Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rather be Lucky than Good?

Sometimes you find the gold mine of family information without expecting it. Such was the case when I was gathering the land records for my Ranslow Smith in Henderson, Jefferson County, NY. He was in the Grantor index as "Ranslow Smith et ux":

In an 1839 deed, I found (as abstracted):

On 3 December 1839, six heirs-at-law of James Bell sold 65.68 acres of land in Henderson to Jedediah McCumber for $1,046.86. The six heirs-at-law included Harvey Smith (and wife Sarah), Ranslow Smith (and wife Polly), John Clark (and wife Nancy), David Bell (and wife Emeline), Cornelia Bell, and James G. Bell (and wife Nancy). The property in Henderson was part of subdivision 1 of great lot 13, bounded by stakes and stones. Another heir, Orin Bell, owned a seventh part of the lot, which was not included in the purchase (Jefferson County, New York Land Records, Deed Book I3, page 534, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,886,700).

Further research indicated that the persons named were sons and daughters (and sons-in-law) of James Bell, the deceased, plus his wife, Cornelia.

This is the only record I have that indicates that Ranslow's wife, Polly, was a daughter of James and Cornelia (--?--) Bell. Now I'm wondering if Harvey Smith was Ranslow's brother or cousin.

This experience emphasized to me (again!) that I need to track down every bit of information available for each of my ancestors, especially the ones hiding behind brick walls.

My next problem is, of course, to find out where James Bell and Cornelia --?-- were from, the parents, residence, etc. That will be a difficult task, but no more difficult than finding who the parents of Ranslow Smith are and where they resided.

I found this elusive female ancestor (Mary/Polly (Bell) Smith) by searching land records for her husband. There are many case studies printed in the genealogy journals (NGSQ, NEHGR, TAG, TG, etc) that demonstrate this point over and over again.

Have you had a success finding your female ancestors name in a land record? If so, tell me about it.

No comments: