Tuesday, March 1, 2022

In Search of
Charles McClellan's FAN Club


It's a new month, and time to switch research gears and step into the challenge of a different type of research goal. While most family history quests are outlined by simple statements—like, "Who was the father of Charles McClellan?"—I already know my third selection for my Twelve Most Wanted for 2022 will not be cooperative in that sort of way. I am going to have to sweet talk him into revealing his deeply-held relationship secrets.

As I put it back in December when I outlined my hopes for this month's research project, I want to learn about "the whereabouts, extended family, friends and neighbors" of the man I count as my fourth great-grandfather.

There is a reason I'm being less than specific. For one thing, having as many descendants on his research trail as I know there are for a man born on the eve of the American Revolution, you'd think there would be ample discoveries to resolve the mysteries about his origin by now. Details like where Charles McClellan was actually born, or where he married his wife—Elizabeth, the woman who has been doomed to exist in pedigree charts sans so much as a maiden name to augment her identity—have been noted as unsubstantiated in several resources where his name is mentioned. Documentation may be key, but in Charles McClellan's case, there is much that is missing.

That's not to say there are some who are sure they know who his parents were. On one widely consulted tree, Andrew C. McClellan and Sarah Rebecca Edwards are attributed as Charles' parents, with the only source to verify that information credited to a family tree on a different, subscription-based genealogy website. I can't say I'd be happy reporting that as a bona fide confirmation of fact.

Yet, neither can I assume the quest will be a simple matter of looking this up on the Internet. When I see who else has been looking—and how long they've been searching—I can recognize a tough case when I see one. That's why I'm content to try a different approach.

This month, we'll explore the places Charles McClellan once called home. More than that, we'll retrace our steps from his final resting place in territorial Florida—Jefferson County—back through his home in southeastern Georgia, where he showed up in the documents associated with another of my relatives we've already studied, Job Tison. And finally, we'll see what other associations Charles McClellan might have had that can help us construct a F.A.N. Club of all the people associated with him at different stages of his life.

To be sure, there are signs of this McClellan ancestor in several places. During this month, we just need to piece together the story, especially with an eye to possibilities that Charles' friends, associates, and neighbors might point the way to a broader understanding of who else might have been included in that McClellan family.

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