For the most part, we research our family trees from ourselves back one generation at a time, moving on and continuing back to the oldest known ancestor as the line is proven. To write about my children’s 5th great-grandparents, Johann MEDER (ca. 1720-1784) and Susanna LAMBERT (1729-1803) of Ettelbruck, I had to research the changes in their surnames in order to locate their baptismal records. This took me back another 100 years to the 1600s and sent me spiraling down a rabbit hole.
When Did Mederhansen become Meder?
The surname MEDER evolved from MEDERHANSEN in the 1700s. During the 1600s, when the earliest church records were kept, the name was almost exclusively found as MEDERHANSEN. During the 1700s both versions of the name were found.
In the church records for Ettelbruck at FamilySearch.org, I found a register with extracted data from the baptismal records for the years 1640-1710, pages of families tree diagrams of the first families of Ettelbruck, and lists of marriages with numbers cross-referencing to the family trees. A treasure of information but a rabbit hole which had me looking up each baptismal record for children with surnames MEDERHANSEN.
lapsus calami a slip of the pen
Extracted information of baptismal records from the 1600s was printed in 1896 or earlier and included in the register likely put together by the priest who was serving Ettelbruck before 1900. The person who transcribed the names for the printed version had difficulty with the handwriting in some documents and was not consistent with the second part of the name which resulted in MEDERHANSEN also being seen as MEDERHAUSEN.
*Mader, Meder – a person who mows grain or hay.
(see comment below)
I consulted Luxemburger Familiennamenbuch by Cristian Kollmann, Peter Gilles and Claire Muller (2016), a book on family names in Luxembourg. MEDER is a surname derived from an occupation.* The author(s) also believed Mederhausen to be a copyist’s error as the name was not a toponym (place name) or a family name which is still in use. In 1611 the name MEDERT was found in the Feuerstattenverzeichnisse, a census of fireplaces or households in Luxembourg. In genealogical databases (church records) MEDERHANSEN evolved into MEDER around 1670. In the 1880 Luxembourg census there were 67 households in the country with the name MEDER, a whopping 0.35%. In 2009 only 24 (0.15%) listings were found in the Luxembourg telephone book for MEDER.
Following the end of the Thirty-Years’ War in 1648, the population of Ettelbruck, Ettelbréck as it is known in Luxembourgish, was 281 per the table below. When Johannes MEDER and Susanna LAMBERT married in 1752 the population had likely surpassed the 763 seen in 1750.
The wrong first name in the printed list for the father of Adam MEDERHANSEN (Johannes’ father) had me wondering if the others may contain errors as well. Adam’s father’s name was listed as Nic., short for Nicolas, in the printed list.
The baptismal record showed a son of Jacobus MEDERHANSEN and his wife Susanna was baptized on 24 August 1696 with godparents Adam MEDERHANSEN of Ettelbruck and Eva JACOBS of Warken. The name of the son was omitted but as it was tradition to name the child after the godparent of the same gender the omitted name had to be Adam.
After making a list of all MEDERHANSEN children born in Ettelbruck between 1645 and 1710 I gathered the baptismal records which included the names of the father, mother, and godparents. Once the list was complete an examination showed there were two families having children at the same time.
Henricus MEDERHANSEN and his wife Elisabeth
Nicolas MEDERHANSEN and his wife Margaretha
Both of the men and their wives had children from about 1645-1646 into the 1660s which leads me to believe they were about the same age and possibly brothers.
A large problem in analyzing the family connections this far back is the lack of death and marriage records for the period 1640 to 1725. Both MEDERHANSEN families had a son named Jacob. Nicolas’ son was born in 1646 and Henri’s son was born in 1655. To further complicate matters I found three women having children with men named Jacob.
Jacob and Maria had children in 1671, 1672, and 1674 (Nicolas)
Jacob and Eva had children in 1688 and 1690 (Nicolas or Henri)
Jacob and Susanna had children in 1696, 1698, and 1703 (my husband’s line)
Are all three Jacobs the same person, two persons, or even three – the last perhaps a grandson and not a son of one of the two first MEDERHANSEN families in Ettelbruck?
Also found in the register were these diagrams of MEDER family trees including the MEDERHANSEN version of the name. Heinrich MEDER seen at the top of the diagram above was one of the two MEDERHANSEN men whose families were in Ettelbruck in the 1600s. Nicolas MEDERHANSEN in the diagram below was a son of Heinrich seen above.
The person who did these diagrams (mind-mapping on paper) would have greatly profited from today’s technology. Following all of the diagrams he included a list of marriages he used to create them. Many of the earliest marriages are “guesstimates” as a question mark was included before the year. How reliable are the early connection he made in the above diagrams? Further research may any this question.
As the births, marriages, and deaths for Ettelbruck appear to be complete from 1725 until 1815 in the church records, my next step will be to slowly go through all records beginning in 1725. It may be a while before I climb out of this rabbit hole or dig deeper into it.
Either way, I’m hopeful I will get additional help from my genealogy association in Luxembourg. Luxracines will soon be opening a library to the members and public. As treasurer and a member of the board, I’ve been helping set up the library and will be sharing some of the “behind the scenes” moments in next week’s post.
Following the marriage of Johannes MEDER (1723-1784) and Susanna LAMBERT (1729-1803) on 27 December 1752 their first child was born eight months later. More children followed about every two years until the family included nine children in 1770. The baptisms of each child took place on the day of birth in Ettelbrück where the couple lived following their marriage in Mersch.
Ch 1: Margaretha on 30 August 1753. Her godparents were Nicolaus Flamman and Margaretha Eichorn, both of Ettelbrück.
Ch 2: Magdalena on 24 July 1755. Her godparents were Wilhelm Benderin and Magdalene Philips, both of Ettelbrück.
Ch 3: Pierre on 11 January 1757. His godparents were Petrus Kremer and Barbara Meder, both of Ettelbrück.
Ch 4: Nicolas on 13 August 1758. His godparents were Nicolaus Polfer and Anna Maria Meder, both of Ettelbrück.
Ch 5: Joannes on 18 January 1761. His godparents were Joannes Wagener and Elisabetha Hoffman, both of Ettelbrück.
Ch 6: Agnès on 15 September 1762. Her godparents were Philippus Frisch of Ettelbrück and Agnes Schodeck of Mersch.
Ch 7: Elisabetha 5 October 1764. Her godparents were Théodorus Welter of Ettelbrück and Elisabetha Bettendorf of Warken.
Ch 8: Joannes Nicolaus on 26 October 1766. His godparents were Joannes Nicolaus Bequinet and Barbara Wagner of Ettelbrück.
Ch 9: Margaretha on 21 September 1770. Her godparents were Joannes Cames and Margaretha Flamand, both of Ettelbrück.
One of my readers last week wrote, “So great to have such a wealth of records, not to mention being able to read them!” I admit that being fluent in several languages I forget sometimes that my readers not only may have difficulties reading the handwriting but also knowing the language it is writing in. The text of each baptismal record above was in Latin and reads:
Natus et baptimus est [child’s name] filius/filia legitimus/legitima [father] et [mother] conjugum ex [town], Susceptores fuerunt [godfather] ex [town] et [godmother] ex [town]
Born and baptized [child] legitimate son/daughter of married [parents] of [town], godparents were [godfather] and [godmother] of [town]
The paternal grandfather of the children lived long enough see all of them born. Adami MEDER also known as “Juckes” died at the age of 77 years on 9 March 1774 in Ettelbrück. To date, no record of death has been found for his wife Elisabetha ESCH. An exhaustive search, viewing every page of the church death register from December 1771 when she was last seen as living, has not been done.
The first of Johannes and Susanna’s children Pierre MEDER married Anne Marie FABER (1755-1812) on 11 January 1779 in Ettelbrück. It was to be the only marriage of a child attended by Johannes as he died at the age of 61 years on 13 February 1784 in Ettelbrück.
Johannes’ widow Susanna saw four of their children marry in three years:
Ch 4: Nicolas MEDER married Marguerite BRACHTENBACH (1764-1823) on 27 December 1793 Ettelbrück
Ch 8: Johann Nicolas MEDER married Apolonia WILMES (1769-1824) on 13 January 1794 Diekirch
Ch 7: Elisabeth MEDER married Jacques BROCHMAN (1757-1831) on 23 May 1796 Diekirch
Ch 9: Margaretha MEDER married Martin SCHMIDT (1750- ) on 9 September 1796 Ettelbrück Note: Only the index card with marriage information was found for this couple. The church records appear to be missing pages (or they may be out of order) for May to November 1796. Civil marriages were first registered in the Republican Year 5, a week after this marriage took place.
No marriages or death records have been found for the oldest daughters Margaretha and Magdalena or for the third son Joannes. Did they die young or marry and live in a town other than Ettelbrück? I suspect Margaretha (b. 1753) died before the younger Margaretha was born in 1770. A complete search of the church records is still in progress.
The mother of the family, Susanna LAMBERT, died at the age of 74 years on 8 September 1803 in Ettelbrück. Her death was reported by her second oldest son Nicolas.
Two of Johannes and Susanna’s children moved to Diekirch to raise their families while four of their children remained in Ettelbrück. Their daughter Agnès never married. The MEDER name was carried on by Pierre and Nicolas in Ettelbrück and by Johann Nicolas in Diekirch.
Death records were found for the following children:
Ch 3: Pierre MEDER , the oldest son, died 28 March 1812 Ettelbrück
Ch 4: Nicolas MEDER died 9 March 1823 Ettelbrück
Ch 7: Elisabeth MEDER died 29 November 1844 Diekirch
Ch 8: Johann Nicolas “Jean Nicolas” MEDER died 22 December 1844 Diekirch
Ch 6: Agnès MEDER who never married died 23 December 1844 Ettelbrück
Ch 9: Margaretha MEDER died 14 December 1859 Ettelbrück
The winter of 1844 was not a good year for the family. Three siblings died within a month, two of them a day apart.
Finding all of the above records was child’s play compared to what I went through to find the baptismal records of their parents Johann MEDER and Susanna LAMBERT. While doing the research for this family group I found myself slipping down a rabbit hole. I was pulled back in time to an era where family names were not the surnames we know today. Join me next week to see how I fared while exploring the rabbit hole.
Last year during the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge I blogged about my children’s ancestors starting with their paternal grandparents back to their 4th great-grandparents. Nearly a quarter of their 5th great-grandparents were featured in 2014 as part of the American branch of the family tree but three quarters have not been written about. As the remaining are all European and mostly Luxembourgish families the records are available and the ancestors are waiting for their stories to be told.
In 1723 a baptismal record was recorded in the church records of Ettelbrück in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Joes, the abbreviated form of Joannes (Johannes or Jean), a son of Adam and Elisabetha MEDERHANSEN of Ettelbrück was baptized. His godparents were Joannes Petrus (Jean Pierre) Barthels of Elscheid and Joanna (Jeanne) Mederhansen of Ettelbrück. The record was not dated and other records on the page are not in true chronological order.
His baptismal record had this comment in the margin: n. b. non e ni ordine. This translate to “Take special notice, not in order.” The record therefore was not recorded in chronological order. His next sibling was born on 19 June 1724 which would mean Joannes had to have been born before September 1723. He was the oldest known child and his younger siblings were born with an average of about 3 years between births. When Joannes died on 13 February 1784 he was in his 65th year which places his birth at around 1720.
In the church records Latin forms of the names were used. To avoid confusion I will mention the form used in records but for narration will use the German form of the names.
Johannes MEDER’s (1720-1784) parents were Adam MEDERHANSEN (1696-1774) and Elisabetha ESCH. They likely married about 1719 and continued to have children until 1740. To date no record has been found to confirm the date of marriage of his parents who lived in Ettelbrück nor dates of birth and death of his mother Elisabetha. Why the change in the surname from MEDERHANSEN to MEDER? This will be discussed in a later post.
Johannes MEDER, whose surname was spelled MEDERT, and Susanna LAMBERT, whose surname was spelled LAMBER, were married on 27 December 1752 in Mersch. Susanna was from Angelsberg. A remark on the above index card in Latin ambo olim famulantes apud MEYERS im EHSINGEN translates to “both were formerly serving for the MEYERS in ESSINGEN.” Since Johannes was from Ettelbrück and Susanna was from Angelsberg they likely met while working for the MEYERS family in Essingen. The spelling of the town name is recorded incorrectly on the index card but written Essingen (the double s appears as fs in cursive) in the marriage record below.
As Susanna (1729-1803) was from Angelsberg, a town whose records are found in Mersch, I searched through all the baptisms between 1720 and 1735 for a birth record for Susanna LAMBERT. I found a Susanna born in Angelsberg and baptized on 2 January 1729. The only problem was her parents names were Joannis and Maria REINERS. I made a note of the location of the record for further reference.
While checking for the birth, marriage and death records of the children of Johannes and Susanna, to be discussed in my next post, I ran across one record with a different surname for Susanna. In 1779 Johannes and Susanna had been married 27 years and the first of their children, their oldest son Pierre married a young lady named Marie FABER from Mamer.
The index card for the marriage has the mother of the groom listed as Suzanne REINERS. Using the index card as a guide I located the marriage record in the church records. The mother’s maiden name was REINERS in the text as well as at the bottom of the document where all persons present at the marriage signed or left their mark.
This marriage record had me going back to the record I found for the REINERS child named Susanna born in 1729 in Angelsberg to Joannis and Maria.
The LAMBERT family was also known as REINERS in earlier records. The LAMBERT name appears to have come into use after the death of Joannis REINERS in 1750. Both names were likely “house” names.
The marriage of Johannes and Susanna lasted 31 years, 1 month, and 17 days ending with the death of Johannes in 1784. Next week we will take a look at the records found for their children.
Week 26 (June 25-July 1) – Halfway:This week marks the halfway point in the year — and the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge! What ancestor do you have that you feel like you’ve only researched halfway? What ancestor do you feel like takes up half of your research efforts?
Halfway finished with 2015 and this year’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. What better time to switch gears and begin on a new generation. The 3rd great-grandparents will take me through to the end of the year. Sixteen paternal and maternal sets for my husband and 8 maternal sets for myself. My paternal sets were discussed during the first year of the challenge in 2014.
This generation of ancestors will be take me into a time period which has only been researched halfway. Civil record keeping in Luxembourg began ca. 1796 while the country was under Napoleonic rule (1795- 1812). During the first half of this year I featured many state-gathered records (births, marriages, deaths). The church records (baptisms, marriages, burials) for Luxembourg went online at Family Search at the beginning of this year. At the time I made a resolution to focus on the planned families each week and not check for church records for earlier generations and families until it was time to write about them.
I admit it was hard to keep this resolution, knowing the database was there for the pickings. I went in a few times to check on this or that ancestor and I told myself it was only a practice run. The family I’m doing this week gave me the first opportunity to really dig in and work with the church records. I was only halfway done when I began cleaning up source citations, etc. and adding records for this family.
The MEDER-WILMES Family of Diekirch
Jean Nicolas (Johann Nicolaus) MEDER and Apolonia (Apolline) WILMES were my husband’s 3rd great-grandparents. Due to the nature of the civil and church records in Luxembourg their names were spelled differently over time. It is hard to choose the correct spelling as records were in German, French and Latin. The different spellings, however, did not make it difficult to find the records as I have become familiar with FamilySearch’s browse-only databases.
1766 Baptism of Johann Nicolaus MEDER
Johann Nicolaus MEDER was born and baptized on 26 October 1766 in Ettelbrück. His parents were Joannis MEDER and Susanna LAMBER. His godparents were Johann Nicolaus BEQUINET and Barbara WAGENER. In later records the father’s name was seen as Johannes and Jean and the mother’s maiden name was spelled LAMBERT.
1769 Baptism of Apolonia WILMES
Apolonia WILMES was baptiszed on 27 February 1769 in Diekirch. Her parents were Gangolphe WILMES and Anna Marguerite SCHODT. Her godparents were Nicolas THEYS and Apolonia SCHOLTES, both of Diekirch.
1794 Marriage of Jean Nicolas MEDER and Apolonia WILMES
Normally I don’t have much trouble reading the old handwriting in these documents however this marriage record for Jean Nicolas MEDER and Apolonia WILMES was an exception. I knew the date of marriage as it was found in the Family Book of Diekirch compiled by Rob Deltgen, Komplettes Familienbuch der Gemeinde 1796-1923. The names of the bride and groom were underlined which helped me find the record. I can make out the names of the bride and groom’s parents and witnesses however a complete transcription would take more time.
Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Burials of Children
Jean Nicolas and Apolinia’s first child was a daughter Elizabeth born and baptized on 16 November 1794 in Diekirch. Her godparents were her grandfather “Gangolphus” WILMES and her aunt Elisabeth MEDER, wife of Jacques BROCHMAN, all of Diekirch. The record has the surname spelled MOEDERS instead of MEDER. Little Elizabeth lived only two months, dying at midnight from the 27th to the 28th of January 1795. She was buried on the 29th.
The second daughter of Jean Nicolas and Apolonia was born on 3 December 1795 at 7 in the evening and was baptized the next day. Christina MEDER’s godparents were Pierre GOSSENS and Christine MOCHY, both of Diekirch.
The first son of Jean Nicolas and Apolonia was born on 30 Pluviose year VI. Antonius MOEDER, as the name was written, was born during the Napoleonic rule when the Republican calendar was in effect. The date was 18 February 1798. No baptismal record was found however his name is on a list of baptisms performed in 1798. The church did not use the Republican calendar and his date of baptism was seen as 17 February 1798. Was this an error on the list of baptisms or on the part of the civil servant using the Republican calendar? In any case he could not have been baptized the day before he was born.
Three year old Christina MEDER died on 7 March 1799. Her death record filled an entire page of the register.
Mathias MEDER, the second son and fourth child of Jean Nicolas and Apolonia was born and baptized on 30 December 1800. In the civil record his surname was spelled MOEDER while in his baptismal record it was spelled MEDER.
Elisabeth MEDER was born on 10 Pluviose year 10 to Jean Nicolas and Apolonia. Her baptismal record shows she was baptized the same day and gives both dates: 30 January 1804 and 10 Pluviose year 10. Her godparents were Mathias WILMES and Elizabeth WILMES, both of Diekirch.
The third son of Jean Nicolas and Apolonia was born and baptized on 14 July 1807 in Diekirch. Theodore MEDER’s godparents were Theodore RITSCHDORFF and Eva KNEIP, both of Diekirch.
Jean Nicolas and Apolonia’s youngest child Anne Marie was born 12 September 1810. No baptismal record was found for Anne Marie MEDER. Baptismal records for 1810 were not available at FamilySearch as of 23 June 2015.
At the end of 1821 the first of Nicolas and Apolonia’s children made plans to marry. The marriage of Antoine MEDER married Maria Catharina WAGENER was “published” on the 23rd and 30th day of December 1821. The civil marriage took place on 8 January 1822 in Diekirch.
The year 1824 was not a happy year for the MEDER-WILMES family. Son Mathias MEDER died at the age of 23 years on 29 July 1824 in Diekirch.
Four months later Apolonia WILMES died at the age of 55 years on 26 November 1824. Her death record however gives her age as 62. At the time of her death she left a husband, two sons, two daughters, and two grandchildren.
On the 20th and the 27th of December 1832 the marriage of Theodore MEDER and Susanna REIFFER was published – read out loud and posted on the door of the city hall. They married a month later on 31 January 1833 in Diekirch.
Nicolas and Apolonia’s oldest living daughter Elisabeth married 24 January 1838 to Mathias BOCK. Elisabeth had been an unmarried mother since 22 June 1829 when her son Mathias MEDER was born. Mathias BOCK had the permission of his reserve regimental commander to marry. The publication of the marriage was noted on the marriage record and not on a separate document as seen when Antoine and Theodore married.
In December 1843 Jean Nicolas MEDER was seen on the Luxembourg census in the household of his married son Theodore. This census sheet included dates of births of the persons in the household. Jean Nicolas’ birthdate was incorrectly listed as 1 April 1763.
On 28 August 1844 the youngest child of this family married. Anne Marie MEDER married the widowed Heinrich KNOPS who was 21 years older.
