Friday, October 16, 2009

DAR Lineage Questions - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my troubles understanding how you can get into the DAR when an ancestor's pension was denied. Thanks to Sheri for reminding me that there are other ways to prove service besides a pension file. I think that the fact that I have trouble believing John Shepherd's story is the problem with me understanding this case.

But I still haven't figured out the case of Moses Russell.

Here is the problem: I think that there are two Moses Russell and people are using the wrong one to prove their lineage.

I used Ancestry's Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book database to search. Unfortunately the keyword search would not search anything but the DAR member's name. So I also did a Google book search and found snippet views that allowed me to go back to the Ancestry database. (Confused yet?)

I found a member who used another member's proof of Moses Russell being in the Revolutionary War. The problem is that they are two different Moses Russell.

The first one that was proven was found on a pension list in 1832 for McMinn county, Tennessee.

The other one used this pension list, but left off the date. Which is a problem when the second Moses Russell died in 1825 (7 years before he was on the pension list). This is my Moses Russell. As far as I can tell he never lived in Tennessee. He was born in Virginia and moved to Ohio (Gallia and Meigs county).

Looking on Footnote, I found two pension files for Moses Russells. The first one is a Moses Russell living in Tennessee (S1874) and the other is for Esther Russell, Moses Russell's widow (W5754) in Meigs county, Ohio.

Does finding a name that matches your ancestor count as proof? I wonder if everyone has made this same error when trying to join with Moses Russell as their ancestor. I hope not.

One reason that I am wondering about all the DAR records, besides wanting to join at some point, is that I found a reference to a DAR file in a book of Gallia county Revolutionary War veterans that lists Mary Russell, who married Phineas Matthews, as the daughter Moses Russell (from Ohio). But I could not find this record on Ancestry due to the search not working properly. Plus the number given as a reference is application #465240 which is way outside of the listings on Ancestry.

The pension file for Esther includes a bible listing (really just a list) of the names of her children with Moses Russell and their birth dates (Moses, Nancy, Charles, and Thomas). She lists her marriage date as 1785. Mary was supposedly born in 1783 and not mentioned in the bible record.

Possibilities for the errors include:
  • Mary's birth date is incorrect.
  • The marriage date is incorrect. (But I have found it in Berkley county, West Virginia records.)
  • Moses and Esther were married after their daughters birth (2 years seems long though).
  • Esther is not Mary's mother. Moses had another wife who died after Mary's birth and before he married Esther. Esther may have raised her and been a mother to her completely.
The naming of Mary's children seems to reinforce the relationship to Moses and Esther:
  • Charles Whipple MATTHEWS (Esther's son's name, possibly Mary's brother. There is also a WHIPPLE family in the area.)
  • Esther MATTHEWS
  • Moses Russell MATTHEWS
  • Nancy MATTHEWS (Esther's daughter's name, possibly Mary's sister)
  • Aaron MATTHEWS (Phineas's father's name)
  • Elisha MATTHEWS
  • Thomas Russell MATTHEWS (Esther's son's name, possibly Mary's brother)
The deeper I search for this family the more confused I feel. Family stories state that Mary's parents were Moses RUSSELL and Esther/Mahitable NOLAN/NOLAND. But I am not so sure. Still looking for some primary evidence to back up or disprove this information.

Any comments are appreciated. Leave a comment below or send me an email to

1 comment:

  1. Mehitable Esther Noland had a child, Mary, before she married Moses Russell. My cousin has sent me info re the father's name and a court order that he pay support. Moses raised Mary as his daughter. I'm at work right now but if you e-mail me I'll look up the reference when I get home. My e-mail is