~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~
The church ledger raised many questions, but I really wanted to know who Ann’s parents were. There is not a whole lot of documentation from the turn of the century – the 17th century, that is, but it’s amazing how much information you can squeeze out of one document by using your ever-lovin’ noggin. Oh, how appropriate, because Keziah and Edward grew up in a generation that was the first in America to emphasize children’s education and welfare: Virginia in 1647 required counties to “take up and educate” abandoned children.
Edward Ball and Keziah Osbourne married in 1695 and raised their family in Christ Church parish, Middlesex County, Virginia, both dying there. It was formed in 1666 on the south side of the Rappahannock River. The Christ Church parish birth records indicate they had eleven children. Edward and Keziah are parents of:
Children were christened anywhere between birth and even adulthood. Thus, all we know for sure from the christening dates (as opposed to the birth dates) is that the children were born before they were christened. Since many of the Ball children’s actual birth dates are recorded, however, it is not unreasonable to think that, perhaps, the christenings occurred not too many months from the children’s births.
There is one girl who is identified as “Ann daughter of Eddd & Ball” christened 30 April 1710. (Ever seen Ed spelled with 3 Ds before? Yeah, me neither!) There are three other Ball families in the parish records, but two are descendants of Edward and Keziah and are therefore physically incapable of having Ann in or before 1710. The 3rd candidate family was married years after 1710.
Could she have been illegitimate? Yes. BUT, generally illegitimacy means the father is unknown, not the mother. (Kinda hard to hide a pregnancy…though stranger things have happened. I know a petite girl in high school who didn’t show at all – she didn’t even change the size of clothes she wore!) Also, <enter the record> the parish record specifies which children are illegitimate, and Ann is not listed as such. So much for that theory.
Edward and Keziah are the only Ball couple on record of necessary age to have her in or before 1710, and she does fit in chronologically with the family quite well. The only real doubt as to whether she is Edward and Keziah’s daughter is the fact that the mother’s name is left blank. Does it suggest Eddd fathered her out of wedlock? Possibly, but that is not necessarily indicated by the lack of name. It could be simply that the hand-written record was not legible at the time of printing 217 years after it was written. Based on the evidence, we conclude Ann is probably Keziah and Edward’s daughter.
So now the family is up to a dozen kids. Cheaper that way, right? 🙂