Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Piecing Together the Paper Trail


If it were not for court records, mainly involving those last wills and testaments of our colonial ancestors, I'd be hard pressed to move any farther back in time on my matriline. Even so, finding any more information on my seventh great-grandmother Margaret Watts has been challenging.

That "game changer," FamilySearch Labs' Full Text search innovation, has been helpful, but it still isn't fast enough for me. With less than a week until the close of this month, I still have unanswered questions. Most immediately, I want to know if there were any children from Margaret's subsequent marriage to John Grant after her first husband William Strother's passing—once again looking for potential daughters whose female descendants could be an mtDNA match with me. And, of course, I also want to see if I can push back another generation—you know there is always one more—to discover the identity of Margaret's own mother.

In the meantime, bit by bit, I'm finding support for assertions I had already found in books and journal articles concerning Margaret's family. Though my attempt at finding a will for Margaret's second husband has so far failed, I did locate the very document disputing that "thirteen blooming daughters" legend, as was mentioned in a 1918 article published by The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. That document, a court proceeding naming the guardian for five of Margaret's daughters after the death of her first husband William Strother, was drawn up in King George County in April of 1738.

There are, however, plenty of other documents which contain William Strother's name. Most all of them are deeds from that same colonial Virginia county. Despite the promise of a "full text" search, that does not necessarily mean researchers get a pass from ever having to engage in a reasonably exhaustive search again. I foresee, in the closing days of this month, a race to find anything else of significance concerning Margaret and her family. 


  1. Hi Jacqui! My name is Sarah and I am a Reference Librarian in New Lexington, Ohio (Perry County). I stumbled across your blog posts from 2012 after trying a last-ditch effort Google search for more information on Nancy Ann (Jackson) Snider, the daughter of John J Jackson and wife of Simon Snider. I have a patron who is working to resubmit her application to the DAR and needed to confirm the connection between Nancy and John to do so (I found John's obituary in the New Lexington Tribune which lists a living daughter named Mrs. Simon Snider and records confirming Simon and Nancy's marriage for the patron, so I think she can resubmit without issue).

    The patron is wanting a copy of Nancy's obituary, however. We found one in our library's genealogy room, buried deep in a donated family history, but it is only a scan of the clipping and there is no other information as to what paper the obituary came from. She would really like to include it in her application, if possible, because it lists Nancy's parents, but she and I both have yet to find the obituary.

    All of this is a very long-winded way to ask: did you ever stumble across Nancy's obituary? If so, do you know what paper it was published in?

    1. Sarah, thanks for getting in touch. I just sent you an email regarding Nancy Ann Jackson Snider. Looking forward to discussing this further.


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