23 December 2014

Is It James R. Rampley or James Rampley?

I hate it when something appears out of nowhere when I'm working on something totally unrelated.

In 1909, in an attempt to settle up the estate of her husband Riley Rampley, Nancy J. Rampley made out an affidavit regarding her husband's ownership of his farm. Such affidavits are not uncommon, frequently provide details spanning back several decades, and can provide a variety of information.

Like how Nancy's father-in-law, James Rampley, is mentioned: James R. Rampley.

I've researched this James Rampley since the early days of my research in the 1980s and I can't remember him ever being referred to as James R. Rampley. But it is possible. I won't know until I review all the documents I have on him. Middle initials can be clues or they can be research rabbit holes from which one never returns.

This one reference to a middle initial could also be a mistake. The information was probably handwritten in the process of compiling the affidavit. It was then written into the actual affidavit which Nancy J. Rampley signed. That original affidavit was then transcribed (typed) when the clerk recorded it in the mortgage book. The digital image for this post was made from a photocopy of the mortgage book. So...

It is possible that in the notetaking used to compile the affidavit, in the creation of the actual affidavit, or in the recording of the actual affidavit an extra "R" was inserted. Since the surname begins with an "R," it's also possible the transcriptionist got sidetracked and made a mistake. All of these are real possibilities and get to the elements of analysis discussed in such books as in Evidence Explained  and the BCG Genealogy Standards Manual.

It may also be that the 1869 deed refers to James as James R. Rampley and that his name was just copied from that deed. That's something else I'll have to review in my notes. It's also possible that his daughter-in-law Nancy J. Rampley got his name mixed up.

Is the "R" significant? I'm not certain. But it does intrigue me. James Rampley and his wife had several children and all of their first name come from other family members--except for son Riley.

That's why the potential middle initial of an "R" for James Rampley is so interesting.

Or it may just be another genealogy rabbit hole.