Thursday, August 30, 2018

What if ...?

It is easier to believe our ancestors played by the rules and were honest, respectable citizens, but that is not always true. Just like people of today, they broke the rules - had children out of wedlock, ran off and left their families, got into debt and lost their farms and did not always tell the truth. Keep this in mind when you can't find a record. Ask yourself "What if ..."  It may lead you to records you had not previously considered.

Many descendants of my great-great-great- grandmother, Rebecca Vaughn, list her in their family trees as Mrs. Rebecca Vaughn, widow. They have assumed she was a widow as she had children before her marriage to John Jacob Burner in 1834.[1] The problem is no marriage before 1834 has been found for her in Kentucky or any place else. Also, Rebecca was not listed as a widow when she married Burner.  Sarah Vaughn, who was probably a sister to Rebecca,  married George Fisher[2]  and Fisher was surety on  the marriage bond of Burner and Rebecca. And there were other connections.

Rebecca is listed as Rebecca Vaughn on the 1840 and 1850 Livingston County census records.  It is only on the 1860 census that she is shown as Rebecca Barner [Burner] -  17 years after Burner filed for divorce from Rebecca.[3] 

My theory is Rebecca was a single mother prior to her marriage to Burner and so far, all signs point that way. 

[1] Livingston County, Kentucky Original Marriage Bond and License,  John Jacob Burner and Rebecca Vaughn, 21 April 1834. Surety: George Fisher.
[2] Livingston County, Kentucky Original Marriage Bond and License,  George Fisher and Sarah Vaughn, 23 May 1828. Surety: Daniel Vaughn.
[3] Burner vs Burner, Caldwell County, Kentucky Circuit Court, filed 31 July 1843; granted and recorded 25 June 1844.

Published 30 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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