Ancestral Clues and Lessons: Melinda (Sledd) Newman

Part of the estate settlement of Melinda Newman in Linn County, Iowa

Melinda Sledd (Newman) was born about 1799, probably in Amherst County, Virginia. She married Augusta Newman in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1815 and died in Linn County, Iowa, in 1867. Some things I’ve learned about research from Melinda:

  • first names can slightly vary. Melinda is listed in a few documents as Belinda. Since the majority of the records on her refer to her as Melinda, that’s the name I use to refer to her.
  • don’t assume women don’t purchase property after their husband’s death. After her husband died in Indiana in 1861, Melinda moved to Iowa to be near some of her children. She purchased a small farm in her own name where she lived until her death.
  • look near their children–all of them. For a while I could not find where Melinda died–she didn’t settle near her child who was my ancestor. When I looked near all of them, I found her.
  • always look for an estate for a woman–even if she died after her husband and you “think” she had no property. Melinda’s estate settlement in Iowa in the late 1860s provided the names and ages of all her adult children–quite a find.

Belinda (Sledd) Newman is my fourth great-grandmother. You can view my ancestor list on my website.

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2 thoughts on “Ancestral Clues and Lessons: Melinda (Sledd) Newman

  1. Elena Vaccaro says:

    Greetings, I just read your post on your Newman ancestor. I was wondering if your Newman ancestors had a relative named Cornelius. I have a Cornelius Newman marring a Mary Margaret Byrd in Shenandoah Co. VA. Mary’s brother migrated to Bourbon Co. KY later along with the Newmans. I have not been able to trace them any farther. I really have this thing about having a line left hanging.

    • I don’t think there’s a Cornelius in my Newman family…but it’s possible the connection is further back than I currently have my family.

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