On This Day – What Were Your Ancestors Doing? – 52 Ancestors #170

Facebook is always “helping” me recall memories with a feature called “On This Day.” I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn back time and see what all of our ancestors were doing “on this day” in a particular year.

Then, I’d like to compare what my ancestors were doing on that day with what I’m doing on that same day, 100 years later. So, in a sense, I did.

This was an amazing exercise, because I learned something new about almost every single ancestor. Furthermore, focusing on just one day and their lives on that day, considering surrounding circumstances and events provides a very different perspective of your ancestors’ lives.

Select a special day, like your birthday, or a day you’re doing something exciting and remarkable.

First, take your picture. Nothing special, just “you” in your normal surroundings.

I took this selfie photo on my birthday, at home in my labyrinth, the day I wrote the second third of this article.

I also finished the 6th quilt sent to Houston for hurricane Harvey relief. If my descendants are reading this in yet another hundred years, they will have to search for that reference on whatever “Google” is in 2117.

Furthermore, and to add a bit of intrigue – a few hours before I published this article, which is about 15 hours before I actually leave for Dublin.  I just discovered that Hurricane Ophelia is headed for…are you ready for this…Ireland.  What, you say, a hurricane in Ireland?  Well, I assure you, I thought the same thing.  However, there is a history of devastating storms in Ireland, recently Hurricane Charley in 1986 and Hurricane Debbie in 1961. My ancestors would probably have weathered similar storms in more ancient times as well. I didn’t exactly intend to share this experience with my ancestors, but one way or another, it will be an adventure. The difference being, of course, that they didn’t have an early warning system.

Ophelia is anticipated to make landfall in Ireland on Monday, October 16th.  So, either Ireland will be a mess next week and I’ll have an unexpected adventure…or…my descendants won’t even be able to find mention of Ophelia in historical documents.  There’s just no telling what the future will bring, nor what we can find looking backwards at historical events.

It’s ironic with the proliferation of selfies and easy photos today that I have no photo, at all, of one ancestor who was alive in 1917.

The Grasshopper Theory

It’s worth stating the obvious, that on any given day, every single line of your ancestors had someone alive, because if there was a break in that line, you wouldn’t be here today, and all of the circumstances that occurred in that lifetime to connect your ancestors together wouldn’t have happened.

I think this is the genealogist’s version of the butterfly wing theory where a small change to one thing changes everything.

We’ll call this the grasshopper theory, in honor of what Facebook showed me today for “on this day.” I had a good laugh. The good news about Facebook is that the combination of easy access to cameras in phones today combined with social media, the routine and un-exceptional has become the norm. Nobody takes only “good” pictures anymore, only on special occasions. We take picture everyday, of the everyday occurrences in our lives.  As genealogists, these are the tidbits we long for about our ancestors lives, but are, of course, maddeningly elusive.

I guess the good news and the bad news is that no one in our ancestor’s time recorded anything as mundane as grasshoppers on a mum creating grasshopper descendants.

No one was taking pictures of our ancestor’s cat on quilt pieces, or their flowers, or even them. Oh, how I wish they had, because I’d love to have a direct bird’s eye view into what they loved, what their garden looked like, or even their cat or dog.

I would love to walk in my great-grandmother’s flower garden, or see the quilt she was working on.

I want to know about their everyday existence, in addition to defining moments like birth, marriage and death. I want to know about that elusive dash in-between, in as close to the first person as possible.

Will Facebook be the goldmine of genealogists a hundred or two hundred years from now?

However, since I can’t do any of those things, let’s see what I can do about doing an ancestral version of “On This Day.”

I selected 100 years ago on October 20th, about a month into the future from when I’m doing the actual researching. It just so happens that I’ll be doing something quite interesting myself on that day, speaking at Genetic Genealogy Ireland, in Dublin, not far from where some of my ancestors lived. I find that prospect quite exciting, so let’s see what my ancestors were doing on that day, October 20, 1917, 100 years ago.

Step 1 – Who Was Alive

The first step is to determine which of my ancestors were alive in 1917. There shouldn’t be too many, as it’s really not that terribly long ago.

A quick look at your pedigree chart in your genealogy software should help a lot.

My father was a couple decades older than my mother, so while my mother wasn’t born yet, my father was about 14, or 15, or maybe 16. His birth year was uncertain and somewhat pliable since he bent it to whatever he needed it to be at the moment.

His parents and all 4 of his grandparents were living on October 20, 1917. That’s a total of 7 of my ancestors on just my father’s side that were alive at one time. More than I expected.

On my mother’s side, she was just a twinkle in my grandpa’s eye. Her parents were obviously alive, and 3 of her 4 grandparents, plus one of her great-grandparents. That’s 6 on my mom’s side.

So, one by one, let’s see what we know about them and what they were doing on October 20, 1917.

Step 2 – World Events

What was going on in the world on October 20, 1917? How might these things be influencing the lives of my ancestors where they were living?

Let’s turn to newspapers.com and take a look.

America was at War, WWI, the war to end all wars, which didn’t, of course. That Saturday morning the headlines across the nation carried bad news.

Those ancestors who were in a location where newspapers were available assuredly knew about this. Radio broadcasting didn’t begin until after the war, in 1920, so otherwise, word would have traveled slowly.

In 1917, most homes didn’t have electricity. It wasn’t until 1925 that half the homes in the US had electricity, and those would have been in metropolitan areas. My ancestors, except one, all lived rurally.

My mother remembered her home without electricity when she was a child in Northern Indiana in the 1920s, but the nearby train depot had electricity in order to transmit morse code signals.

My ancestors in Appalachia wouldn’t have electricity until the 1950s, but even then few had phones – less than 25% in general and where my ancestors lived, a LOT less than 25%.

While people in big cities might have heard news on the day it happened, or within a day or two, people who lived more remotely probably only heard the really big stories, and then not until days after they happened. That’s almost incomprehensible today.

So while the Russian Revolution took place overseas, few in the US probably heard about it, and no one in Appalachia knew or cared.

Nor did they know or care that 10 Suffragettes picketed the white house in August in order to pressure President Woodrow Wilson to enable women to vote. Attacked by mobs, while police refused to intervene, the women were jailed. My ancestors, if they knew about this at all, probably viewed those women as rabble-rousers deserving of what they got when they petitioned for political prisoner status in October and were confined to solitary. Those brave women endured both torture and terror. It would be three long years before the battle for women’s right to vote was won, an event that would affect all women, everyplace in the US, but that three of my ancestors living in 1917 wouldn’t live to see.

As reported on October 20, 1917 by Washington (DC) Post.

But my ancestor who I would have thought the LEAST likely to take a stand…did!

Step 3 – On This Day

On this day, in 2017, I’ll be speaking in Ireland about genetic genealogy which helped me locate my McDowell line.  A couple days later, I’ll also be visiting the location where people who match my ancestor on paternal DNA lived a hundred years or so after my ancestor left for America.  A tiny crossroads area northwest of Dublin.  Not too many people moved TO that area, so it’s likely my ancestor lived there too.

On this day, October 20, 1917, as best I can determine, this is what my ancestors alive at that time were doing. I’ve tried to locate a photo for each person as well, as close to that time as I can find.

My Father

Name: William Sterling Estes

Birth Date: October 1, 1901, or 1902, or 1903, take your pick. He did, and added several more years too, as they suited him.

Age: 14, 15, or 16

Occupation: Army, private – he “fudged” his age to enlist and serve his country.

Location: On August 24, 1917, my father was transferred from Fort Benjamin Harrison near Indianapolis, Indiana to Camp Custer at Battle Creek, Michigan.

Camp Custer was built in 1917, so this was a brand spanking new facility and where he would serve most of his Army career.

Love Life: My father was probably dating a young gal, Virgie Houtz, whom he would marry, decades later. Virgie lived in Dunkirk, Indiana. I suspect that after he left Fort Benjamin Harrison in central Indiana for Michigan that their romance cooled with distance. They both married others until he found her again and they married, in 1961, 43 years later.

Living Children: None yet, that I know of anyway

Deceased Children: None

Did you know this person? Yes, much later of course. He died when I was a child. this is the only photo I have of us together.

Local Events:

Neither Battle Creek nor Kalamazoo’s newspapers are online yet, but the Lansing State Journal headline for October 20th is shown below. Lansing is relatively close to Battle Creek.

Liberty Bonds are how the war was financed and subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty. On October 1, 1917 Second Liberty Loan offered $3.8 billion in bonds at 3% interest, redeemable after 10 years. R. E. Olds was synonymous with Oldsmobile.

Camp Custer was mentioned in the Wakefield (Michigan) News:

The Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press carried Camp Custer Notes too.

It appears that a contest was taking place among the soldiers for who could buy the most Liberty bonds to support the war.

Oh, and two days later, on Monday and Tuesday, a dedication ceremony for Camp Custer was to take place, so you know that my Dad was getting his dress uniform spiffed up for what was certainly a dressy affair with lots of dignitaries in attendance.

What Was Affecting His Life?

Newspapers are so interesting. We discover sewer plants under construction at Camp Custer and that soldiers are not supposed to visit Jackson, because there are, gasp, saloons there. And oh, umbrellas were not used at Camp Custer, considered too un-military. A war bond contest was underway, and Camp Custer was to be dedicated in just two days – so everyone was busy putting everything in perfect order.

As a young man, much younger than his official enlisted age, at some level he had to be somewhat frightened. Not only was he only 14 or 15, he had been abandoned by his parents and was now in jeopardy of being a child sent to fight in a man’s war. The only saving grace may have been that his brother Joe enlisted too, but it’s unknown if they were stationed in the same location.

Y Line Haplogroup – R-BY490, obtained through his first cousin. This tells us that my father’s direct paternal ancestors were European and probably Celtic.

mtDNA Haplogroup – H, obtained when only the HVR1 level was offered. I hope that someone from his matrilineal line tests eventually. This tells us that his ancestor was European, but we need a further test to learn more.

My Father’s Father’s

Name: William George Estes

Birth Date: March 30, 1873

Age: 44

Occupation: Farmer, maybe bootlegger

Location: Claiborne County, Tennessee

Living Children: 5

Deceased Children: 6

Did you know this person? No, I never met him although he lived until I was in my teens.

Local Events:

The Claiborne Progress Newspaper was publishing in 1917, but those editions, if they exist, are not yet available. However, a scrapbook was found years ago having been contributed to the local library. I scanned the articles, mostly undated, and subsequently transcribed them, finding many interesting tidbits.

Electricity was not yet available in this part of the country. Travel was still by horse and something, usually a horse and wagon. Automobiles began to be mass produced in 1908. Some people did have cars. The newspaper in 1914 told us that cars traversed the Knoxville Pike, but I doubt that many in Claiborne County owned vehicles, and certainly not poor farmers.

In 1917, Tazewell had recently built a new train depot, and in doing so, several men stepped on nails, one of them subsequently passing away, probably from lockjaw or blood poisoning. Antibiotics and vaccines were still in the future.

What Was Affecting His Life?

William George, known as Will, having moved to Indiana sometime after the 1910 census as a tenant farmer had moved back to Claiborne County, Tennessee by 1917 and was establishing a life with a second wife, the cousin of his first wife with whom his first wife had caught him cheating. Yes, this is the stuff of soap operas.

In October 1917, Joice or Joicy Hatfield Estes was pregnant with her first child who would be born in March of 1918. So, in October of 1917, William George had a 24 year old wife, 20 years his junior, who was 4 months pregnant. He was probably pretty proud of himself.

His oldest son, Estel, had been married for 3 years, and William George had a 2 year, 4 month old grandson who would be older than Will’s new daughter that would be born the following March.

William George’s two other sons, William Sterling and Joseph “Dode” were enlisted in the Army to fight WWI. His eldest daughter, Margaret was 11 and living in Chicago with Ollie, his x-wife and his youngest daughter, Minnie, age 9, may have been living with a doctor in Rose Hill, Virginia, as a “servant” to care for the doctor’s ailing wife. I’m guessing that William George’s x-wife and daughters were mad as wet hens, at him, but I’m also guessing that William George didn’t much care. He had moved on.

Y Line Haplogroup – R-BY490, tells us that he connects with the other Estes men from Kent, England.

mtDNA Haplogroup – J1c2c, obtained through his sister’s grandson tells us that his mother was European, not Native American as had been rumored. The matches indicate that her ancestors were probably from the British Isles.

My Father’s Mother

Name: Ollie Bolton

Ollie, at left, with her daughter, Margaret in 1918 in Franklin Park, Illinois.  There was some discussion about whether this photo was actually Ollie or her mother, but since Margaret originally identified the photo, it makes sense that it’s Ollie.  However, I have never been entirely convinced.

The nose seems to be shaped entirely differently from other photos of Ollie.

Birth Date: May 5, 1874

Death Date: 43

Occupation: Divorced, unknown

Location: Probably Franklin Park, Illinois

Living Children: 5

Deceased Children: 6

Did you know this person? No, she died 5 months before I was born. My mother cared for her when she was pregnant for me. So, indirectly, I was at her funeral.

Local Events:

Ollie had to have been thinking about her two sons who had enlisted in the military. The war was escalating. Would either or both of them see active duty? Would they survive?

What Was Affecting Her Life?

We know so little about Ollie after she left Indiana. What we do know is gathered in snippets and pieces.

I don’t have any idea how she supported herself and the girls, or at least Margaret. Minnie says she was sent to live with a doctor and his wife in Rose Hill, Virginia to help him take care of his invalid wife. Margaret lived with her mother in Chicago.

We have a photo of Margaret and her mother labeled Franklin Park, Illinois and dated 1918. I wish I had thought to ask Margaret what kind of work her mother did, and when, exactly, they had moved to Chicago.

There are also reports of a child named Elsie or Elsia, born with downs syndrome and who subsequently passed away. I can find no record of Elsia’s birth or death, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t exist. If Elsia did exist, she would have been the last child born in Indiana before Ollie and Bill split, or, maybe Elsia arrived after the split. Regardless, based on what Aunt Margaret said, Elsia died in Chicago. Ollie would have been dealing with supporting herself and at least Margaret, if not Margaret and Elsia, in Chicago, alone, with no husband. A very tall order for a woman with very little education in that time and place.

Ollie’s family, including her oldest son and 2 year old grandchild lived in Claiborne County, Tennessee.

Did Ollie know that her brother, Samuel Bolton, had enlisted in the service too, just the month before? Was she able to see him one last time before he left for Europe? I hope so, because unless they shipped his body home for burial in 1918, she would never see him again.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Unfortunately, we only have Ollie’s base haplogroup, H. I would love to test someone who descends through all women from Ollie’s sisters or direct line of female ancestors in order to obtain additional information. Half of the women in Europe belonged to haplogroup H, so additional information would be very beneficial by providing hints as to where her ancestors were from.

My Father’s Paternal Grandfather

Name: Lazarus Estes

Birth Date: May 1848

Age: 69

Occupation: Farmer, huckster (peddler)

Location: Estes Holler, Claiborne County, Tennessee

The house had been near the two small trees in the foreground.

Living Children: 4

Deceased Children: 6

Did you know this person? No, he died almost 40 years before I was born.

Local Events:

The war was preying on everyone’s minds.

What Was Affecting Their Lives?

Lazarus was aging and probably ill. I believe he carved his own headstone before his death, at least his name. It matches the other headstones that he carved for his children and grandchildren. Lazarus would pass away the following summer, just three months before his wife.

Lazarus lived at the end of Estes Holler, the patriarch, who cared for his aged mother, buried her, carved her stone and many thereafter. When his son, William George Estes’s cabin burned and their son along with it, it was Lazarus who buried the child. It was also Lazarus who took in his two grandsons, William Sterling and Joe Dode when they jumped freight trains back to Tennessee to find their grandparents when their parents were divorcing in Indiana. The family story says that neither parent wanted the boys and they arrived in Tennessee filthy and very hungry.

It was Lazarus who “ran William George out of Estes Holler for doing Ollie wrong” when he returned with his new young wife, his x-wife’s cousin, after abandoning the boys.

In 1920, William George was living in Claiborne County, but not in Estes Holler from the looks of the census. According to the family story, Lazarus told William George he would kill him if he came back, after abandoning his two sons – those boys just 10 and 12 who hopped a freight train to find their way home to their grandfather. Lazarus seemed to be a good man, always taking care of others.

In October of 1917, Lazarus was probably wondering what to do about his land when he died. His own mortality had to be weighing heavy on his mind. He would have been watching his ailing wife and knew that some of his children weren’t as stable and trustworthy as others. Sometime over the winter, Lazarus decided to deed his land to his daughter and neighbor, Cornie Epperson and her husband, but with instructions to pay the rest of his heirs cash.

Lazarus had a cow and a horse, because he reserved the right to pasture them on half an acre until his death.

On October 20th, Lazarus might have been watching the leaves change color and wondering if he would see them again. He woundn’t. Perhaps he walked to little graveyard behind his house or the one down the road behind the church to visit with the rest of his family who he would see again soon.

Y Line Haplogroup – R-BY490, obtained through his grandson not yet born at that time. The Big Y test that provided this haplogroup provided evidence that it’s unlikely that the Estes family descended from the d’Este family of Italy.

mtDNA Haplogroup – We don’t yet have Lazarus’s mtDNA haplogroup that he would have inherited from his mother’s direct matrilineal line. I have a scholarship for the first person descended from the following women through all females to the current generation, which can be male:

  • Lazarus’ mother, Rutha Dodson married John Y. Estes
  • Her mother, Elizabeth Campbell married Lazarus Dodson
  • Her mother, Jane “Jenny” Dobkins (born c 1780-1850/60) married John Campbell
  • Her mother, Dorcas Johnson (born c 1748-1831) married Jacob Dobkins (1751-1833)
  • Her mother Mary “Polly” Phillips (born c 1739) married Peter Johnson (born c 1715-1790)

 My Father’s Paternal Grandmother

Name: Elizabeth Vannoy, pictured above, with Lazarus

Birth Date: June 23, 1847

Age: 70

Occupation: Farm wife

Location: Estes Holler, Claiborne County, Tennessee

Lazarus’ and Elizabeth’s land.

Living Children: 4

Deceased Children: 6

Did you know this person? No, she died almost 40 years before I was born.

What Was Affecting Her Life?

Elizabeth and Lazarus were both aging. Both had lived through the Civil War and now the country was embroiled in yet another war. Both were assuredly worried about what would follow, if we would see war on our own soil, and how that would affect their children and grandchildren.

Elizabeth probably seldom saw her 5 grandchildren by her daughter Martha who died in 1911. Their father remarried and moved to Union County, TN.

Her son, William George Estes seemed to be the “wild child” of the bunch. He had moved to Arkansas and back. His cabin burned just a few yards from Elizabeth’s house, killing their young son in 1907. Sometime after the 1910 census, William George and family would move to Indiana, where his wife divorced him. From there, he moved back to Tennessee again, but his children from his first marriage dispersed to the winds. Two of those children were serving in WWI.

Only one of Elizabeth’s grandchildren through William George lived in Claiborne County. I hope that Estel visited Lazarus and Elizabeth and shared the joy of their baby boy, born in 1915.

Elizabeth’s daughter, Cornie lived right across the road and Elizabeth would have been close to Cornie’s 9 children. Cornie’s last child was born on June 4th, so Elizabeth would have been helping Cornie with the new baby.

Son Columbus, or “Lum,” had 4 children, but one of them died at birth in 1914 and was buried down the road by the church in the family area of the Pleasant View Cemetery. HIs daughter Mollie had just been born on August 9th.

Son Charlie and his wife had moved up to Hancock County, near the county line with Lee County. They had 4 children, with the most recent addition being added on June 8th. However, Elizabeth was probably quite worried about this baby, who wasn’t doing well. Three days after Christmas in 1917, that baby would be buried too.

A year and 5 days later, after Elizabeth buried Lazarus in July of 1918, she would join him.

mtDNA Haplogroup – J1c2c, obtained from her great-grandchild through Cornie, tells us that she was European. Her mother has been rumored to have been Cherokee Indian. Her mitochondrial DNA proves that at least her direct matrilineal line was not Native.

My Father’s Maternal Grandfather

Name: Joseph B. “Dode” Bolton

Joseph, pictured at left about 1913 or 1914 with son Dudley and granddaughter Elizabeth.

Birth Date: September 18, 1853

Age: 64

Occupation: Farmer

Location: Sedalia, Hancock County, Tennessee

Living Children: 9 or 10

Deceased Children: 2

Did you know this person? No, he died in 1920.

What Was Affecting His Life?

Joseph’s son, Samuel Bolton had just enlisted in the military to serve his county in WWI. Recruiting had been heavy in East Tennessee, appealing to the patriotism that runs deep in this part of the county. I don’t know if Dode, as he was called, tried to talk his son out of joining, but it didn’t matter, Sammy joined and by October 20th, would have been receiving training in Camp Sevier, SC. Sammy might have thought that was fun, and maybe Dode wasn’t terribly worried yet, but that time would come.

Sammy shipped out for Europe on a transport vessel in May 1918 and was killed in France on October 8, 1918.

Joseph’s son Estel Vernon Bolton, born in 1890, was serving as well. After the war, he would come home and live with his parents to help his aging parents.

Samuel and Estel were the youngest living children. The true baby, Henry, had already died.

Joseph’s daughter Ollie wasn’t doing terribly well either. She had married William George Estes, getting divorced in Indiana about 1915 and then moving to Chicago. Her two sons were in the military too. That’s 4 serving in the military for Dode to worry about.

Daughter Mary Lee who married Tip Sumpter had moved to Illinois and daughter Ida had moved to Kentucky, but that wasn’t terribly far.

Dalsey lived up the road in Jonesville, just across the border into Virginia, but son Charles had moved to Arkansas.

Joseph probably sorely missed the help from both Samuel and Estel on the farm. He had lost both of his helpers as they went to answer their patriotic calling. Only one would return.

Y Line Haplogroup – R-FGC62079, provided by Joseph’s brother’s great-great-grandson tells us that he descends from the very large haplogroup R in Europe. His deep ancestry as revealed by the Big Y test suggests that Joseph’s ancestors were from the British Isles and probably from western Europe before that.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Joseph would have received his mitochondrial DNA from his mother. Mother’s give their mtDNA to all of their children, but only women pass it on. I will provide a DNA testing scholarship for the first person who descends from the following women through all females to the current generation, which can be male.

Note: It’s the McDowell line that I’ve gone to Ireland to visit, right after my presentation in Dublin. Mary McDowell was the daughter of Michael McDowell, the son of Michael McDowell, the son of Murtough McDowell, who immigrated from Ireland and was living in Baltimore, Maryland by 1720. The Y DNA of Michael McDowell’s descendant matches that of the McDowell line from Northern Ireland, where I’ll be visiting in a few days.

My Father’s Maternal Grandmother

Name: Margaret Claxton

Surely a photo exists someplace of Margaret Claxton or Clarkson, given that she didn’t pass away until March 11, 1920. If someone has a photo of Margaret, I would surely appreciate a copy.

Birth Date: July 28, 1851

Age: 66

Occupation: Farmer’s wife

Location: Sedalia, Hancock County, Tennessee

Living Children: 9 or 10

Deceased Children: 2

Did you know this person? No, she died in 1920.

What Was Affecting Her Life?

You’d think with 9 or 10 living children that Margaret would have had a lot of grandchildren in and out of the house. Of Her children, Ollie was living in Chicago and Mary Lee was in Illinois too. Charles was in Arkansas. Elizabeth was in Ohio with her 9 children. Samuel and Estel were both unmarried and in the military.

That only left Dudley living in Hancock County, with 4 children. Dalsey lived in Lee County, Virginia, not terribly far with 6 children at that time, the newest child being born on December 16, 1916. Margaret probably enjoyed this new grandchild. I hope she got to see her grandchildren often.

Ida lived over the border in Kentucky, so Margaret probably didn’t get to see her often. Ida had no children, which may have been a heartache for both women.

Ollie’s son, Estel had married and lived in Claiborne County. He had a child that was just over 2 years old who I believe was Margaret’s first great-grandchild. Hopefully Margaret got to see this child from time to time as well.

Margaret surely worried about her two sons serving in uniform, and with good reason. Samuel may have gotten to visit while on leave the following May before shipping out for overseas, but after that, she would never seem him again on this side of death.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Margaret’s haplogroup is H, but we were unable to get a more refined answer. We need another person to test. Anyone who descends through any of Margaret’s daughters through all females to the current generation, which can be male, carries her mtDNA and is eligible to test. I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone who descends from her daughters as described above, or from any of the women below through all females as well.

My Mother’s Father

Name: John Whitney Ferverda

Birth Date: December 26, 1882

Age: 34, 35 in December

Occupation: Retail hardware store owner and implement merchant, according to his WWI draft registration

Location: Silver Lake, Kosciusko County, Indiana, beside the train depot.

The house, above, today where my mother was raised.  It’s behind my mother, in the photo below.

The hardware store, pictured below with John Ferverda in front, was a couple blocks from the house, near the crossroads in the center of town.

Living Children: 1

Deceased Children: 0

Did you know this person? Yes, he died in 1960. I remember him eating peanuts and sitting in his chair.

Local Events:

The newspaper in Fort Wayne reported that the first hard blow of the war had been incurred. The President appointed a day or prayer.

While my ancestors in Tennessee probably knew nothing about this, the people a few miles west of Fort Wayne surely did.

John Ferverda would assuredly have known, and probably before the newspapers arrived. John had been the railroad station master and sent and received Morse Code messages. John’s brother still worked for the railroad, living across the street from both John and the depot. John and Roscoe were probably the first people in Silver Lake, or Kosciusko County, to know of breaking news. Want to be in the know? Be friends with John Ferverda.

What Was Affecting His Life?

On January 8, 1916 the newspaper in Rushville, Indiana had the following tidbit.

J. W. Ferverda, Big Four agent at Silver Lake and well known here has purchased a hardware store there in partnership with R. M. Frye. He has resigned his position with the railroad company. Mr. Ferverda married Miss Edith Lore of this city.

This is the only way that we knew when John bought the hardware store. Sadly, John would lose the store in 1922, selling out. He was too kind-hearted and granted too much credit that could never be repaid.

But in 1917, John would have been excited to build his new business.

In May, John’s youngest brother had graduated in the first commencement from Leesburg High School. Three of John’s brothers were serving in the military, very unusual for a Brethren family.

Y Line Haplogroup – John’s Y DNA haplogroup is I-Y210, European, consistent with John’s paternal lineage from the Netherlands.

mtDNA Haplogroup – We don’t have a sample of the mitochondrial DNA of John’s mother, Evaline Louise Miller. I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first person descended from any of the following women through all females to the current generation, which can be male.

  • John’s mother, Evaline Louise Miller married Hiram Ferverda
  • Her mother, Margaret Elizabeth Lentz married John David Miller
  • Her mother, Fredericka Reuhle married Jacob Lentz
  • Dorothea Katharina Wolflin born 1755 in Beutelsbach, Wuertemberg, Germany, married Johann Adam Reuhle born 1764 same location.
  • Dorothea Heuback born 1729 in Endersbach, Wuertemberg, Germany and married Johann Ludwig Wolfin born 1732 in Asperg, Wuertemberg, Germany and died in 1805 in Beutelsbach, Wuertemberg, Germany

My Mother’s Mother

Name: Edith Barbara Lore

Edith with her husband, John Ferverda, probably about 1918.

