Michael A. O’Neill
First published 28 September 2014
Last updated 30 November 2016
Redmond, King, Washington, USA
If you find this article helpful to your own family history, please don’t copy the full text to ancestry.com or other genealogy site. I try to keep all articles current, and update them if/when I obtain new information. Instead, please link to the article and include–at the most–a copy of the article’s summary section, which is unlikely to change.
Andrew Chew left behind very few documentary records of his existence. Many family researchers, including myself, list basic facts about his life, including his birth between 1770 and 1773 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia; and his death in 1827, 1825 or 1830 in Ohio.
With the exception of his 26 Apr 1797 marriage bond for a marriage with Anna Mariah Barthist, however, these basic genealogical facts are neither supported nor contradicted by primary source evidence.
The names of the men and women commonly listed as Andrew & Anna Chew’s children are a different story. I will document what evidence I have discovered that support the assertion that Andrew & Anna Chew are the parents of the seven children commonly associated with them in many family trees.
The following two children can be conclusively tied to Andrew & Anna Chew via primary source evidence:
- Mary Moon (1807-1859), based on a document where Andrew Chew granted permission for her to marry.
- Nancy Bishop (1812-1892) based on an affidavit from her son James, and supported by an 1850 US census record.
Two additional children are often tied to Andrew & Anna Chew by combining circumstantial primary source evidence with an indirect proof. This proof rests on the relatively safe assumption that one of these men’s wife was not also a member of the extended Chew clan—when in fact she was Chew, and by the same logic, potentially a daughter of Andrew & Anna Chew. Additionally, a larger corpus of similarly circumstantial evidence suggests the possibility of a completely different Chew lineage for at least one if not both of these men.
I can find no primary source evidence supporting the assertion that the following three children are descendants of Andrew and Anna Chew.
The documentary landscape
There are three categories of primary sources that can associate Andrew & Anna Chew with their presumed children:
For the period between 1820 and 1850, the ideal source of evidence is probate, which often (but not always) includes the names of the decedent’s children.
Unfortunately, there is no clear place for Andrew’s death, but a best guess would be in southwestern Ohio, where many of his children were married, and where he occasionally appeared in civil records. I conducted what I believe to be an exhaustive search for probate records for Andrew in Clinton, Clermont, Butler, Hamilton, Green and Warren counties in Ohio, and have found nothing.
There are no clear places for Anna’s death, but a probate records search in her last known county of residence—Hamilton, Indiana—yielded no results either.
None of Andrew & Anna’s children lived in an age and place where marriage or death records included the names of parents, unless the bride or groom was below the age of consent.
While marriage records exist for five of Andrew & Anna’s seven purported children, only one is for a minor.
Andrew Chew completely managed to avoid being recorded in U.S. census records.
Anna, however, lived long enough to appear in the 1850 U.S. census, and probably in the 1860 U.S. Census. While these census records do not explicitly record family relationships, it is possible to infer a connection via other circumstantial evidence.
James Bishop’s 1916 affidavit provides strong proof that Andrew Chew was Nancy’s father. (See appendix for the statement).
Nancy’s maiden name is also confirmed by her 17 Jan 1830 marriage record from Clinton County, Ohio. That location, in southwestern Ohio is one of the places that Andrew and Anna Chew are supposed to have lived.
Clinton County is also where Nancy’s sister Mary Moon née Chew is buried.
Additionally, in 1870, Nancy lived in Noblesville in Hamilton County, Indiana, the same place that Thomas Chew was living, and where Joseph Chew died.
The other strong paternal connection to Andrew Chew is with his daughter Mary Chew (1807 to 1859). On 29 Apr 1825, when Mary married Thomas Moon in Warren County Ohio, she was just seventeen, and the County Clerk required parental consent before a marriage license could be issued. Andrew’s name and signature providing his permission prove that Mary was his daughter.
The 1850 U.S. census provides supporting evidence: it shows a seventy-three-year-old Anna M. Chew living with the family of William J (24) and Diantha (22) Kelso in Martinsville, Ohio.
