Sunday, September 28, 2008

Email to Family...

I am loving the New FamilySearch.Org. I was able to look up John Mitchell, 1758-1836, and wife Obedience Vaughan, 1765- on NFS and found a wonderful family group -- 19 children 7 boys and 12 girls. Now there a goal for you kids. Can you beat that? Graham/Angie? I know the Mitchell family is competitive.

Guessing on the 1758 birth date, John must be an older cousin or possibly an uncle to our end-of-line James Mitchell, 1772-1804.

And yes there must be some other LDS genealogist working this Vaughan line because the temple work has been done for all the Mitchell/Vaughan children and she sealed to spouse but no work done for John himself based on the one record I am looking at. The first one I saw for John and Obedience. Her line extends to her paternal and maternal grand parents. All temple work completed for them as well. Interesting.

See isn't NFS great.

Another genealogy victory. I have been working sporadically since we returned from California in early August on piecing together Mike Bradford's (Sue Christiansen Mitchell, ...Bradford -- my sister-in-law's husband) line back to William Bradford, Colonial Governor of Massachusetts, 1621-1633. Almost had it done too. At last think I was close. Now with NFS tool available, I entered Mike's grandfather's name, Samuel Case Bradford into NFS and walla the whole line appeared back to Governor Bradford. Just that fast. Amazing!

I am now feeling some responsibility on learning to handle such a powerful tool. Amy Anderson underscored the need to eliminate duplicates and claim records that pertain to my family as my own. That is a feature of NFS. A lot of it is un-sourced with any specificity and one has to look at the data and determine was I the source of this info in the database. If so there is a procedure to declare that you were the source. This will come in handy when others want to collaborate and discuss research differences.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Email to Matt and Brittany...

I very excited about the new DNA match I have on the Mitchell line. Coming to grips with the James Mitchell issue and his connection to other Mitchell's in Amelia County is the one issue I have set aside until I worked some other issues. I believe now is the time to address this issue as a priority research issue.

Matt, As I recall you have done the most thinking on this one. So maybe we can work together to come to an understanding about the Mitchell Amelia connection.

One strange thought is that with the confirmation through DNA of some relations to John Mitchell that I claim the whole batch as kinfolk and do the temple work for all of them.

Mom, in fact, thinks we may have already done all the Mitchell marriages of record in Amelia County that could have been potentially Shatteen's parents. For example, she believes we already did John and Obedience.

I need to refresh myself on what data we have. I know we have the whole set of early records from Amelia County, including marriages, deeds, wills, & miscellaneous court records. The family went together and got them for me for Christmas one year. In know I have typed notes on them too.

Do you have access to the new Family Search program there in Utah? We are suppose to have it right now. Gee, I wonder if there is any connection of this Mitchell issue coming to the fore right now and the roll-out this week in our area of new Family Search. WOW! Spooky, huh?

Email to Ann...

I and my father were stuck actually the generation before for 40 or more years with James' son Shatteen C. I will have to look at the material again in Mary Mitchell Clarke's book, Shatteen Coker Mitchell, 1802-1866 but it may include a discussion of John and Obedience as possible parents of James. Years after her book was published Mary Clarke found the settlement of an inheritance suite in Laurens, SC abt 1842 as I recall. In any event a court decided who should get what and it laid out beautifully all the family relationship including Shatteen's parents and siblings. But John and Obedience marriage date made them good candidates to be possibly my Shatteen's parents. There were others in the Amelia County marriage records that see also seem plausible candidates as well. I know there is another older James in Amelia County that could be my James father or grandfather. No documentation that links these people. That is why I am trying the DNA route too.

I just recruited another cousin from a different grandfather than I to take the test. We are awaiting his results. I have another Mitchell cousin from still a different grandfather that I am thinking about recruiting but he lives in Houston and may have more pressing issues on his mind right now with "Ike" and all.

But this is wonderful to have this match with another Mitchell line that can trace its roots back to Amelia County. There are a lot of Mitchell's there back to 1735/1750 or so. Just don't know how they are connected. But with our DNA matches we at least know our two lines are related. Please thank your son for testing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Email to Jim...

Here is the email that helps explain some recent break-throughs on finding Renny Belew's origins through combining DNA results and use of traditional genealogical information. The DNA matches pointed us to other genealogical researchers who had relevant information that we would have never found otherwise.

Joe and Sam are cousins who are believed to be both direct male-descendants of Peter Belew, son of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. Judith is daughter of Pierre Chastain, the co-founder of the first French Huguenot settlement in Virginia established in 1700 along the James River, near present day Richmond. Pierre was both governor and physician.


To: Joe B.
Subj: Re: From Ron Mitchell abt BELEW Family History

Thanks for getting back to me. I sent the same email to Sam, who quickly took me up on the offer to test. So I ordered a DNA kit for him last Monday. He should have received it by now or if not in the next day or two. So you are off the hook. I believe it is sufficient that only one of you need to test.

We (speaking of myself and Helen B. with whom I work closely) have had what we believe to be a significant break through in the last 10 days. This is in part because of the DNA project we initiated about 2 years ago. The essence is that we have had correspondence with two researchers on non-Belew lines that show DNA matches with Renny's direct male descendants. The two lines are Pruett and Farmer. Both have researchers that in recent days have pointed us to Thomas Pruett of Halifax County as the key.

Marcia McClure on the Pruett line identified Thomas Pruett as possibily the common ancestor for the DNA matches. Thomas had a son named Renney reportedly born about 1729. Thomas was married to Mary Chastain, daughter of Estienne Chastain. A "Thomas Pruett" also stood up in court in Amelia County for Judith Chastain, dau of Pierre Chastain, on the charge of having a bastard child. So the Pruett's and Chastains seemed to have a close relationship.

Here are some details of the case.
20 April 1739 - Church Wardens of Raleigh Parish vs. Judith for having bastard child. Amelia Co. VA OB 1, p70. (Thomas Prewitt security for this one). The date 1739 seems a little late vice b. abt 1729 for Renny. One or the other of these years maybe incorrect. Both years are fascinating, however 1729 is one year after Giles Belew reportedly died. 1739 is one year after, according Belew family tradition, Renny Belew was born. In any event, it is fascinating that Judith Chastain and Thomas Prewitt are linked in this way. Who knows how long they were associated with each other.

Seems that Thomas Pruett and his family moved to Halifax County, VA where they show up frequently on the records there starting about 1759. In a set of land transfers, Thomas deeds on the same day in 1759 150 acres to each of three sons, Renney Pruett, Abraham Pruett, and his son John Farmer. Hence, the DNA connection with the Farmer line is also explained.

Marcia claims that Renney Pruett seemed to have disappeared from Halifax County, about 1776, never to be located again. Interesting, our 20 first record of Renney Belue appears in 1767 in Anson County, NC. Anson County, which is due south of Halifax County. Halifax borders NC on its northern border while Anson county borders SC border on its southern border. Renny subsequently moved to the area that is now Union, SC.

Could it be that Renny Prewitt/Pruett and Renny Belue/Belew are in fact the same person? That currently is our working hypothesis. Or could it be Thomas Pruett fathered a child with Judith Chastain Belew, who retained his mother's married name and whose first named was Renny? All very interesting. In any event, the DNA results and matches we have so far are pointing us to Halifax County and adjoining counties in the 1766-1766 period and to the Pruett family as a link to my ancestor Renny Belew's origins. We also believe the Chastain family could be somehow involved.

So I am most anxious to see if Sam's DNA test sheds any more light on this mystery. Won't know until Sam tests and his results are analyzed. Once Sam mails his sample to the Houston headquarters of FamilyTree DNA Co FTNA will sends the sample off to the Arizona lab for analysis. It is anticipated that 6 to 8 weeks will lapse before the results are returned to Sam. I will be notified that the results are in at the same time. Helen's and my experience is that the eight weeks of waiting will seem like an eternity.

I hope my meandering response gives you some idea of the excitement I am currently feeling and great anticipation I and Helen have. Our sense is that we are coming very close to bringing the whole issue of Renny's origins to a close. Have a most wonderful week,

Truly yours,
Ron Mitchell

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe B.
Subject: RE: From Ron Mitchell abt BELEW Family History

Ron, I got your phone messages and just saw this, after returning from a two week trip. This sounds very interesting. I am going through 1,000 emails this morning and will get back to you shortly.


-----Original Message-----
To: Joe B.
Subject: From Ron Mitchell abt BELEW Family History


As background I spoke to you last March about our two Belew lines. As I recall you trace your Belew line back to Solomon Belew, who may be descended from Peter Belew, the only know legitimate son of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. My line goes back to Renny Belew who settled in Fairforest, Union Co. SC/

We have had a very exciting break through this week.

We believe believe we have strong evidence now that my ancestor Renny Belew’s is connected to Giles and Judith but his biological father being Thomas Pruett, who lived subsequently in Halifax Co, VA. He in fact had a son Renney Pruett, who we believe may have moved south to North Carolina and then to South Carolina where he was known as Renny Belew. This is based on connecting some dots through a DNA surname project.

I am asking you to participate in a Belew DNA surname project at no cost to you.

I want to purchase a DNA testing kit for you this week. I have received some financial support that I have been waiting for that puts the cost to me of the DNA kit into my comfort zone. This is in the form of a deeply discounted price now being offered by the FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) company and that is valid through the end of August. What I would need from you as your consent to purchase the kit which I would have sent to you. Follow the20directions on the kit and return the kit to the FTDNA company. That is all.

If you have any question please contact me by email or telephone. My telephone number is [removed]. I need to hear from you before I order the kit. The FTDNA offer ends Aug 31st. So I need to hear from you before then.

I would really like to know where Peter and Solomon Belew fit in this whole picture.

I am attaching a file that has three parts. The first part gives you my Mitchell DNA results so you can see what the results look like. Also the second file is the URL to the Ballew DNA Project website. If you click on the area labeled Web Format Printer Friendly version of the matched and no-matched groups, this brings up an enlarged table of DNA results for all the participants in the project. I would hope you would consent to have your results posted in this table. I am curious into what group your results would fall. To me it is worth the money for the kit to know that.

-- Ron