The young girl whose name is being released today was not born into slavery. Rachael was born to a free woman in about 1796. She was orphaned by 1801 when she was bound out at the age of 5. Her name was found in the Record Book of Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1801.1
At a Court Continued and heald for Kanhawa (sic, Kanawha) County the 15th day of April 1801. Present David Robinson, Thomas Rodgers, John Rousch, Obadiah Fugua and William Owans, Gentlemen.
It is Ordered that the overseers of the poor, binds to William Sterritt a poor Orphan Negroe Girl name Rachael, about five years of age according to Law.
It is Ordered that the overseers of the poor, binds to Tramus Wathans, a poor orphan Negroe Girl about two years old according to Law.
The entry following Rachael‘s is for a younger orphaned girl who is unnamed. I’ve included it as there is the possibility that she might be Rachael‘s younger sister.
More information on Rachael was found in another entry dated 1809 when she would have been about 13 years old.2
On the Petition of William Sterritt, with the approbation of the Court, It is ordered that said Sterritt transfer to Francis Monin the time of Servitude that yet remains of Rachael a negro girl born of a free woman who by an Order of this Court at April Term 1801 was directed to be bound out to said Sterritt until she arrived at the age of 18 years, provided said Monin give Bond with approved Security in the penal sum of six hundred dollars Conditioned for the delivery up from Servitude of the said free negro girl when she arrives at the Age of 18 years and that he will not attempt to reduce her into Absolute and permanent Slavery & not to remove her out of this State.
The records were found while I was searching for entries for the years 1808-1810 for one of my ancestors. These record books are not indexed collections nor is there an index in the front or back of the books.
The names Sterritt and Monin were not found on the Kanawha census in 1810 or 1820.
Rachael would have obtained the age of 18 years about 1814. Even though it is expressly stated that she was not to be reduced into absolute and permanent slavery, I felt the need to share these records with her name in this series.
George W. DEMPSEY was born about 1831 in Amherst County, Virginia, and lived in Fayette County, Virginia (before the state of West Virginia was formed), from about 1855 when his father moved the family there until sometime after the 1870 census. George did not die on 16 November 1879 as many online family trees indicate. He was not found on the 1880 census as George W. DEMPSEY. His 13 years old daughter Polina was found in Amherst County, his oldest son Andrew remained in Fayette County, and his son Robert (found in later years) is unaccounted for in 1880. If he was still living, where was George in 1880?
Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950)
The mystery of George W. DEMPSEY’s disappearance was not a question I was looking into. I hadn’t thought to investigate the whereabouts of my 2nd great-granduncle until I discovered a group of DNA matches with an unusual surname in their trees that was similar to DEMPSEY.
Using my DNA tools, I found a group of matches associated with several clusters that point to my GOWING-CRISP family group AND/OR those branches further back. Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP were the parents of Clementine M. GOWING, mother of George W. DEMPSEY.
The matches have a common ancestor named Mollie Lee DEMPSTER (1880-1950). By comparing the ICW (in common with) matches and working out their trees, I was able to find 14 matches that descend from Mollie through seven of her children: 2 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, 4 2xgreat-grandchildren, and 1 3xgreat-grandchild. [23 Feb 2021 Update: Number of matches and their relationship to Mollie adjusted after charting the matches.]
I built a documented tree for Mollie adding all records found on Ancestry as well as FamilySearch. A little over a week ago, I discovered an interesting article written in 1893.1 For the most part, it confirms much of the information I found and even gives a bit more insight into the man who was Mollie’s father.
A Little Waif – Mollie’s Story
About fifteen years ago a man by the name of ___ Dempster, with his young wife, moved into the neighborhood of Rye Cove, Scott county, Va. Dempster was a man of perhaps forty, while his wife was several years younger. They were both handsome and intelligent, and Dempster possessed an education which placed him above the average. After a time a daughter was born in the newly established household, who was the joy and pride of her fond parents.
Mollie’s parents’ names were unknown when I searched the 1880 census for persons with the DEMPSTER surname. Only one couple was found in the southwestern part of Virginia.
In 1880 the possible parents of Mollie Lee DEMPSTER were living in Taylor District, Scott County, Virginia. Wesley DEMSTER (sic) doesn’t appear to have an occupation as the field indicates At home. His wife Mary was keeping house. Both were born in Virginia as were their parents. Wesley was 50 years old, nearly a decade older than noted in the article. The columns for Cannot Read and Cannot Write are not marked and therefore both were literate confirming the statement in the article that Mr. DEMPSTER was an educated man.2
Mollie’s 1880 birth record was located by browsing the Virginia birth registers for Scott County, Virginia, on FamilySearch. She was born on 11 July 1880 – after the census was enumerated. The informant on the register of the county is listed as a friend named Wm P. GOOD. He was the head of the household listed just above the DEMPSTER couple on the 1880 census. The parents of Mollie L. were Wesley G. DEMPSTER and Mary J. DEMPSTER.3
Near the Dempsters lived at that time Mr. W. W. Taylor, now of this place. About the time of the birth of the little girl to the Dempsters a girl baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. The children grew up together, and there was quite an attachment formed between the two families.
Mrs. Dempster died when her child was about four years old. Soon a step-mother was brought in over the child. At the age of eight years her father died, and, in the meantime Mr. Taylor’s little girl had died.
Again, browsing the registers of Scott County for deaths, I found Mollie’s mother Mary J. died of consumption on 12 January 1883 when Mollie was 2 and a half years old. Wesley reported the death and gave the name of her mother as Virginia LARKEY. No father was named. Mary J. was 30 years 2 months and 13 days old on the day of her death placing her birth on 30 October 1852. Ditto marks were made in the field for the place of birth indicating she was born in Scott County.4 I was unable to trace her before the 1880 census.
Over a year and a half later, on 23 September 1884, Wesly DEMSTER (sic), widowed, age 50, born in Nelson County, Virginia, married Polly CAMBELL, age 35, born in North Carolina. The parents of the groom were Wilson and Mary; the father of the bride was Wyat CAMBELL.5
The death records of two of the TAYLOR children were located. On 10 September 1885 Emoline TAYLOR age 5 years 1 month 10 days died of Diptheria.6 On 30 July 1887 Nancy E. TAYLOR age 11 months died of Flux.7 Both girls were daughters of William W. and Mary TAYLOR. Emoline would have been the child born about the same time as Mollie.
If Wesley died when Mollie was about 8 years old, Mr. and Mrs. TAYLOR likely asked the stepmother to turn her over to them after the death of their second daughter in 1887. On the 1900 census, Mrs. TAYLOR is listed as the mother of 7, 2 living. The two living children were the sons who were still at home.8
Per the article, Wesley died about 1888. No death record was found in Scott County for the years between 1885 to 1890. I was, however, able to narrow the range of the date of death.
Wesley G. DEMPSTER gave a deposition in a chancery cause on 23 November 1886 in Estilville. He traveled 14 miles to give evidence on behalf of the complainant, W. P. GOOD, owner of a lumber mill near Natural Tunnel. The case file is 287 images. I found it yesterday and only had time to skim through it. I found mention of Wesley DEMPSTER who was “clerking in the store & measuring lumber in the yard” and kept the books for Mr. GOOD. At the time of the deposition, DEMPSTER had quit working for Mr. GOOD.9
After the death of Dempster Mr. and Mrs. Taylor went to his second wife and asked that the little girl be turned over to them to raise, which was done. Shortly after this Dempster’s second wife went deranged, and is now an inmate of an insane asylum.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have, since taking charge of the little girl, cared for her just as if she was their own. She is now a bright, intelligent girl of thirteen, and is very fond of her foster parents.
The information about the step-mother being an inmate of an insane asylum confirmed the 1900 census listing found for a widowed lady named Polly DEMPSTER, an inmate in the Southwestern State Hospital.10 The article, written in 1893 pre-dates the census.
Two cases were found in the Library of Virginia’s Chancery Records mentioning Polly CAMPBELL aka Polly DEMPSTER. A judgment dated 16 May 1906 in the cause of Southwestern State Hospital vs B.J. Broadwater committee of Polly DEMPSTER awarded payment of nearly $5,000 to the hospital for the period 15 September 1887 to 29 March 1905. The case was not closed until 1912. The date range for the payment due to the hospital would suggest that Polly may have been an inmate since 15 September 1887. This would have been two months after the youngest TAYLOR girl died.11
I had not located a 1910 census listing for Polly prior to this find. With the knowledge that she may still be living, I searched again in the location of the hospital. Polly age 72 and widowed was in the hospital and therefore still living on 15 April 1910.12 She was indexed as “Polly Dunfota”
Dempster, during his residence in Scott county, was very particular to never tell where he came from, and when approached on this subject always evaded an answer; nor was he ever heard to mention the name of a relative; so that now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.
Dempster is described as having been a large, stoutly-built man, weighing over 200 pounds.
As discussed in part 1, on 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest. The record concerning the arrest gave this physical description of George: age 31 years, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers).13
There was no mention of George W. DEMPSEY’s weight or build in the description and no mention of Mr. DEMPSTER’s height, complexion, hair, or eyes in the article.
Mollie’s Story continues after 1893
When I began researching Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, I found an extract of her 1896 marriage record with W. W. TAYLOR and Mary E. TAYLOR as her parents.14 Mollie was single and only 16 years old. Her parents’ surname did not match hers suggesting they may not have been her parents. The record can only be viewed at a family history library or a FamilySearch affiliated library.
Even though I was not able to access the marriage record, I found a short mention of the marriage in The Post in a series called “Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post.” It confirms that Robert P. BARRON and Miss Mollie DEMPSTER were united in the holy bonds of matrimony at the home of W. W. TAYLOR in 1896.15
Although the relationship of the TAYLORs to the bride and groom is not mentioned in the clipping, it is now known that Mollie was taken in and raised by them.
Wesley G. DEMPSTER
As seen in the chancery records found, Wesley’s death can be narrowed down to between 23 November 1886 and 15 December 1887.
The name Wesley G. DEMPSTER sent off warning bells as my third great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY, father of George W. DEMPSEY, had a brother names Wesley G. DEMPSEY (1808-1890). Wesley G. DEMPSTER and Wesley G. DEMPSEY were not one and the same person as both were found in the 1880 census in different places. Wesley DEMPSTER age 50 was in Scott County and Wesley DEMPSEY age 71 was in Rockbridge County.
There is no trace of Wesley G. DEMPSTER before he shows up in the Scott County records. He should not be confused with Wesley DEMPSTER (1833-1913) born in New York and died in Chicago, Illinois. Some trees on Ancestry have the death of this man in Chicago attached to Mollie’s father, Wesley G. DEMPSTER.
Who were Wilson and Mary DEMPSTER, the couple named as the parents of Wesley G. DEMPSTER when he married in 1884? No person named Wilson DEMPSTER of the age to be the father of Wesley born between 1830-1834 was found in the census including in Nelson County, Virginia, where Wesley was supposedly born per the 1884 marriage record.
However, Wilson M. DEMPSEY is a familiar name in the DEMPSEY family history. He was the brother of Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Wesley G. DEMPSEY. Wilson was married twice, in 1839 and abt. 1848, both marriages being later than the estimated birth of Wesley G. DEMPSTER.
The article notes Wesley’s evasion of any questions about his family or where he came from. Is it a coincidence that the first names of two of Seaton’s brothers were the names used in records found for Wesley G. DEMPSTER? Is it possible the name he gave on his marriage record for his father was not his father’s and only a name he gave to cover up his true identity?
The story that came to life in “The Little Waif” was not known when I wrote about George W. DEMPSEY, the person of interest in my first post. The article was only found while I was writing about Mollie Lee DEMPSTER, my second person of interest. The newspaper article supports the information found for Mollie and her parents, both biological and foster.
Part 3 will cover the DNA tools I used to analyze the DNA matches and a conclusion/theory of where Mollie fits into my family tree. It would be incredible if I could refute the 128 years old claim: now the little girl’s identity, so far as kinship goes, is entirely lost.
1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1389; Virginia, Scott County, Taylor, Enumeration District 076, page 245A, Lines 24-25, HH #208-208, Wesley Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). ↩
“Death registers, 1853-1906 (Virginia),” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics citing microfilm of the original records at the Virginia State Library at Richmond, Virginia, Collection Record 1853-1912, Film 2048584, DGS 4225408, image 121 of 687, line 14, entry of death Mary J. Dempster. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWT7-T8C?i=120&cat=780106 : accessed 11 February 2021). ↩
“Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” (index only), Ancestry.com, citing FamilySearch collection only available through FHL, FHL Film Number: 337187, Reference ID: 337187. Wesly Demster, male, widowed, age 50, born abt. 1834 in Nelson VA, father Wilson, Mother Mary, married 23 Sep 1884 in Scott VA, Polly Cambell, female, age 35, born abt. 1849 in NC, father Wyat Cambell. ↩
1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241732, Virginia, Wise County, Richmond, Enumeration District 127, Page 2A, HH #19-20, line 1-4, William W. Taylor. The official enumeration day of the 1900 census was 1 June 1900. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). ↩
Scott County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1816-1942, (Digital images available for the years 1816-1912. Indexed information and originals available through 1942), Local Government Records Collection, Scott Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. W P Good v. S M Winchester, 1897-046. (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=169-1897-046 : accessed 20 February 2021). ↩
1900 U.S. Federal Census, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 145, Page 2A, line 17, Polly Dempster, patient. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 February 2021). ↩
1910 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1649, FHL microfilm: 1375662, Virginia, Smyth, Marion, Enumeration District 80, Page 5A, line 23, Polly Dempster. The official enumeration day of the 1910 census was 15 April 1910. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 February 2021). ↩
“Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940,” FHL Film Number: 34394, Reference ID: p 63 cn 112. Mellie L. Dempster, female, single, white, age 16, born 1880 in Natural Tunnel (Scott County VA), father W.W. Taylor, mother Mary E. Taylor, married 28 Sep 1896 in Big Stone Gap (Wise County VA), Robert P. Barton, male, single, white, age 28, born 1868 in Turkey (Lee County VA), father Wm. N. G. Barron, mother Louisa J. Barron. ↩
“Looking Backward 50 Years Ago Today In The Post”, The Post (Big Stone Gap, Virginia), 24 Oct 1946, p. 10, col. 4; image copy, Newspaper.com (http://newspaper.com : accessed 11 February 2021), Historical Newspapers from 1700s to 2000s by Ancestry.com. ↩
We would not be here without the ancestral couples who came before us. What better day to feature them than on Valentine’s Day. Nearly all of my ancestors were married, some cut it close, and two ancestresses never bothered to marry.
