Saturday, April 6, 2013

Brick Wall #1: John Lusby

When I told my parents I was going to trace my family tree, my mom gave me the report that my Great Aunt Edie (Edythmae Lusby Johnston) had compiled that started with my 2x great grandfather, Thomas Washington Lusby.  The report traced this branch of the Lusby Family down to what was current in 1993, which is when a Lusby Family Reunion was held near the original homeplace in Robley, Virginia.  The report included all her research sources, notes from the Family Bible, and conversations with other family members.  Also included in the report was a snippet of information about Thomas' father, John (my 3x great grandfather).  Thus, I pretty much started my journey with a brick wall - John Lusby.

Since I couldn't find out anything on John at all, I decided to start with Thomas and loaded all the information from my Aunt Edie's research into the tree I started at  Then I decided to come back to John, and try again.  Nothing.  So I'd move one to a different branch or work on my mother's side of the tree.  But I'd always come back to John, and find absolutely nothing.

In everything I have read about doing genealogical research and dealing with brick walls, they all say to start with what you know and to write down what you know.  I have recently returned to John Lusby, and did just that.  So between my Aunt Edie and a professional genealogist that I hired a few years ago to help me, this is what I know about John Lusby.

  • W. John Lusby married Margaret B. Self on 25 Dec 1833 in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  The minister was Thomas M. Washington.  The bride's parents were listed as Moses and Maget Self.  (Source:  Marriage Bonds, 1830-1833, Vol. 11, page 33, 41, 41a, Westmoreland County, Virginia)
  • John Lusby married Margaret Self, Dec. 1833; Daniel Hardwick, Sec.  (Source:  Marriage License Bonds of Westmoreland County, Virginia from 1783-1850).
  • John T. Lusby is listed as the father and Margaret B. Self is listed as the mother of Thomas W. Lusby on the record of his marriage to to his first wife, Martha A. Dunaway on 22 Jan 1857.  I found the record on  (Source:  Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940)
  • John Lusby is listed as the father and Margaret Lusby is listed as the mother of Thomas W. Lusby on the record of his marriage to his second wife, Fannie J. Dameron on 25 May 1870.  I found the record on   (Source:  Virginia Marriages, 1875-1940)
  • John Lusby died before 1845, but I can't find any reference to it on or  I'm basing this on the fact that Margaret B. Lusby married James B. Moxley on 7 Dec 1845.  Daniel Hardwick, Sec.  The minister was Rev. Elijah L. Williams.  (Source:  Marriages of Richmond County, Virginia, 1668-1853)
  • On the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, Thomas Lusby, age 15, male, pauper is enumerated with James B. Moxley, Margaret B. Moxley, Leviticus Lusby (4), and James Edwin Moxley (1).
So that's all I have on John Lusby.  Whenever I did a search, I'd find a lot of John Lusby's all over the place, I could never connect the dots.  He had to have come from somewhere, didn't he?  I'm sure he didn't just drop out of the sky.

There is a big group of Lusby's in Maryland, and I thought that maybe I could link my Lusby's to them.  Jim Hartung runs a genealogy database full of Lusby's from Maryland, North Carolina, and Kentucky.  I've searched that database more than once, but none of mine are in there, and I couldn't find a link to them from my line.

So when I hired the genealogist to help me, she was able to confirm the information I had already found, and  believed that one of the records she had found is evidence of a tie between my Lusby's in Virginia and the line from Cecil County, Maryland.  It's a very thin line right now, but it's a place to start.  What do you think?

What the genealogist found is as follows:

  • A death record for a Nicholas Lusby who died in Richmond County, Virginia on 19 Mar 1867 at the age of 78.  The record lists his birth date as 1789, birthplace as the Eastern Shore.  He's white, and at the time of his death, he was married to a Rebecca Lusby.  His father was listed as Ed Lusby.  (Source:  Virginia, Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912)
  • A record of a John Lusby, born 30 Aug 1782 in Saint Stephen's Parish, Cecil County, Maryland.  The father listed is Edward Lusby and the mother listed is Ann.  (Source:  Maryland, Births and Christenings, 1650-1995)
  • A record of John, son of Edward Lusby and Ann, his wife, born 30th Aug 1782.  It also shows a record of Nicholas, son of Edward Lusby and Ann, his wife, born 4th Jan 1791.  (Source:  A Copy of the Records of St. Stephens Parish (Episcopal), Cecilton, Maryland)
So what conclusions can I draw from the above?  If this John Lusby is the one I'm looking for, he would have been about 51 years old when he married Margaret Self in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1833.  Maybe that would explain why he only had one child with Margaret.

But it raises a whole slew of additional questions:  What brought him to the Northern Neck Region of Virginia from the Eastern Shore of Maryland?  Is Nicholas Lusby really the brother of my John Lusby?  Did John have a wife or two before Margaret?  Were there other children with those previous marriages?  Do I have enough to continue this line of research or should I stick to searching for a John Lusby born in Virginia?

I have a copy (from the genealogist) of Cecil County, Maryland Marriage References 1674-1824, and there are two more John Lusby's that could be possibilities:

  • Lusby, John, m. Ann Walmsley, circa 26 Sep 1805.
  • Lusby, John, son of Thomas Lusby, m. Emeline Neal, circa 3 Oct 1815

Anyone reading this, what do you think?  Is there enough there to warrant further investigation?  I think there is, but am looking for suggestions on what do to next?


  1. interesting puzzle. You don't mention anything about land or court records for John. I'm assuming that since there was a professional genealogist involved that a search for these records was exhausted (or maybe there are no court records!). Have you done searches for siblings of Thomas? I've had great luck searching for siblings and finding information on the parents through them. As for the leads you mention, I say definitely follow up on them. It can't hurt and if nothing else what you find will exclude them from your search and could help someone else out. I look forward to hearing what you come up with!

  2. Thanks for commenting Heather. I never attempted to do a search for court or land records, and I'm not sure if the genealogist did either. I know records in Virginia in this period can be hard to find.

    The only sibling I know that Thomas had was Leviticus, who was a mulatto, so she was his half-sister. I've never been able to find anything on her after the 1950 census. I don't even know if John's marriage to Margaret was his first or second marriage. Without a birth year/place I'm having a hard time placing him.

    What I think I'll do first is search for John Lusby's born in Virginia with the assumption that he was in his early 20's when he married. I doubled checked Margaret's age at time of marriage, and she would have been about 25 yo if she was born in 1808, which is what I have from my Great Aunt Edie. So maybe John's born in Virginia between 1800 and 1810 first.

    It's a shame that his parents aren't listed on either of the marriage records that I found over on family search and that the genealogist found. I'll also see what land/court records I can find on

    I sure wish that the censuses from 1840 and prior had family members listed. Sure would make things much easier.

    Stay tuned....hopefully I can find out who he is, where he came from, and if I can link him to the Maryland group if nothing pans out for Virginia.


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