A namesake for Nana

Families hand down names through generations. In Nana’s case, the family tradition may have been all but forgotten but still lies deep within memory. This post describes how Barbara (Friddle) Reed’ s marital identity emerged. In my next post, I will report how I determined Barbara’s maiden name of Friddle.

Back to my mother-in-law’s family tree. Nana’s first name was Barbara although she was known by her middle name.  Not unusual.  When Nana looked at a revised family scrapbook last year, she commented about the possible origin of her first name.  Had Nana’s mother heard from her father, Virgil, that his grandmother’s name was Barbara?

Barbara and her husband, John Reed, were not immediately apparent when I began researching Nana’s family tree. Their identity emerged when I asked: who are the parents of William Wylie Reed, Nana’s great-grandfather on her mother’s side? A summary of the evidence follows. Conflicting evidence about William’s birthdate muddied the waters.

According to his obituary, William W. Reed died on Sunday, 29 April 1928 at the age of 71 in Cold Springs, Texas. [1]  Although the family lived in both Cherokee and Rusk counties, Cold Springs is located in San Jacinto county. The front page obituary stated: “Mr. Reed was born in Tennessee, near Nashville in October of the year 1857, but immigrated to East Texas with his parents when he was about 3 years old.”  Neither his parents nor siblings were named in William’s obituary.  Next step: request William’s death certificate. 

What information is on William’s death certificate?  I haven’t found the certificate. Search of Texas Death Index for 1928 produced no results. I looked under surname variations (Reed, Read and Reid) and given name variations (W.W., William, William W., William Wiley, William Wylie and Wiley). Similarly, letters to Texas Department of Health and Cherokee County produced negative results. Go to census records, beginning with 1920 and move back in time.

1920 Census, William W. Reed, 64, b. Tennessee, with wife, Sammie, age 51, (maiden name Williamson) and six of their children living close by. [2]  Estimated birth year 1856, consistent with obituary. If true, parents moved to east Texas about 1869-1870. The ‘m2’ designation for William suggests that this was his 2nd marriage.

1910 Census, William W. Reed, head, 62, m2, years married: 27, birthplace: Tennessee, father born: Tennessee, mother born Tennessee. [3]  Wife, Sammie, age 42, with seven of their 8 children. William’s estimated birth year 1848 is inconsistent with obituary and 1920 census. Why the change? Because of the age difference between William and Sammie?

1900 census:  Wm W Reed, age 52, birthdate October 1847, birthplace Tennessee, married 17 years. [4]  Wife, Sammie, age 32, born June 1867 in Texas; mother of 6 children. Ages consistent with 1910 census; birthplaces consistent with 1910 and 1920 census records. William and Sammie married 4 April 1883 in Rusk county, Texas.[5]

1880 census: Name: William Reid, age 32, son, born about 1848 in Tennessee, living with Jno [John] A Reid, head, age 62, born about 1818 in Tennessee; Josie Reid, 24, daughter, born about 1856 in Texas and grandson, Willie E. Reid, age 3, born in Texas. [6] William’s age consistent with 1900 & 1910 census. Was Josie his first wife? Is John father of William or Josie? John is presumed to be a widower since there is not an older woman in the household.  

Marriage record for W.W. Reed and Josephine Reid:  married 2 December 1876 in Rusk county, Texas.[7] Josie is a derivative of Josephine. Conclusion: Josie in 1880 census is William’s wife.  Josie probably died after 9 June 1880 (census date) and before 4 April 1883 (William and Sammie’s marriage date).

1870 census: Rusk County, Texas. [8]  John, age 52; Barbary, age 48; William, age 21, born Tennessee; Mary, age 18, born Texas; Sarah, age 12, born Texas. John, Barbary, William born Tennessee. Suggests move from Tennessee to Texas between 1849 and 1852. William’s age consistent with 1880 (age 32), 1900 (age 52) and 1910 (age 62) census records. Barbary alive in 1870 and presumed dead before 1880.

1860 census: Rusk County, Texas. [9] John Read, age 41, born in Tennessee. Married to B.A., age 37, with 3 children: Wm. W, age 14, born Tennessee; Mary A, age 10, born Tennessee and Sarah, age 1, born Texas. Family includes William Faddle, 30, a farm laborer, born in Tennessee.  Family lived next to Andrew Read whose family includes 3-year-old Josephine Read. Analysis: suggests William’s birth year circa 1845-1847, within 2 years of birth as suggested by other census records. Suggests move to Texas between 1850 and 1859. Combined with 1870 census data, move to Texas by 1852. Suggests that Andrew Read was Josephine’s father. Similar surnames imply a relationship between John and Andrew.  

1850 census: McCracken, Kentucky. [10]  John A Reed, age 31; Barbara A. Reed, age 27 and Wm W Reed, age 2, all born in Tennessee. Ages consistent with census records for 1860 through 1910.  

CONCLUSION:   John and Barbara Reed are the parents of William W Reed (census records-1850, 1860, 1870, 1880). William was born in Tennessee (all census records, 1850 to 1920, obituary).  William was born in October 1847 (1900 census; suggested by 1850 to 1880, 1910 census records). Why was his age reported differently on the 1920 census? The later birth year of 1857 was obviously believed by family members as reflected in William’s obituary and on his gravestone.  Other information, i.e. “immigrated to East Texas with his parents when he was about 3 years old”, appears probable.

REFLECTION

I reported these findings in chronological order. However, I probably didn’t find the records in that order. I am still searching 1870 census for Andrew Reed family. Writing this post, and the next one, are one way of remembering my mother- in- law. Her comments about the scrapbook led me to delve deeper into this specific family. Post is longer than I intended.

What I learned: repeat database searches. new information and documents are constantly being added. Review sources for previously overlooked information.

What helped: previous work done on Nana’s family tree.

What didn’t help: incomplete records and citations.

To-Do: write letter to funeral home requesting copy of William W. Reed’s death certificate. Continue search for Andrew Reed family in 1870 starting with Rusk county Texas.


SOURCES:

[1] ‘William W. Reed died Sunday’, Alto Herald, Alto, Cherokee County, TX, 3 May 1928, p. 1, column 4. Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/  : accessed & printed 9 October 2020.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., Justice Precinct 2, enumeration district (ED) 20, p. 12A, Family #260, William W. Reed; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 30 March 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T625_1786..

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 0014, p. 17A, dwelling 319, family 3232, William W Reed 62; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing National Archives & Record Administration, Washington, D.C., Roll: T624_1538.

[4] 1900 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 0082, p. 9, dwelling 166, family 168, Wm W Reed age 52; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623.

[5] “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org  : viewed 7 July 2021), Sammie Williamson & W.W.Reed; citing Rusk, Texas, United States, county courthouses, Texas; FHL microfilm 1,020,948.

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Rusk Co., Texas, population schedule, Overton, enumeration district (ED) 074, p. 58A, dwelling 140, family 142, William Reid age 32; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 1 July 2021); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., T9, roll 1325.

[7] “Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed ); citing Family Search and Texas county records.

[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct No. 1, p. 345 (ink pen); p. 301 (stamp), dwelling 128, family 131, John A. Reid [Reed] 52; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 11 November 2020); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm publication M593_1603.

[9] 1860 U.S. Census, Rusk county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 11, Bellevue Post Office, p. 108 (ink pen), dwelling 691, family 709, John Read age 41; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 11 November 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653.

[10] 1850 U.S. Census, McCracken Co., Kentucky, population schedule, , p. 190B, dwelling 399, family 400, John A Reed 31; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 2 July 2021); citing National Archives, Washington, D.C., M432, roll 211.

Memorial Day 2021- Honoring those who fell in battle

Memorial Day- a day to honor those who have fallen in battle. We also place flags on the graves of veterans. Four years ago, I reported on Herman E. Maurer, cousin on mom’s side, who died in World War II. Last year, I posted about William Posten, killed during the Revolutionary War and who might be related to my dad’s family. This year, I turn to my husband’s family and tell you about Lewis Garrett Holcomb who died during the Civil War.

In 1861, Lewis enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy and served in Company I, 10th Texas Cavalry Regiment.  Five of his brothers–George Creager Holcomb (my husband’s ancestor), John Wesley Holcom, Henderson H Holcomb, Thomas Harrison Holcomb and Joel M. Holcomb–also fought in the Confederate Army.

