Shadows Of Empire: The Manley Family in Colonial America

The Lloyd Manley Genealogical Archive (LMGA)


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See the best fit pedigree

You can view the master index to the LMGA here

Please send offers for exchange of sources to

A list of good (and some not so good) genealogy libraries can be found here.

A bibliography (just starting) with links to download primary sources can be found here.

Individual analyses of the pedigree based on the LMGA index are MOST welcomed and part of the reason for sharing all this!


Being a novice at this gig I personally spent over a thousand dollars and hours of work debunking a sincerely believed myth solely because I couldnít find the original source of the information. After finally tracing the myth back to an anonymous, un-sourced posting with the Church of Jesus Christ-Latter Day Saints I confirmed what I had by then suspected; that it was indeed a myth. With good intent but ill effect it is still being repeated on the internet ad nausea today. So, Iíve created some ground rules for myself to protect people like me who might run into that sort of thing. Any information that furthers my research, and for which I can reciprocate with information of my own, is greatly appreciated. I only ask that if you use any information I forward to you that you reference it to the LMGA so that others may trace your steps and readily clear out any myths or fictions before beginning serious research. I will do the same for any sources you provide.


The main purpose of the LMGA was to determine the origins and antecedents of a Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY who lived there from about 1805 to 1825. Information germane to that goal is especially valuable. I probably cannot offer much assistance with post-colonial genealogy. Please note that hearsay and oral family tradition is often sufficient as evidence after 1830 or so. But before then we are totally reliant on primary sources. This is the main reason why Iíve focused so heavily on primary sources as I am doing colonial genealogy.


For the reasons aforementioned, I must unfortunately decline offers of information for which a primary source for it cannot be readily located or produced (hearsay). I welcome offers of transcriptions of primary sources only if performed by a duly appointed official of a legally constituted court, Church official or government official with jurisdiction and authority to so. Unfortunately I must decline offers of bible records, wills, accounts, etc. transcribed by individual persons, and for which a true likeness of the original cannot be readily produced or located and for which a public archival reference is not supplied. For photographs please reference, if known, the photographer, place and time the photograph was taken as well as identities of all persons in the photograph. Please use full legal names with maiden names if known. Please do not reference any material in exchange to the LDS library, regardless of the nature of the evidence (complicit actors in the mess I described above). A list of good (and some not so good) genealogy libraries can be found here.




02 September, 2006 Jonathanís father possibly located


A search of the Charles City county, VA records by a friend of mine at the Library of Virginia has revealed that many of them were destroyed. I have not had the chance to look at them first-hand so I donít know the extent of the loss. Meanwhile, a Jonathan, John and Richard Manley were located at Middlesex county, NJ from 1791 to 1795. This could be Jonathan Manley I, the father of Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren county, KY. This county correlates with other known information about Jonathan Manley and is therefore a likely candidate (see the index regarding Oliphants). Thanks to Leon Smith for getting this hit in NJ. You can email me for contact information and to trace his steps. Recall that a Jonathan Manley was found in DE in the 1810 census but he was recorded as a probable mulatto. I will update when Iíve had a chance to verify and research this more.


21 August, 2006 - Where we are now


After analyzing all the data we now have Iíve summarized where we presently are in order to identify what needs to be done, or better put, what records now need to be found. Let me start by imagining a hypothetical document, call it Q, that is minimally sufficient to determine the origins of Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY in the context of what I already have. What I already have to support the conclusions of Q Iíll call P. Iíll add that in genealogy if we find one record of a named person, then find another record of that same name occurring, say, two years later in the same county or close physical proximity, barring any evidence for another person present bearing exactly the same name, we assume that itís the same person. Iíve never seen a family history that does not do this somewhere in their research. Itís usually implicit throughout. In other words, someone finds a Gabriel Manley in Warren co., KY in 1807 and just assumes that the Gabriel Manley found in the same county in 1820 is the same guy since no other Gabriel Manleys were found there. Barring conflicting evidence, itís reasonable. Remember this example as I proceed. Extending that logic to a person who moves over significant geographic distances, we can accomplish the same reasonable identification by pairing in the two different locations: If a person with a particular name is present in one place at one time and if another person of another name is also present at the same place and time, and if it is reasonable to assume some kind of association between them (like they are related somehow), then finding another pair identical to that one in another place and time, if the personal data, times and places match, is the same thing, to a first-order approximation, as identifying one person in the same place and two different times (like the example of Gabriel above). In other words, if a pair of persons known to be related appears at one place and time and that same related named pair appears in another place and time, and barring evidence to the contrary, it is highly unlikely that these are two different pairs of people. This is the logic used in connecting the Jonathan of WV to the Jonathan of KY. It was done by pairing Jonathan Manley and his relative Cornelius Manley. The odds of both of them appearing in both places, with all their known data matching, and being two different pairs of people, is exceedingly unlikely. We could, if we chose, extend that concept to a person paired with a correlate, not necessarily a person. But I wonít go into that just yet. For now letís just say weíre talking about two pairs of people.


