My Ancestors Signature #43 ~ Reuben Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 4th Great Uncle


Reuben Coffey 1759-1842
From his pension application dated September 21, 1833

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday’s Salute #41 ~ Eli Coffey ~ Substitute Soldier Revolutionary War

I just wanted to place this disclaimer here: I understand that some of the events that is written about in this blog are disturbing. However, it is a part of history and it should not be covered up because of this. This blog does not glorify the events nor does it condone them. It is just stating the facts of the little known history of the Revolutionary War.

Eli Coffey, my 1st cousin 5 times removed, was born on March 1, 1763, in Blue Run, Orange County, Virginia. He was one of eleven children born to Reverend James Coffey (1729-1786) and Elizabeth Cleveland (1729-1826). He moved with his parents and siblings to Morgan, Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1778. Here is where he began an unusual stint in the Revolutionary War.

In December of 1780, Eli’s maternal Uncle Thomas Fields, was drafted into the regiment of Captain John Barton. Thomas had a large family and a sick wife, and he asked if he could be excused from serving. His request was denied, but he was told if he found a substitute he would be able to stay home. When Eli heard of his Uncle’s dilemma, he volunteered to be a scout in Thomas’ place. The length of service was only for 3 months. By 1779, George Washington had earned the famous moniker “Father of His Country.” However the Iroquois Indians of the time bestowed on Washington another, not-so-flattering title: Conotocarious, or the “Town Destroyer.” This lesser-known title also had its origins in 1779, when General Washington ordered what at the time was the largest-ever campaign against the Indians in North America. After suffering for nearly two years from Iroquois raids on the Colonies’ northern frontier, Washington and Congress decided to strike back.


Butler’s Rangers

On the afternoon of November 11, 1778, Captain Benjamin Warren had led a group of soldiers out of the small fort at Cherry Valley, New York, and straight into a scene from hell. As the Patriot soldiers walked through the once-thriving farming community, they saw nothing but carnage: a man weeping over the mutilated and scalped bodies of his wife and four children; other corpses with their heads crushed by tomahawks and rifle butts; charred human remains in the smoking ruins of cabins and barns. It was, Warren later wrote, “a shocking sight my eyes never beheld before of savage and brutal barbarity.” The savagery had begun early that morning, when a hundreds-strong force of Loyalist militiamen, Seneca Indians and a few British soldiers had appeared out of the fog and rain. The town and its small garrison were taken completely by surprise, and the raiders—led by Tory Captain Walter Butler and Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant—launched into an orgy of death and destruction. The fort managed to hold out, but the town and its people were defenseless. By the time the attackers withdrew, more than 30 civilians—mostly women and children—and 16 soldiers were dead and nearly 200 people left homeless. The assault soon became known as the “Cherry Valley Massacre,” and it would help convince General George Washington to launch a massive, no-holds-barred retaliatory expedition.

Captain John Barton led one of the regiments that retaliated against the British and their Indian allies. Eli’s job was to scout the countryside for the villages where these Indians were living. It is not known if he ever participated in the fighting between the two factions, or if he only pointed the way to the villages. The Indians who stood with the British generally fought alongside American and Canadian Loyalists. The most infamous band of Loyalists to utilize Indian allies was Butler’s Rangers—a partisan regiment formed in 1777 under Lt. Col. John Butler, a Tory from the Mohawk Valley. While focusing their activities on the New York and Pennsylvania settlements, Butler’s irregulars ranged as far out as Virginia and Michigan. They were extremely effective and, at times, brutal. The 1778 Wyoming and Cherry Valley massacres—the bloodiest of many border fights—were largely the work of Butler’s Rangers, together with “Cornplanter”, a Dutch-Seneca war chief and Brant’s Mohawks and Indians from other tribes. Again, it is not known if Eli actually participated in any of these events or if he just scouted out the targets of them.

Eli completed his service and returned home to North Carolina. Within a few months his older brother Ambrose was drafted to go against the Cherokees, but he was severely near-sighted. Once again Eli volunteered to serve, this time for his brother. He enlisted as a horseman. He entered the service in Wilkes County, North Carolina under Lieutenant Isbell of Wilkes. Colonel Miller of Rutherford, Colonel Joseph McDowell and General Charles McDowell of Burke rendezvoused with Isbell at Pleasant Garden, Burke County, North Carolina. They crossed the Mountain at the head of Swannanoa River, and marched forward crossing the French Broad River, the Big and Little Pigeon Rivers, and Tuckaseegee entering an Indian town called Tuckaseegee and they took the town. They then crossed the Tennessee River and headwaters of the Hiwassee River, passing through the various parts of the Cherokee Nation. They burnt down other Indian villages along the way including the Overhill Towns, the Valley towns and the Shoemake Towns and then returned home and the entire regiment was discharged at the expiration of the three months, the term for which he had entered.

Eli married Hannah Allen (1765-1845) in 1790, and they had 3 sons. Eli bought 50 acres of land in Burke County and began farming. They moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, about 1815 where he then purchased 21 acres. In 1828, they once again moved, this time to Mc Minn County, Tennessee, near his older brother Rice’s farm. Eli died on September 5, 1847, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Picture Perfect Saturday’s #26 ~ Matilda Jane Hayes



I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

This week I am showcasing my paternal 2nd Great Aunt Matilda Jane Hayes. She was born on October 16, 1847, in Grainger, Tennessee. At the age of 27 she married Charles Wolfe. This photo was taken on her wedding day on January 24, 1875. She looks like a very strong woman with a lot of confidence. This might be due to being part of a pioneering family. She was rugged and self-sufficient considering she was just 5 feet tall. I realize that this isn’t the most clear photo but it is the only one I have, and I love it.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

My Ancestor’s Signature #38 ~ Ambrose Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 1st Cousin 5 Times Removed

Ambrose Coffey 1762-1818
From Marriage Bond dated 1795

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Multiple ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #28

MultipleThis week’s prompt got me to thinking about what would I consider to be a multiple. At first, I thought of twins that run in my family, but I have already written about most of them. Then I thought about a number of ancestors that died in the same years. There were many multiples of them also. Eureka! It finally hit me, and here is my interpretation for multiple.

I have found several lines where I descend from two siblings. Here are 4 examples of that.

 

First Jonathan Brewster (1593-1661) from the Mayflower, is my 9th great-grandfather. I descend from 2 of is daughters making them both my 8th great-grandmothers.

Grace Brewster (1639-1684) married Captain Daniel Wetherell

Hannah Brewster (1641-1711) married Samuel Starr

So how does this make me a descendant of these multiple sisters?

Grace and Daniel had a daughter, Mary Wetherell who married George Dennison

Mary and George had a son named Daniel Dennison who married Rachel Starr

Hannah and Samuel had a son named Thomas Starr who married Mercy Morgan

Thomas and Mercy had a daughter named Rachel Starr who married Daniel Dennison

 

Second is my 4th great-grandfather Colby Rucker (1760-1781) I also descend from 2 of his daughters making them both my 3rd great-grandmothers.ConfusedEmoji

Sarah “Sally” Rucker (1791-1850) married Thomas Hayes (1780-1849)

Elizabeth Rucker (1787-1855) married John Coffey (1776-1845)

Here is where it gets complicated. Thomas is the son of George Hayes (1760-1839) who is the son of Thomas Hayes (1740-1829) who is the son of George Hayes (1714-1747). This George had a daughter named Molly “Polly” Hayes (1742-1829). She and Thomas (1740-1829) are siblings. Molly married Benjamin Coffey (1747-1834) and they had John Coffey (1776-1845).

So Thomas Hayes’ great-aunt is the mother of his brother-in-law!

 

Third is my 9th great-grandfather John Dodson (1571-1652) I descend from 2 of his sons.

Jesse Dodson (1623-1716) married Judith Hagger (1615-1655)

Benjamin Dodson (1624-1652) married Anne Simms (1624-1715)

Jesse and Judith had a son named Charles Dodson (1649-1716)

Benjamin and Anne had a daughter named Anne Dodson (1651-1715)

Charles and Anne got married making them first cousins and becoming my 7th great-grandparents.

 

Fourth, is my 7th great-grandfather William Bond (1674-1713) married Dorothy Dayne (1677-1720) wait for it….his brother Isaac Bond (1676-1719)  married Anna Holmes (1676-1715) is my 7th great-uncle.

 

cousin1William’s son William Bond (1701-1779) married the daughter of his Uncle Isaac, Clara Bond (1709-1789) making them both my 6th great-grandparents and my cousins.

 

I hope you are not as confused as I was several years ago when I discovered these multiple connections. I have actually found a few more but I have a headache just listing these!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday’s Dilemma ~ Trying To Get It All Straight

gene check listI have started going through my trees with a checklist of documents I have or need for each ancestor. It has helped me to fill in a lot of blanks. When I am working on the tree, I usually just work on one line at a time. If it is the Hughes line. I will look at my dad, his dad, then his dad, etc. I don’t change the order by looking into their spouses as well. I do this after I finish the male line.  Everyone does their research in their own way and this is mine. It usually works well until I make a mistake.

 

A couple of days ago I was researching my 2x Great Grandpa George W. Hayes. As I was closing his page getting ready to go to the next Hayes in the line, I heard a loud thud and someone yelling! I told my husband it sounded like someone got hurt so we went outside. Our elderly neighbor had fallen so we helped her up and took her into her house and made sure she was okay. When I got back home, I was still a little frazzled by the incident so I thought I would just get back to filling in some missing pieces in the tree. I pulled up the tree and hit the button and then I pulled up the ancestor. When I looked at his wife’s name I was confused. It gave her name as Elizabeth Rucker. I could have sworn her name was supposed to be Sarah Rucker. When I took a second look at her husband’s name, I realized that I had hit Georges’ wife tree by mistake. When I looked at Georges’ parents his mom was listed as Sarah Rucker. If this was correct that made George and his wife, Elizabeth Coffey first cousins. So, the search was on!

 

 

 

The farther back I went the more confusing it got. It was confirmed that Sarah and Elizabeth’s father was Colby Rucker.  Sarah married John Coffey, the son of Benjamin cousin blocksCoffey. Elizabeth married Thomas Hayes whose mother was Mary “Polly” Hayes. Mary Hayes was married to Benjamin Coffey. If this isn’t confusing enough Benjamin Coffey’s brother Thomas married Elizabeth Smith. They had a daughter named Mary Coffey, who married William Coffey, who was the son of Benjamin Coffey!

headspin

OK, my head hurts from all this inter-marrying.  I am going to spend some time looking through the many, many children of the Hayes, Rucker and Coffey lines to see how many other cousins have married. I know this isn’t really that unusual, there are probably some like this in most trees. I know I have cousins in my mothers’ line who have married. However, not this many within 3 generations!

 

So, here is my dilemma. Actually 2 of them. First, what is the best way to make a chart linking all of these cousins together to get a better view of them and their relationships with each other? Second, what do you think about me putting the “extra” relationship in my trees so future generations don’t have to do what I have done?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Lineage Societies or Family Groups – A Great Resource

our family historyAnyone who has been researching their Family History for many years knows and understands the importance of Lineage Societies or Family Groups. However, I have come across many Genealogists who never heard of them. To be honest, I just discovered them about 8 years ago when I made a research trip to Missouri. I met a cousin I had just contacted while planning my trip. She had tons of information on a line I hadn’t done much research on. She also introduced me to the concept of Lineage Societies and Family Groups.

My 6 times Great Grandfather Edward Coffey came over from Ireland in 1690. His line here is long and expansive. As a result, the family put together the “Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse” Group started by Leonard Coffey in 1981. Over the years, Coffey Cousins from all over the globe have joined this Clearinghouse and shared their research, stories and photos. Now because of their efforts if you find the name Coffey/Coffee in your line you may be able to discover new information about your ancestor and meet some cousins!

One of my 7 times Great Grandfathers is Peter Rucker. He came over from Bavaria we are familyGermany in 1661. He became a naturalized citizen in the State of Virginia on April 24, 1704.  The Rucker Family has participated in every war since the Revolutionary War. Since the early 90’s this society has been having reunions every two years, publishing their newsletter and sharing information and photos! What a resource for anyone who has a Rucker in their family line.

Some Societies or Family Groups have dues but they are usually minimal. They help you to find distant relatives and connect us to information we may never have any other way of finding. Spend some time Googling Societies or Groups associated with your Ancestors names and see what you may discover.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.