James Trainer and Ann Biven–not Brice: The Original vs. Derivatives

This article really shows why it is important to find the original (or at least the earliest copy) of a document, and not just rely on published books, or derivatives of a document. Much like a game of telephone, where the message is slightly altered every time someone repeats it, derivatives can slightly alter the meaning, wording, or spelling of a document.

I visited the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, GA, in the summer of 2012. Specifically, I was looking for records concerning James Trainer or Trainor. I found original records of his marriage bond and some land records.

James Trainer was a resident of Georgia. He is found on the early Land Lotteries about 1805. He married a woman named Ann in 1794, in Columbia County, Georgia. The record of that marriage can be found in the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, GA. A copy of the document is below.

Marriage Bond, Columbia Co, GA, 1794, James Trainer to Ann Biven


Know all Men by these presents that We James Trainor and Peter Watson are held and firmly bound unto Lewis Gardner Register of probate for the County of Columbia in the full and just sum of five hundred pounds Specie, for which payment well and truly to be made and done We bind ourselves our heirs, Excecutors and administrators for and in the whole firmly by these presents Sealed with our Seals and dated the twenty seventh day of September In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hudnred and Ninety four.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereaas the said REgister of probate hath this day Licensed any Minister of the Gospel or Justice of th peace to join in the Honorable State of Matrimony ^James Trainor of the one part and Ann Biven of the other part, provided there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage and they the said James Trainor and Peter Watrson or either of them do well and truly save harmless the said Register of probate and all and every other person or persons whatsoever then this obligation to be void and of none effect or else to remain in full force & virtue.

Signed Sealed in presence of James mark/his Trainor (LS)

Lewis Gardner Peter Watson (LS)

Sarah Gardner

A published source, “Columbia County, Georgia, Early Marriage Records” published by Georgia Pioneers (no publication date), page 40 shows:

Trainor, Joseph (or James?) & Ann Biven (Bice?) Sept 27, 1794.

An online source, Columbia County, Georgia, GenealogyTrails site, list Joseph Trainior to Ann Bevan, Sept 27, 1794. The source was the …. http://genealogytrails.com/geo/columbia/marriages_early.html

Another source shows James Trainer to Ann Brice, AND Joseph Trainer to Ann B****. When I was at the Georgia Archives, I looked for both records, but only James to Ann Biven was found. The Joseph name and the Brice surname are all misinterpretations of the record.

Obviously, from the original record, it was not a Joseph who married Ann Biven–it was James.

Close-up of the way the clerk wrote James on the original.

Looking at the handwriting for the bride’s name, we see this:

Close-up of the way the cleark wrote Ann Biven on the original.

It is not impossible to get Brice out of this calligraphy, but it definitely looks like Biven.

One more detail to share is the last name. Remember, at this time, most people were not educated. Many could write their names, but some could only write their initials–used as a mark. James Trainer signed with a mark. Note that the clerk spelled Trainer with the -or spelling.

Both spellings are interchangeable, and it truly is a preference of the researcher, however, living descedants who bear the surname use the -er spelling. Other spellings could be Traner, Traynor, and in some Schuyler County records, Trainor was transcribed as Francis (so, check Frainor just in case!).

I have been sharing this correction since my trip to Georgia in 2012. Here is an old post from the defunct (but still searchable) Genforum website.



DNA connections have been popping up for distant Trainer cousins. Unfortunately, many of the trees associated with these connections have Ann Brice as the wife of James Trainer. A few even have an Anna Maria Tilghman Brice–which is completely illogical as the Tilghman woman was never in the same states as James Trainer and died in the 1850s still married to her Brice husband.

A lot of sites list the wife of James Trainer as Ann Bevans, which is a variation of Biven. It could also be Beaven. There was a Joseph Bevan who is listed in land lotteries along with James Trainer–no indication if Joseph Bevan is related to Ann Biven, but there were very few Bevan/Biven records found in early Georgia.

I share this information and the image of the original record to help combat the incorrect information found in so many online trees. I hope people will correct their online trees. I hope this helps us all.

