Monday, January 16, 2012

Piecing it together…

I have a pretty good database of Penningtons from Ashe Co., NC.  I have been a member of the Pennington Research Association for about 15 years now and have been head of Family Group 7 within that group for almost the same amount of time.  In the beginning, I spent most of my time gathering information about my specific branch of the family moving beyond that within a few years.  I concentrated only on the descendants of Micajah Pennington for a few years (Micajah is the head of Group 7 – b 1743 NC).  Since then I have branched out even further to look at all of the Penningtons in Ashe Co., NC and their surroundings.  This goal at times – has forced me to try and figure out where a family belongs. 

I am a member of the New River list (Yahoo Groups newslist)…and every few weeks someone posts local obits from the area.  These obits usually come from North Carolina, Virginia, or Tennessee.  The Pennington families from that area are primarily the descendants of Group 7 – Micajah Pennington, Group 12 – Samuel Pennington, and Group 30 – Abram Pennington.  If you want more information on these groups…please check out the PRA website at Anyway, a few weeks ago, someone posted an obit on a Joseph Max Pennington b. 8/15/1941 d. 1/2/2012. 
Max was born at Independence, VA, the Saddle Creek Community to the late Joe Pennington and Grace Ward Pennington. Surviving, brother-in-law, John Williams of Lynchburg, VA and several cousins also survive. Graveside service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, January 5, 2011 at Saddle Creek Cemetery, Independence, VA Elder Curtis Hash officiating. Military rites conducted by Grayson County VFW Post 7726. There will not be a visitation at the funeral home.
It gave me the information that he was the son of Joe Pennington and Grace Ward.  Since he was born after 1930 – my search is automatically made a bit harder.  Here is what I do when I am trying to figure the lineage out:

  1. Check my database.  Sometimes, I already have him in my database and I just need to add the additional information.
  2. See if I have his parents – I usually try the father first and then the mother.  It is sometimes easier to search for the mother because the Penningtons made a habit of naming their children family names that got duplicated many times.  Sometimes it is difficult to figure out who is who.
  3. If I don’t have either the individual or the parents in my database, now I have to do a bit more research.  One of my best places to search is – which people have posted gravestones of those who have passed.  The first place to look is the cemetery where Joseph Max is to be buried.  Using this method, I am able to locate his parents as well, because he is to be buried in the same cemetery as his parents.  At this point, I still am not sure which group Joseph Max belongs in, so I keep searching.
  4. I will then probably logon to (a paid resource) and look up census records on the parents and see if I can figure out who his parent’s families are.  I figure out that Joseph C. Pennington (Joseph Max’s father) is the son of William Columbus Pennington and Bena Phipps and checking out, I discover that they both are also buried in the same cemetery.  This method takes me back to William Columbus Pennington’s parents, Johnson A. Pennington and Elizabeth Poe.  All this time, I am adding details such as census data, additional siblings and death dates as I find them.  I never know when this information might be useful. 
  5. At this point, I may check out WorldGenconnect on and see if someone else has posted information on this family.  This information can point me in the right direction to find more information on the family.  While doing this, I notice a curious coincidence.  I already have William D. Pennington and Sarah in my database (Johnson’s parents).  I don’t however; have Johnson Pennington under that family.  I notice a curious coincidence though – I have a Jonathan Pennington and Johnson Pennington under the same family with the same birthdate.  I look further to see what other information that I have because this could be the same person or they could be twins.

a.       Jonathan is married to Jane Gincy Hash on 3/15/1874 and she dies on 7/14/1886.
b.      Johnson is married to Elizabeth Poe abt 1877.

Until I have further information, I will leave both in my database with a note reminding myself of what I have found.  My best guess is that I might be dealing with twins, but I can’t be sure with what data is available to me at this time.

I have come across this family before and at that point, I could not make a conclusion as to which family group that they belonged in.  I can make an educated guess that it is probably Group 30 – but William D. Pennington b. 1806 doesn’t fit there.  So – where does he fit?  The answer is “I don’t know?”  However, I have put in the data that I have been able to find at this point and the family will come up again during my research, and perhaps someday I will be able to find that final piece.

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