Tag Archives: virginia

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 — The World is a Limitless Place

I am a perpetual student because the world is a limitless place. — Elissa Scalise Powell

I had the honor of being in Elissa’s class when I was a student in the Boston University Online Certificate program.  She was inspiring then, and in a recent post on APG mailing list, she delivered the above gem.  (I couldn’t find this attributed to anyone else, so I assume it is hers.)  It was part of a great discussion about education.

When I was a computer science student at the University of Arkansas working on my bachelor’s degree, I remember sitting in an architecture class and thinking, there is absolutely no way I am ever going to know all there is to know about this.  It inspired me to go get a Master’s Degree at Purdue.

I had that moment in my BU class where the light went on and I knew I would have to pick and choose what I became truly knowledgeable about in Genealogy.

For me, I want to know all I can about Southern Genealogy, specifically Virginia, and the Carolina’s and the Civil War.  That is where my family’s history lies.

Oh, and sourcing!

Some days I feel like I am making progress and some days I am overwhelmed.

But I keep reading and practicing.  Because the world is indeed a limitless place.

Sunday’s Obituary — Maiden Aunts and Bachelor Uncles: Sarah, Civil War Child

Sarah Gillespie, daughter of Jeremiah and Mary Gillespie was born sometime during February of 1860 in Amherst County, Virginia. She was had 1 sister and 2 brothers; the family had a $300 farm and personal possessions worth $50.1

Sarah, 8 months old in the 1860 census, which was enumerated October of 1860.

She died in Feb of 1865.2

Her short little life spanned the Civil War.  She had 4 or 5 uncles who fought in the war for the Confederacy and I’m quite sure many neighbors.  The stress that must have been in the household is difficult to imagine.  I’m sure during the end, that good food and medicine were hard to come by.

I have no idea why she died.  Her mother was about 5 months pregnant with my great great grandfather Wyatt when Sarah died.  The pain Mary must have felt losing one child while carrying another.

I have just two records that Sarah is in, the 1860 census and her death index.

A brief blip in human history, but not forgotten.

Footnotes

1. 1860 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule,, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie and family; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll Unknown.
2. Virginia, Deaths and Burial 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.

Sympathy Saturday — Miss you Dad

Gilbert McClung Gillespie’s (1940-2010) grave site at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia 1

Two years ago today my sisters, my stepmother and my Uncle Paul were with my Dad as he spent his last hours on this planet after fighting a 3 month battle with Leukemia.

We buried him a few days later in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery where many generations of his ancestors are buried.

Dad and I didn’t always see eye to eye on things. 🙂  But we did love each other.  He gave me my love of history and genealogy.  This we always had in common.  We had planned a research trip for the summer of 2010 that we never took.

Obituary from the Culpeper Star Exponent 2

I miss you Dad.

Footnotes

1. DeHaan, Michael, Photo of Gil Gillespie’s Grave, 1 Aug 2010. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2012.
2. “Gilbert McClung “Gill” Gillespie Jr.,” The Culpeper Star-Exponent (Virginia), 30 Jul 2010, Web Edition, (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/starexponent/obituary.aspx?n=gilbert-mcclung-gillespie-gil&pid=144358493 accessed : 27 Jul 2012).

Treasure Chest Thursday — One Document Defines Them All

Some documents are like a really great Christmas, they just have everything in them that you need.  This Deed of Conveyance 1 defines quite nicely Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie’s children, their children’s spouses and Wyatt and Laura’s death.

In Wyatt’s will he left the house at 108 Houston Street to his wife, and upon her death to his two single daughters, Minnie Maude and Eva Dold.

Wyatt died, testate, February 19, 1941 and his wife Laura, died, intestate, August 23, 1964. 2 He states in his will, which is quoted in the Deed, that upon the death of his wife he leaves the property and house at 108 Houston Street to his two daughters Minnie M Gillespie and Eva D Gillespie. 3. Minnie died on Apr 1, 1958 4 leaving Eva as the only heir for the property.

The deed then instructs that his property, other than the land and house, should be sold off upon the death of his wife and that $25 should be given to his daughter Louise Montgomery and the rest be divided between his three daughters Misses Eva D, Minnie M, and Helen and his four sons, Clinton, Ashby P, Fred and Gilbert. 5

The rest of the deed is the release from the remaining brothers and sisters, their respective spouses, and their residences in 1965, who are as follows:

  • Ashby P Gillespie and his wife Margaret M of Newport News, Virginia,
  • Clinton C Gillespie and his wife Ernestine of Portsmouth, Virginia,
  • Fred D Gillespie and his wife Eleanor K of Rockbridge County, Virginia,
  • Gilbert M Gillespie and his wife Ann Irene, of Graham County, North Carolina,
  • Louise Montgomery (widow) of Shelby County, Tennessee, and
  • Helen Gillespie Keezel and her husband John Calvin Keezel, of Rockbridge County, Virginia.6

