Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

Last Sunday I gave feedback to Ancestry on my ThruLines™. As I was writing the feedback message I realized it might be good material for a blog post. At the end of the feedback message, I let them know I might use it in a post.

Dear Ancestry, My Feedback on the Step Relationship Bug in ThruLines sat around in my drafts until Wednesday. I took a few moments to check my ThruLines™ as I’ve done every few days since they came out – getting more and more irritated.

Wowsers! Those ugly grrr!! images I’d added to my great-grandfather’s step-mother and all of her ancestors are missing.

Could it be Ancestry took my feedback into consideration and got the step-relationships fixed? Had they been ready to roll out a fix before or after I sent my feedback? Does it matter? Well, yes, I would like to know why it happened so quickly following the feedback I gave. I want to know if this step relationship bug in the ThruLines™ was solved for everyone or just for me.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

I’m seeing Milla Susan PETERS as my great-great-grandmother. I’ve been hoping to see her ever since they gave me Nancy Elizabeth JOHNSON, the 2nd wife of Gordon Washington ROOP, as a potential 2nd-great-grandmother showing half-cousins as full cousins.

Why, you ask, was I so excited about one ancestor being corrected? One right ancestor means I should be seeing her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents in my ThruLines™. All of these ancestors are from lines with many descendants who have had their DNA tested.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

Although Milla Susan’s ThruLines shows only two DNA matches, the next generations have many more matches:

  • 107 DNA matches through Jordan N. PETERS (father of Milla Susan)
  • 33 DNA matches through Rachel PROFFITT (mother of Milla Susan)
  • 68 DNA matches through Zachariah PETERS (father of Jordan)
  • 129 DNA matches through Kesiah LIVELY (mother of Jordan)
  • 113 DNA matches through David PROFFITT (father of Rachel)
  • 110 DNA matches through Sarah COCKRAM (mother of Rachel)
  • 123 DNA matches through Joseph LIVELY (father of Kesiah)
  • 128 DNA matches through Mary L. CASH (mother of Kesiah)
  • 97 DNA matches through Augustine “Austin” PROFFITT (father of David)
  • 97 DNA matches through Elizabeth “Betsy” ROBERTSON (mother of David)
  • 231 DNA matches through Edward COCKRAM (father of Sarah)
  • 232 DNA matches through Mary WORTHAM (mother of Sarah)

It’ll take time to confirm each match is a descendant of the ancestor he/she is listed under as the lines down are only as reliable as the trees ThruLines™ uses to make the connection. The large number of matches for the PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines was expected due to the families being large and having many descendants.

But wait! Not only was the step-relationship corrected for Milla Susan PETERS, but I am now seeing  <<drumroll>>

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as my 2nd great-grandparents. They’ve been missing from the ThruLines™ since they came out.

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

William is my most frustrating brick wall. Sarah Ann’s branch and all matches associated with it are very important. I hope they will help me to sort out all the matches for her side.  This would leave only matches which will point to William’s unknown parents and ancestry. At least that is the way I believe it should work. ThruLines™ is showing potential parents for him which I cannot accept at this time.

Sarah Ann WOOD’s ancestry is bringing in many matches which will also have to be verified.

  • 41 DNA matches through William A. W. DEMPSEY.
  • 45 DNA matches through Sarah Ann WOOD (wife of William A. W.)
  • 87 DNA matches through Elijah WOOD (father of Sarah Ann)
  • 93 DNA matches through Rachel HONAKER (mother of Sarah Ann)
  • 92 DNA matches through William WOOD (father of Elijah)
  • 90 DNA matches through Mary Ann McGRAW (mother of Elijah)
  • 162 DNA matches through Frederick HONAKER (father of Rachel)
  • 154 DNA matches through Rachel WISEMAN (mother of Rachel)
  • 70 DNA matches through Bailey WOOD (father of William)
  • 95 DNA matches through Nancy _____ (mother of William)
  • 147 DNA matches through Martin McGRAW (father of Mary Ann)
  • 109 DNA matches through Margaret “Polly” _____ (mother of Mary Ann)
  • 173 DNA matches through Hans Jacob HONEGGER (father of Frederick)
  • 30 DNA matches through Maria GOETZ (mother of Frederick)
  • 202 DNA matches through Isaac WISEMAN (father of Rachel)
  • 204 DNA matches through Elizabeth DAVIS (mother of Rachel)

Another New Feature

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

ThruLines™ are now connected to the tree linked to a DNA test. On the pedigree view of the tree, there is now a DNA symbol in on the left to turn on this feature which adds a little blue ThruLines™ icon next to the ancestors’ names. William, Sarah, and Milla are ThruLines™ ancestors but in the pedigree view above they haven’t been updated. I discovered this about the same time my ThruLines™ were fixed on Wednesday.

