Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Hogg Family

DNA has definitely made dancing with the ancestors much easier. Sometimes, the results just confirm what a person researching their family history already knew. Other times, it pulls a brick out of that pesky brick wall and . . . the walls come a tumblin' down (to quote John Cougar Mellencamp)!!!

Such was the case with a New Ancestor Discovery (NAD) on Ancestry. First off - NADs are quite deceptive and, more often than not, have no actual connection to the user (in this case, me). Of the 20 NADs that have shown up since Ancestry began the feature, I hadn't had any luck at all in connecting them to my tree . . .until last week. But, before we get there, let me point out: there are multiple female surnames in my family tree that I don't know. So, it's highly likely that many of the NADs that Ancestry is connecting to me through shared DNA are somehow related to me. I just don't have a surname so I can't verify that information.

Now, back to the shining diamond of a NAD that pulled out that pesky brick: James Hogg. So, I knew I had a Hogg or two in my tree, well, actually one: Leodicia Hogg, my 3 x Great Grandmother.

Full disclosure: there's every possibility that Leodicia, who married John Tate, is actually my 4 x Great Grandmother. But . . . that's a whole other story.

I was never able to determine the parents of Leodicia Hogg, nor had other researchers on the Tate family. Brick Wall City! So, when a NAD came up to James Hogg, the easiest thing to do was to research him. After I bit of research, I learned he was the son of Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough. I found numerous children listed for them, but not a daughter named Leodicia. There was, however, a date span between some of the children listed, and Leodicia's birth year fell right in that date.

The next step was to research James and . . . he named a daughter Leodicia. Now, naming patterns are important in family history. Names were passed down generation to generation. In my Adcock line, every single child of my 4 x Great Grandfather Leonard Adcock named one of their children Leonard. He had 10 children. His son William (my 3 x Great Grandfather) named a child Joseph Leonard Adock. William's daughter Rebecca (my 2 x Great Grandmother) named a child John Leonard Smith. John Leonard named his daughter Osie Lee (short for Leonard) Smith. So, you see, naming patterns happen and are important.

Leodicia and her husband John Tate named a son James Tate. My best guess - no verifiable proof - is that James Tate was named after his uncle, his mother's brother James Hogg; and that Leodicia Hogg, daughter of James Hogg, was named after his sister Leodicia. Again, this is all assumption and no proof on my part.

The proof in the pudding part comes from my multiple (11 in all) DNA connections to James Hogg.

So, James is somehow related to me and, based on his age, most likely a brother of Leodicia. What to do? What to do?

Well, I input Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough as the parents of Leodica Hogg in my tree, and I add James as her brother. Then, I wait . . .

. . . and see if Ancestry connects me to Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough. Voila!! Multiple matches to them.

Now, having a DNA match, that far back, is not - I repeat, NOT - absolute proof of a direct connection. I do not, at this point, have a paper trail. Then again, sometimes a paper trail does not exist. What I have, is multiple DNA connections to Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough and the belief (assumed at that, but it's all I have at this point) that they are the parents of Leodicia Hogg.

I'm going with that assumption. Now, family historians and genealogists everywhere are grabbing at their hearts and going this is the big one!!! You never assume in genealogy. I do. At this point, it's all I have to go on . . . and I'm content.

Will I stop looking for a paper trail? Hell No! I have a starting point, a stepping stone, so to speak, and sometimes, when dancing with the ancestors, that's all a person has. That first step, that first clue, might just lead me to where I need to go to have a paper trail. Then again, it might not. Genealogy, some days, is just a crap shoot!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Maternal/Paternal Connections

Sometimes, when dancing with the ancestors, you find connections between your maternal and paternal lines. Oh, not the obvious connection of your parents, but rather a far distant connection.

This isn't a simple connection that both your maternal/paternal lines all lived in the same town for generations. Multiple connections between both lines are certain to be found in those instances. No, the connections I'm talking about are when the lines were in the same place, at the same time, generations past.

In my parents case, my father's ancestors, for the most part, settled in Warren County, Tennessee, while my mother's ancestors settled in Nelson County, Kentucky. As Fate would have it, mom and dad both ended up in Louisville, Kentucky working for the same company. They met, dated for many years, married, had children and grandchildren. Our normal vacations were Kentucky to visit mom's family and then on to Tennessee to visit dad's family. And they lived happily ever after.

Before all that happened, my maternal lines lived in two places: Maryland and Massachusetts (and New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, etc.). The Maryland lines, in the late 1700s, migrated to central Kentucky (Nelson County) so they could practice their Catholic faith free from the persecution they were experiencing in Maryland. My many times Great Grandpappy William Boarman actually spent 30 days in jail for being a Catholic. He was dang proud of that jail time. Meanwhile, an ancestor from Massachusetts ended up in Indiana, then Kentucky, and well, one day my mother was born.

At the same time, my paternal lines had settled in Virginia and, as I was to later learn, Maryland as well. In fact, many of my maternal ancestors went to court against my immigrant Mitchell ancestor. Who knew? But, at some point, the Virginia ancestors moved to Warren County, Tennessee. The various lines married, produced children, and eventually my dad was born.

But, in doing the family research on both lines, I sometimes run across a familiar name. One of those times was the name McPherson. My 6 x Paternal Great Grandfather was Daniel McPherson. He married Elizabeth Nevitt. Well, when researching my maternal line, I discovered that my 6 x Maternal Grandmother Susannah, who married William Nalley, was a McPherson. Well, some more digging and I realized that both Daniel and Susannah were both from Charles County, Maryland. Then, was the discovery of Daniel's last will and testament with one of the witnesses being . . . Mrs. Susannah Nalley. 

Yes, Susannah was either a sister or cousin to Daniel. I have not been able to determine the exact relationship. But, what was obvious to me was that suddenly, beyond a casual living in the same town connection, there was actually a distant blood/dna connection between my maternal and paternal lines. Wow!

Then, this morning, came another connection when I received an email from Ancestry DNA regarding a distant cousin with the common ancestor being 7 x Great Grandfather Richard Nevitt, father of 6 x Great Grandmother Elizabeth Nevitt who married Daniel McPherson.

The interesting fact about this particular distant cousin is, prior to this recent match to Richard Nevitt, that we were already related on my maternal line. In fact, we share a number of common ancestors: 6 x Greats Thomas and Mary (Aisquith) Hagan, 7 x Greats James and Mary (Goodrick) Semmes, 7 x Great Charles Beaven and 6 x Greats Thomas James and Jane (Edelen) Boarman. All of those are my maternal lines, and now, descending down to this cousin, is one of my paternal lines. 

So, when dancing with the ancestors, it is possible that your maternal and paternal lines will intersect far beyond the common connection of your parents.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Turner Line

9 x Great Grandfather Thomas Turner was born in Essex County, England about 1624. He settled in Virginia first, where he married Judith Mattingly, by whom he had at least two known children: Thomas and Mary. At some point, he and his family ended up in St. Mary's County Maryland (more on this below). After Judith's death, in about 1660, he married secondly Emma Morris-Johnson, the widow of William Johnson, by whom she had one child: Elizabeth.

Note: William Johnson was the brother of my 9 x Great Grandmother Agatha Johnson-Langworth. She married James Langworth.

Thomas immigrated to America by 1656/7 as a free adult and resided at St Winnifred's, St. Clement's Bay in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

From information I've been able to find about him, I know the following:
  • He was educated
  • He was Catholic
  • He was an attorney (good thing he was educated - ha!)
  • He served in the Lower House, St. Mary's County in 1662.
  • He was Clerk of the Secretary's Office and of the Provincial Court between 1657-58
  • He was Clerk of the Lower House in 1658
At his death, he left property in both Maryland and England to his wife and children.

His daughter Mary Turner (my 8 x Great Grandmother) married Joseph Pile.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bridget Hewitt

As always, dancing with the ancestors is an intricate dance with many varied steps. One misstep and . . . SPLAT, you're on the floor. This is something you should always remember when doing your own dancing with your ancestors

Here's what I initially knew about 11 x Great Grammy Bridget Hewett. She married Henry Clitherow. This has been documented time over time. They had a number of children, one of whom was my 10 x Great Grandmother Anne Cletherow. 

I hadn't bothered to look past 11 x Great Grammy regarding her parents. I decided to do so today. The Ancestry trees - always suspect, please always verify through other sources what you find on Ancestry - indicated she was the daughter of William Hewett and his wife Alice Elizabeth Leveson. 

Great! I have a starting point. A bit of Googling - Google is your friend - later and here's what I found out about William and Alice (Leveson) Hewitt: they had a number of children, all who died in infancy except their daughter Anne.

Have you figured out the issue? 

Well, in case you haven't, I'll point it out: William and Alice had a single child to survive in adulthood, and her name was not Bridget. In fact, their daughter's marriage to Edward Osborne is well documented.

So, I did a bit more research and found out that William Hewett indicates he had a brother Thomas. Well, a bit more Googling and I had the last will and testament of Thomas Hewett which lists his many bequests, one of which was to Henry Clyderow (a variant of Cletherow). The next bequest, right after the one to Henry, was to Thomas's daughter "Bridget Hewett". 


So, suddenly, with a wee bit of work on my part, I was able to disprove that Bridget was the daughter of William and Alice Elizabeth (Leveson) Hewett, and prove that she was the daughter of Thomas Hewett and Julian Amcots, daughter of Sir William Amcots.

So, when dancing with the ancestors, take just a bit more time to double check your facts and do some additional research. And, whatever you do, never take Ancestry trees at face value. There is far too much information out there that's easily obtainable with a few quick searches on Google or some other search engine.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Odd Coincidences in Genealogy

When dancing with the ancestors most people come across some odd coincidences. For me, the coincidences have been many and varied.

Who knew that my paternal and maternal lines connected way back when, far before either of my parents were born? My 6 x Paternal Great Grandfather is Daniel McPherson who was born about 1701, most likely in Scotland. He died in 1740 in Charles County, Maryland. A witness to his last will and testament was Susanna (McPherson) Nally . . . my 6 x Maternal Great Grandmother. She was either his sister or cousin, I haven't been able to determine the exact connection. Still, who knew that the McPherson surname was both maternal and paternal? I certainly didn't when I began dancing with the ancestors.

Then, was the recent discovery that my 7 x Paternal Great Grandparents Charles & Ann Dodson were witnesses to my 8 x Great Grandmother Eve (maiden name unknown)-Williams-Smith's last will and testament. Eve's daughter Catherine Williams married Abraham Goad. They were my 7 x Great Grandparents.

Now, with the Smith/Dodson connection, the lines both descend down to my Grandmother Osie Lee Smith-Mitchell. 

The Smith descent is . . .

Eve (MNU) - John Williams
Catherine Williams - Abraham Goad
John Goad - Katherine Jennings
Joannah Goad - Valentine Sevier
Abraham Sevier - Mary Little
Mary Ann Sevier - John Halterman
Emaline Halterman - Hardin Smith Lane
Martha Ann Lane - John Leonard Smith
Osie Lee Smith - John Francis Mitchell
Dad - Mom

The Dodson descent is . . .

Charles Joseph Dodson Sr. - Ann (maiden name not proven, alleged Elsmore)
Thomas Dodson - Mary Durham
Joshua Dodson - Ruth Dodson (his first cousin)
Dorcas Dodson - James Ballenger
Francis Ballenger - William Adcock
Rebecca Adcock - John Smith
John Leonard Smith - Martha Ann Lane
Osie Lee Smith - John Francis Mitchell
Dad - Mom

Both descents began in Virginia. Valentine and Joannah (Goad) Sevier eventually ended up in Carter County, Tennessee. John and Mary Ann (Sevier) Halterman ended up in White County, Tennessee which was later divided up into Warren County, Tennessee where my family ended up settling. 

The Dodson line was also in Virginia, but it was Joshua Dodson who ended up in North Carolina. His daughter Dorcas and her husband James Ballenger ended up in South Carolina, which is where their daughter Francis met and married William Adcock. Sometime after 1818, the majority of the Adcock family - William's father and most of his siblings and their families - ended up in Warren County, Tennessee. This is where Rebecca met and married John Smith. As a side note, part of Warren County became DeKalb County, which is where most of the Adcock family ended up.

So, as you can see, when dancing with the ancestors you just never know when two, or more, of your surnames connect. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Frances Ballenger (aka Ballinger)

When dancing with the ancestors there is a high probability that you will run across two people with the same name. See this post regarding Greenberry Mitchell-1 and Greenberry Mitchell-2, who most researchers combined - mistakenly - into one individual. Oy! In this instance, I'm referring to my 3 x Great Grandmother Frances Ballenger-Adcock. 

Frances is the daughter of James and Dorcas (Dodson) Ballenger/Ballinger, and sister to John, James, William, Edward, Elijah, Peggy (Margaret) and Tabitha. In her father's will, written in 1813 she is referenced as Francis Ballenger, while her sisters as referenced as Peggy Lewis and Tabitha Foster, their married names. So, in 1813 Frances was still unmarried. This is important.

In trying to research Frances Ballenger, daughter of James Ballenger and Dorcas Dodson very few people list her as the wife of William Adcock. Hmmmm . . . But, most sites list her as the husband of Isaac Bishop.

Well, a bit more research and I found that Isaac Bishop did indeed marry Frances Ballenger in 1797. Fine! Dandy! But wait . . . if she married him in 1797, why didn't her father mention her as Frances Bishop in his will? 

The obvious conclusion I'm going with at this moment is this: because she, the daughter of James and Dorcas, was not married in 1797. She was unmarried in 1813, so her father referred to her by her surname. The second obvious conclusion is that the Francis Ballenger who married Isaac Bishop was a cousin to the Francis Bishop who married William Adcock.

Yes, I know, genealogists everywhere are gasping in horror at my conclusions. 

I'd gasp too except . . . I have DNA connections to Thomas and Mary (Durham) Dodson, the grandparents of Dorcas Dodson who married James Ballenger. Yes, some genealogists are gasping even more.

The fact is: families used the same names throughout the various generations, especially back in the day. James and Edward were common names in the Ballenger family, as was Francis. In my Adcock line, all the children of Leonard Adcock named one of their children Leonard Adcock. The grandchildren did the same. A good example is this: Leonard Adcock's son, who married first unknown, named his first child Joseph Leonard Adcock. William's daughter, by his second wife Francis Ballenger, Rebecca Adcock named one of her children John Leonard Smith (this would be my great grandfather). Now all of John Leonard Smith's sons died at an early age. Realizing he would not have a male heir, my grandmother was named Osie Lee (for Leonard) Smith. I have one line where an ancestor - William Boarman - named a child by his first and second wife William. Then, there is my Duvall line where Mareen Duvall had two sons named Mareen - one by his first wife and one by his second. So, as you can see, naming patterns easily produce two individuals in a family with the same name.

The tricky part is separating out the various individuals into multiple people, as I did with Greenberry Mitchell, instead of perpetuating the myth that there was only one individual named Greenberry Mitchell . . . or Francis Ballenger. 

So, when dancing with the ancestors, just because you find it on the Internet, doesn't make it true. Yes, a Francis Ballenger did marry Isaac Bishop and have children with him. But that Francis Ballenger was not the daughter of James and Dorcas (Dodson) Ballenger.

Lazy Genealogists . . . AGAIN

When dancing with the ancestors you are going to come across research done by lazy genealogists. I've covered this topic before and probably will multiple times in the future.

Now, as stated before, back in the day before Google genealogy was much harder. Now, there's a ton of stuff online at Ancestry, FamilySearch and many other genealogy based websites. It's easier to find and prove, in most cases, what you need to find and prove.

In researching my Ballenger/Ballinger line . . . there appears to be more misinformation than facts. People seem to confuse the various James Ballenger/Ballinger's out there. It's frustrating.

They always seem to get the name of his wife correct and his children, but from there . . . it's a hodge-podge of misinformation. 

The James Ballenger/Ballinger that married Dorcas Dodson had the following children, as listed in his last will and testament: John, Edward, James, William, Elijah, Peggy, Francis and Tabitha. He lists his daughters that were married by their married names: Peggy Lewis and Tabitha Foster. He listed his unmarried daughter by her surname: Francis Ballenger.


Many sites list his daughter Frances, aka Frankie, as marrying Isaac Bishop in 1797. I'm sure there was a Francis Ballenger/Ballinger that married Isaac Bishop in 1797. It just doesn't happen to be the daughter of James and Dorcas (Dodson) Ballenger. If it was, James would have listed her as Francis Bishop in his last will and testament, and not as Francis Ballenger.

There is also the issue of James Ballenger, husband of Dorcas Dodson, death: 1795 versus 1813. The James Ballenger that married Dorcas Dodson and had John, Edward, James, William, Elijah, Peggy, Francis and Tabitha wrote his last will and testament on July 19, 1813. This would not be possible if he died in 1795.

Now, back in the day, researchers might not have been able to find the will. There where most likely multiple James Ballenger's and . . . researchers confused the two. Check out my post on the two Greenberry Mitchells. This was a simple case of two men with the same name living in the same county and early researchers confusing the two. It took me just a wee bit of time to actually separate the two men and sort out their various lives. 

As with any family back in the day, family names were used multiple times. MULTIPLE! James, Edward and William were common names in the Ballenger family. In my Adcock Line, every child of Leonard Adcock named one of their children Leonard Adcock. His grandchildren continued the tradition with their children. Many families did the same thing so that there were multiple people with the same first name and surname in the same area. Separating the various individuals is difficult under the best of circumstances, and close to impossible under the circumstances faced by early genealogists.

That does not excuse the lazy genealogists out there! Take some time to separate fact from fiction when dancing with the ancestors.