The Paradox of Samuel Marion Dunn

Fresh slime was still dripping from my hair.

I had never seen a Dalek make such an explosive mess before, but there it was. I looked over at the tall, handsome man known as The Doctor standing before me.

“So… what now?” I asked, absent-mindedly wiping my hands on my jacket.

“Whatever you want.” he smiled. “We just saved the Earth… let’s celebrate! Where would you like to go?”

“I… I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. A bit busy, you know.”

“Well then, let’s think about it,” he said. “Anywhere in time and space.”


To a genealogist, that could only mean one thing: the past.

The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. “I’d really like solve a family mystery and find out what happened to my great-great grandfather, Samuel Marion Dunn.”

“Ah, I do love a mystery,” he said, his eyes gleaming. “Off we go now – allons-y!”

The TARDIS engines began wheezing and groaning. I don’t know how he knew where – or when – to go because I sure didn’t.

“Hold on!” he winked.

Samuel Marion DunnAs the TARDIS rocked, I fell into a tattered chair beside the console and pulled out my phone. Opening my genealogy database, I scrolled down to the Ds, and there he was: the mysterious Samuel Marion Dunn.1

At least, what little I knew of him.

Born about 1818 in Lincoln County, North Carolina, Samuel was the brick wall at the end of my Dunn line. He married Julia Ann Blanton in 1839, and they went on to have eleven children, including my great-grandfather, John Dunn. The family eventually relocated to Greene County, Tennessee, where he and John made boots and shoes for a living. Both fought for the Union in the American Civil War, with Samuel serving as a sergeant in Co. K of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry. He applied for a pension in 1871, and that’s where the trail goes cold.

I was jolted back to the present by the frantic ringing of the TARDIS’s cloister bell.

“What’s happening?”

“The TARDIS… she’s encountered a paradox! She seems to think your Samuel exists in two places at the same time!” he shouted over the clanging.

I had often thought that, myself. Was he in Hamblin County, Tennessee, or was he in Georgia, as his son Philip claimed in a deposition for John’s pension…2

Philip Dunn Statement for John Dunn Pension

“What do we do now?” I yelled.

“We need to find the last time and place that you know he existed. When was that?” he shouted.

“Let me check!” I looked at my phone. “Try… Whitesburg, Hamblin County, Tennessee… February 23rd, 1871.”

It was worth a try. Samuel had signed a Declaration for an Invalid Pension on that date.3

Samuel M Dunn Pension Declaration 1871

“Right then!”

Moments later, the cloister bell stopped ringing. As The Doctor busied himself flipping switches and pressing buttons on his TARDIS console, I began to think of all the questions I wanted to ask Samuel.

Assuming we ever found him.

  • Who were his parents?
  • Where was he in 1870 and why wasn’t he enumerated with his wife and children in the 1870 census? Was he really in Georgia, as his son Philip claimed? Could he be the same Samuel Dunn found in Fulton County, Georgia?4
  • What happened to him after 1874?
  • And what happened to Julia?

1870UnitedStatesFederalCensus_287114562 Samuel Dunn in GA

So many questions. I also wanted to know when and where he died, but if we found him – alive – he obviously wouldn’t know the answer. I couldn’t let him know I was from the future, could I? No, of course not…

The TARDIS stopped shaking and the engines went silent.

“Ah, here we are,” The Doctor said, grabbing his coat and bounding toward the door. “1871. Tennessee. Earth.”

He opened the door and smiled. I slowly rose from the chair and walked towards him.

This was it. Would I finally get the answers I so desperately wanted?


  1. Photo presumed to be Samuel Marion Dunn from unknown source. Provenance was lost long before I ran across the photo. Image restoration by me.
  2.  Deposition of Philip Dunn, 15 September 1883, Sarah J. Dunn, widows pension application no. 1,053,784, certificate no. 807,167; combined with John Dunn (Pvt. Co. K, 1st TN Cav., Civil War), Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  3.  Sarah J. Dunn, widows pension application no. 1,053,784, certificate no. 807,167; combined with John Dunn (Pvt. Co. K, 1st TN Cav., Civil War), Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  4.  1870 U.S. census, Fulton County, Georgia, population schedule, p. 110 (penned), dwelling 902, family 872, Samuel Dunn; digital images, ( : accessed 2 May 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 151

