Archive for July, 2018

During a recent call at the Genealogy Center, a patron was attempting to locate an ancestor. She was unable to locate this person in several different documents.  A review of the documents found the ancestor’s name with various spellings.

Do not be overly concerned with spelling, especially prior to 1900 in the United States. I found one cousin and his wife in the mid-1800s through various books and records. Both names had various spellings

Breathitt County, Kentucky is a location of several branches of my Fugate line.

Here at the Genealogy Center we have several volumes from Breathitt County, Kentucky. One of the marriage volumes by Frances Ingmire[i], shows the marriage of HOUDLEY Fugate to PALLY Napier. I pulled out my Fugate family history[ii] and found HENLEY Fugate was married to MARY Napier.

As I compared the dates and locations of the marriage, both volumes noted 25 Mar 1852 in Breathitt County, Kentucky.

I located a second volume of Breathitt County marriages[iii] by Margaret Millar Hayes. Her volume shows the marriage as HENLY Fugate & POLLY Napier.

Knowing that Mary and Polly could refer to the same individual I sought other documents to prove the correct (or most used) names.

The 1860 Federal Census shows HENDLEY and POLLY Fugate with three children[iv].

The 1870 Federal Census shows HENLY and POLLY Fugate with four children, the oldest having married and moved out[v].

In five resources I found four spellings for Henley (Houdley, Henley, Hendley, Henly) and 3 for Polly (Pally, Mary, Polly).

Spelling or transcription of 1800’s American penmanship can result in a variety names for the same people.

Erase the thought “My name is only spelled this way..”, when dealing with genealogy research documents.  Only in very specific instances will spelling matter. You may find valuable family information (and connections) in documents where the spelling of your relative’s name was not what you expected.

Good Hunting!


[i] Breathitt County, Kentucky Marriages, Frances T. Ingmire, Mountain Press, Signal Mountain, TN, page 2.

[ii] The Fugate Family of Russell County Virginia, David Faris, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 1986, pp 74-75

[iii] Reconstructed Marriage Records of Breathitt County Kentucky 1839-1873 Including Marriages from Breathitt County Marriage Book 1 – 1874-1877, Margaret Millar Hayes, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, MD. 1994, pg 55.

[iv] 1860 Federal Census, Kentucky, Perry County, page 27, family #174.

[v] 1870 Federal Census, Kentucky, Perry County, Lost Creek District, page 2, family #9.

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A coworker Grace, (not her real name) stopped me all excited, and stated she had been in contact with a previously unknown cousin.

Grace took a DNA test and recently received the results. A relative showed up as a probable first cousin. Grace was a little apprehensive.

Grace grew up with one brother, an uncle with four children and another uncle who was married twice, but did not have any children. She is in contact with her brother and the four cousins. The uncles and aunts are deceased.

Grace contacted this unknown relative. The cousin (female) stated she was the daughter of the uncle who did not have any children.

Through email and voice communications, the whole story came out.

Grace’s uncle sired a child with his soon-to-be second wife while still married to his first wife. This is during the early 1950s. The soon-to-be second wife gave birth while Grace’s uncle was in the process of divorcing his first wife. The divorce proceedings went on for several months.

The second wife was about to be a “single-mother” with a child “born out of wedlock.” She placed the child up for adoption and had no contact with the child for 50 years.

Grace’s cousin never met her biological father. He died almost 30 years ago. She was able to meet her biological mother prior to the mother’s death in 2015.

Grace’s new cousin gave permission to pass her information on to others. One of Grace’s oldest cousins stated the uncle in question was “his favorite” uncle and will be able to pass on information about him to this new member of the family.

Not all DNA tests result in connections. Not all of the connections turn into positive / favorable associations. However, the majority of folks who test with DNA companies and share their family trees are looking to connect with other relatives.

Have you tested with a DNA company? Are you seeking other currently unknown cousins?
You may have success similar to my co-worker Grace.

Good Hunting!

You are invited to join the DNA Interest Group that meets monthly in the Genealogy Center in the W.O. Haggard, Jr. library. Our next meeting is 14 August at 7 p.m.
All are invited.

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