Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Milley, Hetty, Nelson, Ben, Bettie, and Dick

Last month I released the names of five enslaved persons found in the 1834 Last Will and Testament of Thomas Hannan of Mason County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Thomas had several sons who left wills. One of these was his son Charles who wrote his will twenty-two years after his father on 4 October 1856.1

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

In the name God Amen I Charles Hannan of the County of Mason and State of Virginia Being of Sound Mind and disposing Memory Knowing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. In order to dispose of the worldly goods that I have been blessed with Do Make and publish this my last will and testament.
First I comit my Soul to God who gave it and my body to the earth in hopes of a blessed Imortality on the Reserrection.
I give and bequeath to my wife Ann W. Hannan all my lands in Mason County Virginia to her and her seperate use during her natural life then at her natural death to be disposed of hereafter named all the Negros belonging to wife if she wants them if not to go as hereafter mention. I give and bequeath unto my wife Ann W. Hannan a

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

Negro girl Slave named Milley and her posterity to her and to dispose of as she sees proper allso a Negro girl Slave named Hetty as she might think proper for her use and benefit and her posterity.
I give and beaquath all the balance of my Slaves in Mason County Va. and lands to the use of the Gospel in said County Va. namely my lands after the death of my wife Ann W. Hannan to go to the benefit of any [Baptist and Southern Methodist – these words are struck through] preacher or preachers Baptist and Southern Methodist rent free forever that might preach to the people in this sourrounding county in succession one after the other forever rent free after the death of my wife allso all my property of every description after the death of my wife to go to the same perpose the Gospel in said County Virginia for the benefit and support of the poor Preachers throughought the said County Except the two named Slaves Milley and Hetty I have bequeathed to my wife Ann W. Hannan to her and sole use and benefit forever.
I give and bequeath the named Slaves to the Baptist and Southern Methodist preachers after the natural death of my wife Ann W. Hannan: Nelson Cudyo and Ben Packson and Bity Bill and Peter Dicky Slaves to be hired out to good Masters and proceeds to go for the building of Meeting houses and for the benefit of the Gospel in the lower district Mason County Virginia.
In witness I hereunto set my hand and Seal Oct the 4. 1856
Attest . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Charles Hannan (Seal)
William C (his x mark) Wray
Andrew (his + mark) Meadows
John O. Butler
Timothy S. Butler
A. J. Waren

At a Court Continued and held for Mason County in the court house thereof on Tuesday February the 8th 1861.
A writing purporting to be the last will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased was this day produced in Court by Ann W. Hannan principal devisee therein, and John O. Butler and of the subscribing witnesses thereto Stated on oath that he was acquainted with the hand writing of Charles Hannan deceased and that he believed said writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Charles Hannan decd was entirely written and signed by said Charles Hannan decd. and that he at the request of said Charles Hannan decd subscribed his name to said will as an attesting witness in the presence of said Charles Hannan deceased and in the presence of Timothy S. Butler another subscribing witness thereto, and that he believed that said Charles Hannan deceased was at that time of sound mind and disposing memory and the probate of this will is continued for further proof until the first day of the next term of this court and on motion of the propounder it is ordered that Timothy S. Butler and A. J. Warren be summoned to attend at the next term of

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

this Court to complete the proof of said Will.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.
At a Court held for Mason County, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday February the 4th 1861.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased bearing date on the 4th day of October 1856 was this day produced in Court by Ann W. Hannan, in order to be further proved, whereupon Timothy S. Butler one of the subscribing witnesses thereto stated on oath that he subscribed his name as an attesting witness to said writing at the request of said Charles Hannan decd in his presence and in the presence of John O. Butler another subscribing witness to said writing and that the said Charles Hannan decd acknowledged the same to be his last will & Testament in his presence and in the presence of John O. Butler who were present at the same time, and that he believed said Charles Hannan deceased was at that time of sound mind and disposing memory. It is therefore ordered that said writing of the 4th day of October 1856 be recorded as the last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.
At a Court continued and held for Mason County, at the Courthouse thereof on Thursday February the 7th 1861.
On the Motion of A. L. Knight who made oath, and together with A. M. Causland, J. V. Newman, W. O. Roseberry and George R. Knight his Securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in open Court in the penalty of $2000 conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted the said A. L. Knight for obtaining letters of Administration of the Estate of Charles Hannan deceased with his Will annexed in due form. Whereupon on the further motion of the said A. L. Knight it is ordered that David George, John A. Hunter, Jesse Waugh, Augustus Cobb, and Robert M.Hereford or any three of whom, being first duly sworn before a Justice of the peace for that purpose do truly and justly appraise in current money the personal estate of the said Charles Hannan deceased and return the appraisement under their hands to the Court.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

Charles Hannan was “killed by crews” on 24 November 1860 in Mason County.2 His will was proven and recorded as noted in the transcript above in February 1861. This is the first record I have found which identifies enslaved persons with what appear to be surnames: Nelson Cudyo and Ben Packson and Bity Bill and Peter Dicky. Only Milley and Hetty were named without surnames.

1861 Inventory of the Estate of Charles Hannan

The personal estate of Charles Hannan was appraised the 20th day of February 1861.3 The following list of the property was made and each item valued. At the top of the list are:

one Negro man named Nelson $800
one Negro woman named Milie $650
one Negro girl named Bettie $450
one Negro boy named Ben $500
one Negro boy named Dick $500
one Negro girl named Hettie $300

The appraisement and inventory of the personal estate of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.
The appraisement and inventory of the personal estate of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

1867 Settlement of the Estate of Charles Hannan

The estate of Charles Hannan was not settled until 15 July 1867. The settlement was confirmed and ordered to be recorded on 9 September 1867.4 It included $3,200, the appraised value of six Negroes.

The settlement of the estate of Charles Hannan. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

Charles Hannan and his wife Ann W. Fox were not located in the 1850 or 1860 census nor was Charles on the slave schedule of Mason County, Virginia. Charles’ wife Ann died in 1879 and left a will mentioning her former slave. His name will be featured in next month’s post.

I hope one or the other descendant will recognize his/her ancestor’s name and be able to open the door in their brick wall.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN9X-K6?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1YL%3A179687901%2C179729801 : accessed 29 March 2020), Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 93+94 of 165; pages 146-148, citing Mason County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  2. 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), Virginia, Mason County, 24 November 1860, Charles Hannan, age 54 years 20 days, son of Thomas and Mary, consort Ann Hannan, informant George W. Grobe, nephew. 1860 Death Record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=5269843&Type=Death : accessed 29 March 2020). 
  3. West Virginia County Court (Mason County), “Appraisement and settlement, 1854-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch, Film 567424 Item 2, DGS 7618497, pages 136-137 (bottom) 138-139 (top), images 328-329 of 423. The entry in this register is recorded across two pages. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99K9-3G5V?i=327&cat=66225 : accessed 29 March 2020) 
  4. Ibid., pages 294-295, image 407 of 423. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99K9-3G2K?i=406&cat=66225 : accessed 29 March 2020) 

Strong Women: Mary, wife of Isaac WISEMAN († 1779)

Two weeks ago I wrote The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807), a piece that took a month to research and write. The Ancestors series is reserved for my 5th great-grandparents and/or my children’s 6th great-grandparents. There are no plans at this time to further research Isaac or Elizabeth’s parents. But questions can still be asked and already discovered records shared.

Isaac’s parents moved from Berks County, Pennsylvania, to Rowan County, North Carolina, around 1768. They both left wills in that county at the time of their deaths in 1779 and 1791.

