Friday, December 2, 2011

The Two Zachariah Mastersons

If dancing with the ancestors isn't hard enough when researching one ancestor, it becomes even more difficult when, well, there are two people out there with the exact same name! Geesh!

Case in point: my great x 4 grandfather Zachariah Masterson.

Here I was, doing the research, connecting the dots, and . . . WHAM! Yes, WHAM! I knew of his first marriage to Elizabeth Miller (my great x 4 grandmother, mother to Joseph E. Masterson), and of his second marriage to Tabitha Masterson-Brownfield (okay, she's a distant relative, not a first cousin or a sister), the widow of Joseph Brownfield. But, when googling for more information, I came across a marriage record for Zachariah Masterson and Anne Simpson.

Say What???!!!???

So, did Elizabeth Miller die after giving birth to her second child? It would make sense, and that would mean, since Zachariah allegedly married Anne Simpson in 1787, that she was then the mother of the next eight children. And, since he married Tabitha in 1804, it made sense that Anne died prior to 1804.

Yeah, famous last words . . . made sense.

The problem . . . Anne Simpson was still living in 1804. Great. Fine. Dandy.

But, I'm a persistent little bugger when dancing with the ancestors. I kept digging and digging and digging and - VOILA - came across a little tidbit of information that stated: Ann married first Zachariah Masterson 16 May 1787 in Bourbon County, Kentucky; married second, Isaac Cook on 3 December 1796 in Scott County, Kentucky.

Say What???!!!???

Uh, our ancestor Zachariah didn't die until 1829. Now, either Anne was a bigamist, or . . . her Zachariah Masterson wasn't the same as my ancestor.

Can you say light bulb going off in my brain? What I suspected, and I believe proved with the information about Anne's second marriage, is that there were two Zachariah Masterons - my ancestor, and the one that married Anne Simpson, and died prior to 1796.

Now, I have a bit more research to do before I can prove this 100%, or at least as close to 100% as is possible. Still, from everything I've found about my Zachariah, he only married twice - first to Elizabeth Miller and then to Tabitha Masterson-Brownfield. This information has been confirmed by a distant cousin Joseph E. Masterson (yes, descended from my great x 3 grandfather) of Bardstown, Kentucky.

The Masterson clan was famous having multiple members of the clan with the same name - John, Hugh, Joseph - so it's not unlikely that the Zachariah who married Anne Simpson is related to my Mastersons, he's just not my Masterson.

So, when dancing with the ancestors, don't get discouraged when you come across information that just doesn't make sense. Dig, dig, dig, and dig some more. Eventually - well, hopefully, eventually - you'll come across the information you need to prove/disprove what discouraged you in the first place.