Birth Date: August 2, 1888

Age: 29

Occupation: Not working outside the home, mother

Location: Silver Lake, Kosciusko County, Indiana

Living Children: 1

Deceased Children: 0

Did you know this person? Yes, I remember her dress, apron and black ankle high shoes as she rushed to hug me when we arrived. That’s me on her lap.

Local Events:

In October 1917, Edith’s only child, a son, was just a month shy of 2 years old. Edith had visited her mother in August who had recently moved from Rushville, Indiana to Wabash. Edith’s father had died in 1909 and her mother had remarried in 1916. Edith had a new step-father who wasn’t terribly well liked, by anyone.

What Was Affecting Her Life?

Edith’s grandfather, Jacob Kirsch, had passed away in May in Aurora. Her family was in flux. Her husband’s brothers were serving in the military, and while her husband, John, wasn’t, she was still the out of favor “non-Brethren” wife who was responsible for him marrying outside the faith.

The war brought rationing. In the Fort Wayne newspaper on this day, an article reveals that “a sugar famine is now upon the country and that the moment of America’s first self-denial has arrived.”

mtDNA Haplogroup – J1c2f, confirming a European origin of Edith’s German matrilineal line.

My Mother’s Paternal Grandfather

Name: Hiram Bauke Ferverda

Hiram, pictured above with all of his children. His wife, Evaline Louise Miller beside him, and John Ferverda second from right, last row. This photo was taken during WWI at the old home place near Leesburg, Kosciusko County. In the window behind the group is the banner, partially obscured, indicating that the family had 3 sons serving.

Birth Date: September 21, 1854

Age: 63

Occupation: Banker, farmer and street inspector

Location: Leesburg, Kosciusko County, Indiana

Living Children: 11

Deceased Children: 0, which is pretty amazing

Did you know this person? No, he died 30 years before I was born.

Local Events:

Witten in 1919 in the “History of Kosciusko County:”

The family are members of the Church of the Brethren and Mr. Ferverda is a republican. He was at one time captain of the local Horse Thief Detective Association, and in now an inspector of the streets of Leesburg.

Well, ahem. The Horse Thief Detective Association was a local detective and law enforcement group of vigilantes formed about 1840. During this time in Indiana, near Wingate, horse stealing had become so rampant that folks had to completely give up the idea of farming. Arrests were nigh on nonexistant, so the men banded together to not only discover who was stealing the horses, but to apprehend them and put an end to it. They did, becoming relatively well respected, and also becoming investigators, police officers, judge, jury and executioner all in one – sometimes all in the same night or raid. Later in the early 1900s, they became heavily associated with the KKK and in the early 1920s, this group met its demise with the downfall of one of their leaders who was convicted of the murder of a woman. They primarily operated throughout Indiana, but also to some extent in surrounding states.

This is something I could have spent my entire life not knowing. So, how, I wonder did Hiram reconcile the Horse Thief Detective Association with his Brethren belief of non-violence? Let’s hope that “at one time” means that he was no longer associated with this group.

What Was Affecting His Life?

The war had to be weighing heavy on Hiram’s mind, as three of his sons were serving. All three came home.

It’s surprising that the Brethren church did not discharge Hiram given that his sons served in the military and Hiram clearly had to have taken an oath to be a public official, along with other highly un-Brethren activities.

Y Line Haplogroup – I-Y2170 – a haplogroup discovered during Big Y testing. This confirmed the Ferverda is European, and his closest matches are from Germany and Russia with Big Y matches also from Scandinavia. The Ferverda DNA and ancestors have been in that region for a very long time.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Hiram’s mother died in Holland, and her mtDNA line has not yet been tested. I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first person to step forward who descends from the following women through all females to the current generation, which can be male:

  • Hiram’s mother, Geertje Jarmens de Jong born March 22, 1829 in Baard, the Netherlands, died October 3, 1860 in Terjerksteradeel, the Netherlands, married Bauke Hendrick Ferverda (Ferwerda) on May 14, 1853 in Baarderadeel, the Netherlands.
  • Her mother, Angenietje Wijtses Houtsma born August 12, 1802 in Leeuwarderadeel, the Netherlands, died after July 17, 1866 and married on May 22, 1824 in Baarderadeel, the Netherlands to Harmen Gerrits de Jong.
  • Her mother Lolkjen Ales Noordhof married Wijzse Douwes Houstma (1783-1825 Boxum, Friesland, the Netherlands.

My Mother’s Paternal Grandmother

Name: Evaline Louise Miller

Birth Date: March 29, 1857

Age: 60

Occupation: farm wife

Location: Leesburg, Kosciusko County, Indiana

Living Children: 11

Deceased Children: 0

Did you know this person? No, but she cared for my mother when she was sick as a child.

Local Events:

The war. How could she not think of the war everyday with 3 sons serving?

What Was Affecting Her Life?

The decisions affecting Brethren families had to have been tearing at the fabric of both family and churches.

This 7 page undated letter or article, written by Eva, with page 6 missing, tells us so much about how she thought. I suspect this was written about this time because of the refences to women’s education, rights and the focus on temperance which resulted in Prohibition beginning in 1919. Temperance is the issue that made the Brethren, as a whole, decide they needed to participate in government by voting, beginning in about 1912. Prior to that, the Brethren refused to participate in any form of government unless it was required for them to fulfill the Brethren mission in the world, which included voting and holding office.

Some Things Our Women Are Doing

Women in the olden times were in the main appendages of men. They were servants in some capacity and were not supposed to need any special intellectual training.

The women of olden times were not educated in the school as they are now. But now in our time, her real worth is more properly estimated and her education is held of equal importance with man. Education is power, and when rightly used, sharpens the mind, it kindles ambition and awakens self respict (sic). The intelligence of women is rapidly increasing. Women are graduating from our colleges, with equal honors with men. This enlarged intelligence of women should vastly increase the intelligence of our homes. Ignorance in the home never will promote its welfare. Ignorance in the mother is never any benefit to her children. Ignorance never made a womans work of any better quality. Ignorance in the women of a neighborhood never promoted the better interests of the neighborhood, the church, or Aid So. (Aid society). It does promote gossip, scandal, backbiting, jealousy, folly, coarseness, low life. Ignorance is on a level with these things and is the mother of them all. But woman’s day has come and with renewed womanhood, and Christian intelligence, are forefeared to do a good work wherever their lot shall be, in the home, the church, the S.S. or Aid.

We have noted women of old history who had great influence in private and public life, Miriam, sister of Moses aiding much in the deliverance of her people. Deborah who ruled and judged Israel. Hannah noted for her trust in the Lord, being the mother of Samuel.

In the time of Christ and the apostles, there were many noted women, zealous in their devotion to the new religion. The religion which opened new encouragements and hopes to women. The religion which placed women on and equivalent to men such as Paul in Romans 16th speaks of some good women in his day. He commends Phebe our sister who is a servant of the church. Also Priscilla wife of Aquila and Tryphena wife of Tryfanosa who labored much in the church. We have the Marys of Dorcar and we might name many more noted women.

Women can do great things. Think once of the crusaders, some women of our time. That awakening of moral conviction and spiritual power such as perhaps has both been known since the early days of Christianity. They came on bended knee and tearful eyes and prayed for all the guilty offenders, that they might repent and be forgiven. They lifted the cause to the throne of God and hold it there still. They made it his cause. They joined in with his church. This took the cause of temperance up to the summit level of practical Christian life, and made it what it all along should have been a high, holy, divine cause. All this some of our good Christian women have done and through their efforts we shall soon have worldwide temperance. What other women have done we can do and our women of today are doing things.

Our Sister Aid Society is doing great work. We have about 16,000 women engaged in the various activities of the Aid Society (page 6 missing).

The Lord gives us health so we can surely give one day every two weeks for this good work and we know we shall be blessed for every good deed we do. It is the little deeds we do which count for so much for a cup of cold water given in his name we shall be blessed. (rest missing)

mtDNA Haplogroup – We don’t have her son’s mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, which means we don’t have hers either, since her son inherited his mitochondrial DNA from Evaline.  Anyone descended directly from her through all females can test, as well as anyone descended from the following women through all females to the current generation, which can be males.

  • Evaline’s mother, Margaret Elizabeth Lentz married John David Miller
  • Her mother, Fredericka Reuhle married Jacob Lentz
  • Dorothea Katharina Wolflin born 1755 in Beutelsbach, Wuertemberg, Germany, married Johann Adam Reuhle born 1764 same location.
  • Dorothea Heuback born 1729 in Endersbach, Wuertemberg, Germany and married Johann Ludwig Wolfin born 1732 in Asperg, Wuertemberg, Germany and died in 1805 in Beutelsbach, Wuertemberg, Germany

 My Mother’s Maternal Grandmother

Name: Ellenora “Nora” Kirsch

Yep, that’s Nora, with her daughters Eloise, Mildred, then Nora and Edith. Who would ever have guessed!

Birth Date: December 24, 1866

Age: 50, 51 on Christmas Eve

Occupation: Probably Housewife

Location: Wabash, Indiana

Living Children: 3

Deceased Children: 1

Did you know this person? No, but I would have liked to.

Local Events:

Huntington, Indiana wasn’t far from Wabash. The headlines everyplace included the new about the transport ship being torpedoed.

Having lived in Rushville her entire adult life, she may have also subscribed to the Rushville paper, if they had a service allowing the paper to be mailed distantly.

Nora must have worried because her family in Aurora still spoke German.

What Was Affecting Her Life?

Nora’s life had changed incredibly in the past few months and years. Her first husband died of tuberculosis in 1909, followed by her daughter of the same disease in 1912. On October 28, 1916, she married Thomas McCormick and moved from Rushville to Wabash, Indiana shortly thereafter. In Rushville, she worked for a department store, then opened her own sewing, clothing construction and alternation business. Moving to Wabash would have changed everything.

Her first wedding anniversary was just a week away. Was she preparing a celebration? Was she already having regrets and second thoughts. She stayed with McCormick for years, never officially divorcing. He eventually left and she was much happier.

My mother remembers visiting Nora in Wabash where she always had a quilt frame hung with pully’s from the ceiling, so it could be raised and lowered.

I don’t know which quilt she was working on that that time, but I can assure you that she was working on some quilt. Quilters quilt for beauty, quilters quilt for hope, quilters quilt to help and quilters quilt when they need to work through something or don’t know what else to do.

We know for sure that she quilted from the 1880s through the 1930s. Her quilts, below, are hung at left and right, and my mother’s afghan inspired by Nora’s quilts is displayed in the center.

We also know that Nora gardened, from this photo from about the same time. I wonder if her gardens inspired the Climbing Vine and the Picket Fence quilts, above.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Nora’s haplogroup, J1c2f, the same one I carry today. Known as Jasmine, tracking haplogroup J has provided insight into ancestors that we can never reach through traditional genealogy.

My Mother’s Maternal Great-Grandmother

Name: Barbara Drechsel

My great-grandmother, Nora Kirsch, at left, her sister Mildred holding her first child born in 1922, then my great-great-grandmother Barbara Drechsel Kirsch, at right. A beautiful 4 generation photo. It’s amazing how happy Barbara looks considering the amount of tragedy she had endured in the past decade or so.

Birth Date: October 8, 1848

Age: 69

Occupation: Innkeeper, Proprietor

Location: Aurora, Dearborn County, Indiana

Kirsch house to the right, the depot at left, above. This probably looks much the way it did when Barbara lived there.

The bar that was in the building in the 1980s when Mom, my daughter and I visited was the original.

Living Children: 6

Deceased Children: 0

Did you know this person? No, but she was amazing. I like to think I have her spunk and gumption.

Local Events:

Floods, always floods. Aurora, Indiana sat on the bend of the Ohio River and flooded regularly. In the winter of 1917/1918, the Ohio flooded dramatically, causing ice dams to break which flooded Aurora. According to the newspaper, the properties looked like “scrambled eggs.” In the basement of the Kirsch House, you could still see the stains from the flood waters, decades later.

While the Kirsch House sat relatively high, on the North side of town, several blocks from the river, they were still badly flooded at least every few years. The train tracks were on even higher ground.

What Was Affecting Her Life?

I don’t know if Barbara was grief-stricken or relieved, or maybe some of each. Her husband, Jacob Kirsch, had died of cancer of the stomach on July 23rd. She had been taking care of a terminally ill husband for months, as well as running the Kirsch House, a combination hotel, pub and restaurant.

Barbara’s daughter, Carrie was ill with syphilis that would claim her life a few years later. Carrie had contracted that then-fatal disease from her wealth river-boat gambler husband who had already died a decade earlier.

Barbara’s daughter, Lou, worked with her mother after Lou’s husband had committed suicide in the garden behind the Kirsch House on Halloween night 1910. Barbara probably depended on Lou to help with the Kirsch House and with caring for Jacob when he was ill as well.

Barbara’s daughter Ida was in her 20s and hadn’t yet married. Ida also worked at the Kirsch House with her mother. After Ida and Lou both married in 1920 and 1921, Barbara would sell the Kirsch House and live with her daughter, Nora.

Nora had buried a husband and daughter in the past few years, had built her own retail and service business and then remarried in late 1916 to a man that was not liked by the family. Nora moved further away, to Wabash, Indiana. Barbara was very close to Nora’s daughters, her granddaughters, and they came to stay with Nora at the Kirsch House often.

Barbara’s sons Martin and Edward, in their late 40s, so too old to serve in the military, didn’t live close by, but she probably saw then occasionally since the Kirsch House was beside the depot and southern Indiana was well connected by rail. Her grandson, Edgard Kirsch registered for the draft and claimed an exemption for his father and mother who he claimed were dependents.

The Cincinnati newspaper carried headlines about the war. Barbara was born in Germany and the family spoke German. Certainly Barbara still had family in Germany, and may have written back and forth. She may have had aunts, uncles and first cousins still living.

We do know that the Kirsch family spoke German until this time, when they stopped and spoke only English, so that their loyalty would not be questioned. The war had to be on Barbara’s mind, both from the perspective of an American and also as a person with German relatives.

mtDNA Haplogroup – Barbara’s haplogroup descended to me through her female descendants. As more matches have accrued over the years, the amazing Scandinavian story of this haplogroup, found in Barbara’s mother in Germany about 1800 is emerging.

Your Turn

It’s your turn now to select a day, take your picture, and document what your ancestors were doing on that day?  What day will you select, and why?

Susannah (maybe) Hart (c1740-before 1805), Marcus Younger’s Mystery Wife, 52 Ancestors #168

Actually, we’re not even positive Susannah is her first name. I should have titled this “Maybe Susannah Maybe Hart,” but then I didn’t want someone to actually think her first name was “Maybe.”  I can just see that showing up in a tree someplace someday:)

Susannah might be her first name, but if so, it’s a lucky accident in a legal document.

In Halifax County, even in the 1800s, forms and standard language were used for various types of repeat transactions – and it was a mistake on a form that named Susannah – years after her death. The one record that surely did exist at one time, Susannah’s marriage documentation, likely burned when the King and Queen County, VA courthouse burned in 1828, 1833 and 1864. What one fire didn’t consume, the others did.

For sake of consistency, and because that’s what she has been called….and because I have nothing else to call her, I’ll continue to refer to her as Susannah.

Susannah married Marcus Younger probably sometime in or before 1759, because their first child and only (surviving) son was born on April 11, 1760, named John. Note that the child was not named for Marcus, the father. Perhaps another son was born and named for Marcus, but didn’t survive.

We don’t know who Marcus’s father was as we believe that Marcus was illegitimate, probably born to a daughter of Alexander Younger, taking her surname. But we aren’t positive. We do know that Marcus’s descendant’s Y DNA through his only son, John, doesn’t match the Younger DNA line that the rest of the Younger males in the family associated with Marcus carry. Based on Y DNA results, we know who Marcus’s father wasn’t, and there weren’t any other known Younger candidates, so the probable conclusion is that Marcus was illegitimate and belonged to one of the daughters of Alexander Younger.

Illegitimacy at that time was a significant social barrier. If Susannah married an illegitimate man, she may have been illegitimate herself. There are a lot of “ifs, ands and buts” in there – but it’s the best we can do with what we have.

Is John Actually Marcus’s Son?

Now, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, saying to yourself, “But if John was Marcus’s only son, and his male descendant Y DNA tested, how do we know that Marcus was illegitimate, based on that DNA test? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, especially since we don’t have a marriage record that predates John’s birth? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, because Susannah, um, somehow got pregnant by someone other than her husband?”

The answer would be yes, that’s certainly possible. It wasn’t terribly uncommon for women at that time to have a child before marriage, either out of wedlock or by a first husband who died, and for the child to take the second husband’s surname.

However, before we go any further, let’s address this question here and now, so we don’t have to ponder this anymore.

Autosomal DNA provides some very compelling information.

I have eleven matches at two different vendors with people who descend from Alexander Younger, believed to be Marcus’s grandfather, through different children. Because several of the matches are at Ancestry, it’s impossible to know if we share common segments, but there are members of the Alexander Younger who match with me and in common with each other.

However, that’s at Ancestry, and even though their trees don’t show other ancestors in common with each other, we can’t really tell if common segments match unless they are also at GedMatch, or at Family Tree DNA, which they aren’t.

It’s unlikely that I would match 11 different people through Alexander Younger’s other children if Marcus wasn’t related to Alexander. And if the break was between Marcus and John, I wouldn’t be related to Marcus or the Younger family he is clearly associated with.

Other Younger descendants whose kits I manage also match descendants of Alexander Younger.

One last piece of evidence is that in Marcus’s will, he left John, as his son, his land, so Marcus certainly appeared to believe John was his son.

It’s extremely unlikely that John was not the child of Marcus, based on DNA matches. I think we can put that possibility to bed.

Susannah and Marcus

Susannah and Marcus were probably married before 1760 in King and Queen County, VA, where the Younger family lived before moving to Halifax County, VA, around 1785. They could also have been married in Essex County, as the Younger land was very close to the border and they had periodic transactions in both counties. King and Queen County is a burned county, and no Younger marriage records exist in Essex County that early.

In 1780, when they were about 40, Marcus and Susannah were living in King and Queen County, based on Marcus’s Revolutionary War Public Service Claim where he furnished 1 gallon and 2.5 quarts of brandy worth 39 pounds, one shilling and 3 pence. Alcohol was expensive even then.

This implies that the Younger family was in very close proximity to the soldiers, if not the fighting. I wonder how that affected the family. Anthony Hart is a Revolutionary War Pensioner, living in Halifax County in 1840 and stated he served from Essex County in an affidavit signed for Edmond Edmondson. A William Young (Younger?) signs for Edmondson in 1782 in Essex County when he marries. William Younger is also found in Halifax County later, living beside Moses Estes, whose family is also from the same part of King and Queen County. Moses was the father of George Estes who would one day marry Mary Younger, daughter of Marcus Younger and Susannah.

What, you say, this sounds like a circle. Indeed, it does – or a continuation of a drama crossing 3 generations and as many counties too.

But this gets messier yet, because Marcus’s only son, John Younger, eventually married Lucy Hart.

In 1782 and 1785, Marcus and family are living in Essex County and are taxed under Anthony Hart. By this time, Marcus and Susannah were in their early mid-40s.

This Hart connection becomes very important. These families are close, possibly related…in fact, we know they are related because of DNA results, but we don’t know exactly how.

In Anthony Hart’s pension application submitted in 1832, he states that he was born on October 14, 1755 in King and Queen County and lived there until 1802 when he moved to Halifax. He states that Lucy Younger and Mary Gresham can prove his service. Given the fact that Lucy married John Younger who is about Anthony Hart’s age, it’s very likely that Lucy was Anthony’s sister. Lucy, in her deposition says, “I lived with Anthony Hart when we were both children.” Mary Gresham/Grisham says exactly the same thing.

Why don’t they just spit it out? How are they related? If they were siblings, why wouldn’t they have said that?

Was Anthony’s father’s sister married to Marcus Younger? Or maybe Anthony’s oldest sister? Of course, we don’t know who Anthony’s father was, so we can’t reassemble this family any further. All we do know is that Anthony Hart as also found taxed with one Robert Hart.

There are also other Hart family members, such as John Hart who are born in Essex County about 1777, moved to Halifax and subsequently died in neighboring Charlotte County. I, as well as other Marcus descendants, not descended through John Younger who married Lucy Hart also match to John Hart’s descendants. Someplace, there’s a connection.

Back to Susannah

We know very little about Susannah’s life between the time she and Marcus moved to Halifax County in 1785 and her death probably sometime before 1805. In reality, we aren’t positive she was alive in 1785, but it would be unusual for a man not to remarry for that long, especially at age 45 with children to raise.

Susannah probably died between 1785 and 1805.

Marcus Younger wrote his will in 1805, but he did not die until 1815, a full decade later.

I, Marcus Younger of Halifax Co, do hereby make my last will and testament in the manner following; First, after the payments of my last debts, I give my daughter Susannah 50 acres of land where my house stands during my natural life. Also one negro girl (Fanny), one mare, one bed and furniture, one cow and calf to her and her heirs forever. To my grandson Younger Wyatt one mare. The rest of my estate to be equally divided between my 4 children namely John Younger, Elizabeth Clark, Mary Estes and Susannah Younger. Appoint son John executor. Signed with X. Witness John Hannah?, Armistead Bomar, Sally Hannah?. At a court held for Halifax Jan. 25, 1815 will proved. John Younger executor. Phil Carlton security.

As you can see, there is no mention of a wife in 1805. Susannah is stated to be his daughter. Furthermore, Susannah is listed on tax lists as having a life estate. While Marcus’s will appears to convey this land in fee simple, later records infer that she only had a life estate – which would be what a widow would have had – not a daughter.

However, on March 9, 1816, we find the following deed:

Halifax County VA Deed Book 25, Pg. 568, July 1815, registered Mar 1816

Susannah Younger, Younger Wyatt and wife Sally, George Estes and wife Mary, all of the County of Halifax of the one part, and John Younger, of the same, of the other part are entitled to an allotment of land as described below, as distributed by Marcus Younger, dec’d., which by the consent of all the parties are as surveyed, after mutually agreeing to make a survey to Susannah Younger, who becomes entitled to the part allowed her under the will of said Marcus Younger, dec’d. and by the consent of all the parties, the unmentioned tract was sold to the highest bidder at auction on 12 months credit and commanded the sum of 421 pounds, 60 shillings. Now this indenture further witnesseth that for the above consideration the said Susanna Younger and all of the above mentioned have granted, bargained and sold released and confirmed to the said John Younger a certain tract of land in Halifax County on the draughts of Bannister River containing 62 acres beginning at a Post Oak on John Younger’s land. Signed by all thirteen parties

Thomas Clark and wife Peggy
William Clark
John Henderson and wife Sarah
Edmond Henderson and wife Elizabeth
John Landrum and wife Polly
George Estes and wife Mary

It appears that Susanna and the rest of her siblings sell their jointly held land to her brother, John Younger, and that Susannah’s individually held land was sold independently.

The following chart shows who is mentioned in the 1805 will versus the 1816 land sale.

Marcus 1815 Will, written 1805 1816 Land Sale
Susannah Younger – daughter 50 acres where house stands, Fanny (slave), mare, bed, furniture, cow, calf, her share of rest of estate Lays off allotment, sells
Younger Wyatt – grandson (mother Sally deceased) One mare Yes – Younger and Polly Wyatt
John Younger – son Equal share Yes, purchases
Mary Estes – daughter Equal share Yes, Mary and George Estes
Elizabeth Clark – daughter Equal share No
John and Sarah Henderson No Yes
Edmund and Elizabeth Henderson No Yes
John and Polly Landrum No Yes
Thomas and Peggy Clark No Yes

If one is to assume that the reason Marcus left a mare to Younger Wyatt is because his mother, who married a Wyatt male, is deceased, then what we are left with is that Elizabeth Clark has died and her children and heirs are listed in her stead in the 1816 deed, being the 5 individuals not listed in the 1805 will but listed in 1816.

Susannah Younger never marries and dies in 1831, and she leaves a will too that frees slaves Fanny and Harry and leaves them $50 each. In addition, she leaves her clothes to Susannah Estes and Mary Wyatt and the rest of her property to Younger Wyatt, the son of her deceased sister. Mary Wyatt is probably Younger Wyatt’s wife. The names Mary and Polly were often used interchangeably during that timeframe.

Then, in 1842, a chancery suit is filed to clear up the title on Susannah’s land. This was a lawsuit that was not contested, but likely had to be filed to obtain clear title from everyone, especially since it seems that brother John “bought” the land in 1816 and died in 1817, without title ever being filled or legally passing. In the following document, however, you can see why the confusion exists about Susannah.

The chancery suite does answer one question and that’s the name of Younger Wyatt’s mother – Sally. The chancery suit answers a whole lot more too.

Younger, Marcus Chancery Suit 1842-057, Halifax Co. Va. – extracted and transcribed in June 2005 by Roberta Estes sitting mesmerized in the courthouse basement.

The worshipful county court of Halifax in chancery sitting: Humbly complaining sheweth unto your worships your orator Thomas Clark that a certain Marcus Younger died many years ago leaving a small tract of land containing about 53 (58?) acres to his wife Suckey Younger for life and at her death to be divided amongst his children. That after the death of the said Suckey Younger, the rest of the children of the said Marcus Younger (the wife of your orator being one) sold the said land to your orator, put him in possession of the same and have received from him the whole of the purchase money, but have not as yet conveyed to him the legal title.

That one little word was problematic…wife. Suckey, a nickname for Susannah, may well have been Marcus’s wife’s name as well, which may have been why it was so easy to slip that word, wife, in there. But Susannah was clearly Marcus’s daughter, at least the Susannah alive in 1805, according to his will.

The next sentence then refers to the “rest” of the children, implying that Suckey is a child as well.

Perhaps Marcus’s wife’s name as well as his daughters was Susannah. Susannah was also the name of one of Alexander Younger’s daughters. Was Susannah perhaps also the name of Marcus’s mother? It’s certainly possible. Marcus had a daughter Susannah and grandchildren named Susannah as well. Too many Susannahs!

It’s also worth noting that in 1805, none of Marcus’s children appear to be underage, so all born before 1785, which makes sense. In 1815, his grandson, Younger Wyatt had married, so he was at least 25 or so, being born by about 1790, meaning Wyatt’s mother would have been born before 1770, so this too fits.

Furthermore, we have another problem. Elizabeth Clark is mentioned in the 1805 will, but Thomas and Peggy Clark are mentioned in the 1816 sale, along with several other people not previously mentioned. I surmised that Peggy, often short for Margaret, is the grandchild of Marcus, but according to the 1842 chancery suit, that wasn’t the case at all. Peggy was Marcus’s child. So, if Peggy is his daughter, is she the same person as Elizabeth Clark? If so, that means that Elizabeth didn’t die, so the 3 Henderson and Landrum families were not her heirs. So, who were they? Elizabeth Clark is the only name missing from the 1816 sale that was present in the 1805 will document.

And of course, all of this assumes that Susannah was the only wife of Marcus and that all of his children were her children as well. I hate that word, assume.

You can clearly see why I never thought we’d ever solve this conundrum unless some previously unknown records magically surfaced out of either burned King and Queen County (I wish) or neighbor, Essex (unlikely, since they the records show they lived in King and Queen.) Or maybe that e-Bay Bible, I’m still hoping for that.

