The 1810 census of Greenbrier County was “lost” as were those of the counties of Cabell, Hardy, and Tazewell. [Source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide]
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston. The men were in one household with both names listed together on the census sheet. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston (see post). Their mother Jane, the widow of William Johnston, appears to be in this household as well as her two youngest sons and another male. There were 5 slaves in the household: 2 males under 14, 1 male 45 and over, and 2 females under 14. Only the male 45 and older would have been living when the 1802 will was written.
On 7 August 1825 Jane Johnston made her last will and testament. She names her sons William and George Johnston with whom she was likely living in 1820, a daughter Polly Feamster, and son Andrew Johnston. She also names two slaves: Aggy and her daughter Nancy.
In the name of God amen I Jane Johnston of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia being of sound & disposing mind and memory but sick in body do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament. In the first place I will and bequeath to my son George and William Johnson (sic) my Negro Woman Aggy to them & their heirs forever. In the second place I bequeath to my daughter Polly the wife of Johan Feamster and to Andrew Johnston my son my Negro Girl Nancydaughter of said Aggyto them & their heirs forever. I do hereby appoint my sons George and William Johnston Executors of this my Last will and Testament & do hereby revoke any and Every former will heretofore made by me In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 7th day of August Eighteen Hundred & Twenty five. Jane X (her mark) Johnson *Seal* Signed Sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us Ballard Smith Polly Smith Greenbrier County Court October Term 1825 This paper purporting to be the Last will and Testament of Jane Johnston decd. was presented in Court & proved by the oath of Ballard Smith and Polly Smith the subscribing Witnesses thereto to have been duly Executed & acknowledged by the within decedent and the same is ordered to be recorded. Teste Lewis Stuart CGC (Clerk Greenbrier County)
Was Aggy one of the two females under 14 years old in the 1820 census listing for Jane’s sons George and William? Was her daughter Nancy born between 1820-1825? Or were they older and living in a different household?
Did any of the Johnston siblings mentioned in Jane Johnston’s will also leave wills or other documents which can be used to trace Aggy and Nancy?
There’s no need to wait until you find an ancestor who was a slaveholder to be part of the Slave Name Roll Project.
A distant cousin and descendant of our Johnson common ancestor wondered if the will entered into the Greenbrier County, West Virginia, Will Book 1 in 1803 for one William Johnston was for our 5th great-grandfather. Since our ancestor William Johnson died in 1805 in Nicholas County, I quickly replied it was most likely not the same person.
To be sure I looked up the Last Will and Testament and the Appraisement in the Greenbrier Will Book. The name of the wife of the deceased did not match our ancestor’s wife’s name nor did the children named. However, since the documents included the names of several slaves, I saved the link to share in this post.
Wm Johnston’s Last Will
In the Name of God Amen ~ I William Johnston of Greenbrier County and State of Virginia, being at present in a doubtfull State of health, and well aware of my Mortallity, and the uncertainty of Life, Doin (sic) Duty to my Family and such Creditors as has pleased to indulge me in just Debts, Make ordain and Declare this Instrument of willing to be my last Will and Testatment revolking all other by me before made. 1st Item. To my well beloved wife Jane I give and bequeath the plantation whereon I now live during her natural Life time, on the condition that the profits and Encoluments from the same shall be applied as well to her own use as to the use of my Children; as long as they or such of them as shall continue to live with her, in such manner as she may deem most equitable and necessary to their respective Circumstances, and Conditions; and I also leave to her in the same manner and for the same purpose aforesaid my three Negroes, To wit, Litt, Giles, & Eby. But if my said wife sould (sic) die before the said Negroes, or any of them, then the said Negroes or the Survivors of them shall be sold by my Executors and the money arising from such Sale to be divided between my four oldest Children. To wit James, Polly, Samuel, and Sally. 2d Item. To my son James I bequeath my little negroe Boy Sampson, which I have heretofore disposed of to him in consignance of much Services rendered by him to me this small recompense I hope will be accepted by him as the only reward in my ___fore his many Services. I also bequeath to him the Bay horse now his riding Horse and a sorrel mare which is at present in the possession of my Brother Silas in Kentucky. 3d Item. To my Daughter Polly I Bequeath my little negroe Girl named Bridgett and her bay riding Mare known now to be her claim, and the Panteloon Philly which came of the said mare, & three Cows the Choice of my Stock. 4th Item. To my son Samuel I bequeath a young black horse and dark bay Mare both rising four years old and of the blood of the stud Horse kept by Joseph McNut. Also a sorrel horse of the Bachelor bread now four year old. 5th Item. To my Daughter Sally I bequeath my little negro child named Levill, also a Mare and Colt now at my Brother James Johnstons, and the same that was the claim of my Daughter Rebecka Deceased. 6th Item. To my four youngest sons, to wit, William, George, John & Andrew I bequeath my plantation whereon I now live, after the Decease of their Mother allowing the same to be sold and the money divided equally between them and the Title to be conveyed by my Executors to the purchaseor, or by their legal representatives in case of their Decease. But if my wife should die before my youngest son Andrew should arrive to full age of twenty one years the sale of the said Land to be suspended until he shall be of full age, or the youngest survivor of them shall be of such age, and not before. But the rents and profits of the said place shall be applied while such period as is heretofore directed in the 1st Item in this INstrument. Item 7th. All my household and Kitchen Furniture with plantation Utensils to remain in the use and possession of my wife with my waggon and gears and necessary working Horses such as are no occupied in Labouring the plantation, all which are to be kept by my wife for the use of the plantation and disposed of at her Discression for her use and the use of the Children. 8th Item. To my son William I bequeath a young last spring’s Colt that came of the mare heretofore bequeathed to my son Samuel in the fourth Item of this Instrument. 9th Item. All the rest of my Stock of Horses and Cattle of every kind to be kept on my plantation to be sold annually by my Executors as they may become felt for market, and applied by my said Executors to the use of my
Family in as equal and Just a manner to each of them as they __ convocunity(?) do, so to the discharge of my Just debts. 10th Item. All my Land lying on Anthony’s Creek in this County, and such lands as I hold in partnership with Patrick Boyd in Monroe County or any other Lands whereof I am now possed and not here before mentioned to be sold by my Executors or their legal representatives and the money arising with all Debts due to me by Bond Bill or open accounts to be applied to the discharged of my Just Debts and the overplus if any to be divided equally amongst my four oldest Children or otherwise to Educate my my (sic) son John as in the Judgement of my said Executors shall be thought best. But if applied to the Education of John the same to be reimbursed by him out of his part of the Land Bequeathed in the 6th Item of this Instrument. 11th Item. My panteloon Stud Horse to be sold and the money applied as in the 10th Item next above. And this I do declare to be my last will and for the Due Execution of the same I do hereby appoint my trusty and well blessed Friend Majr. William Renick and my son James Johnston Executors hoping & trusting that all things done by them will oblige the rec___ and reward of the JUst. In Testimoney whereof I have hereonto set my Seal and Subscribed my name this 25th day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight Hundred and two. Wm Johnston *Seal* Signed Sealed & acknowledged in the presence of us Jame Davis Charles Arbuckle James Withrow
At a Court held for Green (sic, Greenbrier) County the 25th day of January 1803 This last will and Testament of William Johnston Deceasd was presented in County & proven by the Oaths of Charles Arbuckle and James Withrow, who also made oath that they seen James Davis the other Witness sign the same in their presence & William Renick and James Johnston the Executors named in the said Will made oath according to Law and thereupon entered into Bond with Joseph Mathews and Christopher Vanhab their Securities in the penal sum of 4000 Dollars with condition as the Law directs. Teste John Stuart C.G.C.