Finding Nellie Part 2: Married, with Mysteries

Image for Finding Nellie Part 2: Married, with Mysteries

Read Part 1 – Finding Nellie: Beginning With the End


Nellie in the 1900 U.S Census

When I started researching this family, maybe 20 years or so ago, one of the first things I found was the 1900 U.S. census.1 At the time, I was actually looking for my great-grandmother, Elizabeth “Bessie” Delaney, and I found her living in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her parents Dennis (a.k.a. Daniel) and Nellie Delaney and her little brother Richard. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but they were living at 943 U Street, the same address where Nellie died. (click any image to embiggen)

As you can see, Nellie is listed as the wife of Dennis Delaney, having been born in Illinois in what looks like “Mch” – which I have always assumed to mean “March” – 1873. And while I don’t claim to be a math whiz, it seems to me that if Nellie was born in March 1873, she would actually have been 27 years old as of June 1, 1900, the official date of enumeration.2

Dennis and Nellie are noted as having been married for 5 years. Nellie has had 2 children, both of which are living.

Mysteries in the Marriage

About a year after I wrote “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” I learned that the Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society had posted several databases, including an index of marriages for various dates between 1866-1955. I was thrilled to find Nellie and Daniel (a.k.a. Dennis) listed as having been married on 12 November 1894, which surprisingly jives with the math of the 1900 U.S. census.

I eventually got around to ordering a copy of the actual license from the Nebraska State Historical Society, part of which you can see below, marked up by me.3

Nellie’s age is given as 20 years old. Since the paperwork was filled out in November 1894, and her birthday would have been in March, this would make her a year younger than what was stated in the 1900 U.S. census. Since the marriage license was filled out nearly 5 years before the 1900 census, and presumably Nellie was aware of what was written, I think we can kinda sorta assume her birth year to be 1874 (and yes, I know what happens when we “assume”). The age of consent at that time in Nebraska was 18 years for females without parental permission,4  so I don’t think there would have be motivation to lie about her age.

You may recall that the year of birth on Nellie’s grave marker is 1875, further complicating the matter. Perhaps she actually didn’t know her own year of birth?

Also worth noting is that Nellie’s parents aren’t named on the application, while Daniel’s parents are. Was Nellie an orphan who didn’t know the names of her own parents? Did Daniel, who I’m guessing provided information for the license, simply not remember their names? Or was there some sort of family drama that caused Nellie to not want to associate with her family?

This will be important later.

Time Travel or Typo?

At the bottom of the page under the Marriage License is the Certificate of Marriage. And it just wouldn’t be fun if this part didn’t also present a conundrum. As you can see, P. S. McShane certified on 10 May 1895 that he “duly joined in marriage Mr. Daniel Delaney and Miss Nellie Coin” on 14 November 1895.

Marriage Certificate of Dennis & Nellie Delaney

Now, unless Mr. McShane had his very own TARDIS, I’m pretty sure he was not able to go forward in time to perform that marriage, and then back again to certify that he did it. Or was going to do it.

Time travel is confusing.

Instead, I think we can probably explain the marriage date confusion as one of those I-Can’t-Remember-What-Year-It-Is mistakes like most people make when they write checks after a new year begins. Well, I do, anyway.

Groom AND Witness?

What’s more of a head-scratcher is the people who reportedly witnessed the marriage: Mary Delaney and Dan Delaney. You read that right.

Family lore says that Daniel had a sister named Mary, but that she supposedly “went to Pittsburgh.”5  To be honest, I know absolutely nothing about Mary. Maybe she was in Nebraska, witnessed the marriage, and then went to Pittsburgh? I have no idea.

On the other hand, I know of no other “Dan Delaney” than the groom in this marriage.

So, of course, this made me wonder if it was legal at the time for one to witness one’s own marriage. According to the Compiled Statues, 1885, for Nebraska:6

In the solemnization of marriage no particular form is required, except that the parties must solemnly declare, in the presence of the magistrate or minister and the attending witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife; and in any case there must be at least two witnesses, besides the minister or magistrate, present at the ceremony. When solemnized by a religious society it is according to the rites and customs of such society.

Emphasis mine.

Could Dan Delaney, the witness, be the same person as Daniel Delaney, the groom? Or is there another Dan Delaney lurking around out there somewhere, and I just haven’t found him yet? 

