Setting the genealogical record straight

I know old family tales die hard. Sometimes, it takes a lot of evidence to put these tall tales to rest. For example, DNA evidence was required to separate the Stephen and James Langford bunch from the John “Jack” and Rufus Wiley Langford bunch. For years, they were all thought to be brothers and their father said to be a man named John or perhaps Eli. Long story short, the four are not genetically brothers, well, technically Stephen and James may be brothers and John “Jack” and Rufus Wiley may be brothers, but the DNA of Stephen’s descendants doesn’t match that of the descendants of John “Jack” or Rufus, etc. Now we know that Eli is likely the father of the former two and we have a few clues for the father of the latter two, none of whom is named John. This genealogical misunderstanding occurred due to an interview of a grandchild of James Langford, in which a statement made was misinterpreted.

Something like that happened to Jane Mangum. A record was misread, the wrong conclusion was reached, this was passed along as truth. It was then published in a book.

But inventing fiction? That is galling. Especially after this fiction has been proven wrong.

Sigh, this is just getting so tiresome. Let’s get this straight, one more time.

Jane Mangum did not marry Jedediah Brown. Not only did she not marry him, she had no children with him. Jane married George W. Crawford on 08 JUN 1841 in Itawamba, MS. The marriage was officiated by Samuel Adair, her brother-in-law. Supporting documentation was found by Kerry Peterson. This handwritten document, in which a nephew of Jane’s, Samuel Newton Adair, details aspects of relationships in his family, proves her marriage to George Washington Crawford and no other and her intergenerational connection to John Mangum, the Patriot. Thus proven it has been accepted by the DAR. A photocopy of the original document was sent to me by Becky Hamblin. The information about Jane (Jeney) is in an excerpt from Samuel Newton Adair, genealogical notes, transcription:

b. “Luna, New Mexico, October 7, 1919. I, Samuel Newton Adair, will write what I know about my mother’s folks. My grandfather’s name was John Mangum and he married Rebecca Noles, so my grandmother’s name was Rebecca Mangrum, my grandfather Mangum was a revolutionary soldier with General Morgan (one of his minute men.) He was taken prisoner with a lot of other men by the british soldiers and they set them on a log and split their heads open, all but my grandfather’s and he had some kind of varmint skin cap on and that and the skull stopped the force of the sword and it glanced off and cut his ear nearly off and they turned him lose. He married after the war was over as stated above. Their children are: Cyrus Mangrum, Joseph Mangrum, John Mangrum, William Mangrum and James Mangrum. The daughter’s names were: Jeney Mangrum, Gemima Mangrum, Rebecca Mangrum, and Lucinda Mangum. They were all my uncles and aunts. Joseph Mangrum married Emiline Hanner, William married Aunt Sally Adair, John married Aunt Mary Ann Adair, James Mangrum married Jane Clark, my father’s niece. I don’t know who uncle Cyrus Mangum married. Jeney Mangrum married George Crawford, Gemima Mangrum married Samuel Jefferson Adair, my father. Rebecca Mangrum married Joseph Adair, my father’s cousin. Lucinda Mangrum married James Richery, my father’s nephew.”

Clearly, Jane married G. W. Crawford, and, as Kerry says it:

Any marriage to Jedediah M. Brown is incorrect and has been passed down falsely from Delta Hale’s book on John Mangum and an incorrect DAR application (Per “California DAR Ancestry Guide” by the California State Society of the National Society of the DAR, 1976: Daughter of John Mangum, Revolutionary War private from South Carolina: “Jennie, b. Jul 14, 1824; m. Jedediah M. Brown.”). Delta appears to probably have seen and misinterpreted an LDS temple endowment ordinance that occurred on 17 Dec 1915 in the Salt Lake Temple for a similar but different individual: “Jane Brown Mangum, b. 14 Jul 1834, Murry Co., Tenn., d. 10 Jul 1913, baptized 1893, endowment at the request of Jedediah M. Brown, [who lists himself as] friend, with Agnes A. B. Robinson acting as proxy.” (Source: FHLfilm 184114, p. 816, ord. 23301, Salt Lake Temple Records, Endowments for the Dead – Female, Book 2D, 1915-1916.)

Why am I revisiting this?
Well, a question popped up the other day on a list to which I belong, regarding same name syndrome. The question was “Can you give examples where someone has glued two family trees together erroneously due to ‘the name is the same’?” My example was, of course, Jane Mangum, daughter of John Mangum, the Patriot. BT-dubs, we don’t call him the Patriot out of associative pride, but due to the many men named John Mangum who existed at about the same time and within the same line. After seeing the question, I decided to check on Jane Mangum on WorldConnect and on FamilyTreeMaker’s site. After all, it has been several years since this information was found, surely most people have begun to correct their trees.

Nope, now they are making up children.

Just when you think you have done your genealogical duty, somebody blows you off. There are those who refuse to believe a fact pattern supported by documentation: census, written depositions of members of the family from the time period, in this case a nephew, Marriage Records, etc., and refuse to disavow fiction which was born of ignorance of Jane’s life. You see, Jane was the only one of Rebecca Canida Knowles Mangum’s children who did not become Mormon. Hale didn’t know the facts of Jane’s life because neither Jane nor her descendants  lived near her at the time the DAR application was made or the book was being written.

Likely, the marriage information became “pass along”. Initially found in Hale’s book, it was passed from family member to family member. There was no one, until the advent of the internet, who challenged it. I am also pretty clear that whatever “work” was done, was done for these new fictitious children  was done with nothing more in depth than a search on or from within Familytreemaker, so there is no need to go further than that to keep disproving this.
The citation on this entry for Jane’s alleged marriage to Jedediah Brown in 1855 is actually a link to Ancestry’s copy of her marriage to George Washington in 1841. Jane was not a polyandrist.
It defies logic to assert that Jane had Thomas Jefferson Crawford in 1845 and Martha Jane Brown in 1845.  This Martha Jane Brown is said to have been born 10 years before the fictional marriage to Brown. In fact, the census search for Martha J. Brown born 1845 in Mississippi does find one person, in the 1850 census, the daughter of Simeon J. and Manerva Brown in Holmes County, Mississippi. There is another Martha Brown, daughter of David and Eliza Brown in Lafayette County, Misssissippi. There is a Martha J. Brown in the 1880 Federal Census enumeration for Panola County, Mississippi,  in a household headed by a Jane Brown.  Martha J. and her mother Jane are enumerated as black. Jane Mangum daughter of John Mangum, was white.
In 1850, in Mississippi, there is only one Jedediah Brown, son of Samuel and Elizabeth, in Yalobusha County. He’s fourteen. In 1870, there is a Jedediah Brown in Bountiful, Utah. He is in the Rebecca Brown family. He’s 4. From the information from Kerry Petersen, above, this is probably the Jedediah Brown who is in the midst of all this confusion. We find Jedediah M. Brown listed with wife Elizabeth, born in England in 1866, again in the 1900 Federal census for South Precinct, Davis, Utah and the 1910 Federal Census for South Bountiful, Davis, Utah. He definitely was not married to Jane Mangum. His children, enumerated with him in 1900 are Samuel, Agnes, Leo F., Elsie E. and Lucy L. In 1910, the children listed are Samuel J., Agnes A, Frederick L, Afton and Emily. In the Federal Census for 1920, now in Salt Lake, Utah, we find Jedediah, Elizabeth, Afton and Emily.

How does this happen? What can we do to prevent it in our own genealogical work? To paraphrase the old real estate adage, “citation, citation, citation”. Meaning, we need to be able to trace the provenance of every fact included in the database. Otherwise, if the pertinent information is called into question, we have no way of knowing what to believe. Of course, whenever possible it pays to make our sources primary, from original documents. Had this been done, Jane’s marriage to George Crawford would have been in Hale’s book, not the erroneous Brown marriage. When I say primary, I mean the original document attesting to the actual event at the precise time it occurred. I don’t like using the terms original or derivative, mostly because in my mathematics related Master’s degree, a derivative is a precise mathematical term referring to measuring how a function changes as the input changes. The sense in genealogy is defined as an item being derived from another source, that is, secondary.
If we can trace the provenance of everything in our database, then erroneous information can be detected by following the trail. Hale’s assertion in her book for the Brown marriage was not based on a fact. If the information in a database is from Hale, then it needs to be removed from that database once a primary source is found which disputes her information. If it is unsourced in the database, perhaps passed from one family member to another without citation, then how can it be determined to be truth or not? It can’t without extensive research. If you don’t cite, you could wind up researching one fact over and over and over and over again.

Also, we must avoid making facts fit the truth as we think we know it. In this case, a “pass-along” genealogy with a phony fact, the Jane Mangum – Jedediah Brown marriage, was the jumping off point. No record could be found for that marriage, it didn’t happen, so it doesn’t exist. To substitute, the census records, above, may have been used to change her name to Eliza Jane, since Jedediah Brown was married to Elizabeth thus making one fact fit the truth as the researcher thought he or she knew it.

Of course, there is always the possibility that someone just made it all up.


3 Comments to “Setting the genealogical record straight”

  1. I have ran into problems with my family tree also. I have been told that Wiley P. Mangum was John mangum’s (the patriot) and Mary or gemima’s son and jane’s brother. Supposedly, John married a gemima and named a daughter gemima but I’m
    not sure if this is true. I’ve found different versions of this story but no evidence.

    • You don’t give dates, but I am guessing that you are referring to the Wiley P. who was born in 1795 and married Mary “Polly” McSwain, not the others born 1832 and later. John’s children by various wives were born beginning in 1794 (Mary “Polly” Murdock) until about 1826. John was deceased by 1843, so anyone born after that is definitely not his. If not read on for my ramblings thoughts on John and Wiley P. Looking this morning, I haven’t found anything definitive about Wiley P. Mangum’s parentage.
      The best Mangum researchers I know are John Palmer, Lynn Parham and Kerry Petersen. Kerry doesn’t have a Wiley amongst the children of John Mangum, the Patriot. This may mean only that the state of the paper trail doesn’t support that conclusion. Check out Kerry Petersen’s, information by clicking his name to open the link to John.
      DNA results indicate that descendants of John Mangum and Wiley P. Mangum b 1795, married to Mary “Polly” McSwain, are in the same gene pool. I think if, I am remembering correctly on DNA, that this means that those descendants have a common ancestor, but not necessarily John, perhaps a generation or more earlier than John. You may wish to explore Lynn Parham’s website for more DNA information.
      The last email address I had for John Palmer, who has written a book on many Mangum’s in North America, is here.
      No will has been located as far as I know for John, the Patriot. If Wiley P. were my ancestor, I would look at tax and land records in TN, NC, and SC, to see if there was other information to determine if they were somehow connected.
      Good Luck and Happy hunting!

    • Jennifer,

      I am the g-g granddaughter of Wiley P. Mangum, born 1795, died in 1882, Hardin County, TN. His DNA is an exact match to John Mangum, born 1763, and died in 1840’s Itawamba County, MS.

      I believe John Mangum and Mary Murdock, were the parents of Wiley P. Mangum, born 1795…My uncle Jones Mangum, born 1898, married Emma Murdock, Emma Murdock Mangum descends from William Murdock, the brother of Mary Murdock Mangum, the first wife of John Mangum, born 1763, VA. I personally researched the Murdock lineage to be certain that my aunt Emma was a descendant of Hamilton Murdock, born in Ireland died in Newberry, SC.

      Hamilton Murdock was the father of William Murdock and Mary Murdock Mangum, first wife of John Mangum, the Rev War Patriot.

      Jo Ann Crafton

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