Thursday, March 18, 2021

Meet the Applicant


If I can't, by myself, find the documentation I'm seeking to connect my third great-grandmother to her parents, perhaps I can benefit from the research of others—taking great care, of course, to ensure that every assertion is referenced appropriately before I accept it. But first, before we examine the paperwork, let's meet the D.A.R. applicant whose membership request I'm now inspecting so closely.

During the fall of 1948, Annie Florence Kinney began assembling the many documents required to verify her connection to Revolutionary War patriot John Townsend for her application to join the lineage society. The line of descent was clearly laid out in the copy of her application I purchased through the national organization's website.

Annie, who was born in 1907—and has subsequently died in 1995 in the same South Carolina county where her ancestor once lived—was the daughter of Townsend descendant John Frank Kinney. He, in turn, was son of William Frank Kinney and Annie Townsend

Now, we see the trail opening up clearly to the patriot ancestor. That Annie Townsend was daughter of Light Townsend, born in 1798, who in turn was son of the patriot, John Townsend. The patriot himself was born about 1760 and died in Marlboro County, South Carolina, in 1843.

In assembling her application for membership to the Daughters of the American Revolution, Annie Florence Kinney used several sources to verify the names and dates connecting her with her second great-grandfather, the patriot John Townsend. Though at the time, no one had access to photocopying equipment, sources were verified through a system of sworn statements given in the presence of a notary public or, in some cases, a statement signed by a judge of probate for Marlboro County (who just happened to have the same name as the applicant's father).

Many of the records used to verify Ms. Kinney's application were typewritten transcriptions. Typewriting being typewriting, such was prone to, um, typographical errors. For instance, in one section of the application, "Children of Revolutionary Ancestor," my own third great-grandmother, Delaney Townsend Charles, was listed—but with her year of birth given as 1915, not only one hundred years after her actual birth, but certainly long after she had died, as well.

While I am grateful for the nineteen pages of Annie Florence Kinney's application and attached supplemental statements, embedded within the file were several details which were enough, added up, to leave me still in doubt. But let's save those details for tomorrow—as well as the listing of all those many children of that Revolutionary Ancestor, John Townsend of Marlboro County, South Carolina.  


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