Did the feedback I sent on Sunday to Ancestry on the ThruLines™ help them to get this fixed? I will likely never know. But I believe this was a lesson in giving the best feedback possible to help the team to get ThruLines™ working correctly. As I wrote in my feedback to them, ThruLines™ could be a powerful tool.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Sarah’s Name

True's statementMy series of posts for Black History Month on the slaves owned by my 5th
great-grandfather James SIMS 1754-1845 gave Schalene Jennings Dagutis of
Tangled Roots and Trees the wonderful idea of creating a Slave Name Roll Project. I plan to do a similar post with slaves names on a monthly basis until I’ve been able to RELEASE all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I am RELEASING Sarah and 19 other slaves.

My 5th great-grandfather Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) died intestate in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1793. (Note: The area he lived in is now part of Nelson County, Virginia.) Letters of administration were granted his son Mark LIVELY on 22 October 1793 with John HILL and William HILL as bondsmen.

An inventory of the estate of Joseph LIVELY made on 16 December 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George.

I don’t have the original documents or a transcript which would most likely include, if the slaves were sold, the names of the purchasers. Or did they remain with the widow and/or the children? On 19 August 1797 the Joseph LIVELY estate sale was held and a few relatives and many neighbors bought items. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst County probate records.
[Source: Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450]

Moving back in time, Joseph LIVELY paid personal property taxes in Amherst County from 1782 to 1793. Personal property included one slave who was most likely the  “old negro woman Sarah” mentioned in the inventory of his estate in 1793. I believe this name and her being an older woman are important. Was Betty her daughter and George her grandson?

Joseph LIVELY was married to Mary L. CASH, a daughter of Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON. Howard CASH left a very detailed will in 1772 in which he named 17 slaves, including “a negro wench named Sarah” who was given to his daughter Mary LIVELY. Was the “wench named Sarah” in 1772 the same person as the “old woman Sarah” in 1793 and was she sold in 1797? If Betty and George were part of her family, did they remain with her?

Below is the abstract of Robert Howard CASH Sr.’s will which includes the slave names: Joseph, Cate, James, Charles, Sall, Dinah, Dick, David, Phil, Dick, Sarah, James, Fillis, Peg, John, Ralph, and Nell. This brings the total to 20 slave names for this post.

WILL OF HOWARD CASH of Amherst County, Virginia [Will Bk 1:228-231].
As abstracted from microfilm by Thelma Faye Cain Prince (website is no longer online)

In the name of God Amen.  I, Howard CASH, of the county of Amherst, being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect state of mind and memory and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament.

First, I lend my wife, Ruth, eight negroes during her natural life, namely, Joseph, Cate, James, Charles, Sall, Dinah, Dick, and David.

Item.  I lend to my beloved wife during her life the land and plantation whereon I live, which said land and negroes  I lend to my wife during widowhood or natural life.

Item.  I give to my son, Joel, one hundred acres land joining the land on which he lives and 2 negroes named [at this point there is a slight error in the transcription, a condensed version found includes the name Phil. It is possible that more than the name is missing, perhaps an entire line] Dick, a boy, I give to my grandson, Howard, the son of Joel CASH, after the death of my son, Joel, to him and his heirs forever.

Item.  I give to my daughter, Mary LIVELY, a negro wench named Sarah.

Item.  I give to my son, Benjamin, 400 acres land adjacent to land that is at present the property of Capt.  Aaron Higginbotham, and the land whereon I now live, also a negro fellow named James, whom I purchased of W. Thomas Mitchell.

Item.  I lend to my daughter, Rosanna, a negro wench named Fillis during her life and after her decease to my grandson, Micajah (her and her increase to him and his heirs forever).

Item.  I lend to my daughter Ann POWELL, a negro wench named Peg during her life and after her decease to the heirs of her body and if she dies without issue my will is that the said negro her increase may descend to the children of my daughter, Rosanna.