For more information about the 10th Texas Cavalry and the battles in which they engaged:  https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tenth-texas-cavalry

Lewis died of “phlg [phlegmonous] erysipelas”,  a skin infection with abscesses, in Lee Hospital, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, on 28 May 1864. [5]  He had been in the hospital since March 1864.  Did he have an infected battle wound or was the infection caused by something else?  He is listed on Find A Grave as being buried in the Lauderdale Springs CSA Cemetery, near Meridian, Mississippi.[6]  However, he may or may not be buried there.  According to William Burdette, Jr., who lives about five miles from the cemetery:

Lewis died fighting for a cause that he and his family believed in. Some may say that Confederate soldiers are not worthy of being honored for their sacrifice. I disagree. My sons carry the blood of both Union and Confederate soldiers in their veins. I tell them repeatedly to be proud of all their ancestors.

REFLECTION:

Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the many lives sacrificed for our country. Many have persons in their family tree who died while serving in the military. We need to remember these whether they died during a time of war or during a time of peace.  As I look deeper into my family trees, I plan to identify those who died while serving in the military for future posts.

Am I glorifying the Confederacy? My answer to that charge is “No.” I am reporting on individuals and families in our (my husband’s and mine) collective family tree. These persons are also members in the family trees of others alive today. Many Americans have ancestors who fought for the British during the American Revolution. Does that make the current generation any less American? No. Should they still embrace those ancestors? Yes. Without direct line ancestors, my sons would not exist. Remember, too, families often divide in their loyalties. Even today, families face political, religious and/or ideological differences.

With every post, I do more digital file clean-up. I review paper and digital files, adding information to fill gaps. My Genealogy Do-over doesn’t seem as tedious when I do it this way.

What I learned: Lauderdale Springs CSA Cemetery in Lauderdale county, Mississippi. More pictures of the cemetery can be found on Find A Grave website (https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/60360/lauderdale-springs-csa-cemetery )

What helped: extensive family trees with many records already found. Online resources.

What didn’t help: incomplete citations. Not having anyone particular in mind when I considered a topic for this post.

To do: make a list of those who died while serving in the military. Choose one to honor on Memorial Day next year.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2021. 


SOURCES:

[1] 1840 U.S. Census, Mountain, Washington, Arkansas, population schedule, Mountain, p. 261, line 27, Joseph Hanleen; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 25 May 2021); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M704, roll 20.

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, , p. 882, dwelling 527, family 527, J Holcomb 49; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 25 May 2021); citing Washington, D.C.: National Archives & Records Administration, Microfilm Publication M432, roll 909. Son, Harman Henderson, born 1843 in Texas; older children born in Arkansas.

[3] “Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 24 May 2021); citing Texas State Library and Archives Commission and various county clerk offices, Texas.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 7, dwelling 1094, family 1094, LG Holcombe; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 25 May 2021); citing Washington, D.C. : National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm publication M653. Lewis reported his birthplace as Illinois; possible that family lived in Illinois for a short time.

[5] “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas,” digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com  : viewed 25 May 2021), Holcomb, L.G. (18 pages); citing Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 109, roll 0063; Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations , compiled 1903 – 1927, documenting the period 1861 – 1865.

[6] “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas,” digital images, Fold 3, Holcomb, L.G. (18 pages); page 12 of 18.

Horace Johnson and CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)

1930s. The Great Depression. Dust Bowl. WPA (Works Projects Administration).  CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). Do any of these terms sound familiar to you? If your family tree includes young adults in the 1930s, then they may have found work through one of these programs. My husband’s maternal grandfather, Horace Clayton Johnson, was one such person. In this post, I share pictures and a document about his service.

First, a brief history lesson. The Works Projects Administration (WPA), established in 1935 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal program, employed millions who were unemployed after the stock market crash of 1929. Many projects involved construction of public buildings and roads. The WPA Graves Registration Project surveyed cemeteries and created indexes for the burials. Those tombstones have since aged another 90 years and may now be unreadable. Also, you may find grave markers not listed on other sites. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted trees and constructed trails and shelters in national and state parks.  

Now, about Horace. Horace Clayton Johnson was born 7 April 1915 in Ben Hur, Limestone county, Texas to Henry Louis Johnson and Nellie Black.[1]  Henry, a farmer in 1920[2], moved his family to Mexia City, Texas by 1930 and was listed there as a carpenter.[3] In 1935, twenty-year-old Horace, the third of 8 siblings and second of two boys, probably needed work to help support his family. So, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.  

CCC work crew, 1935, near Trinity, Texas; Horace Johnson member of this crew. From personal photograph collection held by Horace’s daughter, 2021.

He was a member of Company 839, established 1.6 miles east of Trinity, Texas, on June 8, 1933. Trinity is about 100 miles southeast of Mexia. This was probably the furthest young Horace had ever traveled from home.  The men constructed and maintained fire lanes, fire break roads and telephone lines. [4] Membership in The Corps included an educational component. In March, 1935, Horace received a Certificate of Proficiency in Simple Arithmetic and Spelling.

We are not sure exactly how long Horace served in the CCC. In 1937, he married Mable Venette Reed, a native of Cherokee County, approximately 70 miles northeast of Trinity. Perhaps they met when Horace was in the CCC?

In summary, discovery of these items adds to Horace’s story. And, places him within a specific time period in American history. I wonder how many other treasures might be found in old suitcases and boxes!

For more information:

Wikipedia (Yes, I know this isn’t always the best source):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration

Civilian Conservation Corps: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/civilian-conservation-corps

Example of WPA Graves Registration Project: https://iowawpagraves.org/index.php

Reflection

Mother-in-law and I found these pictures and document when going through a box of old family pictures. All items have now been placed in archival quality sleeves and the appropriate notebook. I was especially surprised to find the Certificate of Proficiency. This kind of document is all too often discarded by later generations. The fact of Horace’s residence for a time in Trinity County presents a clue about how he may have met Mable, a native of Cherokee County.

I discovered the Iowa WPA Graves Registration website about 10 years ago, when researching a possibly related branch of Dad’s family. I am not sure how many counties or states had similar projects. Also, I am not sure how many are readily available on public internet sites. If you can’t find cemetery records for a person who died before the 1930s, contact your local county or state historical society. You may be surprised at what you find!

What I learned: more about the Civilian Conservation Corps, which I vaguely remembered from American history classes. Specifics about what Horace’s group did.

What helped:  retrieving  pictures and document with my mother-in-law. Internet sites with information about WPA and CCC.  Less than 1000 words! I like these shorter blog posts!

What didn’t help: nothing specific.  


SOURCES:

[1] Texas, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health, delayed birth certificate LL18432 (23 February 1942; copy issued 26 Oct 2011), Horace Clayton Johnson; Limestone County Texas County Clerk, Groesbeck, Texas.

[2] 1920 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Pt Enterprise School District, enumeration district (ED) 81, p. 3A, dwelling 41, family 47, H.L. Johnson head, age 32; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 1 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T625_1829.

[3] 1930 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Mexia, enumeration district (ED) 11, pg. 6B, dwelling 135, family 149, Johnson Henry L, head, age 46; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 1 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T626, roll 2371

[4] “History, Civilian Conservation Corps,” Trinity, Texas (https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Trinity,_Texas#/Civilian_Conservation_Corps  :  accessed 26 April 2021).

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2021

Horace Johnson & his siblings

What topic for this blog post?  Thomas MacAntee reminded us that April 10 is Sibling Day. My mother-in-law and I have been going through old pictures, labeling as we go. I remembered that we found a picture of MIL’s aunts, her father’s sisters. Horace had one brother and six sisters.  So, this post honors Horace and his siblings.

PARENTSHenry Louis Johnson, born 9 February 1884 in Texas; died 16 September 1965 in Mexia, Limestone county, Texas[1]. Married 3 July 1910[2] to Nellie Kay Janet Black, born 16 January 1888 in Bowie, Montague county, Texas; died 2 May 1960 in Mexia, Texas.[3] They are buried in Point Enterprise Cemetery, Mexia, Texas.  All their children were born in Limestone county, Texas and all but one remained in Texas.  According to my mother-in-law, the siblings remained in close contact throughout their lives. Many of their descendants still live in or near Limestone county.

