Monday, January 11, 2010

Madness Monday - William Taylor

Don’t you just hate it when you see parents listed for someone over and over and over again in on-line trees but there is no actual proof of a relationship anywhere? It seems to be widely accepted among Taylor researchers that my William Taylor’s parents were William Taylor and Jean Guffey. Dozens of on-line trees say they are so it must be true. Right?

The problem is it seems everyone either got the information directly from someone else or picked it up on-line. Either way, they didn't get a source to go with it. So far, I have not found “researcher zero” who first made the connection. Maybe the idea initially developed because the elder William lived in Rockcastle County, the younger William also lived there and they shared a first name hence they must be father and son. Maybe it is just that simple but I need something more substantial.

Here is what I can document about my
William Taylor.

  1. He was born between 1798 and 1805 (based on ages in various census records) in either Virginia or North Carolina (from census and marriage records) and eventually settled in Rockcastle County, Kentucky.
  2. He was married three times and had 14 children. His first wife was Martha “Patsy” Ramsey, daughter of Thomas Ramsey, Sr. of Garrard County, Kentucky. They were married in 1825 in Garrard County and lived there until after 1840. They had three children and moved to Rockcastle County before 1850. Patsy died there in 1852.
  3. William next married Mary G. Ramsey, daughter of Daniel F. Ramsey and Mary Donaho in 1854. He and Mary had one child and she apparently died before 1860.
  4. In 1862, William married Delilah Cox, daughter of Ambrose Cox. They had 10 children.
  5. The exact date of William’s death is not known but it was sometime between 10 Jun 1880 (when the 1880 census was taken) and 8 Feb 1886 (when his son, Jim, sold property that he had inherited from William).

There's not much there to indicate who his parents might have been. The elder William Taylor was a Revolutionary War soldier from Rockbridge County, Virginia who later settled in Rockcastle County, Kentucky so the location works. He filed his Revolutionary War Pension application in Rockcastle County in 1832. Unfortunately, he did not mention any children in that application. He was approved for a pension based on his service in the Revolution yet there is not one descendant in the DAR based on his service. What does that mean? Maybe nothing, but it might mean that no one can adequately document any children for him.

Since young William first married in Garrard County and lived there for over 15 years afterwards, maybe his parents lived there as well. There were other Taylor’s there at the time but so far, I haven’t been able to connect him to any of them either. Census records show William was born in Virginia but when he married the second time in 1854, his birthplace was listed as North Carolina. That opens up a slight possibility that he was not even from Virginia and if not, he could not be the son of the elder William.

It occurred to me while writing this post that brick wall articles should include a research plan for going forward and, hopefully, a future post to discuss progress with that plan.

So, where do I go from here?

  • Check deed records prior to 1900 in both Rockcastle and Garrard counties for all Taylors. [In progress in Rockcastle County]
  • Review Rockcastle and Garrard County early tax lists. [In progress for Rockcastle County]
  • Find the 1825 marriage bond for William and Patsy from Garrard County. [According to a microfilm index of Garrard County marriage records, this record is in a box of loose records at the courthouse.]
  • Find the marriage record for William and Mary G. from Rockcastle County. [Have only seen a transcription in a book of marriage records.]
  • Check Garrard County wills for Taylors. [Already know that Rockcastle County does not have a will for either William.]

    Leave a comment or e-mail me if you have some other research ideas.


  1. Thanks for the award, Linda. I appreciate it.