Acknowledgments, Sources and Directory

In the interest of full disclosure and in complete honesty:  much of the research presented here is not my own.  I followed in the very helpful footprints of prominent genealogists who generously shared copies of their research, their writings, and more importantly their time.  They never seem to grow impatient with the never-ending questions from the newbie I was back then.  Many are no longer with us.  While searching through my folders one day, I realized what a treasure trove of their accumulated research, analysis of various records and sometimes “just down right gut feelings” they had expressed in letters now filed away. I strongly believe it is important future researchers have the opportunity to follow the thought processes of previous researchers. It sometimes is more important to know how a researcher came to a conclusion, than the actual conclusion itself.  The internet makes it possible to share; but do I have the right to share the work of others?  After all when written, the researcher had no expectation his or her comments would be broadcast to the world.  I hope they agree with my decision. Their personal comments are italicized and the dates written (if known) are included.  As with all research, personal comments should be considered as opinions, not facts, unless supported by good, cited sources.  This is important for I do include theories that I suspect errs. My reasoning: another researcher may spot a clue I missed, or an earlier researcher just may be right after all.

The value of fully citing one’s sources is often lost on newbies and I apologize for being among those remiss in this area.  However, fully citing one’s source – or even stating the record upon which a statement of fact was based – is rarely found in genealogical works until the latter part of the 20th century.  Many entries found herein came from the “research in progress” notes sent by one researcher to another. Often the two researchers knew the origin of the record being discussed without being told.  Thus my comments about lack of a source provided by other researchers is a statement of fact and not a statement of criticism.  My original handwritten notes were typed and have been retyped several times. Although careful, especially with dates, I apologize for the typographical errors and omissions that may have crept into my own work.  Typos happen to everyone.

                                                                                                                Linda Sparks Starr      May, 2010

My Correspondents

Henry P. Rankin Jr.   Henry was the son of Henry P. Rankin Sr. whose research notes were used by A. M. Prichard when writing Rankin Relations.   Henry Jr. generously shared copies of his father’s notes on the line of George died 1760. He was equally generous with his own extensive research.  At the time of his death, Henry Jr. was vigorously searching for a connection between our George of Augusta County and those in the Northern Neck Virginia line of John Rankin and Sarah (Woffendale).  Additionally Henry shared his research into the Flossie Cloyd tapes located at the Tennessee State Archives.  

Lloyd R. Rankin Jr.   Lloyd was a descendant and researcher of the Richard Rankin of Naked Creek, Augusta County, Virginia line, and author of The Rankin Tercentenary.  At the time of our correspondence I didn’t fully appreciate the personal effort he made to follow up his phone calls with letters and enclosures. As I now understand it, he rarely answered correspondence from unknown researchers due to his failing health.  He explained at the time that he wanted to make sure I completely understood his latest theory on the identity of “my enigma James Rankin” as I present him here.

C. E. May   He authored My Augusta and other works, was a life-long resident of the area, descendant of the George Rankin line, and was the featured attendee at a reunion held in Staunton in 1990. At the Friday evening dinner he repeated stories the old timers had told and the next day he led a caravan to the various family locations.

Mona Mattingly   Mona was the most organized researcher I ever encountered. In the days before computerized records, she brought to the reunion more files, firmly packed into crate boxes, than clothes.  We spent an enjoyable evening in her room discussing specifics aided by her ability to rapidly check facts.

Jo Ann (Rankin) Wigington  She organized the reunion in Virginia from her residence in South Carolina. She grew up on, and her family still owns, part of the South Carolina land acquired by Uncle William Rankin in the 1790s. This includes the small tract encompassing the earliest Rankin cemetery. 

Elizabeth Ann Jones   She was the granddaughter of the person who ended up with the house and everything in it where William Robertson Rankin once lived. “Everything in it” included family photos, newspaper stories highlighting his political career, his personal correspondence, the diary written during “the war,” and much more. During the 20 years we corresponded back and forth, and the few times we met face to face, she generously shared these family heirlooms with us.

Katherine Bushman   Katherine was the researcher who answered the requests for copies of original records sent to the courthouse.  She gave me the address for both Lloyd and Henry Rankin, urging me to contact them “before wasting my time with research that had already been done.” I researched many surnames in the valley and often she guessed the reason behind my request for an obscure record. More than once she offered her own opinion or passed on another’s interpretation of the record I had requested.  Her papers, now in the Library of Virginia, are a treasure trove for early Augusta County researchers.

Rhoda Fone   My “genealogy-buddy” deserves mention here for the hours she spent looking for and analyzing the northern-neck area records.  Most entries in that section with specifically cited sources are the result of her efforts.

Click on highlighted names for individual narratives.
George (died 1760) and Martha
Jean (1743-1790) and ___ Bell
Capt. Thomas (1745-1787) and Mary Crawford
William (1748-1817) and Letitia Robertson
John (c1750-1790)
James (1750s–1822) and Jane “Jinny” Russell
Robert (1750s-1815) and Elizabeth Russell
Mary (late 1750s-1788) and John Young
Elizabeth (c1778-1819) and Matthew Blair
James (c1780-1855) and Nancy McNeel
James (died before 1806) the "enigma", father of Polly
Col. George (1782-1854) and Mary “Polly” Rankin
Margaret (c1783-1814) and George Washington Poage
Martha (c1799-before 1809) and John Davis Poage
Thomas Franklin (1807-1872) and Sarah Orr
Eliza B. (1815-after June 1886)
Margaret P. (1818-1884)
Mary Jane (1820-1871)
Martha A. (1827-1877)
William Robertson (1842-1913) and Margaret Jane Ramsay
George Alexander (1844-1910) and Desdamona Gambrell
Mary Matilda (1846-1904) and David W. Blassingame
Wilson Newberg (1848-after 1934) and Esther Lucinda Martin
James Crawford (1851-c 1935) and Carrie Mullikin
Margaret Ann (1854-after 1934) and Addison H. Blassingame
William Robertson Jr. (1868-1934)
George Reid (1880-1932) and Fauna Beauchamp
Pauline Olivia (1877-1966) and Harry Starr
Mary Belle “Mamie” (1883-1963) and King Norton

Jeremiah Rankin (1733-1760) and Rhoda Craig
Northern Neck Virginia Rankins
Richard Rankin Sr. (1720-1792) and Mary Douglas

Linda Sparks Starr    copyright (c)  2010