Friday, November 17, 2017

If You Can't Find One Family,
Look for Another

Granted, I'm chasing myself in circles, trying to piece together the story of Sarah Rinehart Gordon, my mother-in-law's second great grandmother. Sarah's father, Simon, supposedly came from Greene County, Pennsylvania, but Sarah herself was born in Kentucky—and we found the tax records to confirm her father Simon (or at least someone with that exact name) was in Bracken County there. By the time I found Sarah in Perry County, Ohio, the home of my mother-in-law's family, she was married with several children.

So how did that Kentucky girl find a Greene County Gordon to marry? And what brought them all to Perry County, Ohio?

All of Sarah's first seven children were born in Pennsylvania—Greene County, specifically, was listed as the birthplace for some of them. Only with daughter Sarah, born in 1832, did the rest of Sarah's children report their birth as happening in Ohio.

It's obvious that, despite a birth in Kentucky, Sarah and her parents returned to Greene County. That was, after all, where she met her future husband, James Gordon.

In fact, Gordons were there aplenty to chase in that county in Pennsylvania, and the same book in which we searched in vain to discover Simon Rinehart's place in the Rinehart lineage in Greene County just happens to have plenty of Gordons to talk about, too. At the bottom of page 436 of Howard Leckey's The Tenmile Country and its Pioneers, we can easily spot James Gordon, firstborn son of William Gordon and Mary Carroll. As for James' marriage, the book simply reports that he "married Sarah Rinehart."

It would have been a nice gesture, in the midst of all that genealogical detail, if he had chosen to extrapolate on that entry just a little bit more. After all, in a county full of Rineharts—not to mention, full of women named Sarah Rinehart—one would think it would help to differentiate between two people claiming the same name in the same place.

Perhaps that's what makes this chase called genealogy so challenging—and yet so compelling. 


  1. Having just matched with a Sweeney who descends from James and Sarah Gordon and having Rinehart ancestry in Greene Co., I'm really hoping you piece it all today!

    1. Well, I'm still working on it, but this looks like a puzzle requiring some on-site research.

      However, if you mean you have a DNA match with those surnames involved, you likely match my husband, too, whose DNA tests I administer. Whether we stumble across each other via that route or not, I'd say we should keep in touch! If you find something on this line before I do, please let me know.


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