Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Just One More


This quest for who comes next in the lineup of mother's mother's mothers is becoming addictive—especially now that search innovations are opening up ways to delve into the deep middle of those wordy legal documents. Thus, with that "just one more" siren call still shrill in my ears, I press on one more generation.

In following my matriline—in hopes of lessening my puzzlement at those mtDNA match results—we've gone from locating my third great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro in records at the beginning of this month to finding mention of my seventh great-grandmother Margaret Watts, wife of William Strother, in legal documents in colonial Virginia. Surely, we can fit in just one more generation before the end of this month.

Once again, an old genealogy book helps point us in the right direction to fill in some blanks. In a 1915 book called The Hard Family of Virginia, mention of an auxiliary line reviewed the family of one John Grant. This John Grant, you may remember, was the second husband of Margaret Watts after the death of first husband William Strother. The book also explained that Margaret was second wife of John Grant, and went on to explain that she was daughter of Richard Watts. Conveniently, author Arnold Harris Hord added in the comment that Richard Watts' will was "proved October 13, 1716."

Well, that wasn't entirely correct. But it was close enough to lead me to the record.

As it turns out, in that colonial era, women sometimes found themselves widowed and remarried—several times. While Margaret Watts, born about 1700, at least had a father who lived long enough for her to remember him—unlike her youngest daughter, my ancestor Jane Strother—Margaret was in her mid-teens when Richard Watts drew up his will in 1715. His wife, named as his sole executrix, presented the document in court in Westmoreland County on October 31, 1716.

With the discovery of that document, if we can presume that Richard's wife was also Margaret's mother, we learn that the next generation's position in my matriline was filled by this woman, Richard's executrix, named Mary. But that only brings me halfway to my latest benchmark of eighth great-grandmother.

So I fill in the blank in the pedigree with a tentative Mary—but, Mary what? Once again—assuming that if Richard died young, his widow must have been young as well—that empty surname entry surely means another search for a next marriage for our unknown Mary.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...