David Dortch & his wife Lucy

David Dortch’s wife was named Lucy. Everything I’ve seen written about the Dortch family and posted online states that her name is Lucy Russell. There is a Lucy Russell who was born in Richmond County, Virginia. Some people think this the same Lucy, and I can understand why, because I’m finding some of my Mecklenburg families previously lived in Essex and across the Rappahannock River in Richmond County. I do not think it could be her though, because Lucy Russel would have been too old to have been the mother of Newman Dortch. There were two Russell families living near the Dortch family on Miles Creek, a Jeffrey Russell and Richard Russell. Burnall Russell’s children are listed in the guardian records in 1777, although I haven’t found a Lucy with the Russell families in any records.

David Dortch’s will states that his wife is Lucy. I have several chancery cases about David and Lucy’s children and who their children married. Each case refers to their mother as Lucy and their father as David Dortch. Unfortunately none of these cases state Lucy’s maiden name. I’ve been a bit puzzled by my ancestor Newman Dortch’s name, because I do have ancestors with the surname Newman. Most of the time that I see a surname used for a male first name, it is a surname from the mother’s family line. For example: Burton Jones, Jones Taylor, Wilson Walker. I’ve wondered if and how Lucy could be related to the Newmans, even though they are different branches of my family tree. I have not yet seen a Lucy Newman in colonial Virginia, in the areas my family lived. My Jones, Newman and Dortch families were at least neighbors, but I am keeping a look out for other possible relationships.

There is a wide range of birth years reported online for David Dortch’s children. That is probably because in this time period (before 1850) ages were not recorded on the census, wills, or marriage records. The majority age, (the age to get married without needing written consent of the parent) was 21. None of David Dortch’s children had a consent note on the marriage bond (marriage record). This means that all of David’s children were at least age 21 when they married. There is another record that gives us a time frame to better estimate birth dates, and that is the guardian record. Guardian records (also known as orphan records) were created when one parent died, and that parent willed things to their children who were under the age of 21, which necessitated the appointment of a “guardian”. So, although Lucy was still living, (she was notated in the inventory of David’s estate as the widow), there were guardian(orphan) records created for their younger children at the time.

I made this chart below to show how I better estimated the birth dates of David and Lucy’s children. Newman Dortch was the youngest, born in 1775. His oldest brother David was born about 1751, meaning Lucy and David probably married about 1750. That is 25 years of child bearing. Rebecca Dortch, one of the older children, was born about 1755, and Lucy is notated in a chancery case as both Rebecca and Newman Dortch’s mother. To have been having children this long, I believe Lucy would have had to have married underage, probably about age 16, which would have been about 1733. Then she would have had David at about age 17 and Newman at age 42. I believe this rules out the Lucy Russell born in Richmond County, Virginia, because that Lucy was born in 1723. I’ve checked all the wills of people with the surname Russell in Richmond, Essex, Orange, and Mecklenburg, and none of them mention a Lucy with maiden name of Russell, except the one born in 1723, who would have been 52 when Newman Dortch was born.

I continue to search for Lucy’s maiden name and if there could be a connection to the Newman family.

Percival Webb from Clarksville

Today’s post was submitted by Eric Johnson. Thank you Eric! Do you have any information about this picture, or this person? If so please comment below or email me.

I have what might best be described as a hobby, I purchase vintage photographs at antique stores and malls and then try to return them to families.

I have during the past two years been able to return twenty such photos.

To take it a step further, I am looking for photos of men and women in uniform on which has been written a name. The name gives me a starting point!

Early this year, I purchased the below photo, a young man in a cadet uniform. On the front of the photo is written the name Percival Webb.

I can’t even recall the path I took? But a bit of pure, dumb luck! But eventually, Webb was tracked to VMI! His full name was Henry Percival Webb, Class of 1884. He died 3 April 1889.

A resource from provided by VMI, included a picture of Webb. They were the same young man!

