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Genealogy- My Obsession

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'm on Slowest Loser Spark Team and one of the goals this week is to write one blog about anything I want to write about. I am going to write a "short" blog about my current Genealogy project.

Currently, I am going through the Chancery Court records for Shenandoah County, Virginia. These are online at the Library of Virginia. One line I thought I had documented fairly well was INCORRECT. I had to delete some folks and start over. Thanks to the Chancery court records I was able to document my Elizabeth Bowman's family. Elizabeth died about 1805 or 1806 in Shenandoah County, Virginia. I knew her father's name was John Bowman, but I had the wrong John Bowman. Due to this family's extensive land holdings and subsequent lawsuits with each other and their neighbors. I was able to move back two more generations in the Bowman line. Most exciting was finding the newspaper article from 1820, which was part of the chancery papers, advertising the court order of a land sale. It mentioned my third great-grandmother by name as well as her husband and lists her as a daughter of the deceased Elizabeth Bowman Ruddel, who was a daughter and heir of John Bowman. It was also fun to read a deed from Lord Fairfax in the early 1700's and deeds signed by Beverly Randolph. Another really neat thing (at least to me) was finding signatures of my ancestors, sometimes ancestors who weren't indexed and the chancery suit wasn't even about them. They were caught as a witness or maybe they witnessed a deed a hundred years prior to the suit. I've had several genealogy happy dances the past week or so. The challenge is reading some of these documents written in long hand in the 1700 and early 1800's. Another challenge is the SLOWNESS of this project. All records are in adobe and each page has to load. The shortest record I've looked at was 3 pages and the largest was 255 pages- still haven't gotten through that one yet. It takes many hours to sit and read one record and of course, I want to go fast and find as much information as possible as fast as possible. It doesn't work that way with these type of records. Patience is the key.

Here are my Shenandoah direct ancestors' surnames:

Neff, Bowman, Ruddle, Ruddel, Riddle, Hite, Harpine, Pennywitt, Will, Coffman, Kauffman, Shearman, Scherman, Reist, Grabill, Beggs

Well, you get the idea I will be reading chancery court records for a long time. My family is documented to be in early Virginia by the early 1700's and one can't just search direct lines. With these early records it pays to read all records for collateral relatives, neighbors, other church members, etc.

Happy Sparking and thanks for reading about my current genealogy project.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Interesting indeed and something that can be very addicting too. I love doing geneology work. In fact I am doing indexting of the 1930 census for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Much of my own Family History has been done and one line goes back into the 1500's. So I have been working on my husbands that has gone back some lines into the 1700's. It is fascinating work. Much like trying to solve a mystery. A piece of information here, one there until it all comes togther like a pieced quilt. I happen to believe you are doing a very good thing for your posterity.
    3451 days ago
    All those documents is what makes the "genealogy hunt" so interesting! It gives you a peek into the lives of your ancestors.

    Was reading thru your list of names and Hite was also one of Tim McGraw's ancestor (Jost Hite) had land in the Shenandoah Valley. Maybe you are related?
    3457 days ago
    enjoy - it is an obsession
    3458 days ago
    wow. That sounds like alot of work. Definitely need patience but you sound like you have what it takes. Good luck!
    3458 days ago
  • CAROLYN0107
    I like genealogy too and have two brothers who are working on it. They share their findings with me. Since I'm not living in the States, it is not as easy for me to do the research. We've made some discoveries recently though. Some States where my ancestors have lived have been NY, PA, WI, KY, IN, NE, TN etc. We have not been able to go back as far as you have though, only to the early 1800s. Very interesting hobby and great for the winter.
    3458 days ago
    That's a very interesting project. I have an interest in genealogy, too but I never had the chance to search so far back. Good luck with your project and I hope you discover many interesting things about your ancestors while on this journey.
    3458 days ago
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