Friday, January 27, 2023

Moses Broyles:
Matching DNA and Paper Trails


Three DNA matches, two ancestral lines, one double relationship: all this plays out over two different states as the British colonies emerge into the nascent United States. From my Broyles connection—my fifth great-grandparents Adam and Mary Broyles—it turns out those three DNA matches all descend from their son Moses and his wife Barbara Carpenter. In turn, for the next generation, one of the DNA matches belongs to the line of Moses' son William. The other two descend from William's brother James. And while James remained in the Virginia hometown where his parents raised him, William moved far from it. 

Though it may be more difficult to prove the line of descent for William's side—he moved from Virginia to Kentucky, home of courthouse fires bemoaned by so many genealogists—that is exactly the line we'll focus on today. And that is for one reason: William's children owe their double relationships to their father's choice of a bride.

William married Elizabeth Wilhoit in January of 1800 in their home county of Madison in Virginia. If you remember, we've run across that Wilhoit surname before, in realizing that William's mother, Barbara Carpenter, was herself a daughter of another Wilhoit woman.

That, however, was not the only way Elizabeth and her husband were related. Elizabeth also descended from the Broyles line through her grandmother Catherine Broyles, Adam Broyles' aunt who married a Wilhoit man.

William and Elizabeth left Virginia about five years after their wedding. An 1805 transaction in which they sold land in Madison County probably signaled completion of their last bit of business before moving to Jefferson County, Kentucky. Tax records in that Kentucky county picked up William's name by 1807.

The difficulty in researching William lies mainly in his death in the mid-1820s, likely in Jefferson County. His wife Elizabeth, fortunately, lived until the early 1850s, according to Cathi Clore Frost's recent book, The Broyles Family: the First Four Generations, though I have yet to pinpoint her in the 1850 census. Because Elizabeth was part of the first four generations of Broyles settlers at the Germanna colony, she has her own entry in Frost's book, including the listing of all the children of Elizabeth and William.

Frost lists seven children for William and Elizabeth, with one—daughter Lucy, the fifth entry—marked as a "probably child." The others, in likely birth order, were Malinda, Washington, John, Catharine, Madison, and Mary Elizabeth. 

As for my DNA matches, the one lining up with William Broyles supposedly connects through his son John, according to projections by's ThruLines program. Yet John is a hard one to trace through documentation. I can find mention of him through records for which his siblings are the primary focus, such as this 1822 marriage bond concerning his sister Malinda and her intended, Thomas Grant. It will take a bit more work before I gather all the documents to assure myself that this is the right connection.

And that is merely for one DNA match. We'll see what can be learned about the other matches descending from Moses Broyles, son of Adam, next. 

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