Genealogists Search Many States
All of a person's ancestors did not reside in one State. After coming to this country, they moved around with great regularity. That is because land was so important to survival. The habit of allowing fields to remain fallow for two years or more was helpful, but not enough. A good rich, loamy soil was required to sustain generations of families. In Virginia, it was tobacco which quickly depleted the soil, and soon as ther American Revolution, families were on the move. Genealogists, look to the land grants of these soldiers (for service) and subsent land lotteries in Georgia. Many families drew and won land in the lotteries, according to the number of persons in the family. That is why it is important to examine Tax Digests, which list the number of acres and the county. We trace the movement of our ancestors through deed records, tax digests, land grants and lotteries. As families moved along, it becomes necessary to examine the county records everywhere that they resided. This is where marriage records were recorded, deeds given, and estates probated. Also, a close examination of local cemeteries and churches is indicated. Why? Because burial records and church registers also tell the story. Georgia Pioneers has a vast collection of county records and includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is easy to search from one state to the next using the same portal.
How to Turn Marginal Genealogy into Real Genealogy
As we continue our research, we find ourselves jotting down tidbits of information, thinking that it might be useful later. And it is, as more data reaches our computer. But what kind tidbits are most important? Witnesses to deeds and adjoining properties; every name in the old part of the cemetery, especially those adjoining your family plots. Names in the same district as your ancestor written down according to the order of the entries, along with such details as acreage, adjoining neighbors and waters. Purchasers of estate sales as some of these people married the daughters (examine these names in the county marriage records). Remarkably, all of these people were the old neighborhood! You will be amazed at how this information provides a better understand of the life and times of your ancestors, plus makes all the puzzle parts fit.
Revolutionary War Pensions Provide Interesting Family Stories
When young, William Dove moved with his parents from Maryland to Fairfax County, Virginia. During August of 1777 when the British landed at Elk River and marched towards Philadelphia, he enlisted as a Marine onboard the General Washington at Alexandria. This vessel was destined to carry dispatches to France. Two years later he enlisted again as a seaman and sailed for Amsterdam in Holland. When that mission was complete, he was appointed corporal under Capt. Thomas Pollard and marched to Malvern Hills below Richmond. After the war, he removed to Pittsylvania County where he lived until he died.
Nolands Ferry at Leesburg. Many soldiers served three month terms, then returned home to plant or harvest their crops. Such was the case of John Smith of Pittsylvania County who was drafted into the Virginia Miltia in 1781 and after participating in the battle of Guilford Court House was discharged. He was drafted again in the fall of 1781 and marched with the army of Captain William Dixon to Yorktown where he remained until after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. After that, he was sent to guard prisoners at Nolands Ferry.
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Strangers No More
How exciting it is to locate an old photo of the ancestors. But there is more to come for the genealogist who digs deeply into the past. A visit to the old farm place in the countryside offers a sense of their lifestyle and sacrifice to the American way. Your ancestors were ambititiously unselfishly valiant people, and proved it by forging an economy out of a new wilderness country. I hope that you take the time to walk across old pastures and dirt roads, locate rural church yards, and speak to the older generation still in the vicinity. Next, introduce yourself to them by examining deed records and take note of the legal description which provides the land lot number and acreage. A county map from the tax accessor's office will help you to find the exact spot. Also, while you are in the neighborhood, observe how the land itself seems to be missing the old generation who planted the gardens and fruit trees. How old are some of those trees? As people moved from place to place, they took seeds of trees and favorite plants. Remember, that just as Sir Walter Raleigh introduced? the potato to English soil, that English immigrants also delivered the beautiful boxwood seedlings to Virginia plantations where they continue to flourish in grand beauty today.
Finding the Path Across the Genealogy Maze
Have you ever worked one of the maze puzzles in the Altheimer's books? Once inside the maze, the idea is to find a path out. Actually, it is a good exercize for the researcher who spends years attempting to solve complicated genealogies. We expect to find marriage records, for example, but discover that many county records did not begin requiring this filing until the 1900s. But we are inside the maze and must pause to examine all of the possibilities of exit. In seeking the obvious exit, we miss tiny details whih lead to answers. For example, did you realize that the people buried in the old part of a cemetery are "the neighborhood?" It is these tombstones which provide answers. Had you researched the local deed records, wills and estates, you might recognize some of the names. In other words, you are looking at the neighbors, friends and relatives of your ancestors. A closer look at the old section might turn up the husband's of daughters. Look closely and write down everyone's name. Notice when they include a maiden name. Example: Mary Jones Smith. Gosh, Mary's parents are probably buried close by. And an examination of old wills and estates might help identify if Mary Jones belongs to your family. Thus, just as we examine every outlet in the maze, we identify every possible relationship.
Waters Dunn was born a Quaker in South Farnham Parish, Essex County, Virginia. As a young man he had a conflict with his father concerning some debts which he owed. Before removing away from home, Waters Dunn had an auction wherein his father purchased three slaves. When the father died, he specified in his last will and testament that those three slaves were only being "lent" to Waters until he paid certain debts. About 1760, a group of families led by Waters Dunn migrated to Halifax County, Virginia and then on to Pittsylvania and Henry Counties. Five years later, Waters Dunn purchased 405 acres in Pittsylvania County. It appears as though he had accumulated several hundred acres back in South Farnham Parish. When he died, his last will and testament implied these lands "the remainder of my estate lying in any part whatsoever." Waters Dunn followed the Quakers into Columbia County, Georgia where he died in 1803.
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Pittsylvania County Genealogy, Wills, Estates
Pittsylania County was formed in 1767 from Halifax County, Virginia. It was named after William Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1755 to 1768. In 1777 the western part of Pittsylvania County was divided and became Henry County.
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