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.

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.

Genealogy Isn’t Free? An Oratrix? It’s Follow Friday!

What I’ve Been Reading This Week

What I’ve Been Writing This Week

Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Heirs sell to W.P. Gillespie: Setting up Research Plans from Documents

Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse 1
Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse 1

My niece, Rachel, and I went on an epic research trip in Virginia in July.  We hit 5 courthouses, untold cemeteries, tromped around all sorts of weed filled fields and made a local unhappy when we photographed a deer head suspended from a telephone pole. (That’s a different story.)

We photocopied and photographed countless documents.  Each courthouse had their own rules as to what the methodology was.

Amherst County Courthouse proved to be the most frustrating.  Most volumes were in bound books that did not allow you to pull individual pages out of the book, and the powers that be said that we had to take pictures, no photocopying.  Not all of our  pictures turned out great, but that is what that is.  Looking at the state of some of the volumes, you can guess why.

One goodie I found was a deed where Mary Elizabeth Gillespie’s heirs sold their share of the property to W.P. Gillespie. Transcription:

In margin
Mary Elizabeth
Gillaspies heirs
to } Deed
W.P. GillaspieTax 50COriginal delivered
to grantee Jany
13, 1896This deed made the 4th day of September 1893 between Jeremiah Gillaspie
James R Gillapsie and Amira Gillaspie his wife Geo C Gillaspie Wm H Gillaspie
and Elizabeth Gillaspie his wife, and Hattie Gillaspie heirs of Mary Elizabeth
Gillaspie decd of the first part and W.P. Gillaspie of the second part.
Witnesseth.  That for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and
seventy five (175) dollars in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged
the said parties of the first part do grant and convey with general warranty
to the said W.P. Gillispie all the their right, title and interest in and to a certain
tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Amherst in the
State of Virginia, adjoining the lands of Wm L Davis and others and contain-
ing fifty nine (59) acres it being the same land conveyed to the said Mary E
Gillespie by deed from R. N. Ellis Trustee as to fifty six (56) acres said deed
bearing date on the 23d day of April 1878 and recorded on the 20th day of
May 1878, together with three (3) acres conveyed to said Mary E Gillispie by
deed from Alfred Byas dated on the 19th day of January 1878 and recorded
May 20th 1878 which several deeds are recorded in the Clerks office of Amherst
County Court in Deed Book LL page 167 to which Deeds reference is hereby
and for a more particular description of said lands with its metes and
bounds.   The said parties of the first part do covenant that they
have a perfect right to coney said land, that they have done no act to
encumber the same, that the said grantee shall have quiet and peaceable
possession of the same and that they will execute such further assurances
as may be legally required of them to make this deed sure and complete
forever.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
Jeremiah (his x mark) Gillespie (seal)
Jas. R. Gillispie              (seal)
Almira Gillespie                (seal)
G. C. Gillispie                 (seal)
William (his x mark) H Gillispie(seal)
Elizabeth Gillaspie             (seal)State of Virginia
County of Bedford } to wit:
I B M Page a Notary Public in and for the
County aforesaid in the said State do certify that Jeremiah Gillispie, Jas. R.
Gillispie, Geo C. Gillispie, Wm H Gillispie and Elizabeth Gillispie his wife whose
name are signed to the foregoing writing bearing date on the 4th day of September
1893 have each acknowledged the same before me in my County aforesaid.
Given under my hand this 7th day of September 1893.
B.M. Page N.P.Bedford County, to wit:
I B.M. Page a Notary Public in and for the County aforesaid
in the State of Virginia do certify that Almira Gillispie the wife of James
R. Gillapsie whose name is signed to the foregoing writing bearing date on
the 4th day of September 1893 has acknowledged that same before me me in my
said County.[p394]
Given under my hand this 23d day of September 1893.
B. M. Page, N.P.
Virginia:
In the Clerks Office of the County Court of Amherst County, November 10th 1893,
This deed was this day received in said office and upon the annexed certificate of
acknowledgement admitted to records.
Teste: Wm. Sandidge, Clerk 2

OK.  This has some truly awesome stuff in it.

  • Mary died before September 4, 1893.  Jeremiah died after that.  (I have yet to find a will or probate documents for either of them.)
  • Why did Mary own the land? Why was it deed to her from R. N. Ellis Trustee in 1878?  And why the other three acres from Alfred Byas?  Both of those were recorded on May 20, 1878.  Was there something important about that date?  What about Jeremiah?
  • Why can’t my ancestors pick a spelling of Gillespie?  They seemed to like Gillispie and Gillaspie here.  I know Wyatt Paul (the aforementioned W.P.) settled on Gillespie.
  • Neither Jeremiah or William H signed their names, instead they made their mark.  Evidence that they could not write.
  • W.P, Wyatt Paul, is also the legal heir of Mary.  Why isn’t that mentioned here?
  • Why didn’t Hattie (Harriet) sign this document? Why wasn’t her acknowledgement notarized?
  • Did we manage to pull a copy of the deeds from Deed Book LL, page 167?  (I’m still organizing.)
  • The good news is that this deed lists all of the people I expect to be listed with their appropriate spouses.  The only other child that Mary and Jeremiah had, Sarah, died in 1865.

Now what?

  1. Update the timelines of Wyatt Paul and Jeremiah and Mary Elizabeth Gillespie. Need a nice abstract.
  2. Look to see if we pulled the deeds from Book LL, page 167.  Transcribe and post.
  3. Look for other deeds related to this one.  Wyatt Paul marries Laura Cecile Donald in February 1894 in Rockbridge County and eventually settled in Lexington.  When did they sell the land?
  4. What about Harriet and her involvement with the land?
  5. Is there a legal situation where Mary would own the land and her husband wouldn’t in 1878?
  6. Everyone was notarized in Bedford County, Virginia, including Jeremiah.  Need to look for wills, probate and other documents there.

Footnotes

1. DeHaan, Rachel, “Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse,” 24 Jul 2013. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2013.
2. Amherst County, Virginia, Deed Book UU:393-4, Mary Elizabeth Gillespie heirs to W.P. Gillespie, recorded 10 Nov 1893, Clerk of Circuit Court, Amherst.

Wisdom Wednesday — Review Your Work and Why Sources are Important When You Have Conflicting Evidence

I’ve probably been at this about 10 years, give or take, and I’ve been a lot more serious about it in the last couple of years.   I made a vow to go back and review and fix all of my sources and I started with my paternal grandfather’s line.  Slow work, but I am making progress.

I’m so glad I’ve done this.  This is the first line I started working on, and my lack of experience and my willingness to jump to conclusion and accept them as fact is quite stunning.

Last night I had a few free hours before my plane left  and I stopped by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I looked up microfilm for Amherst, Virginia and came across Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853.

Now, I will admit, that I’ve looked at many a microfilm, and gone back to it thinking that I hadn’t seen it only to find that I had.  But this was not the case.

From reading the description, I expected to find the actual marriage bonds, and for the most part, the film seemed to be a typewritten index (for which I was very grateful) and a hand written register of all of the marriage bonds that they had seen.  The register was recorded in chronological order, so the index, that was alphabetical was quite useful, as I decided to do a Surname survey for the name Gillespie.

I found 20 records most of which matched people in my tree.

The record for my great great grandparents Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie was there on page 408. 1

Register Entry for Jeremiah and Mary E Gillespie, Bond Date: 21 Nov 1848

Jeremiah is listed as under age and his parent or guardian is Talton Gillaspie.  (This is actually Tarlton who is his father.)

Close up of names for Jeremiah and Mary

And the Security and Witnesses are listed as James Gillaspie, J Powell Jr, and Richd Waugh.

Witnesses for Jeremiah and Mary

I do not know who these men are.  I suspect that James is a relative.  A cousin or an uncle.  Jeremiah’s older sister Editha marries a Roderick Waugh 2, maybe Richard is related to Roderick.

I’ve also have in my tree that Jeremiah is born on March 4th, 1826.3 This information comes from my interpretation of a family bible that was handed down to me.

Jeremiah Gillespie’s birth date which appears to be March the 4th 1826

But if this date is true, then he would have been 22 on November 21, 1848, and he would not have been under the age he could be married without consent.

The dates in the bible appear to have been written in 1860.  Jeremiah was married in 1848.  It is hard to imagine that he would state that he was not 21 when he got married if he wasn’t.  It would just complicate matters more.  Given these two sources and what we know about when they were recorded and the legal situation implied by the marriage bond, I believe that he was not born in 1826.  I would suggest 1828 and that he was twenty.

It is probably reasonable to think that his birthday was March 4th.  And it is hard to imagine that whoever did the entries in the bible subtracted wrong, or just didn’t know.

So until I get better information, I’m going to assume that he was born in 1828 or later.  Just because it was written in a bible doesn’t make it true.  When it was written and by who are important. Sources are important!

And now that I’ve been cleaning up my sources and I’m about half done with this line, well, it is a lot faster to write a blog post.  More to come on the marriage register.

Footnotes

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. Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853″, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 391, entry for Rodk Waugh and Editha Ann Gillaspie, bond date 28 Mar 1845; FHL microfilm 30273. Security and Witnesses: Taillor A Gillaspie (most likely Tarlton).
3. Gillespie Family Bibile, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, p840; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. The sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1860.

Tuesday’s Tip — Stop Searching, Start Analyzing

I’ve been on Vacation, a girl’s weekend in New Orleans.  So I’ve been away from my blog.  Good weekend!  New Orleans is an amazing town.

So I’ve been working on my Sources.  I really thought this was going to be tiresome, but it’s not.  I’m actually slowing down and looking at the images.  And rethinking about people that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

Mary Elizabeth Gillespie is my great great grandmother.  Here is where she fits in my grandfather’s tree:

And I came to the conclusion quite some time ago that Mary’s parents were Willis Gillespie and Harriet Smith.  But you know what, I have nothing to prove that.  Nothing.

Here is what I know:

  • On Wyatt  Gillespie’s marriage certificate, his parents are listed as Jere and Mary Gillespie. 1
  • Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary Gillespie were married in 1842. Talton Gillespie is listed as Jeremiah’s father, Mary’s parents are not in the index. I suspect it is because Jeremiah was not 21 when they were married. Do I have the original or have I seen it?  I have not. 2
  • My Great Aunt Eva told my father that Jeremiah and Mary were first cousins.3

I choose Willis and Harriet because they seemed to be the most likely candidates. And they may be correct, BUT that is not proof. And now it really vexes me. What if I am wrong? The earlier you find “the truth” in your genealogy career, I suspect the more likely it is that the Genealogical Proof Standards are not being met.

Parents of Mary Elizabeth Gillespie? Back on the list of what I need to prove.

Footnotes

1. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia
2. “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRDN-B9Q : accessed 14 Aug 2012), Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E. Gillaspie, 21 Nov 1848; citing reference p 408, FHL microfilm 30273.

Wisdom Wednesday — Wyatt and Laura

Wyatt Paul Gillespie, son of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie,  was born on July 15, 1865 in Amherst County, Virginia.

Laura Cecil Donald, daughter of James Calvin Donald and Elizabeth Jane Wallace, was born on February 13, 1877 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

They were married January 24, 1894 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.  How they met is not known, at least to me.  Wyatt was 28 and Laura was almost 17 when they married. 1 I suspect the picture below was taken around the time of there wedding.

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894

They had 8 children, all born in Lexington, Virginia:

  • Minnie Maude Gillespie (1897 – 1958 )
  • Ashby Paul Gillespie (1899 – 1967)
  • Eva Dold Gillespie (1901 – 1992)
  • Clinton Clifton Gillespie (1904 – 1990)
  • Louise Graham Gillespie (1907 – 1997)
  • Fred Douglas Gillespie (1910 – 1974)
  • Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003)
  • Helen Mae Gillespie (1918 – 2002)
Family of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie ca. 1925-1930

They purchased the land at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia in 1907 and built the house on it in 1908.  The house was owned by someone in the family until Gilbert’s death in 2003.  The house was sold and moved.  The land is now occupied by medical offices. 2

Wyatt died on July 15, 1941 at the age of 75.  Laura lived for another 23 years and died at the age of 87 on August 23, 1964.  They are both buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington Virginia.  Minnie, Eva, Fred and Gilbert are buried there as well. 3

Gravestone of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Donald Gillespie; Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Footnotes

1. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia
2. Anne Gillespie Mitchell, “108 Houston Street,” Finding Forgotten Stories blog (http://www.finding-forgotten-stories.com  accessed : 1 Aug 2012); published deed of land purchase.
3. Findagrave.com, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.