Author Topic: I may have broken through a wall!  (Read 20205 times)

William J. Thompson

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I may have broken through a wall!
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:07:17 PM »
My direct Thompson line has been stuck at 1837 for ages. A family of poor illiterate farmers in the remote Clear Fork area of Tazewell, VA apparently didn't leave a lot of notes or care much for formal record-keeping.

John Thompson was a puzzle. He appears in the 1860 census, having been born in 1837, married early, and sired two sons and two daughters, age 7 or less, one of which was my great-great-grandfather Fount. John was listed as "logy" on the census, (stroke? infection? meningitis?) and by 1870 he was gone. His wife and kids were still there, the youngest born in 1865.

If I could get John back to the 1850 census, as a kid living with his family, I'd get over the hurdle. But which John? It's not exactly an uncommon name. Then I discovered that in Tazewell County, there were several Thompson lines that settled there, but there wasn't a lot of overlap: The Thompsons of Thompson Valley, the Thompsons of Jeffersonville, and the Thompsons of Bland didn't mix much. Understandable; the terrain is difficult. So that narrowed the search.

Then I found a clue: there was a Syms Thompson in the West Tazewell area listed in 1850 with a son John that was the right age! Another clue: Syms had a close-knit family; from 1850 to 1870 his household included his married and unmarried children. They stuck together, and the same names crop up in all the censi -- instead of John, who does not appear with them after 1850. Another clue: they moved, by 1860, closer to John's family. The pieces sure seem to fit.

From that point, assuming the connection is right and Syms is my great-great-great grandfather, (and having no other feasible options,) it was just a matter of Ancestrying back through the groupthink connections.
From Syms (Tazewell, 1804-1875), there was
John Booker (NC, 1769-1854),
John David (Orange, VA 1740-1789 -- Revolutionary War records)
George Jr (Richmond, VA 1705-1764),
George Sr (Richmond, VA 1670-1764 - not sure about the date on that one, as he would have been an uncommonly old man),
and Walter Thompson (1650-1683) who was apparently born in Wales, came to the colonies later than 1670, died early, and was buried in Whitechapel. Whereupon, another wall. But at least this wall is a bit closer.

Even if the Ancestry is just hopeful connections (as they often are) it's at least a bit of progress.

Sis Thompson's oldest

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Re: I may have broken through a wall!
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 11:48:26 AM »
A link is a link however frail!
The bad news? There is no key to the universe. The good news? It was never locked.

Michael Thompson

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Re: I may have broken through a wall!
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 01:51:55 PM »
Congratulations Bill! I know your frustration, I have several John Thompsons in my line as well. My brick wall right now is Henry Thompson (also fairly common) who lives in New Jersey in 1710. Haven't been able to determine where he came from before that. Found a few Henry Thompsons on passenger records, but so far, none of them line up with my dates.
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Re: I may have broken through a wall!
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 04:53:30 PM »
Good for you! Every wall turned into rubble will eventually help someone else.....


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Re: I may have broken through a wall!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 11:50:49 PM »
Congratulations!  Breaking through those brick walls is so exciting.  :D

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