John Termin’s father–it must be Benjamin!

I started tracing the family tree about 1983 when I was 13.  One of my long-standing brick walls has been the parents of John Termin and his wife, Susannah Baker.  John and Susannah (or just Susan) were married in 1844 in York County, Pennsylvania.  (It took about a decade to get that marriage info!)

They do not appear in the 1850 census.  I’ve tried looking up every spelling of Termin, including the TH-spellings.  I’ve searched for John or Susan in the right places, but nothing comes up.  They are simply missing from that record.  That’s unfortunate because the obituary for Susan Baker Termin Stengel Roberts states that she had nine children[1]—but I only have names for five of them:  Benjamin, Adam, Elizabeth, Lucinda, and Savilla.

It was my hope that genetic genealogy might breakthrough this brick wall on the family tree.  Perhaps it is chipping away at it.  There are definite DNA matches between my family and Termins who descend from Benjamin and Adam, plus a few from the daughters.  My family descends from Elizabeth Termin who married Robert Joe Billingsley. 

There are these matches to the descendants of a Benjamin Termin born about 1832 in Maryland.  He lived in Missouri, and I can track records for him from 1870 on, but not earlier.  Also matches to descendants of Edward Hayes Termin, son of another Edward Termin.   Matches to descendants of Aquilla Tarman are also intrigquing.  Decades ago, a descendant of Aquilla Tarman wrote me about possible connections.  The one thing we see in common with all these Termin/Tarman people is Franklin County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area—including York and Fulton, and birthplaces in Maryland.

Recent review of DNA matches for my family has led to some tentative conclusions.  It may be that John Termin (b. 1818) and Benjamin Termin (b.1832) are the males in Benjamin Termin’s 1840 household.  Since Benjamin (the older) is there in 1840, and this is where we find John, coming of age about 1841, and marrying in 1844, it is reasonable to assume Benjamin is the father. Benjamin must be related to Edward Terman and Aquilla Tarman—the age range suggests brothers, but no direct evidence supports this.

John Termin of Heidelberg Township married Susanna Baker of York County on 11 November, 1841.[2] The obvious choice for his father was, and is, Benjamin Termin, listed in 1840 census for Heidelberg Township.[3]  Benjamin was 50-60 years of age, as was his spouse.  Six younger people were counted: two females and a male 20-30, a female 15-20, a female 10-15, and a male 5-10. 

Records for York County are now available online at Familysearch.org.  A search through available tax lists shows that Benjamin Termin as early as 1825.[4] Benjamin continues to appear on the lists until 1850.  John Termin first appears in 1840-1841[5] and makes his last appearance in 1851.  (Neither Benjamin nor John appear on the 1850 census.) Some registers list Benjamin and John next to each other. This is good evidence that John came out of Benjamin’s household and were closely related.

The last record for John is when he was sued in court by Samuel Hershey for $40. The case was settled, with John paying the $40, in December 1853.[6]

Selected Records for Termin in York County, Pennsylvania.

Tax lists, York County, PA

FHL 8248899

Benjamin Terman is not listed in 1823 or 1824. He first appears in Heidelberg Township in 1825 as Ben Terman.

Heidelberg Township, 1825-26

FHL 8248900

1835-36 Tax List. Listed as Bangamen Tirman in the tax list, this appended list of “poor children” apparently includes a daughter. But why only this child, he had at least six by this time.

Trienniel Assessment 1840-41. First instance of both Benjamin and John listed.


[1] Rushville Times, Jul 25, 1907, “Ray News.”

[2] Saint Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania, “Records of Pastoral Acts” Vol 2. 1831-1848, p. 188.

[3] 1840; Census Place: Heidelberg, York, Pennsylvania; Roll: 501; Page: 92; Family History Library Film: 0020561.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

[4] 1825-26 Tax List, Heidelberg, York, PA, n.p. FHL 8248899, image 425/679.

[5] 1840-41 State Assessment, Heidelberg, York, PA, n.p. FHL 8248900, image 193/708.

[6] York County Archives.  Court Proceedings 111, Nov 1853.