Larry had tried expanding his family tree with another genealogy ﬁrm, but they hadn’t been able to discover much. His research was based in the southern United States, and tracing southern ancestry can be difficult due to the wars and natural disasters that destroyed many county records there. Records that did survive are often missing information on direct family relationships and key facts like birth dates.
Researching Larry’s southern ancestry required a lot of care and creativity. We had to accurately analyze a variety of records and piece together clues to provide circumstantial evidence for each generation. Little by little, we disproved previously assumed ancestors and added the correct individuals to his tree.
For example, we discovered Larry’s ancestor John A. Watson in historical records from 1840 in Abbeville, South Carolina. We gleaned additional clues on John through records about his children. Beyond that, the record of his marriage to Sarah Blake and a historical sketch of her family led us to evidence of neighboring families who were likely related to John. With this in mind, we searched Abbeville County probate, census and vital records to gain enough circumstantial evidence to conﬁdently identify John’s parents, as well as his paternal grandfather, Stephen Watson, from colonial Halifax County, Virginia.
We’re now nine generations back and counting. And Larry’s southern roots are growing strong.