Can someone please help me research this ancestor?

+4 votes
My Newfoundland ancestry is a nightmare to research. So I have this ancestor, William Stone. His son Jabez was my 2x great-grandfather.

Here's what I know:

Jabez was born around 1848. He was a fisherman, and married my 2x great-grandmother, Frances Jane Anderson, on 24 Sep 1876. His father, William, was a witness at his wedding, along with whom I am assuming was William's second wife, Sarah. Jabez and Frances Jane had 4 children--Alice Bertha (b. 1877), Rosa Valetta (or Valletta? b. 1879), William Robert (b. 1881), and my great-grandmother, Harriet (b. 1883).  Jabez died in 1898. A researcher I hired pointed out that it's strange the children stopped when they did, so I am wondering if Jabez was ill for the last 15 years before his death.

There was a family legend surrounding Jabez about him being a Rhodes scholar from a wealthy family who didn't want to marry the woman his family had arranged, so he jumped ship and went to Newfoundland. Obviously this is nonsense, but I have to wonder if there's a grain of truth in it somewhere, as there is also a family legend (new to me) surrounding his father, William.

Okay, now about William, I know even less. It is my understanding that he was born around 1823. I am not sure where he was born...whether it was Newfoundland, or England. He was also a fisherman. The family legend surrounding him was that he was a seaman's apprentice from England who may have stowed away on a ship, or jumped ship in Newfoundland. I'm not clear on the details. But the rumour is that he arrived in North America, if not in Canada, in 1835 or thereabouts.

Another researcher on Ancestry, who has since passed away, had him as having been  married first to an Esther or Hester Cutler (who, if this is true, would be Jabez's mother), and then to a Sarah St(r)ickland. I have no idea where he came up with this information, and I can't ask him now, unfortunately.

I personally hired a researcher who thought all the family stories were utter nonsense. He said these were all Dorset people, which is entirely possible. Another thing he thought was they may have come from the Jersey Islands.

There were some other little details that I've come across along the way that I'm hesitant to post, but what the heck. One was that the surname was something other than Stone, originally. I can't for the life of me remember what else it was supposed to be, though, and now I can't find mention of it anywhere. Another was that some of the family was involved in some strange-sounding religion...the name escapes me but apparently they buried their dead in the sides of cliffs?

I just looked it up-- "Go Preachers," that was what they were called.

Okay, so what I'd like to know is to confirm if Jabez's mother's name was Esther or Hester Cutler. I'd also like to trace back William Stone to England, if that is possible. Also, I'd like to either confirm or refute the family legends altogether.

One more thing--I have done DNA tests pretty much everywhere and I get a lot of matches from the Eastern US--particularly Kentucky. I have NO idea where they fit but I suspect they are connected to my Newfoundland ancestry somehow. If anyone has any insight on that, I'd love to hear it.

Can anyone help?
WikiTree profile: William Stone
in Genealogy Help by Tanya McLauchlan G2G3 (3.3k points)

7 Answers

+2 votes
Hi Tanya

I believe there is always a grain (as you say) of truth in these family legends.  Although Jabez might not be a Rhodes scholar, you could look for a Rhode Island connection.  

I know from experience that Newfoundland is hard! Good luck!  I will poke around for you a bit.


by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
Rhode Island, Rhodes Scolar...why didn't I think of that!? Brilliant, thank you.

A Rhodes Scholar can also mean someone who studied at Oxford. I think they kept lists of their students but I never could find Jabez among their alumni. As for William, I'm not sure but I feel like there may be approximately a zillion William Stones that have attended. Plus he has his own legend.
+5 votes
This 1915 account of the Go Preachers in Newfoundland mentions some of the family names you mentioned: Cutler, Anderson, and Strickland
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
:-) glad to hear it!
This line has a bunch of weird names. I feel like I should be able to use them to figure something out, but so far, I haven't been able to do it. Like who names their kid "Benoni Lench?" And Manasseh, like you said. Hmm, I should search for Manasseh's in England. Maybe I can link up my family line to England that way.
The New England colonists were big on those more obscure biblical names.  In England as well, it was usually a hint of non-conformist leanings.
There is a book online that traces the Stone family of Rhode Island.


Jabez was a fairly frequent name in this family.  Of course, if your family comes from this family, it would be a line that the authors lost track of, but still it is interesting to see the names from that time frame.  No Manasseh that i could see, but he is from the Anderson side, not the Stone side, right?
There are a couple of Benonis! :O

And some Phebes...all spelled like that, which I have seen in Nfld records. And Lavinas...which I have seen as Lavinia, but close enough. I think you're really onto something here! Ahhhh, how can I tie this all together!?
i think the DNA matches need to come into play next.  

If i were you, i would look at your Ancestry 4th cousin matches and sort them into ones you can account for on other sides of your tree and ones you can't account for.  

Of the ones you can't account for, i would look at what they have for trees and where they seem to come from (there is a button for that in Ancestry).

Then i would pick a few that have a tree that goes back at least into  people whose records aren't private any more, and try to build on their trees.  I'll help you--tell me some names of couples who likely appear in public records and we will try to trace them back till we get back in time past your William Stone, and then trace the descendants till we either find William and Jabez or can rule that line out.  

If you haven't already uploaded your Ancestry DNA results to and FTDNA, now would be a good time!


I have already uploaded my Ancestry results to for FTDNA, I transferred my 23andMe, but I don't remember if I transferred my Ancestry results.

Okay, assuming I understood what you told me to do, here are some couples:

George Burgess Stone (b. 1839 in England, parents James Stone and Mary Ann Ward) and Ann Dawkins (b. 1844 in England).

Phebe Smith (b.1771 Massachusetts, parents Jeremiah Smith and Abigail Aldrich) and Henry Hathaway (b. 1769 in Massachusetts).

Sarah Stone (b. 1770 in USA, parents unknown) and John Chamberlain (b. 1789 in Massachusetts)

Simon Stone (b. 1656 in Massachusetts, parents Simon Stone and Mary Whipple) and Sarah Farnsworth (b. about 1663 in Massachusetts)

Valetta Phoebe Harding (b. 1911 in Massachusetts, parents Edward Harding and Louisa E. Hardy) and John McGrath (b. 1900 in Minnesota) ---I chose this one because the name Valetta is unusual and it shows up in my tree a lot.

Anne Green (b. 1838 in Newfoundland) and John Smith (b. 1831 in Nova Scotia)

Please tell me if I messed that up...???

yes, that is what i was hoping for! The only other potentially useful info is how close Ancestry predicts the relationship, because that could give us a clue how far back we need to go to find a common ancestor or ancestral couple. 

The Valetta connection is amazing!  It seems her parents were born in Newfoundland, so that is fascinating but won't help us find the origins.  However, please keep a close eye on shared matches with her family!

Simon and Sarah's line is on WikiTree here But I think it might suffer a little from 100 yr old research.  Doesn't seem to line up just right with the will.  Still, have a look--a female descendant has married a Green --  you might find lots of connections with your shared matches here, and that would give you a big clue.

If you can find me on Ancestry (shirlea_smith) look at my tree called Odds and Ends and Speculations, and go into the name list for the name Stone.  I made a few sketches. Oh, and also Harding for Valetta.



Are your trees public? I found you, but I can't see any of your trees.
my trees are mostly public, but there seems to be a lot of variation on what shows on a member profile.

I will try to invite you to my odds and ends tree.  Watch your spam for an invite from Ancestry
+5 votes

Someone else may be able to find more than I did.  I confirmed William's death in 1914 in West Point, Newfoundland with the Newfoundland vital registration records..

Jabez's marriage to Frances Jane can be found in the United Church of Canada (Methodist) Archives. Those marriage records list his parents as William Stone and Ann. 

