One Good Turn…

Week 47: #52 Ancestors – Good Deeds

By Eilene Lyon

I’ve done a couple of posts highlighting people on my tree who have demonstrated extraordinary generosity: William Painter and Inger Boe Johnson. Undoubtedly many others have done similar acts of kindness, but those deeds have vanished in the mists of time.

So I will take a different tack here.

When I shared my research on the gold rush story with my cousin Marion, she found a piece of history I may never have found otherwise. She located a court case in the online files of the Delaware County Carnegie Library (Indiana). These records, though poorly photocopied and a real bear to transcribe, opened entirely new avenues for me to explore for the book, enriching the story immensely. I am forever grateful for her amazing find.

At the time, Marion had a brick wall on her tree. Records have since come online that answer the question: What was Nancy Anderson’s maiden name? But when I was doing research in Indiana in 2017, I found two deeds that provided the evidence confirming our suspicion that Nancy’s maiden name was Thompson.

The Thompson and Anderson families were associates in Guernsey County, Ohio, which is where Nancy Thompson married Asa Anderson in 1835.1 Both families subsequently relocated to Blackford County, Indiana.

Marriage Record for Asa Anderson and Nancy Thompson in Guernsey County, Ohio. (

The patriarch of the Anderson family, William Clark Anderson, Jr., lost many of his children when they were in their early adulthood: Humphrey died on the way to California (age 33) in 1851; Bazel passed away suddenly a couple years earlier (age 33);2 and Cavy Ann, on her second marriage, also died in 1851, just 27.3

Asa Anderson took responsibility as executor for his brothers’ estates, but he did not have a particularly long life, either. In 1862, his half-sister, Mary Mable Anderson died at the age of 18 and later that year, Asa succumbed at the age of 49, leaving his wife, Nancy, a widow.4 Nancy eventually remarried.

Two months after the death of her husband, Nancy Anderson appears in a deed executed by Abraham and Elizabeth Thompson. The deed transfers an 80-acre parcel to Nancy for the sum of $800, but the deed also specifies:

“Whereas part of the consideration of this conveyance is that the Grantors Abraham Thompson and Elizabeth Thompson shall have a comfortable support during their natural life therefore if the Grantee her heirs or assigns shall furnish them said support this title shall be clean if not then the grantors shall hold a lien on the said premises for the said support.”5

Deed from Abraham and Elizabeth Thompson to Nancy Anderson (click to enlarge)

The following February, Nancy Anderson executed a deed to George Thompson for half of this acreage for $400. The deed contains this line:

“Whereas part of the consideration of this conveyance is that the grantee in this conveyance shall furnish a comfortable support to Abraham Thompson and Elizabeth Thompson his wife, the parents of the parties to this Deed…”6 (emphasis added)

Deed from Nancy Anderson to George Thompson (click to enlarge)

When I emailed these deeds to Marion, she responded, “I am in tears! Thank you, thank you and thank you again! The deeds showing Nancy Thompson Anderson’s parents is the best family gift I have had!”

Sharing victories like this with cousins/fellow researchers, greatly enhances the rewards for everyone involved.

Now if we could just find Nancy’s death record…

Feature image: Grave of Asa Anderson in the Trenton South Cemetery, Trenton, Indiana (E. Lyon 2017)

  1. Asa Anderson & Nancy Thompson. Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. 
  5. Blackford County Deed Book H, page 432. 
  6. Blackford County Deed Book H, page 507. 

22 thoughts on “One Good Turn…

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  1. Wow — this just shows what a service your research can provide. It frustrates me when I hear people talk about genealogical research as ego-driven. It’s wonderful how you’re able to help each other!

    Liked by 1 person

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