The Mysterious William Ralston of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA (1750 ish to aft. 1801)

William Ralston (born about 1750) settled in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in April, 1769 according to the testimony he gave to the court. This testimony can be found in the Pennsylvania, Published Archives Series, 1664-1902, 6th series, Volume XIII, Part Two on pages 31 and 32 and of which you can read below. This is also available in full on Ancestry.com.

In February of 1786, William tells the court that he claimed land north of Big Sewickley Creek, next to the lands of Jeremiah Lochrey and John Hughes in April/May of 1769. This is the exact time when this area of Pennsylvania was opened to legal settlement by the white people.  He loses this land during the American Revolution, and the US government pays him 646 pounds on March 17, 1782 as a result of the confiscation of his estate. You can see these documents in the same 6th series, Volume XII, pages 578 and 845.q

It is important to note the mention of Jeremiah Lochrey. This connects our William to Lochrey and we can then assume with a good deal of certainty that the William Ralston in the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the company commanded by Captain Jeremiah Lochrey, stationed in Westmoreland County, for the defense of the the frontiers is our William.

William Ralston was a sergeant in this company from April 11 to October 10, 1780 and then promoted to Ensign from October 11 to December 15, 1780. He is not listed as being specifically in the company of Rangers who were under Captain William Guthrie’s Company which served under the command of Captain Lochrey. But the term “ranger” was used for the soldiers who defended the American frontier at the time of the revolution from the American Indians working in conjunction with the British.

Here is a fabulous map of Pennsylvania in 1770. If you download it you can zoom in and see all of the marked areas.

1777fadenatlaspa

What else can we deduce with some certainty about this William Ralston?

He is not the William Ralston in East Caln, Chester County nor is William of East Caln, born about 1733, the father of my William. William of East Caln is the third son of John Ralston out of Pikeland and then Vincent, Chester County. John Sr. begins to own property in Chester County in the 1730s. William remained in East Caln, Chester County until he removed to Philadelphia and died there 18 Nov 1808 at the age of 75. Our William was in Westmoreland County with certainty. So the William Ralston in East Caln on the 1751, 1754, and 1786 census (and others) is another man. William Ralston also owned land in West Nantmeal and lists this as his residence when he purchases additional land in East Caln in 1756. See Book T-4, Page 629, Deeds of Chester County. He sold his property in East Caln to Joshua Way in 1801 Deeds Book W-2, Page 48 and he lists himself as being of Philadelphia at the time.

John Ralston Sr. came from Northern Ireland with his son Robert in 1728 and they settled in Pikeland, Chester County. Robert’s son John born in Vincent, Cester Co in 1744 and died in West Vincent in 1825. There is an entire article about these semi-famous and important Ralstons in the book Old Families of Philadelphia. Robert was an important man in the American Revolution and the listings of these Ralston men out of the Philadelphia militia in the Pennsylvania Published Archive Series are not my Ralstons, Robert and William, who lived in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Same names and approximately the same ages, different family.

My William was on Forbes Road in Hempfield Township, Bedford County, PA in 1773, an area that became part of Westmoreland County.  Pennsylvania Tax and Exoneration List:

 

WmRalston1773HempfieldTownship

He lived in or very near to the historic Old Hanna’s Town.

In 1776, his son Jon was born near Greensburg, Westmoreland County, also very near to Hanna’s Town. We know this from the book titled Butler County (PA) History.

In 1774, William’s brother Robert signs a petition of Westmoreland County at Fort Shippen. You can see this in Pennsylvania Published Archives Series 1, Volume 4, 534.

RobertRalstonSignsPetition1774

 

You can read more about Fort Shippen and other western frontier forts and places here.

Let’s stop here at 1776 and with William’s American Revolution service and continue next time. I have the archives to continue perusing and also Westmoreland land deeds and surveys to look up and download. We have a court proceeding to find also for William lost his land in a court proceeding in the 1790s. A court proceeding that arose due to an event during the Revolution, separate from the confiscation noted above. The Ralstons were Scots-Irish presbyterians so maybe we can find some church proceeding records on them also.

Once we find everything we can readily find on William and Robert (and I have Robert’s will) we will try and see if we can deduce from whence they came to Westmoreland County and to where William went, along with wives and children.

Make note please of the proximity of the Hanna family in Westmoreland County as DNA results show a common ancestor 12 generations back from me. Or a few more generations back from William.

William ~ John Sr ~ John Jr ~ Millen ~ William A ~ Ivan ~ Richard ~ Me.

But more on this as I cannot locate a birth record for Ivan, though he was born in 1902 when they were required at the county level in Iowa. Orphan Train baby?

 

The Conundrum of NPEs in Genealogical DNA Testing and the Ralston Family

I am finally finding some time to dig into my Ralston line. I was prompted to do this as my sibling’s DNA test is showing a possible Non-Paternal Event.

This means that somewhere on the male Ralston Y-DNA line, there was (possibly) an event in a family’s life in which they gave one of my ancestors the last name of Ralston, or he took on the surname himself, but his biological father was not a biological Ralston.

There are a lot of armchair DNA genealogists these days, running their little surname projects and asking everyone with the same surname to join the project and get tested. One of them did this to me and then wasn’t so nice about our results. Told me to stop saying my Ralstons were Scottish (not that I have), that I wasn’t a “real Ralston.” That my family tree was very problematic. See, he didn’t use the family tree I provided to the project but the one I was working on on Ancestry. And I don’t claim anything for sure without historical documents and references. If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the trees on Ancestry are cobbled together without fact-checking or sources. People don’t realize there were three Benjamin Ellisons all born within a year or so of each other and all born in Yorkshire (but in different towns or villages), for example, and they cannot possibly all have the same father. You have to do the work to sort these men out before you lay claim to one as yours.

BTW: I did figure out my Benjamin Ellison and was able to take his line back to the 1600s.

But the thing about Ancestry search is that the more you add to your tree, the better your search results. To combat this, I’ve taken to creating new trees with people I suspect might be my ancestors. Then I work through this tree, using ancestry, familysearch.org, archives, libraries, other source material. And when I can connect for sure with other people in another tree, I do so.

Couple of other problems with the armchair DNA genealogist’s claims. First, Y-DNA only tests the male line. So here is a very real scenario. One of my Ralston ancestors’ mother was a Ralston and she gave birth out of wedlock to him. I say this because on my maternal side, my fifth great-grandparents had a son out of wedlock and he was baptized under his mother’s maiden name and then a year later, his mother married his father. The baptismal record lists his father’s legal name. This child went the rest of his life using the name on his baptismal record, never using his father’s surname.

I could indeed be a real Ralston. Our maternal ancestry makes us just as much of who we are as our paternal does. Also, if our family has gone by the Ralston surname now since the early 1700s, I think we can say we are real Ralstons. Adopted doesn’t make someone any less part of the family.

Second, the Ralstons were Scotch-Irish Americans, or Ulster Scots, in the mid 1700s in Pennsylvania as is the family our DNA seems to be matching up with. Ulster Scots were from Scotland but some of them immigrated to Northern Ireland in the 1600s to help Mary Queen of Scots’s, the Roman Catholic queen who came to an awful end, Protestant son, King James I, populate Ireland with Protestants. Beginning in the early 1700s this wasn’t working out so well for these predominantly tenant farmers and they began migrating to colonial America. Land for the taking (or so they thought). They weren’t Irish in their ethnicity/heritage; they were Scottish. Most of them anyway. One hundred years is a long time to live in Northern Ireland and they intermarried and so forth. But basically, if you go far back enough, and you are of Scotch-Irish descent, you’ll find your roots in Scotland.

But like I said to the guy, Scotland is not better than Northern Ireland or vice versa. The English aren’t better than the Irish or the Scottish. Come on, this is the 21st century.

Back to figuring out an NPE. Where could this break have come into the line. My brother? My father? My grandfather? My great-grandfather? And so forth on back.

I called a cousin who knew both my grandfather and great-grandfather Ralston. We decided we are fairly certain that my father was my grandfather’s son and that my grandfather was his father’s son. I am fairly certain that my brother is my father’s son but there is no way I am bringing this up to either him or his mother.

Who do I check? My great-grandfather William Alfred Ralston of Iowa? His father, Millen Ralston of Butler County, PA then Jackson County, IA? His father John Ralston Jr of Butler County, PA then Jackson County, Iowa? His father John Ralston Sr of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA then Butler County, PA? Or his father, William?

So I decided to start with William Ralston born about 1755 somewhere and who suddenly appears in 1769 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. I am not sure who his father was. Or his wife. The published sources on the Ralstons, such as The Golden Threads and the other Ralston book have a lot of inaccurate information because they found a Ralston with that name in a locality (ignored the other ones in other nearby localities) and then blended the men together. There are at least three William Ralston’s in Western PA during the mid 1700s, so we cannot blend them together. Ralston was a common name.

I will start recording the results of this search in future blog posts.

But if you were notified of an NPE in your family DNA results, don’t let the project coordinators force upon you uneducated assumptions. These project coordinators should be held to the genealogical standards of sourcing, using primary and secondary credible documents, and of relaying information within the historical context of your ancestor’s life. It is okay to make an educated and informed best guess, after you have largely ruled out the other options.

And Northern Ireland is stunningly beautiful. On the Antrim coast you can see Scottish islands and practically swim across. You can at least take a boat.

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The Antrim coast in Northern Ireland with a view to Scotland.

Walker Ellison’s Grave in Baildon, Yorkshire UPDATE

Walker Ellison was buried in the churchyard at St. John’s Parish Church in Baildon, Yorkshire on April 2, 1841.

ParishRecordsWalker'sBurial

His gravestone is a table top tomb and it is located near the church:  “From the church porch, a path ( made out of headstones) leads to a gap in a hedge. If you go through this gap you enter a small section of the  graveyard . To the left  of the entrance is a              row of table tombs- ie horizontal headstones  supported by stone on the two short sides. The gravestone is about the third such stone from the entrance.” Michael Lawson.

Mike Lawson is a volunteer at St. John’s and he and his colleagues have cleared away this area of the churchyard where Walker is buried. He generously met us at the church and showed us around. Thank you, Mike.

Mike also provided me with the inscription on Walker’s gravestone. It was nearly impossible to take a photo to make the inscription legible.

‘Sacred to the memory of Walker Ellison of Baildon died March 31st 1841 in the 23rd year of  his age. Also of Jeremiah Thomas , brother of the above November 24th 1844 aged 19 years. Both the sons of the late Mr Benjamin Ellison of Burnsall, formerly of Birkenshaw. Also of Peter, infant son of William and Elizabeth Ellison who died September 9th,1850.’

Note that Walker’s brother Jeremiah Thomas Ellison is buried with him. And also his nephew, son of William Ellison.

 

Walker Ellison Grave

St John Churchyard 4St John Churchyard 5

St John Churchyard 3

St John Churchyard 6
The legs of Walker’s table tombstone.
St John Churchyard 7
This is the view of the church from Walker’s grave.
St John Churchyard 8
The churchyard closest to the church. Note that tombstones were lain flat to create a walking path, in the 1970s.

Much of the churchyard is overgrown and largely inaccessible. Mike had access to a pamphlet of all the inscriptions in the graveyard as it is impossible to find someone in certain sections. I did have him check for Margaret Ellison’s parents, Francis and Sarah Cooper, who are also buried here but they do not have a stone marker. Mike explained that whomever buried Walker spent a great deal of money doing so, including the cost of bringing his body to Baildon from Easingwold, where he died. About 35 miles away. Many people, like Francis and Sarah Cooper, simply did not have the money to purchase a stone marker.

St John Churchyard 1St John Churchyard 2St John Churchyard 9St John Churchyard 10

I am fairly certain I am the first descendant of Walker’s to visit his grave since his widow and two children left for America in 1848. My great-grandmother tried to find it in the 70s when she visited England and thought he’d been buried in Easingwold.  Walker was only 23 when he died.

Descendancy:

Walker Ellison ~ Benjamin Walker Ellison~ William Arthur Ellison ~ Harold Delmont Ellison ~ James Arthur Ellison ~ my mother ~ myself

 

 

 

 

 

John Carroll & Mary Ferrigan Family Churches in County Down, Northern Ireland

This is St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rathfriland, County Down, Northern Ireland where John & Mary Carroll baptized their daughter Bridget, my great-grandmother, in 1867. Other children baptized there include: Catherine (1865), Thomas (1869), and Mary Ann (1871).

Rathfriland Church 1.JPG

Here is the view from the church:

Rathfriland Church 3.JPG

John Carroll was married to Mary Ferrigan on 20 SEP 1860 at the Church of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church of Clonduff Parish in Hilltown, County Down, Northern Ireland.

Here is the interior and exterior of the church as it looked in 2018:

Hilltown1.JPG

Hilltown2Hilltown3Hilltown4Hilltown5

Darius & Abigail (Paddock) Townsend Research in Dutchess and Putnam Counties, New York 1790-1800

I have recently discovered that Abigail’s line can be directly traced to Robert Paddock, the blacksmith of Plymouth Colony, Massachussetts. It appears he arrived to the colony circa 1634. Abigail’s line is Abigail~Nathaniel~Silas~Zachariah~Zachariah~Zachariah~Robert. There is a fabulous document titled “The Paddock Genealogy” and can be found on ancestry.com. Beware though, the entire book was not scanned in properly and information on Silas is on the missing pages. Original data: Curfman, Robert Joseph,. The Paddock genealogy : descendants of Robert Paddock of Plymouth Colony, blacksmith and constable, 1646. Fort Collins, Colo.: Curfman, 1986.

Online searches with zero results for Darius and Abigail:

General History of Dutchess County 1609-1876 by Philip H. Smith

History of Dutchess County by James Smith (1882)

Inscriptions from 5 NY, Dutchess County, Cemeteries

Putnam County Cemetery Inscriptions by Josephine Frost

Commemorative Biographical Record of Counties Dutchess and Putnam

History of Putnam County: Southeast section. Pages 287 and 289 list the Cranes and Paddocks as principal settlers of South East. Abigail’s mother was Mary Crane.

The History of Putnam County by William Blake

At the Archives of Michigan I searched the following books, microfiche, and microfilm for Darius and Abigail’s name and any possible children born/died in the years of the unknown children of this couple. Nothing much was found.

Index to Old Gravestones of Dutchess County, NY and then read through the acutal book: Old Gravestones of Dutchess County, New York

Marriages and Deaths 1778-1825 Volume 4 by Reynolds

Old Gravestones of Putname County with info from Dutchess by Barbara Buys

Historical and Genealogical Record, Dutchess and Putnam microform

Records of Early Settlers Putnam County, births microfilm

Cemetery Inscriptions Putnam County, including Fredericksburg microfilm

Confiscated Properies of Philipse Highland Patent lists Darius’s father Christopher Townsend as buyer for 122$ 2 JUN 1783 Fredericksburgh and also as the current occupier of the land. South East is located in the Philipse Patent. See map:

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Tax List of Philipse Patent, 1777 lists Christopher Townsend and Silas Paddock.

Old Southeast Church Cemetery book

Payments to People Who Built the Erie Canal F127.E5 K46 2008. Lists Townsend and Trenor as being paid $1000.00 to deliver cast iron culverts and other castings on line of Champlain Canal. This data was transcribed from a book: Laws of the State of NY in Relation to the Erie and Champlain Canals and the book is at the Erie Canal Museum.

Darius and Abigail have on censuses 6 unknown children. Two boys born between 1795 and 1799 in South East when it was considered Dutchess County and who lived with them in Windham, Greene County, NY 1801 to 1810 and then disappear. Four girls. Two born 1795 to 1800 and who both live with them in Windham. One girl born between 1801 and 1810 in Windham and who live with them through to Cayuga County 1830 census. One girl who lives with them on the 1830 census, and may be a grandchild. The known children are: William, Christopher, Elizabeth E., and Nathaniel Paddock Townsend.

I did find a possible lead: Nancy Townsend Noxon, wife of Daniel L. b. 1794, Feb 24th and d. 1865, May 1 buried in the Methodist Ground, Potter’s Corners, LaGrange, NY. Townsends were Baptists so this is a long shot.

 

 

 

Carroll and Ferrigan Family Home in Leitrim, County Down, Northern Ireland

Bridget Carroll Butler and her older brother Patrick were born in this Ferrigan Family home in Leitrim, County Down, Northern Ireland to John and Mary (Ferrigan) Carroll.

CarrollHomeinLeitrim

CarrollHomeinLeitrimTwo

Back of the photo below reads (written to Bridget Carroll Butler): “The same crowd taken outside of your old house at the Sheephill.”

CarrollHomeinLeitrimThree

Now here is the house when my grandmother visited in the 1970s:

 

BridgetCarrollButlerLeitrimHome

A barn with a red door was attached to the back of this home. In the 1970s the barn was over 300 years old.

FerriganBarnLeitrim

FerriganBarnLeitrim2

Patrick Carroll’s sheet in Grandma’s book. He was the son of John and Mary (Ferrigan) Carroll. Patrick met my great-grandmother Bridget when she landed in America at Castle Garden in New York on her own as a young woman.

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Here is Patrick F. Carroll, presumably with Catherine Kelley, his wife.

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Patrick’s obituary. Mrs. William Buttes should read Mrs. William Butler :

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Marjorie Butler Ralston’s Carroll Genealogy Book

I will be scanning in all the pages of the Carroll Family of Counties Down & Armagh, Northern Ireland genealogy pages my grandmother Marjorie Butler Ralston wrote and compiled.

Just keep in mind that Grandma spelled the names of places and people often incorrectly. And sometimes, she confused the County Armagh with County Down. Leitrim is a village near Castlewellan in County Down.

Grandma'sGenBookPageOneGrandma'sGenBookPageTwo

Alice Baines at Winckley Square Convent School

My lovely Baines cousin, Elsie, has met up with another Baines family member over in England and just told me that my great-grandmother Alice Baines went to Winckley Square Convent School in Preston before she went to America in 1911.

You can see what remains of the school here:

http://www.winckleysquare.org.uk/

On a very interesting note, you will see that if you tour Winckley Square on the above website, you will read mention of a Paul Catterall and his brother Peter Catterall. I am wondering what connection these gentleman have to my ancestor Margaret J Catterall, who married Henry “Harry” Baines. Their son James Baines was Alice’s father.

The men were members of the Winckley Club.

You can read about the Winckley Club (and the Square) at Google Books.

Thank you, Elsie!!

Sadler Family of Thornham, Norfolk, England

 

1871EnglandCensusJohnSadlerFamily1871EnglandCensusForElizaSadler

 

The 1871 England Census, shown above, lists the John Sadler family in Thornham, Norfolk, England. John and Elizabeth Vincent Sadler were the parents of Eliza Ann Sadler Fry, who was Edith Dorothy Fry’s mother and Ethel Tasker Ellison’s grandmother. Ethel Ellison was my Nana.

The census lists the family as living at the Life Boat and Hailehelane in Thornham. John is a “carter” and a “beerhouse keeper”. His 13 year old son is also a “carter.” A carter was a person who transported goods by wagon or cart.

John was the keeper of the Lifeboat Inn. You can click here and see the Inn: http://www.norfolkpubs.co.uk/norfolkt/thornham/thornhli.htm

When John died in 1880, his wife Elizabeth took over as the keeper.

Here she is on the 1881 Census:

1881EnglandCensusForElizaSaddler

 

Here is the Lifeboat Inn’s own site: http://lifeboatinnthornham.com/#

I also found their daughter, Eliza Ann Sadler’s baptismal record:

ElizaAnnSadlerBaptismRec