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.
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.)
My next step was to enter the data for the sale of the land by Alexander Moore and Mary his wife to Welden Smith.
This produced a second plot that looked remarkably similar to Mary Crawford’s land.
When one plot was moved on top of the other, they matched.
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.
I have created a log entry to use the Index to Deeds to find the volume and page for deeds involving potential neighbors.
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.
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:
- Family Search Records — particularly Garrard County, Kentucky Deeds — likely requires a login
- RootsMagic — Research Manager feature
- Deed Mapper Software
Sources I need to also use
- Deed Records from Madison and Lincoln County Kentucky (on FamilySearch)
- Book: Back to the Cane: Early Virginia Surveys in Today’s Garrard County — available thru FamilySearch or at some regional libraries (I see a trip to Midwest Genealogy Center in my near future!)
- Family Search Wiki – Kentucky Land and Property — and similar resources to learn more about these early land records
- Maps for Garrard County showing Sugar Creek