Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spoke Too Soon

While it is true that my qualification to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution lies with the history of one man named Zachariah Taliaferro, I had stopped just one generation shy of my proper target. Yes, Zachariah Taliaferro—the one born in Virginia about 1759—was himself son of Zachariah Taliaferro. That Zachariah—the father, born in Virginia about 1730—was indeed the man I’ve been searching for.

Thanks to my Genealogy Angel, I already know the D.A.R. Ancestor Number of the right Zachariah Taliaferro. Thanks to the D.A.R. Genealogical Research System—open online for anyone wishing to explore it—the ancestor search index to their extensive set of patriot names (as well as descendants having already stated their genealogical claims) served to set me straight on just who I needed to honor with my application.

In defense of my hasty assumption, young Zachariah was of an age to have served, himself—barely. I’ve read many a history of the time including vignettes in which boys attempted to join themselves to the fighting ranks. But for sake of expediency, it will suffice to stick with the established records and proceed with my application linked to the proper Patriot. The senior Zachariah it will be.

May it also be noted (as I am rather miffed at myself for such a hasty conclusion, and in need of self-justification here) that there are innumerable Taliaferros of an age to be part of the action, winding their way through the Virginia territory. One may find, online, quite a few details on their genealogy—of which I, predictably, take much interest.

The younger Zachariah, it turns out, was the second son of the elder Zachariah. Thankfully, I’ve long since drilled into my mind a tactic to keep the identity of the namesake separate from that of his father: remembering the name of each one’s wife. Father Zachariah claimed as his bride Mary Braxton Boutwell. Son Zachariah was eventually wed to the former Margaret Chew Carter, related somewhat closely (her paternal grandfather’s first cousin) to the Virginia land baron known as “King” Carter—but that’s a bunny trail for another day.

And yet, somehow I missed that generational step. Not good for a discipline so detail oriented. Which makes me quite grateful for that D.A.R. index. It’s always handy to have an authoritative resource for double checking that work.

Above right: Watercolor, circa 1910-1920, by Charles M. Lefferts depicting various Continental Army uniforms; from the Anne S. K. Brown Collection at Brown University, courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain. 


  1. Glad you figured that one out, Jacqi! Our ancestors probably had no idea of the confusion they were causing their genealogist descendants when they named their children after themselves. Congratulations on completing your research for the DAR.

    1. Lisa, that certainly makes me more mindful of what I'll be leaving behind for my descendants! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Right now, I need a cheering section! Paperwork is not my forte.

  3. King Carter -- I've heard of him and this isn't even my line. Hurry Hurry -- get to this bunny trail!

    1. Wendy, I did actually already yield to temptation on this one. A few years ago, my sister was in Virginia and happened upon a museum or restored residence or some holding having to do with Robert "King" Carter. She was fascinated (she's a banker). Right after that, I happened to be mentioning Margaret Chew Carter, our family's direct ancestor, and she popped up with the predictable question, "Say, are we related to King Carter???"

      Not closely enough, it turns out, to matter much. But it does make for an interesting conversation piece whenever we run into anyone knowing enough about history to make the connection.

      And I will, I promise, at some point get to that bunny trail. :)


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