A Paper Trail Comes Full Circle

I’ve done quite a lot of research over the years of my wife’s families that all have had deep roots in West Virginia. One of those families I decided to have a closer look at is related through Cheryl’s great-grandmother, Lettia (Miller) Midkiff. Lettia’ children were Ella Jane (Midkiff) Hudson, Corbett Midkiff, and James M. Midkiff. James was my wife’s grandfather and was a half-sibling to Jane and Corbett. Jane will have a connection to this story a little later on. Lettia’s parents were Henry J. Miller and Sarah Griffith. It was Sarah Griffith’s family I was particularly interested in. As I was doing the research, another family grabbed my attention that married into the Griffith family. That family being the Lacy family, which led to some very interesting discoveries.

Well, first things first…here is the 1880 Census for Washington District, Lincoln Co., WV for Lettie Miller and her family:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

As a regular practice now, I look to see who might be living next door or even a couple of doors down and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a Griffith family living next door:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

It turns out that Harrison Griffith was Sarah’s father. Elizabeth was Harrison’s second wife. Sarah’s mother was Elvira Lacy. Elvira died sometime after the 1870 Census and before 1873, when Harrison married Elizabeth Midkiff. Yes, it is the same Midkiff line that my wife descends through her great-grandmother, Lettie (Miller) Midkiff.

 Here are the records that substantiate the Harrison and Elvira Griffith connection.

1860 Census – Sarah Griffith with family – Kanawha Co., VA:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

Marriage record of 1847 for Harrison Griffith and Elvira Lacy:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

Marriage record of 1873 for Harrison Griffith and Elizabeth Midkiff (her previously married name):

Courtesy of Ancestry©

Now, let’s look at the family of Elvira Lacy that merried Harrison Griffith.

Since Elvira Lacy was married before the 1850 Census, I really couldn’t see who her family was at first. I then checked some Ancestry trees as just a reference to possibly get an idea of who her parents might be. Of course, as in years past, there seems to be a concensus on two sides of who Elvira’s parents are. One side has the parents of Elvira as John Lacy (1781-1842) and Elizabeth Griffith (1783-1834 – yes, it’s the same Griffith family…I’ll get to that here briefly). The other side has Elvira’s parents as Adam Lacy (1806-abt. 1892) and Sarah Lively (1807-1850). I am on the second side of this debate because of one critical record. The will of John Lacy.

The Will of John Lacy – Will Book, Vol A, 1831-1882; Will Record, Vol 1, 1820-1858 – West Virginia. County Court (Kanawha County); Probate Place: Kanawha, West Virginia. In the will, John’s children are specifically named:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

The children named in order are: son Adam is named at the end of the first paragraph, the second paragraph is Sally, Elizabeth and Dicy, and in the third paragraph, Jordan, Adam (named again), Susan, Moses, Ann, Rebecca, and Polly.

Ephraim Griffith, a friend of John’s and Ephraim was also his brother-in-law, is named as the executor of John’s will. Ephraim was also the father of Harrison Griffith. Now, I do not see Elvira’s name anywhere in the above will, so I am inclined to believe that Elvira Lacy is the daughter of Adam Lacy and Sarah Lively. One other record that bolsters the notion that Elvira is Adam and Sarah’s daughter is the 1830 Census.

1830 Census for Adam Lacy – Kanawha Co., VA:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

The last column of the above image is the column for females under the age of five years, which would match exactly for when Elvira Lacy was born, which was about 1828.

Since I feel pretty confident that Adam and Sarah Lacy were Elvira’s parents, I decided to to follow Adam and Sarah through the later censuses. Once I saw that Sarah had died about 1850, I also looked to see if Adam remarried.

Adam Lacy was remarried in 1860 to Rhoda (Ballard) Wheeler:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

1860 Census – Adam and Rhoda Lacy – Kanawha Co., VA:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

1870 Census – Adam and Rhoda Lacy – Washington Dist., Lincoln Co., WV – Griffithsville Post Office:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

1880 Census – Adam and Rhoda Lacy – – Washington Dist., Lincoln Co., WV:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

After 1880, as most of us know, there is a gap between censuses until 1900. Based on some more research, it appears that Adam Lacy died in 1892 according to his Find a Grave memorial page:

Courtesy of Find a Grave©

I was curious what may have happened to Rhoda Lacy, Adam’s wife. I went searching for the 1900 Census and I found her.

1900 Census – Rhoda Lacy – Washington Dist., Lincoln Co., WV:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

Now, she is listed at the top of this census page, so I went back one page to verify the family she was staying with, as she is listed as a boarder.

1900 Census – Hudson Family – Washington Dist., Lincoln Co., WV:

Courtesy of Ancestry©

When I saw this family, I immidiately knew which family this was…the one son listed, Homer H. Hudson was the name I recognized, since he is the Hudson that married my wife’s great-aunt, Ella Jane Midkiff. You could have knocked me over with a feather!

I’m doubt if Homer Hudson would have made the connection of the Lacy family when he married Jane Midkiff, or even after some time had passed, but these are the types of oddities and surprises you can come across when you follow the paper trail, whether that trail is in one direction or circles back.


A reader on the West Virginia Genealogy Network Facebook group, provided further information regarding the relationship between Homer Hudson and Rhoda Lacy:

Remember, follow that paper trail thoroughly, and then follow your heart, because 9 times out of 10 you will have better success and sometimes you’ll have pleasant surprises that make it ever so interesting that you can pass along to your family!



Find a Grave©

Featured Image:

Portion of Lincoln County, WV – Courtesy of Genealogy Hound


Cheryl, my wife whose family constantly fascinates me and for her love and support

4 thoughts on “A Paper Trail Comes Full Circle

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