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Who was Stella Pickett (Rapidan, VA circa 1709-1780's), who is said to be the 3rd wife of Joseph Zachary Taylor (Zachary Taylor Sr.)? My source for this information is Geni.com via Bing.

  • Stella Pickett Taylor (Hardy)
  • Birthdate: circa 1709
  • Death: (Date and location unknown)
  • Immediate Family:

  • Wife of Zachary Taylor Sr.

  • Mother of James Taylor, Joseph Taylor and George Conway Taylor
  • Managed by: [redacted]
  • Last Updated: February 6, 2015

This information fits with what my Grandmother wrote in a letter. I am aware that there is a Stella Pickett Hardy who wrote books about the Virginia colonial families in the early 1900's, but her name Pickett was through her maternal grandfather. This I found on Amazon reading about the author.

I find no clues about her through Ancestry search processes.

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    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! This question is a bit broad -- can we break this into smaller questions? For instance, 'how do I track James, his son James, and his grandson James' could be 'how do I organize research about multiple people with the same name?' (a methodology question) like this one. genealogy.stackexchange.com/q/3506/1006 – Jan Murphy Jul 5 '16 at 20:16
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    Also, what is the source material for the information you posted in your question? Showing a list of sources you've already gathered allows us to 'look over your shoulder' and suggest clues you could follow up on. – Jan Murphy Jul 5 '16 at 20:22
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    I think "Who was Stella Pickett" would be worthy of a question in its own right - perhaps "Seeking birth record for Stella Pickett?" or "Identifying birth family of Stella Pickett?" You could start by specifying a timeline for what you already know about her. – PolyGeo Jul 6 '16 at 2:24
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    Is it possible the Stella Pickett Hardy entry is a SOURCE, and not supposed to be one of the wives? – user2448131 Jul 7 '16 at 0:20
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    @user2448131 There can be many people with the same name, which is why it is important for people to say how they "know" a particular piece of information. – Jan Murphy Jul 7 '16 at 16:48
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I think Stella Pickett Hardy, wife of Joseph Zachary Taylor, is either the figment of someone's imagination, or – more likely – due to a computer ineptitude that resulted in an author for a source being entered as a wife. Sadly these errors are perpetuated on online trees by nonchalant copying-and-pasting, to a degree that it seems to the casual reader that they must be correct.

As pointed out in a comment by @user2448131, there was an author in the early twentieth century called Stella Pickett Hardy, whose subject matter happened to be genealogy in Virginia.

There are two main points that make me conclude that this is an error:

  • Middle names were very rare in the US before the American Revolution. This also makes me strongly question whether Joseph Zachary Taylor actually ever was called that.

  • More importantly, the first name Stella was so extremely rare in the US in the early 18th century it is bordering on anachronistic. A search on FamilySearch shows a grand total of 15 records of Stellas in the US born between 1600 and 1780, all but one born towards the very end of that period.

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