That “new” fourth great-grandmother
March is, of course, Women’s History Month, a celebration of women that began in 1981 with a Congressional request for a Presidential proclamation of a “Women’s History Week” and — by 1995 — had evolved into an annual Presidential proclamation designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”1
And yes, before you ask, there is a Presidential proclamation for March 2021.2
And tomorrow — March 8 — is International Women’s Day, with its theme for 2021: Choose to Challenge.3
So in honor of Women’s History Month and here on the eve of International Women’s Day, The Legal Genealogist is accepting that suggestion to Choose to Challenge. A challenge created by the mitochondrial DNA breakthrough that definitively identifies Ann (Jacobs) Battles, second wife of William Battles of Cherokee County, Alabama, as a fourth great grandmother.4 The challenge of figuring out where Ann herself came from, who her parents were.
Yep, I can’t resist a challenge… but — yowza — how to even begin with the challenge of Ann…?
She first appears in the records in — sigh — the divorce papers of William’s first wife, Kiziah (Wright) Battles, who married William in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, in 1818,5 and told the court in Blount County, Alabama, in September 1824 that “the said William Battles … hath lived and now is living in adultery with One Ann Jacobs with whom he has gone to the State of Tennessee in the Hiwassee Purchase…”6
That divorce case was finally dismissed in 1829 for failure to prosecute,7 likely because Kiziah had died. We think that must have been the case because, on Christmas Day 1829, William married Ann in St. Clair County, Alabama8 — the county where his father and brothers were living and where, most likely, folks would have known if he hadn’t been free to marry again.
So Ann would have been the free white female age 20-29 on the 1830 census of St. Clair County, Alabama,9 and the free white female age 20-29 on the 1840 census of Cherokee County, Alabama.10 She was recorded in Cherokee County in 1850 as age 60 born in Tennessee,11 in 1860 as age 60 born in South Carolina,12 and in 1870 as age 70 born in South Carolina.13 She died in Cherokee County in April 1877.14
Great. When and where was Ann born? Well, sometimes between 1790 and 1800 in either Tennessee or South Carolina, if you go by Ann’s census records. Add in her kids’ census records, and her birthplace could be Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee. Add in her own statements in a government claim file and she was born in South Carolina around 1805-1806 — but those same statements would have had her having her first child by William at or before the age of 14.15 That’s just a tad young to have been the Jezebel that Kiziah made her out to be.
I’m willing to credit that Ann knew where she was born and go with South Carolina as a working theory. The year? Well, let’s just say that it’s likely to be somewhere around 1800.
Now… was Jacobs her maiden name or a married name? Was her family in South Carolina for the 1800 census? (There are 13 Jacob/Jacobs families enumerated according to the index at Ancestry.com.) How about the 1810 census? (There are 19 indexed for that census.) Where did William meet her? In Georgia, where he lived when he met and married Kiziah? In Alabama where his family lived thereafter? In Tennessee where they ran off to together, according to Kiziah?
And don’t get me started on Ancestry’s “potential father and mother” suggestions. Those want me to focus on Joannes Petrus Jacobs (1763–1847) and his wife Anna Bertels (1767–1841), with the hints coming — of course — from family trees. There are a few minor issues with these candidates, such as the fact that that particular Joannes Petrus Jacobs was reportedly born and died in Antwerp, Belgium, that particular Anna Bertels was also reportedly born and died in Antwerp, and there’s not a shred of evidence either of them was ever in the United States.
Oh, and there’s documentary evidence that those folks had a daughter Elisabeth in Antwerp in 1798 who spent her entire life in Antwerp and died there in 1875.16 Unless we’re willing to begin with the notion that they were having kids on both sides of the Atlantic within a space of a few years and leaving at least one as an infant or toddler on the opposite side from them for a lifetime — well, let’s just say I’m not spending any time on that couple…
And since this is DNA Sunday and the reason I’m focusing on Ann is that we identified her for sure using DNA, let’s see what the other DNA matches tell us. The mtDNA matches tell us we’re related to … um … each other, to descendants of Ann, a couple of folks who trace their maternal lines to Ireland, Scotland and (sigh) the Cherokee tribe,17 a handful of folks who have no clue where their maternal line traces back to, and at least one who has no clue what a maternal line is.18
And the autosomal results? They also tell us we’re related to Ann’s descendants, and also to descendants of William’s siblings, and to a whole bunch of folks whose relationship to us is utterly unknown.
Yes, it’s going to be interesting working through the challenge of Ann.
But it’s the challenges that make genealogy fun…
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “The challenge of Ann,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 7 Mar 2021).
- See “Women’s History Month: About,” Library of Congress (https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ : accessed 7 Mar 2021). ↩
- “A Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2021,” The White House Briefing Room, Whitehouse.gov (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/ : accessed 7 Mar 2021). ↩
- See International Women’s Day (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ : accessed 7 Mar 2021). ↩
- See Judy G. Russell, “Finding Margaret’s mother: the end,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 31 Jan 2021 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 7 Mar 2021). ↩
- Oglethorpe County, Georgia, Marriage Book 1: 61, Battles-Wright, 12 December 1818; “Marriage Records from Microfilm,” Georgia Archives Virtual Vault (https://vault.georgiaarchives.org/ : accessed 31 Jan 2021). ↩
- Blount County, Alabama, Circuit Court Minutes B: 373-375 (1829); Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Oneonta, Ala. ↩
- Ibid., at 375. ↩
- St. Clair County, Alabama, Marriage Record 1: 53, Battels-Jacobs, 25 Dec 1829; digital images, “Marriage records (St. Clair County, Alabama), 1819-1939,” FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org : accessed 31 Jan 2021). ↩
- 1830 U.S. census, St. Clair County, Alabama, p. 252 (stamped), William Battles II household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Mar 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 4. ↩
- 1840 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, p. 116 (stamped), William Battles household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Mar 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M704, roll 3. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, District 27, population schedule, p. 136B (stamped), dwelling/family 1052, Ann Battles; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Mar 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M432, roll 3. ↩
- 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, District 1, population schedule, p. 315 (stamped), dwelling/family 825, Anna Battles; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Mar 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M653, roll 5. ↩
- 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, Leesburg, population schedule, 268(B) (stamped), dwelling/family 26, Ann Battles; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Mar 2021); citing National Archive microfilm publication M593, roll 7. ↩
- J. H. Grimes, comp., Abstracts and Extracts of Obituaries from The Gadsden Times, 1867-1899 (Cullman, Ala. : Gadsden Public Library Friends, 1993), alphabetical by surname, entry for Mrs. Ann Battles, published 13 Apr 1877. ↩
- William Battles, dec’d, v. United States, Court of Claims, Dec. term 1887–1888, Case No. 967-Congressional; Congressional Jurisdiction Case Records; Records of the United States Court of Claims, Record Group 123; National Archives, Washington, D.C. ↩
- Death registration, Elisabeth Jacobs, 20 July 1875, in “Belgium, Antwerp, Civil Registration, 1588-1913,” FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ : accessed 7 Mar 2021). ↩
- Not real likely with a maternal haplogroup of H3g. Just sayin’ … ↩
- No, my friend, your father’s father’s father’s father’s wife is not the source of your mtDNA. Really. ↩