Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finding the Heirs of Etheldred Godwin - Part 5

In Post 4 of this series, we were able to identify 4 of the 7 "heirs" of Dred Godwin by following the transfers of two tracts of land he originally patented in Putnam County, Indiana in 1839. In 1852, Sion, Jonathan, Nathan, and Joshua sold off 1/7th shares of land originally patented to Netheldred "Dred" Godwin in 1839. Joshua and Sion Godwin had been enumerated with Dred Godwin on the 1850 Putnam County, Indiana census report right before Dred Godwin died. A third person was also enumerated with them - Margaret Godwin. Could she have been one of the 3 remaining heirs to sell off Dred's land?

In order to trace the legacies of the female heirs of deceased persons, the deeds of the females' husbands must be analyzed. Almost all court documents are recorded and indexed by the male's name, even if his wife was included in the deed instrument.

From the 1850 census report, we know of at least one daughter - Margaret Godwin who married George Sabin in January of 1853 in Putnam County, Indiana. Two other possible daughters of Dred Godwin have been identified through descendants - Cassie and Elizabeth Godwin. Cassie Godwin married John H McAlister and Elizabeth Godwin married William Thomas. Elizabeth Godwin was mentioned in an article entitled "The History of Adair and Guthrie Counties, Iowa" which was published in 1884. It is unclear how Cassie Godwin McAlister was originally tied to Dred Godwin's family, as correspondence with her descendants has been minimal.

Margaret, Cassie, and Elizabeth had only been suggested as possible children of Dred Godwin for several years now. A review of all the deeds executed by their husbands might provide additional evidence supporting this hypothesis that these 3 women were in fact "heirs" of Dred Godwin.

The Putnam County Deed book Grantor's Index microfilms were ordered from my local Family History Library. The first film no. 1315537 covered surnames beginning with A-S (1824-1863). The Godwin, Sabin, and McAlister deeds would be listed in this index. The second film no. 1315538 covered surnames beginning with T-Z (1824-1863). The Thomas surname would be found on this index. The index entries are summarized below:

Land Description: "1/7th part of the NE 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Section 17, Township 12, Range 5, for 40 acres and 1/7th part of the SW 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Section 8, Township 12, Range 5, for 40 acres."

- John H McAlister to James Roberts, 12 Apr 1852, Deed book Q, p. 606-607
- George W Saber to L M Knight, 16 Sept 1853, Deed book S, p. 224
- William Thomas to Lenox M Knight, 1 Mar 1853, Deed book U, p. 526

The Putnam County, Indiana Deed Record books microfilms were then ordered from my Family History Library - Film nos. 1315562 and 1315560 contained the deed books referenced above. When the films arrived, I reviewed them on the scanning microfilm reader. I have included the scanned images of the actual deeds below.

Here are a couple of snippet texts from the deeds:

...which said undivided one seventh part descended to the said Margaret Sabin as one of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Etheldred Godwin, late of Putnam County, Indiana, deceased...


...which said undivided seventh part descended to said Elizabeth Thomas (late Elizabeth Goodwin) wife of Said William Thomas as of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Natheldred Goodwin...

...which Seventh undivided part, descended to said Cassey Goodwin, As one of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Nathaniel GoodwinDeceased...

Here are the scanned copies of the actual deeds:




This 5-part series illustrated how deeds can be of significant genealogical value to the average researcher. The 7 deeds presented in this series not only painted a picture of the family of Netheldred Godwin of North Carolina and Indiana, but also served to support the hypothesis of several Godwin researchers who believed their ancestors were descended from this Godwin patriarch. With these deeds, Elizabeth Godwin Thomas, Cassie Godwin McAlister, and Margaret Godwin Sabin were placed with high confidence into this familial unit under Netheldred Godwin, along with Nathan, Sion, Joshua and Sarah Godwin*
*It is still unclear what relation Sarah Godwin was to Netheldred Godwin, deceased, and the other 6 "heirs" of his that received land as a legacy.

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