The Chancery suite continues:

The names of the said renders(?) are John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Sally his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife, Thomas Estes and Sally his wife. In tender consideration of the promises and in as much as your orator is remedyless therein at last?. To this end therefore that the above named renders? Be made parties to this suit and required to answer the allegations herein contained under oath. That in consequence of the said partys being numerous and widely dispersed in the United States that the said court decree that the legal title to the said land be conveyed to your orator and that the parties to the said contract as vendors? Be required to do so and unless they shall do so within a reasonable time that the court appoint a commissioner for that purpose and grant all other recipients relief. May it please the court to grant the Commonwealths writ of subpoena.

Next document:

The joint answer of John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Polly his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife. Thomas Estes and Sally his wife to a bill of complaint exhibited against them in the county court of Halifax by Thomas Clark – These respondents saving? Do say that the allegations of the complainants bill are true and having answered pray to be hence dismissed.

Next document

This cause came on this day to be heard on the bill of chancery and answered and was argued by counsel and consideration and decise? that Jonathan B. Stovall who is hereby appointed a commissioner for that purpose do by proper deeds convey the lands in the proceeding mentioned to Thomas Clark in fee simply with special warranty.

Two attached pages in file as follows:

Page 1

Marcus Younger left 83 acres for life to Sukey Younger for life and at her death to be divided among his children. (Note – after this statement, in a different handwriting, begins the list of his heirs. Does this mean that Sukey Younger was not considered to be his heir, because she was his wife?)

Elizabeth Clark, Sally Wyatt, John Younger, Mary Estes, children of Marcus

Thomas, Sally Henderson wife of John Henderson, Polly Landrum wife of John Landrum, Betsy wife of Edward Henderson, William Clark, Children of Elizabeth Clark (inferring that she is deceased)

Younger Wyatt child of Sally Wyatt

Robert, Polly wife of Samuel Younger, Anthony, Joel, Betsy wife of J. P. Anderson, Nancy wife of Vincent P. Carlton, John, Thomas, Sally wife of Joel Anderson – children of John Younger

John Estes, William, Susannah, Sally wife of T. Estes, Polly wife of James Smith and a grandchild name Mark Estes – children of Mary Estes

Elizabeth Clark’s children are entitled each to 1/5 of 1/4th
Younger Wyatt entitled to ¼th
John Younger’s children are each entitled to 1/9 of 1/4th
Mary Estes children are entitled each to 1/6 of 1/4th
Mary Estes grandchild is entitled to 1/6th of 1/4th

Next page:

Thomas Clark and Peggy his wife – Halifax
John Henderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
John Landrum and Polly his wife – Halifax
Edward Henderson Jr. and Betsy his wife – Halifax
William Clark and Mary his wife – Patrick County
Robert Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Samuel Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife – Franklin
Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Joel Younger and Fental his wife – Halifax
John Younger and Betsy his wife – Pittsylvania
Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife – Halifax
Joel Anderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife – Rutherford County Tennessee
John Estes and Nancy his wife – Rutherford Co Tennessee (actually ditto marks and John was actually in Claiborne by this time it is believed)
William Estes and Rebecca his wife – Halifax
Susannah Estes – Halifax
Thomas Estes and Sally his wife – Montgomery County Tennessee
James Smith and Polly his wife – Halifax
Marcus Estes (son of Mark) – Halifax

(Note – Marcus Estes the son of Mary Estes died in 1815 shortly after his marriage. Mary’s daughter, Susanna Estes also had a son Marcus Estes, not to be confused with the Marcus Estes, son of Marcus Estes, deceased, above.)

Is this not THE chancery suit to die for? Not only does it give you three complete generations, and pieces of the 4th – it tells you where the descendants were living in 1842. Never mind that the county for my John Estes is actually wrong – he and Nancy lived in Claiborne County, Tennessee but for all I know they could have originally gone to Rutherford County. John Estes did marry Nancy Moore. This was the ace in the hole that confirmed my lineage beyond dispute.

I think they heard me all the way upstairs in that old brick courthouse when I found these loose documents.

Now for the bad news.

  • I still don’t know when Susannah Younger, wife of Marcus, was born, other than probably 1740 or earlier.
  • I don’t know when Susannah died, other than probably between 1785 and 1805. She probably died before 1805 when Marcus wrote his will. But if Susannah in the will is actually his wife and not his daughter, then she died in 1831, at about age 90 or 91. That’s certainly possible.
  • I still don’t know her first name, for sure, nor do I know her birth surname, although I think there’s a good chance it’s Hart based on a variety of evidence.

Autosomal DNA

DNA may have come to the rescue, at least somewhat and has graced us with a clue that Susannah, if that was her name, was perhaps a Hart.

Marcus Younger is living with Anthony Hart in 1785 in King and Queen County, according to the tax list.

Anthony Hart and Marcus Younger both moved to Halifax, albeit 17 years apart.

Those dots could have been connected by genealogists years ago, and that connection then turning into a family story of Marcus’s wife being a Hart. It is, indeed a possibility, because that family legend certainly existed. What we don’t know is whether or not it descended through the family or was introduced later by genealogists.

In November of 2013, the seemingly impossible happened and several people from the Younger family matched a descendant of Anthony Hart – and I’m not talking about only descendants of John and Lucy Hart Younger. I match too, and I descend through Marcus’s daughter Mary who married George Estes. I don’t have any known Hart DNA from any other source. I wrote about this wonderful happy dance adventure in the article, “Be Still My H(e)art.”

Since that time, additional Hart matches have continued to accrue. However, the Hart family prior to Halifax County suffers from the same record destruction that the other King and Queen County families do.

Unfortunately, since this line does have a known illegitimacy with Marcus’s paternal line, it makes it more difficult to understand what an autosomal match really means. It could mean we’re matching Marcus’s father’s family lines and just don’t know that since we don’t know who he is, although the Y DNA does not match Hart males.  Hart could be found on any other line, however.

Unfortunately, with all of the unknowns, I’m still unwilling to call Susannah a Hart. In fact, I may never be willing to step out on that limb with any degree of certainty.

We don’t know who Marcus Younger’s parents were, although we can say with almost certainty that his mother was a Younger. Of course, we don’t know who Susannah’s parents were either, and we do know the Younger and Hart families were allied before coming to Halifax County.

The connection between the families could have been because Marcus married Susannah Hart. It could have been because the Hart family married a Younger. It could be because one of Marcus’s parents had a Hart ancestor or because Marcus’s parents and the Hart family had a common ancestor. Or all of the above. We just don’t know.

If we knew something more about at least Marcus’s heritage, I’d be much more likely to make a “call” that Susannah is a Hart based on the DNA matches. Unfortunately, for now and the foreseeable future, both Susannah’s first and last name will remain in question, but by utilizing mitochondrial DNA, we might be able to determine at least some things – and maybe eventually – her ancestry.

This is where we left Susannah’s story, until just recently.

Finding Susannah’s Mitochondrial DNA

Sometimes wishes do come true. I had just about given up hope of ever finding anyone who descends from Susannah through all females to the current generation, which can be male. Women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on. Someone descended from Susannah through all females would carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by their mother, and straight back through the direct matrilineal line.

Susannah’s children were:

  • John Younger was born April 11, 1760 and died just two years after his father, on July 17, 1817. He married Lucy Hart. Sons were Robert Younger (c 1790-1877) who married Mary Polly Moore, Anthony Younger born c 1791, moved to Tate County, Missouri and died about 1877, Joel Younger (1791-c1877), John Younger and Thomas Younger. Daughters were Elizabeth (1790-1875) who married Thomas Anderson, Nancy born (1798-1865), Sally (c1800-after 1842) who married Joel Anderson, and Mary “Polly” (died 1873) who married George Wray.
  • Mary Younger born before 1767 married George Estes and had three daughters. , Susannah had 3 daughters that carried the Estes surname, Polly who married James Smith and had daughters and Sally who married Thomas Estes and had daughters as well. Mary Younger Estes also had sons John R. Estes (1787-1887) who married Nancy Ann Moore and moved to Claiborne County, TN, Marcus Estes (c1788-c1815) who married Quintenny, surname unknown and William Y. Estes (c1785-1860/1870) who married Rebecca Miller.
  • Sally Younger married a Wyatt male and both had died by 1805. The only known child is a male, Younger Wyatt, so this line is not applicable to mitochondrial testing. Younger Wyatt was married by 1816, so Sally Younger would have been born in 1775 or earlier.
  • Elizabeth Younger married William Clark and had three daughters.   Elizabeth was dead by 1816. Daughter Sarah/Sally married John Henderson, Elizabeth/Betsy Clark married Edward Henderson and Mary Polly Clark married John Landrum. Son Thomas Clark married a Peggy and William Clark married a Mary.
  • Susannah Younger, never married, born before 1785 given that no child in Marcus’s 1805 will was underage, died in 1831.

Only two of Susannah’s daughters had female children, Mary and Elizabeth, so there weren’t many descendants who fit the bill in order to test for Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA. Thankfully, one, cousin Lynn, descended through the daughter of Susannah Estes, granddaughter of Susannah Younger, stepped forward.

Thank you, thank you, cousin Lynn.

The Younger Cemetery

If we assume that Susannah and Marcus were married when she was about 20, which was typical for the time, and she had children for the next 23 years, she would have given birth to a total of between 12 and 15 children, depending on whether she had children every 2 years, every 18 months or perhaps even closer if a child died during childbirth. Of those, we know that 5 lived to adulthood, assuming that Susannah who died in 1831 really was a daughter and not Susannah (wife of Marcus) herself.

The sad, silent, untold tale is that Susannah buried more children than she raised, by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio, leaving most, if not all of them, behind in 1785 when she and Marcus moved to Halifax County. Children who died after that are certainly buried in the old Younger Cemetery on the land owned by Susannah and Marcus. Today, the land is forested with periwinkle carpeting the forest floor, perhaps planted by Susannah’s own hands.

This too is likely where Susannah herself, as well as Marcus, are buried, in an unmarked grave beneath a fieldstone, as well as son John, daughters Susannah and Sally, and possibly, daughters Mary and Elizabeth too. Susannah’s children and grandchildren would have known exactly which stone was hers, but as they moved away, died and were buried as well, the last few in the 1880s, that memory faded away with them and the land eventually passed out of the Younger family in the early 1900s.

By the time I was hunting for the Younger Cemetery in the early 2000s, the only way to find it was by tracking deeds backward and forward in time and from an old letter, found in the neighboring Pittsylvania County library detailing another researcher’s search for that same cemetery sometime between 1930 and 1960, when phone numbers only had 5 digits.

Fortunately, with the help of locals and a very nice property owner, I not only found the cemetery, but was taken to visit.

 

Susannah’s Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren

Susannah’s great-grandson through daughter Mary Younger Estes, Ezekiel Estes is shown below in what was probably a funeral photo.  He carried Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by his mother Susannah Estes, but since only women pass their mitochondrial DNA on to their children, his children don’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA.

Susannah’s grandson, John R. Estes, shown below, son of Mary Younger and George Estes.  He also carried her mitochondrial DNA, but didn’t pass it on.

J. E. and Mary Anne Smith, youngest son of Polly Estes (daughter of Mary Younger Estes) and James Smith.  J. E. is a great-grandson of Susannah, and he too carried her mitochondrial DNA, but he didn’t pass it on either.

I look at this picture of his eye patch, and I know there is a story just aching to be told.

Joel Younger, Susannah’s grandson through son, John Younger and Lucy Hart. Joel didn’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, but that of Lucy Hart, his mother.

Lynn’s great-great-great-grandmother, and Susannah Younger’s great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred Estes Greenwood is pictured below. Mary’s mother was Susannah Estes, daughter of Mary Younger Estes.  Mary Mildred did carry, and pass Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA on to her offspring, who continued to pass it on down the line of women to Lynn today.

Looking back 8 generation in time. We may not know her name for sure, but we have Susannah’s DNA, through her great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred!

What can we tell?

Susannah’s Mitochondrial Story

Susannah’s haplogroup is H1a3a. That tells us that she is of European origin.

She does have full sequence matches, and 3 with no genetic distance, meaning they are exact matches. Does this mean we can find the common ancestor?

Possibly.

One match didn’t answer the e-mail, one person’s e-mail bounced and the third person is brick-walled in another state in the 1800s.

In the paper titled “A ‘Copernican’ Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” we find that Dr. Behar has calculated the most likely age of haplogroup H1a3a to have been born about 3,859.4 years before present, with a standard deviation in years of 1621.8. This means that the range of years in which the mutation occurred that gave birth to haplogroup H1a3a was most likely sometime between 2238 years ago and 5480 years ago.

The only other mutations that cousin Lynn carries are a few that are typically not included in aging calculations because they are found in unstable regions of the mitochondria. So, we don’t have any further clues as to how long ago a common ancestor with everyone who matches Lynn exactly might be.

Clearly, Lynn’s matches’ ancestors migrated to the US, and clearly, they share a common ancestor with Lynn (and therefore with Susannah) at some point in time, but we just don’t know when. It could have been in the US, or hundreds or even thousands of years before.

However, even if their common ancestor was prior to immigration, where, exactly was that? Can we tell something more from Lynn’s matches?

In order for a match to show up on your Matches Map, the test taker must complete the Ancestor’s Location, beneath the map.

Unfortunately, none of Lynn’s exact matches did that. However, several of her matches at the genetic distance of 2 and 3 did enter locations, and are found in Sweden and the UK.

Another barometer we can look at is where in the world are other people who are included in haplogroup H1a3a from? Clearly, they shared an ancestor with Susannah at one time in history.

On the Haplogroup Origins page, at the HVR1 level, we find a significant number in Germany and Sweden with several throughout the UK as well:

These people don’t necessarily match Lynn today at the personal mutation level, but they do share a common ancestor with our Susannah at the point in time that H1a3a was created. From that location, descendants have clearly spread far and wide.

This distribution would strongly suggest that haplogroup H1a3a originated in continental Europe and subsequently, some people with that haplogroup migrated to what is now the UK. The Native American indication found in the US are likely from people who believed their ancestor was Native American, or didn’t understand the instructions clearly, or don’t realize that haplogroup H1a3a is not Native, but European.

Lynn’s exact matches are shown below:

Given that Ireland and the UK are the locations I would have expected at this point in American history, especially in King and Queen or Essex County, VA., this information is very probably accurate. When evaluating matching, full sequence always trumps HVR1 or HVR2 matches, being much more specific.

The Ancestral Origins page shows the locations where Lynn’s matches say that their most distant matrilineal ancestor originated.

Of course, Ancestral Origins depends on accurate reporting of the genealogy of Lynn’s matches.

What additional information can we glean?

Checking Lynn’s autosomal DNA matches and searching by the name of Hart, we find 150 matches. Hart is not exactly an uncommon name, and this also includes a few names of which “hart” it only a portion, like “Chart,” for example.

Unfortunately, with Marcus’s uncertain parentage, even if the matches do descend from this same Hart family, and triangulate, we can’t say for sure that the Hart lineage is through Susannah. Interestingly, Lynn and other descendants of Marcus through children other than John (who married Lucy Hart) have matches with descendants of Anthony Hart, who we already met.

Hart is the recurring theme here that won’t go away. There’s an awful lot of smoke for there not to be any fire. Of course, with the 4 parents of Marcus and Susannah all being unknown, except for a suspected Younger female as Marcus’s mother, the Hart connection could be just about anyplace, or multiple places.

Summary

It’s ironic somehow that while we don’t know Susannah’s name, for sure, and even less about her surname, we do know about her ancient history from her mitochondrial DNA which was passed to her descendants, written indelibly, but her name was not.

We know she was European and that sometime around 3800 years ago, her ancestors were probably in the Germanic region of continental Europe. After that, they probably migrated to the British Isles with a group of people who would settle those islands.

We may be able to utilize her mitochondrial DNA to further confirm her family ancestry, especially in combination with autosomal DNA. At this point, all we can do is wait for another female to test and match cousin Lynn, with the hope that they have some sort of genealogy records back to a matrilineal Hart ancestor.

While that seems a long shot, then so was finding cousin Lynn, or more accurately, cousin Lynn finding me. I’m not giving up hope! I have confidence that we will unravel this puzzle one day. Now, thanks to cousin Lynn, it’s just a matter of time and patience.

Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project

The Acadians – settlers, pioneers in a new land allied with and intermarried into the Native population of seaboard Nova Scotia beginning in 1603. They lived in harmony, developing their farms and then, roughly 150 years or 6 generations later, in 1755, they found themselves evicted, ruthlessly and forcibly deported, losing absolutely everything. They became landless refugees, living off of the benevolence of strangers…or dying. The Acadian diaspora was born. You can view a timeline here.

Marie Rundquist, Acadian and Native descendant, genetic genealogist, researcher and founder of the original AmerIndian project visited the Acadian homeland this past summer and is graciously sharing her experience through some of her photography and narrative.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

Marie Rundquist:

This cross, located on the beach near Grand Pre where the Acadians were herded onto ships, is a priceless icon of our Acadian ancestry and represents all of our ancestors who were forcibly removed from their lands – marched on to the awaiting boats at gunpoint – and who left their footprints on this beach. Their last footprints in the land into which their effort and blood had been poured for 150 years.  This cross is very symbolic and meaningful to all who look at it.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

This photo was taken at Waterfront Park in the town of Wolfville which borders the Minas Basin and the historic Acadian dykelands our ancestors once farmed. The area is known for the spectacular tides that rush into the basin bordering the park, totally changing its landscape.

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

Sabots, the wooden shoes pictured above were worn by Acadian ancestors who farmed the wet, marshy dykelands and were also worn on boats.  Wolfville is within a short distance of the Grand Pre UNESCO Historic Site where my husband and I stayed while attending the 2017 Acadian Mi’kmaq Celebration of Peace and Reconciliation this past August.

If you have Acadian ancestors, these pictures probably caused you to catch your breath.  Your ancestors walked here, stood here and the blood in their veins ran thick with fear, here, as they boarded the ships that would disrupt their lives forever, destroying what they had built over a century and a half.

Focus on the Homeland

Marie has recently begun a new chapter in her life which allows her to focus more directly on the Acadian and AmerIndian homelands and communities. She has been preparing for this transition for years, and all Acadian and AmerIndian researchers will be beneficiaries.

Marie initially founded the AmerIndian out of Acadia project in 2006 to sort out the relationships between the various Acadian and Native families both in Nova Scotia, and wherever their descendants have dispersed since “Le Grand Derangement,” their forced removal in 1755. The story of the Acadians didn’t end in 1755, it began anew in different locations throughout the world, the Acadian diaspora.

Through traditional genealogy research paired with genetic genealogy, we are breathing life into those ancestors once again, honoring their memory and sacrifices, and along the way, getting to know them better and finding unexpected surprises as well.

This is an exciting time in genetic genealogy for descendants of Acadians and those with American Indian roots in eastern Canada and the northeastern portion of the US.

The Acadian homeland is located in the easternmost portion of Canada, Nova Scotia.

By Mikmaq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1351882

Many, if not most, Acadians were admixed with the Native population in the 150 years that the French colonists lived in harmony with the Native Mi’kmaq (also referenced as Micmac) people on the Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia. It’s impossible to study one without studying the other. Their fates, genealogies and DNA are inextricably interwoven.

Having Acadian and Native ancestors as well, and after several years of working together on other projects, I joined Marie as a co-administrator of this project in early 2017.

Today, Marie and I have several exciting announcements to make, the first of which is the renaming of the project to more accurately reflect a new, expanded, focus.

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project

You might have noticed that the AmerIndian project was renamed a few months ago as the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project to reflect our expanded goals. Specifically, our goal is to create a one-stop location in which to discover Acadian genetic roots. While the Acadia – Metis Mothers and Mothers of Acadian DNA projects have existed for several years to document proven matrilineal Acadian lines, nothing of the same nature existed for Y DNA for paternal surname lineages, or for those who want to connect with their Acadian roots through autosomal DNA.

After weighing various options, Marie and I, in conjunction with Family Tree DNA, decided that the best option was to expand the existing AmerIndian project to include Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA of the entire Acadian population into our existing project which already has over 1000 members.

In a word, our new project focus is FAMILY!

In Marie’s words:

Primary project goal: Through genetic genealogy research techniques combined with advanced Y DNA testing, it is our goal to add to and develop Y DNA signatures for male descendants of our legacy Acadian ancestors that may be referenced by others in verifying genealogies.

We want to assure that in our surname studies we are informed by Y DNA results primarily but take into account the mtDNA Full Mitochondrial Sequence results when considering the spouse, and Family Finder (autosomal) DNA results when researching all who may share ancestry.

Surname variants and dit names are of particular interest and factor into our development of a database of surname signatures as related to Acadian genealogies.

We encourage all who have tested and have the surname lineages listed in our project profile to join our project as their combined DNA results help us see through the genealogy brick walls and help us find answers to our genealogy questions.

We want to let new and existing members know how their results have contributed to our ability to develop and verify Acadian genealogies – and for the men in particular, the attainment of Y DNA “signatures” for surname lineages against which all may compare their own Y DNA results – and reference in genealogy research. Adoptees with matching Y DNA results for Acadian surnames (as we already have a number of these) are welcome to join and participate. Our team is expert in the areas of Y DNA testing and analysis, including the latest Big Y DNA tests only through years of practical experience with geographical and haplogroup-related DNA projects.  Both Marie and Roberta have extensive project administration experience and both are affiliate researchers with The Genographic Project.

Introducing Deadre Doucet Bourke

Marie and I realized that we needed assistance, so we are very pleased to welcome our new co-administrator, Deadre Doucet Bourke. Many Acadian researchers already know Deadre, a long-time genealogist and contributor from within the project, so adding her expertise as a project administrator is a natural progression. Deadre will be focused on communicating with people regarding their genealogy and utilizing social media.

You can read the bios of our administrators here.

Welcome Deadre!!!

The DNA Focus

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project is primarily focused on Y DNA and autosomal DNA. While we aren’t competing with the two mitochondrial DNA projects, we certainly welcome those with direct mitochondrial lineages to join this project as well. We encourage researchers to combine all of the DNA that makes us family to confirm our Acadian heritage and connect to our ancestors.

Acadian researchers struggle with the inability to find their Acadian ancestor’s Y DNA signatures gathered together in one place. Marie and I decided to fix that problem, hence, the redesign of the project.

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project welcomes everyone with Acadian heritage!

If you descend from a particular line, but aren’t male or don’t carry the surname today, you’ll be able to discover information about your ancestors from the Y DNA, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA carried by other project members. Genetic genealogy is all about collaboration and sharing and finding all types of results in one project location makes that search much easier!

Who Should Join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project?

  • If you have an ACADIAN SURNAME in your family lines, as listed in the project profile or on the surname list later in this article, and you’ve had the Y DNA, mtDNA or Family Finder test, you are qualified to join this project.
  • If you are a MALE with an ACADIAN SURNAME, please join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project by ordering (minimally) a Y Chromosome 37 marker test.
  • If you are either male or female and have Acadian MATRILINEAL ANCESTRY (your mother’s mother’s mother’s line) that leads to a Native and/or an Acadian grandmother through all females, please join the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project by ordering the mtFull Sequence mitochondrial DNA test.
  • If you have Acadian or Native American ancestors from the Acadian region of Canada or diaspora regions where Acadian families settled after the 1755 deportation, and would like to discover new leads for ancestry research and close, immediate and distant cousins, please join the project by ordering a Family Finder test.
  • If you have Acadian ancestry and have already taken the Y or mitochondrial DNA test at Family Tree DNA, please click here to sign in to your account and order a Family Finder test by clicking on the “Upgrade” button on the top right of your personal page.
  • If you have already tested and have Y DNA, mtDNA, or Family Finder matches with members of the Acadian Amerindian Ancestry project and are researching your ancestry, you are welcome to join this project.
  • If you have already tested your DNA at Family Tree DNA, but are not yet a project member, please click on the Project tab at the top left of your personal page to select a project to join. If the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestors project is not showing on your list, just type “Acadian” into the search box and click on the “Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry” link to join the project.
  • If you have tested your autosomal DNA at either Ancestry or 23andMe, but not at Family Tree DNA, you can download your autosomal results into the Family Tree DNA data base and use many tools for free – including the ability to join projects. You can read more about this here.

Not sure which kinds of DNA you can test for, and the difference between the different tests, please read 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

Questions? Just ask!

Saving Money by Joining the Acadian AmerIndian Project

Please note that DNA testing discounts are available through our project site for people who have never ordered a test from Family Tree DNA previously.

First, click here to go to the Family Tree DNA webpage. Scroll down, then, type the word Acadian into the search box, as shown below. This search process works for surnames as well.

Then, when the results are returned, select the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project and click that link, shown below, to see DNA testing prices available to project members, example shown below.

You’ll need to scroll down to see test prices. The screen shot below only shows a portion of what is available.

DNA testing prices through the project are less than ordering the same test without joining a project.

As A Project Member

Of course, the point of DNA testing and projects is to share.  Family Tree DNA has provided several tools to help genealogists do just that.  We would ask that project members complete the following four easy steps, unless for some reason, you can’t.  For example, adoptees may not have this information.  Just do the best you can.

First, please upload a tree of at least your direct line ancestors at Family Tree DNA.

Just sign in to your personal page and click on “My Family Tree” to get started.

DNA and family trees are extremely powerful tools together – the genetic and genealogy parts of genetic genealogy.

Second, please complete the name and location of your earliest known direct matrilineal ancestor (your mother’s mother’s mother’s line) and your direct patrilineal line (your father’s father’s father’s line) by clicking on the orange “Manage Personal Information” link below your profile photo on the left side of your personal page.

Then, click on the Genealogy Tab, and then click on Earliest Known Ancestors. Please note that you can click on any image to enlarge.

You’ll need to complete:

  • Both Earliest Known Ancestor fields on the left side of the page.
  • Both Ancestral Locations by clicking on the orange “update location” for the patrilineal AND matrilineal ancestor on the right side.

Be sure to click “Save” at the bottom of the page when you’re finished.

Third, under the Privacy and Sharing tab, please consider allowing your Y and mitochondrial DNA results to show on the public page of the project.

When Acadian descendants are searching for projects to join, or information about their ancestral lines, the public project display is often what they find and how they decide if participation or DNA testing is worth their time.

Here is what our public Y DNA project page displays and here is what our mtDNA project page displays.  There is also an option for administrators to display the participants surname, but we do not have this field enabled at this time.  Other projects that you may have joined probably do have this field enabled, and your selection affects all projects of which you are a member.

Under “My Profile,” you’ll see an option to “Share my Earliest Known Ancestor with other people in the projects I’ve joined.”  If you don’t have this option enabled, only a blank space will appear, which doesn’t help anyone determine if you share a common ancestor.

A second option on this page under “My DNA Results is “Make my mtDNA and Y DNA public” which allows your results to show on the public project page.  If you select “project only” then only project members will be able to see your results when logged in to their account. Your results will no show on the public project page unless you select the public option.

Remember to click “save.”

Fourth, if your mitochondrial line (mother’s mother’s mother’s line) is Acadian or Native, you’ll need to provide the project administrators with the ability to see the coding region of your mitochondrial DNA so that your mitochondrial DNA can be properly grouped within the project.  If your direct matrilineal line does NOT pertain to Acadian or Native ancestry, then you’re done.

If your matrilineal line is Native or Acadian, on the Privacy and Sharing page, under “Account Access,” please click on the “Only You” answer to “Who can view my mtDNA Coding Region mutations.”

You will then see a drop down list of the projects you have joined.  You can select any of the projects by clicking the box beside the project.  Only the administrators of the projects you’ve selected can see your coding region results, and you can change this at any time. In my personal account, I’ve selected all of the projects that my mtDNA is relevant to.

