It’s been quite a research adventure for the past couple of months, working on my husband’s Southern lines, collecting documents to source research by others and prove his lineage.
Distant cousins who are now long gone recorded oral histories and trekked to courthouses and libraries to collect family information. Most (not all, but I’d say 95%) of what they shared and wrote down has been supported by records I’ve found.
There is one more line that is yet unfinished, at least by me, and that is my mother-in-law Ruby Sturgell Stufflebean’s paternal line. There was a cousin, Dave, who spent many decades of the 1900s interviewing old timers in the family and making those courthouse visits. As with those cousins in other branches of the family tree, most of Dave’s sources are not recorded, aside from mentions of tax lists and an occasional deed book and page.
I’ve collected about as much documentation as might exist on Ruby’s family and her Sturgell lineage:
Francis Sturgill & Rebecca Hash
William Sturgill/Sturgeon & (possibly Sophia King, family lore)
Isaac Sturgeon/Sturgell & Mary Bandy
Abijah Houston Sturgell & Martha Susannah Alberty
Oscar Eldon Sturgell & Ethel Anne Nation
Edward Earl Stufflebean & Ruby Jewel Sturgell
Linking Isaac to William has been through preponderance of evidence, as William Sturgeon is the only man with that surname who lived in Lawrence County, Ohio in the 1840s. He had a male in Isaac’s age bracket at home in the 1840 census and Isaac Sturgeon married Mary Bandy in Lawrence County in June 1844.
One more bit of information is that Cousin Dave, without knowing anything about Isaac Sturgell’s life, said, according to family lore, William Sturgill/Sturgeon left Ohio and died in a sawmill accident around 1849 in Missouri or Arkansas.
Isaac Sturgell, wife Mary, and infant daughter M.J. appear in the 1850 census of Barry County, Missouri. Barry County sits on the southern border of Missouri touching Arkansas and Isaac Sturgell spent his life living in various towns throughout the Ozarks.
I had wondered how he came to live there with no apparent FAN club. If it’s true that his father died in the area around 1849, Isaac likely migrated with him and decided he liked the Ozarks well enough to stay.
That’s my theory anyway and I haven’t found a bit of contradictory evidence that would shoot holes in it.
William Sturgill is said to be a son of Francis, the Revolutionary War soldier and their link is also through a couple of pieces of preponderance of evidence. Francis Sturgill lived in Ashe County, North Carolina later in life and his wife, Rebecca, survived him after he died sometime before the 1820 census, when Rebeckah Stogill is head of household and living next door to her three adult sons and their families (Francis, William and Joel).
Ashe County, North Carolina 1820 Census
The second piece of evidence linking William to Francis is that, again, the Sturgill surname wasn’t terribly common and William is living in the same area where Francis and his family lived.
Perhaps over time more evidence supporting these family ties will appear, but for now, I am satisfied that Isaac is correctly paired with his father and William is rightly paired with Francis, his father.
The next step in my research is to gather evidence linking Revolutionary War soldier Francis to his ancestors, said to be:
1. John Stogdell, born c1625; died Essex County, VA c1705; possibly married a Franks (IMMIGRANT ancestor)
2. John Stodgill, born c1660, probably Essex County, VA: died c1725 in Essex County; possibly married a Madison
3. James Stodgill, born c1700, probably Essex County, VA; died c1753 in Orange County, VA; possibly married a Wiliams
4. James Stodgill, born c1725, probably Essex or Orange County, VA; died ; possibly married Ann Calloway
Just four short generations – how many supporting records will I be able to find for each generation? I’m not sure, but, from past experience, I know that Essex County records are plentiful.
In this case, it will be easier to begin with the immigrant, John Stogdell. With this family, spelling doesn’t count! There are many variations of the surname and many in the family were illiterate well into the 19th century, so they had no say-so in how their own name was spelled.