A 26 Apr 1797 marriage bond from Mason County, Kentucky names Anna Mariah Barthist as Andrew Chew’s intended bride, matching the first name and middle initial from the 1850 census.
As to Anna M. Chew’s, she was Diantha Kelso’s grandmother.
The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy states: “1848, 3, 18 [18 Mar 1848]. Diantha Kelso (form Moon) con mou [condemned for marriage out of unity]” meaning Diantha’s maiden name was Moon. A few pages earlier in that same volume, a Diantha Moon is listed as being born to Thomas Moon (27 May 1805 to 9 Sep 1902), who in turn was the son of Joseph and Sarah Moon. This matches quite nicely with the Joseph Moon who in April of 1825 gave his permission for his son Thomas Moon to marry Mary Chew, the daughter of Andrew Chew.
The connection between Andrew Chew and Joseph & Emily Chew centers on an 1860 US census record showing three generations of women living in either the same house, or in two immediately adjacent houses in Adams Township, Hamilton County, Indiana:
- Anna Chew, an 83-year-old born in Virginia (this matches the age and birthplace of the Anna M. Chew in the 1850 census discussed in the section on Mary Moon);
- Emily Chew, a sixty-three-year-old born in Kentucky; and
- Amelia Monday/Mundy, the 34-year-old Indiana-born wife of James Mundy.
Starting with the third: Amelia Mundy was a Chew, based on the 1887 marriage record of their youngest son, James Lincoln Mundy. Additionally, she is commonly identified as a daughter of Joseph and Emily Chew. While there is no explicit evidence, her proximity to the two older Chew women in the census is strongly suggestive.
The second woman is probably the widow of Joseph Chew, whose 25 Oct 1845 will—proved in Hamilton County, Indiana probate court in February of 1846—willed “to my beloved wife Amelia Chew all my real estate and personal goods likewise for her to have during her widowhood.” Additionally, Joseph Chew married an Emelie Chew in Highland County, Ohio on 30 March 1820. Amelia and Emily can be interchangeable names for the time period.
Of course, ten years prior to that critical 1860 census record, there were two Amelia/Emily Chews in Adams Township, Hamilton County, Indiana, and either could be the woman named in Joseph Chew’s 1845 will. The second one was born in Missouri around 1803 (rather than Kentucky in 1798), and she would have been seventeen in 1820, old enough to wed Joseph Chew in Ohio. While Joseph Chew’s will did not name his children, both women had children with names and ages commonly associated with Joseph Chew in family trees, along with birthplaces in both Ohio (for the woman born in 1798) and Indiana (for the woman born in 1803).
I have not been able to find the woman born in Missouri in subsequent census records. Considering that her eldest child was born in Indiana around 1820 or 1821, I believe the one born in Kentucky in 1798 and living with Anna Chew in 1860 is the better fit for Joseph’s wife (her eldest was born in Ohio around 1819 or 1820, where Joseph Chew and Emily Chew wed in 1820).
The first woman is likely Anna Chew née Barthist. Her information in the 1860 census matches the age and place of birth of the Anna M. Chew living with Diantha Kelso in Clark County, Ohio in 1850. Diantha was the daughter of Mary Moon née Chew, who can be explicitly proven as a daughter of Andrew Chew. Additionally, there is no other match in the 1860 census for a woman named Anna/Ann/Anne Chew of the appropriate childbearing age (i.e. between 1770 and 1790) living in Indiana and neighboring states.
Just to be sure, I expanded the search to the entire United States, and found only five alternates:
- Ann Chew (b. 1773-1863) who was living in Deptford, New Jersey in 1830 and 1850. None of the Chews in this study exhibit any connection to New Jersey at all. It is also more likely that, in the mid-1800s, a woman in her 70s would be living with her children in Ohio, rather than with a stranger in New Jersey.
