A Leap of Faith Finally Proven!

I am taking a step away from my ALBERDING research today. Some very exciting new information has surfaced that literally has me dancing a jig in the living room. I mention in my welcome page that what started me on the genealogy journey was a very, very old family Bible. The records in the Bible date back to my 4th Great-Grandparents, William FOSTER and his wife, Sarah. William FOSTER was born 24 May 1768 and Sarah was born 15 Oct 1773. The Bible lists all of their 11 children with their dates of birth.

For almost 20 years, I have tried to prove Sarah’s maiden name. This is a very daunting process in the US since no records ever give a woman’s maiden name once she marries – we are a patriarchal society. I had a piece of evidence that led me to make a leap of faith that her maiden name was JONES. No proof, just a bit of evidence and some information about known relationships.

All of the children, except for one, of William and Sarah FOSTER are listed by first name only, along with their dates of birth. The exception is daughter Malinda Jones FOSTER, born 22 Dec 1808. Malinda was the only one of their children ever refereed to by a first and middle name. In Sarah’s will, she is the only child listed with her full name, Malinda Jones FOSTER. To me, that was evidence that the JONES name was very important to Sarah and that was my little piece of evidence on a maiden name for Sarah.

Family relationships also played a role in my leap of faith. These families were very closely allied in Amelia and Cumberland Counties, Virginia. A good illustration of this is that Mary Ann JONES married first Thomas JAMES. Thomas had a sister named Sarah JAMES. Sarah married Robert FOSTER, brother of my 5th Great-Grandfather, John FOSTER. Mary Ann JAMES married William “Major Billy” FOSTER in Amelia County, Virginia after Thomas’ death. Major Billy was a brother to both John and Robert FOSTER. Based on the fact that these families were so closely allied, my gut feeling has always been that my Sarah FOSTER was a younger sister of Mary Ann Jones James FOSTER. The problem was that no one had any information stating that Mary Ann had a younger sister named Sarah.

The Library of Virginia has started digitizing their Chancery records – these consist of Court actions involving Estates and eventual distribution of property from the Estates. Chancery records were found involving the estate of John JONES of Cumberland County (adjacent to Amelia County)`, Virginia, father of Mary Ann Jones James FOSTER. One of the minor children listed in these records is a Sarah JONES. Based on the information in the records, this Sarah would have been seven years old when John JONES’ will was written in 1780. Thanks to my Bible records, I had Sarah FOSTER’s birthdate and she would have been exactly seven years old in 1780. Sarah JONES would have been fourteen years old at the time the property was divided in 1786 and Sarah FOSTER would also have been fourteen years old in 1786.

I will continue to dig for actual proof that my Sarah FOSTER was born Sarah JONES in Amelia or Cumberland County, Virginia. However, I am now satisfied that Sarah JONES is my 4th Great-Grandmother and that a search of nearly 20 years is over. To me, the evidence now exists to back up my leap of faith made so many years ago.


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