Goals for 2018….

My research goals for 2018 are a continuation from my 2 uncompleted goals from 2017…

  1. Finding the parents of Mary Cook Donaldson. I have a father for her in mind but I need actual documentation to either prove or disprove my theory. In order to do this, I will make a private tree on Ancestry of possible father since I know his relatives. I will be working backward starting with relatives and not the possible father.
  2. Find out where Thomas Donaldson came from.

Maybe if I can figure out Mary Cook Donaldson family first, then it will uncover information about Thomas Donaldson’s family.

Here is to a year of genealogy breakthroughs and broken brick walls!!!


I found Mary Donaldson’s estate record…..

Do you know where it was? It was nestled within the confines of her husband’s, Thomas Donaldson, estate record.

There were 2 separate bills of sales, one in Nov 1811 and one in March 1813. I always wondered about the one in 1813. I looked at the 1813 sales bill more closely today and realized that Mary Donaldson’s name was conspicuously absent. I looked at the items sold in the estate and realized they were they were the same items purchased by Mary from her husband’s estate in 1811.

I  also looked at the administration page for March 1813 and found that William Donaldson, Mary’s stepson, was the administrator. In 1811 on Thomas Donaldson’s estate record, William Donaldson and Mary Donaldson were both listed as administrators.

I have found other estate records where the wife’s estate record was within the husband’s estate record. The idea that Mary’s would be in Thomas’s was very possible even though it took me a while to make the actual discovery.

The only downside to this is that my great, great, great grandfather, Nimrod Donaldson, became an orphan at almost ten years of age and was probably raised by older siblings.

***Thomas Donaldson’s Estate Record (died 1811 in Abbeville, SC) is located at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and on Ancestry.com. It is accidently connected to Jennet Donaldson’s estate record. Jennet Donaldson is an entirely different person with no known connection to Thomas Donaldson ( or at least not found yet).***

Nimrod Donaldson, Grantor of Conveyances

( greenvillecounty.org “Grantor of Conveyance Index, 1787-1913”. page 632)

Nimrod Donaldson to Young Simes (Sims), 43 acres on Horse Creek. Executed in 1871 and recorded in 1873.

Nimrod Donaldson to Chism (Chisolm) Austin, 134 acres adjoining Allison and Austin. Executed and recorded in 1872.

Nimrod Donaldson to J.W. Sullivan Ex., 11 and 3/4 acres on Horse Creek and Reedy River – Dunklin Township. Executed in 1875 and recorded in 1876.

Nimrod Donaldson to Chrisoline (Chisholm?) Austin, 134 acres on waters of Horse Creek. Executed in 1879 and recorded in 1890.

Nimrod Donaldson to Anna D. Miller, 1,280? acres adjoining Austin, Sims, and McDavid. Executed in 1880 and recorded in 1886.

Nimrod Donaldson, Grantee of Conveyances

(taken from…. greenvillecounty.org  “Grantee of Conveyances Index”. page 639. )

  1. Nimrod Donaldson from William McCullough, 42 acres on Horse Creek.  Executed in 1833 and recorded in 1836.
  2. Nimrod Donaldson from Charles P. Sullivan, 175 acres on Carrol’s Branch. Executed and recorded in 1836.
  3. Nimrod Donaldson from William McCullough, 303 acres on Horse Creek. Executed and recorded in 1841.
  4. Nimrod Donaldson from William Choice, 142 acres. Executed in 1853 and recorded in 1854.
  5. Nimrod Donaldson from Joseph W. Sullivan, 9 acres. Executed in 1875 and recorded in 1887.


Nimrod Donaldson in 1820……

I think I have finally found Nimrod Donaldson in 1820. I think he was living, as a farmhand or boarder, with his future in laws in Greenville, SC. William McCullough, Nimrod’s future father in law, had an extra male age 16-25 in household in the 1820 census. Nimrod was born in 1803, thus making him 17 in the 1820 census.

William McCullough’s only child, Sarah, turned 16 in March 1824. She married Nimrod on November 23, 1824. Nimrod stayed close to the McCullough family until William McCullough and his wife, Jane, died in the 1850’s. Nimrod Donaldson was the only child of his parents to stay in South Carolina after his siblings either died or moved out of state. The McCullough’s were very wealthy farmers so Nimrod probably had great motivation to stay close to them. I also think that Nimrod probably didn’t want to move his wife away from her parents because she was an only child.

I am glad this mystery is solved, hopefully!

Hello Mrs Cornelius Cook Jr….

I finally found the name of Cornelius Cook Jr’s wife after 2 years of searching. Her name was Belinda Ellison Cook, daughter of Joel Ellison.

On Cornelius Cook Jr’s estate record in 1838, there was a Lindy Cook. I had no idea if Lindy was a male or female until I looked at what Lindy bought out of the estate. Lindy bought “1 loom and harness, 1 chest of drawers, 1 table, 1 lot tea ware, 1 feather bed and furniture, 3 quilts and pillow, 1 lot bed clothing, 1 umbrella and 1 lot of cabbages.”  I thought it was pretty safe to say that Lindy was a female.

I was looking a Joel Ellison (of Laurens) estate record (Nov 1838)  and found the following…” John R. Ellison who is also guardian of David Ellison and Belinda Cook being absent” and “add amt of Cornelius Cook’s note”. Cornelius Cook Jr a few weeks earlier in Oct 1838.

Another clue that points to Belinda Ellison being the wife of Cornelius Cook Jr is the fact that there is a James Ellison listed under Lindy Cook’s name in Cornelius Cook Jr’s estate record. I think James was a brother to Belinda.

The bottom line is that the estate records of your ancestor’s neighbors, as well as the ancestor himself/herself, offer valuable insights. Don’t overlook them!

Wrong wife with the wrong Cook….

After many days of total frustration and trying to force pieces of this genealogical puzzle to fit, I made a crucial discovery. I think Nancy Kinman, who I thought was married to Cornelius Cook Jr, was actually married to Cornelius Cook Sr. Reasons I believe this….

  1. Thomas Cook- He was living near Cornelius Cook Sr in Laurens in 1830. The census taker has his middle initial as a “R”. Jump forward to the 1850 census in Calhoun Co, Alabama; there is a Thomas K. Cook with a son name Cornelius Cook. I believe the middle initial “K” stands for Kinman. I believe that Thomas K Cook was the eldest child of Cornelius Cook and Nancy Kinman. Most eldest children back then were given the mother’s maiden name as a middle name. I have seen this several times in my research of different families.
  2. Nancy Kinman’s father died in 1816. James Kinman, the father, left Cornelius Cook Sr.and his heirs money.
  3. In William Rutledge’s will of 1816, he left Cornelius Cook Jr $100 dollars, in trust to his father Cornelius Cook Sr, for his education. Cornelius Cook Jr was a minor and therefore could not have been married to Nancy Kinman.
  4. I have found references that Rachel Kinman, Nancy’s sister, was born in mid 1770’s. I am guessing that Nancy was born around the same time. I believe that Cornelius Cook was born between 1760-1770, so his age would be close to Nancy Kinman’s age.

Until next time….