Amassing discoverable records

“… how do genealogists assemble an identity, birth family, and origin …? They must amass all discoverable records to identify the subjects and their families. Then they repeat that process for all known associates, neighbors, and same-surnamed contemporaries in their locales. They must sift that mass of data, building a case from patterns and links, and then repeat the process for at least one generation before and after, to ensure that the patterns hold.” [1] “Names are common, especially within different branches of the same family. Solid distinctions between men of the same name are established by thoroughly examining all extant records, in their original form, and by extracting from each as many pieces of minute detail as possible. Each of those details then become a personal “marker” that clearly brands one man differently from others of the same name.” [2]

By deed 1760, Samuel Rowland, blacksmith transfers his interest in land at Round Pole to his son, Samuel Rowland, yeoman. Are Samuel Rowland Junr., Pilot d. 1765, and Samuel Rowland, yeoman, the same person? Land deeds suggest they are. Moreover, they reveal the depth of Samuel Rowland Jr.’s links in Sussex county, Delaware and permit an expansive study of third and fourth generations. Interestingly, close kinship relationships are relevant among the cohort of ship-builders, ship-wrights, ship-carpenters, mariners and Pilots in Sussex county and financiers of trans-Atlantic travel, all of those responsible for ensuring safe transportation of kin across the Atlantic.

Samuel Rowland Jr. estimated birthdate 1727 based on the legal age of twenty-one in 1748 when he purchased land from Richard Metcalf.

An indexed record transcribed from Sussex county Chancery Case E #2 shows Samuel Rowland Jr. was the son of Samuel Rowland Sr. blacksmith of Lewes, b. ante 1742. [3]

That is supported by a study of Delaware’s equity laws. “The second Sussex case of special interest is Samuel Edwards v. Samuel Rowland Sr. and Samuel Rowland Jr. 1744. It was a suit to compel completion of an apprenticeship. It was alleged that Mr Rowland Jr. in return for being taught the trade of a River and Bay Pilot agreed to serve Mr Edwards for four years and left after serving only two years and seven months.” [4] Equity law. The Supreme Court became the ultimate decider.

What other connection is there between the Edwards family and the Rowland family?

Why did Samuel Rowland Jr. leave his apprenticeship after two (2) years and seven months?

How did his case contribute to contemporary society ?


[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Frontier Research Strategies—Weaving a Web to Snare a Birth Family: John Watts (ca. 1749–ca. 1822), 167.

[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, UNRAVELLING BALLS OF YARN: Lessons in the Use of a Skeptical Eye (As Taught by William Bartholomew Ball and William F. Ball, Esq,) Genealogical Journal, Volume 19, Numbers 1 & 2, 1991.

[3] Delaware Vital Records, 1650-1974 Film # 005099229 image 521 Sussex County, Birth Reference: Sussex Co. Chancery Case E #2.

[4] Delaware Lawyer: A Publication of Delaware Bar Foundation, 1982, 25-26.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s