Down a ‘Rabbit Hole’ with Deeds

Thanks to a marriage record for Mary Crawford and Alexander Moore in 1793 in Madison County, I’ve been able to learn more about Mary Crawford.

Mary Crawford is shown on the tax lists for Madison County, Kentucky in 1787, 1789 and 1791. According to the document, “Tax Lists (1792-1840): An Overlooked Resource for Kentucky History and Land Title” by Kandie Adkinson, Land Office, Ky. Secretary of State, “women are included on the tax lists if they are the head of household.” Thus, I’ve long assumed that Mary was a widow living in early Kentucky.

I (and other researchers) have long wondered whether Mary was the mother of my ancestor, James Crawford. Unfortunately, there are too many James Crawfords in the area at that time. Quite a few years ago, I was able to sort most of these James Crawfords out thru the use of land records. At the time, I wrote out my conclusion and posted it as part of my website which was hosted on RootsWeb (which is currently down). Thanks to my not throwing away files, I was able to recreate the page on my Google Site: Untangling the James Crawfords.

Now, I’m turning to land records to learn more about Mary Crawford and her husband, Alexander Moore. I knew that Mary Crawford had purchased land from Richard Cave (Madison County Kentucky Deed Vol A-B page 95-98) in 1791 but had never been able to find the sale of the land. Once I discovered a potential marriage, I was able to go back and search land records for Alexander Moore. I found two records for the sale of land by Alexander Moore which listed his wife as Mary. One of those records in 1797 (Garrard County, Kentucky Deeds Vol. A page 101-102) seemed like it was for the same 100 acres of land that Mary had purchased in 1792.

Since I had previously used the program, Deed Mapper, I decided to relearn the program so that I could draw out the two plats to see whether they matched. Thanks to the YouTube videos posted by Direct Line Software, the ‘relearning’ process was fairly simple.

I started by entering the information from the deed showing Mary Crawford’s purchase of 100 acres on Sugar Creek.

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When I switch to the plot view, I get a visual of the land. (Note, the fact that it doesn’t close exactly means the description was slightly off.)

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My next step was to enter the data for the sale of the land by Alexander Moore and Mary his wife to Welden Smith.

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This produced a second plot that looked remarkably similar to Mary Crawford’s land.

Screen Shot 02-17-18 at 10.43 AM

When one plot was moved on top of the other, they matched.

Screen Shot 02-17-18 at 10.44 AM

Thus, I can conclude that Mary, wife of Alexander Moore in the deed, is the same Mary Crawford who purchased 100 acres of land on Sugar Creek in 1791.

My next step is where my trip down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ (into the unknown) begins. I need to put this piece of land in context. Where was the land in relation to Sugar Creek and who were the neighbors. I started by locating other deeds involving Alexander Moore and adding them to my Deed Mapper project. From there, I’m trying to locate records for the land owners mentioned in the corner or line descriptions. Locating those records and plotting them will help reconstruct the neighborhood.

However, I am still missing a focus point to put these deeds on a map. One deed should prove helpful in identifying the exact location since it mentions specific points on the creek. However, I’m still looking for information to pinpoint Molly Crawford’s ford or Dooley’s branch.

My next step is to locate some of the descriptions from the original patents to see if they will help locating the land on Sugar Creek. There is a book, Back to the Cane: Early Virginia Surveys in Today’s Garrard County, by Fred Logan Simpson that should prove helpful in identifying these patents. I’m also trying to make contact with the author in hopes that he can place these old references such as Dooley’s branch on a current map.

I am using the Research Manager feature of RootsMagic to keep track of all of this deed research.

Screen Shot 02-17-18 at 11.02 AM

I have created a log entry to use the Index to Deeds to find the volume and page for deeds involving potential neighbors.

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Once I have the volume and page, I then can use the Family Search site to locate the actual deed. I transcribe the deed directly into the Research Manager. Once I have downloaded the image of the deed, I add the file location and file name.

Screen Shot 02-17-18 at 11.09 AM

This won’t be a quick trek down a rabbit hole. However, I have already discovered references that may point to more information about Mary Crawford and her family.

Tools I’m using for this research:

Sources I need to also use



DNA Ethnicity

Recently, Ancestry added a feature to create a ‘player card’ based on DNA Ethnicity results. Creating the card was simply the press of a button.

I’ve been more interested in shared matches and DNA circles than my ethnicity results — especially since my paper research hasn’t gotten outside of colonial America. Since my paper research isn’t leading me to Scandinavia or Spain, I thought I’d review what I do know about the lines of my 16 great grandparents:

  • Crawford – resided in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1799 – likely born in Virginia – likely Scottish
  • Foster – resided Maryland in 1735 – likely English
  • Hammond – resided 1636 Plymouth, Massachusetts — likely English
  • Ralston – resided 1810 Armstrong County, Pennsylvania – likely Scottish
  • Currey – resided 1783, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania – likely Scottish or Irish
  • Burke – resided 1835 Jackson County, Tennessee — likely English
  • Hutchinson – resided 1790 Hampshire County, Massachusetts – likely English
  • Harding – resided 1767 Orange County, New York (family was Loyalists in New Brunswick after Revolutionary War) – likely English or Irish
  • Briles – resided Wierttemberg, Germany 1703 – part of Germanna Colony in 1717
  • Thompson – resided 1820 Ohio County, Kentucky – likely English
  • Ricketts – resided Anne Arundel County, Maryland 1729 – likely English
  • Christy – resided Fayette County , Ohio 1842 – likely Scottish or Irish
  • Mentzer – resided Suffolk County, Massachusetts 1792 – likely  German
  • Minnick – resided 1822 in Pennsylvania – likely Irish
  • Wells – resided 1758 in Washington County, Rhode Island – likely English
  • Crandall – resided 1761 in Washington County, Rhode Island – likely Scottish

Since my paper genealogy roots lead to Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland, I have to question where my Scandinavian ancestry is. However, I believe my Scandinavian DNA comes thru my Scottish ancestry. Wikipedia’s article on Scandinavian Scotland supports my beliefs about my Scandinavian DNA.

Newspapers — Filling in the Dash

Kenneth Mark’s recent blog, 33 Different Things You Can Find about Your Ancestor in Newspapers, on The Ancestor Hunt brought back memories of some of my newspaper research.

My genealogy research began prior to the Internet — which meant I had to travel to do research. Luckily, I live about 75 miles from the Kansas State Historical Society which has an excellent collection of Kansas newspapers. I remember using a bound volume of a newspaper in the reading room when the Historical Society was located downtown. However, most of my newspaper usage involved (and still involves) reading microfilm. Finding a ‘gossipy’ newspaper makes scrolling thru a roll of microfilm much more enjoyable.

During my early days of newspaper research, I copied the articles by hand – likely because it was easier/faster to copy the article by hand than to rewind the microfilm, wait in line at a printer, reload the film, find the page and pay to print it.

One of those early finds involved my grandfather’s ‘Uncle Jimmy’, who was actually his great-uncle, James H. Crawford. This article reported a carriage accident. I have included that information in James Crawford’s profile as an accident fact. The RootsMagic sentence for the event is as follows:

About 13 Aug 1888, James H. Crawford was involved in an accident in Dodge City, Kansas, while driving a covered carriage about 6 miles NW of Dodge. The carriage overturned throwing his passenger out on his head and shoulders and dragging him several rods.

The Dodge City Times proved to be a ‘gossipy’ newspaper as it revealed that James H. Crawford operated a grocery in Dodge City and operated a hotel, stable, and blacksmith shop in South Dodge City.

This newspaper also revealed that my great-great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford, who sometimes went by Marion Crawford, built the family home at 911 Second. (Second street was originally called Bridge Street.)


Both of my grandmothers kept newspaper clippings. In some of those clippings, I found a very small entry for ’40 years ago’ regarding my grandfather going to jail. That tiny article led me to numerous newspaper articles of the time period and to the actual court record.

With the digitization of newspapers, it is much easier to locate these tidbits of information — and these tidbits of information reveal a lot about the lives of my ancestors.




