When it comes to digging deep into our family history roots, I've noticed two possible situations for ancestors who flaunted a middle name. One was simple enough: a second given name like, say, Beverly. The second possibility used the option to carry down a family name—a surname of a significant someone from a past generation. If you spot a middle name like Beverley—spelled with that extra "e"—that may be an example of the latter.
As I delve deeper into the history of my fourth great-grandmother's parents, I realize how fortunate I am that her family opted for that latter naming style. My fourth great-grandmother, born Margaret Chew Carter, provided me with a middle name guiding me to her mother Hannah's maiden name: Chew. The second wife of John Carter, Hannah Chew used that naming device not only to carry forward her own maiden name to the next generation, but she used the same device to recognize other members of her family, such as in the naming of her firstborn daughter, Mary Beverley Carter.
Dispel any notion that that Beverley was simply a given name spelled elaborately. That Mary Beverley with the extra "e" received her middle name from her mother Hannah's own mother, Margaret Beverley, part of a longstanding colonial Virginia family, the Beverleys. Of course, mentioning that today means I'm jumping ahead to next month's research goal.
For now, as I continue this month's process of checking all my Carter DNA matches with Ancestry.com's ThruLines tool, it turns out I do have a DNA match with a descendant of this Mary Beverley Carter. According to Joseph Lyon Miller's Carter genealogy, Mary Beverley Carter married a local military man by the name of Richard Stevens, and had seven children: Lucy, Lewis, Robert, Hiram, Horace, Polly, and Judith. The same litany was repeated in a later genealogy book, The Beverley Family of Virginia.
Notice, in that list, the lack of any son named after his father, Richard Stevens. Yet when I turned to examine the line of descent from the one DNA match I share with Mary Beverley Carter's line, that is the very name showing on the line of descent as son of the couple. This makes for a problem.
Since the two genealogy books identified Mary Beverley Carter's husband as Captain Richard Stevens, given the time frame of that generation, I wondered whether that captain might have served in one particular war for which we have ample records: the American Revolution.
I took my question to the national website of the Daughters of the American Revolution—D.A.R. Looking for a Richard Stevens who served from Virginia, I found my answer in no time. The entry for Captain Richard Stevens, husband of Mary "Beverly" Carter, listed the specific names of his children from whom D.A.R. applicants had descended. Along with entries claiming eldest son Lewis and youngest daughter Judith, there were several who had designated another man not named in the two genealogy books we saw: Richard.
Yes, Richard: the same Richard who was listed in Mary Beverley Carter's line of descent for my DNA match. Time to pull up another court record on this Spotsylvania County family in Virginia to see whether there was a will with any mention of a son named Richard...or not.