“What's in a Name?”
Sometimes when we are researching our family, we run across clues that can possibly lead us to lost family and maybe the elusive family Bible or find the records that will lead us to learning more about our ancestors. This summer I had learned more about Abram West, the grandson of Ignatius who is the brother of Thomas West (b. abt 1738) in my direct line. Abram left Orange Co., NC area to live in Hendricks Co., IN (next county to Indianapolis). William (Abram's father) first married a Cook and second married a Lacy. Several of the West men married Brewers. Many of these three families lived in Guilford Co., NC adjacent to Orange Co. and migrated to Christian Co., KY where Ignatius brother, Thomas, migrated into. In fact, Abram's father, William, moved to Christian Co. Anyway what I learned was that Hendricks county has a Guilford Township named after the many Quaker families of Guilford Co., NC that had migrated to Indiana. Abram West married Sina Hadley of the most prominent Quaker families of Guilford Twp. of Hendricks Co., IN. Were some of the NC West families Quaker?
Recently, someone had a photo online of an old school bus that was driven by a Billy West and they mentioned that the road was narrow, but flat. That it was good the road was not as hilly as like the roads where they lived. The area was in Orange Co., IN and I knew by personal experience that most of Orange Co. is full of narrow, curvy & hilly roads... very bad to drive at night. Since Orange County is the home of Larry Bird (NBA Boston Celtic Basketball player). And, of course, the famous mineral springs with its special healing powers in French Lick drew Franklin D. Roosevelt, the infamous Al Capone and many well-to-do people from around the world. The once renowned "Eighth Wonder of the World" (West Baden Domed Hotel where the famous boxer Joe Lewis practiced) is here, too. I decided to do a little research before I responded to the roads of Orange Co., IN. The first thing I learned was the fact that Orange Co., IN was named after Orange Co., NC because so many of its early inhabitants came from the North Carolina county of the same name. I do not know if Billy West is related, but if families came there from North Carolina's Orange County, there may be some that are related to me.
My point of these stories is that migration patterns can sometimes be found by location names and following up on these family members might help you find a cousin who has a different slant on your family lines that could remove that “brick wall” to your research. - by John G. West