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With a bit of luck, it’s time to shine a light

So… it’s been more than a year since the last progress report — or, more accurately, the last lack of progress report — on the hunt for the identity of the mother of Margaret Battles Shew.

It was November of 2019 when the continuing search to nail down the question of Margaret’s mother — the woman who is The Legal Genealogist‘s fourth great grandmother — seemed to have come to a standstill, with a whole lot of news that was bad news or frustrating news… or both.1

A recap of the research issue: Margaret (Battles) Shew is my 3rd great grandmother. My line comes down from Margaret’s daughter Martha Louise, to Martha Louise’s daughter Eula, to Eula’s daughter Opal, to Opal’s daughter Hazel, who was my mother.

Margaret’s father, William Battles, was married twice, and it’s entirely possible that either wife could be Margaret’s mother. The DNA test that’s going to help with this issue is the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test — it’s the one that shows the connection from a test candidate to his or her mother’s mother’s mother’s maternal ancestors up the generations in the female line.2

Early on, we’d gotten an mtDNA match to a documented descendant of wife #2, Ann Jacobs; we then needed to rule out the possibility that wife #2 shared a common female ancestor — and thus mtDNA — with wife #1, Kiziah Wright.3 Since we don’t know if Kiziah had any descendants, we needed to find someone else who would share that same mtDNA signature — we needed to find a documented female line descendant of Kiziah’s mother, whom we now know was Lucy (Jones) Wright Williford.4

shining a light

So I set up a new tool: a bare-bones family tree on Ancestry for Lucy (Jones) Wright’s family, to help organize research, and to get all the help I can get since time for my own research is always at a premium.5 And that produced — sigh — an awful lot of female line descendants who never married at all, or who married but left no children at all, or who married and had only sons, who can’t pass this particular kind of DNA on to the next generation, or who married people with names like Jones and lived in cities where finding one particularly somebody named Jones is like finding a needle in a haystack, or…

But the reality is… I’m German on my father’s side, Scots-Irish on my mother’s side, and that’s pretty much the definition of stubborn. So I kept going back to this and back to this and back to this…

And I think the case is coming to a close.

First off, I went back to the descendants of Kiziah’s sister, Nancy Wright, who married William Battles’ brother Samuel.6 These folks are going to be cousins in the Battles line even if they turn out not to be cousins in the Wright line. So I kept trying to combine the ThruLines on Ancestry’s autosomal tests for my aunt and uncle with potential female lines and…

First I came up with a group of tests managed by one person and they seemed to be descended from Nancy Wright Battles’ daughter Sarah, who married David Brown in Alabama in 1831.7 And one of those folks, according to his wife when I contacted her, had just taken an mtDNA test at Family Tree DNA. She wasn’t at all confident about the paper trail though — Brown is after all a pretty common surname.

At about the same time, I also tracked down a descendant of another Battles daughter — Rachel Battles who married Wesley Crump in Alabama in 1833.8 Her line of descent from Rachel is pretty rock solid — but Rachel’s connection to Samuel and Nancy is a little iffy. Samuel named a daughter Rachel in a deed in 1827, but said she was “now married and Known as Rachel Spears.” Not Crump.9 Since there really aren’t any better candidates for Rachel Battles Crump’s parents than Samuel and Nancy Battles Wright, however, I asked that descendant to test as well. And she agreed.

Because of the questions for both of these candidates, though, at the same time I kept looking for other female-line descendants of Lucy Jones Wright. And just before Christmas thought I’d hit the motherlode.

Lucy’s daughter Frances married William Edwards in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, in 1810.10 Their daughter Jane married James Alexander in Blount County, Alabama, in 1841.11 Jane’s daughter Mary Frances Elizabeth married Thomas Pearson in Blount County in 1867.12 Mary Frances Elizabeth’s daughter Martha married Cooper B. Sargent in Cullman County, Alabama in 1887.13 Martha’s daughter Frances Parthenia married George W. Parker in Nolan County, Texas, in 1915.14

And when Frances Parthenia Sargent Parker died in 1998 at the age of 100, her obituary in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said she left behind five daughters “and 203 grandchildren to the sixth generation.”15

Hot damn! That’s the technical legal term for an appropriate response to that, right?

And one of them just confirmed yesterday that she’s received her test kit and is sending it back in.

Stand by…

With a little bit of luck, we’re about to shine a light on Margaret’s mother.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Finding Margaret’s mother: part 7,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 3 Jan 2021).


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Finding Margaret’s mother: part 6,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 16 Nov 2019 ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  2. See ISOGG Wiki (, “Mitochondrial DNA tests,” rev. 10 August 2020.
  3. See generally Judy G. Russell, “Keeping that DNA resolution,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 Apr 2019 ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  4. Ibid., “Finding Margaret’s mother, part 2,” posted 18 May 2019.
  5. Ibid., “Finding Margaret’s mother, part 3,” posted 25 May 2019.
  6. Oglethorpe County Marriage Book, Transcribed, 1794 – 1812, License No. 683, Sam’l Battels and Nancy Right, 18 Nov 1805; “Marriage Records from Microfilm,” Georgia Archives Virtual Vault ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  7. St. Clair County, Alabama, Marriage Book 1: 64, Brown-Battles (21 Sep 1831), County Court, Ashville, Alabama; digital images, “Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  8. Ibid., Marriage Book 1: 79, Crump-Battels (28 July 1833).
  9. St. Clair County, Alabama, Deed Book A: 165, Battles to Battles, 7 July 1827; digital images, “Land records (St. Clair County, Alabama), 1823-1918; index, 1819-1903,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  10. Oglethorpe County Marriage Book, Transcribed, 1794 – 1812, No. 997-998, William Edwards and Frances Wright, 5 Apr 1810; “Marriage Records from Microfilm,” Georgia Archives Virtual Vault ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  11. Blount County, Alabama, Marriage Record 1838-1844: 154, Alexander-Edwards, 18 Nov 1841, Probate Court, Oneonta, Alabama; digital images, “Blount County, Alabama marriage records (1820-1844,1852-1919,1931-1951) and indexes (1820-1888) –, 1820-1951,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  12. Ibid., Marriage Record 1866-1868: 128, Pearson-Alexander, 6 Nov 1867.
  13. Cullman County, Alabama, Marriage Book 2: 106, Seargent-Pearson, 28 Feb 1887, County Court, Cullman, Alabama; digital images, “Marriages, 1877-1951; index, 1877-1940, 1877-1951,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  14. Nolan County, Texas, Marriage Book 3: 105, Parker-Sargent, 21 Feb 1915, County Clerk’s Office, Sweetwater, Texas; digital images, “Texas, Nolan County, marriage records, 1881-1998,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
  15. “Obituaries: Frances Parthenia Parker,” Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, 15 Oct 1998, p. 11B, col. 2 (emphasis added); digital images, ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021).
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