I realized quickly, with the lack of records for my family, that I’d really have to “think outside the box”. I LOVE to interview people, and ask about "the older days" in Mecklenburg. I also study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try help preserve some of those memories people share with me. Feel free to sign my guestbook stating surnames you are looking for, who you're related to etc. Always a work in progress, a work that I truly love!

17 October 2016

Finding plats (and lost records) in Mecklenburg, Virginia

There is a plat book in the Mecklenburg Courthouse. But I found an even better source of plats, and that's in chancery records. At first I only pulled chancery cases for my family. Then I decided I wanted more plats to try to match up. When you are searching for chanceries, you can see if the case has a plat (or will) or not. If someone died without a will, and the land is being divided or sold, usually a plat is included in the case. The chancery cases are excellent because you get a plat, and notations about family members still living at the time of the case. Names, maiden names, spouse, etc.

Here is the direct link to LVA (Library of Virginia) to search chancery cases: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/
This is the screen you'll see. I usually type just a surname in the bottom set, that says surnames. That will do the search for if they are plaintiff, defendant or anything else like a witness or deposition. The box I highlighted yellow is for plats. My last two trips to LVA, I just copied the plats from 5 cases, because they were neighbors to my family.

Newman Dortch and father in law James Speed plat

Previous Newman Dortch post-click here
I went to the courthouse to try to find more about this James Speed and his land. I did not have any luck. No will, and I couldn't find him in land records, even though this chancery case describes the land he owned in the case and references his will. This I believe, if I understood correctly is the sort of things in the Lost Record Collection. Wills, plats, land that were copied for the case where the original is now lost. The chancery case wills and plats were originally a copy, but now they might be the only version left.
Here is a link to more information regarding the Lost record collection and the database search for this this collection:  http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/lost

PS There is no Courthouse Road in Mecklenburg. I'm still trying to learn what the real name of the road on this plat is. 

13 September 2016

Free FRGS event Sat Sept 24th: and Lost Record Collections at LVA

I've been happily busy, helping with our free local genealogical society event (FRGS). If you live in central VA, come see us! (Link below) Dr. Murphy is presenting about AAGHS and African American research. I first heard about AAGHS on Dear Mytrle's Ambush Cam at Roots Tech. There's also presentations about DNA, Using FamilySearch and Genealogy 101. There's also two ladies from LVA coming to present about "The Lost Records Collection". Have you heard about that? I've seen two presentations about these records. Amazing and cool stuff!  Here's a link if you'd like to check out Lost Record Collections. http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/lost

FRGS event info:  Fredericksburg, VA free genealogy event-click here

05 August 2016

Abner Newman's family

(Note: I'm reading conflicting reports on which George Newman married Abner Newman's daughter Nancy. Will report here when I get some court records stating relationships.)
I finally found the rest of Abner Newman's family, with some help. Someone related, pointed out that Abner's father was William Newman and that William's will was in Orange county, Virginia. So I went to that courthouse yesterday. It appears my Newman's had really large families. Large families isn't that unusual way back. But they raised lots of kids to adulthood which I think is unusual, especially in colonial days. Martha Newman, (daughter of Abner) raised 15 children to adulthood! Abner raised 7 children to adulthood, and Abner was one of 14 all living to be adults and marrying. This in a time when so many were dying from consumption and yellow fever.

William Newman's will was written in Orange county 1 Apr 1837. It was proved 24 Apr 1843. He lists his children as:
1) Abner Newman, now deceased
2) Patsy Porter
3) Franky Gilbert (daughter)
4) William Newman
5) Benjamin Newman
6) Thomas Newman
7) Charles Newman
8) Robert Newman
9) Reuben Newman
10) Fountaine Newman (male)
11) Sarah A Gee
12) Polly Faulconer
13) Melinda Rogers
14) Maria Faulconer

There is no mention of William's wife, so I assume that means his wife died before April 1837. Two things I was surprised to see. One is that the penalty for not following the directions on the will was 12,000! How many people had that kind of money in the 1830s!

The other was that William was mad at his grand daughter. ..."which I give and devise to the children of my son Abner Newman deceased, excepting his daughter Nancy A Newman, to whom I leave only one cent she having married to displease me." She married George Newman, a relative. Made me start to wonder, ...like how much influence did wealthy grandfathers had over your marriage? Did he try to arrange a marriage for her? So did William not like some of his family? This is the relationship as I understand it:
Elias, his son William, his son Abner, his daughter Nancy Ann Newman
Elias, his son James, his son George Newman

So how did Nancy do married to George? I have no idea if they were happy. I don't know any stories about them. But I can see that George was very wealthy. Both William and George had a lot of slaves. At least 20 each. George bought properties 100 acres or more and gave them to each of his children. He had two houses, one in Orange and one in Madison.
The will lists his children as:
1) James F
2) Elias
3) George A
4) Elizabeth Winslow

Note: This William was my Abner's brother. It's possible their father William (b. 1744) is buried here too, there were several unmarked graves.
 I found a Newman Cemetery, in between the town of Orange and the airport. Because of this cemetery and the notes about land in wills, it appears these Newman's lived really close to the town of Orange. (In Orange county) I hope to go back sometime soon to look at some land records. Some of the stones in the cemetery weren't readable any more. Some were still field stones. Here's Newman's stone, it's sunken in the ground.
I also can see these early Newmans spread out all over Virginia. William Newman was born in Esssex and died in Orange. Abner was born in Orange, married Brunswick, his daughter Martha born in Orange, he died in Mecklenburg or Brunswick. Some were in Madison and Culpeper.

18 July 2016

The Newman and Steagall families

Martha Newman was married to James B. Jones. That was as far back as I knew, for a long time. Then on FamilySearch, I discovered Martha's death record. It listed her spouse James and parents: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRM2-LYX?from=lynx1 Abner and Delilah Newman. I was surprised to see it said she was born in Orange County, Virginia. That seemed pretty far away to me, about a 3 hour drive by car. And this was about 110 years ago before cars! After awhile of searching, I found her father Abner Newman was in Mecklenburg for the War of 1812. He was listed as an Ensign, for the 98th Regiment. Then I found Abner and Delilah's marriage record 8 May 1792 in Brunswick. So I figured the Orange County notation had to be a mistake. Partly, I was thinking very limited, because several people I talked with never left the area, or traveled more than a few miles from their house.

I was talking with a genealogist friend who knows the Fredericksburg, Orange area very well. He's also from Mecklenburg. He pointed out that the Newmans and Steagalls had money, so it was highly likely they had the money for a coach and traveled. He also told me there were Indian trading routes that went from Orange to Mecklenburg area, so it is likely. He gave me the example of the Washington's and how spread out through Virginia their family was, yet they did visit each other. I found an Occaneechi trail went from Petersburg through Mecklenburg and Brunswick.
But I haven't yet found a map from Orange to Mecklenburg, even though it is a pretty straight line on a map.The current highway 15 looks like it goes from Orange to Mecklenburg, but that's to Clarksburg, the other side of the county than my family was at. My family bordered Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties. After I updated the Newman stuff in my tree on ancestry.com, someone from Parthenia Newman's family sent me a link to this amazing family Bible-like record for Abner Newman and Dorothy Delilah Steagalls children which were:
1) Martha Newman married James B. Jones
2) Nancy Newman married George Newman (Orange)
3) Emily/Emma Newman married Edward Walker
4) Varinda Newman married David Walker
5) * Parthenia Newman married Freeman Walker
6) Elizabeth Newman married William Harwell
7) William Newman

This link shows a scanned image of the papers: Freeman Walker family records @ LVA    Interestingly from a chancery case, I learned Nancy Newman married a cousin and they lived in Orange, Virginia.

(More soon on the Steagall family and the chancery cases I found.)

30 May 2016

How to get more Virginia records available

The more people who help index and transcribe records, the faster we can get the records we are looking for, searchable in a database.

On 25 Jun 2016, the Library of Virginia is having a "Transcribe-a-thon". For more info, here's a link to their June events: LVA calendar page-click here

I really love searching on FamilySearch. It's free, nice filters, and a great database. Here's a short video clip to explain indexing. I really like that the pictures and stories go with records. Several recently released Virginia collections were from FamilySearch indexing volunteers. I don't have nearly as much time as I like, and sometimes I have trouble typing with my hand weakness. But I try to help with indexing when I can, because I feel its really important. Hope you enjoy this video clip, and hope you can volunteer to help index or transcribe more Virginia records.