Monday, August 25, 2014

My AncestryDNA Test, part 1

AncestryDNA Test Kit
I finally ordered my AncestryDNA kit when it was on sale last month because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Actually, what really happened was that I was helping a couple of people out with their AncestryDNA results and I was really impressed by how well they were finding matches and making connections.

I usually recommended Family Tree DNA as a testing company because they are the most transparent and because they offer testees the most tools with which to analyze their data. But frankly, I had burned myself out a year ago trying to do all that chromosome mapping and analyzing of the numbers.

So late last year I switched tactics. I've been downloading and building out the trees of my matches and looking for intersections between their trees and my own. This is also a very tedious process, but I found that I preferred doing this kind of "research" over just trying to crunch numbers that changed all the time. This process started working better for me. The number of connections I found doubled.

Since this new process of working the trees was working so well for me this past year, I decided I would try my hand at the AncestryDNA test which is based on finding matches within your trees.

Boy was I in for a big surprise!

I was on the site for 10 minutes and in that time I found connections to 3 cousins!

I don't have all the numbers to share with you, like the total number of matches - I actually can't find that. So if anyone knows how to determine what my total number of matches are, please let me know. I can tell you that I have 2 3rd cousin matches! I've already determined the connection to one of them (see below). I have about 3 pages of 4th cousins and the rest (about 253 pages) are distant cousins. 

Let's take a look at one of my 3rd cousin matches:

I clicked on his name. He only has 9 people in his tree, but it was enough to see that yes, we are, in fact, cousins. We descend from a common King line in Howell and Oregon Counties, Missouri. His great-grandfather, WilliamFletcher King, was the brother of my 2nd great-grandmother, Dora King.

So if you've used to build your family tree, you are all too aware of their little shaky leaves that offer you "hints" of records that might pertain to your ancestors. Well evidently they've applied these hints to your matches as well. Unfortunately,  I did not get a shaky leaf with this match. But I could tell by looking at his little tree where the connection was - Along the King line.

Family Tree of my AncestryDNA Match
Family Tree of my AncestryDNA Match

Then I clicked on “King” inside the yellow box and it brought up a list of King ancestors for each of us. This is very helpful, especially if I have forgotten who my King ancestors were! His King ancestors are on the left and mine are on the right. I am not sure why it did not pull up a relationship chart.

Our King Ancestors
Our King Ancestors

I entered my match into my Family Maker Software, synced with my online tree, and then asked my online tree to calculate my relationship to Mr. King. Here’s what it produced:

Relationship Report between my Match and I
Relationship Report between my Match and I

It says we are 3rd cousins once removed. This lines up with what AncestryDNA predicted which was 3rd cousins. I'm not sure why it chose to display Tabitha House as the common ancestor between us. She was married to Robert King. He is also one of our common ancestors. We share both common ancestors - not just one. 


I always try to remind the people I work with and the people who attend my presentations that they shouldn't stop with just identifying the connection with their matches.

These are some of the Next Steps I take:

1.       Add my match to my tree. If they have additional family members tested, I add them as well
2.       Send him information about who his grandfather’s Virgil’s parents & grandparents were
3.       Ask him to upload to Gedmatch so I can compare our results to another known King cousin  match from ftDNA
4.       Foster the relationship – Exchange photos, stories, and information about your families


Next time I will show you what one of those shaky leaf produces and how I found my first Godwin match.

If you have King ancestors from Oregon or Howell Counties in Missouri, I would love to hear from you.

Email me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Smith Family: putting Y-DNA to work!

I’m very excited to report on the progress of our Smith Y-DNA results!

The DNA Journey

As you are probably aware, researching the Smith Surname has its challenges. It is, after all, the most common surname in America! [1]

Smith number one surname in America - Smith is the No. 1 Surname in America

In order to gain insight into our Smith ancestry, my grandfather took the Y-DNA test back in 2005 with Family Tree DNA. He went several years without a single match. He transferred his results to a couple of years later and got a match to two people with different surnames. I found it very surprising that he had no matches to anyone with the Smith surname since the Smith Surname Project was boasting to have well over 2000 members at the time. I began to wonder if we really were Smiths after all.

Shocked Face

Then one day he got a couple of matches through – one to an A. Smith in Perry County, Kentucky and one to an M. Smith in Utah. Mr. M. Smith, however, claimed he was a Smith from an adoption that happened a couple of generations back. (I will come back to this later).

M. Smith was a missionary at the time that I contacted him, so he was unavailable to discuss our match further. I was able to exchange information with A. Smith from Kentucky though. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a connection. And how in the world were we able to find an exact match to a man in Kentucky at the same time as finding one to a man in Utah? These two locations are no where close to each other! 

Google maps - Kentucky to Utah
Google Maps – says it would take 27 hours to drive from Kentucky to Utah

The Genealogy

According to the 1850 Johnson County, Arkansas census report, my ancestor, Richard Smith, was living with his parents, David and Sarah Smith. David Smith was born about 1789 in Tennessee. His wife Sarah Smith was born about 1790 in TN. [2]

1850 Johnson County Arkansas Census Report
 1850 Johnson Co., AR census report showing David Smith and his family

The Cherokee Citizenship Application file of their daughter Sarah Smith Grider indicated that David’s
father’s name was James Smith and that he was a Cherokee Indian. It also listed her mother’s name as Sarah Gallymore, daughter of “Jennie Gallymore, nee Lee.” [3], [4]

According to my grandfather, Richard Smith was born about 18 December 1838 in Blue Springs Cove, Jackson County, Alabama. Unfortunately, I have been able to find any source to prove this and we have been unable to identify either a David Smith or James Smith living in Jackson Co., AL during the 1830s and 40s who fits our family.[5] You can check out my research endeavors in my Alabama Smith References blog post.

Here is a summary of what we are looking for:
·         James Smith born ca 1760
·         James Smith who was in TN about 1790 with a wife and new born son David Smith
·         James Smith who was a Cherokee Indian
·         James and/or David Smith who was in Jackson Co., AL between 1830-1840

The Y-DNA Bandwagon

Fast forward to the future and now we have 3 additional matches on the Y-DNA with Family Tree DNA. Unfortunately, has decided to throw away all of their Y-DNA kits, so unless my grandfather’s two matches from (M Smith and A Smith) transfer their results to Family Tree DNA before September 5th, we are out of luck in using their results to help us determine our Smith ancestry. We managed to get M Smith’s results transferred over, but still waiting for A Smith to make the transfer. In a way, Ancestry’s decision to shut down their Y-DNA support is actually beneficial to us in that now all of our Y-DNA results will be in one place (ftDNA), making management of the results much easier for the Project Administrators.

If A Smith transfers his results from Ancestry to Family Tree DNA, we will have a total of 6 Y-DNA results to compare and use in determining our Smith ancestry. Here is the breakdown of the Smith testees and their genealogies:

#s 1 and 2 are from Alabama
#s 3 and 4 represent the Mormon population, but they disagree somewhat on their origins from Kentucky
#s 5 and 6 are from Kentucky, but they too disagree somewhat

1.      Darrel Smith (my grandfather) - descends from David Edison Smith, b. abt 1789 in TN; was probably residing in Jackson Co., AL between 1830-1840; Was in Johnson Co., AR by 1850. His father was listed as James Smith on his daughter's Cherokee Application.

2.      Descendant of Patrick Smith, b. abt 1788 AL married a female Lindsay. Possible parentage from James Smith.

3.      Descendant of Thomas Smith and Leah Agee - (unproven - many people claim this is George Thomas Smith from NC but this testee disagrees with this)
1.      Richard Smith married to Diana Braswell - I believe this line moved to Utah?
He is the brother of James Agee Smith who moved to Utah and who is the ancestor of M Smith (# 4 below)

4.      M Smith – Descendant of John W Stephens, though he was given the Smith surname through adoption a couple of generations back. Here is what he claims his ancestry to be: [6]
1. Joshua Stephens
2. Hesekiah Stephens md Margaret Love; (Margaret married also to James Agee Smith)
3. Wm G Stephens md Susan Reynolds
4. John W Stephens*

Margaret was married to both Hesekiah Stephens and James Agee Smith
with Hesekiah Stephens, she had son Wm G Stephens
with James Agee Smith, she had son Thomas Washington Smith
Therefore Wm G Stephens and Thomas Washington Smith are HALF BROTHERS (same mother)

Supposedly, Wm G Stephens died, leaving his widow Susan Reynolds.
Thomas Washington Smith then marries Susan Reynolds who had 3 children with previous husband Wm Stephens. (he was also married to Sarah Bolen)
Thomas adopts the 3 children, thus giving them the Smith surname.
So M Smith is named as a Smith, but he claims he's really a Stephens.

However, he matches my grandfather and he matches to # 3 above!
I did some research and learned that Thomas W Smith was polygamous and was living with 4 wives in 1880.
·        I think that either Thomas Smith and Susan Reynolds really were the parents of John Stephens Smith 
·        James Agee Smith and Margaret Love really were the parents of Wm G Stephens.

5.      Descendant of William Smith and Elizabeth Eunice Ritchie – KY born and bred:
1. Willam Smith - Elizabeth Eunice Ritchie
2. Richard Smith b. 1771 KY - Alicia Combs
3. William Smith
4. William Med Smith, etc.

6.       Descendant of Samuel Smith and Eunice Joliff – KY born and bred:
1.      Samuel Smith and Eunice Joliff - He refutes # 5s line 1 above and claims William was NOT the father of Richard Smith. He has good proof that Samuel Smith was the father and that Eunice JOLIFF was the mother. I agree with his documentation and conclusions and wrote about them in my “Will of Richard Joliff” blog post on my Smith and Fox blog.
2.      Richard Smith, b. 1771 KY - Etiticia Combs - # 5 above had Richard’s wife as Alicia Combs


So it looks like the Y-DNA is matching up except two of these lines are arguing with each other :-) and the other two (David and Patrick) are kind of left out in the wind. I guess they decided they didn't want to go to Utah to become Mormons or stay behind in Kentucky arguing over whether their ancestor was Samuel or William (I have yet to find a shred of proof of William being said ancestor except that Richard named his first son William).

I am very excited by these results. Even though we have not yet tied these 3 lines together, I am confident that we will find the connection somewhere. Researching the Smith surname is hard enough, but adding James to the mix makes it even more challenging. 

These results are also helping me narrow my research focus in the following ways: 
  1. Looking for a connection between the Alabama Smiths (David and Patrick) and their Kentucky roots
  2. Looking for a connection between the Alabama Smiths (David and Patrick)
  3. Looking more closely at the records in Utah to solve the Smith-Stephens conundrum
  4. Looking for more Smiths to test in these 3 geographical areas

This is just a start! 

I'm sure you are wondering if we have started incorporating autosomal DNA to our research and the answer is YES! we are. The key to using autosomal DNA is ORGANIZATION. Check back for updates on this endeavor. 



[2] 1850 US Federal Census, Johnson County, Arkansas, population schedule, Horsehead Township, Page 268 (penned), dwelling 98, family 100, David Smith; digital image, ( : downloaded 2 May 2010); NARA Film M432, Roll 27.
[3] Cherokee Citizenship Application of Sarah Smith Grider, 1896, Arkansas, National Archives. Copies mailed to me by Mike Freels, 2008.
[4] Surprisingly enough, the surname of the two men that my grandfather initially matched to on the Y-DNA in was “Lee.”
[5] Personal correspondence with Darrel Smith, 2008. He said his date and place of birth were recorded in Richard Smith’s enlistment files but I have been unable to locate them.
[6] Mark Smith, [email withheld for privacy], to Ginger R Smith, grs3275[at], Email, “Smith DNA,” 15 April 2011.

Friday, August 8, 2014

So you want to start a business as a professional genealogist?

This has been on my mind for quite some time now. But honestly, I haven't really done much about it. I did take the 18 month long ProGen class online which studies Elizabeth Shown Mills' Professional Genealogy book. I learned how to write a business plan and client contracts and how to set my fees. I networked with other "transitional" professional genealogists. But there's still so many unanswered questions plaguing my mind.

