Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

The phrase “luck of the Irish” is an American term and not of Irish origin. So on St. Patrick’s Day let’s just say it was the luck of the Irish that dropped a new key in my lap that helped me open a door in an Irish-American brick wall this weekend.

The Irish Surname: DEMPSEY

The Key: The Chancery Records Index – archival processing and indexing projects overseen by the Library of Virginia.

My 3rd great-grandfather Seaton Y. DEMPSEY had three brothers, one of them being Wesley G. DEMPSEY who lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, from a little after 1850 until his death in 1890. In the Chancery Records Index I found three bunches of court papers referring to him in 1861, 1876, and 1895. Per the last bunch Wesley had no children or descendants of children, no mother, no father, no brothers or sisters living when he died in 1890.

The papers show that he had a nephew John E. Dempsey, a niece Jennie Terry (née Dempsey), two great-nieces Fannie Montgomery (née Dempsey) and Eliza A. Maxwell (née Dempsey) and a great-nephew W. E. Dempsey. All were living in Rockbridge County except for J. E. Dempsey, a non-resident. These are not all known nephews and nieces who were living at the time but very likely the ones with whom he had the most contact.

Note: John E. was the son of Wilson M. DEMPSEY and the great-nieces and great-nephew were the children of William S. Dempsey, s/o Seaton Y. DEMPSEY.

The Brick Wall:
Jennie Terry, wife of Marshall S. Terry, was a new name. I searched for them in the census and found Jennie with her husband in 1870 to 1910 as Geneve, Janie E., and Jane E. I checked the stray Dempsey individuals in my gedcom file as the name sounded familiar. Jenna Dempsey, pauper with 3 young daughters, was found in Amherst County in the 1860 census. I had never been able to trace this family group forward nor backward. I believed that in some way they must be connected to my Seaton Y. DEMPSEY as his wife and Jenna’s oldest daughter were named Clementine. The other two daughters were twins. They matched a set of twins listed with the Terry surname in Marshall Terry’s household in 1870.

By 1860 Seaton had moved with his family to Fayette County, West Virginia. All children seen with him in 1850 were with him in 1860 except for Elizabeth (1850 age 14) and William S. Dempsey who was seen with his wife in Rockbridge County. I believe that Elizabeth was the middle name of Jennie/Geneve/Janie E./Jane E. To possibly prove this a marriage record for Marshall S. Terry and his wife Jennie Dempsey needs to be found. Per 1900 and 1910 census they had been married 34 and 41 years, i.e. about 1866-1869.

The hunt continues but this little wall is tumbling.

© 2013 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Robert CARROLL b. abt. 1783 d. bet. 1860-1870

Door 11With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, here is a possible Irish brick wall. According to Irish genealogists the great majority of people called CARROLL are, in fact, O’CARROLLs.

Robert and Anne CARROLL lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, as seen in the 1810, 1820, and 1830 census. In 1831 Floyd County was formed from Franklin and Montgomery counties. In 1840 the family was seen in Floyd County. I believe they lived in an area that was Montgomery and became Floyd County. Robert and Anne have not been located in 1850. It is possible that Anne died and Robert was moving around as some younger CARROLL individuals have been found with other families. In 1860 Robert was seen in Montgomery County with several of these younger CARROLL relatives.

Known sons are John, Joseph R., and Robert R.; known daughters are Elizabeth, Mary “Polly”, and Catherine (all three married to sons of my Henry RUPE); several more daughters were born to this couple per pre-1850 census listings. Further research needs to be done on the younger CARROLLs found with Robert in 1860.

Polly was the last of the children to die in 1909 at the age of 101. Sally Rowe, a ROOP/RUPE researcher, wrote in 1986, “Story says her father brought her to U.S. as a child from Germany but that conflicts with other data.” This statement is not further discussed. The 1880 and 1900 census show that she and her parents were born in Virginia.

At the same time as Robert CARROLL lived in the Montgomery/Floyd area there was also a George Valentine CORRELL b. 1781 in Germany. The similarity of these surnames has made it difficult to research the families. The family story noted by Sally Rowe also complicates matters.

In 1810 a Samuel CARROLL age over 45 (b. bef. 1765) was living in Montgomery County. In his household was a woman, most likely his wife, age over 45 and three males between 16-25 years old (b. bet. 1785-1794). Could this family group have been Robert’s parents and brothers? Samuel was not in the county in 1820. Did he move or die? Who were the three young men in his household?

Were Robert CARROLL and/or Samuel CARROLL in anyway related to the following man?

Charles CARROLL (1737-1832), a wealthy Maryland planter whose grandfather was Irish-born, served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later as first United States Senator for Maryland. He was the longest-lived (and last surviving) signatory of the Declaration of Independence, dying at the age of 95.

Brick Wall – Zachariah PETERS

Door 9Zachariah PETERS was born between 1766-1770 in Amherst County, Virginia, and died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. Although much genealogy research has been done on him, his parents are to date not known.

Paula Kelley Ward, who is to be credited for her work on this family, hired Andrew S. Webb, of Lineages, Inc., to do research in 2001-2002. After seven sessions of research Mr. Webb concluded that circumstantial evidence suggests that John PETERS was the father of Zachariah PETERS as well as James PETERS and Elisha PETERS.

“William Elisha PETERS born in Bedford county, Virginia, August 18, 1829, son of Elisha PETERS, a successful agriculturist and planter of Bedford county, and Cynthia Turner, his wife; grandson of the Rev. William PETERS, a minister of the Church of England, who came from England to this country, settling in Virginia in 1750, and his death occurred in 1773.” This statement found in a biographical sketch of William Elisha Peters contradicts the conclusion drawn by Mr. Webb.
[Source: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume III, VII–Prominent Persons; Virginia Biographical Encyclopedia [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. Richmond, VA, USA: n.p., 1915. Online at ancestry.com]

Was John PETERS Jr. or Rev. William PETERS the father of Zachariah PETERS?

