Friday, February 17, 2023

Another Name Question:
Warner or Warren?


Perhaps it may be owing to sloppy handwriting scarcely preserved by the faded ink of two passing centuries, but I've discovered yet another Taliaferro son called by two names. Unlike the Burton versus Burkenhead puzzle we encountered yesterday, this one is far less confusing: Warner or Warren.

I had already taken the name of this son of my fifth great-grandfather, Zachariah Taliaferro, to be Warren. After all, though the ink was indeed faded and the handwriting somewhat challenging to read on their father Zachariah Taliaferro's will, the entry did look more like Warren than Warner.

But when I kept seeing writers refer to the name as Warner, I had to take another look. Take, for instance, the Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher and Kindred Families, written in 1911. In one compressed paragraph, author Margaret Campbell Pilcher dispatched the tale of his life, his wife, and their four children. All this, while opening the explanation with his name listed as Warner.

Taking a different angle to examine just who this Warren—or Warner—might have been, a listing from his wife's point of view confirmed the name as Warren, but added the complication of including other incorrect information.'s database drawn from volume three of Mrs. Howard H. McCall's book, Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia, shows that Mary, daughter of Thomas Meriwether Gilmer, married Warren Taliaferro. At the same time, the text conflated father and son named Zachariah Taliaferro, providing as date and place of death for the father that of his namesake son, my fourth great-grandfather.

Still, if we can confidently rely on the rest of the information in that paragraph, we now know that Warren Taliaferro married the sister of the Georgia governor, George Rockingham Gilmer, who also claimed as his parents Thomas Meriwether Gilmer and Elizabeth Lewis. In his own book, Gilmer called Warren his brother-in-law, and—you knew this was coming—shared his description of Warren just as he had done for the rest of the Taliaferro siblings.

The governor's assessment of Warren:

...tall, muscular, good-tempered, very indolent and inefficient. He constantly reminded those who listened to his conversation of his Italian descent.

Lest that sound a bit too snarky, Gilmer did add a forgiving observation that his brother-in-law was "a fond husband and father."

Found within the listing of those children who called Warren Taliaferro their father was a reminder that I am not yet done weaving together the strands of this Taliaferro story. It turns out that Warren Taliaferro was not only my fourth great-granduncle, as were the younger Zachariah's other brothers, but he was also my fourth great-grandfather. We'll take some time next week to explore how a mitochondrial DNA test helped confirm my connection to Warren's bride and her line.



  1. Boy, he likes to describe his extended family like a middle school slam book, doesn't he, LOL.

    1. Too funny, Miss Merry! I'm still amazed--though glad for my own selfish purposes--that a book like that got published.


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