Next week I’ll be attending the National Genealogical Society’s 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing some of the presentations on Virginia records. I know I have several Virginia ancestors and suspect I may have even more, so I’m also excited about working in some research time at the Library of Virginia while I’m there.
One person I want to investigate is Catharine Fox, wife of Jacob Roush. Jacob served in the Dunmore County Militia under Captain Jacob Holman during the Revolutionary War. (The name of the county changed to Shenandoah in 1778, after the patriotic colonists tired of the British Lord Dunmore.) Although I’ve found a number of records for Jacob, I know much less about his wife Catharine, who is my 6th-great-grandmother. According to DAR records, she was born in 1758 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I haven’t been able to find a birth or baptism record to verify that information yet, but it’s a clue, at least. Her parents are unknown.
Fortunately, I have found some records naming Catharine:
- The marriage bonds of Shenandoah County, Virginia, show that Jacob Rausch secured a bond to marry Catharine Fuchsin on 21 February 1775. The record, which I’ve only seen in abstracted form, uses the German spellings of both surnames. (Fuchs is the German word for Fox, and the –in suffix at the end of the name indicates the person is female.) In the absence of a surviving marriage return, I’m following the DAR’s lead in using this as the date of their marriage.
- The births and baptisms of Jacob and Catharine’s first seven children were recorded in the registry of Old Pine Church in Mill Creek, Virginia. The registry is written in German, but has been transcribed by Klaus Wust. The original book is at the Library of Virginia, and I would love to see it, if it’s not too fragile to handle. The family’s record appears on page 7. One entry in particular intrigues me. The only sponsor for the baptism of Jacob and Catharine’s first child, Rosina, born 20 January 1877, was a woman named Catharina Fuchs. Who was this Catharina? Could she have been the mother, aunt, or cousin of the Catharine Fuchsin who married Jacob Rausch? (Note: Catharine’s name is also spelled Catharina in German records, including the baptism registry.) I think there’s a strong probability of a relationship between the two women of the same name, but I don’t know its exact nature.
- The Old Pine Church registry also contains an entry for the baptism of Johannes Fuchs, son of Adam Fuchs and his wife Elisabeth, born 19 February 1784. Could this Adam Fuchs be the brother of Catharine (Fuchs) Roush? The surname is uncommon enough to make me suspect so, but as yet I have no proof.
- The final clue I’ve found to Catharine’s birth family comes from the last known record that she and Jacob created in Shenandoah County. After both of Jacob’s parents died, they moved west and bought land in what is now Mason County, West Virginia, and Gallia County, Ohio. They sold their remaining Shenandoah County land on 9 September 1799 to Peter Fox. Catharine made a mark (X) instead of signing her name. Who was Peter Fox, and might he also have been Catharine’s brother?
Catharine (Fox) Roush is buried in Roush Cemetery in Cheshire, Gallia County, Ohio. Her date of death is a mystery. I think she may have died relatively early in their residence there, because she did not sign the customary dower release when Jacob sold land in October 1809, or any time thereafter. Jacob wrote a detailed will in January 1827, and Catharine is not mentioned in it.
So where does this leave me? Well, first I need to develop a research focus for Catharine. I’m considering this: "How was Catharine Fox, who married Jacob Roush in February 1775, associated with fellow Shenandoah County residents Catharina Fuchs/Fox, Adam Fuchs/Fox, and Peter Fox?" Then I want to take a good look at the Library of Virginia’s online catalog and determine which resources I want to see next week. And I’d better get cracking—it’s coming up fast!
© 2014, Shelley Bishop
“52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” is coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow, CG, author of No Story Too Small.
 Gaius M. Brumbaugh, Revolutionary War Records Virginia (1936; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1995), p. 607-609.
 Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Research System, “Ancestor Search” database (http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search/?Tab_ID=1 : accessed 28 April 2014), Jacob Roush of Virginia, Ancestor #A098978.
 John Vogt and T. William Kethley, Shenandoah County Marriage Bonds, 1772-1850 (Athens, Georgia: Iberian Press, 1983), p. 243.
 Klaus Wust, Old Pine Church Baptisms, 1783-1828, Mill Creek, Virginia (Edinburg, Virginia: Shenandoah History, 1987), p. 19-20.
 Ibid., p. 20.
 Amelia C. Gilreath, Shenandoah County, Virginia Deed Book Series, Volume 4: Combination Minute Book, 1774-1780, and Deed Books M and N, 1799-1804 (Nokesville, Virginia: privately published, 1989), p. 57; citing Shenandoah County Deed Book M: 47, Jacob Roush to Peter Fox (1799).