Friday, May 29, 2015

The Elusive Charlotte Martin

I often wonder, with all the generations, documents, DNA testing, and new technology, why some of our ancestors are elusive. Take Charlotte Martin, wife of Jeremiah Cole, for instance. With the hundreds, maybe even thousands of people who have tried to discover her parentage, why haven’t some documents or tidbits of information risen from obscurity and surprised us all?

Census records are no help. If only the early census takers understood the importance of writing down individual names for every family. So many more puzzles would have unraveled today with the addition of that information. Yet the census records claim our Charlotte Martin was born anywhere from 1790-1795, even though her tombstone claims she was born in 1805. Some argue to believe the census record over the tombstone, but as history has shown us, both sources have proven inaccurate from time to time.

County histories of the places the Coles resided confuse the subject even more. The Coles lived in that specific area of Tennessee once claimed by Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina at different times. Documents suggest Charlotte was born in North Carolina. We can only guess whether her birth took place in the long-established counties of that state or whether she was born in Tennessee when North Carolina claimed the territory. The possibilities are endless.

Further rumors arise because researchers have confused Charlotte Martin with the daughter of Valentine Martin who was born in Surry County, North Carolina. Valentine’s daughter, Charlotte, was born on the 5 May 1795. Yet, I continually find that information connected to that of Jeremiah Cole’s wife, Charlotte.

Another practice that adds to the muddle is the insistence of some researchers to site Charlotte’s middle name as Idella. I have yet to find a record that proves this.

One claim we do know, is that a particular Joseph Martin lived on the property abutting Jeremiah Cole’s land in Carrollton County, Georgia. My next target of research is to find this Joseph Martin in the census records and discover what family is attached to him. Maybe if a member of that family has taken DNA testing we can discover a connection. It’s worth a try if we are to dispel the unsubstantiated claims of the present research.