Rewriting the Biography: Margaret SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

Margaret, also known as Peggy, was the second daughter of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. She was with her parents at the time of the 1810 and 1820 census. The family was in Kanawha in 1810 and Nicholas in 1820. They did not move – the county lines changed in 1818 with the formation of Nicholas County.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

In 1810 Margaret fell into the under 10 years of age range with two of her sisters, Sarah and Milly. This wide range puts her possible year of birth at between 1801-1810.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia, for James Simms

1810 U.S. Federal Census1
Kanawha County, Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 23
Name: James Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (James Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Margaret, Sarah, and Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Numbers of Slaves: 5 (Isaac, Black Jude, Black Fanny, Robert, and unknown)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

In 1820 Margaret fell into the 10 thru 15 years of age range with Sarah. This narrows the range of her possible year of birth from between 1801-1810 to between 1805-1810. I question this as only two daughters were 10 or older while in 1810 there were three daughters under 10 (including Milly).

Margaret and Sarah would not live long enough to be included on an 1850 or later census listing with more exact ages. I have always listed Margaret who married first as older than Sarah but this is only an assumption on my part. The four daughters of James SIMS were born after his oldest son James Jr. (b. abt. 1801) and before the three youngest sons (b.  abt. 1815, 1818, and 1821) were born. Of the four daughters, we know Milly was born about 1807 and Jane about 1810 (after the 1810 census) per census 1850 and later. This leaves the time period from 1802 to 1806 for the births of the two oldest daughters, Margaret and Sarah.

Can the 1820 census be considered accurate? It appears to have been prepared by one person, light writing, with corrections or additions added in darker writing. Was there a mix-up in the columns?

1820 U.S. Federal Census2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Mildred and Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret and Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Margaret SIMS and Matthew HUGHES were married on 21 November 1822 in Nicholas County, Virginia, by Isaac REYNOLDS. Per the 1820 census, she would have been between 12 and 17 years of age when she married. Could the age range in 1820 be incorrect? The range in 1830 is much larger placing her age at 20 thru 29, i.e. married between 12 and 21 years of age. By 1830 Margaret had given birth to a son and three daughters.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Nicholas County,  Virginia
Sheets 181A and 181B, line
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Matthew Hughes
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1840-1848)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Matthew)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Susan & unknown, died bef. 1848)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1830-1840)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Margaret)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 6

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Margaret and Matthew had a total of eight children by 1840. The census listing shows only seven were living in 1840. Margaret, as well as her oldest daughter, had died before the census. Matthew and the oldest son were engaged in agriculture. Part of the county of Nicholas became Fayette County in 1831 and it was in this new county that we find the widowed Matthew with his children.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes with his brothers Francis and Robert as well as his brother-in-law Francis Kincaid.

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Fayette County, Virginia
Sheet 147A+B, Line 15
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Mathew Hughes
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Robert & John)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1840-1848)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Matthew)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Ann & unknown, died bef. 1848)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Susan)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8
Note: Matthew is listed between his brother Francis T. and his father Robert Sr.

Three of the eight children of Margaret SIMS and her husband Matthew HUGHES remain unknown and died before 1848. They are only reflected in the 1830 and 1840 census listings as numbers in columns.

In 1848 the partition suit for James SIMS lists “the children of Margaret Hughes, formerly Margaret Sims, to-wit, Matthew Kincaid and Susan his wife; Ann Hughes, Robert Hughes, John Hughes, the last three are infants.

Missing in the above is Sarah HUGHES, the youngest daughter of Matthew HUGHES and Margaret SIMS. In the partition suit, Sarah HYPHY is listed in the section for Elizabeth SIMS’ children. I have always thought HYPHY could be a transcription error for HUGHES and wondered if the person transcribing the record may have lost track of the line he/she was working on. I still have not found the original record to confirm this. However, I found a record created during the August 1851 chancery term in the order books which names the infants under the age of 21 years involved in the suit. I plan to write about this at a later date.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Matthew HUGHES did not remarry. He was in Nicholas County with three of the four children who were not of age: Ann, Robert, and John. Sarah, the youngest born between 1835-1840 was living in August 1851 and mentioned in the above document but she has yet to be found in the census, marriage or death records. Robert was listed as dumb on the census. Matthew and his younger son John were farming.

Matthew is the first person listed in the household but he did not own land. Also in the household was Isaac SIMS, the only free black person in the county. Isaac had been a slave of James SIMS and was manumitted in 1836. Isaac had acquired 17 1/2 acres in Nicholas County in 1837 and on this census listing the land was valued at $87. This could mean Matthew and his children were living with Isaac and not the other way around.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes household

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The Western District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 370B, Lines 36-40, HH #407-407
Mathew Hughes 54 M W Farmer Virginia
Anna Hughes 17 F W Virginia
Robert Hughes 16 M W None Virginia Dumb
John Hughes 15 M W Farmer Virginia
Isaac Sims (Free) 56 M B Farmer $87 Virginia

The oldest living child of Matthew and Margaret was their daughter Susan. She married Mathew KINCAID before the partition suit in 1848. Although a marriage record has not been found, the partition suit clearly states Susan was the wife of Mathew KINCAID.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Mathew Kincaid household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, Virginia
The Western District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 370B, Lines 23-24, HH #405-405
Mathew Kincaid 51 M W Farmer Virginia
Susanna Kincaid 24 F W Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

By 1860 the households of Matthew HUGHES and Mathew KINCAID were next door to each other. Matthew’s daughter Ann was living at home. There was a Martha HUGHES in the household who may have been a relative living with the father and daughter. Seven other women on the same census page were identified as wife while Martha is seen as domestic. None of the three in the household could read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Mathew Kincaid and Matthew Hughes households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, West Virginia
District of Nicholas
Page No. 96, Lines 35-37, HH #873-650
Matthew Hughes 65 M Old Virginia cannot read and write
Martha Hughes 40 F Domestic Virginia cannot read and write
Ann Hughes 26 F Domestic Virginia cannot read and write
Note: unknown who Martha was??

Mathew KINCAID and Susan HUGHES had been married over a dozen years by 1860 and did not have children. Mathew was a farmer and owned land. Neither Susan nor Mathew could read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census8
Nicholas County, West Virginia
District of Nicholas
Nicholas Court House
Page No. 96, Sheet 1015, Lines 33-34, HH #872-649
Mathew Kincaid 57 M Farmer $200 $300 Virginia cannot read & write
Susanna Kincaid 37 F wife Virginia cannot read & write

Robert HUGHES married Nancy SIMS on 28 March 1858 in Nicholas County. They were first cousins once removed. Nancy was the granddaughter of Martin SIMS, half-brother of Robert’s mother Margaret SIMS. According to the county birth register, Robert and Nancy had a son George Washington HUGHES born on 8 January 1858. Unfortunately, no census record was found for Robert in 1860 and his wife Nancy was enumerated in her father’s household with her maiden name and without the young son.

This is new information. I had previously attached John W. Hughes who married Minerva A. O’Dell in 1873 as the son of Matthew HUGHES and Margaret SIMS. While analyzing the census and comparing records, I found an 1860 marriage record for John HUGHES and Octavia YOUNG which names the parents of the groom as Matthew and Peggy HUGHES. Further analysis of the census had me pruning the branch in the family tree. Pruning is unlinking but keeping all the names and research – just in case!

John HUGHES married Octavia YOUNG on 12 May 1860 in Fayette County.    John and Octavia were found with the widowed Mary FOSTER and her children. John and Mary were half first cousins as Mary was the daughter of Mary “Polly” SIMS and Thomas HUGHES Jr. They were also first cousins once removed through their HUGHES side. John and Octavia’s ages were not recorded correctly (33 and 23). Only a month earlier when they married their ages were seen as 23 and 21.

As the widowed Mary FOSTER was the person in the household with land it is more likely that John and Octavia were living with the FOSTER family and John was not the head of household.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for John Hughes (seen as Hews) household

1860 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Page No. 106, Lines 27-35, HH #788-722
John Hews 33 M farm laborer $0 $25 Virginia
Octava Hews 23 F Virginia
Mary Foster 37 F widow farmer $500 $50 Virginia cannot read & write
Thomas Foster 16 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
James P. Foster 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Nelson J. Foster 12 M Virginia attended school
Mary E. Foster 10 F Virginia
Nannie J. Foster 8 F Virginia
Rebecca J. Foster 6 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

By 1870 Matthew had moved across the county line (again) to Fayette County and was living in the household of his sister Ann, the widow of Francis T. KINCAID. Three other persons were in the household. Their connection to either Matthew or his sister is unknown. Living next door was Matthew and Ann’s brother Francis Tincher HUGHES.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Ann Kincaid with her brother Matthew Hughes

1870 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Page No. 18, Sheet No. 103B, Lines 30-34, HH #120-116
Kincaid, Ann 60 F W housekeeper $0 $40 Virginia
Hugs, M. 74 M W Farm Laborer Virginia cannot read & write male cit. over 21 yo
Nicholas, F. 24 M W Farmer $0 $288 Virginia male cit. over 21 yo
Nicholas, Mary 63 F W housekeeper Virginia
Nicholas, Charles 6 M W West Virginia
(Note: Ann and Matthew are brother and sister and are living next door to brother Francis T. Hughes. The last three persons’ surname may not be Nicholas!)

Susan HUGHES and her husband Mathew KINCAID had Susan’s sister Ann living with them in 1870. There was another young HUGHES girl with them who I have not been able to identify or follow up on. The ages of both Susan and Ann are off but this is a recurring problem for them throughout the census. Susan was: 1850 age 24, 1860 age 37, 1870 age 35, 1880 age 62. Ann was: 1850 age 17, 1860 age 26, 1870 age 28, 1880 age 54. If their ages were off, could the age of the young Mary A. HUGHES also be wrong? Was she possibly Ann’s daughter? All persons in the household could not read and write.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia, for Mathew Kincaid household

1870 U.S. Federal Census11
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Nicholas Courthouse
Page No. 4, Sheet No. 164B, Lines 31-34, HH #28-28
Kincaid, Mathew 70 M W Farmer $400 $500 Virginia cannot write US cit. over 21 yo
Kincaid, Susan 35 F W Virginia cannot read & write
Hughes, Anna 28 F Virginia cannot read & write
Hughes, Mary A. 12 F Virginia cannot read & write

Robert HUGHES was widowed in 1866 after his wife Nancy SIMS gave him three children. In 1870 his sons George and John M., from his first marriage, are in his household. Missing is daughter Rebecca J. who died in 1867 at the age of 3 years. Robert remarried nearly a year and a half after he was widowed to Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” DEMPSEY on 8 April 1868 in Fayette County. Robert, my first cousin 5 times removed, married my great-grandaunt Lizzie, making him my great-granduncle (by marriage).

Robert and Lizzie had their first child, a son William F., likely named after his maternal grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY (my 2nd great-grandfather) in 1869. Robert, Lizzie, and George could not read and write. Robert did not own land and worked as a farm laborer. Robert was living next door to James J. SIMS, his deceased first wife’s father.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for Robert Hughes with his father-in-law James J. Sims living next door

1870 U. S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Martin Hill, Assistant Marshall, enumerator.
Page No. 33, Sheet No. 111A, Lines 16-20, HH #220-215
Robert Hughes 35 M W farm laborer $0 $180 Virginia Virginia cannot read & write male US citizen over 21
Lizzie Hughes 23 F W housekeeper Virginia cannot read & write
George Hughes 13 M W Virginia cannot read & write (son from 1st marriage)
John M. Hughes 6 M W West Virginia (son from 1st marriage)
Willie Hughes 1 M W West Virginia

By 1870 John, like his brother Robert, did not own land and worked as a farm laborer. He’d started a family with Octavia very soon after the 1860 census and it had grown to include three daughters and a son.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for John Hughes household

1870 U.S. Federal Census13
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township, Nicholas Courthouse
Page No. 5, Sheet 165A, Lines 8-13, HH #32-32
John Hughes 30 M W Farm laborer $0 $350 West Virginia
Octavia Hughes 28 F W West Virginia
Susan Hughes 10 F W West Virginia
Sarah Hughes 11 F W West Virginia
Franklin Hughes 6 M W West Virginia
Rebecca Hughes 2 F W West Virginia

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Matthew HUGHES died after the 1870 and before the 1880 census. His children Susan, Ann, and John were practically next door to each other in households 18, 19, and 21. Robert was found on the previous page in household 15. Next door to Susan was her uncle Charles SIMS, a younger brother of her mother Margaret.

Susan was widowed during the 1870s and lived by herself.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for John, Ann, and Susan HUGHES

1880 U.S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page 4, Sheet 2D, Line 23, HH #21-21
Kincaid, Susan W F 62 self widowed Keeping house cannot read & write WV WV WV

Ann had waited to marry, perhaps until after her father’s death. In 1872 [no date was given in the county register of marriages] she married the widowed William LOYD. The entry is lacking in information. The ages of the bride and groom are not given nor are the names of their parents. Ann was correctly noted as single. Without the 1880 census listing showing the HUGHES siblings living so close together, I would not have been able to attribute this marriage to Ann. [John L. FOSTER may be John Miletus “Lettie” FOSTER, a 1C1R of Ann HUGHES. I need to look into this.]

1880 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page No. 4, Sheet 2D, Lines 16-18, HH #19-19
Loyd, William W M 70 self married Farmer VA VA VA
Loyd, Ann G. W F 54 wife married Keeping house WV WV WV
Foster, John L. W M 21 laborer single Laborer WV WV WV

Robert HUGHES was seen as Robin in the 1880 census. His second family had grown to include two daughters and another son. Robert, Lizzie [seen here as Rachael E.], and William F. could not read and write. Robert was a farmer. I have not been able to trace his two sons from his first marriage after the 1870 census.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for Robert (Robin) Hughes household

1880 U.S. Federal Census16
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 9th day of June 1880
Page No. 3, Sheet No. 2C, Lines 5-10, HH #15-15
Hughes, Robin W M 41 self married Farmer cannot read & write WV VA VA
Hughes, Rachael E. W F 31 wife married Keeping House cannot read & write WV VA WV
Hughes, William F. W M 11 son single cannot read & write WV WV WV
Hughes, Sarah M. W F 8 daughter single WV WV WV
Hughes, Nancy W F 5 daughter single WV WV WV
Hughes, James E. W M 1 son single WV WV WV

John HUGHES and his wife Octavia had three more sons in the 1870s. John was working as a laborer and all persons in the household 10 and older could not read and write.

1880 U.S. Federal Census17
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page No. 4, Sheet 2D, Lines 7-15, HH #18-18
John Hughs W M 40 self married Laborer cannot read & write WV WV WV
Octavia Hughs W F 38 wife married Keeping house cannot write WV WV WV
Susanna Hughs W F 18 daughter single At home cannot read & write WV WV WV
Sarah M. Hughs W F 16 daughter single At home cannot read & write WV WV WV
George F. Hughs W M 13 son single At home disabled cannot read & write WV WV WV
Rebecca J. Hughs W F 10 daughter single cannot read & write WV WV WV
William J. Hughs W M 9 son single WV WV WV
John T. Hughs W M 3 son single WV WV WV
George W. Hughs W M 8/12 July son single WV WV WV

Normally I would have stopped the census analysis after the death of Margaret SIMS. I would have stopped with the 1850 census and only mentioned where the children were found in later years. However the new information found while I was working on this census analysis included the major correction regarding Margaret’s son John as well as the discovery of her youngest child Sarah. Robert was found on the 1890 Veteran’s schedule; John may have died in 1895 (but this could also be the other John); and no trace as been found of Susan and Ann after 1880.

