DMK Heritage

In the 1800s phonetic spelling of names were used and some times they were used with Scottish, Irish or German accents: keep this in mind. Scan the index for the names you are looking for. Foster can be Fauster, Forster, Fostor, etc. Mc Dowell, can be McDooll, Macdowell, McDowel, etc.


If you are dealing with first settlers in a region. Remember that in this time period most single people found their spouse within a 10 mile radius of where they lived. If your family lived on Duck Creek, check and see who else lived on Duck Creek and if they had children. They might be related.


Also with first settlers.... prior to the organization of counties, land sales were read into Circuit Court Records. In remote areas this was the only way of having a land sale recorded.


Most people move from region to region in families , "clans", etc. If you see the same names going from one region to another, they were probably aunts, uncles, cousins or in-laws.


To find a wifes name, always check the land sales in the regions you are searching. Old English law required the wife to sign the land deed when the land was sold to relinquish her dowry rights. If a man sold his land and died shortly afterward, his widow would have a claim on that land unless she had surrendered her rights. Most buyers would not accept an indenture without her signature.


Wills most of the time were witnessed by in-laws. .. Father-in-laws, bother-in-laws, son-in-laws.


Contrary to popular belief, Quakers did fight in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. They may not have been allowed to stay in the Church afterwards but they did serve


If you have ancestors who were the first settlers in an area and cannot find land deeds you might want to look in the early court records...... especially Circuit Courts. If a county had not been officially set up or if the county seat was miles away but court was held in a close town, people would have their land (and slave) transactions (deeds and land grants) read into the court records. This is also true when a county was set up but a recorder of deeds had not been appointed. Example: you will find North Carolina Land Grants read into court records in Eastern Tennessee. The records will be recorded under the date it was read into record NOT the date of the land deed. Example: You will find NC Land Grants for 1753 listed in the records for 1775. From the Newsletter


I have learned a great deal from reading and editing the books for my website. And I thought that I might share some of it with you. I will write it in short installments; hopefully without loosing continuity. Because we have been brought up in this country with separation of Church and State, we may not understand exactly what the Church of England (C of E) was and what its duties and responsibilities were during Colonial times. Besides administering to the spiritual needs of its members, the clergyman, clerks and vestrymen of the Parish also served the community in much the same way as our modern county administrators, and health and welfare departments. The clergy, his clerk and sometimes an actual tax collector, collected taxes. The vestrymen (usually landed gentry) set the amount of tax and what it would be based on. The C of E kept track of births (baptisms were sometimes taxed), marriages (always taxed) and deaths in the Parish Records. Taxes were collected to run the church and take care of the poor. Vestry Records contain lists of taxes collected and from whom (revenue); some deaths, and welfare information, such as payments to people caring for indigents; the church paying for caskets and burials for the indigent; the sick, disabled or orphans being placed in peoples homes with an allowance for their care; etc.; also, various donations to the church, and craftsmen who worked on the church (expenses).

Starting with the 1662--Act of the Assembly: Ministers were required to prove that they were ordained by an English bishop, and all others were prohibited from teaching or preaching, publicly or privately. * (One instance was in 1682 when Francis Makemie, a Presbyterian minister landed in New England; preached a sermon; and was jailed within "a very short period of time".)

Religion in colonies was established by law; the union of church and state put the church under the political control of the state. **All people living within the British sovereignty were members of the Church of England (C of E) and were subject to taxation by them.

* The exception was the Quakers. Several Quaker Land Grants stated that on that particular piece of land the Quakers could practice their faith. To my knowledge this was not granted to any other religion and not all Quaker grants included this clause. The Quakers and the Scotch Presbyterians were, as a group, introduced to each other in the colonies by Wm. Penn. When he could not recruit enough Quaker settlers for his land grants, his partner, Jonathan Logan brought the Scotch Presbyterians over from Ireland to take the remaining land. Many Presbyterians and the Quakers moved from Maryland to Virginia and were joined by others from overseas. (This migration continued into the Carolinas.) See Note

The Quakers and Scotch Presbyterians built their churches close to one another for protection from the Indians and/or the French or, in some cases, the English. (Since the Quakers did not believing in fighting; my assumption is that the Scots did most of the defending.) What the agreement was between the two groups I do know but there were far too many Quaker and Presbyterian churches built side by side for there not to have been some kind of agreement. This is especially true in the outlying area of Virginia, and the Carolinas (1700s). Note: Some of the cemeteries would run together. So if you are confused as to why Presbyterians are buried in the Quaker churchyard, look for the site of a Presbyterian church close by.

Minimum requirements of the C of E were that you have to attend church at least once each quarter, had to be baptized and married in The Church, and had to pay taxes or Tithes to The Church.

Virginia was one of the more stanch C of E states. Unlike Maryland, (who accepted Quaker marriages) Virginia would not accept ANY marriage not conducted by the C of E as legal. This caused problems, some couples could not afford the marriage tax, some were simply too far from a C of E and some did not want to be married by the state. This is why in some cemeteries you will find a woman designated as Mary Smith, Cohort (consort) of John Smith. They were not married in the C of E and thus she could not legally be considered his wife. You will also find this term in wills. (Also, a relic is a widow.)

The Quakers and Presbyterians chose land in the outlying area (some parishes in the western part of Virginia did not even have western boundaries) so they would be far away from the C of E; this meant several things: Land was cheap or could be gotten by grant. It was not cost effective for the C of E to spend too much time and energy trying to find them and collect taxes. And, they could worship and educate their children as they wanted. (According to law, all educators, and school board members had to be members of the C of England.)

Note and disclaimer: Not all Quaker grants were shared with other faiths and not all Scots lived on Quaker grants. Like all other broad statements in genealogy there are dozens of exceptions. I only put forth these observations hoping to give hints as to where you might find information for your research.

No, I do not know of a list of Scots that Logan brought to his country and neither do the administrators of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Library where most of the Logan papers are kept (and, they do not like being harassed about it.) The only agreed upon theory is that the lists of families were given to the King to prove the provisions of the land grants, and are probably somewhere in England.

** Landon Bell, author of Cumberland Parish suggests that the C of E in Virginia was more powerful that the state because of its influence.


To continue the discussion of what you will find in the vestry and parish records of the Church of England, (because of its duties and responsibilities in the colonies) I will now explain- processioning lands. Processioning is the act of walking land boundaries or property lines.

Queen Anne in 1705 started this practice for settling the Titles and Bounds of Lands; and for preventing unlawful shooting and ranging thereupon. It was refined in 1748. That once in every four years the bounds of every persons land shall be processsioned, or gone round, and the land marks renewed, in manner following, that is to say, the court in every county.. shall direct the vestry of each parish with their County respectively, to divide their parishes into so many precincts, as to them shall seem most convenient for processioning every particular persons land in their respective parishes;. and to appoint two or more intelligent honest freeholders of every precinct to see such processioning is performed and to take and return to the Vestry an account of every persons land. And, ...cause the accounts returned by the freedholders. To be registered in particular books to be kept for that purpose by the clerk of that Vestry and to prevent mistakes or omissions, the Church Wardens shall examine the same in the presence of the vestry.

Severe fines, were provided for the failure of any Court, Vestry, Church Wardens or other party to perform any duty directed of them. Any disagreement over boundaries was referred to the Court and a survey was conducted at the expense of the person or persons not agreeing with the processioned boundary. Having your land processioned was not an opotion.

The purpose of this law was to bring any land dispute to light and settled promptly. Processioning was continued in one form or another until 1919 in Virginia. After the revolution, because of separation of church and state, the County administrators were in charge of the processioning and maintaining the records, the church was no longer involved.

This is why you can find land information in the vestry records in colonial times. What you find in the processioning records who owned land and who lived next door to each other. There is occasionally a mention of the former property owner if the sale of land had been recent. Also, various landmarks would have the land owners mentioned.

_1 Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County by Landon C. Bell page 75 and Hening various pages.. ________

English Common Law Marriages goes back to the early 1300's and was accepted by the Church of England, however, it was continuously amended to serve the purposes of the King and the Church. After 1753 children of couples not married in the Church of England could not inherit land. This is why you will find land deed to sons and daughters for $1 or less with the stipulation that the parents can live on the land and be taken care of until their death.


In England, the English colonies and Wales, the Marriage Act 1753, also called Lord Hardwickes Marriage Act (citation 26 Geo. II. c. 33), required formal ceremony of marriage, therefore abolishing common-law marriage. The act required that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then consent to the marriage had to be given by the parents. Even with consent, parties were not allowed to be married unless the male was at least 14 years old and the female was at least 12. Previously, people could be married at as early as seven years of age, but until the participants reached the age of consent of 14 and 12 years, such marriages could be voided easily. The act was precipitated by a dispute about inheritance in a Scottish marriage.

When the act was passed, it required, under pain of nullity, that banns should be published according to the rubric, or a licence obtained, and that, in either case, the marriage should be solemnized in church (except for Jews and Quakers); and that in the case of minors, marriage by licence must be by the consent of parent or guardian. The act came into effect in 1754, and exempted Scotland and the Channel Islands. The law set forth much stricter rules regarding marriage, including that marriages must be performed in a church and must be officially recorded. Children of marriages that did not meet these requirements could not inherit property. Such children were considered 'base'. *




4 Turpins "Short History of the American People," p. 164.

Historical Humor Everyone has their bad days'. Some times those days are just hard to live down.

"Though the raw 4 colonial troops broke before the charge of British regulars, it was a general and not a people that had been defeated, as was to be proven." The American Army retreated northward, and Captain Isaac Clements company of Pittsylvania Militia, and other Virginia troops, were encamped for the night on the edge of a swamp. The men were exhausted and slept soundly. Suddenly the night air was rent with a deafening noise. Captain Clement delighted to tell that his brother who commanded a troop of Bedford Militia leaped to his feet and, drawing his sword, exclaimed, "Gentleman, I surrender!" The noise, however, was not Tarletons pursuing force, but a mighty chorus of swamp frogs.

For those of you who are looking for these unique men: Money Gannaway and Sterling Bell, they are in Maury Co. Tenn in early 1800's. (I love interesting names.)