Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Seeking More Virginia Ancestors

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the county holding the secrets to the true identity of my third great-grandfather Ozey Broyles' mother. I've always had her maiden name listed as Frances Reed. And I would have been satisfied at that, until these handy new online services have been sending me breathless announcements about how they've "solved" my mystery DNA matches with other Broyles descendants. Their secret: Ozey Broyles' mother's name wasn't Frances Reed; it was Nancy Davis.

Imagine my surprise. Ozey's dad—who I always had thought was named Aaron Broyles—was nearly a lifelong resident of Anderson County, South Carolina. True, he was born in Culpeper County, Virginia—that beautifully-situated historic land once surveyed by the likes of George Washington. But while Aaron's dad (Adam Broyles) may have lived for a time in Washington County, Tennessee, Aaron raised his own family in South Carolina.

So...would Aaron have found a bride in Tennessee? It is possible. But it is also possible that, considering the large Broyles family descending from the original immigrant family founders, there might have been more than one Aaron Broyles among the many cousins of that generation. There are, for instance, not one but two Find A Grave memorials for burials of men of that generation by the name of Aaron Broyles. Each was born in Culpeper County within a decade of the other—my Aaron in 1767, and the other Aaron in 1775.

What is encouraging to me is that my Aaron Broyles' memorial is accompanied by photographs of the headstones—both his and his wife's headstones. Though worn by the years, it is possible to see that Aaron's wife's name was listed as Frances. To complicate matters, the Find A Grave memorial for the other Aaron does not include any photographs—and that Aaron's wife's name was given as Lydia. Not my Frances. Not even the Nancy Davis that has been suggested by online "collections." Perhaps we are looking at three Aaron Broyleses.

With no digitized documents to help confirm which name is the right name for my Aaron's bride—or whether there was just one, instead of a scenario of an early death and second marriage—I'll need to rely on other verification for the early years of my Aaron Broyles. Since I'm not planning on traveling to Virginia any time soon, my next best option—as I've already catalogued in the case of my Boothe family stumbling block—is to see what can be found on that generation of my Broyles family at the Family Search Library in Salt Lake City. After all, I'll be there next January for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy—a mere block or so from that respected genealogical library. I can even ride there in chauffeured comfort after class is over, since SLIG provides chartered bus service to the library each evening.

Of course, I am not patient when it comes to waiting, so I'll be looking online for other resources in the meantime. And there is one I can think of, right away. Thought faulted for its acknowledged errors, it is a private manuscript which documents the genealogy of the entire Broyles line. I'm certainly willing to put it through its paces—cross checking its assertions against documentation which can be verified, of course—and I may as well see what can be found about these Aarons right now.

Why wait until January? I may as well start the process now. We'll take a look at the manuscript tomorrow, and discuss the second of my mystery ancestors from Virginia whom I hope to find by the time of my January research trip.  


  1. Broyles - Briles - we are likely cousins. My line goes back to Randolph County North Carolina. I wonder if we share DNA - even though we would have to go back to the early 1700s to reach a common ancestor.

    1. I wouldn't be surprised if we are, Marcia. Even though I don't believe my line went through North Carolina, the Broyles/Briles family was extensive. And I did find a DNA match and traced back our mutual connection to our Broyles line. In that case, due to cousin marriages, we turned out to be related in more than one way, strengthened by that repeated Broyles connection. If you've tested, I'll look for you in my match list!

  2. Replies
    1. I just love the Internet, Miss Merry. There are so many resources out there that we'd never otherwise have stumbled upon, I'm sure.


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