Friday, February 9, 2024

Tying up Another Loose End


Sometimes, it is those loose ends we find while we race to pursue our ancestors' records that trip us up. 

This week's discovery started out innocently enough: I was looking for any reason for the discrepancy in the middle name of John Carter's granddaughter Sarah Kenyon Thomas given in his will, and the name provided in another will by her own father, which stated it was Sarah Kenner Thomas.

While finding several entries concerning people with the surname Kenner in colonial Virginia court records, I stumbled upon another puzzle: the introduction of the name of Thomas Roy, who seemed to be mentioned often in the situation of one deceased Rodham Kenner and his widow, the former Judith Beverley. Today, I need to tie up that unexpected loose end in our Kenner foray down the genealogical rabbit trail.

Barely five years after the Reverend Kenner's passing, a March 1740 entry in the court records of Caroline County showed someone named Thomas Roy was appointed as guardian for George, the young son of the widow of Rodham Kenner. A mere month later, a suit brought in the same Caroline County against the same Thomas Roy did us the favor of identifying Thomas' wife as Judith, executrix of Rodham Kenner's will. And later that year in August, the record showed that the jury in that case found the same Judith, now Thomas Roy's wife, entitled to the whole of Rodham Kenner's estate.

Indeed, since Judith was born a Beverley, I could have consulted the posthumously-published genealogy by John McGill, The Beverley Family of Virginia. There, the entry for Harry Beverley's daughter Judith listed two spouses: first husband Rodham Kenner, followed by her second marriage to Thomas Roy.

According to the book, Thomas Roy was born about 1712 and died in 1772. An interesting sidelight of the book provided the note that Thomas Roy, Judith's second husband, was a son of someone in Caroline County named John Roy. An earlier record in Caroline County showed that the will of one John Roy had been proved in 1734 by Dorothy—possibly his wife—and someone named Thomas Roy. The same Thomas as Judith's second husband? 

What I have yet to discover—though I'm still working on it—is whether Thomas Roy might have been related to yet another connection in this extended family: the in-laws of Judith's sister Margaret. Margaret Beverley was Judith's older sister who had married John Chew of my family line. Margaret's mother-in-law happened to also be a daughter of a couple named John and Dorothy Roy. While the timeframes may be off, discovering this still makes me aware of just how often these same colonial surnames seem to cycle through family histories of that era.

Whether it was this Kenner connection which, decades later, yielded us the name of Sarah Kenner Thomas in her father's will, I can't yet say. First, we'll need to discover what might be found for the alternate middle name for young Sarah, the one mentioned in her grandfather's will: Kenyon. We'll explore that possibility next week.

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