Mary Crawford – Wife of Alexander Moore

For a long time, the Mary Crawford of early Madison County has been a puzzle! Mary appears on the 1787 tax list for Madison County.(1)  She is also listed on the tax lists for 1789, 1791 and 1792 — all in Madison County, Kentucky.(2)

In 1791, Mary purchases 100 acres of land on Sugar Creek from Richard Cave.(3)

This indenture made this 23 day of March and year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred ninety one between Richard Cave and Elizabeth his wife of the county of Woodford and District of Kentucky on the one part and Mary Crawford of the County of Madison and District aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the said Richard Cave and Elizabeth his wife for and in consideration of the sum of seventy pounds current money of Virginia to them in hand paid by the said Mary Crawford the receipt where of he the said Richard Cave and Elizabeth his wife doth hereby acknowledge and themselves therewith fully satisfied and content hat granted bargained sold aliened and confirmed and by these presents doth grant bargain sellalien and confirm unto the said Mary Crawford one certain tract or parcel of land containing by survey one hundred acres situate lying and being in the aforesaid County of Madison and on the waters of Sugar Creek and is bounded as follows (to wit) Beginning at a black walnut and Beech tree standing in the line of Richard Caves survey of four hundred acres on said Creek and corner to William McChears hundred acres extending from thence south one hundred and fifty six poles to a sugar tree and hickory from thence north sixty four degrees West seventy two poles to a Buck thence north forty five degrees West one hundred and eighteen poles to four Linns growing from one root from thence North forty poles to a Buckeye and Sugar tree corner to William McCluer and from thence East one hundred and sixty poles binding on McCluers line to the beginning including the said Mary Crawfords clearing and improvements with its appurtenances to have and to hold the said land and premises with every of its appertenances unto the said Mary Crawford and her heirs forever and the said Richard Cave for himself his heirs executors and administrators the said land and premises unto the said Mary Crawford heir heirs executors and administrators shall and will warrant and forever defend against the claim of him the said Richard Cave and Elizabeth his wife their heirs executors and administrators or from any other person or persons claiming by or under them and against the claim of all and every other person or persons whatsoever. In witness where of the said Richard Cave and Elizabeth his wife for themselves their heirs executors and administrators hath hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals this day and year first above written.

Signed sealed acknowledged and delivered in the presents of
(The three letters in the second line the word Woodford interlined before sind)

Richd Cave (ss)
Elizabeth Cave (SS)

Michael Turner
Charles Bland
Thos McClure
William McClure

Based on the tax list and land purchase, it has been assumed that Mary was a widow and possibly the mother of the James Crawford who married Sally Duggins in Garrard County in 1799. However, no probate records have been found for Mary Crawford in Madison or Garrard counties. Nor have I been able to find a land record where Mary Crawford is listed as the grantor.

Since it was likely that a widow living on the frontier of Kentucky would remarry, I started searching for a marriage record. I found a record for the marriage of Alexander Moore to a Mary Crawford in Madison County, Kentucky. Alexander Moore and Mary Crawford were married 27 Mar 1793.(4)

This brought up the question as to whether the Mary Crawford who married Alexander Moore was the same Mary Crawford who purchased the land. Thus, I began searching for land records where Alexander Moore was identified as the grantor. I found two such land records prior to 1800: one in Madison County and one in Garrard County. The Garrard County deed dated 6 Nov 1797 was for the same piece of land on Sugar Creek!(5)

