Friday, March 26, 2010


Some years after my mother joined the DAR, my sister joined. Talking to my mother later, she found it was unusual that my sister’s application added one more generation to get to the same ancestor. She never looked much further into it. I picked up our family history some time later and found that our common ancestor, Moses Fuqua Sr., had 10 children. One of his daughters, Nancy, was born in 1766. She married Josiah Morton in 1790. They followed her father to Kentucky when he migrated. They had a son, Richard Woodson Morton, who was born about 1798. He married Hannah Bingham in 1820 and had their first son James in about 1821.

Moses’ 5th son was also named Moses, and he was born in 1798. He was sent out ahead of the family to scout Moses’ land in Kentucky. He stayed in a tavern in Alexandria, Ohio owned by John Collins. He fell in love with John’s Daughter, Cynthia Ann, and married her on 23 December, 1800. They had a daughter, Cynthia Jane, who was born in about 1822. Cynthia Jane married James Morton (the son of Richard Woodson Morton and Hannah Bingham).
This means that Moses Fuqua, Sr.’s granddaughter (Cynthia Jane) married his great-grandson (James Morton)!

In my study of my family’s history, I have found that it is very common for the same group of families to be closely associated over a few generations.This happens for a number of reasons. First, in rural areas the number of families in a given location is small. Therefore, when families have a large number of children, it is likely that there will be multiple marriages between families. Furthermore, many of the people that migrated west from Virginia believed in maintaining social position. These families came from the landed class and believed in staying within their own station. This reduces the number of options one has to find a suitable mate. It is inevitable that there will be some marriages between distant (and not so distant) cousins.

These close relationships between families can make tracing your roots a much simpler task. I have used the existence of related families living in close proximity to help in verification. This becomes a valuable tool the farther you go back in your history. Sometimes the connection you need will be found in legal documents of other families. Many of these will provide the only proof of connection between generations. Remember, birth certificates are a fairly recent innovation!

For those interested, here are the surnames I am researching in my family tree: Whiting, Steele, Harton, O’neal, Porter, Shawan, Fischer, Callihan, Ayres, Foster, Andrews, Finnell, Sleet, Roberts, Pratt, Morton, Fuqua, Bingham, Woodson, and Backus.

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