Thursday, August 31, 2017

James Jakes, but which James Jakes?

Is this my Paternal Great Grandfather James Jakes among the 37 persons drawn to serve as jurors for the April 1880  term of the United States Circuit Court. It is not his grandfather, James Jakes as he passed in 1847.  It could be his uncle James Jakes.  His Uncle James Jakes also married a daughter of James Morrow & Margaret Sutton. The children of this Uncle were my Great Grandfather, James Jakes' Double 1st Cousins.

The Tennessean, 18 Mar 1880, Thu, Page 4 (

My Gr Grandfather, James Jakes(b. 1857) was not yet married and was boarding with the Armstrong family in 1880 in Dist 1 of Bedford Co TN which contains Fairfield.

1880 US Federal Census, Tennessee, Bedford County, Dist 1(Fairfield) pg 20D
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

This Uncle James Jakes(b. 1825) had been living in Coffee Co TN in the previous census years.  However, in 1880, he too is in Dist 1 of Bedford Co TN with his family.

1880 US Federal Census, Tennessee, Bedford County, Dist 1(Fairfield) pg 9A
(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Nothing conclusive so far.  Could be either of them.  Records of the US Circuit Court Middle District of TN for the April 1880 Term would be where I'd need to check.  Surely he would have had to give identification.  The age would be the telling factor.  Better yet, if for some reason he could not serve.there would be more paperwork no doubt.  Now to see if I can locate where any of those records would be housed, if there is access to them and record of those called to serve.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Williams Family Land from original North Carolina Land Grant

The land mentioned is in Davidson County, Tennessee

The Tennessean, 12 Jul 1910, Tue, Page 10

The snippet below is from the will of Dr. William Williams who is mentioned in the above article.  Dr. Williams' wife was Elizabeth Branch Donelson.  Another familiar name in Tennessee history.  Dr. William Williams is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery. Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Tennessee County, District and Probate Courts.
Wills; Author: Tennessee County Court (Davidson County); Probate Place: Davidson, Tennessee Wills, Vol 29, 1886-1888 pg. 539

Friday, August 25, 2017

DNA Randomness: Siblings

If you have been researching genetic genealogy for any length of time and I guess more so if you have also taken courses or attended webinars,  you have heard about the randomness of DNA as it pertains to autosomal DNA inheritance.  While we each get 50% of our DNA from our father and 50% from our mother,  the 50% that we get from each parent is not the same 50% when comparing to other siblings(unless you are comparing Identical Twins).  I have 4 full siblings, only one of which has tested.   Even with just one having tested I can see that is true in comparing our matches and the amounts she and I match them.  Our Mother has tested also, so I have phased kits created at GEDmatch using her results in comparison with mine and also phased kits comparing her results to my sister's results.  These are very useful.

Ancestry has a phase filter which you can use if one or both parents have also tested at AncestryDNA.  Since I only have one parent that was able to test, that tool lets me see a listing of matches who are also a match to my Mother.  Keep in mind the match range is similar to Shared Matches tool in that it only includes 4th cousin and closer matches---not Distant Cousins.  It would be nice if they could do a list of 4C or closer who DO NOT MATCH when there is only one parent who has tested.

The chart below compares my match list with that of my full sister.  I did not include our Mother's results for our maternal matches nor the matches of my daughter.  I may do that in a future post  Those covered are matches who Ancestry DNA estimated were in 3rd cousin range for at least me OR my sister.

The RED border is around those who were in my list at 3rd Cousin or above.
The VIOLET border is around those who were in my sister's list at 3rd Cousin level.who were ranked as 4th cousins by Ancestry in my list.

Average Difference 65 cM

Notes:  Both of our parents have Colonial American Ancestry.  Pretty much all of our ancestors were in the US before 1800.
Our Distant Cousin matches Start on:
Page 41 of 876 (Becca)---- 30 matches which are 3rd Cousin or closer
Page 38 of 908 (Marie)-----26 matches which are 3rd Cousin or closer
Marie:  1873 4th cousin or closer matches
Becca:  2007 4th cousin or closer matches

GEDmatch comparison:  Marie and Becca
Largest segment = 145.6 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 2,507.6 cM
51 matching segments
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 1.3
Six of my matches that were estimated 3rd cousin were in the 4th cousin range for my sister.  Eight of my sister's matches that were estimated 3rd cousin were in the 4th cousin range for me. There was one match who was on the low end of a 3rd cousin match for my sister who was in my Distant Cousin match.

Ancestry's Cousin Categories
From the Hyperlinked "What does this mean?" in the Amount of Shared DNA info box

A bit confusing I guess as there is a gap between categories. I did check for ours that fell
in the gap(195 cM) and it was noted as a 3rd cousin.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hide and Seek in the US Federal Census

I was looking for a census entry for the Waynick family and found this entry which is an excellent example of why we should always check the census images AND surrounding households.

The census entry as it is indexed makes it appear that 5 year old Dillard is living in the household of John Jordan. If you look at the image below, you will see what has happened. The census taker M.F. Shelton has realized that he omitted Dillard.  He has added Dillard at the bottom of the page in the middle of another household entry.  The 9 year old twins are on the next page.  Yes the census taker does note that Nancy and Missouri Lee are twins.  I wondered if they were actually supposed to be in the Jordan household.  Who knows.....No notation is shown beside their names other than noting that they are twins.

The household # 47 where Dillard belongs is shown below

This entry is from 1860 Federal Census Middle District of Dickson County Tennessee.

I would also like to add that it is good to check the very last page of each District in which you have an ancestor.  This is especially true if someone isn't in the census and you think they should be there.  Several times I've found that the enumerators listed folks that hey had omitted from the household.  I've also found several mothers who list all of their married adult children as still living at home.  Duplicate entries can also occur with people listed in different districts and when a person is living/working in homes other than that of their parents.  Does this hold true in your census research as well?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Call for Bids--Dekalb County TN courthouse & jail

The call for bids to build the courthouse and jail in Smithville.  Dekalb County Tennessee was formed in 1837 but not officially organized til March of 1838.  

The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee)  07 Jul 1838, Sat  • Page 2
Available at

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

If you build it: Connecting AncestryDNA matches

Researchers who are using autosomal DNA testing know the importance of testing as many of your known relatives as possible, especially the elders of the family.  I love it when a 2nd cousin shows up among my matches because that can help in sorting.  I don't know about you, but I don't have a money tree.  In the absence of unlimited funds to purchase atDNA tests, something that I have had success with is finding those 2C1R, 2C2R, 3C, 3C1R and so on that I do not know who have tested.  After my grandparents passed we did not have the family gatherings every few years so I haven't kept up with my cousins who are spread across the US.  With the over abundance of testers with very small trees in my matches, the odds are in my favor that there are those among my matches who aren't showing up in the AncestryDNA circles because their tree isn't built out far enough.  I think this is one of the times when having Colonial American lines really makes things easier.  This process will not work if you have only a handful of 4th or closer cousins.  If that is the case for you I would suggest working the first few pages of your Distant Cousins to see which of the 4th cousins are SHARED for you and that Distant Cousin.

My Cook lines and also my Jakes/Harger lines(both paternal) are ones I have been focusing on lately.  I have a lot of genealogical questions for which I'd like to find answers. The steps are pretty much the same regardless of which group I choose.

  • Select a Focus Group(ex. my Jakes/Frizzell Great Grandparents)
  • Find a close cousin among the matches who is in the Focus group(you can do this by choosing one of your matches from the DNA circle if you have those)
  • Browse thru the Shared Matches that you share with that cousin.  Pick a few that have the smaller trees to build out in search of the MRCA.  
  • Don't ignore the larger trees.  Look at all the ones that aren't in the circle to see if they have a path that might lead to the Focus Ancestor.  I've found many who were only a generation away from the MRCA which would have put them in the circle.
  • Contact the match with any knew information you find and ask them to consider uploading to GEDmatch.  It's always nice to get a message from someone who can extend your family tree.
Utilize the NOTES feature on your match's page.  Connections lead to more connections as each of you may have documents, pictures or stories that would help the other in their research.  I guess this is why it upsets me a great deal when I cross paths with a researcher who is only researching his or her direct line. Don't be someone who misses out on finding that extra something just because you are only interested in your direct line.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Ancestors and Alcohol

The Daily Republican Banner  Sat. Oct  13, 1838 pg 1

An Advertisement from 1838 Nashville TN newspaper about wine and brandy available for sale was not that uncommon.  The earlier newspapers seem to have many advertisements where folks are either looking to purchase or to sell items used to make liquor. My Ogilvies were especially found of distilleries.  Stills and other items or ingredients used in the production of liquor were a common part of their estates.  Even shares in upcoming production of whiskey was mentioned in my 5th Great Grandfather, William Ogilvie's will(April Session 1813 Williamson Co. TN)

Nashville Whig --Wed. April 7 1813 advertisement states:
A Hynes & Co.
Are now manufacturing, and will
constantly have on hand, a number of the
best kind of Copper Stills.
Nashville, March 24, 1813

From the 1826 Madison Co TN probate records of Charles S. Barthe, I found the contents of a mercantile store listed--much of which is liquor.  As I first read though the inventory list I had wondered if it might have been a tavern due to the amount of drinks and glasses. Further along in the inventory listing there are large amounts of grains, household goods, fabrics, and medicines as well as work tools.  Perhaps the large stock of alcohol was due to it being used as more than just a good drink? It was a pain medicine, tonic, cough syrup and in some cases a disinfectant.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Horace Odell Holder-- July 1946-- son of Mrs. W. L. Leathers

I found this article which mentions Rockvale, TN while researching another story but thought this was worth mentioning.  Was Horace Odell Holder any relation to me?  I thought I'd check since I have many family lines in that area. As it happens, we share a 4th Great Grandparent, Mark Lambert Jackson.  He descends thru Mark's first wife Drucilla Rainey, while my connection is thru that of his 2nd wife Leannah Basey Webb. That makes us 1/2 5th Cousins.

Horace Odell Holder was the son of  Horace Lee Holder and Minnie Odell Hendrix Holder(who remarried to Walter Lee Leathers after Horace Lee Holders death in 1931)

Kingsport News,  04 Jul 1946, Thu,  Page 6 (available at )

I found an entry in a Virginia Directory for a Horace O Holder and wife but I am not sure if this is the same person or not.  This Horace O Holder is listed as USN.  The couple were divorced in the same year the directory covers and had only married the year before in Savannah Georgia according to Divorce Papers also available at  This will take further research to determine if this is the same Horace O Holder as the one from Rockvale.

1952 Newport News Virginia Directory (available at )

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Williamson Co TN Probate packets

I've been working with probate files a lot lately.  I have many ancestors who were living in Williamson Co TN in the early 1800s.  There is a database at Ancestry which is called  Tennessee, Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965. While it does showcase the divorce records, the Williamson County TN section of this database is where I have been finding probate packets.  Probate packets are files which contain all the information used in wrapping up a person's estate after their death.

Example of item included in probate packet

Items you might find in a probate packet:

  • The original will(if one existed) 
  • Inventory of the Deceased's estate
  • Records of the Estate Sale(items, price, and buyer) 
  • Additional court records if there are minor heirs or if a will is contested etc.
  • Allotment records for the widow and minor heirs
  • Records of Bond posted
  • Affidavits on a number of subjects.
  • Subpoenas of witnesses
  • Records of death of the widow
  • Land Records/Deed Plots
(these are just some I have found..your results may vary)

In addition to Williamson County, the database contains the following TN counties: Anderson, Carroll, Cheatham, Dickson, Franklin, Haywood, Henderson, Obion, and Tipton.

The record types covered are searchable and browsable and in some cases listed alphabetically:

Divorce Court Minutes 1947-1949 
Divorce Court Minutes 1949-1951 

Divorce Court Files 1826-1900 (listed by Surname A-Z)

Divorce Records 1919-1950, A-Z 
Marriage Bonds/Licenses 1904-1910 

Death Records 1930-1939 
Divorce Records 1849-1932, A-Wr 
Original Wills 1800-1899 

Divorce Records 1860-1900, A-W 
Divorce Records 1900-1910, A-Z 
Divorce Records 1900-1930, A-Z 
Divorce Records 1910-1919, A-Z 
Divorce Records 1920-1929, A-Z 
Divorce Records 1930-1939, A-Z 

Divorce Court Docket 1941-1965 
Divorce Files 1860-1936 
Divorce Index 1860-1936 
Divorce, Probate and Other Files 1808-1885 

Chancery Court Records 1870-1915 
Divorce Index 1896-1950 
Divorce Records 1896-1950 
Other Court Records 1800-1918 

Divorce Records 1930-1939, Ve-Yo 
Divorce Records 1940-1950, A-Wy 

Divorce Index 1911-1950 
Divorce Records 1911-1950, A-Z
Wills 1829-1950 

Divorce Files 1900-1950, A-Z
Divorce, Probate and Other Records 1800-1899, A-Z 
Misc Records (Liquor Licenses thru Slave Records) 

The Tennessee, Divorce and Other Records, 1800-1965 is a part of the Wills & Probates, Estates & Guardian Records Collection at  If you save the files to your tree please be sure they are listed as probate and not divorce facts.  Several years ago when I added a probate file for my Putmans from this database it would list the event as a divorce rather than a probate.  This is fixable but not without some work manually editing sorce.  This is likely something which could occur in mixed records sets and may be propagated if people aren't paying attention while they are adding the documents. Consult the database at you aren't subscribed you may be able to view while at your local library.)  Many of these files are also available at  Check the catalog there under Tennessee and the county in which you are interested.