LOL Cindy, for now... I read it to my wife and we're laughing now.
As for the paper it is simply going to be the history of the 6th great-grandfather Samuel Merrifield and the correction of a centuries old family legend about his origins. The whole story is quite incredible when you look at all the players and there is a bigger story to be told after the cousin and I finish telling Samuel's story.
The family legend begins:
In correspondence dated 1867 John C. Merrifield of Detroit, Michigan wrote that Samuel Merrifield was born 12 August 1720 at Croat, England. (information from Jan Hornick, March, 2012). This information (date and location) was repeated in the book Frederick County, Virginia, Settlement and Some First Families of Back Creek Valley by Wilmer L. Kerns. Kerns does not list a source for his information. Croat is not found on any maps of England. LeAnn McRoberts (website cited below) refers to another source that gave his birth place as Croat, Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, England. She found that the river Croal is located in the parish of Bolton Le Moors (now called Bolton), so it appears that Croat is a misspelling of Croal.
Subsequent searches for his birth records found nothing.
Our ancestor appears in Virignia, one of two men with the same name. One was a headright passenger (an indentured servant), his headright claimed by Valentine Sevier, and the other Samuel, a convict. The convict's age was older than our ancestor and the two were believed to be different men.
Long story short: I found the birth record of Samuel; he later named his first daughter Dinah - the same as his mother, and named his sons Samuel, Richard, and Thomas, the same as his brothers and the same as his father and grandfather. The names are a perfect fit, only he's a little older. And then, I found a criminal conviction - in the same neighborhood where he lived. The conviction coincides with the convict in Virginia's import date. So how was he also a headright claim? Hmm...
He probably claimed a younger age at his arrest to gain leniency in sentencing.
I searched and searched and then turned to Valentine Sevier. Iffound his birth, only a mile or so away from Samuel. Valentine also had a criminal conviction and he was also shipped to Virginia. There, we find that Valentine filed several headright claims for different passengers (including our Samuel) and he collected a fortune in land grants. We believe that Valentine was committing headright claims fraud by lying that he shipped indentured servants who were really prior criminal imports.
There is very little research on this phenomenon (headright claim fraud) and has long been suspected by colonial historians. There are too many headright claims for the population size; either a lot of people died from disease on arrival or soemone was getting paid when they shouldn't have. I eventually plan to research and check other records to see if this is a one off or if there was systemic fraud throughout Virginia and possibly other colonies.
Either way, we found a very good history of Samuel's crimes because one of his conspirators was later sentenced to death and he gave a full 4 page written confession before he was hanged. In it he described all of Samuel's bad deeds. We found similar documents for Valentine Sevier.
It was after I found the documents above and made the conclusion of headright claim fraud that I found the paper written by my cousin about Samuel. In the paper, my cousin had an incredible amount of court and land records for Samuel and had written a paper on him - a paper that is almost ready for publishing. But he was stuck at the problem of the two Samuels; he speculated that they might be the same but was missing evidence of a link. I contacted him and shared my research and it was a Eureka moment for him - he agreed with my hypothesis and he found more records to suport it and I found more also.
And this criminal past is probably the reason for this family legend of a birth in Croat, England on a date that was also created. We find the same thing for Valentine Sevier, a fantasy birth date and location. However, Valentine (or his family) concocted an entire fantasy genealogy for him that describes him as the son of a displaced Hugeuenot Nobleman who fled from France and then came to London as a war refugee.
The descendants have an entire (fake/fantsy) genealogy for Valentine that goes back and connects to Spanish Nobility and all of those profiles exist today at Family Search, Ancestry, Geni, and even here at Wikitree. It will be difficult and ackward as the descendants really belive in this legend.
And it goes on - Valentine Sevier's son went on to some notability. He was a famous Revolutionary War Officer, later the first Governor of the Lost State of Franklin, a Congressman, and then the first Governor of Tennesee and then reelected several times (he even has his own Wikipedia page). The family went on to become quite powerful, quite notable, and very large. And the fantasy Huguenot Nobility genealogy persists today, even on Wikitree.
Our paper is only to tell Samuel's story and correcting the family legend. But in telling it we will have to explaiin our research and the Sevier family is going to be in for a shock when they realize that their patriarch is a convict and not the son of a war-refugee Nobleman. It will be an interesting journey as we go...