Thursday, April 30, 2020

2020 Prompt - Land - Noah Willey

Noah Willey – 1753-1820
My 5th great grandfather

Nancy Simmons to
Paul Simmons to
June Putman to
Ernest Putman to
Perry Willey to
Hugh Willey to
George Willey to
Noah Willey

Deeds - Land Records

Up until a year and half ago I had no idea that Noah Willey was an ancestor of mine. I had been working on a project to find my great grandfather, Ernest Putman's, father. I found that his father was Perry Willey. I was so excited that I found him and had found a whole new family line.  On my pedigree charts there had been this big empty space from my great grandfather backwards. 

Now I could start exploring this new family. I had discovered that Perry's father was Hugh Bolton Willey and that his father was George Washington Willey born about 1794 but George was the end of the line for the Willey family. I could not track the Willey family back any further than George. I checked Ancestry for a George Washington Willey born 1794 and death 1844 and found that all the trees on this Willey line ended with George Washington Willey 1794-1844. Most sources stated that George was born in Ohio or Vermont and that he died in 1844 in Vermilion County, Illinois.  A few trees had his father as Oliv Willey. I could find no records to prove this fact, so I was going to try and find who was George Washington Willey’s father.

First, I had to discover if George was born in Vermont or Ohio. George married twice and many of the Ancestry trees stated his first marriage was to Martha Colton. I found a marriage record for a George Willey and Martha Bolton in 1811 in Butler County, Ohio.[1] The Ancestry trees also stated that George’s second marriage was to Minerva Tillotson in 1827 in Ohio.  His eight children born to his first wife, Martha Bolton, were recorded in census records as born in Ohio between 1812 and 1826.
Marriage Record - George Willey to Patty Bolton - 8 Sept 1811

The oldest child of his second marriage is Hugh Bolton Willey born in 1828 in Hamilton County, Ohio and the next eight children to his second wife, Minerva Tillotson are all born in Vermilion County, Illinois. Of those eight children, four stated in the 1880 census that their father was born in Ohio, one said Vermont and one said Massachusetts. I went hunting for Willey surnames in Ohio.

I started searching for the Willey surname in the 1820 Ohio census. The 1820 Butler County, Ohio census listed a Richard, Noah and George Willey![2] Could this be our George Willey?  Noah was the name of one of George Washington Willey’s sons!  I jumped into Butler County, Ohio wills and probate records on Ancestry and found a will for Noah Willey probated 1820 and he named three sons: Richard, Noah and George Willey.[3] I then went back to Ancestry to see if I could find a tree with a Noah Willey with a death date of 1820 that had a son George.  There were many trees with this Noah Willey who died in Butler County in 1820 and they all had a son named George Washington Willey.  BUT that son was born in 1786 and died in 1793.  How could he be listed in Noah's will when it was written June 10, 1818?[4]
Will of Noah Willey written 10 Jun 1818

I then decided to look for deed records where Noah might have sold or given land to his children.  BINGO! I found a deed recorded dated September 14, 1814 in Crosby Township[5] where Noah Willey gives "in consideration of the love, goodwill and affection which I have to and bear towards my loving son George Willey ….have given and grant to the said George Willey the following tract of land said to contain 50 acres

Deed record - 14 Sep 1814
Noah Willey gifting 50 acres to son George Willey

I concluded that Noah had a son George who died in 1793 but also had another son born the next year in 1794 and he named that son George Washington Willey, a custom used quite frequently in the New England area. As I researched birth records in East Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut I found three records for Elizabeth Willey born to Noah and Elizabeth Willey that [6]exhibits this pattern where a child died and the next child receives the same name.
            Elizabeth daughter of Noah, Jr. & Elizabeth, b. July 3, 1771
            Elizabeth daughter of Noah, Jr. & Elizabeth, d. Nov. 25, 1774      
            Elizabeth daughter of Noah, Jr. & Elizabeth, b. Dec. 22, 1774

Connecticut Birth & Death Records
Elizabeth Willey daughter of Noah & Elizabeth Willey
George Willey son of Noah & Elizabeth Willey

Unfortunately, the Connecticut birth records do not have George Washington Willey’s birth recorded for 1794.  It is possible that Noah and his family had left Connecticut by this time and as many records indicate George was born in Ohio where birth records were not being recorded at that time.

As I studied the many Ancestry trees containing Noah Willey who died in 1820, I discovered he was born in 1753 in East Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut and the family dates back to Isaac Willey born in 1614 in England and immigrated to America by 1640.[7]

Finding a deed record for 50 acres of land given as a gift by Noah Willey to his loving sons, Richard and Noah, was the key piece of evidence that proved my great grandfather's lineage from Ernest Putman born in 1875 to his great-great grandfather Noah Willey and back four more generations to Isaac Willey born 1614 in England.

Ancestry - Thru Lines
DNA Evidence - Nancy Simmons to Noah Willey

[1]; Ohio County Marriages, 1787-2013,Butler County, page 37, image 20;

[3]; Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998,  Probate Court (Hamilton County); Probate Place: Hamilton, Ohio, page 466-468, image 277-278;

[4] Ibid - will

[5]; Ohio, Hamilton County Deeds, Book N-O, 1814-1816, page 372-373, image 197;

[6] American; Connecticut: Vital Records (The Barbour Collection), 1630-1870 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.) From original typescripts, Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection, 1928;

[7] Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1640 (Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 2015), 374;

No comments:

Post a Comment