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Setting the Record Straight: "Matohe – A Labour of Love" and Jack genealogy

A book was published in 1988 chronicling the genealogy of several Bath County Virginia families including the Jack line. This was the first and thus far only record the Bath county Jacks published and is used by Jack researchers around the country and the trees from it are published on various genealogy websites for researchers. Unfortunately, with all apologies to Cathy Smoot Carson, it is also wrong.

Matohe - A Labour of Love traces the Bath County Jacks back to a German Palatinate immigrant named Abraham Jacke, who came to Philadelphia in 1736 as a passenger aboard the Princess Augusta. It contends that somewhere along the line in the early 1800’s the e was dropped and the line became Jack. I’ve searched census records from the that era and have never located any Jacke in Virginia. I did at one point find what appeared to be a mistranscription of a name that was clearly Jack in the image but as of this writing I cannot duplicate the search. I believe that Ancestry has since corrected the name.

Abraham did arrive on the Princess Augusta, I have been able to find no other record of him in the US. There are however Princess Augusta ancestors still in PA and among them Yeakels, Jokys, Jockels and other variants. I think if Abraham did have a family in the new world, it’s very likely that they are somewhere in these lines and still rooted in the Pennsylvania Dutch. I don’t think his line ever went on to Bath County.

Instead, it is most likely that the Jack’s of Bath County Virginia were Scots Irish that arrived in the country probably around 1709. There is research that supports this but it has not been proved conclusively yet.

What is known is that John Jack was born in Pennsylvania in 1779, the son of Andrew and Betsy. It is believed that Andrew is the son of James the immigrant from 1709. Again, there is still much research to be done on this. The Jack family followed the well established path across Pennsylvania, into Maryland and into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There are tax records of Andrew in Maryland and in Virginia.

On June 22, 1807, John Jack married Hannah Allerton in Shenandoah County Virginia. Five years prior to that Andrew Jack married a Nancy McKay, also in Shenandoah County. This Andrew was likely John’s father.

By 1820 John was in Bath County where he stayed. He married Lucy Smith in 1823 and Gemima Gray in 1855. He died between 1860 and 1870. His last known recorded residence was in a some sort of indigent home, living with James Gwinn and a host of other people.

It's unfortunate that this information is so ubiquitous. Every year or so I get an excited e-mail from a new Jack researcher quoting the book and have to gently correct the information. I also understand that by placing this information online I've probably upset Ms. Carson and her family. I'd love to have a conversation with her about her findings and mine. Between the two of us I know we have a lot of Jack history and it would be a good chance to fill in all the holes.

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