The census listings of Sarah SIMS, another one of James’ daughters who was deceased at the time of the partition suit, will be discussed in the next instalment.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: Margaret SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  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_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  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, FHL FIlm 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 19+20 of 42, page 181A+B, line 17, Matthew Hughes. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, images 17+18 of 54, page 147A+B, line 15, Mathew Hughes. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_963, image: 303; Virginia, Nicholas, image 62 of 93, Sheet No. 370B, lines 36-40, HH #407-407, Mathew Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2018). 
  6. Ibid., lines 23-24, HH #405-405, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2018). 
  7. 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_1365, page 1014, FHL Film: 805365; Virginia, Nicholas, District of Nicholas, image 90 of 118, Page No. 96, lines 35-37, HH #873-650, Matthew Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Virginia, Nicholas, District of Nicholas, image 90 of 118, Page No. 96, lines 33-34, HH #872-649, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Roll: M653_1344; Page: 298; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 10 of 26, page no. 106, lines 27-35, HH #788-722, John Hews household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  10. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686; FHL Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls of Kanawha, page 103B, lines 30-34, HH #120-116, Ann Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 July 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Roll: M593_1695; Page: 164B; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 4 of 17, page 4, sheet no. 164B, lines 31-34, HH #28-28, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 July 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686; Page: 111A; FHL Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls of Kanawha, image 33 of 36, Page No. 33, Sheet No. 111A, Lines 16-20, HH #220-215, Robert Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  13. Ibid., Roll: M593_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 5 of 17, Sheet 165A; lines 8-13, HH #32-32, John Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  14. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), FamilySearch, 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, West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines 23, HH #22-22, Susan Kincaid household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines16-18, HH #19-19, William Loyd household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  16. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 3 of 24, page 3, sheet 2C, lines 5-10, HH #15-15, Robin Hughes household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-9HML?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines 7-15, HH #18-18, John Hughs household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
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Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: An Unnamed Black Woman

A Black Woman valued at $150 was found on a list of appraised property belonging to Isaac Jenkins (deceased) of Fayette County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on 7 November 1845. She was the most valuable “item” on the list of property. The estate was appraised by John P. Huddleston, Job Huddleston, and Mason Coleman. [See line 8 in the listing below.]

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S4-W3?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 71 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

A Sale Bill of the Isaac Jenkins Estate was filed in the January Court 1847. The enslaved woman did not appear on this bill.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S4-W3?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 71 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

On 28 October 1848 in Fayette County, John W. Dempsey, Mason Coleman, and Edin Nugent were nominated and appointed by the County Court as appraisers of the personal and real estate of Nancy Jenkins, deceased. They presented a list which included one Negro woman valued at $100. [See line 8 in the list.]

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9S7-KY?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 103 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

The appraisers returned the list on 28 October 1848 and it was admitted to be recorded on the 3 February 1852.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SW-DG?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 104 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

A list of property sold 17 November 1848 belonging to the Estate of the late Nancy Jenkins, deceased, was presented and admitted to be recorded on 3 February 1852. The administrator of the estate was F. A. Settle.

The last line of the sale bill includes one black woman bought by Mary Lewis for $131.

“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SW-DG?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : 11 October 2017), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 104 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.

Nancy Jenkins née Martin was the widow of Isaac Jenkins. They had no living children when Isaac died. Their daughter Margaret had married Carey Harrison Boatright in 1825 and predeceased them in 1828. She left one daughter, Minerva Frances Boatright born in 1826. Minerva married Francis Asbury Settle in 1842. Therefore the administrator of Nancy Jenkins’ estate, F. A. Settle, was the husband of her only grandchild.

Isaac’s father John Jenkins died 30 July 1831 and the appraisement and inventory of his estate was the first entry in the Will Book of the newly formed county of Fayette. He did not have slaves listed.

In 1840 Isaac and Nancy were found on the census of Fayette County with two black persons in their household. One was a free Colored female under the age of 10 and the other was a female slave age 24 thru 35. This woman is most likely the enslaved woman found in the estates of both Isaac and Nancy Jenkins. Was the young girl who was listed as a free person the daughter of this unnamed woman? Why would a child be listed as free?

There was only one Mary Lewis in Fayette County in 1850. She was a 15-year-old girl and unlikely the person who bought the unnamed woman. Perhaps Mary Lewis was from one of the neighboring counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, or Greenbrier.

There were two Lewis men in Fayette County in 1850 who owned slaves: William and Samuel. William who owned three slaves did not have a wife in 1850. Samuel’s wife’s name was Frances and he owned eight slaves.

Although this enslaved woman did not have a name, I felt the records should be shared in case someone is looking for her.

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.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING An Unnamed Black Woman

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Hannah

An autosomal DNA match with a distant cousin with the surname Landrum in their family tree had me looking into the parentage and ancestors of my 4th great-grandmother Margaret “Patsy” Landrum who married William Dempsey in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799.

Patsy was the orphan daughter of James Landrum who was mentioned in the will of his mother Elizabeth Landrum in 1755.1

Elizabeth Landrum’s last will and testament was written on 22 October 1755 and presented to be recorded on 18 November 1755. The executors/administrators’ bond followed the will and was dated 18 November 1755. A condition of the bond was the inventory and appraisal of the estate. The inventory ordered on 18 November 1755 was recorded on 16 December 1755.