Your coding region results are NEVER displayed publicly and no one other than project administrators can see those results.  Family Tree DNA does not offer the option of displaying coding regions in any project.

Again, don’t forget to click “save,” or you haven’t.

Need Help?

Need help? Just ask. We’re here to help.

Project administrators can help you by completing some fields, like most distant ancestor, with your permission, but Privacy and Sharing fields can’t be changed or edited by administrators for everyone’s security.  However, we’d be glad to step you through the process, as would Family Tree DNA customer support.  You can call or contact customer support by scrolling down to the very bottom of your personal page.

Acadian Surnames

Courtesy Marie Rundquist

I compiled the following list of Acadian surnames along with dit names (surname nicknames) from the following Acadian website where you can view which ancestral families were recorded in various census documents including 1671, 1686, 1714 and a deportation list from 1755.

Brenda Dunn’s list was prepared for the Canadian National Parks Service for the Grand Pre National Historic site.

Variant spellings were retrieved from this site and may not be inclusive.

Surname Various Spellings Source
Abbadie, de Saint-Castin d’ Brenda Dunn
Allain Alain, Alin, Allain, Halain, Halin Brenda Dunn
Allard Alard, Allard, Allart, Halard, Hallard Acadian-Cajun.com
Amirault dit Tourangeau Amireau, Amireault, Mero, Miraud, Mirau, Miraux, Mireau, Mireault, Moreau Brenda Dunn
Angou dit Choisy Brenda Dunn
Apart Brenda Dunn
Arcement Brenda Dunn
Arnaud Arnaud, Arnault Brenda Dunn
Arosteguy Brenda Dunn
Arseneau Brenda Dunn
Aubin Aubain, Aubin, Obin Acadian-Cajun.com
Aubois Brenda Dunn
Aucoin Aucoin, Coin, Ocoin Brenda Dunn
Ayor Brenda Dunn
Babin Babain, Babin Brenda Dunn
Babineau dit Deslauriers Babinau, Babineau, Babineaux, Babino, Babinot Brenda Dunn
Barillot Brenda Dunn
Barnabe Acadian-Cajun.com
Barriault Bariau, Bariault, Barieau, Barillault, Barrillaut, Barillon, Barillot, Bario, Barrio Acadian-Cajun.com
Bastarache dit (Le) Basque Brenda Dunn
Bastien Baptien, Basquien, Bastien, Vasquais Brenda Dunn
Beaulieu Baulieu, Baulieux, Beaulieu, Beaulieux Acadian-Cajun.com
Beaumont Beaumon, Beaumont Acadian-Cajun.com
Belisle Belisle, Bellisle, de Bellisle Acadian-Cajun.com
Bellefontaine Bellefontaine, Bellefontenne Acadian-Cajun.com
Belleville Beliveau Brenda Dunn
Belliveau dit Bideau Beliveau Brenda Dunn
Belliveau dit Blondin Brenda Dunn
Belou Brenda Dunn
Benoit dit Labriere Benois, Benoist, Benoit Brenda Dunn
Bergereau Brenda Dunn
Bergeron d’Amboise Brenda Dunn
Bergeron dit Nantes Bargeron, Bergeon, Bergeron, Berjeron Brenda Dunn
Bernard Bernar, Bernard Brenda Dunn
Berrier dit Machefer Brenda Dunn
Bertaud dit Montaury Brenda Dunn
Bertrand Bartrand, Berterand, Bertran, Bertrand, Bertrant Brenda Dunn
Bezier dit Lariviere Brenda Dunn
Bezier dit Touin Brenda Dunn
Bideau Acadian-Cajun.com
Blanchard dit Gentilhomme Blanchar, Blanchard, Blanchart Brenda Dunn
Blondin Blondain, Blondin Acadian-Cajun.com
Blou Acadian-Cajun.com
Bodard Brenda Dunn
Boisseau dit Blondin Boissau, Boisseau, Boisseaux Brenda Dunn
Bonnevie dit Beaumont Brenda Dunn
Borel Brenda Dunn
Boucher dit Desroches Bouché, Boucher, Bouchez Brenda Dunn
Boudreau Boudrau, Boudraut, Boudreau, Boudro, Boudrot Acadian-Cajun.com
Boudrot Brenda Dunn
Bourg Bourc, Bourg, Bourgue, Bourk, Bourque Brenda Dunn
Bourgeois Bourgeois, Bourgois, Bourjois Brenda Dunn
Boutin Boudin, Boutain, Boutin, Bouttain, Bouttin Brenda Dunn
Brassaud Brenda Dunn
Brasseur dit Mathieu Brasseur, Brasseux Brenda Dunn
Breau Brenda Dunn
Breton Berton, Breton, Lebreton Acadian-Cajun.com
Brossard Brosard, Brossar, Brossard, Brossart, Broussard Brenda Dunn
Brun Brun, Lebrun Brenda Dunn
Bugaret Brenda Dunn
Bugeaud Brenda Dunn
Buisson Buisson, Busson, Dubuisson Brenda Dunn
Buote Brenda Dunn
Buteau Butau, Butaud, Buteau, Buteux, Buto, Butteau Brenda Dunn
Cadet Caddé, Cadet, Cadette Acadian-Cajun.com
Caissy dit Roger Brenda Dunn
Calve dit Laforge Brenda Dunn
Carre Caray, Caré, Caret, Carr, Carré, Carret Brenda Dunn
Cassy dit Roger Brenda Dunn
Celestin dit Bellemere Brenda Dunn
Cellier dit Normand Brenda Dunn
Champagne Champagne, Champaigne Acadian-Cajun.com
Chauvert Acadian-Cajun.com
Chauvet Chauvet, Chauvette, Chovet Brenda Dunn
Chenet dit Dubreuil Chenay, Chenet, Chenette, Chesnay Brenda Dunn
Chesnay dit Lagarene Brenda Dunn
Chiasson dit La Vallee Chiasson, Giasson Brenda Dunn
Chouteau dit Manseau Brenda Dunn
Clemenceau Brenda Dunn
Cloustre Brenda Dunn
Cochu Cochu, Cochus Acadian-Cajun.com
Cognac Cognac, Coignac Brenda Dunn
Comeau Brenda Dunn
Cormier dit Bossigaol Cormié, Cormier, Cornier Brenda Dunn
Cormier dit Thierry Brenda Dunn
Cornelier Brenda Dunn
Corporon Brenda Dunn
Cosse Acadian-Cajun.com
Cosset Cosset, Cossette Brenda Dunn
Coste Brenda Dunn
Cottard Brenda Dunn
Cousineau Brenda Dunn
Crepeau Crepau, Crepaux, Crepeau, Crepeaux, Crepos, Crespau, Crespeau, Crespel Brenda Dunn
Creysac dit Toulouse Brenda Dunn
Cyr Cir, Cire, Cyr, Cyre, Sir, Sire, Siree, Syr, Syre Brenda Dunn
Daigle Daigle. Daigles, Dehegue Acadian-Cajun.com
Daigre Brenda Dunn
Damboue Acadian-Cajun.com
D’Amours de Chauffours Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Clignancour Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Freneuse Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Louviere Brenda Dunn
D’Amours de Plaine Brenda Dunn
Daniel Daniel, Daniele, Danielle, Deniel Brenda Dunn
Darois Brenda Dunn
David dit Pontif Davi, David, Davit, Davy Brenda Dunn
Debreuil Acadian-Cajun.com
Delatour Delatour, Latour Acadian-Cajun.com
Delisle Delile, Delille, Delisle, Delisles, Brenda Dunn
Denis Deni, Denis, Dennis, Denys Brenda Dunn
D’Entremont Acadian-Cajun.com
Denys de Fronsac Brenda Dunn
Depeux Acadian-Cajun.com
Derayer Brenda Dunn
Desaulniers Desaulnier, Desaulniers, Desaunié, Desaunier, Desauniers Acadian-Cajun.com
Deschamps dit Cloche Dechamp, Dechamps, Dechant, Deschamps Brenda Dunn
Desgoutins Brenda Dunn
Desmoulins Demoulin, Desmoulin, Desmoulins, Dumoulin Brenda Dunn
Desorcis Acadian-Cajun.com
Després Depre, Depres, Despre, Despres, Desprez Brenda Dunn
Devaux Acadian-Cajun.com
Deveau dit Dauphine Devau, Devaux, Deveau, Deveaux, Devot, Devots Brenda Dunn
Dingle Brenda Dunn
Doiron Doiron, Douairon, Doueron Brenda Dunn
Domine dit Saint-Sauveur Brenda Dunn
Donat Acadian-Cajun.com
Douaron Acadian-Cajun.com
Doucet dit Laverdure Doucet, Doucette Brenda Dunn
Doucet dit Lirlandois Brenda Dunn
Doucet dit Mayard Brenda Dunn
Druce Brenda Dunn
Dubois dit Dumont Debois, Desbois, Dubois, Duboy Brenda Dunn
Dufault Dufau, Dufault, Dufaut, Dufaux, Duffault, Duffaut, Duffaux, Dufo, Dufos, Duphaut Brenda Dunn
Dugas Duga, Dugas, Dugast, Dugat Brenda Dunn
Duguay Dugai, Dugaie, Dugay, Duguay, Dugué Brenda Dunn
Dumont Dumon, Dumond, Dumont Acadian-Cajun.com
Duon dit Lyonnais Brenda Dunn
Dupeux Acadian-Cajun.com
Duplessis Duplaissy, Duplassis, Duplassy, Duplecy, Duplesis, Duplessis, Duplessy, Placy Brenda Dunn
Dupuis Dupui, Dupuis, Dupuit, Dupuits, Dupuy, Dupuys Brenda Dunn
Egan Brenda Dunn
Emmanuel Acadian-Cajun.com
Esperance Lespérance, Lesperence Acadian-Cajun.com
Fardel Acadian-Cajun.com
Flan Brenda Dunn
Fontaine dit Beaulieu Delafontaine, Fonteine, Lafontaine, Lafonteine, Lafonteinne Brenda Dunn
Forest Fores, Forêt, Laforêt, Laforest Brenda Dunn
Foret Forest Acadian-Cajun.com
Forton Brenda Dunn
Fougere Brenda Dunn
Fournier Fournié, Lefournier Brenda Dunn
Froiquingont Brenda Dunn
Gadrau Brenda Dunn
Galerne Brenda Dunn
Galle Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Boutin Garco, Garso, Garsot Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Richard Brenda Dunn
Garceau dit Tranchemontagne Brenda Dunn
Gardet Gardai, Garday, Gardé Brenda Dunn
Gareau Garau, Garaud Brenda Dunn
Gaudet Gaudais, Gaudé, Gaudette, Godé, Godet, Godete, Godette Acadian-Cajun.com
Gauterot Brenda Dunn
Gauthier Gaultier, Gautier, Gotier Brenda Dunn
Gentil Brenda Dunn
Giboire Duverge dit Lamotte Brenda Dunn
Girouard Geroir, Gerroir, Giouard, Giroir, Girroir, Jirouard Brenda Dunn
Gise Brenda Dunn
Godin Boisjoli Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Beausejour Gaudain, Gauden, Gaudin, Godain, Goddin, Godin Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Bellefeuille Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Bellefontaine Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Catalogne Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Chatillon Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Lincour Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Preville Brenda Dunn
Godin dit Valcour Brenda Dunn
Godon Gandon, Gaudon, Godon Brenda Dunn
Gosselin Gaucelin, Gauscelin, Gausselin, Goscelin, Gosselain Brenda Dunn
Goudreau Gaudrau, Gaudrault, Gaudreau, Gaudreault, Gaudro, Godereau, Godrault, Godreault, Godro, Godrot, Goodrow Brenda Dunn
Gougeon Gougeon, Gougon, Goujon, Goujou Acadian-Cajun.com
Gourdeau Acadian-Cajun.com
Gousille Acadian-Cajun.com
Gousman Brenda Dunn
Gouzille Brenda Dunn
Grandmaison Degrandmaison Brenda Dunn
Granger Brenda Dunn
Gravois Brenda Dunn
Grosvalet Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Labine Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Labrador Brenda Dunn
Guedry dit Laverdure Brenda Dunn
Guedry Grivois Guidry, Guildry Brenda Dunn
Gueguen Brenda Dunn
Guenard Brenda Dunn
Guerin dit LaForge Guerrin Brenda Dunn
Guilbault Guibau, Guibaut, Guibeau, Guibo, Guilbau, Guilbaud, Guilbaux, Guilbeau, Guillebault, Guillbeau, Guilbaut Acadian-Cajun.com
Guilbeau Brenda Dunn
Guillot Brenda Dunn
Guy dit Tintamarre Degui, Deguy, Gui Brenda Dunn
Guyon Dion, Dionne, Gion, Guillon, Guion, Gyon, Yon Brenda Dunn
Hache dit Gallant Brenda Dunn
Hamel Amel, Amell, Emmel, Hamell, Hamelle, Hornel Brenda Dunn
Hamet Brenda Dunn
Hamon Brenda Dunn
Hébert dit Manuel Abaire, Abare, Abbot, Ebart, Éber, Ébert, Heber, Heberd, Hébere, Herber, Herbert, Hesbert, Hibbart, Hubert Brenda Dunn
Helys dit Nouvelle Brenda Dunn
Henry dit Robert Henri Brenda Dunn
Hensaule Brenda Dunn
Heon Brenda Dunn
Herpin Arpin, Guertin, Harpin, Hertin Acadian-Cajun.com
Heuse Brenda Dunn
Hugon Brenda Dunn
Jasmin Jassemin Acadian-Cajun.com
Jeanson Jeansonne Brenda Dunn
Joseph Brenda Dunn
Kimine Brenda Dunn
Labarre Delabarre, Labar, Labard Brenda Dunn
Labat, dit Le Marguis, de Labatte Brenda Dunn
LaBauve Brenda Dunn
Lachaume Delachaume Brenda Dunn
Lacroix Delacroix Brenda Dunn
Lafond Lafon, Lafont Acadian-Cajun.com
Lafont Acadian-Cajun.com
Lagasse Lagace, Lagacee, Lagassee, Lagassees, Lagasset Acadian-Cajun.com
Lalande dit Bonnappetit Delalande, Lalande Brenda Dunn
Laliberte Laliberte, Liberte Acadian-Cajun.com
Lambert Lamber, Lembert Brenda Dunn
Lambourt Brenda Dunn
Lamontagne Delamontagne, Montagne Acadian-Cajun.com
Landrom Brenda Dunn
Landry Landri, Landrie, Landril, Landrille, Lendry Brenda Dunn
Langlois Anglais, Anglois, Langlais, Langloi, Langlouois Brenda Dunn
Lanoue Brenda Dunn
Lapierre dit LaRoche Delapierre, Lapeer, Pierre Brenda Dunn
Latour Acadian-Cajun.com
Laurier Lauriere,Lorier Acadian-Cajun.com
LaVache Brenda Dunn
Lavallée Lavale, Lavalee, Vale, Valee, Valle, Vallee Acadian-Cajun.com
Lavergne Laverne Brenda Dunn
Lavigne Delavigne Brenda Dunn
Lebasque Acadian-Cajun.com
Lebert dit Jolycoeur Abare, Hébert, Labare, LeBear, Leber, Leberre, Libest Brenda Dunn
Leblanc dit Jasmin Blanc, Leblan, Lebland, Leblant Brenda Dunn
LeBorgne dit Belisle Brenda Dunn
Lebreton Berton, Beurton Acadian-Cajun.com
Leclerc dit Laverdure Clair, Claire, Clerc, Leclair, Leclaire, Lecler, Leclerq Brenda Dunn
Lecul Brenda Dunn
Lefebvre Febur, Febvre, Lefaivre, Lefebre, Lefebur, Lefeuvre, Lefevre Acadian-Cajun.com
Leger dit La Rozette Legere, Legey, St-Leger Brenda Dunn
Lejeune dit Briard Jeune, Lejeunne Brenda Dunn
LeJuge Brenda Dunn
Lemaistre Acadian-Cajun.com
LeMarquis dit Clermont Brenda Dunn
Lemire Lemir, Lemirre, Lemyre, Lemyrre, Mire Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de Beaubassin Lenef, Leneuf Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de Boisneuf Brenda Dunn
LeNeuf de LaValliere Brenda Dunn
L’Enfant Brenda Dunn
LePoupet de Saint-Aubin Brenda Dunn
LePrieur dit Dubois Brenda Dunn
LePrince Brenda Dunn
Leroy Leroi, Roi, Roy Brenda Dunn
L’Eschevin dit Billy Brenda Dunn
Lespérance Delesperance, Lesperence Acadian-Cajun.com
Lessoile Acadian-Cajun.com
LeVanier dit Langevin Brenda Dunn
LeVasseur dit Chamberlange Brenda Dunn
Leveille Leveiller, Leveillez, Leveillie, Leveillier Brenda Dunn
Levron dit Nantois Leveron Brenda Dunn
Loiseau Laiseau, Laizeau, Loisau, Loisseau, Loizeau, Loseau, Loyseau, Lozeau Brenda Dunn
Long Brenda Dunn
Longuepee Brenda Dunn
Loppinot Brenda Dunn
Lord dit Montagne Lore Brenda Dunn
Lort Acadian-Cajun.com
Lucas Luca Brenda Dunn
Lyonnais Acadian-Cajun.com
Maffier Brenda Dunn
Maillard Acadian-Cajun.com
Maillet Brenda Dunn
Maisonnat dit Baptiste Brenda Dunn
Malboeuf Malbeuf Brenda Dunn
Mangeant dit Saint Germain Brenda Dunn
Manseau Manceau, Mansau Acadian-Cajun.com
Marcadet Brenda Dunn
Marchand dit Poitiers Marchan, Marchant Brenda Dunn
Marres dit LaSonde Brenda Dunn
Martel Martelle Brenda Dunn
Martil Acadian-Cajun.com
Martin dit Barnabe Martain Brenda Dunn
Massé Macé, Macés, Masset, Massey Brenda Dunn
Massie Brenda Dunn
Mathieu Mathieux, Matthieux Brenda Dunn
Maucaire Brenda Dunn
Mazerolle dit Saint Louis Brenda Dunn
Melanson dit LaRamee
Melanson dit Laverdure Melanson, Melençon, Melenson, Menançon Brenda Dunn
Mercier dit Caudebec Lemercier, Mersier Brenda Dunn
Messaguay Brenda Dunn
Meunier Megné, Menié, Mesnier, Meusnier, Munier, Musnier Brenda Dunn
Michaud Michau, Michault, Michaut, Michaux, Micheau Acadian-Cajun.com
Michel dit LaRuine Bichel, Miché, Michelle, Micher Brenda Dunn
Migneau dit Aubin Mignau, Mignaud, Mignault, Mignaux, Migneaux, Mignot, Migneau Brenda Dunn
Mignier dit Lagasse Brenda Dunn
Mignot Mignau, Mignaud, Mignault, Mignaux, Migneaux, Mignot Brenda Dunn
Mirande Brenda Dunn
Mius d’Azit Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
Mius de Entremont de Plemarais Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
Monmellian dit Saint Germain Brenda Dunn
Mordant Brenda Dunn
Morin dit Boucher Maurain, Maurin, Morrin Brenda Dunn
Morpain Brenda Dunn
Moulaison dit Recontre Brenda Dunn
Mouton Brenda Dunn
Moyse dit Latreille Brenda Dunn
Muis de Entremont de Pobomcoup Miusse, Mousse Brenda Dunn
NaQuin dit L’Etoile Brenda Dunn
Nogues Brenda Dunn
Nuirat Brenda Dunn
Olivier Oliver, Olivie, Ollivier Brenda Dunn
Ondy Acadian-Cajun.com
Onel O’Neale Brenda Dunn
Orillon dit Champagne Aurillon, Aurion, Orion, Oriont Brenda Dunn
Oudy Brenda Dunn
Ozelet Brenda Dunn
Paris Deparis, Parisis, Parisse, Pary Acadian-Cajun.com
Parisien Leparisien, Parisiens, Parizien Acadian-Cajun.com
Part Brenda Dunn
Pellerin Pelerin, Pelrin Brenda Dunn
Pesseley Acadian-Cajun.com
Petitot dit Saint Sceine Brenda Dunn
Petitpas Brenda Dunn
Pichot Brenda Dunn
Picot Brenda Dunn
Pincer Brenda Dunn
Pinet Brenda Dunn
Pitre dit Marc Lepitre, Pistre, Piter, Pittre Brenda Dunn
Poirier Poerier, Poirie, Poiriers, Poirrier, Porier, Poyrie, Poyrier Brenda Dunn
Poitevin dit Cadieux Lapoitevin, Paudevin, Poidevin, Poitvin, Potdevin, Potevin, Potvin Brenda Dunn
Poitevin dit Parisien Lapoitevin, Paudevin, Poidevin, Poitvin, Potdevin, Potevin, Potvin Brenda Dunn
Poitier Brenda Dunn
Porlier Brenda Dunn
Pothier Pauthier, Pautier, Poitié, Poitier, Poitiers, Potier, Potiers, Pottier Acadian-Cajun.com
Poujet dit Lapierre Brenda Dunn
Poulet Acadian-Cajun.com
Poupard Poupar, Poupare, Poupart Brenda Dunn
Prejean dit LeBreton Pregeant, Pregent, Prejan Brenda Dunn
Pretieux Brenda Dunn
Pugnant dit Destouches Brenda Dunn
Racois dit Desrosiers Brenda Dunn
Raymond Raimon, Raimond, Raymont, Raymon, Remond, Remont Brenda Dunn
Renaud dit Provencal Rainaud, Raynaud, Raynalt, Regnault, Regneault, Renau, Renauld, Renault, Renaut, Renaux, Reneau, Reneault, Renaux, Renod Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Beaupri Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Boutin Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Lafont Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Richard dit Sancoucy Richar, Richart Brenda Dunn
Rimbeau Rimbaut Brenda Dunn
Rivet Rivais, Rive, Rivest, Rivette, Rivez Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Cades Robichau Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Niganne Robichau Brenda Dunn
Robichaud dit Prudent Robichau Brenda Dunn
Rodoham Brenda Dunn
Rodrigue dit DeFonds Rodrigues, Rodriguez Brenda Dunn
Rossette Roucet, Roucette, Rouset, Rousette Acadian-Cajun.com
Rousse dit Languedoc Leroux, Rousse, Roux Brenda Dunn
Roy dit Laliberte Leroi, Roi, Roy Brenda Dunn
Rullier Brenda Dunn
Saindon Brenda Dunn
Saint Etienne de La Tour, de Brenda Dunn
Saint Julien de La Chaussee, de Brenda Dunn
Saint Scene Acadian-Cajun.com
Samson Sanson Brenda Dunn
Saulnier Saunier Brenda Dunn
Sauvage dit Chrystophe Sauvages, Sauvagesse, Sauvaget, Savage Brenda Dunn
Sauvage dit Forgeron Sauvages, Sauvagesse, Sauvaget, Savage Brenda Dunn
Savary Brenda Dunn
Savoie Brenda Dunn
Semer Brenda Dunn
Sereau Serot, Serreau Brenda Dunn
Serreau de Saint-Aubin Brenda Dunn
Simon dit Boucher Cimon Acadian-Cajun.com
Simoneau Simonau,   Simonaud, Simoneaux, Simonneau, Simono, Acadian-Cajun.com
Soulard Soular, Soulard, Soulart, Soullard Brenda Dunn
Soulevent Brenda Dunn
Surette Brenda Dunn
Tandau Brenda Dunn
Teriot Teriau, Teriaut, Teriot, Terriau, Terriaux, Terriau, Terriaux, Terriot, Theriault, Theriaux, Therieau Brenda Dunn
Testard dit Parish Testar, Testard, Tetard, Tetart Brenda Dunn
Thebeau Brenda Dunn
Thibault Brenda Dunn
Thibeau Acadian-Cajun.com
Thibodeau Brenda Dunn
Tillard Brenda Dunn
Tourangeau Tourangeau, Tourangeaux Acadian-Cajun.com
Tourneur Brenda Dunn
Toussaint dit Lajeunesse Tousain, Toussain, Toussaint, Toussin, Touzin Brenda Dunn
Trahan Brenda Dunn
Triel dit LaPerriere Brenda Dunn
Turcot Brenda Dunn
Turpin dit LaGiroflee Brenda Dunn
Vallois Brenda Dunn
Veco Acadian-Cajun.com
Vescot Brenda Dunn
Viger Brenda Dunn
Vigneau dit Maurice Vignau, Vignault, Vignaux, Vigneau, Vigneaux Brenda Dunn
Villatte Vilatte Brenda Dunn
Vincent dit Clement Vincant, Vincent Brenda Dunn
Voyer Brenda Dunn
Yvon Acadian-Cajun.com

 Additional Resources

In addition to the resources utilized to compile the Acadian surnames listed above, we recommend the following resources for genealogical research:

  • View the Acadian family tree contributed and maintained by genealogist Karen Theriot Reader at this link.
  • The Acadian Rootsweb list hosted by Paul LeBlanc provides an invaluable resource for sharing information.  To subscribe to the list, please send an email to ACADIAN-request@rootsweb.com with the word ‘subscribe’ without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message.  If you are not already a member, you can browse the archives here or you can search the Acadian list archives for keywords like surnames by utilizing the search engine here.
  • Please visit the Family Heritage Research Community to read exciting articles about how real people like you discovered their roots by way of DNA testing.

Additional projects administered by Roberta Estes and Marie Rundquist that may be relevant to Acadian descendants include:

Thank You

We want to extend a big thank you to the incredible members of the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project for recruiting new members, for their individual research, and for sharing so willingly. A project is only as strong as the members!

We hope you’ll be joining us soon!

Photography Credit

The location photos used in this article were taken this summer at the Annapolis Royal Historic Site, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and the Grand Pre UNESCO World Heritage Site by Marie Rundquist. Thanks to Marie for being our project ambassador, for permission to use her photography here and on the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry Project page as well.

______________________________________________________________________

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Glossary – DNA – Deoxyribonucleic Acid

What is DNA and why do I care?

Good questions. Let’s take a look at the answer in general, then why we use DNA for genealogy.

The Recipe for You

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is the book of life for all organisms. In essence, it’s the recipe for you – and what makes you unique.

DNA is formed of strands that twist to form the familiar double helix pattern.

The two strands are joined together by one of 4 different nucleotides, one extending from each side to connect in the middle. The nucleotides are:

  • Cytosine – C
  • Guanine – G
  • Thymine – T
  • Adenine – A

The nucleotide names don’t really matter for genetic genealogy, but what does matter is that the sequence of these nucleotides when chained together is what encodes information on long structures called chromosomes. Each person carries 22 chromosomes, plus the 23rd chromosome pair which is gender specific.

Using DNA for Genetic Genealogy

There are four different kinds of DNA that genealogists use in different ways for obtaining ancestors’ information relevant to genetic genealogy. Thankfully, we have 4 different kinds of DNA available to us because of unique inheritance patterns for each kind of DNA – meaning we inherited different kinds of DNA from different ancestral paths. If one kind of DNA doesn’t work in a particular situation, chances are good that another type will.

Genetic genealogy makes use of 4 different types of DNA.

  • Y DNA – passed from males to male children, only (your father’s paternal line)
  • Mitochondrial DNA – passed from females to both genders of children, but only females pass it on (your mother’s matrilineal line)

Y and mitochondrial DNA inheritance paths are shown on a pedigree chart in the graphic below, with the blue boxes representing Y DNA and the red circles representing mitochondrial DNA inheritance.

In addition to Y and mitochondrial DNA, genetic genealogists also use two kinds of DNA that reflect inheritance from additional ancestral lines, in addition to the red and blue lines shown above – meaning the ancestral lines with no color.

  • Autosomal DNA – the 22 chromosomes that recombine during reproduction.
  • X Chromosome – always contributed by the mother, but only contributed by the father to female children – this is the 23rd chromosome pair which recombines with a unique inheritance pattern.  You can read more about that in the article, X Marks the Spot.

Receiving What Kind of DNA from Whom

While the Y and mitochondrial DNA have unique and very prescribed inheritance patterns as shown by the red arrows pointing to the blue Y chromosome below at far left, and the red mitochondrial circles at far right, the 22 autosomal chromosomes are contributed equally by each parent. In other words, for each chromosome, a child inherits half of each parent’s DNA. How the selection of which DNA is contributed to each child is unknown.

A child’s gender is determined by the parent’s contributions to the 23rd chromosome, not shown above. The following chart explains gender determination by the X and Y combinations of the 23rd chromosome.

Received from Mother Received from Father
Male child X Y
Female child X X

The Y chromosome is what makes males male.

No Y chromosome?  You’re a female.

However, this X chromosome inheritance pattern provides us with the ability to look at X matches for males and know immediately that they had to have come from his mother’s lineage – because males don’t inherit an X chromosome from their father.

Autosomal DNA and Genetic Genealogy

The 22 non-gender chromosomes recombine in each generation, with half of each chromosome being contributed by each parent, as shown in the illustrations above.

You can see that in the first generation, the child received one blue and one yellow, or one pink and one green, chromosome. In giving each child exactly half of their DNA, each parent contributes some amount of ancestral DNA from generations upstream, as you can see in the mother/father and son/daughter generations.

For example, each child receives, on average, 25% of each of their grandparent’s DNA – although they can receive somewhat more or less than 25%, depending on the random nature of recombination.

Therefore, genetic genealogy testing companies compare tester’s autosomal DNA with other testers and look for common segments contributed by common ancestors, resulting in autosomal matching.

When relatively large segments match between three or more relatives who are not immediate family, we can attribute that DNA to a common ancestor. Of course, the challenge, and the thrill, is to determine which common ancestor contributed that common DNA to our triangulated match group. It’s a great way to verify our research and to break down brick walls.

Let’s face it, you received ALL of your DNA from SOME combination of ancestors, and if you carry large enough pieces from any specific ancestor, we can, hopefully, identify the source of that DNA segment by looking at the genealogy of those we match on that segment.

It’s a great puzzle to unravel, and best of all, it’s the puzzle of you.

More Info

The great news is that you can utilize your Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA differently, to provide you with different kinds of information about different ancestors and genealogy lines.

If you’d like to read more about how the 4 Kinds of DNA can be used, please read the short article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

You can also enter any word or phrase into the search box in the upper right hand corner of this blog to find additional useful information about any topic.

If You Want to Test

If you’d like to learn more about the various kinds of DNA tests available, and which one or ones would be the best for you, please read the article, Which DNA Test is Best?

Right now, the Y DNA, mitochondrial and autosomal (Family Finder) tests are on sale at Family Tree DNA, through the end of August, 2017.

______________________________________________________________________

Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure will now appear at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

X Matching and Mitochondrial DNA is Not the Same Thing

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of confusion surrounding X DNA matching and mitochondrial DNA. Some folks think they are the same thing, but they aren’t at all.

It’s easy to become confused by the different types of DNA that we can use for genealogy, so I’ll try to explain these differences two or three different ways – and hopefully one of them will be just the ticket for you.

Both Associated with Females

I suspect the confusion has to do with the fact that mitochondrial DNA and the X chromosome are both associated in some manner with female inheritance. However, that isn’t always true in the strictest sense, as women also inherit an X chromosome from their father.

Males Inherit:

  • An X chromosome from their mother
  • Mitochondrial DNA from their mother

Females Inherit:

  • An X chromosome from their mother
  • An X chromosome from their father
  • Mitochondrial DNA from their mother

The difference, as you can quickly see, is that females inherit an X chromosome from both parents, while males only inherit the X from their mothers. That’s because males inherit the Y chromosome from their father instead – which is what makes males male.

As a quick overview about inheritance works, you might want to read the article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

The good news is that both mitochondrial DNA and the X chromosome have very specific inheritance paths that can be very useful to genealogy, once you understand how they work.

Who Gets What?

Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited by both genders of children from their mothers. Mitochondrial DNA is NEVER recombined with the mitochondrial DNA of the father – so it’s passed intact. That’s why both males and females can test for their direct matrilineal line through their mitochondrial DNA.

In the pedigree chart above, you can see that mtDNA (red circles) is passed directly down the matrilineal line, while Y DNA is passed directly down the patrilineal (surname) line (blue squares.)

I’ve written an in-depth article titled, Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story that might be useful to read, as well as Working with Y DNA – Your Dad’s Story.

The X Chromosome

The X Chromosome is autosomal, meaning that it recombines in every generation. If you are a female, the X recombines just like any other autosome, meaning chromosomes 1-22. You receive a copy from each parent.

The 23rd pair of chromosomes is the X and Y chromosomes which convey gender. Males receive an X from their mother and Y from their father. The Y chromosome makes males male. Females receive an X chromosome from both parents, just like the rest of chromosomes 1-22.

Inheritance Pathways

If you are a male, the inheritance path of the X chromosome is a bit different from that of a female, because you inherit your X only from your mother.

Females inherit their father’s ONLY X chromosome intact, which he inherited from his mother. Females inherit their X chromosome from their mother in the normal autosomal way. A mother has two X chromosomes, so the mother can give a child either chromosome entirely or parts of both of her X chromosomes.

Because of the different ways that males and females inherit the X chromosome, the inheritance path is different than chromosomes 1-22, portions of which you can inherit from any of your ancestors. Conversely, you can only inherit portions of your X chromosome from certain ancestors. You can read about more about this in the article, X Marks the Spot.

Female X inheritance chart. For male distribution, look at my father’s side of the tree.

My own colorized X chromosome chart is shown above, produced from my genealogy software and Charting Companion. An X match MUST COME from one of the ancestors in the pink and blue colored quadrants. It’s very unlikely that I would inherit parts of my X chromosome from all of these ancestors, but these ancestors are the only candidates from whom my X originated. In other words, genealogically, these are the only ancestors for me to investigate when I have an X DNA match with someone.

Because of this unbalanced distribution of the X chromosome, if you are a male and you match someone on the X chromosome, assuming it’s a legitimate match and not a match by chance, then you know the match MUST come from your mother’s side of the family, and only from her pink and blue colored ancestors – looking at my father’s half of the tree as an example.

If you are a female the match can come from either side, but only from a restricted number of individuals – those colored pink or blue, as shown above.

X chart with Y line included in purple, for males, and mitochondrial line in green.

My mitochondrial line, shown on the X chart would consist of only the women on the bottom row, extending to the right from me, colored in green above. My father’s Y DNA line would be the purple region, extending along the bottom at left. Of course, I don’t have a Y chromosome, because I’m female.

Of the individuals carrying the purple Y DNA, the only one with an X chromosome that a female could inherit would be the father. A female would inherit both the mtDNA of all of the green women, plus could also inherit an X chromosome (or part of an X) from them too.

For males, looking at my father’s half of the chart. He can inherit no X chromosome from any of the purple Y DNA portion, because those men gave him their Y chromosome. My father would inherit his mitochondrial DNA from his direct matrilineal line, shown in yellow, below.

X chart with mitochondrial inheritance line for mother (and child) shown in green, for father shown in yellow.  Both yellow and green lines can contribute to the X chromosome for males and females.

In my father’s case, the females in his tree that he can inherit an X chromosome from are quite limited, but people who have the opportunity to pass their X chromosome to my father are never restricted to only the people that pass his mitochondrial DNA to him. However, the X chromosome contributors always include the mitochondrial DNA contributors for both males and females.

In my father’s case, above, he inherits his X chromosome from his mother, who can only inherit her X from the people on his side of the chart shown in yellow, blue or pink. In essence, the people in yellow or to the left of the yellow with any color.

As his daughter, I can inherit from any of those ancestors as well, since he gives me his only X, who he inherited from his mother. I also inherit an X from my mother from anyone who is green, pink or blue on her side of my chart.

As you can see, my X can come from many fewer ancestors on my father’s side than on my mother’s side.

It just happens that ancestors in the mitochondrial line also are able to contribute an X chromosome and either gender can inherit parts of their X chromosome from any female upstream of their mother in the direct matrilineal line. However, only the direct matrilineal line (yellow for your father and green for your mother) contributes mitochondrial DNA. None of the other ancestors contribute mtDNA to this male or female, although females contribute their mtDNA to other individuals in the tree. For a more detailed discussion on inheritance, please read the article, “Concepts – ‘Who to Test Series”.

Special Treatment for X Matches

While the generally accepted threshold for autosomal DNA is about 7cM, for X DNA, there appears to be a much higher incidence of false matches at higher levels than the rest of the chromosomes, as documented by Philip Gammon as in his Match-Maker-Breaker tool.  This appears to have to do with SNP density.

I would encourage genetic genealogists to consider someplace between 10 and 15 cM as an acceptable threshold for an X chromosome match. This of course does not mean that smaller segment matching can’t be relevant, it’s just that X matches are less likely to be relevant at levels below 10-15 cM than the rest of the chromosomes.

Summary

As you can see, the mitochondrial DNA is passed from one line only – the direct matrilineal line – green to my mother and then me, yellow to my father. The mitochondrial DNA has absolutely NOTHING to do with the X chromosome, as they are entirely different kinds of DNA. It just so happens that the individuals who contribute mitochondrial DNA are also some of the ancestors who can contribute an X chromosome to either males or females.

The yellow and green ancestors always contribute mitochondrial DNA, but the pink and blue NEVER contribute mitochondrial DNA to the father and mother in our chart.

The X chromosome has a very distinctive inheritance path, shown in the first fan chart, that will help identify potential ancestors who may have contributed your X chromosome – which is wonderful for genealogists. If your ancestor is not colored pink or blue, in the first chart, they did not contribute anything to your X chromosome – so an X match MUST come from a pink or blue ancestor (which includes yellow and green in the later charts.)

By color, the people in the fan chart provide the following:

  • Purple – Y chromosome to father only.  Y is passed on to a male child, but not to females.
  • Yellow – Mitochondrial always to father. X always from mother to males but X can come from either yellow or pink and blue ancestors upstream.
  • Green – Mitochondrial always to the mother.  Females receive an X chromosome from their green mother and also from their father, who received his X chromosome from his yellow mother.
  • PInk and blue on father’s side – contribute to the father’s X chromosome, in addition to yellow.
  • Pink and blue on mother’s side – contribute to the mother’s X chromosome, in addition to green.

 

If you are a male and see an X match on your father’s side of the tree, you know that match is either actually coming from your mother’s side of the tree, or the match is false, meaning identical by chance.

The great news is that X matching is another tool with special attributes in the genealogist’s toolbox, along with both mitochondrial and Y DNA.

Your X chromosome test is included as part of the Family Finder test. You can order the Family Finder or the mitochondrial DNA tests here.

______________________________________________________________________

Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure will now appear at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

Concepts – Who To Test for Your Father’s DNA

If the first thing you thought when you read the title of this article was, “Well duh – test your father,” you would be right…unless your father is deceased.  Then, it’s not nearly as straightforward, because you have to find other family members who carry the same Y and mitochondrial DNA as your father.

These same concepts and techniques can be applied to testing for other men’s lines as well – so please read, even if Dad is sitting right beside you.

Before beginning this article, you might want to read “4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy” to understand the very basics of how different kinds of DNA are inherited, and how they can help you.

I was inspired to write this series of “Who to Test” articles to help people determine how to obtain the DNA they need to solve family mysteries from ancestors in their tree. For the most part, those ancestors are deceased, so one must understand how to obtain their DNA by testing living descendants descended in special ways.

Click to enlarge any graphic

In this series, we’ll be discussing how to test all of the individuals above for their mitochondrial DNA and males for their Y DNA.

Y DNA lineages are shown by blue lines and mitochondrial DNA lineages are shown by pink lines. In the charts below, different colored boxes and hearts showing the descent of blue male lines and pink(ish) mitochondrial lines.

In other words, the son at the bottom inherits his father’s light blue Y DNA, but his mother’s pink mitochondrial DNA that is the same as his sister’s and his mother’s mitochondrial line. Hence, his pink heart.

What Can Y and Mitochondrial DNA Tell You?

Both Y and mitochondrial DNA can tell you about your clan, meaning where your ancestors in that particular line were found. Many people have been surprised to find that these particular lines descended from Native American, Asian, Jewish, European or African ancestors. Some clan assignments, known as haplogroups, can be quite specific, but others are more general in nature.

You also receive matches and can communicate to find your common ancestor. Males can look for surnames the same or similar to their own.

You can read more about what mitochondrial DNA can do for you in the article, Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story.

You can read more about what Y DNA can do for you in the article, Working with Y DNA – Your Dad’s Story.

Your Father’s DNA

Testing your father’s Y and mitochondrial DNA is easy, if your father is living. You can simply test your father.

As you can see in the chart above, your father inherited his Y DNA from the light blue line, from his father, which is typically the surname line.

Your father inherited his mitochondrial DNA from his direct matrilineal line, meaning the magenta line – your paternal grandmother and her direct maternal ancestors.

Your father did NOT pass his mitochondrial DNA to either of his children and he only passed his Y DNA to his son. His daughter has no Y DNA and her mother’s mitochondrial DNA.

You can test both your father’s Y DNA and mitochondrial by simply testing your father. However, testing becomes more challenging if your father is not available to test.

Your goal then becomes to find people who carry the same light blue Y DNA as your father, and the same magenta mitochondrial DNA that he carried as well. Let’s look at various ways to achieve that goal.

Testing Uncles and Siblings

If you are a male, meaning the son in the chart above, just test yourself for your father’s Y DNA.

Of course, you carry your mother’s mitochondrial DNA, shown by the pink heart that matches your sister, so you will have to find someone else who carries the same mitochondrial DNA as your father.

If you are a female, you can’t test for either your father’s Y or his mtDNA line. However, all is not lost.

If your father has any full male siblings, that’s your next best bet, because they will carry the same Y DNA and the same mitochondrial DNA as your father, because they share the same parents. You can test the same uncle for both Y and mitochondrial DNA. A brother and sister to your father have been added to the chart, below.

In the above chart, your father has two siblings, a male and a female. All three share the same mitochondrial DNA, but only the males share the Y DNA. Your father’s brother shares both. Your father’s sister shares his mitochondrial DNA, but not his Y DNA, shown above.

However, let’s say you’re the daughter and that your father and his brother are deceased. You can test your father’s sister for her mitochondrial DNA and you can test your own brother for your father’s Y DNA, shown below.

Don’t have a brother but your father’s brother had a son? No problem. Test the brother’s son who will carry his father’s Y DNA, which is the same as your father’s Y DNA, assuming nothing unknown.

You say your father’s sister is deceased too, but she had a child of either gender. No problem, you can test that child, whether they are a male or female for the sister’s mitochondrial DNA, which is the same as your father’s mitochondrial DNA.

In the chart above, all of the people with sky blue squares can test for your father’s Y DNA and all of the people with magenta squares or magenta hearts can test for your father’s mitochondrial DNA.

As you can see, you may well have lots of options.

Potential Testers

Father’s Y DNA Father’s mtDNA
Your Father Yes Yes
You Yes, if you are a male, No if you are a female No – you inherit your mtDNA from your mother
Your sibling Yes, if your sibling is a male, No if your sibling is a female No – your father does not pass his mtDNA to his children
Your father’s brother Yes Yes
Your father’s sister No – she didn’t inherit a Y chromosome from her father Yes
Your father’s brother’s children Yes, if male, No if female No – he didn’t pass his mitochondrial DNA to his children
Your father’s sister’s children No Yes – both genders

What Tests to Order

Family Tree DNA is the only testing vendor that offers Y and mitochondrial DNA testing that allows you to match to others. Additionally, they provide additional tools to understand the message Y and mtDNA carries for you.

For Y DNA testing, you can order either the 37, 67 or 111 marker test. I recommend that you purchase what the budget can afford. You can always upgrade later, but the cost of the original test plus an upgrade is somewhat more than just purchasing the larger test initially.  The greater the number of markers you purchase, the higher the level of specificity in the match results. The more closely you match someone, the more closely related you are to that person, and the closer in time your common ancestor lived. If you’re unsure what to purchase, 37 markers is a great place to begin.

For mitochondrial DNA testing, you can order the mtDNA Plus test, which is a subset of the mtFull Sequence test. In order to receive your full haplogroup designation, the entire mitochondrial DNA needs to be tested. I recommend the full sequence test be ordered.

For autosomal DNA testing, everyone can test, and as long as you’re placing an order, I’d suggest that you go ahead and order the Family Finder test. You can discover your ethnicity percentage estimates for several worldwide regions, including breakdowns of Europe, Africa and Asia as well as Native American and Jewish.

Additionally, while the Y and mitochondrial DNA tests reach back deep into time on those two specific lines, and only those two lines, the autosomal test tests the DNA of all of your ancestral lines, but may not reach back reliably in time for matches before the past 5 or 6 generations. Think of Y and mtDNA as viewing recent as well as very deep ancestors on just those lines, and Family Finder as broadly surveying all of your ancestors, but just in the past 7-10 generations.

The fun of autosomal DNA testing, aside from ethnicity estimates, is to discover which cousins you match and find your common ancestor.

In order for Family Tree DNA to be able to provide you with phased Family Finder matches, which indicates on which side of your tree (maternal or paternal) your match is found, helping to identify common ancestors – it’s critical for known relatives to test. The older the relative, generationally, the more helpful the testing is to you – so test those older family members immediately, while you still can.

You can order your tests and upgrades here.

______________________________________________________________________

Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure will now appear at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

Dorothy Durham’s Parents and the Mysterious William Smoot, 52 Ancestors #165

Given the time in which she lived, we know quite a bit about Dorothy Durham, wife of Thomas Durham, but we only have hints, and a mystery, about her parents.

Dorothy was born in 1663 – that much we know for sure, or within a year either way, based on a deposition she gave in 1704 regarding the will of one James Gilbert. She died sometime after early 1725 and before 1753 when her second husband, Jeremiah Greenham, died.

Dorothy and Thomas Durham had interactions with several people over the span of their lifetimes that tell us the names of two of Dorothy’s sisters. Other documents tell us that Dorothy was probably closely related to William Smoot, but the fact that Dorothy’s son married William Smoot’s daughter pretty much eliminates the possibility that William Smoot was Dorothy’s father. William could have, however, been her brother or uncle or some other relative.

And then there’s poor James Gilbert. A man so beset by epilepsy that he didn’t remember what was in his will a year or two after signing it. Either he or his wife are also somehow connected to William Smoot as well, because that same William Smoot quit-claimed a deed when Mary Gilbert, widow of James, sold land to Dorothy and Thomas Durham after James Gilbert’s horrible death.

The script of these families living in the Northern Neck of Virginia reads something like the thriller TV series, Dallas, with equally as much intrigue – but without the ability to tune in next season to discover the outcome. It’s like never knowing who shot JR Ewing!

If you’d like to read more about these Northern Neck families that intermarried, along with the history that formed their life and times in the century or so following the settlement of Jamestown, I would suggest the following articles:

The Parents of Charles Dodson, Jamestown Unraveled, 52 Ancestors #163

Anne (probably not) Elmore (c1650/2-c1721), Wife of Charles Dodson, 52 Ancestors #159

Charles Dodson (1649-1706), Forcible Entry, 52 Ancestors #157

Thomas Dodson’s Estate Inventory, A Tallow Sort of Fellow, 52 Ancestors #153

Thomas Dodson (1681-1740), Planter on Totuskey Creek, 52 Ancestors #151

George Dodson (1702-after 1756), Disappeared Without a Trace, 52 Ancestors #145

Raleigh Dodson (1730-c1794) of Dodson’s Ford; Ferryman, Surveyor and Stone Dresser, 52 Ancestors #143

Dorothy Durham (1663-after 1725), No Shrinking Violet, 52 Ancestors #164

Thomas Durham (before 1649-1715), A Governor’s Son?, 52 Ancestors #161

Mary Durham (1686 – c 1746), Scandals and Scoundrels, 52 Ancestors #152

Henry Dagord or Dagod or Maybe Doggett (c 1660/1683 – after 1708), 52 Ancestors #150

Margaret Dagord (1708-?) of North Farnham Parish, 52 Ancestors #147

This article about Dorothy’s parents is the last in this series.

There are several players in our Northern Neck family drama as we try to unravel who Dorothy’s parents were, and weren’t, so let’s talk about each person briefly, then take a deep dive into the details. What you’ll discover is that we don’t have individual stories, we have a tapestry of interwoven lives in tidewater Virginia when it was Rappahannock County and then after 1692 when it became Richmond County.

William Smoot Sr.

William Smoot does play a prominent role in the life of Dorothy Durham, but it most assuredly is not as her father. It’s easy to see how the confusion arose though, because in August of 1700, William Smoot Sr. deeded land to Dorothy and her children for “the great love I have and beare unto Dorothy Durham, wife of Thomas Durham.” This does indeed sound fatherly, but it surely wasn’t, because Dorothy’s son, Thomas Durham Jr. marries Mary Smoot, daughter of William Smoot Sr., as proven by William’s 1716 will. Clearly, Dorothy’s son did not marry his mother’s sister, meaning his aunt. However, William Smoot is surely somehow related, as he also mentions Dorothy’s niece through her sister in that same land transaction. We will take a look at the Smoot family to see what gems we can unearth.

James and Mary Gilbert

James and Mary Gilbert are tied into this tapestry by some colorful thread. These families spend a lot of time together, argue like families do, and after James Gilbert’s death, Mary sells her land to Thomas Durham, with William Smoot quit-claiming his interest in that land. Unfortunately, we don’t know what interest William Smoot held in Mary’s land nor his relationship to Mary.

Thankfully, James Gilbert’s will was contested and we find half a dozen depositions that discuss the circumstances involving his will. Unfortunately, none of them tell us exactly who is who, but there are clues to be gathered.

Fortunately, depositions are juicy and make great reading! These remind me of the board game Clue – the butler did it in the kitchen with the candlestick!

John Mills and John Mills Jr.

Somehow, for some reason, James Gilbert leaves his estate to John Mills Jr. Even before James Gilbert’s death, there are extremely hard feelings between the families – so much so that James Gilbert and his wife appear to live apart as a result. This has to be something more serious than hen dung on James Gilbert’s chest. Wait until you hear this story!

Alice and John Chinn

Dorothy’s sister, Alice, married John Chinn. Alice died in 1701 in Lancaster Co, VA and her will is found recorded in will book 8 page 105/106. Her children named in the will were Ann Fox, wife of Capt. William Fox, Catherine Heale and Rawleigh Chinn. We’ll look to see what, if anything we can find about John Chinn and Alice that might suggest who Alice’s parents are.

Thomazin and Abraham Marshall

Dorothy’s sister, Thomazin married Abraham Marshall. We find Abraham also woven into the tapestry of Northern Neck families, in particular, with the Gilberts and Mills. Thomazin is such a beautiful name. I do wonder if it’s the feminine version of Thomas, perhaps in a family who had no male children? I’m very surprised that there is no Thomazin or Alice found in Dorothy’s children, although it’s certain that Dorothy had children that died.

Elizabeth Grady

Elizabeth Grady left her entire estate to Mary Smoot, daughter of William Smoot? Why, and how was Elizabeth related to Mary Smoot?

Charting the Relationships

When doing both Appalachian and Acadian genealogy, one of my favorite sayings is that it’s not a family tree, but a family vine. I think that’s very true of this time period in Virginia, as well, especially in regions that were for some reason rather isolated – like on the Northern Neck peninsula of land. Granted, new people settled there, but the families who owned land adjacent to each other along a creek were destined to interact and intermarry for a generation or two. There wasn’t anyone else close enough and available, so you married your neighbors who may also have been your kin.

I’m not going to kid you – this is one of the most difficult evaluations I’ve ever done. There are partial records and a lot of players that are obviously somehow connected, but the “how” is not obvious. Maybe you’ll have some thoughts after reading the details – and I’d love to hear from you.

If this is not your family line, you may not revel in the details, but if you have a difficult problem of your own to unravel, you might be interested in how I approached this problem and what I was able to glean.

Now, not to scare you, but the chart below represents the players in this drama and the defining events that connect them together, aside from the relationships implied in the pedigree chart used as the base for the activity grid.  Please click to enlarge this or any graphic.

Let me explain how this works. The pedigree chart in the top half of the graphic shows how the various individuals are connected through known/proven relationships. The three individuals in dark rose are Dorothy Durham and her proven sisters, connected to their unknown parents at the top. It’s very likely that their parents are also interacting in the neighborhood. We know that both of Dorothy’s sisters married local boys, so it makes sense that Dorothy’s parents lived there too. You can’t marry someone if they aren’t close enough to court. In fact, Dorothy’s parents may be some of the people at the bottom of the chart – the ones not connected to the people at the top through known relationships.

The green boxes include data, detailed in the extracted records in the next section, but too detailed to include in the person’s pink or blue box in the chart above without making the box too large for the chart.

For example, the green box below James Gilbert details his activities and interactions with others on the grid. The red arrows point from the person who is interacting with someone else. James Gilbert left his entire estate to John Mills Jr., so a red arrow points from James Gilbert to John Mills Jr.

The above chart is meant to be utilized with the extracted records to form a visual of the complex relationships. The red arrows do NOT include what I would consider to be normal activities, such as land transferred between parents and children, wills, etc. In other words, the red arrows only show the interactions between people who are not directly related and whose relationship to others is not immediately obvious based on the pedigree chart itself.

Anyone who does read this entire document, I welcome your thoughts as to how the various individuals are or might be related to Dorothy Durham. Conversely, if you feel something precludes a specific relationship, I’m interested in that as well. And of course it goes without saying that if anyone has additional information, I’m all ears and would be very grateful for anything missing! There may be additional information in other counties that I’m not aware of.

Extracted Records

Not living in or near the Northern Neck of Virginia, I utilized the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana to access the extracted records for Rappahannock and Richmond Counties, but plus select others. In addition, I utilized a site called “Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties.” I don’t know who compiled this information, and their conclusions are sometimes incorrect, often suffering from generational confusion, but when they provide notes, they always include sources, which is a very valuable contribution. I’m very grateful for all their hard work.

Some records below that involve two parties are included in the information for both people. I couldn’t really see a better way to handle the information, presented in timeline format, without some level of duplication.

The Smoot Family

Somehow, the Smoot family is related to Dorothy. There is no other reason for William Smoot to give Dorothy land with “great love and affection” and name her sister’s child as an alternate beneficiary if they are not family. The question is, of course, how are they related? In order to attempt to answer this question, I stepped back a generation to William Smoot’s (possible) parents and began there.

My initial perspective was that Dorothy was either a child to William Smoot, as is widely reported in people’s family trees, or a sister. That’s where I began my search.

According to the book, The Smoots of Maryland and Virginia by Harry Wright Newman, William Smoot(e)(es)(s) immigrated in 1646 with his wife Grace Wood, Wood being her previous husband’s name, along with their children: Thomas, Richard, Elizabeth, Anne and Ales (Alice) and Elizabeth Wood his wife’s daughter along with Anne Woodnot, William Smoot’s servant. William patented land for his headrights, naming family members noted above individually, on the west side of the Wicohomico River in Charles County, Maryland in 1652.

William Smoot and family settled in Maryland, across the Potomac from the Northern Neck area. He died sometime after his son, Thomas, died in February 1667/68. Grace died on January 14, 1665/66 according to the Archives of Maryland, Vol 60, page 116.

There is a land record for William Smoot in 1683 in Charles County, MD transferring land to Humphrey Warren and also to William Hungerford. There is no estate record for William Smoot of Maryland.

Based on information I was able to find, mostly from the Newman book, I constructed a tree of William Smoot’s known children.

You will notice that there is no William Smoot Jr. listed in known descendants. This means that William Smoot of Rappahannock County, if he is the son of William Smoot of Maryland, had to be born after 1646 when the list of children for which William Smoot Sr. received a headright was documented, meaning William Jr. (the second) would have come of age no earlier than 1667 if he was born after 1646.

Let’s look at the dates and see if that is possible.

First, Grace Wood Smoot had already borne 6 children who lived, so spanning about 12 reproductive years. Let’s say she first married at age 20. That means that in 1646, she would have been no younger than age 32 and possibly older. If Grace was age 32, she had about 10 years more to bear children, so possibly bore 5 additional children, until about 1656. She could also have been past child-bearing age, but she had no more than 10 reproductive years left.

We know for sure that Dorothy Durham was born in 1663, according to her own deposition, so Dorothy Durham could not have been the child of Grace Wood Smoot. Therefore, if Dorothy and William Smoot are brother and sister, it’s not through William Smoot of Maryland and his wife, Grace.

William Smoot of Rappahannock County is first found in the records as a witness in 1672, in a location where William Smoot of Maryland did not live. He was likely at least 21 by this time. His son, William Smoot Jr. first appears in records about 1700, so this makes sense.

By 1678, William Smoot in Rappahannock County is purchasing land, 150 acres on the Moratico Path, adjoining John Ingoe.

In March 1683/84, William Smoot in Rappahannock County with wife Jane transfers land to Richard Ellett, so William is married by that time.

Over the next many years, William Smoot of Rappahannock County appears repeatedly with Charles Dodson, Thomas Durham and Peter Elmore – families and neighbors all intertwined one way or another.

These records suggest that William Smoot of Rappahannock County was born no later than 1651, so he could potentially be a son of William Smoot of Maryland, but not if Dorothy is his sister.

William Smoot of Rappahannock County died in 1715, mentioning his grandchildren by daughter Mary who married Thomas Durham Jr., son of Dorothy and Thomas Durham Sr. He left everything to his son-in-law, Thomas Durham, and his Durham grandchildren. William Smoot had two other daughters, Anne and Elizabeth, twins, born on March 16, 1698, according to the North Farnham Parish register, but they apparently died, as they are never mentioned elsewhere.

William Smoote and his wife Jane are having children in the 1690s, at the same time as Dorothy and Thomas Durham, so they appear to be about the same age, not offset by a generation.

I have found absolutely nothing to tie William Smoot of Rappahannock County to William Smoot of Maryland other than the same name and living across the Chesapeake from each other.

If William Smoot of Rappahannock County was NOT the son of William Smoot of Charles County, Maryland, then it’s possible that Dorothy was the sister of William Smoot of Rappahannock County.

Given that William Smoot of Rappahannock County’s daughter, Mary, very clearly married the son of Dorothy Durham, Dorothy was assuredly not the daughter of William Smoot of Rappahannock County. If Dorothy had been the daughter of William Smoot, that would have meant that Dorothy’s sister married her son. Ewwww…

However, if Dorothy was the sister of either William Smoot or William Smoot’s wife, and their children married, that would have means that Mary Smooth and Thomas Durham were first cousins. That’s not an unusual marriage in colonial times.

Of course, the speculation about the relationship between Dorothy and William Smoot is all caused by the 1700 deed that reads thus:

Richmond County Deed Book August 2, 1700 – Deed of gift. William Smoot Sr. of N. Farnham Parish Richmond Co. for consideration received and for the great love that I have and beare unto Dorothy Durham wife of Thomas Durham of same county and her children do give unto her and her children a 62 acre parcel of land bounded by Thomas Durham, branch of Morattico Creek, land of the same William Smoot Sr., land of Rowland Lawson, line of Mr. Grimes and line of Clare. If in case the said Dorothy Durham die that then the land shall come to Thomas Durham eldest son of the said Dorothy and in case that he die without issue that then the land shall come to John Durham second son of the said Dorothy and in case that he die without issue that the land shall come to Mary Durham eldest daughter of the said Dorothy Durham and in case she shall happen to die without issue that then the land shall come to the fourth, fifth, sixth and c children of the same Dorothy, but in case of want of issue that the land shall descend to Ann Fox wife of William Fox of Lancaster Co., gent. Wit John Simmons, Thomas Mackey, ack Aug 7, 1700 Book 3 page 57

Aug 2, 1700 – Power of attorney Jane Smoot wife of William Smoot Sr. having appointed Edward Jones my attorney to ack the above gift to Dorothy Durham and her children. Wit Thomas Mackey, Edmond Overton. Book 3 page 58

Court Order Book Page 56, August 7, 1700 – Ordered that the deed for land ack in this court by William Smoot Sr. unto Dorothy Durham, wife of Thomas Durham, be recorded.

This deed indicates that the land is bounded by Thomas Durham, which suggests that he already owned the neighboring land. If so, that would likely have been the Abraham Marshall land referenced in the 1723 sale of this land by Thomas Durham Jr. No deed exists for the sale from Marshall into the Durham family, although the date of 1692 is provided in the 1723 sale.

This 1700 deed is quite interesting and somewhat perplexing. Just to keep the players straight, William Smoot is the father of Mary Smoot, to whom Mary Grady also leaves land. Clearly there is a very close connection between William Smoot and Dorothy Durham.

  • First, this deed is to Dorothy, not Dorothy AND her husband, Thomas Durham together and not to Thomas Durham alone as most land would typically be deeded. This meant that Thomas Durham exercised no authority over this land and could not sell the land. It was Dorothy’s and Dorothy’s alone until her death.
  • Second, William Smoot is also somehow related to Ann Fox, daughter of Dorothy’s sister, Alice who married John Chinn. Alice died in 1701 but Dorothy’s other sister, Thomazin/Thomasin lived until after 1713.
  • Third, this deed names Dorothy’s living children that are documented in the North Farnham Parish registers. The deed was written in August 1700 and John Durham was born on November 23, 1698.

This deed tells us that of Dorothy’s children, Mary is the eldest living daughter and John and Thomas are the eldest living sons. Given John’s birth date, they have to be the only living sons. What we don’t know is whether or not the children referenced as 4th, 5th and 6th are living or are speculative in case they exist in the future.

It’s certainly unlikely that between 1686 and 1700 and Dorothy only had 3 children. Six or 7, assuming they all lived until weaned, would be normal. If the children numbered 4-6 noted in the will, were living, they were assuredly females or they would have been listed ahead of daughter Mary in the inheritance order. If they were living in 1700, they weren’t by the time Thomas Durham Sr. wrote his will in 1711.

Furthermore, I can’t find any record of where William Smoot received this land, unless it’s part of this patent found in the Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants, 1694-1742, Vol 1:

2-315 – William Smoot Sr., 262 acres in Richmond Co. adjacent his other land, Bryary Swamp, James Gilbert, Mr. Leuson, Mr. Grimes line, line of Clears, April 29, 1700

This deed indicates the 262 acres are bounded by James Gilbert – but the 62 acre deed to Dorothy says it is adjacent Thomas Durham, so William Smoot’s land grant may not be the same land that he deeded to Dorothy, or the land of William Smoot, James Gilbert and Thomas Durham may all be adjacent each other. The neighbors, except for Thomas Durham, appear to be the same in William Smoot’s deed to Dorothy as his land grant – so the 62 acres must surely be part of his grant.

Why did William Smoot deed land to Dorothy just a little over three months after he patented the land?

In addition, we find the following deed with William Smoot quit-claiming any right he has to 50 acres of land sold to Thomas and Dorothy Durham by Mary Gilbert.

26 Apr 1707 Richmond County, Virginia Deed Book 4, 1705-1708 page 109a-110a – This Indenture made the six and twentieth day of April anno Domini 1707 and in sixth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Anne by the Grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland Queene, Defender of the faith Between Mary Gilbert of the parish of North Farnham in the county of Richmond and Dominion of Virginia, Widdow of the one part, and Thomas Durham of North Farnham in the county of Richmond and Dominion aforesaid, Planter and Dorothy his wife of the other party. Witnesseth that the said Mary Gilbert for good and valuable consideration in hand payed the receipt whereof the said Mary doth hereby acknowledge and of every part and parcel thereof doth requitt consrate and discharge the said Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife and theire heires by these presents do give grant, bargaine sole alienate entaile and confirme unto the said Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife theire heirs and assignes a certain plantation tract or parcele of land scituate lying and being in the parish of North Ffarnham in the county of Richmond and Dominion of Virginia upon a Branch of Ffarnham Creeke called and knowne by the name of the Buory (Briery) Swamp, containing by estimation fifty acres, now in the tenure and occupation of Walter Wright and bounded as followeth: …corner along land of William Smoot… the said Mary Gilbert for her self, her heires, Exors. and Admns. doth covenant promise, grant and assign to the said Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife and their heires and assignes In manner and form as followeth, That is to say, that the said Mary Gilbert att the time of the ensealing and delivery hereof hath true title, full power and lawful authority to grant and convey the said bargained land and premisses as aforesaid and allso from time to times and att all times hereafter …… doth hereby grant unto the said Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife and their heires and assignes with all the rights members and appurtanances thereunto belonging or appurtaining without…..and do Execute and acknowledge any other or further deed or deeds which shall be advised, devised or required by the said Thomas Durham, Dorothy his wife or theire Counsel learned in the law or theire heires or assignes for the better and more sure settlement of all and singular of the premisses hereto granted and every part and parcel of the said land unto the said Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife and theire heires and assignes forever, In Witness whereof the said Mary Gilbert have hereunto put her hand and seal the day and month and year above written. Signed, sealde and Delivered in the presence of: William Smoot, Mil. Walters Mary M Gilbert (signed with M mark) (seal) Recorded 15 May 1707, Teste: J. Sherlock (Supplement to the History of the Dodson-Dotson Family of Southwest Virginia. Compiled and edited by the Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr. N.p: the author, 1966., pp. 106-107)

Five items of interest:

  1. Fifty acres is the amount of land awarded for importing one person. Someone would receive this for paying their own passage.
  2. Does the fact that Walter Wright is living on this land imply that Mary Gilbert is not living on the land? Does this perhaps mean this land was “family land” and not the farm where she lived with husband James Gilbert?
  3. Mary does not specify the nature of the “valuable consideration” she received, which is rather unusual. It could have been that the Durhams agreed to take care of her in her old age.
  4. Mary clearly retained this land outside of her husband’s will, which means either she owned is separately from him, inherited it after his death, or his will was overturned. Even so, Mary Gilbert would have been entitled to no more than 30% of his estate and we have nothing to indicate that James Gilbert owned this land.
  5. William Smoot is somehow involved with Mary Gilbert and has some unspecified interest in this land, which he releases.

P 110a – William Smoote planter, Farnham Parish, consideration to Thomas Durham of same, planter, quit claim a certain plantation and tract or land situate in upon a branch of Farnham Creek called the Bryery Swamp and bounded (same description as deed between Mary Gilbert and Thomas Durham above) April 20, 1707 signed. Wit Anne Kelly and Mil. Waters

Note Anne Kelly is Thomas Durham’s indentured servant. This land is on the same swamp as the land that William Smoot conveyed to Dorothy Durham in 1700.

Court Order Book Page 299 September 3, 1707 – Mary Gilbert acknowledge deed to Thomas Durham, ordered recorded.

Court Order Book Page 299 September 3, 1707 – William Smoot acknowledge release of right and title of parcel of land sold by Mary Gilbert to Thomas Durham and ordered to be recorded.

The only reason William Smoot would be quit-claiming this land is if he had some sort of real or legally perceived interest in the land. That interest would most likely be by inheritance. In other words, we know that William Smoot is not the son of Mary Gilbert, at least not by her Gilbert husband, or their surnames would be the same, so if William Smoot holds an interest in Mary’s land, it would perhaps be because his wife, Jane, is the daughter of Mary Gilbert, he is Mary’s son from an earlier marriage, or because Mary Gilbert and Jane or William Smoot both inherited this land from a common ancestor.

Possibilities for the relationship between William Smoot and Dorothy:

  • Father and daughter – This is discounted because Dorothy’s son, Thomas Durham Jr., married William Smoot’s daughter, Mary.
  • Parent and siblings – meaning that Mary is the mother from an earlier marriage to a Smoot man to Dorothy, William Smoot and Dorothy’s sisters, Alice and Thomasin. This is improbable because Thomasin, still living in 1707, does not quitclaim the land to Thomas Durham along with William Smoot.
  • Siblings – meaning that Dorothy, William Smoot and Mary Gilbert are all siblings. This is possible.
  • Siblings in law – Meaning that Dorothy is the sister of William’s wife, Jane. This is also possible.
  • Uncle and niece, meaning that William Smoot is Mary Durham’s uncle, which suggests that Mary Gilbert is Dorothy Durham’s aunt or mother. This is also possible.

I did find something humorous about Jane Smoot, William’s wife.

In the Richmond County Court Order book, one page Page 83, January 2, 1722/23, the court ordered the sheriff to summon to court Jane Smoot, widow, of Northfarnham Parish to answer the presentment of the grand jury for common and notorious swearers.

Jane was in good company, however, because this list of swearers also included Doctor Robert Taylor, so it wasn’t just peasant people who swore and were reprimanded.

Apparently, William Smoot’s estate wasn’t divided until several years later.

Court Order Book, Page 297.298 July 7, 1735 William Smoot’s estate to be divided. Dominick and Joseph Durham by their petition setting forth that William Smoot, decd, did by his will order his estate should be equally divided between Thomas Durham, Margaret Durham, Joseph Durham and Sarah Durham only that his wife Jane Smoot should have it during her natural life which said Jane Smoot is likewise deceased, thereupon pray that persons maybe appointed to divide the same, whereupon John Woodbridge, William Glascock and George Glascock appointed to divide the estate according to the will of the said William Smoot decd and to settle the accounts between the partys and make report to the next court.

Page 298 July 7, 1735 Upon motion of Sarah Durham, Mary Durham is admitted her guardian giving security whereupon the said Mary Durham together with Jeremiah Greenham, her security, entered into bond and acknowledged same.

The North Farnham Parish church registry tells us that Jane Smoot died on October 4, 1726.

Aside from these land transactions, Dorothy and Thomas Durham were clearly very close to the Smoot family.

Court Order book Page 218 Dec. 3 1702 – Nonsuite is granted to Thomas Durham and Dorothy his wife for the nonappearance of William Smoote Jr which is ordered to be paid with costs of suit.

One thing I do find unusual is that William Smoot Sr. who died in 1716 does not leave anything to his son, William Smoot Jr. who is mentioned in earlier records. Because he also does not ever deed land to William Jr., and doesn’t mention him in his will, I would presume that William Jr. died sometime before 1716. It appears that William and Jane Smoot had no living children other than Mary Smoot who married Thomas Durham Jr.

Another William Smoot

If two William Smoots at the same time, one in Maryland and one in Rappahannock County weren’t bad enough, there’s a possible third one in the records too.

In the Northumberland County records, we find a William Smoot functioning there, owing corn between 1648 and 1652. There is no William Smoot on the 1652 Northumberland Oaths of Allegiance list.

William Smoot of Maryland was clearly in this area, but William Smoot of old Rappahannock County would likely have been underage at this time, so either this is William Smoot of Maryland or perhaps a third William Smoot.

Now, to make things every more complex, we have another unusual inheritance.

Elizabeth Grady

In a will written by Elizabeth Grady on March 10, 1693/94 and probated on Nov 4, 1702, Mary Smoot daughter of William Smoot is left all of Elizabeth Grady’s land. Mary Smoot is a child at the time.

Is Elizabeth Grady perhaps a sister of William Smoot or his wife, Jane? If so, Elizabeth could also be a sibling of Dorothy Durham.

Elizabeth Grady’s will was written March 10, 1693/94 and probated Nov. 4, 1702: Mary Smoot dau of William Smoot all land, ex: William Smoot; wits Thomas Durham, Richard Draper, John Rankin

The executor of the estate is William Smoot, and the witnesses are Thomas Durham, Richard Draper and John Rankin. Generally, a son, son-in-law, brother or brother-in-law perform executor functions.

Court Order Book Page 184 July 1, 1702 – Will of Elizabeth Grady proved by oaths of John Rankin and Thomas Durham.

This question of Elizabeth’s identity has further reaching implications than it appears, because the people involved are intertwined.

I extracted every Grady record in both Rappahannock and Richmond Counties, and came up exactly empty handed. In other words, we don’t know where Elizabeth Grady obtained this land, who her husband was, nor why she left the land to Mary Smoot, a very young child.

I was not able to discover any land transfer to a Grady in a timeframe in either Rappahannock or Richmond County that would account for how Elizabeth Grady came to own this land which, unfortunately, does not have a description.

Clearly, somehow, Elizabeth Grady was related to Mary Smoot through one of her parents.

Elizabeth Grady and Mary Gilbert both own land that cannot be accounted for.

James and Mary Gilbert

Somehow, James and Mary Gilbert are in this mixture too. One researcher suspects that James and Mary are the parents of Dorothy Durham, and that may in fact be the case. I extracted every single Gilbert entry for Rappahannock and Richmond Counties.

James Gilbert apparently suffered from epilepsy and had for several years according to a deposition sworn in 1704 in conjunction with the contested probating of his will. He may have been “not in his right mind,” as they would say. We know today that untreated epilepsy leads to progressively more brain damage with every seizure. We also don’t know what caused the epilepsy. The testimony indicates he had it for years, but doesn’t say that it was a lifelong problem. It’s possible that a closed head injury resulting from an accident of some type was the beginning of epileptic seizures for James.

Let’s look at what we know about James and Mary Gilbert.

Court Order Book March 5, 1689/90 – Antho: Montades entered his information in this court against James Gilbert for concealing one tithable this last preceding year.

In other counties, I have found that concealed tithables often means that the wife was of mixed race. Anyone not “white” was taxed differently, meaning that white wives were not taxed, but wives of color, or mixed race, were taxed. Therefore, sometimes men refused to pay tax on their wives and were subsequently convicted in court of concealing tithables. Of course, not reporting any taxable person would be concealing tithables, including white males over a certain age (generally 16) and any non-white person, regardless of relationship. Regardless, James was found in 1690 to have more taxable people than he paid taxes for.

In 1690, James Gilbert was assigned jury duty 3 times. If James Gilbert was impaired, he would not have been summoned for jury duty, so we can presume his seizures began or worsened sometime after 1690. This also tells us that James owned land in 1690, because only free white landowners were allowed to sit on juries.

Court Order Book Sept. 2, 1691 – Order granted against sheriff to John Morgan for the nonappearance of James Gilbert according to declaration.

Court Order Book May 5, 1692 – Nonsuit granted to James Gilbert against John Morgan, he not appearing to prosecute to be paid with costs.

Court Order Book May 5, 1692 – Nonsuit granted to James Gilbert against John Thomas, he not appearing to prosecute to be paid with costs.

Court Order Book Sept 8, 1692 – Reference granted between John Morgan plt and James Gilbert deft till next court.

Court Order Book Oct. 6, 1692 – Judgment granted to John Morgan against James Gilbert for 1000 pounds tobacco according to declaration to be paid with costs of suit.

Court Order Book Nov 2, 1692 – John Morgan brought his action to last August court against James Gilbert and complained against him in a plea of the case for that Nathaniel Browne of the county of Lancaster some time in the year 1690 did receive and marke with his own proper marke one hogshead of tobacco at the house of the said James Gilbert and did by noat under his hand transfer the same unto the complainant or his assignee and that the complainant upon the said noat sending for the said hogshead of tobacco the said James wholy refused to deliver the same and that he still doth refuse to the complainants damage 1000 pounds of tobacco and caske for this prayed judgment but the deft not appearing either by himself of his attorney to answer the said suit, a conditional order passed against him for the sum aforesaid, returnable to this court where the said James Gilbert also not appearing the court have confirmed the above recited order and do order that the said James Gilbert do pay unto the said John Morgan the said 1000 pounds of tobacco, damage with all costs of suit.

Colonial planters were quite litigious. The above type of court cases were quite typical, although this suit makes me wonder if his seizures had begun by this time, along with his apparent cognitive decline.

Court Order Book June 7, 1693 – In the suit depending between William Smyth Plt and William Richardson def for the better decision thereof, it is ordered that Mr Edwin Conway together with a jury to be impaneled by the sheriff of this county or his deputie and sworn by Mr Thomas Glascock who is requested to be present at the time here under expressed on the 2nd Tuesday in July do meet on the land of the said William Richardson and survey a patent granted to Thomas Madison for 250 acres in Rappahannock now Richmond now bearing the date of of November 17, 1670 having regard to the antient reputed bounds of the said patent and that they make report of their proceedings herein to the next court held for this county. Also ordered that James Gilbert do produce the said patent unto the jury and surveyors at the time and place aforesaid.

The Northern Neck land patents suggests that James Gilbert wound up owning some of the patent land, which would explain why he might be holding the original patent itself.

Court Order Book Nov 4, 1698 – Action brought by James Gilbert against Edward Geffery dismist, the plt not prosecuting.

Court Order Book Nov 4, 1698 – The action brought by James Gilbert against William Norris dismist, the plt. not prosecuting

Court Order Book March 3, 1698/99 – Suit between James Gilbert and Edward Geffery deft upon reading the declaration, the deft. Pleads not guilty in manner and form as in the said declaration. Jury returns after evidence heard find for the plt 550 pounds tobacco with cost of suit and 500 pounds tobacco in cask damage, and that Geffery pay to Gilbert 1050 pounds tobacco together with cost of suit

Court Order Book March 3, 1698/99 – Ordered that James Gilbert pay unto John Mills 12 days attendance according to act being by him subpoenaed an evidence in the suit between James Gilbert plt and Edward Geffery deft.

Court Order Book March 3, 1698/99 – Ordered that Willliam Lawson be paid for 12 days attendance according to act by James Gilbert being by him subpoenaed an evidence in the suit between said James Gilbert plt and Edward Geffery def.

Court Order Book Sept 7, 1699 – the action brought by James Gilbert against William Norris dismist, the plt not prosecuting.

Deed Book P 117-119 Oct 30, 1699 between John Mills, planter and Easter Mills, wife, Richmond Co., to William Richardson 20 acres in Farnham Parish begin at corner white oake in a branch joining upon Thomas Duzin line running along the line SW or thereabouts until the dividing line between James Gilbert and the said Mills, along the line of William Smyth until he comes to the said marked white oak. Mills bought it of George Vincent. Signed by both with their marks. Witness Samuel Jones mark, John Browne.

This tells us that James Gilbert’s land is adjacent to John Mills land. Extreme hard feelings develop between James Gilbert and the Mills family. James Gilbert, for some reason, leaves everything in his estate to John Mills Jr. which causes a huge rift with his wife, Mary Gilbert.

Court Order Book April 5, 1700 – Action brought by James Gilbert against Edward Geffery is dismist, the plt not prosecuting.

Court Order Book Nov. 4, 1702 – Appearing to this court that Elinor Hughes has by her own confession fugitively absented herself out of the service of her master, James Gilbert, the space of 23 days, the court have ordered that she serve her said master or his assignes the space of 46 days after her time by indenture custome or otherwise be fully expired.

Elinor Hughes, servant to Gilbert Jones (sic) being presented to this court for having a bastard child, the court have ordered that she serve her said master or his assignes according to act in consideration for the trouble of his house during the time of her childbirth.

This day James Gilbert confessed judgement to the church wardens of North Farnham Parish for the use of the parish for 500 pounds tobacco it being the fine of Elinor Hughes for committing the sin of fornication and having a bastard child to be paid with costs also.

Ordered that Elinor Hughes servant to James Gilbert by and with her own consent do serve her said master of his assignes the space of one whole yeare after her time by indenture custome or otherwise be fully expired in satisfaction for his paying her fie for committing the sin of fornication and having a bastard child.

Court Order Book Nov. 6, 1702 – Action brought by James Gilbert against Abraham Marshall is dismist the plt not prosecuting.

Court Order Book June 3, 1703 – Action brought by James Gilbert against William Norris is dismist the plt not prosecuting.

James Gilbert wrote his will on January 31, 1701, with the will being probated January 7, 1704. I actually ordered a copy of the original will, hoping it would be more complete or hold clues that the extracted version did not.

In the name of God, Amen…..I James Gilbert of North Farnham Parish in the County of Richmond being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God…that I be buried in a Christianlike and decent manner, at the Resurrection I shall receive the same againe by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate where in the power of God, and, as touching such worldly estate where it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and forme:

I suspect the paragraph above was probably standard verbiage for anyone drawing up a will, BUT, I’ve included the verbiage at this time for two reasons. First, in following depositions, people testify that he was not “of perfect mind and memory” and that he told people he was not at all sure that there was a Resurrection. James apparently wasn’t terribly ill, because he lived another three years. James goes on to say, in his will:

I give and bequeath to Mary, my deare beloved wife the summe of twenty shillings of lawful money of England to be raised and levyed out of my estate.

I give to my well beloved friend John Mills Jr. whome I likewise constitute make and ordaine my only and sole executor of this my last will and testament all singular my estate both personal and reall excepted before excepted by him and his heires freely to be possessed and enjoyed and I do hereby utterly disallow revoke and disannul all every other testaments wills legacies and executed by me in any ways before time named? willed and bequeathed. Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have herunto sett my hand and seale the day and year abovementioned.

Signed:

James Gilbert, his mark

Witnessed by Edward Welch, his mark

Jone Williams, her mark,

Thomas White

Probated ? sacrament White and Welch in ? Richmond 7th die Jany 1704 and recordeded 12 die ?

Unfortunately, James Gilbert’s land is not described in detail.

There are two very important aspects of this will that were not in the published extracted form. First, Gilbert states that is wife’s name is Mary, which helps assure us that the Mary Gilbert mentioned later is his wife. Second, he states that John Mills Jr. is his friend, not his grandson, not his son-in-law, not his nephew, his friend. The relationship between the two men was that of friend. That’s important because it removes speculation about the nature of their relationship.

Based on this language, it seems that James Gilbert and John Mills Jr. expected problems – so the fact that this was James only will and everything else was revoked was stated multiple times in various ways. I do wonder at the motivation of James Gilbert’s choices. Clearly, something is unstated.

My understanding of colonial law is that James Gilbert was unable to summarily cut Mary Gilbert out of her share of his estate, deemed to be minimally 30% by law, unless he left her more.

