Nancy Condor was born 1839 in Kentucky and is a 3rd great-grandmother on my mother’s paternal side. She married Huel (Hugh) Madden June 3, 1857, in Hickman County, Kentucky and had 9 children between 1858 and 1885: Sarah, Samuel, Robert, John W., Edith, Henry, William, Dallis and Elige. Nancy died sometime after 1885 and before 1889 when Huel died, listing 7 of his 9 children in his Application for Letters of Administration.
Nancy’s parents have been a mystery to me for almost 10 years. There are several Condor/Conder families living in Kentucky and in the Hickman County area, but none match to my Nancy. Luckily, in that same amount of time, DNA testing has evolved immensely. When people ask me what DNA testing company the better option is, I always ask what it is they want to find out. In my opinion, if you are looking to confirm your general ancestral ethnic background and have no real interest in connecting to distant families, 23andMe is my preferred option (though it does allow you to see who you DNA match to but not like Ancestry). However, if you are like me, and want the DNA ethnic background coupled with being able to see your relative’s ancestry trees (if they aren’t private) to help figure out brick walls and where your distant cousins connect, AncestryDNA is the route to go. And that is the main site I have been using in the last month-month and a half to start breaking down two brick walls.
The first thing I do in both brick wall cases is to do a general surname search of my DNA matches to see how many people I match to that have that surname in their family tree. If their tree is public, I review their line. I go as far back as I am comfortable with in confirming who our shared common ancestor is, usually a 7th or 8th great grandparent. In the case of the Condor’s, I DNA match to several people who descend from George Conder (born in Germany ~1740) and Anna Barbara Schneider.
From there, it’s a research project of seeing what children of George and Anna they descend from, and then the grandchildren, etc. Most of my highest matches are 4th-6th, followed by 5th-8th cousins..
Narrowing in on the Condor lines, I see a lot of my matches coming down from a John Condor and Elizabeth McAnelly, and Daniel Condor and Nancy Cochran. Now it’s sorting through these families, accounting for all children, and also checking birth years of everyone to see if they are of an age to have kids in 1839.
I started zeroing in on one line on Friday morning, October 29th. Daniel and Nancy Cochran Condor had five children: Samuel, Ewing, Mary, Elizabeth and Green. I have some matches to Ewing, a couple to Green and a couple to Elizabeth. While those are my main matches, I am drawn to looking closely at Samuel. Samuel Simpson Condor was born around 1815 in Kentucky. In the 1840 census he is head of the household, with two white males, ages 20-29 and 30-39, a female under 5 and female 20-29. I do not knowingly DNA match to anyone thus far who descends from Samuel, so I manually looked at the trees Samuel is attached to and find no child under 5 listed as a son or daughter. This became my first hint that Samuel might be Nancy’s father.
Eventually I found Samuel’s marriage record on Family Search to Rachel Johnson on August 25, 1838, in Hickman County, Kentucky. Hint number two that Samuel and Rachel might be Nancy’s parents, as Nancy would have been born the following year. Their known children are: John W, born 1841, Maria, born 1846, Sarah, born 1853 and Edith born in 1858. That same night I revisited Huel and Nancy’s children and realized a naming pattern: her eldest daughter is Sarah, eldest son is Samuel, and she has a John W and Edith, three names of Samuel and Rachel’s children, and Samuel himself. Another hint this might be her family.
On October 31st I was reviewing John W. Condor’s family. One of his son’s names was Hugal, which sounds very much like Hugh/Huel, Nancy’s husband’s name. When I look at his Findagrave, the name Huel C. Condor is written on the headstone. Could John and his wife have named a son after John’s brother-in-law? Possibly.
As I was writing the draft of this blog post, I went back to my ancestry tree and saw that I had thru line matches to Samuel and Rachel, the first matches I’ve had since I placed them on my tree with ‘hypothesis and unverified’ tags yesterday afternoon. It has me matching to a 5thcousin, a descendant of John Wesley Condor, Nancy’s possible brother. When I look at the ThruLine matches to Nancy Cochran, Nancy’s possible mother, it matches to possible distant cousins through her first marriage. It’s important to note that if you have lines to ‘evaluate’ on your tree, don’t take that connection as gospel. It’s a good place to start, but that needs more research as well.
I feel strongly that I have the correct line but I still need to find information on a paper trail.
*I cannot find Samuel and his family in the 1850 census. I have tried variations of the Condor surname and scanned the Hickman County census page by page. There is a chance they might be in Mississippi County, Missouri which is right across the river.
* Samuel shows up in the 1860 census as a laborer in Mississippi County, Missouri. Samuel’s wife Rachel died before the 1860 census; their daughter Maria died in 1853, and Sarah is unaccounted for as well. John Wesley and Edith appear in the home of the Bryars in 1860, and John will marry one of their daughters when the Civil War ends. Samuel remarried in 1864 to Helen Reilly Ramsey.
*Samuel died in 1887 and the only probate information found on Ancestry comes from the document for Letters of Executors and Administrators and lists the probate date as December 8, 1887. His executors were J.M. Condor and M. Reilly.
More research will be done, such as finding the 1850 census (I hope) and checking on any additional probate information in Hickman County, Kentucky. If the DNA and naming patterns are an indication, I think the paper trail will eventually back everything else up.