Wowsers! Ancestry Fixed My ThruLines

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

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

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

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

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

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

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

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

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

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

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

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

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

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

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

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

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

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

Another New Feature

Screenshot courtesy of Ancestry

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

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

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

Don’t Ignore New Ancestor Discoveries

NewAncestorDiscoveries2We found potential new ancestors—just by looking at your DNA.

A month after my brother’s AncestryDNA results came in I started seeing New Ancestor Discoveries. These are potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already in the attached family tree on the DNA page.

I found this a bit misleading until I realized what we can do with these “shaky leaves” from Ancestry.

The first one to pop up was for the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle. It had 15 members and 3 had DNA matches with my brother. I say “had” because after a few weeks it disappeared.

However, before it disappeared the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle showed up with nearly the same members as the Boles circle. At first, I was stumped by the names Mary Ann BURKS and Alexander McDonald BOLES. They could hardly be potential new ancestors as they were born around 1852, a time period in which all my ancestors are known and well documented.

In the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle are 13 members, 3 of these have matches with my brother. One match belongs to a larger family group of 10 persons – none of the others in this group match my brother.

NewAncestorDiscoveries3After taking a look at the trees of L. and G., two of the matches, I discovered the connection. The Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle had shown up because he was the father of Mary Ann BURKS’ children – but they were not married.

NewAncestorDiscoveries1One of their children, J.P. “Hard” BURKS, has been in my database for a dozen years. He was married to Susie REELS, daughter of Isaac “Ike” REELS and Margaret Ann WEAVER. Because I do a lot of collateral research the surname REELS was familiar to me and I knew right away where this was taking me.

Genealogy Happy Dance

In 2004 and 2007 I corresponded with David, a descendant (2nd great-grandson) of Ike REELS through his son Millard Green REELS.

At the time I was part of a group of PETERS researchers working together under the guidance of Paula Kelley Ward who has been doing genealogy for over 40 years. We have her to thank for the work she did on Jordan N. PETERS’ War of 1812 pension file.

When David first contacted me we were not certain if the wife of Andrew REEL, Susannah PETERS, was a daughter of Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY of Franklin County, Virginia. Born about 1815 she was the right age to be their youngest daughter. However, at the time there were two groups of PETERS families in Franklin County which further complicated matters. One of English ancestry (ours) and the other being of German ancestry. By process of elimination, we determined Susannah had to be the daughter of my 4th great-grandparents, Zach and Keziah.

I needed more than finding the REEL/REELS surname in the families trees of these people who have matches with my brother. When I checked the Shared Matches I found L. and my brother had 4 shared matches – 3 of these have very small or no family trees attached. The 4th has 6 DNA Circle connections with my brother which point to the PETERS family.

ancestorcirclesG. has two shared matches with my brother. One of these has a private tree but since our PETERS group had worked on the collateral lines I recognized her as a descendant of my Jordan N. PETERS through his first wife Mary “Polly” TROUP. As her tree is private she is not in the DNA Circles.

I believe these DNA matches are further proof of the connection between Susannah PETERS, wife of Andrew REEL, and her until now assumed parents, Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY. I contacted David, L., and G. about my discovery and am waiting to hear back from them.

Don’t wait to check out your New Ancestor Discoveries. Take a good look at them as soon as they appear because they might disappear as quickly as they showed up. If a circle does disappear and you didn’t have time to look into it, don’t despair. It may show up again. While I was finishing up this post the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle reappeared!


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












Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Sarah’s Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Go to the Original SOURCE!?

Diane Gould Hall wrote a wonderful post on her blog Michigan Family Trails on FamilySearch’s Photo Duplication Service in July 2014. I put off trying out the service until the end of October. Bad move on my part as FamilySearch has decided to discontinue this service.

Living overseas I don’t have easy access to libraries and archives in the USA. I was really looking forward to sending in 5 requests per month and planned to be very selective. I’ve requested five duplications and received replies within about a week to 10 days (one is still pending).

The reply to my fourth request came late last night. In my 52 Ancestors: #46 Zachariah PETERS of Franklin County, Virginia, Father of a War of 1812 Veteran I wrote:

Mr. Webb suggested that as a young, single man, Zachariah may have found work outside of the county of his birth, returning to Amherst County to marry and settle down, at least until he moved to Franklin County, Virginia. This could in fact be a good possibility as I recently received this listing of marriage bonds of Amherst County in which the groom was listed as being from Bedford County. I submitted a photo duplication request for the marriage record found in  “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940″ on Will it have more information? I’ve only used this service a few times and so far all requests were received between 7-9 days. At this rate I should have it in time for 52 Ancestors: #47 Kesiah LIVELY, wife of Zachariah PETERS.

Courtesy of Sylvia Peters Rogers received per email 14 Nov 2014.

The request did not come, as I had hoped, in time for
52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R – Kesiah LIVELY.
And it wasn’t what I expected!

18 Nov 1794 Peters-Lively Marriage record  007578824_00382
Image received from FamilySearch per email on 25 Nov 2014 for this record: “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Nov 2014), Zacherias Peters and Kesiah Lively, 18 Nov 1794; citing Amherst County, Virginia, reference 97; FHL microfilm 30273.

In a close-up of the entry for the marriage of Zacharias PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY we see that both the bride and groom were of Amherst Parish in Amherst County, Virginia.

Close-up of entry for Zacharias PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY

This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen this handwriting! Another ancestor married in Amhert County in 1829 and that ledger page is in the same handwriting. On the old Rootsweb mailing list for Amherst County I found a post by from 2000 which explains the handwriting being the same. About 1998 or earlier the old bonds were copied to a ledger before being sent Richmond for filming. This appears to be a page from that ledger.

I was hoping that the image I received from FamilySearch would answer my question about where Zachariah PETERS was living at the time of his marriage. However the first list of bonds indicates that he was from Bedford County while the ledger says that he was “of Amherst Parish.” Both of these are secondary sources and conflict.

The trail to the original documents – bond, permission, minister’s return – appears to lead to the Library of Virginia or perhaps Amherst Courthouse if a copy of the microfilm is kept there.

As the best form of evidence is the original record, I may have to rely on the kindness of a cousin to look up the microfilm at the Library of Virginia and send me an image of the record(s).

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #46 Zachariah PETERS of Franklin County, Virginia, Father of a War of 1812 Veteran

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #46 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #46 Zachariah PETERS of Franklin County, Virginia, Father of a War of 1812 Veteran

Zachariah PETERS was born between 1766-1770 in Amherst County, Virginia, and died between 1830-1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. Although much genealogy research has been done on him by people before me, his parents are to date not known (proven).

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

First let’s analyze the census and tax lists to determine when my 4th great-grandfather Zachariah was born. The estimation “between 1766-1770” was made from the age ranges seen on the 1810 to 1830 census of Franklin County, Virginia.

  • 1810 – age 26 & under 45 (1766 or later)
  • 1820 – age 45 & over (1775 or earlier > 1766-1775)
  • 1830 – age 60 & under 70 (between 1761-1770 > 1766-1770)

If the age range was correct in these three census years then he should have appeared in personal property tax lists beginning no later than 1791. Mr. Webb wrote in his report on the first session, “Personal property tax lists of Amherst County, Virginia, were searched for anyone with the surname PETERS or PETER.” He found and listed all PETERS men  for the years 1788 to 1797. Zachariah was found on:

  • 18 June 1793  with 1 tithable, 3 horses
  • 1794 – not found
  • 13 Apr 1795 with 1 tithable, 2 horses
  • 15 May 1796 with 1 tithable, 1 horse
  • 21 Jul 1797 with 1 tithable, 0 horses

Why did Zachariah go from having 3 horses to two to one to none? I had to ask the question, even though I don’t have an answer.

Surviving personal tax records for Virginia counties starting in 1782 are available on microfilm at the Library of Virginia or through interlibrary loan. Two sets for Amherst, 1790 and 1799, are available online, and can be used as a substitute for the 1790 and 1800 census.

I found Zachariah in the Personal Property Tax list of Amherst County, Virginia, in 1790. In this case Zachariah was a white tithable listed with the taxpayer Thomas NEVIL, the white tithable over the age of twenty-one. As Zachariah was not the person charged with tax he most likely was a tithable between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. What can this mean? Is there a family relationship between Zachariah PETERS and Thomas NEVIL or his wife of two years Elizabeth TILLER?

1790 Personal Property Tax List A > Amherst County, Virginia [ accessed online ]
Mr. Webb missed Zachariah PETERS in 1790. In his report he wrote, “The appearance of Zachariah in Amherst in 1793 suggests that he lived in another county before 1793.” He does not speculate on why he was not on the 1794 tax list.

I suspect that Mr. Webb consulted only the pages with the surnames beginning with P. If he had searched through all pages he would have found Zachariah in 1790. I realize that a hired researcher works under the restraints of the client’s purse and doesn’t have the time to search page for page.

This brings up the question: Was Zachariah perhaps listed with another taxpayer in 1791 and 1792 as he was with Thomas NEVIL in 1790? I am nearly certain that Zachariah was not with a NEVIL or NEVILLE individual as researchers on the NEVILLE mailing list discussed the tax records of that family in January  and February 2000 and mention finding Zachariah in 1790 with Thomas NEVIL. I discovered this conversation only after viewing the 1790 tax lists online.

Mr. Webb suggested that as a young, single man, Zachariah may have found work outside of the county of his birth, returning to Amherst County to marry and settle down, at least until he moved to Franklin County, Virginia. This could in fact be a good possibility as I recently received this listing of marriage bonds of Amherst County in which the groom was listed as being from Bedford County. I submitted a photo duplication request for the marriage record found in  “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940” on Will it have more information? I’ve only used this service a few times and so far all requests were received between 7-9 days. At this rate I should have it in time for 52 Ancestors: #47 Kesiah LIVELY, wife of Zachariah PETERS. (UPDATE!)

Courtesy of Sylvia Rogers.

Zacharias PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY were married in Amherst County on 18 November 1794. Bondsman (surety) on the marriage bond was Austin WOODY. The marriage was celebrated by the Rev. Ezekiel CAMPBELL. [1]

Two years later, on 21 November 1796, Zacharias and Kesiah were seen selling her part of her father Joseph LIVELY’s estate, 44 acres in Amherst County, to William LOVING.[2]

1799 Personal Property Tax List A > Amherst County, Virginia [ accessed online ]
The image for the 1799 Personal Property Tax list shows Zachariah followed by Elisha Peters. As the lists are in alphabetical order one cannot tell if they lived close to one another or not. However on the earlier tax lists found by Mr. Webb, Elisha and Zachariah were visited the same day in 1795 indicating that they must have lived close to each other.

On 7 February 1800 Zachariah PETERS and Elisha PETERS were witnesses on the following deed:

Amherst County, Virginia, Deed Book I, page 129:  Abstract:  Rich BREEDLOVE & wife Mildred, to Nelson ANDERSON for $300, 180 acres branches S fork Rockfish.  Lines:  Jno. BALL, Wm. KEY, Glade road, Wm. CABELL, Jas. NEVIL, Thos. KEYS.  Witnesses:  Zach. NEVIL, Elisha PETERS, Zach. PETERS, Carel EADS.[3]

Once again the NEVIL name comes up as well as KEY and KEYS. Only neighbors or is there a closer relationship?

Zachariah’s Possible Parentage and Siblings

A closer analysis of abstracted records that were found previously found evidence suggesting that James, Zachariah, and Elisha PETERS were the sons of John PETERS. John does not appear to have owned land in Amherst County, but the deeds that he witnessed give a fairly clear picture of where and when he lived. John lived in the same area in which James, Zachariah, and Elisha lived. John was also closely associated with many of the same people and families with which Elisha and Zachariah were closely associated. John appears to have lived as an adult in Amherst County from 1761 through 1772. John might have died about 1773, leaving at least three very young children.[4]

This was one of the summaries made by Mr. Webb in his research reports which total 77 pages. In another summary he wrote:

Although no document clearly stating their relationship has been found yet, their ages suggest that they might have been brothers, with James born about 1765, Zachariah born between 1765 and 1770, and Elisha born in 1772. All three owned land in what is today the southern part of Nelson County.[5]

Without going into this any further I would like to give a brief run-through of the persons who may be the father and brothers of my Zachariah PETERS.

Father: John PETERS (1730- ) Birth Abt 1730/1731 in England. In September 1755, John PETER enlisted in Captain David BELL’s Company in Albemarle County. John was twenty-four years old, and five feet, four and a half inches tall. He was a weaver by occupation. John was born in England, was dark with black hair and pitted with small pox.[6]

Sibling 1: James PETERS (1765-1823) born about 1765. He married Elizabeth STEVENS (1776-1850) on 11 March 1793 in Amherst County, Virginia. He  died 1 November 1823 in Nelson County, Virginia.

Sibling 2: Elisha PETERS (1773-1862) born about 1773. He married(1) Jane TILLER (d. bef. 1806) on 1 June 1792 in Amherst County, Virginia. He married(2) Cynthia TURNER on 17 February 1806 in Amherst County. Elisha died before 24 Mar 1862 in Bedford County, Virginia.

DNA May Put a New Spin on Zachariah’s Ancestry

A descendant of Elisha PETERS and Cynthia TURNER has done autosomal DNA testing and has a match with a descendant of Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY. He wrote, “ said there was a 95% confidence level that [the test person] is a 4th to 6th cousin. By the birth dates, Zachariah and Elisha would be either brothers or cousins.” When it comes to DNA I am lacking in knowledge and, although normally optimistic, wonder if the connection might be for another ancestor.

Sylvia who shared the page with the Amherst marriage bonds (above) wrote on 14 November 2014, “You might be interested to know that before my father’s nephew’s death, he submitted 2 DNA samples for analysis.  Both proved to be closer in match to men with the surnames of KEY and MUNDY.” We have not discussed this further and Mundy is a name I haven’t run across.

From Amherst County to Franklin County

We know that Zachariah PETERS remained in Amherst County until 1803 when he was last seen in the Personal Property Tax lists of the county. While living in Amherst Zachariah and his wife Kesiah had at least four children. My 3rd great-grandfather Jordan N. PETERS (1796-1890) born 10 October 1796 was most likely their first born.

By 1810 Zachariah had moved his little family to Franklin County, Virginia, were he was seen in the census with 4 sons, 4 daughters and his wife Kesiah. His family was no longer little!

1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Franklin []
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Zachariah Peters
2 males under 10 yo (Willis & son b. 1801-1810)
2 males 10 & under 15 yo (Jordan & William)
1 male 26 & under 45 (Zachariah)
2 females under 10 yo (Elizabeth & Lucy)
2 females 10 & under 15 (Mary and daughter b. bet. 1796-1800)
1 female 26 & under 45 (Kesiah)

1820 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Franklin []
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Zachariah Peters
2 males under 10 yo (Joseph b. 1810 and 1 son b. 1811-1815)
1 male 45 yo & upwards (Zachariah)
2 females under 10 yo (Susannah and daughter b. 1811-1815)
2 females 10 & under 16 yo (Elizabeth & Lucy)
2 females 16 & under 26 yo (Mary and daughter b. bet. 1796-1800)
1 female 45 yo & upwards ( Kesiah)
1 person engaged in commerce

1830 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Franklin []
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Zachariah Peters
2 males 15 & under 20 yo (Joseph and son b. 1811-1815)
1 male 60 & under 70 yo (Zachariah range 1761-1770)
1 female under 5 yo (granddaughter?)
2 females 15 & under 20 yo (Susannah and daughter b. 1811-1815)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (daughter b. bet. 1796-1800?)
1 female 50 & under 60 yo (Kesiah)

At this time not all of Zachariah and Kesiah’s children are known by name. These are the known and unknown children:

  • Ch 1: Jordan N. PETERS born 10 October 1796. Jordan married(1) Mary “Polly” TROUP (1799-1837) on 6 October 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jordan married(2) Sarah COX ( -1841) on 15 August 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jordan N. PETERS married(3) Rachel PROFFITT (1817-1899) on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 14 Octocber 1890 in Nettle Ridge, Patrick County, Virginia.
  • Ch 2: Mary PETERS born bet. 1796-1800. Mary married Samuel SMITH (1800-1884) on 18 December 1823 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her brother William PETERS was surety.
  • Ch 3: [–?–] PETERS (female) born bet. 1796-1800
  • Ch 4: William PETERS born about 1798. William married Alice “Alla” TROUP (1795-1841) 12 December 1818 in Franklin County, Virginia. William married(2) Lydia KEMPLIN (1821-1866) on 27 March 1841 in Franklin County, Virginia. Jesse EDWARDS, husband of Betsy, was surety on marriage which took place after Zachariah PETERS’ death.
  • Ch 5: Elizabeth “Betsy” PETERS born about 1805. Betsy married Jesse EDWARDS (1803-1870) on 17 June 1826 in Franklin County, Virginia. Zachariah PETERS was surety. She died between 1880-1890.
  • Ch 6: Lucy PETERS born about 1807. Lucy married Joseph JARRELL (1807- ) on 4 October 1827 in Franklin County, Virginia. Zachariah PETERS was surety. They may have gone to Tennessee.
  • Ch 7: [–?–] PETERS (male) born bet. 1801-1810
  • Ch 8: Willis PETERS born 23 Apr 1808. Willis married Ruth SMITH (1809-1884) on 21 March 1829 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 30 March 1882 in Franklin County, Virginia. His death record names Zachariah PETERS as his father.
  • Ch 9: Joseph PETERS born 10 Dec 1810. Joseph married Martha “Patsy” SMITH (1811-1888) on 1 September 1830 in Franklin County, Virginia. He died 14 February 1892 in Rocky Station, Lee County, Virginia.
  • Ch 10: [–?–] PETERS (male) born bet. 1811-1815
  • Ch 11: [–?–] PETERS (female) born bet. 1811-1815
  • Ch 12: Susannah PETERS born  about 1815. Susannah married Andrew REEL (1813-1870) on 16 October 1839 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her father was most likely already deceased as Wm Hixon went bond. Susannah died after 1880.

Research of the Zachariah PETERS’ family is made more difficult by the fact that another group of people of German origin with the surname PETERS were living in Franklin County when Zachariah moved there.

Zachariah PETERS and his wife Kesiah LIVELY died sometime after the 1830 census and before the 1840 census.

[1] William Montgomery Sweeny, Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia 1763-1800 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1973). Paula K. Ward, email dated 21 Nov 2004, her source: letter dated 1978 to PKW from Mrs. Gertrude C. Mann, Rocky Mount, Virginia.
[2] Rev. Bailey Fulton Davis, The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia, 1761-1807, and Albemarle County, Virginia, 1748-1763, Southern Historical Press, 1979, pages 126-127.
[3] Ibid., page 360
[4] Andrew S. Webb, Genealogist at Lineages Inc., Research Report (#38772 – Ward) 21 January 2002
[5] Andrew S. Webb, Genealogist at Lineages Inc., Research Report (#38772 – Ward) 17 September 2001
[6] Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1988), 64. Reference document 8.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #24 Jordan N. PETERS 1796-1890 – War of 1812 Pensioner

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #24 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #24 Jordan N. PETERS 1796-1890 – War of 1812 Pensioner

Update (21 June 2014): A correction has been made to the name of this ancestor. Jordan N. PETERS’ supposed middle name, “Nichols,” has never been proven. His records only include the middle initial “N.” The middle name “Nichols” has been removed/changed to the middle initial in this blogpost.

My 3rd great-grandfather Jordan N. PETERS was born in Amherst County, Virginia, on 10 October 1796 to Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah LIVELY. Zach and Kesiah were married nearly two years when Jordan was born. Following his birth the PETERS family continued to grow and moved to Franklin County, Virginia, some time before the 1810 census. By 1810 Jordan, 14 years old, had 7 brothers and sisters. Four more would be born by the end of the War of 1812.

1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
Of the dozen children born to Jordan’s parents, the names are not known for two girls and two boys however they are documented in the pre-1850 census statistics. Jordan’s known siblings were Mary, William, Betsy, Lucy, Willis, Joseph and Susannah.

War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 18 February 1815)

1812flagIn 1977 Paula Kelley Ward obtained Jordan’s complete War of 1812 file from the National Archives and Records Administration. She transcribed and typed all the documents in the file. The complete transcription and the full story contained in the records came to nearly 50 typewritten pages. With information gleaned from his War of 1812 records Paula wrote “Jordan’s Story”.

In the years that I have done genealogy I’ve learned that it is very important to share with other researchers. We can’t do everything on our own. A different perspective often helps push past the problems we have in our research. Paula, my 4C1R and 4C, has kindly allowed me to use her images of documents she has found. Excerpts from “Jordan’s Story” are included here to allow Jordan to tell his story in his own voice and through Paula.

Jordan said he enlisted in 1814 “to keep my father from being drafted.” He was about 17 years old then, six feet tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a dark complextion. He gave his occupation as “farmer” when he volunteered at Franklin Court House under Captain William Jones…..During his first term of service, Jordan said he “worked in the trenches and mustered every day for two months and 22 days.” He then became ill with the “bloody flux” and at about the same time his shoulder was dislocated…..Jordan was granted a discharge…[1]

Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files [ : accessed 6 June 2014]
The second time he enlisted he was 18 years old and volunteered at Franklin Court House on February 6, 1815 in Captain Robert Hairston’s Company…. The Company had marched as far as Chester (or possibly Chesterfield), Virginia when word reached them that a Treaty of Peace had been ratified on February 16. “Peace was made, and we marched over the Bridge and were paid for our time,” he said. The Company was discharged at Richmond on February 19, 1815, and Jordan went home to Franklin County.[1]

The Jordan and Polly Era (1817-1837)

MRIN07822 1817 Jordan Peters and Mary Troup permission to marry
1817 Permission slip. Courtesy of Paula Kelley Ward

Mary “Polly” TROUP was 18 years old when she married Jordan N. PETERS on 6 October 1817 in Franklin County, Virginia. Her parents Henry and Dorothy TROUP gave permission for their daughter Mary to marry Jordan PETERS. He was the first of the PETERS children to marry. His brother William married Polly’s sister Alice in December 1818.

In 1820 Jordan is first seen in the census as the head of household with his wife and young daughter. Interesting is that Jordan is enumerated after Austin PROFFITT, the uncle of the young lady he would later marry, have children and spend the rest of his life with.

1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
By 1830 Jordan’s family had grown to include 5 boys and 3 girls. One of these girls may have died young OR daughter Jane who is said to have been born 22 June 1831 may have actually been born in 1830 as reflected in the above census.

1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Montgomery [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
Jordan’s wife Mary “Polly” TROUP died on 5 January 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia. She died at the age of 37 after bringing ten children into the world. When she died, her oldest child Cynthia was 17 and her youngest William was just 1 year and 3 months.

  • Cynthia born 8 Oct 1819
  • Henry T. born 17 Mar 1821
  • Zachariah born 14 May 1822
  • Stephen born 13 Mar 1824
  • Mary born 6 Aug 1825
  • Jonathan born 23 Apr 1827
  • James born 25 Jan 1829
  • Jane born 22 Jun 1831
  • Martha Ann born 19 Jan 1833
  • William Edward born 2 Oct 1835

In a letter written to Zachariah PETERS on 2 July 1864, James PETERS wrote,Dier Brother I comply with your request and send you the register of our ages as furnished me by our father I send it in short hand and you can copy it.” The dates of birth seen above followed. I received a transcript of the letter in 2003 but was not sure that all information was transcribed correctly. Genealogy research has been Paula’s life work since the age of 16 so it was no surprise to me that she had a photocopy of the original letter which she shared with me. I found that the things I questioned in the transcription were errors. Lesson learned: Do not rely on transcriptions – always verify with an image of the original when available.

Jordan’s Siblings and Parents

Let’s back up here a bit. While Polly and Jordan’s family was growing, his siblings were  marrying in Franklin County and starting their own families:

  • William PETERS married Alice “Alla” TROUP on 12 December 1818
  • Mary PETERS married Samuel SMITH on 18 December 1823
  • Elizabeth “Betsy” PETERS married Jesse EDWARDS on 17 June 1826
  • Lucy PETERS married Joseph JARRELL on 4 October 1827
  • Willis PETERS married Ruth SMITH on 21 March 1829
  • Joseph PETERS married Martha “Patsy” SMITH on 1 September 1830
  • Susannah PETERS married Andrew REEL on 16 October 1839

Their parents most likely saw most of them marry except for their youngest Susannah. It has been assumed that Kesiah LIVELY and Zachariah PETERS both died between 1830–1840 in Franklin County, Virginia. There is no record of their deaths. Neither was enumerated as a head of household in 1840. None of their “known” children had older individuals in their households in 1840.

The Jordan and Sarah Era (1837-1841)

MRIN07823 1837 Sarah Cox permission to marry Jordan Peters
1837 Permission Slip. Courtesy of Paula Kelley Ward.

Jordan wasted little time in marrying again. Polly died in January and seven months later on 15 August 1837, he married Sarah COX. Her mother Peninah COX had given permission for Sarah to marry Jordan on 9 August 1837. We don’t know how old Sarah was but she immediately became the stepmother of ten children. Three months later Jordan’s oldest child Cynthia married Sarah’s brother Moses COX on 26 November 1837. Both marriages took place in Franklin County.

MRIN07823 1837 Jordan Peters and Sarah Cox marriage
1837 Marriage Bond. Courtesy of Paula Kelley Ward.

Sarah’s first child, Penenah, born on 14 November 1839, was named after her mother, Penniah WALDEN, widow of Francis COX.

1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
Jordan and Sarah’s second child was born on 1 July 1841 and died the same day without being given a name. Sarah died about a week later on 8 July 1841.

Jordan now had eleven children, all presumably still living at home except for Cynthia who married in 1837. Zachariah would marry in 1846, Henry in 1847, and Stephen and possibly Jane in 1848. The rest of his children from his first marriage were married by 1855.

The Jordan and Rachel Era (1841-1890)

On 8 December 1841, just five months after Sarah’s death, Jordan, age 45, married a third time to my 3rd great-grandmother Rachel PROFFITT, age 24. They married in Franklin County. In the next 23 years she gave him 9 more children while the family moved back and forth between Franklin County, Raleigh County and Floyd County. This is well documented in the War of 1812 papers, births of children, and census.

  • Sarah “Sallie” PETERS (1842-1899) born 2 Nov 1842
  • Joseph W. PETERS (1844-1862) born 12 May 1844
  • Moses Samuel PETERS (1846-1915) born 25 Jan 1846
  • Keziah Lucy PETERS (1847-1934) born Abt 1847
  • Amanda A “Mandy” PETERS (1850-1895) born 2 Oct 1850
  • Caroline “Callie” PETERS (1855-1930) born 31 Jan 1855
  • Milla Susan PETERS (1856-1891) born 6 Dec 1856
  • Mary Elizabeth F. “Emma” PETERS (1860-1944) born 22 Mar 1860
  • Nancy Ellen “Nannie” PETERS (1864-1942) born Jul 1864

1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Raleigh > District 59 [ : 9 June 2014]
1850 U.S. Federal Census [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
In 1850 we see Jordan living next door to several COX families in Raleigh County which would later be part of West Virginia. Daniel COX and his family are next door to his mother Peninah and three siblings. Jordan’s daughter Cynthia and her husband Moses COX are in the next household followed by Jordan and his family.

By 1860 they were once again in Franklin County.

1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin > S.W. District [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
For reasons unknown today, Jordan did not declare his first term of service when he testified in 1855 to claim the bounty land due him. He received a Bounty Land Warrant for 160 acres in 1856. In later years when he provided sworn statements to the Government in an attempt to prove his first term of service, the records could not be found. In addition, he had received two discharges which would have proven his
service but unfortunately these papers were burned along with everything else he owned in a fire which destroyed his house in February of 1865.[1]

