Friday, March 10, 2017

With This Ring I Thee Wed

As we move through the generations, we narrow our focus for this recounting of how I stumbled upon a name vaguely familiar from the world of politics, and yet, for my DNA research purposes, the search involved an ever-widening pursuit. While this may seem tedious, the way I attempt to figure out how I connect with my eighteen hundred—and counting!—DNA matches is to reach as far back in time as I can with each ancestor, then trace forward the lines of every single one of their descendants. Thus, a tree of over ten thousand names.

I work through this process in as methodical a manner as possible, of course. It's hard to keep track of what lines have been completed and which ones still need work. So, from one ancestor, I attach all relevant hints generated for that person's entry in my tree. If that person was married, the process is repeated for the spouse. If there are children, each one is covered in order from oldest to youngest in a nesting process. In other words, while working on the oldest child, I then tackle the hints for that child, then that child's spouse, then that child's children in order from oldest to youngest, following the lines of descent for each of the child's children in the same manner.

I had been working through that process with the Estill family—believe me, there are so many of them, I thought I would never get out of Winchester, Tennessee, where one branch had settled—when I came upon the eldest daughter of John Floyd Estill and his wife, Lucie Lee Dice, whom I mentioned yesterday.

Again came that sweeping process of checking out every Ancestry hint, attaching appropriate documents to her record, and checking for any marriage and family information. After this oldest child of John Floyd and Lucie Lee Estill, I'd have four more children to attend to, using the same process.

But before I could get to the siblings of Susan Gay Estill, I encountered what turned out to be a huge detour into recent political history. I was stopped on her timeline when I hit the year 1907. That was when Gay, as she was called by family, was married. Sometime before that date of October 30, Gay Estill had met a man who had been born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1873, but who had arrived in America with his parents by the time he was seven years old.

Upon their arrival in this country, his parents had settled in the state of Maryland. By the time of the 1900 census, he had moved to West Virginia—which happened to be where Gay Estill was living with her family.

While I have no idea what the exact wording might have been in the exchange of vows on that date of October 30, 1907, at the conclusion of that ceremony, Gay Estill emerged with a new name: Mrs. Charles Spittal Robb.

Perhaps now that you see that name, you, too, are wondering about some family connections.

Above: "The Wedding Register," 1920 oil on canvas by British artist Edmund Blair Leighton; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Hi Jacqi, This is interesting. I did a google search on Charles Spittal Robb, since the name was not familiar to me. LBJ's son-in-law! Awesome! I then searched "Charles Spittal Robb father." This article came up from 1981 WaPo...

    It lists his father as James and mother as Frances. He was also born in 1939. I'm not questioning your research, but i don't think it is possible for him to have wed in 1907.

    I enjoy reading your posts!

    1. Ah, William, but the story is far from over. This was just the first time that name triggered something in the far recesses of my memory. (Being the procrastinator that I am, it took me a while to actually get around to following that hunch and looking up the name--and, of course, falling off my chair).

      There are a few more steps to go before we get to the punch line. We'll pick up on that next week.

      Thanks for locating and sending that article. Thorough coverage providing a multi-faceted look at the man in question. Great read.

      You're right about the dates. This Charles Spittal Robb is not the other one. But it will all come together when the research is done.

      Glad you enjoy the posts. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing that article.


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