Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Picker in the Will of George Summers Jr.

As mentioned in the previous post, one of the themes of my recent research trip was to fill in the gaps for the children of Ernst and Maria, our original immigrants.  That has been especially hard to do for the girls, which is no surprise I guess.  Anna Mann, born in 1781, was the first of the Menge children born in New Jersey, and she was baptized at the Straw Church in Greenwich township.  She was not yet married when her father wrote his will in 1804 where he referred to her as Anny Mann (mistaken by some transcribers as Amy).  We have found later deeds that identified her spouse as James Picker or Pickering - but beyond that, we have known nothing - another lost family.

So here's the part where I want to say it's so nice to be soooo familiar with this family now that I can recognize clues when they flit across my field of observation.  Here's how it happened this time.

First I have to thank an ancestry user who posted some information on George Summers Jr., giving the exact will book reference where the will for George could be located.  So I made a note of that knowing I was going to Doylestown, the county seat of Bucks County, PA.  When I arrived and inquired at the courthouse for the will book, the kind person there told me that I would probably prefer to look at the probate packet since that had the will in it among other things.  I almost declined that offer, thinking "all I need is a copy of the will."  There was a long pause, but then I said Oh OK.  Sometimes I can be a dope.  This time I was only almost a dope.

So out come the packets, one for both George and another for his wife Ann (which I would not have seen otherwise), and the packets contained the wills, the inventories, and the accounts paid from the estates.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the name of James Picker in the accounts paid list.  Hmmmm.

After coming home, I was working on adding all the interesting updates to George Summers Jr. on my family tree, and I saw again that name, James Picker.  So I turned to ancestry search and typed that name with a place of PA.  Up pops James Picker living in the exact same place as George Summers - Warrington, Bucks, PA.  In fact, he lived there a long time.  And in the 1850 census when you can finally see the names of people he is living with, there is somebody who could be a wife and her name is Anna.  Hmmmmm.

And now to end the tale, the moral is to KEEP looking for records beyond the census.  It seems that ancestry is adding more and more all the time.  And what came up tonight were records from the Neshaminy Presbyterian Church in Warwick, Bucks, PA.  And there, amazingly, were baptisms for the apparent children of James and Anna Picker:  Sarah Picker, George S. (Summers?) Picker, John Picker, and Ernest Mann Picker.  Ta Da.

All I can say is that I never would have dreamed of looking in Bucks County for any member of the Mann family from Sussex, New Jersey.  But the Mann's and the Summers' were very intertwined, and to trace one on either side has often yielded clues about the other.  It's amazing.  And I learned, once again, to stay curious over being impatient when I think I just want what I came for.  If I had looked only at the will book, Anna Mann Picker's family would remain a mystery for who knows how long.  I just have to keep open, keep questioning, and keep noticing.  Sometimes these thin leads mean absolutely nothing, and sometimes they are the key. Click.

1 comment:

  1. Another lesson learned here is that will books do NOT contain the original will written by the person in question. I've always wondered about that as the handwriting in the court books is always fairly consistent. That's because the books contain the handwriting of the clerk who was copying the will into the book. So wills found in books could have transcription errors! So besides verifying content, finding the actual will also lets us see the actual signature (or mark) of our people. Lesson: look for probate packets when possible!