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.

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