This article will have two parts. The first will be a list of red flags that may indicate that your brick wall ancestor never actually existed. The second will be a summary of research conducted by Karyn Greenstreet and myself–research that will change all the genealogies for the descendants of Separate Hendrickson b. 1737. An in-depth study of all the men who were ever named Separate will be presented in the following weeks.
My first pedigree with my Hendrickson ancestors was on a FamilyTreeMaker World Families CD. My ancestor, William Hendrickson, was listed as son of Hendricks Hendricks and Eve. Then, online trees showed William to be son of Separate Hendrickson and Eve. For at least 20 years, pedigrees have been published and shared saying that a man called Separate Hendrickson b. 1737, in Amherst County, Virginia, was the spouse of a woman named Eve, and father of several children. My ancestor William was supposedly one of these children, but no evidence was ever attached.
In 2017, some intriguing DNA matches focused my attention on my own Hendrickson pedigree. I could find the records for three younger men with the name Separate Hendrickson. I could also find records for a man name Seperate Case in an adjoining Kentucky county. The oldest Separate Hendrickson was born before 1783–but not as early as 1737. There was not one hint of a record for a man called Separate Hendrickson old enough to be born in 1737. After looking for some time for any proof on this line, I came to the conclusion: Separate Hendrickson did not exist.
RED FLAGS that your Brick Wall Ancestor Does not Exist
Over the last 30+ years I have pursued genealogy, not as a hobby, but a serious study of history, I have become very keen to note when a brick wall ancestor appears and there are no records for the person. Rarely do all the records in a locale completely disappear, although fire, flood and war have wreaked havoc on some repositories of early documents. When you see these red flags–and such is what was found with Separate Hendrickson–you might want to consider that your brick wall ancestor is more myth than fact, and begin looking for other people as possibilities.
- Multiple estimated dates of birth. This means that different researchers are using different records to guess the birth year of a person. On one of my other lines, a man called John Cornett was given three birth years–1726 or 1727 with no explanation; 1712, based off his 1733 land patent, because he would be at least 21; and 1702–from an English baptism which may or may not belong to the target John. (The truth in this one was that the John b. 1726 or 1727 is the son of the other John–who obviously wasn’t born in 1712, but did own land at that time. A reasonable birth year would be 1702.)
- His records are mixed up with other men with the same name. This happened with all the men named Separate Hendrickson–there are clearly three men with this name–but reckless researchers mix up their births, deaths, and wives in many online trees. Another ancestor where this happened is Austin Moore. (See Austin Moore and more Austin Moores.)
- The brick wall ancestor’s name appears only in pedigree charts, but not on actual records. This means that some well-meaning researcher guessed the name, probably penciled it in on his or her family tree, then later researchers just took it as fact. In the old days, you asked someone to share their information. Now, it’s a copy-paste society–you don’t know who is the source of information, or how correct it is–unless you check it yourself! Since it is so easy to copy and paste, if 500 pedigrees are based off one wrong pedigree–501 pedigrees are absolutely wrong.
- Records are amazing things! If you are having trouble verifying a brick wall ancestor, consider that someone guessed this name in the past and it has been accepted as true by later researchers. Then look in the right place at the right time for records with possible names for that ancestor.
Did Eve Hendrickson exist?
How many pedigree charts show Eve as the mother of William and Leonard Hendrickson? Many. None that I saw listed any evidence. I worried about Eve. Was she just a myth, a story made up by other researchers to fill in the blank on the next generation?
Eve has been found, twice!
First, she is listed on the LDS Baptisms at Nauvoo. In 1841, Simeon Hendrickson, an early Latter-Day Saint, baptized by proxy several of his deceased relatives. One was Eve, the notations tell us she was his grandmother.
Second, she signs the consent for her daughter, Barbara Hendrickson Queen, to marry Robert Casey in January, 1797. Eve calls herself a widow.
So, Eve was real. Records verify her existence.
How about Separate Hendrickson
Here is a short summary of research conducted thus far.
Last year, I came upon the Baptism records conducted by Simeon Hendrickson (an early Latter-Day Saint) who baptized several deceased relatives in 1841. Although there is misinformation attached to the published version of these records, the originals do give the relationship and/or the name of several relatives. Among them were unnamed Grandfather Hendrickson, Grandmother Eve Hendrickson, Grandmother Mary Moore, Mother Nancy Hendrickson, and Aunt Lydia Case and her husband, Separate Case. The erroneous information from the published work suggested that Separate was the second husband of Eve Hendrickson. This was tantalizing, but proved improbable, and the source was incorrect. But it did put the name Hendrickson and Separate together.
