Monday, April 8, 2024

Not the Only One in Town

If William Ridgely, my mother-in-law's sixth great-grandfather, needed to mention his father's name in his 1755 will to differentiate himself from others in town with that same name, we'll likely have to do the same with his wife Elizabeth. Though I consider it fortunate that we are dealing with residents in a rather small colonial province—Maryland—it still appears that there may be some disputes as to the true identity of William's wife Elizabeth. She, too, may not have been the only one in town with that name.

Using old genealogy books covering the legal documents of that era, I've run across claims that Elizabeth was daughter of Lewis Duvall and his wife, Martha Ridgely. I've also found statements in such books that when Elizabeth married William, she was marrying her cousin. However, when I look to the will of her supposed father Lewis, I find mention of three daughters: Martha, Susanna, and Anne

Notice: no mention of anyone named Elizabeth.

True, Lewis Duvall's 1724 testament also lacked mention of any wife. Perhaps, in addition to his wife predeceasing him, we could assume any daughter named Elizabeth might have done likewise. But when we realize William Ridgely's will indicated his wife Elizabeth was still very much alive in 1755, we realize the futility of trying to make that theory stick.

So who did Elizabeth, William Ridgely's wife, really belong to? 

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