Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Unusual Places

Records found in unusual places will often prove to be the way around many of the "brick walls" confronting the genealogist. Digging around all the records that come available will often open doors unknown. At least skimming the index to books and records for the names you are searching, will not take a lot of time, and may prove helpful if your ancestor's name is present. Such is the case for my Griffin Joneses.

The "Laws of Virginia" have been published since the colonial period. [The English loved to keep records!] On the 3rd October, 1778, there was an act passed entitled: "An act to direct the sale of certain lands late the property of John Thornton, esq. deceased, and for purchasing other lands in lieu thereof, and for other purposes." These records can be found in a series of books called "Hening: Statutes at Large" in 13 volumes. This series of documents begin in 1619.

Apparently, John Thornton of Caroline Co., died without a will (intestate) and his estate was left in a mess. So much of a mess, that the legislative body had to make an act to get it all untangled. In this act Griffin Jones is listed as follows:

"...a tract of about one thousand seven hundred acres lying on Mattapony river, purchased of Griffin Jones and the executors of Reuben Thornton, gentlemen, but not conveyed, and of the reversion in fee expectant on the death of Mrs. Betty Thornton, widow of the said Reuben Thornton, of and in another tract of five hundred and thirty acres lying on Mattapony river, in the said county of Caroline, purchased of Francis Thornton, but not conveyed...". Wow, what a mess indeed! This record goes into great detail regarding the estate of John Thornton. Griffin Jones seems to be in the middle of it, but how and why. Pieces of a puzzle in unusual places.

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