When Jean Nicolas MEDER died on 22 Dec 1844 he had seen all four of his children marry. His son Theodore was the informant on his death record. Nicolas’ age on the death record was 75 although he was actually 78 as calculated from his birth record.
Elisabeth MEDER died on 7 December 1861 in Diekirch. She was survived by her husband Mathias BOCK, son Mathias MEDER and possible a daughter Anne Marie BOCK (last seen with her parents in 1858 on census, no marriage record or further trace of her found).
On 6 Sep 1866 the oldest child of this family, Anton MEDER, died in Diekirch. He was survived by his wife, two sons, two (?) daughters, and four grandchildren. The daughters were last seen 10 years prior to his death and no further information on them has been found.
The youngest child of this family, Anne Marie MEDER died on 15 April 1890 in Diekirch. She remained childless and had been widowed for 30 years.
Theodore MEDER, the last of living child of Jean Nicolas MEDER and Apolonia WILMES, died on 29 July 1898 in Diekirch at the age of 91 years. Theodore had been widowed for 20 years and left 5 known children. Two daughters have not been traced further and may have also still been living.
As can be seen by the records above and the sources cited below, nearly half of the records used came from the Luxembourg Church Records, 1601-1948 which have only been online since the beginning of the year. I can honestly say this family was only researched halfway before I got everything ready for this blogpost.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.
Jerry Curtis Lester, who thinks of Marguerite as the “Queen of Lester Genealogy,” wrote:
“Remarkable, Marguerite did not use a computer to produce the manuscript of her book. She did it on a typewriter! And, she included the most complete index I have ever seen! Every person mentioned in the text is in the index with all the page numbers where the person is mentioned. At least, I’ve not found any exceptions. I’ve seen no “typos” or misspelled words or inconsistent formatting, and the formatting is very systematic with numbering, letters and indenting to delineate the various generations. I’m blown away by what she was able to do in her late 80’s. Her mind was so good.”
Jacob’s Parents and Siblings
Jacob’s parents were born during the American Revolutionary War (19 Apr 1775-14 Jan 1784). His father, John LESTER Jr. (1776-1851) was born on 7 March 1776 in Montgomery County, Virginia. This was the year that Fincastle County became extinct as it was divided to form Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky (now the state of Kentucky) Counties. His mother, Mary Ann “Polly” TERRY (1781-1862) was born on 3 February 1781, also in Montgomery County.
On 30 September 1802 John LESTER Jr. was granted 190 acres “on Cockpitt branch waters of Brush Creek and some of the waters of Little River a branch of New River in Montgomery County.”
John and Polly married a few days later, on 5 October 1802 in Montgomery County, Virginia. They lived near his parents for the first 18 years of their marriage. “In 1820 John bought the large home tract of Charles Simmons and moved to present Floyd County. He lived about six miles north of the present town of Floyd. The house stood some distance behind the white frame house of George Simmons which was built years later and is now seen on the hill on present Route 8. Lester Cemetery #5 was on his place. It has since been destroyed.”
In the late summer of 1997 Jerry Lester and Marguerite Tise made a trip around the Little River area. Jerry wrote, “I spent most of a day with Marguerite driving around Floyd Co., Va., at her direction while she pointed out family sites of interest to me (and her). I used my notebook computer with map software and GPS connection to record on the map the places of interest.” Jerry made voice recordings of this trip down memory lane with Marguerite Tise.
John and Polly were the parents of nine children, all born in Montgomery County as Floyd County would not be formed until 1831:
Child 1: Hulen “Hugh” LESTER (1803-1880) born about 1803. Hulen married(1) Margaret SNYDER ( -1847) on 20 February 1823 in Montgomery County. They were the parents of 6 children. He married(2) Mary [–?–] LESTER (1814-1870) before 1847 in Shelby County, Indiana. They were the parents of 3 children. Hulen died 1880 in Shelby County, Indiana.
Child 2: Matilda LESTER (1805-1826) born about 1805. Matilda married Archelaus WEDDLE (1799-1870) on 23 September 1825 in Montgomery County. She died bet. 1826-1829 in Virginia. John LESTER Jr. left a bequest of $100 to his granddaughter, Julia Ann WEDDLE, daughter of Matilda. It is believed that she was the only child of this marriage.