As this is Women’s History Month, I would like to share the records left by Isaac’s mother Mary. She outlived her husband Isaac by twelve years. On 28 December 1790, she wrote her last will and testament.1

The Last Will and Testament of Mary Wiseman written 28 December 1790

1790 Last Will and Testament of Mary Wiseman, courtesy of Ancestry.com

In The name of God Amen
I Mary Wiseman of the state of North Carolina and County of Rowan, being sickly and weake in body but through Goods of God of a Good and Sound memory and in my senses and Considering my own mortality Do make this my last will and testament
and first I will that my body be buried after a Deasent Christen manner after my Decese at the Discresin of my Executors hearafter named and my soul to God that give it in the faith and Certin hope of the Reserection at the Last day
and what worldly goods it hath pleased God to bless me with I bestow in the following manner I give and bequath to my beloved Daughter Mary Marrell my fether bed. I give and bequeth to my beloved son James Wiseman my Cow and my big bible and the new Coverled. I give and bequeth to Elizabeth Marrell my grand Daughter my pided hifer. I give and bequath to my son James above named my big pott. I give and bequath Ann Wiseman my Daughter in law one of my big shifts. I give and bequath to Elizabeth Wiseman other one of my big Shifts. I give and bequeth to Elizabeth Marrell above named one of my smaller Shifts. I give and bequath to Lyde Wiseman my Daughter in law the other one of my small Shifts. I give and bequath to Rachell Marrell my beloved Daughter two Sheets, one blancket and one Coverled and four pewter plates, one qurt, one tea pott and tea kettle and one grid iron, one fier Shovel and tongs. I give and bequeth to my son James above named one pewter Dish and one pair Stilliards. I give and bequath to my beloved son William Wiseman one iron trammil. I give and bequath to Jane Wiseman my grand Daughter one box iron and one (?)atters. I give and bequath to my son James above named one pine Chest and one bull and the big pillow and bolster to his wife Lyda and one striped patecot. I give and bequeth to my Daughter Rachal above named two patet coats, one Cloak and one silk bonnet. I give and bequath to my son James one short gown, one peir speckticles, and I hearby nominete and appoint my sone James Wiseman and Andrew Marrell my son in law, Executors of this my Last will and testament and I Do hearby Deney all other wills and testaments whatsever in witness hear I the Sd Mary Wiseman have set my hand and seal this twenty Eight day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninty.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Her
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mary X Wiseman
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . Mark <Seal>
Signed, Sealed and
pronounced in presents of
Jacob Wiseman
Mary X (her mark) Paterson

Notes concerning the will transcription:

The transcription above includes spelling errors or spelling of the time found in the record. No corrections were made. The surname Marrell in the document is more commonly seen as MERRILL.

A more legible copy of the will was found on FamilySearch. Several of the spelling errors were corrected in the copy, for example, bequeath and petticoat.2 I feel the document I transcribed with all its misspellings is much more original than the copy found in Will Book B of Rowan County.

Mary Wiseman’s will is proven

Mary WISEMAN was getting on in age but was likely not so sickly and weak that her death was imminent. Her will was proven eleven months later on 10 November 1791.3

County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions minutes (Rowan County, North Carolina), 1753-1868, courtesy of FamilySearch

The last Will of Mary Wiseman deceased proved by Mary Patterson. Letters with a copy to issue to James Wiseman and Andrew Merrill Executors.

Inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman dated 9 February 1792

Nearly three months later, on 9 February 1792, a true inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman was made.4

1792 Inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman, FamilySearch

February the 9th 1792
a true inventory of Mary Wiseman’s Estate.

[left column]
one hackel
one wheell
one pillow
three plains Irons
two pales
one Earthan pot & pan
five pewter plates &
one bason four Spoons
three augers & two chisels
one hand Saw
one drawing nife
one foot adz
one grubing how
two Cleavises and Link
one table & bedsteds
one bottle & one jug
one Cag & one flower barrel
one meat tub & one hammer
one pittch fork one steal
for a Cuting —– cup
one broad ax & one Square
two trammels & two Shovel
one tea cup & Saucer
one pare of Sheaves
two small tubs
one feather bed

[right column]
two sheats & 1 blanket
two Coverlids
one tea pot
one fier tongs
one grid iron
and hur? Cloe?
one Cow
one heffer
one bull
one bible
two boks
one bolster
two pillows
two iron pots
one puter dish [pewter]
one box iron &
heater
one tea kettle
one Chist
two knives
one pare of ___ [crossed out]
Stilyeards
one iron wedg
one tray
one funnell

Is there any hope of finding the family Bible?

Mary left her big Bible to her son James. Did he pass it on to one of his children? Has anyone heard of its existence other than the mention in Mary’s last will and testament and in the inventory of her estate?

My wish is, if a direct descendant now owns the Bible of my 6th great-grandmother Mary WISEMAN, that he/she would be kind enough to let us know if there is any useful information recorded in the Bible. Is there proof written in her hand or the hand of another person that she was the daughter of a man surnamed MARSHALL?

Update (25 March 2020): Following a conversation today with another member of the Wiseman Family Association group on Facebook, I have removed “the immigrant” from the title of this blogpost. The person I conversed with helped compile the research records of the association prior to 2000. He questioned the use of the term as no proof has to date been found to substantiate the family lore that Isaac WISEMAN was born aboard a ship on the way to America.

#StayHome

In a few days, we’ll be entering our third week of self-imposed confinement. It’s been twelve days of ups and downs. We had to cancel our 42nd wedding anniversary dinner reservations last week. Mom’s AncestryDNA test results came in and she’s her parents’ daughter. I caught my husband’s cold but neither of us had a fever. It’s taking me longer than normal to get well. It must be the stress we’re all under. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything for a long amount of time. The sun has been shining a lot and the birds are singing. Mom’s using the cell phone we got her last month to make and receive calls. I had to snooze several of my Facebook friends. Our son’s cat is going to have kittens. It’ll be at least another week before Luxembourg is expected to hit the peak of the crisis. Personally, I think we are in for at least six weeks of #bleiftdoheem (Luxembourgish for #stayathome). Stay at home and stay safe.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” (index and images), Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file with the will of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  2. “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, North Carolina, Rowan > Wills, 1781-1791, Vol. B > image 94 of 230, Will of Mary Wiseman, pages 179-181. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S7WF-3Q9C-79?cc=1867501&wc=32LR-7M3%3A169928201%2C170967101 : accessed 15 March 2020). 
  3. North Carolina. County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Rowan County) (Main Author), “County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions minutes (Rowan County, North Carolina), 1753-1868”, FamilySearch, Raleigh, North Carolina : Filmed by North Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1962, Film 313776, GGS 7640159, Minutes, Vol. 4-6 1773-1800, page 399, entries dated 10 November 1791.  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89G4-QSWV-Q?i=556&cat=353264 : accessed 15 March 2020). 
  4. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, Microfilm of originals in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, North Carolina., Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978 > Rowan County > W > Wiseman, Mary (1792) > image 2 of 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PPC-9MZF?cc=1911121&wc=Q6W1-9GT%3A184173301%2C183410401%2C198415701 : accessed 6 March 2020). 

The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

This was a hard piece to write. A month ago, after spending weeks gathering and reviewing all the information I had on these ancestors, I began writing this post. While drafting the post I kept finding other things to do. I went back and forth considering how I should write it. I’m now at the point that I just want to get it out of the way by publishing it as is.

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807) were my 5th great-grandparents and the parents of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN (1769-bet. 1821-1824) who married Frederick HONAKER (1757-1824).

When I was new to genealogy research, I trusted the information I found and did not challenge it. As I began to do my own research, I questioned work done by others. In some cases, I made an effort to prove or disprove their research. I’m especially fond of working on my female lines but the WISEMAN family has always been put on the back burner.

For the WISEMAN line, I  attempted to locate evidence of the parents, siblings, husband, and children of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN and wrote about my findings in my 2014 post 52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824.

The post was written during my first year of blogging. I didn’t include source citations. Links to online documents were used throughout the post but I doubt many readers clicked on them to view the records.  When I revisited my post and research I added 28 citations to make it easier for the reader or researcher to review the sources. [Did I mention the other things I’ve been doing?] 

Rachel’s story includes the names of all of her siblings as well as their spouses’ names and their dates of marriage. I’ve pondered how to write about Rachel’s parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Should I start from scratch or should I build on what has already been published?

Taking the middle road

I’ve decided to take the middle road which led me to work done by dedicated historians and genealogists of the WISEMAN family.

The Wiseman Family Association was first organized in 1908 by Dr. B. W. S. WISEMAN, compiler and author of a WISEMAN genealogy.1 Benjamin Winfield Scott WISEMAN was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Samuel (1771-1861). WISEMAN descendants and members of the association have continued to update the WISEMAN family tree originally created from information in B.W.S.’s book. Their website was initiated on 22 August 2003 and appears to have been last updated in 2017, likely before Ancestry took down the RootsWeb site. I don’t know if more recent additions to the family tree are available online.

B.W.S. WISEMAN, in his 1908 publication, acknowledged the work of his second cousin C.M.L. WISEMAN who published in 1902. B.W.S. gives a more detailed genealogy of most of the sons of Isaac WISEMAN 1738. Neither of the authors had any biographical information on the four daughters of Isaac other than their married names.

