Gather as much information as you can about your ancestors, and then take a look at the James family tree below to search for your ancestors. Are you really related to Jesse James??
William James (1754-1805)
believed born in Pembrokeshire, Wales (Please see note.)
settled near Lickinghole Creek, Goochland County, Virginia
married Mary Hines, July 15, 1774
John James (1775-1827)
born in Goochland County, Virginia
settled along Big Whippoorwill Creek, Logan County, Kentucky in 1811
Baptist preacher and farmer[iii]
married Mary “Polly” Poor, March 26, 1807
Richard Cole, Sr. (1729-1814)[iv]
born in Pennsylvania
settled near Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky
American Revolutionary War Veteran[v]
farmer and owner of Cole’s Bad Inn[vi]
married Ann Hubbard in 1762; Emsey Margaret James in 1795
Richard Cole, Jr. (1763-1839)[viii]
born in Culpepper County, Virginia[ix]
farmer and owner of Black Horse Tavern
Woodford County constable
married Sally Yates
James Cole (1804-1827)[x]
married Sallie Lindsay 1822
Robert Salle James (1818-1850)
born Logan County, Kentucky July 17, 1818
graduate Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky
married Zerelda Elizabeth Cole December 28, 1841
died August 1850
Zerelda Elizabeth Cole[xi]
born Woodford County, Kentucky January 29, 1825
died February 10, 1911
[i] Phillip W. Steele, Jesse and Frank James: The Family History (Gretna: Pelican Publishing, 2003), 23-24. Please note Steele does not cite primary sources, therefore William James’ place of birth is unclear. The commonality of the name William James, does not allow for a clear line to Frank and Jesse. A search of James Family pedigrees traced to Frank and Jesse lists three different Williams, each having a son named John. Birth dates and places for those “Williams” include (1) William James born in Wales 1638, (2) William James born in Wales 1692, and (3) William James born in Gloucestershire, England 1754. Steele’s section on the Tennessee branch of the James family, page 89-90, suggests the William James born in 1692 is the plausible James lineage. Goochland County, Virginia tax records list William James for the years 1789 and 1802; however he does not appear on 1790 census records, but this census is incomplete. A search of American Revolutionary soldiers reveals William James as a very common name among soldiers from Virginia and Pennsylvania.
[ii]Steele, 24, 27-29.
[iii] W. Terry Martin, “Rev. Robert Salle James or Baptists, Books, and Bandits,” James Farm Journal, v8, no. 3: 3.
[iv] Steele, 39-40.
[v] Cole served as a private and is buried in the Cole Family Cemetery in Versailles, Kentucky. National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006.
[vi] The Last Will of Richard Cole, Sr. Woodford Will Book D, page 275. Although the will does not state Cole’s occupation, it does reveal his financial worth and estate distribution.
[vii] Alice Cole married Anthony Lindsay in 1788. Their daughter Sallie Lindsay married James Cole in 1822.
[viii] Steele, 41.
[ix] Heritage Consulting. The Millennium File. Salt Lake City, Utah.
[x] Steele, 41-42.
[xi] Steele, 42.
[xii] Family Bible records birth, death, and marriage dates for the James and Samuel families. Permanent Collection, James Farm and Museum, Kearney, Missouri.