I’ve been writing about The Ancestors since I began blogging, going back one generation at a time. Generations 2 through 7 are complete except for one set of 4th great-grandparents. The 8th generation is off to a good start with nearly a dozen couples’ stories already written. Vital statistics, spouses, children, residence, occupation, ownership, military service, and miscellaneous biographical information were used in the stories.
There are close to 400 known ancestors in the next four generations – many have baptism, marriage, and burial records, some have more biographical detail, while others may only be names gleaned from their children’s records.
In the past, I’ve kept track of the ancestors back to the earliest known ancestor in the 21st generation. This year I decided to count only the ancestors back to my 7th great-grandparents.
My Ancestor Score
Nearly 90% of my ancestors are known up to generation 8. The numbers go down significantly in the next two generations due to the brick walls in my paternal lines in the US.
New Names in the Family Tree
The name of Henry TREADWAY’s first wife was found this past year in a book with a series of sketches on early families of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, written by Mrs. Mary Donaldson Sinclair (1862-1940) in the early 1930s, and published at that time by The Steubenville Herald-Star. The article included not only Henry TREADWAY’s wife’s name but also her parents’ names and where they were from. Three new names in the family tree (generations 7 and 8) need to be researched. Perhaps they will firm up the assumption that Henry TREADWAY and Sarah JOHNSON were the parents of my 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Ann TREADWAY. DNA matches to descendants of three other children of Henry have been found in one cluster and are the reason I’ve taken a closer look at available publications.
Henry TREADWAY and his wife are the 4th great-grandparents I mentioned above that have not yet been featured on my blog. I plan to take time to review the research I’ve done and, finally, write about them sometime this year.
I have a theory I’m working on. It might not be very smart of me to share it here, but I see no other way to get others involved in helping me solve this mystery.
I know what happens when the wrong information is posted on the internet. People believe it, re-post it, and, suddenly, it becomes an accepted but unproven fact. The ancestor or relative’s story is changed as people go click-happy accepting hints.
In this first of two parts, a bit of background information will be shared on the person of interest.
Who was George W. Dempsey (b. abt. 1831)?
George W. DEMPSEY was the oldest child of my 3rd great-grandparents Seaton Y. DEMPSEY and Clementine M. GOWING who married 3 January 1829 in Amherst County, Virginia.1 Seaton, per the census, was the head of a household in 1830 with a young man, likely his younger brother Wesley, and a young woman, his wife Clementine.2 The young married couple didn’t yet have children. By 1840 they had three children including George who was less than 10 years old and over five.3 In 1850 George was still living at home and 19 years old.4 No birth records were found for Amherst County at this time and George’s birth has been estimated at about 1831.
On 20 December 1852, George married Rhoda A. STATON in Amherst County.5 Less than a year later, on 19 November 1853, their son Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY was born.6 Sometime after Andrew’s birth, Seaton Y. DEMPSEY’s family moved to the Fayetteville Township area of Fayette County, (West) Virginia. George and Rhoda were in his father’s household in 1860 with their son “Ceton A.” listed as age 5.7 If other children had been born to the couple before 1860, they did not survive. George’s oldest sister Geneva Elizabeth DEMPSEY remained in Amherst County and his brother William S. DEMPSEY, the second oldest son, had married and remained in Rockbridge County.
On 23 May 1862, during the Civil War, George W. DEMPSEY was arrested by Lt. Col. Henry W. BRAZEE of the 9th Virginia Volunteers. George, age 31 years, was described as 5 feet 9 1/2 inches, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes, and long sprouts (whiskers). He said he had done nothing to cause the arrest.8
A year later George and Rhoda’s son Robert L. DEMPSEY was born in March 1863.9 Four years later, George and Rhoda had a daughter on 11 May 1867 in Fayetteville Township.10 She was named Polina E. and would go by Bettie and Lina in later years. In 1870 the little family was found in the census in Fayetteville Township: George A. (sic), Rhoda, Andrew S., Robert L., and Pertina E.11
On 29 December 1874, Andrew S. DEMPSEY, son of Geo. W. and R. A. DEMPSEY, married in Fayetteville. The marriage register entry does not indicate if the parents were living or deceased.12
There is the possibility that George was the man mentioned in a document dated 8 March 1876 when a contract with one Geo. W. DEMPSEY for road work on Arbuckle road in Fayette County was annulled.
I’ve researched all three DEMPSEY lines who lived in Fayette County at this time. There was a younger George Washington DEMPSEY, son of John W. DEMPSEY and Amelia RIDDLE, born in December 1851 who would have also been old enough to be the man mentioned in the record above. I cannot at this time say if this contract was for George b. 1831 or George b. 1851. I had planned on sharing the images and transcription of the document but decided against it. Anyone interested in the document can view it at the link in the citation.13
George W. DEMPSEY and his wife were not found in the 1880 census. Therefore, there is a decade from 1870 to 1880 in which their whereabouts are unknown.
The death of George W. DEMPSEY
George W. DEMPSEY did not die on 16 November 1879 and he was not buried in Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, in grave number 5369.
The man buried in Hampton National Cemetery served as a volunteer in Company K of Regiment 8 of New Jersey.14, 15 He was a 70 years old widower and had been a resident of the National Soldiers Home for 5 years16. He was born about 1809 and over 20 years older than George W. DEMPSEY of Fayette County. Records found for this man’s death have been erroneously attached to George W. DEMPSEY, son of Seaton Y. and Clementine.
I learned the date of death was wrong, i.e. not for George W. DEMPSEY of Virginia, by viewing the documents. This is why we should always view the available images and not rely on the index. If only an index is offered, it is wise to review the source information to learn if the records are available in image form on the same site or on another.
With the confusion concerning George’s death in 1879 out of the way, what happened to him? Where was he in 1880?
The Children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON from 1880 until…
In 1880, two of the three known children of George W. DEMPSEY and Rhoda A. STATON were found in the census. They lived about 165 miles apart. That may not seem like much in our days but in 1880 this was not a quick drive on the interstate.
