Catherine and the Doubtful DNA

In a previous post, I said I was pretty sure my 3rd great-grandmother’s parents were John James and Julia Callaghan. DNA matches, weddings of their children occurring in the same frontier county around the time of Catherine’s wedding to Elliot Bellamy, and a discovery of one of John and Julia’s grandchildren, Jacob Butcher, living very near Catherine in Harrison County, Missouri in 1860 led me to that conclusion.


But since discovering the neighbor cousin, I’ve been trying to gather evidence for their connection. And I can’t.


I searched all of my shared matches with descendants of John and Julia and found inconsistencies. First, most of the descendants of John and Julia James I share DNA with don’t share DNA with each other.

Second, some of the John and Julia descendants share DNA with the Bellamys, Catherine’s children from her first marriage, but they also share DNA with descendants of Jacob and Daniel James, Catherine’s second husband and her brother-in-law, both of whom are my third great-grandfathers. (The Jameses were fond of intermarriage.)

Third, I found that while I had many DNA hits with John James’s parents, I had none with Julia Callaghan’s. Looking at the Thrulines tree, it was just a one-way track from her parents down to me with no branches shooting off. That’s never a good sign when you’re talking about a woman who lived 250 years ago and had many siblings. Now, it’s possible that none of the descendants of Julia’s brothers and sisters have taken DNA tests, but it’s unlikely. The further back a couple lived, the higher the number of descendants there are to match, and Julia was born in the mid-1700s.

This one-sided DNA trail means that I’m likely not a descendant of the couple. Since I share DNA with both of John’s parents though, I am likely a descendant of one of his siblings.

The fact that descendants of Catherine, and Jacob and Daniel James all share DNA with descendants of John James makes me think that the three of them were related. (Yet, another case of the Jameses keeping it in the family.)

I also noticed while looking at DNA matches to descendants of the Bellamy children the abundance of matches to an Obediah Basham, whose father was named Bartlett Angel Basham. Could Catherine’s youngest son, Bartlett Bellamy, be Bartlett Angel Basham’s namesake? Looking through the History of Gallia County book online, I noticed that Angels were founding settlers of Gallia County. They, along with the Bashams, came from Bedford County, Virginia, same as Catherine. So I can place the Jameses, Bellamys, Bashams, and Angels there and prove they traveled together to Gallia County at the same time.

History of Gallia County, H. H. Hardesty, Chicago and Toledo, 1882, page XX; Accessed on Hathi Trust 11 Oct 2020. Click image for link.

Kitty and Her Place of Birth

This is post #5 in my exploration of my 3x great-grandmother, who may or may not be Catherine James Bellamy James. You can start at the beginning of this thread here.

This post discusses the results of my research to answer the question: Where was Kitty born?

All but one of Kitty’s census records indicate that she was native to Virginia, but Virginia happens to be a big place with a long history. How do I narrow her birthplace down to a county or a region of Virginia?

My answer: I have been researching her FAN club, her Friends/Family, Associates, and Neighbors, to narrow things down.

I started with her husbands.

Elliot Bellamy’s researchers agree that he was also born in Virginia. His parents, William Lee and Eleanor Molen Bellamy were married in 1794 in Henry County, Virginia, near Martinsville. That’s along the border with North Carolina, south of Roanoke. Elliot was definitely in Gallia County, Ohio, by 1816 to marry Kitty, so the Bellamys migrated between 1794 and 1816, probably via the Kanawha Trail, a path through the land that would become West Virginia. Probably all of the families I discuss in this post traveled the trail to get to Gallipolis and Portsmouth, Ohio.

Kitty’s second husband, and my forefather, Jacob James’s birthplace is also exclusively listed as Virginia. The people I believe to be his parents, Josiah James and Mary Brock McCann, were probably married in 1800 in Bedford County, Virginia.

These marriage locations are pointing me to a clear region of Virginia in which to research.

