Thursday, February 15, 2024

Getting Back on Track

With all the uproar this month over discovering that John Carter's wife might not have been the one we had always presumed she was, I'm beginning to lose my confidence in quite a bit of old research assertions. While the question of whether Mary Elizabeth Armistead was John Carter's wife is still unresolved (at least in my mind), my fifth great-grandmother Hannah Chew still remains confirmed as John's last wife by documentation. For one thing, her name is mentioned in John Carter's will, drawn up in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1783. In addition, we've since seen that there are other court documents which identify her as well.

What I still need to do for the remainder of this very short month is to get back on track with my research plan. That means, primarily, to wrap up what can be discovered on Hannah Chew's own line. According to this month's research plans for my Twelve Most Wanted for 2024, February was the month to focus on the Chew line as well as the Beverley line of Hannah's mother. And that we will do in the coming days.

There is also one other loose end to revisit from last month, when we began our exploration of the Carter line in colonial Virginia. That detail was to answer the question my sister had posed when I first mentioned that we had Carter roots: whether our family was descended from a man fabled to be the wealthiest Virginia colonist, as one age-old genealogy book had asserted. Somehow, before the end of this month, I hope to fold that conversation into the research mix.

For now, we'll stick to the straightforward question of Hannah Chew's direct line. For this, Spotsylvania County court records—or at least their transcription published almost sixty years ago—provide us with a start through the confirmation that Hannah's father was a man named John Chew.

From John Chew, the path back through colonial history gets interesting. I wouldn't want to run out of month before we get a chance to snatch a birds-eye view of that Chew line in Virginia and the rest of the colonies. While we'll take a quick look tomorrow, we'll discover that we won't have to go far to realize that, once again, we'll be plagued with the snags of multiple generations of namesakes.

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