Monday, June 29, 2015

NGS 2015 Conference Lectures at Home: Methodology Techniques

For the past two years, I've bought the video recordings offered by the NGS convention as I haven't been able to attend in person. This year, they offered two tracts: "The Immigration & Naturalization Process" and "Methodology Techniques." Both tracks include five lectures presented by some top genealogy speakers. I believe they are still available for purchase and viewing until August 16th. 

I've now finished watching the 5 "methodology" lectures and wanted to share some things I've learned from each:

The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context by Alison Hare

A fascinating story about the lecturer's ancestor who died in the London cholera epidemic of 1854. An amazingly in depth study of the cholera epidemic and its victims in the area of the Broad Street water pump.

Original map by John Snow showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854.
The pump is located at the intersection of Broad Street & Cambridge Street. Image in Public Domain.
How will this change my genealogy going forward? I want to concentrate more on uncovering the stories of those ancestors I've already discovered and less on finding more ancestors. Every person and every family has a story. I want to uncover those stories! 

The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta: GPS + FAN + DNA by Elizabeth Shown Mills

A great example of "reasonably exhaustive" research (which sounded pretty exhausting to me!) and of using GPS, FAN & DNA in combination to solve 4 generations of female ancestors. 

How will this change my genealogy going forward? Her example of using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the DNA passed from a mother to her children, was the first time I've really understood how mtDNA could help answer genealogical questions. So, I think it's time to do some mtDNA testing so I'll be prepared when I figure out how it might be helpful in my own research.

Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard by Michael S. Ramage

This lecture introduced me to "forensic genealogy" which is fascinating! This kind of genealogy research is used when there are present day legal implications. In this case study, Ramage was searching for the unknown heirs to an estate valued at $22 million. 

How will this change my genealogy going forward? Ramage spent a lot of effort separating the identities of two men with the same name and many similar details. His use of a timeline to help in his research was a great reminder to me of this underused tool!

When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proven Conclusion? by Thomas W. Jones

Jones went over a handful of cases where a previous conclusion was overturned. In each case, a complete use of  the five criteria of GPS would have prevented an erroneous conclusion.

How will this change my genealogy going forward? I need to go back through each of my generations and apply GPS consistently!

Using DNA as a Genealogical Record by Angie Bush

This lecture started with an overview of DNA and its applications to genealogy. Afterwards, several cases where DNA was used as evidence were described.

How will this change my genealogy going forward? DNA is a great tool, but GPS is a 'must!' If you find a DNA match with another person, this doesn't guarantee a specific relationship. Make sure the other person's tree has been researched correctly, too, using GPS!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

George Correy: Will Ruled Upon by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

While trying to piece together the Correy family puzzle, I came across a book titled "Reports of Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Which have Been Omitted from the Regular Reports, Volume 3" by Lewis B. Walker, Esq. A chapter titled "Boyd's Appeal" deals with the will of a George Correy. Robert Correy, William K Correy and Mary (Correy) Boyd are the three other names mentioned and I've come across them already as I've been researching the Correy's.

George Correy's will, dated June 13, 1781, made his wishes about a certain piece of property known as follows: "I leave and bequeath to my son, Robert Correy, the plantation I now live upon... with all the housings, goods and waters to be by him and his heirs enjoyed forever, after him his oldest son, if no, if no son his eldest daughter and their heirs."

The problem? Robert Correy, George's oldest son, died without issue. He actually died two years before his father, George!

So, who should inherit the property?

The lawsuit is between the oldest two remaining children: the eldest, Mary (Correy) Boyd, and her younger brother, William K. Correy. "Boyd's Appeal" is quite technical and goes on for several pages. I'm not sure I understand this correctly, but I believe the property was ruled to go to William, so Mary started the lawsuit because she believed it should go to her.

While the outcome of this lawsuit doesn't mean a lot to me at this time, it may eventually be more important if I discover these Correy's are definitely my family members.

