Monday, May 22, 2017

DNA Delight!

I was delighted to learn that my Coffman and Clark research is being substantiated by DNA test results.  DNA is useful genealogical evidence that can enhance your paper records.  I received a promotional message from Ancestry.com stating that "We found new discoveries for Joan Ashley."

I am glad that I was able to have my maternal Aunt Joan tested to enable this discovery. Here is the shared ancestor chart that was provided by AncestryDNA.


A helpful tool provided by Ancestry.com is the ability to see a list of "Shared Matches."  This helps to narrow down to the specific ancestors that we share in common.



Further examination of the DNA tests that have trees attached, appears to confirm the Coffman and Clark connection.


You will notice that both of these DNA connections have Mary Coffman who is also known as Polly or Molly in their family trees.  Polly Coffman as we will call her from now on was the daughter of Christian Coffman and Elizabeth Clark(e).

Any time you collect information from another family tree, you must conduct an analytical process to verify the information contained in that tree.  You need to look at the sources attached and then determine what records might contain more information about the person(s) in the tree.  Using Polly Coffman as an example, I will show you my process of analysis for my fifth great aunt, who is a sister of my focus ancestor, Jacob Coffman.

It appears that there is some conflicting information about Polly Coffman from a variety of sources:

There appears to be several compiled sources which include information on Polly Coffman which provide widely ranging vital dates:

Polly Coffman  in the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
Name: Polly Coffman
Birth Date: 1780
Birthplace: Kentucky
Volume: 31
Page Number: 413
Reference: Gen. Column of the " Boston Transcript". 1906-1941.( The greatest single source of material for gen. Data for the N.E. area and for the period 1600-1800. Completely indexed in the Index.): 19 Mar 1934, 8159
Source Information
Godfrey Memorial Library, comp.. American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 1999.

Mary Coffman  in the U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
Name: Mary Coffman
Birth Date: 1778
Birth Place: Virginia
Death Date: 1855
Death Place: Washington, Kentucky
SAR Membership: 92627
Role: Ancestor
Application Date: 24 Feb 1965
Spouse: John H Hungate
Children: Adonijah Hungate
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Mary Coffman  in the North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
Name: Mary Coffman
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 1780
First Marriage Date: 1794
Death Date: 1855
Spouse: John Hungate
Child: Adonijah Hungate
Source Citation
Book Title: Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 114 : 1915

Mary Coffman in the North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
Name: Mary Coffman
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 1780
First Marriage Date: 1794
Death Date: 1855
Spouse: John Hungate
Child: Elizabeth Hungate
Source Citation
Book Title: Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 108 : 1914

Mary Hungate in the U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Name: Mary Hungate
Birth Date: 1778
Death Date: 1885
Burial or Cremation Place:  La Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
Spouse: John Hungate
Children:
Mary Lefler
Harrison Hungate
Adonijah Hungate
Elizabeth Hardesty
Salley Ray
William Hungate
URL: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-...
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

The birth date is shown as both 1778 and 1780 but the death date is shown as 1855 and 1885.  The death place is shown as Washington County, Kentucky but the burial place is shown as LaHarpe, Hancock County, Illinois.

Let's look for some original records with original images to see exactly what those records might say about Polly Coffman.

The first primary record that we have of Polly Coffman is the following:

1795- Hungate, John and Polley Coffman, January 25, 1795
Bondsman: Charles Hungate
Bride's mother: Elizabeth Coffman, who certifies bride's age is 21. [It is notable that the bride’s mother is described as Elizabeth Coffman rather than Elizabeth Veitch.
 Teste: Major Farris



If Polly Coffman was age 21 in 1795 that would make her year of birth actually closer to 1774.

Her husband, John Hungate was apparently a man of some note in Mercer and Washington County, Kentucky as he is often referred to as Col. John Hungate.  She married John Hungate and they had eight children together. John was a paymaster in the War of 1812 for the 5th Regiment of Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia from August 25, 1813 to November 9, 1813 when he died in service.

These facts are supported by an application for a military headstone as follows:


Apparently, this marker was placed in the LaHarpe, Illinois cemetery by a American Legion Post No. 301 even though John Hungate is known to have died in Kentucky in 1813 while in military service.

Now Polly Coffman is known as the widow, Mary Hungate. She married Joseph T Sweazy, a widower on 15 March 1816 and they had three children together.

The census records of 1820, 1830 and 1840 provide some of the few pieces of evidence about Polly Coffman after her marriage to Joseph Sweazy;

Joseph Swesey  in the 1820 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Swesey
[Joseph Sweeney]
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Lebanon, Washington, Kentucky
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 3
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1  [This is Joseph Sweazy born about 1781, age 29.]
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10: 4
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1  [This is Polly Coffman but she may have actually been about 46 if she was 21 when she was married first in 1795.]
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture: 3
All Other Persons Except Indians not Taxed: 12
Free White Persons - Under 16: 11
Free White Persons - Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 13
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 25
Source Citation
1820 U S Census; Census Place: Lebanon, Washington, Kentucky; Page: 50; NARA Roll: M33_29; Image: 71

Jos Swasey  in the 1830 United States Federal Census
Name: Jos Swasey
Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Eastern District, Nelson, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49: 1 [Joseph age 39]
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59: 1 [Polly age 56]
Free White Persons - Under 20: 6
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9
Source Citation
1830; Census Place: Eastern District, Nelson, Kentucky; Series: M19; Roll: 40; Page: 132; Family History Library Film: 0007819

Joseph Sweasey  in the 1840 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Sweasey
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Nelson, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59: 1 [Joseph age 49 or 50]
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69: 1 [Polly age 66]
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4
Source Citation
Year: 1840; Census Place: Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: 121; Page: 44; Family History Library Film: 0007831

The census records appear to support that Polly Coffman was born closer to 1774.

By 1850 Mary "Polly" Coffman Hungate Sweazy is not in the household of Joseph Sweazy and he is now married to a much younger woman.  This is substantiated by a marriage record for Joseph Sweazy to Mary F. Hughes August 12, 1850 in Nelson County, Kentucky.

Joseph Sweazy in the 1850 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Sweazy
Age: 67
Birth Year: abt 1783
Birthplace: New Jersey
Home in 1850: District 2, Nelson, Kentucky, USA
Gender: Male
Family Number: 517
Household Members:
Name Age
Joseph Sweazy 67
Mary Sweazy 29
William A Sweazy 9
Sarah L Sweazy 4
James M Sweazy 2
Source Citation
Year: 1850; Census Place: District 2, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M432_215; Page: 374A; Image: 205

There are two possible scenarios for what happened to Polly Coffman:

  1. Polly died between 1840 and 1850
  2. Polly divorced Joseph Sweazy and went to live near her children in LaHarpe, Illinois and died in either 1855 or 1885.

What records might exist that might help us to answer this question?
  1. a biography for one of her children or grandchildren 
  2. vital records for children 
  3. a probate case for John Hungate in Washington County, Kentucky
  4. a probate case for Mary or Polly Sweazy in Nelson County, Kentucky
  5. land transactions involving Joseph Sweazy may include a dower release by Polly Coffman
If you have any ideas to add to this list, I would be most appreciative.  

DNA matches have certainly given me a lot more encouragement to pursue all of the descendants of Christian Coffman and Elizabeth Clarke for more information about the Coffmans and the Hungates.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.