So we’ve learned a bit about Wyatt and Laura and their family:

  • They had at least eight children, and the eight listed were alive when Wyatt wrote his will,
  • If there were other children, then they died without any living heirs,
  • When Wyatt wrote his will, Louise was married and by 1965 she was a widow,
  • Helen was married between the time her father wrote his will and her mother’s death she married John Calvin Keezel,
  • Minnie died between the time her father wrote his will and 1965 (she died in 1958),
  • Wyatt wrote a will; Laura did not,
  • The deed for the property on which the 108 Houston Street House was built is recorded in Deed Book 102, page 467,
  • Wyatt’s will is recorded in Will Book 54, page 517,
  • In Wyatt’s will he specified that the “farm consisting of forty seven (47) acres, more or less, located at Poplar Hills one and one half miles southeast of Lexington, Va be sold at my death” and the proceeds be used to pay for his just debts and funeral expenses, the rest going to his wife,7
  • That when Minnie died, she left her mother as her sole and only heir, and
  • None of the property at 108 Houston Street had been sold at that time.8

So there are a few obvious things to do. Finding Wyatt’s will and more information about the property at Poplar Hills comes to mind.

And in one legal document we have learned and documented Wyatt’s family and some of their relationships.

Footnotes

1. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie, to Eva D Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, March 15, 1965, copy, privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2012; copy was handed down from my father, Gilbert M Gillespie, who probably received it from his father, who was one of the children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie.
2. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, pp. 1 and 3.
3. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 2.
4. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 25 Jul 2012), memorial page for Minnie Maude Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 94194861, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
5. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 3.
6. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965.
7. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 2.
8. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 3.

Wisdom Wednesday — Granny’s Dog

I love my two dogs, Coco and Belle.  I remember the dogs I had as kids, Boomer, Peppy and Caesar.  I can remember my dad talking about his dog Smokey and how he claimed that the one time he ever get in trouble was for tying Smokey to the water heater.    I believe the “one time he got in trouble” is a bit of a family legend.

I recently obtained this picture of my great grandmother Laura Cecil Donald Gillespie that has Laura Gillespie and dog Mckey or Mickey 1950 on the back:

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Do you think this is the same dog as:

Eva Gillespie and grandchildren of Wyatt and Laura Gillespie, about 1944

Hmm.  Not too sure.  The dog would have been 6 years older in the picture with Granny, but not enough black on it’s face unless the sunshine is making it look white.    Looks like a similar dog.

I just love the picture.  Sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, reading a book with your dog.  Sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Tombstone Tuesday — I found my missing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery pics!

I could not remember where I had stashed these.  Eureka they have been found!

These are the tombstones for my previous entries on my Maiden Aunts:

Harriet Ann Gillespie, daughter of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie, born Jun 14, 1853, Amherst, Virgina, died October 5, 1920, Lexington, Virginia.

Harriet Ann Gillespie’s tombstone, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.

Minnie Maud Gillespie, daughter of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald, born Jan 29, 1897, Lexington, Virginia, died March 1, 1958, Lexington, Virginia.

Minnie Maude Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Eva Dold Gillespie, daughter of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald, born July 15, 1901, Lexington, Virginia, died April 13, 1992, Lexington, Virginia.

Eva Dold Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Sunday’s Obituary — Maiden Aunts and Bachelor Uncles: Harriet Ann Gillespie

Harriet Ann Gillespie was born on June 14 1850 in Amherst, Virginia and died at the age of 70 on October 5, 1920 in Lexington, Virginia.  She never married.  (I had a photograph of her tombstone which is in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, but I lost it when my dog chewed up my phone. Backups, heh?). Her grave is a short distance from her brother Wyatt’s home at 108 Houston Street where she appears to have lived at least the last few months of her life.

Harriet was the oldest child of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie who according to my Great Aunt Eva were first cousins.  In 1850 she lived with her parents on a farm in Amherst, Virginia. 1

By 1860, the family had grown.  Harriet had two brother s James and William, ages 9 and 7, and sister Sarah who was born in the Feb of 1860.  (Note: Brother George was born January 28, 1856, but is not listed on the 1860 census.) 2
Virginia seceded from the Union in April of 1861.  Her father’s brothers Everett Milton, Varlan, William, and John Calvin all served in the Confederacy.  There is not record of her father serving which remains a mystery as to why he did not.  At the age of 35, while he was a little old to serve at the beginning, give the shortage of men the Confederacy has, it surprises me that he was called up.  He may have served and I may have not found the record of it yet.

