Chasing Our Tales, Genealogy and The Lynch Family of Mineral Wells
Every family has a tale, a legend, which has come down from a grandparent or great-grandparent. We have heard the tale many time, especially as children, but most of us neglected to ask more about it, write it down, tape record it, and so, very often, our tale is just that, not a fact, not exactly a fiction, but merely a family legend.
One of my family tales concerns a great ancestor who was supposed to have lived in a cave. I vividly remember my Grannie telling me about this on many occasions. I thought about that person. I even remember dreaming about him. But when Grannie ended the tale, I accepted it and never asked more. She died in 1958, and with her went the tale, which I have never been able to prove.
Then, of course, there was Grannie's brother whom we called Uncle Em, short for, of all things, Amazhar. He was an old man with a wizened, unshaved face who told tales of Indian fights and cowboying. His stories were romantic ideas of Texas Rangers and helping his daddy round up outlaws. Again, I loved the tales. I believed the tales, and when Uncle Em died in the early 1960's, I knew nothing more than the shadows of those tales, with the exception that Em and his father, Uncle "Bob", were indeed Texas Rangers and fought Comanches.
I was a child. I didn't know it would be extremely important some day to write down, record, preserve the tales so that they could be passed on to my children, my grandchildren, and their grandchildren.
Then my mother, through her cousin Elizabeth, joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), on organization for women whose ancestors were American patriots at the time of the American Revolution. Mother insisted that I join, too. But, hey, I wasn't going to use the family research. Always hard headed, I decided to find a different family line and prove one of those ancestors also fought on the American side in our War for Independence. And there is where my own tale begins, for doing research for myself rather than a college professor, I learned what fun it was. And the more I did, the more fun I had. And, by the way, I proved that other line, and have now proven three more.
Genealogy is, after all, the recorded history of one's ancestors. And if it isn't recorded, it isn't genealogy. So, as we begin to explore the genealogy of the folks of Palo Pinto County, we must remember that is must be recorded to be genealogy. The tale must have substance, and if it is to be universally accepted as fact, such as in the DAR or SAR (Sons of the American Revolution), it should when at all possible be written, primary, first-hand information.
That is to say, if you have the certificate of marriage for Great-grandpa and Great-grandma, you have a piece of genealogy. If, on the other hand, you have a statement written by a third cousin, once removed stating that Great-grandpa and Great-grandma got married, you have a family legend. And that, friends, is the difference. Tales are fun. Genealogy is truth.
In many cases, too, a book written by a family member, is just a legend unless that family member has provided Birth, Marriage, Death (BMD) certificates complete with all names, numbers, and other identifying information. Even the Family Bible will come under suspicion when other documents are not presented to authenticate its claims.
The best modern tool for genealogists is the internet. Through the internet and genealogical societies and associations throughout the world, people are finding their ancestors much more quickly and easily than ever before.
I have been working with one of these online associations, USGenWeb, since its near its beginning in 1996. I am host of the Palo Pinto County page, my first county page, along with 12 other county pages in the USA, as well as WorldGenWeb counties of Yorkshire in England and Fermanagh County Northern Ireland.
If you are in the internet, one of the best places to begin research is the USGenWeb at http://www.usgenweb.com and WorldGenWeb at http://www.worldgenweb.org. There are literally hundreds of millions of individual bits of information on these sites which can help you chase your family tale and prove your genealogy.
Also, never hesitate to use a good online search engine. My personal favorite is MetaCrawler at http://www.metacrawler.com . Often if you just use the family name you're researching and the word genealogy you will find what you are looking for.
I have found over 20 second cousins once removed on the internet. I have been fortunate enough to have met several in person, and they have definitely enriched my life.
As you search your ancestry, if you are looking locally, don't just look for the Lynches, for instance. The earliest names include METCALF, TAYLOR, BAKER, MULLINS, CURETON, PRICE, VAUGHN, DODSON, CRAWFORD, DANIELS, DAVES, BLACKWELL, and CARTER, to name but a few.
Now, the LYNCH family is a very interesting one, with many a tale to tell. One of the most prominent of our local ancestors was James Alvis Lynch who founded Mineral Wells in 1877. Lynch's great-grandfather, Charles, was born in Galway, Ireland, about 1705, and immigrated to Virginia before 1715 as an indentured servant of Christopher Clark. He later married Clark's daughter, Sarah, who was born in Virginia.
