Creating Genealogy Charts of Groups of Interrelated Families For Clues to Your Ancestry
The information below is being presented as an example of how you might be able to create genealogy charts of families related to yours that may help you overcome roadblocks in your own direct line genealogy research. Studying allied families that seem to move around with, live nearby, or intermarry with yours can provide clues to your own family’s heritage.
In the early 1980’s shortly after I began researching my family, I ran into a sticking point on one of my ancestors. William G. Polson / Polston was born about 1803 in Kentucky or a nearby state. When tracing him further back, beyond just finding his father’s name (William Polston) living next door in Lincoln County Tennessee in the early 1800’s, seemed to become impossible, I turned to investigating several families that seems to be allied with his.
These allied families lived nearby, intermarried with each other, seemed to move west together, sold land to one another, some named children after each other, many are buried together, were mentioned in each others wills, and some even formed a church together. I thought that by studying these allied families I could learn some clue as to what bound them together that might lead me to records that would allow me to trace William G. Polston’s ancestry further back.
I also thought that as we began to post this information online many years ago, somebody researching the allied families might come forward with some information that would help us.
Over the years I have drawn many similar charts or pieces of charts. I always start out with a huge piece of paper, an ink pen, and a file folder to throw all the data and records in. Some of these charts have been assembled based on information that was not totally verified. We felt that was acceptable because we are only looking for some glint of what held these families together. Now, about 30 years since I sketched the first one, we are still stuck, but it still seems like a possible route to success.
As we continued to study these interrelated families, we found the relationships seemed to break into two groupings.
One group was those families involved in founding a Methodist Church in Farmington Arkansas in 1833. Of the five founding families, one couple was my William G. Polson/Polston and his wife. His wife’s sister and her husband were also founding members. There seems to be considerable mixing between the families, but the Polson / Polston family does not appear to mix with them beyond one being a brother-in-law.
We created a large chart titled, Genealogy of the Five Founding Families of the Farmington Ebenezer Methodist Church, Farmington, Washington County Arkansas 1833 that shows these family relationships.
Another group of families seem to have mostly made the move from Lincoln County Tennessee to the same area (Farmington / Fayetteville / Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Southwest City Missouri, and what is now north eastern Oklahoma). This group similarly intermarried quite a bit, has strong ties to the Cherokees, and my family strongly intermarried with them.
We have not yet named this chart, but it shows the relationships between the Moores, Lampkins, Stevenson, Norwood, Polson / Polston, Cabe, and Givens families of Northwest Arkansas from the late 1600’s to about 1900. The Hardy family also probably belong on that list. I am aware Flora Ridge is the daughter of John Ridge, a leader of the Cherokees that was assassinated. Her husband, William Davis (WD) Polson is among our more prominent Polson’s.
For lack of a better name, The Moores, Lampkins, Stevenson, Norwood, Polson / Polston, Cabe, Givens, and Hardy Family Genealogy Chart is still a work in progress.
I find the chart a bit captivating because it is so wide and flat. The families quickly intermarried and few of their descendants recognize the ties the families previously had.
Time will tell if this will ever lead to breaking the logjam or not. We wish your efforts quicker success.
Update – in the fall of 2016 I finally broke the logjam in a way that was really not directly related to studying all these interrelated families, but the journey is not over yet. We cover that part of the journey in a 3 part post beginning at Prologue to finding the missing genealogy document to extend a Polson family line.