To support this hypothesis, the people I believe to be Kitty’s family, John Jacobi and Julia Ann James, also have ties to this area. Please read my previous posts to learn why I think they are Catherine’s people. Their younger children, including all four of the brothers and sisters who married in Gallia County about the same time as Kitty and Elliot, were born in Bedford County between 1784 and 1802, according to their family researchers. One of their daughters (Catherine’s sister if I have the relationships right) Christina, married Lewis Settle there in 1803. John’s sister, Eva, married Samuel Hibbs in Bedford County in 1791.

I realize it’s risky to base my search on people I’m not sure are Jacob and Catherine’s parents, but I have to start somewhere, and I can’t ignore the confluence of so many surnames that the James Family researchers have discovered in our shared DNA matches, such as Basham, Angel, and Brock, in addition to the Bellamy family members living in the county at this time.

Kitty and the Two Johns

This is the third entry in an on-going series of pretty much me writing out all of the weird stuff I’m finding about my third great-grandmother, Kitty James Bellamy James. To start this link, click here.

This post continues to discuss the research question: What were the names of Kitty’s parents?

So I narrowed Kitty’s father down to four men in my last post. After researching them further, I only found verifiable facts about two of them: John Jacobi James and his son, John Samuel James. I plugged John Senior and his wife into my Ancestry family tree to see if any DNA matches came up.

After seeing that I matched 13 of John James Senior’s descendants, I took a step further and plugged in John Senior’s parents’ names. I had 7 matches to 5 of John Senior’s siblings.

And I went back another generation and found that I matched to 8 descendants of John Senior’s grandparents. GRANDPARENTS!

We’re talking about people born in a section of the Holy Roman Empire known as Germania in 1714. There is no doubt in my mind that if John Jacobi James isn’t Catherine’s father then he must be her grandfather or uncle.

To read more findings, click here.

Sources:

1. Personal records from DNA test.

Kitty James and the Unknown Parents

This is a continuation of my research on my 3rd great-grandmother, Kitty James Bellamy James. For the start of this thread, click here.

In this post, I am writing about my findings to the research question: What were the names of Kitty James’s parents?

If Kitty married in Gallia County when she was a teenager, it stands to reason that her family was living nearby. Right? Running with that theory, I gathered the names of all the Jameses in the county in 1820. My research for 1810 didn’t go very far because early records for Ohio are spotty.

I work in Excel spreadsheets. It’s just who I am.

Five Jameses lived in Gallia County in 1820: Bartlet, John in Gallipolis, John in Green Township, Joseph, and Henry. Let’s look at them one at a time.

Bartlet is 27-45 years old and living with a woman 19-26. I’m thinking because of the age of the woman and the lack of kids in the house that Bartlet is on the lower edge of the age range and newly married.

John of Gallipolis is between 27-45 with two women in the same age range. There are three children under the age of 10 and a young woman who is 19-26 in the house. With an older John nearby, I am thinking this is John Junior.

John of Green Township is over 46 years old living with a man and a woman between 27-45, two men between 19-26, a woman between 17-18, a girl between 11-16, and a boy under 10. According to the Gallia County Cemetery records, John James died June 1, 1845, in Gallia County at 92 years old. His wife Julia Ann died in 1851 at 83 years of age.

Joseph is over 46 years old living with 3 people between 19-26 and 8 kids under 16. This is pretty clearly a 3-generation household.

Henry is 27-45 living with a woman 19-26. No children in the house makes me think Henry is in the lower end of the age range and newly married.

Map of Gallia County Townships. Source: Wikipedia

Next, I researched all of the Jameses who married in Gallia County around the time of Kitty’s marriage in 1816 in the hope of compiling a list of possible siblings. I found four people with the last name James—Rachel, Polly, Henry, and Elizabeth.

  • Rachel married Jesse Allison in 1813
  • Polly married Samuel Boggs in 1815
  • Elizabeth married Samuel Callahan in 1818
  • Henry married Susan Williams in 1819 (my inferences about him above were correct!)

Interesting that the surnames of the non-James grooms match maiden names and middle names of people I found death information for. Interesting that the name Kitty gave her third son was Bartlett. Interesting that Familysearch.org has a family tree for John and Julia James. Very interesting that I found DNA matches to descendants of two of the circled people below.

