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Saturday
Aug232008

More Letters Testamentary

I solved a longstanding genealogical mystery in Cumberland Co, NJ, last night. As you know, I've been going through the several-thousand page books of Letters Testamentary that I copied at the NJ State Archives (only 800 more pages to go!) since May.

A few days ago, I ran into a distant cousin named Andy (who also reads the blog now, yay!) on the NJCUMBER rootsweb email list. I answered a query of his since I knew the answer. Then I saw his last name matched my 3rd great grandmother's so I asked him if his surname started from Cumberland Co. It turns out, it did. His ancestor John was one of those family members that I didn't know where they belonged. Andy knew John's father, but didn't know anything else.

Last night, John was mentioned as a cousin of Sarah Dare Bateman. She died without heirs, so they listed all of her living cousins. It turns out that Jane Potter and Smith Bowen had a lot more children than are documented. Sarah's mother was Statira Bowen and no one knew who her parents were. Fortunately I recognized a grouping of children as Buckley C. Bowen and Abigail Sayre's children. I sent the page to Andy (who lives out of the country) and now he knows his ancestry!

As my cousin Mary, also a genealogist, says.. "Why don't they teach about Letters Testamentary in genealogy classes?" My answer, "They're not as obsessed as me with finding their families."

-andrea

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