APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2003-08 > 1060014430
From: "Richard A. Pence" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Junior
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 12:27:12 -0400
Don Zochert <> wrote:
> But now that I've presented this bouquet, I have a question that
> perhaps someone can answer. Elizabeth writes that "the usage
> of the times" does not permit the assumption that a Jr. is the
> son of a Sr. with the same name. By this I assume she means
> that a Jr. could be considered the younger of two men with the
> same name (in the same community) without implying a biological
> relationship. What is the basis of this understanding? How is it
> known that this was the usage of the times? And are there other
> disjoints between the way we use very common terms such as
> "junior" and "senior" and the way those terms were used 200
> years ago?
1, The "basis for this understanding" is the countless examples you trip
over in almost every document. In my case, when my third great grandfather
marriet in the late 1700s he signed the bond as "John Pence Jr." and his
bondsman was "John Pence Sr." Since the father of "John Pence Jr." can be
positively identified through any number of documents as Henry Pence, it
appears that John Sr. is an older first cousin. This bond was in Shenandoah
County. When both men later moved to Ohio, there names are in the deeds as
Sr. and Jr. until the former died, after which the Jr. was dropped.
2. Are there "other disjoints"? Yes. Principal among them are terms for
relationships. The woods are full of folks who believe that one Nicholas
Null of Augusta County, Virginia, about 1750 married the sister of Valentine
Pence. Null is called "brother-in-law" to Valentine Pence in one record ans
since Valentine's wife was not a Null, the assumption made is that Null
married a Pence woman. However, the term "brother-in-law" was used to
describe any number of possible relationships - the two had children who
married, for example (and there are other possibilities).
The term nephew sometimes was used to mean niece. Worse, niece and nephew
were used interchangable with grandson and granddaughter.
This is from the will of Andrew Davis in Champaign County, Ohio, in 1864:
"Fifty dollars to my niece, Ruth Pence, daughter of Rebecca Kelly and fifty
dollars to my grandson, Aaron Pence . . ."
Now, it can be conclusively shown that (a) Rebecca, daughter of Andrew
Davise, first married Jacob Pence (who was killed in the War of 1812) and
(b) Rebecca subsequently married Sampson kelly. Thus, without any doubt, the
above-described "neice," Ruth Pence, was the granddaughter of said Andrew.
On the other hand, the relationship of Aaron Pence, called his "grandson" by
Andrew Davis, cannot be determined. Two documents clearly state that Ruth
Pence was the sole heir of Lt. Jacob Pence, killed in the war. Further, the
only daughter of Andrew to marry a Pence was Rebecca - and it appears that
Rebecca - called mother to Ruth - could not also be the mother of Aaron, as
the tombstones of Ruth and Aaron show them to have been born only a month or
two apart. (The best guess - and it is a guess - is that Aaron was
illegitimate, but not even his mother's name has been discovered.)
So, the "niece" Ruth was Andrew's granddaughter, but the relationship of the
"grandson" Aaron cannot be determined!
Somewhere in the literature - possibly in Donal Lines Jacobus' book
*Genealogy as Pastime and Profession*, there is a definitive discussion of
the past usages of terms describing relationships. Perhaps someone can
direct you to it. It may be in an article by Jacobus.
Richard A. Pence, Fairfax, VA 22030
Pence Family History <http://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/>