It pays to read documents carefully when researching genealogy

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

Genealogists look at a lot of documents — many times, too hastily.

Or, we rely on someone else’s abstract instead of checking the original wording to make sure key data isn’t missing.

Before I submitted a lineage paper, I was trying to confirm that Nicholas Christenberry, who died 1814, was the father of Moses, who died 1840, and that Moses was the father of William P. Christenberry. One Bible record from William’s eldest son was a transcribed copy from a previously transcribed copy. Someone had written that William was the son of Moses and Sarah. But is that proof?

Nicholas left a will, but he only named children from his second marriage. Moses’ estate was administered by Daniel F. Christenberry, presumably a son, with William as bondsman, but no division listing the heirs exists.

Then I revisited the land grants the older two men got when they moved to the Charlotte area. Moses got 50 acres in 1790, and Nicholas got 200 acres in 1795. In 1812, Moses applied for eight acres. There, in the handwritten plat, was a statement by the local county surveyor that helped clear up everything, describing a border as “on his father’s old line.” This local surveyor clearly knew the men and their relationship. William Christenberry, age 15, was one of the chain bearers for this plat as was another kinsman. So it pays to read carefully.

Place name accuracy

Make sure you spell correctly place names when doing your research. And, if the places are obscure, try to verify the spelling and to record where they were actually located, especially which county.

DNA tests as gifts

The holidays are a good time to order a DNA kit for yourself or family members. All the companies will have great discounts.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.