My recent genealogy research has consisted of me reviewing specific ancestors and confirming the accuracy of the ‘facts’ that others have provided regarding their location, vitals and other bits of data.
In this case I have been going over the story of James Shaw, my Irish immigrant ancestor who came here at the age of 15 and was bound out to a family in York County, Pennsylvania. That’s the story anyway.
Using tax, land, and court records I have been able to verify the information regarding his moves throughout his life. However, there are a few bits of history that have not been proven or sourced. How do we know he was here at the age of 15? Where is the ship passengers’ list? There is no record of him in the indentured records, so how do we know he was bound out? If he was an indentured servant he would have been contracted for 4-7 years. That was the gold standard. If he was 18 when he joined the revolutionary war then he was an indentured servant when he was 14 in order for him to have served 4 years. Was he Irish? Or was he Scots-Irish? Where are the sources?
Did he come alone as a young boy? Or did he have a brother or two who were also here?
Now that last one is kind of a trick question. You see, I found a very interesting court record when I was going through the York County Archives on line. This record is about a Daniel Shaw who impregnated Rebecca Jolly, and was in court being fined and convicted for the crime of bastardy in 1780 (or ’81 the record has both dates).
Why this document is especially interesting is that my great grandfather James Shaw married my great grandmother Ann Jolly in 1778 in York County. Are these people related to each other? Is Rebecca a sister to Ann? Is Daniel a brother to James? They are all in the same county at the same time and have the same surnames. A very interesting coincidence.
Here’s another interesting bit of information to ponder–names that show up as volunteers in York County’s 6th battalion, 7th company: James Jolly, Archibald Shaw, Daniel Shaw, James Shaw (my James). Are they related? They are the only Shaw and Jolly surnames to appear in the whole of York County company lists.
Unfortunately, I do not actually have the answer to these questions, they are still a work in progress. And I might never have the answers, but it sure is an interesting puzzle. Fingers crossed!