When we started researching the Porter line of our family tree a little over four years ago, we encountered our first really big brickwall—the parents of Alpheus Adams, 3rd great-grandfather of MKS.
Back then, few researchers included parents for Alpheus in their on-line trees, those that did disagreed on his paternal line, and no one was willing to guess his maternal line. There were, and still are, few trees with sources attempting to prove his paternal line. Most trees we found clearly copied Alpheus’ paternal line from the same unsourced trees. [We did as well four years ago.]
There wasn’t even agreement as to his birth name—Alpheus Adams, James Adams, Alpheus James Adams, James Alpheus Adams.
In May 2017, we identified Reverend Ezra Adams as the apparent (meaning presumptive) grandfather of Alpheus based on members of this Adams family being in Grey County, Ontario, Canada, before Alpheus married Ellen Jane Hannah there in 1867, and the mention of two members of this family as Alpheus’ half-brothers in his obituary.
It was not until we began using genetic genealogy (DNA testing) that we were able to make any real progress. In Apr 2018, we confirmed that Alpheus is a member of the Rev. Ezra Adams line based on several DNA matches of Adams descendants with members of our Porter line.
Just to be clear, the parents of Alpheus Adams are not William McIntosh Adams and Hannah King, as shown in many on-line trees.
Today, of the approximately 100 family trees on Ancestry.com containing Alpheus, we can only confirm about 10 have his correct paternal line. And his maternal line remains a mystery.
Four years, that is a long time. Admittedly, our genealogy skills were poor when we started. Only recently have we removed the training wheels. Only this year have we begun to source our research and adopt a standard for expressing our level of confidence in the facts and events we add to our family tree and family history.
Please accept our apology Alpheus.
Over the next several posts, we will update our research and reveal our latest discoveries.
And maybe, just maybe, we will find Alpheus’ mother.
Alpheus Adams (1845-1910) is 3rd great-grandfather of MKS in the Watne branch.
While climbing our family tree, we meet our ancestors and relatives in many varied ways. We met Lucian Lamar Knight on the cover of the book Georgia’s Roster of the Revolution (a list of the state’s soldiers of the American Revolution)—he is its author . It took only minutes to confirm he is one of our Knights, but not through our Knight branch. It took a few days to understand the role he played and continues to play in Georgia’s history—in preserving it.
Lucian was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1868. He earned the degree of A.B. at the University of Georgia, where he was class valedictorian, and the degree of A.M. at Princeton where he studied theology. He was on the editorial staff of the Atlanta Constitution (1892–1902), and was editor of the Atlanta Georgian (1908–1910). 
In 1913, Lucian was appointed compiler of state records for the state of Georgia. He found Georgia’s historical records were not being preserved—and some were literally being burned in the basement of the state capital as fuel. General Sherman’s army never did as much damage.
Lucian personally began a five year campaign to convince the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor to create the first Georgia Department of Archives.
I am not an alarmist, but I come to sound an alarm. If the perishing records of Georgia are to be saved from destruction, the most vital need of our state at this time is a Department of Archives …
Lucian Lamar Knight, 30 Jun 1917 
Careful what you wish for! Lucian was appointed the first head of the department and served for six years until his retirement in 1925, when he was designated state historian emeritus for life.
The State Department of Archives and History was created by an act signed by Governor Hugh Dorsey in 1918. In 1931, oversight of the Georgia archives was transferred to the Secretary of State. In 2013, it was transferred again, to the University System of Georgia.
The Georgia Archives moved to its current home in Morrow, Georgia, in 2003. The Southeast Regional Branch of the National Archives opened next door in 2004.
Lucian was not content to just create a place to preserve Georgia’s history. He was a prolific author, co-author, editor, and co-editor; his more than twenty works include:
Reminiscences of Famous Georgians (two volumes)
editor with Joel Chandler Harris (author of the Uncle Remus stories) of the Library of Southern Literature series
first publication of the Statistical Register of Georgia
Georgia’s Colonial Records (volumes 22-26)
Georgia’s Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends
A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians (six volumes)
Lucian’s biography appeared in Men of Mark in Georgia, …, Volume VI . His obituary appeared on the front page of the Atlanta Constitution, and Evelyn Ward Gay wrote an account of his life .
Scholar, Historian, Orator, Poet, First State Historian of Georgia, Founder of the State’s Department of History, and Author of Many Important Works Relating to the History of the Commonwealth. … Here lies one who loved Georgia, every page of her history, and every foot of her soil.
Gravesite tablet of Lucian Lamar Knight, St. Simons Island, Georgia
Lucian Lamar Knight (1868–1933) is 5th cousin 5x removed of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
Nancy Frances Jolly was born in South Carolina on 14 Apr 1811. On 20 Jan 1831, she was apparently living in Franklin County, Georgia, and married Dudley Jones Chandler, also of Franklin County.
By 1840, they removed to Pocataligo, Madison County, Georgia, where they resided for the remainder of their lives.
According to a newspaper article published in The Constitution marking Dudley’s 90th birthday, they had sixteen children. 
Nancy and Dudley are interred at the McGinnis Cemetery in Madison County, Georgia.
T. J. Allen, the photographer of this portrait, arrived in Harmony Grove, now Commerce, Jackson County, Georgia, in about 1889, and was the principal photographer there for thirty years. 
Nancy Frances Jolly (1811–1887) is 5th great-grandmother of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
Dudley Jones Chandler (1809–1905) is 5th great-grandfather of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
References:  Ancestry.com member Leita Cowart (photograph).  “His Ninetieth Birthday,” The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), 13 Aug 1899, p. 4.  History of Harmony Grove-Commerce, Chapter 20, The USGenWeb Archives Project.
Beginning today, households across the United States will receive U.S. Census Bureau mail detailing how to respond to the 2020 Census—the 24th Census of the United States.
To mark this important occasion, we jump back to 15 Apr 1910—the beginning of the 13th Census of the United States. Our Stanley Wetherbee served as the enumerator for Fairmount Township (pop. 320), Fairmount Village (pop. 387), and LaMars Township (pop. 287), Richland County, North Dakota.
In 1910, enumerators were hired through the civil service system after a prolonged disagreement between Congress (favoring patronage positions) and President Theodore Roosevelt (favoring civil service positions).
Stanley visited households in Fairmount Township from 18 Apr to 25 Apr, Fairmount Village from 26 Apr to 3 May, and LaMars Township from 4 May to 7 May. He may have taken 24 Apr off. So he enumerated 994 persons over 19 days, about 52 persons per day.
Stanley appears to have made one mistake though. He seems to have forgotten to visit his own family. In 1910, Stanley was likely still living with his parents Homer and Florence Wetherbee, and his four younger brothers. We have looked high and low, far and wide—there is no Homer Wetherbee family in the 1910 US Census. So North Dakota’s population was not 577,056, but instead 577,063.
Under the 72-year rule, the National Archives and Records Administration will release the original 2020 US Census returns to the public in 2092. Until then, only statistical reports that do not identify individuals will be released. Genealogists will have to wait.
Stanley George Wetherbee (1890–1971) is 2nd great-uncle of MKS in the Wetherbee branch.
Stella Ludelia Hines and Mary Catherine (Kate) Hines are the daughters of David and Lydia Hines, and the granddaughters of George and Sarah Hinds.
This portrait is from the photo album of Hazel May Porter. The portrait was taken by Pioneer Studio of Blackduck, Minnesota, likely after 1902 as we will see. The handwritten notation on verso, presumably by Hazel, is:
Stella Hines Aunt Kate Hines
Their brother David Wellington Hines married Catherine Barbara Adams, daughter of Alpheus James Adams and Ellen Jane Hannah.
About 1826, George, Sarah, and children emigrated from Suffolk, England, to East Gwillimbury, York County, Canada West. David and Lydia’s children were born in Simcoe County, Canada West. Canada West became Ontario, Canada, at Canadian Confederation on 1 Jul 1867.
Their family name is spelled Hindes or Hinds in English records. In Canada and the U.S., it is variously spelled Hindes, Hinds, or Hines, with Hines being more prevalent in later records.
Kate married her 1st cousin William M. Hines in 1890. William had earlier removed to the U.S. around 1883, and Kate did as well in 1889. They apparently were in North Dakota for some time, as their first child, Olive, was born there in Dec 1892. By 1900, William and Kate removed to Blackduck, Beltrami County, Minnesota.
Stella removed to Blackduck in 1902, and married Arthur B. Page in 1903.
While reviewing and updating our family tree for Stella and Kate, we ran across this second portrait on Ancestry.com. Stella and Kate clearly remembered their pose from the earlier portrait, but forgot their hats!
Stella Ludelia Hines (1881-1964) is sister-in-law of 3rd great-aunt of MKS in the Watne branch.
Mary Catherine Hines (1866-1952) is sister-in-law of 3rd great-aunt of MKS in the Watne branch.
References:  KMS Family Genealogy Digital Archive, Hannah Elva Lucille Porter Watne collection, Hazel Porter’s photo album (first photograph).  Ancestry.com member pamelaasmith (second photograph).
Our tree on the Christian (Spratlin maternal) branch is broad and deep, seven or eight generations deep on every line, except for a single, late brick wall—the father of Anna Belle Foster.
Anna Belle Foster, likely born 3 Mar 1882 in Clarke County, Georgia, is the daughter of Eliza E. Bray, and the 2nd great-grandmother of MKS.
Eliza E. Bray married Juan F. Foster on 3 Sep 1874 in Clarke County, Georgia. We have only found five records that closely bracket Anna Belle’s birth and shed light on Eliza’s family:
1874 marriage license and marriage record for Juan and Eliza
1880 US Census for Juan and Eliza
Property Tax Digest for Danielsville, Madison County, Georgia, 1878–1882, for Juan
1900 US Census for Eliza
1910 US Census for Eliza
Eliza had three daughters: Rosa Foster, Harriet Foster, and Anna Belle Foster. Rosa and Harriet predeceased Eliza, who died on 4 Mar 1919.
In the 1880 US Census for Athens, Clarke County, Georgia, Juan is listed with Eliza, Rosa, and Eliza’s niece Cornelia E. Bray. Juan is listed as age 25, birthplace Georgia. That Anna Belle is not listed supports that she was indeed born after 1880.
Eliza and Juan apparently divorced before 1900, and Eliza then married William Jasper Bradberry after 1900 and before 1910.
Juan F. Foster—that is not a typical Southern name of that era. But his name is spelled that way clearly and consistently in the three records that list him. We have been unable to find any records for Juan prior to 1874.
With the dearth of records for Eliza’s family, the loss of the 1890 US Census (Fire!) is particularly detrimental to our research.
So here is the real problem. We have DNA kits for a grandson and several great-grandchildren of Anna Belle, making them a great-grandson and several 2nd great-grandchildren of Eliza, and presumably Juan. There may be no other records for Juan, but we should be able to find some DNA matches for these kits through Juan’s ancestors.
The probability Anne Belle’s grandson shares a DNA segment with someone that is an actual cousin through a common ancestor in Juan’s line is:
Match Relationship to Grandson
Juan and Eliza
Unless Juan is from a multi-generational line of only children, far from the norm of around eight children per family, we’d expect to find many DNA matches through Juan’s ancestors back through at least his great-grandparents. We don’t.
Here is what we do find for Anna Belle’s grandson’s DNA matches.
We clearly see large clusters for three of the four sets of great-grandparents—Spratlin-Crow, O’Kelly-Chandler, and Christian-Moore. And we see two small clusters in the lower right—Bray and Guest.
Guest? Who is Guest? As we lower the cM threshold and look at matches through more distant common ancestors, we find many more Guest matches, many with trees containing a Guest line extending back several generations before our time period of interest. By looking for shared matches through the spouses in this Guest line, we quickly develop a hypothesis for the parents of Anna Belle’s father—Sanford Guest and Frances Salina Stone.
We have at least 7 shared matches through Sanford and Frances, all with shared DNA amounts consistent with the hypothesis. We also have at least 20 shared matches through his parents and grandparents, and 32 through her parents and grandparents.
Eliza, age 23, lived with her parents in 1870 in Militia District 6, Banks County, Georgia, served by the Phi Delta Post Office.
In 1870, Sanford, Frances, two daughters, four sons, and another male Guest, age 17, of unknown relationship, lived in Washington, Banks County, served by the Nails Creek Post Office.
Sanford and Frances had five sons, born between 1846 and 1859. The first son apparently died before 1860. The other four all lived beyond 1920. It is likely one of these four is the father of Anna Belle.
The records and available DNA kits do not tell us any more at this point.
Anna Belle Foster (1882–1952) is 2nd great-grandmother of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
Eliza E. Bray (1846–1919) is mother of Anna Belle Foster, and 3rd great-grandmother of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
Juan F. Foster (1856–unk) is husband of Eliza E. Bray.
Sanford Guest (1818–1896) and Frances Salina Stone (1820–1897) are likely grandparents of Anna Belle Foster, and 4th great-grandparents of MKS in the Spratlin branch.
William Jasper Bradberry (1849–1930) is husband of Eliza E. Bray.
Sisley (NN) Jordan Farrar is our family’s earliest known arrival in America—Aug 1611, Jamestowne, Colony of Virginia.
Below is Sisley’s biography from Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635: A Biographical Dictionary , interspersed with additional context and discussion of the original sources for her biography.
In the original sources, Sisley’s given name is spelled several ways including Cecily, Sisley, and Sysley. We use Sisley, the variant listed in two censuses taken during her adulthood, unless quoting a source.
The gold finger ring and silver bodkin above were recovered during excavation within the palisade fortification at Jordan’s Journey—archaeological site 44PG302—Sisley’s home. The ring was found within feature F-431 indicated on the artifacts map.
On January 21, 1625, Cisley Jordan (Jordain, Jorden, Jerden), an ancient planter, reported that she had arrived in Virginia in August 1610 on the Swan. As she was 24 years old in 1625, she would have been around 9 or 10 years old when she came to the colony.
Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635
The Swan, a vessel in Sir Thomas Gates’ fleet, sailed from England in May 1611 via the West Indies, and actually arrived in Aug 1611, not Aug 1610.  More than 13 years later, Sisley is reporting her arrival in “Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia, 1624/5” , which explains the mistake in the reported year.
“She may have been accompanied by her parents, for Gates’ ships brought some 300 men, women, and children to the colony.”  Her maiden name and parents are lost to us.
Gate’s fleet was the 6th group of colonists to arrive in Jamestowne. Sisley had the good fortune of not traveling in the first four groups. Of the 600–700 colonists in these four groups arriving between 1607–1609, only about 60 were still living after the Starving Time in the winter of 1609–1610. The group that included Sisley increased the population of colonists in America above 1,000 for the first time. 
Cisley may have wed ancient planter John Bayley and produced a daughter, Temperance, who was age 7 in January 1625 and living in her home. It is certain that Cisley married ancient planter Samuel Jordan sometime prior to December 21, 1620, when he received his first dividend of land, which also included her entitlement as an ancient planter.
The Jordans took up residence on the lower side of the James River at a plantation they called Jordan’s Journey. After the March 22, 1622, Indian attack, the Jordan plantation was strengthened and became a rallying point for the area’s survivors.
Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635
Samuel and Cecily Jordan are listed as ancient planters in a 10 Dec 1620 land grant for 450 acres. 
Ancient planter is a term applied by the Virginia Company of London to colonists who arrived in Virginia prior to 1616, remained three years, and paid their own passage. After 1618, these colonists received a dividend of 100 acres of land each, the first land grants in Virginia. 
Sisley is listed in both “A List of Names; of the Living in Virginia; february the 16 1623[/4]”  and “Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia, 1624/5”  at Jordan’s Journey with Mary Jordan, Margery/Margrett Jordan, and Temperance Baylife/Baley. Mary and Margaret are Samuel and Sisley’s daughters. From this, it is inferred that Sisley married a Baley (Bailey, Bayley), and was widowed, before marrying Samuel Jordan. Interestingly, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635, does not mention this marriage between John Bayley and Sisley in its biographies for John Bailey and Temperance Bayley.
