Tuesday, November 4, 2014

DNA Clues & Hunterdon County, NJ

Happily I have a third cousin who is the best genealogy research buddy ever. Also happily, she is good at things that I am not good at, and the subject of DNA matching is one such topic. Cousin J. had written to me earlier this year to say that we increasingly seem to have Taylor connections through a family called SWALLOW. Specifically, Mary Swallow, daugther of Jacob Swallow, married William Taylor in Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey in 1768. Many internet trees name this William Taylor as the father of our Barbara Taylor. So now in addition to looking for clues in Bucks county, PA (home of Henry Taylor who moved to Sussex, NJ during the Revolution), we're also looking at another new place: Hunterdon county, New Jersey.

So here's what I found in probate records in Hunterdon county, NJ on my recent trip to SLC. Note that there were plenty of Taylors in Hunterdon county, but here are the ones that seemed to pertain to anybody named William Taylor:
  • In 1806, William Taylor wrote his will, mentions his dear wife Mary, and sons Mahlon, Jacob, John, Samuel, and daughters Mary (single) and Catherine, wife of Henry Vandolah. When Mary of Amwell subsequently wrote her will in 1818, it mentioned her daughters Catherine Vandolah, Mary Wilson, and son Jacob. Note there is no mention of a daughter Barbara.
  • In 1815, Alexander Rea, Richard Hixson, and William Taylor Jr, all of Kingwood, Hunterdon, NJ, executors of the estate of George Rea, deceased, sold property to Daniel Potts, also of Kingwood.
  • In 1826, a William Taylor of Amwell wrote his will which I believe was proved in 1838 (this needs checking). It also mentions a wife named Mary, and then lists five executors to split his estate: Jacob Shumaker and Taylors (presumed by me to be sons): William, George, James S., Jabez G. Again, there is no mention of any Barbara. However, it is worth mentioning that there was at least one significant deed in Sussex county in 1822 that involved the entire Summers family (of our family tree) conveying property to William Taylor of Amwell, Hunterdon, NJ and Jacob Shoemaker of Oxford Twp. for $15,000! This would seem to suggest that this William Taylor definitely had ties to Sussex county!
Which of these William Taylor's was the husband of Mary Swallow?  Hmmmm.

In checking deeds in Hunterdon county, the following seemed applicable to a William Taylor, but neither seems to have had a wife named Mary:
  • several deeds involving William F. Taylor and Margareta wife of Lebanon, Hunterdon, NJ
  • 1817 deed involving William Taylor of Kingwood, Hunterdon, NJ and wife Elizabeth, land sold to Peter Sigler of Oxford, NJ, land was in Kingwood. This one is significant to us because of
    • Oxford, NJ is the NJ township where so many of our relations came from
    • Peter Sigler is in our family tree, born about 1730, wife Elizabeth, they had a daughter named Margaret who married Jacob RUSH, and these two are our 5th g-grandparents in another line that also made its way to Michigan
And now just for fun, I checked (again) the deeds in Sussex County. In 1822, George Hiles, James Hiles, and Daniel Hixon, who were variously connected to the estate of James Loder who died in 1792, transferred their part of the Loder estate - 232 acres in Oxford Twp. - to William Taylor, the husband of one of James Loder's daughters, Hannah.  William is noted as being "formerly of Sussex County, now of Amwell, Hunterdon, New Jersey." Holy cow. Are we now looking at yet a third William Taylor in Amwell? Or perhaps Hannah Loder died and William remarried to Mary Somebody? Probably the William Taylor who was connected to Shoemaker in Oxford?

So there stands what little research I've done about a William Taylor from Hunterdon county, NJ. I might guess that the man who wrote his will in 1806 was the William Taylor who married Mary Swallow, but I don't see any of their relations in our family tree, so maybe one of William Taylor's siblings is the father of our Barbara, but who were they? On the other hand, the other William Taylor who was associated with Jacob Shoemaker definitely did seem to have ties to Sussex County. Either way, the question remains how William Taylor/Mary Swallow DNA might connect to our family tree - perhaps it's one of those things that "snuck" into our line somewhere else along the way....

Are we confused yet?  I think we need to find and evaluate more evidence before the jury can even begin deliberations!

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