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

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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!

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