What is important at this point is that I was able to put together the following:

George Correy of Chester County (died 1781) was the father of ...
          Robert Correy (died 1797) who was the father of...
                  George Correy (died 1795)
                  Mary Correy, who married a Boyd
                  and William K Correy

"Reports of Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Which have Been Omitted from the Regular Reports, Volume 3" pages 473-477. Book accessed at (24 June 2015) 

If you are related to or have more information regarding the Correy family of Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania, I'd love to talk! Email me at Thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jane McClenachan: "In the Land of the Living"

My newly discovered Correy family of Chester County and nearby Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is potentially the most interesting branch I've yet uncovered. I'm anxious to share these incredible stories. But, first I have to prove that all of these "Correy's" are my family!

I have a huge job ahead! Thankfully, there are lots of documents. I've found more than a dozen wills, over 50 other documents, and at least 50 names.

But I'm struggling to put these family members together. And, it is quite possible that all of these individuals do NOT belong to the same family: my family! So, until I am more certain, I will skip the amazing stories & try to prove the relationships.

While searching for a way to piece together this giant genealogical puzzle, I came across a letter that verified a small piece of what I'd uncovered.

The letter was written in 1846 by Samuel B McClenachan of Chester County, Pennsylvania, to his niece, Mrs. Jane McClenachan of Madison County, Illinois. Samuel hadn't been sure if Jane was alive the previous 27 years and was excited to learn from Jane's brother, Robert, that she was indeed "in the land of the living."

After discussing his immediate family, he then mentions Jane's "Uncle Armstrong" who died two years before at the age of 83. The next paragraph says the following: "George Correy's family [is] all dead but [the] two youngest; Mary Anne married a son of Mrs. McGraw's and lives at Harve de Grace in Maryland, and Jane lives with her."

This George Correy is probably the son of my 6x great grandfather, David Correy (1708-1787). I found a book about the Armstrong family that said Jane Armstrong married George Correy. It listed Jane & George's children, including the two youngest, Mary Anne (who married a McGraw) and Jane, who both died "near Baltimore, Maryland." It also showed both George Correy, his wife Jane, and their older 6 children were deceased by the time the letter was written.

This book also listed one of Jane Armstrong's sisters, Sarah, married to a John Finney McClenachan. This is the likley link between the 3 surnames: Armstrong, Correy & McClenachan: Jane Armstrong married George Correy and Sarah Armstrong married John Finney McClenachan.

The letter continued by discussing a handful of other residents of Chester County, though it doesn't mention any more as relatives.

I'm thankful to Robin L. W. Petersen for sharing this letter and hope people will continue to share letters and other documents they have inherited.


  • Letter from Samuel B McClenachan, dated August 8, 1846; USGenWeb Archives, Chester County, Pennsylvania; contributed by Robin L. W. Petersen; accessed 22 June 2015; (
  • "Record of the Smith Family Descended from John Smith, Born 1655 in County Monaghan, Ireland" published 1906 in Philadelphia, pages 28, 47, & 53; ( accessed 22 June 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

John Vincent: War of 1812 Veteran & "Habitual Drunkard"

John Vincent, a veteran of the War of 1812, was declared by the Court to be a "habitual drunkard" in 1840. He was about 48 years old and, according to the 1840 census, had 8 children living at home including four under the age of 10. His wife, Maria, must have had a tough time with so many children and a husband who was often drunk.

John's father-in-law, David Watson, was appointed trustee of John's property which was worth about $25,000 with debts of $5,000. By 1843, however, John Vincent was thankfully better and he regained possession of his property. He and his wife even had another child, a son, in 1845. 

Just a few years later, in 1846, John sadly reverted to his old ways. The newspaper account says that John's father-in-law, David Watson, "did not wish to create a difficulty with Vincent, stated he would use other means to get the property out of his hands. acting upon this, [the plantiff, Maria] alleged that from this time until the death of Vincent... he succeeded by different methods in getting the greater portion of his property into his, Watson's hands. Among these were several judgments obtained by Watson, and for which the plaintiff alleged no consideration was given." [See "Sources" 1859 newspaper]

Tombstone of John Vincent (see details below)
Thanks to Early Munday for posting the photo at Find A Grave

John Vincent died in August of 1853. His father-in-law, who had taken the "greater portion of his property," died just two and a half years later in January of 1856 allegedly without making a "full account of his trust."

When John's father-in-law died, the property and money that should have went to John's widow, Maria, and their children, must have been set to go to David's heirs. What did Maria do? She sued the executor of her father's estate: her own brother, John L Watson.

This matter before the court evidently went on for several years. Finally, in 1859, the court "rendered a verdict for the plantiff [the widow, Maria] of $5,277.68." But, the defendant, John L Watson, "made a motion for a new trail."

So, the matter still wasn't settled. In 1862, nine years after the death of her husband, it appears the lawsuit continued as there is yet another notice in the paper for "Mary [Maria] C Vincent vs John L Watson." At this point, records have not been uncovered of any final settlement.

What happened to the Watson & Vincent families because of this lawsuit? Was Maria alienated from her siblings? Were she and her brother, John L, enemies?

John L Watson's letter found in Maria C Vincent's Widow's application packet

It appears that, even if the situation was tough for years, they had some kind of family relationship in their later years. In 1877, when both Maria & John L were in their late 70's, Maria was applying for a widow's pension for her husband's service in the War of 1812. Needing evidence of the marriage of Maria Watson and John Vincent, Maria's brother, John L, wrote a letter testifying to the marriage of "Marie C Vincent... a sister of mine."

In this case, instead of fighting over money, John L was actually helping his sister to receive additional money! I hope, with both parents long deceased, they were able to be a family and share happy moments, love, and support.

  • Sunbury American, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, 16 Apr 1859, page 2, column 3; digital image ( accessed 20 Jun 2015)
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 20 Jun 2015), memorial page for John Vincent (1792-1853), Find a Grave Memorial no. 26,579,231, citing Warrior Run Church Cemetery, Delaware Run, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania; the accompanying photograph by Early Munday clearly show the name, John Vincent, but the dates aren't fully legible
  • Handwritten statement of John L Watson dated 1 May 1877, Mary C Vincent's, widow of John Vincent, Pension Applicaiton No. 2631, Pennsylvania, War of 1812 Pensions, 1866-1879 ( accessed 20 Jun 2015)
John Vincent: My 4th Great Grand Uncle
  • John Vincent (1792-1853) m Maria Correy Watson (1799-1881)
  • John Vincent was the son of Daniel Vincent (1760-1827) m Angelchy Hough/Huff/Heuff (1760-1821), my 5x great grandparents, & brother of my Elizabeth "Betsy" Vincent m George Watson (1783-1853)
  • Sarah Jane Watson (1852-1922) m Catharine Jane McClintock (1852-1929)
  • Andrew "Andy" McClintock Stewart (1882-1954) m Bessie Waldron Merrill (1879-1959)
  • James Edward Stewart (1910-1972) m Hazel Lucille Peters (1910-1975), my paternal grandparents
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sarah Jane (Watson) Stewart: Died as Young Mother (#16 of 52 Ancestors)

Sarah Jane (Watson) Stewart, was only 27 years old when she died in 1853. She'd been married to John Q Stewart for a little over four years and given birth to two sons. Her oldest, George, would've been 3 years old, but it is possible he preceded his mother in death. The youngest, Alexander, was only 22 months old.

Sarah Jane's mother, Betsy, had died 7 years earlier while Sarah Jane was probably still living at home. Betsy was buried alongside other family members at Warrior Run Church Cemetery in Delaware Run, Pennsylvania. Five years later, Sarah Jane's older brother, Daniel, was also buried at Warrior Run.

Sarah Jane, Wife of John Stewart, Died Dec 12th 1853 Aged 27 years [unreadable]
Photo taken by Kathi Wertman & posted with permission on Find A Grave
Although she was probably living in Clinton County at the time of her death, Sarah Jane was also laid to rest at Warrior Run Cemetery in Northumberland County. Just three years later, her father was also buried there.

Besides leaving items to his surviving children, George Waston, Sarah Jane's father, left $500 to the surviving heir of his "deceased daughter Sarah J Stewart." To another deceased daughter, he'd left $1,000 to be divided between her three children. So, I'm unsure why Sarah Jane's widower, John Q Stewart, contested the will on grounds of "undue influence and duress [think it says 'duress']." At this time, Sarah Jane's son, Alexander, was 4 years old and was to receive the money when he reached the age of 21.

John Q Stewart married a second time and was not buried in the same cemetery as his first wife, Sarah Jane. I'm glad she was buried near other members of her family and hope to visit this cemetery some day.

