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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alexander West I: A Character in the Game of Clue!

Thanks to Tom who left a comment for me on my January 12, 2012, post.  For some reason, his comment is not appearing on that post.  Therefore, I wish to share his thoughts with my readers in hopes that his thoughts will “jog” another reader’s memory.
Before I begin sharing Tom’s comments, we need to keep the Alexander Wests and their dates in mind.  Alexander West (whom I have labeled Alexander West I) was born between 1720 and 1730 and likely died after 1790 but before 1800.  His son, the second Alexander West (whom I have labeled Alexander West II) was born 1751 and died in 1834.  Alexander West II is well-documented, particularly, in his Revolutionary War Pension records.  The third Alexander (whom I have labeled Alexander West III), the son of Alexander West II, was born in 1783 and died in 1864.  Of course, in tax, census, and land documents, these men are frequently referred to as Alexander West, Senior and Alexander West, Junior.  But, one must remember that another Alexander West came along in 1783.  As he matured into manhood, he was probably noted as Alexander West, Junior, also.  Very confusing!  In 1800 Alexander West I would have been between 70 and 80 years old; Alexander West II would have been about 49 years old; and the son of Alexander West II, whom I identify as Alexander West III, would have been about 17 years old.
Tom indicated that he is descended from Alexander West who appears in the 1800 census of Greenville County, South Carolina.  He mentioned that he is descended through Alexander’s daughter, Edda, who married Archibald Fowler.  Both Tom and I believe that Edda would have been the daughter of Alexander West I (1720/30-aft 1790).
In April 2009, I communicated with researcher Jim about Edda.  My contact with Jim was through the West GenForm on  He, too, thought that Edda may have been a daughter of Alexander West I.  He found Alexander West, Sr. listed in the 1782 Wilkes County, North Carolina, Tax List along with Bray Crisp.  Jim indicated that in the Miller-Eberhardt files, Edmund Miller (1790-1876) identified Alexander West as the father of Edda Fowler, the wife of Archibald Fowler.  According to Jim’s estimation, Edda was born about 1772.  Furthermore, Jim found Alexander West, Jr. and Alexander West, Sr. listed in the 1800 census of Greenville District, South Carolina.  In addition, according to the Greenville County deeds, (Deed Book G, page 229), Jim found that on December 1, 1800, Alexander West, Jr. received a land grant for 500 acres in Greenville District of South Carolina from Governor John Drayton.  On September 19, 1801, an Alexander West [probably the one named in the land grant as Alexander West, Jr.] sold 300 acres of this land to Thomas Edwards.  Since Alexander West III likely would have been too young to receive a land grant at the age of 17, I conclude that the Alexander West, Jr. referenced above was Alexander West II.
After reviewing this data, I believe that the Alexander West who was in the 1782 Wilkes County, North Carolina, Tax list could have been either Alexander West I or Alexander West II.  In fact, an Alexander West was listed in the 1782 Tax List for North Carolina as having 30 acres of land in Wilkes County in 1782 and 200 acres of land in Burke County in 1805.  One may conclude that the Alexander who had 30 acres of land in Wilkes in 1782 could have been either Alexander West I or Alexander West II, and the one who had 200 acres of land in Burke in 1805 was Alexander West II.
According to my documentation, the 1775 Tax List, Alexander West II was living in Surry County, North Carolina (part of which later became Wilkes County in 1777) in 1775 along with his father, Alexander West I.  According to census, tax, land, and military documentation, Alexander West II apparently remained in Wilkes County until after 1782.  By 1790, according to the census, he was living in Burke County possibly in the same location that became Caldwell County in 1841.  Alexander West II received many land grants in Burke County between 1797 and 1828.  Since these grants are documented in his Revolutionary War Pension papers, they were apparently his land grants and not any granted to his father.  Alexander West II is buried in Union Baptist Church in Lenore, Caldwell County, North Carolina.  For these reasons, his living in South Carolina in 1800 may not be likely.  In fact, his pension papers indicate that he was living in Burke, North Carolina, in 1800. 
I believe that Alexander West I was residing either with or near Alexander West II in 1790 in Burke, North Carolina, when both appeared in the 1790 census.  Neither one appeared in the 1800 Federal Census for Burke County.  However, the military records of Alexander West II indicate that he was a resident of Burke in 1800.  Therefore, I conclude (as in the game of Clue!) that Alexander West I died prior to 1800 in Burke County or that he was living in South Carolina in 1800 when he would have been between 70 and 80 years of age.  He may have been living near or with his daughter and son-in-law, Bray Crisp.   If these scenarios prove to be true or prove, at least, to be sound conclusions, I will need to change my estimated date of his death to after 1800.
Recently, I communicated with another researcher who believes that he, too, is descended through a daughter of Alexander West I.  This particular daughter may have married Bray Crisp.  Bray Crisp’s name is found in land and census documents along with an Alexander West who may have been Alexander West I.  Bray Crisp and Isaac West are listed as chain carriers for the survey of Alexander West’s land grant (warrant/entry 1782, received 1787) for 50 acres of land on both sides of Glady Fork in Wilkes County, North Carolina.  As a matter of note, Isaac West may have been the brother or a son of Alexander West I.  The Alexander West who received the land grant on Glady Fork could have been either Alexander West I or Alexander West II.  Bray Crisp is also found in South Carolina census data along with the name of an Alexander West.  I find it quite interesting that Bray Crisp and his wife apparently named a son Alexander Crisp (1797 Greenville, SC – 1870).  Certainly, one may conclude that the name, Alexander, must have been the name of this child’s grandfather.
Is genealogy a game of Clue?  Sometimes, I feel as though I am playing the game, Clue, as I gather tidbits of information, make assumptions, draw conclusions, and attempt to put the pieces together to solve this mystery!  I would love to hear from any of you who may have some “clues” regarding these pieces of this mystery.

Many thanks to Tom, Jim, and my third contact for graciously sharing information with me.
If you wish to refer to some of my previous blogs about Alexander West I for additional information, please see the following:
·         The Story, July 5, 2011
·         Assumptions, July 8, 2011
·         The DNA, July 11, 2011
·         More about the North Carolina John and Alexander Wests of the 18th Century, July 12, 2011
·         The West Patriarchs: 1st in a Series, Alexander West I, August 1, 2011

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DNA—I Took the Plunge!

In November I did it—I took the plunge!  Since I am promoting DNA testing as one means of determining ancestry, I decided it was time for me to be an example!  Therefore, at the end of November I ordered the Family Finder DNA Test from Family Tree DNA and took the test.  My results came back the end of December.  Since that time I have been overwhelmed with the magnitude of my results and my lack of understanding of the genetics.
Perhaps, you recall from biology courses that the male has an X and a Y (XY) chromosome and the female has two X (XX) chromosomes.  The Y chromosome is genetically passed to the male from his father with the X chromosomes passed to the male from his mother.  The female receives two X chromosomes—one from her father and one from her mother.  One of the popular DNA tests is the Y-DNA Test, which traces the paternal ancestors using the Y chromosome of the male.  The Y-DNA Test is only for males.  Therefore, females cannot trace their paternal lineage in the same way that males can with the Y-DNA Test.
As a female, I feel disenfranchised!  Which test would address my needs?  I decided on The Family Finder DNA Test that is appropriate for both males and females.  It analyzes 22 autosomal chromosomes enabling one to connect with descendants including males and females about 5 generations back from all sixteen of the great-great-great grandparents.  It will not provide the direct male or female lineage but will connect one with descendants from both the paternal and maternal ancestors.   In addition, the results provide a percentage for 4 continental groups from which one’s ancestry originated.   However, since the two tests analyze different aspects of the DNA, results from Family Finder cannot be compared with results from the Y-DNA. [i]
My results provided 245 matches of cousins from second through fifth.  In addition, I was given their e-mail addresses so that I might contact them.  After corresponding with a couple of “cousins,” I discovered that 245 matches must exceed the norm.  In the future, I will receive notification as additional matches with me occur. 
To my dismay, none of my matches had the West surname as his/her surname.  Only one match had the West surname in his ancestry.  Presently, even though I am certain there is a connection, I can’t make a connection with him in my research. 
I have had positive interactions with those whom I have contacted.  At this point, I have found only one “cousin” whom I can trace in my family trees.  He is a 5th cousin 1X removed from my maternal grandfather’s family.  Amazingly, I believe that his 3rd great grandparents lived across the street from my maternal grandparents.  We are still exploring this phenomenon.  Also, through lively e-mail correspondence the past few days, a couple of other “cousins” are busily helping each other and me determine how the three of us are related.  Possibilities are endless!  I’ll keep you informed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I wish each of my readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  Also, I wish to thank you for your support.   Today my “hits” reached 1205 with my readership spanning the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Latvia, France, Israel, and Hungary. 
By far, the most popular post has been “The Mingo and Tuscarora Indians” with “The Confusion” taking second place.  After these two, other popular ones have been “The Tuscarora Ranch: A New Beginning for the Ancestral Land,” “The Cemetery,” and “Migration Routes and Their Effects on Settlements.”  
Apparently, the posts about the Mingo and Tuscarora Indians, the Tuscarora Ranch, and migration routes have had an appeal to non-family members who are specifically interested in these topics.   “The Confusion”  that describes the reasons for my position that my West family did not descend from Governor John West of Jamestown, Colonel John West of Accomack, or John, the Indian, West, may have attracted researchers who are interested in those genealogies.  “The Cemetery” has appealed to my West, McNeil, Barlow, Land, and Carlton cousins.   I hope that these posts have been interesting and informative for all readers.  Hopefully, “cousins” and other followers will find something of interest in The Wests of Wilkes during the coming year.
My New Year’s wish is to hear from you!  I don’t know who most of you are!  Thanks to those of you who have sent e-mails.  I would appreciate any comments, corrections, and additional information that you may have.