This indenture made this tenth day of November in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven between Alexander Moore and Mary his wife of Madison County and State of Kentucky of the one part and w[elden] Smith of the County and State aforesaid of the other part
witnesseth that the said Alexander Moore and Mary his wife for and inc consideration of the
sum of sixty pounds current money of the state aforesaid the receipt whereof they do
hereby acknowledge and confess themselves to be therewith perfectly satisfied hath granted
bargained sold aliened and confirmed and by these present doth grant bargain sell alien and
confirm unto the said Weeden Smith his heirs executors and administrators a certain tract or
parcel of land containing one hundred acres situate lying and being in the County of
Madison aforesaid on the waters of sugar Creek and bounded as follows to wit:
Beginning at black walnut and burch trees standing in the line of Richard Caves Survey
of four hundred acres on said creed and corner to William McLueir’ hundred acres extending
from thence South one hundred and fifty six poles to a sugar tree and Hickory from thence
North sixty four degrees west twenty two poles to a beach thence north forty four
degrees west one hundred and eighteen poles to four linns growing from one root thence
north forty poles to a buckey and sugar tree corner to William McLuer thence Est one
hundred and sixty poles binding on McLure line to the beginning its appurtances to have and to hold the said land and promise with every of its appertenances to the said Weeden Smith his
heirs, executors and administrators for ever and to the end that the said Smith his heirs
executors and administrators may be completely and indifensibly vested with the above said
land and premises the said Alexander Moore and Mary his wife for themselves their heirs
executors and administrators with warrant and forever defend the said land and premises
under the said Weeden Smith his heirs executors and administrators against the claim
or claims of all and every person or persons whatsoever in testimony whereof we have here
unto set their hands and affixed their seals the date and hour
Alexander Moore
Mary Moore

Since the land description for the sale of the land by Alexander Moore and his wife, Mary, matches the land description for the 100 acres of land on Sugar Creek purchased by Mary Crawford, I am concluding that the Mary Crawford married to Alexander Moore is the same Mary Crawford who purchased the land and who is shown on the tax lists.

I originally thought this couple was the same as  Alexander Moore [947N-XFM] and Mary Crawford on the FamilySearch family tree, it showed them as being the parents of 12 children born between 1793 and 1807. However, more recent research in Garrard County, Kentucky deeds does not support the theory that these are the same people. As I locate these records, I am attaching them to Alexander Moore in my software and then uploading the changes to Alexander Moore on my Ancestry tree.


I still haven’t figured out how Mary Crawford fits in a Crawford family tree — but will continue searching for more clues.


(1,2) Madison County, Kentucky Taxpayers, 1787-1799 (Miami Beach, FL: T.L.C. Genealogy, 1992), Crawford, Mary (exempt). Hereinafter cited as Madison County, Kentucky Taxpayers, 1787-1799.
(3) Madison County, Kentucky, Vol. A-B 1787-1790: 95-98, Richard Cave to Mary Crawford; FHL microfilm Film #007896910.
(4) Vockery, Bill and Kathy Vockery, Madison County Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1 1786-1822 (Richmond, KY: Bill & Katy Vockery, 1993), Alexander Moore – Mary Crawford
(5) Garrard County, Kentucky, Vol A- 1797-1805: page 101-102, Alexander Moore & Mary his wife; FHL microfilm film # 007899064.

Ancestry Indexing Update

Well, it is the first of the month and time for my monthly call to about my public tree (Heartland Genealogy) not showing up in searches. Prior to making the call, I used a free account to search for my tree.  I have been using the following search criteria:

  • First Name: Judson
  • Last Name: Crawford
  • Death Year: 1949
  • Match all terms exactly

My search returned 24 trees — none being my tree.

I was very pleased with the Ancestry associate on the other end of the phone. She took time to verify the issue and research the cause. Unfortunately, I didn’t get her name, so I can’t thank her publicly.

Unfortunately, she verified that trees were last indexed on October 3, 2017. She also indicated that it was Ancestry’s practice to index the trees every 3 to 4 months. Hopefully, she was correct in saying that the trees would be indexed in the ‘next few weeks.’

Since I had her on the phone, I also asked about my DNA results. I manage my mother’s DNA test which is attached to my (unindexed) tree. That DNA test has very few ‘hints’. My DNA test has about half of the hints it had prior to connecting the DNA tests to my Heartland Genealogy tree (published in late July 2017). I explained that I could see cousins in my mom’s match list that had public trees that share a common ancestor. However, these cousins aren’t showing up when I click on the DNA leaf (hints). She was able to verify that my unindexed tree was likely the issue.

For the back story on this issue, see the following blogs: