Member of the National Genealogical Society 2018
Member of the New Mexico Genealogical Society 2018

Wills, Tax Records, and Other Boring Documents - Family Research

They're not nearly as fun as birth, marriage, census, and death (not sure that's fun) records, but OH, can they answer a mountain of questions when all else fails!

I belong to a hearty, full Patton family line, most of which you'll discover is erroneously copied and pasted all over the internet. 

Let's start with James Patton, shall we? A zillion people have the poor man dead and buried in South Carolina in 1767, nine years before his father, Matthew, knew about it. You see, Matthew wrote his will the 16th of August, 1776, giving property, finances, and instructions to James for after his death. I really don't believe Matthew would have done that had his son died nine years prior to his will writing.

The name James Patton is as common as John Smith, and somewhere along the way, someone said, "Hey, there's a James Patton. Must be him." Zip! Into a chart it went and it's gone like live fire across the Internet. It's not him.

Matthew's Will has given a few family members a "heads up"! If James was alive in 1776 (which he clearly was), first he inherited half of a family parcel - a parcel he lived on. Bingo! There has to be a tax record for that land and off we go to search for it. Pennsylvania kept good records and if they haven't been lost or destroyed (this one hasn't), you'll soon discover that man was still alive and ultimately died in Pennsylvania years beyond 1767.

We all think our names are unique, but unless your name is Moon Unit Zappa, you'll always find an abundant number of folks throughout the years with your name. It doesn't make it true. Look further, and cite Sources.

(Photo: 1780 Tax list for Toboyne Township, Cumberland Pennsylvania).

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