- Anne Chew (b. 1790), an African-American who in 1850 was married to a Philip Chew and was living in Washington, DC with her children. Besides being too young to give birth to most of Andrew Chew’s children, she was almost certainly living in the wrong part of the country. The 1850 census notes that all of her children were born in Virginia between 1820 and 1839. Additionally, Philip appears in the 1840 US census in Washington, DC with appropriately aged minors and adult female to match the 1850 record. There’s also an 1820 census record for a Philip Chew in Prince George’s County, Maryland that may be the same family.
- Anna Maria Chew née Brooks (1765-1862), who married Philemon Lloyd Chew. The couple’s genealogy is well documented, from their two children to the fact that they spent their entire lives in Maryland. Even with an Ohio land claim associated with her father, there is no chance that this Anna Maria Chew has any relation to the children of Andrew and Anna Mariah Chew.
- Anna Maria Chew (d. Jun 1816) of New Jersey. Her gravestone doesn’t list her birth year or age, but the daughter of Nathan and Sarah Chew. She was unmarried, and may have been a minor.
- Anna Chew (b. 1775), who in 1850 was living with a William Chew (b. 1780) in Harrison County, West Virginia.
Of the five, the Anna Chew living in Harrison County, West Virginia in 1850 is the only one that might represent Anna Mariah Chew née Barthist. Considering that this Anna Chew doesn’t appear in West Virginia in 1860 then she could have shown up in Adams, Indiana in 1860.
Joseph Chew was a son of Andrew Chew and Anna Mariah Barthist
The most common conclusion is that Anna Chew was Joseph’s mother. I believe this conclusion originates with a 2009 Daughters of the American Revolution application (member number 874484) which did not cite the 1820 marriage record showing that Joseph Chew married another member of the extended Chew clan.
A number of family trees also suggest that Emily Chew was a daughter of Andrew Chew’s older brother Coleby Chew. None of these trees are sourced. Berkeley County, West Virginia Guardianship records related to Coleby Chew name both Morris Rees Chew and Emily Chew, wife of James McKee.
Emily Chew was a daughter of Andrew Chew and Anna Mariah Barthist
With so little documentary evidence for Andrew and Anna Chew, Emily’s birth in Kentucky around 1798–within a year of Andrew and Anna’s 1797 marriage in Kentucky–makes her a better match than her husband, for whom we have no place of birth and a birth between 1795 to 1800.
Neither of them were a child of Andrew Chew and Anna Mariah Barthist
Considering this relationship rest mostly on a single census record, it is also possible that there is no relationship with Andrew Chew at all, and that the Anna living in Adams Township in 1860 is a completely different woman.
My preferred conclusion?
I believe that Emily Chew was a daughter of Andrew Chew and Anna Mariah Barthist.
In Joseph Chew’s 25 October 1845 will (proven in Hamilton County, Indiana in February 1846), he names Thomas Chew as his executor, and explicitly names him “brother.” He was probably 47 or 48 years old at his death, based on the 1820, 1830 and 1840 US census, which suggest he was born between 1795 and 1800. (The unsourced internet consensus is that he was born in 1798.)
There were three Thomas Chews living in Hamilton County, Indiana in 1850, five years after Joseph Chew died.
- The elder Thomas Chew was born in 1801 in Virginia.
- The middle Thomas Chew was born in 1819 in Ohio.
- The youngest Thomas Chew was born in 1832 in Ohio.
The third Thomas Chew (1832-1861), more than 30 years Joseph Chew’s junior, was the son of the eldest Thomas Chew. He was living with the elder Thomas Chew in 1850, and in 1860 with his older brother John W. Chew. The eldest Thomas named this Thomas’s two children as his grandchildren in his will.
The middle Thomas Chew (1819-1904) is a bit of a mystery. His parents are unknown, and some family trees suggest (without citation or source) that he was Joseph Chew’s son. He was recorded as living adjacent to Emily Chew née Chew in 1850 and 1860, which supports that conclusion. On the other hand, he was born around 1819, a year prior to Joseph’s marriage to Emily Chew. The 20+ year age difference between the two men makes it less likely the two were siblings.
