Author Archives: Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Between The Leaves: Conferences and Offline Resources

Amy Johnson Crow, Juliana Smith, Crista Cowan and myself got together to talk about some of our favorite conference memories and places to research: Conferences and Offline Resources

 

Is there something you’d like to hear us talk about?

Between The Leaves: A Google Hangout from Ancestry.com

We’ve start a new series on Ancestry.com called Between the Leaves.  It’s a genealogy chat show for some of the genealogist who work at Ancestry.com: Myself, Juliana Szucs Smith, Amy Johnson Crow and Crista Cowan.  The first episode was a lot of fun to film and I can’t wait to do the next one!

Enjoy!

Power Point Slides from Wytheville Family History Day and NGS 2014

I presented Successfully Searching for Your Family Story at both Wytheville and NGS.  Here are the slides from those talks.

intro1

Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story on Ancestry.com

Slides from My Talk on Using Military records on Ancestry.com and Fold3

intro2

Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective: Extracting Stories from Military Records on Ancestry.com and Fold3

Burial Spots! Recipes! Fiery Ends! — It’s Follow Friday!

page from donald burial records at stonewall jackson cemeteryWhat I Was Reading This Week:

What I Was Writing This Week:

Conference Talks

NGS 2014: Richmond, Virginia : May 7-10

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

A Few Steps Closer to a Death Date and a Burial Place — 52 Ancestors: #6 Elizabeth Jane Wallace

There are a lot of things I know about Elizabeth.  Her parents.  Her husband. Her children. But I didn’t know when she died or where her final resting place was.  And it bothered me.

Donald Plot at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Donald Plot at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia4

Her husband, James Calvin Donald,1 her son John Charlton2 and John’s wife Elizabeth3 and their two sons are buried in at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.  All in the same plot. You can see James Calvin Donald in the back with the Southern Cross.  John C Donald Sr and Elizabeth J Donald in the front, and to the right out of the picture are John and Elizabeth’s two sons.  Where is Elizabeth Wallace, wife of James? Mother of John?

There are four posts about six inches high around the plot.  I took this short video to document the size of the plot and then empty spaces.

I headed over to the cemetery office to ask him about the plot and to see if there was any information we could find. The very helpful office worker, I wish I could remember his name, looked up James in the index and then helped us find the correct card in his book.  Two columns.  On the left, John C Donald  (Dec 27/1827 March 6/ 1748), Elizabeth J Donald (1895-1973), John C Donald (1921-1976), and William Lewis Donald (6-28-1927 – 5-16-05)5

page from donald burial records at stonewall jackson cemetery

Page from burial records taken in office of Stonewall Jackson Cemetery6

And in the right column? James C. Donald (1836 -1899).  And three graves.  We asked the caretaker and he said that those were unmarked graves.  He also told us that the information came from the church when they transferred the cemetery to the city.    Notice the information on the right was typed.  The information on the left was written, no doubt when the person was buried.

Now let’s say one of them was Elizabeth Jane Wallace, wife of James.  Who are the other two? According to a rather lengthy family history of the Lyle family in Rockbridge County, James and Elizabeth had two children that died young: William D and Andrew M.7

snippet from lyle book

Are the three unmarked graves, Elizabeth, William and James?  I asked about the question mark on that page and it is a possible grave.

We do know that Elizabeth’s will was written in 1901 and she left everything to her son John C Donald, who is buried in the plot with unmarked graves.8  He also declares himself the executor of her estate on October 1st, 1918.9  It is loose circumstantial evidence that he would have buried his mother in that same plot that he later was buried in and his father was buried in.

I also know that Elizabeth is in the 1910 census, living with her son, John C, and her mother.10 So she died sometime between 1910 and 1918, most likely in 1918.  And I think there is a strong possibility that she is one of the unmarked graves in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.  Still more work needs to be done.  But I’m closer!


1 Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 5 Feb 2014), memorial page for Pvt James C. Donald,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 34346979, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
2 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), John C Donald marker, upper portion of cemetery, personally read, 2013.
3 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Elizabeth J Donald marker, upper portion of cemetery, personally read, 2013.
4 Mitchell, Anne Gillespie, Photo of Donald Plot, Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2013
5 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Lexington, Virginia), Donald Plot burial records, Lewis section, (viewed by author, 2013).
6 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Donald Plot.
7 Oscar K. Lyle, Lyle family: The Ancestry and Posterity of Matthew John, Daniel and Samuel Lyle, Pioneer Settlers in Virginia, (New York, New York: Lecouver Press Company, 1912), 169; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Feb 2014)
8 Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 39:373, E J Donald, widow of James C Donald, Will, written 2 Jan 1901; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.
9 Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 39:413-414, Exec.’s bond for E J Donald, John C Donald, Exec., filed 1 Oct 1918; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.
10. 1910 US Federal Census, Rockbridge county, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington Magisterial District, [unnumbered], ED  109, sheet 13-B, dwelling 186, family 186, Elizabeth Donald household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jan 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1647.

Roots Tech! Slave Petitions! 52 Ancestors! — It’s Follow Friday!

Wells, Kristie, Photo of Anne Gillespie Mitchell at RootsTech, 7 Feb 2014. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2014.

I had to do a little shopping at RootsTech. The new Genealogy Standards Manual is out! 1

What I Was Reading This Week:

RootsTech 2014 Recap

What I Was Writing This Week:

Conference Talks

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


1. Wells, Kristie, Photo of Anne Gillespie Mitchell at RootsTech, 7 Feb 2014. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2014.

Slides from RootsTech Presentations –Motivation Monday

Myself and Lou Szucs at RootsTech 2014

Myself and Lou Szucs at RootsTech 2014

I presented two lectures at RootsTechs 2014:

  • Learning How To Tune Your Ancestry.com Search
  • Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective: Extracting Stories from Military Records on Ancestry.com and Fold3

If you were there and would like a copy of my slides or are interested you can find the PDF’s on my Slides and Presentations page.

Early Research. Sloppy Research. Lots of Questions. 52 Ancestors #5: Mary Elizabeth Gillespie

1866-1883 - GrandmotherOver time, we all get better at genealogy.  We learn better ways to search, to analyze and how to prove that which seems unprovable.   The first group of family you work on is most likely to be filled with errors and bad assumptions.

My Gillespie line is that line for me.  I worked on it with my Dad, but neither one of us had a very good idea of what we were doing.

So let’s review.

My cousins and I believe this to be Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Gillespie.  Based on the watermark it was taken between 1866 and 1883 in Tennessee.  Mary would be have been somewhere between 40 and 60 years old.  I’m guessing I can get a better date on this by analyzing the head scarf she is wearing and the clothing.  She looks very serious.

My great aunt, Eva Dold Gillespie, told my father that Mary and Jeremiah, Mary’s husband, were first cousins.  I’ve never proven that, but I have used that to make a lot of assumptions about my research.  I have no reason to doubt my great aunt.  She was very sharp, taught history in Lexington, Virginia and according to my father cared a great deal about family history.  Oh, if I only I had been interested in this when she was alive!

So what do I know about Mary?

  • The marriage register for Mary states that her surname was Gillespie.  It does not list her father; no one had to sign for her, so I’m pretty sure she was at least 18 when she married Jeremiah Gillespie November 21st, 1848.  This suggests that her birthday was before November 21st, 1830.[1]
  • Because she was married in 1848, there is no census record where she will be enumerated by name.
  • In 1850, she is living with Jeremiah and their 6 month old daughter in the Eastern District of Amherst County, Virginia.[2]
  • In 1860, she is still living with Jeremiah and 4 children: Harriet I (10), Jas R (9), Wm H (7), and 8 month old Sarah M.[3]I never noticed it before, but there is a very big gap between Harriet, James, William and then Sarah.  Why where there no children?
    • There is actually I missing child here, George C, who would have been about 4 years old and William was more likely to have been 5.  That makes the ages of the children a bit more believable.
    • The Civil War came and went. I can find no record of Jeremiah serving even those his older brother did and his two younger brothers did.
    • Sarah dies in February of 1865[4]; Wyatt Paul, Jeremiah and Mary’s youngest child is born July 15th, 1865, 5 months later.[5]
    • The 1870 census is very strange to say the least. Mary is listed as Ann.  (I have no reason to believe that Mary had died, Jeremiah had remarried an Ann and then later married a Mary. I guess it’s possible.)  They own $100 worth of real estate. And the entire family is listed as not being able to read and write.[6]

    1870-us-census

  • In 1880, they are living in the Pedlar District of Amherst. Jeremiah “Jese” and Mary are living with Harriet, George and Paul.  This time Jeremiah is listed as 60 and Mary as 40. [7]

1880-us-census

The difference in Mary’s age does support the Jeremiah has possibly married two different Mary’s, but why would the children who would be the wife of the first Mary be listed as the heirs of the second Mary’s estate in 1893?  It seems that it should be the same woman.

  • I do not have an exact date of death for her, but I have a deed where her heirs sell their inheritance to Wyatt Paul Gillespie, my great grandfather and her youngest child in 1893.[8]

So who were Mary Elizabeth Gillespie parents?  Jeremiah’s parents where Tarlton Gillespie and Mahala Reynolds.  There were two other possible Gillespie families in the Amherst area that are possibilities.  Willis Gillespie and Roland Gillespie.  Both had daughters named Mary.  Roland’s daughter Mary married James S Camden.[9]  Willis had a daughter Mary who is listed in his will as Mary Gillespie (no husband given).[10]

Willis had a son, Wyatt who died May 15th, 1865 in the Prisoner of War camp in Elmira, New York.[11]Jeremiah and Mary had a son Wyatt who was born July 15th, 1865.[12]  Was they younger Wyatt named after the older?  Does this show a relationship?

Then there is the Bedford County connection.  Tarlton and Mahala, Jeremiah’s parents, were married there.[13]  There are other Gillespie’s there.  They need to be considered.

What if Mary Gillespie was a Gillespie because she married another Gillespie before marrying Jeremiah?  Not as likely, but it’s possible.

I need to start with doing some deed work and hoping I can find the connection between the land Mary and Jeremiah might have owned and someone else.  Or find something useful in neighbors.  Or tax lists. Or chancery records.  Or order books.  Lots of places left to look.  Lots of work to do.


[1] Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853″, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 408, entry for Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E Gillespie, bond date 21 Nov 1848; FHL microfilm 30273. Parents or Guardian of Husband: Talton Gillaspie; Security and Witnesses: James Gillaspie; J Powell Jr; Richd Waugh.
[2] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Eastern, [unnumbered], dwelling 340, family 340, Jeremiah Gillaspie; digital images,  Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 933.
[3] 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);   citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll 1332.
[4] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jul 2012), entry for Sarah Gilispie, daughter of Jerry and Mary Gillespie, Feb 1865, Amherst, Virginia.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Peddler, p. 497 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 210, Jeremiah Glasby;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll 1633.
[7] 1880 U.S Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, enumeration district 19, p. 215A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 118, family 125, Jese Gilaspie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 14 May 2010);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 1353.
[8] Amherst County, Virginia, Deeds, UU: 393-4, Mary Elizabeth Gillespie heirs to W.P. Gillespie, recorded 10 Nov 1893, Clerk of Circuit Court, Amherst.
[9] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Mary E Camden, daughter of Rolin and Lucy Gillaspie, 16 Apr 1881, Amherst, Virginia.
[10] Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book 19:253, Willis Gillespie, Dec.18,1865; Clerk of County Court, Amherst.
[11] Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 24 Aug 2012), memorial page for Corp Wiatt Gillespie  Find A Grave Memorial no. 35296331, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, McGaheysville, Rockingham County, Virginia, USA.
[12] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[13] Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Tatton Gillaspie and Mahala Reynolds, 27 May 1816, Bedford, Virginia.

Hallowed Ground! Driving Your Research! Muses! — It’s Follow Friday!

What I Was Reading This Week:
What I Was Writing This Week:
Conference Talk
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Come out, come out wherever you are! The hunt for Ancestor #4: Georgia Eva Baxter’s parents. 52 Ancestors.

There was a lot of sadness in Eva Georgia “Georgie” Baxter Payne’s 47 years.  Her mother died when she was 4.[1] Georgie died 5 years after her husband when she was 47 leaving behind 8 children, the youngest who was 8.

And she had a really inconvenient birthday. The 1880 census recorded everyone who was living in the household on June 1st, 1880. And Georgie was born on June 10th, 1880.[2] Oh, the 1880 census her family was on was enumerated on June 17th, 1880; but this enumerator followed the rules.[3]

Finding her parents was a bit of a challenge.  Georgie’s death certificate said her mother was Mary Alexander and her father was S. R. Baxter.  The informant was my grandmother, Georgie’s daughter, Jennie E Payne.[4]

image01-52-ancestors-from-death-certificate

There are no S.R. Baxter’s that I could find in North Carolina.  I looked.  And I looked.  And I looked.

I looked for Georgie’s marriage certificate James. James and Georgie were married October 18th, 1902. North Carolina marriage certificates have parents’ names. I found the film, I scrolled through it.  Bingo! You know that feeling when you find the obvious document that will have your answer.  The excitement! The answer!

image02-marriage-certifcate

Georgie’s parents are listed as unknown and unknown, and they both were dead. And you know that feeling too, don’t you?

Time to use the FAN method! I recorded the information that was on the marriage certificate including those who signed. B. R. Payseur, and name I still can’t read, and something like Reasley Carrol.

image03-m-c-signers

I went back to the North Carolina death certificates on Ancestry.com and search for people who had a father S.R. Baxter or a mother Mary Alexander.

And I found Sara Baxter, whose mother was Mary Baxter and her father Peter Baxter.  And her husband? Boyce R. Payseur.[5]  Now we know that B. R. Payseur was a witness to James and Georgie’s wedding.  I felt like I was on to something. OK, not solid proof.  But it sure felt like a substantial lead.  And it was.  Boyce is listed as a guardian for Georgie’s children.[6] James and Georgie’s son was named Jack Boyce Payne. [7]

image04-br-payseur

But I needed more.  I hunted down Peter Franklin Baxter’s probate files, who is listed as Sarah’s father on her death certificate and her father in 1880.[8] He died October 16th, 1897, five years before Georgie and James were married.[9]  When his will is recorded it lists a Sally Payseur, wife of Boyce and a Georgie Baxter.[10]  But that still isn’t enough. What if there is another Georgie Baxter that has a sister named Sally/Sarah?

So I searched for the final settlement for Peter’s will.  And lo and behold, Georgie, is now Georgie Payne and her husband is JR Payne.[11]

image05-settlement

She tried to hide her parents, but with a little FAN work I found her.  Every piece of data on every may be significant.

The answers are out there.


[1] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014), memorial page for Mary M Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 1616009; citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[2] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[3] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[4] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[5] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 20 Jan 2014), entry for Sarah E Baxter Payseur, 26 Jan 1961, reg. dist. no. 23-70, rcert. no. 567; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[6] “North Carolina, County Records, 1833-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-20584-4368-0?cc=1916185&wc=M9M5-7BR:n955600874 : accessed 23 Oct 2013), Gaston > Estates, 1894-1962, vol. 106, Patrick, G. Reece – Payne, William F. > image 442.
[7] 1920 U.S Census, Gaston county, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Moutain Township, [unnumbered], ED 75, sheet 6-B, dwelling 107, family 116, James R Payne household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1299.
[8] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 30 Jan 2014), memorial page for Peter Frank Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 81615977, citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[10] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2581892-1-13?cc=1867501&wc=10922811 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Wills, 1895-1911, Vol. 05 > image 58 of 330.
[11] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2609206-1-55?cc=1867501&wc=10922709 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Settlements, 1904-1919, Vol. 03 > images 342-343 of 372.
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