The siblings:

  1. Katie Jean Johnson (13 May 1911, Horn Hill, Limestone County, Texas [4] -7 January 1986, Mexia, Limestone county, Texas[5]). Married to David Henry Brannan (1906 – 1990).[6]
  2. Luther Clyde Johnson. (12 February 1912, Ben Hur, Limestone county, Texas -16 December 1938,  Mexia, Texas).[7] Married Lillie Robinson [8] (1909 – 1965).
  3. Horace Clayton Johnson (mother-in-law’s father). (4 April 1915, Ben Hur, Texas [9] – 30 June 1991,  Wells, Cherokee county, Texas). [10] Married 23 October 1937 in Alto, Cherokee county, Texas[11] to Mabel Venette Reed (1918-1997).[12], [13]
  4. Alice Pauline Johnson. (23 Aug 1917- 26 Apr 2016, Hewitt, McLennan county, Texas).[14] Married about 1937 to Homer Andrew Tarkington (1915-1994).[15], [16]
  5. Anna Ruth Johnson. (13 November 1919- 2 September 2003, Mexia, Texas)[17]. Married 19 September 1939 [18] to Richard Elbert Romain (1918 – 1989). Divorced 1969.
  6. Edith Nell Johnson. (3 March 1922 –  24 August 1998, Odessa, Ector county, Texas).[19] Married 22 June 1939 to Billy J Gray (1922 – 1976).[20]
  7. Mary Lois Johnson (28 June 1925, Mexia, Texas – 17 July 2001, Denver, Colorado).[21] Married Stanley Ewing Davis (1923 – 1982).[22]
  8. Marjorie Ann Johnson (7 October 1928, Mexia, Texas[23] –  1 May 2005, Stafford, Fort Bend, Texas[24]). Married Woody Burl Davis (1925 – 2001).[25]
From Personal Collection

Some facts:

  • 1937 – two weddings, Horace & Alice Pauline.
  • 1938- Luther Clyde died.
  • 1939 – two more weddings, Anna Ruth and Edith Nell.
  • Per oral family history, Horace was only mechanic in Cherokee County during WWII so wasn’t drafted because farmers in the area needed his expertise to keep their farm equipment running.
  • World War II service:
    • David Brannan, Navy, 19 April 1943 – 29 September 1945 [26]
    • Stanley E Bradford, Army, 25 Feb 1943 – 31 Jan 1946[27]
    • Woody Burl Davis, Marine Corps, 6 Jul 1942 – 14 June 1945[28]
  • 6 of the 8 siblings lived longer than their spouses.
  • 1944 or 1945- three more weddings -Katie Jean, Marjorie and Mary Lois.
  • Buried in Point Enterprise Cemetery, Mexia, Texas
    • Alice Pauline Johnson Tarkington
    • Anna Ruth Johnson Romain
    • Marjorie Ann Johnson Davis

REFLECTION

 I was undecided about what to write for this week. The recognition of a National Sibling Day provided inspiration. Writing helps with two genealogy goals –review and clean-up files for Johnson- Reed family and post a story about that family.  As often happens, I came across some previously unknown information. I need to verify before I can tell you more.  According to MIL, her dad (Horace) was spoiled by his sisters.

The number of source notes for this short piece looks overwhelming.  I considered posting without the sources. Recognize that most of the notes are from one of these repositories: Social Security Administration, Texas Department of State Health Services or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with some personal copies and obituaries thrown in. Including sources is a  genealogical standard.  

What helped: RootsMagic family tree with names and dates, some completed citations and some document copies, access to online trees and databases. Recent look at old pictures.

What didn’t help: incomplete citations, copies of some documents missing. Duplicated some records unnecessarily.

What I learned: there are always new stories to be found.

To do: continue review and clean-up process for the Johnson-Reed family.  Remember to look closely at both digital and paper files before making extra copies.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2021


SOURCES

[1] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & printed ), certificate for Henry L. Johnson; citing Texas State Department of Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[2] Online family tree; no document or source attached.

[3] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 27 February 2020), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[4] “Texas, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1903-1932,” digital images, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 12 April 2021), entry for Johnson female; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[5] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch ((http://www.familysearch.org   : viewed 12 April 2021), Jean Brannan, death Jan 1986.

[6] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), David H. Brannan, 457-03-9640, before 1951.

[7] “Texas, U.S., Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 12 July 2020), entry for Clyde L Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[8] “Funeral services held Monday for Mexia High School Teacher,” obituary, Mexia (Texas) Daily News, 12 April 1965; Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : viewed & downloaded 11 April 2021).

[9] Texas, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health, delayed birth certificate LL18432 (23 February 1942; copy issued 26 Oct 2011), Horace Clayton Johnson; Limestone County Texas County Clerk, Groesbeck, Texas; personal copy.

[10] Horace Clayton Johnson, death certificate no number (30 June 1991), Texas State Department of Health, County Clerk’s Office, Angelina county, Texas, Lufkin, Angelina county, Texas; personal copy.

[11] Cherokee county, Texas, marriage record no. 333 (23 October 1937), Horace C. Johnson and Mable Venette Reed; Cherokee county, Texas, Alto, Texas; personal copy.

[12] [No first name] Reed, birth certificate 46451 (15 February 1918), Alto, Cherokee Co., Texas Texas State Board of Health, Vital Statistics Unit, Austin, Texas; Photostatic copy issued 27 Sep 2011.

[13] Mable Venette Johnson, death certificate 8245 (12 July 1997), Texas State Department of Health Services, Austin, Texas, County Clerk’s office, Cherokee County, Texas, Alto, Cherokee Co., Texas.; photostatic copy issued 22 July 1997.

[14] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed, viewed, downloaded 8 December 2016), memorial page for Alice Pauline Johnson Tarkington, Find A Grave Memorial # 161721169, citing Point Enterprise (Mexia, Limestone County, TX), memorial created by Ann Lewis Dickenson.

[15] “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932,” digital images, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded ), Amendment to Certificate of Birth for Homer Andrew Tarkington; citing Texas Department of Health, Austin,Texas; state file no. 26796

[16] Social Security Administration, “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), entry for Homer Andrew Tarkington; citing Social Security Administration, Washington, D.C..

[17] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), Anna R. Romain, 462-03-0924, before 1951.

[18] “Texas Divorce Index, 1968-2002,” database, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021); citing Texas Department of State Health Service, Austin, Texas.

[19] “Edith Nell Gray,” obituary, The Odessa (Texas) American, 26 August 1998; digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : viewed & downloaded 12 April 2021). page 11, columns 1-2.

[20] “Texas, U.S., Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 19 July 2020), Billy Gray; citing Texas Department of State Health Services. Austin, Texas.

[21] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), Mary L. Bradford, 463-26-8036, before 1951.

[22] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 13 April 2021), Stanley Edwin Bradford, 521227675.

[23] “Texas, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1903-1932,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 7 December 2020), entry for Margie Anne Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[24] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 13 April 2021), Marjorie A. Davis, 457-36-0447, before 1951.

[25] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), Woody B. Davis, 449-42-1703, before 1951.

[26]  “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, Ancestry ( http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), entry for David H Brannan; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs..

[27] “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com     :    viewed 12 April 2021), entry for Stanley E Bradford; citing  Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs..

[28] Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed 12 April 2021), Woody B. Davis, 449-42-1703, before 1951.

Jasper & Francis: The widower marries a widow

A widower with children marries a widow with children. Many of these matches happened out of necessity. Both persons needed someone to help bear the burden of raising their children. Additional children often blessed the union. The death of a Civil War soldier often meant extreme poverty for his widow. A young widow turns to an older man for some relief. This could be the story for Jasper Williamson and his 2nd wife, Mary Francis Copeland Dean. I tell their story in this blog post.  

Born about 1818 in Georgia, Jasper M. Williamson, a farmer, married Mary A. Davis at Jackson County, Georgia, on April 10, 1842. [1]  The parents of both Jasper and Mary probably also lived in Jackson County.  Mary bore 3 children – Louvisa (1842), John Terrell (1846) and Francis ‘Frank’ (1849)- at Jackson county, Georgia prior to August 1850.[2]  An 1849 tax digest shows that Jasper owned 2 slaves and paid taxes of $1.17. [3] 

Jasper relocated his family to Smith county, Texas before the birth of their fourth child, Nancy, in 1852.  Three more children followed: Julius Leslie in October 1854, Mary ‘Mollie’ in 1857 and William Gallatin in March 1860. By September 1860, Jasper owned more land and 9 slaves ranging in age from 1 to 40 years. [4] Then tragedy struck.

Mary A. Davis Williamson died on September 22, 1865, age about 39 years.  [5] At least 5 of the 7 children – John, Frank, Julius, Mollie and Gallatin- survived their mother. Probate records also list “Heirs of Mrs. L. Turner,” presumed to be Louvisa.

In June 1866, less than a year after the death of his first wife, Jasper married again, to Mrs. Francis Dean.  [6]  According to 1860 census, Francis Dean was born about 1838 in Georgia.[7] She married first in September 1858 to T.W. Dean at Smith county, Texas. [8]  They were blessed with a son, James, in 1861.  T.W. joined the 14th Texas Infantry of the Confederate Army in March 1862. [9]  Presumably, T. W. died during the Civil War, leaving his widow with a son to raise. Did Mary Francis follow the mourning customs of the time?

Thus, Jasper, a widower, married a widow. In June 1868, Jasper and his new wife became the parents of Sammie Houston Williamson, my mother-in-law’s maternal great-grandmother.  

The blended family prospered as shown by real estate valued at $2550 and personal estate valued at $1954 by 1870.[10] However, Jasper again became a bereaved husband. Mary Francis Copeland Dean Williamson died between 1874 and 1880. According to the 1880 census, Jasper was a widower with 4 children: Gally, age 20, Sammie, age 13; Ida, age 12, and Annie, age 6. [11] Jasper, age 71, died in 1889 at Van Zandt County, Texas. [12]

PROCESS NOTES & DISCREPANCIES

Birth year of Mary Francis Copeland Dean – 1838 per 1860 census; 1844 per 1870 census.  If she was born in 1844, then she married first at the age 14 which is possible.

2011– found  1870 census for Jasper Williamson

2015 – found Death certificate for Sammie H. Reed. Names parents as Jasper Williamson & Mary Francis Copeland.

2017 – Found various records. 1880 census for Jasper Williamson. Marriage record for Jasper M. Williamson & Mrs. Francis Dean. Marriage record for T. W. Dean & Francis E. Copeland. Marriage record for Mary A. Davis & Jasper Williamson. Probate records for Mary A. Williamson (ca 1865-1867) and Jasper M. Williamson (1889).

2020 – Reviewed print and digital records. Updated research log for Jasper Williamson.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CIVIL WAR WIDOWS AND MOURNING PRACTICES:

  “Civil War Widows” by Angela Esc Elder (https://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com/civil-war-widows.html

Powerpoint presentation: “Widows of the Civil War South,” (https://www.slideshare.net/msleib/widows-of-the-civil-war-south )

REFLECTION

This post represents the culmination of work begun in 2011. Today, on an online tree, I saw an 1850 census record in Smith County, Texas for Alexander & Martha Copeland with a 10-year-old daughter named Francis. This record bears further evaluation. I believe that the story of Jasper and Mary Francis is more or less complete.

What I learned: Review all records and critically analyze. Keep research logs. Record ‘found date’ of all records. Records are not always found in a manner that exactly follows the chronological events in a person’s life.

What helped: print copies of some records in files. Research log for Jasper Williamson started in 2017. Reviewing all sources in 2020.

What didn’t help: Still updating citations and labelling files in mother-in-law’s tree. 

To-do: Continue following guidelines learned in Genealogy Do-Over as I update family trees. Keep BSO list to avoid getting side tracked.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020


SOURCES:

[1] “Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978,” Marriages, Book A,B,C, 1805-1861, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 16 November 2020), entry for Jasper Williamson & Mary A Davis 1842; citing County Marriage Records, 1828–1978. The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia; page 0289.

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Georgia, population schedule, Subdivision 45, p. 12B, dwelling 181, family 181, Jasper M. Williamson age 30; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 16 November 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm Publication M432, roll 74.

[3] “Georgia, U.S. Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 17 November 2020), entry for J M Williamson, line 13, no page number; citing Georgia Tax Digests [1890], Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

[4] 1860 U.S. Census, Smith county, Texas, slave schedule, Tyler, p. 68, column 1, lines 2-10; J. M. Williamson, slave owner; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 16 November 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm Publication M653.

[5] “Texas, Wills and Probate Records, 1833-1974 [,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 16 November 2020), entry for Mary A. Williamson, Dec’d.; citing Probate Packets, 1846-1900, Texas, Probate Court (Smith County); File No. 109, Box 112A.

[6] “Texas, Marriage Collection, 1814-1909, “ Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 16 November 2020), entry for Jasper Williamson & Mrs. Francis Dean, 1866; citing County Marriage Records.

[7] 1860 U.S. Census, Smith county, Texas, population schedule, Tyler, p. 166 (ink pen), dwelling 1143, family 1143, T W Dean; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 17 November 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653_1305.

[8] “Texas, Marriage Collection, 1814-1909, “ Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 16 November 2020), entry for T.W. Dean and Francis E. Copeland, 9 September 1858; citing County Marriage Records.

[9] “Compiled Service Records of confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas,” Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/13836091  : viewed 17 Nov 2020); citing  National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm Publication M323.

[10] 1870 U.S. Census, Smith County, Texas, pop. sch., Tyler, p. 406A (stamped), dwelling 239, family 239, Jasper Williamson (head); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded, printed 13 April 2011); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication M593_1605, image 422.

[11] 1880 U.S. Census, Smith County, Texas, pop. sch., J.P., enumeration district (ED) 095, p. 150D (stamped), dwelling 271, family 275, Jasper M. Williamson; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded, printed 2 April 2017); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Microfilm publication T9, Roll 1326..

[12] Van Zandt County, Texas, Probate Case Files, Jasper M. Williamson; “Probate Packets 534-600, 1889-1895,” digital images, Texas County, District and Probate Courts, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 2 April 2017); Case Number: 545A.

Remember the babies

October is Family History Month. Did you know that October is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month? This is an especially poignant time for me as I recall my several miscarriages- i.e. pregnancies ending before 20 weeks of gestation.  We only know the gender of one of those babies- a girl with multiple genetic anomalies.  My sons know about these losses. My stories will probably fade with time and could be totally forgotten within a generation or two. In this post, I explore ways to remember those babies who died before, during or within a year or two of birth.

Before the days of effective birth control methods, women often bore children about every two or three years.  Babies breastfed for about a year which provided some contraceptive protection.  Some groups prohibited (or at least, discouraged) sexual intercourse while a mother was breastfeeding. Many children died before the age of 5.

Look at the birth dates of known children in your own family tree.  If there is more than a 2- or 3- year gap, suspect pregnancy and/or infant loss.  A young child (less than 5 years old) recorded on one census but not on the next may have died in the interim. Consider events such as war when men might be away from home for years at a time.  If the husband returned home briefly during war time, a pregnancy may have occurred. 

Records documenting losses due to miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births are not easily found.  In 1900 and 1910, census takers recorded the number of children born to a married woman and the number still living.  In my case, the record would show 2 children born and 2 living with no mention of the number of pregnancies.  One example from my family tree – Mattie Williams Johnson reported as mother of 7 and 5 living in 1900[1]; mother of 9 and six living in 1910[2].  Assertion – two children died between her marriage year of 1882 and 1900, one more died between 1900 and 1910. How can I find these children?

Obituaries of women sometimes state “She was preceded in death by an infant son [or daughter]”. Mattie died in 1936. Her obituary says that she is survived by four sons and one daughter.[3]  This roughly corresponds to the six living children reported on 1910 census.  A daughter, Laura Alice Johnson Alewine, died in 1925 at the age of 35.[4]  So, I am no closer to identifying the 3 children who apparently died young.

Earlier and later census records did not record childbirth information. Look through local newspapers and browse beyond obituaries and death notices.  Following a sentence about Sunday school attendance in the Point Enterprise section, The Mexia (Texas) Weekly Herald for 24 October 1930 reported—“The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson was buried at this place Sunday morning with Rev J.E. Gore officiating.” [5] Later, I found the death certificate for this boy, Edward Johnson, who was stillborn. [6]  Edward was Mattie’s grandson, son of George A. Johnson and Bertha Freeman.

Search online cemetery records for persons with birth and death dates close together.  Some gravestones mark the date of death and ‘infant’ or ‘son/ daughter of _______.’  Older gravestones often list the person’s age, such as ‘age 2 months  3 days.’  I found one of Mattie’s children, Everett, born 1903, who died when he was 5 years old.  Everett’s gravestone has this information – s/o [son of ] Mattie and G.W. Johnson.[7]  Although not an infant when he died, he is one of Mattie’s three dead children.

What about Mattie’s two other children? Online trees show dates but no other information and no sources for the information provided. My preliminary, and certainly not comprehensive, searches reveal nothing further.

Where else to look for information about infant deaths? Family Bible entries may contain the only record of a child’s birth and early death.  A distant cousin graciously shared digital copies of pages from an 1876 Bible.[8]  One page has this entry:  “John Uzemer Ellerbee died December 7, 1871, aged 3 years, 3 months, 8 days”.  John’s parents were James John Ellerbee and Elizabeth Hayes.

Print sources are not always available online. Other places to check:

  •  Local genealogical and historical societies:
    •  Books of cemetery listings and obituaries published by the local society.  For example, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society publishes several books of cemetery inscriptions. Example –  Dutchess County NY Cemetery Inscriptions of Towns of East Fishkill, Fishkill & Wappinger (Kinship Books, KS-273 ISBN:1560123060).
    • Vertical files kept by these societies. Send a donation if you ask their staff to search for you.
  • Local libraries and County Clerk Offices.  Staff may or may not be able to search for you, especially if you don’t know a specific name or date.  Enlist the help of a relative or someone from a local genealogical or lineage society, if needed.
  • Walk local cemeteries. Carefully record what you find, even unreadable gravestones. A small stone next to adults could mark the grave of a child.

To review, discovering those children who died young is a challenge. Use a multitude of online and print resources. Search widely and deep. Document sources for yourself and others. Even ‘unsourced’ online trees give clues. Remember to tell the stories of all the babies, not just those who lived beyond infancy and early childhood!

REFLECTION

I am sad as I recall my own miscarriages. As a registered nurse, I worked with new mothers and both well and sick babies.  Every loss is painful. Family stories are not complete until we tell the stories of the children who never lived to have children of their own.  In this post, I primarily reported about children who died in the 20th century. However, I believe that you can use my suggestions to search for those who died in earlier times.

What I learned:  Use print resources more!

What helped:  Information already in my paper and digital files.

What didn’t help: Continuing frustration with unsourced information in online trees. Even a note “I got this from XYZ online tree; not confirmed” would be nice!

To-Do:  Add unsourced information about Mattie’s 2 other children to BSO list. Keep my eyes open for any clues.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

SOURCES CITED

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Armour, enumeration district (ED) 63, p. 9B, dwelling 167, family 168, George Johnson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1655.

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 32, p. 15B, dwelling 213, family 219, George W. Johnson; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication, T624_1573.

[3] “Mrs. Johnson, 75, dies on Monday,” obituary, Mexia (Mexia, Texas) Weekly Herald, 30 October 1936; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : viewed & printed 25 July 2020); citing The Mexia Weekly Herald newspaper.

[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed & printed 20 October 2020), memorial page for Laura Alice Johnson Alewine, Find A Grave Memorial # 34526511, citing New Hope Cemetery (Limestone, Texas), memorial created by Geno-seeker, photograph by PFDM.

[5] “Pt. Enterprise: The infant son . . . . “, Mexia (Mexia, Texas) Weekly Herald, 24 October 1930; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : viewed & printed 25 July 2020); citing The Mexia Weekly Herald newspaper.

[6] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 21 October 2020), entry for Edward Johnson; citng Texas Department of Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[7] Interment.net, database (http://www.interment.net  :  accessed & viewed 19 January 2012), Horn Hill Cemetery, Limestone County, Texas, listing for Everett R. Johnson, b. 6 Oct 1903, d. 23 Aug 1909, citing Horn Hill Cemetery (Groesbeck, Limestone Co, Texas), compiled by Bruce Jordan, 1 November 2004.

[8] Family data, Demarious Albina Ellerbee Family Bible, Holy Bible, (New York: American Bible Society, 1876); original owned in October 2016 by Darby Blanton, [address for private use].

Is Sarah’s grave marker inscription true?

A person dies and is buried or cremated. Family members place a marker at the grave.  Over time, engravings on stone markers become harder to read. Information often includes the person’s name, birth and death dates or age at time of death. Information such as ‘wife of William’ or ‘husband of Rachel’ is a bonus.  In the absence of other sources, we assume that these dates are correct. In this post, I present one case in which the death date on a marker is wrong and the discovery of that error by others and myself.

NOTE: I requested permission to use the original photograph but haven’t received approval to do so. This is a re-creation of that grave stone

Sarah Creager was born 24 December 1799 in Washington county, Kentucky, the first of eight children born to John George Creager and Margaret ‘Peggy’ Myers. [1] She married Joseph Holcomb, son of Joel Holcomb, on 30 September 1820[2], presumably at Hempstead, Arkansas. [3]  About 1843, the family moved to Texas, where three of their 12 children were born. Both Sarah and Joseph died at Cherokee county, Texas and are buried in the Holcomb cemetery at Alto, Texas. [4], [5]

Look at my re-creation of Sarah’s grave marker above.  On the original stone (as photographed for Find A Grave website), her death date is clearly marked as 1881.  However, multiple records show that she died in April, 1870. Corrected information has been posted on Find A Grave website.

I did not discover this discrepancy. Elizabeth Earl Roddy Cecil reported it on a message board in 2000. [6] Ms. Cecil wrote: “Her [Sarah Holcomb] marker has the incorrect date of death. When the family replaced the old markers, they put the same year as Joseph Holcomb’s monument instead of 1870.”

Since no source was given for the obituary, I searched for it.  I found it on PERSI (Periodical Source Index) at the Oklahoma Historical Society Library. In July 2011, I ordered and received a print copy of the relevant pages.[7]  The first paragraph reads:

“A mother of Israel has fallen.  Sister Sarah Holcomb, consort of Bro.Joseph Holcomb, and daughter of George and Margarett Creager, was born in Kentucky, December 24, 1799, joined the M.E.Church in 1819, was married September 30,1820, and died at the residence of her husband, on Box’s Creek, in Cherokee County, Texas, on the 24 day of April 1870; aged 70 years and 4 months.”

The 1870 Mortality schedule[8] confirmed the month of Sarah’s death as reported in her obituary.  

Transcription: Holcomb, Sarah, 72, F[female], W[white], M[married], Birthplace: Ky [Kentucky], month of death: April; cause of death: Consumption [a.k.a. tuberculosis].

DID YOU KNOW?

What about census records? The 1870 census in Cherokee county apparently took place after Sarah’s death in April of that year.  Joseph Holcomb, age 74 is recorded as living with his son, J.W. [Joseph Wilson] Holcomb and his family. [9]  The 1880 census, dated 10 June, again showed Joseph, living with his son, Joseph Wilson and family. [10]  The entry included this information:  Joseph Holcomb, 84, father, widower.  Again, evidence that Sarah died before her husband.  

September 2020 provided an unexpected gift. I received a scanned copy of Sarah’s obituary, as printed in a local newspaper, from another descendant of Joseph and Sarah.[11] The circle is now complete –  from an uncertain death date to an obituary reported without a source to a secondary source and, finally,  a scanned copy of the original obituary.

SUMMARY:    Why is the grave marker date wrong? Perhaps Sarah’s grave marker was placed after Joseph’s death. Does the date represent a re-burial of her remains?  The new marker shows the dates as found on the original stones.  Corrected information has been posted to Find A Grave website but is not readily available at the Holcomb Cemetery.  Future genealogists may or may not be aware of the discrepancy.

For more information about PERSI (Periodical Source Index), read this article: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Periodical_Source_Index_(PERSI)

REFLECTION:

This post was prompted by recent email exchanges with another descendant of Joseph Holcomb and Sarah Creager. He provided new (to me) information about one of their sons. I am saddened that descendants did not have the correct information before engraving the new stone. However, I do not find fault.  They used the information available to them at the time.

 What I learned:  Grave marker information is not always correct. Confirm information with other sources, if available.  PERSI as source of information.

What helped:  Previous information, fairly well documented, in my files. Elizabeth Cecil Roddy’s reporting of Sarah’s obituary on message board.  Online resources at Oklahoma Historical Society Library.

What didn’t help: Message board entry without source of information.

To -do:  Continue Genealogy Do-Over file clean-up on this branch of husband’s family tree.  Remember to add sources when posting to a message board!

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

SOURCES:

[1] “Obituaries: A mother of Israel has fallen, sister Sarah Holcomb,” Yesterdays, Journal of the Nacogdoches [Texas] Genealogical Society, vol.  19, issue 2 (September 1999): pp. 11-12.