1755 Appraisal and Inventory of the Estate of Elizabeth Landrum of St. Anne’s Parish in Essex County, Virginia

Inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum (part 1)

The inventory included one Negro woman called Hannah and valued at £20.2

Inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum (part 2)

Hannah, the enslaved woman mentioned in this inventory, was not mentioned in the estate of Samuel Landrum who predeceased his wife Elizabeth in 1750. He did not leave a will and his wife was the administratrix of his estate.3 An appraisement and inventory of the estate was duly recorded and did not include any enslaved persons. One-third of the estate was allotted to the widow.4

Samuel Landrum predeceased his mother Mary Landrum who wrote a will after his death in which she mentioned his being deceased.5 Neither the will nor the inventory ordered to be made included slaves.6

Samuel’s father James Landrum died about 1739 leaving a last will and testament which included the names of two enslaved persons. Their names were shared in Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Willobey and Plimoth.

Samuel did not receive a slave from his father which makes me believe Hannah may have been acquired by Elizabeth after the death of her husband  Samuel. Another possibility being that Elizabeth inherited Hannah from her parents. Unfortunately, at this time, the maiden name and parentage of Elizabeth Landrum are not known.

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.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (images), Ancestry.com, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, page 77, image 473 of 519. Last will and testament of Elizabeth Landrum dated 22 October 1755, presented and recorded on 18 November 1755. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, pages 81 and 82, images 475 and 476 of 519. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Elizabeth Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  3.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, page 385, image 215 of 519. Administrators’ Bond for the estate of Samuel Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  4.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 8-10, 1747-1757, pages 397-399, images 221-222 of 519. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Samuel Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  5.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 9-10, 1750-1756, 1760-1761, page 310, image 315 of 539. Last will and testament of Mary Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 
  6.  Ibid., Essex Will Books, Vol 9-10, 1750-1756, 1760-1761, pages 322-323, images 327-328 of 539. Appraisal and inventory of the estate of Mary Landrum. (Ancestry.com : accessed 25 March 2018). 

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2018

De Vältesdag, deen den 14. Februar a ville Länner gefeiert gëtt, ass deen Dag vun den Verléiften.  Ouni déi Koppelen, déi virun eis gelieft hun géifen mir net existéieren.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of the couples who came before me – without whom I would not exist.

This is my fifth year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.  I first learned this way of keeping tabs on the progress in my genealogy research from Barbara Schmidt in 2014. She posted her latest Ancestor Score February 2018 last week.

My Ancestor Score

The names of 57 new ancestors were added to my family tree database during the year. Most of these are 6th and 7th great-grandparents who were found while writing about my Luxembourgish and German 5th great-grandparents last year.

Generation 6 is still hanging in there at 30 of 32 ancestors. I continue to search for the key to the door of my most frustrating DEMPSEY brick wall. Who were the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY 1820-1867 of Fayette County, West Virginia?

I wrote the above last year and it’s still the case and has been for at least a half-dozen years or longer.

My focus this year is on the American ancestors as I organize and set up the groundwork for more serious DNA research. I am now seeing descendants of William A. W. DEMPSEY in my matches. I have matches for descendants of his four sons (James Alexander, John Henry, William Henderson, and Elijah Lewis) and daughter Mary Virginia. I’m still looking for matches who descend from Lizzie and Eunice, the other two daughters. All I need is for all of the matches to upload their raw DNA to GEDmatch so I can compare the chromosomes, separate the chromosomes coming from his wife Sarah Ann WOOD, and compare all unknowns with what is left in hopes of finding matches who descend from William’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. Sounds easy?

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s ancestor score looks a lot better mostly due to their paternal line being mainly from Luxembourg. Ninety-five percent of their ancestors to the 8th generation are known. Their numbers for the next two generations are quite high compared to mine – even when you consider the difference in generations.

Stats for previous years are included in both tables above. The posts from previous years can be found here:

Have you done your Ancestor Score recently? I’d love to have a look. Please post your link in a comment below. Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: William, Mary, and Orange

Earlier this month I discovered a wonderful batch of pre-Civil War records for the counties in the western Virginia which would become West Virginia in 1863. FamilySearch’s collections of digital images have been growing at an amazing speed in recent years. Every now and then I will do fairly simple searches for birth, marriage, and/or death records in Fayette County, West Virginia, for the surname DEMPSEY. This surname is in two branches of my family tree. I am always looking for new information to possibly connect the two lines or to fill in some blanks in either line.

I was not disappointed when something new showed up in a search for births in Fayette County, (West) Virginia. The hit indicated a son born to my 3rd great-grand uncle Wilson M. DEMPSEY. A son I did not have in my database. When I opened up the details of the search results, I found the birth record was not for a son but for a slave.

“West Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1928,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X5PK-X25 : 12 December 2014), William Dempsey, 11 Feb 1857; citing Meadow Fork, Fayette, Virginia, reference ; FHL microfilm 34,485.

From experience, I know when FamilySearch shows a record is not available (see camera icon with the notation in the above image) this actually means there is no image attached to the indexed material. However, the film may be available online and browse-only. I checked their catalog for the FHL microfilm number given and found Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, microreproduction of original manuscripts at the Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, for West Virginia counties.

I spend hours working with the browse-only records at FamilySearch. Being experienced made it easy for me to find the image to the record indexed above. This post deals with the content of the record, not how I found it. If you are interested, please ask, and I will explain how in a comment to this post.

Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia; Film # 007499353; Calhoun – Hampshire counties; image 120 of 554. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9Z5-FZV3?i=119&cat=308753 : accessed 10 June 2017)

The birth of William, a son of Mary, was recorded in the birth register of Fayette County. He was born at Meadow Fork on 11 February 1857. The column for the name of the father is titled: Father’s Name in full if Child be free and born in wedlock, or Name of Owner if Child born a Slave. Wilson M. Dempsey’s name is in this column as well as the column for the informant. In the column, Relationship of Informant, he is noted as Owner.

I took a bit of time to browse through the entire batch of registers for Fayette County and found another entry with Wilson M. Dempsey as the informant. This one did not turn up in my original search which made me wonder if the entire collection has been indexed. Different search criteria turned up this indexed record in the Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917.

“Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRR7-K1C : 5 December 2014), Orange Dempsy, Jun 1855; citing Loop, Fayette, VA, reference ; FHL microfilm 34,485.

This indexed record shows “Orange Dempsy” was a child of “Wilson Dempsy” and “Mary.” A closer look at the actual entry in the register shows Orange was a slave.

Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia; Film # 007499353; Calhoun – Hampshire counties; image 112 of 554. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Z5-F8FM?i=111&cat=308753 : accessed 29 June 2017)

On this entry, the child Orange was born in June 1855 on the Loop in Fayette County. He was a slave owned by Wilson Dempsey. The mother’s name was Mary. The occupation of the father is blank and his residence is listed as Amherst. Another child born as a slave of another slaveholder on the same page has blanks for the occupation and residence of the father. It’s possible Amherst refers to the residence of the father of Orange, indicating the enslaved family was separated due to Wilson Dempsey’s recent move to Fayette County. Or, Wilson Dempsey had not yet moved his family and may have taken his slave(s) there to prepare for his move.

In 1840 Wilson Dempsey was recently married to Evalina Carolyn Rhodes, a daughter of Reuben Rhodes and Tabitha Rowsie of Amherst County, Virginia. In the 1840 census of the same county, Wilson was seen with his bride and two slaves, one male 10 thru 23 and one female under 10 years. In 1850 Wilson was listed as an overseer in the Eastern District of Amherst. His wife had died in the 1840s and he’d remarried. His second wife’s maiden name is not known. The 1850 slave schedule does not have a listing for him and it is unknown for whom he was working as an overseer.

Before finding the above records, we knew Wilson moved to Fayette County in western Virginia in the 1850s. The records place him in the county in 1855, either setting up his household or permanently settled.

In 1860 the slave schedule of Fayette County includes the following enslaved black persons for Wilson M. Dempsey:

  • one male age 35 (possibly the male seen in 1840?)
  • one female age 30 (possibly Mary)
  • one female age 22 (or, possibly Mary)
  • one female age 12
  • one female age 8
  • two females age 7
  • one male age 3 (possibly William)
  • one male age 1

I have known since I first began researching my 3rd great-grandfather Seaton Y. Dempsey that his brother Wilson had slaves as well as their father William Dempsey of Amherst. However, the only indication of their keeping enslaved persons had been the 1810 census for William (3 slaves), the 1840 census for Wilson (2 slaves), and the 1860 census for Wilson (9 slaves). The birth records found this month help to name at least three of the enslaved people: Orange, William, and their mother Mary.

bestwishescathy1

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 which can be found on Schalene Jennings Dagutis’ blog Tangled Roots and Trees

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2017

De Vältesdag, deen den 14. Februar a ville Länner gefeiert gëtt, ass deen Dag vun den Verléiften.  Ouni déi Koppelen, déi virun eis gelieft hun géifen mir net existéieren.

Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated in many countries on the 14th of February, is the time for people to show feelings of love and affection. Without the couples who came before us, we would not exist. Most were married, some cut it close, and at least one lady gave us a non-paternity event.

This is my fourth year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day after reading Barbara Schmidt’s “My Ancestor Score – February 4, 2014” post in 2014. [Update: The link to the 2014 post no longer works. She’s moved her blog but not all the content is up. Here’s her My Ancestor Score February 2017.]

My Ancestor Score

The names of 43 new ancestors were added to my family tree database during the year. This is nearly five times more than those added in 2016. Many of these are due to my now having access* to the Family Books of German towns where my ancestors lived and the recent work I’ve been doing with the church records of Luxembourg. The new additions are in the 5th to 8th great-grandparents’ generations. The new ancestors who lived in areas which are now Germany have names and dates. Records are being found in the church records of Luxembourg for those who lived in these German towns which belonged to parishes in Luxembourg at the time.

* Thanks to our newly opened Luxracines library in Walferdange, Luxembourg.

ancestorscore2017Generation 6 is still hanging in there at 30 of 32 ancestors. I continue to search for the key to the door of my most frustrating DEMPSEY brick wall. Who were the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY 1820-1867 of Fayette County, West Virginia? As the administrator of my youngest brother’s DNA, I’m beginning to see several cousins, with shared matches, who descend from his daughter Mary Virginia DEMPSEY and son-in-law John A. SNELL who married in 1872.

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children have 355 more known ancestors than I do. Their paternal ancestry, being mostly Luxembourgish, helps to bring in a whopping 95% score for the first 8 generations – up to their 5th great-grandparents. Even at 10 generations they have 61% compared to my 39%.ancestorscore2017children

I’ve included the stats for previous years in both tables above but here is a list of my posts from the previous years if you are interested in reading them.

Have you done your Ancestor Score recently? Please post your link in a comment below so that I can visit and have a look.

bestwishescathy1

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Look Who’s Using DNA for Genealogy Research

In mid-March I received this message from one of my siblings:

Just wanted to let you know that I ordered a DNA kit from ancestry.com. I will send you the results when I get them. Hopefully it will be useful in your research.

When his results came in late May he sent me this message and screenshot:

Hope this doesn’t mess up your research too much.

ethnicityI thought he was holding out on me, waiting to let me know only after he came to visit for Mom’s 80th birthday. But the results truly did not come in until early morning of the day he was to arrive in Luxembourg.

He turned administration over to me as he thought I would know better what to do with the test results as he does not do genealogy.

I haven’t done DNA testing but my second cousin Laura [daughter of Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) – the first person I know of who worked on our family tree] shared her DNA page with me earlier this year. Since Laura and I share great-grandparents (William Henderson DEMPSEY and Laura Belle INGRAM) 3/4 of her matches did not have anything to do with our common line. It, however, helped me to get a feel for Ancestry’s DNA page before my brother’s results came in.

The ethnicity results (above) of 100% European were to be expected although it blew the theory of a Native American connection right out of the water. Or so I thought. Where do the 10% Italy/Greece fit into our family tree?

After a week or so of trying to figure out some kind of system to work through the matches on Ancestry, I decided to download the raw DNA data and upload to GEDmatch. After the kit was tokenized and while I was waiting for the batch processing to complete I did a heritage test.

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent
1 Early Neolithic Farmer 43.00
2 Western European/Unknown Hunter-Gatherer 25.49
3 Ancestral South Eurasian 18.91
4 Caucas-Gedrosia 7.59
5 NearEast 1.65
6 Amerindian 1.43
7 Ancestral South Indian 1.20

1.43% Native American DNA for my brother. I understand he got about 50% of his DNA from our father and 50% from our mother (European). Family tradition is the NA connection is through our paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s mother Rebecca Jane CLONCH. If I keep doubling the percentage (which may not be scientifically correct) I get 91.52% at the 4th great-grandparent level. Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY are the only known set. Another ancestor at this level was Levina DOSS who had her children with an unknown man. The unknowns are COOLEYs and TREADWAYs.

I admit this was just a game I was playing before I begin to get serious about using the DNA results for research purposes. But who knows, maybe I’m on the right track.

Oh yes, Laura and my brother are “predicted 2nd cousins” and share 381 centimorgans across 15 DNA segments.

bestwishescathy1

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Mom’s 80th Birthday Party

A little over two weeks ago the Dempsey family got together at our house to celebrate Mom’s 80th birthday. Normally I don’t blog about living persons but this is a milestone in Mom’s and our lives which deserves to be written about while she is still with us.

We had two family photographers and several others with their cell phones taking pictures but the only way to get a great family group photo is to have someone else do the job. Many thanks to Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott for the wonderful photos and for working over the Luxembourgish translation with her husband Nic for the local online newspaper at mywort.lu.

Photo courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens
Photo courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott

80ten Gebuertsdaag vum Josette Sassel-Wildinger

Freides, de 29. Mee 1936 kruten d’Marie Marcelle Fournelle an den Nicolas Wildinger vun Iechternach Nowuess. D’Josette, hirt eenzegt Kand, huet deen Daag zu Iechternach d’Liicht vun der Welt erbléckst. Seng Mamm huet dacks vum spéide Schnéi, deen et um Päischtweekend no senger Gebuert gouf, geschwat. E puer Woche virun sengem véierte Gebuertsdaag huet d’Josette materlieft wéi déi Däitsch Lëtzebuerg besat hunn. D’Joer duerno ass säi Papp un der Tuberkulos gestuerwen. Den 10. Oktober 1944, war hatt eent vu villen déi aus Iechternach evakuéiert goufen. Zu Fouss ass hatt mat senger Mamm an dem 73 Joer ale Grousspapp iwwer Uesweller, Bech, Hielem an d’Luerenzweiler Géigend gaangen, wou si bis an de Mee 1945, bei Frënn ënnerkomm sinn.

Den 2. Mäerz 1957 huet d’Josette en amerikanesche G.I., de Fred Roosevelt Dempsey vu Victor, West Virginia, deen zu Bitburg stationéiert war, bestuet. Si goufen Eltere vu fënnef Kanner, déi si am Laaf vun de Joren am Georgia, Frankräich, Idaho, West Virginia, Spuenien, South Carolina an Texas, opgezunn hunn. 1974 ass säi Mann Freddy gestuerwen, an d’Joer drop koum d’Josette mat de Kanner Cathy, Debby, Marc, Mike an André zréck op Iechternach. Nodeems hatt d’Kanner während méi wéi enger Dose Joer eleng grouss gezunn hat, huet hatt sech den 28. August 1987 mam Francis Sassel bestuet.

