52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #11 My Paternal 3rd Great Grandfather Jacob Kerr

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition:  #11 My Paternal 3rd Great Grandfather Jacob Kerr --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

If you would have asked me a few years ago if I thought I would ever be able to figure out who my paternal 3rd great grandfather was on my father's side of the family, I am pretty sure I would have answered No. Well, thanks to DNA and my great grandmother's marriage license I now know the names of my 2nd great grandparents and 3rd great grandparents.

On my post Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It Gets Complicated, I featured my great grandmother Ellen "Ella" Kerr Smith Dixon's marriage license to her second husband William Dixon. On it, it revealed the names of her parents, Henry Kerr and Tina Murphy of Sampson County, NC. I wrote about how DNA testing confirmed that I was indeed researching the correct Kerr family in Sampson County in my post, DNA Proves I've Got The Right Family!

For this post, I'm going to review what I know so far about my 3rd great grandfather, Jacob Kerr.

1) It appears he was born around 1820 based on his age as it was listed on the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses. At this time, I am guessing that he was born in either Sampson or New Hanover County in North Carolina.

1870 Federal Census

(continued from the previous page)
Source Information Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 212B; Image: 136; Family History Library Film: 552650

 1880 Federal Census
Source Information Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.Source CitationYear: 1880; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 981; Family History Film: 1254981; Page: 67B; Enumeration District: 192; Image: 0596

Jacob Kerr's occupation was noted as "farm laborer" in both censuses and it appears that he, his wife Clara and his older children were not able to read or write. By 1880, it appears that the younger children had received some schooling. 

2) Members of the Kerr family

Jacob Kerr and his wife Clara Kerr

Their children: 

Tenor Kerr
Gabriel Kerr
Caroline Kerr Hayes
Hays Kerr
Henry Kerr --My 2nd great grandfather
Caldonia Kerr Barnhill
Andrew Kerr
Samuel Kerr
Robert Tate Kerr
James Kerr
Thomas Kerr
Sarah Kerr
Augusta Kerr
Mary Kerr
John Kerr
Daniel Kerr

3) Where did Jacob Kerr live? --Franklin Township, Sampson County, NC

Map of Sampson County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Currently, I am researching where the property Jacob Kerr purchased in 1873 was located. You can see a copy of the deed for that purchase on my post Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land.

So far, I haven't found the plat map for land that was owned by Jacob but I did find a map for Dr. John D. Kerr Jr. He was the son of John D. Kerr Sr., the same John D. Kerr Sr that my 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kerr, purchased land from in 1879. Now the plat map that I found is from 1955 so property lines probably changed a bit from when Jacob Kerr bought his land. I have to say I am pretty happy that I now have a sense of where the family land was located.

Image courtesy of Google Earth
Tomahawk, NC is noted with the red marker.

Plat map is from Book 3 Page 122 from the Sampson County Register of Deeds

I have a plat map featured on the left and an image from Google Earth shown on the right. On the plat map at the very top left I've placed two red arrows where you'll see the notation "Henry Kerr Est." The yellow arrow is pointing to a notation for "Jake Kerr."
For now, I have an indication of where Jacob Kerr's property line began. Woohoo! :)

I've been working under the theory that Jacob and his family were more than likely the slaves of this white Kerr family. The proximity in which they lived to James Kerr and his descendants and that the fact that I can't find Jacob listed in a census prior to 1870 seems to point that way. In an upcoming post, I will review through the Slave Schedules of James Kerr.

4) Jacob Kerr composed a will on June 30, 1895 and that's the last record I've come across with him in it. I suspect my 3rd great grandfather passed away shortly thereafter. I will feature the will in an upcoming post. 

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.


  1. Hi, Andrea! I featured your post on this week’s 52 Ancestors recap: http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/52-ancestors-challenge-2015-week-12-recap/ Thanks for sharing Jacob's story with us!


    1. Thank you so much Amy! I am playing catch up. I hope to get number 12 out today. :)


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