There's no guarantee that Jabez was born in Newfoundland. [] suggests that he was born in West Point in 1849 as estimated from the marriage records.  Again, nothing definitive about where or when he was born.  Frances Jane Anderson, however, was from Newfoundland as were her parents, etc. 

by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
I aas about to ask you if your name was Sharon, until I came over here to see that it's David. The only other person I've seen say his mother's name was Ann was Sharon Chubbs-Ransom, on that post you linked to. But no proof. I've asked her and she can't remember where she got it. Do you have a document you could share?

I've got Jabez and Frances Jane's marriage record, and I don't see Ann listed as his mother. But maybe there's another one? One that I don't have?

Also in that link, there's mention of Manasseh/Nassie Anderson. That is where I'm getting a lot of my information from, but I believe he is now passed away. This is terrible as he seems to have done a lot of research. Unfortunately I'm not sure he ever mentioned WHERE he got his information from, so I can't confirm it!

On Jabez's death record it said he was born in Nfld in 1848. I think. I'm not on my laptop at the moment, but I can back this up as I also have that document.
I'm sure i don't need to tell you, but i feel pulled to say it anyway, that info on death registrations is usually not very first-hand info.  A distraught next of kin who is usually younger than the deceased is asked the question by the registrar, and does his best to come up with something.
That's true. Actually, it might say it on his marriage record as well. I will have to check.
I've noticed that the Newfoundland Death Records from that time period have two columns labelled "Place of Death", but that the people filling them out typically use the second one (next to the column, "Place of Internment") to record place of birth. It's not a hundred percent sure, but it's often at least good enough to use as a best-guess.
+3 votes
just wondering: Did you get any 3rd or 4th cousins among your unexpected Kentucky connections?  Or only more distant cousins...
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points) not sure, actually. I think more distant, but yeah, I don't remember. Why?
You might stand a chance finding the paper trail connection between you and 3rd to 4th cousins.  It isn't that long ago...even if you have to do their tree for them to find it.  It would be especially promising if a group of them were all shared matches with each other.  If they have uploaded their results to GEDmatch, or can be prevailed upon to do so, you might be able to figure out which ancestral couple the common DNA comes from, and in the process learn more about where your family came from.
+4 votes
are you familiar with this site?

It has some census data and lists of various kinds for Newfoundland.
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
Yes I am, thank you. I wish it was more searchable.
Usually you need to go in through Vital Records, to the correct district (this is where I make a case for adding location categories to profiles!). The site, admittedly, is not very searchable. But they've done a tremendous job with volunteers, transcribing a large number of records. Don Tate is very responsive, and it's possible that if you email him and ask for copies of the records for specific dates and locations, he'll send you some.

Also, Family Search stores the images, so you can get more information on the profiles than is obvious from the transcriptions. For instance, cause of death or religion. Many of the parish records are organised by (say) United Church, or Methodist Baptisms. It can be useful information for narrowing your search.

The whole Burgeo-La Poile district could use some effort!
I would be happy to help with that district...I wasn't sure anyone was still doing it!
I say "it could use some effort", but if I'm completely honest, I've never transcribed a thing...
+2 votes
I'll have a go at this today! Not to be pushy (feel free to revert anything I did, of course) but I made some formatting changes (line breaks, and a location category) in order to make the profile a bit clearer.

Yes, Newfoundland ancestors before about 1850 can be tough. Especially in Burgeo, where I suspect a large majority of records, if they even exist, haven't been transcribed yet.
by Brad Foley G2G6 Mach 4 (46.6k points)
+1 vote
I found a way to search the whole site without opening the tabs for every single parish!

There is a Google custom search 'Search through the whole site' field on every page. Look toward the bottom of each page.

Just looking through the 10 pages of Stone results now, hoping to identify the earliest reference.  With this particular name, we also have to wade through the tomb 'stones' and the 'Stone Lady' and Stone's Cove--or is the last one a clue?  Was is named for a family member?
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
several Stones in Trinity in early days:

When you get the page open, use Control F to search for Stone

Seems to be the earliest reference to a member of the Stone family: William Stone died within the first year of arrival after May 1610.  Doesn't sound like he left a family....

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