Charles Milton Lewis WISEMAN of the 1902 publication was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Rev. John WISEMAN (1760-1842). He wrote the following:

Brief Sketch of the Wiseman Family

My grandfather, Rev. John Wiseman was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, before the War of the Revolution; indeed, was old enough and served in that war, and was in the memorable winter quarters at Valley Forge with Washington. His father, Isaac Wiseman, moved from Berks county, Pennsylvania, with a large family of sons and daughters to Rockingham county, Virginia, soon after the war, and there my grandfather married Sarah Green, one of another large family. From that county they moved to Monroe county, Virginia, where my father, Philip S. Wiseman, was born. Of the descendants of Isaac Wiseman and James Green some few remained in Virginia, others moved to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. The greater number moved to Ohio and Kentucky. The descendants of Isaac Wiseman alone must exceed 1,000 persons in number. The names of father’s uncles were William, Joseph, Isaac, Abner, Jacob and Samuel. Samuel died near New Salem at 90 years of age; Jacob and Abner in Kentucky, William and Joseph in Virginia, and Isaac near Gallipolis, Ohio. One of his aunts married a Blanton, who moved to Kentucky, and one a Honiker, who died in Virginia. I have been in the graveyard in Virginia, near Union, Monroe county, where Isaac Wiseman and wife are buried, and where father’s sister and brother are buried, and I have also been in the church near by, where they all attended Methodist church, and where my grandfather often preached. It is a lovely spot, with a hight range of mountains in full view for more than twenty miles.2

A bit further into the sketch of his family, C.M.L. wrote:

Rev. John Wiseman was commissioned a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1785, by the first American Bishop of that church, Francis Asbury. The commission, in the Bishop’s own writing, is in the possession of the late Judge Wiseman’s widow at New Salem.3

I used the document he mentioned as the background of the featured image of this post. Immediately following this statement, the author listed names and dates for his line down from Isaac beginning with this list of the children of Isaac WISEMAN 1738:

FAMILY RECORD OF ISAAC WISEMAN, OF VIRGINIA.

Joseph Wiseman, born March 29th 1759.
John Wiseman, born August 18th, 1760.
Sarah Wiseman, born July 17th, 1762.
Isaac Wiseman, born June 19th, 1764.
Jacob Wiseman, born January 12th, 1767.
Rachael Wiseman, born March 1st, 1769.
Samuel Wiseman, born February 15th, 1771.
Abner Wiseman, born 1772.
Betsey Wiseman, born 1774.
Peggy Wiseman, born 1777.
William Wiseman, born 1779.

Rachael is my 4th great-grandmother and all the rest are my 4th great-grand uncles and 4th great-grand aunts. Does a WISEMAN family Bible still exist today with the dates found in this derivative source?

The many men named Isaac WISEMAN

According to Robert N. WISEMAN, a historian of the Wiseman Family Association, the Isaac WISEMAN situation gets a bit confusing when it comes to how Isaac WISEMAN’s name is seen in family genealogies. Shortly after B.W.S. published his book in 1908 he discovered that Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) who he considered “Isaac I” had a father whose name was also Isaac. [I believe I’ve found how he made the discovery and will discuss this in a moment.] The Wiseman Family Association decided to dub the father “Isaac Sr.”4 One of Robert’s lines goes through Isaac Sr., Isaac I, Isaac II, Isaac III.

Personally, I believe it would be more helpful to consider the men by the year they were born as no records are to be found with the suffixes I, II, or III. I’ve opted to refer to my 5th great-grandfather as Isaac WISEMAN 1738 instead of Isaac I. His father will be considered Isaac the elder or Isaac Sr. as no year of birth is known.

As noted previously, historians of the Wiseman Family Association have been researching the family and sharing their information. The research notes and part of The Story of a Wiseman by Robert Dean WISEMAN (1933-2015) can be found here: Bob Wiseman Research. He included different steps taken to gather information and prove events as well as marking unproven or questionable information as such. Mr. Wiseman and the researchers he worked with spent years putting the information together. It would take a lifetime to check and follow-up on the research.

Many entries on tax lists for Berks County for Isaac Wiseman are listed by year and township in Bob’s research. I recently found the Tax Lists, 1752-1856 for Berks County, Pennsylvania are available online at FamilySearch. They are not indexed and browse-only. With the years and townships given in Robert D. Wiseman’s research notes, I may be able to locate some of these. A to-do item for a later date as it should be thorough and not restricted to locating the records already found. What if something important to the timeline has been missed?

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Isaac’s oldest son Joseph (1759-1836) applied for a pension in 1832 for his service during the Revolutionary War.5 He stated he “was born in the year 1759 in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania, as he has read the record of it in his Father’s bible, from which he recorded it in his own bible which is now in his possession.” After his death in 1836 and his widow’s death in 1842, his son Samuel applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his surviving siblings in 1847. He submitted his father’s family record with the dates of birth and date for my 5th great-grandparents Elizabeth DAVIS and Isaac WISEMAN.

In Joseph’s hand, as copied from his father Isaac’s Bible, “Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th 1738 and Decst (deceased) July 19th 1807.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

Also, “Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Marey Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and Decest (deceased) May the 3 in 1818.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

The above images are only two of the five images from the family Bible included in the file. The pension file also includes correspondence dated 1911 from B.W.S. WISEMAN requesting copies of the entire file. As Joseph’s family record gives the names of the parents of Elizabeth and Isaac, I believe this is the source that led to B.W.S.’s discovery that Isaac WISEMAN 1738’s father was also an Isaac.

Samuel DAVIS, father-in-law of Isaac 1738

Only the name of Elizabeth’s father is known from the family record submitted by his grandson Samuel (son of Joseph). Even with the maiden name, a marriage record of Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS has not been found. It is assumed they married before the birth of their oldest child in 1759.

Isaac and Mary WISEMAN, parents of Isaac 1738

The maiden name of Isaac 1738’s mother Mary is unproven although some genealogists report it to be MARSHALL. While writing this, I have pruned the tree, removing John MARSHALL as the father of Mary and now showing her name as Mary _____.

Isaac 1738’s father Isaac, according to an old family traditional story, was born aboard a ship en route to America. Two dates are often noted: 1699 and about 1706. The first – 1699 – is from the theory that the father of Isaac the elder came over with William Penn on the Canterbury Merchant in 1699. No known passenger list exists for the ship. The second – about 1706 – is from the theory that Isaac the elder was the son of Thomas WISEMAN first seen in Germantown, Philadelphia County in 1706 when he purchased land from Matthias Van Bebber. Professional genealogists were hired by the Wiseman Family Association to obtain records but neither theory has been proven.

Isaac WISEMAN, the father of Isaac 1738, left Berks County around 1768 and was first seen on a tax list in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1772.6 He bought land in Rowan County in 1778 and left it to his heirs in his will in 1779.7,8 His widow Mary left a will written 28 December 1790 and proven 10 November 17919,10 as well as an inventory dated February 1792.11 Although Isaac and Mary named some of their children in their wills, they did not mention Isaac.

The daughters of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS

Isaac and Elizabeth were the parents of eleven children born between 1759 and 1779. Much is known of their seven sons’ lines as they were looked into by the great-grandsons. Neither of the authors of the early genealogies of the WISEMAN family knew much of the four daughters.

From the brief sketch of the WISEMAN family it is knows that the family was in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia. Sarah, the oldest, married in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1782 where she and her husband James BARLEY raised their children.12

The next oldest daughter, Rachel also married in Rockbridge County. She married Frederick HONAKER in 1795.13 It was a second marriage for Frederick and Rachel brought a 10-year-old daughter into the marriage. Rachel and Frederick went with her parents and siblings to Greenbrier County around 1797-1798. They settled in the area that would become Monroe County in 1799. Rachel and Frederick raised their family in Monroe and are buried in the Rehoboth Church Cemetery where her parents are also said to be buried.

Elizabeth married John BLANTON in 1798 in Greenbrier County.14 They went to Kentucky where her brothers Abner and Jacob had also gone.

The youngest daughter Margaret, also known as Peggy, married Bartholomew RAMSEY in 1799 in Monroe County.15,16 They raised their family in Nicholas County and Fayette County when it was formed in 1831.

Now that I know where the information found in so many family trees is coming from, I have a better feel of what I can work on to leave a documented history of my 5th great-grandparents Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS.

It would be awesome if someone reading this post would reach out to me with more information, especially on Elizabeth DAVIS during Women’s History Month.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Dr. Benjamin Winfield Scott Wiseman, Wiseman genealogy and biography, digital images of original, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/163120-wiseman-genealogy-and-biography : accessed 12 February 2020), FL52150_TN-1474326, digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008 [originally published: Culver, Indiana, 1910] 
  2. C. M. L. Wiseman, The Wiseman Family and the Old Church at New Salem : a brief sketch, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/57919-the-wiseman-family-and-the-old-church-at-new-salem-a-brief-sketch : accessed 12 February 2020), FL1103481_TN-76231, digitized by FamilySearch International, 2013, [originally published: Columbus, Ohio : Fred J. Heer, 1902], p. 7-8. 
  3. Ibid., p. 23-24. 
  4. Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, comment posted 3 February 2020 in the Nicholas County WV Genealogy group on Facebook and personal message conversation between Robert and Cathy on 24-25 February 2020. 
  5. “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” database and images, Ancestry.com, citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Images of the papers in the Revolutionary War file of Joseph Wiseman including images of family bible pages with the names and dates of birth and death of his parents. 
  6. Bob Wiseman Research
  7. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” index and images, Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Isaac Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., North Carolina, Rowan County, Wills, Vol A-F, 1757-1807, Isaac Wiseman, page 184. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  9. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  10. “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” Rowan > Wills, 1781-1791, Vol. B > image 94+95 of 230, Will of Mary Wiseman, pages 179-181. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S7WF-3Q9C-79?cc=1867501&wc=32LR-7M3%3A169928201%2C170967101 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  11. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing State Archives, Raleigh., Rowan County > W > Wiseman, Mary (1792) > image 2 of 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PPC-9MZF?cc=1911121&wc=Q6W1-9GT%3A184173301%2C183410401%2C198415701 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  12. Dodd,Jordan,  Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia. 
  13. Ibid. 
  14. 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, Greenbrier, Jno. Blanton and Eliza. 1797/9 (1798), left page, last entry. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10970066&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  15. Ibid., Monroe County, 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370451&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  16. Ibid., Monroe County, 22 October 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369649&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Silah, Jane, Melacy, Daphney, Agness

While researching my families who lived in Mason County, West Virginia, I came across the last will and testament of Thomas Hannan (1757-1835).

In the will he mentions: a Negro Girl Slave named Silah, one Negro Girl Slave Jane, one Negro girl Slave Melacy, and three Negro children, one girl the child of Daphney, two boys Sons of Agness. The names of the three children are not given.1

1834 Last Will and Testament of Thomas Hannan

Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165 courtesy of FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen, I Thomas Hannan of the County of Mason & State of Virginia, being weak in body from advanced age, but of sound mind disposing memory Knowing the uncertainty of life & the certainty of death, in order to dispose of the worldly goods that I have been blessed with, do make and publish this my last will and testament – first I commit my soul to God who gave it, and my body to the earth, in hopes of a blessed immortality in the resurrection – and desire that after my death, my body may be directly interred by my Executors, & the funeral expenses and all my Just debts be fully paid & satisfied. I give and bequeath to my Sons John Hannan, Esom Hannan & Henry Hannan, or the Survivors of them the home tract of land situate on the Ohio river at and above the mouth of little Guyandotte Creek containing five hundred acres, with all and singular its appertenences (sic) but upon this trust & use nevertheless that they or the Survivors of them Shall annually account & pay over the rents & profits of Said land unto my Son Charles Hannan, or in their discretion to permit him to use occupy and enjoy the Same during his life – and at the death of the Said Charles, I then give the Said land to his children if he should have any, if not to be disposed of in the manner hereinafter provided for the distribution of my property generally:
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Whitten a Negro Girl Slave named Silah
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Susannah Shelton the wife of James Shelton one Negro Girl Slave Jane
I give and bequeath unto my Grand daughter Mahala Maxwell one Negro girl Slave Melacy
I desire that the three Negro children, one girl the child of Daphney, two boys Sons of Agness, which I have Sent over the River for their liberty, I desire Shall remain free forever.
My Son Henry owes me Seventy five Dollars & Jesse thirty Dollars, which is to be taken as part of my Estate
I then desire that all my estate not hereby specially bequeathed whether real or personal Shall be equally divided among my children, or the heirs of them that may not be living
Lastly I appoint my two sons John Hannan & Esom Hannan or the Survivor of them the Executors of this my last will & testament. Hereby revoking all other wills heretofore made.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto Set my hand & Seal this 24th day of September 1834.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Hannan (x his mark)
Attest
John Lendley
Geo W. Shelton
Thomas M. Shelton

Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165 courtesy of FamilySearch

At a court held for Mason County April 27th 1835
a writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Thomas Hannan decd. was this day presented in open court and was proven in part, by the oath of Thomas M. Shelton one of the Subscribing witnesses thereto and continued for further proof teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

At a court held for Mason County May 4th 1835
The last will and testament of Thomas Hanna decd which was in part proved by the oath of Thomas M. Shelton a Subscribing witness thereto at April term last past, now this day further proved by the oath of George W. Shelton also a Subscribing witness thereto and the same is ordered to be Recorded And on the Motion of John Hannan & Esom Hannan Executors named in the Said will who made oath thereto and together with Charles Clendinen William A. McMullin & Robt. A. Hereford their Securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $8,000 conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate of the Said will in due form of Law.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

At a Court held for Mason County, November 2nd 1835
The last will and testament of Thomas Hannan decd which was proved at former terms of this court, by two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to record was this day further proved by the oath of John Lendley who is also a Subscribing witness thereto.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

Thomas Hannan in the U.S. Federal Census

In 1820 Thomas Hannan was enumerated in Mason County, Virginia.2 In his household there were 7 enslaved persons:

Slaves – Males – Under 14 : 2
Slaves- Females – Under 14: 4
Slaves – Females – 26 thru 44: 1

In 1830 the number had gone up to 9 and were in the following age groups:3

Slaves – Males – Under 10: 2
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 3
Slaves – Females – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1

Several of the sons of Thomas Hannan left wills: Charles in 1860, John in 1861, and Esom in 1867. The wills of the first two included names of enslaved persons and will be shared next time.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN9X-P7?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1YL%3A179687901%2C179729801 : accessed 26 January 2019), Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165; citing Mason County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_138, Virginia, Mason, image 137, Thomas Hannan entry. The official enumeration day of the 1820 census was the 1st Monday in August. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 February 2020). 
  3. 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, NARA microfilm publication M19, Roll 198, Family History Library Film 0029677, Virginia, Mason County, Page: 146, Thomas Hannan entry. The official enumeration day of the 1830 census was 1 June 1830. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 February 2020). 

From Luxembourg to America – The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family

Have you ever wondered how fragile life was for our ancestors? How close they came to not making it? How close we came to not existing?

Yesterday while checking for possible DNA matches with connections in Luxembourg, I worked out a match’s tree to our most recent common ancestor. I had been putting off figuring out our connection as the match is for only one segment of 11 cMs. However, the surname CORNELY found in J.D.’s tree was of interest to me. I had made a note of it in 2018 when I first found him in my brother’s match list on Ancestry.

I wrote about my 5th great-grandparents Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN of Wickrange, Luxembourg in May 2019. It was the first post in my ongoing series on my children’s 6th great-grandparents.

J.D. has a 2nd great-grandmother named Catherine CORNELY born in November 1838 in Germany. No parents are listed for her. J.D. has a list of sources several sources including this reference to an 1854 passenger list.1

I viewed the image and found she came with what appears to be her family – a father, a mother, and six siblings.

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

I checked my database and found I had a Jacques CORNELY born 1800 (1854 age 54) and his wife Madelaine KUNNERT born 1807 (1854 age 47). These looked like a possible match but I only had their 1831 marriage record.2 I had not yet gotten around to checking on children. As I searched the commune of Differdange where Jacques and Madelaine married, I found they had Henri 18323, Nicolas 18344, Jean 18365, Catherine 18386, Michel 18417, Heinrich 18438, Nicolas 18459, Maria 184910, and Johann 1851.11 These were all matches except for the younger Nicolas and Maria who were missing.

Convinced I had the correct family, I calculated that J.D. and I are 6th cousins once removed as Jacques was the son of Michel, brother of my Hubert CORNELY. Our common ancestors are my 6th great-grandparents Pierre CORNELY (1720-1793) and Marie SCHINTGEN (1725-bef. 1793).

The most amazing part of this research came when I began to write the citation for the passenger list and downloaded the image(s). The page the family is on is not enough. I always go back to the beginning of the list for the information on the ship. Imagine my surprise when I found this at the top of the page where the first passengers were listed:

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

Additional passengers taken from the Wreck of Ship Black Hawk bound to New York from Liverpool

I continued to go back to find the front page of the ship list for the ship that had taken the shipwrecked passengers.

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

Captain Seth Foster of the ship Currituck had taken on the passengers of the fated Black Hawk. Catherine and her family had arrived in New York on the Currituck but they had left Europe via Liverpool on the Black Hawk.

What had happened during the Cornely family’s voyage to America?

The Black Hawk never completed her maiden voyage.

Image of a ship in a hurricane. Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.), 10 Aug. 1930. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1930-08-10/ed-1/seq-77/&gt;
My search for the ships’ names led me to an article in The New York Herald dated 18 May 1854.12

Screen clip of The New York Herald title page courtesy of Chronicling America.

Loss of Ship Black Hawk at Sea-Fortunate Rescue of Her Passengers and Crew

The ship Currituck, of Norfolk, Captain Foster, from Antwerp, arrived at this port yesterday, having on board Captain Bunker, his crew, and 356 passengers, rescued from the ship Black Hawk, from Liverpool for New York, lost at sea on the 23rd of April.

The following is the report of Captain Foster, of the Currituck:-

April 21st, at 5 P.M., lat 47 30, long 33 24, came up with the wreck of ship Black Hawk, Capt. Bunker, from Liverpool for New York, dismasted and leaking badly. The ship Dirigo and British bark Caroline were laying by her taking off passengers; having more than they could take, my assistance was required. Shortened sail and lay by the wreck until morning. April 22d–All the boats belonging to the different ships were employed transporting passengers on board of our ship until four P.M., by which time we had 250 souls on board, the wind now blowing so strong as to render any farther communication with the ship exceedingly dangerous. During the night the wind blew a strong gale. At 11 P.M. lost sight of the wreck. 23d– At 8 A.M. it fell calm, with thick hazy weather. At 12 midday it cleared up a little, and we discovered the wreck bearing S.S.E. and at 11:20 P.M. came up to her and hove to until the morning of the 24th, when we found that the gale had caused her leak to increase so that all hopes of saving her had vanished. The Caroline had parted from us during the gale, and the English bark Good Intent had come up and took some of the passengers and crew, we having taken the second time 108 passengers, Captain Bunker, the doctor, the second mate and eighteen of the crew. We had our full share of the passengers previously. Of the passengers taken from the wreck by us, 198 were English and Irish, and 158 Germans–making in all 356. At 9 P.M. of the 24th, while taking in our boats, a brig came up and hove to close by the Dirigo, and we supposed took some of her passengers. The brig was hence bound to Glasgow.

The following is Capt. Bunker’s report:–

Left Liverpool April 4, at 4 P.M., with a crew, including captain and officers, of thirty-five men, and seven hundred and ninety adult passengers and two in cabin, making altogether, including infants, eight hundred and fifty-eight. Nothing of note until April 15, when we observed the barometer falling. Wind increasing. 16th–Glass still falling, and the wind veering around to N.E., and then to N.W. Sea running in all directions. Concluded we were going to have very bad weather. Kept the ship under very short sail. Lat. 48 20 N., long 36 2. Monday, 17th–Glass down to 28 deg., and falling. Wind, after backing to N.W. around to about N., blew a perfect hurricane. Took in fore and mizzen topsail. At 9 P.M. wind increasing. the topgallant masts went, carrying away head of fore-topmast. Soon the fore and mainmast fell and at midnight lost the mizzenmast; all close to the deck. The mainmast fell inboard, and smashed the cabin, the topsail yard going through the main deck without injuring any person but ripping up the deck so as to cause the water to flow down a perfect avalanche. The half of the main-mast fell on the pumps, smashing them down to the deck. The mizzenmast swept off all the skylights and broke in the leeside of the cabin, causing the water to flow down there very freely. The fore-mast went under the ship’s bottom, and we were fortunate to get clear of it, but not till it had thumped so long there as to make the ship leak badly. Cut away a portion of main-mast and got a temporary break rigged to one pump, and got the steerage passengers to work bailing and pumping while the crew were clearing the wreck. Found 6 feet water in the hold. Tuesday, 18th–Pumping, bailing, and clearing the wreck, and throwing cargo overboard. Wednesday, 19th–Lat. 47, N., long. 35.30, W.; at 6 A.M. a large ship passed so near we could see six feet below her waist from her deck. At 11 A.M. the bark Caroline, of Poole, (Eng.,) came in sight, and at 12, median, she answered our signal and came to our relief. We were employed as usual, heaving cargo overboard, pumping and baling, and the crew getting up spars to rig a jury mast. Began transporting the women passengers into the bark. Our long boat had been stove too bad to repair, but the other boats we could repair sufficient to use them. The captain of the bark sent his boat, and we got about one hundred and forty passengers on board in safety; but a man who attempted in the night to go on board the back by the hawser that we had fast to her fell and was downed. Thursday, 20th–Light airs and baffling; a ship labored incessantly, so as to make it dangerous to stand on deck. The ship Dirigo, Capt. Young, came along and offered every assistance in his power and it was deemed advisable to get the passengers out as soon as possible, as it was evident the ship could not survive. All the boats employed in getting out passengers, provisions and water, and the pumps going. Friday morning–the ship Currituck of Norfolk, Capt. Foster, came up, and the next day all the boats of all the ships were employed till the wind came on to blow too hard to pass any more. All hope of saving the ship was now abandoned, as passengers and crew were worn down with fatigue, and the carpenter reported water up over the cargo in the hold, which was seven and a half feet. Saturday night was a gloomy night; pumps kept going, sent up rockets and burnt blue lights all night, in order that the ships might not lose sight of us. 23d–Thick weather; when it cleared saw Dirigo and a strange bark; they came up in the evening and took some passengers. 24th–The Currituck got back, and these gentlemen (to whom I am under the greatest obligations for their untiring exertions, together with their mates and crew) effected, without loss of an individual, the transportation of the rest of the passengers from the wreck; and we left her, her lower hold half full of water, ad she a perfectly hopeless wreck.

The Black Hawk was a fine vessel of 1,600 tons, and valued at $100,000.

UPDATE (28 February 2020): As I learned from my faithful reader Kathy Brochman Merchant in her comment below, there is more to the story. The log of Captain Harris of the barque Caroline, the first to chance on the floundering ship and render assistance, can be read here: The Wreck of the Black Hawk, Emigrant Ship. Please take the time to read Kathy’s very informative comment.

According to the passenger list, 23 passengers from the Black Hawk died between the time of the rescue and the arrival in New York. All were young children and infants except for a 60-year-old man.

The captain of the Currituck was praised in this short article in The New York Herald dated 8 June 1854.13

Capt. Foster’s fine ship, the Currituck, is to sail to-day or to-morrow for City Point, Virginia, where she has engaged to load with tobacco for Bordeaux, France. The noble conduct of Captain Foster will be long remembered. He was on his way at the time in the Currituck, of 600 tons, with 250 passengers for New York, notwithstanding which he took off 359 souls from the Black Hawk. So great was the crowd that he had to knock in the heads of the water casks to make sleeping places for women and children. After getting 250 on board he parted with the Black Hawk, and lost sight of her. He then put back in search of her, and took off to the number stated. So crowded was his vessel that they all could not stand on deck at the same time, and the captain had to divide them, and give them the temporary use of his deck by turns to get fresh air. Notwithstanding this he was enabled to land them all sound and well. Such conduct deserves all praise.

After finding the articles I wanted to share them here. I continued to search for the family in America after their arrival. By 1860, Jacob had died and left Magdalena (German version of Madelaine) with the seven children living in Big Spring Township in Seneca County, Ohio.14

In 187015 and 188016 only two sons were still living with their mother: Nicolas and the younger John. All of the CORNELY family’s burials were found on Find A Grave. Further research into the rest of the children still needs to be carried out.

A quick search this morning for Catherine CORNELY (1838-1912) turned up the image of her obituary originally shared on 11 June 2018 by Ancestry user (name omitted for privacy) and published in the New Washington Herald (Ohio) on 26 July 1912. I don’t have access to the newspaper and will only quote a short part as I have not contacted the user who shared it on Ancestry. The obituary of Mrs. Catherine DONNERSBACH names her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Jacob CORNELY (née KUNNERT) confirming the family group in my database.

…after a stormy and tempestuous voyage, their ship being wrecked in mid ocean. The deceased and a brother escaping death by drowning after being pushed overboard in the rush on deck, by being picked up by other boats. 

I was happy to learn the entire family picked up by Capt. Foster and the crew of the Currituck survived the journey to New York and to Ohio where the family bought a small farm. However, I was left with a question. Why were young Nicolas and his sister Marie not mentioned on the passenger list? Had they died in Luxembourg or did they perish during the days the passengers were stranded on a sinking ship?

