Colwell Pettypool, son of William(4) and Mary Caldwell of Lunenburg County, Virginia

William(4) and Mary (Caldwell) Pettypool of Lunenburg County, Virginia are known to have produced at least five sons.1   The eldest of the group, Colwell (presumably named for his maternal grandfather), was the only one to have lived out his life in Virginia, likely in part because of his favored status as the first-borne male.  He was to reap the benefits of primogeniture, or the inheritance rights of the oldest male child to the exclusion of any female and male younger siblings.

Edward Caldwell, Mary’s father, had designated both of his grandchildren, “Colwell Petepool and William Petepool,” as recipients of land he had deeded for “life use” to William(4) and Mary in 1748.2  However, when the property was divided as part of a series of transactions on 25 June 1773, Colwell received 320 acres of a 420-acre plot and William Jr. only 100 acres (which Colwell immediately proceeded to buy for 100 pounds.)3
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English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia

A new publication, English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia, by Carolyn Hartsough is available for download at This 137 page document describes the origins of the Pettypool surname in medieval England, and traces the family from its Essex roots through the departure of William Pettypool for colonial Virginia in the 17th century. An excerpt from the paper follows: Continue reading “English Ancestry of the Pettypool Family of Colonial Virginia”

Chance Favors the Prepared Mind

One of “three youngest Sons”: Identifying a
Missing 18th Century Pettypool Family Member

Carolyn Hartsough

My favorite genealogical moments involve discovering the identity of extended family members who are known to exist but haven’t been identifiable using easily accessed historical sources and “reasonably exhaustive research.”1 Although one such individual has eluded my best efforts since I started to research the early branches of the Pettypool family over 35 years ago, a concentrated review of one Pettypool family branch along with a chance “hit” on an online database seems to have solved the mystery.

I finally published “The William Pettypool Family of Southside Virginia: Lineage Review Based on Current Review of Evidence” in 2003 knowing that some lines had not been fully extended and that one line, in particular, was missing an un-named heir. The individual in question was a son of William(4) Pettypool (ca 1720 – ca 1774), fourth in a line of Pettypool men all named William, the first of whom was the mid-17th century English immigrant to colonial Virginia.2

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