Now, let us imagine that we find Q. What is it? Itís just a hypothetical primary source or collection of them. But one example of Q would be a primary source (PS) or set of PSs that shows the presence of:


r.) a Nancy Manley (personal data consistent with P)

s.) Jonathan Manley (personal data consistent with P)

t.) John or Jonathan Manley (personal data consistent with P)


in the same close physical proximity at about the same relevant time.


How is this Q? Because when matched with other pairs found elsewhere this constitutes two coupled pairings. One is a pairing with the two Jonathanís named in the Oath of Fidelity in MD as Jonathan Manley, Junior and a John or Jonathan Manley his father and the Jonathan and Jonathan (or John) located wherever we found Q. The other coupled pairing is between Jonathan Manley and Nancy Manley, the first pair appearing in WV and the other wherever we found Q. Wherever Q is located, it shows that the Jonathan Manley there is the same one that appeared in MD and WV and the mystery is solved (altogether there are really 3 couplets; the third being the one that ties the Jonathans of WV and KY together). Now, I mentioned correlates because I would point out that if only two related things are insufficient for someone to be convinced, we can add as many as we like until we are all satisfied. But as a first-order hypothesis, we need to start with the pairing described. Then we can look for additional correlates to strengthen the case. I, personally, am perfectly fine with a valid pairing of just 2 correlates prior to, say, 1820 (the population is small enough that oddities wonít likely emerge). If I werenít then I would have to seriously question just about all genealogy ever done. But I think that some people, having little experience or understanding of probability, would feel better with 3, 4, or, maybe, theyíll never be satisfied. To motivate what follows, Iíll just point out that such a pair constitutes what Iíve called a putative AND statement (abbreviated pAnd), which I mean to be that the two things together putatively demonstrate a fact; i.e. itís obviously true. Otherwise all genealogy would have to be redone.


So, the first step is to find a candidate for where Q might be found. We can do this by locating any one of the persons supposedly mentioned by Q. One is Nancy Manley and that is the only one found so far, the only one because by exhaustion of records - the last being the account record in MD - we have no such candidate in MD. She is in Charles City co., VA. She is a good candidate because we know she was not born Manley, but was born Blanks. Therefore, we know that she is a Manley by marriage and not birth (matches at least some of her required personal data).


A closer look at the Q document


By definition there are 3 logical and material components to Q; call them r, s, and t. r is just the record we have for Nancy Blanks Manley in Charles City co., VA. Material facts relevant from that record include her being of the approximately appropriate age to be married to Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY. s is the hypothetical PS or PSs that show the existence of Jonathan Manley in Charles City co., VA whose personal data - whose material facts - shows him to be in the approximate age frame of Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY. The t is the hypothetical PS or PSs that show the existence of another Jonathan Manley or a John Manley in Charles City co., VA whose personal data - or material facts - reflects a cohort one generation prior to the Jonathan of s. Note that s and t are satisfied as components of Q simply if they show the mere existence of these two men in that county at the relevant time. This is because of P. That is, P pAnd Q => the Jonathan Manley of Warren co., KY; of [where Q is found], and of Prince Georgeís co., MD are, beyond any reasonable doubt, one and the same. We will call this implication U. So, we have P pAnd Q => U. The problem, of course, is that we donít yet have Q. Or, more precisely, we only have r. We do not have s and t.


Finally, an inventory of the material elements of P. Iíll throw in Q at the relevant spots to make it clear why P is crucial.


Now, we have the following records (there are more correlates than this but Iíll be brief):


First couplet - C1

Pairing 1 Warren co., KY - Jonathan Manley and Cornelius Manley

1802 Cornelius Manley first appears Warren co., KY

1805 Jonathan Manley, Senior first appears Warren co., KY

1824 Cornelius Manleyís will is probated indicated kinship to Jonathan Manley, Senior.

population Warren co., KY < 2í000


Pairing 2 Harrison co., WV - Jonathan Manley and Cornelius Manley

1801 Cornelius Manley appears Harrison co., WV

1801 Jonathan Manley, Senior appears Harrison co., WV

1787 - 1802 Tax lists indicate probable kinship between Cornelius Manley and Jonathan Manley

population Harrison co., WV < 2í000


This proves the pair match between WV and KY (just like our example of two Gabriels being the same guy - the odds are mathematically the same)

Quick note: this also proves that the Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY married Nancy Manley and not Elizabeth Rawlings, a marriage for which there is not one scintilla of primary source evidence. Even if he did marry her (figure the odds!), it had to be in KY and none of the known descendents researching this are related to her anyway. The KY land records may be indicative of a later marriage between Elizabeth and another JonathanÖjust a possibility among many.


Second couplet - C2

Pairing 1 Q - Jonathan Manley, Junior and Jonathan Manley, Senior or John Manley

Q time Jonathan Manley, Junior appears at Qís location

Q time Jonathan Manley, Senior OR John Manley appears at Qís location

population at Q probably < 2í000


Pairing 2 Prince Georgeís co., MD - Jonathan Manley, Junior and Jonathan Manley, Senior or John Manley

1778 Jonathan Manley, Junior appears Prince Georgeís co., MD

1778 Jonathan Manley, Senior or John Manley appears patria nescio as father of Jonathan Manley, Junior

population Prince Georgeís co., MD < 1í000


This proves the pair match between Q and MD (just like our example of two Gabriels being the same guy - the odds are mathematically the same)


Third couplet - C3

Pairing 1 Q - Jonathan Manley, Junior and Nancy Manley

Q time Jonathan Manley, Junior appears at Qís location

Q time Nancy Manley appears at Qís location

population at Q probably < 2í000


Pairing 2 Q - Jonathan Manley and Nancy Manley

1803 Jonathan Manley appears land deed Harrison co., WV

1803 Nancy Manley appears on same deed named as Jonathanís wife Harrison co., WV

population Harrison co., WV < 2í000


This proves the pair match between Q and WV (just like our example of two Gabriels being the same guy - the odds are mathematically the same)


That is, C1 pAnd C2 pAnd C3 = P pAnd Q=> U or

P pAnd Q => U

Which is what we sought to show; Q.E.D.


Note: Once we actually do find Q the primary sources alluded to in each couplet will be the full set of documents necessary to trace the line back to Jonathan Manley I, the father of Jonathan Manley, Senior of Warren co., KY. We have some of those documents now. The remainder constitutes Q.


So, what is the take-away from that long-winded thesis? Well, as a first-order hypothesis, we need to start with the pairing described. Then we can look for additional correlates to strengthen the case. As for my efforts, all roads lead to Charles City co., VA until I learn differently.


18 August, 2006 - James Blanks, Blanks family and ancestors had long ties to Charles City co., VA dating back to late 1600ís


Iíve searched two genealogy libraries since my last news piece and found, to my dismay, that there were few if any indices on Charles City co., VA at either library (only one index covered the relevant time period and it indexed only a tiny fraction of extant records). If anyone has access to the library at Ft. Wayne, IN please let me know. In the meantime, Iím going to do some interlibrary loans on the crucial indices to see if I can locate Jonathan Manley in that county. Confirming Jonathanís presence in Charles City co., VA may require another trip to the Library of Virginia and a look at the tithe tables. My day job is very flexible but Iíll still have to work another trip into my schedule. Iíll post the date when/if I need to go back to Richmond. In the meantime Iíll be updating the index with the new information I got (mostly on James Blanks) from the libraries and moving the site to a new home on rootsweb. I will leave a link here to that new site. ďAny and allĒ record types are worthwhile but the sweet spot will be marriage bonds from about 1766 to 1776 at Charles City co., VA, which is the time and place I think Jonathan and Nancy married. Secondary to that will be any record revealing the existence of a Jonathan Manley, Senior (or just one recorded there earlier) at Charles City co., VA. That one record would line up the entire puzzle. Iíll keep you posted on what I find - Iím tempted to just go to Ft. Wayne, IN next week!


15 August, 2006 - Jonathan Manley, Sr. of Warren co., KY may not have originated with Potomac Manley line


The account record of John Manley of Prince Georgeís co., MD arrived yesterday from the MD State Archives. It was a surprise and probably raises more questions than it answers. Normally an account record lists the names of the lawful heirs to an estate. In the late 1700ís it would at least name the eldest male and widow. This account names only the apparent widow, Elizabeth Manley. We know from the deed record that Elizabeth Manley had an apparent eldest male child named John Manley to whom she gave the inventoried items on 12 December, 1785. The account was done in an orphans (orphans Judge Joseph Beall) court and she asked for an allowance from the estate (presumably for rearing a minor thence to avoid an orphanage). Moreover, John Manley appears to have died not in 1783 but on (27 March 1781, 27 May 1781). All this strongly suggests that John Manley was a very young man and it seems highly unlikely that a man who had to have been born before 1730 would be having his first male child in the 1770s. This coupled with the locating of Nancy Blanks Manley at Charles City co., VA is beginning to suggest a paradigm shift. A statewide trace prior to 1787 on the combination ĎNancy Manleyí (Nancey Manley - Nancy Manly - Nancey Manly) in WV, VA, PA, DE, MD, NC and SC resulted in the one hit aforementioned There was also the later hit in 1803 in which the WV court clerk unambiguously calls her Nancy Manley wife of Jonathan Manley (ďJonathan Manley and his wife Nancy ManleyĒ) three times. I now have more new records (previously unknown) on Jonathan Manley, about a dozen, than I have on any one Manley in St. Maryís co., MD. Yet with half as many records I can at least guess what the family connections were. With Jonathan I can find no candidate in the area that would fit the description of father or mother. Everyone is accounted for. Common sense and experience in colonial records tells me that given these facts he probably was not from that area. There are really two types of records weíre talking about here. The first is merely the kind that shows somebody exists at a time and place (what Iím referring to) and the second is the type that demonstrates familial relations (which do NOT always exist). Records of the first kind DO exist and if someone is there for at least 5 years SOMETHING will show up. This pattern holds for Jonathan Manley quite well all the way back to 1776 at MD - I have a more or less continuous record of where he was and when. Neither he nor his parents were in MD prior to 1771 (1776 - 5 yrs). The John Manley who died in 1781, the last candidate to establish that flow of evidence, was the right age to be Jonathanís brother, not father. Iíve turned the entire state of MD upside down and shaken it and there is no trace of an older Jonathan Manley or other suitable Manley there. Perhaps Jonathan and Thomas were nearest kin to John Manley because they were brothers and perhaps these three brothers originated from the Charles City co., VA area, went to MD to fight in the revolutionary war, little John R. was born there, brother John was killed, brother Thomas appeared at Warren co., KY on 1820 (only trace Iíve gotten on a Thomas Manley of the appropriate age) and Jonathan moved on to WV. The war service would have been through local militias (Jonathan 1776 Bladensburg - earliest MD hit) and not the Continental Army. That fits the evidence a lot better. There are other known Manley clans closer to Charles City co., VA that could be related. Origins in VA may also explain why John R.s children seemed to think he was born in VA instead of MD. John R. was twice right (USC 1850, 1860), but the children confused it with his fatherís birthplace as John R. would have been born in as little as 2 years after arriving from VA. It may also be the case that Jonathanís father was indeed Jonathan (he signed the Oath of Fidelity as ďJuniorĒ), but Iíll hold out for the possibility that it was John because of nickname similiarities. I think his father was one or the other as no other related John or Jonathan Senior has been found in MD at that time (1778).As soon as I can get my hands on the indexes for Charles City co., VA Iíll update again. The pedigree on this site was entirely dependent on what seemed like the reasonable assumption that Jonathan Manley originated with Potomac Manleys. I will soon be posting many more primary sources for download - hopefully this weekend. KEEP CHECKING as I think weíre entering truly new territory now.