My Thoughts So Far

I can’t help but wonder if this marriage wasn’t rushed into, for some reason.

The lack of one witness (assuming witness Dan Delaney was also the groom), Nellie’s parents’ names missing from the marriage license (for reasons I’ll get into in another post)… plus, the marriage was held just two days after applying for the license, which I know was not uncommon, but still makes me go, “Hmmm.”

According to the 1900 U.S. census, Nellie had only had 2 children, and both were living, so I don’t think she was “in a family way” when she married Daniel… unless the census informant didn’t know any different.

These ancestors definitely keep me guessing!


Read Finding Nellie Part I: Beginning With the End


  1. 1900 U.S. census, Lancaster County, Nebraska, population schedule, Lincoln City, enumeration district (ED) 42, sheet 3B (penned), dwelling 48, family 77, Dennis & Nellie Delaney family; digital images, ( : accessed 18 May 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 932.
  2. U.S. Bureau of the Census. “1900 Census: Instructions to Enumerators.” Transcription. Minnesota Population Center. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: IPUMS-USA. : 2015.
  3.  Marriage record of Daniel Delaney and Nellie Coin, (14 November 1894), Lancaster County, Nebraska, Marriages, Vol. 15: p. 86; Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  4.  United States Bureau of the Census, Special Reports : Marriage and Divorce, 1867-1906, Part I. (Washington, District of Columbia: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1909), 233; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 2015).
  5. Eileen Weddingfeld, “Pedigree Chart for Richard John Delaney’s Family,” supplied 2005 by Weddingfeld (now deceased).
  6.  United States Bureau of the Census, Special Reports : Marriage and Divorce, 1867-1906, Part I, 233.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Trees

Christmas Tree c. 1976

Our Family Christmas Tree, circa 1976. I still have this orange chair, although my dog ate most of it earlier this year.

Getting our Christmas tree was one of the holiday highlights for me. We always had live trees, usually about 6 ‘- 7’ tall. Or maybe they just seemed tall to me because I was smaller at the time.

In my younger years, I vaguely remember going out to a tree farm somewhere to get our trees. We would tramp around in the bitter southern California cold (ha!) until someone declared that he/she had found the perfect tree. The tree-cutter-person would cut down the tree for us, and we’d haul it home… probably in my father’s pick-up truck, but I don’t really remember. It was a looong time ago.

Once we got the tree home, my father would stand it up in a bucket of water in the garage, and meticulously pull out all the dead pine needles. He would give the trunk a fresh cut on the bottom, and then bring the tree inside.

Next were the lights. When those little “twinkle lights” came out, we all thought they were so beautiful. Unfortunately, putting them on the tree could be such a chore. Back in the day, if one, single light bulb was burned out, the entire strand refused to light. Dad would carefully unroll the lights, and we would all hold our breath and pray that they would light up when plugged in. But it never failed that at least one strand would have a bad bulb, and Dad would have to test each light with one of those light-tester-thingies to find the offender. Back in those days, if one bulb failed to work, the whole strand failed to work.

This could take hours.

Once the lights were on, we were finally free to add the decorations. I remember that there was a specific order in which the decorations should go on: the “balls” would go on first, with the large balls at the bottom of the tree, medium balls in the middle, and smaller balls towards the top. The “unique” decorations would go on next. These included various ugly ornaments I’d made in school, as well as some that my mother must have bought. I don’t actually know where they came from, but I still have many of them.

Christmas Tree 1976 Ugly Ornament

Ugly school ornament, made by me.


The finishing touch was always the tinsel. Back in the day, this was considered very stylish (much like color wheels used to be). I remember there being two types of tinsel: one was a plastic variety that would stretch when pulled, and flew off the tree every time anyone walked by. The other was a metallic sort, that stayed on the tree, but frequently fell apart in your hands. I preferred the plastic kind, even if it did fly off with the slightest breeze.

Actually, I hated tinsel, but it was going on the tree, whether I liked it or not.

There was a definite “technique” to applying tinsel. Like most kids, I suppose, I liked to grab a handful and throw. This method was, unfortunately, frowned upon by my mother (and most other adults). The “correct” method of applying tinsel was one strand at a time. ONE STRAND AT A TIME. One strand. At a time. One. Strand. At. A. Time.

