Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Misinterpreting Evidence: Case #1A & 1B - Aaron & Cornelius Prall Families

Early research [pre-1990!] on the Aaron Prall family was, at best, a mass confusion of incorrect interpretation of wills, bounty land warrants, probate, other people's research and assumptions.

First, there's the case of Aaron Prall, who died intestate in 1757. Since Aaron left no will, it was left to the 1760 will of Aaron's wife, Mary to put together the family group. Mary, as previously stated, named her eldest son James and children Elizabeth, Benjamin and Jemima as heirs. An Edward Prall wrote the will. No other children were mentioned. No one seemed to bother to see if there was a relationship between Mary, her four children and this Edward Prall fellow.

James was assigned 7 children: Aaron, Thomas, Henry/Cornelius, Edward, Anne, Pamelia & Elizabeth.

Benjamin was assigned five: Edward*, Cornelius*, Nancy, Amalia & Elizabeth.

No further information was given for Elizabeth and Jemima.

Benjamin's "son" Edward, b. 1754 and a Rev War vet, had no children; "son" Cornelius [d. 1819] had Cornelius, Garrison and Edward.

A trio of diligent researchers [myself included], who were apparently the first descendants of Aaron to work on the family. The results undid decades of misinformation.

If children are already "provided for" before the parents' death, then they may not be mentioned in a father's or mother's will. Such was the case here. We were convinced that Aaron and Mary had a son named Cornelius* and that Edward*, who wrote Mary's will, was also their son.

Two documents proved us correct on Cornelius. A deed where James granted land to his brother, Cornelius, that had been left to Mary by her father, and a court case naming Cornelius as the son of Aaron.

Edward "joined" the family on less concrete evidence: the writing of Mary's will and the fact that Benjamin helped supply Edward's Marylanders during the Rev War.

So we have a new set of children for Aaron and Mary: James. Cornelius, Edward, Elizabeth and Jemima.

What of the children of James and Benjamin?
James: Anne/Nancy, Amalia/Pamalia, Aaron, ThomasT, Henry, Elizabeth and Edward. [Essentially the children from above, except that the girls were also assigned to Benjamin.]
Benjamin: None of the above! Ed and Cornelius turned out to be his elder brothers. Benjamin's will was eventually located, naming children Benjamin, Elizabeth & Jemima.

What about Elizabeth and Jemima?
Elizabeth never married, but did go into business with little brother Benjamin.
Jemima married Asher Atkinson and had a son, Asher.

Next up, #1B - the long unraveling of the Cornelius Prall Sr. saga - a tale of one man assumed to be two.

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