I searched the death record of Differdange and found Marie died at the age of 11 months in 1849.17 Nicolas died at the age of 9 years in February 185418 only a few months before the family began their voyage to America. Although the deaths at a young age are sad, I was relieved to learn they did not perish in the sinking of the Black Hawk.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” index and images, Ancestry, citing Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897, Roll 139, Arrival: 1854 New York, New York, List number 496, Line 304-312, Cornely family. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020) 
  2. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Differdange > Naissances 1881-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1812 > image 678 of 1487. 1831 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6PWS-M8Z?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-JWL%3A129627401%2C130296101 : accessed 28 April 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 446 of 1492. 1832 Birth Record No. 26. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-H37?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 478 of 1492. 1834 Birth Record No. 27. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-7KQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  5. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 507 of 1492. 1836 Birth Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-QZV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 548 of 1492. 1838 Birth Record No. 52. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-CNH?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  7. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 588 of 1492. 1841 Birth Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-TYS?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  8. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 635 of 1492. 1843 Birth Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-R4Z?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  9. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 690 of 1492. 1845 Birth Record No. 59. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-RSY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 773 of 1492. 1849 Birth Record No. 42. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-QF4?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  11. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 817 of 1492. 1851 Birth Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-WV2?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  12. The New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 18 May 1854. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1854-05-18/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 27 February 2020) 
  13. The New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 08 June 1854. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1854-06-08/ed-1/seq-4/ : accessed 27 February 2020) 
  14. 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_1034, Family History Library Film: 805034, Ohio, Seneca County, Big Spring, sheet 42 (stamped) back (42B), page 84, lines 11-18, HH #594-574, Magdalena Cornelia. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  15. 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_1284, Family History Library Film: 552783, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, page 810B, lines 9-11, HH #27-27, Magdaline Cornelius. The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870.  (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  16. 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: 1079, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, Enumeration District 163, page 467B, lines 10-12, HH #193, Magdalena Cornely. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  17. Luxembourg Civil Records, Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 431 of 591. 1849 Death Record No. 25.(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X11-MR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 27 February 2020). 
  18. Ibid., Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 498 of 591. 1854 Death Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X15-X8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 27 February 2020). 

Update: Cupid has been having a busy time…

During the FREE ACCESS weekend of Newspaper.com, I found this article and wrote about it in my last post.

Clipping courtesy of Newspaper.com

Cupid has been having a busy time of it the past eight months in the family of Mrs. Nick Poppelreiter, who resides on a hundred-acre farm in the southern part of Downer’s Grove township. One year ago a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, made their home with their other. One by one they married until only one son was left, Peter Poppelreiter, and during the past week he, too, led his affinity to the altar, making six marriages inside of eight months, or an average of one marriage every forty days.1

I shared the post in the private Poppelreiter Family group on Facebook. Many US descendants of the PÖPPELREITERs of Mürlenbach, Germany, are members of the group as well as Werner LICHTER, my distant PÖPPELREITER cousin who reached out to me after reading my post 52 Ancestors: #36 Bubelreiter, Boppelreuter, Peppelreuter, Pöppelreiter.

Jennifer Spirik, an administrator of the group, quickly caught a mistake I’d made in the post.

She wrote:

Great post! I do have a question. For John A. Poppelreiter you have his wife listed as Gussie Jane Wilson. I have him being married to Elizabeth Seiler. I have no marriage source only that there are two census records on which John is listed with wife Elizabeth. Do you have anything at all to prove this? I certainly don’t want to have my tree incorrect. 

I had mentioned in my post that the marriage date was found on the FamilySearch Family Tree and not sourced. I followed the link I’d saved and found the marriage date was for Elizabeth SEILER. I corrected the error without mentioning the update as Jennifer had caught it within minutes of my posting. Here is the corrected paragraph:

John Aloysius POPPELREITER (1883-1955) married Elizabeth M. SEILER (1881-1958) on 18 June 1902. The marriage date was found on the FamilySearch Family Tree and not sourced. In 1910 the couple is listed as having been married 7 years.

John did not marry Gussie until sometime between 1930 and 1940. This second marriage has not been documented. John, for some reason, dropped the POPPEL from his name and went by John A. REITER from the time of the 1940 census until his death. To further confuse researchers, he had a son who used POPPELREITER and then changed his name to POTTER. Both of these men’s Social Security Applications (per index) indicate the different names they used.2

Some discussions went on in the group about the marriage dates and where the information was found. Several members were looking through their information and sharing.

Today, Carlene Marie Mogavero, another member of the Poppelreiter Family group, shared an image and wrote:

The following is a single page from the church books of St. Alphonsus in Lemont. I’m calling it the Alphonsus Poppelreiter Marriage Extravaganza!

St. Alphonsus marriage register 1902-1903 page 183 courtesy of FamilySearch

Five of the six marriages of the POPPELREITER siblings were recorded on one page! 

The religious marriages that took place on 18 June 1902 (John to Elisabeth M. SEILER), 3 September 1902 (Mary Elizabeth to Charles Paul FINLEY), 1 October 1902 (Katherine Magdalena to Peter Jensen RICKEN), 14 January 1903 (Peter N. to Mary Louise SEILER), and 10 February 1903 (Frank to Margaret HEINZ) are listed above.3

Only William Henry who married Mary P. ZINK on 2 September 1902 was missing as they married in Barton County, Kansas.

The Alphonsus Poppelreiter Marriage Extravaganza! also solves the problem I had concerning who was the last to marry. The marriage records clearly show Frank was the last of the six to marry and not Peter as the writer reported in the article. 

I’d like to thank the members of the Poppelreiter Family group for inviting me to join them, for taking the time to read my posts on the family, and for jumping in and helping with the corrections.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Newspapers.com, database with images, Palatine Enterprise (Palatine, Illinois), Saturday, February 28, 1903, Page 1. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/81730064 : accessed 16 February 2020). 
  2. “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” (index only), Ancestry, citing original data: Social Security Applications and Claims. 
  3. “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch, St. Alphonsus Parish (Lemont) > Baptisms, marriages, deaths, communions, confirmations 1879-1912 > image 96 of 142. Page 183 with entries for five Poppelreiter marriages that took place in 1902 and 1903. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DY27-FMC?cc=1452409&wc=M66L-6WL%3A39668701%2C39688101 : accessed 22 February 2020). 

Cupid has been having a busy time…

Over the years I’ve often used newspapers to add to the stories of my ancestors as well as their collateral lines. I didn’t drop everything because Newspapers.com was offering FREE ACCESS to all papers over the weekend. However, I did do a few quick searches for one unusual surname.

Recently, while searching for PÖPPELREITER immigrants in the US, I bookmarked the search result for Matthew Peppelrite in the Newspapers.com Obituary Index, 1800s-current on Ancestry. At the time, I was seeing an offer for a 7-day free trial but didn’t want to activate it just for the one article I needed. I decided to start a list of things to look up later.

With the FREE ACCESS over the weekend, I downloaded the article and continued to search for POPPELREITER in the newspapers.

I’d like to share this very interesting article which led me to further research the family of my 2C4R.

Cupid has been having a busy time…

Clipping courtesy of Newspaper.com

Cupid has been having a busy time of it the past eight months in the family of Mrs. Nick Poppelreiter, who resides on a hundred-acre farm in the southern part of Downer’s Grove township. One year ago a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, made their home with their other. One by one they married until only one son was left, Peter Poppelreiter, and during the past week he, too, led his affinity to the altar, making six marriages inside of eight months, or an average of one marriage every forty days.1

Nicolaus “Nick” POPPELREITER (1833-1893) was my second cousin four times removed. Our common ancestor was my 5th great-grandfather Peter BUBELREITER (1741-1793). Nick descends through Peter’s son Wilhelmus b. 1763 while I descend through Peter’s son Johann b. 1782. The sons were half-brothers from two marriages.

In 1857 following the death of his mother Anna HAU (1794-1857), Nick and his father Mathias (1798-1870) traveled on the British bark Alberti from Antwerp, Belgium, to New York arriving on 3 June 1857.2 They were the only survivors of the family as three other children had died in infancy.3

In 1860 Nick and Mathias were living in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois.4 Two households away was a young Cathr. STUMP born in Germany and working as a servant. Two months later on 3 September 1860, Nick and Catherine married at Saint Dennis Catholic Church in Lockport, Will County, Illinois.5

Catherine “Kate” STUMPS likely arrived in America on the same ship as her future husband. She was listed with her family just before Mathias and Nikolaus POPPELREITER on the passenger list.6 Families who were related and/or from the same town usually emigrated together. I haven’t followed the STUMPS family. Descendants of Nick and Kate may likely have a better idea of the possibility of Kate being the same person as seen on the passenger list. Also, there is a chance that Nick and Kate were close or distant cousins as Nick’s maternal grandmother was a STUMPS.

Nick and Kate were the parents of ten children, all born in Illinois between 1862 and 1887. It is believed that three of these children died soon after the 1880 census of diphtheria leaving a family of seven children: five boys and two girls.

Nick died on 28 November 18937 at the age of 60 years, leaving his widow Kate with the seven children. The youngest son had turned 6 on the first of the month and the oldest son turned 29 the day after his father’s death.

Six marriages inside of eight months!

I was able to document four of the six marriages mentioned in the newspaper article.

John Aloysius POPPELREITER (1883-1955) married Elizabeth M. SEILER (1881-1958) on 18 June 1902. The marriage date was found on the FamilySearch Family Tree and not sourced. In 1910 the couple is listed as having been married 7 years.

William Henry POPPELREITER (1876-1963) married Mary P. ZINK (1875-1909) on 2 September 1902 in Barton, Kansas. I found a tiny mention in the newspapers that they applied for a marriage license in August 1902 but nothing to support the date.8

Mary Elizabeth POPPELREITER (1879-1969) married Charles Paul FINLEY (1876-1956) on 3 September 1902 in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois.9

Katherine Magdalena POPPELREITER (1880-1969) married Peter Jensen RICKEN (1880-1948) on 1 October 1902 in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois.10

Peter N. POPPELREITER (1872-1905) married Louise Mary SEILER (1884-1944) on 14 January 1903 in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois per trees on Ancestry. I was not able to find proof for this date.

Frank POPPELREITER (1864-1956) married Margaret HEINZ on 10 February 1903 in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois.11

From the first marriage in June 1902 to the last marriage in February 1903, we can count eight months as noted in the article. However, who was the last to marry? Frank as seen in the list above or Peter as stated in the article?  The article published in the February 28 issue of the newspaper clearly states Peter married during the past week. This would be after February 10 when Frank married. The January 14th date for Peter is questionable. I would estimate between February 10-28 until proof of the marriage can be found.

There is also an omission in the article. There were seven living children at the time. The youngest son Simon Lawrence POPPELREITER (1887-1980) was too young to marry and was not mentioned. My initial read-through led to my questioning whether Simon was actually a child of Nick and Kate. In the end, I reckoned the writer of the article deliberately omitted the fact that there was still another child living at home.

What interesting articles did you find during the weekend of FREE ACCESS on Newspapers.com?

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Newspapers.com, database with images, Palatine Enterprise (Palatine, Illinois), Saturday, February 28, 1903, Page 1. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/81730064 : accessed 16 February 2020). 
  2. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database with images, Ancestry, citing records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36, National Archives at Washington, D.C., Microfilm Serial M237, Microfilm Roll 174, List Number 618, Arrival: New York, New York, Year: 1857, British bark Alberti, page 3, lines 43+44, Mathias Poppelreiter (58) and Nicolas (24). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 21 December 2019). 
  3. Heinrich Theodore Weber (+) / Thomas J. Schmitt, compilers, Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrei St. Lucia in Mürlenbach 1803-1899 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V., Bd. 177, Köln 2003), pg. 287-289, Family #1221, Poppelreiter-Hau. Note: The scanned pages I have in my possession may be from an earlier version of the book as page numbers do not correspond with the page numbers in the book from 2003. 
  4. 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_170, History Library Film: 803170, Illinois, Cook County, Lemont, page 376, lines 39-40, HH#2918-2708, Matus Poppelreiter household. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 21 December 2019). 
  5.  “Will County, Illinois, Saint Dennis Catholic Church Vital Records, 1852-1951,” database with images, Ancestry.com, Roll Number: 8. 1860 Poppelreiter-Stumps marriage (right page, 2nd to last entry).(https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 21 December 2019. 
  6. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists 1820-1957,” Microfilm Serial: M237, Microfilm Roll 174, List Number: 618, Arrival: New York, New York, Year: 1857, British bark Alberti, sheet 2, line 36-40 and sheet 3, line 41-42, Stumps family. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 21 December 2019). 
  7. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 21 December 2019), memorial page for Nicholas Poppelreiter (16 Nov 1833–28 Nov 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51941849, citing Saint Alphonsus Catholic Cemetery, Lemont, Cook County, Illinois, USA; Maintained by moisom (contributor 47143156). 
  8. Newspapers.com, The Barton County Democrat (Great Bend, Kansas), Friday, August 15, 1902, page 1, column 5. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/161577086 : accessed 15 February 2020). 
  9. “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920,” index, FamilySearch, citing Illinois Department of Public Health records, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois. Mary E. Poppelreiter, 23, married Charles P. Finley, 25, on 03 Sep 1902 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. 
  10. Ibid., Katherine M. Poppelreiter, 21, married Peter J. Ricken, 22, on 1 Oct 1902 in Lemont, Cook, Illinois. 
  11. Ibid., Frank Poppelrester, 31, married Margaret Heinz, 30, on 10 Feb 1903 in Lemont, Cook, Illinois. 

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2020

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

This is my seventh year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.  I first read about this way of keeping tabs on the progress in my genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014.

My Ancestor Score

In the first eight generations, there were no changes. I’m still missing my 3rd great-grandparents Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY. In generations 9 through 13, new ancestors were found, mostly on my maternal side. In all, I have 81 new ancestors.

Stats for the previous years are included for comparison in the table above and below (for my children).

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s ancestor score reflects the increase in my score as well as new ancestors from their father’s side. Nearly all of their new ancestors were found while I worked on and wrote about their 6th great-grandparents. This research included looking into these ancestors’ parents, grandparents, and, in some cases, even great-grandparents.

Pedigree Collapse

In both of the Ancestor Score charts, I’ve counted at least one ancestral couple several times. Martin FEILEN was counted in the 1656 Feuerstätten-Liste (fireplaces list) for Luxembourg. He and his wife Catharina were my children’s 9th great-grandparents (through son Mathias) on their paternal side. They were also their 9th great-grandparents (through son Mathias and through daughter Kunigunde) and their 10th great-grandparents (through their daughter Kunigunde) on my side! They were each counted four times.

[There are a few more cases of pedigree collapse in the family tree. I haven’t considered reducing the number of possible ancestors in each generation to reflect duplicates.] 

Please leave a link in the comments below if you’ve recently calculated your Ancestor Score. I’d love to take a look.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wishing you a year full of love and meaningful friendships.

The posts from preceding years can be found here:

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Photo Correction: What Happened to the Baby?

Last November I shared the last photo of a Luxembourg family before emigrating to America.

At the annual Genealogy and Local History day hosted by my genealogy society Luxracines last monthNicole gave me two old photographs. They were found at the recycling park and passed on to her as she has an interest in genealogy. As I’ve worked with old photographs and have an interest in researching US families, Nicole thought I might be able to research the family and write a post.

In the post, I was able to identify the MAUER family of Koerich in Luxembourg. The brothers Valentin MAUER and Eugène MAUER had emigrated to America in 1906. Prior to their departure, they had their picture taken with their mother, their sister, and her family.

I wrote to several people who had trees on Ancestry® and heard back from three of them. They’ve received good quality digital scans of the photographs. The first two are descendants of Valentin MAUER and the third of his sister Catherine MAUER who married Andrew KUHNEN in California in 1897 the year after she emigrated. I haven’t looked into how she came to emigrate nearly a decade before her brothers.

I still have the originals and would like to send them to two of the descendants of Valentin MAUER if they are interested in owning the original(s). 

The reason for this post is that I made a mistake in my write-up on photographs.

My mother inadvertently helped me figure out something about the photos which I didn’t catch when I wrote my post. The photos were on the dining room table when she stopped by a week after my post.

Three months later, I’m getting around to correcting my error.

I was showing Mom the photographs and explaining who I had gotten them from. I told her about the MAUER family and how three of the children went to America. With the photos side by side, I was pointing out who was who.

The photographs are nearly identical. The backdrop of the pictures is likely the family home. The same persons are in both photos except for a baby. The woman holding the baby in this photo was probably the mother.

Do you see the mistake I made when I wrote: “except for the baby?”

Here is a close-up of the first:

Back row left to right: Etienne GRETHEN, Catherine MERTES widow of Jean MAUER, Eugène MAUER, and Valentin MAUER. In the front left to right: Anna GRETHEN, her mother Marie-Anne MAUER holding baby Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, and Hélène GRETHEN.

And the second:

On the right in the seconded cropped image, the mother is clearly no longer holding the child. However, I noticed her dress wasn’t dark below the knees as in the first. There’s a blur in front of the mother and to the left of the little girl. This must be the baby I thought was missing in the photo.

Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, born 11 January 1905 in Koerich, was in both pictures with his parents, sisters, uncles, and maternal grandmother.

This may seem like a small thing to write a post about but it’s also a reminder to review previous research. You’ll likely turn up something you missed the first time around.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (Part II)

After Hans Jacob HONEGGER came to America in 1749 he worked off the debts he had accumulated for his passage as well as that of his wife and child who died at sea.

In 1753 at the age of 34 years, he married his second wife Maria GÖTZ (Goetz) in Philadelphia. Their first three sons Jacob, Henry, and Frederick (my 4th great-grandfather) were all born in Philadelphia.

The year following Frederick’s birth, the family of five were in Frederick County, Maryland, where Jacob “bought” land in the spring of 1758 and in the winter of 1761.

Where are the records?

In March 2016 I wrote about how I had found land deeds for another ancestor in Maryland. Following my own directions (it had been nearly four years since I used the site), I went to http://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm.

My first attempts to get into the site on 27 January 2020 brought up a “This site can’t be reached” window. I tried again the next morning and was able to view and download two records I was interested in. For the past week, I’ve been trying to get onto the site but all attempts have failed. I suspect access may not be available to me as I’m in Europe and my getting in on 28 January 2020 was pure luck. I wrote to the Maryland State Archives help desk about the problem. They have forwarded the information to their IT team to see whether there’s a problem that’s within their ability to fix. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I had planned on transcribing the land deeds I found for Hans Jacob HONEGGER and sharing them in this post. That was not to be.

The handwriting and text were, to say the least, difficult. As I worked on the transcription of the 1758 land deed for 56 acres in Frederick County, Maryland, acquired by my ancestor, I found I needed to refer to the 1765 land deed in which he sold the land. As I read the 1765 land deed I found he was selling three tracts of land for a total of 121 acres. I was missing land deeds for two tracts of land (51 acres and 14 acres) acquired in December 1761.

My not being able to access the Maryland State Archives’ site for land deeds frustrated me so much that I put off the work of transcribing the two deeds I’d been able to access.

I went to the Facebook group Maryland Genealogy Network to ask members if they were having problems with the site. All who replied were US-based and were able to access the site. One of the members of the group offered to send me the missing deed(s).

I now have three deeds, each about three pages long. The transcriptions will be done later. For now, I will share the information I gleaned from reading the records.

Jacob HONOCOR acquires 56 acres in Frederick County, Maryland

An indenture dated 10 April 1758 shows Jacob HONOCOR acquired 56 acres in the county of Frederick in Maryland.1

The beginning of the 1758 Indenture courtesy of Maryland State Archives’ MDLANDREC.NET (see footnote 1)
  • Indenture: dated 10 April 1758
  • Grantor: Thomas Taylor, farmer, Frederick County
  • Grantee: Jacob Honocor, carpenter, Frederick County
  • Amount: …in consideration of the sum of twenty-five pounds…
  • Partial description: 56 acres…a part of a tract of land called the resurvey on part of Addition Hazell Thickett in the county afsd…
  • On the back of the deed was the following endorsement:
    Received this 16th day of March 1758 from Jacob Honocor 25 pounds.
  • Caleb Taylor, the wife of Thomas Taylor, acknowledged her consent
  • Alienation Fine: on 10 April 1758 John Darnell received from Jacob Honocor two shillings and three pence sterling as an alienation fine on the 56 acres of Land by Order of Edward Loyd Esqr. Agent of His Lordship the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary of Maryland
  • Clerk: John Darnell – witnessed the deed, the endorsement, and duty paid the same day

Jacob HONOCOR acquires 51 acres and 14 acres in Frederick County

An indenture dated 3 December 1761 shows Jacob HONOCOR acquired 65 acres in the county of Frederick in Maryland.2

The beginning of the 1761 Indenture courtesy of Maryland State Archives’ MDLANDREC.NET (see footnote 2)
  • Indenture: dated 3 December 1761
  • Grantor: Thomas Taylor, farmer, Frederick County
  • Grantee: Jacob Honocor, carpenter, Frederick County
  • Amount: eighteen pounds
  • Partial description: 51 acres…a part of a tract of a resurvey on Mount Pleasant
  • Partial description: 14 acres…another parcel of land of part of a resurvey on Addition to Hazell Thickett
  • On the back of the deed was the following endorsement:
    Received this 3rd day of December 1761 from Jacob Honocor 18 pounds.
  • Caleb Taylor, the wife of Thomas Taylor, acknowledged her consent
  • Alienation Fine: on 3 December 1761 John Darnell received from Jacob Honocor two shillings seven pence half penny sterling as an alienation fine on the 65 acres of Land by Order of Edward Loyd Esqr. Agent of His Lordship the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary of Maryland
  • Clerk: John Darnell – witnessed the deed, the endorsement, and duty paid the same day

Jacob HONNICOR parts with 121 acres in Frederick County

An indenture dated 25 March 1765 shows Jacob HONOCOR did “give, grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff and confirm unto” Frederick Eyson 121 acres in the county of Frederick in Maryland.3

The beginning of the 1765 Indenture courtesy of Maryland State Archives’ MDLANDREC.NET (see footnote 3)
  • Indenture: dated 25 March 1765
  • Grantor: Jacob Honnicor, carpenter, Frederick County
  • Grantee: Frederick Eyson, blacksmith, Frederick County
  • Amount: one hundred and twenty-eight pounds fifteen shillings
  • Partial description: 56 acres…a part of a tract of land called the resurvey on part of Addition Hazell Thickett
  • Partial description: 51 acres…a part of a tract of a resurvey on Mount Pleasant
  • Partial description: 14 acres…another parcel of land of part of a resurvey on Addition to Hazell Thickett
  • Signature: the facsimile of the signature reads: Jacob Honeger
  • On the back of the deed was the following endorsement:
    Received this 20th day of March 1765 from Frederick Eison one hundred and twenty-eight pounds fifteen shillings
  • Mary, the wife of Jacob Honnicor, acknowledged her Right of Dower and consent
  • Alienation Fine: on 25 March 1765  Frederick Eysen paid four shillings ten pence half penny sterling as an alienation fine on the 121 acres of Land by Order of Edward Loyd Esqr. Agent of His Lordship the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary of Maryland
  • Clerk: J. W. Darnell – witnessed the deed, the endorsement, and duty paid the same day

What is an alienation fine and did Jacob own the land?

Maryland was governed under the proprietary system that gave ownership of the soil and jurisdiction over it to the Lord Proprietor. New settlers paid purchase or caution money for the land. In the early days, caution money was at first set at 200 pounds of tobacco for every hundred acres. Land acquired was not owned. It was held in common socage from the Lord Proprietor. Whenever land granted to a tenant was transferred or conveyed to another person, an alienation fine was required to be paid to the Lord Proprietor. The amount of the fine usually was equivalent to a year’s rent.4

I had not planned on doing a second part to the story of Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GÖTZ. However, I wanted to share these land records with other HONAKER descendants. Although I haven’t included full images or complete transcriptions of the records, the footnotes contain enough information to look up the records.

As I was finishing up to this post I received a reply from the MSA Helpdesk. It was pure luck on my part that I was able to access the site last week as out-of-country access to MDLANREC has been restricted due to security concerns.  

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. MDLandRec.Net – A Digital Image Retrieval System for Land Records in Maryland (database with images), Maryland State Archives, Annapolis (online http://mdlandrec.net/), MSA CE 108-3, Frederick County Court (Land Records) 1756-1761, Deed Book F, folio 0429-0431 [3 images]. 1858 Land Deed for 56 acres. (http://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm : accessed 28 January 2020). 
  2. Ibid., MSA CE 108-4, Frederick County Court (Land Records) 1761-1762, Deed Book G, folio 0321 to 0323 [3 images]. 1761 Land Deed for two tracts of land, 51 acres and 14 acres. (http://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm : accessed 4 February 2020). 
  3. Ibid., MSA CE 108-6, Frederick County Court (Land Records) 1763-1767, Deed Book J, folio 1100-1102 [3 images]. 1765 Land Deed for three tracts of land totaling 121 acres. (http://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm : accessed 28 January 2020). 
  4. Elisabeth Hartsook, Gust Skordas, Land Office and Prerogative Court records of colonial Maryland (Annapolis, Maryland : Hall of Records Commission, 1946); imaged, FamilySearch  (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/146058?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 6 February 2020) > “Land Office and Prerogative Court records of colonial Maryland” catalog entry > “click here” > “View All Pages 127 pages.” > page 13.