Isaac Morris, died 1750, Amelia County, Virginia and His Descendants

This will be my last rambling about the Morris clan of Amelia County, Virginia, as they are not directly related to my husband. However, I hope that the wills and lawsuit that I’ve uncovered as I chased this BSO (bright, shiny object) will help some Morris descendants somewhere.

Isaac Morris left a will dated 17 December 1749, which was entered into court records on 18 May 1750.

Isaac named his loving wife, Mary Morris, and his son, Moses Morris, as executors of his last will and testament. Perhaps luckily for his descendants, his children and grandchildren were a bit on the litigious side and a chancery court lawsuit further identifies some of his grandchildren.

First, here is his will, which Isaac signed with his mark:

Amelia County, Virginia WB 1:64
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God amen I Issac Morris Senr being very weak of Body but in my Perfect Sence (sic) and Memory praised be God Almighty for the same and knowing the uncertainty of this Mortal life Therefore Make and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament Revoking all other Will by me formerly made and this Only to be my Last Will and Testament I therefore Give and Bequeath as followeth

Item, I give and Bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Harris one Negro Man Named Bridge which she Hath already in Possession and Cow and Calf to her and her Heirs and assigns for Ever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son Moses Morris one negro Girl named (Tamer?) and three Hundred Acres of Land Lying in Amelia County at the place Called Jacks quarter taking it in a Regular Manner to Lines that it may Not be hurtful to the Other part of the Trace of Land to him and Heirs for Ever after the decease of my Loving Wife Mary Morris

Item I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Leah Morris one negro Girl named Judy to her and her Heirs forever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son silvanus Morris three Hundred Acres of Land Lying in Amelia County with the Plantation whereon I now Live to him and His Heirs and assigns for Ever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son Zachariah Morris Three Hundred Acres of Land Lying Amelia County Joining my Son Moses Morris to him and his Hiers (sic) for Ever

Item I Give and Bequeath to my son Isaac Morris Three hundred acres of Land lying in Amelia County Joining my Son Zachariah Morris to him and his heirs for ever

Item I give and Bequeath to Thomas Whitworth when he hath paid for it the Land in Amelia County which he bought of me to him and his Heirs for ever. And as for the Residue or Remainder of my Estate be it in what nature or property (?) Except Land I leae under the Care of my Wife Mary Morris During her naturall life or Widow-hood But if she should marry at that day or the day of her Death then the above mentioned part of my Estate to (be) Equally Divided amongst Three of my Daughters Tabitha, Rhoda and Oney Morris and three of my Sons Silvanus Zachariah and Issac Morris —But if the Leagusies (sic) of the last six Children mentioned be found to be more then the (?) Leagusies Given in the Personall part then the (overplus?) to be Equally divided amongst all my Son and Daughters Except Elizabeth Harris. and lastly Constitute and ordain my Loving Wife Mary Morris Executrix and my Son Moses Morris Executor of this my last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and fixed my Seal this seventeenth day of December One thousand seven hundred an forty nine.

Isaac (his X mark)Morris Seal

In the time At these (words?) (except Land)
Interlined before signed

Signed Sealed
In Presence of
Benjn Hendrick
Jacob Seay, Thomas Whitworth
Sarah (her X mark) Edwards

From this, we can see that Isaac Morris had the following children. Whether or nor wife Mary was the mother of them is unknown. Birth years are estimated, based on the fact that Moses had to be at least 21 to serve as an executor, so born no later than 1728 and he had unmarried sisters.:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1725; married Mr. Harris, before 17 December 1749
  2. Moses, born c1727
  3. Leah, born c1729; unmarried in 1749 (or possibly married to a Morris cousin, which occurred in this family and time period)
  4. Silvanus, born c1731
  5. Zachariah, born c1733
  6. Isaac, born c1735
  7. Tabitha, born c1737; unmarried in 1749
  8. Rhoda, born c1739; unmarried in 1749
  9. Oney, born c1741; unmarried in 1749

Two statements in Isaac’s will led to years of litigation by siblings and siblings’ heirs against their mother, Mary, and brother, Moses. First, the estate couldn’t be fully distributed unless Mary remarried or died. She was alive at least as late as September 1767, but is mentioned as “late mother” on 21 July 1773 by Moses Morris.

What caused the lawsuit to be filed was one sentence in Isaac’s will: But if the Leagusies (sic) of the last six Children mentioned be found to be more then the (?) Leagusies Given in the Personall part then the (overplus?) to be Equally divided amongst all my Son and Daughters Except Elizabeth Harris

Because Mary survived husband Isaac by at least 17 years, property values had changed a lot, both real and personal, and the heirs were fighting to have their shares made equal by current standards of the day. Sadly, most of the legal fight was over the value of enslaved people.

However, buried in the case file are pages which gave a few more details about Isaac’s children.

Here is the revised list of heirs of Isaac Morris, based on further details in Amelia County, Virginia Chancery Court files 1785-015 and 1791:018:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1725; married Mr. Harris, before 17 December 1749
  2. Moses, born c1727; died c1802, when he wrote his will.
  3. Leah, born c1729; married Joseph Pollard, before 22 February 1770
  4. Silvanus, born c1731; perhaps the one who was sued by wife Sarah for cruelty between 1783 and 1792.(See Chancery Court file 1792-027) as Tabitha Morris was one of the witnesses called to court.
  5. Zachariah, born c1733; died c1807, when he wrote his will
  6. Isaac, born c1735
  7. Tabitha, born c1737; unmarried, but alive in 1785
  8. Rhoda, born c1739; married John Beadle, before 22 February 1770. John Beadle died after 26 November 1788.
  9. Oney, born c1741; married Augustine (also called Abraham in the court papers) Beadle, before 22 February 1770






HOT OFF THE PRESS! Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies by Debbie Parker Wayne, Editor

Just over a week ago, I first heard about this sensational new book that had just been published – Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies by Debbie Parker Wayne, Editor.

Imagine my chagrin when I ordered it on Amazon, only to have a delivery message stating it would arrive between 1 May and 11 June 2019! It had already apparently sold out. A few days later, though, a delivery update made me very happy and the book arrived last week.

To begin, the book is a bit hefty in price, but it is way more hefty in its 382 pages of information and worth every penny. It would be the perfect textbook in a class on genetic genealogy. That is a big compliment because, as a retired teacher, I see textbooks as a source of lots of great learning.

Take a look at the Table of Contents:

Methods, Tools & Techniques

1. Lessons Learned from Triangulating a Genome, Jim Bartlett, PE
2. Visual Phasing Methodology and Techniques, Blaine T. Bettinger, JD, PhD
3. X-DNA Techniques and Limitations, Kathryn J. Johnston, MD
4. Y-DNA Analysis for a Family Study, James M. Owston, EdD
5. Unknown and Misattributed Parentage Research, Melissa A. Johnson, CG
6. The Challenge of Endogamy and Pedigree Collapse, Kimberly T. Powell
7. Parker Study: Combining atDNA and Y-DNA, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL
8. Would You Like Your Data Raw or Cooked? Ann Turner, MD

DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard

9. Drowning in DNA? The Genealogical Proof Standard Tosses a Lifeline, Karen Stanbary, CG
10. Correlating Documentary and DNA Evidence to Identify an Unknown Ancestor, Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
11. Writing about, Documenting, and Publishing DNA Test Results, Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Ethics, Emotions, and the Future

12. Ethical Underpinnings of Genetic Genealogy, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
13. Uncovering Family Secrets: The Human Side of DNA Testing, Michael Lacopo, DVM
14. The Promise and Limitations of Genetic Genealogy, Debbie Kennett, MCG

The chapters are followed by the Glossary and Recommended Reading. The List of Figures and Tables is SIX pages long!

Each of these chapters is a high-powered read as a stand-alone. Depending on one’s levels of technical expertise and genetic genealogy needs of his/her own genealogical research, some chapter topics will be of more interest than others.

However, everyone will learn something and most of us will learn a lot from each of these authors, who are well respected names in the genealogical world.

There are two things, on the surface, that I love about this book. The first – many color charts and tables – might not seem significant, but color adds so much clarity and understanding to factual information presented. Second, I really love the number of case studies found in most of the chapters. Like color, case studies help bring all the data into  perspective in a way that doesn’t overload the brain.

This book is not in any way a beginner’s guide to DNA – after all, the opening chapters cover triangulating genomes and visual phasing. Personally, I consider myself to be on the beginning edge of intermediate understanding in my DNA knowledge and some of the material covered is beyond my grasp right now. Yet, I am enthusiastically jumping into reading each and every chapter because each topic seems approachable and written in a style that offers new knowledge in ways that I can process and understand without a DNA teacher by my side.

Yes, $50.00 is an expense, but I highly recommend this book to anyone beyond a beginner’s level in genetic genealogy.

Okay, I did say that I am looking forward to reading all the chapters, so why am I recommending a book that I haven’t entirely read? Between my years as a teacher and my 40 years doing family history, I recognize a quality book when I see one. I’ve skimmed through the chapters enough to get a feel for it. This is a book that readers will reference time and again as their genetic family trees blossom and expand. It’s most definitely a keeper. 🙂







April Fools’ Day

Fun Facts About April Fools’ Day

  1. Its origins are uncertain.
  2. However, Chaucer referred to April 1st foolishness in The Canterbury Tales written in – – – – -1392! – – – – – so it’s been around for a very long time.
  3. In England, an April fool (the person tricked) is called different names, depending on the geographic location, and might be called a noodle, a gob or a noddy.
  4. In France, an April fool is an avril poisson, or an April fish, and early 20th century April Fools’ Day postcards often featured young ladies holding an armful of fish.
  5. One of the most famous wide-scale pranks happened in 1957 when the BBC in England filmed a documentary of the Swiss spaghetti harvest. It was so successful that viewers wanted to know where to purchase spaghetti trees!
  6. Although April Fools’ Day jokes pranks happen in many countries around the world, April 1 isn’t a legal holiday anywhere.

Did you fall for any April Fools’ Day jokes today?