Lines are not always straight, at least in families. They cross, they break and restart, they curve sometimes, and often just stop. When I thought about the concept of line in my family it was all of those. In fact I was describing this situation to friends over coffee just yesterday.
My 4 x great grandfather Isaac Whitaker is a bit like the above. And the reason the lines got screwy was because of his relationship with the Taylor family, all in north central Kentucky before a bunch of them picked up and moved to Indiana. And that relationship was children marrying children of both families as well as cousins. But here’s where the cross over of the lines really got sticky. So sticky that the lines I wanted to draw would have looked like a pin board for solving a crime – you know the one, with the crime scene photos and the suspects and victims all linked together with lines of red (always red) string.
I didn’t get that far in the venture, but through help from a distant cousin and some snooping, I think I figured it all out. Isaac married his children’s mother-in-law. Here’s how it worked. Isaac had a bunch of kids. Those kids married the children of James Taylor and his wife, Nancy Crist Taylor. Isaac was an old man. James had died. Isaac married a Nancy Taylor. One year later Isaac died. And all of this was pre-1850 census. Can you see my problem? If you do any US family history, you will know how important that 1850 census is because it names all the household members. Before that, they were just ticks in an age box on the form. The marriage registers exist, too, for all these people. But it wasn’t until that 1850 census that things fell into place because my 3 x great grandfather, Elijah Whitaker son of Isaac, was living in that house with Nancy Whitaker as the head, with his wife Rachel and Nancy’s son Jacob, and another passel of grandkids. And even though Nancy’s grave stone is with her first husband James, the facts line up.
Line. Get it?