Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AncestryDNA finally has a tab that lets you see In Common With for your matches

So excited to see this tool!!  Now you don't have to convince people to send a share DNA link.  They have also added filters for parents if you have had either of your parents tested you can filter by matches in common with either of them.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

PLEASE pay attention when saving files to your Ancestry Tree

This post was written to make people aware of the issues within this database and its description ---NOT to discourage people from using all the resources possible to find information on their ancestors.

Tennessee Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965

I have a love hate relationship with this database.  While I love that the information is online and available to view at home with an Ancestry subscription, I hate that the index is so misleading.  Yes, the vast majority of the records are divorce records however,  there are other types within this database.  The description says that only Divorce records are indexed and searchable but that is not the case.  I could provide several examples within the set of the Williamson Co TN record section as I have Putmans and Cooks from that area in the 1830s.  The examples below show how the index could cause problems within my Putman research.

Note the description of the Williamson Co TN record set as well as the statement on what is indexed and searchable.

This search result would be fine if it was a is not

Add caption

As a researcher I am aware that you should check and double check records even if you feel there might not be anything within the database that would pertain to your research.  Because the records which aren't divorces ARE indexed(at least the ones I've found in Williamson Co TN) when you try and add the document to your tree at Ancestry it is tagged a Divorce record source and doesn't allow you to change that field.

This only happens when you try to add the first image or two to  a person in your online tree.  It doesn't happen if you try to add the pages after the index card.  Once you get past that point you will get an error on the additional pages which as it should prevents adding.  Sure there is a work around but how many will add the first page of the document without doing that and then have it listed as a Divorce and thus pass on this error.  Most people would notice in this example it is obviously impossible for a divorce to happen in 1837 or 1838 when one party has died in 1835.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

More Frizzell & Manley segments identified.

Haven't posted much in a month with school being out.  I have been enjoying the last high school summer as this coming year is my daughter's Senior Year in High School.  Rest assured I have been tinkering in genealogy almost every day just haven't had extra time to write about it.  Today I wanted to make a point to post though.  I have been frustrated by lack of responses from DNA matches I have tried contacting from all of the sites where I manage kits...Ancestry, FTDNA and Gedmatch.  I keep telling myself I need to make a form letter...but I never have though I do have the lists of GGGG Grandparents for both sides that I can copy and paste into an email.  I generally find whatever my last letter was and adapt it each time.  I guess this will help especially at Ancestry not to get caught in their spammer filter.  At any rate the other night I was writing a few of my matches....actually it was one person who was over all the I wrote to her and I kept it pretty simple.  Basically I match 3 of your kits and would like to know the connection and briefly mentioned the Gedmatch site and that it was free with some neat tools.  Just got a message a bit ago and all the kits are now at GEDmatch!!!  I am thrilled as I have identified a large segment on two chromosomes.  So don't give up!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Will of John Cathey--March 1837 Session--Lincoln Co NC

Read over some of the Lincoln Co. North Carolina probate records and found the will of John Cathey which was proved at the March 1837 Session of the Lincoln Co Court.  John listed all his children but apparently did not approve one of his daughter's choice of a husband.

4th I give and bequeath to my second daughter Jinny Mauney --one dollar

Later in the will he makes the following stipulation.  

also all my other property bequeathed to my wife at her decease to be equally divided among all of my children except my daughter Jenny Mauney.  it is my desire that she do not heir any of my estate until after the death of her husband Livingston Mauney.
You can find the complete will of John Cathey at the link below.

Will of John Cathey--March 1837 Session--Lincoln Co NC
"North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970," images, FamilySearch (,170758801 : accessed 27 May 2015), Lincoln > Wills, 1824-1838, Vol. 01 > image 466 of 489; county courthouses, North Carolina

Livingston Mauney and Abram Houser took out a marriage bond on August 21 1829 in Lincoln County, North Carolina for Livingston Mauney to marry Jane Cathey.

Livingston Mauney and Jane Cathey 21 August 1829 Lincoln Co NC  Abram Houser. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

All records I could find showed the marriage as the same day as the bond.  While I am not sure that is accurate John Cathey's will proves that they must have married at least by the time of his writing the will and he was apparently not very fond of Livingston.  Livingston is thought to be the son of Dr. George Mauney Sr. even though he is not mentioned in George's will of 1840.  A check of the files at Ancestry and Rootsweb have Livingston's date of death as 16th November 1849 though I never found a source for that.  There are a lot of unanswered questions.  What caused John Cathey to not like Livingston?   What was the cause of death for Livingston?  Forties is fairly young to die..even back then.  What became of Jane "Jenny" Cathey Mauney?  Did she also die around that time?  Did she get her inheritance when her husband died if she was still living?  Now if I can just find info concerning one of my ancestors.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Few Probate Packets of South Carolina Cook families

A hot topic of the Cook/Putman researchers lately has been trying to determine if the Cook and Putman families knew each other prior to their arrival in Williamson Co. TN.  The Putmans were in Union Co. SC.  With the rain just made sense to use the time to see what Cook families I could find in the Union Co SC area.  I didn't find any obvious connection to my Cooks but I really enjoyed reading over them..

Several of these Cook families were Quaker Families.  The estate inventories provide a great deal of information about the deceased as well as listing the names of those who purchased items.  I enjoyed the beautiful writing on some of the pages.  If these don't interest you, go to the main FamilySearch site and find a state in which your ancestors lived and see what is available for the counties in which your families lived.

The SC Probate files at FamilySearch  aren't searchable however I found an index and then used that to navigate to the Cook images.  

Union Co SC

York Co SC 

While reading over the estate inventories, you might find tools with which you are unfamiliar.  There were several that I didn't recognize and too some that I just wanted to see.  There are several books at Google Books that will help identify tools.  I found The Illustrated Sheffield List to be very helpful and it is available free.  Most of the items that I was unfamiliar with had to do with horses.  In the inventory of Isaac Cook's estate there was a copy of Barkley's Apology as well as a Bible.

There are many State probate documents available at FamilySearch.  Most of the ones I have found aren't searchable but are browsable.  A great deal of these records have a  scanned index and once you find that you can use that to find the surnames of interests within the browsable probate documents.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Two Henry Cook Revolutionary War Applicants

While I do have experience researching pensions most of that research has been with Confederate Pension files.  I wrote a blog post in 2014 looking at how many ancestors I had that fought in the Revolutionary War which gave me an idea of how many different options I had for joining Daughters of the American Revolution. I'm not considering doing that but it impressed  me when I found 11 lines which descendants had used to gain membership.  In retrospect, this really should not have been surprising as most of my ancestors were in America prior to 1770s.   With Confederate Pensions I had always loved the widow's applications because you can find copies of marriage records there and lists of children's names and ages.  You can find that in some of the soldiers but they don't always remember the children like the mother's do.   The women always seemed to give a lot more detail with the exception of the details for the battles in which the soldier had participated.  The Revolutionary Pension files for the soldiers seem to tell much more than that of the Confederate files that I have read over.  I accessed the Revolutionary War Applications through HeritageQuest.  I am lucky to have a library which provides this access to its patrons and allows them to research from the comfort of their own home.  My Cook line is one of my major brick-walls so I decided to find a few of the Cook men who applied.  The two I selected were both named Henry Cook and were in TN at the time they applied.  They both had been in areas where my Cook line was known to have been but do not appear to be kin to me at this time.

Henry Cook 21947  S2460 (the #s listed through out his file)
Applied while living in Carroll Co TN (in 1833)
born March 12 1752 at Thompson's Creek Virginia
Family moved to Orange Co NC near Butler's Fort.(when claimant was a "stout boy")
That was where he lived during the time of the American Revolution.  He remained in Orange Co NC until 1796 when he moved to Woodfin Co KY at which place he lived for about a year.  He then moved to Columbia Kentucky(Adair Co KY) and remained there about 8 years.  Around 1807 he moved to Bedford Co TN and the next year on to Franklin Co TN where he lived for abt eight years.  In 1823 he moved to Carroll Co TN where he was living at the time of filing for the pension.  There is more detail in the application about the battles in which he participated but I was focused more on his life after he made his way to TN.  He doesn't mention a wife or children but the 1830 Federal Census for Carroll Co TN lists a Henry Cook(pg 189) who is between 70 & 80 yrs of age.  In the same household there is a white female between the age of 60 & 70 and a white female between the ages of 15 & 20

Henry Cook  11970  S3181(the #s listed though out his file)
Applied while living in Williamson Co TN (in 1833)
born May 15 1760 in Lunenburg Co Virginia
He states that he served 3 tours(one as a sub. for this father John Cook) He has a brother who also fought named John.
Lived in the Lunenburg Co area for awhile.  Moved to Halifax Co VA in 1801. then on to Williamson Co TN.  There is a a great deal of information about the battles in both of the Henry Cooks' pension applications.  I would recommend picking a few applicants who either have names you are researching or who live in the area in which you have ancestors and reading through their files.  If you are lucky you might find a connection to your own lines.

Several other sites(both free & subscription sites) besides HeritageQuest have American Revolutionary War Records.  Fold3, Ancestry and FamilySearch are among those that come to mind.

Surname Range : Cook, Elizabeth - Cook, Jacob
Source Information U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Changes within the Ancestor Discoveries Tool on Mom's DNA Results

One of the projected ancestors on the Ancestry New Discovery tool on my Mom's DNA results is morphing ...
April 2nd he was William Lewis

April 6th he's William Terrell Lewis

This conglomerate ancestor is also shown at FamilySearch where the submitter sourced a tree at  I did note where one of the Lewis researchers took the time to add a story that told about our William Lewis.  The file at FamilySearch provides some insight into why the discovery looks like it does.  Still not sure how they "weigh" the facts and decide what to use and what not to use as the name, Place and Date of Birth etc.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Lessons & the search for something positive among the negatives

Things I think Ancestry should have done before launching the New Ancestor Discoveries.

  • Proofread all press releases and ad banners twice.  Proofread them again for good measure.
  • Checked terminology.  An Ancestor is a person from whom one is descended
  • Not assumed that the researchers didn't want to research to discover....some of us like the thrill of the chase and finding the documents to prove or disprove our theories.
  • Be realistic in what you can deliver.  I love enthusiasm about a new product or service..but overstating what can be done...and adding more detail than necessary makes me doubt any future products or services..moreso if that detail actually shows the shortcomings of the product.
If there is anything positive coming out of Ancestry's New Ancestor Discoveries campaign, I think that it forces me to examine my research more closely which is always a good thing.  I'm reminded of the Logic Puzzles that used to be in the Dell Crossword Puzzle books.  What do the New Ancestor Discoveries tell me.

  • My Mom shares a good bit of DNA with Descendants of Alfred Patton Fleming & Nancy Hitchcock Fleming(because their children were double cousin with her GG Grandparents) This would be Hitchcock and/or Fleming DNA.
  • I share a good bit of DNA with Descendants of Milton  M Rushing because my GG Grandparents are both kin to him.  This would be Frizzell and/or Weaver DNA.
I will be looking forward to new discoveries.  I can't wait until it scans the Eoff, Jakes, Sutton, Craig, Knox and Morrow families.  I know that I have DNA from those as I had an X segment match with 6 distant cousins from those families.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Dickson County Tennessee Will of Goodwin Kirk--Written May 1835

I was reading through some more Dickson Co. TN probate records and found a will for a Goodwin Kirk.  It appears that when the will was put before the court for probate that the daughters & their husband contested the will.  A man by the name of Hudson J. Shropshire was appointed admin over the estate.  The daughters & son in laws dropped the  suit soon after that and William Kirk again went forth settling the estate.  I won't call the following a transcription, because it is not word for word as I couldn't make out all of it but I have tried to make it easier to read format and spelling wise.  Please check original scans.  Links to original scans are provided below each document .

I, Goodwin Kirk of the County of Dickson and State Tennessee do make and publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made

And first I direct that my body be decently interred at the premises on which I now live in said county in a manner suitable to my condition in life and as to such worldly estates as it hath pleased God to entrust me with I dispose of the same as follows

First I direct that all my debts and final expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of any that I may die possessed of or may come in to the hands of my beloved son William Kirk.
Secondly I give and bequeath unto my beloved son William Kirk two negro to wit Edman and Nan to have and to hold to his own proper use and benefit after my death.
Thirdly I give and bequeath unto my son William as aforesaid all my house hold & kitchen furniture.
Forthly I give & bequeath unto William all my stock cattle hogs & sheep.
Fifthly I give and bequeath unto my son Jesse L. Kirk the sum of fifty cents to be paid after my death.
Sixthly I give and bequeath unto my beloved son James Kirk the sum of fifty cents
Seventhly I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sally Walkins the sum of fifty cents
Eightly I give and bequeath unto my daughter Scinthia T. Nesbitt the sum of fifty cents.
Ninthly I give  & bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Davie the sum of fifty cents all to be paid after my death.

I do hereby make ordain & appoint my beloved son William Kirk my sole executor of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I Goodwin Kirk the said testator have to this my last will written on one sheet of paper set my hand & seal this the 2nd day of May 1835
X   Goodwin Kirk (seal & mark)

Test: Reas. Bowen(signature)
Wm. Richardson(signature)

"Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927,"Dickson > Wills, 1800-1899 > image 708 of 1415 

State of Tennessee Dickson County
June Term of the County Court 1836

This day was produced in open Court a paper writing purporting to be the last will and
testament of Goodwin Kirk deced which will when produced in court for probate was
contested by Alex Wilkins and wife and James H. Davie and wife legatees of said
deceased whereupon it was ordered by the court that the said Wilkins and Davie give
bono with security in the some of five thousand dollars for the prosecution to effect of
the invalidity of said will in the circuit court of Dickson County for heal thereon to be
had then Hudson J. Shropshire was appt administration pen de ti liter and entered into
with security satisfactory to the court and qualified and it was further ordered by the
court that certified copy of these proceedings be made out and filed in the circuit court.
I certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the original order made by the county court
given under my hand at the office the 11th of June 1836

Wm Hightown Clk

"Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927" Dickson Wills, 1800-1899 Image 706  of 1415

William Kirk Executor of Goodwin Kirk deceased states that when the said Goodwin
Kirk's will was proved in the County Court A Wilkins and Jas. H. Davie took exception
to said will and threw it into the circuit court but soon after the said Wilkins and Davie
withdrew their suit in said circuit court and he the Executor took possession of the state
agreeable to the provisions of the will--that he paid all the debts that he ever heard of
against the estate and held all the balance of the property That the several legatees to
whom were bequeathed the sum of fifty-cents each never applied for their said legacies
or anymore ___ of them.  That all the property belonging to said estate 
besides the Negros did not exceed in value the sum of one hundred dollars.  That no
debts ever came against the estate except for funeral expenses which were paid--and the
Executor prays the court to receive this as his final settlement.  County Court Clerks
Office Aug 9th 1842 Wm Kirk

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 9th day of Augt 1842  Thos J. Kelly Clk

"Tennessee, Probate Court Files, 1795-1955"  Dickson > County Court estate settlements > 1800-1885 > Jordan, John P. - Northam, Samual > Image 358 of 2989

Inventory of Goodwin Kirk's Estate

Shropshire is the maiden name of my GGGG Grandmother who was from Oglethorpe GA so I had to look into the man who was appointed over the estate. Was Hudson Shropshire connected to my own Shropshire line?  I checked the census records and found a Hudson Shropshire in the 1820 & 1830 Census records for Dickson Co TN.  By 1840 we find him in Johnson Co Arkansas.  A check of the 1850 Census shows him still in Johnson Co Ark and it appears they probably left Dickson Co TN not long after he was no longer the admin for the Kirk estate.  Hudson dies not long after the 1850 Census in Johnson Co Arkansas.  I checked a few files and records and it appears that Hudson J. Shropshire is my cousin.  We both descend from St. John Shropshire & Elizabeth Winkfield through their son Winkfield and through separate sons of Winkfield.  In this case it looks like we are 3rd Cousins 5x Removed.  Another tie to Dickson Co. Tennessee.

Source Citation  Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburg, Johnson, Arkansas; Roll: M432_27; Page: 119B; Image: 243
Source Information 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

My first impression of AncestryDNA's DNA hints

While I'm not a current subscriber to Ancestry, I have had my DNA tests done there and I have a Family Tree on their website.  They announced new technology using trees and dna evidence to further our research.  See the Ancestry announcement at their blog.  I received the following email about this new feature.

When I clicked on "Show Me"  I was taken to my Mother's DNA kit which I admin.  It showed me a list of 3 new discoveries of her Ancestors.

This is going to be a great tool but I see some issues with it.  The three people it showed were persons I already know about.  When you click on the discoveries you are taken to an outline for that person with the option to "Learn More About" which, when clicked, takes you to the subscription options for US & World if you aren't already subscribed.   If you click on "See her connection" to this new ancestor you are taken to the 14 day trial option page. The Sarah Reid I had not put in the database.   She did not die in 1850 though as it states.  She was killed in 1793 by Indians at Greasy Cove(which is in present day Unicoi Co. TN). Only two of the children survived. I am a descendant of the daughter, Mary Polly Lewis who was taken by the Indians and later ransomed by her brother who traded a gun in order to get her back.  Wm. Lewis'  2nd wife died in 1850.  Wm. Lewis was already in my database and I'm not really sure why they would call this a new discovery.  It looks like a mixed soup of information for the 1st and the 2nd wife and showing them as one.  Odd.

The Nancy M Hitchcock is not an ancestor of my mother.  She is a cousin.  Her Brother James P. Hitchcock is my Mom's GG Grandfather...they both married into the Fleming family.   Nancy married the brother of James' wife and that may be why the DNA is making it appear here.

They have already put Nancy's husband Alfred Fleming in Mom's DNA circles as an ancestor(which he is not) though they do correctly list him as an Uncle.  odd.  Will it be doing this in all cases where you have two siblings of one family marrying two siblings of another?  What will it do for cousin marriages?  It is some what easy to see when you know of the intermarriages..but if you don't it further adds to the confusion.  Maybe there is something in the works to help with this.

 As with anything new there is sure to be a learning curve on both sides. I just hope this will be a very useful tool for researchers.

Nice DNA surprises...2nd cousin 1 removed uploads to GEDmatch

What a difference it makes to have a closer known cousin upload to GEDmatch.  I had asked one of my maternal cousins(a 2nd cousin once removed) if he would consider uploading and sent him a link to a how-to.  We both had our tests done at  Since I am not a subscriber outside of having my test done there I really don't get much use from the circles because you can't see who is in those circles with you.  I had actually been so caught up in things around here that I had not looked at my research for the last several days which is unusual for me.  Now that this cousin, has uploaded I am able to compare a known to unknowns.  So my plans for the day are to compare segments that he and I have in common to others who match along those segments.  We share DNA on 7 different chromosomes with two segments on one of those chromosomes.  Our largest segment match is 69.5cM and our total shared over all is 198.9 cM, which falls within the high range  of 2C1R using this chart.  Gedmatch estimated us to be 3.1 generations away from the MRCA.  The Most Recent Common Ancestors are my Gr Grandparents, David Enoch Luna & Nancy Pitman Luna.  They are his GG Grandparents.

Path to the  MRCA
Me----->Mom ----->Mom's Dad --------->MRCA Luna & Pitman
Him---->His Dad--> His Dad's Mom --->Her Mom--->MRCA Luna & Pitman

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dickson Co TN Probate Records--A. N. Balthrop--proved March 31, 1949 in Rutherford Co TN

On days when the weather isn't that great I enjoy reading through old land and probate records. Today was one of those days.  I found a will that I thought was amusing and spent most of the day researching the family.  No...I have no connection to the family outside of the will being brought before the judge in Dickson Co TN where I grew up.  It was the will of Alvin Nixon Balthrop and included many details. I spent a good part of the day looking over census records, obituaries, cemetery records and family files concerning the family.  I learned that Alvin was called Nick and that he had one son and 3 daughters with his first wife.
The children are listed in his will as follows:
Bobby Balthrop
Roberta(Mrs. H. L. Arnold Jr.)
Bettie(Mrs. Harold T. Shehann)
Becky(Mrs Windle Bates)

Nick's will was written Feb. 21 1948 and proved  Mar 31 1949, just a little bit over a year later in Rutherford Co TN where Nick and his 2nd wife Ruth Caskey Balthrop were living.   He was employed by Consolidated Products of Danville Illinois.  There was a statement from Rutherford Co. dated 1952 with the copy of the will stating the date it was proved in Rutherford Co TN. (see below) and I believe his will is on file with the Dickson Co. Court because it was needed in order to prove ownership of lands or inheritance.

It appears that the Balthrop family was in Virginia as early as late 1600s.  They were in the Westmoreland Virginia area and by 1750s were in Warren Co NC. William Balthrop, GG Grandfather of Alvin Nixon Balthrop was the head of the family that came to Dickson TN.  I see where there are many descendants researching this family and  they seem to be plagued by use of the same names over and over again each generation just like I am in my research.  I am including several of the snippets from the will of Alvin Nixon Balthop.  The full will can be seen at Family Search.

"Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927," images, FamilySearch-- Dickson > Wills, 1800-1950 > image 1999 of 2261; county courthouses, Tennessee.

Nick owned the following properties which were mentioned in his will
Properties in
Dickson Co TN Yellow Creek 11th Civil District.(1/3 share)
Jefferson Co KY Louisville
Rutherford Co TN property(left to 2nd wife Ruth Caskey Balthrop)

Nick is shown here at age 10 in the 1910 Census(see original census record for more detail)
1910 Dickson Co TN Civil Dist 11 Sheet 4A
Lee Balthrop Head M 44 Tennessee
Rebecka A Balthrop Wife F 30 Tennessee
David L Balthrop Son M 13 Tennessee (Loy)
Alvin N Balthrop Son M 10 Tennessee (Nick)
Mary Balthrop Daughter F 8 Tennessee
Eliner Balthrop Daughter F 5 Tennessee
Armock Balthrop Son M 3 Tennessee (This is Carmack)
Panthea Balthrop Sister F 55 Tennessee

Both Bettye and Roberta passed in August of 2014.

Nick was buried in Lone Oak Cemetery in Lewisburg(Marshall Co.) TN.  I found several of the family members on FindAGrave and suggested edits to link them to one another.