Elizabeth George lost sister no more…

This is the second time that land records have helped me finesse my family tree.

Sometime last year as I was transcribing GEORGE family land records into my database, I ran across a very interesting one:

Catharine Booker
Int in 78 acres – Sancho to
William C. Ash

This Indenture made this 23rd day of June in the year 1868 between Catharine Booker of the County of Wetzel in the State of West Virginia of the first part and William C. Ash of the County of Tyler & State aforesaid of the Second part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the said party of the first part, as an heir at Law of William George deceased in and to a tract of land lying and being in the County of Tyler aforesaid, situated on the waters of Sancho creek and being principally in the occupancy of the said party of the second part and being the same land heretofore charged to the estate of the said William George deceased on the commissioners land books of said county of Tyler as 78 acres the interest of said party of the first part which is intended to be hereby conveyed being the undivided one twenty eight part of said tract of seventy acres which said party of the first part derived as one of the children and heirs of Elizabeth Booker deceased, who was one of the children and heirs of the said William George died, and the Said party of the first part doth hereby covenant that she will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed. Witness the following signature and seal

Catharine [herXmark] Booker [seal] 

So in June of 1868, Catherine Booker, a child/heir of Elizabeth Booker, is selling land she inherited from Elizabeth, deceased, who was a child/heir of William George, deceased.

All of the online trees I have seen in my GEORGE family research have no mention of a daughter Elizabeth. Which tells me that these folks have not done their research properly. And because they hadn’t done their land record research, look what they missed!

So, Catherine is a previously unknown grandchild of William and Margaret George. It is doubtful that when William died he was giving land to nieces and nephews, he had at least 4 children and 4 times as many grandchildren that were around to inherit.

Elizabeth, the child of William and Margaret, appears to have married a man named Booker, (possibly a Henry) and she died sometime before her father, William George. Because of the date of birth of Catherine, which is speculated to be about 1820, from a Wetzel County, 1870 census record (although, admittedly, it is not confirmed that this census record is the correct Catherine; it seems likely as she is the only one living in Wetzel County close to the place and time of the land deed record, dated 1868) the date of birth of Elizabeth has to be 1805 or earlier. As the birth years for the children of William and Margaret are all in the very latter part of the 1700s, Elizabeth’s probable birth estimation would fit the time period.

So far the only record I have of the existence of Elizabeth is this land record. A sad state of affairs for many of my female relatives of old.


Land deed filed in Tyler County, West Virginia,  V2P371 [FHL film 855,954].

Pencils, protractors and rulers, oh my…

When you are researching land records in this country there are generally two kinds of property descriptions you will run into ‘metes and bounds’ and ‘rectangular survey’

The latter type is pretty easy to understand, everything is divided into squares or rectangles with specific acreages in wholes, halves, quarters. But metes and bounds is a whole other animal. 
Below is an example of each of property type. The first was owned by GEORGEs (Virginia/West Virginia) and the second was owned by CONNELLYs (Wisconsin):

BEGINNING at a beech and sugar tree on the south bank of McClery’s fork, and running thence
S45 degrees E55 poles to a hickory on a ridge
E344 poles to a white oak on the side of a hill
N100 poles to a black oak on the side of a point
N53 degrees, W180 poles to a stone on a hill near some white oaks
S82 degrees W184 poles to a white oak in a narrows, and thence
S20 degrees, W160 poles to the BEGINNING


sw1/4 sw1/4  s23  t18  r19 (translated this means – the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 23, township 18, range 19.)

I made the metes and bounds property description easier to read by separating each description, normally you would see it as one long paragraph. You can also see the difference between the two methods in the description of each. The rectangular survey method is much easier to read and figure out.

So while I have understood for many years how to figure out what sections look like on a map. I had never tackled metes and bounds, until a few weeks ago, at which time I decided it was time to learn something new by practicing with my GEORGE family deeds. These deeds are all located in Tyler County, West Virginia.

Here is my first attempt:

This one came out pretty close, the poor quality of my tools affected the outcome.

The second one:

The trick is pretty simple, you need a protractor or something with degrees on it, a pencil, and a ruler. Put a dot on your paper center the dot on your protractor mark the first degree in the proper direction, then measure out the poles or rods. Next. Well, I won’t go into any more detail, after all it is actually something you have to do to understand better and once you learn the procedure, it is pretty easy and fun.

Once you start drawing out these property descriptions you also start finding out where the errors are in the surveyors measurements or the register of deeds copying talents, because over time errors do appear, as can be seen in this property I drew out:

Something is definitely wrong with the deed in the above drawing, now I just have to figure out where the mistake is. The squiggly line on the bottom is in fact a ‘meander’, this line actually follows a creek.

Here is another example of a bad deed. The numbers were very hard to read on this one and I believe the clerk writing it out made a couple of mistakes. I have drawn four versions of what the property looks like in this one drawing, none of them line up properly. I was going by what the numbers could be in the deed.

Guess I have some more work to do in Salt Lake City.

A family tragedy…

Yesterday, while doing research on Mary, Elzy George’s wife, I decided to try and find information on her through their children. So I started with the newspapers, hoping to find obituaries that might be of assistance.

