Let's face it, the man lived in the 18th century. How much could be found on someone who lived on the New World frontier, most of it in antebellum South where records were destroyed a century later, and it being a man who could not write as far as we know. After all, he made a mark - an "R" - instead of signing his name.
Several years ago I got one of those proverbial burrs in my saddle and decided to build a "Timeline of Recorded Events" for ole Robert. Naturally, the first item on the list was his Last Will & Testament from July of 1775, the same year he died, incidentally.
I added anything I could find to this list, from North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. It just had to be an event that was recorded and dated somewhere along the way - you know, a "primary source". When my list reached 20 events I was amazed and even shocked. I was impressed that Robert Patterson was "visible enough" to have been recorded in some manner that many times AND the records had survived two and half centuries.
Little did I know.
Harald Reksten has continued to review the numerous records along Robert Patterson's migration route and has shared much of this data with me over the years. The problem has been sorting out the various Robert Pattersons along the way. It has taken time for me to research the neighboring families in the various locations Patterson lived, but it has been necessary in order to gain a better understanding of which Robert Patterson was which.
To my utter shock - and pleasure - many more of these "Robert Patterson" sightings have been this Robert than previously thought. These recorded events are too numerous to post in this article. Nor is that the purpose of this article.
The scope of this article is "one-fold". Is that a word? It is now.
Don't give up on looking for your ancestor!
There. That's it. That's my point.
I now carry a notebook with me almost everywhere I go. When I find another confirmed, recorded event for Robert Patterson, I add it to my notebook. I use this notebook for this purpose only, and for many ancestors, not just my 6-greats-grandpa.
Would it shock you to realize that I have no less than 56 confirmed, recorded events for Robert Patterson from 1732 to 1825? Yes, a dozen or so of these recordings were done so posthumously, but they count. As far as I can tell, he lived in three locations only from 1732 to 1775. In Sussex Co DE he lived off the Broadkill River. In VA he lived on the waters of Linville Creek and Cooks Creek. In NC/SC he lived in one location off Clarks Fork of Bullocks Creek.
Here's a quick summary, by decade, of the number of recordings throughout his life, so far:
- 1730's = 3
- 1740's =
- 1750's =
- 1760's =
- 1770's = 7
- 1780's = 4
- 1790's = 2
- 1800 and later =
A total of
55 56 times. This one thing I know - we'll find more [WP: since this article was posted, two duplications have been removed, but three more recordings have been found and added - 2 Aug 2011]. The earliest found was in 1732 in Sussex Co DE. The latest found was in 1825 in Rockingham Co VA.
And I thought there wasn't much to find on him!