Item.  I give to my son, Robert, 240 acres land lying between the land whereon I live and Stephen Cash’s  land, moreover, I give to my son, Robert, 400 acres land which I left to my wife, after her decease, a negro boy named John and also a bed and furniture and 2 cows.

Item.  I give to my daughter, Mary Ann, a negro boy named Ralph and also a bed and furniture and a cow and a calf.

Item.  My will and desire is that my daughter, Elizabeth NUCKLES, may have 30 pounds to be raised out of my estate which I have willed to my wife, to be paid in ten years by an order for 3 pounds a year upon some merchant as soon as it becomes due.  I give to my daughter, Ruth, a negro girl named Nell and her increase to her and her heirs for ever and also a bed and furniture and a cow and a calf.

Item.  I give to my son, Stephen, 5 shillings and I give to my daughter Sarah MANZE (sic, MAYS), 5 shillings.

Item.  My will after the decease of my wife, Ruth, is that two negroes, James and Charles, may descend to my son,  Joel, and Joseph and Cate to my son, Benjamin, and two negroes, Sall and Davie, to my son, Robert.

Item.  My will is that after the decease of myself and my wife, the increase of Sall if any may be equally divided between my daughters, Mary Ann and Ruth, and if either of said daughters should depart this life unmarried or before they arrive to lawful age, the survivor of them should possess the issue of the negro woman.

Item.  The residue of my estate which I have not already devised may go to my beloved wife during her life and after her decease to be equally divided between my three sons, Joel, Benjamin, and Robert.

Item.  I do not desire that my estate be appraised and I appoint my beloved wife, executrix, and my sons, Joel, Benjamin, and Robert, executors of this last Will and Testament.

Test:  Roderick McCulloch David Crawford           s/Howard CASH (seal)
28 Feb. 1772

Sworn to by the oaths of Roderick McCulloch and David Crawford and ordered to be recorded.  To executors, Ruth CASH, Joel CASH, Benjamin CASH, and Robert CASH, a certificate granted them for obtaining probate in due form, which they with Richard Powell, Gabriel Penn, their securities, entered into and acknowledged bond of 2000 pounds.   s/Edmund Wilcox, Clerk of Court.
6 Oct. 1772.  Amherst Co. Va.

ADMINISTRATION OF RUTH CASH [Amherst Co. Va.  Order Bk 1782-84:205-206] On the motion of Hendrick Arnold, Adm. of the estate of Ruth CASH, Dec’d is granted him, who with Caleb Higginbotham, his Security entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of One Thousand Pounds, took the Oath required by law and ordered to be recorded.
March Court 1784

Jacob Symth, John Karr, Nathaniel Hill and John Hill (or any 3 of them) they being first sworn are appointed to appraise in current money the slaves and personal estate of Ruth CASH deceased and return an inventory thereof to this court.

Note: The will has been found attached to family trees without credit being given to the person who transcribed it. I believe that Thelma Faye Cain Prince originally did the transcription work and would like to give her credit. Permission to use this abstract was requested 28 March 2015 through Thelma F. Prince’s guestbook on her website Our Southern Ancestors (no longer online as of 25 May 2016). The entry does not show up in the guestbook as of 29 March and is most likely awaiting moderation. I also sent an email to Mrs. Prince at an address used in 2006 on the 29th – it has not bounced.

If you have images or photocopies of this will, I would appreciate hearing from you. I believe a line may be missing in the will abstract as noted in red above. I have not done very much research on my CASH and LIVELY lines as documentation is not easily accessible due to my location.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY

“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #47 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY

An interesting tidbit for cousins who like to find royalty and celebrities in their family tree: My 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY’s maternal grandparents, Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON, were the 5th great-grandparents of “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century,”[1] John R. “Johnny” CASH.

Johnny Cash was also an amateur genealogist. His interest was piqued by a chance encounter with Major Michael Crichton-Stuart on a transatlantic flight in the 1970s. The then Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace in Fife explained how abundant the CASH name was in Fife. Johnny Cash visited the Major several times in Scotland to fill in the gaps in his paternal CASH family tree which goes back to the 11th century.[2]

Clipped from “Virginia 1751 Map” drawn by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1751, United States Digital Map Library, a USGenWeb Archives project, online : accessed 23 Nov 2014

