I remember my old Hoosier farmer step-Dad used to say that a person’s luck was in direct proportion to the amount of elbow grease they expended. I used to find his tidy little sayings quite irritating, but as I grew up, the deep seated truth behind them became evident and they are often with me in the recesses of my mind today – ever popping forth from time to time. I always smile and think of Dad:)
It’s true, about the luck and elbow grease. Partly because the more work you do, the more prepared and ready you are for “luck” to grace you, and because the more you focus on one thing, the more likely you are to “see” something you didn’t notice before. And then sometimes, a little magic happens and a genealogy gift is bestowed upon you. Synchronicity.
In genetic genealogy, it’s also because there are new and/or improved and better tools available each year and more people test who may just provide the answer to long standing questions. Let’s hope that Santa’s sleigh is full of DNA kits for people this year!
Each year, I pick a family to work on. Many of those brick walls have fallen, probably half as a result of DNA testing. The other half due to traditional genealogy, and in many cases, “luck.” I prefer to think that it’s our ancestors helping us and providing us with ‘clues’ we could never find without a bit of a boost from the other side.
My Moore family has proven particularly difficult. Partly because there are so many Moores out there. My Moore line is from Halifax County, Virginia, or at least that’s where I first found them, but they lived in Amelia, now Prince Edward, County before that. James Moore first appears in a record in 1745 in Amelia County. He married Mary Rice, the daughter of Joseph Rice, his neighbor. We can’t find James, or a possible relative, William Moore, who lived adjacent, before these early Amelia County records. By 1770, James and his family had moved to Halifax County, Virginia and settled on the second fork of Birches Creek, shown below. William Moore and his wife, Margaret, sold their adjacent land and moved on, but we don’t know to where.
We found James Moore’s land, and the old Henderson Cemetery on land he once owned, on a trip to Halifax County in 2008. We believe he is buried here with one of many fieldstones marking his grave. This, the second fork of Birches Creek, is a land of beautiful, gentle rolling hills that often appear somewhat misty. I stood where my ancestor stood, on the land he owned, and looked at the scene that was not much different than the one he saw 238 years earlier, except maybe for the gravel on the road.
James Moore lived beside the Edward Henderson family and it’s believed that James’ daughter, Lydia, married Edward Henderson. I have always suspected that James’ son, the Reverend William Moore, my ancestor, who married a Lucy may have married Lucy Henderson. But the records don’t give us the answer.
There were several Moore families in Halifax County. I was just sure that many of them were related. Reuben Moore lived less than half a mile away from my James Moore, within sight of his farm. Another James Moore family lived a few miles down the road. One by one, we’ve tested most of these families, and one by one, they don’t match my Moore line. For the most part, they don’t match each other either. Moore was a much more common name than I thought and many Moore families were following the typical settlement and migrations patterns across Virginia and the Piedmont.
And worse yet, my Moore family doesn’t match any of the families that reach back earlier in time, and no Moore families from the British Isles. So, in essence, we’re stuck.
So what do I intend to do about this?
First, I’m going to focus on this line. The Moore Worldwide project is the surname project for the Moore families. In the past, the administrators, Marge Stockton and Julia French Wood, have grouped these families together and then using the research I’ve gathered over the years, I’ve written summaries for the various lines. I’m going to go back and revisit these lines, write about any new ones, and maybe, by process of elimination I can limit the possible Moore lines in colonial Virginia and Pennsylvania from which my Moores may have sprung. They HAD to come from someplace! Knowing which lines they did not come from, eventually, will lead to the ones they did come from. I suspect it’s a line with only a few males, or we would find more Moores today, pardon the pun.
Secondly, I’m going to mine Ysearch, www.smgf.org and Ancestry once again to see if anyone new has popped up there. I only have to check this one last time at Sorenson, as that data base isn’t being updated anymore. Sometimes, I’ve had more luck tracing someone else’s records than my own. If we know the Moore families match using Y DNA, then perhaps working on someone else’s genealogical lines will connect with the elusive colonial Moore family that is mine as well.
Update: Note that Ancestry discontinued the SMGF database.
Third, I’m really going to focus on the autosomal matches for Moore. Moore is the 33rd most common surname in the UK, according to Wikipedia, so yes, I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m looking for patterns here.
Fourth, I’m going to look for related surnames among my autosomal matches. We’re fortunate to know that James’ wife was Mary Rice. I am also going to look for Henderson, since I suspect that William Moore’s wife, Lucy may be a Henderson. Finding these names seperately or together in the surnames of my matches could well be very meaningful.
Fifth, I’m going to ask my ancestors to help out. I need a little bit of Christmas synchronicity. And hey, I’m not picky, I’ll take help in whatever form I can find it.
Happy Holidays everyone and here’s hoping Santa will bring you “fallen walls” in 2013!!
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