The book, Brabbling Women: Disorderly Speech and the Law in Early Virginia by Terri Snyder says:

Virginia’s intestacy statutes guaranteed a widow’s dower as one third – or, if childless, to one half – life interest in real estate and absolute interest in personal property, which until 1705 included increasingly valuable slaves. Husbands who wrote wills, of course, could give more than the amounts specified by intestacy statutes, but not less.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been as estate inventory for James Gilbert filed in Richmond County, which is unusual. There is no inventory listed in the book of extracted records that I utilized nor did the clerk return an estate inventory with the copy of the will. I wish the clerk had SAID there wasn’t an inventory so I don’t have to wonder if it was overlooked. An estate inventory is also not noted in the court notes, so I suspect, for some reason, there was none. There is nothing normal about James Gilbert’s estate.

James Gilbert died sometime between June of 1703 and June of 1704. That’s when things get quite juicy!!! The will is probated and Mary is quite unhappy, as one might expect. For us as genealogists, that’s when the good stuff begins.

Court Order Book June 7, 1704 – Last will and testament of James Gilbert being presented to this court by the executor therein named for proofe, the same was proved by the oaths of Thomas White and Edward Welsh and order for probate granted thereon.

Thomas White appears to be the uncle of John Mills Jr.

Court Order Book Page 332 June 7, 1704 – Ordered Charles Dodson, William Smoote and George Devenport or any 2 of them appraise estate of James Gilbert. Sworn plus Mary Gilbert executrix.

Often, or when possible, the appraisers were the largest creditor, someone from the wife’s family and a totally disinterested party.   A child or someone who benefitted from the will was never appointed an appraiser.

Court Order Book Aug 2, 1704 – Petition of Mary Gilbert setting forth ye last will of her decd husband James Gilbert, was only proved in common forme and that the same ought to have been proved in dur forme of law yt: ye executr of the said decd be summed to the next court held for this county to prove y said will in due forme of law.

Court Order Book October 4, 1704 – Order for proving the last will of James Gilbert is continued till morning.

Court Order Book Nov 1, 1704 – Pursuant to an order of court Aug 3, 1704 granted upon the petition of Mary Gilbert for the (C???) of John Mills, executor of the last will and testament of James Gilbert, decd, to prove the will of the said James according to due form of law, it only being proved in (____) form, the said Mills accordingly appeared and Mary Gilbert by her attorney George Eskridge, not insisting on any further proofe by ye said Will than already made but did by his pleading make voyd the same and all dependence and evidences in order to prove the said James in his lifetime revoked and said will. The court on ye consideration of ye whole matter are of judgement that the will of said James Gilbert is a good will and duely proved and that the evidences produced to prove the revocation thereof are not sufficient in the law to prove the said revocation from which judgement (upon reading the order) the said Mary Gilbert by her attorney George Eskridge did appeale to the 5th day of the next general court and upon the motion of the said Mary Gilbert by her aforesaid attorney George Eskridge (the evidence produced to prove the abovesaid revocation being put into writing and severally sworne to in court) are ordered to be recorded.

From which judgment Mary Gilbert by her attorney George Eskridge appeals to the 5th day of the next general court.

This day Samuel Samford and Edward Jones acknowledge themselves indebted to the justices of Richmond county in the full and just summe of 20,000 pounds tobacco and caske to be paid to the justices their exrs and admrs in case Mary Gilbert do not prosecute an appeale by her made from an order of this court this day obtained against her by John Mills exr of James Gilbert to the 5th day of the next general court.

The general court was held at Williamsburg each April and October, and I have been unable to find any references to specific cases or James Gilbert’s among the reported decisions. In 1799, the general court was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg.

A call to the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, a part of the Colonial Williamsburg, confirms that indeed, the general court records from the time period including 1704 have burned. Very unfortunately, this seems to be the end of our information about this case, except for the following depositions which were clearly given in preparation for the general court case.

The following depositions were found in the Richmond Co., VA Miscellaneous Records, 1699-1724 by TLC Genealogy.

Page 26 – Deposition. Thomas Langdale, aged about 24 years, says that one and a half years before James Gilbert’s death, John Mills came over to James Gilbert’s where your deponent then lived and when the said John Mills went away, said Mills told your deponent that James would make his will, meaning your deponent’s master, and sometime after that, John Mills Jr. came to your deponent’s master’s house and your deponent’s master, James Gilbert, went along with the said John Mills Jr. and when the said James Gilbert came back again, your deponent asked him whether he had finished his business and the said James Gilbert answered, yes, and some time after that, your deponent asked John Mills Jr. who your deponent’s master has left his estate to and the said John Mills Jr. answered that he had left it all to him, only 20 shillings and that he had left to his wife, and sometime after that, your deponent met with Thomas White and he told your deponent that his master has set him free when he died. Signed Nov. 2, 1704. Thomas (U his mark) Langdale

This deposition raises far more questions than it answers. We know that James Gilbert’s will was dated January 31, 1701/02. If we calculate his actual death based on this date, this deposition tells us that James Gilbert actually died in about June or July of 1703. Not included in this deposition, but through genealogy, John Mills Sr.’s wife, Hester, was the daughter of Richard White. Therefore, we know that John Mills Jr.’s mother was not a child of James Gilbert. This is in addition to James Gilbert’s will referring to John Mills Jr. as his friend.

Page 26b Deposition. Ann Kelly, aged 20 years or thereabouts, says that on last New Year’s Day, Thomas Durham, your deponent’s master, sent her to James Gilbert’s to desire him to come down to pipe it, and as your deponent and said James Gilbert were coming back, by John Mills his plantation, James Gilbert asked your deponent whether his old woman was at your deponent’s master’s house and your deponent answered, yes, she was, and said James Gilbert held up his 2 hands and said, God’s Curse Light upon that family naming John Mills and all his family and said that if it were not for John Mills and his wife, he and his wife would never have lived at variance as they did, and your deponent told said James Gilbert that it was his own fault, living so, and asked him why he had not fought away his chest and confound that will which he made, and the said James Gilbert said that John Mills and his family had robbed his chest so that they would not agree upon any means that he should fetch it away, and that they were ashamed of it, and the said James Gilbert said that there was a will made but swore by God that he knew not what was in it no more than I did, and your deponent asked said James Gilbert whether he was no sent for to sign his will, but said Gilbert answered, swearing by his God, that he did not sign it, and told your deponent that he had not the sense to make a will, and that John Mills was a rogue for making a false will and that made him and his wife live so discontentedly and further your deponent says that she saw said Gilbert last Feb. count 15 head of cattle for 40. Signed Nov. 2, 1704 by mark

Since this deposition was given in November of 1704, I would presume that “last New Year’s Day” would mean New Year’s of January 1704, not January of 1703.

Clearly, the damage from James Gilbert’s seizures, and perhaps whatever caused them to begin with, is taking its toll.

If there is a smoking gun, this might be it relative to Dorothy being the daughter of Mary and James Gilbert, although it alone is very weak evidence. On New Year’s Day, a day of celebration, James Gilbert’s wife was already at the home of Dorothy Durham. By this time, January 1704, James Gilbert was already very angry with the Mills family for some reason. This occurred between one and two years after James Gilbert made his will and left everything to John Mills Jr. By this time, James also claims he doesn’t know what is or was in the will and that he didn’t sign.

Page 27 – Deposition. Lawrence Callahan aged about 21 years says that your deponent being at John Simon’s house on a Sabbath Day, sometime last summer, he heard John Mills and Thomas Landale talking together, and that Thomas Langdale told John Mills that he did not know that he was to be set free by his master’s will until he had met Thomas White coming from Moratico Mill and the said John Mills said that he should be free nevertheless. Signed Nov. 2, 1704 Lawrence Callahan by his mark

James Gilbert had at least one indentured servant, Thomas Landale.

Page 27 Dorothy Durham aged about 41 years says that sometime before James Gilbert’s death, being in company of said Gilbert and William Smoote, amongst other discourse, she heard said Gilbert say to said Smoote that he did not know that there was any Resurrection or not, and that had made a will to John Mills, but that it signified nothing, and that your deponent did, several times, hear the said Gilbert say that John Mills was a rogue and that he nor any of his should ever be the better for what he had. Signed Nov. 2, 1704 – Dorothy (P her mark) Dureham

Clearly, William Smoot is involved with this family, one way or another. One would think that if James Gilbert was Dorothy’s father that Gilbert would not have informed a daughter, namely Dorothy, that he was left his estate to John Mills Jr. by allowing her to overhear a discussion with another person. Not only does this deposition not state a relationship to James Gilbert, the discussion about the will suggests that Dorothy is not the child of James Gilbert.

Page 27b – Deposition. John Ingo, aged about 29 years, says that James Gilbert, a small time before his death, was at his house and did declare to him that he did intend to fetch away his chest from John Mills’ house, for he said that it lay in such a nasty condition, with hen dung and such like nastiness, that he could not well come at his chest for it and that he was afraid that the chest and goods both would be damnified with the nastiness, and that he did intend to fetch the chest home to his own house and did swear bitterly that John Mills, nor any of his family, should ever be the better for anything of his estate, and that the will that he made did signify nothing, and the said John Ingo further says that a little before James Gilbert was burnt, he asked him whether he was not persuaded to make a will or made drunk when he did make it, and the said James Gilbert answered that he was not, but was as sober as he was at that time, and then the said James Gilbert was sober. Signed Nov. 3, 1704 John Ingo

This deposition, along with the next is disturbing. It appears that James Gilbert burned to death.

Page 28 – Deposition. Martha Ingo says that some small time before James Gilbert’s death, said Gilbert being at your deponent’s house, she asked said Gilbert why he did not alter his will, and Gilbert answered that he would, and at the same time, your deponent heard Gilbert swear, by God’s blood, that John Mills nor any of his family should ever be the better for anything that he had, for he was a very rascal or a rogue, and further, said Martha Ingo says that a small time before the said James Gilbert was burnt, she heard her husband, John Ingo, ask said Gilbert whether he was not persuaded to make a will or made drink when he did make it, and that the said Gilbert answered him and said that he was not drunk, but that he was sober. Signed Nov. 2, 1704 by her mark

Apparently James Gilbert drank, and got drunk, but denied being drunk when he made his will.

Page 28 – Deposition. William Smoot says that James Gilbert was not in his perfect senses by reason of fits, which had followed him for several years, and I having some discourse with him about a will which he had made to John Mills for to had him altered it, and he said he had made a will to John Mills, but it signified not, for it was good for nothing and I advising him to prepare for his end and to make his peace with God and to be reconciled with his wife, and he giving very foolish and cross answers, I told him that if he had a mind to have the Sacrament given to him, that no minister would give it to him if he did not change his mind, and likewise, I asked him if he thought there was a Resurrection or not, and he said he did not know and that he did not go to church nor would not yield to have any reading to him in his sickness, nor at other times did not care for it, as ever I could understand, but it was his delight to be in the woods with his sponsor(?) on the Sabbath day. Signed Nov. 2, 1704

This deposition gives us a possibility of what happened to James Gilbert, and perhaps how he burned to death. He may have had an epileptic seizure and fallen into a fire. Furthermore, the testimony about his “foolish and cross answers” would well signify increasing brain damage as a result of the seizures that he had been enduring for several years. That might also explain why he felt that his will meant nothing, when ultimately, it would be upheld by the court.

The fact that William Smoot does not specify a relationship to James Gilbert certainly suggests that they were not closely related by blood.

Page 28b – Deposition. John Rankin, aged about 38 years, says that about 3 years ago, your deponent being in the woods with Mr. George Devenport, near your deponent’s plantation, John Mills Sr. met there with your deponent and said to your deponent that James Gilbert, late decd, was going to live up in Stafford and the said Mills did request your deponent to persuade said Gilbert not to go. Immediately while the said Mills was in your deponent’s company, and your deponent did, by his advice at that time, persuade said Gilbert not to go, nor did said Gilbert ever go, and further, your deponent some short time after, met with the said Mills and the said Mills said that the aforesaid Gilbert did intend to get your deponent to write the said Gilbert’s will, but your deponent never did. Some considerable time after your deponent met with said Gilbert and after some discourse, the said Gilbert said to your deponent that that will that had made to young Mills, signified nothing, and some time before said Gilbert’s death about 10 days, your deponent went to see said Gilbert at his house and amongst some other discourse said Gilbert told your deponent that the aforesaid will signified nothing. Signed Nov. 2, 1704 John Rankin

I wonder why James Mills Sr. did not want James Gilbert to move to Stafford County in 1701.

This ends the depositions. The court apparently found that James Gilbert’s will held, given that John Mills Jr. continues to be the executor, which then begs the question of how Mary Gilbert later sold land to Thomas Durham. She must have owned it fully in her own right or inherited it after James Gilbert’s death. Otherwise the land would have been part of James Gilbert’s estate.

Court Order Book October 4, 1705 – Action brought by Mary Gilbert against John Ingo dismissed, the plt not prosecuting.

Court Order Book Feb. 7, 1705/06 – In action of case between John Dalton and Mary his wife, admin of William Brockenbrough decd plt and John Mills, Jr., exec of James Gilbert decd, deft for 334 lb tobacco, the deft being returned by sheriff by copy left and no appearing upon the motion of the plt an attachment is granted to him against the estate of the deft for the summe aforesaid

Court Order Book March 7, 1705/06 – Judgment granted to John Dalton and Mary his wife admin of William Brockenbrough decd against John Mills Jr. exec of James Gilbert decd for 335 lb tobacco due by account which is ordered to be paid with costs of suit.

Deed Book Page 109a-110a April 26, 1707 – Indenture between Mary Gilbert of North Farnham Parish, widow and Thomas Durham and same and wife Dorothy – that Mary Gilbert for consideration sell tract of land upon branch of Farnham Creek called the Briery Swamp containing 50 acres now in occupation of Walter Wright bound by corner along land of William Smoote. Signed with mark, Witness William Smoot and Mil. Walters

This deed tells us that Mary Gilbert’s land bordered that of William Smoot. We don’t know how Mary or James Gilbert came into possession of this land. Generally, the widow does not inherit land, only a percentage of the estate, so Mary must have owned this land individually. Fifty acres is the amount of land awarded for one headright.

Deed Book P 110a William Smoote planter, Farnham Parish, consideration to Thomas Durham of same, planter, quit claim a certain plantation and tract or land situate in upon a branch of Farnham Creek called the Bryery Swamp and bounded (same description as deed between Mary Gilbert and Thomas Durham above) April 20, 1707 signed. Wit Anne Kelly and Mil. Waters

Court Order Book Page 299 Sept. 3, 1707 Mary Gilbert acknowledges deed to Thomas Durham, ordered recorded.

Page 299 Sept. 3, 1707 William Smoot acknowledged release of right and title of parcel of land sold by Mary Gilbert to Thomas Durham and ordered to be recorded.

It appears we need to look at the Mills family to see if there any clues to be found.

John Mills Family

John Mills, the elder, who died in February of 1710/11 was married to Hester White as proven by the will of Richard White probated in July of 1708 in Richmond County naming his children, including Hester Mills. Hester’s brother, Thomas White was continuously involved with the John Mills family.

When John Mills Sr. died in 1711, son John Jr. was of age and inherited the “land where I now live” from his father, but several other children were still underage.

John Mills (Sr.) is first mentioned in January of 1686/87 when he posts bond for Elizabeth Lincolne to administer the estate of her deceased husband, John Lincoln. Charles Dodson is listed as the administer of that estate. John Hill married John Lincoln’s widow and after her death. Charles Dodson’s widow, Ann, later marries John Hill, evidently after the death of Elizabeth Lincoln.

In 1691-1694, John Mills and wife Hester are buying and selling land on Tostuskey Creek.

Court Order Book March 3, 1698/99 – Ordered that James Gilbert pay unto John Mills 12 days attendance according to act being by him subpoenaed as evidence in the suit between James Gilbert plt and Edward Geffery deft.

Deed Book, Pages 117-119 Oct 30, 1699 between John Mills, planter and Easter Mills, wife, Richmond Co., to William Richardson 20 acres in Farnham Parish begin at corner white oake in a branch joining upon Thomas Duzin line running along the line SW or thereabouts until the dividing line between James Gilbert and the said Mills, along the line of William Smyth until he comes to the said marked white oak. Mills bought it of George Vincent. Signed by both with their marks. Witness Samuel Jones mark, John Browne.

I John Mills have nominated and appointed William Smoot Jr. my true and lawful attorney to deliver to Mr. William Richardson a deed of land to him and his heirs. October 1, 1700. Witness Thomas Mackey, William Smoot Sr. signed by John Mills with his mark

I Hester Mills nominate William Smoot Jr. (same as above) including witnesses.

This deed is quite interesting, because it proves that Gilbert did own land and locates the land of James Gilbert adjacent to John Mills.

In March of 1700, John Mills is ordered by the court to be paid for 8 days attendance in a suit where Francis Moore, a ship’s captain who is also a merchant versus William Smoot Jr. and again in 1701 where John Mills attends court 10 days for the same suit.

Court Order Book April 5, 1700 – Action brought by John Mills against Abraham Marshall and Thomasin his wife is dismist, the plt not appearing to prosecute

This is extremely interesting, because Thomasin Marshall is the sister of Dorothy Durham.

In August and October of 1700, John and Hester Mills both give power of attorney to William Smoot Jr. the son of William Smoot Sr., in order for them to prove a land sale to William Richardson and save them a trip to the courthouse.

In July of 1706 when neighbor Charles Dodson dies, and his widow, Ann, married John Hill, John Rankin, William Smoote, John Mills and Richard White or any 3 of them are ordered by the court to meet and appraise the estate of Charles Dodson. These men all lived in the vicinity of Charles Dodson – and each other. Richard White is the father-in-law of John Mills. We don’t know who the wife of Charles Dodson was, but she is very possibly a local woman.

Court Order Book, Page 40 June 2, 1709 – Action brought by Jeremiah Greenham against John Mills is dismissed plt not prosecuting.

Jeremiah Greenham would one day marry Dorothy Durham, but in 1709, Dorothy’s first husband, Thomas Durham Sr. was still living.

Richmond County Will Book P 37 – John Mills, Farnham Parish, will Dec. 30 1709, probated Feb. 7, 1710/11, son John land where I now live, daughters Hannah, Hester, Elizabeth Green, other sons Richard 50 ac, Thomas 50 ac, George (under 21), James (under 21), wife Hester, exec wife, wit Winifred Southern, John Rankin, Thomas White.

The birth of Elizabeth to John and Ester Mills is recorded in the North Farnham Parish Register.

Court Order Book Feb 7, 1710/11 – Will of John Mills, late of this county, decd, proved by oathes of John Rankin and Thomas White, 2 of the witnesses, admitted to record and Hester Mills executrix. Probate granted.

It’s unlikely that James Gilbert left his entire estate to John Mills Jr. because John Jr. was James Gilbert’s son-in-law. Understanding that James Gilbert’s will says John Mills Jr. is a friend, I still had to work through this possibility, because clearly James Gilbert had to have some motivation for leaving his entire estate to John Mills Jr.

If John Mills Jr. was the eldest son of John Mills Sr., given that John Sr. had 2 underage sons at his death, suggesting that the rest of his children were of age, that would put the age of John Mills Jr. at about 30 or 32 when his father died in 1711. If he was 32 in 1711, he would have been about 22 or 23 in 1702 when James Gilbert wrote his will. This would put the birth of John Mills Jr. about 1679.

We know that James Gilbert first shows up in the records in 1690. If Gilbert’s daughter is indeed Dorothy Durham, which is as yet only speculation, she was born in 1663 and was married in the 1680s, as were her sisters. Therefore, James Gilbert would have had to have been in the area, if not in the records, by the mid 1680s.

While women have children for generally 20-24 years, it’s likely that John Mills Jr. is a generation younger than James Gilbert and his wife, Mary – although it would not be impossible for John Jr.’s wife Mary to be the daughter of James Gilbert and his wife Mary, although I think it’s extremely unlikely given James Gilbert referring to John Mills Jr. as his friend and not as anything more.

John Mills Jr. is first mentioned in any records in the will of James Gilbert wherein all of the drama begins.

North Farnham Parish Wills, Richmond County, Virginia – f69r – James Gilbert of North Farnham Parish, will dated 31 Jan 1701/02, probated 7 June 1704 wife Mary; executor: friend. John Mills Jr; wits: Edward Welch, Jane Williams, Thomas White.

Please refer to the James Gilbert section for the depositions and proceedings having to do with James Gilbert’s will.

We don’t know when John Mills Jr. married, nor who his wife was, other than her first name was Mary, but we do know that he was married before March of 1719 when his son George was born. George died in January of 1721. A second child is recorded as Mills Mills (sic) born in 1722.

Court Order Book Page 38, April 4, 1722 – George Davenport, John Mills, Jeremiah Greenham and Thomas Dodson or any 3 of them to appraise estate of Thomas Welch. All sworn and also Elizabeth Welch, executrix.

This order would have been John Mills Jr, as John Mills Sr. was deceased by this time.

Based on the following entry, John Mills Jr. is dead by 1728 and Mary Mills, his widow, appears to have married Thomas Livack.

Court Order Page 435 October 2, 1728 Action of debt between Frances Hill executrix of will of John Hill, decd, plt and Thomas Livack and Mary, wife, executrix of will of John Mills, decd, for 16,000 pounds tobacco due by bond, the def being called and not appearing the motion of the plt judgement is granted her against the defts.

Yes, this is the same John Hill that married Elizabeth, the widow of John Lincoln and Ann, the widow of Charles Dodson, and who was married at the time of his death to Frances.

Dorothy’s Sisters

We know who two of Dorothy’s sisters are due to the fortuitous listing of relatives in four wills.

  • The first will belongs to John Stretchley, second husband to Dorothy’s sister, Alice.

Abstracts of Lancaster County, Virginia Wills 1653-1800 by Ida J. Lee

Stretchley, John – probated 6 Dec. 1698. Recorded 14 Dec. 1698.

Wife: Alice. Daughters-in-law: Catherine Chinn, Anne Chinn. Son- in-law: Raw. Chinn. Cousin: Edwd. Audley. Sister: Sarah Bambridge. Extrx: Wife. Wits: Wm. Ball, Rich. Ball, Geo. Haile. W.B. 8, p. 87.

In this case, daughters-in-law means daughters by law, or step daughters in today’s vernacular.

  • The second will that of John Stretchley’s wife, Alice, from the same source. Alice’s first husband, John Chinn had been married previously and died in 1691.

Alice died with a will in 1701.

Stretchley, Alice, wife of Jno. Stretchley of St. Mary’s White Chappell. 29 Aug. 1701. Rec. 8 Oct. 1701. Daughters: Anne Fox the portion bequeathed her by Jno. Chinn, her father, and by Jno. Stretchley, her father-in-law; Catherine Heale. Sisters: Dorothy Durham and Tomassin Marshall. Son-in-law: Capt. Wm. Fox. Son: Rawleigh Chinn “all money in the hands of Mr. Jno. Pemberton, Mercht. of Liverpool.” Cousin: Mary Dodson. Wits: Jas. Taylor, Lewis Pugh, David Smith. W.B. 8, p. 106.

  • The third will is by Ann Chinn Fox Chichester, Dorothy’s niece, mentioned above, who first married William Fox who died in 1718, then Richard Chichester. John Fox’s will mentions wife Ann and daughter Mary, but sadly, according to Ann’s will, Mary has apparently died.

Ann’s Will is dated February 9, 1725, and was recorded December 10, 1729 in Clerks Office, Lancaster County, Virginia – Will book no. 12, pg. 123

In the name of God I am Ann Chichester, wife of Richard Chichester of the County of Lancaster…

Item – I give to my Aunt Dorothy Greenham, wife of Jeremiah Greenham of Richmond Co. Planter, my suit of silk crape clothes and a suit of muslin head clothes – with apron, rufels and —

Item – My will and desire is that my Mulatto girl name Mary which is now in possession of Jeremiah Greenham and my aunt Dorothy Greenham his wife remain with my Aunt Greenham until the said mulatto girl Mary shall rise to the years of twenty and one if my Aunt Dorothy Greenham shall live so long and in case my Aunt shall die before Mary shall come to 21 years then my will is that my niece Ellen Heale have ye said mulatto until she arrives to 21 years and at the expiration of 21 my will and pleasure is that mulatto Mary be free from all persons whatsoever.

Item – I give unto Capt. George Heale Junr, William Heale Junr. Ann Heale, Catherine Heale, twenty shillings each.

Item – I give unto Joseph Chinn, son of my brother Rawleigh Chinn, my Negro woman Moriah and her three children viz: namely Hannah, Nanny, Ruth, to him ye said Joseph Chinn and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten but if he shall die without such heirs then my will and desire is that the said Negro woman Moriah and her three daughters, namely Hannah, Nanny, and Ruth and their increase be equally divided amongst my brothers children namely, Thomas Chinn, Chichester Chinn, Ann Chinn, and Sarah Ellen Chinn and their heirs forever.

Item – I give to my brother Rawleigh Chinn my two Negro lads namely Dublin and Cefis until such time my nephew Christopher Chinn shall come to the age of twenty one years and then my will and desire is that Christopher Chinn have and enjoy my two negros Dublin and Cefis to him the said Christopher Chinn and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten forever, but in case he die without heirs then my will is that John Chinn have ye Negro Dublin and Rawleigh Chinn have and enjoy Cefis to them and their heirs forever.

Item – I give to Rawleigh Chinn, son of my brother Rawleigh Chinn twenty shillings.

Item – I give unto Ann Chinn all my plate hereafter mentioned, viz: one large silver tankard market or engraves ISA (?), half a dozen silver spoons and silver ladle marked ACA and one silver tumbler to her and her heirs.

Item – I give to Ann Chinn one suit of my clothes and half a dozen new Rusia Leather chairs.

Item – I give unto Eliza Heale all the remainder of my clothes of the better sort.

Item – I give unto Catherine Lindsey and Catherine Kirk all my usual wearing clothes to be equally divided between them.

Item – I give to Sarah Heale three silver salts and my side saddle.

Item – I give James Atchison six hundred pounds of tobacco to be paid him out of the crop made on the hills plantation.

Item – I give unto my brother Rawleigh Chinn ten Pounds Sterling I have in the hands of Mr. William Dawkins, merchant in London.

Item – I give unto my brother all residue of my estate in what nature forever.

Item – I appoint my loving brother Rawleigh Chinn my sole executor of this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills and deeds by me made and do publish and declare this the last as witness my hand and seale this ninth day of February, One Thousand Seven Hundred twenty and five/six.

Signed, sealed and published in presence of Edmond Carroll, Eliza Heale, Catherine Quick (Kirk?). Rawleigh Chinn audited her est. Feb. 13, 1729, amt. 250 pounds.

  • The fourth will is that of Abraham Marshall, husband of Tomazin, sister to Dorothy, found in Richmond County, VA.

Will of Abraham Marshall, blacksmith written November 3, 1708 and probated July 6, 1709 – Wife Thomasin use of plant. and lands in North Farnham Parish, after her death to daughter Mary Campbell, if she has no heirs, to brother John Marshall of Bradfield in Berkshire in the Kingdom of England, and if he has no heirs to go to John Durham of North Farnham Parish; son in law Alexander Cambell; exec: wife; witnesses: Thomas Morgan, Alexander Thompson, [Mil.] Walters

Tree

Based on the various wills, plus a few birth years from the parish register, we have the following tree for Dorothy and her sisters.

What’s obviously missing are the parents of Dorothy, Thomasin and Alice.

Abraham Marshall

Thomasin was married to Abraham Marshall by the time their daughter was born in 1699. She may have been married to him many years previously, but that is the first record of Thomasin. Abraham Marshall died in 1709 and Thomasin remarried to William Goodridge. Goodridge died in 1713, mentioning her in the will written May 12, 1713 and probated on September 2, 1713, along with his children from a prior marriage. William’s will was proven by Thomas and Dorothy Durham – Thomasin’s sister and brother-in-law.

North Farnham Parish Register – Mary Marshall daughter of Abraham and Thomasin Marshall, January 7, 1699

Court Order Book April 5, 1700 – Action brought by John Mills against Abraham Marshall and Thomasin his wife is dismist, theplt not appearing to prosecute

Court Order Book July 2, 1701 – Katherine Thatchill servant to Abraham Marshall by and with her own consent is ordered to serve her master or his assignes the full terms of one years after her time by indenture custome or otherwise be fully expired being for the payment of her fine for committing the sin of fornication.

This day Abraham Marshall confesed judgemtent to the churchwarden of Farnham Parish for the use of the parish for 500 pounds good tobacco in cask which this court have ordered to be aid with costs of suit. Exo. Being the fine ode from Katherine Thatchill for committing the sin of fornication.

Ordered that Katherine Thatchill do serve Abraham Marshall her present master according to act for the care and trouble of her childbirth of a bastard child.

It being evidenctly made appear to the court that Catharine Parry, servant to Abraham Marshall did fugitively absent herself from her said master’ service the space of 15 days and that her said master hath expended 300 pounds of tobacco for percuring her againe, the court have ordered that the said Katherine do serve her said master or his assignes the full terms of one years after her time and be fully expired being for the payment of her fine for committing the sin of fornication.

Court Order Book May 6, 1702 – Capt. John Tarpley one of the churchwardens of the parish of North Farnham certifying to this court that Thomas Tatchall being a parish charge and Abraham Marshall being willing to discharge the said parish of ye said Thomas, the court have ordered that the said Thomas Tatchall do serve the said Abraham Marshall and Thomazin his wife their heires and assignes until he shall attaine to the full age of 21 years.

Court Order Book Nov. 6, 1702 – Action brought by James Gilbert against Abraham Marshall is dismist the plt not prosecuting.

Court Order Book Aug. 3, 1704 – Motion of Abraham Marshall by his attorney Daniel McCarty setting forth that James Dooling servant to the said Abraham hath by ye persuasion of some of his neighbors absented himself from his said masters service and doth refuse to return home with him. It is heretofor ordered that the said James do forthwith returne home to the service of his said master and that he continue in the same will further order from the court.

Court Order Book Aug. 3, 1704 – Especiall impll. Is granted in the suite betweene Abraham Marshall blacksmith, plt and Robert Renolds deft, until next court.

Court Order Book Aug. 3, 1704 – Daniel McCarthy entered attorney for Abraham Marshall.

Court Order Book October 4, 1704 – Upon petition of James Dolling for his freedome ordered that the said James to returne home to the service of his said master, Abraham Marshall, and that Mr. Francis Moore who imported the said James make oath that he has indentures for the terme of 9 years according to the certificate produced to this court under the hand of the Mayor of the Citty of Dublin.

Court Order Book October 4, 1704 – Imparlance granted in the suite betweene Abraham Marshall, blacksmith, plt and Robert Reynolds deft until next court.

Richmond County Wills by Robert Headley Jr. – F131t – Abraham Marshall, blacksmith, will Nov 3, 1708, July 6, 1709, wife Thomasin use of plantation and lands in North Farnham Parish, after her death to daughter Mary Cam(p)bell, if she has no heirs, to brother John Marshall of Bradfield in Berkshire in the kingdom of England and if he has no heirs, to go to John Durham (son of Thomas Durham) of NFP; s-i-l Alexander Cam(p)bell; exec wife, wit Thomas Morgan, Alexander Thompson (Mil.) Walters.

The birth of Mary Marshall to Abraham and Thomas in was recorded on Jan 7, 1699 in the North Farnham Parish Register (page 126), yet apparently she had married Alexander Cam(p)bell by November 1708. One or the other entries has to be incorrect. The Parish Register is known to have been copied into a new book at least once.

Deed Book Dec 10, 1723 Thomas Durham to Thomas Dodson Sr., 5 shillings 100 acres formerly belonging to Abraham Marshall bounded by Spanish Oak corner tree of Charles Dodson part of patent formerly granted to William Thatcher by the main branch of Totoskey and then (metes and bounds.) Signed Thomas and Mary Durham, wit John Hill, William Walker and Jeremiah Greenham

Deed Book Dec 10, 1723 between Thomas Durham to Thomas Dodson Sr. of Richmond Co. 5000 pounds tobacco received by Thomas Dodson Sr. certain parcel of land formerly belonging to Abraham Marshall bearing date 25th of 9ber, 1692, containing 100 acres bounded (same as lease above). Signed Thomas Durham, Mary Durham, wit John Hill, William Walker, Jeremiah Greenham

Mary Dodson appeared in court May 6, 1724 and released her dower

Deed Book Page 12 Lease and release Dec 6-7, 1733 from Thomas Dodson Sr. and Mary his wife and Thomas Dodson Jr. and Eliza his wife all of NFP to John’n Lyell of same in consideration of a negro woman to be delivered to said Dodson as soon as any comes to Virginia to be sold as the said Dodson Jr. wished about 130 acres in North Farnham Parish and bounded by Charles Dodson by the main swamp of Totuskey. The other 30 acres of land is bounded by old Cone path formerly belonging to Daniel Oneal, a line of trees that divides the land of Mr. Spencer and the land of Thomas Dusin, corner oak formerly belonging to William Matthews, along Matthews line the land formerly belonging to John Jenly. Of the 130 acres, 100 acres formerly belonged to Abraham Marshall by a deed dates 25 9ber 1692 and from thence conveyed to Thomas Durham and by the said Durham sold to Thomas Dodson Sr. The other 30 acres was formerly sold by Thomas Dusin to Thomas Southern by deed dated 21 7ber 1687. Signed Thomas Dodson Sr. his mark T, Mary her mark M, Thomas Dodson Jr., Elizabeth her mark, witnesses Robert Reynolds and George Gibson and William Creel, Recorded April 1, 1734

John Chinn

John Chinn’s (Chynn) family was involved in transporting people to Virginia in order to receive headrights. Alice was John Chinn’s second wife, marrying sometime before the birth of their first child in 1682 which puts Alice’s birth about 1662, or earlier. John died a decade later, in 1692, with a will listing his children.

John Chinn is obtaining patents as early as 1664 for land upon Morrattico Creek, by the Dragon Swamp and at the head of Morrattico. In his adult life, he appears to live in Lancaster County, adjacent Richmond County. Given that John was already patenting land about the time Alice Chinn was born, he was probably at least 20 years older than Alice.

Cavaliers and Pioneers Patent Book No. 4; Pg 436 – John Chinn, 100 acs. Lancaster Co., 24 Aug. 1664, p. 125, (630). Upon Morrattico Cr., adi. his own & land of Henry Davis. Trans. of 2 pers: James Potter, Thomas Coate.

Cavaliers and Pioneers Patent Book No. 6; Pg 31 – John Chynn, 370 acs. upon a br. of Moratico Cr., adj. land’ of Edward Miles; 17 Mar. 1667/8, p. 113. Granted is David Fox, Gent., assigned to Lambeth Lambethson, who assigned to Alexander Portus, by him assigned to Thomas Williams, who assigned to John Chynn & Henry Davis, & sd. Davis assigned his title to sd. Chynn.

Cavaliers and Pioneers Patent Book No. 6; Pg 31 – John Chynn & John Gibson, of Lancaster Co., 550 acs. in Rappa. Co., 17 Mar. 1667/8, p. 113. Beg. by the Draggon Swampe & adj. land of John &c. Trans. of 11 pers: John Johnson, James Johnson, Henry Woodbridge, Anne Wilson, Wm. Harman Flering, Francis Dolphin, Rich.Jno. Medler (?), Wm. Baker, Rick. Parker.

Cavaliers and Pioneers Patent Book No. 6; Pg 70 – Mr. Thomas Wright & John Chynn; 220 acs. N. side of Rappa. Co., near the head of Moratticoe Cr., by the Mill Dam, &c; 26 Apr. 1670, p. 276. Trans. of 5 pers: Ralph Hall, Ben. Davis, Cutberth Taylor, Lyddia Gates, Edward Jones.

Today, we find on Family Search that Edge Hill, nearing Downings Virginia is listed as being the home of the Chinn family, and nearby, we find Chinn’s Pond. This correlates with the location of the above grants and deeds. Edge Hill Road is shown with the red balloon, below. Chinn’s Pond is the body of water to the right of the red balloon.

The two inlets to the north are Farnham Creek and Totuskey Creek, both locations documented in the various deeds. We know that are allied families are living between Chinn’s and Rich Neck, north of 360, near the Haynesville Correctional Center, shown below.

Where Are We?

Ok, we have lots of data, but where are we really?

Good question. I wondered the same thing.

Here’s what we know.

William is NOT Dorothy’s Father

William Smoot is not Dorothy’s father, as proven both by his interactions and his will where he leaves all of his estate to his grandchildren through daughter Mary who married Dorothy’s son, Thomas Durham Jr., highlighted in yellow.

Further evidence of this is that William Smoot’s daughter, Mary, married Dorothy’s son. If Dorothy was William Smoot’s daughter, then Dorothy’s son would have married her sister.

William Smoot and Mary Gilbert are both Related to Dorothy

William Smoot is related to both Dorothy and her sister, Alice, given that William deeds land in 1700 to Dorothy and in the case that Dorothy dies without heirs, Dorothy’s sister’s daughter receives the land.

After James Gilbert’s death, Mary Gilbert sells 50 acres to Thomas and Dorothy Durham, NOT just Thomas Durham. William Smoot quitclaims the land that Mary Gilbert sells to the Durhams. This suggests that the relationship between both William Smoot and Mary Gilbert is to Dorothy Durham, not her husband, Thomas. Otherwise, the deeds would have been to Thomas Durham, not to Dorothy alone in 1700 and Thomas and Dorothy in 1707.

Therefore, William Smoot is probably a sibling of Mary Gilbert. If Mary Gilbert is of the age to be the mother of Dorothy, then Mary Gilbert would have been born no later than 1643 and possibly as early as 1620. That would make Mary between the ages of 64 and 87 in 1707 when she deeds the land to Thomas and Dorothy Durham, and William Smoot quitclaims the land.

William Smoot of Rappahannock County is first found in the records in 1672, so of age and born no later than 1650. He and his wife are having children in the 1680s and his son, William Smoot Jr. comes of age by 1701.

Scenario 1 – Is William Smoot the Son of Mary Gilbert?

Given the ages involved, William Smoot could possibly have been the son of Mary Gilbert by a previous marriage.

If William Smoot is the son of Mary Gilbert and the brother to Dorothy, then Thomasin and Alice’s heirs would both have had to quitclaim the land that Mary sold to Dorothy and Thomas Durham in 1707. This didn’t happen, so I doubt that Mary Gilbert is the mother of both William Smoot and Dorothy Durham.

If William Smoot is the brother of Dorothy Durham, with Mary Gilbert being their mother, then Mary was married to a Smoot before she married James Gilbert.

This would mean that James Gilbert was the step-father of Dorothy Durham and William Smoot, along with Dorothy’s sisters, Alice and Thomasin. That means that William Smoot is also the brother to Thomasin Marshall and Alice Chinn. Not impossible.

It’s also possible that Mary’s child is Jane Smoot, not William. If so, the same laws would apply, given that a husband owns his wife’s land unless she holds the land separately from him.

However, either scenario, William or Jane as the brother to Dorothy, causes me to question why William Smoot would have quit-claimed that 1707 deed, but the other living child known to be Dorothy’s sister, Thomasin, did not quitclaim the deed. Also, Dorothy’s sister Alice mentioned her two sisters in her 1701 will, but did not mention a brother. Unusual, since William Smoot was generous in the 1700 deed towards Alice’s daughter.

Therefore, I find it very unlikely that William Smoot is the brother of Dorothy Durham.

Scenario 2 – Mary Gilbert, sister to William Smoot and Dorothy’s Parent?

Another possibility is that Mary Gilbert, William Smoot (or his wife) and Dorothy’s parent are all three the children of unknown parents. This means the reason William deeded land to Dorothy was because he was her uncle. The reason Mary Gilbert deeded land to Dorothy and Thomas Durham was because she was Dorothy’s aunt and the reason William Smoot quitclaimed the deed was because he owned an interest in that land as Mary’s sibling. This does not explain why Dorothy’s sister, Thomasin, still living in 1707, along with the heirs of Dorothy’s deceased sister, Alice, didn’t also have to quitclaim that deed since ownership would have passed through their parent’s generation. If this is the case, it makes the next scenario more likely.

It’s also possible that ownership of that land was not to all three siblings, meaning Mary Gilbert, William Smoot and Dorothy’s parents, which means that Thomasin and Alice would not need to quitclaim that land if Dorothy’s parents did not own any interest. We would need to know how the land that was conveyed in 1707 was obtained by Mary Gilbert and exactly why William Smoot had an ownership right in that land. A part of that story is also why Mary Gilbert managed to retain that land after James Gilbert’s death and his entire estate being left to John Mills Jr.

This is one of the two most likely scenarios, the second being shown below.

Scenario 3 – William Smoot as the Brother of Mary Gilbert – Mother of Dorothy

In this scenario, William Smoot is the brother of Mary Gilbert, and Mary Gilbert is the mother of Dorothy Durham, Alice and Thomasin, all known to be sisters.

If William Smoot is the brother of Mary Gilbert, or Jane Smoot is Mary Gilbert’s sister, with Mary Gilbert inheriting land from their common parent(s), or even another sibling, then William would have been quitclaiming his interest in his parent’s land. Given that Mary Gilbert deeded this land in 1707, and that William Smoot’s apparent only son, William Smoot Jr., had probably died, William Smoot Sr. would have had no objection to the land from his parents going to his niece who was also a grandmother to his grandchildren through his daughter Mary and Dorothy’s son Thomas. Dorothy Durham was also William’s neighbor, so he had lived beside her for his entire life. The land sold by Mary Gilbert abutted William Smoot’s land as well as Thomas and Dorothy Durham’s land, so it was a perfect fit.

The other possibility is that William is not, himself, the brother of Mary Gilbert, but that his wife, Jane, was Mary Gilbert’s sister. The same laws would apply since William Smoot would have been the person selling his wife’s land. Jane did sign a release of dower. If Jane Smoot was Dorothy’s aunt, would William have said in the 1700 deed that he was transferring land for the “great love” he has for Dorothy? I don’t know.

If he had only added two words, “my niece,” or whatever Dorothy was to him.

In my opinion, the most likely scenario is that Mary Gilbert was originally a Smoot, or is the sister of Jane Smoot through unknown parents, and that William Smoot is not the father of Dorothy Durham, but her uncle, which explains the various relationships in a satisfactory manner that makes sense – including the omission of Thomasin’s quit-claiming the 1707 deed. She held no interest.

Tracking Neighborhood Land

In an act of utter desperation, I created a grid in Excel of all of the land transactions that included anyone with any of the family names I’ve worked with in early Rappahannock or Richmond County. These families were all neighbors.  Mary Gilbert had to acquire that land she sold in 1707 in some fashion – and given that it was bounded by William Smoot’s land, it had to have originated in these early families.

By anyone, I mean anyone mentioned as having land that bounded Smoot or Gilbert, anyone who acted as a witness, and of course, the buyer and seller.

The following grid shows only the first 12 columns of approximately 35, but it does show all of the Gilbert, Smoot or 50 acre involved transactions, highlighted in yellow.

Names on the left with nothing in their rows have entries in the columns not displayed that reflect land sales to and from Charles Dodson, Thomas Durham and others who are neighbors but not directly involved.  My goal was to perhaps find some common links to a neighbor whose land touches Charles Dodson, Thomas Durham and William Smoot – early – before Mary Gilbert obtained the land in whatever manner.

William Smoot’s land that he obtained in 1700 may have been in his hands as early as 1684 and surely was by 1694.  The neighbors are given in the patent bounds as:

  • Rowland Lawson (Leuson)
  • James Gilbert
  • Mr. Grimes (probably John, from other grants)
  • Clears who is probably Ambrose Clary

William Smoot’s land, and that of his neighbors, appears to be complex, based on these 4 entries in the book, Virginia Northern Neck Land Grants (1694-1742) Vol I:

Only two other 50 acre transactions occurred, both in 1694, one from John Mills Sr. to Thomas Dusin and one from Thomas and Susanna Dusin to William Richardson for the same land.

These lands appear to have been in the early Thomas Madison grant or grants.  Madison partnered with Richard White whose daughter Hannah was the wife of John Mills Sr.  Furthermore, James Gilbert in the 1693 court case appears to be in possession of the land grant in question. It appears that the Madison grant(s) and the Griffin grant abutted, based on 3-79, above.

Further research on the various people involved and whose land abutted these transactions produced the following information:

  • Richard White had a will and named two daughters, both of whom were married in 1708 when he died and none were named Mary, Jane, Dorothy or Thomasin.
  • Thomas Madison died in 1674 leaving everything to wife Katherine, mentioning his brother but no children.
  • Thomas Dusin died in 1704, which is after James Gilbert, but leaves his entire estate to his wife, Susannah, mentioning no children.  Dusen, according to a will he witnessed sometime before 1677 was about age 29, so born about 1648 or earlier.
  • John Henley, mentioned as the 1694 purchaser was alive yet in 1709, witnessing a will.
  • Madison also sold land to William Matthews whose daughter, Alice, married William Thacker, another gentleman patenting land in the Northern Neck of Virginia and who sold land to Charles Dodson in 1685. William Thacker was also William Smooth’s neighbor, according to Smoot’s 1694 land patent awarded in 1700.
  • William Matthews sold land to both Abraham Marshall and Charles Dodson. William Matthews died before 1686, his widow married Peter Elmore, long associated with Charles Dodson.
  • William Thacker died in 1698 leaving an underage son, Gabriel and 2 daughters, Catherine and Susanna.
  • Thomas Southern died in 1704, leaving sons James and William and 3 unnamed daughters. However, daughters Susannah (1691), Winifred (1693) and Thomas (1695) are recorded in the North Farnham Parish register for this couple, so they were having children too late to me Dorothy’s parents.
  • Ambrose Clary disappears from the records entirely.
  • Daniel O’Neal is clearly present in the community, but I was unable to find a will after 1699, nor is he present in the Maryland Families data base.  This actually may be he could be a candidate worthy of further research.
  • The Grimes family continues to appear in the records, but I was unable to find anything for John Grimes.  Further deed research would be in order, as well as early wills.
  • I was also unable to find anything further in a cursory search for Edward Riley, meaning that I have not returned to the library to search court records and all deeds.
  • Richard Fowler died in 1718.
  • John Ingo, Sr., died in 1701 leaving sons John, James and daughter Elizabeth Ascough.
  • Rowland Lawson’s father was also apparently named Rowland. One of these men was importing headrights in the 1660s.  Rowland Jr. lived and died in 1706 in Lancaster Co., VA, naming sons Henry and Rowland in his will.  His brother may have been Epaphro.

Needless to say, I’ve struck out with finding any other likely connection for Dorothy, Alice and Thomasin among the neighbor families – at least among the families involved most consistently or with a 50 acre land conveyance.

One possibility yet remaining would be to search for land transactions from both Thomas Madison and William Fauntleroy, husband of Katherine Griffin Fauntleroy, for 50 acre sales to attempt to find the land that was eventually conveyed by Mary Gilbert to Dorothy and Thomas Durham and quitclaimed by William Smoot.

This land may yet be the key to unlocking the identity of Mary Gilbert and her relationship to Dorothy Durham and William Smoot.

Revisiting James Gilbert

What remains is the question of why James Gilbert willed his estate, except for 20 shillings, to John Mills Jr. It’s possible that the reason is because he and Mary Gilbert had no children and he was the step-father to her children. This act would have upset his wife terribly, which it obviously did, but could be logically explained in this manner, although clearly this is speculation. Of course, the other possibility is that the cumulative brain damage caused him to become either irrational or confused. This is certainly a valid possibility, given that one of the depositions indicated that he couldn’t successfully count cows, mistaking 15 for 40.

It’s also possible that Mary Gilbert had no children and was the sibling of William Smoot and Dorothy’s parent – so James Gilbert felt he had no one to leave his estate to – meaning no children. Although that still doesn’t explain why he attempted to omit his wife.

In some way, Mary Gilbert and William Smoot (or his wife) came to own land jointly, probably from common parents, which is why William quitclaimed his interest in the land when Mary sold the land in 1707 to Dorothy and Thomas Durham. This also suggests that there were no additional invested property-owners in that land, because no one else conveyed or quitclaimed that land. We know that if William Smoot was Mary’s child, he would have had no vested interest in the land unless he was left that land by James Gilbert, and James Gilbert only left land to John Mills Jr. If Mary Gilbert has previously been married to a Smoot who left land to William, Mary Gilbert would not have been able to sell that land, because she would have had no interest. Widows only obtained life estate and did not own their husband’s land in fee simple. We also know that if William Smoot was Mary’s son, and Dorothy’s brother, that the third living sibling, Thomasin should also have quitclaimed that deed, and she did not, nor did the heirs of Alice, Dorothy’s other sister who had previously died.

If Mary Gilbert is William Smoot’s sister, and the mother of Dorothy and her two sisters, then Mary Gilbert had to be born before 1643, given that Dorothy was born in 1663 and may not have been the oldest of the three daughters.

If Mary Gilbert was born in or before 1643, and was the sister to William Smoot, then neither William Smoot nor Mary could have been the children of William Smoote who settled in Maryland, because we know that in 1646, when he immigrated, he did not have a daughter named Mary.

William Smoot could be the son of William Smoot of Maryland if Mary Gilbert is not his sister, but is instead the sister of his wife Jane. If that is the case, then who William Smoot descends from is irrelevant to the search for Dorothy Durham’s parents.

It’s possible that William Smoot’s wife is the person related to Mary Gilbert, and that Jane Smoot and Mary Gilbert’s parents are also the grandparents of Dorothy Durham through an unknown parent.

Having sifted through all of the available information, the best fit is that William Smoot (or his wife) and Mary Gilbert were siblings, and that Dorothy, Alice and Thomasin were the daughters of Mary Gilbert, possibly through an unknown first husband, given James Gilbert’s discussion about his will with Dorothy within hearing. That’s not exactly how you want to inform your daughter that she has been disowned. Dorothy, Alice and Thomasin could have been the daughters of James Gilbert as well, although it seems somewhat doubtful.

If Dorothy and her sisters were step-daughters, that might be one reason why James Gilbert felt no compunction to leave any of his estate to Dorothy, Alice or Thomasin – but it does not explain why he only left 20 shillings to his wife and the balance of his estate to a friend. How was his wife supposed to survive after his death? If Dorothy, Alice and Thomasin were his children, we’ll just have to chalk James Gilbert’s decision up to cumulative brain damage due to epilepsy.

The other scenario that fits equally as well is that Mary Gilbert had no children, William Smoot had only one living daughter, Mary, who married Thomas Durham Jr., and that Dorothy’s parent was the sibling of both Mary Gilbert and William Smoot (or his wife.)

I am still hopeful that someday more information will emerge, such as previously undiscovered records out of Williamsburg from the general court or early chancery suits from Richmond County.

Until that time…this is the best we can do.

My Opinion

My opinion, barring further evidence, is that the most likely scenario is Scenario 3 and that Mary Gilbert is the mother of Dorothy Durham and that James Gilbert may or may not have been her father – and that either William Smoot or his wife Jane and Mary Gilbert were siblings.

My second choice would be Scenario 2 where Mary Gilbert is the sibling of William Smoot or his wife Jane, and both are siblings of Dorothy’s parent, whoever that was.

DNA

Unfortunately, the only way to prove the theory that Mary Gilbert is Dorothy’s mother would be to utilize the mitochondrial DNA DNA of Mary Gilbert through her daughters, but since we have no idea if Mary Gilbert had any children – there are no known daughters for us to track their descendants to current.

Dorothy and her sisters had the following female children whose descendants may be candidates for testing.

If Jane Smoot’s daughter, Mary Smoot that married Thomas Durham Jr. is the sister to Dorothy’s mother, or to Dorothy, the mitochondrial DNA of her daughter, Mary, through all females to the present, would match the mitochondrial DNA of the lines shown above.

Mary Durham Dodson had two daughters, Alice born in 1711 that married an Oldham and Mary born in 1715 that married William Creel.  Nothing more is known about these lines.

However, if Mary Durham Dodson’s mtDNA matched that of Dorothy Durham’s daughter’s descendants or that of Dorothy’s daughter’s descendants – we would then know that the relationship of William Smoot to Dorothy was through his wife and not him.  Conversely, we would also know that if the mtDNA did not match, then the relationship was not directly matrilineal and probably through William Smoot and not his wife.

We can’t verify William Smoot’s Y DNA line because he had no surviving sons.

Unfortunately, we can’t use autosomal DNA in this instance to universally search for Smoot, because the descendants of Thomas Durham Jr. will match a Smoot line. The descendants of Thomas Dodson who married Mary Durham MAY show a Smoot line, because Dorothy Durham is shows in so many trees to be Dorothy Smoot.

Smoke or Fire?

However, searching at both Family Tree DNA and Ancestry for matches with the Smoot surname has produced what I would classify as smoke. But you know that old saying about smoke and fire.  The question is, do we have fire?

At Ancestry, Smoot matches break down as follows:

  • 38 total
  • 10 are private
  • 10 are either the Thomas Durham/Dorothy line
  • 9 lines are too late to be useful
  • 9 descend from the Charles County, Maryland Smoots. One of these lines matches me on a known line that is not related to the Northern Neck families.

Those from the Charles County Smoot line share from 6.1cM on one segment to 18.7 cM on two segments.  The person with 18.7 cM on two segments is known to be related through another line, although they could be related through two separate lines. Five have shared matches, but none of the shared matches are useful meaning we don’t share common ancestors in trees and there are either no common surnames, they don’t have trees, or the surnames in common don’t seem to be from the same lines.

Unfortunately, Ancestry has no chromosome browser.

Those 11 matches to people who descend from the Smoot line in Charles County, Maryland are an awful lot of smoke for there to be no fire. Because of the interrelated families and because of the distance in terms of generations and time, we would need to carefully triangulate any autosomal DNA matches to Smoot and they would have to NOT be related to me through any other line – meaning the testers would need to have a pretty complete pedigree chart.

At Family Tree DNA, Smoot matches break down as follows:

  • 8 total
  • 2 no tree BUT they are assigned to my father’s side through family match phasing
  • 4 are from Thomas Durham/Dorothy line
  • 2 are from the Charles County, Maryland Smoot line with longest blocks of 8 and 9 cM

Fortunately, I have more tools to work with at Family Tree DNA, including a chromosome browser that allows me to view the matching DNA segments of the 8 people who match me.  Unfortunately, neither of the two Charles County matches match me on the same segment as another person from my known Durham line, nor do they match anyone else is the Smoot group using the matrix tool.

So, if the matches to Smoot descendants of the Charles County, Maryland group is fire and not smoke, we still need proof.  That means we’ll need more testers to match and some to triangulate on my known Dodson segments.

Let’s hope that in time, between additional DNA testers, advances in technology and perhaps more genealogical records becoming available, that one day we’ll be able to solve the mystery of the relationship of William Smoot and Mary Gilbert to Dorothy Durham, and identify Dorothy’s parents!