Blog 2022 06 12 What do you do with information about your ancestor that occurred after they died?

Does that sound as strange to you as it does to me?  I ask because I constantly see trees online that make no sense.  After all, the event the ‘ancestor’ participated in occurred before they were born or old enough to participate or were either too old to participate or had already died.  I even saw one tree where the person served in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  We have discussed many times about being careful in making decisions based on the person’s name.

Have you considered whether the person could be the father or uncle of your ancestor who wasn’t born or too young?  Might the individual be a son or nephew of the individual and account for the record after the elder had passed away or grown old?

We are all eager to find an ancestor who participated in some great event but we must be careful that the information passes common sense.  At the same time, it may be an indication that other information is incorrect.  This is why we should always try to locate two or more pieces of evidence that support the claim.

Why am I pointing out this obvious information?  Because I am constantly finding people saying ancestor so-and-so served in the Revolutionary War and was born in 1782 or 83.  Or where the patriot is the right age but never came to Georgia where the son or daughter was born.  We must be diligent that our information makes sense.

Good genealogists weigh each piece of ‘evidence’ through very critical eyes to see if it makes sense.  Another example would be Elizabeth Lloyd who married Archibald Smith in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1810.  By 1830, she is a widow.  This widow appears in District 51 of Montgomery County, Georgia in 1830, 1840, and 1850, but not on the 1850 population schedule.  However, she is on both the Agriculture and Slave schedules in District 51 of Montgomery County.  Yet many believe she died in 1855 in Warren County, Georgia because of an intestate probate being opened on the estate of Elizabeth Smith.  Is it likely?  To move over 250 miles as she nears 60 with no known family near that Tennessee-bordering county simply does not make sense.  Even though the name is Elizabeth Smith, we simply cannot accept the estate of the Elizabeth Smith in Warren County as belonging to our person of interest.  Nor can we accept the other popular opinion that she is the 55-year-old Margaret Smith with a 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth since they are in a district other than 51.  Since ours appears on the non-population schedules in District 51 we can be confident she is still in that district.  When did she die?  Don’t know yet.

One more case.  John Livingston died in Pulaski County, Georgia, and was buried in nearby Dodge County in 1857. [i] We know the date because he signed his will in March and when the tax collector came later that year, his wife, Caroline is listed as Executrix on his estate. [ii] That said, Delola “Jane” Livingston is born in 1861.  Jane is a Livingston because her mother was a Livingston but she was not the daughter of John.  The 1860 U. S. Census shows a 24-year-old boarder, Benjamin Veal, living in the household of 39-year-old, Caroline Livingston. [iii] While Caroline used the Livingston surname until she married James W. Parkerson, [iv] her obituary listed her as the daughter of Benjamin Veal. [v] Whether due to ignorance or wanting to give a false impression, the obituary read, “daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Veal,” but they were never married.  Benjamin reportedly died in 1865.  Additionally, many people list John’s father as Ned Livingston based on the 1870 U. S. Census. [vi] They either do not notice or must believe the enumerator made a mistake because 80-year-old Ned is Black.  This is why we must do further research and not believe something based solely on the census.  The Livingstons did own slaves and Ned appears to be a former slave who has stayed on as a farm laborer.

[i] Find-a-grave, database and images, ( accessed 15 June 2022), memorial # 121932676, John Livingston (born 1811 and died 1857).

[ii] Pulaski County, Georgia, 1857 Tax Record, Pulaski Tax Office, Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia, image, FamilySearch, ( accessed 14 June 2022).

[iii] 1860 U. S. Census, Pulaski County, Hawkinsville Post Office, p 299 (inked), dwelling 395, family 388, hhld of Caroline Livingston, image, FamilySearch, ( accessed 14 June 2022), citing NARA publication M 653, roll 134.

[iv] Dodge County, Georgia, Marriage Book A (1871 0 1885), p. 142, license # 37, Parkerson – Livingston (14 November 1878), Dodge County Probate Court, Eastman, Dodge County, Georgia, FamilySearch, ( accessed 14 June 2022).

[v] “Stroke Causes Death of Mrs. Lola Parkerson,” Times Journal, 28 July 1943.

[vi] 1870 U. S. Census, Pulaski County, Hawkinsville Post Office, p 159 (inked), dwelling and family 1296, hhld of Caroline Livingston, image, FamilySearch, ( accessed 14 June 2022), citing NARA publication M 593, roll 170.