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Margaret’s Mother

So it’s DNA Sunday once again here at The Legal Genealogist, and it turns out doing advanced testing of my brother’s Y-DNA1 was fun but not genealogically useful. Yeah, we now know for certain that our paternal haplogroup is E1b1b1a2 (V13+), but we still have precisely zero matches at anything closer that a genetic distance of 5.2 We have this, um, non-paternity event in 1855,3 see, and without a lot more Germans taking DNA tests, we’re not likely to move that ball forward.

So it’s time to move on to yet another unsolved mystery — and one that DNA can definitely help with.

The mystery this time is the identity of my fourth great grandmother in my direct maternal line, so we’re looking at mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the kind passed from mother to child and that only daughters can pass on.4

My third great grandmother in this direct line was Margaret Battles, who married Daniel Shew sometime before 1849, most likely in Cherokee County, Alabama. There’s no record of their marriage; the Cherokee County courthouse burned twice, in 1882 and 1895.5 They had one child, William, by the 1850 census6 and two more — Gilford and Martha Louise — by 1860, when Margaret appeared as head of household on the Cherokee County census, apparently a widow.7

Extending this line on down, Margaret’s only daughter was my second great grandmother Martha Louise; Martha Louise’s oldest daughter was my great grandmother Eula (Baird) Robertson, born in Cherokee County;8 Eula’s oldest daughter was my grandmother Opal (Robertson) Cottrell; my mother was Opal’s third (and second surviving) daughter; and I am my mother’s second daughter.

That makes me a perfect direct-female-line descendant of whoever my fourth great grandmother was — my mtDNA (haplogroup H3) is the same as hers was, as it’s passed with essentially no changes from mother to daughter to daughter over the generations.

Margaret’s maiden name comes from two sources: oral history passed down to Eula’s daughter Opal;9 and the death certificate of her son William.10

Battles, 1850 census

And there was only one Battles family in Cherokee County, Alabama, at any time that could have included Margaret, and that’s the family of William Battles, who was enumerated in Cherokee County in 1840,11 1850,12 1860,13 and 1870.14

So why am I not certain that William’s wife in those censuses — Ann (Jacobs) Battles (c1800-a1870) — was Margaret’s mother?

Because Ann, born around 1800 in Tennessee15 or South Carolina,16 was William’s second wife. She’d been named in a messy divorce suit brought by William’s first wife, Kiziah (Wright) Battles, in Blount County, Alabama, in 1824. Kiziah claimed extreme cruelty, abandonment and adultery and, in particular, she alleged that “the said William Battles (having previously compelled your petitioner to leave him) hath lived and now is living in adultery with one Ann Jacobs with whom he has gone to the State of Tennessee.” The case was continued from year to year, eventually being dismissed for want of prosecution in the April 1829 court term.17

Kiziah died, probably in 1829, and after her death, William and Ann married in St. Clair County, Alabama. The marriage was on Christmas Day, 1829. And as of 1 June 1830 — the enumeration date of the 1830 census, William and Ann had — count ’em — five children.18 One of whom, I do believe, and born most likely before that December 1829 marriage, was Margaret.

Is it possible Kiziah was Margaret’s mother? I don’t think so, but I can’t rule it out. So what I need is one of Ann’s direct-female-line descendants who’ll be willing to take a mitochondrial DNA test, at my expense. If we match, then Margaret’s mother was Ann. If we don’t, then either her mother was Kiziah or I’m completely confused and need to start looking at some other Battles family entirely.

You’d think it wouldn’t be too terribly hard to find a direct-female-line descendant: as you can see from the 1850 census excerpt here, Ann had at least three other daughters after her marriage to William — Samantha, Julia and Charlsey, all of whom could have had daughters who had daughters.

And all of whom — sigh — were out of the household by 1870.19 Which means they were married before the courthouse burned down the first time, taking all of the pre-1882 marriage records with it. And all the deeds. And all the wills and estate records. And all the court records except the Chancery Court. And and and…

So help me out here, folks. If you’re a documented descendant of Ann (Jacobs) Battles in a direct female line, I want your DNA. (Remember: you can be male or female as long as your Mama was in a direct mother-to-daughter-to-daughter line from Ann.) If you know a documented descendant of Ann (Jacobs) Battles in a direct female line, please tell that person I’m looking for DNA. If you’re even associated with anybody who might be acquainted with a documented descendant of Ann (Jacobs) Battles in a direct female line, spread the word: I’m looking for DNA. I’ll pay for the test.


 
SOURCES

  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Happy Father’s DNA Day,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 17 Jun 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 30 Jun 2012).
  2. Genetic distance between two people reflects the time to a most recent common ancestor shared by the two. This much of a genetic distance at 37 markers means the most recent common ancestor may well be beyond the time when records exist.
  3. See Judy G. Russell, “Friedrike, how COULD you?,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 7 Jan 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 30 Jun 2012).
  4. ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Mitochondrial DNA,” rev. 30 Jul 2010.
  5. Alabama Courthouses Destroyed by Fire,” Alabama Department of Archives and History (http://www.archives.state.al.us : accessed 30 Jun 2012).
  6. 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, 27th District, p. 136 (back) (stamped), dwelling 1055, family 1055, Danl Shew household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Jun 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M432, roll 3.
  7. 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 315 (stamped), dwelling 829, family 829, Margaret Shoe household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Jun 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 5.
  8. See 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, Leesburg Post Office, p. 268(A), dwelling/family 15, Margaret Battles in Baird household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Jun 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M593, roll 7; imaged from FHL microfilm 545506.
  9. Interview with Opal Robertson Cottrell (Kents Store, VA), by granddaughter Bobette Richardson, 1980s; copy of notes privately held by Judy G. Russell.
  10. Texas Department of Health, death certif. no. 10077 (1927), W.W. Shew (10 Mar 1927); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  11. 1840 U.S. census of Cherokee County, AL; 1840 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 116 (stamped), line 17, Wm Battles household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Jun 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M704, roll 3.
  12. 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 27th Dist., p. 136 (stamped), dwell. 1052, fam. 1052, Wm Battles household.
  13. 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., p. 314-315 (stamped), dwell./fam. 825, Wm Battles household.
  14. 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., Leesburg P.O., p. 268(B) (stamped), dwell. 26, fam. 25, W Battles household.
  15. 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., 27th Dist., p. 136 (stamped), dwell. 1052, fam. 1052, Ann Battles.
  16. 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., p. 314-315 (stamped), dwell./fam. 825, Ann Battles. Also, 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., Leesburg P.O., p. 268(B) (stamped), dwell. 26, fam. 25, Anna Battles.
  17. Transcription, Records of the Blount County Circuit Court, 1824-1829; Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Oneonta, Ala.; transcribed by Bobbie Ferguson; copy provided to J. Russell and held in files.
  18. 1830 U.S. census, St. Clair County, Alabama, p. 252 (stamped), line 24, William Battles 2nd household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Jun 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 4.
  19. 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., Leesburg P.O., p. 268(B) (stamped), dwell. 26, fam. 25, William Battles household.
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