Sources for William Lister – Part 1 of 3 – My Sources

Roberts Project
Roberts-Barmes-Lister Line
By Don Taylor

I’ve been asked what I do when I say, “I review my sources, the sources at Family Search, and the sources on Ancestry,” as the first step in preparing to write a basic sketch about my 3rd great-grandfather, William Lister.

I believe William Lister was born about 1793 in Maryland from my research. He married Nancy Strain (1807-1844) on 17 June 1822 in Highland County, Ohio, and had four children with her—Nimrod (1824-1888), Sarah (c. 1831-?), William Marcus (1832-1921), and James (c. 1840-?). Then he married Leah Adkins on 23 April 1864 in Pickaway County, Ohio. William had one child with Leah, Elizabeth Ellen (1847-1933). I had six source citations associated with William Lister.

My Sources

1830 Census[i]

Although my initial assessment of William Lister & the 1830 Census didn’t result in a clear determination if William was in Pickaway County or Ross County because his son, Nimrod (born c. 1825), and his son William (born 1832) were both born in Pickaway County, I’m confident that William was in Pickaway County in 1830. His household consisted of

  •             William           (age 20-29)
  •             Nancy              (Age 20-29)
  •             Nimrod            (under 5)
  •             Unk. Female   (10 to 14)

The unknown female could be a sibling of William, Nancy, or unrelated.

1880 Census

In the 1880 Census, William’s son, Nimrod, reported that his father was born in Maryland, and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. Nimrod was 55 years old in 1880, confirming he was five years old during the 1830 Census.


William Lister’s Marker – Photo by oh_fudge via Find-a-Grave

William Lister’s Find-a-Grave Memorial #38330408[ii] includes two photos of his marker. The marker is unclear regarding his death. It reads Died November 2*, 1848. My reading of the two images on the website suggests it says 23 November 1848. The marker should be gently and carefully cleaned and then examined to ascertain if it reads 20 November or 23 November. In the meantime, I’ve decided to use 23 November as William’s death date.

Marriage to Nancy Strain

William Lister married Nancy Strain[iii] about 17 June 1822. That appears to be when the license was issued in Highland County, Ohio. I was concerned about this being the marriage of my William Lister because Highland County is about 50 miles Southwest of Pickaway County, and there was a William Lister who lived in Ross County during the 1830 Census. However, thanks to Find-a-Grave, I see that Nancy and William are buried side by side at the New Holland Cemetery, so I am convinced this is the marriage of William to Nimrod’s mother.

Marriage to Leah Adkins

Ohio County Marriages indicate that William Lister married Leah Adkins on 23 April 1846.[iv] William’s first wife, Nancy (Strain), died on 23 November 1844. He was 53years old; Leah was 27. William’s son William was only 14 years old, so it is unlikely that he was the William that married Leah.

Unknown Source

One of the most interesting sources I’ve found is “unknown.” Rootdigger193 shared an image with Ancestry on 1 January 2011. It appears to be an excerpt from a probate or other legal proceedings book. It says it is from “Vol Three, Pages 296 – 298” from somewhere. It reads:

James Porter administrator of William Lister vs . Leah Lister et al. Petition to complete Real contract On 12 June 1850, a petition was filed by James Porter as administrator of the estate of William Lister dec’d. stating that during the lifetime of Willim Lister entered into a contract with Elacy Enis and William King by which he sold to them 50 acres of land in Monroe Township[v] for the sum of $450. The monies were all paid but William Lister died before he could convey the deed. William Lister died leaving his children: Nimrod Lister, Sarah Lister who intermarried Aaron Veyo, William M. Lister, James W. Lister and Elizabeth E. Lister. Also Leah Lister his widow. The title was conveyed by the heirs 1 July 1850. 

This document provides a wealth of information.

  • William Lister died before 1850.
  • Leah Lister is the name of his widow.
  • His children living in 1850 include:
    • Nimrod Lister
    • Sarah (Lister) Veyo
    • William M. Lister
    • James W. Lister &
    • Elizabeth E. Lister


  My Records K8JH-PX9 KJMH-VN5
Birth 1793 Maryland c. 1802 Maryland 1793 – Pickaway Co.
Military 1812
James Alfred     1 October 1822
Marriage 1 17 June 1822 c. 1827 30 May 1822
Birth of Nimrod 1825 c. 1826
1830 Census 1830 Pickaway Co.  
Birth of Sarah c. 1831 c. 1831  
Birth of William Marcus 2 August 1832 c. 1836 2 August 1832
Birth of James M. c. 1840 c. 1840
Marriage 2 (1846) 23 April 1846 23 April 1846
Birth of Elizabeth Ellen c. 1847
Property Sale Bef. 23 November 1848
Death 23 November 1848 20 November 1848
Burial Aft 23 November 1848 1848

Conclusion 1

These differences made me want to look closely at the sources of four items.

    1. William’s birth date and location.
    2. Was there a son James Alfred? If so, who was his mother?
    3. What was the date of William’s marriage to Nancy Strain? – A review of the source document showed it reads 17 June 1822. I updated the profile on KJMH-VN5 to indicate a change from 30 May 1822 to 17 June 1822.
    4. What was the birthdate for William Marcus?

As I mentioned, K8JH-PX9 has no sources cited, so I’ll look at the sources cited in KJMH-VN5.


[i] 1830 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Walnut, Pickaway, Ohio; Series: M19; Roll: 138; Page: 50; Family History Library Film: 0337949. 16th name down, Wm Lister.

[ii] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, William Lister, Pvt – 1793-1848. Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 17 February 2022), memorial page for Pvt William Lister (1793–20 Nov 1848), Find a Grave Memorial ID 38330408, citing New Holland Cemetery, New Holland, Pickaway County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by Dave M (contributor 46499754).

[iii] Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016, Family Search, Highland County Marriage Records 1821-1837, vol 1-2, Page 180 – #600 – William Sister [Lister] & Nancy Strain – Issued 17 June 1822.

[iv] Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, Ancestry.Com, William Lister & Leah Adkins. 23 Apr 1846 – Pickaway, Ohio.

[v] Monroe Township is in Pickaway County, Ohio.

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