A Greenleaf conundrum

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Making use of to a lineage society could be a sophisticated course of, particularly in case you are making use of beneath a brand new ancestor or an ancestor with recognized issues of their lineage. Receiving a rejection letter after submitting such a lineage could make the method really feel irritating if the road is correct. Typically the society will see issues that the applicant doesn’t, or they know that with simply the appropriate piece of proof the road could be acceptable and not using a downside. A rejection, nonetheless, will not be all the time an insurmountable loss. Typically, in the event you have a look at the sources in query and do some diligent analysis, you may persuade the lineage society that they’re mistaken and have your software accepted.

This was the case with an software I labored on with a patriot named Israel Greenleaf. The Sons of the American Revolution had rejected an software utilizing him as an ancestor as a result of they believed that the service for Israel Greenleaf had been attributed to a different particular person with the identical identify. The first supply of this data was A Family tree of the Greenleaf Household by Jonathan Greenleaf, which has two entries for 2 completely different patriots, father and son, named Israel Greenleaf. Battle service being misattributed or combined with two completely different ancestors is a reasonably frequent purpose {that a} lineage society would possibly reject an software. Typically information don’t exist to resolve the dilemma; at different instances the appropriate data exists to make an argument that clarifies the identification and repair of every individual. This was the case with Israel Greenleaf.

Untangling this internet first required inspecting the supply materials for the Greenleaf family tree, which have been the Massachusetts Revolutionary Battle Muster Rolls. These muster rolls are organized alphabetically on well-liked family tree websites like FamilySearch and fold3. I examined the Israel Greenleaf part of this muster roll and located that two separate service durations had been attributed to at least one individual. Inside the similar individual’s muster roll, we had the next paperwork:

Israel Greenleaf

Rank: Non-public

Firm chief: Capt. Thomas Brintnall

Regiment chief: Col. Cyprian Howes (Middlesex co.)

Time of enlistment: 28 July 1780

Time of discharge: 1 November 1780

Time of Service: 3 months 8 days

Israel Greenleaf:

Time of enlistment: 22 March 1781

Time of service: 3 years

Age at service: 16 years

Usually, you will note a number of completely different muster playing cards for anyone individual. What made this one suspicious, nonetheless, is that the second individual was 16 on the time of his first enlistment, which started 22 March 1781. This was thought-about the minimal age at which somebody may serve within the Revolutionary Battle. This steered that the primary muster card belonged to a distinct Israel Greenleaf, since his service started in 1780, when the second Israel Greenleaf would have been 15.

Extra paperwork within the muster roll embrace pension functions through which the applicant remembers their service to the Battle Division. The pension, on this case, was the smoking gun that proved that the Israel Greenleaf on this muster roll packet contained the service of two completely different folks. The youthful Israel Greenleaf said in his pension:

“I Israel Greenleaf do swear that I belonged to Captain Turners Firm – Colonel Tuppers Regiment Massachusetts Line – that I enlisted within the Month of March to wit; the twenty second day one thousand seven hundred and eighty one – and served till discharged in January one thousand seven hundred and eighty 4.”

In making use of for his pension, Israel would have included the totality of his time served within the warfare. This data demonstrates that he started his service on 22 March 1781, and didn’t serve earlier than that. Because of this the earlier service should belong to his father, Israel Greenleaf.

By carefully inspecting the muster roll packet for Israel Greenleaf, we realized that the paperwork inside really pertained to 2 separate folks. This may not have been evident to SAR after they reviewed the muster roll as a part of their software course of, since they seem as one individual’s supplies. A deeper dive, nonetheless, revealed that this muster roll was assembled and digitized in such a manner that assumed that the paperwork belonged to the identical individual, and this was not the case.

In the long run, SAR ended up altering their resolution on this explicit software as a result of they noticed the identical points with the muster roll after they have been identified for them. It could seem to be an awesome impediment when your lineage software is rejected by the society on one foundation or one other. Understanding the issue and cautious analysis, nonetheless, can generally right the choice.


James Edward Greenleaf, Family tree of the Greenleaf Household (Boston: Frank Wooden, Printers, 1896).

Israel Greenleaf, “Massachusetts, Revolutionary Battle, Index Playing cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” GS Movie Quantity 002026996, considered on FamilySearch.org.


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