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.