The Appraisement of the Estate of the late William Johnston deceased was returned into Court and ordered to be recorded at the Greenbrier June Court 1803. Included in the appraisement were Giles, Litt, Hebe, Sampson, Briget, and Lewisa. The names appear to be the same as those seen in the will except that Ebe is seen here as Hebe and the child named Levill may be Lewisa. Since the will was written by the slaveholder I have used his version of the names for the time of this post.
Following the death of William Johnston, the next census was the 1810. From Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide, the 1810 censuses for Cabell, Greenbrier, Hardy and Tazewell counties were “lost”–no details as to how.
By 1817 son Samuel had died and left a will naming his sister Mary (seen as Polly in the 1803 will of father) and his brother William. Samuel, who had not received an enslaved person from his father, mentioned only leaving his real and personal property to his sister.
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston who were in one household with both names. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston who died in 1803. Their mother appears to be in this household as well as the two youngest sons and another male. There are 5 slaves in the household.
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 18: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 3
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 45 and over: 1
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 2
Total Slaves: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12
Could Giles, Litt, and Eby be three of the five slaves in the household? When did William Johnston’s widow die? Did she leave a will?
In 1756 two children were born in Bertrange, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one on September 20th and the other on October 2nd. Their baptismal records are on the same page in the parish register, the second right below the first. The twelve days between no children were born in Bertrange.
A little over twenty years later, on 10 February 1777, the two children were once again seen in the parish register, this time getting married – to each other.
Peter SCHMIT (1756-1816) and Rosa CLEMENS (1756-1815), the children who were baptized in 1756 and the couple who married in 1777, had ten children born between 1778 and 1799. Their second son Peter SCHMIT, my children’s 5th great-grandfather, was born and baptized on 3 April 1779 in Bertrange. His godparents were Petrus KREMER and Catharina SCHMIT. His father was present and signed the record in longhand.
Peter SCHMIT married Margaretha WEICKER before 1811. Their marriage took place before their first child was born however a marriage record has not been found. The couple was always referred to as legally married when their children were born. The marriage record was not found in Bertrange parish records from 1802-1811 or in the tables décennales (10-year lists) for the years 1802-1812 for Bertrange and Steinfort. Records were usually very well kept and I believe one day Peter and Margaretha’s marriage will turn up. Perhaps sooner than later as my genealogy society Luxracines has dedicated members working on a marriage project – indexing all marriages in Luxembourg from 1802 to 1923.
Why is Margaretha WEICKER’s Parentage Unknown?
Margaretha, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, was born about 1795 in Hoën (Hagen), Sterpenich, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The year of birth was estimated from her age at the time of death. Records for Hagen, a village in the Steinfort area, are not in the FamilySearch collection for Luxembourg for this period.
The Grand Duchy was under a double administration for about eight years before the Treaty of London was passed in 1839 when the present borders of Luxembourg were defined. Repatriation of the records (return to the country of origin) was not simple. Records for Steinfort for the period before the borders were changed can be found in Autelbas in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. Civil records beginning in 1796 for Autelbas are online at FamilySearch.
As Margaretha’s birth may have been earlier I checked the parish records for Sterpenich in the FamilySearch catalog. The parish records of Sterpenich for the years 1779-1793 are conformed copies made from the originals by the Luxembourg authorities and given to the Belgium government in December 1844 per the convention of Utrecht signed in 1843, i.e. repatriation. I have no idea where the records for the years 1794-1795 may be found and am at a standstill on my research for Margaretha, her birth, and parentage.
Not only are the records missing, Margaretha’s name has been found with several variations. Her family name was spelled WEIKER or WEICKER and also seen as WIKERT. Her first name was Margaretha in early documents and Anne Marguerite in later years. These are all things which need to be considered when future research is done on her parentage.
Peter and Margaretha’s Children
Peter and Margaretha were the parents of seven children. Two died before their 2nd birthdays while the five others grew to adulthood, married, and had their own children. These are the SCHMIT children:
Magdalena SCHMIT was born on 10 February 1811 in domo Donnen in Bertrange. She was baptized the same day. Her godfather was Joannes SCHMIDT from Bertrange and her godmother was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Was her godmother her grandmother, an aunt, or cousin? This may be a clue to solving the question of her mother’s parentage.
Rosa SCHMIT was born on 7 Feb 1815 in domo Bour in Bertrange and baptized the same day. Her godmother was her paternal grandmother Rosa CLEMENS. Her godfather was Nicolaus WEICKER of Hohen. Could he have been her maternal grandfather or an uncle?
Rosa’s godmother and paternal grandmother Rosa CLEMENS died only a few months later on 22 May 1815. Her paternal grandfather Peter SCHMIT died on 11 February 1816.
Rosa died two weeks later on 26 February 1816 in domo Donnen in Bertrange shortly after her first birthday. She was buried the following day. Her religious death and burial record has her mother’s name as Anna Margaretha Hinnicker instead of Weicker.
Nicolas SCHMIT was born at seven in the morning on 8 April 1817 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth two hours later. As baptismal records for Bertrange are only available online up to 1816 the godparents of Nicolas and his younger siblings were not found as they were for Magdalena and Rosa.
Michel SCHMIT was born at two in the morning on 10 February 1819 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth eight hours later.
