Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Too Many Turners in Town


It seemed like a really good research plan. To find the names of the Turner children—the unnamed descendants showing in the 1820 census household of James Turner and his wife Rachel—I thought I'd simply look for James Turner's will in Fairfield County, Ohio.

Apparently, that idea crashed and burned far sooner than I ever dreamed would be possible—all thanks to the efficiency of Full Text search capabilities at FamilySearch Labs. On to Plan B: look for signs of any transfers of property in the same county, from James Turner and Rachel, his wife, to any others with that same surname. But that idea isn't working too well for me either. Why? Apparently in a county of sixteen thousand people, there were too many Turners in town for that approach to yield any helpful clues.

Still, I'll keep my eye open for these possibilities. Besides seeing the deed transferring ownership of property from James and Rachel to someone else named James M. Turner, I found another deed mentioning Solomon Turner—another possible son? Among the deeds in Fairfield County during that time period, I also ran across Turners by the names of Isaac, Joseph, and even Bazel. Then again, in later dates, I couldn't be sure whether the Williams I found were sons of James' father William, or sons of another Turner sibling. I had enough tabs open on my laptop to cause a computer meltdown, surely.

But what about the daughters? That, after all, was my original goal for this month's research project. I wanted to find information on the female descendants related to my mother-in-law's matriline for DNA purposes. There certainly were a few land transactions in those Fairfield County deeds which mentioned men of other surnames. What they lacked, though, was any mention of how—if at all—they might have been connected to James Turner. So the 1823 transaction selling land to Herbert Winegardner, or the one naming James Price, provided me no details to give me any traction. Though James and Rachel certainly did have daughters, we're still left not knowing what their given names—let alone their married names— might have been.

In the midst of searching through pages and pages of court records, though, I did run across another curious land transaction, bringing together some of the same names I had encountered while taking that research detour to learn the history of one of Fairfield County's first churches. We'll take a moment to examine that deed tomorrow.

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