Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sally Powers Curtis of Mecklenburg County, d. 1851

According to Courtney Dunn's "Notes Concerning Elbethel Methodist Church, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, c. 1824-1930," housed at the Virginia Historical Society, Sally was a member of El Bethel in 1835.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, page 311:
"Know all men by these presents that we Robert A. Walker and Richard E. Walker are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Virginia in the sum of $1,200.00 to pay which we bind ourselves, our heirs +c. jointly and severally firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals and dated this 21st day of July 1851. The condition of the above obligation is such that if the above bound Robert A. Walker who has this day qualified as executor of Sally Curtis, deceased shall faithfully discharge the duties of said executor according to law then the above obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and virtue. R. A. Walker, Richard E. Walker.

Mecklenburg County Court July term 1851. This bond was acknowledged by the obligors thereto and ordered to be recorded. Teste. R. B. Baptist, c."

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, page 315:
"In the name of God amen I Sally Curtis of the County of Mecklenburg and state of Virginia do make constitute and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following. (To wit.) My will and desire is that all my just debts be punctually paid. 2nd I give and bequeath to my daughter in law, Faithy Curtis widow of my deceased son Chesley Curtis one half of all my money and property of any and every description including the present growing crop or money arising from it or anything which I may hereafter acquire to her and her heirs forever and the remaining half I wish equally divided between all my living children except Patsey Cumba whom I wish to have only two dollars of my entire estate and lastly I appoint my friend Robert A. Walker executor to this my last will and testament revoking all others. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 16th day of April 1851. Sally Curtis. In presence of Benjamin O. Johnson, George Bing, James M. Hawkins.

Mecklenburg County July Court 1851. The foregoing last will and testament of Sally Curtis, deceased was this day produced in Court and proven by the oaths of George Bing and James M. Hawkins two of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of Robert A. Walker the executor therein named who made oath thereto and together with Richard E. Walker his security entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $1,200.00 conditioned according to law. Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate of said will in due form. Teste. R. B. Baptist, c."

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, page 415:
On October 28, 1851 an inventory and appraisal for the estate of Sally Curtis, deceased was recorded by Paschal H. Bowers, William Bowers and Joseph A. Lett. Her estate was valued at $484.20 and included many items such as a lot of dried fruit, 9 1/4 yards of flannel, a crop of 3,000 pounds of tobacco ($120.00), 53 pounds of long corn ($212.00), a garden of cabbage and many other kitchen, household, plantation items and foodstuffs. The report was returned to Court in April of 1852.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, page 415:
On October 28, 1851 an account of sales for the estate of Sally Curtis, deceased was recorded by R. A. Walker, executor. The sale brought a total of $385.96 with purchases being made by the following: W. Sulivan, R. A. Walker, James Hayes, Jr., C. Curtis, Thomas Winn, Thomas Coleman, G. Curtis, James Nash, Alexander Johnson, J. W. Edmondson, M. C. Gill, James M. Hawkins, James Johnson, Z. Curtis, Dr. Peter Lett, W. K. Johnson, Edward T. Cole, William Winn, Samuel S. Crow, James Stone and George L. Hayes. A large amount of butter, 42 pounds, was purchased between G. Curtis and James Nash. The report was returned to Court in April of 1852.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, page 601:
On February 19, 1853 Commissioner J. J. Daly accepted an account of transactions of R. A. Walker, executor of Sally Curtis, deceased. As of January 1, 1853 the estate's administrator held $284.04 in his hands which remained after all debts had been paid. Debts were paid to Rachel Andrews, Zach Curtis (listed once as an overseer), C. R. Edmondson, John H. Arnold for coffin ($5.00), Martha C. Cumbey for legacy ($2.00), Edmondson & Drumwright, James W. Edmondson, C. D. Whittle, Gilliam Chavis, taxes, money paid to revolutionary legatees of Zach Curtis for rent of land and hiring of Negroes supervisions in 1851 ($111.30) and Court fees, in all totalling $224.61. Money was also collected from three hogsheads of tobacco sold in Petersburg ($138.65) and from the previous account sales ($385.96). On April 18, 1853 the estate was considered settled and ordered to be recorded with the $284.04 remaining.

Out of Town, DNA Kit is Here!

I am sorry that I have not been posting for a few days. I got called out of town on business so I have not been able to sit down and do much. I wanted to let you all know that the DNA test kit from Family Tree DNA has arrived! I will see my test subject on Saturday and will have more to post about it this weekend.

I will be going to South Carolina again tomorrow but only for the day. I should be back home and doing some catch-up postings on Thursday so bear with me until then.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Privacy of Living Individuals in Family Trees

I had a reader throw out a question about genealogy and privacy. They asked if I knew of any Virginia law that would prevent them from including a living person's information in their family tree, if the person in question objected. I would assume the intent was to publish this tree online or in print, in order to draw the objection.

I do not know of anything specifically, in a legal sense, but I would personally avoid publishing the information of anyone living. It is just not a good practice. Think of it like this...What is the first thing your credit card asks you when you call...what is your mother's maiden name. If you publish that information online, you are giving identity thieves a head start. Even obituaries tend to give away too much information in some cases.

Virginia law prevents the Department of Health from releasing any birth record for 100 years and any marriages, divorces or deaths for 50 years, unless you are an extremely close family member. I do not know of any other laws off the top of my head. I know you can get recent marriage licenses at county courthouses but they at least censor the Social Security number.

In general, if someone asks that you remove their information...I would. It is not worth pissing them off when they may have something you want down the road (photos, documents, etc.). I would personally be mad if someone published my kid's information online so I can agree with the person in question. As a matter of fact, I have never given anyone access to my personal Family Tree Maker file. I only share bits and pieces about deceased individuals, upon request. I keep the information of living individuals very private.

Now, if the person in question is the deceased child of a living person, that is a slightly different story. I would feel okay displaying that child's information but not their parent's info. The child probably had an obituary in the newspaper that gave all of their facts publicly anyway.

In short, use your judgment and respect the privacy of others. I would follow the "Golden Rule" of do unto others as you would have others do unto you. If you would not like a particular fact about you published, why would you publish the same thing for another person?

What do you all think? Hit the "# Comments" link below this post and let us know.

James Edward Caudle obituary, 1955

A reader named Christopher submitted his second in a series of Caudle obituaries this morning. He previously submitted an obituary for his great-grandmother, Iona Caudle, and recently discovered the obituary for her husband.

Richmond News Leader, November 25, 1955:
"CAUDLE - died in Newtown, CT, Wed Nov 23 1955, James Edward Caudle. He is survived by one daughter Mrs. Marian Santora, one son Morris Caudle. Upon arrival from CT, remains will rest at Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Home, Third & Marshall. Internment in Riverview."

Thanks again for the submission and feel free to send more!

Click here to view his previous submission: Obituary for Mrs. Iona Andrews Caudle of Richmond, d. 1948

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

William Sullivant of Charlotte County, Virginia d. 1781

Charlotte County, Virginia Will Book 1, pp. 287-289:
An inventory and appraisement of the estate of William Sullivant was created on August 11, 1781. Most items were for basic household and plantation use. Of interest were two slaves and a parcel of books. William's total estate was valued at 70,555.5 pounds (whereas one pound was valued at 1/200 of a pound specie). The inventory was appraised by Thomas Collier, Richard Collins and John Collier and was recorded in court on January 7, 1782.