Following their youngest child Michel’s first birthday, Peter and Margaretha lost their second child, son Nicolas. He died on 21 February 1820 in Bertrange at the age of nearly three years.
Jean SCHMIT* was born at three in the afternoon on 12 July 1820. His father reported the birth two days later at eight in the morning on the 14th. This child’s birth record was only found after this post was ready to be published. While reading through the final draft I realized something was wrong and checked again on SCHMIT children born in Bertrange.
Maria Catharina SCHMIT was born at two in the morning on 25 February 1822 in Bertrange. Her father reported the birth the same day at nine in the morning.
Jean SCHMIT was born at 9:30 in the morning on 3 September 1825 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth the same day at eleven in the morning. As was the case with all of his children’s births, Peter declared not being able to write. I found this strange, his being the second born of a father who was able to write as seen above at the time of his own baptism in 1779.
Margaretha WEICKER’s Death in 1826
The mother of the five living children, Margaretha WEICKER, died on 17 January 1826 in Bartringen. She was 31 years old at the time of her death. Her youngest child was only four months old and her oldest would shortly be turning fifteen. Her name on the record was Anne Marguerithe WEICKER. The addition of Anne to her name was also seen on the birth records of her two youngest children.
Widowed Peter Remarries
Following the death of his wife, Peter waited two years before taking a second wife. This seems unusual as he had been left with five children, one still a baby. Magdalena, his oldest child, likely took on the responsibilities of a little mother, helping care for her younger siblings.
Peter married Anne Marie SCHOLER, daughter of Jean SCHOLER and Susanne BOURENS, on 22 March 1828 in Bertrange. Anne Marie was born on 4 June 1792 in Obersyren (Schuttrange).
Peter and his second wife Anne Marie had only one child, a daughter, Madelaine born four years into the marriage on 16 July 1832 in Bertrange. Her half-siblings were by this time 7, 10, 12, 13, and 21 years old. She did not, however, grow up without a playmate.
Peter’s oldest daughter Magdalena gave birth to a natural daughter on 7 November 1835. Anne’s father’s name was not on the birth record. Natural was the term used for children born out of wedlock. Anne appears to have been raised in her maternal grandfather’s household as she was listed with Peter and Anne Marie on the 1843 and 1846 census.
Peter’s second wife Anne Marie had a sister Margaretha SCHOLER (1802-1842) who was married to Jacob RUCKERT (1787-1856). Margaretha gave Jacob eight children, six of whom were living when she died after giving birth to the last on 20 March 1842.. Peter’s brother-in-law Jacob became his son-in-law eight months later.
At eleven in the morning of 27 March 1847 Peter SCHMIT age 22 reported the death of his father Peter SCHMIT who had died only two hours earlier at his home in the neighborhood called Eichels in Bertrange.
I have a small problem with this death record as Peter did not have a son named Peter. Both of Peter’s wives are correctly named on the death record. Is the signature of the informant that of Jean SCHMIT the youngest son who was 22 years old at the time? The younger Jean was the only child to remain in his father’s household in 1843 and 1846 and was seen with his step-mother in 1847. Due to the fact that I found another son named Jean born in 1820, I believe the younger son may have been known as Johann Peter (Jean Pierre) to distinguish him from his older brother Jean.
Widow Anne SCHOLER last seen in 1847 census
In the 1847 census, Peter’s widow Anne SCHOLER was the head of household with her stepsons Michel, Jean (26), Jean (22) and stepdaughter Maria Catharina (children from Peter’s first marriage) and her only child, daughter Madelaine from her marriage to Peter. This entry in the census led me to search once again for children of Peter and Margaretha but only after I had finished the research and written this post.
Michel, the elder Jean, and Maria Catharina were not in their father’s household in 1843 or 1846. This was not unusual as they were of an age to be working outside of the home. I had wrongly assumed the elder Jean found in the 1847 census was an error or relative other than child.
Peter’s widow Anne Marie SCHOLER and their daughter Madelaine have not found after the 1847 census.
The SCHMIT children lived in the three districts of Luxembourg
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is divided into three districts: Luxembourg, Diekirch, and Grevenmacher (dark gray areas in the maps below). Each district is divided into cantons (red areas in the maps below) and each canton is divided into communes. Several towns and villages may be part of a commune.
The District of Luxembourg
Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s children grew up in the town of Bertrange. Peter had deep roots in the town as his parents and grandparents all came from the town.
Their oldest daughter Magdalena SCHMIT raised her family in Bertrange. She was likely the first of the siblings to pass away.* She died on 30 September 1870 in Bertrange. Other than her natural daughter Anne, she had a son and three daughters with Jacob RUCKERT. The son has not been found after he turned 21 in 1864. One daughter died as an infant. The youngest daughter had a natural son (1867-1868) and it is not known if she ever married or where she lived after her mother’s death. The older daughter Margaretha, my children’s 3rd great-grandmother, married but there is still the mystery of what happened to her and of her family after 1895. It is only through the marriage of her daughter Maria MERTES in 1894 and the census of 1895 that I know that Margaretha and her husband Michel MERTES were still living in 1895.
Peter and Margaretha’s youngest son Jean SCHMIT (b. 1825) also spent his married life in Bertrange. But before this, he was living and working in other places. One residence was Mondercange where he was in May 1852 when his brother Michel married. He was one of the four witnesses and signed “Jang Schmit.” Six years later he was living and working in Noertzange (Bettembourg) when he made plans to marry. Jean married Maria RISCHARD on 20 January 1858 in Schuttrange. Maria was born on 16 March 1827 in Uebersyren (Schuttrange), the same place Jean’s step-mother was born. They lived in Bertrange their entire married life. They were the parents of 6 children, three of whom died at a young age. Of the three living children, a daughter married and had children. The two sons were working in Lothringen (France) in the late 1890s – they have not been traced.
Jean SCHMIT died on 28 November 1892 in Bertrange. His death record has the right wife but the wrong parents. The information was given by his son-in-law Mathias HANSEN. Jean’s wife died six years later on 30 April 1898 in Bertrange.
The District of Diekirch
The second daughter of Peter and Margaretha, Maria Catharina married Joseph POECKER on 20 February 1852 in Bettendorf. Joseph was born on 25 February 1819 in Bettendorf.
How Maria Catharina came to marry in Bettendorf is unknown at this time. She and her husband raised their family on Fooshof. They had seven children, four of whom died in infancy. A daughter who never married died at the age of 38 years. The youngest living son born in 1864 was unmarried at the time of the 1900 census. He was living with his brother Nicolas who had married in 1893 and continued the line.