[2] Bonner, “Obituaries: A mother of Israel has fallen, sister Sarah Holcomb,” p. 11.

[3] Twigsmmi,”Holcomb/McNally Tree,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/21361689/person/1072828512/facts:      14 September 2020), “Sarah Creager,” marriage data with no source listed.

[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 10 September 2020), memorial page for Sarah ‘Sallie’ Craiger Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 75971922, citing Holcomb Cemetery (Alto, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Tricia the Spirit Chaser, photograph by Denise Brown Biard Ercole.

[5] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 10 September 2020), memorial page for Joseph Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 75971827, citing Holcomb Cemetery (Cherokee county, Texas), memorial created by Tricia the Spirit Chaser, photograph by Denise Brown Biard Ercole.

[6] Elizabeth Earl Roddy Cecil, “Sarah Creager Holcomb,” Creager (aka Krieger) Discussion List, 18 July 2000 (http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/CREAGER/message/184  : accessed & printed, 16 March 2011).

[7] Bonner, “Obituaries: A mother of Israel has fallen, sister Sarah Holcomb,” p. 11.

[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, non-population schedule; mortality schedule, Beat 1, Sarah Holcomb age 72; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 10 September 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T1134 roll 55.

[9] 1870 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Beat 1, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 285, family 285, Joseph Holcomb 74; digital images, Ancestry (http;://www.ancestry.com : accessed & downloaded 9 September 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_1578.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 7, enumeration district (ED) 018, p. 444C (stamp); p. 7 (ink pen), dwelling 64, family 68, Joseph Holcomb 84; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 9 September 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T9, roll 1295.

[11]  “A mother of Israel has fallen,” undated obituary for Sarah Crieger Holcomb, ca. 1870, from unidentified newspaper; privately held by John Taylor, [address for private use,], Jacksonville, Texas, 2020. Provenance uncertain. Scanned copy sent via email to Susan Posten Ellerbee, 6 September 2020.

Momma moves in

A parent moves in with one of the children. Generally, the move comes after their spouse dies. Safety and/or health reasons often precipitate the move.  Other times, financial well-being is a major consideration. Loneliness can be another factor.  Any combination of these or other reasons occur.  Genealogists look for residence patterns. Does the older person stay with one child or appear in different homes? What prompts the move to one place or another? These are the family stories to be explored and told.  In this post, I give two examples from our family tree.

Census and other records show an older person living with a younger person. When there are 20 or more years difference in ages, we often guess that the older person is a parent of the older relative. Did the older person move in with the younger person? Did the younger person move in with the older person?  What factors determined the action?

EXAMPLE #1: Unmarried child as designated caregiver for older parent

Wright Roswell Ellerbee, born in 1875, was 6th of seven children born to James John Ellerbee and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Hayes. James John died in December 1877[1], leaving his wife with 6 children and her aging parent, Moses Hayes in Georgia. [2]  Within a few years, Elizabeth joined her stepson, William Green Ellerbee, in Cherokee county, Texas.  The 1900 census [3] shows 24-year-old Will [Wright] R. Ellesbee [Ellerbee] as head of household with his mother, 58-year-old Elizabeth and his brother, Asa, age 23.  Next door lived  Wright’s brother, James Walter Ellerbee, and his family.

Roles reversed for the next census. E. Ellerbee, widow, is now listed as head of household with Wright, her 35-year-old son. [4]  Again, the two brothers, Wright and James, lived close to each other.  Elizabeth died in 1917.[5]  Wright continued to live with his brother, James Walter Ellerbee, until Wright’s marriage about 1934 to Effie Susan Wesley.[6]  Wright delayed marriage while his mother was living and did not marry until he was in his 50s. Wright died in Cherokee county, Texas in December 1940 at the age of 65. [7]

Wright Roswell Ellerbee was the only unmarried child. Did he remain single from a sense of responsibility for his widowed mother?  He lived with his brother, James, for about 15 years after the death of their mother.

EXAMPLE #2:  Parents living with child, widow remains with same child

Mary Ann Selman Holcomb, age 64 and her husband, 79-year-old George Creager Holcomb, were recorded as living with their son, Garrett, in 1900.[8]  After George’s death in 1902, [9]  Mary Ann remained with Garrett, his wife, Minnie, and their seven children according to the 1910 census.  [10]  Presumbly, Mary Ann lived with Garret until her death in 1913 in Cherokee county, Texas. [11]

When did Mary Ann and George move in with Garrett? Garrett married about 1892. He and Minnie may have moved in with his parents or vice versa.  George’s advancing age likely determined this living arrangement .  Was Garrett living on the family homestead or in the family home? Did George and Mary have a closer relationship with Garrett than other children? Answers to these questions remain speculative. A will, probate file and cause of death for George Creager Holcomb may give clues.

I recall seeing other examples on our family trees, such as:  

  • Adult child moves in with parent after death of other parent. Sometimes this child was a widow or widower, with or without children.
  • After death of spouse, remaining parent moves in with child
  • Widow/ widower moves from home of one child to home of another child

TELLING THE STORIES

My examples give only the barest facts.  I plan to expand on these facts later.  To tell the story, follow journalistic guidelines and search widely:

  1. Who is the parent? Who is the child? Is the child oldest, youngest or in-between? Later census records show relationship between the head of household and others. In some cases, a parent is listed as a ‘boarder’.  An older person with a different surname is most likely to  be the wife’s parent but could be a relative of either spouse.
  2. What reason is suggested for the move? What is the child’s marital status? What are the ages of both the parent and child?
  3. When did the move occur? Estimate the time frame. Look for those wonderful newspaper tidbits – “Mrs. Mary Jones visited her daughter, Wilma Stone, this weekend then returned to her home in Wabash where she lives with her son, Phillip.” Obituaries give clues – “Mrs. Mary Jones died yesterday at the home of her son, Philip, where she had been living for the past 5 years.”
  4. Where were both parent and child living before the move? Where are they living now? Look for similar addresses.
  5. Why did the move occur? Consider elderly parent’s age, declining health, no longer being able to work, financial status. Look for cause of death as reported on death certificate as a clue. Is the child the only one still living on the family farm or in the family home? Consider this clue- “The daughters of Philip Jones are the 4th generation to live in the family home.”
  6. How did the move occur? Was it a fairly simple matter of moving some furniture from one place to another place in the same community? What type of transportation would have been used – wagon, car, truck, train, other?  Consider the effort of downsizing and the effects on the whole family.

In summary, look beyond the basic facts of an elderly person, or other relative, living with a younger person. If the census does not give relationships, consider whether the older person is really the parent of the younger person. Delve deeper into these stories to enrich your family’s story.  Even a best guess may have some truth in it!

For additional information about writing a story, read this article: How to write like a journalist

Reflection:

The topic for this post came as we prepare a room in our home for my mother-in-law. My father-in-law died last year. Since then, my mother-in-law requires more help to care for her home.  She maintains most of her self-care.  Social isolation associated with Corona virus accelerated her decision. Yes, my mother-in-law and I get along. Both of my parents are deceased.

As usual, as I write for my blog, I make progress on cleaning up paper and digital files. Five census records, 3 cemetery records, 2 marriage records, 1 death record done and 100s to go! This post helps me to do more than simply recite facts.  

What I learned:  Aging parents living with children was not uncommon. In one case, the parent lived with a different child over a 30-year period (3 decennial censuses). I have to look through all of my files to find that one again!  I realize that there is more to each story than what the census records tell.

What helped:  family tree with names and dates already recorded. Sources listed for facts.

What didn’t help:  Incomplete citations.  Not all information in the records had been transcribed to computer-based family tree.  

TO-DO:  Include living arrangements and my best guess in notes.  Write stories that go beyond the facts. Begin journal about current move.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020

SOURCES:

[1] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), pp. 14-42 & 14-43.

[2] 1880 U.S. Census, Early Co, Georgia, pop. sch., Damascus, enumeration district (ED) 026, p. 214A, family #, Elizabeth Eleby; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded, printed 4 September 2011); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. NARA Roll 144..

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., Justice Pct 8, enumeration district (ED) 30, p. 284A (printed), Family #22, Wright Ellerbee (head); digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com  : downloaded & printed 4 September 2011); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll: T623_1619..

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee County, Texas, pop. sch., , enumeration district (ED) 24, p. 14B, family #272, E. Ellerbee, head; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2012); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., Microfilm publication T624_1619.

