When working with the available land records for Orangeburgh District I like to find someone who received only one or, perhaps two land grants, and who seemed to live on that land for a long period of time. Many individuals got numerous grants that may have been located in different areas of the district. With so few surviving district land records it can be too easy to assume that everyone who obtained a land grant lived on that property. Just as some people do today, there were always those individuals who acquired land, never lived on it, and held it for various lengths of time before disposing of it.
This post focuses on an individual who had his first survey done in 1786 and remained in the area until after 1810. He was also one of the founding members of Willow Swamp Baptist Church in 1805. John Ballard obtained two adjoining tracts of land on Deadfall Branch, just east of Willow Swamp.
I noticed John Ballard’s name in the earliest Orangeburgh District censuses when I started doing this research many years ago. I though his property would be particularly useful to locate since he seemed to stay on it for almost thirty years. I recently discovered another reason to be even more interested in him. My autosomal DNA test results suggest that I might be one of his descendants.
The Ballard family, like many others from Orangeburgh District, moved west as new lands became available. This Orangeburgh District family was not the only Ballard family from South Carolina who did this. Those who can trace their Ballard line back only to South Carolina may not be certain of which Ballard family in South Carolina was theirs. I have documented what I believe to be the movement of the Ballard family of Orangeburgh District to Pike County, Mississippi by 1820 and on to Louisiana by 1840 in the Ballard Family of Orangeburgh District.
Now, let’s look at where John Ballard raised his family while living in Orangeburgh District. We can also use his property to establish some of the Willow Swamp neighborhood in the 1810 census.
If the plat names and neighbors names are replaced with numbers representing the probable order in which the households were visited for the 1810 census, we can see how the enumerator may have moved through the neighborhood. (The sequential numbers are those used in my book, Orangeburgh District, South Carolina Combined Census index and Neighborhood Listings, 1800*-1820.
If you are a descendant of this Ballard Family of Orangeburgh District and have had your autosomal DNA tested, please contact me! I run a DNA project that currently has eleven of us who share this possible connection with the Ballard family. If I don’t show up as a match on your test results one of my other ten cousins just might!
One of the reasons I have not posted for a good while is that I became quite busy when I started serving as a co-administrator of two DNA projects last year. My particular focus with both projects is with autosomal DNA testing rather than the y-DNA and mt-DNA testing. Autosomal testing looks at all of your DNA, not just that inherited from a strictly male or female line. Our autosomal DNA is the mixture of DNA we each receive from both of our parents. It will contain significant segments of DNA from all 16 of our second great-grandparents and some DNA from random ancestors further back.
One of the DNA projects I work with is the Orangeburgh District DNA Project (no surprise?). As the co-administrator responsible for the Family Finder (autosomal) tests, I encourage participants to provide me with a copy of their direct lineage. If they are willing to do this I then create a chart of their Orangeburgh District Ancestors and post this to a password protected site that is shared with all of the project participants who contribute their data.
My extensive research background into so many of the Orangeburgh District families and their land records has had several interesting tie-ins with the DNA testing. For one thing, I sometimes recognize family surnames that had connections back to Orangeburgh District that their descendants might not be aware of. Another helpful factor is that I often know approximately where in Orangeburgh District many families lived prior to the Civil War. This means that when two people with Orangeburgh ancestors match but they don’t know why (i.e. who is their common ancestral couple), I can sometimes recognize families from each party to the match who may have lived near each other at some distant time in the past. This is one way some of our unknown ancestors, particularly females, might be identified. DNA testing is basically another source we can use to discover and document our ancestors.
I won’t be doing posts on this blog about the basics of DNA testing as there are many good places to find that information. I will occasionally be doing postings about some of the connections between DNA testing and my land research, though. If you have any Orangeburgh District ancestors and are not already a member of our project, I would strongly encourage you to join. You can find more details about the project at the Orangeburgh German-Swiss Genealogical Society’s website at the Orangeburgh District DNA Project Homepage.
The other DNA project that I am working with is for any descendants of Edward Bolen (ca. 1740- ca. 1805) and Ann Elizabeth Salley (1757-1832) of Orangeburgh District. We are hoping to find one or two missing female lines among their descendants. Quite unexpectedly, we are also getting some interesting glimpses into Edward Bolen’s Irish lineage.
Contact me through the link on this website if you would like to know more about either project. In the meanwhile I will try to get back to more frequent postings on my land research!