Parents of Richard M. Tanner, born c. 1818 in Prince William County, VA. -- anyone?

+5 votes
I'm starting to think this guy just sprang out of the ground or something. He was allegedly born c. 1818 in Prince William County, Virginia. He married a Paulina or Polina, and had a son named Frederick M. Tanner. He *probably* also had sons named Reuben and John W. and a daughter named Susie who married an Utterbach and was widowed. He died on 28 June, 1883 in Virginia and was buried there with his wife. All of these things are pretty well documented.

Has anybody got the slightest clue who his parents might have been? I've searched the entire web every way I know how, and I just can't find anything beyond what I already know. Any clues would be greatly appreciated.
WikiTree profile: Richard Tanner
in Genealogy Help by Meredith Tanner G2G3 (3.2k points)

Who is John W. Tanner?

Richd M Tanner

 in the 1850 United States Federal Census

Record Image View

  • View blank form
Name: Richd M Tanner
Age: 30
Birth Year: abt 1820
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1850: Prince William, Virginia, USA
Gender: Male
Family Number: 847
Household Members:
Name Age
Richd M Tanner 30
Polina Tanner 30
John W Tanner 4
Frederick M Tanner 2
Maria Carper 50
Martha Bramell 20
John W Tanner 22
It's a good question. I *think* the younger John W. is Richard's son, and the elder is a brother or cousin of some kind, since if you look at the original document he's listed as a miller, like William, so probably he's an employee. That hasn't gotten me anywhere yet, though. And of course, I could be completely wrong. I've marked the relationship "uncertain" in the profile.

Here's the family in 1860

John A C Tanner

 in the 1860 United States Federal Census

Record Image View

  • View blank form
Name: John A C Tanner
Age: 14
Birth Year: abt 1846
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Virginia
Home in 1860: Fairfax, Virginia
Family Number: 0
Value of Real Estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Richard M Tanner 40
Paulina Tanner 40
John A C Tanner 14
Fredk M Tanner 12
Reuben Tanner 10

Here's Reuben's marriage

Reuben Tanner

 in the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940

Record Image Index-only record

    Name: Reuben Tanner
    Gender: Male
    Age: 36
    Birth Date: 1850
    Marriage Date: 16 Sep 1886
    Marriage Place: Montgomery, Virginia
    Father: R. M. Tanner
    Mother: T. V. Tanner
    Spouse: Martha E. Crumpler
    FHL Film Number: 2048462
    Reference ID: n 61
    This family is certainly very confusing. If R.M. is Richard, then who is T. V. Tanner?


    I'm not sure who T.V. is. Based on Reuben's age, he seems to have been born close to the time Frederick was, quite possibly by another woman. Paulina died not long after Frederick's birth, so perhaps Richard brought her son into his household? The Tanner men got around a bit from what I know, so it seems like a reasonable possibility, but I doubt I'll ever know for sure.

    1 Answer

    +2 votes
    Did you try Probate records ? Not only of his so, Frederick, but also himself and his wife.
    by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (888k points)


    If this was my ancestor, I would call the cemetery for the plot papers. He may have siblings and parents buried in this cemetery. OR it may also reveal his wife's family.

    I'm not quite sure how to find probate records -- I did a google search but didn't come up with much. Can you point me in the right direction?
    Thanks Maggie, I will definitely give that a try first thing tomorrow!

    I  will check on the old Probates in the Ancestry database tomorrow ( do you have Ancestry ?),_County_Probate_Records_%28FamilySearch_Historical_Records%29

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