The statements made by Jordan and Rachel Peters concerning the fire could be interpreted today as suggesting that the house was burned deliberately. “The year of the Surrender we got our house and Family Record Bible of Ages and Marriage and Deaths all burnt up with everything else we had,” said Rachel. When the Civil War began, it must
have been a sad event to those who had served in the War of 1812. Witness Jordan’s statement: “I loved the Stars and the Stripes that was the old Flag I went under. When I saw them pull them down [the old flag] and raise the Rebel Flag, I could not hardly keep…from shedding tears. I told them they would get enough of it, so they did. When I lived in Floyd County, Virginia, I got my house burnt up and all my papers.”[1]

1870 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Floyd > Jacksonville [ : accessed 9 June 2014]

Congress approved the Act to provide pension for service in the War of 1812 on 14 February 1871. Jordan, 74 years old, submitted his first pension claim.

In 1874, after three years of testimony and correspondence, the Government notified Jordan that his claim was rejected on the grounds that “evidence of 60 days service” was not proven.[1]

Following the rejection notice there is a four-year gap in Jordan’s file, indicating that the Government may have misfiled or lost the records during those years. Then on February 23, 1878 at the age of 81, Jordan submitted another pension claim. Seven years had passed since he had first declared his service for a pension in 1871.[1]

The Pension Office seems to have processed this claim hurriedly. In July of 1878 he was granted a pension of $8.00 per month. Then a Government examiner reviewed the claim and recommended that “this case should be rejected and certificate cancelled.” In October of that year Jordan’s name was dropped from the pension rolls and payment of pension was suspended because of “insufficient service.”[1]

With persistence Jordan once again declared his service of two terms. Throughout 1879 and 1880 the Government offices inspected the muster rolls again. Several months passed before the Auditor reported to the Pension Office: “There are no rolls of Capt. Mackhenry, Mackhaney, McHoney or McHaney’s Company of Virginia Militia. Nor are there any rolls of Capt. Jack or John Wade’s Company of Virginia Militia on file in this office.”[1]

While Jordan was fighting for his pension his children from his third marriage were growing old enough to marry. Several of his children are seen marrying at his residence in Floyd County. One of these was my great-great-grandmother Milla Susan PETERS who married Gordon Washington ROOP (1862-1930) on 1 Jan 1880 in Floyd County, Virginia.

1880 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Floyd > Alum Ridge [ : accessed 9 June 2014]
By 1880 only Jordan’s two youngest daughters were still living at home. In two years they also would be married.

It was not until April of 1881 that someone was kind enough to listen carefully as Jordan told his story. That person was Mr. C. M. Stigleman. He interviewed Jordan and wrote down Jordan’s words on the letterhead of the Floyd County Superintendent of Public Schools. Jordan was 84 years old by this time and Mr. Stigleman remarked that “his memory is not good.” Even so, Jordan recalled the names of soldiers who had served with him in Captain William McHaney’s Company in Norfolk……[1]

Mr. Stigleman seems to have been solely responsible for providing the information that at long last resulted in a pension. For ten years Jordan had steadfastly pursued his pension and finally in 1881 the Government restored his payments of $8.00 per month. In addition, he received the accrued pension from the time in 1878 when his name had been dropped from the rolls.[1]

Jordan died of old age on October 14, 1890 near Nettle Ridge in Patrick County, Virginia. He was 94 years old. This is not the end of the story.[1]

[1] Paula Kelley Ward, “Jordan’s Story”, Wherever We Wander pgs. 24-29; compiled, designed, and edited by Carolyn Hale Bruce; cover designed by Charles Randolph Bruce. All stories in this book are copyrighted, 2005, by their authors and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author(s), except for brief quotes in reviews or for publicity purposes.
[Source: Floyd County, Virginia Mailing List Web Site maintained by Rena Worthen; online]

Jordan’s Story – page 24
Jordan’s Story – page 25
Jordan’s Story – page 26
Jordan’s Story – page 27
Jordan’s Story – page 28
Jordan’s Story – page 29

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Jordan N. PETERS
Parents: Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY
Spouses: 1. Mary TROUP, 2. Sarah COX, and 3. Rachel PROFFITT(*)
Whereabouts: Virginia and West Virginia
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandfather

  1. Jordan N. PETERS
  2. Milla Susan PETERS
  3. Walter Farmer ROOP
  4. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey