Have you ever experienced the gnawing agony of not knowing to whom a very important record should be attributed? And, there’s the reflective look backward wondering if you got it right? Faced with judgement or a flip of the coin, placement of people found in historical records is what this obsession is all about. The results of hours of research may provide a never before glimpse at a certain day and time and yet if wrong, the players involved may not be who they really were. What if I get it wrong? Fiction or non, do I close my eyes and move forward by some popular vote? Do I hide behind a yellow curtain pulling levers of change? How are we supposed to clear the air letting the reader know of the varying degree …that there may be multiple implications to much of what is written?
In a recent post on the family of Joseph Thomas [I], the following record was used in the bios for Joseph’s children Michael and Mary.
K-411, Bertie, 9 Oct 1762, Oct 1762. Michael Thomas planter of Bertie to John Hill planter of same. 547 acres on the north side of Pellmell called Moborn Hills. Wit: Solomon (x) Asbell, Thomas Bass.
My problem is that both Joseph [I] and his son Joseph [II] had children named Michael and Mary. And, in my recent post Michael Thomas “planter” was attributed to be the son of Joseph [I]. Also attributed to Joseph [I] was Mary Thomas Asbell, wife of the above Solomon Asbell. And, in the above record, you’ll note that Michael Thomas was selling land to John Hill (planter) who we’re pretty sure was about to or had just married Ann, the widow of Joseph Thomas [II].
In truth, are we seeing a sale to Michael’s brother’s widow’s husband? Or, is this a case of a sale one generation askew to Michael’s mother’s new husband? And, who was Michael? I dunno …as on paper the scenario could honestly be either!
Looking back as I plowed forward (and they tell me to just live in the now), the records spoke loudly to be careful. Knowing this is all freshly learned; let me move forward asking for your understanding of this generational mix-up. Rather than raising a flag and correcting the story behind the scenes, I’d like for you to see the records so that you too can imagine what I’m seeing. We struggle to find truth but sometimes it eludes us, There are times for guessing as without it there is no vision for what could be.