The CLARK family can be traced back to Sir Thomas Clarke, born in 1527, in Stevenage, Hertsfordshire, England. Other surnames of this CLARK/CLARKE family include WALKER, FARRAR/FARAR, HAYWARD/HAYWOOD, MOORMAN, JOHNSTON, ADAMS, BUFORD, and WARD.
Charles Lynch had six children by Sarah, one of whom was John Lynch Sr. who founded one of the prominent early villages in Virginia, Lynchburg, the area from which Jefferson came and near Appomatox Courthouse of Civil War fame.
Both a Charles and a John Lynch are listed on the Virginia1850 Federal Census Index, Federal Population Schedule, ID #VAS5a1076796, in Lynchburg Town, Campbell County, Virginia, but since our John Sr. died in 1820, and his father, much earlier, we find this is a tale but not genealogy of the Mineral Wells Lynches.
John Sr. was born in 1740. He married Mary Bowles in 1768. He gave patriotic service to the American Army during the Revolutionary War and is listed thus in the DAR Patriot Index, Centennial Edition, 1990. Mary Bowles Lynch is also listed in the DAR Patriot Index Vol III, 1986, as the spouse of a patriot.
Both John Lynch Sr. and John Lynch Jr. are listed on the 1820 Census of Lynchburg Town, Virginia, along with a W. B. Lynch, Edward Lynch, Anselm Lynch, and William Lynch.
After the Civil War had ended, Judge Lynch, as he is known to us, and his family, migrated from Virginia to a farm near Denison, Texas, in Grayson County. Then in December of 1877, Judge Lynch, his wife Armanda, and their children, John, Minerva, Charley, Joe, Mary, Jim, Sam, and Marshall migrated to Palo Pinto County.
For more information on the LYNCH family, take time to check out Time Was in Mineral Wells by A. F. Weaver, 1988, page 33, where Mrs. Anita Phariss wrote about her great-grandfather, Judge Lynch.
Several things stuck out as I researched the LYNCH family, and they are very important for you as you research your family. First in the "old" days families usually named their children biblical names, and many, many children in a family had the same name. We can see that in the Charles, John, and James Lynch names which were repeated over and over, sometimes not even in the direct line.
Obviously our ancestors were not worried about our tracing their lines. Otherwise, the names might have varied more. But remember also that if you want true genealogy of an ancestor, you must prove which John, Joseph, William, or Gustav he was. Same goes for Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, and Sadie, of course!
Second, the LYNCH family, as most families of that period, was highly prolific. While all the Lynches probably sprang from the British Isles, they immigrated all over our fair land. And not just our land. They went to Australia, South Africa, and Canada, too...perhaps before coming here. So, watch the trail of your tale.
One of my ancestors, who I am absolutely unable at this point to prove was ever born, or at least to whom he was born, started out in North Carolina...that I can prove. Lived in Tennessee. Married a girl in Missouri. Sold furniture in Arkansas--in partnership with another ancestor whose line didn't get tangled with his until much later. Moved to the Peters Colony in Collin County, Texas. Moved on to Jack County Texas, where his son married a local girl, and finally ended up, so to speak, in Brown County, where I can definitely prove he died!
These people traveled all over the place, and by the way, married those they could find. Remember there were fewer people back then. So, if you find that you and your husband are ninth cousins, four times removed. Don't worry. We are all related if our ancestors came over about the time of the Revolution. I can't prove that, but I just know it!
As you set out on your genealogical hunt, there is one more piece of beginner advice I would like to give: organize in the beginning. Get files, get notebooks, have a special place where you keep your findings and your questions. Organize by family, and in that family, by family member. And as you organize remember, genealogy is recorded information. Write it down! Every bit of it.
If you have a tale or legend or a genealogical question, let me know, and perhaps I can assist you in Chasing your Tale. You may contact me with a request which may be published in a future edition of Painted Post Crossroads. Either mail your queries to Sue Seibert, P. O. Box 61, Mineral Wells TX 76068-0061, or email me at sue@oakcottage-TX.com.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you next time as we continue to Chase our Tales!
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids