Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dividing People: The Forgey Slaves Hawkins County, TN

James Forgey will "their children may be divided"
Last Thursday I went the NGSQ study group which was in the virtual world of Second Life. We discussed an article we read about tracing the family of a former slaves. It got us talking about slavery and our families connections with it. We said we had curiosity about what happened to the slaves owned by family members after they were freed. Until the mid 1990's I had no idea any of my ancestors could have owned slaves. I had only known them to have lived in the Midwest, and didn't know they had first settled in the south. I remember picking up a book about Tennessee genealogy at our local library and seeing abstracts of family wills mentioning slaves and was blown away.
I've definitely ran across the Forgey former slaves while researching the family in Tennessee since several took the name Forgey after they were freed and did remain in the same area. I've been taking a closer look at these families this week. I had suspected that James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN might have fathered children with some of his slaves because several were described as Mulatto. I did find some evidence that this might be the case a few days ago. 
This is some of the information I've found regarding slavery in my own branch of the Forgey family (James Forgey was the brother of my ancestor. Andrew Forgey was my direct ancestor).
The only mentions of the Forgey slaves I've run across are found in the family wills, and total numbers are found in tax lists.

Above is the first reference to slaves in my branch of the Forgey family. It's the 1809 Taxlist for Hawkins County, TN. We see here rows representing acres of land owned, horses owned and slaves owned. Hugh Forgey and Andrew Forgey Jr. owned no slaves, but Andrew Forgey Sr. owned 1 slave and James Forgey owned 2. 
Later in 1809 we find the name of Andrew Forgey's slave in his will. His name was Bacchus. 

We do find that Andrew Forgey Sr.'s wishes were followed and Bacchus remained in Andrew Forgey Jr.'s family until his death in 1831. Andrew Forgey Jr. wills him to his wife.

I have not found Bacchus on the 1870 Census he may have left the area or most likely was dead by then.
James Forgey Sr. owned 2 slaves in 1809. By his death in 1831 the number had grown. Only a few were identified by name.
A 3 year old was named in James Forgey's 1831 will. Her named was Sarah. She was willed to Matilda Forgey daughter of James. James also names an Alsy and Robert describing them as young in 1831. I have not been able to locate these people after freedom.

We can follow some of the Forgey slaves from enslavement to freedom. 
We'll start with Joseph and wife Margaret (Peggy)
We first see this couple here in Andrew Forgey Sr.'s 1809 will 
The callousness of the James Forgey family can be seen when you read these snippets. They had no qualms about separating children from their parents. 

Here we have James Forgey's wife Margaret also dividing up Joseph and Margaret's family in her 1856 will Hawkins County, TN. 

It looks like Joseph Forgey didn't live to see freedom but his wife Peggy did. We find her living in Hawkins County, TN; listed on the 1870 and 1880 Census for Hawkins County, TN. 

We see that Peggy Forgey is listed as a mulatto. Her father's birthplace is given as Ireland. We know her master James Forgey was born in Ireland so it is very possible he is Peggy's father. 
Next we can follow Thomas Forgey from slavery to freedom. James Forgey Sr. names Tom in his 1831 will.

Rachel Forgey died before her mother Margaret Forgey. Rachel willed Tom to her mother Margaret. In 1856 Margaret mentions Tom in her will.

In 1870 and 1880 we find Thomas and wife Fary living in freedom with his family in Hawkins County, TN. He seems to have made a successful transition and was working as a blacksmith.  

We see more Forgey slaves not named in the family wills in the Census. In 1850 James R. Forgey Jr. owns 21 slaves most being children. We do not have most of their names. Here are a few more I found in the Hawkins County, TN Census.
 1870 Census Hawkins County, TN

Lou Forgey 1880 Census Hawkins County, TN

I believe one of these families relocated to Knox County, TN at one point and can be found there in the 1940 Census. After 1900 I no longer find Black Forgeys living in Hawkins County, TN. 

Inhumanity is not confined to a single race or group of people. I've been reading a book about the Scots-Irish. I agree with the author that hard living conditions in lowland Scotland hardened the people which would later settle the south. They did not feel the pain of others. I believe James Forgey in particular was the sort of ruthless business person that really did not feel the pain of others. The business men involved in the slave trade in England, Spain, the Netherlands didn't have a conscience, but they didn't live with the slaves. The way that some families in the south lived with other human beings and didn't have the decency to free them is hard to fathom?

Here is partial list of Forgeys born into slavery
  1. Joseph Forgey (Mulatto)
  2. Peggy Forgey (Mulatto) Born about 1815 she claims her father was born in Ireland in 1880
  3. Malvina Forgey-Harlan (Mulatto) born about 1839
  4. Mary Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1854
  5. Lou Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1845
  6. App. Forgey (Black) born about 1863
  7. Thomas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1829-1830
  8. Fary F Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated):  1831-1832
  9. Alice Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1852-1853
  10. Martha Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1853-1854
  11. Jinetta Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1855-1856
  12. Dorcas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  13. Margarett Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  14. Joseph Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1858-1859
  15. Alsy Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  16. Robert Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  17. Sarah 1828

Friday, January 24, 2014

Too Many Sales of One Plot of Land?

Forgey sales deeds Knox County, Tennessee from the County Index book
I've been examing the new databases at Ancestry, the ones resulting from their partnership with Familysearch, for anything new which might solve my brickwalls. I'm waiting for more Virginia databases in hopes of finding out more about Alexander Forgey and his family. I have nothing at all on Alexander's family, so far, other than documentation of a short marriage which evidently produced no children? So far I know Alexander was in Cumberland County, PA  in the early 1770's, and migrated to Washington County, PA in the latter part of that decade.
I have not been able to locate any records for Alexander Forgey after 1807. I have not been able to locate a will or probate for him. I've looked at deeds to 1800, wills, and taxlists to 1804 for Washington County, VA.
I do believe Alexander Forgey of Knox County, TN might be a son of this older Alexander, of Washington County, VA, due to the fact Alexander, the younger of Knox County, TN was said to have been born in Virginia. Losing track of the older Alexander I wondered if he joined his possible son, and nieces and nephews, in Knox County TN?
I've been puzzled by the many land sales of Alexander Forgey, apparently selling the same piece of land on Flat Creek in Knox County, TN. Are we dealing with 2 different Alexander Forgeys selling different plots of 250 acres land or the same plot of land? I'm not seeing any clues that there were 2 different men in Knox County,TN such as references to a Junior and Senior. I never saw 2 Alexanders on the three Knox County, TN taxlists I've searched. The older Alexander would have aged out of the taxlists by 1804 I believe?
In 1802 an Alexander Forgey purchased 250 acres on Flat Creek from James Forgey. The younger Alexander Forgey would have been 23 and unmarried; which, would be a little unusual in my experience. That would have been a young age, for a single man to have had enough money to buy land. Could the elder Alexander have made the original purchase from James? If we had a Census records for 1800 or 1810  this might be cleared up? Unfortunately no Census records for eastern Tennessee survive before 1830.
Here are the Alexander Forgey land tranacations as recorded in the deed index for Knox County, TN (these deeds were not filmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Hence, it took me a while to locate and get copies of them)
We can see James Forgey's orginial land grant as the first transaction. This land was later split in half and sold to Alexander Forgey and Andrew Forgey (Andrew's relationship to Alexander is unknown).
Flat Creek Knox County, Tennessee
Forgey Land Purchases

Richard Freer to James Forkey
Warrant for 640 acres (actual grant was for 500 acres on Flat Creek)
Date of transacton: 10 July 1788

James Forgey 
Land Grant #305 for 500 acres on Flat Creek
Book C Volume 1 page 49
Date of Deed: 27 Nov 1792

James Forgey to Alexander Forgey
250 acres on Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 4
Date of Deed: 2 Dec 1802

James Forgey to Andrew Forgey
250 acres on Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 16
Date of Deed: 2 Dec 1802

John Smyth to Alexander Forgey
250 acres Flat Creek 
Book M Volume 1
Date of Deed: 1 Oct 1807

Samuel Cox to Alexander Forgey
Book N Volume 1 page 286
Date of Quit Claim: 9 Aug 1809

Here are all the sales of property by Alexander Forgey as recorded in the county deed books. All of the land transactions consist of 250 acres on Flat Creek in Knox County, TN. We only see one apparent buy back of 250 acres on Flat Creek. Alexander Forgey sold 250 acres to John Smyth in 1803 and buys it back from John Smith in 1807. An Alexander Forgey sells land to John Thompson in 1812. I don't see a deed for a repurchase from John Thompson which I expected because Alexander Forgey sells 250 on Flat Creek again in 1815 to Abner Parr. We know the 250 acres on Flat Creek sold to Abner Parr was from the James Forgey land grant because it's stated on the deed. We don't really know whether the 1803, 1807 or 1812 land transactions involved the original land grant? There is an 1809 Quit Claim deed from Samuel Cox. It doesn't appear to involve the 250 acres of land on Flat Creek? It references a tract of land.

Flat Creek Knox County, Tennessee
Forgey Land Sales

Alexander Forgey to John Smith
250 acres Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 21
Date of Deed: 4 Jan 1803

Alexander Forgey to John Thompson
250 acres Flat Creek
Book O Volume 1 page 315
Date of Deed: 12 May 1812

Alexander Forgey to Abner Parr
50 acres Grant #305 (James Forgey's grant)
Book P Volume 1 page 402
Quit Claim
Date of Deed: 21 Nov 1815

Alexander Forgey to Abner Parr
250 Flat Creek
Book P Volume 1 page 403
Date of Deed: 4 Feb 1815

In conclusion it isn't clear exactly which Alexander Forgey was involved in all these transactions? We only see one purchase of 250 acres of land on Flat Creek (the second purchase looks like a buy back?). Alexander Forgey, the younger, was said to have lived on his father-in-law John Sawyer's property at some point. He may have received land from his father-in-law and never filed a purchase deed. I have not looked at every deed and a reading of everyone of these may provide more information as to how many Alexander Forgeys lived in Knox County, TN in the early 19th Century.
Forgey purchase deeds Knox County, TN. Click to enlarge

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How long does it take to make a family tree?

A first cousin of mine needed help researching his maternal family tree. He wanted to know whether his grandfather was Native American because he was born on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in San Diego County, CA.
I began researching his tree with only the names of his grandparents, Robert Ridge and Mildred, and place Southern California. No maiden name for Mildred.
So how long did it take to put together the outline of his family tree?
I began at 3:04 pm on Saturday January 11, 2014.
3:04 pm My first stop was the 1940 US Census records since these are the most recent and complete records that would include his grandparents.

3:06 pm I noticed he was born in California.I knew abstracts of birth records for California were online. I checked to see if I could find his birth record but instead found birth records for his children. At 3:06 I had my cousin's grandmother's maiden name.

3:11 pm I had located his grandparents on the 1930 Census. Now I had birthplaces for Robert Ridge's parents which should help me identify his parents in 1920.

3:26 pm It took me a little while to locate Robert with his family on an earlier Census. Once I did locate him in 1910 I also found him with his parents Gertude B. and Mang Ridge. I had never heard of the name Mang before. I wondered if it was Native American? I knew that with an unusual first name it would be simple to identify Mang Ridge on earlier records.

3.48 pm Found the Mang with his father after I took a little break for a snack. I now had his full name Mangrum Ridge and his parents, Robert and Nancy's, names and birthplaces. At this point it looked like they were not Native American. They lived on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in 1880, but were not descended from tribal members.

3:54 pm I decided to check Ancestry.com trees thinking it would be easy to find a Mangrum Ridge if someone had made a tree for the family. I immediately found several trees for him. All of the Census data matched the Mangrum on these trees. These trees included attached records and old photos of  Mangrum and Gertude's family from the early 20th Century. I found more of his ancestors on these trees too. 

I know these tree can contain erroneous information so I needed to read through their attached records. The trees looked accurate after analyzing the information contained in the records. I did wonder about one of his ancestors said to have been killed in the Civil War. When I looked at the attached record it said he was a private in a colored regiment. I don't think this ancestor was African America so I believe this is a wrong connection?
I decided to try to see if I could push his line back farther than the mid 19th Century. I hit the same brickwalls previous researchers did. I was not able to locate the Kohrs family in 1920. I also could not locate the Ridge family in 1860 or before.
5:59 pm. I found my cousin's possible Kohrs great grandparents. This is the closest match I could find in 1910 Colorado. Unfortunately Mildred wasn't born until May 1910, and April was the Census month. It sounds like Mildred's parents names were not included in her 1978 Oregon death certificate? Her social security application would be another source for their names.
I continued to research the family until I went to bed at 11 pm without any more success. 
I did manage to locate the Ridge family on the 1870 Census for El Monte, California and I found Robert Ridge and Nancy Rice's marriage record. 
Without the trees I found at Ancestry.com it would have taken much longer for me to put all this information together. I've put my tree together over many years. It will take this family more time and effort to surmount the 19th brickwalls. It really takes years to assemble and document a family tree. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Binders vs. Books

Here are the books I've printed seen near an oxygen tank. See the same tank and binders below to get a better idea of compactness the books.

I've been scanning the documents I've collect over the years and filed away in binders. I had them arranged by surnames, and placed the documents in page protectors. The page protectors made the binders very heavy. It's good exercise lugging these around. Since Lulu books are so inexpensive to publish I decided to print my important documents and information into 8 1/2 by 11 paperback books. So far I have 4 books published, and they are pretty comprehensive covering all of the important documents, stories, and data about my ancestors up to the current time.
I'm not going to throw the binders away. They still contain some material not in the books and they contain some original copies, and original documents. I am enjoying these books. I thumb through them from time to time, and love seeing both the documents and family photos without having to lug out heavy binders.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Genealogy Resolutions and Year in Review

The End of the Alexander Forgey paper trail  is 1807, picking up from here in 2014

Happy New Year 2014! 

It's been such a fruitful year genealogy wise; it's hard to recall every single new find, there were so many.

  1. My mother took the Family Finder autosomal test through MtDNA in August. This has led to finding more distant cousins. The best outcome of this is that she looks like a DNA match to a distant Forgey cousin, further cementing our relationship to the McMinn, Tennessee Forgeys.
  2. My cousin Darryl Kapple took the Y DNA test and we now have a Haplo group of J2b. So we know our family had been in the Mediterranean area at some point.
  3. I took the MtDNA full sequence test and found out I belong to the African Haplo L2a1F. 
  4. Some of my Forgey first cousins took the 23andme DNA test.
  5. A third cousin, Sophia Preston, tested with 23andme and we discovered we share the maximum DNA that a third cousin is likely to share.
  6. The Virginia Memory Chancery court project led to more indepth information about the Lewis Zirkle family, plus great stories! The same database contained a court case naming Benjamin Wray's children and grandchildren, which is conclusive proof we descend from him.
  7. Another big breakthrough came from Ohio court records. Eve Urmey is named as a sister of John Urmey in his Ohio will. This John is son of Jacob Urmey and Susannah Brower. This is satisfactory proof, for me, that Eve is their daughter. 
  8. After adding Brower to the tree I was able to find some great information about this family and their origins in Germany. I've also collected up Urmey and Brower wills this year.
  9. It looks like Edward Browning's wife was Elizabeth Drane.
  10.  This past week I've added another name to the Kapple tree, the name Rottenstummer. I did this with the help of a Kleinmurbisch, Austria cousin. Rottenstummer seems to have originated in the village of Kleinmurbisch.
My to do list for 2014
  1. I think my number one priority this year is going to be trying to find out more about the mysterious Alexander Forgey of Washington County, Virginia. We don't know who his children are, and we don't know where or when he died? We lose all track of him in 1807.
  2. While researching the Brower family I saw Brenneman given as Susannah Brower's mother Eve's maiden name. I can't confirm this. I would like some documentation for this?
  3. I've been doing some Browning family research this year. I would like to find more documentation linking the Tennessee Brownings with Maryland. Also need to find documentation that Elizabeth Drane was Edward's wife.
  4. I still don't have any photos of Frank Kappel and Mary Kurta, my great-grand parents, so I will be continuing to search for those.
  5. Another carry over from previous years is finding the death information for Patrick Mullen and Mary Huvane who died in Ireland.
  6. The partnership of Ancestry.com and Familysearch will produced more records to search, and I plan on using them as soon as they are available. When I don't know?
  7. Another resolution from years past is learning more about my Nicaraguan ancestors. I did look into getting more information about them, but was disappointed to find out that the vital records office for Granada, Nicaragua doesn't respond to mailed in requests. You must request records in person. So finding out more on this line may mean a trip to Granada, Nicaragua?
  8. I'll continue searching War of 1812 records as they come available.
  9. I've upgraded my cousin Darryl Kapple's Y DNA test, and should get the results in a few weeks. We'll see if there as any matches at 37 markers?
In conclusion I've made some great headway, and confirmed the parentage of Eve Urmey and Elias Wray, this year. We've confirmed our paper trails using DNA. We've also added some great stories, so we have more than statistical information. I've compiled much of what we have so far into several books I've printed, through Lulu, this year. This included printing this blog into a book. If next year is as fruitful I will be very grateful!

Welcome Catharina Rottenstummer to our tree!