Maria Catharina died on 1 September 1879 on the family farm, Fooshof in Bettendorf. Her husband Joseph died on 19 January 1895 on Fooshof.
The District of Grevenmacher
Peter and Margaretha’s oldest son Michel married Anna Margretha BRAUN on 5 May 1852 in Waldbillig. Anna was born on 12 May 1826 in Bettange-sur-Mess (Dippach). Michel and Anna Margretha started their family when they were working on the Wolperhof in the commune of Consdorf. Three of their children were born here.
The District of Diekirch
The third child’s birth at Wolper was followed by a move to the western part of Luxembourg in the commune of Bettborn. Three more children were born in Pratz, part of the commune of Bettborn.
Michel and Anna Margretha lived in Horaz from 1885. Not far from Pratz, Horaz, which is also spelled Horass, only had two households.
Michel SCHMIT was the oldest son and last living child of Peter and Margaretha. He died on 26 December 1898 in Horaz. His wife Anna Margretha predeceased him on 12 November 1890 in Horaz.
Still Not Quite Done
* Due to my only learning of the existence of the elder son Jean born in 1820 after writing this post, I have not had the time to research where he may have lived and worked, if he ever married and had children, and when and where he died. Considering his name Jean SCHMIT – just another John Smith – the search may take a while.
This is the last post on my children’s paternal 5th great-grandparents. I already wrote about half of their maternal 5th great-grandparents (my paternal 4th great-grandparents) in 2014 when I did the first round of Amy Johnson Crow‘s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.
Next up will be 16 sets of my maternal 4th great-grandparents. The first eight being from small towns and villages which are now part of Germany near the Luxembourg border. The last eight will be from Luxembourg. I hope to finish up this series by the end of the year even though there are only 13 weeks left. Wish me luck and lots of free time.
Maps used are in the Public domain (Wikimedia Commons) and were annotated using Evernote.
Today, I’m especially pleased to bring to you a guest article written by Susan Speers. She reached out to me by sending a message to my Facebook page Opening Doors in Brick Walls. She’d found the image of the last will and testament of an ancestor in Georgia which included names of slaves and thought I would be interested in using it. I doubt I could bring across the connectivity I feel when writing about the names I find in West Virginia and Virginia as I have no experience researching families in Georgia. I believe the post will be much more powerful coming from a descendant of the slaveholder. Susan was a bit “blown away” when I asked her to be my first guest writer. After taking a day to consider, she came back thanking me “for offering the space and platform.”
Take it away, Susan…..
The Slaves of John Nicholson, Scriven County, Georgia, 1817
In searching for my maternal ancestors on Ancestry.com, I came across the last will and testament of John Nicholson, Jr. (born about 1768, South Carolina – died after 12 March 1817) of Screven County, Georgia. Nicholson’s will lists the names of nine enslaved people which may be of interest to anyone looking for enslaved ancestors in this part of Georgia.
Screven County (formerly called “Scriven” County) is on the Savannah River; the first county seat was Jacksonboro but it was moved to Sylvania in about 1847. German immigrants who arrived on the coast in the 1740s pushed inland to establish farms along the Savannah River in the second half of the 18th Century. Nicholson’s family was originally from Scotland.
From his will and a later deed, it appears that John Nicholson and his heirs were working several hundred acres in Scriven County, but I am not yet sure where his home farm was located. According to Wikipedia and local sources, cotton was the main crop by the turn of the century. For those searching for their ancestors in this part of Georgia, there are apparently additional wills on record in the Screven County Courthouse which may be helpful to search.
I have attempted to transcribe the will to make reading easier.
Will of John Nicholson
In the name of God, Amen. I, John Nicholson, of the state of Georgia & County of Scriven, Planter, being very sick & weak in body but of perfect mind & memory thanks be given unto God, calling into mind the mortality of my body & knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last will & Testament; That is to say principally & first of all, I Give & recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it & my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Almighty power of God; and as touching such worldly state wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form. First I give & bequeath to Elizabeth my dearly beloved wife during her natural life_ the following property namely one hundred acres more or less lying & being in the state & County aforesaid, bounded by Sarah Nicholson’s land on the south & Thomas Nicholson’s land on the north_ Also five negroes namely Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia & Nan, to have & to hold the said property during her natural life, at the expiration of which the aforesaid property shall be equally divided betwixt my three beloved children, Sarah, Thomas & Mary for their individual & particular use severally forever__ I also order & ordain that the present negroes which are deeded off say York, Tom, Jack & Jenny do remain in the present situation they are now in until the Debts are paid off__
I also demise & bequeath unto my daughter in law Margaret Streigle one hundred Dollars__ Also to her daughter Mary Streigle fifty_Dollars_ I also bequeath unto Sarah Streigle daughter to Martha Herrington fifty dollars _ Also to my Grandson John Sewall [Sowell] fifty dollars___ I Do hereby utterly disallow revoke & disannul all & every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies, bequests & so forth, by me in any wise before named willed & bequeathed, ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testament, In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & Seventeen__ Signed, Sealed published pronounced & declared by the said John Nicholson as his last will & testament in the presence of us – who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed our names. __
Nicholas Streigle Joby Herrington John his mark Nicholson Georgia Scriven County Personally appeared in open Court Nicholas Streigle, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth & saith that he was present & saw John Nicholson Dec.d acknowledge & make his mark to the within written will & T. [the] deponent further saith that he saw Job Herrington together with himself subscribe the same as witness thereto Sworn to in open Court of 7th July 1817. Nicholas Streigle.
Seaborn Goodall Cl’k, Recorded this 8th day of July 1817 by me S. Goodall, CCOSC
[Transcribed by Susan Speers]
Nicholson named five men and women who would remain with his widow Elizabeth Streigle (originally Streagle) Nicholson after his death and four others who were working out in 1817 but may have been sold as soon as his debts were paid.
The people listed to remain with Elizabeth Nicholson were: “Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia and Nan.” Nicholson stated that after his widow passed, these people were to be included in the division of the rest of his estate and divided among his three children: Thomas Nicholson, Sarah Nicholson, and Mary Nicholson, who later married James Gamble.
The people who were deeded out at the time Nicholson wrote his will in March of 1817 were: “York, Tom, Jack & Jenny.” It is not clear where they were working out or what would have happened to these people when Nicholson’s debts were paid.
In the 1830 U.S. Federal Census, Thomas Nicholson appears in “District 37” Scriven County with a total of 7 enslaved people and 11 free colored people. The ages range from children under 10 to adults. Other property owners on the same page include John Meades, who did not own slaves; James Gamble (2 female slaves and 9 free colored); and Robert M. Williamson (21 enslaved boys and men; 11 enslaved girls and women.)
In 1836, John Nicholson’s heirs Sarah Nicholson and James Gamble, who had married Mary Nicholson about 1816 and thus owns the land she inherited, sold three parcels of land totaling 375 acres to Thomas Nicholson. The deed description includes the names of adjacent owners which may be helpful to note: Thomas Green, James Meades, Alexander Herrington and Richard Herrington, Sr. The Herringtons were related by marriage to the Nicholsons; public trees on Ancestry indicate that Martha Striggles/Streagle Nicholson, born in 1787, had married Richard Herrington, Sr. in 1807. I have found no record that Sarah Nicholson ever married and no record for her past 1840.
Sarah Nicholson had a total household of 25 people, including of whom 21 were slaves. At this time, Sarah’s age is reported to be between 20 and 30 years old.
Thomas Nicholson had a larger immediate family of 10 with 6 slaves.
Richard M. Herrington reported a family of 4 with one slave. Richard M. would die before the end of the year.
Martha Herrington, between 30 and 40 years old, had a household of 23 people, including 15 slaves. This Martha could be the daughter of Richard M. and Martha, born about 1806.
This one page of Scriven County lists 31 households with a total of 503 people on these 31 farms, of whom 310 were slaves. 61% of the area residents were enslaved, and 108 of those people were children under age 10, fully 21% of the overall population and 34% of the enslaved population.
I come into this tree because my mother was a descendant of Martha Gamble Carter, who I believe was a daughter of James Gamble and Mary Nicholson, although the records are not clear. I continue to research this line and would be interested in hearing from anyone in the Gamble, Carter, Streagle/Strigle or Nicholson families.
 Nicholson was a Revolutionary War soldier and his service is the basis for several membership applications to The Sons of the Revolution society.
 In 1840, in contrast to the 1830 census for members of the Nicholson family, there were no free blacks listed.
 The 1840 census form had different age brackets for white and slaves: white children were counted in columns for under 5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20 while enslaved children were counted as under 10, 10-24, on up. The census taker was asked to report how many individuals were actively working in agriculture or a trade. In Scriven County, anyone who worked worked in agriculture. These property owners did not report (or the taker did not enumerate) that the enslaved children were working in the fields.
Thank you, Susan, for releasing the names of Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia, Nan, York, Tom, Jack, and Jenny. If you are interested in getting in touch with Susan, please leave a comment for her below.
What do you do when you make one of those monumental discoveries about a genealogy collection you have been waiting and waiting and waiting to get access to?
Do you keep it a secret? Or do you shout it out for all to know?
This year I’ve been concentrating on the Luxembourg families in my family tree, specifically the fifth-great-grandparents of my children. Three more posts and I will finish their paternal side. Only half of their maternal side is Luxembourgish, or coming from villages on the other side of the border in Germany and France, and will hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
Most of these ancestors from this generation were living, or their parents were living, when Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in 1766 in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg. This included Luxembourg, along with Belgium, a part of the Netherlands.
The census of 1766 for Luxembourg has only been available through FamilySearch’s microfilm circulation service which as we all know is being discontinued.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. ~ FamilySearch blog
Amberly Beck who blogs at The Genealogy Girl has made several comments on my posts about the collections available online at FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is working at the fastest pace I have ever seen. I can’t keep up with the new records coming available that I am interested in. It’s a great time to be a genealogist! ~ thegenealogygirl
It’s a great time to be a genealogist!
On the FamilySearch blog, I learned that all microfilm which has been rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch.
While researching my upcoming post, I checked on the 1766 census availability and found a little camera icon next to the films for the Decanat of Mersch, Remich, Bitburg, and Stavelot.
In 2003, with a very slow internet modem, my husband’s 7th cousin Cyndi sent me the 1766 census listing I used for the featured image of this post. Now, fourteen years later, I was able to access the digital image online and download a much clearer copy of the over 250 years old document.
Click this link to see the list of films available online for the 1766 census of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg researchers, we have a new key to open the doors in our brick walls!
Amberly, thank you for telling me to check the FamilySearch catalog more often. It really paid off this time!
What? You aren’t checking the catalog at FamilySearch? Take a moment to read these articles:
About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adaline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?
In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adaline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave?
Edwin W. Woodson died on 14 May 1853 leaving a will and an appraisement which named the enslaved person, Evaline.
Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson of Monroe County, (West) Virginia
In the name of God Amen. I Edwin W. Woodson of the County of Monroe and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit Item 1st. I desire that after my death my representatives may sell all of my personal property that can be spared from the support of my family my library and Tobacco excepted, the latter of which is to remain in a partnership concern with N. H. Roberts and Andrew Campbell and myself for twelve months as per partnership agreement, at the expiration of which time, my interest in the Tobacco concern the amount of sale for my personal property and amt. from any debts due me is to be appropriated to my debts. Item 2d. Any deficit in the payment of my debts after the appropriation of the above funds as above named is to be made up out of my negro gril & her increase & my tract of Land on on (sic) which Nehemiah Bonham now lives, or either as my representatives may deem most expedient. Item 3d. In the event that the funds already named above & set apart for the payment of my debts should not be sufficient to pay the same, in that event I desire my home tract of land to be sold on a reasonable credit & the whole of my debts to be paid out of the same, & the residue if any remaining together with that arising or remaining from any other portion of my estate to be divided as follows, one third to my wife Adaline and the ballance equaly amongst my children. Item 4th. Any of my lands that may be left after the payment of my debts, I give to my wife Adaline until the youngest child has arrived at the age of twenty one years at which time it is to be equally divided amongst my children subject to the dower of my wife Adaline. Item 5th. In the event that my negro girl Evaline and her increase in part or whole should not be appropriated to the payment of my debts in that case, I give the same to my wife Adaline so long as she may live and at her death to be equally divided amongst my children. Item 6th. I desire that my Library shall not be sold, but equally apportioned between my children
the oldest to have choice of lots. Item 7th. I do hereby appoint my dearly beloved wife Adaline to be my Executrix and Grandison C. Landcraft my Executor of this my last will & testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 12th day of May 1853. Edwin W. Woodson *seal* Teste Boswell Vass John Woodram N.H. Roberts At Monroe June Court 1853. The Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson decd was presented in Court by Grandison C. Landcraft one of the Executors therein named and was proved by the oaths of John Woodram and Nathaniel H. Roberts two of the subscribing witneses thereto and the same is ordered to be recorded and thereupon the said Landcraft together with Rufus Pack, Robert L. Shanklin, Mathew Campbell and Nathaniel H. Roberts his securities entered into & acknowledged his bond in the penalty of $5000 with condition according to the law, probate of the said will in due form is granted him, reserving the liverty to Mrs. Woodson the Executrix named in said will to join in the probate hereafter if she choose. A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC (Clerk, Monroe County)
Appraisement of the Estate of Edwin W. Woodson
In Obedience to an order made at the June term to us directed John Vass, Boswell Vass and Nathaniel H. Roberts who were appointed to appraise the personal Estate of Edwin W. Woodson decd do now proceed as follows after being duly sworn
1 Negro Girl named Evaline $ 600.00 1 White Mare 50.00 1 Brown Horse 65.00 1 Grey Yearling Colt 45.00 1 Iron Gray Mare 85.00 1 Black Cow 12.00 1 Spotted Do. 12.00 1 Mewly Heifer 10.00 1 White face Do. 10.00 1 Speckled Cow 15.00 (subtotal 904.00) 20 head of Sheep at $1 20.00 2 Calves at $4 8.00 15 Hogs at $2 30.00 5 shrats at $1 5.00 1 wheat Fan 22.00 1 Scythe & Cradle 1.50 1 mowing sythe & snaith 0.75 2 Sets Plow Gears at $1.37 1/2 2.75 1 two Horse Wagon & 3 Bodys 65.00 (subtotal 155.00) 2 Single Trees & 1 Double do 1.00 1 Sog chain 1.50 1 Big Plow 5.00 1 shovel Plow, clevis do. 1.25 1 Bull Tounge Do. 0.75 1 Coalter Plow & Clevis 1.25 1 Plow shovel 0.37 1 Choping Axe 1.25 1 mattock 2.75 1 Iron Tooth Harrow 3.00 (subtotal 18.12) $1077.12 Amount brot. over $1,077.12 2 Hilling Hoes 1.50 1 Weeding do 0.25 1 Bee stand 1.50 1 Brass Clock 4.00 5 feather Beds & Bedding 50.00 2 New Bed steads at $5.00 Ea. 10.00 2 old do at $2.00 Ea 4.00 2 old do at $1.00 Ea 2.00 1 shot gun 2.50 (subtotal 75.75) 1 Jack Reel 0.75 1 Flax spinning wheel 3.00
1 big wheel 1.50 1 man’s saddle & 2 riding bridles 12.00 1 Cupboard & contents 16.00 1 Beauro & Book Case 8.00 1 small table with drawer 1.00 1 Cooking glass 0.50 (subtotal 42.75) 1 Dining Table 2.50 10 Chairs 5.00 1 pr. small steelyears 0.34 1 old Hand saw 0.25 1 drawing Knife 0.25 2 Iron Wedges 0.50 Kitchen furniture including Pots, Ovens, Skillets Kettles, Buckets, Pans & & & 5.00 (subtotal 13.84) July 29th 1853 $1,209.46 Boswell Vass John Vass N.H. Roberts Boswell Vass, John Vass, N. H. Roberts appeared before me and was duly sworn by me a justice of the peace for said County. Given under my hand. Joseph Ellis J.O. At Monroe County Court Octo. Tm. 1853 An appraisment of the Estate of E. W. Woodson decd was returned & ordered to be recorded A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC
I do not normally go to Ancestry to check on wills etc. for West Virginia as they are on FamilySearch. In this case I discoved fiduciary records for the estate of Edwin W. Woodson which included 200 images in the West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985 database.
I only skimmed through the images until I found this record which shows Evaline was included in the personal property which went to the widow Adaline B. Woodson.
Received from G. C. Landcraft Exr. of E. W. Woodson decd., as of the 29th day of July 1853, nine hundred and forty one dollars & 46 cents, in personal property belonging to the estate of said E. W. Woodson decd. at its appreaised value. The above includes one negro girl named Evaline, appraised at $600.00. Given under my hand this 25 day of April 1873 A.B. Woodson Widow of E. W. Woodson decd.
Evaline was most likely the young girl Evoline mentioned in Landcraft’s appraisement in 1835. By 1870 she would have been about 40 years old (1850 age 20 and 1860 age 30 as seen in the slave schedules). I was not able to locate her in the 1870 census but hope that by releasing her name a descendant may recognize her, make the connection, and leave a comment.
In Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Henry, a Slave in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, the slaveholder of the enslaved Henry was John S. Roberts. Further research turned up connections to others who owned slaved. John Shelton Roberts was the son of Alexander Roberts and Sarah Shepherd of Nelson County, Virginia. He married Adeline B. Landcraft, daughter of Nathaniel Landcraft and Sarah B. Hardin, on 6 September 1829 in Nelson County. John and Adeline very likely came to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area with Adeline’s parents. By 1830 John was living in Nicholas County where he (male 20 thru 29) was seen on the census with his wife (female 20 thru 29) and two young slaves under 10 years of age. When he died the appraisement of his estate included only the enslaved Henry. Was it possible the other slave belonged to his widow Adeline B. Landcraft? Did she receive the enslaved person in their 1830 household from her parents?
Nathaniel Landcraft was seen in Nelson County, Virginia, with the following household in 1820:
1820 United States Federal Census
Home in 1820 (City, County, State):
Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia
August 7, 1820
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15:
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25:
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over:
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10:
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15:
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44:
Slaves – Males – Under 14:
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25:
Slaves – Females – Under 14:
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25:
Slaves – Females – 26 thru 44:
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture:
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures:
Free White Persons – Under 16:
Free White Persons – Over 25:
Total Free White Persons:
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other:
Source: 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Buckingham, Nelson, Virginia; Page: 196; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 374; Ancestry.com
In 1830 Nathaniel Landcraft was found in Summersville, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, where his daughter Adeline and son-in-law John S. Roberts were also living. The image is very light, however, I was able to confirm the entry is for Nathaniel Landcraft and not Sanderson as indexed below.
1830 United States Federal Census
Nathaniel Sanderson [Nathaniel Snderapt]
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):
Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19:
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29:
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59:
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19:
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59:
Slaves – Males – Under 10:
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35:
Slaves – Females – Under 10:
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35:
Free White Persons – Under 20:
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49:
Total Free White Persons:
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):
Source: 1830; Census Place: Summersville, Nicholas, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 198; Page: 193; Family History Library Film: 0029677; Ancestry.com
As can be seen in the census listings above, Landcraft had 11 slaves in his household in 1820 and 9 (6 of whom were born after 1820) in 1830. At the time of his death, the appraisement of his estate included only three enslaved persons: Violate, Evoline and Samuel.