Entry for John Jacobi James on familysearch.org

For more of my findings, click this.

Sources:
1. Federal Census Year: 1820. Location: Springfield, Green, Gallipolis, and Harrison Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; NARA Roll: M33_88; Image: 81. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.
2. Ohio Marriages 1800-1956, Film 004016313, FamilySearch.org.
3. John Jacobi James profile on FamilySearch.org. GQH1H-H1H.
4. Julia Ann Callaghan profile on FamilySearch.org. L71R-6JB.
5. Personal records from DNA test.

Kitty James and Child Marriage

In the little free time I’ve had lately, I’ve been focusing on my 3rd paternal great-grandmother, Catherine “Kitty” James Bellamy James. No, the second James isn’t a mistake. All evidence points to Kitty’s second husband having the same surname as her maiden name. Whether or not they were cousins has yet to be proven (that I’m aware of).

My first question about Kitty was what year she was born.

Her age jumps around a lot from census to census. From them, though, I gleaned a range from 1796 to 1810. They consistently give Virginia as her birth state.

She first appears in a document by name when she married Elliot Bellamy or Bellomy in Gallia County, Ohio, just across the river from West Virginia.

[Transcription:]

Richard Newman and Polly Rickman.
Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James:
The State of Ohio, Gallia County.

I do hereby certify that Richard Newman and Polly Rickman was lawfully joined together in the holy bonds of matrimony, on the 15th day of August 1816, by me the undersigned; Also Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James, on the first day of September, was lawfully joined together in the holy bonds of wedlock in this present month, by me.

David Robertson J.P.

[End of transcription]

According to later records, Kitty would have been anywhere from 6–21 years old on her wedding day. Gallia County was frontier in 1816, so I can’t imagine marriage laws were very strict, but I doubt they’d let a 6 year old marry.

Unlike his peers, Justice Robertson did not expressly state that the wives whose marriages he officiated were of legal age. But he does use the term legal. I couldn’t find a specific age of consent law for Ohio for 1816, but I did find that the age of consent for women in Ohio in 1851 was 14 (p. 213; Statute 24). Probably Kitty was at least 12, so I’m putting her birth year between 1796 and 1804.

A year and a day after her marriage she had her first son, William, named for Elliot’s father. William’s birthdate was etched into his tombstone, and the 1820 and 1830 censuses corroborate that she had two living children before 1820. Doing the math, it seems she was pregnant three months after the wedding. Her quick pregnancy supports my inference that Kitty was at least 12 years old (probably older).

I know. I only covered Kitty’s birthdate in this post, not her whole life. I’m sorry. I write short things, and Ive been researching Kitty for a long, long time so I have a lot to say. For the next part of my research, click here.

Sources:

1. Elliot Bellamy household. Federal Census Year: 1820. Location: Ohio Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; NARA Roll: M33_88; Image: 81. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

2. Elliot Bellamy household. Federal Census Year: 1830. Location: Harrison Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; Series: M19; Roll: 131; Page: 126; Family History Library Film: 0337942. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

3. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1840. Location: Green Twp, Gallia County, Ohio; Roll: 395; Page: 61; Family History Library Film: 0020165. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

4. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1850; Census Place: Nile Twp, Scioto, Ohio; Roll: M432_727; Page: 74A. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

5. Jacob James household. Federal Census Year: 1870; Census Place: Clay, Harrison, Missouri; Roll: M593_. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

6. Frank Young household. Iowa State Census Year: 1885; Location: Ward 2, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

7. Ohio County Marriage Records, 1774-1993; Film Number: 000317652; Page: 32. Elliot Bellamy and Kitty James, Gallia County, Ohio, 1 Sep 1816. Accessed on Ancestry.com, 7 Mar 2020.

8. Century Publishing of the American Digest, West Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1902. Page 213, Statute 24. Accessed on Google Books, 7 Mar 2020 (https://bit.ly/2VTcFte).

9. “Child Marriage, Common In the Past, Persists Today,” Andrea Dukakis, Colorado Public Radio, 4 Apr 2017. Accessed on CPR.org, 7 Mar 2020 (https://bit.ly/2TBXOSB).