Child 3: Malinda LESTER (1807-1890) born about 1807. Malinda married Riley BOOTHE (1801-1870) on 26 May 1831 in Floyd County (marriage bond). They were the parents of 3 children, one died young. She died bet. 1890-1900 in Floyd County.
Child 4: John LESTER (1808-1852) born 1 November 1808. John married Mary GARDNER (1812-1881) on 30 November 1832 in Montgomery County. They were the parents of 10 children. He died 1 April 1852 in Floyd County, Virginia.
Child 5: Amos Terry LESTER (1810-1890) born 30 November 1810. Amos married Susannah Jane LESTER (1814-1888) on 19 March 1835 in Floyd County. They were first cousins and parents of 10 children. He died on 14 February 1890 in Brown County, Indiana.
Child 6: Jacob LESTER born about 1812. More about this child below.
Child 7: Bird LESTER (1815-1864) born 1815. Bird married(1) Matilda SIMMONS (1820-1858) on 16 December 1835 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 8 children. He married(2) Rowena Mahulda LAMBERT (1818-?) on 6 July 1858 in Wyoming County, (West) Virginia. They had no known children. Bird died about 1864 in West Virginia.
Child 8: William Terry LESTER(1818-1890) born 18 Jan 1818. William married Mary Amanda “Polly” SIMMONS (1824-1887) on 2 March 1840 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 9 children. William died on 4 March 1890 in Floyd County, two days after his 50th wedding anniversary.
Child 9: Catherine Jane LESTER (1823-1902) born 13 March 1823. Catherine married James BOOTHE (1820-1863) on 10 October 1842 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 10 children. By 1863 four of these children were dead. James became deranged and shot himself. At the inquisition, Bird LESTER, Catherine’s brother, and Hulin BOOTHE, his 10 year old son, testified. Catherine died 30 January 1902.
In 1831, when Floyd County was formed, John LESTER was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Governor of Virginia making him a member of the first Floyd County Court. He served the community in that capacity until his death. He also served as Sheriff of Floyd County in 1844-1845. He was a prominent and influential citizen, a successful farmer, a large land owner, and a slave owner.
Courtship and Marriage
If you take another look at the map above you’ll see that John LESTER’s neighbor was the Rev. Owen SUMNER. Living in such close proximity, their children must have known each other growing up after John moved to the area. Owen’s oldest daughter Cynthia caught the attention of John’s son Jacob. We don’t know how long they courted but by the time Cynthia was 19 and Jacob 22, they were united in marriage by Jesse Jones. The marriage bond was taken out in Floyd County on 18 August 1834 and the marriage took place on 4 September 1834 in Floyd County. Cynthia SUMNER’s name was spelled “Sintha” on the marriage register and “Senthy” on the bond.
A year and a half after Jacob married he was a witness to a land transaction. On 9 May 1836 his first cousin Champ LESTER bought land from George and Nancy REED. Although others named on the deed have middle initials his name is seen as Jacob LESTER:
Floyd County, VA DB A, pg. 417:
9 May 1836 between George Reed and Nancy his wife of Floyd County, VA and Champain Lester of Patrick County, VA for $350 land containing 145 acres on the gap fork of Beaver Creek, a branch of Little River bounded . . . on Andrew E. Reeds line. In presents of: And. E. Reed, Amos T. Lester, Jacob Lester signed: George (his x mark) Reed, Nancy (her __ mark) Reed (left blank) recorded: Floyd June Court 1836.
About the same time Jacob and Cynthia had their first child Emaline LESTER (1836-1877) born about 1836 in Floyd County. About a year later their son George Washington LESTER (1837- ) was born, also in Floyd County.
Once again in 1840 when the census was enumerated we see only Jacob’s first and last name listed – no middle initial.
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 181
1 male under 5 yo (George W.)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Jacob)
1 female under 5 yo (Emaline)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Cynthia)
4 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture
A Short Life Ends
Jacob LESTER died about 1842 in Floyd County, Virginia. His widow remarried in June of 1843.
