Will of Samuel Coleman, Goochland County, Virginia, 1748

Early Virginia records can be extremely difficult to come by, due to numerous losses through the centuries. I’m not usually lucky enough to locate wills for my husband’s ancestors, so I was ecstatic to find one for Samuel Coleman, his 6X great grandfather.

Samuel, born c1705,  married Ann, probably around 1729. He died between 1 April 1748, when he wrote his will, and 20 September 1748, the date the will was proved in court. No marriage record has been found, but some say she is Ann Christian, daughter of Thomas Christian and Rebecca New, also of Goochland County, Virginia. Ann was born c1710 and reportedly died before June 1778 in Goochland County. I have no documents, but wonder if that date represents a land sale by her heirs. Another item for the Family History Library research list.

Will of Samuel Coleman, 1748
Goochland County, Virginia
Deed Books, vol. 4-5

In the name of God Amen I Samuel Colman being very sick &
weak in Body but of Perfect sound mind and memory do make and
ordain this my Last Will (and?) ___tment (Testament?) in Manner and Form Following:- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -bequeath my Soul to God and my Body to the earth to be decent. . . . . . . . . . . . buried according to the discretion of my Executors here af-ter named- – – – – – – – -to my dear and loving Wife, one young Cow I like. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Beloved Wife Ann Colman my Whole Estate during her life or Widowhood, and after her Death or Marriage- – – -divided as Followeth: Item I give to my Two Sons Jas Colman & Saml. Colman the Land & Plantation whereon I now Dwell to be equally divided in Quantity between them. Item. I give to my other two Sons Jno. Colman & Danl. Colman, my set of Black Smiths Tools & after my debts and Funial (sic) charges are paid and defrayed then the Residue of my estate both Riel (sic) & Personal to be Equally divided amongst all my Children. I constitute & appoint my Beloved Wife Ann Colman, & Jacob Oglesby my Executors of this my last Will & Testament revoking all other Wills hereto fore made as Witness my Hand and Seal this First day of April, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & Forty eight.

Test: Robt. Woodson, Jno. Wright          Samuel Coleman Seal
John (I) Pryor
(his mark)

At a court held for Goochland County Septem. 20. 1748
This Will was proved by the Oaths of Robt. Woodson, Jno. Wright and Jno. Pryor the Witnesses herto to be the Last Will & Testamand of the said Samuel Coleman deced. which was hereupon admitted to Record.


  1. James, said to have married Elizabeth Leake, c1751, Goochland County, Virginia
  2. Samuel, married Ann Wright, 30 March 1756, Goochland County, Virginia
  3. John, died after 1 April 1748
  4. Daniel, died after 1 April 1748


My 2017 Genealogy Go-Over – Update

Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over has been the impetus for my own Go-Overs, as I’ve worked to pare down my archival albums, digitize all 10,000 or so items for which I am the current caretaker and to make sure my digital collection is in a format that would easily be understood by the next generation.

I am still on the fence about which software program I will choose as my main genealogical program. I began migrating away from Family Tree Maker back in June 2014 when Ancestry had its DDoS attack and began using RootsMagic, as I didn’t want my software program hung up because it was connected to a website under attack.

When Ancestry announced in December 2015 that it was unceremoniously dumping Family Tree Maker, I began taking a closer look at what each of the genealogical software programs offered. I have pared my choices down to RootsMagic 7, Legacy 8 and Family Historian 6, mainly because I like the looks of each of the programs AND there is good support available to me either locally or through users’ groups. (I have to admit, though, that I did purchase the March 2017 update to Family Tree Maker that was available at RootsTech for $29.95 because I want to see what improvements Software MacKiev has been able to make to it.)

However, I can move forward with the next stage of my Go-Over without having made that final software choice because my media can be attached to trees imported through gedcoms. They are all housed on my computer and I have never, ever directly attached media to my Ancestry tree. It has always been right click, rename and save or, if saving isn’t a choice given with the media, it’s been web clip, rename and save.

Last year, I believe in June, I wrote about renaming all of my digital images. I have renamed a few hundred of them, but I needed time for my brain to think through all the steps so that I didn’t regret the method that I chose to complete the job. I needed a well thought out total plan that was going to keep me on track with the least possible fuss and frustration.

I had already decided on the naming convention that I would follow as I renamed my images:


My images are all housed in surname folders, so I didn’t see the need to begin with a name for each image. Type refers either to the paper document or, if the image is a picture, it will either be Postcard, Image or Photo. I have quite a collection of vintage postcards representing places which were important in my ancestors’ lives. Image tells me that the picture is one that I received from someone else, while Photo is a paper original in my own collection.

Since I decided all of this last year, why haven’t I gotten farther along with the renaming and reattaching? I knew that as soon as I started renaming files, the current links to my software program would be broken. I didn’t really want to create copies for all those thousands of files so I let the project sit for a while. It’s also what I call a mind-numbingly boring job!

Recently, I read an article that motivated me to get going again. A blog that I follow, Lifehacker, has lots of tips that don’t seem to apply to me, but it has some great posts to which I immediately relate. One of those posts went up on 13 February 2017 – How to Cut Back on Digital Clutter and Regain Your Focus by Belle B. Cooper.

I can’t exactly put my finger on what touched me and got me moving, but I think it started with one of the sections of the article called Transition to Digital Minimalism. It talked about ridding ourselves of digital clutter. I decided that my digital project was “clutter,” so to speak, because I have been intending to clean it up. I know there are some – probably fewer than 25 – duplicate files (which is nothing out of a total of 10,000), but I really needed to get a handle on this renaming stuff.

A review of my plan brought me to the conclusion that I really did need to copy all of my images into new folders and rename the copies to keep the links intact in my family tree.

Next, I created a gedcom of my family tree, stripped of all the attachments, so as I renamed the images, I could attach them and (maybe) create source citations for each one using the templates found in the program. I still have to think about this step because I find that creating my own bibliographic citation in my notes seems to go a lot faster than dealing with all of those idiot templates. My only reason for using the templates would be to be able to take advantage of programs like Evidentia, which only work if data is sourced in templates.

When I have completed this process for my tree, I will back up all the new images in Dropbox and delete out the old set of images so that I am not saving a huge media collection twice. I use Backblaze and IDrive to back up everything on my computer and also have an external hard drive and flash drive with my media on them. Those will be updated as the last step.

If I haven’t bored myself to death at that point, I will repeat the same process for my husband’s tree. The 10,000 images are quite evenly split between our families and 5,000 at a time doesn’t seem quite as daunting as 10,000.

I think I have a workable plan!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – “Bad Behavior” Ancestor

Randy Seaver’s Weekly Challenge

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge really is a fun one, as the black sheep are the most interesting characters!

I have to say I didn’t have to think much about the ancestor who bests fits the bill this week – my husband’s 2X great grandfather, Isaac Sturgell.

Isaac was born c1823, most likely in Grayson County, Virginia. He died, quite ironically I think, exactly 108 years ago today on 26 February 1909! Although he lived a long life, I think it was a life filled with much turbulence.

His mother died before his tenth birthday and he married wife #1, Mary Bandy, when he was about 21. She was about 16. They had six children together before she upped and left him in Barry County, Missouri, with or without the benefit of divorce, sometime between the 1860 census and 30 September 1867 when he married wife #2, Susannah Douthit Alberty.

Susannah did have the benefit of divorce papers and she left him in 1874, accusing him of squandering the small estate left to her by her first husband. She also accused him of “bringing lewd women into the home” and not providing the necessities of life for her and her children. The sum total of her divorce settlement was an old gray mare!

Isaac must have liked being married because wife #3, Nancy R.
Fields, a widow, tied the knot with him on 27 April 1876, over the state line in Boone County, Arkansas. Marriage #3 wasn’t the lucky charm for Isaac, as that one was way shorter than Marriages #1 and 2, but I don’t know whether they actually divorced or went their separate ways. Whatever they did happened before 1 August 1877 when he took on wife #4, Nancy P. Cooper, another widow, in Pope County, Arkansas!

The fourth time around wasn’t a lucky charm either as Isaac and the second Nancy were no longer together by the time of the 1880 census.

For a while, I thought maybe Isaac was killing them all off and burying them in the backyard. However, an 1882 land deed proved that Mary Bandy was still alive and well in Peoria, Illinois. Second wife, Susannah Alberty, was his son Abijah’s mother-in-law – she died on 19 October 1883 in Newton County, Missouri, where she lived before she married Isaac.

Both Nancy Fields and Nancy Cooper turned up in the 1880 census living with adult children by their earlier marriages.

If that wasn’t enough for Isaac, he was also a proven liar! Isaac applied for and received 80 acres of land in Barry County, Missouri under the Homestead Act. On 30 November 1876 (note the date and the timing of his third and fourth marriages), He swore an oath that he had made improvements to the land and had NOT abandoned it, but lived on it for the required time period.

Isaac’s Oath

How do I know that Isaac lied and that he hadn’t been living on his land for quite some time? Because I found him on several Arkansas tax rolls as he wandered the hills there getting married!

Isaac seemed to have garnered some sympathy in his final years. One short notice appeared in the Cassville newspaper:

I’ve never been able to discover why J.A. Barnes was caring for Isaac  in 1902 – the court approved a reimbursement of $10 to him – but Isaac eventually moved into the County Farm – the local poor house.

In 1906, there was another one sentence notice about Isaac being an old man and very ill out at the County Farm.

In spite of that mention, he managed to hang on three more years before passing away. Someone decided he merited not one, but two obituaries:

Isaac Sturgle died at the county
farm Monday night, aged about 80
years. For a number of years Mr.
Sturgle had been a consumptive
and this dreadful disease together
with old age made death a welcome
visitor to the lonely sufferer. He
was a faithful member of the Bap-
tist church and one of the county’s
most worthy charges. He was in-
terred at the Oak Hill cemetery
Tuesday afternoon.

The second obituary is my favorite. Isaac, who consistently signed his name with an X, has been elevated even more in this remembrance:

Rev. Isaac Sturgill aged between
80 and 85, died at the County Farm
Monday afternoon and was buried
Tuesday afternoon in the Oak Hill
Cemetery by the members of the
Baptist Church, in their lot. He
had been at the farm off and on for
twelve or fourteen years. He left a
number of grandchildren in this
county. All his own children are

Isaac was titled as Reverend in this one! Not as far as I’ve ever been able to discover. The saddest part about his obituary is that, while Isaac had three sons and did outlive them, wife #1, Mary Bandy, took their daughters with her when she left. Margaret and Mary both survived their father, but I don’t think they ever saw their father after the day they left for Peoria.

I can almost feel sorry for Isaac. However, I met his last surviving grandchild about 25 years ago. She is now gone, but when I asked her about her grandfather, even she said he was a mean old man.

There are no surviving photos of Isaac Sturgell, if he ever even had his picture taken. I would love to know what he looked like, but he definitely was the black sheep of the family!

Isaac Sturgell, RIP, on this, the 108th anniversary of your death.