1835 Appraisement of the Estate of Nathaniel Landcraft
We the undersigned (after first duly sworn)
have proceeded to appraise in Current money the
person (sic) estate and Negro Belonging to the Estate
of Nathaniel Landcraft decd as followeth, to wit.
One Negro Woman named Violate $375
One Do Girle ” Evoline 150
One Do Boy ” Samuel 125
One Cupboard & Furniture 35
One Safe & furniture 10
One Sideboard & Table 5
One Clock 10
One Bed & furniture 30
Two Beds, Bedsteads & furniture 60
One Trunk, Chist & Bedstead 4
One Looking Glass 2
Two Waiters 1.50
Nine Chairs 4.50
One Tea Kittle and Irons & Shovels & Tongs 3
Kitchen furniture 15
Given under our hand this 2nd day
of January 1855_
. . . . . . . . . . . .T.B. Hamilton
. . . . . . . . . . . .P. Keenan Appraisers
. . . . . . . . . . . .Wm. Morris
Fayette County Court Clerks Office Jany Term 1835
The Appraisement Bill of the Estate of Nathaniel Land-
craft decd was Recd and ordered to be recorded_
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Test
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Hiram Hill CK
End of transcription
About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adeline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?
In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adeline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave? Did Rev. Woodson die before 1860? Did he leave a will, inventory, or appraisement mentioning the slave enumerated under his name in 1850?
I prompted my readers to ask me if they were interested in how I found the browse-only records on FamilySearch. Several took me up on the offer to explain how I found this particular record. One suggested I write an entire article talking about some of the shortcuts and easier ways I have learned to search the non-indexed records.
Your post – coupled with the recent announcement that Family Search is discontinuing microfilm distribution – is a good reminder for all genealogists to keep a close eye on the expanding online collections of digitized records. ~ Michael Dyer of Family Sleuther
I spend hours working with the browse-only records at FamilySearch. I also remember the days when I thought I would never get the hang of working with their immense collections. I’m more experienced today and it’s easier for me to find my way around the Library. Yes, I think of the FamilySearch site as a library with a librarian who will answer my questions and a catalog for helping me find the collections or books I’m looking for.
What will you find in the library?
Family history researchers have different levels of experience. A beginner may not get much further than the front desk and feel lost.
FamilySearch has changed and grown since I first began using the FREE site. I’ve gone from using the Search Historical Records box (as a beginner and, even now, as a more experienced researcher) to consulting the Find a Collection to doing geographical research with the Research By Location tool.
Click on Browse all published collections under Find a Collection to see a list of 2237 collections. A collection with a camera icon and the words Browse images in the Records column tell you it is BROWSE-ONLY and not indexed. The collections with a camera icon and the number of records available are indexed and linked to images. The collections with a camera with a rectangle are indexed on FamilySearch but the image will be found on another site which may be free or subscription.
Filter the list by searching for words in the name of the collection or choosing a place, time period, and/or type of collection. At the very bottom on the left under Collections, there is a little box you can check to view only collections with images.
Here I filtered the names of the collections with West Virginia in the title and shortened the list to ten collections. In this list I don’t see Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia, the database where I found birth records of two slaves of Wilson M. DEMPSEY born in 1855 and 1857 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.
The Genealogy Girl, Amberly Beck, mentioned in a comment on one of my posts awhile back that FamilySearch is adding browse-only collections at a faster pace. They may not be showing up in the Historical Record Collections list – but they are being added to the catalog.
Let’s click back to the front desk and see if the librarian is available.
The FamilySearch Wiki, in my opinion, is not used often enough by researchers. It is the first place you should look to learn about genealogy research in different areas. I think of the FamilySearch Wiki as the librarian who is there to help – if you ask.
What is the Wiki?
Welcome to the Wiki! The Wiki is a free, online genealogical guide, with links to genealogy databases, images of records, and instructions on how to search for your ancestors. ~ from the FamilySearch Wiki Overview
We’ve taken a short tour of the front desk and seen where the librarian works. Before we check out the catalog, we need to know what we’ll be searching for.
This is the indexed information from the birth record of William born in 1857. When FamilySearch shows a record with the camera icon and notation that no image is available, this means there is no image attached to the indexed material. However, the film may be browse-only and available online.
Remember the days when you could do a Request for Photo Duplication on FamilySearch?
We were all disappointed when this service was discontinued. But wait! If they could look up the record and send it to us, couldn’t we do our own lookup in the collections of browse-only records – if they are online?
Let’s try looking for the 1857 birth record in the search result above. The GS Film Number or FHL microfilm is 34485.
This is where the catalog comes into play.
Click on Search and then Catalog on the drop-down menu on the main page of FamilySearch.
Under Search for: click on Film/Fiche Number to open the box and fill in the FHL number 34485. Click on the Search button.
This takes you to Vital statistics, 1853-1860 of West Virginia. Click on the link for more information.
Under Notes you will see this collection is a group of records held at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Scroll down to see the 10 films listed. Search for the number in the Film/DGS column.
The magnifying glass indicates this collection is indexed and searchable. We already knew this as the indexed record was found using Search Historical Records tool. The camera icon means the collection is available for viewing. If it were microfilm which has not been digitized you would see a film icon. To browse the records, click on the camera next to film #34485 for Calhoun – Hampshire counties.
This is where many people are overwhelmed as they think they need to click through hundreds of images to find what they are looking for.
On the left side is the tool to zoom in and out and view single or all images. Start with the filmstrip view instead of single images. When records are filmed they do it in a logical order. This is Calhoun – Hampshire counties and, in alphabetical order, these counties would be Calhoun – Clay – Doddridge – Fayette – Gilmer – Grant – Greenbrier – Hampshire.
Tip: If you don’t know the names of the counties, go to the Wiki, search for the state or use the interactive map to get to the state level or county level.
As you scroll down you will notice there are images that look like title pages of books (green arrows). If you click on one of these you will see the title, West Virginia Vital Statistics, and below in very light typewriting, the name of the county. In this collection, you need to zoom in as close as possible to read it. But since you know Fayette is the 4th county in the batch you can go to 4th title image.
Fayette starts on image 107 and goes to 159 as image 160 is the next West Virginia Vital Statistics cover sheet. The collection is for the time period 1853-1860 and we are looking for a birth record for the year 1857. There are a little over 50 images for Fayette County.
How were birth, marriage, and death registers kept at this time? Did they have a register only for births or were the BMD records kept together by year? Look at the small images. Some of the pages are not filled with writing. These could be the last pages of a year’s entries. Getting familiar with the record keeping of the time and place makes it much easier to jump through the images to find records instead of looking at every single image.
Once you’ve found the record, an important step needs to be performed. You want to save the record AND you want to be able to find it again WITHOUT having to go through all the steps mentioned above.
FamilySearch usually makes this easy to do. Click on Information, scroll down to Citation, copy/paste, and save in your usual manner (in your genealogy software, on the image, in Evernote with the image). In this case, we see No citation is available. This means you need to write your own source citation, similar to the caption of the image above. You want to include the name of the collection, film # and batch name, and image # just in case the URL (which you also want to save) is no longer accessible.
Another example of browse-only records
Instead of using an FHL film number to access a record, you can search by location.
Go to the catalog, in the Place box begin typing West Virginia (or any location you are interested in). The place name is always from largest to smallest: Country, State, County.
You can refine your search by changing the place, for example from state to a specific county in the state, in the box at left. Or, on the right, you can click on Places within….
to get a list of the counties. I want to find a bond taken out by Augustus BLAKE of Fayette County in the 1880s. Clicking on Fayette opens up a list of all collections for the county. Court records should include bonds. Click to open list of all available records.
Bonds, 1870-1926 matches the type of record and the period for the record we are looking for.
Scroll down the page to see if collections are available to browse or search.
Under Note check for the 1880s time period which would be in Vol. 1 1870-1887 or Vol. 2-3 1887-1900. We’ll try the first batch: Film #584751 Item 3. If you’ve browsed through microfilm you know they continue filming collections back to back. Because of this the mention of Item 3 is important for the search.
This is the beginning of the film starting with Item #1. We scroll down to the next black image.
There is a black image with End, an image with the title of the next item, and then a black image with Begin. Scroll to next black image.
Here we see the end of Item #2, info and beginning of Item #3. You can see it is a book and the index is on the front pages. If they aren’t at the front, you’d scroll to the end of the item and check the back of the book for the index.
Tip: There are some collections, for example, Wills where the index to all books in one section.
Item #3 is Releases and Official Bonds 1870-1887 Vol.1. We are also in the correct location: Fayette County, West Virginia.
The first page of the index had several Blake individuals including the one we are looking for. The bond is indexed as being on page 210. Click on one of the first pages of the batch to see where the page numbers are located and if both left and right pages are numbered or counted.
In this case, each page in the ledger has a page number in the upper corner. Jump forward about 100 images by changing the number in the little box at the top left of the image from 129 to 229.
Image 229 was for pages 178 and 179. We are 32 pages or 16 images away from page 210. Go to image 245 (229+16) to get to page 210 which has the guardian bond taken out by Augustus BLAKE in 1886.
Click the Information tab on the bottom left, grab the top edge and pull it up to expand. We see the entire film is made up of four items. As was the case in the previous record searched for, there is no citation available.
An example of European browse-only records
In November 2015 FamilySearch started using the new viewer with the small images. I wrote an article, The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it! on how I locate the browse-only records in the Luxembourg collections.
Tip: European civil records for births, marriages, and deaths have an index at the end of each year. Instead of browsing through the records searching for the yearly index, check the tables décennales or TD. These are lists of BMD for an entire decade and also know as the 10-year index.
In the first two examples for West Virginia records the citations were not available. Don’t let this keep you from working with the browse-only records. This is not the norm. In The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it! you will see the source citations are found in the Information tab in the lower left of the window.
If you’ve never had much luck finding non-indexed records on FamilySearch, I hope these steps and tips will help you become a successful browse-only researcher on the FamilySearch site.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each week, as I write about another set of my children’s Luxembourgish 5th great-grandparents, I review the information I have. If I haven’t worked on the family in a while, I search for baptismal and/or birth records, marriage banns, marriage records, death and/or burial records, census records on FamilySearchin the collections for Luxembourg or Lëtzebuerg.
This week I looked into the SCHAEFFER-GREISCH family. I’ll be sharing the post on Friday. However, I couldn’t wait to play this little game with you.
Lëtz Play! Can You Top This?
Have you found a record in your genealogy research which reveals as many events as the one I discovered?
When I re-read the 1810 marriage record of the SCHAEFFER-GREISCH couple who married in Esch-sur-Sûre in north-western Luxembourg, I found the widowed father of the groom was living in Bourglinster, a town in the commune of Junglinster in central Luxembourg. I found his 1819 death record in Junglinster and learned he had remarried. When and where did this marriage take place?
I located the 1809 marriage record in Junglinster and it is filled with genealogical information. Imagine finding the dates for fifteen (15) events in one record!
21 April 1809 – Date of marriage for Johann Baptiste SCHAFFER and Catherine WEINTZ
22 June 1752 – Date of birth of the groom, Johann Baptiste SCHAFFER
7 Frimaire year X – Date of death of the groom’s first wife Catherine JACQUES (aka SCHAACK)
16 January 1795 – Date of death of Jean SCHAFFER, father of the groom
21 February 1771 – Date of death of Marie BRAACK, mother of the groom
15 March 1760 – Date of death of Jean SCHAFFER, grandfather of the groom
25 March 1760 – Date of death of Susanne SCHAFFER, grandmother of the groom
3 Nov 1765 – Date of birth of the bride, Catherine WEINTZ
9 Pluviose year XII – Date of death of the bride’s first husband, Matthias REIDELER
21 February 1773 – Date of death of Michel WEINTZ, father of the bride
3 Frimaire 1797 – Date of death of Marie BRAUN, mother of the bride
12 April 1749 – Date of death of Theodore WEINTZ, grandfather of the bride
19 April 1767 – Date of death of Marguerite WEINTZ, grandmother of the bride
26 March 1809 – First proclamation of the marriage banns
2 April 1809 – Second proclamation of the marriage banns
It’s normal to find dates of death of the first spouse and deceased parents of the bride and/or groom in Luxembourgish marriage records. I have also seen the fact that the grandparents were deceased when the party was an orphan. But this was the first record I’ve seen with names and dates for the grandparents of the bride and groom.
Have you found a record with this many events mentioned? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment or link to a post you’ve written about your extraordinary find.