Johnny CASH’s first cousin five times removed, my 4th great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY was the youngest child of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary L. CASH (1740-1793). Both of her parents were likely born in Goochland County, Virginia. Many family trees have Albemarle as the place of birth however if we consult the formation of the Virginia counties we see that Albemarle was not formed until 1744 from Goochland. Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years were during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 Feb 1763). They married before 1761, the year of the formation of Amherst County from Albemarle. If a marriage record ever existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed along with all order books except the first and many loose papers between 1748 and 1781, by British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.[3]

1782 Personal Property Tax List of Amherst County, VIrginia, page 6; online
1782 Personal Property Tax List of Amherst County, VIrginia, page 5; online

In 1782, when the first personal property taxlists were taken in Virginia, Joseph LIVELY and his oldest son Joseph were both on the list. They were not listed as Sr. and Jr. The first listing above would be for Joseph Sr. with 1 tithable, 1 slave, 27 cattle, and 12 horses. His son Joseph Jr. had 3 cattle and 2 horses. In the years after, from 1783 to 1793, when Joseph and Mary’s sons turned 16 but not yet 21 years of age, they were seen in Joseph’s tax assessment. Below, in 1790 Robert, Benjamin, and John were seen with Joseph and his oldest son was seen as Joseph Jr.

1790 Personal Property Tax List for Amherst County, Virginia, page 16; online
1790 Personal Property Tax List for Amherst County, Virginia, page 15; online

“Joseph paid taxes in Amherst Co. in 1782 and 1783 on 398 and 400 acres and from 1787 to 1793 on 398 acres. His estate paid taxes on the 398 acres in 1794. Joseph Lively received 400 acres of land on Thresher’s Creek in Amherst Co. adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade on 4 Aug 1777. This land Joseph and wife Mary deeded to Robert Cash of Amherst Co. on 5 Mar 1780. Another tract of 400 acres on Dutch Creek in Amherst Co. was purchased by Joseph from John Harmer on 1 Sept 1782 and sold by Joseph and wife Mary to William Cabell on 1 Jan 1787 (Amherst Co. Deeds, D:447, E:218, F:110). The origin of the remaining 398 acres has not been determined and may have been a land grant.“[4]

Not being able to go to the courthouse or archives in Virginia to research land records I often use the Library of Virginia’s Land Office Grants database:


1782landdocJoseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of the Dutch Creek in Amherst County in 1782. This would be the land mentioned above that he sold to William Cabell in 1787. I will let John F. Vallentine continue as he compiled the following information:

“Joseph died intestate in Amherst Co. (now Nelson Co.), Va., in 1793 (Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450). Letters of administration were granted to Mark Lively, a son, on 22 Oct 1793 with John Hill and William Hill as bondsmen. An inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively made on 16 Dec 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George. The Joseph Lively estate sale on 19 Aug 1797 listed a few of the relatives and many neighbors as purchasers. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst Co. probate records.

That the 398 acres remaining in the possession of Joseph Lively at the time of his death was later divided into 9 tracts of approximately 44 acres is shown by subsequent land sales recorded in the Amherst Co. Deeds. Eight of the heirs of Joseph Lively have been identified by this means. The same eight heirs are recorded in a common sale of personal property in Albemarle Co. belonging to Joseph’s estate (Albemarle Co. Order Books, 1795-8:331). What happened to the remaining 9th part or 44 acres in the estate partition is uncertain. No mention of Joseph’s wife Mary after his death has been found. The 398-acre tract was located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek.”[4]

The eight identified heirs of Joseph LIVELY mentioned in the above excerpt were all born before the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775- 14 Jan 1784):

  • Sib 1: Joseph LIVELY (1761-1838) born 16 June 1761 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Sarah “Salley” TILLER on 4 November 1784 in Amherst County. Joseph died on 11 May 1838.
  • Sib 2: Benjamin LIVELY (1762-1797) born about 1762 in Amherst County, Virginia. Benjamin was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father and as a taxpayer in 1795, 1796, and 1797 on 44 acres. He was not found later and it has been assumed that he died after 1797. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Benjamin was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774. As he was seen as a taxpayer in 1795-1797 he would have been born 1774 or earlier.
  • Sib 3: John LIVELY (1764- ) born about 1764 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. John married Clara CARNALL on 19 August 1794 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As John was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
  • Sib 4: Mark LIVELY (1766-1857) born 11 January 1766 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married Mary HILL on 30 November 1791 in Amherst County. He was on the 1799 Amherst tax list. He died on 23 November 1857 in Taylor County, Kentucky.
  • Sib 5: Robert Cash LIVELY (1768- ) born about 1768 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was on the Amherst tax lists in 1790 with his father. He married Elizabeth BETHEL on 20 August 1793 in Amherst County. Note: the estimated year of birth is from Livelys of America, 1690-1968. As Robert was with his father in 1790 he must have been born between 1769-1774.
  • Sib 6: Ruth LIVELY (1770- ) born about 1770 in Amherst County, Virginia. She married William GRIFFIN on 17 June 1793 in Amherst County.
  • Sib 7: Nancy LIVELY (1772- ) born about 1772 in Amherst County, Virginia. Nancy Lively Married Peter JOHNSON on 5 April 1794 in Amherst County, Virginia.
  • Kesiah LIVELY born about 1774 in Amherst County, Virginia.

Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY died before 22 October 1793 in Amherst County. It is possible that his wife Mary L. CASH predeceased him as she is not mentioned after his death. At the time of Joseph’s death his two youngest daughters, Nancy and Kesiah, and his son John were not yet married.

A little over a year after Joseph LIVELY’s death his youngest daughter Kesiah LIVELY was married to Zachariah PETERS by Rev. Ezekiel Campbell on 18 November 1794 in Amherst County.[5]

Kesiah gave birth to her first child, my 3rd great-grandfather, Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) on 10 October 1796 in Amherst County. A month later she and her husband Zachariah sold her share of her father’s estate, 1/9th of the 398 acres he left.

1796 November 21:
Zachariah Peters and his wife, Keziah, sold 44 acres in Amherst County, Virginia, for £60 (60 pounds) to William Loving.
Deed abstract: Deed Book H, p. 126.  21 November 1796.  WM. GRIFFIN & wife RUTH; ZACH. PETERS & wife KEZIAH, AC, to WM. LOVING, AC, (Orig. del. to WL, 26 Jun 1798) for 60 pounds, S branches Rucker’s Run – 2 adj. tracts.  Lines: grantee, where he lives; part of tract of JOSEPH LIVELY, dec’d, and upon equal division to RUTH & KEZIAH by JOS. LIVELY as his legatees by settlement – 44 acres each.  (Note discrepancy in acres) Page 127, order to quiz wives done and rec. 23 Nov 1796.  Wit:  JOS. LOVING, JAS. HANSBROUGH, JNO. BRYANT, JNO. STAPLES.[6]

Before leaving Amherst County for Franklin County, Kesiah and Zachariah had two daughters and another son. The names are only known for Mary and William. The other daughter remains a mystery.

The move to Franklin County occured after Zachariah was seen on the 1803 Amherst tax list. Kesiah then gave birth to Betsy about 1805 and Lucy about 1807. She also had two sons, one born between 1801-1810 whose his identity is not known, and the other being Willis born on 23 April 1808. Note: The unknown son may fit in between William b. abt. 1798 and Betsy b. abt. 1805.

After the enumeration of the 1810 census Kesiah had four more children: Joseph born 10 December 1810, a male and a female child both born between 1811-1815, and her youngest, Susannah born about 1815.

Following the birth of her last child Kesiah’s brood of a dozen children began to shrink as the oldest children began to marry. She saw the following six marry before the 1830 census.

Kesiah LIVELY  and her spouse Zachariah PETERS died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. It is not known who preceded whom. It is likely that they both saw their youngest known son Joseph PETERS marry Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia (surety John Powers) as this was shortly after the 1830 census in which both were found.

Following Kesiah’s death, her youngest daughter Susannah married and two of her sons were widowed, one twice, and remarried.

[2] Celtic connection as Cash walks the line in Fife, Scotland on Sunday (The Scotsman) updated on 5 June 2006, accessed 22 Nov 2014.
[3] Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records, in Library of Virginia (accessed 22 Nov 2014).
[4] Vallentine, John F. Livelys of America, 1690-1968. n.p.: National Association of Lively Families, 1971. FHL Book 929.273 L748v. As seen on Anna Young’s gedcom file “Our Family Tree” last updated 6 May 2007]
[5] William Montgomery Sweeny, Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia 1763-1800 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973). Paula K. Ward, email dated 21 Nov 2004, her source: letter dated 1978 to PKW from Mrs. Gertrude C. Mann, Rocky Mount, Virginia]
[6] Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1807, and Albemarle County, Virginia, 1748-1763, Southern Historical Press, 1979, pages 126-127.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey