or, Why genealogy is so much fun.
Genealogy is fraught with puzzlement which may be why some people choose to get entangled in it. I tried it for a time.
I hope I can condense this enigma to an understandable example of the stuff family researchers come up against. The one common factor to be found in researching this person is a statement of birth year, 1728, and that she was born in Virginia. Nothing else has been verifiably established, but that has not stopped the family tree builders from asserting her position as matriarch of a Parmer/Palmer clan, the one to which I belong.
William Branham, a.k.a. William Parmer, born about 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, who died in 1822, is verifiably recognized as progenitor of the Palmer line into which I was born. It is asserted that his mother was Gracy Parmer and his putative father was William Branham. In seeking records, though, one will find that it is almost as though, having need of a mother for Mr. Branham/Parmer, one was posited by someone. She came into existence of necessity and disappeared conveniently, leaving no footprints.
Yet if you look at various family trees, there you will find her, including one in which it is stated that she died in childbirth at William's advent, and another in which she supposedly gave birth to two additional children, one when she was fifty years of age, and the other at age 59!
William went by the Branham name for the first fifty plus years of his life, then he filed for legal change of name to William Parmer. An affidavit by acquaintances asserted that William "was illegitimate" and he was "fair born" to a woman with red hair. Come now the family researchers yet again. One I read after went into a long and detailed historical analysis showing why, in his opinion, this tidbit points to the likelihood that mother Gracy Parmer was a Monacan Indian, and that she was in fact married to Richard Branham, and hence William was not illegitimate at all, but now he was seeking to evade a recently passed law in Virginia requiring inhabitants of mixed race to register as such.
And so it goes.
Again I ask, Who is Gracy Parmer?