St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Jewels in the Vault

I was on a mission. Pass through the guards, dig through the vault,
and find those jewels. I knew they had to be there- somewhere in the
vaults of the Fayette County Justice Center. I was joined on this
mission by a friend who has a much stronger interest in these jewels
than I do. They are her jewels, after all.

The jewels in this case are the old land deeds from the 1830s that we
uncovered in the vault. Fayette County has done a nice job in helping
to preserve these fragile, old documents. Each page has painstakingly
been placed in a protective sleeve. I only hope they are acid free and
they treated the pages as well. Otherwise, time may alter these
valuable documents. There are index books, both direct and indirect.
The Direct Index provides the transfer of land from grantor to grantee,
while the index lists the name of the grantee first. This is wonderful
for researchers as it allows you to look for potential purchase or sell
of land.

Once we located the names of interest in the Direct Index book, we
noted the deed book letter and page number. Glad we've worked out
lately as lifting those huge red books took some muscle!

From these documents, we discovered James Waldrop, one of the men we
were researching, had received his land from Cain Simpson. Cain
Simpson? Hmmm. So, it's off to the probate records to check on
marriage records and wills. No will was located for Cain Simpson but
we did find evidence of a marriage between a Waldrop and a Simpson. In
particular, a female Simpson. To be more exact, the land was given to
the male Waldrop. Ha- find the marriage record. Yes, they there are.
Married shortly after the land transfer. The logical conclusion is
the land was Cain's daughter's dowry.

Diamonds in the rough. What we uncovered still has to be polished up
and looked at closely. We noticed Cain Simpson paid taxes on land in
Putnam Co, GA, while living in Fayette Co. Guess who else came here
from the Putnam Co. area? Bingo. The Waldrop Family. After leaving
the vaults that day, we were able to find a marriage record in Jasper
Co, which neighbors Putnam Co. James and Mary Waldrop's daughter,
Bellana, married Elcanor Cain Simpson 20 Mar 1817. I think that
particular facet shines brightly now.

On our next excursion deep into the vault, I suspect we will uncover
some rubies. We plan to document the evidence on Elcanor Cain Simpson.
In addition, we hope to uncover more land deeds or marriage records.
Until that time, I'll keep polishing the diamonds we found to see if
they, too, can shine bright with information for us.

Enjoy your time searching for those family jewels. They're there- and
at this location, it's even air conditioned!!

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