Andrew Seaton DEMPSEY (1853-1924) was 27 years old, married with two children, and living in Fayetteville17 where the family had been since coming from Amherst County around 1855.18
Andrew would remain in Fayetteville and raise a family of nine children. No death record has been found but his tombstone in Huse Memorial Park indicates he died in 1924.
The whereabouts of Robert L. DEMPSEY (1863-aft. 1930) in 1880 is unknown. Robert married Mary Frances DARR in Kanawha County in 1892. None of the records found name his parents and a record of death is missing. Robert and his wife gave their children unusual middle names which strongly support his being George’s son. His oldest son was named Paul Seaton, his youngest son Edgar Younger (the assumed middle name of his great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY), and his son Robert Darr was given his mother’s maiden name.
Polina Elizabeth DEMPSEY (1867-1941) was 13 years old in 1880, a servant living in Pedlar District of Amherst County with a MASON household.19
Bettie, as she was more often known, lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, from at least 1884 when her first daughter was born in Cornwall.20 Bettie had eight children before marrying William W. SORRELS in 1916. Her 1941 death certificate gives her mother’s name as Rhoda STATON and her father’s name as not known.21
What Happened to George W. DEMPSEY?
With two of the three children of George and Rhoda accounted for in the 1880 census, several questions remain. Where were George, Rhoda, and Robert in 1880? Why was their 13-year-old daughter found in Amherst? Were both George and Rhoda still living, only one of them living, or neither?
Assuming George W. DEMPSEY was living in 1880, where might he have gone? Could he have started a new family? Have descendants of his known and maybe unknown children had their DNA tested?
The second part of this post will be published in two weeks’ time as next Sunday’s post will be My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021.
Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853 (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, DGS 7578824, Film 30273, image 589 of 786, Date: 1829 Jan 3; Name of husband: Dempsey, Seaton Y.; Name of wife: Gowing, Clementina; Security and witnesses: Landon S. Gowing, Philip Smith Sr., Ro. Tinsley. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-N8WJ : accessed 6 February 2021). ↩
1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, Roll: 194; History Library Film: 0029673, Virginia, Amherst, page 519, line 1, Seaton Y. Dempsey household. The official enumeration day of the 1830 census was 1 June 1830. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
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, Roll: 550, Family History Library Film: 0029683, Virginia, Amherst, Page: 214, line 28, Seaton Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1840 census was 1 June 1840. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
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: 933, Virginia, Amherst County, Eastern District, page: 76a (stamped), lines 1-9, HH #40-40, Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1850 census was 1 June 1850. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 13 February 2013). ↩
Audrey Blankenship Gill, photographer, photo of a grave marker in Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, taken on 3 April 2007. Inscription: Dempsey, Andrew Seaton Nov. 19, 1853-Mar. 12, 1928 and Dempsey, Caroline Burgess June 12, 1852-May 10, 1933. ↩
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, Family History Library Film: 805344, West Virginia, Fayette County, District 2, page No. 142, lines 28-37, HH #1352-687 and #1353-688, Dempsey households. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
Month and year of birth from the 1900 census. I have not found records supporting his middle name being Luther as seen on many family trees. A son’s delayed birth certificate and a daughter’s obituary name the father as Robert Lee DEMPSEY. ↩
1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686, Family History Library Film: 553185, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, page 113A, line 40, and page 113B, lines 1-4, HH #9-9, Dempsey George A (sic). The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 19 February 2013). ↩
West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970 (database index, FamilySearch, database images <I>West Virginia Division of Culture and History</I>), 29 Dec 1874, Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, Andrew S. Dempsey, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, s/o Geo W. and R. A. Dempsey, Caroline Burgess, 21y, single, born Fayette, residing Fayette, d/o Andrew and ~ Burgess. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12086567&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 February 2021). ↩
Loose papers, ca. 1787-1875 (1901), (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the West Virginia University Library in Morgantown, West Virginia. Contains original deeds, guardianship, wills, road records, and other types of documents that were recorded before the courts. DGS 7616766, Film 186347, Loose papers (boxes 1-2), env. ?-1 to ?-3 (no dates), env. 1787-1, 1824-1, 1841-1, 1851-1 to 1869-3, image 498 (lower right) and 499 (upper right) of 584. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9VT-QCR9?cat=302047 : accessed 5 February 2021). ↩
1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402, West Virginia, Fayette County, Fayetteville, Enumeration District 27, page 31B, lines 17-20, HH #339, Andrew S Dempsey. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). ↩
Seaton’s youngest child was born in Amherst in 1853. His brother Wilson was in Fayette County for the birth of a slave named Orange on 11 June 1855. Wilson’s residence at the time was listed as Amherst. He may have set up temporary housekeeping in Fayette with Mary, the mother of Orange, and preparing for the permanent move from Amherst to Fayette with his second wife and children from both marriages. ↩
1880 Census, Roll: 1353; Virginia, Amherst County, Pedlar, Enumeration District 20, page 238D, line 22, HH #27-27, Marvel Mason. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 6 February 2021). ↩
“Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014,” (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia, State file no. 23586, Registration area no. 815B, Registered no. 9. Nanny Dempsey, female, white, age 64, born 10 May 1884, died 20 Oct 1948 in Vesuvius, Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 3 Nov 1948, mother Betty Dempsey. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 January 2016). ↩
Ibid., State file no. 25092, Registration area no. 815A, Registered no. 9. Betty P Dempsey Sorrels, female, white, age 71, born 11 May 1870, died 8 Sep 1941 in Rockbridge, Virginia, registration date 9 Nov 1941, mother Rhoda Staton, spouse W W Sorrels. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2016). ↩
My monthly posts for the Slave Name Roll Project have been absent from my blog since the end of March 2020. As many things slowed down or came to a stop during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding names of enslaved persons in records in the US was put on hold.
1879 Last Will and Testament of Ann Hannan of Mason County, Virginia
This last will and testament of Ann W. Hannan of Mason County and State of West Virginia, – First after the payment of my just debts, I give and bequeath to my three nieces Ann H. Steed, Lucy Butler, and Ida May Fox all my real estate in the State of West Virginia: – Second I give and bequeath to the said Ida May Fox all my personal property in this state – Third I give and bequeath to Benjamin Hopkins (who was formerly my salve, (sic, slave)) one hundred dollars provided he remains with me and is kind and serviceable to me as long as I live – Fourth I give and bequeath to my niece Caroline Goolsby all my estate in the State of Virginia and all debts due me or to which I may be entitled to in law or equity in said State, but out of this legacy she is to pay my sister Jinnie one hundred dollars if my said sister should be then alive. It is my desire that my executor shall sell at public sale all my real and personal estate in the State of West Virginia, and that he shall out of the proceeds of the sale of said realty pay to the said Hopkins the sum aforesaid, divide the remaining proceeds equally between my three nieces first mentioned and shall after the payments of my debts pay over to Ida May the amt. left of the proceeds of the personal estate. I hereby appoint William R. Gunn of Mason County and State of West Virginia sole executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 11th day of June 1873. her Ann W X Hannan mark Signed and sealed by the said Anne W. Hannan as and for her last will and testament in our presence and we at the same time in her presence and in the presence of each other witnessed the same at her request. William R. Gunn his John M. X Chapman mark
Codicil — I Ann W. Hannan whose name is signed to the foregoing will dated dated (sic) the 11th day of June
1873, do hereby make and add this codicil to my said foregoing will and do now hereby revoke and change so much thereof as devises or bequeaths or gives to the said Lucy Butler any part of my said estate and desire that she shall take nothing thereby. I also do hereby further desire and do so will that the said Ida May Fox shall not as provided in any said will take all my personal property in this State but desire that said property shall be equally divided between her and the said Ann H. Steed. As witness my hand and seal this 24th day of June, 1876. his (sic, her) Ann W. X Hannan mark Signed and sealed by the said Ann W. Hannan in our presence and we at the same time in her presence & the presence of each other witnessed the same at her request & she declared that the same was a codicil to her said foregoing will Abner McCoy William Hudson
At a County Court continued and held for the County of Mason at the Court House thereof on Tuesday May 20th 1879. A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of Ann W. Hannan deceased late of this County, was this day present in Court and fully proved according to law by the oaths of W. R. Gunn and John W. Chapman, the subscribing witnesses thereto, and the Codicil thereto attached was also fully proved according to law by the oaths of Abner McCoy and William Hudson the subscribing witnesses thereto. It is therefore ordered by the Court that the said writing be recorded as and for the last will and testament of the said Ann W. Hannan decd and on motion of W.R. Gunn the Executor therein named, who made oath and together with Joseph N. Daigh, his security, who justified on oath as to his sufficiency, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of one thousand dollars conditioned according to law, certificate is granted the said W.R. Gunn for obtaining probate of the said Will in due form, and it is further ordered that Abner McCoy, William Hudson, & Jno. W. Chapman after being first duly sworn for that purpose do truly and justly appraise in current money the personal estate of the said Ann W. Hannan, decd,
and the appraisement so made return under their hands to this Court. A Copy Teste: J.P.R.B.Smith Clerk by Jas H. Holloway, Deputy
In the 1870 census Anna W. Hannan had her own household with her young niece Ida M. Fox age 12, and six black persons, all named HOPKINS, in Hannan, Mason County, West Virginia.2 Three young boys appear to be children of Matilda HOPKINS but this is assumed as the 1870 census did not include relationships. They were not located in 1880.
Benjamin HOPKINS, the formerly enslaved man of Anna W. Hannan, was living in her household in 1870. He was 19 years old, i.e. would have been about 10 years old in 1861. Bettie may be the young girl seen in the inventory of Anna’s husband in 1861. [Below, in brackets are the names given in the will.]
Excerpt from the 1861 inventory of Charles Hannan: one Negro man named Nelson $800 [Nelson Cudyo] one Negro woman named Milie $650 [Milley] one Negro girl named Bettie $450 one Negro boy named Ben $500 [Ben Packson] one Negro boy named Dick $500 [Peter Dicky] one Negro girl named Hettie $300 [Hetty]
Is it possible that Mathilda, Bettie, and Benjamin were siblings and the children of Nelson and Milley? Or worded differently, were the man and woman and children mentioned in the inventory a family group?
In 1880, Benjamin HOPKINS was found in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia, as the head of a household.3 Also in his household were his sister Belle HOPKINS and his nephew Montague ALLEN. Montague was Belle’s son. She would marry his father John Henry ALLEN in 1886. She died in 1913 and the death register did not include the names of her parents.
Belle had at least three children with John Henry ALLEN.
No descendants were found for their son Montague HOPKINS (1876-1944) who was married twice. His 1944 death certificate names Belle HOPKINS born in Nelson County, Virginia, and John Henry ALLEN born in Louisa County, Virginia, as his parents.
In 1940 Montague was the head of a household that included his sister Anna Lois ALLEN. She is unaccounted for prior to this census listing other than a marriage record in 1900 to William CALLAWAY. In 1940 her husband was named William SALES. He died in 1949 and she was listed as the informant on the certificate of death. Anna Lois’s 1960 death certificate confirms she was the daughter of John Henry ALLEN and Belle HOPKINS.
The third child was John Henry ALLEN Jr. (1885-1932). He and his wife Susie H. CHADWICK (1890-1978) had three sons. They were all married and had children. I have not taken their lines into the present time.
Belle HOPKINS was not found in 1870. The 1870 census for Anna W. Hannan with the HOPKINS in her household is faint and hard to decipher. Could Belle have been the same person as Bettie?
I was unable to locate Benjamin HOPKINS after the 1880 census. However, working on the assumption that Nelson may have been his father, I searched for a likely candidate.
I found Nelson HOPKINS (1824-1907), a black man, born about 1824 in Virginia living in Mason County, West Virginia, from 1870 until 1907. He was on the 1870 census with a wife named Susan and two young sons, Alfred J. and Thomas. In 1880 he was widowed with two young boys, Alfred J. and Payton. In 1900 he was with a wife of 6 years named Bertha (b. 1872) and two sons, Harry (b. 1883) and Marion (b. 1888). He died 30 June 1907 in Mason County. He was living on the Poor Farm and was married at the time of death. No parents were listed on the record nor the name of a spouse.
The 1927 death certificate of Alfred J. HOPKINS (1867-1927), seen with Nelson in 1870 and 1880, named his parents Nelson HOPKINS and Susan SAUNDERS. He was single at the time of death.
The 1912 marriage record of Marion HOPKINS (1888-1967) named his parents as Nelson HOPKINS and Bertha EARLY. Further searches for Bertha indicate she was likely 10 years older than noted in 1900 and therefore old enough to be the mother of both boys. As her age may be incorrect, it is possible that the number of years married is also wrong.
Marriage records for Nelson HOPKINS were not found nor were death records for Susan or Bertha. The records left by these two children show that the households found in 1870, 1880, and 1900 were the same Nelson HOPKINS.
Although Benjamin HOPKINS, whose name was released in the last will and testament of Anna W. (Fox) Hannan, has not been traced after the 1880 census, his sister Belle has. She left descendants who are living today. My ramblings about the man named Nelson HOPKINS may be helpful to these descendants if they are interested in proving/disproving the parentage of Belle and her brother Benjamin.
1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1692, Family History Library Film: Film: 553191, West Virginia, Mason, Hannan, page 106A, lines 9-16, HH #17-17, Annie W Hannen. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 27 January 2021). Note: The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870. ↩
1880 U.S. Federal Census; Census Place: Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia; Roll: 1401; Page: 159A; Enumeration District: 016↩
It’s Amy Johnson Crow’s fault that I started my blog on 23 January 2014. Along with many others who joined in her first year of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, I took her up on the challenge to begin writing. One story at a time, I learned and improved my research and writing skills. One story at a time, I got to know my ancestors and their history. Follow the link above to learn more about this free challenge – it’s never too late to start.
