history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SMITHS, PILES and false assumptions

A little over a year ago I had two opportunities to research in the New Jersey Archives. Both times I was concentrating on finding the ancestry of Hannah Smith, the wife of Preston Carpenter. Preston and Hannah were married in Salem County in the province of West Jersey. Between the two visits to the Archives I found a variety of wills and other documents executed by persons surnamed Smith or Pile who were in the Piles Grove-Mannington area of Salem County. Some of these even mentioned old Samuel Carpenter, the immigrant ancestor in this line and wealthy Pennslyvania and West Jersey landholder. Preston Carpenter was his grandson. All of the documents were transcribed by me. After finding a will and inventory for a Pile Smith, and also finding him specifically mentioned in the wills of each of his parents, I concluded that his mother Hannah must have been surnamed Pile. I reasoned that no one else would saddle a child with this name. I also found wills of earlier members of the Pile family, children of another Hannah and a John Pile. They left the bulk of their estates to their daughter Elizabeth Pile who married William Hall, a Scotch immigrant. I could not figure out how these families fit together. A query put out on the Salem County list elicited no responses. Last week lightning struck! I found a Rootsweb site that identified the mother of Pile Smith as Hannah Hall, daughter of Elizabeth Pile and William Hall. Although I don't give credence per se to Rootsweb entries, this one made everything tie into place. After re-reading all the documents I had transcribed and the notes on my database I concluded that this must be the case. Let's hope this conclusion regarding the family is better than the first one I made! I had already found proofs in the wills of her parents that there was a Hannah Hall, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Pile) Hall. I also found on that day a record of the marriage of Samuel Smith, Jr. and Hannah Hall in the records of the Salem Friends. This I found by just reading through the records looking for familiar names. Thus I doubt that I am wrong this time. The remaining mystery involves the 10,000 acres originally owned by the Piles and known as Piles Grove. By the time we get to Pile Smith there is litigation over the ownership of at least some of this land. I have yet to learn anything about this litigation. It is mentioned in the will of Samuel Smith, and seems to have other internet mentions, but nothing that tells anything about it. I will have to keep searching. Perhaps it is time to hit my law books!

LEBBEUS HOWE and pensions on Footnote.com

A couple of years ago or more I found Lebbeus Howe's pension application on HeritageQuest. At the time I thought it was a magnificent find, but the more I saw of pension applications the more defective I thought it was. It contained only three pages. As most of you know, HeritageQuest can no longer be accessed at home by ordinary mortals. After 6 months of searching for another source for pension records without going to a NARA office with its shortened hours, or paying the national debt to obtain a copy, I found out about Footnote.com. I was also told that Footnote had the entire pension file available, not just the shortened form used by HeritageQuest. Last night I decided to check it out. Although it took me all night to print it out, and I had to search for both Libeus How and Lebbeus How to find the whole thing, it was a gold mine of information. Why pages 1 through 30 were separate from 31 through 51 I have no idea. Both parts were full of genealogical information. The birth, marriage, and death dates of Lebeus and his wife Anna Austin were positively identified through sworn depositions. The birthplace of Lebbeus was given as the town of Phillips in Dutchess (now Putnam) County. Anna Austin, his widow, was from the same place and testified she had known him most of her life. The various places the young couple lived after they were married are also described. As they primarily lived with Lebbeus' mother or one of his sisters, more names were identified in his family tree. The husbands of a couple of his sisters were also named. Further on in the depositions the names and birthdates of each of his own 13 children is listed together with the name of a son-in-law or two. Most interesting is the fact that his daughter Hannah married Micah Mead. I had ascertained from their tombstones that Hannah had married Micah, but this confirmed her identity as the daughter of Lebbeus and Anna. I also found the lack of literacy interesting to note. Most of my ancestors could read and write at least a century earlier than these.folk. Both Lebbeus and Anna signed their depositions with an "X," as did other family members. Their grandson James, however, was literate and had copied the family Bible when it was falling apart from overuse. He testified that he checked it carefully after copying it. I am left wondering who the ancestors of Lebbeus really were. Certainly they were not the Howes who lived in Orange or Montgomery County. Every census during his life shows Lebbeus in Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York. Prior to residing in Fishkill he lived in present day Putnam County. His widowed mother also lived in Fishkill. I am left with the conclusion that the ancestry I have of Lebbeus is most likely not based on fact. I found it first in my great Uncle Bill's family genealogy. I will have to go back and see what sources he used, but in general he used secondary sources. My other sources were other published genealogies. I now have to throw them all out and start over with Lebbeus in tracing the Howes. Back to Lebbeus is easily traced, as is his war record, for anyone who would like to join DAR through this line. I will have to get a supplemental now that I have done all this work. My interest, however, is to find out where he came from. Anyone have any ideas?