Charlotte County, Virginia Will Book 1, pp. 356a-358:
An account current for the estate of William Sullivant was created by his administrator, Paul Carrington, on July 29, 1784. There are too many transactions to list but there were a few worth mentioning. Several people of interest were paid money including an Owen Sullivant, a Pleasant Sullivant and Leanna Sullivant's second husband, James Adams. The widow was allowed money for the making of four hats, there were also four pairs of shoes purchased for the children and at least one child attended Mr. Collier's school. Most of the money went towards the family's upkeep, such as paying people to carry their tobacco to market. The remaining funds were divided amongst the widow, who received one-third, and William's four sons namely Joel, Paul, W. P. and George Sullivant. Each son received a little over two pounds. The widow received almost five pounds. William's estate also received money from several sources. Of interest were cash received from Owen Sullivant for Margt. Hulet's estate and cash from the estate of Margt. Sullivant. It also appears that William had a 1/9 stake in some tobacco made in 1780. Perhaps this was part of an inheritance? This account current was witnessed by Joel Watkins, James Bouldin, Wm. Morton and was recorded in court on August 2, 1784. There were also a few Perrins mentioned in the accounting, namely George, Samuel and Josephus.

Charlotte County, Virginia Deed Book 8, pp. 146a-146:
On March 5, 1798, James Adams, second husband of Leanna Sullivant, and Joel, William Perrin and George Sullivant released Paul Carrington from further administrating of the estate of William Sullivant, deceased. At the time, William's son Paul was deceased and son George was living in South Carolina. The motion was recorded in court on January 7, 1799.

For more information, click here to see the related book at Amazon:

See also: Joel S. Sullivant of Charlotte County, Virginia d. 1840s

Library of Virginia Bible Collection

I received an e-mail from a reader that I wanted to pass along and comment on further:

"...You might mention to your readers that you don't have to be a Lee, Houston or Jefferson to have your family Bible on record at the Library of Virginia. They don't make it clear on their website, but they will be happy to photograph or photocopy an individuals family Bible record entries to include in their archives. These are then available for genealogical research. It also makes a safe back up in case of damage to the original. I recently went through this process with my Johnson Ivey ancestors' Bible dating back to 1799 in Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Continued good luck with your project, Ed Miller"

Well, what Mr. Miller states is very true. The Library of Virginia does have a large collection of Bible copies for patrons to search. This collection can be found online and is totally free. I will put a link to it below.

If you want to submit a Bible, I think they prefer that you bring it in but you can probably submit copies through the mail. However, I think there are some authenticity and quality issues if you do not bring in the actual Bible.

If you take your Bible to the Library, you will probably have to leave it for a few days as there is always a backlog in the scanning department. I know that they will not accept donations of entire Bibles (meaning the actual, physical book), they just do not have the space. They will refer you to the Virginia Historical Society for such a donation.

If you go to the following website it should look like a search box for the archives and manuscript collection. The Library categorizes Bible records in this thread so search here for them. I would recommend that you search by last name, maybe county. Just searching the word Bible brings up too many, unrelated entries.

Check out the Library of Virginia Bible Collection Here!

Monday, July 21, 2008

DNA test kit is on the way!

I have received confirmation that our DNA test kit is its way from Family Tree DNA. My representative confirmed that she sent it out this afternoon so I will let you all know when it arrives. I will be visiting my test subject on August 2, 2008 so hopefully the kit will arrive before that time.

If you have not been following our DNA testing project, you can read up on it at the link below:

DNA Project Details

More to come when the package arrives...

Peter Puryear d. 1849, Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book 17, p. 106:
"In the name of God amen I Peter Puryear do make ordain + constitute this to be my last will and testament hereby cancelling and revoking all former wills by me made. First it is my will and desire that all my just debts to be paid and that all my estate real and personal be sold by my Executors, my Lands on a credit of one two and, three years, and my perishable estate on such terms as they may think proper. Secondly I give to my Daughters Patsy Keeton and Sally Willis, one hundred and fifty dollars each to them and their heirs forever. Thirdly I give to my Grandson William Roffe one hundred dollars to him and his heirs forever. Fourthly, all the rest and residue of my Estate I wish equally divided among all my children to wit. Hezekiah Puryear, Patsy Keeton, Sally Willis, Peggy Roffe and Eliza Wilde and I give it to them and their heirs forever. Lastly, I nominate constitute and appoint my friends Alfred Boyd and Harrold Tucker Executor of this my last will and Testament. In testimony of all and singular I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 21st day of September 1842. Peter Puryear (seal). Singed, sealed + acknowledged to be his last will and testament before us: H. H. Burwell, Dam A. Daly, Edwd. R. Chambers.

Mecklenburg County November Court 1849. The foregoing last will and Testament of Peter Puryear decd. was this day produced in Court and proved by the oath of Edward R. Chambers a witness thereto and H. H. Burwell another subscribing witness thereto being a nonresident of the Commonwealth of Virginia. J. J. Daly being sworn says that he is well acquainted with the handwriting of the said Burwell and he verily believes the said signature to be in the own proper hand writing of the said therewith and thereupon the said will is O. R. And on the motion of Alfred Boyd who made oath thereto and together with Frans. W. Boyd and Henry C. Moss his securities entered into + acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $20,000 conditioned according to Law. Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate of said will in due form. Teste. Richard. B. Baptist Clk."

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book 17, pp. 124-125:
On December 19, 1849, an inventory and appraisal of the estate of Peter Puryear, deceased was made by William G. Tarey, Peter Puryear and John Mackasey and was returned to court in January of 1850. Peter's estate included many household, kitchen and plantation items as well as livestock and foodstuffs. Noteworthy items included a two-horse wagon, two slave women named Vilet and Judith and a tract of land supposedly containing 1,200 acres valued at $4.00 per acre. Interestingly, whosoever ended-up with the slave woman Judith would be paid an estimated $100 for her upkeep, likely because of her age or health. In all, Peter Puryear's estate was valued at $5,162.93.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, pp. 165-167:
On December 20, 1849, an account of sales for property belonging to the estate of Peter Puryear, deceased was made by Alfred Boyd, executor and returned to court in August of 1850. The sale brought a total of $619.14 with $100 [sic.] being paid to W. E. Roffe for taking the old slave woman Judith. Purchases were made by the following individuals with notable items in parenthesis: George L. Hayes, Alfred Boyd, R. Tisdale, H. Puryear, W. E. Roffe, J. H. Dodson, L. B. Wiles, Tho. R. Moss, P. Puryear, W. Stewart, Thomas Williams, Jno. Daw, Jno. H. Burnett, Jno. Mackasey, Leroy Puryear, G. R. Puryear, J. Moody, Edwd. Davis, John Rogers, J. W. Butler and W. E. Roffe as trustee (Negro woman Vilet $225.00).

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, p. 271:
On October 11, 1850, Alfred Boyd, executor of Peter Puryear, deceased, made an accounting for the sale of the landed estate. Lots were sold on credit for one, two and three years, with a one-third payment due annually. One lot, containing 274 acres, was purchased by Heza. Puryear for $685.00. One lot, containing 257 acres, was purchased by Wm. G. Burton for $1079.40. Another lot, containing 238.5 acres, was purchased by L. B. Wiles for $536.62. Lastly, a lot containing 106.25 acres, was purchased by W. E. Roffe for $191.25. This report was presented in court on April 2, 1851.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, pp. 316-317:
In June of 1851, Alfred Boyd, executor of Peter Puryear, deceased, created and returned to court an accounts current for 1849-1851. Monies were paid on accounts with the following entities: Wm. E. Roffe, a bond with Joel T. Watkins adm., Pleasant Burnett, L. C. Puryear (chain carrier), Peter E. Lett (likely Peter Puryear's doctor), T. R. Moss (auctioneer?), Eliza J. Puryear (for boarding the surveyor), various clerk's tickets, Geo. Rogers, Danl. Meddagh (surveyor), B. B. Goode (chain carrier), Williams & Land, taxes, Boyd, Stone and Wimbush bonds and Commissioner Daly (reports). Wm. E. Roffe was also paid a legacy of $100, left to him in the will. Money was credited to the account for cash on hand, tobacco sold, items sold at the estate sale and debts owned to Peter Puryear's estate. In all, the debts equaled $1257.08 and were satisfied with the aforementioned credits. A total of $656.03 was due to the executor. As a note, on this particular document, Peter was designated as the Peter Puryear who lived on Allen's Creek.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #17, p. 436:
In May 1852, Alfred Boyd, executor of Peter Puryear, deceased, created and returned to court an accounts current for 1851-1852. Monies were paid on accounts with the following entities: interest, taxes, Thos. H. Land bond and account, clerk's tickets, Ro. A. McNeal, Walker & Co., Henry A. Wood and Commissioner Daly (reports). Money was credited to the account for payments received of the four individuals who purchased land on credit, totalling $830.75. In all, the debts equaled $830.75 and were satisfied with the aforementioned credits. A total of $35.66 was due to the executor. As a note, on this particular document, Peter was designated as the Peter Puryear who lived on Allen's Creek.

Mecklenburg County, Virginia Will Book #18, pp. 187-188:
In June of 1854, Alfred Boyd, executor of Peter Puryear, deceased, created and returned to court an accounts current for 1853-1854. Monies were paid on accounts with the following entities: L. B. Wiles (surveying land), taxes, alienation of land, Commissioner Daly (reports) and recording and papers. Money was credited to the account for interest, second and third payment of Hez. Puryear for land purchased, second land payments for Wm. G. Burton, Leroy B. Wiles and Wm. E. Roffe. In all, the debts equaled $1751.26 and were satisfied with the aforementioned credits. A total of $1645.75 remained in the hands of the executor. As a note, on this particular document, Peter was designated as the Peter Puryear who lived on Allen's Creek.

Chancery Causes, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, Wiles, etc. v. exr. of Peter Puryear, dec., etc., index no. 1872-011, LVA:
There was a chancery suit brought in 1872, asking for a final division of Peter Puryear's estate. Apparently, the division was halted because no one knew if their sister, Sally Willis, died without issue. Apparently, her portion of the estate had been held in escrow until it was discovered she died without an heir. There was also some argument concerning Hezekiah Puryear and a piece of land. Perhaps it was this land being held in Sally's name for which Hezekiah held a bond. The cause was a little confusing but was easily settled. The remaining Puryear heirs each received a small portion of this inheritance and everyone was appeased.

Elmer Whitfield Stennett (April 30, 1879 - July 8, 1953)

Elmer stood five feet, nine inches tall, weighed 140 pounds with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was born in Rockbridge and spent time in Goochland, Buena Vista and Dinwiddie before moving his family to Richmond, following work on the railroad.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, July 11, 1953:
"STENNETT - Passed away at a local hospital, Wednesday night July 8, 1953, Elmer W. Stennett of 1851 Southlawn Ave. He is survived by one son, Rev. R. D. Stennett, of Emporia, Va.; one brother, Hayden Stennett, of Maidens, Va., and two grandsons, William W. and R. D. Stennett, Jr., also of Emporia, Va. Remains rest at the Sutherland-Brown Funeral Home, Boulevard and Kensington Avenue, where services will be held Saturday at 3 P. M. Interment Oakwood."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Social Security SS-5 Forms Available to Order Online

I just found out that the Social Security Administration allows you to order a Social Security Number Application (Form SS-5) of a deceased person online. I used to order these quite frequently by mail but you can now do it with a credit card online. The cost has gone up a lot, now $27.00 each, but the information contained can be critical.

My main use of these documents has been to find people's middle names. I just order a record today for my great-great-aunt. I really have no great interest in her, especially not for $27.00, but I am hoping she put her father's full name on the application. Her father is my great-great-grandfather and I only know his name as William R. Lawson. I really want to find out his middle name so this is my best shot.

If this aunt's record does not pan out, William had one other child that lived long enough to get a Social Security number. Ordering these records is a bit of a crap shoot but it is worth taking the chance. I would love to find out William's middle name and these are probably my last shot. I am running out of records so you do what you got to do.

I will let you all know when I receive the document in the mail so you can get an idea of how long it takes. It used to take about two months. Let's see if doing it online makes things go faster. Below is a sample of an SS-5, in case you were curious about the document in question.

You can order you own records at the following link: Click Here for SS-5 Order Form

Friday, July 18, 2008

James Semple of York County, 1765-1806 Estate

James Semple had only one child, Eliza Harwood Semple. According to Elizabeth Hawes Ryland's manuscript, "History of the Semple Family of Scotland and America," James was born on February 10, 1765 and died March 4, 1806.

York County, Virginia Wills 1783-1811, p. 685:
"I James Semple of the City of Williamsburg being of sound Mind and memory and in good health do make and constitute this to be my last Will and Testament. Item I give unto my well beloved Wife Sarah Semple all my property that I may die possessed of during her natural life except as is hereafter excepted. If I should have issue then my Wife is to support Such child or children until she marries again and then I desire that she may have what is allowed Widows by Law and the remaining part of my Estate to be appropriated to the support of any Child or children this time I may have. If I should have no Child I then desire that all my Negroes may be emancipated at the death of my Wife. Item I leave my Brother Robert B. Semple my residuary Legatee in case I have no children or Child and desire that him his Heirs or assigns may have all property belonging to my Estate at the death of my Wife. I leave my Wife my Executrix my friends Mr. Robert B. Semple and James Semple of New Kent County my Executors. Witness my hand and Seal this 13th day of April 1795. James Semple [seal].

At a Court of Q[cannot decipher] Session held for York County the 18 day of March 1806. This Will was produced in Court and thereupon Robert Saunders, William Hankins and Gann L. Corbin being sworn deposed that they are well acquainted with the hand writing of James Semple deceased and verily believe the said Will with the name thereto subscribed to be wholly written by the Testator whereupon the Court being satisfied that the said Writing is the last Will and Testament of James Semple deceased ordered it to be recorded. And Robert B. Semple and James Semple the Executors therein named by a paper writing under their Hands and Seals this day produced in Court refusing to take upon themselves the burden of the Execution of the said Will on the motion of Peter R. Deneufville who made oath thereto according to Law and together with Thomas Mutter his Security entered into and acknowledged their Bond in the penalty of four thousand dollars conditioned as the Law directs certificate is granted him for obtaining Letters of Administration in the Estate of the said James Semple with his said Last Will and Testament annexed in due form. Teste R. W. Wallor, c/c."

York County, Virginia Wills 1783-1811, p. 706:
An inventory and appraisement for the estate of James Semple, Sr., deceased, late of Williamsburg, was created on April 12, 1806 and entered into Court on February 16, 1807. I think the "Sr." part was a mistake, or at least did not refer to him having a son of the same name, but I cannot be certain. There was a document stating that Elizabeth H. Semple was James' only child in an 1822 deed of trust involving her husband William Power (see his notes). However, that document may have been incorrect or perhaps a James, Jr. did exist but died before 1822. Thomas Sands, John Power and John Howston were the estate's appraisers. Several of James' seven slaves were hired out, at least on was as far away as Richmond, or they were involved in deeds of trust. Other items of interest included a new wagon with gear for two horses, fourteen Windsor chairs, thirteen old black walnut chairs, a lot of old books, a walnut writing desk and stool, brass scales with weights, blue-edged place settings, forty-seven new whitewash brushes and a calender. The inventory also revealed that James' house had an upstairs as well as a smokehouse. His estate was given a total value of 748 pounds, 5 shillings and two pence halfpenny.

York County, Virginia Wills 1783-1811, p. 710:
An account of sales for the estate of James Semple, Sr., deceased was created on April 29, 1806 and recorded in Court on February 16, 1807. An advertisement was made on March 26, 1805 to announce the sale scheduled for April 14, 1806 at his former home. Anything under five dollars was to be paid in cash and anything over five dollars was given a year of credit. However, the 14th proved to be unfit for the sale so it was held on the 15th. Several items not included in the inventory were sold including a pair of brick molds, a surveyor's chain, a book entitled "A History of Jews," a volume of Shakespeare, two Virginia law books and a large Johnson's dictionary. The sale brought a total of 289 pounds, 9 shillings halfpenny. His slaves were sold separately, along with one horse, and brought a total of 665 pounds, six shillings. One of the slaves named Daniel belonged to his wife. She inherited him from the estate of her deceased father, H. Harwood. Also, one of the horses sold was "in bad order" and was fed, along with two slaves, by the administrator since March 15, 1805. He wanted to be reimbursed for the burden.

Humphrey Harwood will, died November 23, 1788, York County

Humphrey was a mason and brick maker in Williamsburg, Virginia. I am a descendant of his daughter, Sarah Harwood Semple. Just as a fun fact, the last name Harwood was pronounced Herod in Virginia, as in King Herod in the Bible. Also, many of the buildings in colonial Williamsburg (where I went to college) were built with Humphrey's bricks.

York County, Virginia Wills and Inventories 23, 1781-1811, p. 176:
"In the name of God amen I Humphrey Harwood of the City of Williamsburg and County of York being sick of Body, and of perfect mind and memory, praise be therefore given to almighty God do make and ordain this my present last Will and testament, in manner and form following that is to say First and principally - I commend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping through the merits, Death and Passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ, to have full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my Sins, and my Body I commit to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executors, hereafter named. Imprs. I Give unto my Son William Harwood my Plantation in James City County and the appurtenances thereunto belonging to him and his Heirs forever. Item I Give unto my Son Humphrey Harwood, all my Houses + Lots lying and being in the City of Williamsburg, to him and his Heirs for ever. Item It is my Will and Desire that the remainder of my Estate wheather Real or Personal shall be equally divided among my surviving Children when my son William Harwood arises to the age of twenty-one years should it be his Desire. I do hereby Appoint my worthy Friend Mr. Robert Andrews and my Son William Harwood Executors of this my last Will and Testament makeing void all former Wills in Witness whereof I have set my Hand and Seal this twenty fifth day of August one thousand, seven hundred and eighty eight. Humphrey Harwood (seal). Signed Sealed and delivered as the last Will of the Testator in the Presence of ....[blank].

At a Court held for York County the 20th day of April 1789. John Minson Gall Gent and William Moody being sworn deposed that they are well acquainted with the handwriting of Humphrey Harwood, decd. and verily believe this Will and his name there to subscribed to be wholly writ by his own hand whereupon the same was ordered to be recorded And Certificate for obtaining a Probat[e] thereof in due form was granted to William Harwood one of the Executors therein named he having made oath and given Bond with the said John M. Gall and William Harwood, Senr. his Securities in the Penalty of two thousand five hundred pounds conditioned as the Law directs Robert Andrews Gent the other Executor in the said Will named refused to take on himself the Burden of the Execution thereof. Teste, Ro. H. Waller, Cl. Cor."

York County, Virginia Wills and Inventories 23, 1781-1811, p. 219:
On September 20, 1790 an inventory of Humphrey Harwood's estate was presented to the York County Court by his Executor. Items of interest included 14 or 15 slaves, 46 head of cattle, 107 barrels of corn, 167 bushels of wheat, 41 bushels of various oats, 500 [I cannot tell if this is bushels/pounds/hogsheads] of tobacco, 300 bushels of lime, a kiln of 25,000 burnt bricks, a kiln of 15,000 raw bricks, 8 sets of tools for brick work, a large amount of mahogany furniture, 6 maps, an elaborate silver dining and tea service, several firearms and many other items.

Family Tree DNA Surname Search

I have been working with a representative from Family Tree DNA to start a series of blog posts about genealogy DNA testing. I am ordering a test kit and will keep you all posted on the entire process from start to finish. I will update the blog in real time so you know exactly how long it takes to order a kit, take the test and get the results. I am even going to do a video of the volunteer taking the test so you can see exactly how easy DNA testing for genealogy can be. I am still hammering out all of the details but I will let you know when the kit is in the mail.

I have also added a Family Tree DNA search box to the sidebar of my website. You can use it to find surname projects hosted at the Family Tree DNA site. These surname projects are excellent resources, I even have one for the Lett family. You can run searches with all of the surnames you are interested in and see if projects currently exist. I checked several surnames in my family tree and was able to find projects concerning my distant ancestors.

If no project exists for your surname, you can take a DNA test and start a surname project at any time. It is a free service Family Tree DNA provides for their customers and surname project groups members get bulk discounting on their tests. Therefore, if you join up with an existing group, you can get a discounted rate for your test.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brock DNA Project

I asked J. B. Brock of the Brock DNA Project, hosted at Family Tree DNA, to send in a synopsis of what their project was all about. This is what he sent...

"The purpose of the Brock DNA project is to determine the existence of common ancestors among the various Brock Surname lines (and variants such as Brack or Brocke), along with their ethnic and geographic origins.

Participants take the Y-DNA test and must be males carrying the Brock surname because the Y-Chromosome is only found in males and is passed from father to son. The Y-DNA remain nearly unchanged through the generations. Thus, a male Brock of today will carry an almost exact match of the Y-Chromosome his great-grandfather from many generations back carried. Participants genetic markers are compared to determine if they share a common ancestor.

A single test allows you to verify:

(1) If 2 males share a common ancestor

(2) Ones suggested geographic origins

(3) If you are of Native American ancestry through your ancient ancestor

(4)Your deep ancestral ethnic origins

The results are posted on the Brock DNA Project Results Page and are grouped by their Haplogroups.

Matches allow the comparison of participant lineages in hopes to determining a common ancestor.

Members receive a reduced group discount and may choose either the 12-Marker, 25-Marker, 37-Marker or higher test. The decision on which test to take depends on your budget considerations. Project adminstrators recommend the 25 marker test becasue matches made at the 12 marker level can be lost on the Y-DNA 25 or higher test. Exact 12 marker matches are common. Therefore, the 25 and higher marker tests result in more conclusive data when determining a genetic connections/common ancestors.

For more information on how to join the project or for pricing go to the following link:


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Richard D. Stinnet & Mary Jane Carter Stinnet of Botetourt, Rockbridge & Goochland Counties

Richard D. Stinnet [1]. He was born on 01 Feb 1830 in Amherst, Virginia, USA[2]. He died on 24 Nov 1917 in Maidens, Goochland, Virginia, USA[2]. Burial on 26 Nov 1917 in Buchanan, Botetourt, Virginia, USA[2]. Cause of Death was bronchial pneumonia[2].

Richard and Mary were married by Lewis P. Fellers, pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Fincastle, Virginia. They lived along Purgatory Creek, a few miles to the northeast of Buchanan in Botetourt County. Richard was an uneducated farm laborer who never learned to sign his name. The couple had at least seven children, three girls and four boys: Virginia, Emma Elizabeth, Ada W., John H., Richard Haden, Charles O. and Elmer Whitfield.

Richard served as a private in the Botetourt Artillery during the Civil War and was captured at the Battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi on May 1, 1863. He was subsequently sent to prison in Alton, Illinois but was released during a prisoner exchange one month later. He then became a recruiter for the Confederate Army, stationed in Richmond, Virginia, and served until his unit disbanded.

The Stinnet family moved from the Buchanan area to Buffalo of Rockbridge County around 1880. By 1900 Richard and Mary were living with their son Richard in Maidens of Goochland County. The elder Richard was suffering from the infirmities of old age and had a weak back. He was unable to work and applied for a military pension in 1903.

Mary passed away before 1910 and Richard died from pneumonia in 1917. He was buried in Buchanan, presumably in Fairview Cemetery, but neither he nor Mary have a marker in that graveyard.

Mary Jane Carter is the daughter of Joseph Carter and Belsora Elizabeth Lavender[3]. She was born Nov 1838 in Botetourt, Virginia, USA[3, 4]. She died Bet. Jun 1900–Apr 1910[4, 5]. Richard D. Stinnet and Mary Jane Carter were married on 16 Feb 1854 in Botetourt, Virginia, USA[6].


1 - Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003), Database online. Buchanan, Botetourt, Virginia, post office Jackson, roll 1636, page 511, image 268.Record for Richard D Stinnet.

2 - Commonwealth of Virginia certificate of death (Bureau of Vital Statistics), Richard Stinet, 1917, 340-26783.

3 - Botetourt County, Virginia Marriage Register, 1853-1899, Stinnett-Carter entry, 1854, p. 23, ln. 24.

4 - Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004), Database online. Licking Hole, Goochland, Virginia, ED 16, roll T623 1710, page 7B. Record for Richard Stinett.

5 - Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006), Database online. Licking Hole, Goochland, Virginia, ED , roll T624_1629, part , page, Record for Richard Stinett.

6 - Botetourt County, Virginia Ministers' Returns, 1782-1854, Stinnet-Carter entry, 1854.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Book Review: "Mecklenburg County, Virginia Marriages 1765-1853" with Last Name Index A-M

The following is a summary of the last name index, N-Z, for John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr.'s "Mecklenburg County Virginia Marriages 1765-1853." Entries show both bride and groom's names, marriage bond or license date and sometimes witnesses, consents and other items of interest. This is a soft cover reprint by New Papyrus Co. of a 1989 original, contains 302 pages plus figures, appendices & fold-out map. Mecklenburg County was formed in 1764 from the portion of Lunenburg County which had previously been set aside as St. James' Parrish. This book contains a total of 4,123 marriage records including bonds, licenses and/or minister's returns.

If you would like to purchase a copy, you can click here to get it at Amazon:

FYI, the book you would get contains all letters A-Z but I broke them up here into two posts so they would not look so long.

Here are two sample entries from the book:
  • "Wilkes Benjamin F & Elizabeth C Lacy 24 Jan 1826; b - Shadrach Lacy"
  • "Garland Landon C & Mary Cole Burwell 27 Oct 1831; b - Hugh A Garland con - Armistead Burwell, father min - William Steel - (Episcopal) -"
Albernathy Adams Aigner Akin Alderson Aldridge Alexander Allen Allgood Almand Alston Alvis Ambrose Anderson Andrews Apperson Archer Armistead Arnold Arrington Arthur Ashton Atkins Atkinson Avary Averett Avery Avory Baber Bacon Bagley Bagwell Bailey Baird Baisey Baker Ballard Baptist Barbee Barber Barbour Barham Barker Barlow Barnard Barner Barnes Barnett Barron Barrow Barry Basey Baskervill Baskerville Bass Batte Baugh Baynham Beasley Beauford Beaver Beckley Beckwith Beddingfield Bedford Belcher Bell Benford Bennett Bently Berry Bevil Bevill Bigger Bignal Bilbo Billups Binford Bing Birchett Birtchett Bishop Black Blackbourn Blackbourne Blacketter Blackwell Blair Blake Blanch Bland Blane Blankenship Blanks Blanton Bolling Booker Booth Boothe Boswell Bottom Bouldin Bowen Bowers Bowler Bowman Boyd Boyland Boynton Bozwell Bracey Bracy Bradley Bradshaw Bragg Brame Branch Brandon Brasley Brawner Bressie Brewer Bridgewater Bridgforth Briggs Brightwell Broadfoot Brodie Brogdon Brook Brooke Brooking Brooks Browder Brown Brummell Brydie Buckner Buford Bugg Bullington Bullock Burger Burks Burnes Burnett Burney Burns Burrows Burrus Burt Burton Burwell Butler Butterworth Byasee Byassee Byers Cabaniss Cabiness Callis Calloway Calltharp Camp Campbell Cannon Cardin Cardwell Carles Carleton Carlin Carlton Carpenter Carrier Carrington Carroll Carter Cary Cater Cattiler Caveniss Caviness Cazy Certain Chamberlain Chambers Chambliss Chandler Chappell Charlton Chatman Chavous Cheatham Childers Childress Chilrey Childrey Childry Christian Christmas Christopher Church Cirkes Clack Claiborne Clanch Clardy Clark Clarke Claunch Clausel Clay Clayton Cleaton Clements Clemmonds Clemonds Cliborne Cobb Cobbs Cocke Cogbill Cola Cole Coleman Coles Coley Colley Collier Collins Comer Conley Connaway Connell Conner Cook Cooper Copley Coppendge Corn Corpier Couch Courtney Coursen Cousins Couzens Covington Cowan Cowen Cox Craddock Crafton Craig Crawley Creath Creedle Crenshaw Crew Crews Crook Crow Crowder Crutcher Crutchfield Crute Crymes Culbreath Cumbia Cunningham Curtis Cutts Cypress Dabbs Dacus Dailey Daley Daly Dance Daniel Daves Davis Daws Day Degraffenreid Degraffenreidt Decker Dedman Delk Delony Dennis Denton Dew Dewes Dickerson Dickins Dixon Dodson Doggett Dortch Douglas Doyle Draper Drew Drummond Drumwright Duffee Dugger Duncan Dunn Dunnavant Dunnavon Dunnington Dunston Dupree Duprey Durham Duty Earles Easley Easter Eastham Eastland Eaton Eddins Edmonds Edmondson Edmonson Edmunds Edmundson Edwards Elam Elder Elibeck Ellington Elliott Ellis Elvin Emery Epperson Eppes Epps Erby Erskine Estes Eubank Evans Ezell Fagins Fain Fargeson Farley Farmer Farrar Farris Faulkner Fausett Feagins Feagons Featherston Feggin Feggins Feild Feilder Fennell Ferguson Ferrell Field Fielder Finch Finn Finney Fisher Fitts Fitzackerly Fleming Flinn Flood Floyd Flynn Flynne Fontaine Foote Fore Forliness Forman Foster Fowler Fowlkes Fox Francis Franklin Frasar Fraser Frazer Frazier Freeman French Fuller Furham Gabard Gafford Gaines Gardner Garey Garland Garner Garrett Garrott Gary Gayle Gee Geoghegan George Giles Gill Gillespie Gilliam Glasgow Glasscock Glidewell Glover Gober Godsey Goen Goff Gold Gooch Goode Goods Goodwin Gordon Graham Granger Grasty Graves Gray Green Greenwood Greer Greffies Gregory Gresham Griffin Griffith Grigg Grimes Grymes Guy Gwaltney Hagerman Hagood Haile Hailestock Hailey Hailstock Haley Hall Halm Halton Hamblen Hamblin Hamilton Hamlett Hamlin Hamme Hammond Hamner Hanbury Hancock Hansard Hanserd Hardie Hardin Hardy Hargrove Harper Harria Harris Harrison Harriss Harwell Harwood Haskins Hasten Hastin Hasting Hastings Hatch Hatchell Hatcher Hatsel Hatsell Hawkins Hawks Hawthorne Hayes Hayles Haynes Hazelwood Hazlewood Hearn Heathcock Hedderly Heggie Helm Hendrick Henly Henry Hepbourne Hepburn Hester Hethcock Hewes Hickman Hicks Higgerson Hightower Hill Hilton Hines Hinton Hite Hix Hobsin Hodge Hoges Hogan Hogwood Holcomb Hollins Holloway Holmes Holt Holtsford Homes Hood Hooper Hopkins Hord House Howard Howerton Hubbard Huddleston Hudgins Hudson Hughes Hull Humphress Humphries Hundley Hunt Hunter Hurst Hurt Hutcherson Hutcheson Hutson Hutt Hutton Hyde Hynt Inge Ingram Insco Irby Isham Ivey Ivy Jackson James Jarrott Jefferson Jeffress Jeffreys Jeffries Jenkins Jerman Jeter Jewell Jiggetts Johns Johnson Johnston Jones Jordan Joyce Justice Keeling Keen Keeton Kelley Kelly Kendrick Kennedy Kennon Kersey Keys Kidd Kimball Kimbrough King Kinker Kirk Kirkland Kirks Kiser Kittrell Knight Knott Knowell Knox Lacy Ladd Laffoon Laine Laird Lamay Lamb Lambert Lamkin Land Langford Langhorne Langley Lanier Lark Lawrence Lawson Lawton Leneve Leach Leaker Lear Leckie Lee Leftwich Leigh Leneve Lester Lett Leverman Lewis Lidderdal Lifford Light Lightfoot Ligon Lindley Lisk Lloyd Loafman Lockett Loftis Lollis Lomax Lonnon Love Lovingston Lowery Lowry Loyd Lucas Lukes Lumpkin Lumsdon Lunsford Lydick Lyle Lynch MacCarter MacGowan Mackecy Maclin Major Mallett Mallory Malone Manley Mann Manning Marable Markam Marks Marriott Marshall Martin Mason Massey Matthews May Mayes Mayfield Maynard Mayne Mayo McAden McCargo McCarter McCraw McCutcheon McDaniel McDearman McDowell McGowan McHarg McKinney McLaughlin McLin McNeal McQuie McRilon Meacham Mealer Mealey Mealler Medley Meldrum Meredith Merritt Merryman Michaux Middagh Miller Mills Mimms Mims Minor Mise Mitchell Mize Monday Monroe Montague Montgomery Moody Moon Moore Morgain Morgan Morris Morton Moseley Moss Mountcastle Mullins Munford Murdock Murfey Murphey Murray Murrell Murrill Mustian

Again, if you would like to purchase a copy, you can click here to get it at Amazon:

Book Review: "Mecklenburg County, Virginia Marriages 1765-1853" with Last Name Index N-Z

The following is a summary of the last name index, N-Z, for John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Jr.'s "Mecklenburg County Virginia Marriages 1765-1853." Entries show both bride and groom's names, marriage bond or license date and sometimes witnesses, consents and other items of interest. This is a soft cover reprint by New Papyrus Co. of a 1989 original, contains 302 pages plus figures, appendices & fold-out map. Mecklenburg County was formed in 1764 from the portion of Lunenburg County which had previously been set aside as St. James' Parrish. This book contains a total of 4,123 marriage records including bonds, licenses and/or minister's returns.

If you would like to purchase a copy, you can click here to get it at Amazon:

FYI, the book you would get contains all letters A-Z but I broke them up here into two posts so they would not look so long.

Here are two sample entries from the book:
  • "Wilkes Benjamin F & Elizabeth C Lacy 24 Jan 1826; b - Shadrach Lacy"
  • "Garland Landon C & Mary Cole Burwell 27 Oct 1831; b - Hugh A Garland con - Armistead Burwell, father min - William Steel - (Episcopal) -"
Naish Nance Nanney Nash Neal Neathery Neathry Neblett Neely Nelson Nethery Newman Newsom Newton Nicholas Nicholson Nipper Noblin Noel Nolley Norman Norment Northcross Northington Norvell Norwood Nowell Nuckols Nunn Nunnelly Nunnery O’Brian O’Briant Ogburn Oliver Organ Orsby Osborn Osborne Oslin Osling Outland Overbey Overby Overton Owen Pace Page Paine Palmer Parham Paris Parish Parker Parrish Parrott Parsons Paschall Patillo Patrick Patterson Paul Paulette Paull Paylor Payne Pearce Pearcy Pearson Peebles Peek Peete Penn Pennington Pentecost Penticost Peoples Perkins Perkinson Perry Persize Pescud Pettiford Pettipool Pettus Pettway Petty Pettyford Pettypool Phillips Piemont Pierce Piller Pinson Pitts Plummer Poarch Poindexter Pointer Pool Poole Pope Portwood Potter Potts Powell Power Powers Poynor Poythress Prather Preston Prewitt Price Prichett Pride Pritchett Pryor Puckett Pugh Pulliam Pulliam Pully Puryear Quarles Quincey Quinchett Quincy Rachael Ragland Ragsdale Rainey Ramsey Ransom Ravenscroft Read Reader Reagan Reamey Reams Reamy Reaves Redd Redding Redford Reekes Reese Renn Reynolds Rhodes Rice Richards Richardson Richeson Ricks Ridley Ridout Riggans Riggin Riggins Ripley Rives Roach Robards Roberts Robertson Robinson Roffe Rogers Rook Roper Rose Ross Rottenberry Rottenbury Rowland Rowlett Royal Royer Royster Rudd Rudder Ruffin Russell Ryan Ryland Sadler Salley Sally Sammons Samuel Sandifer Sands Sandys Saulsberry Saunders Savage Scott Scruggs Sculthorp Selden Seward Shackelford Shackleford Shanks Sharp Shaw Shearer Shell Shelton Short Simmons Simpson Sims Sinclair Singleton Sizemore Skelton Skinner Skipwith Slate Slaughter Small Smelley Smith Smithson Snead Somervill Somerville Somervill Soward Spain Sparks Speaks Speed Spence Spencer Spraggins Spurlock Stainback Stalcup Stamps Standley Stanfield Stanley Steagall Steel Stegall Stembridge Sterling Stevens Stewart Stigall Stiner Stith Stokes Stone Stovall Strange Straub Stroud Strum Stuart Sturdivant Suggett Sullivan Sullivant Swepson Sydnor Tabb Talley Tandy Tanner Tansley Tarry Tarwater Tatum Taylor Temple Terrell Terry Thacker Tharp Thellis Thomas Thomason Thomerson Thompson Thomson Thornton Threadgill Throgmorton Thrower Tibbs Tillotson Tindal Tinsley Tisdale Tompkins Toone Totty Towler Townes Townsend Travis Traylor Trice Tucker Tudor Tunstall Turnbull Turner Tutor Underwood Vaden Valentine Vaughan Venable Vercer Vowell Wade Wagstaff Walden Walker Wall Wallace Waller Walthall Walton Ware Warren Wartman Wartmen Watkins Watson Watts Weatherford Weaver Webb Webster Weekes Wells Wesson Westbrook Westmoreland Whitby White Whitehead Whitlow Whitt Whittemore Whittle Whitworth Whoberry Whobry Wiggins Wilborn Wilbourn Wilbourne Wilburn Wiles Wiley Wilkerson Wilkes Wilkins Wilkinson Willard Williams Williamson Willis Wills Wilmoth Wilson Wiltse Wimbish Winckler Winfield Winfree Wingfield Winkfield Winkler Winn Winstead Wood Woodall Woodruff Woodson Woody Wootton Worsham Worthahm Wray Wrenn Wright Wyatt Wynn Wynne Yancey Yates Yeargen Young

Again, if you would like to purchase a copy, you can click here to get it at Amazon:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Family Search Pilot Site

I wanted to let everyone know about an update to the main LDS genealogy site. They have started a pilot program for their new search feature which includes scans of census records, vital records and much more. This looks to be a great site in the making. You should check it out and I will let you know when it gets integrated as the new search function for the site.

I would compare this to Ancestry.com in a lot of ways, albeit a very scaled down version.

You can visit the site by clicking here: FamilySearch Record Search Pilot

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Win a Walt Disney World Vacation from eBay!

I know this really has nothing to do with genealogy but I wanted to pass it along. My wife, kids and I have fallen in love with Disney World over the past two years. We have spent both Summer vacations there during 2007 and 2008. I think we are going to skip 2009 and plan another trip in 2010 (when our son is a little older).

Disney and eBay have teamed up to give away a Grand Prize every month for the rest of the year, until October I think. This month the prize is a trip to Walt Disney World. I just tried it tonight but did not win. To participate, you have to have or sign up for an eBay account. It does not cost anything to sign up for an account if you do not have one. Then you have to give them your e-mail address to enter but you can opt not to let Walt Disney World contact you.

Once signed in you get to pick one of three gift boxes. I obviously picked the wrong one and did not win a real prize. (I picked the third box with yellow bow!) I got a free download of a Steamboat Willie cutout/origami figurine...nothing special. I think if you pick the right box you get an actual prize and are also entered for the Grand Prize. I think you can play once per day but I am not sure about that. I also think if you buy items off eBay you can also get more entries.

Anyway, if you want to try your hand at picking a gift box and maybe winning the trip, follow this link: eBay & Disney Contest

Good luck and let me know if you win anything good!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ancestry.com DNA Testing

I do not think I ever mentioned that Ancestry.com now offers DNA testing. This isn't anything terribly new but I wanted to point out that you do not have to buy your test from them to use their matching services. All I had to do was manually enter the results that I got from Family Tree DNA and I can use all of the Ancestry features. I assume you have to have some type of Ancestry.com membership to use this feature. I mean, you obviously have to have an account in which to enter the information.

I was able to see a nice write-up about my haplogroup, I1a, and you can also see all of the other members that match your DNA to some degree. You can even specify the number of generations of separation between yourself and the results that are shows. I am showing up to 70 generations in the example below but it can range from 70 down to 2. My DNA test was not very refined, I think only 12 markers, so I do not have many close results.

Ancestry also appears to have a new surname group project section where you can compare results with others of the same last name. I have not tried this yet but I may in the near future.

You can click here to check out Ancestry.com DNA testing

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Edward Jackson Cole Family Cemetery, Highway 658, North View, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

The Edward Jackson Cole family cemetery is located off Highway 658 near North View in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. From South Hill go west on Highway 47 to Old Cox Road. Turn right onto Cox and take the first left onto Highway 658, now called Northside Road. The cemetery is located at the end of a field on the right, along its tree line. The coordinates for the cemetery are 36 47.026' N, 78 15.572' W. There are five marked tombstones and upwards of ten unmarked fieldstone markers.

1) Emma Cole Simmons - June 18, 1868 - February 27, 1933.

2) Thomas H. Cole - July 21, 1868 - December 26, 1917. Stone reads: "He died as he lived A Christian" and is engraved with a Mason emblem.

3) Edward J. Cole - November 11, 1834 - May 15, 1898. Same stone as #4.

4) Athaliah D. Cole - March 23, 1843 - February 23, 1888. Stone is engraved with the words “Father” and “Mother.” There are foot stones which are engraved "EJC" and “ADC."

5) John H. Cole. The stone has no dates and is a government military stone inscribed ss follows: Co. D., 2 Virginia Artillery, CSA. The stone also has an engraved type of cross.

6) William T. Cole - The stone has no dates and is exactly the same as that of John H. Cole except that he served in Co. C., 21 Virginia Infantry, CSA.

As a note, between Edward J. Cole and the next grave is space for at least two graves. There is a set of field stones in that area. It is believed his parents, Edward Thomas and Ann Eliza Beal Cole are buried in the cemetery. These stones may mark their grave. The land on which the cemetery is located was marked on the 1864 Gilmer map as belonging to Mrs. Cole.

John Henry Lett, Sr. Family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia

This is an article I wrote a few years ago for "The Heritage of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, 1765-2006." The first image was provided by Hilda Hood.

John Henry Lett, Sr. (6 November 1844-28 April 1910), son of Joseph A. and Jane C. Lett, married Margaret Ingram Rolfe (27 May 1838-21 January 1911), daughter of Edward Roffe (c. 1786-bef. 1860) and Margaret Puryear (c. 1798-bef. 1860), 13 February 1867. Margaret was the paternal granddaughter of Edward Roffe and Miney Burton and the maternal granddaughter of Peter Puryear and Phebe Burton.

According to his obituary, John was “a thoroughly good man, affectionate husband and father, kind neighbor and successful farmer. He was a courageous soldier of the Confederacy, and faithful soldier of the Cross. Being an honored and useful member of El-Bethel Methodist Church for many years.” He served Virginia as a private in Co. B., 4th Heavy Artillery and later in Co. B., 34th Infantry. John was described as having a fair complexion, light hair, blue eyes, standing five feet and ten inches.

The Letts settled on approximately 130 acres, located on the North side of Saffolds Road, two miles North of Stony Cross. This tract was formerly owned by John's grandfather, Pennington Lett. Their lifestyle was that of subsistence farmers but the Letts produced tobacco and butter for sale at market. John was also involved in various social movements. By 1885, he was a member of the "Baskerville Grange" which aimed to improve the social, economic, and political status of local farmers. He was also president of the local Farmer's Education and Protective Association.

John and Margaret had seven children, four boys and three girls. Joseph Edward Lett (30 January 1868-29 June 1953) married cousin Martha Washington Rolfe (November 1870-1921) on 5 March 1893 and Alice Pearl Winn (7 February 1898-8 February 1984) on 26 November 1924. Thomas Shelburne Lett (16 September 1869-11 December 1947) married Brelia Ann Cole (February 1873-bef. 1905) on 2 July 1893, Sarah Francis Davis (26 February 1869-25 March 1918) on 14 June 1905 and Emma Elizabeth Sullivan (28 April 1880-28 June 1964) on 20 November 1918. Beulah Lee Lett (27 January 1872- 23 January 1930) married Melville Peterson Walker (2 October 1868-16 August 1945) on 17 March 1893. Gertrude Witt Lett (30 August 1874-2 April 1962) married Charles Alexander Smiley (11 March 1874-1 June 1931) on 31 January 1897. Maude Ingram Lett (7 September 1877-20 August 1913) married Isaiah Albert Johnson (21 November 1864-3 March 1920) on 7 February 1900. John Henry Lett, Jr. (11 July 1879-5 October 1931) married Mary Elizabeth Cole (30 July 1877-22 October 1967) on 5 June 1901. Luther William Lett (26 June 1883-20 February 1958) married Emma Iola Sculthorp (13 January 1889-11 December 1960) on 19 January 1908.

The Lett home place still stands along highway 675. The brick structure is a facade over the old wooden home and the family cemetery is to its North. This photo was taken at the home c. 1890. Left to right, top row: Gertrude, Joseph, Maude, Thomas and Beulah Lett. Middle row: Sally Ann Rolfe, John, Sr. and Margaret Lett. Bottom row: Luther and John Lett, Jr.

Dr. Benjamin Fennell of Greensville & Mecklenburg Counties

Religious Herald, Richmond, Virginia, August 4, 1864:

"Died, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, Dec.30th, 1863, of congestive chills, Dr. Benj. Fennell, in the 67th year of his age. In recording this tribute to the memory of the deceased, the writer feels incapable of portraying the many noble and lovely traits of character he possessed and the heart-felt piety which a Christian only enjoys. The heart yields to sadness as we record the death of those we loved. True, memory brings back a thousand things causing us to mingle afresh with the scenes that united our hearts here, until we almost forget that we do not live together still. But the sad reality soon returns. Death loves a shining mark and has claimed its victim: and he who lived and moved for the good of others is here only in our affections. The hand that never tired in acts of kindness to those around him has eased to move, and the spirit that ever yielded meekly to his Master’s chastisements has fled to the God who gave it. His death creates a painful vacuum in the deeply Bereaved family which God alone can fill. He was a loving husband, a devoted and affectionate father, and a good citizen. The presence of a cruel enemy separated him unavoidably from a devoted son, of whom he often spoke, and from others near and dear to him, for several days previous to his death, when, indeed, there was hope that death might now come. But kind friends were around and ministered to his every want. The tenacity with which his wife and children clung to him, and almost frantically implored him not to leave them, serves in some measure to attest the strength of the tie that bound them together. But their loss is his gain. His spirit dwells now in heaven, and he enjoys that boon which God alone can bestow. Dr. Benjamin Fennell was the son of Capt. Isham Fennell, of Greensville County, Va. He came to Mecklenburg County and settled in 1831, where he resided until his death. He was not taken by surprise. He seemed to look with calm resignation at his approach for several months previous, and in his last hours exhorted his children to love each other; and as the lamp of life was flickering, he exclaimed to his weeping wife, 'I am ready -- I can go.'"

Oliver P. Hankins & Mary Susan Hockaday Hankins Obituaries, Richmond

Richmond Dispatch, October 22, 1878:
"Died, on Sunday morning the 20th instant, at forty minutes past 8 o'clock, after a short illness, Mrs. MARY SUSAN HANKINS, wife of Mr. O. P. Hankins, in the fifty-eighth year of her age. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Her remains were interred in Hollywood Cemetery."

Richmond Dispatch, March 3, 1895:
"HANKINS - Died, on Friday evening, March 1st, at thirty-five minutes past 6 o'clock, at the residence of Mr. Thomas N. Kendler, his son-in-law, No. 919 west Marshall street, Mr. O. P. HANKINS, in the 80th year of his age. The funeral will take place from Marshall Street Christian church, near Hancock street, THIS AFTERNOON at half past 3 o'clock. Friends and acquaintances are respectfully invited to attend."

Oliver and Mary are buried in section A, lot 109 of Hollywood Cemetery, both in unmarked graves.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera, Free Until July 31, 2008

One of my cousins wrote me this morning to let me know about a collection of Civil War images online that is giving away free access until July 31, 2008.

According to their website:

"Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera presents the dramatic imagery of nineteenth-century Americana as experienced from the social, military, and political perspectives. At completion, the collection will present 75,000 images drawn from archives around the country, documenting the camp and battle experiences of Union and Confederate soldiers of all ranks, time spent in hospitals and in prisons, civilian life in cities and towns close to and far from the front lines of war, and the demeanor of the politicians whose decisions could bring the nation together or tear it apart. Many of the images in the collection were captured by famous and lesser-known innovators working with the burgeoning medium of nineteenth-century photography. Additionally, graphical content such as envelopes, song sheets, recruiting posters, imprints, and cartoons give users the ability to research how wartime America illustrated their times visually. With Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera, researchers and students can now see the moments—both monumental and mundane--that occurred as the nation stood divided.

Regular updates of Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera ensure an ever-expanding trove of fully-searchable images. Most of the materials have been gathered from extensive archives of nineteenth-century Americana. Partnerships with these archives allow the collection to bring forth previously unpublished photographs and posters to further scholarship of the Civil War. All images are organized around key broad subject areas in the field, allowing users to proceed directly to visual narratives of social, political, and military aspects of the war. Additionally, each image contains a short contextual note and is indexed for available data such as photographer, year, and setting. The result is a widely searchable database that gives researches unprecedented access to the highly visual record of the Civil War experience.

Note: The current release of Images of the American Civil War is a beta version."

You can view the collection here: Images of the American Civil War: Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera

Friday, July 04, 2008

Library of Virginia Chancery Records Scanned, More Coming

I found something hot yesterday that I did not know existed. I was almost ashamed when I found it, for the fact that I did not realize it was there all of this time. I consider myself an expert on the holdings of the Library of Virginia, I even volunteered there for almost a year. I just could not believe that I missed their project for scanning chancery court records. These are free, online records for anyone to use. Be warned that the records can be very long, some more than 1,000 pages, and they can get very addictive!

Here is the deal, the Library has scanned several counties and are working on the rest. If you do not know, a chancery cause is basically a court case where there is no clear cut law to decide who is right or wrong in a civil case. All of the evidence is gathered and presented to a judge who rules on that evidence. This can include old wills, deeds, Bible records, letters, anything to help win your case. I will give an example of a chancery cause that I found in my family...

Ann's husband died and she sold twenty acres of their farm to one of their freed slaves. Twenty years later, after Ann's death, one of her children decided that they wanted the twenty acres back but the freed slave had sold the land to a white family ten years ago. They all go to chancery court and the judge rules that Ann had no right to sell the property because 2/3 of it belonged to the heirs of her husband. Furthermore the freed slaves had no right to purchase property so the sale was doubly invalid. The white family had to give the land back to Ann's estate and had no recourse since the original sale was not valid. That is a true chancery cause as no clear-cut law applied to the situation. It took a judge's understanding of the laws to come to a conclusion.

Anyway, the Library of Virginia has already scanned the causes for the following areas:

  • Alexandria City
  • Caroline County
  • Fauquier County
  • Hanover County
  • King & Queen County
  • Lancaster County
  • Middlesex County
  • New Kent County
  • Northampton County
  • Prince William County
  • Rockbridge County (some)
  • Shenandoah County
  • Staunton City

These areas are in the process of being scanned at this time:

  • Amelia County
  • Cumberland County
  • Page County
  • Rockbridge County (some)

You can check out the records at this link: Library of Virginia Chancery Causes

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Florence Vass Hundley obituaries, Richmond, 1942

Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 27, 1942:
"MRS. FLORENCE VASS - Funeral services for Mrs. Florence Vass, who died Wednesday at the home of her niece, Mrs. S. C. Bass, 1900 Westwood Ave., will be held at 3 P. M. Saturday at the Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Home, Third and Marshall Streets. Interment will be in Riverview Cemetery. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. W. R. Lawrence and Mrs. G. L. Sanderson, both of Henrico County; a brother, A. L. Vass, and two sisters, Mrs. C. Williams and Mrs. J. W. Gibbons, of Richmond."

"VASS - Died suddenly at the home of a niece, Mrs. S. C. Bass, 1900 Westwood Avenue, Wednesday, November 25, 1942, Mrs. Florence Vass. She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. G. L. Sanderson and Mrs. W. R. Lawrence; one brother, A. L. Vass; two sisters, Mrs. C. Williams and Mrs. J. W. Gibbons. The remains rest at the Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Home, Third and Marshall, where services will be held Saturday at 3 P. M. Interment in Riverview."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Searchable Oakwood Cemetery Database is Live!

Tonight I have launched a searchable database for our transcribed burial records of Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. It is located all the way at the bottom of this page, below the final blog entry. There are only around 100 names in the database at the moment, all of them happen to be of the Allen surname. I have around 800 more I plan on adding in the next few days.

For right now you can only search by last name. I will try to expand the search sooner or later but for now I will keep it simple. I am not exactly a database guru so you will have to settle for what my abilities will manage at this point.

I think there will be a minor change to the project in the next few days. I think I could run into some trouble with Oakwood Cemetery if I publish all of their records without their explicit permission. The city owns the cemetery so I doubt there would be any trouble but you never know. I am going to play it safe and change the project from Oakwood burials to simply Virginia burials or Richmond burials, something like that. This could also open up the database to more cemeteries, instead of just Oakwood.

I basically need to add a column to the database for cemetery name and maybe one for location. That will allow me to specify different cemeteries in different locations. We will have to wait and see when and if I find time to make this change. I feel like it is going to mess up my current database and search/query structure so I am afraid to make the change just yet. I will probably drag my feet until I get the courage up.

If anyone out there has access to the Library of Virginia and would like to help transcribe some of the records, I could always use the help. All you need is a laptop and I can tell you how to add records to the database online. Just let me know if you are interested.

Weekend at the Beach and our first Elyse90505 video

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past few days. I took my wife and kids to Virginia Beach for the weekend and then I have been tied up with work. We went to Sandbridge for one day and then the Virginia Aquarium on the next. We had a great time but I am slow getting back up and running. I spent yesterday answering a bunch of e-mail so I have not gotten back to posting new stuff yet. I will have an Oakwood Cemetery update soon.

I was going over some sites that I check out from time to time and I found a video series produced by a young lady named Elyse. She is a college student in California, loves Harry Potter and is a big genealogy buff. She makes videos like those I am working on but I have not released yet. She seems like a sweet girl and has a natural love for our hobby. I am going to post a few of her videos here, over the next few days, in case you are interested in watching them.