To help ease my anxiety, I joined the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) group. It consists of both Professional Genealogists and Transitional Genealogists who might like to become Professional some day. It is a great learning tool. The APG offers a multitude of networking and learning platforms: They have newsletters, journals, webinars, online discussion groups, a mailing list and several location-based or virtual chapters. I think the best part of APG for me so far has been the networking aspect. Although, don't be fooled; I still do my best to lurk in the shadows, but boy, let me tell you, when I'm ready, I will pop out of my shell in full force!

I have already attended a couple of live webinars by national speakers and the past APG webinars are archived in their Members-Only section of their website. Last night I attended an online discussion group which is a place where APGers can mingle, interact, and ask each other questions about what they do and how they do it.

Several topics were discussed at last night's meeting. The first topic stemmed from a member question about websites. The question was: I've built my website, now what? Knowing how to market yourself and your website is always a challenge. The moderator suggested that you keep your website up to date with the correct contact details. She also suggested to create a bio that includes more than just your name and contact information. This applies to your APG profile as well. Include items such as your locality and document research specialties, some education background, and maybe some additional personal information. For some examples of detailed APG profiles check out the following:
Amy Arner
Rich Venezia

Marketing a website can be particularly challenging, but actually putting yourself out there in front of other people may be even more challenging for all of us introverted genealogy types. The moderator stressed the idea of networking, not just with potential clients, but with other genealogists. A lot of your work will come from referrals from other genealogists. This was especially crucial in our moderator's experience. She said her business took about 5 years to take off and now she has a waiting list. I have to admit I am absolutely thrilled when I talk to other APGers who have waiting lists! That's where I want to be someday!

Most of the people who participated in the discussion group were bloggers. When the subject of websites came up, some people asked if it was better to have a standalone website in addition to your blog or if it was ok to combine them. The moderator admitted she doesn't even have a website. She gets most of her business from the APG website and from referrals from other genealogist colleagues. I get a lot of research requests from my blog, probably because I am a diversified writer and because I put myself out there, including adding in my bio that I pull records from the State Archives on a volunteer basis. My blog has also been around for a long time, too, which I think has helped. I plan to incorporate my website with my blog when the time comes. Marian Pierre-Louis' archived webinar was mentioned about this topic so I will have to check that out. Lastly, it was suggested to watch YouTube videos on how to build websites if you are hesitant or not sure how to go about setting one up.

The question of fees always comes up in discussions about starting a business. When I took the ProGen class, we learned a mathematical formula to help us determine our fees. But really, the best way to do it is to cruise the internet to see what others in your area are charging. Of course, we learned that it is actually difficult to do, so you might want to try either asking your friends what they would pay or if you are close to other professional genealogists, asking them what they charge. It really is a close knit society and you want to be competitive, but you also don't want to undercut your competitors.

Lastly, it wouldn't be a discussion about starting a business if you didn't talk about Sole Proprietor vs LLC and TAXES. I believe everyone in the discussion group was a Sole Proprietor. It was suggested this was the best thing to do when you first start out. We learned about the Small Business Development Centers run by the Small Business Administration. This program allows you to learn about Small Business stuff through your local college and universities. You can also check out the books offered on or check them out from your local library.

We covered a lot of topics in last night's discussion. I'm looking forward to participating in more of these as I get more comfortable with the idea of starting, and running my own business.

Photo: downloaded from

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Online Deed Records - North Carolina

The Register of Deeds Office - A Free Alternative  

Many Register of Deeds Offices are digitizing their historical deeds and land grants and putting them online. Several North Carolina counties have already been digitized. Here is a list of counties who currently have their deeds digitized and available to download from the web FOR FREE.

Alamance County - still in the process of being digitized, goes back to 1849 (as of June 2014)
Alexander County - Digitized deeds going back to 1847
Alleghany County - Digitized deeds going back to 1859
Anson County - digitized deeds going back to 1749
Chatham County - digitized deeds going back to 1771
Cumberland County - - digitized deeds going back to 1754
Duplin County - digitized deeds going back to 1749
Forsyth County - digitized deeds going back to 1849
Guilford County - digitized deeds going back to 1771. Click "real estate index & image", Accept the disclaimer, then click the "Old Index books" button
Iredell County - Digitized deeds going back to 1788. Select “Search Online Records” in center of page, Sign in as a Guest, and click on Indexes Prior to 1964 tab
Johnston County - digitized deeds going back to 1789, land division records, plats
Martin County - digitized deeds going back to 1771
Mecklenburg County - digitized deeds going back to 1763
Sampson County
Stokes County -  digitized deeds going back to 1787
Wake County - digitized deeds going back to 1785

Check back with this site often for updates to newly added Counties! - 
* Alexander, Alleghany, Iredell, Wake, Forsyth, and Guilford added 23 Jun 2014!!!

