On the Trail of My Irish Immigrant Ancestor

I’m hoping the luck of the Irish will be with me. As I stated in an earlier post, I have begun research on my White family line. I’ve gone back to my great x 3 grandparents and have now picked up the trail of my great x 3 grandmother Joanna Barrett Wilmoth. More on her in a bit….

I fortunately have found success in tracing my White ancestors through the federal census records so far. Everyone was where they should be in the right time period. My great grandparents were James Abe and Stella (Holyfield) White of Surry County, NC. I was fortunate as a child to have known my great grandmother. I was fascinated to watch her comb and braid her long hair. Funny, what stays in the memory of a young child.

James Abe White was the son of Thomas Jefferson White (1851-1922) and Joanna Wilmoth (Lyons) White (Abt 1852-1910). Thomas was the son of Joseph Pearson (?spelling) White (1802-1881) and Temperance Wilmoth (1802-~1881). My unproven theory is that John White, Sr. (1770-1852) and Elizabeth Callahan were the parents of Joseph White.

I confess I spent much of my research time today looking for Joanna Barrett Wilmoth. I have her traced back to 1860 in Surry County, NC with her husband William Richard Wilmoth and their daughter Joanna. In 1860 daughter Joanna is listed as age 7, thus setting her birthdate about 1852 or 1853. I cannot find Joanna Barrett prior to this time. In 1850 William Richard Wilmoth is enumerated as Richmond Wilmoth living with his six siblings in Surry County, NC. Thus, I would place his and Joanna’s marriage sometime between 1850 and 1852. I have not found their marriage record as of yet, nor have I found where Joanna Barrett was living prior to marriage. Searching for these records will be the focus of my next research session.

Something to consider is what was Joanna Barrett’s true surname. I only have her surname based on family stories and what other researchers have online. I confess, I won’t feel comfortable with her surname until I find original records on her. According to oral family history, Joanna came to America as a young widow. She may have also come over with children from a previous marriage. So, if she came as a young widow, Barrett may have been a married name and not her maiden name at all. All things to consider as I continue with my research.

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