Monday, June 20, 2011

Mystery Monday: Still No Mr. Wright

If a Mr. Wright is the father of Mary, wife of Moses Nichols of New Windsor, Orange County, New York, he has yet to step up and be recognized. I wrote about my search for her father recently in Finding Mr. Wright. There I detailed my research to date ending with the possibility that her father could be David Wright of New Windsor listed as a patriot by the DAR. According to the online index to DAR ancestors, David Wright died in New Windsor in 1833. He was one of four David Wrights heading households in Orange County, New York, in the 1830 U.S. census, but no probate records have been located for him in that county. The deed indexes for the county yielded nothing overly promising, but there were a few possibilities.

Two deeds from the 1830s were different. One listed David Wright as a grantor with no wife named (51: 566.) It was the David Wright of Newburgh, a different person. John Wright as executor was grantor of another deed, but he was executor for James McLaughlin late of Wallkill (52: 182.)

The four sons of Moses and Mary Nichols were minors when their parents died. After they reached twenty-one there were at least two deeds each as a grantor. The two deeds for third son, Charles, were both for land previously owned by Moses Nichols (64: 329; 66: 219.) The hope they would be selling land inherited from their maternal grandfather was not fulfilled. Charles Nichols is of New Windsor in his deeds, apparently predating his move with brother Robert J. Nichols to Georgetown, Kentucky.

The transcription of the cemetery where Moses Nichols and his first wife Jane were buried does not include his second wife or David Wright. (Inscriptions on Gravestones in New Windsor Cemetery) New Windsor Town records, transcribed online, include a reference to the demise of Moses Nichols, but have no such information on David Wright. I do not know of a marriage record for Moses and Mary Nichols. While he served in the American Revolution, there is apparently no pension record.

I see no obvious resource at present for information on David Wright. Could he have moved between the 1830 census and his death? Did he not own property? His son Benjamin predeceased him according to the DAR index, but what about his son John? Were there other children? Newspapers and court records could be the next best places to look.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those Places Thursday: Newlyweds' Home

My parents lived in a number of places before they bought the house we lived in when I was born. My mother left little envelopes with snapshots from each of the locations except the very first. We followed along their path photographing each of the buildings in 2005. All still stand, some in good condition. Here is their newlyweds' home. (Click on the image to get a larger version.) If you can read the newspaper clipping, you'll find the end of the first paragraph makes no sense. What else is new?
Designer Credits:
-papers from Shimmer by Kitty Designs
-stitching from All Stitched by Kitty Designs
-heart doodle from Let Love Be Your Energy by ZuzanaH Designs
fonts: Pea Anderson, Celtic Hand, Corbel

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday’s Tip: Deeds Can Yield Genealogy Gold

Harold Henderson recently advised all genealogists to use deeds in their research (Midwestern Microhistory). His advice is excellent! Here are two of my favorite examples.

An 1840 deed to land in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, sold two of seven shares of a parcel that had belonged to the late James Lyle. It states [James Lyle] “died intestate leaving issue Seven Children, to wit: - John, James, Charles, William, Samuel, and Francis W. Lyle, sons of the said James Lyle deceased, and Elizabeth the wife of John Hall above named, daughter of the said James Lyle, to whom the same by the Laws of Pennsylvania, relating to intestate Estates did descend and come.” It couldn’t be more explicit or complete. (see my transcription)

Deeds in Beaver County, Oklahoma, were extremely helpful in tracing the ex-wife of a family member. She and her sister were sold land by their mother who retained a life interest. When the sister sold the land she had to provide proof of their mother’s death, her sister’s death, and her inheritance of her late sister’s share. All the documentation was referenced in the deed book. Using that data I found the ex-wife’s obituary and the location back in Missouri where she was buried in newspaper microfilm at the library in nearby Liberal, Kansas.

Tomorrow I will see microfilm of Orange County, New York, deeds that I hope will shed light on my Nichols family. All deeds don’t reveal what you hope, but you can see why it pays to look.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Surname Saturday: Williamson

Williamson is a common surname in the United States, usually of English, Scottish or Northern Irish origin. It began as a patronymic for the son of William.

My great grandfather, Will Bell, died in 1913 when my mother was only three. Not a lot of information was passed down in the family about him. His Ohio death certificate revealed that his full name was William Williamson Bell and his mother's maiden name was Deborah Williamson. He was born in Washington County, Ohio, the family moving to Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio, in the 1860s.

Will's parents Deborah Williamson and Joseph Bell were married in Marietta on 1 September 1839. She was a resident of Marietta Township and he of Newport Township. The marriage was reported in the newspaper but is not recorded in the civil records. Deborah died in Gallia County on 28 April 1865. She was buried in the Clay Chapel Cemetery which was associated with a Methodist Espiscopal church. The age on her gravestone places her birth about 15 July 1818. Census records show her birthplace as Virginia, specifically in that part now West Virginia.

Finding Deborah's father requires looking for a man with a common surname. In the 1840 census, less than a year after her marriage there are a few Williamson households in Washington County, one of them in Marietta Township. The head of that household was a Charles Williamson.

Raymond Martin Bell, a well-known genealogist in southwest Pennsylvania, wrote a book on The Williamson Family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Washington County, Pennsylvania, Ohio County, West Virginia. It was published in 1986, co-authored by Edna Marian Miller. Among the members of this family were two who served in the American Revolution, Moses and his son John. John and wife Judith Dodd were the parents of Charles Williamson who was born 3 July 1792 and died 5 October 1858 in Wood County, (West) Virginia. He would be the Charles in Marietta in 1840.

The book lists a set of children for Charles and wife Martha Martin. No daughters are listed as born prior to 1820 but the 1820 census for Charles in Tyler County, Virginia, shows two females under the age of ten. It is possible that the list of children is incomplete and that Deborah should be there.

Another daughter of Charles Williamson was Mary Jane who was born 25 March 1833. She married Walter S. Thorniley 21 October 1853. He was from Washington County, Ohio, but they lived in Clay Township, Gallia County, Ohio. When Joseph and Deborah Bell moved there, they lived on a neighboring piece of land. The couples are buried in adjacent plots in the Clay Chapel Cemetery. It seems likely that the two Williamson women were related, possibly both daughters of Charles and Martha (Martin) Williamson. Hopefully Raymond Bell simply did not locate documents that will show the relationship.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Ohio Land Purchase

Samuel Lyle of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, together with James Linch purchased two hundred acres in Meigs County, Ohio, from the Government Land Office in Marietta. The land record available from the BLM site shows the 1844 completion of the transaction, but the National Archives provided a copy of the original 1839 application the two men made. Later land ownership maps show the Lyle and Linch properties continuing in their hands. That they made the purchase from Pennsylvania provided a link for their identities in both places. I especially like that this document shows James Linch signing with his mark and the name of the Pittsburgh bank on which they drew $50 as part of the $250 purchase price. Though this is much later than some other parts of the family came to Ohio, still this copy seems a family treasure to me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This Is the Face of Genealogy

For the inspiration for this post, read “The Face of Genealogy” at Thomas MacEntee’s Geneabloggers blog.

Oliver Guy Lyle, back; from left: Pansy Grace, Virginia Bell, and Bessie Grace (Bell) Lyle about 1918 in Gallipolis, Ohio. My mother is the one with the giant bow, such a popular item at that time. I have always loved this family picture.