The past year has been difficult for everyone. Due to the pressures of all things out of my control, I wasn’t able to keep up the pace of writing at least once a week. Still, with the previous six years’ worth of ancestral stories and other genealogy-related articles, my blog continued to draw followers, visitors, and views.
I love that Luxembourg is #2 on the Top 10 list of countries that my visitors come from.
One Story at a Time…
During the seven years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve written about all of my children’s ancestors from generation 3 (grandparents with the exclusion of my mother who is still living) to generation 8 (their 5th great-grandparents). The only exceptions being William A. W. DEMPSEY‘s parents and grandparents, John COOLEY‘s parents, Sarah TREADWAY‘s parents, and the unknown father of Mary E. DOSS. Some ancestors in generations 9 through 12 have also been featured. A full list with links can be found on my page, The Ancestors. The list also includes the ancestors that still need to be written about.
Happy 7th Blogiversary
Thank you to everyone for motivating me to continue by visiting my blog and commenting on my posts during the past seven years.
Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey writes about her Jewish ancestors documenting their descendants’ lines to the present time. By reading her blog for the past several years, I’ve learned about Jewish families, customs, and traditions.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, Amy reached out to me for help. She’d been researching her relative Falk Goldschmidt using the Ancestry collection Mannheim, Germany, Family Registers, 1760-1900 (available in the World subscription). The original source is digital images of Polizeipräsidium Mannheim Familienbögen, 1800-1900 at the Mannheim State Archive.
From the description of the collection on Ancestry: When a family moved into their home, they registered at the local police station. Anytime a child was born or a household member married, died, or moved out, it was recorded on the family register with the civil authorities.
While looking into Falk, she came across two entries in the family registers for his marriage on the same date, 18 October 1868, to Clara “Babetta” Carlebach, the daughter of David, and to Pauline “Babetta” Carlebach, the daughter of Julius.
Amy wrote, “I can’t read either, and I tried to retrace his steps to find them myself, but couldn’t begin to do so because (1) I can’t read the script and (2) I have no idea how he narrowed down the search to find the right pages or even the right matrikel.”
In reaching out to me, Amy had three questions:
First, can you translate all of these for me? I know that’s a lot, and Michael gave me the essentials, but I want to be sure I haven’t missed anything.
How do you explain the conflict in the Family Registers? A clerical error? It sure seems that Babetta was the daughter of Julius/Juda, not David.
And finally—how in the world did Michael locate the birth and marriage records so quickly? I know being able to read the script is a huge step, but how did he narrow down which matrikel and then locate the page?
She also wrote, “I figured I would ask the third question. I’d much rather be able to do this myself at some point—assuming I can also put in the time and effort to learn how to read that awful script.”
Locating Records on FamilySearch
After this lengthy introduction, I’ll now come to the point of this post. How the birth and marriage records were found so quickly by Michael.
If the geographical location (in this case, Mannheim) and the time period (in this case, 1844-1845) can be narrowed down then FamilySearch‘s catalog is the key to finding records. It is important to read through the description of the collection found in the catalog as well as any further information included under NOTES.
These are the steps I shared with Amy for finding the birth records of the young women associated with the marriage of Falk Goldschmidt.
Type Mannheim in the search box for Place. For this search, it automatically brought up Germany, Baden, Mannheim at the top of the list. I usually leave the Availability selection on Any so that I can see all collections available. Click Search.
On the list of Mannheim collections that comes up, you can open each category. I chose Germany, Baden, Mannheim – Jewish records ( 6 ) as your research is for Jewish families. My second choice would have been Civil Registrations which contains Familienstandsbogen, 1807-1900. This is the collection that you found to be indexed on Ancestry. [A collection on Ancestry that requires a World subscription but is FREE on FamilySearch.]
Open up the Jewish Records to view the 6 collections. The first two are for Matrikel, 1805-1870 for Mannheim. The next two are for Feudenheim. The last two are for records outside of the period you wanted to search. We are only interested in the first two.
Open the first two in new windows. [I use The Genealogy Girl, Amberly Beck’s tip: Ctrl+left mouse click.] This brings up the catalog information for each.
While trying to figure out the easiest way to explain to you how I found the records on FamilySearch, I discovered that the two collections were actually the same but filmed at different times. This is where reading the notes on a collection comes in handy. [There is an advantage to having duplicates as images were filmed or digitized under different conditions and may be easier to decipher in one collection than in the other.]
Note: The collections appear to be duplicated from the Mannheim birth register. I cannot be sure but it looks like they extracted all Jewish records from the main register of births to make this Jewish collection.
One of the collections was filmed by the Reichssippenamt, Berlin, in 1937. The left-side pages were filmed separately from right-side pages and sometimes in reverse order. The other collection is of microfilm recordings of duplicates in the Badisches Generallandesarchiv, Karlsruhe. The images are the same only that in the second the left and right pages are on one image – making them much easier to search through.
Before we go into browsing, you need to be able to recognize title pages in the collections so that you can navigate (browse) them. For each year, the records are arranged by births, marriages, and deaths (normally, in this order). If they are out of order, it is helpful to know how the German words are written in the old script.
Browsing the FamilySearch collection
In the Matrikel, 1805-1870 for Mannheim we want to find the 1844 birth record of Clara and the 1845 birth record of Pauline.
You will want to use the “3 microfilms collection” and the film for the years up to 1859. The 3rd microfilm in this collection is restricted. You can use the search feature but the images aren’t available online. You can, however, view them in the “9 microfilms collection” in the 8th and 9th microfilm (not restricted).
Click on the camera of the microfilm for Geburten, Heiraten, Tote 1815-1859. This is where browsing comes into play. It isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as you might think. The records are in chronological order. For each year you will find a title page for births, marriages, and deaths. There are 44 years of records. The years 1844-1845 are about 2/3 of the way timewise but there are usually more records in later years than in early years so I would suggest jumping in at the middle with image 400.
The first title page with the type of record following image 400 is on image 403 and is for the year 1841 Trauungs-Register (marriages).
Click on Browse Multiple Images (tile button) to see the small images. Notice that microfilm item 3 ends and item 4 starts in the row of images after image 403. This is where the year 1842 begins. Count over three title pages per year to get to the year 1844.
If you check the title pages for 1844 you will find two for births. For some reason, the births for this year were extracted twice. As you know from the image of Clara’s birth record you received from your help angel, her entry was the last for 1844 and followed by the index.
The index gives you the page number but not the date of birth. The indexes for births for 1844 are on images 451 and 458. The script used in this collection can be difficult to decipher. To help you find the Carlebach child’s name in the index, you need to become familiar with the letters.
As you can see the capital B and L are very similar. Since this is in alphabetical order, it is a good example to use for comparison. The capital C is similar to our E which is confusing until you get used to the script. In the list, the surnames beginning with C are for Cohn Ferdinand, Carlebach Heinrich, and Carlebach Clara (später Babetta). I only figured out the word später (later) after I did the screenshot annotations. [This indicates a later change in name.]
