Monday, November 16, 2009

Methodology Monday with a Tom Jones puzzle

What can you make of these five pieces of evidence from Tom Jones's "Uncovering Ancestors by Deduction," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 94 (December 2006):287-304 (free PDF download for NGS members)?

1781: Ignatius Tureman's will names daughter Lucy and wife Eleanor.

1788: Obadiah Overton marries Eleanor Crow.

1796: Obadiah Overton puts up $150 bond for Lucy Tureman's marriage to John Kinzer.

February 1804: Elizabeth Crow, a minor and orphan of James Crow, requests that Obadiah Overton be her guardian. John Kinzer provides the bond for this guardianship.

August 1804: Guardian Obadiah Overton consents to Elizabeth Crow's marriage.

How are all these people related? Combining this evidence with knowledge of Virginia law at the time, Jones proposes a series of hypotheses and tests them using a deed that by itself makes little sense.

This puzzle is only the overture to the bulk of the article (and Jones's lecture "Inferential Genealogy"), in which the names of Eleanor Crow's parents are deduced.

If you can see how these puzzle pieces might fit together, without having read the article or heard the lecture, you may have the makings of a top-notch genealogist.

2 comments:

Patti Browning said...

I'm gonna take a stab (and just a disclaimer: I'm not a NGS member so I can't see the article. I by no means consider myself a topnotch genealogist so there are bound to be errors since these are suppositions that require further proof to confirm!):

--

1781: Eleanor Tureman is Lucy Tureman's mother.

1788: Obadiah Overton marries Eleanor Crow, perhaps a sister of James Crow. James is therefore Obadiah's brother-in-law?

1796: Lucy Tureman marries John Kinzer. Obadiah is Lucy's stepfather and puts up the bond.

James Crow has a daughter, Elizabeth. She claims she is an orphan -- which means James is dead by Feb 1804. Though she is considered an "orphan" her mother could still be alive.

Feb 1804: Elizabeth wants her uncle Obadiah to be her guardian -- therefore she must have been at least 14 in order to choose for herself. John Kinzer provides the bond because his wife Lucy is Elizabeth's cousin by marriage.

Aug 1804: Obadiah consents to Elizabeth's marriage -- she had to have been under the age of 21 and could have been as young as 12.

---

So how bad did I do? :D

Harold said...

Patti -- Thanks. You came close enough you should join up and read it! Let's just say the common connection is just a little closer than you have drawn it. The deed would not make sense under the hypothesis that Eleanor was merely James's sister. Having said that, my understanding is imperfect enough that I could have shorted you on information too!