Tuesday, October 28, 2008

George W Duncan

I will admit it, I am a hopeless romantic. I will never know the day to day of these couples that I research. I will never know if my great great great grandparents loved each other or were married because it met other needs. I will never know if George looked at Jane Edwards and just knew she was the perfect woman for him. I am sure I will wonder the same on every branch of my family tree. What were they like as man and wife.

George has been hard to track down. I knew he and Jane were not together for long as she is on a few older census' living with one of her sons. I assumed he died but for the life of me could find no mention of him anywhere in North Carolina where she was born, lived and died and where he was born. I did find one census record of a George W, about the same age and in Texas living with a large family of a different name. When I saw this I wondered, "Did he up and leave North Carolina?". Then the questions.. if that is him, did he leave them, did he go to Texas to find a good life for them and tragedy struck so this was never fulfilled. What kind of husband was he really? I didn't want to think that was George but it might be, things happen in life and not always as we like or plan it.

I posted before about finding by accident a widows pension application document that Jane Edwards Duncan had filed. I hoped to find some sort of information on him. The envelope came from the North Carolina Archives and Records Section. In it was a Widow's Claim for Pension for 1885 and a Widow's Application for Pension filed in 1901. These documents gave his service information and that he did fight in the Civil War. Skimming through the documents I realized there was another document with these two. They sent it along and I didn't even know this book was there. It is "North Carolina Troops 1861-1865 A Roster" compiled by Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr. Volume VII Infantry, 22-26th Regiments.

Page 289, Co. G, 29th Regiment N.C. Troops.

"Duncan, George W., Private
Born in Ashe County and resided in Yancey County where he was by occupation a farmer prior to enlisting in Yancey County at age 29, July 26, 1861. Died in hospital at Knoxville, Tennessee, June 20-27, 1862, of "diarrhoea." "

He died so young and in Tennessee which is why I have been having a hard time tracking him down in North Carolina! I was relieved in a way, I am so glad he was not the George W. Duncan found on a census in Texas. While I hate that his wife hardly had a life with him before he was taken away from her, I am glad he didn't up and leave for Texas, never to be seen again. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DAR and Colonial Dames

Here I go attaching my swing to another branch of my family tree..... *what else is new.. too much information, it is tooooo exciting*

About 20 years ago, my mothers cousin was helping her join the DAR and the Colonial Dames then I was going to join. The applications were all filled out. Patsy was a Registrar for the Colonial Dames and then the forms were put away and the process was not completed. When I picked up the family history again I decided I should do this and started some research trying to figure out who I had to prove as my mother was going to join on Patsy's registration numbers so I had none of the documentation myself, nor did she. When I mentioned this to my mother she said she had all of this information and it was in the safe. I said, "Mom, I just went to Virginia for a week to find all this information and it was in your safe?" And so I sat to look at the applications and they are quite a few. For the Colonial Dames we have John Sturman, Sr, Lt. Patrick Spence, John Sturman, Capt Thomas Youell, Thomas Sturman, Capt Thomas Youell Sr. For DAR we have Richard and James Luttrell and also on the British side we have Tom Cowden of Tennessee. So it looks like I will be busy gathering all of the documentation to connect to these ancestors so that I might apply to join these Organizations.

More to add to the to do list!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yipes, as the Township Turns - Edward Wilson and Dolly Briggs

My research is in its beginning stages but I did find that Edward was married to Rachel Silver from Maryland and they had a lot of children. He and Rachel were together on every census I can find, the last being 1870 and they lived with one of their sons. Dolly's four children were born within the same years Rachel's were. One born 1812, one born 1813... you get the idea.

So now new questions, IS Edward the father to any of the Briggs children? Was Dolly so in love with him that she accepted him as is as "life partner" seems to imply? Did Dolly live fully devoted to him and spurn any other mans attentions? She must have known about Rachel, did Rachel know about her? Did he love them both, did he love either? And all those children.... if all of them are his, he was a viril man and it does put his nickname of "Big Ned" in a different perspective? I know, I digress, don't groan so loudly. :)

When I first started looking into him via ancestry.com I thought maybe Dolly had come with him and his family from South Carolina to North Carolina. Were they just age old friends?

It looks to be an interesting story but I find myself at a cross roads until I find something that maybe explains their relationship. At this point I don't think I can assume he was Mary Jane's father. I wonder what life was like for the Briggs children...

Woopsie, will the wrong Mr. Briggs please sit down...

I have Dolly Briggs on my family chart, her daughter Mary Jane is my ancestor. I found her connection to Edward "Big Ned" Wilson and took him to be her second husband but could not seem to find her "Mr. Briggs" husband. In my research I found a very vague mention of Delothe so took that to be her maiden name but amazingly, there are no Delothe families to be found. Why? Delothe is her given name! And she was called Dolly, and she never married so all her children have her maiden name.

I am again learning the value of forums. This was my first venture into Ancestry.com forums and I found three very good clues for different members of my history but this one out shines them all:

Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > North Carolina > Counties > Yancey


Subject: Re: Delothe "Dolly" Briggs
Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Wilson, Briggs, Edwards, Hensley, Jones, Honeycutt

Dolly Briggs born about 1785 in SC, died abt 1885 in Yancey Co. NC. Her life long partner was Edward "Big Ned" Wilson - no info on his birth/death dates.
Leonnah Briggs born abt 1810 died abt 1844 married to John "Broke-Leg' Edwards (my GGGGrandfather)
Mary Jane Briggs - March 10, 1813 - March 15, 1909
married Banister Hensley
Charlotte "Lottie" Briggs, Born 1817 died after 1860
married Silas A. Hensley (also ggg grandfather)
Belle Mariah Briggs, aborn abt 1818, died abt 1880
married William "Bill" Jones
Howell Milburn Briggs, born 1827, died abt 1909
married Naoma Honeycutt,
This info came from many sources, primary source was Toe River Valley Heritage Book.
hope this helps you,

Can we say.... WOOT!

So I removed the false "Mr. Briggs" from my family tree program and I apologize to him for trying to make him part of my family tree without his consent, hehe.

So... if they were life partners, why? I mean, This is the early 1800's, wouldn't life partners be frowned upon and especially once children came along? Do I assume Edward is their father though I think it is obvious he was. This leaves me thinking on the times and why invite all the trouble that must have come along with their decision to live without marriage. I hope in my travels I come upon a story, or some reason why they chose the path in life they chose.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

GWD keeps becoming the Edwards Line

This has been the most interesting man to research... George W Duncan, he would be my three times great-grandfather (it is thought his father is John Duncan and his mother would be John's wife #1 out of maybe 4). Every time I sit down to focus on him, I end up with new Edwards information which happened to be his wife. A few weeks ago I did find a pension application for his wife, Jane Edwards Duncan and have sent off to North Carolina for it and lets hope it gives me more leads to him. The only thing I have known about him is that he died young as she shows up on two census' living with one of her sons.

This time, I googled "Jane Edwards Duncan". I got this... ready? Huh? This is what I said... "OMG!!!!" to my 18 year old daughter just looking at me like I lost my mind. Well it is a "OMG" moment! So here it is...


Three new generations of the Edwards family to be filled in on my chart! Jane Edwards parents, grandparents and great grandparents. With sources and documentation. And... a very impressive site of research and resources which brought me to Alleghany County, North Carolina deed images search site. I have spent a lot of time combing through this website and enjoying reading about the Cheeks who I am not even related to, haha.

From what I read, the Edwards family was a large family and active in the county... the counties confuse me because they change so much. I am not sure how my George W met Jane because I am not sure he was from the same county as she was. Oh to be a fly on the wall of history.

I am a huge fan of the tv show, Heroes. Me and co-workers have a frenzied water cooler chat about it on Tuesday mornings to which my boss just laughs and laughs as we really get into it with the "OMG, did you see that? And ohhhhh... he and so and so and such and such!" Well this year in the second episode, the evil Sylar was given another power. He can touch anything and know the history of it. When asked what power I would like of all the characters, I could always come up with four or more that I wanted. When I saw this episode, that was the power that I wanted to have.. the power of history, that would be the most amazing thing ever. I know, I digress. :)

So this last 24 hour period has given me this by a truly amazing find....

Jane Edwards daughter of William Edwards and Nancy Carter

William Edwards son of David Edwards Sr and Elizabeth Morris

David Edwards Sr son of John Edwards Sr and Mary "Unknown" (further research pointed to "Mary Stokes")

John Edwards Sr possibly son of John Edwards who came from Wales.

Organization has become my focus, I feel like I do a lot of things over and over so a solution was found, quite by accident. I put Windows Office 2007 on my pc and there is a program called OneNote that has moved me from scraps of paper and post-it notes stuck all over the place. I made a notebook for "Family History". The first page is all my subscriptions, terms, name and passwords and a list of links I find on my way. Second page is a to do list page so I can put things there as I am working in RootsMagic. I find this easier than using the program to do list. Then third I have a page of things I find or heard on a podcast, etc. and I know I will need that information when I start to work on another family branch. I paste that info there, links, what have you. Then I have started a page for each family name. You can create sub-pages on each of those so using the Edwards as an example. The Main page is called "Edwards", each sub page is for an individual. One page for Jane, one for William, one for David, etc. This way I can copy blurbs I find on the web, links, anything that pertains to that person so I can find those notes when I want them again. I paste Genforum posts there too so I don't have to go back and find it. I just past it on the persons page that I was inquiring about and OneNote keeps links live so you can access them right there, your browser window pops open to the site. I have gotten rid of a lot of post-it notes and I don't need to print so much now. Copy, paste, and you have the information at your fingertips!

Today I think I am going to make chili for the freezer.. tis that time of year.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hot on the trail..

Today I continued on George W Duncan and Jane Edwards Duncan. I have made more progress on Jane this week than anyone and for a woman known only to me as "Miss Edwards" for a good fifteen to twenty years, she is stepping up for her close up lately. I thought to search the North Carolina archives for the 'men folk' today. I didn't find anything on George, I found absolutely nothing on Bannister Hensley or his daughter Martha Jane Hensley. I have her death date and can find nothing on her at all yet. So then I thought I would search Jane Duncan just for hoots and there she was! She has two files in the archives for widow's pensions so I have filled out the form to send off to the Archives to see if I can get copies.

Slowly I am forming a life for Jane. It seems she was a widow for a long time by census information, never remarried and anything on George is hard to find which I find odd since he was in the military. I am finding a few George W's but not mine I don't think. I almost wonder if he is named after a Grandfather or better yet an Uncle of the same name. One gentleman posted to a post of mine on Genforum that he found a George Duncan that married Patience Edwards in 1793 so it would be interesting to find out if George and Patience had a son by the name of John which would be my George W's father.