Clara’s record of birth is on page 8, the left page on this image. It is the last birth to be recorded. Labeled 35 in the margin at the bottom of page 8, it continues on page 9 at the top. Hirsch Traub, the scribe who made the entries, used the # sign to indicate missing words that he added in the margin. He made quite a few corrections including some on both records found for Clara (1844).
The Carlebach child born in 1845 was named Paulina. In Browse Multiple Images view, skip past the title page for 1844 marriages and 1844 deaths to 1845 births. Go to the last birth image with the index. Carlebach Paulina is on page 6. Go back to page 6. Her record is #26.
There were a lot of emails flying back and forth between Amy and me. She had many questions and quickly learned to browse the images even though her biggest handicap was not being able to read the script. We both went down rabbit holes trying to find answers to the questions we had concerning the fact that the two young girls were born close together to parents who shared the same surname – not only the fathers’ surname but also the mothers’ maiden name – and they both had their birth name changed to Babetta. Amy amazed me (and herself) by finding a death record which put much in perspective.
Is it Kurrent or Sutterlin?
Amy had one remaining question she asked me early on in our email exchange about the script. Is it Kurrent or Sutterlin?
I really don’t bother thinking about which script it is. It’s like being multi-lingual. You switch between languages without thinking about the language you are using.
I had to actually look up what the difference is between the two. Kurrent was used from about 1865 and Sutterlin earlier. I’d say these records are in Sutterlin. I find Kurrent harder to read than Sutterlin. Kurrent looks to me like half the letters are m’s.
My father-in-law helped me in my early days and I learned to recognize letters that usually go together. When I’m really stuck on a word, I try to trace over the lines so that the letters will stand out for me. The more you work with the records the easier (yeah) it gets. After taking a break, it takes me a while to get back to my reading level. [Transcripts of the German text and translations of the records found were sent to Amy.]
Was Babetta the daughter of David or Julius?
Amy learned how to find the records on FamilySearch. Did they help her resolve her research question concerning the two ladies named Babetta? Her post for Falk Goldschmidt with the answer to this question and this post will be published simultaneously. To read about Falk and the two women associated with his marriage date, please visit her article The Mystery of Falk Goldschmidt’s Wife: A Lesson in German Vital Records on her blog Brotmanblog: A Family Journey.
In September 2020 I participated in the Research Planning Magic Challenge hosted by Julie Cahill Tarr in a private Facebook group.
Participants ranged from beginners to advanced genealogists. Even though there were a little over 150 members, the group worked well together. Each participant focused on their own research project. The group remained positive as members helped each other by reviewing the day’s assignment, giving suggestions, and useful resources.
During the 5-day genealogy challenge, we learned to craft a research question, evaluate the background information, brainstorm ideas for records (even if non-existent), and set up a research plan.
This is my research question, the background information, and the research plan developed from the brainstorming.
Was William DEMPSEY (b. abt. 1779) who married Martha LANDRUM in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799, the same man as William DEMPSEY (b. bet. 1771-1780 per 1840 census) who married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831 and found on the 1840 census for Noble County, Indiana, where he died in 1845?
William(1) DEMPSEY, son of Susannah (maiden name unknown) DEMPSEY and an unknown father, was born about 1779 in Virginia. He married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM in 1799 in Amherst VA with his mother’s permission.
They had 6 children who lived to adulthood as seen in probate and chancery records. He was named on the 1820 census; no tick was made for his age group. His wife was named in the 1830 census. After his wife died in 1834, newspapers in Ohio were “requested to publish the foregoing (wife’s death), for the information of Mr. William Dempsey, the husband of the deceased, who is supposed to be somewhere in that State.”
William(2) DEMPSEY born bet. 1771-1780 married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831. They were the parents of 6 children mentioned in an affidavit relative to his will. His children’s places of birth show he moved from Ohio to Indiana about 1833-1835 (a coincidence that this overlaps with the published death notice of Martha in the Ohio newspapers?). He died in Noble County, Indiana in 1845. No records have been found for him before 1831 although a son was born about 1822 in Gallia County, Ohio.
I’ve known for 20 years that William(1) of Amherst went to Ohio and never returned.
Shared Clustering of my AncestryDNA turned up a match who descends from William(2) of Indiana. The match is in a cluster that goes back further than William(1) of Amherst has been traced – to Barnett Dempsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina. I have 2 clusters for this potential ancestor – possibly for him and his wife OR for his parents. I was trying to find the connection between William(2) of Noble and Barnett of SC when I ran into the brick wall. William(2) “appears” in Gallia OH for his 1831 marriage with no records found prior. I wondered if he might be my 4th great-grandfather who “disappeared” in Ohio after 1820 and before his wife died in 1834.
At this time no records have been found that would definitely prove William(1) and William(2) are two persons – no records placing both men in different places at the same time.
Originally formatted to include a column for Date (search performed) on the left and a column for Notes at the right, the table was not WordPress friendly.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
1800-1958 – Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958 at FamilySearch Historical Records – free; Index. Name index to marriage records from the state of Ohio. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and some FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Chancery Records: Amherst Co., VA
Chancery records have recently gone online for this county. Do they cover the period following William(1)’s wife’s death? The probate, chancery, land deeds, etc. from a cousin who did courthouse research includes photocopies of records found. But were all records found and/or copied?
Case files (digitized) for Amherst are presently only available up to about 1836.
NOTE: This was checked when the records for Amherst were added. The file is indexed (as of Sept 2020) but not yet digitized.1848-03 Original Case No. 024. Now available. Needs to be transcribed.
Presumption of death – law in Virginia for the 1830s period?
Would there be records other than the administrator’s bond, inventory of the estate, sale of land that would indicate William(1) was deceased when his estate was administered?
DNA matches(1) Re-new contact with the match on AncestryDNA that lead to William(2). Would he consider sharing his paternal ICW matches for research purposes? At this time only two matches have been proven to be descendants of William(2). Other cousins may have matches I am not seeing.
Analysis of DNA data in Genome Mate Pro, master repository.
War of 1812 Pension Record
Pension records need to be checked as William(2) is seen on Find A Grave as a veteran of the War of 1812. If this was the case, his widow might have tried to obtain a pension.
War of 1812 Veteran
William(2) DEMPSEY is on a list of veterans for the War of 1812 (see photo on Find A Grave)Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 September 2020), memorial page for William Dempsey (15 Feb 1770–17 Aug 1845), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46143160, citing Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Kay Cynova (contributor 47064119).
Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana
Collection not loading 21/9/20. Still not loading 9/1/21: We’re sorry, this page is temporarily unavailable.
Following the Research Plan
After setting up the research question, reviewing the known information, and drawing up the research plan, I set everything aside.
Since the preliminary work has been done and recorded in writing, I can always come back to the research question to work on as I have time.
As the Amherst County Chancery record I mentioned above is now available, it will be the first thing I’ll pursue in more detail. I’ve skimmed through the 36 images but a transcription of the pages needs to be done to save time and get all pertinent information recorded.
