Thursday, June 26, 2014

World Cup Soccer and Great-Grandfathers

     Many Americans are getting ready to watch the World Cup soccer game between Germany and America.  I have been watching the World Cup games since Spain 1982.  That also explains why I haven't written many blog entries for the last few weeks.        
     This morning I was quite surprised to read the following statement by conservative columnist, Ann Coulter.  "I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer."1
     Well, I guess all my genealogical research has been for naught, because I thought all my great-grandparents were born in the United States of America.
   By the way, fourteen of my sixteen great-great grandparents were born in the USA also.  And Jayme's great-grandparents were born here also.  

Go, Go, USA!
I believe the we will win!  I believe the we will win! I believe the we will win! I believe the we will win! I believe the we will win!

1. "Coulter: Any growing interest in soccer a sign of nation's ..." 2014. 26 Jun. 2014 <>

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Wedding Anniversary

       Above is an image of the marriage license for Francis Walker and Eliza Ann Simison1.  It is dated 4 June 1855.  Since I had seen this image on an family tree and the marriage was listed as 4 June 1855, I recorded that date.  Recently, I located the same record on  As I browsed through this book of marriage licenses on I noticed that next to this document is a statement that the marriage was executed on the same day.
       However, by going back to the first page in this book of marriages one can see that the date of execution of marriages are written on the following page.  The next page shows that Francis Walker and Eliza Ann Simison were married on 19 June 1855.    
     That is a good date.  It turns out that Jayme and I share the same wedding anniversary as Jayme's great-great-grandparents.   Eliza Ann and Francis were  married for 24 years when Francis passed away in Texas.  Jayme and I celebrated out 43rd anniversary this past week.

1.  "Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 May 2014), Francis Walker and Eliza Ann Simerson, 19 Jun 1855; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1294419  Book 14 Page 159.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Susannah Keeney, Keeny, Kenney, Keney, Kinny, Kinney

Susannah Wife of Chester 
died 8 Oct 1881, aged 83y 9m 4d

     Susannah Keeney was the wife of Chester Fox. They were married on May 18, 1817 in Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut1.   Various spellings of her surname include but are not limited to: Keeney, Keeny, Kenney, Keney, Kinny, Kinney, and Kinne. 

     The family moved west in 1836, settling in Jerome Township, Union County, Ohio.  
     Chester Fox passed away in 1863 and in the 1870 Census Susannah is living by herself and not with any of her nearby living children.  In the 1880 Census she has paralysis and is living with her sister, Mary Winget in nearby Delaware County2.

     Who are Susannah's parents? Would her sister's records leave some clue?  By combing several records as well as a published history of Union County, we find that her sister Mary had married Martin Webster in Manchester, Connecticutin 1824.  

     After also moving west to Union County, Martin passed away and Mary married Ezra Winget in 18583.

     Mary Winget passed away in late 1880 and Susannah lived another year.  Who took care of Susannah during that year?  Was the paralysis permanent? 
     And then there is the question that I have to answer if I am to discover more about the Keeney family.  Who are the parents of Susannah and Mary?  At this time I haven't a clue, but that won't stop me from looking.

1. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 2013.  Original data: Connecticut. Church Records Index. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.
2. Year: 1880; Census Place: Ostrander, Delaware, Ohio; Roll: 1012; Family History Film: 1255012; Page: 291C; Enumeration District: 102; Image: 0082.
3."Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014. Citing Probate Court.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Old Names versus New Names

     One website that I like to peruse occasionally is  In my previous life I taught mathematics and this website gives me an insight into news and sports from a mathematical (statistical) point of view.  As I scanned through the articles one article caught my eye.  
     How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know Is Her Name 
     The article was interesting to me from a genealogical standpoint.  The authors discuss the median age of some young names and  some older names.  My sister's grandson is named Jadon (Jayden). The median age for people named Jayden is about four years old.  (50% of the boys with that name are younger than four.)  On the other end of the spectrum is my grandfather's name, Elmer.  The median age for people named Elmer is sixty-six.  
    In my family tree there women named, Beulah, Minnie, Mabel, and Agnes.  The median age for those names is at least seventy-five.  
    My granddaughter, Hailey, is fourteen and the median age for the name Hailey is thirteen.  
     The next time I go to my other granddaughter's soccer game I bet I hear the names that appear on the youngest name list: Ava, Ella, Isabella, Zoe. 
    Take a look at this graph1 from the article.  Mabel was my grandmother's middle name.  And there is my grandfather's name at the top of the list for men.

1. "How to Tell Someone's Age When All You Know Is Her Name." 2014. 5 Jun. 2014 <>

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Amos Fox - Wintering in Valley Forge & Crossing the Delaware

     When I was young, my mother showed me the picture of Washington Crossing the Delaware1 and told me, "the soldier at the bow of the boat is one of our ancestors."  Years later, I learned more about the painting and learned that it is extremely doubtful that the artist knew any of my ancestors.  (The artist,  Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, was born in 1816 in Germany. As a child he came to America, living in Virginia and Philadelphia.)  As with many family stories there is some part of the story that may be true, so in my genealogical research I am attempting to uncover that truth.  Were any of my ancestors with Washington's army when he crossed the Delaware?   Since the army had left and later returned to Valley Forge, were any ancestors at Valley Forge. 
     Several of my ancestors were soldiers in the Revolution and at least one of them fought in the battles at the end of 1776. A recent New England Historical Genealogical Society's newsletter contained a link to the non-profit Friends of Valley Forge Park.  The Friends of Valley Forge maintain a database of soldiers who served in Valley Forge2.  Valley Forge Muster Rolls   Amos Fox is listed in their database.

     My 4th great-grandfather, Amos Fox, was from Connecticut and had served in the Revolution.  His wife was Mary Stratton, and Dency was his oldest daughter.  Chester (my 3rd great-grandfather) was his youngest child and second son with that name.  The birth and death dates match the records that I have uncovered.  Pension files obtained from the National Archives for the time period verify that Amos Fox served under Col. Jedediah Huntington at this particular time in history.  Oddly, the pension files mention several battles that Amos would have fought under Col. Huntington (later General Huntington), but the files do not mention Valley Forge or the Battle of Trenton.  But it would appear that soldiers serving under General Huntington were at Valley Forge. Amos Fox was discharged from the service in January 1777 in Crumpond, New York, which is about midway between New Jersey and his hometown of Glastonbury. 
         So was Amos the ancestor that my mother mentioned?  I had assumed that it was one of the Pennsylvanian ancestors but it appears to be my Connecticut ancestor.

1.  Emanual Leutze, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1851); Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (

2.  "Valley Forge Muster Roll." 2010. 2 Mar. 2014 <>

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

No Marriage License for These People

    As I was browsing through a volume of marriage licenses from Mobile County, Alabama, I came across the first page of Book 291. Across the top was written:  
Lists of names of persons to whom
Marriage Licenses must not be issued

     What could cause a name to appear on such a list.  Is this what you did when you didn't like a daughter's beau?  I wonder if any of these couples eventually got married.  It would be interesting to learn the story behind the names.

1.  "Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 May 2014),  citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1550484  Book 29 Page 1.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day - 2014

Caption:  Only men left who joined company Sept. 1917
Photo - March 1, 1919, Appenai Locis Bellune (?) France

Enough said.

Note: My grandfather, Elmer J. Armstrong is on the far right.  I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to decipher the location in France. Maybe one of you can figure it out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Some Things Get Better

     Yesterday, I wrote about how the grave stone of Elisha had deteriorated in the last decade.  But not everything has gotten worse.  
     My grandmother visited St Gregory Cemetery in Samuels, Kentucky around 1950.  Two pictures survive of her visit. The first shows a row of grave stones of her mother and her maternal grandparents.  In 2005 we visited the same cemetery and happened to take a pictures from a similar position.  In the fifties, the cemetery was overgrown with brush and appears to be in disrepair.  Not so now.  
     By examining the following photos, you can see that the community of St. Gregory Church is now maintaining the cemetery in good condition.  A big THANK YOU for all who help maintain the cemetery from this descendant of at least six direct ancestors who are buried here.

1950 photo of grave of Eliza Jane Gates Blandford in the foreground

Similar view from 2005

The first four graves (seen above) from left to right: Eliza Jane Gates Blandford;
 Eliza's brother, Truman James Gates;
Eliza's parents, Elizabeth Mattingly Gates and William R. Gates.

Here is a wider view of the cemetery in 2005 
Photo taken in 2008 (courtesy of Amanda-findagrave contributor #47289435)

A low-resolution picture of my grandmother, Mary Cathering Blandford Armstrong,
 standing next to the grave of her mother, Eliza Jane Gates Blandford. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Disappearing Before Our Eyes

      In the autumn of 2005, we made a trip east.  There were two reasons for the trip.  The first reason was to visit an aunt and cousins in and near Columbus, Ohio.  The second reason was to visit the graves of ancestors in Ohio and Kentucky. 
     My third great-grandfather, Elisha Gates, is buried in St. Gregory Cemetery in Samuels, Kentucky.  Samuels is located in Nelson County, about eight miles northwest of Bardstown.  
     Yesterday, while on the findagrave website, I browsed through the names of those buried in the cemetery.  I came across a memorial for a person with the surname Gates but with unknown birth and death dates.  I took a closer look.  
     It is surprising how much the stone has changed in seven years.  Compare my picture,taken in 2005, with the picture taken in 2012. The person who took the latest picture had been uncertain about the name and dates.  The image will appear different based upon several factors.  Those factors include the time of year; the time of day; the weather; and the quality of the original camera.
     But the stone has changed.  How long will it last?  It will eventually disappear.  Will our digital images last as long?
The picture on the left was taken in 2005, while the one on the right was taken in 2012

Note: Names used for the cemetery and the nearby parish church:  St. Gregory; St. Gregorys; St. Gregory's; St. Gregory the Great; 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Small Town Americana

The Gazebo at Old Town Poway Park
     Yesterday, we drove a few miles down Interstate 15 in order to listen to the Shoreline Symphonic Winds play at the Pomerado Community Band Festival in Poway.  The band set up in the gazebo of the Old Town Poway Park.  As I was enjoying the band play, I was reminded of images of Small Town Americana. 
     The music was great and in spite of the recent nearby fires, the sky was clear and weather was great.  
     As the band played I though back to our ancestors who played in community bands like L. J. Kilbourn and J. F. Bell in Hugoton, Kansas1.  It is too bad we can't go back in time to listen to them play.

         Why did we drive for an hour to listen to an hour of music?  It might have something to do with our son, Luke, who played the baritone sax in the Shoreline Symphonic Winds.

1. "The Early 1900s." The History of Stevens County & Its People. Hugoton, Kansas: Stevens County Historical Association, 1979. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Plus One

      And just like that their family grew by one.  

     The Gates family was one of the first family that I researched.  I had gotten the name of my 2nd great-grandfather, William R. Gates from my Aunt Jane.  From there I started examining the census records.  The 1850 Census was the first to state the names of all members of a household.  In addition to Elisha and Christina, the 1850  Census lists John, L [Elizabeth Louisa], F [ Francis Leo], and M [Martha Ellen] Gates.  The census didn't mention William Raymond Gates but he had married in 1849 and lived nearby. 
     Eventually, I found baptismal records for two additional children, Susanna Emily and James Ferdinand.  I never found James F. in any later records so I might guess that he had died young.
     After those initial records I spent a lot of time trying to prove the connection between William and Elisha.  (That proof showed up in a land deed where Elisha mentions his sons, John G. and William R. Gates.)  Then I began researching Elisha's ancestors and William's descendants.
     Now fast forward several years, after I have found Elisha's ancestors and I have begun research for Christina Ann Summers Gates' parents.  One of the pieces of information that I thought might help was to determine John G. Gates' middle name.  His will didn't help but his will and census records did give me his wife's name.  Yesterday I received an email from my cousin, Rick. He was in Salt Lake City on business and asked if I needed anything from the Family History Library.  While I waited for his answer on John G Gates' marriage record I continued looking to fill in a few missing records. 
    About the time I heard back from Rick on the marriage record (which didn't have his full name) I found another marriage record for Mary Ann Gates and William Sims.  Elisha sign the consent for the marriage.  Mary Ann would have been about 16 years old.  Was this the correct family or some new family group?  
    After evaluating some other documents that I have collected, I have concluded that Mary Ann Gates was an older sister to John and William.
          Mary Ann was the name of Elisha's mother.
          The Simms family lived next door to the Gates family.  
          Mary Ann Sims was a sponsor for the baptism of James Ferdinand.  
          Emily was a sponsor for Mary Ann's child.  
          A daughter with the age of Mary Ann is consistent with data in the 1830 Census.  
    So Elisha and Christina Gates's family just grew by one. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ole A. Henrikson and His B-25

     Ole was the love of Grandma Betty's life.  At least that is what she said.  We never got to meet him. We are not quite sure when or where Grandma Betty married Ole Henrikson.  Unfortunately, we do know when the marriage ended.  
     One surviving postcard, addressed to Betty Henrikson, is dated Oct 11, 1943 So it is probably safe to assume that they married prior to that date.  Ole was born in Fort Ransom, North Dakota in 1920.  Before the war he had worked on a nearby farm.  After coming to California, he worked some as a bartender but almost all the pictures that have survived show Ole in his Army Air Corps uniform or flight suit.  
     In November, 1944 his unit was sent to Arizona for training.  Late on Nov 20, 1944 his plane crashed about eight miles south-west of Chandler, Arizona.  His body was brought back to California and he is buried in Valhalla Memorial Park.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Elisha Gates and Anchovie Hills

    Over the last week, I have been in contact with a few people who work for the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation.  Their responsibilities included the many museums in the county as well as local history and archeology.  With their help I think that I have narrowed down the area where the Gates family lived.  
     Without researching original deeds and families, it would appear that an early settler from Scotland, Alexander Magruder, owned a significant amount of land in the vicinity of of the intersection Croom Road and Magruders Ferry Road.  Part of his land was the original tract called Anchovie Hills.  Some of this land was passed to children or subdivided and sold. Eventually Peter Gates purchased over one hundred acres.  He and his son added to this over the years until Elisha, Peter's grandson, sold several hundred acres between 1817 and 1827.  
     Our helpful Prince George's County archeologist suggests the stream, called Aquasco Branch in one of the deeds, is most likely a branch of Black Swamp Creek.  In addition to this our friendly archeologist suggested a land ownership map that I had not seen.  If we compare a few names on that map with other known families in the area then Elisha's land should have been about where I have placed the yellow house on the map below. 

In this old map1 you can locate several names that were in the deeds for land that was bought or sold by the Gates' family.  Elisha sold land in 1817 to James H Gibbons.  Peter Gates purchased land from the Sasscer(Saucer) family in 1760.  I have been in contact with another researcher this week and we suspect that Christina Gates' mother's maiden name is Gwynn. (We have not proven that yet, but I am optimistic.)

    Recently, when searching for 'Anchovy Hills' I had spelled it the way it appeared in the newest deed I had found.  Based on information I received from Prince George's County, I learned that the original spelling, 'Anchovie Hills' was the preferred spelling.  I found that there is an Anchovie Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Here is a link to another researcher's blog on Anchovie Hills.

Anchovie Hills - Magruders Tobacco Landing

And a youtube video.

1. Hopkins, G.M.,  Atlas of Fifteen Miles Around Washington Including the County of Prince George Maryland, Philadelphia, 1878

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An Answer To My Prayer (Email)?

     For years I have been trying to find out where Elisha Gates lived in Prince George's County, Maryland.  As yesterday's blog entry stated I was trying to find Aquasco Creek since a land deed stated that part of Anchovy Hills lay along this creek/stream.  I sent out two emails, one to the Prince George's County Historical Society and the other to the Prince George's Park Department.  My email was a request for any information about Aquasco or Anchovy Hills.  I sent one to the Park Department because the department included several historical parks and museums.  
     This morning I heard back from Mary Haley-Amen, the Facility Director of the Marietta and Patuxent Rural Life Museums and Natural and Historical Resources Division (NHRD) Historic Resources Manager.  Her email asked that i contact her directly as she had "quite a lot of information on Anchovy Hills".  She sent alone a few pictures of a house that would have been on the property that Elisha Gates owned.  I will pass along anything I learn and I will share the pictures if the pictures are in the public domain or if I can get permission to share them.  Based upon the preliminary information that Mary Haley-Amen sent me it appears that Anchovy Hills is about five miles north of Aquasco on yesterday's map.  
    Here is a link to the museums in the area. Patuxent Rural Life Museums 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Where is Aquasco Creek?

     A deed1 which transfers land to the Gates family in Prince George's County mentions Aquasco Creek. Since I have been trying to determine the location of the tract of land called Anchovy Hills, Aquasco Creek may be the ticket.  So where is Aquasco Creek.
Detail from Prince George's County Court (Land Records) JRM 1, p. 84
     As shown on Google Maps2, there is a location in Maryland called Aquasco.  It lies at the intersection of Maryland Route 381, Aquasco Road, and Maryland Route 233, Dr. Bowen Road in rural Prince George's County.  There are plenty of creeks in the region.  Which one is Aquasco Creek?     

Using  USGS Geographic Names Information System GNIS There are 5 uses of the name Aquasco.  Unfortunately, none of them are creeks or streams.  

     Maps that I have found from the nineteenth century do no show Aquasco Creek.  The place now called Aquasco was called Woodville at that time.  None of the later deeds or maps show Anchovy Hills or Aquasco Creek.  Unfortunately names of locations do change.
    I have written to the historical society so maybe someone there will know.

Martenet's Map of Prince George's County, Maryland3

1. Maryland State Archives   Prince George's County Court (Land Records) JRM 1, p. 84-5, MSA_CE65_30. Date viewed 05/02/2014. 

2. Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, State of Ohio / OSIP, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.

3.  Martenet, Simon J.. "Martenet's Map of Prince George's County, Maryland." . Library of Congress, 1 Jan. 1861. Web. 4 May 2014. <>.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May Queen

      Yesterday was the anniversary of the date when Garna Bell McBee was crowned May Queen. (Circa 1942)
     Today is the fourth anniversary of Garna's passing. She is missed.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Only Henry Can Get a Copy of His Death Ceritficate

Only Henry can obtain his Death Certificate until 2020.
Ella Mae is smiling because she knows that I can get her Death Certificate next year.  

     Over the years I have tried to locate some records of events that occurred in Oklahoma.  Henry McBee (Jayme's great-grandfather) passed away in 1945.  I know he lived in Hooker, Texas County, Oklahoma.  He is buried in Hooker.  But I will have to wait until 2020 to obtain his death certificate and to prove that he died.  The law of the State of Oklahoma states that for the first seventy-five years after a death in Oklahoma the only person that can be legally receive a copy of a death record is the person that died.  Go figure.  Oklahoma SB 1448 was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on April 30, 2014.  
     Guy McBee and Betty Kilbourne (Jayme's grandparents) were married in Oklahoma in 1924 (we think).  Betty was only fourteen years old at the time.  We will be able to get a copy of their marriage record in 2024.  If I don't live that long then maybe my granddaughters, Hailey or Abbey, can get a copy of the record for me. If it turns out that Guy and Betty were not married in Texas County, Oklahoma as we have been told, then we will have to search across the border in Kansas.  Kansas isn't much better at releasing genealogical records.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Taking a Horse to School

     When Jayme's grandmother passed away, her belongings stayed with her husband, Bill Larned. When he passed away several years later her belonging passed to Bill's daughter.  Last fall his daughter found us because of our genealogical postings and two suitcases of photographs made their way to our house.  Buried in the middle of a collection was a photo that will make my granddaughters jealous.  
     Among the great-great-granddaughters of Betty are a few that like horses a lot.  A couple even have their own horses.  I am certain that Hailey, Abbey, Mickey, and Laney would think it was fun to ride a horse to school. (At least the first day)  

     Based on information and a picture in a history of Stevens County, Kansas this is likely a picture taken outside Good Luck School southwest of Hugoton, Kansas.  We believe that the girl in front on the middle horse is Fayetta (Betty) Kilbourne. A couple of the others are siblings of Betty. This picture was likely taken around 1920.  
     The second picture was likely taken around the same time since all the kids seem to be wearing the same clothes.  Kids of that time may only have had one set of clothes so interpret the word around quite generously.  Betty is the tallest girl in the back.  Teachers of the Good Luck School around 1920 were 1917-18 - Roxie Schaeffer; 1918-20 Bertha Fields; and 1920-21 Grace Wagner.  In 1921-22 the teacher was  male and I doubt that Betty was in school after that time.  Betty was born in 1909 and married in 1924.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gates Family

Notes and questions about the family of Elisha Gates

     Blog posts for the last week have dealt with the ancestors of Elisha Gates.  I have traced the family back to Robert Gates, who was transported to Maryland in 1655.  We followed the records through Robert's son, Robert, his grandson, Peter, and great-grandson, James Truman Gates.  James Truman Gates was the father of Elisha Gates. 
   Elisha left Maryland and settled in Nelson County, Kentucky.  One of his sons, William Raymond Gates married Elizabeth Mattingly and their daughter, Eliza Jane Gates was my great-grandmother.

     My research answered some questions however, new questions have surfaced. 

1. Our earliest Robert married Dorothy Hunt, daughter of John and Dorothy.  What additional information can we learn about them?
2. Who was the wife of our second Robert (and mother of Peter)?
3. Peter married Jane. Was her maiden name, Capshaw?
4. Can we determine more information about Mary Ann, the wife of James Truman Gates?
5. What is the origin of the name Truman?   Was it a maiden name of one of the wives?  We know three people who use Truman as a middle name, James Truman Gates (two of them) and Henry Truman Compton.
6. A book on John Joseph Montgomery mentions that Thomas Montgomery was a cousin of Elisha Gates.  What exactly was the connection?
7.Three people with the surname Gates paid taxes in Nelson County in 1818, Elisha, Leonard, and Peter?  Can we pinpoint the relationships?  
8. Can we accurately determine the location of the tract of land called Anchovy Hills?

The trail uncovering the ancestors of Elisha took about twelve years.  I hope that it doesn't take another twelve years to answer these questions.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gates Family in Early Maryland: James Truman Gates ( -1794)

James Truman Gates, son of Peter Gates and Jane

     In 1787, James Truman Gates, along with his mother, Jane, was named as executor of his father's will.  James Truman Gates gains control of a portion of a tract of land known as Anchovy Hills.  In 1791 he repurchases a part of Anchovy Hills that his father had sold.1   

In this 1791 deed it appears that James Truman Gates is buying back a portion of Anchovy Hills along Aquasco Creek, that his father, Peter Gates, had sold.
    However, on June 24, 1794, Ann Mary Gates states that she is the widow of James T. Gates and sells part of Anchovy Hills to Henry Truman Compton.2  Two years later, in 1796, Ann Mary Gates leases part of that same tract to William Mayhew.  These transactions would indicate that James T. Gates died between 1791 and 1794.  He died intestate.In 1798, Mary Ann Gates is listed in a newspaper as owing taxes on Anchovy Hills.3  

A portion of the 1794 deed

   By August 8, 1801, (date of earliest known record) Mary Ann has passed away and Elisha and Elizabeth are shown in Guardianship Records.4

Children of James Truman Gates and Mary Ann Gates
1) Elisha  (1789-1863)
2) Elizabeth  

1. Maryland State Archives   Prince George's County Court (Land Records) JRM 1, p. 84-5, MSA_CE65_30. Date viewed 03/04/2014. 
2.  Maryland State Archives   Prince George's County Court (Land Records) JRM 3, p. 100-01, MSA_CE65_32. Date viewed 03/04/2014.
3. Federal Gazette, Dec 8, 1798, Baltimore, Maryland, Yundt and Brown Publisher 
4. "Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940." Index and images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gates Family in Early Maryland: Peter Gates ( -1787)

Peter Gates, son of Robert Gates; grandson of Robert Gates and Dorothy Hunt

     Joseph Gates is listed as the guardian of his nephew, Peter Gates, in the 1733/34 will of Robert Gates.  Peter Gates inherited a portion of a tract of land from his father in 1733 in that will.  He purchased land in 1756 from Francis and Elizabeth Capshaw.   
     It appears that between 1757 and 1759, Peter sold his interest in his land holdings in Charles County.  In 1757 he sold his share of the tract of land in Charles County called Loving Brothers.  In 1759 he sold the land he had purchased from the Capshaws.
     In 1760, while still a resident of Charles County, he purchased a tract of land, called Anchovy Hills1, in Prince George's County. (His grandson, Elisha, sold Anchovy Hills about sixty years later.)

Peter Gates' will2 was written on April 23, 1783. He names twelve children.  The will was recorded in Prince George's County on Nov. 5, 1787 so he probably died shortly before that date.  Peter names his wife, Jane, and son, James Truman Gates, as executors of the estate.

The twelve children of Peter Gates and Jane _______ are:
1)  Mary Ann (Harrison)
2)  Dorothy (Brion)
3)  Sarah (Gibbons)
4)  Elizabeth (Gibbons)
5)  Henrietta (Queen)
6)  Catherine (Spaulding)
7)  James Truman
8)  Vinson
9)  Walter
10) Ellenor
11) Lucy
12) Jane

1. Maryland State Archives Prince George's County Court (Land Records) 1759-1763 RR, p. 0037 MSA CE 65-18 
2. "Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1999." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis. Prince George's County, Liber T page 255-256

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gates Family in Early Maryland: Robert (1686-1733/34)

Robert Gates, son of Robert Gates and Dorothy Hunt

     The second generation of the Gates family in Maryland consisted of six siblings, including Robert Gates.  This Robert Gates was born on Feb. 13, 1686 in Charles County, Maryland.  He was about twelve years of age when his father passed away.  
     Robert Gates wrote a will1 on Jan 16, 1733/34 and mentioned sons, Robert, Joseph and Peter.  The will was recorded Feb 4, 1733/34 in Charles County.  Robert was the oldest son and it appears that he was the executor. Robert's brother, Joseph, was made the guardian of Peter and Joseph.  Robert did not mention any other children, although, according to Mary Louise Donnelly, he had several.  He also does not mention his wife, so she probably preceded him in death.  In his father's will, Robert and his brothers were left a tract of land called Loving Brothers to share.  

Robert's will was written on 16 Jan 1733/34 and recorded on 4 Feb 1733/34
This document is typical of many old documents.  Parts have faded and the ink from previous and subsequent pages has bled through making it difficult to transcribe.

Children of Robert2  (At this time his wife is unknown) 
1) Robert
2) James died prior to 10 Aug 1758 when Robert sold his share of the land
3) Margaret
4) Peter
5) Joseph died without issue in 1772
6) John

1. "Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1999." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis. Wills 1704-1733 Vol. 3 page 266 Image 160 of 166
2.  Donnelly, Mary Louise, Charles County, Maryland My Colonial Ancestors Plus Others, Published by Mary Louise Donnelly, 2000, page 112

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gates Family in Early Maryland: Robert (1543-1598)

    Robert Gates was born in England about 16431.  He was transported to Maryland in 1655 as an indentured servant and was obligated to Robert Cole for a period of nine years. From records it appears that Capt. Benjamin Cooper transported Robert Gates at about twelve years of age to Maryland and then sold his rights to Robert Cole.  Both Benjamin Cooper2  and Robert Cole3  stated that they had transported our Robert Gates.  He served at St. Clement’s Manor, a plantation in St. Mary’s County.  Robert Cole had several parcels of land so Robert Gates also spent time at another plantation, Benedict Hundred, in Charles County Maryland.    

     In 1664, his period of servitude was up and he began his private life as a planter and carpenter.  As is common today with ranches and farms, early settlers named their plantations  and tracts of land.  Robert Gates patented 100 acres called Gates His Hope in 1668; 60 acres called Gates Purchase in 1672; and 193 acres called Gates His Swamp in 1688.  In addition to the the land he patented, he purchased additional acreage and by the time of his death in 1698 he owned 1567 acres.  He served in a minor office as the overseer of highways in Charles County.  
     Sometime before 1676 he married Dorothy Hunt, the daughter of John and Dorothy Hunt.  He and Dorothy had six children together, three boys and three girls.  Robert Gates’ will4 was written on Feb 5, 1694 and probated June 6, 1698, so he probably died in early 1698. His children are named in his will.  

The years of their births are listed in a book written by Mary Louise Donnelly5

Katherine  b. 1676
Susannah b. 1678
John      b. 1681  
Robert  b. 1686
Anne    b. 1690

Joseph   b. 1693

  1. Carr, Menard, and Walsh, Robert Cole’s World Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1991
  2. Maryland State Archives  St. Mary's County Circuit Court Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats  MSA S1598: Volume 17 Page 475 
  3. Family History Film 13064, "Patents series of the Maryland Land Office,1640-1658, St. Mary’s County  Volumes 5, Liber Q,  Page 18”
  4. "Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1999." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2014. Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis. St. Mary’s County, Volume PC1 page 89-90
  5. Donnelly, Mary Louise, Charles County, Maryland My Colonial Ancestors Plus Others, Published by Mary Louise Donnelly, 2000, page 112

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gates Family in Early Maryland

     For the last dozen years or so I have been chasing and researching the ancestry of Elisha Gates.  We first met Elisha Gates in Nelson County, Kentucky where he owned land, raised a family, died, and is buried.  He served in War of 1812 while living in Kentucky.  We quickly found his marriage record in Prince George's County in 1817 to Christina Ann Summers.  From there the trail ran cold.  Mary Louise Donnelly had researched members of the Gates family in Charles County but neither Elisha nor his father were mentioned in her books.  As we found out later that was because Elisha and his parents were a couple miles and two counties away in Prince George's County.  Robert Cady Gates published Records of the Gates Families of America From Colonial Period to 1860 (3rd Edition) follows thousands of people with the surname Gates. He fails to connect Elisha to his parents but in truth his book is a compilation of known records and one could not expect him to connect these dots.  His book was a massive project. There are over two dozen men with the name Elisha Gates mostly in Connecticut and other parts of New England. Any connection with our Maryland family would probably be in England prior to settling in the colonies if there is any connection at all.  
   After joining the Prince George's County Genealogical Society, I purchased a CD-Rom containing back issues of their newsletter.  This turned out to be a good purchase because buried deep inside a reference mentioned an orphan record for Elisha Gates.  Unfortunately, the only known copy of this record was in the Maryland Archives in Annapolis.  It took me about seven years before I made it to Annapolis but while there I found a couple records that stated that Elisha was the son of James T. Gates and Mary A. Gates.  
     Eventually more records about Elisha and his sister, Elizabeth, showed up on family  These records had not been filmed before this and these 42 pages firmly connected Elisha to a James Truman Gates and Mary Ann Gates.
     By examining land records and wills, I was able to show that James Truman Gates was the son of Peter and Jane Gates.  Once this relationship was established we were able to connect to several more generations.
     Over the next few blog posts we will establish the following relations in the Gates family.  We will also list known siblings of the direct ancestors.  The Gates family lineage includes the following generations 
1)  Robert Gates married Dorothy Hunt 
2) Robert Gates married ____________
3) Peter Gates married Jane _______
4) James Truman Gates married Mary Ann _______
5) Elisha Gates married Christina Ann Summers

     These families lived in St. Mary's, Charles, and Prince George's Counties.  Even though they lived in three counties the various land holdings lay within a few miles of each other.  

An image from Google Maps showing the portions of three counties in Maryland where five generation of the Gates family lived.

     The documents that have helped me trace these relationships include guardianship records, land deeds and probate records found on as well as Family History Library microfilms.  I also used Land records found on MDLANDREC.NET, an Archives of Maryland Online Publication. As I said before, I also made a trip to the Maryland Archives and later contacted an archivist for an additional record.  In addition, two books that helped tremendously were Robert Cole’s World Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland, which I uncovered on Google Search and Charles County, Maryland My Colonial Ancestors Plus Others.  Both books are now in my library.