Category Archives: Research Plan

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
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.
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.


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.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I knew this was going to happen.  Between work and trying to organize my CG stuff, my blogging has fallen behind.  But the clock has started.

It sounds like a lot of days, doesn’t it.  HA!
I’ve chosen my three couples for my Narrative Lineage and organized the outline of that paper.  They are my grandmother’s family and I did them early on.  Oh my goodness.  What sloppy, sloppy research.  But I think I’ve cleaned it up and identified the families and am in the process of creating my initial Research list.

I’ve ordered more books.  Turns out my library doesn’t have as much on Smyth County, Virginia as it should.  And my husband is giving me those “how many genealogy books does one human being really need?” looks.  Do you know those looks?

I’ve got my conflicting evidence problem picked out.  And the research is done, it just needs to be written.

My transcript arrived and it doesn’t look too bad.  The handwriting was fairly readable.  I believe we aren’t suppose to give any details on those, so no more on that!

I’ve picked out a delightful Chancery Case that deals with gambling debts because I would like to delight the reviewers with something different than the same old wills and deeds I’m sure they see.  It’s either that or a bible page I have, but I can’t figure out what half of it says at the moment.

A few of you sent me some good case studies, as did a friend, and once I get the rest of this in order, I will respond, I promise!

It all seems doable.

I’m also going to Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana next week to meet with librarians.  It’s a work trip, but I should be able to squeeze some research in, so I’m pretty excited about that.  I’ll try and post from the road.  I’m doing a presentation for patrons while I am there, and once I give it I’ll post the PDF of the presentation on my How To  page.

Tuesday’s Tip — Two New Links You Must Check Out

We all know that family histories, local histories, indexes of vital and the sort are awesome for finding nuggets of gold.  Check out FamilySearch’s Family History Books beta site:

Second link, courtesy of Mark Lowe: Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, which can be found in google books:

Notice the dates? These were the references that law clerks and the like used as reference in the 1800’s in the south.  Want to know about what a drove-road is and what it means? The information is there.

Remember, don’t look if you just have two minutes! Trust me!

Tuesday’s Tip: What To Do When You Start Researching A New Place

Every state and county handled vitals and other legal documents differently.

The state of Virginia in its infinite wisdom decided NOT to record births when my great great grandfather Charlton Wallace was born and also not to record deaths when he died.  His parents are still my brick wall.

The Wiki has put the entire contents of two books online that will help you understand what was recorded when:

The Red Book specifically will help you figure out what was available when.  I do a lot research in Virginia.  If I click on Virginia Family History on the Red Book main wiki page, I see information about the state.

If I click on Virginia Vital Records I see an overview of the what was recorded and when.  It helps to know birth certificates were recorded in 1824 and that you need to prove a birth date some other way.

You can also drill down to the county level.

And all of this is free.  You don’t need to be an subscriber.

Sorting Saturday: A Research Plan for the Samuel J Campbell Deed

This is more of a mental sorting, rather than a physical sorting.  Sometimes it’s hard to find a blog queue that fits what you want to write about!

So, I published the documents and the transcription for the Samuel J Campbell to William A Anderson deed.   On to the research plan.

What do I know?

  1. The land was originally conveyed to Samuel Campbell by W N Pendelton and his wife on October 22, 1870 and was recorded in Book SS, p. 328.
  2. Samuel then conveyed the land to J B Dorman and Chas A Davidson by deed on March 12, 1872 and that can be found in Book MM, p. 155.
  3. James B Dorman and Chas A Davidson  pursuant to a decree in a Chancery Cause from April 10, 1873, offered the sale at public auction on June 11, 1873.
  4. William A Anderson was the highest bidder and purchased the land for $1000 and this appears from a decree pronounced on September 15, 1873.
  5. Another decree pronounced on March 11, 1878 that Samuel and his wife granted with general warranty to William A Anderson this particular six acres. This land that was located on the north side “Fair Grounds” road near Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia. The land was also adjacent to the lands of John Miller.
  6. M L Cambpell, the wife of Samuel J Campbell submit a dowery release. 1

What Next?

  1. Who was Samuel J Campbell and his wife M L Campbell?
  2. Who was W N Pendelton?
  3. Who was William A Anderson?
  4. I need to obtain the following:
    1. The deed from Book SS, p. 328 which is from W N Pendelton to Samuel J Campbell
    2. The deed from Book MM, p. 155 where Samuel conveys the land to J B Dorman and Chas A Davidson.
    3. The chancery cause from September 15, 1873
    4. The chancery cause or decree from March 11, 1878


1. Rockbridge County, Virginia, Deeds, Q: 212-216, Samuel J Campbell to William A Anderson, 19 March 1878, County Courthouse, Rockbridge.