Jacob Mooney & Mary Mooney
of Belmont & Lawrence Counties, Ohio


            Mary Mooney is my 2nd great grandmother. Mary and her assumed brother Jacob came to eastern Ohio about 1830. Jacob Mooney married Mary Ann Hughes in 1831 and Mary Mooney married Stephen Mount in 1833. Both of these marriages occurred in Belmont County, Ohio, directly across the Ohio River from what was the northern panhandle of Virginia until the Civil War. The very narrow panhandle is now West Virginia and is bordered on the east by Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania. The parents of Jacob and Mary are unknown to us. We have created this page in the hope that someone can add something useful to the narrative, so that this lineage can be extended.
            If the Mooneys and this search interest you, you could search the LDS FamilySearch Pennsylvania Probate Records 1683-1994. Concentrate on Washington, Greene and Fayette Counties. The records have not been indexed by the LDS, but many have internal indices. There is a steep leaning curve associated with exploring these records and there aren't any little bouncing green leaves to help, but if you discover something significant, you will be thrilled. 

            Jacob Mooney of Monroe Co. & Mary Ann Hughs of Somersett (Note: Somerset is a Belmont township) were married 23 April 1831 in Belmont County, Ohio. Elisha Leake swears that Jacob is more than 21 from a statement of his uncle. Mr. Gouley of Morris Town states that Miss Hughs is more than 18. (Note: The term "uncle could have meant the brother, half-brother or brother-in-law of Jacob's father. It could also mean a great/grand uncle or great/grand uncle-in-law. At this time, the term "uncle" was sometimes used very loosely to describe a relationship that was not completely understood. In any event, this would probably mean that Jacob's father was not in the area or deceased. Elisha Leke was enumerated in the 1830 Somerset Township, Belmont County, Ohio census. Very near Elisha, a Lemiel Fordice was enumerated. Lemuel Fordice was the husband of Sarah Mount, daughter of John Mount Sr. A son of John Mount Sr. was John D. Mount who married Anna McVay. Their son Stephen Mount married Mary Mooney, the subject of this page. Thus, Lemuel might be the "uncle" mentioned in the marriage license. The Mounts and Fordices/Fordyces migrated to eastern Ohio from the counties of Washington, Greene and Fayette in western Pennsylvania. We think that this is the area that the Mooneys came from.)

            Mr. Stephen Mount & Miss Mary Mooney were were married 18 November, 1833 in Belmont County, Ohio. "he having having produced a written permission from under the hands of his parents".... "she resides in Belmont County" (Note: Since Stephen had permission to marry, he was most likely less than age 21 and probably between 18 & 21.

            In almost all the post-1850 censuses that Jacob Mooney and and his sister Mary were recorded, they were enumerated as born in Pennsylvania. Mary was born in 1812. Jacob was born about 1809. In the 1880 Lawrence census, Jacob's parents were enumerated as being born in Pennsylvania, as were the parents of Mary Mooney Mount. In the 1900 Lawrence census, Jacob was enumerated as age ninety-fine, born in Virginia and parents born in Germany.

            On adjacent days in 1834, Stephen Mount and Jacob Mooney were issued land patents in adjacent sections in Belmont County. These sections were in Somerset Township, adjacent to the Monroe County line. The Jacob Mony family and the Stephen Mounts family were enumerated living side-by-side in the 1840 Monroe County, Ohio census.

            Both of these families moved west to Lawrence County, Ohio before 1860. I cannot find either family in the 1850 census, but both Stephen and Jacob were issued patents for land in adjacent sections in Lawrence on the same day in 1849.

            There are legendary assertions concerning Jacob and Mary Mooney. They are alleged to have used a raft on the Ohio River to make there way to eastern Ohio. It is also alleged that both were "bond servants" and that Mary was a "dress maker". The legend also alleges that a "bond servant" was a person that that agreed to work without pay for a period of time in exchange for passage to America. We are certainly not experts on the subject, so it is difficult to know the true circumstances surrounding the term "bond servant". We have seen this term defined as mainly as a slave and very infrequently as an indentured servant. We have seem the phrase "indentured bond servant". Jacob and Mary Mooney were enumerated many times as being born in Pennsylvania, so this part of the story seems incorrect; however, they could easily have been children of indentured servants or relatives of other Mooney indentured servants. The niece and nephew possibility has a certain appeal since the Jacob's marriage license mentions an uncle.
            It also seems possible that Jacob and Mary could have been indentured in another way. They could have been orphans that were "bound out" to non-parents. In the early 1800s an orphan was defined as any fatherless person under the age of twenty-one, even if the mother was living. If the mother was also dead or unable to support her children, orphans usually lived with relations or with friends of their mother and/or father; however, if no one would accept this responsibility, the orphans could be legally bound out by a court until they were twenty-one. The custodians of the orphans had legal responsibilities that varied by state. Among these responsibilities, there was usually a requirement that the orphan be apprenticed or learn a trade. This could have been how Mary Mooney became a dress maker.

            While it would been a minor miracle if the mtDNA that I received from my mother and hence from Mary Mooney Mount led to the discovery of Mary's mother, it is nevertheless of some interest. mtDNA is passed from mother to daughter forever with very little change. mtDNA is also passed from mother to son, but the son does not pass it on to his sons or daughters. Those familiar with yDNA and atDNA will know that the characteristics of these types of DNA can be very useful in family history research; however, the very infrequent natural mutations of mtDNA make it much more suitable for research dealing with very ancient ancestors who existed hundreds of generations in the past. This stability also means that a perfect mtDNA match between two individuals indicates that their Common Ancestor (CA) could be in the near past, several hundred generations in the past or at any time in between. Hence, mtDNA has become the primary tool of genetic archeologists and anthropologists primarily concerned with the ancient migration of humans which occurred over many millennia. In fact, mtDNA has been extracted from human bones over 40,000 years old. Mary Mooney's mtDNA haplogroup is U3 and her subclade is the rather recently discovered and rare minor subclade U3b1b, which seems to have coalesced in Iran, Iraq and Yemen some 2500 years ago. Probably because of the rarity of her mtDNA, we have not found an exact match for Mary Mooney Mount in the databases of FTDNA or ySearch. The closet matches are for genetic distances of 2 and 3. Some of these folks have also taken a Family Finder (atDNA) test, but none of these matched our own atDNA. This would indicate that our CA is beyond the reach of the atDNA test. Nevertheless, as more and more people get mtDNA tests, the probability of a match that leads to a more recent CA increases.
            Along with the Y chromosome, the X chromosome is one of the two sex determining chromosomes. Because men do not pass their X chromosome to their sons, the inheritance pattern of the X chromosome is different for men and women. It is usually very difficult to trace the X chromosome back more than a couple of generations; however, the possibility exists for a xDNA match that provides useful information.

            Updated Nov 17, 2017 - The autosomal chromosome (atDNA) is passed by both mother and father to their sons and daughters. Although the average inheritance is a 50/50 split, the actual distribution normally varies from 30% to 70% and since approximately 50% is lost every generation, the chances are about 50/50 of providing a match between two 4th cousins. The most important characteristic of atDNA to remember is that since it is passed down to children from both parents, it may be associated with any of the tester's ancestors; therefore, a match with an individual usually only proves that the two tester's are related. Since each tester has 32 3rd great grandparents and 64 4th great grandparents, the chances of having more than one common ancestor is a distinct possibility and when these ancestors mostly came from rural communities, the possibility is quite large. Nevertheless, the atDNA test can be used to provide virtually certain proof in a few situations and the relationship, if any, of Jacob and Mary Mooney seems to be one of these. Both Jacob and Mary had many descendants and quite a few of these descendants have been had atDNA tests done. We have a significant number of matches with other descendants of Mary Mooney, but none with descendants of Jacob Mooney. Even though Jacob and Mary Mooney were very closely associated in Ohio, this discovery almost surely means that they were not related. We posit that they may have even considered themselves as brother and sister. We also posit that one or both were adopted and that their birth names may not have been Mooney. At any rate, their apparent close relationship does not seems to provide any help in extending their lineages.

Created Jun 2, 2015
Revised Nov 17, 2017

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