This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This two-week period covers prompts of Challenging and Easy. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
With the Johnston Family Reunion in my thoughts recently, I’ve spent the past two weeks researching my most distant ancestor in this family line — Wiley Johnston of Leake County, Mississippi, who is possibly my 4x-great-grandfather.
“Possibly” is a key word, as no direct evidence yet identifies Wiley as our Johnston family patriarch. Family historian Agnes McWeeny Johnston hypothesized Wiley was the father of five sons — Nathaniel, Silas, John, Harrison, and Rufus — who lived in Leake County, Mississippi, and the surrounding counties between 1825 and 1860.¹ Agnes based her hypothesis on census records and tax rolls. She believed these men were father and sons because they seemed to move together among counties in central Mississippi.
Is Agnes’s theory still valid almost 30 years later? With so many more records available today, I decided to revisit her research and look for more clues. It was easy to find records about Wiley; what’s challenging is determining if the records reference the correct Wiley Johnston and working out any clues within the data that can lead me to his origins.Continue reading Wiley Johnston: Finding Records Is Easy, Interpreting Them Can Be Challenging