Caroline Pankey’s Mother – Martha!

Needless to say when you begin a new genealogical subscription or service you want to check out if it might clear up one of your brick walls.  In one of my research areas, I have someone who died back in “the late 1960s or early ‘70s” and I am yet to find an obituary or death record.  I gave it a quick look, no such luck finding it.  Then I thought about another area I’ve been researching.  I knew Caroline M.A. Pankey, b. abt 1810, father was named Thomas Pankey but didn’t know Caroline’s mother’s name. 
Using Genealogy Bank, I searched for Thomas Pankey then narrowed it down to 1750 to 1860.  Walla!  Seven items, five of which were the same legal notice.  
Newspaper Notice (from Virginia Memories)
similar to the one at Genealogy Bank
Thomas Pankey is mentioned in a 1830 Powhatan County, Virginia, Chancery case. A quick read finds that it is the wrong Thomas Pankey, rather than Caroline’s father it is her (before unknown) brother.  The defendants in this case include, “Frank Pankey, Thomas Pankey, ____ Ellis and Mary his wife, _____ Calhoun and Henrietta his wife, _____ Pankey and Nancy his wife, _____ Scott and Elizabeth his wife, _____ Howel and Caroline his wife, which…. are the children of Martha Pankey, dec’d.  Not much doubt about it, Caroline’s mother’s name was clearly Martha and she had two brothers and four sisters that were unknown before. The case was William Pollock, et al, verses Mary Pollock, et al
One of my favorite genealogical sites is Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia. They have a great set of Chancery records.  Pick the County, Powhatan; Plaintiff equals Pollock, Defendant equals Pollock. Search.  One case, index number 1831-015. Click on View Details and there is the first of 109 pages, handwritten documents relating to the case.  Going through the case documents solidified the relationships. One page the same iteration of children of Martha Pankey speaks about Peter M Howell and his wife, Caroline, formerly Caroline M. A. Pankey.  Martha is the sister by half blood of Sarah Ligon formerly Sarah Pollock.  It was a wonderful find. In the maze of documents I find that Martha is the sister of William Liggon, which must be her original name. So, Martha’s half sister Sarah probably married one of Martha’s kin on Martha’s father’s side. So confusing. 
One problem with the Virginia Memory site is that the downloads, although easy to do, do not have the the resolution you would really like to have in your personal files. Downloads, and print to PDF do not have the detail to zoom in and be able to read the complicated documents. You can zoom in on the image to the level needed to read it, do screen shots, then use some kind of stitching software to assemble the desired images.  Alternately, you will just need to document the URL & Page number.   

Same image as above downloaded, converted to JPG
To the left is the same image as above downloaded the way that is easy. I then cropped it and saved it to JPG with the maximum settings. It really is unreadable. The image above was zoomed into on line, screen shot taken, then converted to JPG.  Much better quality. 
Virginia Memory, great job and great material, please if at all possible, let the downloads be the same image quality as you are have visible.

Virginia Memory – Chancery Database

It has been quite a while since I last blogged here. I have many other projects and activities going on. First, I was in Minnesota visiting my mother. I put together many questions and recorded about 4 hours of material, about one hour per session four of the 11 days I was there. I have a project to transcribe the information there and include in my personal tree.

I also did DNA tests for both my mother and me and sent them in to 23 and Me. The great thing about doing both of us is that any relationship matches for me alone must come from my unknown father’s side and any that match on both of us must come from her side. I have also been spending quite a bit of time working on a Burlison line out of Oklahoma for a friend.  I’ve had many interesting findings there as I’ve begun plucking lots of “low hanging fruit.”

I subscribe to many genealogy blogs. One of them is the “Search Tip of the Day – Almost Every Day.”  Michael John Neill’s May 31st blog reminded me about the Virginia Memory site, which is wonderful. He reminded me of the Chancery records there. There are over 220,000 cases indexed in the Chancery database and nearly 5.6 million images of Chancery causes available online. I’m back working on the Howell line, so I thought; I’ve got a couple difficult research areas. I’ll see if maybe I can find something in the Chancery records. 
A quick search for Howell yielded a case between JOHN P WILLIAMS and the administrator of the JOHN P PRICE estate. The case involves 90 pages of documents including a deposition by Peter Howell. It is always wonderful to find a document in an ancestor’s own hand with a signature. His deposition didn’t tell me anything new; Peter lived in Buckingham County in both 1830 (date of the event he wrote about) and 1938 (date of the litigation). However, it does indicate he knew both John Williams and John Price, which may be useful later. There are also many references to Mrs. Pankey who is probably Peter’s wife’s mother; (her father died  about 1829). There are also several references to Holman/Holeman. Peter’s half sister married a Holman about 1819-1820 and there are several Holman’s in Cumberland County during that period. I still need to go through all the documents with a fine tooth comb and see what I can find out about Holman’s as possible. The database includes so many records for Howell, Pankey, and Holman that I should eventually be able to make some new determinations and connections. Just the Chancery records at the Virginia Memory site should keep me busy for days.