records: Tombstone Images Expand Colvin Study Knowledge Base; Some Links to Descendants Declined


Henry “Harry” Colvin
“Colvin Family Cemetery” Pendleton County, Kentucky

In keeping with efforts to support Find-a-Grave as a research resource,  about which I blogged   earlier  I have continued to submit edits to memorialists at that website in the hopes of keeping the information as accurate as possible. In most cases, my submissions  have been received graciously. In turn, I have been able to expand the Colvin Study knowledge base considerably in terms of exact location of  many 18th and 19th century burials of these family members for the benefit of future researchers.  Among these burials are relatives from Culpeper County, Virginia,  including  Henry “Harry” Colvin,  a Revolutionary War veteran and his wife, Catherine Williams.  Two of these cemeteries appear to be situated in the same general vicinity of Four Oaks,  the homestead established by Charles Colvin who resided in both  Culpeper and Fauquier Counties at different times but who ultimately retired to his Four Oaks estate in Pendleton County, Kentucky,  where  he died in 1810.  His burial place is not yet known.

The data collected includes updated death and burial dates and tombstone images from the Forsythe-Colvin Cemetery, the so-called “Colvin Family Cemetery, ” The Riverside Cemetery,  The Browning Cemetery,  and the so-called “Colvin Cemetery, Four Oaks” – all in Pendleton County. Data was also collected from  the Thomas Lincoln Cemetery in Coles County, Illinois,  because among those interred there is Robert F. Best (1820-1891) first husband of Malinda Waller Colvin, (1825-1827), a daughter of  Birkett George Colvin (1792-1873).

In most cases, after reviewing data at the various cemeteries,  edits were submitted for correction to memorialists and the changes were graciously accepted. This helps future researchers in their ability to discern the ties among the various Colvins relatives — especially among early internment at  various cemeteries. However, in two odd cases,  that of the so-called “Colvin Family Cemetery” and the so-called “Colvin Cemetery,” at Four Oaks, (which contain seventeen identifiable interments, ) every edit submitted was summarily rejected. Questioned, the memorialist who goes by the FAG moniker, StoneSeeker, but who’s real name is Susan Taylor,  cited as her reason that my  data “conflicted” with hers.  However, when asked about her data, Taylor admitted she has no records.  Yes, you heard that correctly. The records, I used to base my edit submission were the digitized original records from the E.E. Barton Papers or from scans of primary sources such as census, military, or early Pendleton County birth, death,  and marriage registries. Equally  troubling was the fact that Taylor, who created the FAG “Colvin Family Cemetery,” omitted the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates  which one normally finds in FAG cemetery location descriptions and with which one can locate a cemetery for a personal visit if need be.  Asked to correct this geographical deficiency, Taylor  was equally disinclined to do so.

No genealogical effort is served when verifiable data is not available where it should be; it is especially hamstrung when verifiable data is offered and rejected for no arguable reason.   Especially worrisome, however, is that such of lack of concern for location citation ignores the fact that without such details,  comparative geographic analysis becomes pointlessly hamstrung. Thus answering questions such as: How close or distant is  this cemetery from say, the Colvin Cemetery at Four Oaks — whose GPS coordinates are known ?  This bears on the question of where these internment sites were located in relation to one another on original Colvin lands in the vicinity.  Just as significant,  such lack of geographic information, means those patriots buried at the “Colvin Family Cemetery”,  such as Henry “Harry” Colvin, (see tombstone image,) who’s service during the  Revolutionary War service is  already documented,  risk being overlooked by living descendants or others since they may not know where to look.

I mention this rejection as worrisome because it goes against what has traditionally been a cooperative and collaborative effort among genealogical researchers in the nearly two decades I have been compiling data on this family. In fact, that spirit of collaboration has been one of the great hallmarks among the vast majority of genealogists since its rise in popularity in the 1980s when, like many genealogists, I was first drawn to it.  Thus, it goes against that spirit when verifiable data is rejected for no sound reason. It is particularly vexing when it is rejected by someone who, when asked, claimed to possess no records of her own despite her claim that my data (which is collected based on sound academic training and skill working in primary source records,) allegedly “conflicted” with hers, in an obvious disingenuous claim.

Nevertheless, the tombstone images were easily collected, and their information analyzed and compared with data in the Colvin Study database.  They were each in turn linked to the correct individual, their data updated, and their FAG numbers noted.  This latest data collection effort thus far spans at least five  generations beginning with Henry Colvin (1762-1839) and is ongoing.  Henry’s parentage is currently unknown.


About Alex Colvin

Senior, History, minoring in Anthropology, University of Houston. Charter President, Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, (Webb UH Main 2014-2015) University of Houston. Additional credentials can be found in the CV / Services tab.
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