Monday, May 15, 2023

Getting Back on Track


Research goals can help keep us on track when we grapple with those all-too-frequent detours from the anticipated pedigree chart. Despite how helpful an unplanned-for rabbit trail may turn out to be, though, we occasionally need reminders when we get off that planned research path. For this month's project, today is one of those days.

While I've set up an annual cycle of family history projects to tackle on a month to month basis—what I call my Twelve Most Wanted—the process contains one caveat: when I don't complete one month's project, I sometimes roll it over to subsequent months. For instance, when I researched my mother-in-law's matriline last month, back to her fourth great-grandmother Elizabeth Howard in colonial Maryland, I needed to find the ancestral nexus with the three exact mtDNA matches I've discovered for that matriline. Sometimes, answers to questions like that don't come easy.

Again, this month, my original goal was to locate the paperwork to connect my mother-in-law to her Revolutionary War ancestor, John Jay Jackson's father Lyman. While D.A.R. does already have members who descend from that line of Lyman Jackson, it particularly irks me that I can find no actual marriage record for Lyman's son John and his first wife, Elizabeth Howard Ijams' daughter Sarah.

This month's wandering through the court records of Elizabeth's husband's will and probate, however, was not a waste of time. What I noticed, in paging through all the documents acknowledging the named daughters' receipts of the moneys owed them following sale of their father's property, was that one receipt was from Sarah Ijams—the unmarried daughter—while a subsequent one was from Sarah, at that later date the wife of John Jay Jackson. Thus, while there is still no direct evidence in the form of a marriage license, I can produce indirect evidence through this series of dated and signed receipts. Sometimes, these small victories are worth the research detours.

Moving forward through the remainder of this month's research goal, I'll be assembling a supplemental application for my daughter's D.A.R. membership record, and then offering the same research and verification to my sisters-in-law, who will now also be eligible for D.A.R. membership.

I'll still be continuing the quest to complete all these new matrilineal lines of descent from Elizabeth—and thus, Sarah's newfound sisters. This will be challenging due to the invisibility of women during that time frame of the early 1800s in what was then frontier territory in Ohio. But the main part of getting back on track with my research goals for the rest of this month will be to attend to discovery of the details in the life of Lyman Jackson, my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandfather.

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