At about the same time I was acquiring the baptismal records, another researcher, Karyn Greenstreet, was also looking for her Hendrickson connections. Karyn uses primary source records to validate her ancestry. We connected, and Karyn found the inventory for a man named John Hendrickson in Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1787. I knew there should be a court order for that inventory, and sure enough there was–John Hendrickson left a widow, and…the administrator for his estate was Separate Case.
For so long, people had been looking for a Separate Hendrickson who died in Kentucky leaving a widow–Eve. What researchers should have been looking for was just a man named Hendrickson who died in the right place at the right time.
How can we be sure this is Eve’s husband? The court order did not name the widow, but we do know that Leonard Hendrickson was listed in Nelson County tax lists and he has always been an assumed son of “Separate” and Eve. We also see that Leonard ended up in Washington County, Kentucky. William Hendrickson (my ancestor) lived in Mercer County, but his children married in Washington County. But the most compelling record is the marriage of Barbara Queen to Robert Casey in 1797 in Mercer County, Kentucky. The consent for this marriage was signed by “Eve Hendrixson, a widow, mother.” Searching Kentucky marriages, one finds that Barbara Hendrickson married Elijah Queen in 1792 in Nelson County, Kentucky. We have the right names in the right places at the right times.
Karyn Greenstreet’s Research and Articles
Karyn has continued the research and has a plausible paper trail on John Hendrickson back to the 1760s.
At Karyn’s online tree, you can read the transcript of the 1787 Administration order.
“It appearing to the court that the widow of John Hendricks, Dec. is incapable of acting, and having given her consent, Ordered that administration on said Estate by granted to Saparate Case, who with Randolph Slack his security having entered into bond in the sum of two hundred pounds as the law directs.” See Web Links https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS3G-XJFJ?cat=436900
Karyn has many wonderful notes on her research at her tree on Ancestry.com.
Following are three articles Karyn has penned. She and I hope that the more this information gets to online researchers, we can start to clear up the errors in the our Hendrickson family tree.
DNA Proof that there are four distinct DNA Hendricks/Hendrickson families in colonial south-central and south-west Pennsylvania–August 28, 2018
In Colonial era south-central and southwestern Pennsylvania (1760s-1780s), there are at least 3 or 4 lines of Hendricks/on families, all with different DNA:
Albertus/Tobias – the family is originally Dutch and comes from Philadelphia to Chester, then Lancaster County and York County. Much of this is documented in the Frontier Hendricks book. But the author, Davenport, didn’t have access to DNA in the 1990s when he wrote it, so some of the family connections he suggested aren’t actually real family connections (see Adam Miller Hendrix). In Davenport’s defense, he does say that there seems to be a connection between certain families, but he’s not sure. Per FamilyTreeDNA Hendricks project, this family’s haplogroup is I-M223
Daniel/Abraham of Springhill, Fayette – This is likely the Daniel Hendrick of Haverill Massachusetts line. Martin Hendrix, administrator of the Hendricks DNA Project on FamilyTreeDNA, confirmed on August 11, 2018 that the Springhill, Fayette Hendricks family DNA matches the Daniel Hendricks of Haverhill, MA family. Daniel and Abraham are in Fayette County in the 1780s; no one seems to know where they’re from. Davenport, in Frontier Hendricks, indicates that he doesn’t know if Daniel is from the Albertus line. This is the line that Thomas A Hendricks, Vice President of the USA, is from. Even official Congressional/White House biographies at the time are vague about his background, only saying he grew up in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. This family’s haplogroup is I-M253.
Adam Miller Hendrix – has the same DNA haplogroup as my ancestors, but not close enough to ours to be a direct match. Adam is in York County, Pennsylvania. Davenport hints that Adam is related to Daniel of Springhill, but doesn’t say there’s a relationship. Now we know there’s not a relationship, because Adam Hendrix’s family haplogroup is R-M269
John Hendricks/Hendrickson (our forefather) – in Fayette County, then into Kentucky; we don’t know where he’s from originally (yet). My family’s haplogroup is R-M269 for the Hendrickson male line.The Hendricks Family DNA Project, and the Hendrickson Family DNA Project, on FamilyTreeDNA is an in-depth tool to discover which Hendricks and Hendrickson families lines are truly connected by DNA. FamilyTreeDNA has a special test called the Y-DNA37 test, which is taken by Hendricks/Hendrickson direct male line, as it tracks chromosomes that pass only from father to son. If you’re unsure which Hendricks/Hendrickson line you belong to, I encourage you to look into the FamilyTreeDNA site, especially if you are a Hendricks/Hendrickson male.
Proof that John Hendricks(on) is his name – NOT Separate–August 28, 2018
Why Separate Hendrickson and Eve Citth is WRONG–September 11, 2018
We need to dispell this myth: there is no Separate Hendrickson married to an Eve Citth.
Let me explain how the mistake got made…and then replicated all over the internet.
We know Simeon Hendrickson’s grandmother’s name is Eve, because he says so in his Mormon (LDS) “baptisms for the dead.” But you must look at the ORIGINAL documents, and not the “annotated” book, because the annotation is wrong: Simeon NEVER gives the first name of his grandfather, he only indicates “Hendrickson.” The annotation in the book says his first name is “Hendrick” but that’s an incorrect assumption on the part of the annotators.
Simeon also baptized the Case family: Separate Case, Ledy (noted as Simeon’s aunt), James (noted as Simeon’s cousin), John, Hannah, and Phebe Case. In the same document, he baptizes Kisiah Skimhorn, who is Kezziah Case, daughter of Separate Case, Sr. and married to Joseph Scammerhorn/Skimmerhorn. Simeon does not indicate the relationship between himself and Separate Case.
When John Hendricks dies in 1787 Nelson County, Kentucky, Separate Case acts as the Administrator for the estate/probate.
So people assumed Separate Case was the second husband of Eve, with no documentation or proof. He’s actually related to the family through marriage.
Note: Simeon DOES have an uncle named Separate Case and a cousin Separate Case. But Separate Case, Jr dies in 1844, so this LDS baptism in 1841 must be for Separate Case, Sr. married to Lydia Moore. (See note by DMN below.)
So we have this couple: Eve and ___ Hendrickson. Eve signs a marriage consent for her daughter, Barbara, so we know she’s still alive in 1797 Mercer County, Kentucky. But no one knows the husband’s name.
In 1820, there are two Separate Hendricksons listed on the Mercer County, Kentucky census…one marked “Big” and one marked “Little”. The census taker is talking about their physical size, not Senior and Junior — the two men are not father and son, but actually cousins. One is the son of Leonard Hendrickson and one is the son of William Hendrickson.
But a transcriber couldn’t read the Big and Little on the blurry copy, so thought Little said “Citth” and put that in the transcription note on FamilySearch. I’m assuming these were the records that also went out on CD with the early versions of Family Tree Maker. (There is a much clearer copy of the actual document from FamilySearch where you can easily see it says Big and Little. The copy on Ancestry is extremely blurry.) On Ancestry, the transcriber wrote “Laprate Hendrickson Equire” so they couldn’t read Big or Little either.
People started to put Separate Hendrickson and Eve Citth into their trees online, and the story replicated without any records to back it up.
Also on FamilySearch, the transcriber thought Separate was “Leprate” because they mistook the “S” for an “L” in the old-fashioned writing. If you look at different entries from the same census taker, you can see he uses that same form for the “S” in Sarah or Silas.
Researchers, looking for Eve Hendrickson’s husband’s first name, grabbed on to the name Separate and assumed “Citth” referred to Eve’s maiden name. But never has a census taker indicated a maiden name of a married woman, and certainly not on a 1820 census where only the head of household name appears.
Plus John, Eve’s husband, was dead by 1820. Come to find out, he died in Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1787…we have his probate information. So if Eve is still alive in 1820, she’s listed under someone else’s census record, perhaps a son or grandson. We know she’s dead before 1841 because Simeon blesses her in his “baptisms for the dead” in 1841.
So, YES, there were Separate Hendricksons in the world.
And NO, Eve’s husband was not named Separate. There are no records during his lifespan that ever said Separate. He’s always referred to as John in land and tax records. And NO, Eve’s maiden name is not Citth.
THANK YOU & NOTES
I want to thank Karyn for allowing me to share her articles from her online family tree.
Now, if you thought you were the descendant of Separate and Eve Hendrickson, you have some records to consider!
(Note: In the above articles, mention of Separate Case’s wife, Lydia, gives her maiden name as Moore. There is no evidence for this maiden name. So, the process of vetting each generation, and each person in each generation begins again! Another article will review this situation. DMN)