You can also follow my Pinterest Board - North Carolina Deeds and Land Grants - to receive updates to newly added counties.

Many thanks to everyone writing in with new updated links!!!

Additional Information: Check out these helpful posts

Reading land grants in North Carolina which uses Metes and Bounds
Finding Land Grants using the North Carolina State Archives' Online Catalog (MARS)
North Carolina Land and Property from the Wiki
Why Use Deeds and Land Grants in YOUR research

Why Use Deeds and Land Grants in YOUR research

William Godwin to Nathan Godwin Sampson County Deed
William Godwin to Nathan Godwin, Sampson County, NC, Deed 1792 (Book 9, p. 172)

Why use Deeds?  

Deeds are a very valuable resource to have in your research toolbox. The primary use of Deeds is to tract the transfer of land from one person or persons to another. In addition, Deeds can be used to learn about familial relationships and to learn who one's neighbors might have been which can be helpful when tracing persons of the same name. Deeds can tell you who lived where and when.

How did North Carolinians Obtain Land and What is the difference between a Land Grant and a Deed?

In North Carolina, in order to obtain land, a person had to first obtain a Land Grant from either the Lords Proprietors of North Carolina (who worked for the King of England) or the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office. The Patent often contained a description of the land, what it was bounded by, ie, waterways, and the names of the people who owned adjacent land. Plat MAPS were drawn up and included in the files. After the patent was in hand, they could do what they wanted with the land - live on it, improve it, will it to their children, or sell it. When the land was sold, it was recorded in a Deed. The Deeds contained information about who was selling (the Grantor), who was buying (the Grantee), and anyone else involved. Such information would include where the Grantors and Grantees currently or previously lived, who had ties or claims to the land, ie, wives who may have a dower interest; and who the neighbors were.

Deeds can help you determine kinship. In 1788, Jonathan Godwin took out a land grant in Sampson County for 50 acres on the East Side of Black Mingo Creek. In 1801, Nathan Godwin sold 50 acres on the East Side of Black Mingo Creek to Elizabeth Bagley, the land previously patented to Jonathan Godwin in 1788. Since there are no deeds of sale from Jonathan Godwin to Nathan Godwin, it could be implied that Nathan had received this 50 acres of land via inheritance from Jonathan Godwin who died in 1791 leaving his widow Rachel in charge of his estate.

Terminology involved when a person applied for a Land Grant
  1. ENTRY:  This is an application that a person filled out to apply for a PATENT to occupy and purchase vacant land
  2. WARRANT:  This is issued once the ENTRY is approved, telling the county surveyor to measure the tract of land
  3. PLAT:  This is drawn up by the surveyor describing the land in metes and bounds
  4. PATENT:  This is the final document written by the Secretary of State conveying the surveyed land to the applicant. Also known as a GRANT

How do I Obtain Copies of Deeds and Land Grants?

The North Carolina State Archives has most recorded deeds on microfilm organized by county and date. These books do not contain the actual "original" deeds because those went home with the person who purchased the land. Some of you may have found some original deeds in your family's possessions. The Archives also has the original Land Grants that were issued by either the Crown or the Secretary of State which have been microfilmed as well. (Some books have not been microfilmed and are available for research).

If you live in North Carolina, you can visit the Archives and pay $0.25 a page to print out a microfilm copy of a deed, or you can order deeds via their online ordering system for $2.00 each and get copies of deeds mailed to your house. This assumes you have already consulted a microfilm copy of that county's deed index and know what book and page number you need, or you have identified the book and page number from an abstract book.

If you live outside of North Carolina, you can order copies of deeds at $20.00 each, which is a pretty steep price to pay.