Elzy and Mary had at least six children that we know of, Amos was their eldest son, and the second child after Rachel. This is an obituary of sorts, but not the one I was hoping for:

Sad Death of Two Boys at Freeport, The Wheeling Register; Date: 04-13-1883; Vol.19; Issue: 297; pg[4]

These two boys were the sons of Amos and his second wife, Lydia Jane Glover, the boys were both 13 or less in age.

Something about Mary…

Rachel Hays Shepard

My great grandmother, Rachel Hays, was named after her grandmother Rachel George Hays, who had died around 1900. My mission for the past couple of years has been to find out what I can about Rachel George’s family.

It has been a very interesting journey so far. Using land records and online trees, that are of course not sourced, I have been able to piece together some parts of the puzzle. In fact one recent re-discovery, helped fill in more of the missing spots.

The current belief is that Rachel George is the daughter of Elzy George and Mary (possibly Baker).

Elzy was the son of William Absalom, jr., and Margaret and the grandson of William, sr. and Debra Ankrom.

The Ankrom’s are of Scottish descent. The Georges were probably Welsh quakers, I am still working on that.

I know most of this through my own research into the census records and land records and a few printed genealogies. But the big find for me, was a better confirmation that Rachel’s mother’s name was Mary. This happened when I was going over an 1870 census, a record I have had for several years, but until only recently understood the significance of.

When I transcribed the census record into Ezra Hays record in my genealogy file, I had a Mary George age 16 living with Ezra and Rachel Hays along with their two sons, Edmund and Ausborn, and a farm helper. I thought that Mary was probably a niece of Rachel’s living with the family.

However, while doing some recent census research for Mary, up popped this same census record which I didn’t remember I had. Only now I am looking at the actual image, and I see that the Mary listed, who I though might be a niece, was a 67 year old lady. Oh my goodness, this was probably Rachel’s mother. Which would make sense because she was a widow in the 1840s and had never remarried. So I had either transcribed the census record incorrectly, had a typo, or the earlier image had been hard to read.

This is an excellent re-discovery and swings the consensus of Rachel’s parents being Elzy and Mary more into the yes category. Earlier census records for the Elzy George family also indicate a connection because there is a daughter of an age of Rachel in the both the 1830 and 1840 censuses.

1870 Census records from Ancestry.com from Grant, Wetzel County, West Virginia. It covers two pages and Mary George is on the second page.

When Rachel was about 20 years of age she had an out of wedlock son, William George. We don’t know who his father is, as he is never named in any of William’s official records. This son lived by his mother and her new husband and sons, married, and had children of his own.

It is like pulling teeth on this family, but that is what makes research so interesting. I will be doing more GEORGE research in June when I head over to Salt Lake City again. Here’s hoping.

All about John…

No this is not a post about the John family. This is a post about John GEORGE.

In going about my research on the GEORGE family, (that would be in relation to Grandma Dick’s grandmother Rachel GEORGE), it appears that William GEORGE and his wife Margaret arrived in Tyler County, Virginia in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Don’t know exactly yet. They had at least 4 children, although I might have found a fifth – but that is another story. The only one of their children I could find no information on online was John GEORGE.

Now John is not a direct ancestor, but a 5g Uncle. Which doesn’t matter to me, because I research all my relatives, if possible, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. In this case it was just a matter of curiosity. What the heck happened to John? Why does no one have anything on him online?

So commenced my hunt.

My first major puzzle piece was a land record in Tyler County, and because John was selling land, his wife’s name had to be listed. Diadamia. What a lovely name. This was the first tidbit I had found of his wife.

The last major puzzle piece, that pretty much put the picture together, was another land record. This one was recorded in Tyler County, but it had been sent from Elkhart County, Indiana in 1838. Wow! Major news. So my next move was to check all the census records for Tyler County for the GEORGES and make a list of who was living there as early as I could find them. John has moved out of his parents home and was living with his wife by 1810, he was about 26-29 years of age. So according to the census’ and the above land record they stayed in the area until sometime between June of 1838 and September of 1839, which is when they moved to Indiana. This find was confirmed with census records in the area of Elkhart County.

John died by 1846. I know this because in searching the Indiana vital records online for information on the children, I found a record of his wife having married a Kinsey in 1846. Diadamia and her new husband are found together in 1850 in Elkhart, but by 1860 Diadamia had also died (confirmed by census records).

I know of at least 4 children for the couple: John, William, Elizabeth, and Cassandra. Elizabeth and Cassandra each had married in Virginia, the former to a Jacob Sailor, and the latter to a Lewis Pitts. They had traveled with their parents and their own families to the wilds of Indiana. Eventually, the Pitts family traveled on to Nebraska which is where Cassandra died. Elizabeth’s family stayed in Elkhart. I do not know what happened to John or William yet, and I might or might not pursue their whereabouts.

So I have pretty much solved the mystery of John GEORGE. I am sure there are more records in Indiana that could give me even more information on the family, but that can wait for another time. So many surnames so little….well you know.