Cisley Jordan was widowed sometime after April 1623, and on November 19, 1623, she was authorized to settle her late husband’s estate, with the help of William Farrar. Farrar, who at the time of the Indian attack had been occupying a plantation on the east side of the Appomattox River, somewhat inland from Bermuda Hundred, may have taken refuge at Jordan’s Journey and stayed on. … On January 21, 1625, when a muster was made of Jordans Journey’s inhabitants, Cisley Jordan and William Farrar were listed as jointly heading a Jordan’s Journey household that included her daughters Mary and Margaret Jordan, Temperance Bayley, and 10 male servants.
By May 1625 Cisley and William Farrar had wed. Probate records indicate that they produced at least three children: Cecily, William, and John.
Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635
William Farrar died before 1637. Sisley is believed to have died after William, but the year is unknown.
Sisley is our Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestor (A9447).  The Jamestowne Society application lineage data is available in the membership only area.
What roles did Samuel Jordan and William Farrar play in the Colony of Virginia?
In July-August 1619 Samuel Jordan was one of two men who represented the corporation of Charles City in Virginia’s first legislative assembly.
In March 1626 William Farrar was named to the Council of State, and later in the year he was designated a commissioner of the monthly courts for the ‘Upper Parts,’ held at Jordan’s Journey and Shirley Hundred, to settle petty disputes in the communities west of Flowerdew Hundred.
Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607–1635
Sisley NN (1600–1637) is 11th great-grandmother of MKS in the Knight branch.
Samuel Jordan (1578–1623) is husband of 11th great-grandmother of MKS in the Knight branch.
William Farrar (1583–1637) is 11th great-grandfather of MKS in the Knight branch.
References:  Martha W. McCartney, Jordan’s Point, Virginia, Archaeology in Perspective, Prehistoric to Modern Times (Richmond, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 2011).  Martha W. McCartney, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2007), 433-434.  Wikipedia, “Jamestown supply missions.”  John Camden Hotten, “Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia, 1624/5,” The Original Lists of Persons of Quality (London: John Camden Hotten, 1874), 209-210.  John Camden Hotten, “A List of Names; of the Living in Virginia; february the 16 1623[/4],” The Original Lists of Persons of Quality (London: John Camden Hotten, 1874), 171.  “Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants Index,” Patents No. 8, 1689-1695, 125-127.  Wikipedia, “Ancient planter.”  “Qualifying Ancestors, Sisley ( ) Jordan,” jamestowne.org.
As our genealogy skills have developed, particularly over the last year, we are more often documenting our level of confidence in the facts and events we add to our family tree, or discuss in our posts here or in other documents we author.
There are many terms we could use to express our level of confidence, and many schemes to rank these terms relative to each other. No point in reinventing the wheel, though.
After purchasing a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained , we chose to adopt the hierarchy of terms presented there in Section 1.6 Levels of Confidence.
Certainly: The author has no reasonable doubt about the assertion, based upon sound research and good evidence.
Probably: The author feels the assertion is more likely than not, based upon sound research and good evidence.
Likely: The author feels some evidence supports the assertion, but the assertion is far from proved.
Possibly: The author feels the odds weight at least slightly in favor of the assertion.
Apparently: The author has formed an impression or presumption, typically based upon common experience, but has not tested the matter.
Perhaps: The author suggests that an idea is plausible, although it remains to be tested.
Being more mathematically and visually inclined, here is how we tend to apply these terms in our own use.
We usually keep possibly and apparently to ourselves until we have done a little more research.
When we estimate an individual’s birth year, based on a parent’s, spouse’s, or child’s birth year, we indicate this with, for example, “Estimate, based on her mother’s Birth.”
We assume the mother is 3 years younger than the father, and the mother is 22, 31, and 40 years old at the birth of their first, middle, and last child. These average ages were found in a reference that we unfortunately failed to record at the time. The reference though was for 1600–1900 America when the economy was largely agriculture-based.
And, if we copy something from someone else’s tree to preserve it until we have time to look at it, we now attach a source entitled “(copied from the internet; no source provided)”—copy these at your own risk!
References:  Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Third Edition, Revised (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2017), 19-20.