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Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

Still Tearing at the Mortar on those Brick Walls!

Perhaps every genealogist spends an inordinate time attempting to solve the mysteries that brick up those walls in every family tree. It occupies a great deal of one’s time, going over every clue, re-reading every bit of saved material seeking a new insight that just MIGHT lead to a name – a date – a document that PROVES the identity of a long lost ancestor. Your author has been poring over all those saved tidbits for the past two months, concentrating on the key mysteries that block a clear and uninterrupted line of descent for specific surnames.

This column is an update on the ongoing work dedicated to resolving those mysteries. In our March column, a list of key brick walls was created. Follows now the update for each.

Brick Wall One: William “P. R.” Joslyn:

This most frustrating mystery continues. Earliest confirmed parent to DNA match to my maternal uncle, Westcott Campbell Joslin, Sr. was Edward S. Joslin (who often spelled his surname “Joyslin” – believed to be tied to his New Jersey accent). Latest effort has been concentrated on flushing out the shadow tree begun for the relative with the same name (Lt. Col. Edward Swain Joslyn, a contemporary of our Westcott father who distinguished himself in the Civil War). Edward Swain Joslyn is undoubtedly of our line – but his exact relationship is as of yet not confirmed. This Edward S also fathered a daughter given the SAME name as our Westcott father – Harriet L. More to the point, he lived in Kaine County, Illinois – the birthplace for our William Henry Joslin, immediate Great-Grandfather to sister Mary and your author. The DNA matches. The missing brick – still missing.

Brick Wall Two: Earl Allen Carroll:

Excited to report we may have some promising news on this front. This very week a young Carroll male cousin contacted your author, concerning his own efforts to build his Carroll tree on Ancestry. We have begun a dialogue and, if this young man concurs, he will submit a DNA test to Ancestry linking his public tree. This will be the FIRST MALE CARROLL of our line to submit a DNA test. With any luck at all, his matches will be shared and we can work in concert to determine the parentage of Earl Allen Carroll – our earliest CONFIRMED Carroll ancestor.

Brick Wall Three: James Sylvester Anderson:

Since Earl Allen Carroll was wed to Laura Isabel Anderson (Guinn) Carroll, any shared DNA matches to our Carroll cousin will – likewise – help to track back to this ancestor. We know James Sylvester Anderson wed Nancy Jane Gilstrap and that he was a wagon maker. We know both James Sylvester and Nancy lived during the Civil War. There are a number of James S. Andersons listed as participants in that grievous War. Given his occupation as wagon maker, it is likely James was involved actively. We know their youngest child, our Great Grandmother Laura Isabel Anderson was born 8 April 1865, which presumes James was alive yet in late 1864 and had occasion to return home. The window for linking him to a Civil War casualty, therefore, narrows. By 9 June 1870, Nancy Jane Gilstrap Anderson had succumbed to an early death. We believe both parents were deceased by the enumeration of the 1870 Census as Laura and her siblings are living in the home of their grandfather, Jeremiah Milam Gilstrap.

Brick Wall Four: Mother of John Raymond Bradshaw, Sr.:

The arduous task of sifting through the records tied to the now-identified biological father of my first husband and the father of my children continues. Through an exhaustive task of scrutinizing DNA matches to a male grandson who kindly contributed his DNA, another shadow tree has been built. This tree concentrates on the highest shared centimorgan matches and their public trees. Tracing through each potential lead, adding to the shadow tree, evaluating dates and locations that might provide the clue is difficult at best. Oh, to have the resources of Who Do You Think You Are? and their team of researchers!

Brick Wall Five: Father of Roxanne Marie LeTourneau Bradshaw:

The same shadow tree referred to above is relevant to this search, as the grandson who contributed his DNA is descended from both John Bradshaw and Roxanne. Here again, the shadow tree compares Shared Matches to known relatives of Roxanne in order to eliminate those known biological relatives from the descendants of the potential father. This process will result in a unique tree for this grandson – separated from the massive overall tree that includes peripheral lines rather than direct blood lines.


And, finally, a bit of fun. Tiring of all that repetitive work creating and tracing and poring over records related to brick walls that has occupied uncountable hours over decades – we decided to take a look at a line not explored in depth previously: Our WADE line.

Great-Grandmother Flutie Creek (Alexander) Kendrick was the daughter of Absalom Creek (first cousin to all of the Younger and first half-cousin to the Dalton gang members) and his first wife, Martha Ann Wade. I well remember sitting by beautiful Flutie’s bedside when yet a pre-schooler and asking, “Aunt Flutie (she always said – at age 90 plus – she was far too young to be my Grandma!), what was your daddy’s name?” She said very sweetly, “My daddy’s name was Absalom.” In the complete candor of a very young child, I replied, “That is a weird name! Absalom. What was your mommy’s name?” She replied, “My mother’s name was Martha.” “Martha? That is a very weird name, Aunt Flutie!” Silly, silly me.

The Marriage Records of Clay County, Missouri, 1852-1900; Three Volumes, Volume I document the marriage of Martha and Absalom thusly: Marriage Date: 12 Aug 1866, Name: Absalem Creek, Spouse: Martha Ann Wade. Officiator: T. Montgomery, M. G. Date: 15 Aug 1866.

The daughter of Peyton Wade (1808-1887) and wife, Elizabeth Wilhoite Wade (1814-1893), Martha, born in 1847, was the fifth daughter born to the couple. Peyton Wade was the son of John Wade (1784-1840) and wife, Prudence Ellington Wade (1788-1860). Peyton and Elizabeth were wed 26 Oct 1832 in Clay County, Missouri. Prudence was born in Amelia County, Virginia, the daughter of David Motley Ellington (his exploits in the Revolutionary War were covered in two sequential columns, May and June of 2016) and his wife, Mary Malone DuPuy (the ancestor who links our line to my 23rd Great-Grandfather, Hugues dePayens DuPuy:

Here is the new exciting research: John Wade (1784-1840) is shown by a number of our family researchers to have been the son of Col. Nathaniel Wade and his wife, Mary Taylor Wade. This Col. Wade was a close confidante of General George Washington and of the Marquis LaFayette. His heirs have published a letter handwritten to him by George Washington on the eve following Benedict Arnold’s betrayal, ordering Col. Wade to march “forthwith” to West Point with his troops and take control, expected to be called upon to defend the Fort West Point that very evening.

The vital document tying our John Wade to this distinguished Revolutionary War hero is contained among the papers known as The Douglas Register. This compilation is heralded as one of the most notable collections of vital facts for historians concerned with ancestors deriving from Colonial Virginia. Following is a description of the source document:

The celebrated Douglas Register is an indispensable compilation of births, marriages, and deaths covering the period from about 1750 to 1797, with some miscellaneous records going back to 1705. The registers are for the parishes of St. James Northam (Dover Church) and King William, but they concern individuals who were residents of the Virginia counties of Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania. Entries under the headings of births, marriages, and deaths are arranged alphabetically, with marriages broken into separate lists for husbands and wives. Altogether the entries exceed several thousand in number. The book further consists of lists of Huguenot settlers at Manakin-Town (King William Parish) and an index of Goochland County wills, 1728-1840, containing about 1,000 names with references to dates and locations. (The early records of Goochland County are inseparable from the early records of Henrico and Powhatan counties, from which Goochland derived.)

“The register is of particular interest since the mother’s name is shown in each birth entry. Since the records cover a period of almost fifty years and an area of considerable extent in central Virginia, the book is of wide usefulness.”–The Virginia Genealogist (April-June 1967)

And, the notation which many family historians believe tie our John Wade (1784-1840) to the illustrious Col. Nathaniel Wade? “The Douglas Register: Nathaniel Wade & Mary Taylor, a son, John, born Mar: 7, 1784. Baptized May 30, 1784. p. 111”

Of course, we do not merely attach names to our tree without in depth research to identify vital documents that make sense. Did the person actually live in the same area where our ancestor is reported to have been born? Are the years correct? Do we have absolute documentary proof? A Bible listing, a Census record, a Will? Therefore, our new project is to scour records online in an attempt to prove or disprove this connection. Exciting, yes?

To this end, every Wade record that appears to be related is being reviewed. One detailed work is “The Wade Genealogy” by Stuart C. Wade, published in 1900. Mentioned in that book are but a few of the distinguished Wade personages throughout the centuries, the underlined name is the cornerstone of our current research:

“A family which has produced Armigel Waad, Secretary of the Privy Council to King Henry VIII Of England and one of the first English men to land in America; his son, Sir William Waad, who had so leading a part in the colonization Of Virginia, and whose activity as Lieutenant Governor of the Tower of London procured for him the epithet of “that villain Wade, from his prisoners, Sir Walter Raleigh and Cobham; Colonel Nathaniel Wade, the ill -fated Monmouth’s companion at Sedgmoor; Field Marshal General George Wade, Commander—in Chief of the British Army in early Georgian days and builder Of the famous Highland Roads; Colonel Nathaniel Wade, of Massachusetts, who held West Point the night after Arnold’s treason and who was the friend and confidant of Washington and Lafayette…”

Thus, we embark on another month’s cruise pursuing Armchair Genealogy. Stay tuned. We hope to have exciting news in our next column. In the interim, please take advantage of this historic and often frightening period of social isolation to pursue your own family history.

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