We will use the spelling "Slaven" unless quoting a specific record. Some researchers have theorized that the
different spellings of the surname in various records refer to different men, that William Asslavin and William
Esleven "mean" William A. Slaven and William E. Slaven. But looking at the array of available records it's plain
that the multiple spellings are just a part of the "flexibility" in spelling in the 18th century. Likewise it
does not appear that Slaven/Sleven/Slavin and Slavey are different families, just different spellings. "Slavey"
was a common term for a house servant, so that may have influenced the spelling of some recorders. (County
records for a Slavey in post-Civil War Texas are invariably spelled "Slavery.") That said, I wonder if William
the planter and wife Isabel may have prefixed the surname with a vowel sound-- as in, are Asslavin and Esleven
corruptions of an Irish "O'Slaven"? What really makes me wonder about that is in 1764 deeds, Isabel's mark (in
lieu of a signature) is reproduced as an "E" or a stylized "E" where an "I" and "E" share the vertical line.
Or maybe she spelled it "Ezabel"? But I digress...
Because I will be referring to multiple Williams, and perhaps other given names shared by two or more people, I'm going to use a naming system that will hopefully make clear just which person is being referred to.
UPDATE: At the suggestion of a couple readers, I've decided to modify the naming convention slightly by including a generation indicator-- "I," "II," "III," etc.-- in addition to a descriptive label. This does NOT imply that the men themselves used these designations. For example, based on surviving records, the Williams below did not use I, II, Sr., Jr., or other indicators of generation. (It would be so much easier if they had!)
For example, we'll be referring to two (or more) Williams. We'll call one William I (the planter). This is the William born at an undetermined date (probably the 17-teens or 1720's) in Ireland or Pennsylvania. He married Isabel Luckie in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and came to Rowan County by 1755. He died in late 1762.
Another William will be called William II (the saddler). He is William I (the planter's) second son (according to William I (the planter's) will), born circa 1754 based on his age at his indenture to Richard Graham; he died at a date and place to be determined. He married Jean/Jane Bailie/Bailey, had several children (to be discussed later). William II (the saddler) also had a son William, and there are other Williams in later generations, but we'll label them later as needed.
John Slavin, who lived much of his life in Garrard County, Kentucky, was raised in Rowan County. Based on his age in his Revolutionary War pension file, he was born late 1756 or 1757. His tombstone says he was born 25 December 1757. We'll refer to him as "John of Garrard."
In the late 18th century there was a John Slavin in Gates County, North Carolina. Some speculate that this is John of Garrard, living in Gates County between his childhood home in Rowan County and adult home in Kentucky, but I think they're different men. When I get to the Gates County essay, he'll be "John of Gates."
Robert Slaven was the oldest son of William I (the planter), according to William's will. Since his brother William II (the saddler) was born ca. 1754, Robert was likely born ca. 1752 or before. When Robert sold the land willed to him by his father, he was described as a blacksmith. So, if needed to be clear about his identity in the essays to follow, he'll be referred to as "Robert the blacksmith." Note that there are TONS of trees on Ancestry that have Robert as son of William I (the planter) but born in 1758, which is not possible, as Robert was the older son and William II (the saddler) was 13 when indentured in 1767.
As I write these essays I may have to come up with other identifiers for individuals, as it seems every family had some combination of Williams, Johns, Roberts, Samuels, Andrews, Alexanders, Marys, Elizabeths, etc.!
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