Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Finding Faulkner: Part Seven | Serendipity and A Crashing Wall

It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale. 

When I left the search for James Faulkner's parent's behind it was spring of 2011. I'd been hard on the trail since late 2007, with fits and starts. I continued to dabble, periodically. I checked all the usual places for any new records. I tracked down some 2nd cousins I had no idea existed. (they had never heard of James) I sent emails (and snail mail!) to genealogical societies and cemeteries. I tried researching the McBride's. I went back and forth as to whether James or William were the more likely brother for James' father.

I went round and round in ever more maddening circles.

The more I looked at the evidence, the more convinced I became that neither James or William could be my James' father. That left Joseph or Samuel. Samuel who had married Elizabeth Wilkin, according to the Bull Book.

I followed that trail for a while, but got nowhere, and more nowhere. Samuel and Elizabeth has seemingly just vanished. Not even a marriage record could be found.

I was getting really tired of banging my head against this brick wall.

Then on perfectly ordinary late December day in 2012 a new post to the OCGSNY yahoo group showed up in my inbox.

 "Hi all, Hope you've had restful holidays, wherever you may be. Over mine, I happened to notice on the FamilySearch website that they've recently added digitized images for over 8 million pages of New York State deeds and land records. (...) While the records are not *electronically* indexed or searchable, they ARE indexed on the actual images."

What the ....What?!?

A quick look proved that, indeed, the land records had been digitized! Not indexed, but digitized. And the original index books were digitized too!!! A late Christmas present had just been delivered to my door! Sure it meant hours of combing through images, but happily it's one of my favorite things to do! (seriously)

Busy with work until mid January, I resigned to return to the records when I had the time necessary to really dig in and look.

That time came in mid March 2013. I had a good week of nothing pressing and decided to sequester myself in the Cave and comb through all the land records. First stop, the digitized index books. I looked for every Faulkner listed, making special note of any James. There were well over two dozen entries for Faulkner and it's variations. I searched Ulster County, Orange County and Sullivan County since all three counties converged at almost the exact location the Faulkner's were said to reside.

Noting the liber and page of each entry, I searched both Grantors and Grantees. This was very exciting! I'd thought I'd have to travel to Goshen or Albany, New York to lay my eyes on such documents, yet here they were ..... in my home!

Coffee in hand and dogs at my feet, I came away with a good list of suspects. Almost two dozen of them! I must confess to getting goose bumps on several occasions as the names I was reading in the deed books were the same names I had become familiar with in the Blue Book. I almost felt like I was coming home. I knew these people - and here they were, being recorded at the actual time they lived! Talk about a genealogist's high!

Now on to the actual land records! The first half dozen or so were duds. Well, in the sense that they were not specifically who I was looking for. (Later, they would actually become useful.)

Then .........

On page 5, volume 66, Orange County Deeds 1839 - 1840 read the following:

(...) Between David Faulkner, James Faulkner and Martha Faulkner wife of the said James, all of the town of Grass Lake, County of Jackson, and State of Michigan, and Robert Faulkner and Sally his wife, of the town of Ontario, County of Wayne, and State of New York, and John M. Faulkner and Catherine his wife, of the town of Benton, County of Tioga, and State of New York, all parties of the first part and David Woodruff of the town of Wallkill, County of Orange, State of New York, party of the second part (...) parcel of land situated, lying and being in the Town of Wallkill, County of Orange, State of New York bounded as follows to wit Northerly by a lot of land formerly owned by John M. Faulkner, Westerly by a lot of land formerly owned by Robert Faulkner, Southerly by lands formerly owned by Col. William Faulkner, Easterly by the patent line of the Elinor Tract, of which this is a part (...)

The document was witnessed by Antoinette Faulkner, James and Martha's daughter.

It was exceptionally hard to read!
After running around the house, screaming like a lunatic, I settled down to allow it all to sink in.

The brick wall had started to crumble.

David! David was James' brother?! The David who lived with James in 1850? Of course! And it appeared he had two more brothers as well! Now we might get somewhere!

Back to my list, there were quite a few John Faulkner's, several Robert Faulkner's, but only one David Faulkner. I decided to look at that next.

Liber O, page 11, Orange County Deeds 1812 - 1814........


I sat in quiet disbelief. Tears streaming down my face. Hardly able to breathe.

That loud crash you just heard? The brick wall tumbling to the ground.

This indenture made the fifth day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven, between Samuel Faulkner of the town of Wallkill, county of Orange, state of New York, Farmer, and Eliner his wife, of the first part, and David Faulkner son of the said Samuel Faulkner and Eliner his wife, of the second (...) if the said David Faulkner should die without lawful issue of his body begotten then the remainder over to Robert Faulkner, James Faulkner and John Faulkner sons of the said Samuel Faulkner and Elinor his wife (...) that certain lot, piece or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the town, county and state aforesaid, and being a part of the farm or lot of land upon which the said Samuel Faulkner now lives which is bounded as follows (to wit) Northerly by a lot of land sold by the said Samuel Faulkner to his son John Faulkner, Westerly by lands sold by the said Samuel Faulkner to his son Robert Faulkner, Southerly by lands of Col. William Faulkner, Easterly by the patent line of said tract of one thousand acres (...) 

much easier to read!

Samuel!!! Samuel!! It was Samuel! My fourth great grandfather now had a name! And his name was Samuel! ...... But who was Eliner (Elinor)? Nickname for Elizabeth? Or a different person altogether. And what about Robert and John M.? Looked like there was now plenty to keep me busy!

to be continued ..........

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