What’s wrong with the right ancestors? Mary E. ~ Women’s Maiden Names, Just Lost Forever – Mamma And The Earles

Are there mistakes in the publication Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775? There must be a gazillion. But can we use the publication as a place to start? Yes. Should we not believe it and ignore it because publications have mistakes? No.  Should we assume a guess at an ancestor is correct because it cannot be disproved? Please no!

In 1870 the US Census for Heard County, Georgia names gg grandmother Mary (Mrs Revd Robert F) Stripling as – Mary E.

I was thrilled when I first saw this – I was struggling with her maiden name and I wanted a document that gave her name as Earle. Mamma had said it – indirectly (Mamma, Emma Pearl Stripling Knight, granddaughter of Mary E through her youngest son John Daniel Stripling) and Mamma’s sister, Mary Ethel, (Mary Ethel Flowers Stripling) also knew of family relations with the Earles of the wife of Judge Mudd of Arlington, Elyton, Alabama. But the 1870 gave us an E – a clue!

But this was one of those ancestor searches that has no end. No or few Georgia records survive and guessing ancestors and posting them on trees just makes it worse. If folks think the name is known and the parents are known, no one will look for them. So my view is to try to only leave notes for research.

But it is a matter of honoring your father and your mother, the right father and mother, and you can’t do that with the wrong ancestors. Your own folks will be left lonely with no one to remember them, and taking someone else’s family is just wrong. And, we need to leave the clues to our descendants that we have lost people – who need and want to be found.

This shows two parts of pages from Colonial Families and you can see that the most authoritative source for this Earle family does not have our Mary E.

earle sam

Too many trees have the claim that Mary E is a child of Samuel and Harriet.  The book Colonial Families 1607 – 1775 was first published as I can see in 1907. But there have been updates. We also have our shared Earle cousin who wrote and published her research on this very line of Earles. There is a daughter Mary Prince Earle and we see she married Robert Anderson Maxwell.

Especially now with DNA for genealogy we need to work on those relatives with these same shared ancestors and see if we already have our answers in our shared matches.

A few years ago, I wish I had my notes from the call at the time. Well, they are here in the genealogy paper somewhere. It was after 2010 because it was at this house. I had the foolish idea I would share a short story about ancestor David Lewis born c 1695 and died 1779 Virginia son of John Lewis NOT John Lewis of Warner Hall as many wish to believe. There was never any paper that said our John was John Lewis of Warner Hall and then a great y-DNA study, which continues to this day, verified in 2004 that the male descendants from our David Lewis’ many sons are not related to the Warner Hall Lewises.

We know our Grandpa David’s father was a John Lewis but not which John Lewis. And no one credibly knows who his mother was.  Yet many trees have him as the son of John Lewis and Elizabeth Warner of Warner Hall. Other trees incorrectly have him as the son of John Lewis and Lydia Warner.  Still other trees offer various other parents.

I had on my tree a clear note that these families were not related and then I got a lovely email from a lady who was very new to online genealogy and thought she was delivering exciting news that David Lewis had parents, that his father John Lewis had been identified and she was thrilled to tell me his mother’s name was Lydia. I wrote back and made the long explanation and she wrote back very upset and said that Ancestry.com would never have it on there if it were not true.

So I called Ancestry. I explained the whole story and got transferred to the tech department; I was asking if there was a way to flag everyone who had this error on their tree all at once. The tech curtly dismissed the suggestion and said I could leave a comment on each tree, one at a time.

I commented, it is awful that so many people get misdirected and no way to help fix it.

He answered that people need to verify everything they find on Ancestry.

I quickly added, But people believe everything they find on Ancestry.

With that, the tech burst out with a open laugh.

I did try to share on a few trees the wonderful story of what we do know about the real ancestors and then Ancestry took the comments feature away.

y-DNA haplogroup R1b is the early ancestor of David Lewis – R1b#8.83 – 13-24-14 – YCA II = 19; Probably L2+

Wrong ancestors and poor Mary E needs research and most of us are now too old and too tired and since so many people have left trees with the wrong people – the descendants might not ever know that Mary E calls out to join her real parents.

Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775 might have mistakes but we love Ancestry.com for adding the scanned books and making them so wonderfully searchable. We can say we guess and we can say – anything – But according to this, Sam and Harriet already have a Mary and she married someone else.


Where do we search – well – it might be doable – but it will not be online. Robert was a Methodist minister and he already has notations in various publications as having married so n so. Certainly when he and Mary married there was a record. How much it might tell I don’t know – but more and more the Methodist publications come up on line in pieces – a few years here and a few years there. So it is google and ask.

I also work to find the slaves they had. Wilson and wife Amanda lived next door the same year we see the name of Mary E in 1870, and we see that Wilson and Amanda have taken the Stripling name. Neither one of them, Robert or Mary E, had any money anytime that can be seen. I thought to try to find descendants of Wilson and Amanda. Their Thomas is seen in 1870 but they are hard to follow after that; their histories were inextricably bound to Mary E’s.

It was painful to find that ancestor who owned human beings. Everything about them has a shadow of shame hanging over them – but at least we can try to do them all justice and at give them truth, or at least try to not let them have the wrong ancestors attached.

Too many people are covering up for the trees and their mistakes. All of them. Those on Genealogy.com, those on Rootsweb and so on – we can help and not just look away as if it does not matter.

We know that John Daniel Stripling’s daughter, Mary E’s eldest granddaughter Leila was named Leila Earle Stripling – we at least have a record

Index Record

Name: Lela Earle Stripling; Titles: Titles & Terms – Prefix(standardized):

Death date: 03 Jan 1938; Death place: Fairfield, Jefferson, Alabama

Gender: Female;  Race or color (on document): White; Race or color (expanded): White

Age at death: 59y;  Estimated birth year: Birthdate: 1 Aug 1878

Birthplace: Montevallo, Alabama; Marital status: Single

Spouse’s name: Spouse’s titles: Spouse’s Titles & Terms – Prefix(standardized):

Father’s name: John Daniel Stripling  Father’s titles:

Father’s Titles & Terms – Prefix(standardized):  Father’s birthplace: Lagrange, Georgia

Mother’s name: Jennie West; Mother’s titles:

Mother’s Titles & Terms – Prefix(standardized):  Mother’s birthplace: Calera, Ala.

Occupation: Street address: Residence: Wylam, Jefferson, Ala.

Cemetery name: Ryan Cemetery; Burial place: Burial date: 05 Jan 1938

Funeral home: Informant’s name: Additional relatives: X

Film number: 1908562 Reference number: cn 988 Collection:

Alabama Statewide Deaths 1908-1974

Alabama Deaths, 1908-1974
Reference ID cn 988
GS Film number 1908562
Digital Folder Number 4198761
Image Number 1006

[Citing this Record

“Alabama Deaths, 1908-1974,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDTH-KX8 : 15 February 2018), Lela Earle Stripling, 03 Jan 1938; citing reference cn 988, Department of Health, Montgomery; FHL microfilm 1,908,562.]


The name Earle was not repeated in her death notice. Leila was the daughter of John Daniel’s first wife Jennie West. There are fairly good records for her family and we do not have the name Earle in Jennie’s ancestry. So between Emma Pearl’s visiting Arlington House in Elyton for tea as a relative of the Earles, and Leila’s death record I am comfortable saying Mary E might be an Earle – which Earle we do not know and just can’t assume

Copy of Stripling leila shelby co reporter

I would be willing to bet the Methodist church had the death notice and even the marriage notice of Mary E  from the 19th century – one day I believe we will learn where there is a repository of more publications. Many of the publications of the Methodist newsletter have survived – we need more searching.

The link to buy book one of the work of Cosette E Lewis on the Lewises and Earles of Georgia. The named Samuel Earle is her ancestor also:


Colonial Families:

Colonial Families of the United States of America. in Seven Volumes, Volume 1

Front Cover
George Norbury Mackenzie
Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012 – Reference – 736 pages
Colonial Families of the United States of America, in which is given the history, genealogy and armorial bearings of colonial families who settled in the American colonies from the time of the settlement of Jamestown, 13th May, 1607, to the Battle of Lexington, 19th April, 1775. In seven volumes.



We see many records for the Revd Robert F. Stripling –

Here Robert wrote the death notice for Brother Robert Spearman in 1871 –

Heard County Ga Archives Obituaries.....Misc. Death Notices , . 1867 - 1878

“Issue of April 5, 1871 Bro. Robert Spearman was born in Wilkes co., Dec. 28th 1804 from Wilkes, he moved to Jasper co., from thence to Heard co., where he died of dropsy, Jan. 29, 1871. In 1830 he made a profession of religion and joined the M. E. Church at what was then called Sardis, afterwards Harmony. About this time he was married to a Miss King… Robt. Stripling”


The above record makes me wonder if Mary E died in Heard County. We know that by 1880 Revd Robert is a widower and he is living in Jemison, Chilton County, Alabama

I believe the search for death records or death notices should be expanded to Chilton County, Alabama also for the death of our Mary E

Robert Stripling Full text of “Minutes of the Georgia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South [microform]

“Merriwether col Miss, was served the past year by Rev, Robt. Stripling, who reports 4 appointments, and a membership of 450. The Mission has prospered during the year : 68 received on trial.”


Issue of March 12, 1873

Sister Maggie Ward, wife of Capt. P. H. Ward, died in Augusta, Ga., 9th of Feb. 1873. She was the daughter of J. B. and Margaret Stripling of Tatnall county, Ga., and the cousin of Rev. Robt. Stripling, who was for many years a member of the Georgia Conference. She leaves a husband and three little children. H. H. Parks


The new feature ThruLines is almost like a miracle for seeing some of these trees with crossed up ancestors. Here is hoping there can just be a flag from one person to another to say – please delete so’n’so from a family…

A note about ThruLines


Our grandmother Mary E, Mrs Robert F Stripling has no records found so far that indicate her parents.


Countless times I read from folks – “someone has this tree or that and has our person attached to parents”. I suggest looking to see if the parent couple had a child of a similar name and this you will often find to be the case. Samuel and Harriet Earle had a daughter Mary in South Carolina.

Unfortunately all the trees are easy to copy – but I suggest – more more more RESEARCH!  Although information on our Mary is obscure we can see if we look there are countless records for Mary Earl daughter of Samuel and Harriet and she married and had many children.

Most of the time the real person attaching to the real family will have many real records!

For the research concerning Mary Earle daughter of Samuel Earle and his wife Harriet Harrison there are many records.

Mary and her husband Robert Anderson Maxwell have many records and stories in books and newspapers and vital records: including: “History of Old Pendleton district, with a genealogy of the leading families of the district” COL. R. W. SIMPSON.

II. Capt. Robert Maxwell who married Mary And- 
erson was a prominent citizen and officer in the Revolu- 
tionary War. He came from Ireland. At the close or 
the war he married and settled on Saluda River in Old 
Pendleton District. In 1797 he was shot from ambush 
and killed near his home and was buried in the family 
graveyard, and over his grave his son has erected a mon- 
ument which is still standing. Capt Robert Maxwell 
and wife, Mary (Anderson) Maxwell, had two sons: 

1. Capt. John Maxwell married Elizabeth Earie, 
daughter of Samuel Earle. 

2. Robert Anderson Maxwell married Mary Prince 
Earle, daughter of Samuel Earle.

Mary Earle Maxwell – 1806 – 1884

Mary Earle Maxwell daughter of Samuel and Harriett Harrison Maxwell has many records and many children.



More about Revd Robert Stripling – with him and the methodists having so many notes of births marriages and deaths – how on earth could Miss Mary’s obit have been missed

Issue of July 10, 1868

James E. Bustin, only son of Edward C. and Caroline T. Bustin, of Fayette co., Ga., was thrown from a mule and instantly killed May 23d, 1868…. Robert Stripling



Reverend Robert H. Howren ~ Methodist Circuit Rider


The Methodists first served old Lowndes county as a part of the Tallahassee District. This vast district swept across south Georgia from the Flint River to the Okefinokee Swamp. In 1832 the Methodists established the Lowndes Mission, and the first Methodist ministers riding on the Lowndes Circuit were George W. Davis, George Bishop, Capel Raiford and Robert Stripling. Tillman Dixon Peurifoy and John Slade later rode the Troupville Circuit













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