[5] Find a Grave. Elizabeth Ellerbee. Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 8 August 2020), memorial page for Elizabeth A Hayes Ellerbee, Find A Grave Memorial # 35222677, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Wanda Karr Ellerbee, photograph by Wanda Karr Ellerbee..

[6] Marriage of Wright Roswell Ellerbee to Effie Susan Wesley estimated from 1940 Census showing Wright, wife Effie and son, Omar Lee, age 5.

[7] Texas Death Index. “Texas Death Index, 1903-2000,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 8 August 2020), entry for Ellerbee, Wright Roswell; citing Texas Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Austin, TX.; page 7166, certificate no. 54106.

[8]  1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 20, p. 13A, dwelling 221, family 227, George Holcomb age 79; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T623_1619.

[9]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 8 August 2020), memorial page for George Creager Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 32434400, citing Shiloh Cemetery (Alto, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Susan Harnish, photograph by Denise Brown Biard Ercole.

[10]  1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto, enumeration district (ED) 0014, p. 20A, dwelling 367, family 371, Mary Ann Holcomb age 74; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed 8 August 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T624_1538.

[11]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed 8 August 2020), memorial page for Mary Ann Selman Holcomb, Find A Grave Memorial # 01196611 , citing Shiloh Cemetery (Alto, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Judy Murphy, photograph by Judy Murphy.

Challenge or invitation? Search for C.W. Black

Pick a word to describe a difficult genealogy task. Here are some of my choices -challenge, convoluted, dare, elusive, incentive, invitation, obstinate, resistant, provocative, recalcitrant, reluctant, uncooperative. Most have negative connotations. The terms incentive and invitation shed a more positive light.  I described the task of finding C.W. Black, reported father of Nellie Black Johnson, my husband’s great-grandmother, as a challenge. Looking at it as an invitation into his life could reveal new insights.  In this post, I invite you to follow one possible lead with me. 

William and Mary Black, Falls County, Texas

I discovered this hint early in my search. I disregarded it until a blog follower reminded me about it.  Remember Nellie’s reported mother, Mary Bull? Falls county, Texas, was home to several Bull families. I found William and Mary Black in Falls county, Texas, in 1900 [1] with their family:

  • William B. Black, head, age 49, born April 1851 in Texas, married 35 years (? 25 years). Father & mother born in Alabama;
  • Mary A. Black, wife, age 43, born 1857 in Texas, mother of 6 children, 5 living. Father born in Georgia; mother born in Alabama;
  • Pearl Black, daughter, age 18, born 1881 in Texas;
  • Elisha Black, son, age 14, born 1885 in Texas;
  • Nellie Black, daughter, age 13, born February 1887 in Texas;
  • David C. Black, son, age 21, born November 1878 in Texas, married 2 years;
  • Nellie M. Black, d-in-law, age 18, born Feb 1882 in Texas, mother of 1 child, 1 living; and
  • Vera M. Black, g-daughter, age 1, born May 1899 in Texas.

C.W. ‘s middle name could be William. Nellie Black, daughter, born February 1887 per this census record. According to our Nellie’s death certificate[2] and other records, she was born January 1888 in Montague county, Texas. The birthdate inconsistency led me to initially discount this family as belonging to our Nellie.

Elisha Black’s death certificate[3] presented interesting information.  Elisha’s parents are recorded as W.B. Black and Mattie Bull.  Elisha lived in Montague county, Texas at the time of his death.

Mary A. Black’s birth information is partially consistent with an 1870 census record for Marianne Bull. [4] (NOTE: Based on DNA match and other records, I believe that Marianne Bull is likely Nellie’s mother.  Read “Who is Mary Bull?” for more information).  

In 1900, Mary A. Black’s age of 43 places her birth year as about 1857 and lists her birthplace as Texas. In 1870, Marianne Bull’s age of 15 places her birth year as about 1855 and her birthplace as Texas. The two year age discrepancy is not unreasonable but sheds some doubt.

Marianne Bull’s presumed parents, Isaac Bull and Sarah Neel, were born in Mississippi per 1860 census.[5] This fact presents another discrepancy.  Mary A. Black, wife of William B. Black in 1900, reported that her parents were born in Georgia and Alabama. Mollie Black’s parents (from 1880 census) were reported as born in Texas.  

Several online trees connect the William B. Black family on 1900 census, cited above, with a family headed by William Black, in Montague county, Texas, 1880. [6] 

  • 1880: William Black, age 25, born Texas; father & mother born Alabama. Wife, Mollie, age 24, born Texas; father & mother born Texas.  Children, William, age 6 and Corbin, age 3. Rosie Williams, age 6, niece and James Williams, age 4, nephew.
  • 1900[7]: William B. Black, age 49, born Texas; father & mother born Alabama. Wife, Mary A. Black, age 43, born Texas; father born Georgia, mother born Alabama.

Age discrepancies on subsequent census records are not uncommon. The reported birthplace of William’s parents as Alabama appears to be the only connecting data. Family trees are built on such slim links.

To reconcile these differences, I searched the 1870 census. William Black, age 20, born in Texas, resided with James and Mary Black.[8] His age is consistent with the 1900 census but not the 1880 census.   The record shows James Black, age 49, born in Tennessee and Mary Black, age 44, born in Alabama.  Further down on the same page and continued on the next page are entries for James Williams, age 19 and Georgiana Williams, age 17, married in August.   

Hmm! undefinedRosie and James Williams, niece and nephew, are listed with William and Mollie Black on the 1880 census.

Step back another 10 years. In 1860, James and Mary Black lived in Bell County, Texas[9] with 6 children- J.W., age 13; J.M., age 11, Wm, age 8, Georgiana, age 6, E.E., age 4, and Benjamin, age 1. Names and ages are consistent with children listed on 1870 census. James reported as born in Tennessee and Mary reported as born in Alabama.

To summarize, three census records (1860, 1870, 1900) support William’s birth year as circa 1850 or 1851. Three census records (1860, 1870, 1880) suggest that William Black and Georgiana Black Williams are siblings.  William’s father’s birthplace as Alabama (1880 & 1900 census) is inconsistent with reported birthplace of Tennessee per 1860 and 1870 census.  Mary’s birthplace is listed as Alabama on all these records. Conclusion:  The 1880 and 1900 census records for William Black apparently represent the same man with two different wives.  Mary A. Black, wife in 1900 census (born Texas, parents born Georgia and Alabama) does not appear to be the same person as Marianne Bull (born Texas, parents born Mississippi).  

What about Pearl Black and David C. Black? Online searches haven’t yet revealed any relevant information about the name of their mother. Specifically, because of inconsistent data, I believe that William B. and Mary Black (as recorded on 1900 census cited above) are probably not Nellie’s parents.

Reflection

I revised this post more times than usual. As I wrote, I saw new patterns and pursued those clues. An initial discovery of Mattie Bull seemed promising. Men named William Black who married women named Mary or Mollie produced an almost unsolvable puzzle. I feel like I am running in circles.  I am ready to move on.

What helped: Lessons learned through Genealogy Do-over. Using Research logs, family group sheets and other research notes.  Reminder from blog follower to look at 1900 census again.

What didn’t help:  Repeated viewing of the same documents confused me more. Time for a break.

To-do:  Take a break from this search. Keep copy of this post with paper files for later review.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                         

SOURCES

[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Falls County, Texas, population schedule, Marlin, Enumeration district 0016, sheet 6, , dwelling 107, family 113, Nellie Black, age 13; William B. Black, head; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 4 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T623.

[2]“ Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 27 February 2020), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[3] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : printed and viewed 27 February 2020), entry for Elisha Monroe Black (1885-1957); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas, certificate no. 39398.

[4] 1870 U.S. Census, Falls county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 4, page 15 (ink pen);  sheet 91A (stamp), dwelling 121, family 122, Isaak Bull, age 41; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 4 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M593_1584; includes Isaak, born Mississippi; Mariane, age 15, born Texas.

[5] 1860 U.S. Census, Falls county Texas, population schedule, Marlin post office, page 149, dwelling 84, family 84, Isaac Bull, age 28; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 4 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M653_1293.

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Montague county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 3, page 47 (ink pen), page 418C (stamp), dwelling 363, family 364, William Black, age 25; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 9 April  2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T9.  

[7] 1900 U.S. Census, Falls Co., TX., population schedule, Marlin, ED 0016, sheet 6, dwelling 107, family 113, William B. Black, age 49.  

