Monday, April 7, 2014

Methodology Monday with many Robert Walkers (NGSQ)

So you have a flash-in-the-pan ancestor with first and last names common as dirt who left no clues whatsoever after 1830, let alone 1850? Check out how Pamela Stone Eagleson dealt with Robert Walker of North Carolina and Indiana in the September 2013 National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Her article may help even if your difficult person is John Smith.

Robert did future researchers one favor by marrying Charlotte Pirtle (NOT Jane Smith!) in Rockingham County, North Carolina; moving with her to Orange County, Indiana; and leaving two children before he disappeared down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers looking for work in 1829. Their marriage date helped establish his age. One Rockingham County Walker family lived near her father. That Walker's estate got tied up in a year-long lawsuit over land he had sold but for which he had not executed a deed. Too boring to follow up on? Think again. The papers included a neighbor's deposition naming all the heirs, including Robert.

But was Robert the heir really the same guy as Charlotte's husband? In addition to parental proximity, the evidence making this "likely" includes timelines, analysis of deeds, a Y-DNA comparison, and naming patterns. The clues add up and no contradictory evidence appeared. Every case is different but the tools -- and the persistence -- can be applied anywhere.

Pamela Stone Eagleson, "Parents for Robert Walker of Rockingham County, North Carolina, and Orange County, Indiana," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 101 (September 2013): 189-99.

Harold Henderson, "Methodology Monday with many Robert Walkers (NGSQ)," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 7 April 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

No comments: