgen last week I pushed to find more on the SCHLOESSER side of the family. I have often searched for Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER and his wife Anna Maria “Marie” CONSBRÜCK on the internet and never came up with any hits (except my own GEDCOM file). I can’t remember what search criteria I used this time but I got a new hit on a database that I’ve never been able to access before. I found the name of Jean Joseph’s father: Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER. With a name like this, you can imagine that hits would be very rare but I found a GEDCOM file that gives me 4-5 generations of family to work with. I am so lucky that these families are from Luxembourg, that the records were kept so well, and that FamilySearch gives free access to them.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

“I found the ship!”

Door 1“I found the ship!”

You never know where a breakthrough like this will come from. In April 2001 I posted to a GenForum board on Genealogy.com about a trip I was planning to the town that our RUPP ancestor came from in the Alsace region of France. A researcher for the WELTY family discovered that his ancestor and mine appeared on several documents together. He sent the following message: http://genforum.genealogy.com/france/alsacelorraine/messages/456.html

Previous researchers [including Theron Rupe, Louise Roop Anderson Akers and Everette L. McGrew], had done much research on the Rupp/Rupe/Roop(e)/Roup(e)/Ruppe family line before and after their arrival in America in 1752 but the ship had not been known.

This simple act of kindness gave proof that my Johann Jacob RUPP and his family arrived in Philadelphia on October 20, 1752, on the ship “Duke of Wirtenburg” that sailed from Rotterdam and Cowes under Captain Daniel Montpelier. Also on the ship were Hans George Gottle, Christian Stahl and Christoff Fridrich Biller whose names were found in later years in connection with Jacob Rupp.

This exciting news, received on September 11th, 2001, was overshadowed by what followed several hours later but it taught me a lesson about sharing and helping others.

© 2012, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

James INGRAM (b. abt. 1771-1774 d. 1865)

Door 3Oral tradition passed on through the generations can be a help or a hindrance to our genealogy research.

In the case of our INGRAM ancestor, family tradition is that the INGRAM immigrant and four of his brothers came to America near the end of the Revolutionary War. Richard M. INGRAM, a great-grandson of James INGRAM, told the tale that it was Bob’s father – Bob being James’ son Robert – who came to America. While James S. INGRAM, a great-great-grandson of James INGRAM through his son Matthew, wrote that it was James’ father.

If James INGRAM came with four brothers near the end of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) he would have been 12 years old and most likely the youngest as there is no mention of parents traveling with them. It is more likely that his father came over with four brothers before the Revolutionary War as the 1850 and 1860 census show that James was born in Virginia. Children living at the time of the 1880, 1900, and 1910 census gave their father’s birthplace as Virginia or West Virginia.

James INGRAM (b. abt. 1771-1774 VA d. 1865 Kanawha Co., WV) married Margaret, daughter of John and Elizabeth KINCAID, in 1809 in Greenbrier Co., Virginia (before the formation of West Virginia) and settled on Loup Creek in Fayette Co., VA (WV) about 1830. The place he selected was at the mouth of a branch on Loup Creek now called Ingram Branch. The 120-acre tract, including his improvement, was patented by his sons, Robert and Matthew, in 1843, several years after the settlement.

The family of James and Margaret INGRAM consisted of:
*James Jr. died as a young man and never married
*Joshua married Mahala C. [believed to be the daughter of Jeffrey Oliver STEELE Sr. and Mary SMITH] and died before the Civil War
*Robert married Hulda JOHNSON, daughter of William and Amy JOHNSON, and lived at the Sonny Kincaid site, which was a part of the 120-acre grant of which he had become the sole owner
*John married (1) Lucy Jane SKAGGS before removing to Poca River in Kanawha Co. and then (2) Delilah CRAIG and (3) Mary F. LEGG
*Matthew removed to Poca River in Kanawha Co., WV, and married Sarah Frances Martin, daughter of Dio Clesian MARTIN and Catherine KIDD
*Ruth married John DARLINGTON, youngest son of Benjamin and Mary DARLINGTON, and lived at various places on Loup Creek
*Cynthia married Johnny TINCHER, son of William TINCHER, also of Loup Creek.

Although much is known about the descendants it is the parentage of James INGRAM that remains a mystery.

© 2012, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

William A. W. DEMPSEY (1822-1867)

DSCN1021 OPiBWI’d planned on having a few days to do a “little” write-up on this brick wall. But I just have to tell you about this new breakthrough I made yesterday. The short story is that my paternal great-great-grandfather William A. W. Dempsey lies in a grave marked with another man’s name! This error could lead other genealogists down the wrong path.

William’s parentage has been a mystery for the longest time. It’s been nearly impossible to prove family tradition with documents from the time period that he lived in. Although he was found on the 1850 and 1860 census in Fayette County, (West) Virginia, with his wife and children, no marriage record has been located. Before coming to Fayette County he was seen on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County, Virginia. Part of the family tradition was that he served during the Civil War and died in a logging accident during or after the war. No documentation has been found to confirm his death and cause of death.

MRIN08669 William A. Dempsey GravemarkerI credit my father’s cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007), a respected researcher from Fayette County, for the work she did on this family during the pre-internet days. However, I’ve suspected for several years now that Geraldine applied for and laid a Civil War marker for the wrong veteran on William’s grave in the cemetery in Chestnutburg on Ames Heights Road, 1.75 mi. off Rt. 19, Fayette County, West Virginia. The marker reads “Wm A. Dempsey Pvt Co C 7 Va Inf 1822-1867”.

In search of William’s parentage, I studied all of the Dempsey families in the Virginia/West Virginia area during that time period hoping to make a connection. I had help from Norma Dempsey who in 2001 sent me copies of everything she accumulated in the search for her husband Richard’s Dempsey line. I checked on the 7th Virginia Infantry. To make a long story short, I found enough information to show that William A. Dempsey of Orange Co. was the man who served in the 7th Va. Inf. and not William A. W. Dempsey of Fayette Co. I incorporated all of this information in the notes of my William and included photos and images of information found in my database.

Yesterday, while reviewing his file in preparation for a “little” write-up on this brick wall, I noticed that an image of a Civil War document saved in his scrapbook was not high quality enough to read. A new search at Ancestry.com brought up images that could only be viewed on Fold3.com. Laura Keaton Morrison, a descendant of another Dempsey family in Fayette Co., was kind enough to send me the images.

Three of the images were for William A. Dempsey of Orange County. The last image, from a different collection, contained only 4 lines:

Provost Marshal File
Dempsey, William A. W.
2323
Rebel

I’d never heard of “Provost Marshal File”. The provost (pronounced provo) marshals served in territorial commands, armies, and Army corps as military police. I found two databases: “United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866” and “Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians” on FamilySearch.com. From information about the files and their content, I learned that some cross-reference slips in the first database are stamped “PROVOST MARSHAL FILE” and show the name of a civilian and a number that cites a document in the second database. The image I received from Laura was from the first database, called “Union Citizens File” on Fold3. I located a two page document with the heading “List of prisoners with their own statement.” and cross ref. #2323 in the second database. “May to Sep ’62 Cits” was written on the back of the folded document. In the document I found my great-great-grandfather’s statement:

“William A. W. Dempsey – citizen residing on Dogwood Ridge, Fayette Co., farmer, left home on the 18th. Started when they heard firing at the Court House, came down to get work in the Valley, refers to Simpson Wood, Styris Wood, and G. W. McVay, of the Oil Works, (brothers-in-law of his). Knows Hamilton as Hamilton of Hawks Nest.”

Dates mentioned in the other statements in the document brought me to the conclusion that the 18th was in the month of May. James Simpson Wood and Elijah Stuart “Sty” Wood were William’s wife Sarah Ann Wood’s brothers. George Washington McVey (of the Cannelton Oil Works) may have been mentioned as a reference as he was an outstanding citizen. He was not a brother-in-law but lived in the same area as the Wood families.

This document shows that my William was taken prisoner by the Union army between May and September of 1862 and his statement proves that he was a citizen of Fayette County.

The search continues for the parentage of William A. W. Dempsey.

© 2012, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Facebook page for Opening Doors in Brick Walls

keys

I’m thinking of maybe a weekly post to let everyone know:
what I’m working on,
what breakthroughs I’ve made,
which brick walls are holding up and which are crumbling,
genealogy sites and software I use,
collection of books in my genealogy library,
KEYS I’ve found that help me open the doors in my brick walls….
Are there other things that I can include? Look forward to reading your comments!

© 2012, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.