NGS 2021 On-Demand Speaker Spotlight – Vic Dunn

March 15th, 2021 by Shannon Benton

Too Many Sylvester Welches in Virginia! Untangling Same-Name Scenarios – Vic Dunn

SESSION: NGS2104-MET-01 TRACK: Methodology

When I first began researching my Welch ancestors in Fauquier County, Virginia, I quickly became confused because there seemed to be several men there with that name. I eventually confirmed my Sylvester Welch as a Revolutionary War pensioner. However, there was another Sylvester about the same age who often got undo credit for Rev War service. Additionally, a third Sylvester appeared in the Fauquier County records who was the age to be the father of both younger men, but which one was his son? I used several of the techniques discussed in this lecture to connect my Sylvester to his correct parents and also to untangle the numerous individuals sharing his name through three different counties in Virginia. I tallied ten different men with that name over a hundred-year period. Eventually, I was able to use my Sylvester as a gateway ancestor into the Jamestowne Society since I was able to determine that his second great-grandfather, John Downing, served as a Burgess for Northumberland County in 1693. However, after discovering numerous errors regarding the family, both online and in print, I began a mission to untangle other same-name Welch individuals.

My quest is not uncommon for most genealogists. Too many of our ancestors were not creative when naming their children and first names such as John, William, Mary, and Elizabeth are abound in our research. This frequently causes problems in determining which records to assign to a given individual. This lecture discusses effective techniques to untangle these individuals including comprehensive study of land records, tax lists, signatures, and timelines. Emphasis is put on studying each individual from birth to death to determine where he fits into the family unit. This lecture is recommended for all levels, particularly those with intermediate to advanced skills.

BIO: Vic Dunn, CG, is IGHR’s Virginia track coordinator. A Mosher Award recipient, he is past board member of BCG, NGS, and the Virginia Genealogical Society.

The Virtual NGS 2021 On-Demand! Viewing Starts 15 June

This lecture series is available to view from home on your computer or mobile device and offers you the opportunity to develop exceptional genealogy skills with a highly comprehensive set of on-demand webinars from NGS’s expert conference speakers. On-Demand! packages of audio-visual lectures are now available for purchase.

Select from the 20 or 40 On-Demand! lecture packages with over 85 sessions to choose from. Watch starting 15 June 2021 through 31 December 2021. Both packages come with access to two full days of NGS 2021 Live! from 19-20 May 2021, the virtual conference syllabus, and sponsored bonus sessions. Plus, view the sessions from NGS 2021 Live! and any sessions you did not choose from the breakouts (nine more) beginning 15 June. All sessions will be closed captioned.


To learn more about the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference’s week-long events, 17-21 May, visit the conference and download a copy of the program brochure