It took FOREVER to cover a tree “correctly” with tinsel. But even I had to admit that it was kind of pretty – in a weird sort of way – once it was finished.

The final touch was the angel on top. She wore a gold, fuzzy dress and had a halo of lights behind her.

Our tree would go up well before Christmas and would stay up until at least New Year’s Day. After that, the decorations would come off, and the tree would mysteriously disappear. It was depressing.

The Christmas tree smell that filled our house was heavenly. I hated artificial trees and swore I’d never have one.

Christmas Tree 2008

Christmas tree, c. 2008.


Fast forward about 35 or so years. Ironically, my family now uses an artificial tree. We bought our first, 9 foot, artificial tree the Christmas after my daughter was born, but my husband hated it so much that we gave it to Goodwill and bought a smaller, 7 foot tree last year. (I really liked the 9′ tree, but I have to admit that the 7′ tree is lighter and easier to manage. Even I can put it up all by myself.) 

There were several reasons behind our decision to go artificial, but the main reason was allergies. I have them, and so does my daughter. No need to be miserable at Christmas if we don’t have to be. Plus, it came with all the lights on it already, eliminating a step that I never enjoyed much anyway.

Christmas Tree 2008 with ugly ornament

The ugly ornament is still on our tree, usually in the back.


After my mother and grandmother passed away, I inherited nearly all the family Christmas ornaments. You will still find many of these on my tree each year. I have also collected ornaments of my own, most of which represent something that happened in our lives during the year (like “new home,” “baby’s 1st Christmas,” etc.). These serve as special reminders of our lives together.

The artificial tree doesn’t have that wonderful Christmas tree smell. But that’s what pine-scented candles are for, right?

This post is the first in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories series, and was originally posted on 1 December, 2009. The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

Finding Nellie Part I: Beginning With the End


Beginning with the End

Back in early 2008, I wrote a post titled “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” in which I lamented the fact that my maternal ancestors must have been beamed to Earth from The Mother Ship because they left almost no trace of themselves anywhere.

I received several comments on the post, the most helpful of which was made by fellow blogger Charley “Apple” Grabowski. Apple had done a bit of sleuthing for me, and in the process, found a few interesting newspaper articles that I had previously missed. (I blame the busy toddler I was caring for at the time. Or’s kooky search engine.)

Using these and other clues, I have slowly chipped away at the mystery of this family. There is still plenty more to keep me busy, but I am so glad to know that maybe – just maybe – these ancestors really were Earthlings after all. 🙂

So, working backward, here is some of what I have learned about my great-great grandmother, Nellie (Coyne) Delaney’s short life.

The Death of Nellie (Coyne) Delaney

My grandmother’s cousin (now deceased) had already provided the clue that Nellie died in 1901, but she did not know exactly when, why, or where Nellie was buried. In the “Grandma’s Memories” journal I gave to my grandmother a few years before she died, my grandmother indicated that Nellie died in childbirth. I have yet to verify that bit of information, but at least I can confirm Nellie’s date of death and burial location.

One of newspaper articles found by Apple was a death notice for “Mrs. D. Delaney,” which was published in The Nebraska State Journal on 13 February 1901.1

I knew this was “my” Nellie because her she was married to Dennis (or Daniel?) Delaney, and 943 U Street was the address at which the family was living when the 1900 U.S. census – my only previous information about this family – was enumerated. Based on the article’s date of publication, I now knew that Nellie had died at her home on 12 February 1901. Whether or not she died during childbirth remains to be proven. I really hope that story was not true.

Nellie’s Burial

The following day, Nellie’s funeral notice was published.2

What was helpful in this article – aside from her full name, her husband’s name, and her address – was the information that she was taken to Harvard for burial, thus keeping me from fruitless searches of the many cemeteries in Lincoln!

Since Harvard is in Clay County, I paid a visit to the Clay County, Nebraska, GenWeb page to see what I could find out about cemeteries in that town. I learned that the Adams County Historical Society has a copy of grave marker transcriptions from the Harvard Cemetery, so I fired off an email asking if Nellie was found on any of their lists. In a couple of days, I had the answer: Nellie is indeed buried in Harvard Cemetery, along with her brother- and sister-in-law, Jeremiah and Zella Delaney, as well as their infant son Charles. Alas, no sign of her husband Dennis (or Daniel?).

I had to see where she was buried, even if only virtually, so I added a memorial for Nellie on Find A Grave and made a photo request. Within a couple of months, a kind volunteer posted a photo.3

Nearly 25 years of searching for Nellie, and I had found her final resting place, at last. I cried (I’m a big sap like that).

Read part 2: Finding Nellie Part 2: Married, with Mysteries


  1.  “Personal,” The (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, 13 February 1901, p. 6, col. 2, death notice of Mrs. D. Delaney; ( : accessed 22 November 2015).
  2. “People You Know,” The (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, 14 February 1901, p. 6, col. 2, funeral notice of Nellie Delaney; ( : accessed 22 November 2015).
  3.  Find A Grave, digital images (http:/ : accessed 4 April 2015), photograph by Peggy Bargen Duey #46873059, grave marker for Nellie Delaney (1875-1901), memorial #66007620, Harvard Cemetery, Harvard, Clay County, Nebraska.

My Virtual Research Trip: In Search of Isaac Kizer


Virtually heading down the Information Superhighway


For my virtual research trip, I decided to head out in search of my 3x’s great-grandfather, Isaac Kizer (or Keizer, Kysar, Kyser, Kyzer, Keiser, or Keyser, as I was to learn). Isaac’s branch had been dangling on my family tree for over 25 years. In fact, I can’t remember ever doing any research on him.

Sorry, GGG-Grandpa Isaac. [Hangs head in shame.]

I actually knew very little about Isaac to start with. My Aunt had left notes that he was born c. 1800 in Virgina, and married a woman named Mary. Together they had at least 9 children, including my gg-grandmother, Susannah. To my knowledge, all 9 children were born in Tennessee. Not much to go on, but thankfully he had that unusual name thing going for him… or so I thought.

So off I went, cruising down the Information Superhighway.

My first stop was at I put Isaac Kizer’s name – and what little I knew about him – in the search boxes, and I was directed to exit at the 1850 U.S. census. There, in Washington County, Tennessee, was 50 year-old Isaac Kizer living with Mary, and 8 of the 9 presumed children, including Susannah. Isaac was indeed born in Virginia, was working as a carpenter, owned $1,000 worth of real estate, and apparently could read and write. Mary and all the presumed children were born in Tennessee. I did not see any other Kizers in the immediate vicinity; however, there was a James Keys a few doors down who might bear further investigation.

Prior to this trip, I had known absolutely nothing about Isaac’s wife Mary. I could now glean from the 1850 census that she was born in approximately 1806 in Tennessee. So I decided to take a detour, and headed over to’s Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. There I found an entry for Isaac Keizer and Mary Bradly, married 30 April 1825. Oddly, there were two entries for this couple: the first entry seemed to be signed by a witness, and the second entry by the Justice of the Peace. Strange, but apparently this particular clerk found the double-entry method to be the most efficient because he did it for quite a few other couples on the page. Anyway, the date of marriage seemed appropriate, and the name Isaac Keizer wasn’t exactly common in the area, so I was convinced that this was my guy. Oh, and now I (hopefully) had a maiden name for Mary… Bradly. And the witness was named Jonathan Bradley. Father? Brother? Hmmmm.


Kizer-Bradly Marriage Records


My next stop after the detour was the 1860 U.S. census. I found the family still living in Washington County, Tennessee: 60 year-old Isaac was living with 51 year-old Mary and 5 children, including a 9 year-old Virginia, who I did not previously have in my database (she’ll be important later). Susannah was no longer in the household, which made sense because she married Albert T. Swanay in 1855. This time, Isaac was listed as a farmer, owning $3,300 worth of real estate and $770 in personal property. Again, no Kizers nearby, but a few doors down was another Keys family. Interesting.


The Keizer Family in 1860, Washington County, Tennessee


I did not find Isaac in the 1870 U.S. census, so I suspected that he may have died before then. I did find 62 year-old Mary J. Kizer living alone, owning $2,000 worth of real estate and $350 worth of personal property. She was listed as “keeping house,” but with that much land, she would certainly need help taking care of it.

When I find a widow living alone, I always check the neighboring households to see if one of her children is living nearby. Right next door was a John Sellars, living with an 18 year-old Virginia. John was a farmer, but did not seem to own any land. Could this be the mysterious Virginia who showed up in the 1860 census?

I checked the Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 database and found an 1868 marriage for Louisa V. Keizer and John W. Sellers. Could Louisa’s middle name have been Virginia? Made sense; Virginia would have been 17 years old in 1868, so she certainly could be the same 18 year-old Virginia living with John Sellars in 1870, next door to the widow Mary. At least, I was convinced.

So… that would mean Isaac must have died some time between 1860 and 1 June 1870.

Nothing turned up on, so I hit the road again and headed for one of my fave places: the Tennessee GenWeb. I suspected that Isaac would have died in Washington County, where he had been living for at least 35 years (that I knew of), so I exited at the Washington County, Tennessee, GenWeb site. I had been there many times before, but had never taken the time to look for Isaac Kizer.

After wasting time looking at a few random pages, I finally got serious and started putting names into the search box. Kizer: nothing. Keyser: nada. Kyser: zip. Keizer: BINGO.

The first hit was for Isaac Keizer’s obituary from the Jonesboro Herald-Tribune, 1869:

Keizer, Isaac
Isaac Keizer, an old and respectable citizen of the vicinity of Cherry Grove, departed this life on Wednesday, August 11th, 1869. We have known him for many years and can say that he was a good neighbor, and no doubt is gone to a better world to reap his reward. Vol. I. #1, Thurs., Aug. 26, 1869

Well, that made sense. He did, in fact, die before the 1870 census was enumerated. Seeing this, and finding “closure” on Isaac’s life, made me so emotional that I almost missed the other gem that had turned up. In the search results, right under the listing for Isaac’s obituary, was a link to Mary’s listing in the Pleasant Grove  United Methodist Church Cemetery index:

Keizer, Mary J.
b. 2 Mar 1808
d. 9 Nov 1890
Wife of Isaac Keizer

And you know what I found as I was scrolling through the index today while writing this post? At the bottom of the list of K’s was Isaac Kyzer! I had thought it odd a few nights ago that I did not find Isaac buried “next to” Mary, but obviously I did not look hard enough. Which once again proves that you should always double-check your work!

I got back on the Highway again and headed over to Find A Grave. Finding no Kizers, Kyzers, Keizers, etc. listed in Pleasant Grove United Methodist Cemetery, I added Isaac and Mary myself, and requested photos for both. Hopefully their graves are marked, and a nice volunteer will post pictures of them. Soon. Hint, hint. UPDATE: A nice volunteer did indeed post photos for Isaac Kyzer and Mary J Bradley Keizer.

So now I knew when Isaac died… perhaps he left a will. I hopped back on the Highway, this time heading to I exited at Washington County, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927, and found that Isaac Kizer did indeed leave a will, proven in September 1869. While it was mostly filled with the usual boilerplate, I did learn something important: he addressed his wife as “Mary Jane,” so I now knew Mary’s middle name. Unfortunately, he only named one child, “Manda,” who was still single and living on the farm, and only addressed the others as “his heirs.” I was hoping he might have mentioned Susannah, but… Ah well… we can’t have everything we want.


A portion of Isaac Kizer’s Will (from


Isaac signed his will with his mark, but in previous censuses, he indicated that he could read and write. I can’t help but think he that must have been quite ill at the end of his life. I’ll probably never know.

So that marked the end of my virtual research trip. Arriving home, I organized my swag and my thoughts, and decided that a few things would bear further investigation:

  1. Finding no other “Kizers” (or other name variation) in the area makes me wonder if those folks named Keys might have dropped the “zer” at one point. Based on the numerous phonetic spellings I found, I can’t help but think the name was pronounced “Keezer,” so shortening to “Keys” would make sense.
  2. “Manda” (or Amanda, as she was found in the censuses) was not in Mary’s household in 1870, nor was she found nearby. I wonder where she went? She was obviously very important to Isaac, since she was the only child he named.
  3. If Mary’s maiden name was Bradly, who was Jonathan?
  4. Isaac’s will was witnessed by Lewis Cooper and Adam Cooper. Who were they?
  5. Isaac seemed to own a bit of land… a review of the deeds is in order here. And tax records, to figure out when the Kizers came to Washington County.

So, where did you go on your virtual research trip? Bring back anything worth sharing?



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