Sunday, April 13, 2014

52 Ancestors: #15 - Melinda JOLLETT Marsh

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Melinda Jollett was the seventh child and seventh daughter born to James and Nancy Walker Jollett, making her my third great grandaunt.  But there’s nothing LUCKY about that number 7.

“Lucky” would mean I have found her consistently in census records.

“Lucky” would mean I have birth, marriage, death dates for Melinda’s full family line.

“Lucky” would mean I have connected with a cousin, one of Melinda’s great-great-great grandchildren.

None of that. 

I have two records.  The End.

A marriage record in Orange County shows she was born around 1800 in Orange County, Virginia and married Thomas Marsh on March 12, 1822.  Her brother Simeon served as bondsman.  Simeon and his wife Nancy Glass were witnesses.

So it seems logical that I should find a family for Thomas Marsh in 1830.  Nope.  1840?  Nope.  I suppose they could have been living with another family.

Perhaps they left the area in the mid-1830s along with brother Simeon and sister Clarissa. But I see no signs of it. 

In 1850, TA DA – the rather large Thomas and "Melindey" Marsh family had settled in Putnam County,  then Virginia but now West Virginia since the Civil War.  Seven children. 

In my family tree database, every one of those seven children offers multiple “shakey leaf” hints, but only two offer more information than the projected birthdates gleaned from the 1850 census.  It looks like Thomas and Melinda and five of the children were simply wiped off the face of the earth before 1860.

Three Generations:

Melinda JOLLETT (Abt. 1800 Orange Co, Virginia - ) & Thomas MARSH  (1796 - ) 12 Mar 1822 Orange Co, Virginia

1. Julia A. MARSH (1830 Virginia - )

2. William MARSH (1832 Virginia – 1862 Crenshaw, Alabama) & Louise LOFTIN (13 Mar 1836 – 28 Oct 1915 Crenshaw, Alabama)  16 Jun 1853
  • George William MARSH (10 Apr 1854 – 18 Aug 1863 Crenshaw, Alabama)
  • John H. MARSH (18 Jul 1859 – 18 Aug 1863 Crenshaw, Alabama)
  • Willie Frances MARSH (Jan 1863 – 1928 Crenshaw, Alabama)
3. Joseph A. MARSH (1834 Virginia - ) & Elizabeth Jane STEELE (1829 Mason, Virginia - ) 20 Aug 1854
  • America Anna MARSH (4 Jul 1850 Virginia - 24 Jun 1941 Boyd, Kentucky) & James EADS (29 Feb 1852 West Virginia - 23 Jan 1940 in Catlettsburg, Boyd, Kentucky)
  • Minerva Jane MARSH (18 Mar 1858 Point Pleasant, Mason, West Virginia - 16 Sep 1936 Point Pleasant, Mason, West Virginia) & m1) Jonathan FIELDER (1852 in Ohio - West Virginia)
  • James M. MARSH (1865 West Virginia - )
  • Robert Lee MARSH (1868 West Virginia - 27 Aug 1928 Nutter Fort, Harrison, West Virginia) & Laura COZAD 1 Mar 1902 Barbour Co, West Virginia
  • Elizabeth MARSH (1871 West Virginia - )
4. Mary J. MARSH (1837 Virginia - )

5. John G. MARSH (1839 Virginia - )

6. Benjamin F. MARSH (1841 Virginia - )

7. Sarah M. MARSH (1843 Virginia - )

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I enjoy your blog very much. I have Marsh's in my background but they immigrated directly to Canada (southern Ontario) from Skilgate, England in the 1840's and 1850's. My grandfather was "George William Marsh" (b. 1895 in Ontario) his father, Thomas Marsh (b. 1855 in Ontario) and his grandfather William Marsh (b. 1822 in England) It is so hard when there were so few given names used and the same names show up time after time but doesn't mean you have the right family! Have a great day!

    1. Misery loves company -- thanks for the visit!

  2. Have you searched cemetery records? Military least for the men? Best of luck in your search. I do love genealogy. Traveling Suitcase

    1. I have looked, yes. I have even tried MASH and MARCH as alternate spellings but come up either empty or with too many inconclusive options. I'm not willing to throw in the towel yet though. Thanks for the visit!

  3. It sounds like your Melinda was quite the opposite: very unlucky! Sometimes with disappearing acts like that in those earlier years, I wonder if the family hadn't returned to England. One way or another, they certainly left without a trace.

    I've always been a fan of historic newspapers, and perhaps this might be one of your few recourses in such a case. A fellow member of our local genealogical society tells the story of her difficulty in finding one particular ancestor's immigration records. While no other index or record provided proof--even a trip to the designated courthouse yielded absolutely nothing further--it was when she finally resigned herself to the inevitable, to grind her way through a microfilm of the local newspaper, that she found the one and only record of the ancestor's immigration.

    Wendy, I'm certain your third great grandaunt and her husband--not to mention their seven children--are out there. Don't you sometimes feel like you are approaching that proverbial iceberg, though? Nine tenths of the body of genealogical resources are likely still "under water" as far as online accessibility goes.

    Some day....

    1. I find it fascinating which lines seem to have a number of descendants actively researching. I have met NO Melinda descendants.

  4. I hope that someone in the shaky leaf area (Bing) will pop up with some info.

  5. How rude of them to completely disappear!

  6. Such a mystery! Where could they have gone? I wonder if they just happened to be traveling to a new home when the census takers came around. Or maybe they were living with relatives. I hope you are able to break through this brick wall.

    1. I keep wondering too. I can understand not finding them before 1850 when they could easily have been living with family, but there they are in 1850, so why not '60 and '70?? I've tried looking for the children but "John" was just too common a name. I hope a descendant will find me.