The eldest of the three Thomas Chews (1801-1879), born just a few years after Joseph, is the most probable candidate to be his brother. Their joint involvement in a probate matter in Hamilton County, Indiana in the early 1840s (when the middle Thomas would barely have been twenty) adds some helpful, albeit circumstantial, evidence in support.
All of this said, it is not definitive that Joseph Chew’s use of the term “brother” requires that Thomas be his biological sibling. In 1845–170 years ago–it would have been culturally normal for “brother” to be used to name an in-law as well as a sibling. Additionally, considering Thomas’ lifelong association with Quaker communities, he and his brother may have adopted that religion’s practice of calling co-religionists “brother” and “sister.”
Who were Thomas Chew’s parents?
The common conclusion is that Thomas’s parents were Andrew & Anna Chew, a conclusion I believe originates with a Daughters of the American Revolution application from 2009, which cites the 1860 census record, the relationship expressed in Joseph Chew’s 1845 will, and the assumption that Joseph Chew’s wife was not a Chew herself.
While it is possible that Joseph Chew is Andrew & Anna Chew’s son, I believe it improbable that Thomas Chew is similarly related for four reasons:
- Geography–the evidentiary record for Thomas Chew and Andrew Chew place them in two different states when Thomas was born in 1801. It also would have required Thomas to make two, four-hundred mile journeys between Ohio and Virginia as a young man.
- Probate–an extensive probate record associating Thomas Chew with Zebulon Overman and his wife, Nancy Chew, could suggest (but do not prove) a close familial relationship between Nancy and Thomas that is typical of siblings. Andrew and Anna Chew definitely had a daughter named Nancy who married a Joseph Bishop, not Zebulon Overman.
- Religious–Thomas Chew had a lifelong affiliation with Quakers, but Andrew Chew’s ancestors must have been Anglicans to be eligible to hold public office in Virginia, which did not tolerate religious dissenters until the time of the Revolution.
- DNA–an Ancestry.com DNA test taken by one of Thomas Chew’s descendants showed matches with people who claim descent from ancestors of Thomas’ wife, Julia Minser, but not with any of Andrew Chew’s ancestors/descendants. However, there are a smattering of matches to people who claim descent from the Quaker branch of the Chew family based in Maryland.
If Thomas was the son of Andrew and Anna Chew, then the intersection of Thomas’s and Andrew’s documentary timeline had Thomas making at least four, 400+ mile trips from Virginia, to Ohio, to Virginia, to Ohio between 1801 and 1831–a trivial matter today, but a pretty big deal when Ohio was the frontier.
In the 1850, 1860 and 1870 censuses, Thomas is recorded as being born around 1801 in Virginia, a time when primary source evidence shows Andrew Chew living in Ohio in 1801 and 1802. This isn’t insurmountable: Anna could easily have been back in Berkeley County, W. Va., with her mother-in-law Mary Chew (assuming she was still alive) or her brothers-in-law when Thomas was born. Additionally, Andrew Chew retained ties to Berkeley County, W. Va., selling land there in 1811.
The last documentary evidence of Andrew Chew was in Butler County, Ohio in 1812. He supposedly passed away in the mid-1820s in Greene County, Ohio. His two confirmed daughters married in Clinton and Warren Counties, with two other presumed children marrying in Clinton County as well–all in the 1820s and early 1830s. All four counties are adjacent to each other in southwestern Ohio.
Thomas married in Frederick County, Va. in 1823; was recorded living in Jefferson County, W. Va. (adjacent to Berkeley and Frederick Counties) in the in 1830 U.S. census; and his three oldest children reported that they were born in Virginia between 1826 and 1830, with the rest reporting birth in Ohio starting in 1832.
Oddly, Thomas specified Virginia in the 1870 census, not West Virginia, which became a state in 1863. The documentary evidence for Andrew Chew only shows a connection to West Virginia, specifically Monongalia and Berkeley Counties (the latter of which shares a border with Frederick County, Virginia). This may have been an oversight, or it may give a clear indication that Thomas was born Virginia, not West Virginia.
Both Thomas and Joseph/Emily resided in Highland County in the 1830s, which is east of the four Ohio counties associated with Andrew Chew, and adjacent to Clinton County.
Second is Thomas’ role as guardian of Zebulon and Luisa Overman, the orphans of Nathan and Nancy Overman. The problem? Nancy Overman’s maiden name was Chew as well, according to an indexed entry documenting their marriage in Highland County, Ohio sometime between 1817 and 1821. While I am not an expert in the history of guardianship law nor of the cultural norms of the period, I think it is safe to assume that both parents and courts would appoint guardians who are close blood relatives of the children, if possible. If this is, in fact, true (and I have no expert evidence supporting this assertion), then it begs the question of how Thomas Chew and Nancy Overman née Chew were related. Andrew and Anna Chew definitely had a daughter named Nancy, as evidenced by the aforementioned affidavit of Nancy’s son, James Bishop. So either Nancy Overman née Chew was a cousin or more distant relation, or Thomas and Joseph Chew were not brothers of Nancy Chew, and thus not the sons of Andrew and Anna Chew.
To take this a step further, before Nancy’s death in the early 1840s, both Thomas and Joseph Chew were mentioned in probate records associated with the Overmans (I have re-ordered this film to obtain further details). Then on 17 Sep 1841, Nancy Overman appointed Thomas as her attorney.
A close familial relationship between Nancy Overman née Chew and Thomas Chew also helps explain Thomas’ relationship with the Sumner family. In 1850, a William Sumner was living with Thomas and Julia Chew in Hamilton County, Indiana. Two families down (immediately after Thomas’ and Julia’s son, 23-year-old son James A. Chew and his wife, Ruth) was William Sumner’s son, Joseph and his family. In 1840, Joseph and Mariah Sumner sued Nancy Overman over land granted to Nathan Overman and Mariah Sumner by Nathan and Mariah’s father, Zebulon Overman (1756-1830). Their brother, Elias Overman, was appointed guardian ad litem for Nathan’s minor children Zebulon (b. 1828) and Luisa Overman.
My wife’s mother took an Ancestry.com DNA. That test–which attempts to merge traditional family trees with DNA matching–yielded 26 DNA matches to people with the surname Chew in their family tree. A plurality of those trees (42%) left little to go on–just a single Chew married to another fellow. Of the remainder:
- 31% (8) were associated with the Maryland/Quaker branch of the Chew family;
- 15% (4) were associated with the New Jersey branch of the Chew family;
- 8% (2) were connected via Joseph and Emily Chew; and
- 4% (1) pointed to the Virginia branch of the Chew family, namely Andrew Chew’s family.
Ancestry.com’s DNA family tree matches are only as good as the family trees created on their system–garbage in, garbage out. And many of the trees in these matched are simply copies of other trees copied from older trees published by the Family History library.
Still, of 15 matches that had more than one Chew, just one pointed to the Virginia Chews. The rest were to either Maryland, New Jersey, or Joseph/Emily Chew.
For Sarah Chew, there is only one piece of evidence: her maiden name listed on a 2 Sep 1830 marriage license.
For the remaining two children, there is almost no supporting evidence whatsoever—beyond widely copied family trees.
Other family trees state that James (1804-1840) passed away in 1840 at the age of 35, though the only supporting evidence is a lack of records after that date. The latest likely record of James is an 1830 US Census record showing a man of his expected age living in Clinton County, Ohio. He does not appear to have any surviving adult children, but there was a boy under the age of five living in his home in 1830. His wife, Nancy Million Chew remarried in 1842 and had several children with her second husband judging by the 1850 US census. But none of these explain who the toddler boy was in the 1830 census (a man in his 20s in 1850 if he had survived), nor the two young girls (one under five, the other between 5 and 9) that are living with her in the 1840 US Census after James Chew had passed away. They may have been children of James and Nancy’s, or perhaps nieces/nephews of Nancy’s (she is living next door to Steven and Bennett Million—probably her brothers—in 1840).
