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.

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