Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stinson Reunion 2010

Watch a slide show of photos from the 2010 Buckingham Stinson reunion, Sunday, June 6.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sawney Stinson

I may have stumbled upon the answer to Alexander Stinson, Senior’s country of origin.

In 1785 Alexander, Senior was among about 500 Buckingham County residents to sign a petition to the Virginia House of Delegates objecting to an assessment on the people to support the ministry.

However, he did NOT sign as “Alexander.” He signed as “Sawney Stinson, Sen.” I’ve always assumed that Sawney was, indeed, our Alexander, because of the other Stinson signatures surrounding it: Alexander, Jr., Cary and George. (No idea why Alexander’s other sons, David, John, and Joseph, didn’t sign the petition.) I’ve never paid much attention to the Sawney mystery, assuming it was some sort of anomaly.

But recently, on a slow genealogy research day, I casually “Googled” the word Sawney. To my delight I found this entry from Wikipedia: “Sawney was an English nickname for a Scotsman, now obsolete, and playing much the same linguistic role that "Jock" does now. Variations included Sanders and Sannock. The name is a Lowland Scots diminutive of the favourite Scottish first name Alexander.” Eureka!

There's also significant family lore that Alexander's grandsons (by Cary) who emmigrated from Buckingham to Alabama were named George and "Saunie". (Thanks to cousin Nina Stinson Kellog for sharing her family history notes.) And Frances Stinson's self-published family history "Alexander Stinson Sr. of Buckingham County, Virginia (With Some Descendants) states the grandsons' names were George and his brother, Alexander.

Was Stinson Changed From Stevenson?

While we’re on the Scottish trail, here’s some information from cousin Charles Stinson who contacted the Scottish Ancestor Service in 2001. Charles received this letter from Mr. Brian Thompson, SSc, PhD, in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, dated March 10, 2001. It addresses the question I hear most often: did Stinson used to be Stevenson?

Dear Rev. Stinson,

Attached is the report on the records of all Alexander Steinson (and spelling variants) born and baptised in Scotland between 1700 and 1710.

The exact transcription of five of these Parish records is provided for those records in 1702 and 1703 as being nearest to the presumed date of your ancestor’s birth.

The information in them may help you make a judgement as to which one best fits your ancestor, either with family information you now know, or might glean in the future.

The surname Steinson is derived from an old spelling of Stevenson. It first appears in written records in Scotland when John Stenson is recorded as a burgess of Glasgow in 1455. Willie Stensone was a tenant under the Abbey of Kelso in 1567.

As can be seen from the 1700 records the name while never common, was not restricted geographically. Steinson families occurred in central Scotland in the counties of Ayr, Clackmannan and Peebles (Traquair) in the Borders, but with a particular concentration in the north-east county of Banff (Fordyce, Brechin, Deskford, Marnoch and Cullin parishes).

So, yes, it looks like Stinson was once Stevenson, but the change evolved long before Alexander came to Virginia.

Stinsons Own Piece of Alexander's Land

Cousin Dwayne Stinson in Richmond sent this message following my last post with the Google Earth images of Alexander Stinson’s property:

Interesting maps! You might find it equally interesting that one Stinson still owns a small portion of Alexander's original holdings. Gerald Phaup Stinson (my father's first cousin; son of Elijah, son of Junius Stinson and Mary Lou Stinson. Junius was the son of George Watson Stinson; Mary Lou was the daughter of Wingfield Stinson; George and Wingfield were sons of Joseph Carrington Stinson, son of Archibald… ). Gerald died last year, but leaves behind a wife, Donna, a son, John, and a daughter, Lindsay (now Hopkins).

Their property sits at the intersection of Route 600 and Plank Road. Since our family sold our holdings some years ago, I believe this is the last Stinson who holds any of Alexander's property. It had passed out of Stinson hands, however, and came back into Gerald's hands through his mother, a Phaup.

Gerald’s line to Alexander: Gerald Phaup Stinson was son of Elijah, son of Junius, son of George Watson, son of Joseph Carrington, son of Archibald, son of David, son of Alexander, Sr.

My sister, Rainnie, and her husband, John Cunningham, once owned and ran a farm in Buckingham County. They sold the property a number of years ago and have since learned the land was part of Alexander's property near Willis Mountain. At the time, they had no idea they were working land once owned by our 5th great grandfather.

2010 Stinson Family Reunion

Mark your calendars! The 2010 Stinson Family Reunion will be held Sunday, June 6th at Emmacree Farm, home of Chick & Carol Childress, New Canton, Virginia.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stinson Cousin Wins Ms Senior California Title!

Peggy Stinson Padilla, now of Carlsbad, California, was crowned Ms Senior California in August. Peggy grew up in Norfolk, the daughter of Harry Stinson, granddaughter of John Thomas Stinson, and g-g-g-g-g-granddaughter of Alexander Stinson, Sr. A dancer all her life, Peggy is the first Ms Senior California to use dance as her talent in the 23-year history of the pageant.

Self-proclaimed as "definitely not the beauty queen type" the attached article is worth the read to see how Peggy transformed herself into the pageant winner. To quote a good friend, "Peggy is a ball a fire. She's like a Timex watch that keeps on ticking."

Personally, I'm hoping all that energy is genetic.

Alexander Stinson's Property -- Today!

Here are images showing Alexander Stinson, Sr.'s three deeded lots in S.W. Buckingham County as they appear today. I created these images using two computer applications, Deed Mapper and Google Earth. You can right click on any of the images and save them to your computer.

It's difficult to see, but the image above (see the pink outline) shows the 400-acre property deeded to Alexander on November 25, 1743. There appears to be a small farm on the north end. State Route 600 runs through the property with an entrance to the farm. State Route 654 runs through the Northwest part of the property.

Five years later, on July 20, 1748, Alexander acquired this property (above) consisting of 385 acres. It lies immediately to the West of and adjacent to the 400 acres shown before. Cattail Creek runs East-West through both properties.

Also on July 20, 1748 Alexander recieved this property (above) consisting of 395 acres. It's not contiguous with the other two deeds and lies a short distance to the Northwest. Willis Mountain is just outside of the picture to the North. Note that Route 15 and State Route 600 run through the property.

Finally, to give some perspective, this image (above) shows where in Buckingham County the properties lie.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hannah Stinson Sues the Family

In November 1835 the Richmond Enquirer carried this advertisement. It shows that Hannah Stinson sued several family members. The ad gives no clue as to what the suit was about, nor how it was resolved. Hannah Stinson was probably the widow of James Stinson, (son of Alexander, son of Cary, son of Alexander Stinson, Sr.)

Fifteen years later, the 1850 census recorded Hannah, age 66, as the head of household living with John Stinson, age 30; America Stinson, age 21; George Stinson, age 20; and Sarah Stinson, age 25. Relationships are not noted in the 1850 census, so we are left to speculate why these young adult Stinsons (her children/daughters-in-law???) are living with Hannah. John was a wheel wright, George was a farmer. Hannah was born about 1784, making her about 51 at the time of the suit. Whatever the relationships, any hard feelings from the 1835 suit between Hannah and America and George must have been mended.

Note that the ad says James & Susan (Stinson) Baird and William Stinson were not inhabitants of this country. It's tempting to assume a typo by the newspaper, and that it meant to say county, but this ad ran several times and each issue carried the same exact text.
If any other Buckingham Stinson researchers have insight about Hannah and her family, please share. I'll post new info in future blogs.

I found this genealogical jewel by using the subscription-based Website, GenealogyBank, which has a huge database of newspapers and historical books, dating back to 1690.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's Up With the Buckingham Stinsons Website?

Some months ago, by mistake, I allowed the hosting to the Buckingham Stinsons Website to expire. I've reestablished it, but unfortunately I lost all the content. That means I have to rebuild the site from scratch. This time I want to build a better-looking site that's easy to navigate. To do so I'm teaching myself to use the popular Web building software application, Microsoft FrontPage. The key phrase is "teaching myself." It's a slow process, but will be worth it in the long run. Hope you will be patient because I plan to have some great content.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Correction to "So Obscure a Person"

Based on my recommendation, many readers purchased Edna Barney's book, So Obscure a Person - A Genealogy and History of Alexander Stinson and His Virginia Descendants, and so I feel responsible when I find errors in the book. Edna's research, in most cases, is outstanding, but she sometimes makes broad leaps in her interpretation.

That's the case on pages 64 and 68 when she states that David Stinson, son of Alexander, Sr., married a woman named Mary. Edna based her assumption on a line in a 1796 record from the Prince Edward County Order Book, Records at Large. After his death, Alexander's estate was sued for non-payment of a debt. To resolve the case his children, and others, made a deposition stating that the debt had been paid in tobacco. (The judge ruled in favor of the Stinson heirs.) Edna states on page 68:

The papers of this deposition have scribed "David Mary STINSON, parties in the trial," which seems to meant to be written as "David and Mary STINSON," hence giving the first name of the wife of David STINSON.
But that's not true. If you examine the handwriting on the document, and compare the way the letters are written elsewhere, it's easy to see that it says: David & Cary Stinson.

Note the use of the ampersand in other parts of the document, just above the phrase "David & Cary" and just before it in the phrase "Halcombe & the Defendant."

To reinforce the point, notice how the scribe writes his upper case Cs as in Cumberland County and Charles Lee. It's clear that the deposition says "David & Cary", not "David Mary."

This is important because the case has been made -- to the satisfaction of The Huguenot Society -- that David Stinson married Anne Bryant, daughter of James Bryant of Powhatan County.
Interestingly, according to his will, not only did James' daughter, Anne, marry a Stinson, whom we now know was David, he had a grandson named "Stinson Bryant." Obviously there was another Stinson connection through one of James' sons.