Monday, October 15, 2007

Cousins at the Courthouse & Finding Jane

Last Friday, October 12th, I met my 3rd cousin, once removed, Carolyn Ramler, at the Buckingham Courthouse for some serious Stinson research. Like me, Carolyn descends from Archibald Stinson, but through his youngest son, Joseph. Carolyn's mother is Idalyn Stinson of Miami Springs, Florida who many of us know as the grand dame of Buckingham Stinson genealogy. Carolyn and I have corresponded by email for many months, but never met until Friday. We hit it off immediately!

We both came away with good information, but I think I was the grand prize winner when I learned the maiden name of my 2d Great Grandmother, Jane Rebecca SPENCER. For years I've been frustrated that all references to Jane, the wife of John Stinson (b. 1813, d. 1857) showed only her middle initial "R." I'd hoped that was a small clue to her maiden name, but I later found it referred only to her middle name, Rebecca.

Thank You, Mr. Johnson!

This jewel of information – Jane's maiden name – didn't come from any of the dusty books in the Courthouse, but rather from Mr John Johnson of Chattanooga, Tennessee who was also visiting the Clerk's Office that day. Mr. Johnson is 86 years old and drives to Buckingham every year to research a list of surnames. He's been visiting for 50 years. Mr. Johnson was eager to share his research with both Carolyn and me (though, just between us, I think he liked Carolyn best!) It was a page from his notebook that showed the Spencer surname.

Mr. Johnson's notes had a reference to a John Wesley Stinson, b. 4 Oct 1850, d. 16 Nov 1926. My eyes fell on a tiny note below which said he was the son of John Stinson and Jane Rebecca Spencer. I quickly checked my own notes and saw that John and Jane did indeed have a son, John W. Stinson. He was my Great Uncle, a younger brother to David Washington Stinson. Mr. Johnson couldn't remember who gave him the information, other than it was a "lady in Roanoke" but there are enough clues that I should be able to document it on my own. The note that John Wesley Stinson is buried in Roanoke will lead me to the Roanoke County records at the Library of Virginia with the hope that his mother's maiden name will be listed somewhere. I'm also hoping some blog readers will offer advice.

And Jane Rebecca Spencer Stinson, it's nice to finally find you!

No comments: