Category Archives: Internet Genealogy

John Pryor and Brother Charles Pryor of New Orleans (about 1844)


Marriage Affidavit of Bridget Fox and John Pryor in New Orleans (click to enlarge)

I came across the 1844 probate file for John Pryor of New Orleans on Philip Canterbury assisted Bridget Fox Pryor (sometimes spelled in documents “Prior”) in filing a petition in the Probate court. There’s a note at the bottom of the petition: “as brother of the deceased I have no objection to the above prayer (signed) Charles Pryor.”

The marriage document was signed by the rector of St. Antony’s Chapel, documenting that John Pryor and Bridget Fox married on 4th October 1843.  Anne Bryne, a  mid-wife, attested that she delivered a son to Bridget Fox Pryor on the 23rd or 24th of August 1844. The baby was large and Bridget had a long labor, and the baby died soon after birth. Another document from Father Flanagan at St. Patrick’s church stated their record was that the baby was buried on 25th of August 1844 in the church cemetery.

The estate wasn’t settled until 24 February 1848 when it was concluded by judgment.

On the 1850 Census Bridget Prior was still in New Orleans and counted in the household of Philip Canterbury:

Dist. 3, page 242b, house 1751 Philip Canterbury 52 soda manufacturing MA, Bridget Prior 34 Ireland

So were John PRYOR and Charles PRYOR from Ireland?

Dutch Treat: Website Based in the Netherlands Has Pryor Names

Here’s a website that’s fun to explore for Pryors. Check out this Netherland genealogy site at Don’t worry, you don’t need to know too much Dutch to navigate the site. The search field is at the top of the page labeled “zoeken”.  The results are pretty sparse, mostly birth (“geboren”) and death (“overleden”) dates, however these may be helpful for your research out of the US or American colonies. Feeling unadventurous? Then click the little American/British flag at the top of the site and it will display the results in English. I found several of my non-Pryor kin in the site, giving me some new tips to explore.

Ancestry DNA — More Frustrating Than Useful?

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I actually got some interesting results through the test, however the whole structure of the website and how others use it is very frustrating.  How do I dislike Ancestry DNA let me count the ways.

  1. Private Players. These are the people who take the test and then put a lock on their family tree. This means they get the full view of my public tree, reap all the benefit of my research and my membership in Ancestry, but I can’t see how we are related through tree. Yes, I know I can message them and get access to their tree—do you know how few respond?!
  2. Stragglers (Just Along For the Ride). These are the people who are testing but post no tree at all. I first suspected that people were taking the test to prove paternity (al la Maury Povich Show!)—that was until I learned a paternity test kit was cheaper. Maybe these folks are helping out a relative to see if they match. Could be they got a Groupon and took the test for a hoot. More likely they are working on a family tree at home and just gleaning information from my test results and my PAID subscription to Ancestry.
  3. Extensive Review Time.  Ancestry dumps all the Private Players and Stragglers into my search results. I can’t just delete them—I have to open up each one. This took a couple weeks to get through all of the results.
  4.  Stupid Search. How stupid is the Ancestry DNA search function? So stupid… there is NONE! This means that you can’t type in a surname and bring up all the match results for that surname. Ancestry allows you to mark interesting results with a gold star or a note, but to find those interesting results again you have to scroll through pages of marked results and open the notes. Yes, it’s dumb.
  5. Hidden Markers. Ancestry doesn’t actually show you your DNA results or markers. It doesn’t even tell you for sure which ancestor is your match. On some of the matches I’ve seen there were 11 (ELEVEN!) surnames that matched and it’s anyone’s best guess which one is the DNA match or if it’s someone in my tree or the match’s tree we haven’t ID’d yet. Totally a pain in the sit-down region!

The best results have been through tenacious research. I’ve been getting feedback on the Pryor surname from others who have taken the Ancestry DNA test—one researcher who is definitely from the line of the Marion County Pryors  (Matthew Pryor back to Robert Pryor and Virginia Betty Green) has completely different than the test subject I submitted. So that line is not connected to the line of Nicholas Pryor of Henrico County. The jury is still out on Richard Pryor (and Mourning Thompson) line because of some of the issues noted above.

Has anyone else tested with Ancestry and would like to share with me which Pryors they matched to? Rather than leaving a comment on this post, contact me through the TN Pryor website


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Internet Genealogy: How to Confirm a Marriage When You Can’t Find a Marriage Record


US Census records will only take you so far in tying up the 19th Century relationships in your family tree. In 1880, almost a hundred years after the first US Census, relationships were recorded for the first time. Before 1880 it was guess work to figure out who was related to whom in a household. The 1900 Census introduced the question of how long spouses had been married which helped to determine when they were married.

Confirming a marriage can frustrate a dedicated family historian, the search is compounded by the lack of marriage records due to fires that burned court houses and record offices, and marriages that were only recorded in lost church registries, or performed by traveling preachers who didn’t keep records. Rather than relying on guess work or leaving a blank on a family group sheet I can suggest a trio of sources to confirm a marriage when an official record can’t be found.

Court Records: Court records can be a wealth of information. Lawsuits and wills can identify a spouse and may even mention the spouses’ siblings or other kin that can confirm relationships. These records may contain evidence of prior marriages, or clues the approximate date of a current marriage. My personal favorite of all court records are Divorces-they don’t even have to be your own kin’s divorce! I’ve had success finding affidavits in siblings or friends’ divorce records that confirm my own ancestors’ marriage date. Divorces at times occurred in counties different than where the marriage took place, so if marriage records were destroyed a divorce record in another county may still exist.

Civil War Pension Files: If a relative survived his service in the Union Army, the pension file index must be searched. The pension application process, especially when a surviving wife was the applicant, called for confirmation of the veteran’s marriage. The confirmation often took the form of an affidavit form or at times individual affidavits from people who knew the couple. The last pension record I requested contained an affidavit that told the marriage date, where it occurred, who officiated, and a description of an old traditional “shivaree” to welcome the newlyweds.

Google Books: With over ten million books scanned and available online at Google, you’re bound to find an ancestor in one or two of them! A search will turn up numerous genealogy digests and histories. The real treasure is in the biographies that gained in popularity around the mid 1870’s to the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these books were written as the nation became interested its history around the time of the centennial, while others were “vanity” biographies that prominent citizens purchased because their own history was included in the book. The biographies are usually first-hand accounts of the subject’s heritage, thus a reliable source to quote in documenting a family tree.

Internet Genealogy – 5 Ways to Engage Social Media in Your Genealogy Search

There’s so much talk about Social Media that it may seem like a fad. Don’t be fooled, it’s the fastest growing area of the Internet. If you’re looking for a way to embrace this new medium for your genealogy search, you will find Social Media sites are easy to use, and mostly free. You can start now with these five ways to to engage Social Media in your family history search.

1. Start a Blog. You don’t have to hold a master’s degree in technology or have a trust fund to start blogging. Sites like (a Google company) and are both free and have online support forums for the novice. Posting stories about your ancestors and articles about records you find in your search will draw in other who are also interested in tracing the same surname or family line.

2. Create a Facebook Fan Page. If you aren’t on Facebook you’re missing the wave. With more than 400 million users you’re bound to find someone you know! A Facebook page dedicated to a specific surname, time frame or event (like the Civil War), or a region can help you connect with others with a similar interest in the same genealogy subject. Any of the millions of Facebook users can find the Fan Page through a search and when they click the “like” button they will be connected and receive any new information you post on the page. These connections will increase the exchange of information with other researchers.

3. Subscribe to a Feed. I find in my internet marketing business that many people just aren’t taking advantage of the connectivity that happens when you subscribe to a RSS feed. You’ll know there is a feed available by the square, orange RSS icon. My favorite feed is on the Message Board: “Subscribe to RSS” and you’ll always know when there’s a new message on a topic you follow.

4. Why Not Tweet From Your Family Tree? If you think Twitter is for kids and movie stars, it may also be the right social media site for your genealogy quest. It doesn’t take a lot of time or writing skills to Tweet on Twitter, in fact the shorter the better. It’s also easy to find and follow users with the surname or location that’s the core of your interest. Post interesting Tweets about what you find, where your research takes you, and who you’ve shared information with.

5. Leave a Comment. You may have been leaving comments for years and haven’t realized it. When you post an answer on any of the genealogy bulletin boards, you’re in a sense leaving a comment. When you visit a blog you can leave a comment on an article. Even writing a Google Books review or posting information in Add Alternate Info on are forms of leaving comments. The trail of comments that add to genealogy research helps others and may lead a researcher to you to solve a branch of your tree where you’ve hit a “brick wall”.

Copyright © 2010, Vanessa Wood

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vanessa Wood launched the Tennessee Pryor website in 2002. She is the owner of Design to Spec LLC and the technology partner in Mac and Cheese Web Marketing – where she creates customized WordPress blogs, ecommerce websites.  Vanessa is a platinum author for Ezine Articles and is an avid blogger on social media topics and the best practices for the web.