Discovering hard–to–find ancestors

Published 3:24 pm Monday, April 5, 2010

As anyone who has ever researched genealogy knows, finding information on an ancestor from the 1700s can be tricky.

Often, names are spelled differently than the modern spelling, census records can be hard to read or records may be missing altogether. Often families moved as land became available in Indian territory and, in researching those families, one may find two or more people with the same name. It’s no wonder that the lineage of David Lindsay, a Revolutionary War veteran born in Washington Co., Penn., and buried near Helena, has been in question.

In 1927, the David Lindsay Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Montevallo was created. In the early 1950s, much effort was put forth by a group of local women to research the lineage of Lindsay for the purpose of joining the National Society of the DAR, which was successful. However, there was a period of time when Lindsay’s war service was not accepted by the organization because they were unable to confirm his service in the Revolutionary War.

While the research of these ladies was eventually accepted by the DAR, some people researching Lindsay as their ancestor raise some additional questions.

The disagreement is in regard to Lindsay’s service. The original account states that Lindsay served in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Regiments of the Virginia Continental Line over a period of three years. Another account suggests Lindsay actually served in the 4th Pennsylvania Battalion, which fell under the direction of Col. Anthony Wayne, later nicknamed “Mad” Anthony Wayne.

DNA testing of one of Lindsay’s Shelby County descendants proves he is related to a family known as the Long Marsh Lindsays, who lived in Virginia in the mid 1700s. The family owned land near a stream called Long Marsh. Several members of the family later moved to Southwestern Pennsylvania and served during the American Revolution.

With either account, Lindsay served his country in obtaining its freedom from England. The grave marker placed by the DAR in 1953 is a reminder of his honorable service.

Catherine Cousins can be reached by e–mail at