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=meder-dempsey&id=I19191

William DEMPSEY b. abt. 1779 d. bef. 20 June 1836

Door 8This is not a repeat posting of a brick wall. I have two DEMPSEY lines with a William DEMPSEY – both are brick walls.

William DEMPSEY was first seen in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799 when his mother Susannah DEMPSEY gave consent for his marriage to Patsy LANDRUM [Hurrah! for marriage consents].
He was on the 1800 Tax List and 1810 & 1820 census for Amherst. He bought land in that county in 1810 and is mentioned in land deeds for land that adjoined his property up until 1830.
On 29 June 1835 the “Lynchburg Virginian” published a notice of Martha DEMPSEY’s death on 27 September 1834 with a request for the papers in the state of Ohio to publish the information for Mr. William DEMPSEY, the husband of the deceased, who was supposed to be somewhere in that state. A year later, as William did not return home, a bond was filed making Wilson DEMPSEY the administrator of William DEMPSEY’s estate. The division of the estate was well documented as court records were found from 1836 until 1848 when the suit was discontinued. These records show that his children were Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. (wife of Simeon J. Burch), and Eliza (wife of Patrick H. Rowsey).
Did William go to Ohio with his son Coleman who lived in Ross County, OH, from 1830 until 1854 when the family immigrated to Missouri?
Were Jane DEMPSEY, wife of Allen CAMERON (md. 1795) and Tandy DEMPSEY, husband of Nancy THOMPSON (md. 1801) William’s siblings?
Was William DEMPSEY, a man who had land in Amherst in 1771, the husband of Susannah?
Were John and Jane DEMPSEY, a planter and his wife who lived in Amherst as seen in court records from 1762 to 1768, the parents-in-law of Susannah?
Hopefully these questions will one day be answered.
A special thank you to Norma Dempsey for sharing the court and land records!

Hans Jacob HONEGGER – not really a brick wall

Door 10Few families know their history as well as the descendants of Hans Jacob Honegger (Honaker), a Swiss-German immigrant who sailed to Philadelphia in 1749. Credit is given to:
– Nadine W. Larson who researched Honegger’s ancestors and wrote “Hans Jacob Honaker – From Switzerland to America”, 1987, 249 pgs.
– Frieda Patrick Davison who edited “Honaker Family in America” (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD, Copyright 1998 by The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families)
– The National Association of Hans Jacob Honaker Families as they continue to make annual updates to the above book as well as publishing a quarterly newsletter.

My line is through Hans Jacob’s son Frederick Honaker who married Rachel Wiseman. They are buried in Rehoboth Church Cemetery, Union, Monroe County, West Virginia.

**I am hoping that one day FamilySearch.org will have the images of the Swiss records online so that I can see the documents that Nadine used to add 8 generations to his family tree back to the 1500s.

Working on either side of a brick wall

Door 4“I have not made a positive connection from my earliest CLONCH ancestry (Dennis CLONCH of Kanawha County, (West) Virginia to the emigrant Hieronymus GLANTZ).” ~ Ralph L. Hayes [see comment/link below]

The late M. L. “Matt” Claunch of Brownsville, Texas,(manuscript compiled in 1985) & Ralph L Hayes are to be credited for all of the work done to connect Hieronymus GLANTZ (a.k.a. Jeremiah CLAUNCH) to Dennis CLONCH using tithe lists, tax rolls and lists, levies, land records and surveys, debt collections, ordinary licenses, and court records. The surname spellings in these records: Glantz, Clonch, Claunch, Clansh, Clanch, Clounch.

I believe that several more children were born to Jeremiah CLAUNCH and his wife Erna Barbara MACK than are listed in my database. Sons may have named their sons after Jeremiah causing much confusion as several Jeremiah’s show up along the path of records found. The lineage: 4. Dennis CLONCH, 3. Jeremiah CLAUNCH Jr., 2. Jeremiah CLAUNCH Sr., and 1. Hieronymus GLANTZ (a.k.a. Jeremiah CLAUNCH) is an assumption on my part. After evaluating the data contributed by Matt and Ralph I find that there must have been 4 generations and not just 3 as previously seen.

It’s time for a fresh point of view. Could research into the collateral lines be the answer? Dennis CLONCH is believed to have had 4 brothers and 2 sisters.

Jeremiah SIMS 1730-1768 Culpeper County, Virginia

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

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

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

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

A Visit at the Luxracines stand at the local mall

logo_klengI visited a genealogy exposition in a mall in Luxembourg City yesterday. There was a specific area in my research in Luxembourg that I didn’t know how to go about. I asked one of the persons working the stand for help. I’d brought along my pedigree, including links to my gedcom file, on a USB stick. After giving me a few tips he offered to help me out with a specific family and gave me his email address. I recognized it immediately. I had the pleasure to meet face to face with Rob Deltgen. I told him that I’ve referred to his database many times for my Luxembourg families. While looking over my pedigree he clicked on one individual which took him to “Opening Doors in Brick Walls” at RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project. He said, “You’re Cathy Meder! We’ve emailed each other. And you’re active on many forums!” Wish it were so easy to meet up with my genealogy contacts in the USA.

P.S. A month later I joined the genealogy society Luxracines.

© 2013 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Chiseled in stone: “Veuve Schloesser 1800-1889”

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2013 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

“I found the ship!”

Door 1“I found the ship!”

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

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

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

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