While I may be death on copying others' posted family trees, I'm not averse to using them as a tool in my own research. I like to think of the research done by others as the work of trailblazers, and proceed accordingly. Finding others' assertion that the parents of my third great-grandmother, Delaney Townsend Charles, were John and Kiziah Townsend of Marlboro County, South Carolina, is certainly worth consideration. At the least, it is a hypothesis which requires testing.
As I move forward in paging through browse-only digitized documents containing wills and probate records of the said John Townsend, I've also set as my task the gathering of background information. For instance, I know nothing about the Marlboro district in South Carolina, nor what the evidently strong connection was, back in the early 1800s, between that northern part of South Carolina and the panhandle region of the territory of Florida. I have much yet to learn about what life was like for my third great-grandparents and the generation preceding them.
Thus, I've stumbled upon stuff in my wanderings online. At about the same time as I found a reference to the 1879 book, A History of Marlboro County, I discovered online rebuttals to the very tentative wordings employed by the book's author, John Alexander William Thomas.
Though not the first argument I came across, one website's post included a "Rebuttal of Conflicting Information" (on page eleven of a file posted here). Scrolling down to the final page in search of the author's identity, I found it to be a researcher by the name of Joseph T. Burval. This was not a surprise to me by then, as I had already stumbled upon his work in a number of other sites. A little intel gathering led me to his website on the Townsend line, and a page introducing a Townsend genealogy he had compiled and published in 2006.
Unfortunately for me, I discovered the book is no longer in print. However, the author was generous enough to make a copy available to all via the book section of the FamilySearch.org website. Thus, for anyone interested in reading it, the book can be accessed here.
Much of the book's findings have also been included on the Burval website, I suspect, including an entry on Delaney Townsend's supposed father, John Townsend, and one on Delaney, herself. Though this researcher demonstrated incisive handling of the weakly-worded assertions we discussed yesterday, even he seemed to fall short of documenting some of the relationships I've been able to assess. For instance, in questioning why the children of Delaney and her husband, Andrew Charles, were in another household by the time of the 1860 census, the author remarks,
By 1860, the three children, Rupert, Fannie and Emma ages 14, 13 and 11 respectively are in the household of Melburn L. Odum, age 30, a carpenter, born South Carolina in New River County, Florida. Why these three children are in New River County without their parents in 1860 is unknown.
Of course, we have already figured out that puzzle—by following the documentation, something I also need to do to connect Delaney to her parents, whether they are John and Kiziah, or another couple from South Carolina. But even in this carefully documented book on the Townsend descendants in South Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida, I have yet to find any reference to a will—or any other document which provides the specific names of John and Kiziah's children.
What the book did mention, however, was another curious report—this time, by a family member close to Delaney's generation—provided in statements to the Daughters of the American Revolution. With a little fast action, I may be able to obtain a copy of that document to verify the complete text for myself. Maybe, even, by tomorrow.