For Elizabeth Beals (b. 1802), I haven’t even been able to find evidence that her maiden name was Chew.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 29 Sep 2013), Joseph Bishop and Ann Chew, 1830.
Pinkerton, Joyce Hopkins (comp.). Marriage records of Clinton County, Ohio, 1810-1900. Clinton County Genealogical Society. Mt. Vernon, Indiana. 1997.
 Web: Ohio, Find A Grave Index, 1787-2012 (findagrave.com : accessed 30 Nov 2014).
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 28 Sep 2014), Thomas Moon and Mary Chew, 29 Apr 1825; citing Warren, Ohio, United States, reference ; FHL microfilm 1510030.
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 28 Sep 2014), Warren > Marriage permissions 1803-1867 > image 414 of 1044.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 01 Dec 2014), Warren > Marriage permissions 1803-1867 > image 414 of 1044; county courthouses, Ohio.
 Hamilton County, Indiana; Index to Supplemental Record Marriage Transcript 1, W. P. A. Original Record Located County Clerk’s Of; Book: C-1; Page: 97.
“Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (accessed 29 Sep 2014), Amelia Chew in entry for J L Mundy and Elvira Edwards, 11 Oct 1887; citing Hamilton County; FHL microfilm 001320361.
 See e.g. Doliante, Sharon J. Maryland and Virginia Colonials: Genealogies of Some Colonial Families. Vol. II. Clearfield. Baltimore, Maryland. 1998. p 931 (accessed via ancestry.com 30 Nov 2014).
 Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line] (findagrave.com) accessed on 30 Nov 2014. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
 M”West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18263-10973-20?cc=1909099 : 22 June 2016), Berkeley > Will book, v. 007 1823-1825 > image 208 of 244; county courthouses, West Virginia.
 U.S. Census; Year: 1820; Census Place: Green, Fayette, Ohio; Page: 17A; NARA Roll: M33_92; Image: 49.
U.S. Census. Year: 1830; Census Place: Greene, Clark, Ohio; Series: M19; Roll: 128; Page: 90; Family History Library Film: 0337939.
U.S. Census. Year: 1840; Census Place: Washington, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: 82; Page: 147; Image: 301; Family History Library Film: 0007725
 U.S. Census. Year: 1860; Census Place: Adams, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: M653_263; Page: 214; Image: 214; Family History Library Film: 803263.
U.S. Census. Year: 1870; Census Place: Marion, Boone, Indiana; Roll: M593_300; Page: 172B; Image: 521; Family History Library Film: 545799.
U.S. Census. Year: 1880; Census Place: Sheridan, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: 281; Family History Film: 1254281; Page: 358D; Enumeration District: 036; Image: 0365.
U.S. Census. Year: 1900; Census Place: Adams, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: 375; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0079; FHL microfilm: 1240375.
 U.S. Census. Year: 1850; Census Place: Jackson, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: M432_148; Page: 137A; Image: 599.
U.S. Census. Year: 1860; Census Place: Jackson, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: M653_263; Page: 63; Image: 63; Family History Library Film: 803263.
U.S. Census. Year: 1870; Census Place: Jackson, Hamilton, Indiana; Roll: M593_319; Page: 105A; Image: 213; Family History Library Film: 545818.
 Graver, William H. Index to Selected Hamilton County, Ohio, Recorder’s Books 1801-1820. Little Miami Publishing Company. Milford, Ohio. 2000. Page 56.
Mikesell, Shirley Keller. Butler County, Ohio Land Records, Volume 1: 1803-1816. Heritage Books, Inc. Bowie, Maryland. 1997.
 Dodd, Jordan. Illinois Marriages to 1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997.
Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp. Illinois Marriages, 1790-1860 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.