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.
- research what is in those probate inventories. Melinda’s estate included a galvanized battery–which was perceived to have healing properties at the time she died.
Belinda (Sledd) Newman is my fourth great-grandmother. You can view my ancestor list on my website.