Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ezekial McGregor & Mary Polly McGee

In this little bit of dancing with the ancestors, I'm going to focus on my 3 x paternal great-grandparents: Ezekial McGregor and Mary "Polly" McGee.

Ezekial is the son of William McGregor and - allegedly - Martha Stiles. He was born about 1807 in Warren County, Tennessee and died sometime before the 1870 census was taken.

Mary is the daughter of John Alexander McGee and Esther Clendennon. She was born January 11, 1799 in either Jefferson, Sevier, or Blount County, Tennessee. Her parents - my 4 x great grandparents - moved around quite a bit. Their first three children were born in the aforementioned counties, just not sure which ones; the next four were born in Kentucky, and the last two were born in Warren County, Tennessee. Whew. Mary died in March 1879 in Warren County, Tennessee.

Ezekial and Mary married around 1825/26 and had the following children ~
  • Ezekial McGregor II - born about 1826 in Warren County, Tennessee and died December 16, 1861 in Warren County, Tennessee
  • John Houston McGregor - born December 13, 1828 in Warren County, Tennessee; died about 1878 in Warren County, Tennessee
  • William Bartlett McGregor - born July 16, 1830 in Warren County, Tennessee; died September 1, 1880 in Warren County, Tennessee
  • James L. McGregor - born April 4, 1832 in Warren County, Tennessee; died October 8, 1862
  • Mary Jane McGregor - born September 24, 1835 in Warren County, Tennessee. She married James Douglas Tate on January 14, 1858 in Warren County, Tennessee. They had two children: John T. Tate and Martha Ann Tate. In the early 1900s she and her husband ran a boarding house - The Tate House - in McMinnville, TN. She died October 3, 1811 in McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Richmond C. McGregor - born about 1838 in Warren County, Tennessee; died unknown
Based on Census Records, here's a bit more information about Ezekial and Mary McGregor . . .
  • 1830 - living in Warren County, Tennessee with two male children - Ezekial and John Houston - under 5
  • 1840 - living in Warren County, Tennessee with their children: Ezekial, John Houston, William Bartlett, James L., Mary Jane, and Richmond
  • 1850 - living in Warren County, Tennessee with all of their children except Ezekial II. Mary McGee-McGregor's brother Samuel McGee and his family were living next door to them.
  • 1860 - living in Warren County by themselves, their children all out on their own by now.  Mary McGee-McGregor's brother Samuel McGee and his family were living next door to them.
  • 1870 - Mary McGee-McGregor is living with her son John Houston McGregor and his family in Warren County, Tennessee.
And there you have a brief glimpse into the life of Ezekial and Mary Jane McGregor - their parents, the children they had, and a brief glimpse into where they were born and lived.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Brick Wall

When dancing with the ancestors the path is not always straight forward or, in this case, since I'm researching the past, straight backwards. Sometimes, I have to go around, or under, or over, or whatever, a brick wall or two.

What does that mean? It means getting a bit clever with my research methods.

For example, my 2 x paternal great grandmother Rebecca Adcock-Smith. I don't have a clue as to the name of her parents. Not. A. Clue!

Not one, seriously, nada, nothing, finito, zippo, n-o-t-h-i-n-g!

Here's what I know about my 2 x great grandmother . . . her first, middle, and last name, the name of her husband and children, and where she lived from about 1840 through her death, and with who she lived, and the fact, at least according to census records, that she was born in South Carolina.

So, I have some starting points. I also have the names of her children that might - possibly, a slim chance - give me a clue as to her parents names since, more often than not, names were passed down through the generations.

For example, Rebecca's mother-in-law was named Nancy. That name was passed down to a few of her granddaughters, as was the name John B. (her husband's name), and the name Riley. So, as a previous post discussed, there is a naming pattern.

The problem, I'm not sure what, if any, of her children were named after her parents, which makes researching them a bit harder.

For now, I've taken the route of looking for the name Adcock in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 Census Records. I'm then going to research each Adcock family and determine . . .

. . . if they lived in SC prior to moving to Warren County, Tennessee.

. . . if they did live in SC prior to moving to Warren County, Tennessee, did they have a daughter named Rebecca Ann.

That's my starting point people, and it may/may not lead me over, under, around and/or whatever the brick wall that exists regarding my 3 x great-grandparents.

Hopefully, I'll leap over that wall! Hopefully!

But, as you can see, it's not a direct path. I have to put the pieces of a puzzle together and hope I'm on the right trail, and that someone else before me has done some of the work.

So, when dancing with the ancestors, get creative in your search methods and know that the process that worked on one branch of the tree, probably won't work on another branch of the tree. You have to dig, dig, dig, and dig some more when dancing with the ancestors.

Rebecca Adcock- Smith: Paternal 2 x Great Grandmother

As I've been dancing with the ancestors I've hit more than one brick wall. I've previously posted about my frustration with 2 x Great Grandmamma Rebecca Ann Adcock who married John B. Smith. For a time, I thought I hit pay dirt and found her parents: William Miller and Margaret Shanks.

For a time . . .

But, alas my friends . . . sometimes the information contained in cemetery books is, well, wrong.

Such was the case with Great-Great Grandmammy Rebecca Ann . . . as I found out through correspondence with a distant PA cousin who told me that Rebecca's maiden name was Adcock.

But, I'm belabouring a point that doesn't need belabouring. Here, in this post, I'm going to paint a portrait with words about Great-Great Granny . . .

Rebecca Ann Adcock was born on December 20, 1818 in South Carolina (at least based on Census Record information which, at best, is suspect). At some point, she and her family moved to Warren County, Tennessee where she met her future husband John B. Smith.

Rebecca and John were married about 1835. This is just a guess on my part, based on the birth of their first child which occurred sometime in 1836.

Rebecca and John had the following children . . .
  • Andrew Jackson (aka Bad Andy) Smith was born about 1836 in Warren County, Tennessee and died before 1868, unknown. He married Mary Jane Gribble on January 28, 1856 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • David Burdine Smith was born January 27, 1840 in Warren County, Tennessee and died December 24, 1814 in Warren County, Tennessee. He married Hannah Malury Gribble on September 9, 1848 in McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Francis Melvina Smith was born May 1840 in Warren County, Tennessee and died after 1900 in Chattanooga City, Hamilton County, Tennessee. She married Alfred P,. Gribble on November 7, 1858 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Nancy J. Smith was born about 1843 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • John Leonard Smith was born on August 16, 1849 in Warren County, Tennessee and died January 14, 1917 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He married first Irena Gribble, by which he had the following children: Lucy, John B. (died young), Mollie, Francis Ida, Mary J., Euphemia, and Herman (died young). He married second Martha Lane on September 24, 1882. They had the following children: Olive Mae, Willie Octavia, Eunice Irene (died young), Osie Lee, and Clara.
  • Mary Smith was born about 1853 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Sarah Smith was born about 1856 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Tempa (possibly Tennessee) Smith was born about 1858 in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • Ardena Clementine Smith was born about 1863 in Warren County, Tennessee and died December 8, 1954 in Warren County, Tennessee. She married John C. Aldredge.
The only portrait I can truly paint with words is one based on factual evidence, i,.e., Census Records. So, based on that information . . .
  • 1840 - she, her husband John B., and their children Andrew, David Burdine, and Francis Malvina are living in Warren County, Tennessee, next door to her husband's mother Nancy, and his siblings Elizabeth, Moses Riley, and Jesse.
  • 1850 - she, her husband John B., and their children Andrew, David Burdine, Francis Malvina, Nancy J., and John Leonard are living in Warren County, Tennessee. There is also a Martha Hancock, age 29, living with them as well. My best guess is that this is a sister of either Rebecca or John. I haven't been able to find anything else about her, so, for now, there's just a woman named Martha living with them.
  • 1860 - she, her husband John B., and their children Nancy, John, Mary, Sarah, and Tempa are living in Warren County, Tennessee. Bt this time, the older children - Andrew, David, and Francis - had married and were living on their own.
  • November 29, 1869 - John B. Smith dies in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • 1870 - she, her daughters Mary, Sarah, and Ardena Clementine, along with her two grandsons by her daughter Francis Melvina - John Gribble and Alfred Thomas Gribble - are living in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • 1880 - she, her daughter Ardena Clementine, her daughter Francis Melvina Smith-Gribble, and Francis' two sons John B. Gribble and Alfred Thomas Gribble are living in Warren County, Tennessee.
  • March 1, 1882 - Rebecca dies in Warren County, Tennessee.
And there is the brief portrait of words I can paint about my Great-Great Grandmother Rebecca Ann Adcock Smith.

One further note, on her son David Burdine's death record her maiden name is listed as Adcock on one record, and Radcock on another record. Oy!

Oh, and you might have noticed the propensity for Rebecca's children to marry Gribbles. Three of her children married Gribble siblings, and two of her children married first cousins of the Gribble siblings.


Since the last time I went dancing with the ancestors with 2 x Great Grandma Rebecca Adcock, I've learned a few things.

First - she is the daughter of William Adcock and Francis Ballinger. She is the granddaughter of Leonard Adcock and Jane Cantrell, and James Ballinger and Dorcas Dodson. These connections have been proven through DNA.

Second - her middle name is Frances and not Ann.

Third - the cemetery book I referenced in this post and a previous post was referencing a John Smith who married an Ann, who was the daughter of William Miller and Margaret Shanks. That John & Ann Smith were not my direct ancestors. They might be related, but it was not my 2 x Great Grandparents John B. and Rebecca F. (Adcock) Smith. Why did I think they were? Becasue, at some point, one of my distant Smith cousins took photos of the tombstones and believed they were direct ancestors. It was a simple error to make. It wasn't until I found the last will and testament of that particular John Smith that I realized there were two John Smiths, about the same age, living in Warren County, Tennessee at the same time. The children listed in his will, including a bastard son, did not match up with the known children of John B. & Rebecca (Adcock) Smith that have been proven through census records. So, a simple error made by someone doing family history, and then copied again and again and again . . . put this family historian on a false trail that was luckily proved wrong and corrected.

So, when dancing with the ancestors, do not take the work of others at face value. Prove it to yourself. Believe that it's wrong until you can prove that it is right.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Name Game

No, not the name game as in . . . banana-fanana and all that jazz, but rather the name game as in the passing down of family names.

This is important when dancing with the ancestors. Why? Well, I'm glad you thought that question and I was able to read your mind.

Very often, there is a naming pattern, or rather a usage of common names that are passed down through the generations. Quite often, these names can provide important information.

Case in point: the Smith branch of my family tree.

My 3 x Paternal Great Grandfather was John Smith. He married Nancy - I wrote about her in a previous post. From what I've been able to find, they had at least five children, if not more, as follows: John B. Smith (my 2 x Paternal Great Grandfather), Elizabeth Smith, Moses Riley Martin Smith, Jesse Smith, and another male child who, in 1840 was between 20 and 30 years old.

As I've been digging and digging, I discovered the following . . .

John B. Smith named a daughter Nancy, a son John, and another son David Burdine.

Elizabeth named a daughter Nancy, a daughter Riley, and a son John.

Moses Riley Martin named a son John, a son Jesse, a son Riley, and a daughter Nancy.

Jesse named a son John B. and a daughter Nancy.

Have you figured out the naming pattern yet? The most common names used are Nancy and John, the names of John B., Elizabeth, Moses, and Jesse's parents. The second pattern is the name Riley which both Elizabeth and Moses used. The third pattern is the B/Burdine name.

My best guess is that the "B" in John B. Smith (2 x great grandpa) stands for Burdine. My second best guess, since Jesse named one of his sons John B., is that this is a family name passed down through the generations, which makes me suspect that my 3 x great grandpappy is actually John B. Smith.

Which brings me to my third best guess . . . that his mother was a Burdine. Okay, no proof on that end, but it gives me a jumping off point for further research, as does the name Riley.

My thought is that Nancy, wife of John, and mother of John B., Elizabeth, Moses Riley, Jesse, and at least one more male child, is most likely Riley, which gives me a further jumping off point for additional research.

So, when dancing with the ancestors pay attention to naming patterns because those patterns can provide jumping off points for further research. And, don't forget the siblings, because if I hadn't taken the time to research the siblings, I wouldn't have discovered this naming pattern, and gotten some jumpstarts for further research.


Nancy Smith - 3 x Paternal Great Grandmother

Dancing with the ancestors is always an interesting dance, and one in which I have to do some fancy footwork in order not to end up with two left feet. Ha!

Such is the case with my 3 x Paternal Great Grandmother Nancy (surname unknown at this point) Smith. I don't know much about her other than she was born in North Carolina around 1796 and moved with her husband and family to Warren County, Tennessee at some point, probably early 1800s.

Over the course of the last few years, I've painstakingly tried to add a bit more depth to her history. I actually printed out the 1830 and 1840 Census, painstakingly going through line by line until, in the 1840 Census Record I found a Nancy Smith - her husband John, my 3 x great granddad was deceased by this point - and, using a handy Excel spreadsheet I created, determined she was living in Warren County, Tennessee with her daughter Elizabeth, her sons Moses Riley and Jesse, and another son whose name I don't know . . . at this point. And she was living next door to her son John B. Smith and his family.

In 1850, she and Moses Riley were living with her daughter Elizabeth, who by this time had married James Monroe Webb and had a number of children! Woo-hoo!

By discovering the 1850 Census Record, and realizing that Elizabeth Webb was actually Elizabeth Smith-Webb, I was able to put another piece of the ancestor puzzle for the Smith branch in place.

Okay, I'll admit it, I was stumped as to why Nancy and Riley were living with the Webb family in 1850. I knew there had to be a reason, but my poor beleaguered brain couldn't figure it out until, later, mind going here/there/everywhere, it suddenly dawned on me that Elizabeth was most likely Nancy's daughter. So, pulled up the Ancestry app on my iPad, checked the census record and . . . voila, Elizabeth Webb is the correct age as Elizabeth Smith.


So, when dancing with the ancestors, remember that you sometimes have to have some fancy footwork in order to complete the dance. Don't be afraid to try a different path in your search for your ancestors.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Great Great Grandma Rebecca Adcock-Smith

Sometimes when dancing with the ancestors, things get a wee bit complicated. Such is the case with my paternal great-great grandmother Rebecca Ann Adock-Smith. She married great-great granddad John Smith. No, these were not their Motel 6 names! Ha!

Anyhow, in one of the cemetery books for Warren County, Tennessee I found the cemetery records for John B. Smith and his wife (Rebecca) Ann Smith. Her parents were listed as William Miller and Margaret Shanks! Great! Fine! Dandy! Can I have a big WOO HOO?

Well, not so fast, dear readers, because, when I got in contact with on of my 1/2 great aunts (complicated story, more on that in a later post) - one of my grandmother's half-sisters - descendants, they dropped a bombshell on me. Great-Great Grandma Rebecca Ann wasn't a Miller, but an Adcock!

Say What????

Okay, I think I used a few cuss words when I found that out, but that's beside the point. I later found out that sometimes the information in the cemetery books aren't correct.

And, there's always the possibility that Rebecca's father died when she was young and her mother remarried William Miller. So, the Shanks line might be correct, but the Miller line is not.

So what's someone dancing with the ancestors to do when he doesn't have a clue as to the name of great-great grandmama's father? Well, thanks to TNGenWeb, he - well, me - prints out the 1830 Census Records that have been transcribed online, as have the 1840, and then highlights all the Adcock names that have a Female between 10 - 15 since Rebecca would have been 12 in 1840.

From that point, I'll start researching the male Adcock lines and see if I can't discover my ancestress somewhere in the mix.

So, when dancing with the ancestors, don't give up when you hit that brick wall. Figure out a way around that wall. 


Update ~ sometimes I'm my own worst enemy. Since some of Rebecca's children died after 1910, I have access to those death records, and on at least two of those records, her maiden name is listed as Adcock! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pet Peeve

What's my pet peeve when dancing with the ancestors? Well, I'm glad you asked. Okay, you didn't, but . . .

. . . my pet peeve is: lack of accuracy or, as I put it, linking to ancestors that really aren't yours just because you're too freaking lazy to actual do some research to prove/disprove your ancestry!

Okay, now that I've put it out there for all (well, the few that might happen across this blog, which apparently isn't very many on a daily, heck, weekly, heck, monthly, heck, yearly basis) to see, let me expand upon my thoughtful thoughts.

Not every McGregor is descended from Rob Roy McGregor. Yes, it's nice to have a famous ancestor out there, but . . . not every McGregor is descended from Rob Roy McGregor.

I've done extensive work on my McGregor line, as have other people. My ancestor is the Old Scot Preacher, Reverend William McGregor who was born circa 1735 in Scotland. At some point, he immigrated to the New World and settled in North Carolina. He did not, as many have put out there - another inaccuracy that irritates the heck out of me - die in 1804. If he did, well, he was either a) resurrected or b) a zombie. Why? Well, there is documentation of him, and his son William Jr., being messengers at the Collins River Baptist Church in . . .1807.

So, if William was dead, then how in the heck could he be a messenger at a Baptist Church? Oh, that's right, it's not possible.

The problem: there were three William McGregors that settled in VA/NC around the same time. My ancestor settled in NC and was the pastor of the Mouth of the Uwharrie Baptist Church in Montgomery County, North Carolina. He had at least, from what I and other researchers have determined, two wives, and a number of children, including my other direct ancestor William McGregor Jr., and his twin brothers Ezekial and Willis McGregor.

As far as I, and other researchers have been able to determine, nobody knows the name of William's father, only that he came to America to preach.

So, yes, it's frustrating to me find information out there saying William's father is this/that McGregor, only to do a bit more research and find out that this/that McGregor really isn't William's father!

So, when putting your tree out for all the world to see, take a wee bit more time to prove/disprove your ancestors. Not only will you have a better tree, but you'll make the journey for other researchers dancing with the ancestors a bit easier.