My Line of Descent
  • George Watson (1783-1856) m Elizabeth "Betsy" Vincent (1789-1846) 
  • Sarah Jane Watson (1826-1853) m John Quiggle Stewart (1825-1922) 
  • Alexander Stewart (1852-1922) m Catharine Jane McClintock (1852-1929) 
  • Andrew "Andy" McClinock Stewart (1882-1954) m. Bessie Waldron Merrill (1879-1959) 
  • James Edward Stewart (1910-1972) m. Hazel Lucille Peters (1910-1975) (my paternal grandparents) 
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Friday, June 12, 2015

George C Watson: Suffered & Died Far From Home (#15 of 52 Ancestors)

Yellow fever did not recur; one either died or survived. It came in mysterious, vicious waves, killing anywhere from 12 to 70 percent of its victims. It started with shivering, high fever, insatiable thirst, savage headaches, and severe back and leg pains. In a day or so, the restless patient would become jaundiced and turn yellow. In the terminal stages, the patient would spit up mouthfuls of dark blood, the terrifying "black vomit" (vomito negro), the body temperature would drop, the pulse fade, and the comatose patient, cold to the touch, would die in about 8 to 10 hours. So great was the terror, that the victims would be buried as quickly as possible. 
[George L Chapel in "Gorrie's Fridge",]

George C Watson's remains were moved to Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida
Find A Grave Memorial - photo by Chuck Cummins, 2013
George Correy Watson was about 39 years old when he enlisted in as a private in the Pennsylvania 47th Infantry Regiment on September 2nd, 1861, less than 5 months after the firing on Fort Sumter. Both of his parents, my 4th great grandparents, were deceased and he had most likely never married or had children. The year before, in 1860, he was living with one of his unmarried sisters, Nancy, and a married sister, Phebe (Watson) Vincent and her family.

By the end of September, the 47th was in Washington, D. C. to assist in defending the capital. By late January or February of 1862, they were stationed at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida.
[Information from "Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War http://www.]

Memorial to Company C, 47th PA Veteran Volunteers plaque erected 2004
Sunbury Cemetery, Sunbury, Northumberland Co, PA
Photo by Tiffany Stuck posted at Find A Grave 2012

At the start of the Civil War, Fort Taylor had been seized by Union soldiers and remained in their possession throughout the war. The primary purpose of this island fort was to prevent Confederate supply ships from getting to ports in the Gulf of Mexico.

From the time construction began on the fort in 1845, the men had been plagued with yellow fever. Sadly, George C Watson was another victim of "yellow jack" who suffered without his mom, a wife, or even a sister to care for him.

Memorial to Company C, 47th PA Veteran Volunteers erected in 1866
Sunbury Cemetery, Sunbury, Northumberland Co, PA
Photo by Tiffany Stuck posted at Find A Grave in 2012
A local newspaper posted letters from a member of the 47th. In a letter dated May 3, 1863, the author, H. D. W., addresses George's burial:

To rear a slab of marble in respect to the memory of a departed friend is always the first care at home - so with Capt. Gobin in the case of one of our comrades who died here last summer of yellow fever. It is gratifying to the friends to know that the last resting place of a brother or relative is marked; - so I will give it to you the fact of a monument being erected over the grave of George C. Watson, of Watsontown, Pa, that his friends may know it. The monument is of Italian marble, set in a Granite base, and bears the inscription - 
"In memory of
Co. C., 47th Reg't., Pa. Vols.
& resident of North'd County, Pa.
Died, Aug. 26, 1862.

My Line of Descent
  • George Watson (1783-1856) m Elizabeth "Betsy" Vincent (1789-1846) 
  • George C Watson (1822-1862) is a brother of Sarah Jane Watson (1826-1853) m John Quiggle Stewart (1825-1922) 
  • Alexander Stewart (1852-1922) m Catharine Jane McClintock (1852-1929) 
  • Andrew "Andy" McClinock Stewart (1882-1954) m. Bessie Waldron Merrill (1879-1959) 
  • James Edward Stewart (1910-1972) m. Hazel Lucille Peters (1910-1975) (my paternal grandparents) 
Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...