While this year—so far—has not presented many opportunities for the kind of genealogical research where we head to the courthouse to look up records for ourselves, that spirit of sharing, of giving back or "paying it forward" that I mentioned last week has turned out to be helpful.
Case in point for my research goal this month to determine the parents of Elizabeth Ambrose Flowers, my mother-in-law's second great-grandmother: the will of her likely father was shared by another researcher on Ancestry.com.
Just to confirm the details, let's take a closer look at what was written in that 1804 document. First, as customary for that time period, the document began,
In the Name of God Amen I Matthias Ambrosser of Dublin Township Bedford County and State of Pennsylvania being weak in body, but of sound & perfect mind and Memory, Considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, do make & [? - covered by ink blot] this my last will & Testament, in manner and form following.
The document, drawn up in the most compressed of presentations, included Matthias' surname as Ambrosser, rather than Ambrose. However, the text indicates the same county we had already discovered—Bedford County in Pennsylvania—and the Dublin Township we had noted from some early census records for both the Ambrose and Flowers families.
We are fortunate that the will provided the customary listing of heirs, specifically including names of descendants. Furthermore, it certainly goes in our favor that this man drew up his last will after the marriage of the two daughters in question, Elizabeth and Susannah. And that is the key we were hoping for in this search. The will lists both Elizabeth and Susannah with the surname "Flower," close enough to the surname of the two Flowers brothers who married these two Ambrose sisters.
The will thus becomes a resource to list not only the names of Matthias' children, sons and daughters, but confirm the married names of those older daughters, as well. The date of the will—October 11, 1804—provides the guideline of the date before which those marriages should have taken place. In addition, we can see that the surname of the younger unmarried daughters, unlike Matthias' listing as Ambrosser, was written as Ambross.
The Ancestry.com subscriber who originally uploaded the digitized version of the Ambrose will provided a heading, "1804 Dublin Twshp Brothers Valley Bedford." It will actually be informative to review information about that location, Brothers Valley, to see if we can glean any more details about this Ambrose family who settled in that southwest corner of Pennsylvania in the early years of its statehood. We'll take a look at what can be found about Brothers Valley, tomorrow.
Above: Copy of 1804 will of Mathias Ambrosser as shared online by an Ancestry.com subscriber from "Bedford County Historical Records."