Her only sister, Sarah died in Feb of 1865 at the age of 5. 3

Her mother’s brother Wyatt also served.  He died in a Yankee prison camp in Elmira New York on May 8, 1865. 4 Harriet’s youngest brother Wyatt was born on July 15, 1865. 5  While I don’t know for sure, I suspect he was named for his Uncle.

In 1870, Virginia is admitted back into the Union and Reconstruction starts.  It is not hard to imagine that the family is weary and embittered by the war.  Harriet works as a farm hand on her parent’s farm that is value ad $100.  She lives with her parents, her brothers James, William, George and Paul in Pedlar, Amherst, Virginia. 6  Given the number of men who died in the war, it is very likely that the number of suitors was greatly diminished which may explain why Harriet never married.

In 1880, she lives with her parents, and her brother’s George and Wyatt, all of them working on the family farm. 7

In the next 20 years, her parents Jeremiah and Mary die, although I have yet to locate the documentation for exactly when, and I’m not sure what happens to the property that they own.   In 1900 Harriet lives with her brother George in Pedlar renting a farm.  They appear to be living next door to James H Donald, who is the older brother of George and Harriet’s brother, Wyatt’s wife, Laura Donald. 8

I cannot find Harriet in the 1910 census, but in 1920 she is living with her brother Wyatt and his wife Laura.  She passes away in October of that year. 9

She lived through the Civil War, and I’m sure she saw much hardship.  It appears that after her parent’s death she lived with other family members.  She is mostly entries in census records.

Was she kind? Was she bitter? Did her family willingly take her in?  Or did they feel duty bound?  Did she have a suitor who died in the War?

She lived through impassioned, racially charged times in the South.  What did she think and feel about the times she lived through?

I will probably never know much about her, she is truly one of those forgotten stories in the Gillespie family tree.  But at least she is a little less forgotten.

Footnotes

1. 1850 U.S Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Eastern, p. 96 (inferred), dwelling 340, family 340, Jeremiah Gillaspie and family; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 933.
2. 1860 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule,, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie and familydigital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);   citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll RRR
3. “Virginia, Deaths and Burial Index, 1853-1917,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jul 2012), entry Sarah Gilispie, daughter of Jerry and Mary Gillespie, Feb 1865, Amherst, Virginia.
4. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Jul 1922), memorial page for Corp Wiatt Gillespie  Find A Grave Memorial no. 35296331, citing Elmira Prison Camp, Chemung County, New York, USA.
5. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie (1865 – 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Wyatt Paul Gillespie and his wife Laura Cecile Donald.
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. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, enumeration district 19, p. 215A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 118, family 125, Jese Gilaspiedigital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 1353.
8. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, p. 123 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 11, sheet 19-A, dwelling 336, family 341, George C and Harriott A Galispie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 19 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1699.
9. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 1-A, dwelling 336, family 341, Harriet A Gillespie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 19 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1906.

Sorting Saturday — The Legend of Middle Names

Both my father and grandfather were named Gilbert McClung Gillespie.

According to my father, it was tradition for parents to give the last name of the Doctor who delivered them as a middle name.  The story was the elder Dr. McClung delivered my grandfather and the younger Dr. McClung who was the son delivered my father.

I have found nothing to support that this tradition was prevalent in the early 1900’s but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t tradition.  It made have been a family tradition.

A search of the 1940 census in Rockbridge County, Virginia finds a Hunter McClung who was a practicing physician at the age of 60 in 1940. 1 I found no other physicians in Rockbridge County, Virginia whose last name was McClung. My father was born in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Lexington and I believe it is reasonable to assume that his doctor resided in Rockbridge County.

1940 entry for Hunter Oscar McClung

Hunter McClung was also a practicing physician in 1910 in Lexington. He was the son of John McClung who was a retired physician in 1910 .2 Again, I found no other doctors named McClung in Rockbridge County. My grandfather was born in Lexington, Virginia and Hunter McClung may have delivered him as well.

1910 entry for Hunter Oscar McClung

I wonder if the same man delivered both my grandfather and father.   I have never found the name McClung in our family tree and I suspect that there is a bit of truth to the story of where their middle names came from, but it does appear that if it is true then they were delivered by the same man.

1. 1940 U.S. census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington Township, enumeration district (ED) 82-7, sheet 9-B, dwelling 195, Doctor Hunter A D McClung; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 20 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 4290.
2. 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 167 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 114, sheet 17-A, dwelling 246, family 252, O H McClung; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 20 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1647; Dr. Oscar Hunter McClung was a physician, his father John was a retired physician living with him at the time which suggests he did not deliver my grandfather, but Hunter did if indeed a Dr. McClung delivered him.