Two anniversaries, and goals for 2021

One year ago, I launched this website. Since then, there were 51 posts and 160 surnames added to the index in 2020! This site has been my first experience with WordPress and building a website. Previously, I had 2 blogs that I made in blogger/blogspot. I’ve spent a lot of time learning and testing website design and various formats for presenting information. I’ve tasked a lot of my friends and family to navigate this site looking for specific things, to see where they might get stuck, and then I tried to make it more user friendly. I’ve tested colors, fonts and contrast for family with various vision challenges. I’ve also changed structural formatting a few times to better handle large amounts of information that I expect to add to the site; including pictures, charts and a cemetery project. I’ve also learned how to better use the flow chart software, draw.io, as well as Photoshop Elements for various features I wanted to add to the website. I’ve enjoyed being at home more this year, and having been able to learn new ways to collaborate and share my work. This website has been one of my “covid projects”. It’s been a fun challenge for me to learn more about website formatting, making clickable buttons and linking pages.

Most of my work is divided between Virginia genealogy, and Polish genealogy. Catherine Stowe is the daughter of Fannie Gray, who was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia. Catherine married Paul Sanetra, whose parents and two sisters were born in Poland. Paul was raised in the Chicago area. My research, projects and two websites are about Catherine and Paul’s families. I started up my Polish website a few months after I started this website.

Over the last three years I’ve spent a lot of time researching and trying to better document my Virginia families in the time period of 1820 and earlier. Originally, I was only looking at the Newman family before 1820. James B. Jones, the ancestor of most Jones families in the Bracey and Blackridge area, married Martha Newman who was born in Orange County, Virginia. Three of Martha Newman’s sisters married three Walker brothers. The more I’ve studied colonial Essex and Orange counties in Virginia, the more I think it’s possible that many of my Mecklenburg ancestors might have lived in these same places, before moving to Mecklenburg. William Jones who was the grandfather of James B. Jones, died in 1818 in Mecklenburg, but where was he born? Many neighboring families in 1750 Essex County, Virginia are the same family surnames as those that were neighbors in Mecklenburg 100 years later.

Two books were written about the Newman family, about 100 years ago. Some bad errors from those books have multiplied and been copied all over the internet. Martha Newman’s grandfather William Newman was a dragoon during the Revolutionary War, from Orange County, Virginia. His brother George also joined the same unit. A published regimental write up incorrectly reported that George died during the war, along with several other stories about George that also contained incorrect information. I have a copy of George’s pension record, the military troop roster and muster rolls, which show that nothing that was said about George in the published regimental history is true. The Pre-1850 time period is challenging to document because household names aren’t on the census yet, parents are not listed on marriage records, and deeds and wills don’t list people’s ages. Many people used the same names over and over in their family. I have seen a situation where five brothers each gave their firstborn son the same name. The oldest son in many of my Newman families is Thomas Newman. This means that several first cousins, born within a 2-5 years of each other all have the same name. People often assume in error, that several people with the same name must be the same person. I was researching the will of William Walker in Brunswick, Virgnia. This will was written just before his sons that were married to the Newman sisters moved to Mecklenburg. William’s will mentioned that his son is also named William Walker and also mentiones his good friend, William Walker who he named his executor… three William Walkers in the same document! It is very easy to get these people confused with one another! To hopefully help clear up some of this confusion, I launched my third and final website in December; about the Newmans, their family, and neighbors. The framework for it is ready, but much of my content is still in the draft stage. When the website is more established, and I find connections that show families moving to Mecklenburg, I will share the Mecklenburg related information here on this website.

I celebrate another big anniversary this month. I took these pictures on my first visit to Mecklenburg, eighteen years ago! At the time, my mother and I both had little ones at home. My grandma was living in Florida, and came up to join us for our trip to Mecklenburg. Wayne Rainey offered to show us around the area where my family would have lived. We met at Arnold’s diner in South Hill. We then visited an old Rainey property which included Williamson Rainey’s tombstone and the windmill for the well picture. We also visited Sardis Church, LaCrosse cemetery and Rehoboth church. Most of my visits to Mecklenburg since then have been in these same areas.

2021 Goals

This year I hope to visit other areas of Mecklenburg County, and take pictures of churches and cemeteries. I’m also hopeful to receive more submissions of pictures of both people and places. I’ve been working during the week to have things ready and scheduled to post before Monday morning. This helps me continue to post weekly, even when my personal life gets a little extra crazy, or when I’m spending extra time on behind the scenes website formatting or getting cemetery information formatted and ready to post. I’m currently reformatting the surname index pages. I plan to add more cemeteries and interview notes to the site this year. I will also add some chancery case summary notes.

Carroll Cemetery, John B. Kidd estate

The above linked page is my write up of the Carroll Cemetery which is just off Nellie Jones Road in the Bracey area. This cemetery was part of John B. Kidd’s estate. There are no tombstones there, only field stones that mark the head and feet of the burials. I believe this cemetery dates to before 1830. The land was bought then divided between John B. Kidd’s children in very different acreage amounts. John B. Kidd is listed in the deed books as purchasing land five times. He bought land in two areas. The northern land ran partly along Hall Rd, much of which Miles Hall ended up purchasing from his wife Elizabeth Kidd’s siblings. The land south of Nellie Jones road was labeled on the estate plat as “the lower tract.” I added up all 5 purchases but there are discrepancies in numbers. John B Kidd’s estate shows a total (northern and southern lands) of about 320 more acres than I can account for him purchasing. My guess is that he inherited land in both areas.

I learned several things that interested me while trying to discover who owned the land before John B. Kidd. The first was that Samuel McKinney owned property bordering the John Griffith estate property that John B. Kidd purchased in 1841. Samuel married Elizabeth Newman, the older sister of Martha Newman. This Martha Newman married James B. Jones and they are the ancestors of most of the Jones in the Great Creek area. I thought Samuel and Elizabeth McKinney lived in Brunswick County, so I was surprised to find them living by Great Creek.

I also found it surprising that the chancery case (to divide Arimenta’s estate) said that this land was known as “The Arimenta Glover tract of land.” This land was inherited from her father, John B. Kidd, and Arimenta had been married to Robert Carroll for 18 years. Arimenta’s first marriage was to Granderson Glover, my great…grandfather. (I’m a descendant of his first marriage in Tennessee.) She was only married to Granderson 10 years before he died, yet this was known as the Arimenta Glover land.

I’m thankful for Aaron & Anne

I wasn’t able to drive for a few years. My birthday is in the summer, so I asked my husband Aaron to take me to Mecklenburg for my birthday. He’s visited the area with me several times over the years. He took me to meet new friends, visit farms and cemeteries, and get pictures of things I wanted to remember. I also love to write, but grammar is not my thing. My high school English teacher would often give me an “A” for content but mark the page up with red, for all my grammar errors. Aaron helps me with that now. He also reads my drafts to tell me if things are confusing or not explained enough. I also test lots of visual ideas and charts with him, for this website, to see if they make sense to someone other than myself.

I met Anne Willson almost 15 years ago and we’ve been working on projects together ever since! She’s not even related to me, but she knows my family tree inside out. I like to joke that we don’t have a DNA match, but we have the best friend gene. I think you would be amazed at how well she knows the connections of Bracey and Blackridge families. Anne visited Mecklenburg with me in the summer of 2014. We tested out GPS tagging using our phones so we could try to put things on a map. That eventually led to the GPS map on this website. Anne moved across the country, so we worked on that map together over what is currently called Google Meet. I sent her plats, we took turns sharing our screen. We both had our Photoshop programs open, I read her information from deed books, and we built it together.

We’ve done projects together over video every week, for many years. Whenever I get stuck, I video call Anne to brainstorm ideas. I run story ideas by her and ask her how she would show things in pictures. We study maps, plot DNA charts, and test ways to visually share ideas. We also look for new ways to find answers to our genealogy questions, using newer technology. Anne is an admin on the Mecklenburg Facebook group and my Mecklenburg Ancestry.com tree. The majority of my Google Drive folders are shared with her. When I have a bad day with my health challenges, and I want to think through a genealogy puzzle, I call her and she looks stuff up for me. She’s even read deed books with me and helped me chart groups of people to try to better document my Mecklenburg roots before 1800.

Anne and Aaron have helped me with a lot of behind the scenes types of things, so I can share my research with you. I’ve had a lot of fun making Mecklenburg discoveries with them. I wanted to publicly express my thanks, and thought you might like to know a little more about two of my best friends.


Major site updates

I’m very excited because I learned how to crop pictures into circles. The whole website has been updated with about 300 circles! I made blue clickable buttons for links. Anything in red text or a blue button/circle is a hyperlink. Here are a few highlights of the site updates:

Posts have all had their links updated with buttons. This image is of last week’s post. The red words “this previous post” have a link, as well as clicking on the blue circle with a picture of Henry Kidd.

Many pages were reformatted with new things I’m learning. Here is part of the military page:

Hope you enjoy the new updates. I also hope you find the changes user friendly. Do you have any pictures or stories you would like to share on this site?