[8] 1870 U.S. Census, Falls County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct No. 4, Marlin post office, page 25 (ink pen), dwelling 191, family 193, William Black, age 20; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 9 April  2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M593_1584. 

[9] 1860 census for Jas & Mary Black. 1860 U.S. Census, Bell County, Texas, population schedule, Belton post office, page 463 (ink pen), page 317 (stamp), dwelling 298, family 295, Jas Black, age 38; http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 19 April  2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M653. 

Promising lead or brick wall? Continuing search for C.W. Black

Names, dates and places look promising. Is this the person and family that I’m looking for? Maybe. Each lead requires additional research before confirming.  When I have some information, confirmation flows easier. When I know little, this process is more challenging. “Challenge” certainly describes the task presented by C.W. Black, reported father of Nellie Black Johnson, my husband’s great-grandmother. In this post, I present some findings for C.W. Black and evaluate them.

Lead number 1: Charles and Mary Black, Texas

1870 census, Limestone county, Texas: Chas Black, age 23, born at Louisiana and Mary Black, age 26, born at Tennessee.  [1]  This was one of the first hints presented on Ancestry website. C.W. ‘s first name could easily be Charles. Maiden name of Nellie’s mother is reported as Mary Bull. [2]  Mary’s identity as the daughter of Isaac Bull and Sarah Neel is likely but still needs to be proven. The family could have originated in Limestone county where Nellie lived from 1910 until her death in 1960.  As they say, “follow the paper trail.”

The paper trail led to 32-year-old Charley Black, born Louisiana, and 36-year-old Mary E. Black, Charley’s wife, born Tennessee, at San Saba county, Texas in 1880. [3]  Names, ages, place of birth are consistent with 1870 census.  If these are Nellie’s parents, then Mary was about 44 years old when Nellie was born in 1888.  Childbearing is still possible for many women in their 40s.  No children listed. I am reasonably certain that Charley and Mary E. are the same couple as Chas and Mary in 1870 census.  Nellie’s reported birthplace of Montague county,[4] Texas, does not preclude Charley and Mary from being her parents.

Next stop on the paper trail? 1900 census. Again in San Saba county, Texas, Charles Black, born February 1847 in Louisiana and wife, Mary Black, born September 1843 in Tennessee. [5]  No children listed. Mary’s childbearing history? Mother of 4 children, none living. Also of interest, Charles and Mary are recorded as being married 25 years suggesting marriage about 1875. Recall Chas and Mary living together in 1870. Are these truly the same people?  No children, no Nellie. I tentatively rule out Charles and Mary as Nellie’s parents.

One more item in the paper trail – 1910 census. Charley Black, age 63, and Mary Black, age 66, still living in San Saba county, Texas. [6]  Places of birth reported as Louisiana and Tennessee, respectively. Mary listed as mother of 4 children, 0 living. Years married? 40 or married about 1870. Looks like marriage information on 1900 census was not accurate. Given that no living children are recorded on the two censuses, I conclude that this couple are not Nellie’s parents.

I feel the need to finish Charley and Mary’s story. Find A Grave provided closure of sorts.

  • Mary E. Black. Born 1 September 1848. Died 3 July 1914. Buried Varga Chapel Cemetery. Bowser, San Saba county, Texas. [7]
  • Charley Black. Born 22 February 1847. Died 6 May 1921. Buried Varga Chapel Cemetery, Bowser, San Saba county, Texas. [8]

Perhaps someone else can claim them as relatives.

Lead number 2:  C.W. Black, Fort Worth, Tarrant county, Texas

This Ancestry hint from the 1880 census popped up early in my search. The census shows C.W. Black, age 36, widower, born Tennessee, living in Fort Worth, Tarrant county, Texas. [9] So far, nothing inconsistent with other data. But certainly not confirmed. No other hints presented themselves.

A search of local newspapers provided one clue. In the Fort Worth Daily Gazette on June 20, 1890, this story- “A tragedy. C.W. Black gives up his life- John Yarbrough Arrested.”[10] Details included:  

“John Yarbrough shot and killed C.W. Black last night about 10 o’clock at the residence of the former, on the southeast corner of Peter Smith and Hemphill streets. . . . C.W. Black was an old resident of Fort Worth. He came here when only a mere hamlet . . . . Previously to coming here he was merchandising in Memphis, and he has a couple of children in St. Louis. He was about forty-seven years of age.”

Fort Worth is about 80 miles south of Montague county, Texas, Nellie’s reported birthplace. C.W. would not be the only man who had a family in two different states.  Based on the two snippets of information, I do not believe that C.W. Black of Fort Worth, Texas, was Nellie’s father. However, I will keep an open mind if other evidence surfaces.

Lead number 3: William and Mary Black, Falls county, Texas[11]

This is another of those early hints that I discounted at first.  One of my blog followers reminded me about it. Closer perusal and follow-up suggests a connection.  Remember Nellie’s reported mother, Mary Bull? Falls county, Texas, was home to several Bull families.  The path is winding and too long for this post. Stay tuned!

In summary, I classify the first two leads as negative results. Charles and Mary Black, the first lead, are certainly not Nellie’s parents. C.W. Black of Fort Worth, Texas, is probably not Nellie’s father. These findings underscore the importance of tracking and recording all findings even if they are negative.  Primary reason is to keep you from re-looking at the same findings. Others should be able to retrace where you’ve been and follow your contention.

However, keep an open mind because new evidence may surface that turns a negative into a positive.

For more information about negative results:

REFLECTION:

As I mentioned earlier, finding C.W. Black is one of my more frustrating and challenging genealogy journeys. What does “C” stand for? What does “W” stand for? Did he go by his first or his middle name?  Was Nellie’s father really “C.W.”?  Wouldn’t be the first time that a name was reported wrong. There is a clue out there—I just need to find it!

What helped:  online resources, notes from previous searches, writing the blog post. Keeping record of searches and criteria used.

What didn’t help:  frustration that no records seem to fit. Even Find A Grave yielded no clues. Maybe I need to try different search criteria.

To-do:  Review notes and other records for William and Mary Black again. Search for more information about their children.  When did William and Mary die? Where are they buried?

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2020

SOURCES:

[1] 1870 U.S. Census, Limestone County, Texas, population schedule, District 48 West, page 109 (ink pen), dwelling 485, family 525, Chas Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  :   accessed 29 Feb 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication M593_1596.

[2]. “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 27 February 2020), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, San Saba County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 4, Enumeration District (ED) 116, sheet 444C, dwelling 128,  Charley Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  :   accessed 29 Feb 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T9, roll 1326.

[4]. “Funeral services for Mrs. Johnson set for Wednesday,” obituary, Mexia Daily News, 3 May 1960; digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : accessed & printed 6 March 2020); citing Mexia Daily News (newspaper), Mexia, Texas.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, San Saba County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 2, Enumeration District (ED) 0131, sheet 20, dwelling 328, family 331,  Charles Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  :   accessed 29 Feb 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T623.

[6] 1910 U.S. Census, San Saba County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 2, Enumeration District (ED) 0215, sheet 7A, dwelling 74, family 74,  Charley Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  :   accessed 29 Feb 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T624_1584.  

[7] Find A Grave, database with images, (http://www.findagrave.com  :  accessed 7 April 2020), memorial 44224900, Mary E. Black (1848-1914), Varga Chapel Cemetery, Bowser, San Saba County, Texas; gravestone photograph by Sharon Crowder; created and maintained by Gaylon Powell.

[8]. Find A Grave, database with images, (http://www.findagrave.com  :  accessed 7 April 2020), memorial 44224899, Charley Black (1847-1921), Varga Chapel Cemetery, Bowser, San Saba County, Texas; gravestone photograph by Sharon Crowder; created and maintained by Gaylon Powell.

[9] 1880 U.S. Census, Tarrant County, Texas, population schedule, Fort Worth, Enumeration district 089, sheet 31C, dwelling 44, C.W. Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 10 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T9, roll 1328.

[10] The (Fort Worth, Texas) Gazette, 20 June 1890, p. 8, col. 2, “A Tragedy, C.W. Black gives up his life-John Yarbrough arrested,” Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86064205/1890-06-02/ed-1/seq-8/   : accessed 10 March 2020).

[11] 1900 U.S. Census, Falls County, Texas, population schedule, Marlin, Enumeration district 0016, sheet 6, , dwelling 107, family 113, Nellie Black, age 13; William B. Black, head; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 4 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication T623.