The Archives has all of its Land Grants indexed in their online catalog system (MARS). I have written a post about how to find Land Grants using the MARS system here.

Alternatives to ordering deed records from the Archives include ordering the microfilm from your local Family History Library for a small fee of less than $10. The microfilm can then be viewed at your local Family History Library during the time you have the film on loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. This process can take some time because you have to order the index first which is on a microfilm all by itself. Then you have to order a separate film for the book and page number containing the deed of interest.

The Register of Deeds Office - A Free Alternative - many North Carolina Register of Deeds Offices are digitizing their historical deeds and land grants and putting them online. Several North Carolina counties have already been digitized. Click this link for a list of counties that have already been digitized.

Additional Information: Check out these helpful posts

Reading land grants in North Carolina which uses Metes and Bounds
Finding Land Grants using the North Carolina State Archives' Online Catalog (MARS)
North Carolina Land and Property from the Wiki

Friday, June 6, 2014 Discontinues Y-DNA and mtDNA testing services made some very big announcements on their blog this week: 

  1. will no longer sell the Y-DNA and mtDNA kits –  deciding to focus on their autosomal DNA test only
  2. will no longer keep Y-DNA and mtDNA samples in storage – all samples will be destroyed and cannot be used to upgrade to an autosomal DNA test
  3. will no longer offer access to your Y-DNA and mtDNA results – all results must be downloaded before September 5th, 2014 when they will be permanently removed from their servers


  1. Contact your matches! 
  2. Download your results to a CSV file. 
  3. Transfer your Y-DNA results to Family Tree DNA (ftDNA). They are offering the low price of $19 for the transfer of both the 33 and 46 marker tests. Upgrades are available to ftDNA’s standard 25 and 37 marker tests for an additional fee of $39. See ftDNA FAQs Why upgrade to more markers? 
    • The $19 fee allows you to transfer your results to ftDNA and to join projects; however, you will not receive matches or a haplogroup prediction. Your results will be available to your project administrator and will be displayed in your project's public page. 
  4. Once your results are transferred, join the appropriate surname project in ftDNA
  5. Join the appropriate Y-Haplogroup project and geographic projects to learn more about your Y-DNA results and ancestry. 
  6. Upload your Y-DNA results to This database is free and searchable by surname, results, or user ID. It is FREE!

What about my mtDNA?

There currently is no company offering transfer of your mtDNA results. I recommend that you upload your results to for FREE.

Other Discontinued Services and Products:

A number of other recently acquired products will no longer be supported or made available to users:

  • service, including the message boards
  • The MyFamily website. All content can be downloaded and zipped up but must be downloaded by September 5th, 2014
  • MyCanvas story creation and printing service
  • Mundia

For more information, check out CeCe Moore's full report and's LegacyDNA FAQs

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Will of John Dyer of DeKalb Co., TN 1844

In my last post, I introduced my 6th great-grandfather, John Dyer who married Mary Polly Youngblood. I confirmed the relationship between him and my 5th great-grandmother, Sally Elvira Dyer by downloading a copy of his will from the FamilySearch website. What an awesome resource! We are so lucky to have the FamilySearch website!

John Dyer’s will listed his twelve children by name and also listed several of his tracts of land that he owned in both Putnam County, Tennessee (where he previously lived) and in De Kalb County, Tennessee (where he lived when he wrote his will). His list of twelve children included my 5th great-grandmother, Sally Elvira (Dyer) Burton. It also mentioned Mahala Carr who is the ancestor of my grandfather’s DNA match.

Will of John Dyer, DeKalb Co., TN, 1844, p. 50-51

Will of John Dyer, DeKalb Co., TN, 1844, p. 53

The Will of John Dyer [1]
Transcribed by Ginger R. Smith,, 29 May 2014
Written 27 Sept 1844
DeKalb Co., TN

I John Dyer do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me at any time made. First I desire that my funeral expenses and all my debts be paid as soon after my death as possible out of my money that I may die possessed of or may come to the hands of my executors. Secondly, I give and bequeath to my son Jefferson D Dyer my tract of land in Putnam County, Tennessee lying on the Walton road it being the tract on which I lived and from which I moved when I settled in Dekalb County said tract is supposed to contain about two hundred acres. Thirdly I give and bequeath to my son John M Dyer my tract of land in Putnam County Tennessee known as the Crider place said tract of land joins the land of John Ripeto, Abram Buck and Montgomery Kenard and others said tract is supposed to contain two hundred acres. Fourthly I do leave to my beloved wife Polly Dyer all my tract of land in Dekalb County where I now live during her natural life and after her death I give and bequeath said land to my son Carol Dyer and my Daughters Nancy and Manerva Dyer in the following portions to wit, to my son Carrol Dyer two thirds of said tract and to my daughters Nancy and Manerva one third divided between them. Fifthly I desire that all my perishable property be sold as soon after my death as convenient and credit of twelve months and out of the proceeds of said sales I give and bequeath to my daughters Maltursoto and Peggy as soon as they many marry or come of adult? age as much as my other daughters had given to either of them by me when they married. Sixthly I give and bequeath to my daughters Maria Matthews, Matilda Gormin, Mahala Carr, Polly Robe__, and Sally Burton ten Dollars each. Seventhly I do give and bequeath the balance after taking out the above bequests to my beloved wife Polly Dyer and my son Carrol Dyer and my daughters Malhusodo, Peggy, Nancy, and Manerva equally between them for the purpose educating and clothing them. I desire that my executors sell my tract of land in Putnam County known as the Triffato Waller either at private or public sale to the best advantage and the proceeds disposed of as the proceeds of the perishable property. Lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my friends Wm H Richardson and Alexander Martin my executors in witness whereof I do to this my last will set my hand and seal this 27th day of September 1844.
                                                                                John (His Mark) Dyer

Signed sealed and published in our presence and we have subscribed our names hereto in the presence of the Testator this 27th day of September 1844.

Magor (his mark) Marcun
Zachariah (his mark) Kirkland

State of Tennessee
Dekalb County                                  October Term 1844

A paper purporting to be the last will and testament of John Dyer dec’d was presented in open court for probate and was duly proven in open court by the oaths of Magor Marcun and Zachariah Kirkland, subscribing witnesses to the same who being first duly sworn depose and say that they were acquaintances with John Dyer the testator and that he made his mark to said will and acknowledged that he executed the same for the purpose therein specified and by his request they became subscribing witnesses to the same and acknowledge that said will be recorded. Given under my hand at office the 7th day of October 1844.
                                                                Wm B Lawrence Clk
                                                                Of Dekalb County Court

John Dyer’s 12 Children mentioned in his will:

1.       Jefferson D Dyer
2.       John M Dyer
3.       Carol Dyer
4.       Nancy Dyer
5.       Manerva Dyer
6.       Maltursoto Dyer
7.       Peggy Dyer
8.       Matilda Gowin
9.       Mahala Carr
10.   Polly Roberts
11.   Maria Mattheny
12.   Sally Burton

Land and Property:

According to this will, John Dyer previously lived in Putnam Co., TN before moving to Dekalb Co. He owned 200A in Putnam Co., TN located on the old Walton Road where he previously lived. This land he willed to his son Jefferson D Dyer; He also owned another 200A tract of land in Putnam Co., TN known as the Crider Place which joined the land of John Ripeto, Abram Buck, and Montgomery Kenard. This tract he willed to his son John M Dyer. The other tract of land he owned in Putnam Co., TN was known as Buffalo Waller and this was to be sold with the proceeds divided between his daughters Mathursa and Peggy.

The land John lived on in DeKalb Co., TN at the time he wrote his will was not described and it was willed to his wife Polly Dyer. I am currently in the process of looking for the will of his wife Mary Polly Dyer. I have not yet found it. Unfortunately, the will book posted to the FamilySearch website is not indexed. A look at the Putnam and DeKalb Co., TN deeds would help me determine what happened to these tracts of land.

I have not yet started researching the members of this family, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. John and Mary Polly Dyer's daughter Sally Dyer was my 5th great-grandmother. She married Charles Burton. If you are connected to this family, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email me.


[1] DeKalb County, Tennessee, Wills, 1838-1854, Vol. A, p. 50, John Dyer, 1844; County Court Clerk’s Office; digital images, “Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 April 2014).