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This post is part 1 of a three part series telling the story of a genealogy quest to extend a family line beyond a dead end that lasted over 3 decades. It includes many names, dates, and places because those are central to much of what genealogy is all about, however the posts focuse on the quest. I hope they inspires others facing similar roadblocks and provides some ideas and insights that might help you along the path a little faster than I was able to trod.

The Beginning

I first turned to family history about 1980. Previously, my own family only knew our direct Polson genealogy to my father’s grandfather, William Alexander Polson who married a Cherokee woman in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

With some help from my family, and tremendous help from several others that had already researched the ancestors of my great-grandfather Polson, my direct family was quickly extended to included my great-great grandfather Jasper Alexander Polson, born in north west Arkansas, Washington County, in 1839. At the same time, I learned Jasper Alexander Polson’s father, William G. Polson, previously of Lincoln County Tennessee born about 1809. Earlier in his life, William G. Polson spelled his last name as Polston.

Polson pedigree chart

Polson pedigree chart

With minimal effort on my part, I had quickly extended my direct Polson line another two generations, but the trail abruptly ended there. As the years went by I was able to learn and then prove the “G” in William G. Polson stood for “Greer” and that he and/or his family had at one time or another said he was born in a host of different states. If I recall correctly, various documents have him born in KY,TN,AL, and GA. I posted my work online, History of the family of William G. Polson (no longer online), hoping to find others who could help me further extend the line, but nothing came of it.

I learned of a Mary Henrietta Polson similar in age to my William G. Polson, that married Josiah Norwood and lived among many of my Polson ancestors in Washington County, Arkansas. But I was never able to tie her directly to my family.

I learned the 1830 Lincoln County, Tennessee census showed William G. Polston with what appeared to be a “Jr.” after his name, while living next door to an older gentleman also named William Polston. This fit with the research of others, William G. Polson’s father was named William Polston. But I wanted more than just a name, who was he? Read More→

2 Categories : Family Genealogy Charts

This post is part 2 of a three part post telling the story of a quest to extend a family line beyond a dead end. My search for the parents of William G. Polson / Polston lasted for over 3 decades.

The document that changed everything, the rosetta stone.

The document that changed everything, the rosetta stone.

Part 1, The Prologue, tells of the three decades of effort trying to get past a dead end in my Polson family line.

This part covers the discovery of a document that immediately answered many of my long held questions and significantly extended my Polson family line.

The Quest Continues

In addition to the efforts mentioned earlier, I continued to fire up the computer and search on FamilySearch and on Ancestry every month or two trying to find the parents of William G. Polson, but kept coming up blank.

THEN in September 2015 I found the Jackson County Alabama probate documents for the William Polson / Poulton I mentioned earlier as the possible father of my William G. Polson. His probate records were on I was elated, screen captured them, and studied them with much excitement. While I found many names I had seen before in connection with William Polson / Poulton’s family, the only name I found outside those was that of Mary H. Polson that married Josiah Norwood. She was already on my list of questions I had been trying to figure out for decades. This gave me no new answers, plus it was frustrating trying to figure out the relationships between the names mentioned in the probate court documents. One of them was a William Polson Jr. that might be my William G. Polson, but I was still left with no proof.

The Jackson County Alabama probate records for William Polson / Polston/ Poulton showed his estate being probated shorty after the end of the Civil War. They even had the court sign off on allowing the executors to rent out his property a year or two til land properties recovered after the war before they sold his land. Some records indicate he died in 1842. His estate may not have been probated til the death of his wife, Lucy.

I kept returning to this William Polson’s Jackson County Alabama’s probate documents, repeatedly studying them and repeatedly being frustrated.

Tuesday 23 August 2016 (almost a full year after finding the William Polson / Pouton probate documents, I showed them to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) Family History Consultant in Stillwater Oklahoma. He said the Church had been promoting the idea of searching by location (geographical areas) and by collection (certain collections of records). He gave me a paper copy of a FamilySearch post saying about 70 percent of the available digitized records on FamilySearch are only available by searching in that manner. Read More→

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This post is part 3 of a three part post telling the story of a quest to extend a family line past a dead end. The search for the parents of William G. Polson that lasted over 3 decades.

Part 3, The Epilogue, tells of related discoveries since finding the rosetta stone that unleashed an avalanche of new information on the ancestors and siblings of William G. Polson. The Epilogue lists some new questions going forward, thanks the countless people that helped along the way, and recognizes a new journey is beginning.

Polson pedigree chart more complete

Polson pedigree chart now more complete

What do we know now (September 2016)?

Beyond the information provided in the second installment of this series, we know:

  1. Although I have not yet proven it, Isaac Poulton and Ann Green, both of Virginia are frequently listed as the parents of William Polson / Poulton, making them the likely paternal grandparents of my William G. Polson.
  2. Lucy Davis (William G. Polson’s recently discovered mother) was the daughter of William Davis, a revolutionary war soldier. He was once mentioned by a Tennessee governor as a prominent leader of the Chickamauga Indians. His gravestone in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Jackson County Alabama is twice listed on Findagrave. One of those listings includes many of Lucy Davis’s siblings.
  3. William Davis (father of Lucy Davis the mother of William G. Polson) married Mary Ann Black / Blackfox, daughter of Enola Black Fox, a well known Cherokee whose ancestry goes back further.
  4. William Davis is likely the source of William G. Polson’s son’s name, William Davis Polson
  5. John D. Polson, brother of my William G. Polson, settled in Choctaw County Mississippi with his wife, DeMaries M. Polson (maiden name unknown). It appears they had at least five children (Margaret, Lucy, Mourning, John W., Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin).
  6. As mentioned above, John D. Polson, brother of William G. Polson, had a daughter named Lucy Polson, named after their mother. I was able to find that Lucy’s will. She asked her youngest brother (Benjamin Franklin Polson) to be her executor. She asked that after her possessions were sold, the funds be used to place gravestones on the graves of her mother, her father, two brothers and one sister that predeceased her, and on her own grave. Several of those stones can now be seen on Findagrave. That was a very nice request she made. Just like the name “Flora” became commonly used female name in the family after Flora (Ridge) Polson, the name Lucy became a popular name for children after Lucy Polson, mother of John D. Polson and Lucy Polson, daughter of John D. Polson.
  7. The husbands and families of several of William G. Polson’s sisters are well documented in Lucy Polson’s probate documents, especially when combined with William Polson’s probate documents.
  8. Eliza (Polson) Berry, sister of William G. Polson married Henry / Henderson Berry per the probate documents of William and Lucy Polson. He was more fully known as Blackburn Henderson Berry and as one of the founders of Berryville Arkansas. His first wife, Eliza (Polson) Berry died of typhoid fever in 1854. Findagrave has a nice story, photo of her, and photo of her grave. Blackburn Henderson Berry remarried and moved to California. Eliza’s oldest son was elected to Congress from California. Blackburn Henderson Berry’s nephew became governor of Arkansas in the 1880s.
  9. The Proctor family submitted their ties to William Davis (revolutionary war solidier) to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in the late 1950s. Among the items submitted was an account of 500 people, mostly descendants of William Davis, for the laying of a monument at his grave site by DAR.

Read More→

2 Categories : Family Genealogy Charts

A branch of our family was aware their family had been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a long time, but were not aware that any of their ancestors had actually came west as part of the Mormon Trail (1846-1868). Looking on one day, we noticed a lady in their ancestry, Carmellia Mariah Burgess, was born in 1844 in Nauvoo Illinois. We began to wonder if this young girl made the journey on the Mormon Trail and what had become of her.

As we began to explore her life, and that of her parents, William Burgess Jr. and Mariah Pulsipher, we began to learn that not only had Carmellia made the journey, so had her parents, and all four of her grandparents (William Burgess Sr., Violate Stockwell, Zera Pulsipher, and Mary Ann Brown).

The Mormon Trail Genealogy Chart is below, followed by information about how we created it. Click on the Genealogy Chart to view a much larger pdf version. Read More→

1 Categories : Family Genealogy Charts

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. Read More→

1 Categories : Family Genealogy Charts