Sunday, February 25, 2024

Since it's her Birthday


Though—warning!—we are about to traipse down a rabbit trail, please indulge my escape from the main research path to remark on a curiosity in my struggle with Armistead-Carter liaisons in colonial Virginia. Yes, I'm getting ahead of myself with today's post, but hey, today would have been her birthday. Can't miss an opportunity like that.

It was February 25 a long time ago—four hundred fifty nine years ago, to be exact—when Colonel John Armistead's wife Judith gave birth to a daughter. They named the child after her mother, and soon went back to everyday life at their home in Gloucester County. After all, they had two more daughters and four more sons to welcome in the next twenty five years. Baby Judith Armistead was just the beginning.

That, at least, was what her "About" page reveals on FamilySearch, though her Find A Grave memorial insists that her date of birth was actually 23 February 1665. Not for any reason to quibble about date discrepancies do I bring up this Armistead connection, however, but for the identity of the person whom she married about twenty three years later. That, incidentally, was the man once dubbed "King" Carter by his contemporaries in the colony's political and financial spheres, otherwise known as Robert Carter.

Her headstone memorialized several details of Judith Armistead Carter's life: not only her parents' names and that of her spouse, but also the length of her marriage and how many children she bore. Yet, it's not for that reason I bring this up, either. I have plans to touch on the subject of our John Carter's connection to the far better-known Robert Carter before this month is out.

What I am looking at is how often the same surnames seem to cross paths in families of the colonial era in Virginia. In fact, though I have not yet checked out this point for myself, those same parents of Judith Armistead—later the wife of Robert Carter—supposedly happened to have a son named Francis Armistead, at least according to information on FamilySearch. Is that actually so?

Francis Armistead, in turn, was father of Elizabeth Armistead, the young woman whose early death confounded our ability to find documentation on her marriage to our John Carter. Did these colonial Virginians really keep things all in the family?

Bright shiny objects like this have a strange pull on my attention. After all, I do mean to check on the possible relationship between my fifth great-grandfather John Carter and the famed "King" Carter. And I will get to that before this coming week is out, I promise. But I am now up to four counties' record collections which I'm scouring for mentions of the Armisteads—any Armisteads—and I am becoming easily distracted.

I'm sure you understand. After all, it was her birthday. Perhaps.  

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