I’m hoping that other DEMPSEY cousins will become interested in this research question.
I’d love to hear from any DEMPSEY cousins who have DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas as this is where the descendants of Barnett DEMPSEY were found. Also, DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines coming out of Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri where descendants of William(2) DEMPSEY lived. It is always possible that the matches share DNA from an as yet unknown distant “common” ancestor.
What did I miss in the brainstorming part? Any suggestions as to other resources that might help bring me closer to the answer. Were William(1) DEMPSEY and William(2) DEMPSEY the same person or two different individuals?
The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.
A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.
Posts, Views, and Viewers
As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.
Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.
Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.
I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.
I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.
And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.
What’s coming in 2021
Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.
With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.
One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.
These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.
Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.
This is an updated version of a post I published in March 2018. The original post had been updated several times during the past two years. To avoid confusion I have added new images, as well as some steps, to reflect changes on the GEDmatch and Ancestry websites since the article was first written.
Making the first contact with a DNA match has us running the gamut of emotions from excitement at finding the match to the disappointment of there being no tree. From the joy of hearing back to the exasperation of never receiving a reply. From the frustrations of trying to explain your need to use a chromosome browser to evaluate the match to the delight of making contact with cousins who are ready to work with you.
I’ve tried different approaches in writing messages to DNA matches on Ancestry. Keeping them short, giving more or less information, asking right out to upload to GEDmatch, sending my email in the subject line, including links to articles on my blog about shared ancestors, etc. The number of persons who reply is very low.
So I’ve decided to use my blog to write to my cousins. I’ll continue to write short messages and include a link to this post. The instructions are up to date – I tried them out while writing. If anything changes, I can fix them and won’t have to copy/paste and re-write instructions I have been sending in messages or emails.
We have a DNA match, now what? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and getting back to me. AncestryDNA does not offer a chromosome browser. I find the best solution to be GEDmatch.
GEDmatch provides applications for comparing your DNA test results with other people. There are also applications for estimating your ancestry. Some applications are free. More advanced applications require membership in the GEDmatch Tier1 program at $10 per month.
Some premium tools require payment but the chromosome browsers we are lacking on AncestryDNA are free on GEDmatch. Registration requires your name, email, and a password of your choice.
Would you please consider transferring your raw DNA to GEDmatch? Here are the latest instructions: [If you already have your GEDmatch kit number, scroll down to Thank you to continue reading.]
Fill out the form per instructions and click on Register.
Download the raw DNA file
The next step would be to download your raw DNA from Ancestry. If you haven’t done this before:
On your AncestryDNA page in the upper right-hand corner click on Settings. Scroll to the bottom of the page, under Test Management > Actions > Click to open Download RAW DNA Data section.
You will be prompted to enter your Ancestry password and check the box showing you understand Ancestry is not responsible for the file they are sending you. Click Confirm.
As soon as you click Confirm a window will open advising you that they are sending an email to proceed with the download. It may take several minutes for the email to come in.
The email has a Confirm Data Download button. Be sure to make a note of where you save the file on your computer. The request expires after 7 days or after the first use.
Upload raw DNA file
Login to GEDmatch. Click on Generic Uploads (23andme, FTDNA, AncestryDNA, most others) on the right side under Upload your DNA files. Fill out the form and upload the file without unzipping it.
(If you are a Mac user the file may have been unzipped during download. As a Mac user, you are likely aware of this and know the procedure to get it zipped. The zipped file may be in the Trash.)
It doesn’t take long to upload the file but the processing on-site may take a day or two. This means you will NOT be able to use all features right away. A One-to-One Autosomal DNA Comparison will work before processing is finished. To try this one out, compare your kit to one I manage: (see the kit number in my message to you). Please email your number to me as I won’t see you’ve been added until it’s completely processed. If our match is lower than my top 3000 matches it will not show up on my list but I can still do comparisons with your kit number.
What else can you do?
While you are waiting for your kit to complete all processing and have good status (GEDmatch lingo) consider exporting a GEDCOM from your genealogy software and uploading it to GEDmatch. Using genealogy software allows you to export as many or as few individuals in your tree as you need.
If you have a tree on Ancestry you can export your family tree data, as a GEDCOM file, to your computer via Trees > Create & Manage Trees > Manage Tree > right side > Export Tree.
When you click on either of the versions to upload a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch you will find some suggestions about the file. The most important thing to know is that the GEDCOM will be public and viewable to all persons who have access to the GEDmatch site. For this reason, it is recommended that you privatize living individuals before uploading.
You’ve uploaded the raw DNA and your GEDCOM file (optional, but so very valuable to your matches) to GEDmatch. On the homepage, there are some things which will be useful to you.
User Lookup: This lets you check by kit number, GEDCOM number, or email address to get more information on a person using GEDmatch.
GEDCOM + DNA Matches: This will generate a list of all persons who match you (or whoever’s kit # you search) and who have a GEDCOM file attached to their kit. This is practical as you won’t have to use the User Lookup to check each kit to see if they have a GEDCOM file. THE closest DNA matches are at the top of the list.
One-To-Many DNA Comparison Result: as soon as your kit is processed you will be able to check all matches to your kit. It will generate a list limited to the first 3000 matches with the closest matches at the top. In the first column kit numbers highlighted in different shades of green indicate new matches with dark green being the newest. As time goes by the color gets lighter and finally turns white.
People who match both, or 1 of 2 kits: When you check your kit and another kit with this tool it will generate three lists: a list of all matches shared by both at the top, a list of all kits who match the first and not the second, and a list of all kits who match the second and not the first.
This is not a complete list of what you can do on GEDmatch but the most useful in the beginning. When you are just starting out, DNA is a complicated subject. Take it slowly and one day, after you have read something for the 3rd, 5th, 10th time it will sink in and seem EASIER.
Thank you, cousin, for taking the time to read this. If you already have your AncestryDNA on GEDmatch, please send me your kit number. Usernames on Ancestry do not always match up with the name or alias used on GEDmatch.
If you decide to upload your raw DNA to GEDmatch, I will do a One-to-One Autosomal DNA Comparison between our two kits as soon as I know your kit number. Then I’ll add the chromosome information to Genome Mate Pro (GMP), the program I use to keep track of all matches and to map chromosomes. I can then assign the segment(s) we share to the Most Recent Common Ancestor(s) (MRCA) and Voilà!
I will have our shared segment(s) in living color on my chromosome map and can use them to assist with other matches on the same segment. In turn, if we don’t know who our MRCA is, knowing the MRCA of other matches on the same segment will aid in the analysis.
There are also other possibilities: FTDNA and MyHeritage will accept uploads of raw DNA from AncestryDNA and both have chromosome browsers. It would be appreciated if you choose to upload your raw DNA to any of these sites. But, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, I will understand. We can continue working together, using the tools available on AncestryDNA (Shared Matches, ThruLines, Common Ancestors, and Trees).
If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me and I will do my best to help.