“Jacob Lester died about the age of 30, cause of death unknown. John Lester III* was appointed administrator of the estate in Feb. 1844. The appraisers, Isaac Moore, Riley Boothe, Topal O. Watkins, reported their appraisal of the estate as $106.12 1/2. The sale was held on March 8, 1844, which amounted to $105.75. There was a delay of two years in settling the estate of Jacob Lester, and his wife had remarried in the meantime. The reason for the delay is not known.” 
Two other sources also refer to the appraisal of Jacob LESTER’s estate being made in March 1844., 
*After John Lester Jr.’s father passed away in 1825 he was known as John LESTER Sr. in the census and his son John was given the suffix Jr. To avoid confusion, John Lester Jr., father of my Jacob, has been named John LESTER II by earlier researchers. His father was John LESTER I and his son was John LESTER III.
Jacob’s father, John LESTER Jr. (aka John LESTER II) died 21 September 1851 in Floyd County, Virginia.
“His will, dated April 19, 1851, probated October 16, 1851, names his wife Mary and his nine children. He appointed his sons John III and William T. as executors of his estate. John III died suddenly seven months after his father’s death and the administration of the estate passed through several hands. The estate was not properly settled and much of it was dissipated. In 1890, years after John’s death, some of the heirs brought suit to gain possession of their inheritance. Nearly all of the principals had died by that time but eventually a satisfactory settlement was reached. The suit furnished some previously unknown information about the family.”
The abstract of the will of John LESTER proved October 1851 names wife Mary; children Malinda Booth, Katherine Booth, Noah L., Hewline, John, Amos, Bird and William; grandchildren, George Washington and Emmeline Lester (children of deceased son, Jacob); two daughters of his deceased son Hewline and his first wife, Margaret; and Juliann Weddle (daughter of Matilda Weddle).
Was Noah a son of Jacob?
This abstract brings up the question: Who is Noah L. LESTER? Some people believe that he was a son of my Jacob as he is seen in the 1850 census listing of John LESTER along with Jacob’s son George. This was after Jacob’s death. His widow had remarried and was seen in 1850 with her 2nd husband John W. COX, their 4 years old daughter Susan, and Cynthia’s daughter Emaline from her marriage to Jacob LESTER.
However in the 1840 census Jacob had only one son listed in his household. His father John had a young male in his household in 1840 who could have been Noah who was born abt. 1834. A copy of the will needs to be obtained, or a true wording of the document, to determine the relationship of Noah to John and Polly. Marguerite Tise does not mention Noah LESTER in her book. John’s wife Polly, who had her last child at age 43, could not have been the mother of Noah as he was born when she was 53 years old. By 1860 Noah was married with 4 children. Polly was living with her son William T. LESTER, one of the executors of John’s estate. Polly died 14 February 1862 in Floyd County. Noah and his family have not been located after 1860.
We still have the unresolved problem of Jacob’s middle name. The transcript of his son George’s 1855 marriage record to Amanda ROOP includes his father’s name as Jacob LESTER. When his daughter Emaline married Gordon H. ROOP in 1856 her father was listed as Jacob LESTER by her grandfather Owen SUMNER who performed the marriage.
So where does the middle name Hiley come from? Do you remember when you first began doing your family history? Everything and anything was added to your family tree. And, let’s be honest, back then when we were new to genealogy we believed everything that we found on ancestry.com.
The death date on this should set off all kinds of warning bells. How could Jacob have died in 1845 when his estate was appraised in March 1844 and his widow remarried in June 1843? So I clicked on Learn more…
The Family Data Collection was compiled for genetic research and did not require the same type of documentation as traditional genealogical research. The information came from “birth, marriage and death records; obituaries; probate records; books of remembrance; family histories; genealogies; family group sheets; pedigree charts; and other sources.”
Someone submitted a family group sheet or other compilation on the Jacob LESTER family and included the middle name Hiley. As long as a primary source for his “assumed” middle name is missing, I will consider it speculation. If anyone reading this knows of a document (entry in a family Bible, etc.) that lists Hiley as the middle name of my 4th great-grandfather Jacob LESTER, I would appreciate hearing from you.