Fir dem Josette säin 80. Gebuertsdaag, si seng Kanner fir déi éischte Kéier zanter 1979 nees all zu Iechternach zesummekomm. Et gouf gefeiert mat sengem Mann, de Kanner, den Eedemen a Schnaueren, a véier vun de néng Enkelkanner: Sheila, Brian, Jenny, Duane. Gefehlt hunn fënnef Enkelkanner: Cindy, Erin, Mike, André an Ian, souwéi zwee Urenkel Savannah an Taylor, déi mat engem schéine Video der Bomi gewënscht hunn.

MomBDay180th Birthday for Josette Sassel-Wildinger

On Friday 29 May 1936 Catherine Josette Wildinger was born in Echternach to Marie Marcelle Fournelle and Nicolas Wildinger. She would remain their only child. Her mother often told of the late snow which fell on Pentecost weekend following her birth. A few weeks before her fourth birthday Josette saw the Germans occupy Luxembourg. The following year her father died of tuberculosis. On 10 October 1944 she was one of many who were evacuated from Echternach, going on foot to Osweiler, Bech, Helmdange, and the Lorentzweiler area with her mother and 73 years old Grandpapa, only returning in May 1945.

On 2 March 1957 Josette married an America G.I., Fred Roosevelt Dempsey from Victor, West Virginia, while he was stationed in Bitburg, Germany. They became the parents of five children and raising them in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, and Texas. In 1975 Josette returned to Echternach with her children Cathy, Debby, Marc, Mike, and André following the death of her husband Freddy the previous year. After raising her children on her own for more than a dozen years she married François Sassel on 28 August 1987.

For Josette’s 80th birthday her children came together for the first time since 1979. She celebrated with her husband, her children and their spouses, and four of her nine grandchildren: Sheila, Brian, Jenny, and Duane. Missing were five grandchildren Cindy, Erin, Mike, André, and Ian, and her two great-grandchildren Savannah and Taylor, who sent a wonderful video with birthday wishes for their grandmother/great-grandmother.

The Day in Retrospect

Following a huge round of applause and a presentation of a large bouquet, a gift from two of her grandchildren, Mom and the rest of us enjoyed watching the video sent by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who could not be here. It was very moving and there was not a dry eye in the room afterwards.

We were able to sit out on the back porch and in the back yard where a tent had been set up to enjoy our plates filled from the cold buffet. After everyone had had their fill and before the cake was brought out, Anne-Ly came by to take the group photos. Mom did not know what was going on when she and her five children were being set up on the steps of the back porch.

80thBirthdayCollage
Photo on right courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott

We reproduced a photo of Mom with the kids taken Easter Sunday in 1969 when Dad was on duty in Thailand. The photo was also used on her cake, a gift from the other two grandchildren who were present.

MomBDay5

MomBDay2Mom getting ready to cut the cake with her grown up children.

MomBDayCollagetinyEveryone had a great time, memories were shared and new ones were made. Hopefully it will not be 37 years before we can all get together again.

bestwishescathy1

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2016

This is my third year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day. I’d like to thank Barbara Schmidt who got me started with her post My Ancestor Score – February 4, 2014.

We would not be here without all the Valentine couples who came before us. Most were married, some cut it close, and at least two Doss ladies gave us non-paternity events.

Valentine2My Ancestor Score

Nine new ancestors were added since last year – thanks to the church records in Luxembourg. This is not much compared to the 26 from 2015 but as you can see (in the second spreadsheet) I have also been working on my children’s bloodline.

ancestorscore2016Generation 6 is still hanging in there at 30 of 32 ancestors. I continue to search for the key to the door of my frustrating DEMPSEY brick wall. Who were the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY 1820-1867 of Fayette County, West Virginia?

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s Ancestor Score is looking a lot better than mine due to their paternal ancestry being mostly Luxembourgish. Generations 12 to 22 of their paternal ancestry remains to be researched – the numbers seen reflect the ancestors they share with me on my side of the family tree.ancestorscore2016kidsHave you done your Ancestor Score recently? Post your link in a comment and I’ll have a look.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Sitting like a Statue on Your Sources

This morning “Your Memories on Facebook” reminded me of a FB post I wrote the day before my first blogpost was published here. I’ve had a Facebook page for Opening Doors in Brick Walls since December 2, 2012, over a year before I began blogging. When this memory popped up I realized I haven’t moved all of the things I’ve written over to my blog. This was written January 22, 2014.

statueDon’t just sit there like a statue with your sources lying about.

As many of you know, I accepted the challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small. I’m now working on 52 Ancestors: #4 William Henderson DEMPSEY 1860-1941.

Using the timeline feature of my genealogy program while I write, I find myself asking questions that I never thought of before. I’m taking a second (actually 3rd, 4th, 5th) look at documents and seeing new things. Who was in the household at this or that time? Where is this place? Is he moving around or are the names of the places changing? Why is this information on his death record wrong? Is it wrong? This is turning out to be a really good exercise.

Have you come up against a brick wall? I can recommend writing down everything you know about the person. You can do this for yourself or to share with a relative who might see things from a different angle.

A little warning: you may find yourself taking more time than you planned to do this.
You may also find yourself opening doors in your brick walls!

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey