Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Search and Research

Warning: More genealogy that is probably only interesting to me.

Lately I've become interested in family genealogy—especially on my Smith side. I've long wondered from whom I descend. For the past few months, I've been doing a lot of searching and have already posted some things I've learned about my Martin great-grandmother ("Martin Mystery" and "Martin Mystery II") and my recent discovery of my Hancock ancestors who lived right in the neighborhood ("Lewis and Celia Hancock").

But, while scouring family trees on, I've run into some glitches. The Hancock side has provided a lot of mysteries. It was easy to find that Lewis Hancock descended from John D. Hancock who descended from Benjamin Hancock, but further back gets a little fuzzy.

Apparently I—and a gazillion other Virginians—descend from William Hancock, born 1580 in Devonshire, England. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune to be massacred at Berkley Hundred in Jamestown on March 22, 1622. However, back in England he left three sons—Augustine (b. abt. 1605), Simon (b. abt.1612), and William (b. abt. 1615)— who eventually came to Virginia when they came of age. So now we have a William II (who died in 1693 in Surry County, VA, where a bunch of Hancocks ended up).

But—some websites say that this son William died at Bacon's Rebellion, which was in 1676. A William Hancock is on the list of participants, but it doesn't say what happened to him. On some sites, another William Hancock, born in 1640, is identified as being the one in Bacon's Rebellion. This site identifies him as the son of William II. But other sites say that William III was the son of Simon. Confused yet? So am I.

At any rate, the Bacon's Rebellion William only had one son, John, who was born around 1670 and had eight children, though some sites give his birth as later—like this tree I grabbed off the Internet which has John being born three years after Bacon's Rebellion where his father supposedly died.

Do you see anything else confusing about that tree? The birth dates of Benjamin's parents, maybe? It's a bit had to believe that William was sixteen and Elizabeth was fourteen when their son was born. Since John Hancock (1670-1732) had sons named William and Benjamin, I'm thinking that the two brothers somehow got onto different lines in the above chart. But I could be wrong.

Since the Hancock family had to get to Franklin County, I keep looking for westward movement as I check family trees. Lewis came from Fluvanna/Albemarle, his father John D. was in Albemarle, so that movement makes sense.

I've also been wondering about the Haynes line that ties into my English line. This tree for Dinah Haynes on another line in my family is even stranger than the Hancock tree above. Do you see the problem?

If this tree is to be believed, Dinah Haynes' mother Mary Smith was also her father's mother. But wait—the dates are different for the two Mary Smiths even though they have the same parents. So, is it possible that Guy Smith and his wife (Miss Perrin/Grace Perrin) had two Mary Smiths, born 31 years apart?  And that Guy fathered the 1670 Mary when he was five years old!? (If so, he must have been quite a guy.) And—even stranger—"Miss Perrin" (born 1685) gave birth to Mary fifteen years before she herself was born??!! My mind boggles.

I'm pretty sure that Dinah's father was indeed Henry Haynes, because he mentions his daughter Dinah and her son Henry in his will (he died in Henry County the year before Franklin county was formed):

Item, I give to my daughter DINAH ENGLISH my Negro Boy named Barnaby during her life and after her decease to my Grandson HENRY ENGLISH forever and also my using Skillett to her forever.

Though Henry was born in King and Queen County, he moved westward and southward, acquiring and then selling land in Spotsylvania and acquiring a patent for 400 acres in Orange County in 1739. In 1753, he moved closer:

1753 Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Henry Haynes acquired 400 acres beginning at the mouth of Bull Run Creek, thence down Blackwater River. Also 400 acres in the fork of said Bull Run Creek. Also 1753 Henry Haynes acquired 300 acres beginning at Robert Walton's upper line on Bull Run, thence up both sides of said Run, also 400 acres beginning at Randolph's lower lines on Staunton River, then down to Smith's Mountain. 

Part of Pittsylvania County eventually became part of Franklin County. (Franklin County  was formed from parts of Henry and Bedford Counties in 1785, a year after Henry's death.) Some of his land is now under Smith Mountain Lake. Some of it was owned by my Smith ancestors in the late 1700s. And I now own land on the upper part Bull Run Creek that once ran into the Blackwater River but now runs into Smith Mountain Lake.

So, I think Henry is my ancestor. But I wonder about ones before him—I'm not so sure the ones on the above tree are correct.

I also wonder whatever became of the "using skillet" he left Dinah. I wonder if one of her descendants is still using it.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

I have found much misinformation on ancestry. Mostly I use it as a guide. If I can't verify sources, I don't consider it good info until I can. It is helpful to a point, but as you note, when people are having kids before they are born, there are obviously errors. Good luck with your search!

7:01 AM  

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