Monday, September 26, 2011

Military Monday Musings: William Wofford Tucker, Revolutiomary War Patriot

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Military Monday:  A Look at Revolutionary War Veteran Ancestor William Wofford Tucker; and Other Genealogy Monday Morning Musings

I opened my email this morning and discovered a message from a new “cousin”, who is descended from a shared ancestor:  William Wofford Tucker, born 1752 in Amherst County, Virginia and died 1829 in Casey County, Kentucky.   This genea-cousin noticed my memorial page on this ancestor that I had posted on Find–A-Grave.    My newly-found cousin is descended from the same branch of the family tree that I am:  the Tucker-Hudgens lineage that migrated into Missouri from Virginia, by way of Kentucky.   Proof once again that making use of online sources to not only research but to share genealogy information will help grow your tree.   New cousins pop up fairly frequently as a result of my postings on Find-A-Grave, one of my favorite websites for genealogy.  I have found a lot of my “missing” ancestors on Find-A-Grave, as well as adding memorials for many who were not previously listed. Along the way, I have picked up a handful of living cousins too from contacts made via that website.

I don’t yet know a great deal about this ancestor.  He was not the easiest to document, so is not the ancestor I chose to join DAR under earlier this year.  What I do know is this:  William Wofford Tucker served in the Revolutionary War as a Captain in the 14th Virginia Regiment, Colonial Army, Certificate Number 17952, Pension Application Number S38447.  I also learned that his regiment “wintered at Valley Forge”.  Now, that certainly is an exciting discovery for any GeneAholic to make.  What a wonderful story this will be to add to my family tree book, when I do manage to compile all of his biographical information into a “story” format. I would love to learn more about his life, and how fabulous it would be to find a picture of a portrait painting of him, as I have been lucky enough to find with a few other ancestors of that era. My goal, now that I have filled in multiple generations of my family tree with names and dates and bits and pieces of biographical information, is to really start fleshing out the meat on the bones of these ancestors; to view them as the real people they were, and to learn about the interesting lives they led.

William is on my list of Patriot Ancestors that I hope to add to my official DAR lineage records, now that I am a member.  I am in the process of ordering William’s military service and pension file records from the National Archives this week, along with Bounty Land Warrant application.  Hopefully it will all come together in one file, as I am ordering the “complete” package. Here is the website for ordering military service records and pension files, including historical records from the Revolutionary War era: 

I’ve also found this ancestor in the DAR data -base as a recognized patriot ancestor.  Here is a link to the DAR Patriot Lookup Service website:

 There are other members who have gone into DAR under this same ancestor, though one previously approved application is now showing with problems in the documentation. That pertains only to that individual descendant’s documentation, however.  This is something that alerts me to potential issues, but will not be a deterrent.   There are other descendant applications listed under this same ancestor that are not flagged with any problems, including one descendant from my same branch of the Tucker-Hudgens tree whose approved application documents I will be able to download and copy from the DAR database; and use to link to my own  lineage on my application.  So hopefully, I will not run into any roadblocks with my application.    Notice I said, “hopefully”.  I will still have to prove my lineage as far back is to where it connects to this person’s lineage as a descendant of the same branch of the tree.  I learned from completing my successful application to join DAR earlier this year, that you must document-document-document, up the ying-yang.   However, that really is a good thing.  It forces you to fill in the gaps in documentation in your tree, and to really prove (to yourself and to DAR) that the lineage in your tree is accurate.

For use with lineage society membership applications,  primary records such as marriage records, birth and death records are best.  When those are not available or do not exist, other records may suffice (notice I said “may”, it is at the discretion of the DAR board of certified genealogists whether to accept any form of secondary documentation as proof of lineage).  I am not an expert on the DAR application process, but here is what I learned from doing my own: You must establish a preponderance of evidence to support your lineage; with primary sources as well as any secondary sources such as census records, family bible records, printed sources such as books and newspapers, and/or whatever other types of paper and printed source documents you may have available or find during your research.

 They key is, that every generation in your tree must be fully documented in some way to establish the direct lineage between yourself and your Patriot ancestor.   Curiously, I am finding that most of my problems in gathering this type of documentation generally tends to be in the generations in my tree in the early 1800’s.  That is when there was so much pioneer movement westward in my family tree, with whole family cluster groups moving together from Virginia then to Tennessee and North Carolina, then to Kentucky, and finally into Missouri.  Once in Missouri, they tended to stay put for about 50 years from 1830-1880; then they took to wandering off westwards again towards California.   It seems to be during those years of just after the Revolutionary War to just prior to the Civil War where it is the most difficult to find marriage records, as well as sources to document births and deaths. That seems to be a typical scenario with other genealogists I have talked to, in searching for records on ancestors who followed the western migration trails.  
I have not been lucky enough to have any ancient Family Bibles pop up in my tree to, but am keeping an eye on Ebay in hopes that some of those might show up on there some day.  I have found a lot of other interesting stuff on Ebay connecting to my tree. 

Happy trails and many happy genea-discoveries!