My first post (for 2020): Genealogy Goals

Time to make resolutions for the new year. So, I share my genealogy goals for 2020.   Last year, I referred to a specific blog post that I found helpful:  Setting Genealogy Goals by Jennifer Patterson Dondero. [1]  She offered five steps:

  1. Previous year review
  2. Broad interest or goal identification
  3. Refining your interests/ goals
  4. Correlating your previous year review with your refinements
  5. Finalizing your resolutions/ goals

2020 Genealogy Goals for blog

I reviewed 2019 in my last post. Now, I set my 2020 goals starting with broad interest areas:

Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)

  1. Copy paper BMD certificates from Posten relative to digital files. Place originals in Posten BMD notebook. (continued from 2018 & 2019).
  2. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options. (One chapter done in 2018; rewritten in December 2019).
  3. Send in my DNA to a third company.  Reason:  A Posten descendant with Pennsylvania ties contacted me in 2019. This person is a known descendant of a ‘possibly related’ Posten family that I identified circa 2015.
  4. Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.
  5. Continue paper & digital file clean-up as needed.

Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):

  1. Anticipate receipt of at least one death certificate (Margaret Tucker, wife of Jeremiah Tucker). Scan document and enter information when document received.
  2. Respond to cousin requests for copies of information (Maurer & Jones) and pictures (Tucker).
  3. Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.

Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)

  1. Continue review of paper files for documents to be scanned and placed in notebooks for Ellerbee-Simmons & Johnson-Reed families.
  2. Continue paper & digital file clean-up for these family groups.
  3. Plan field trip to Alabama and Georgia to trace Ellerbee family migration. If time and geography permit, follow migration of Johnson-Reed family.
  4. Begin to trace descendants of slaves owned by husband’s ancestors. Use templates and directions from the Beyond Kin project.
  5. Follow-up on at least two BSOs generated from previous searches (one from each family group).
  6. Complete family group records (11 done, 18 to do) with citations as addendum to scrapbook given Christmas 2019.

Genealogy Blog:

  1. Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks.
  2. Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law).
  3. Limit each post to about 1500 words or less.
  4. Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. (continued from 2019).
  5. Continue to address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports.

General items:

  1. Continue to place To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family on color-coded file cards.
  2. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month.
  3. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter.  Specific family/ person TBA.
  4. Begin research for another family member- person of interest TBA.
  5. Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs” ; possibly Dragon software.
  6. Continue volunteer genealogy work with Daughters of the American Revolution.
  7. Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.
  8. Complete Family Recipe Book started in 2019. Planned distribution- Christmas, 2020.

2020 Budget:  reflects additional expenses from 2019 and changes in subscription plans.

2020 budget_ver2

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Reflection:

As I read these goals, I wonder if I am being too ambitious. In general, I spend about 40+ hours per week on genealogy. My family thinks that it has become an obsession. Maybe, it has! But, what a wonderful obsession! Gratifying most of the time because I can see definite results. Sometimes frustrating and time to step away from the computer and files. I believe that I am better organized now than when I started the Genealogy Do-Over three years ago.  Writing these blog posts has helped me step away from just gathering facts and learning to tell the stories. I will keep you posted.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots  blog, 2020

Sources:

[1] Jennifer Patterson Dondero, “Setting Genealogy Goals”, The Occasional Genealogist, December 2017 (https://www.theoccasionalgenealogist.com/2017/12/genealogy-goals-new-year.html  : accessed 27 December 2019).

The last post (for 2019)

December –the last month of our calendar year.  Short days and long nights.  Holidays include Christmas (honoring birth of Jesus Christ), Kwanzaa (celebrating family, community and culture, primarily in African-American families) and Boxing Day (celebrating the giving of boxes to public and private servants, primarily in the United Kingdom).  For me, December signals a time to reflect on my genealogy goals for the previous 12 months.  How well did I do?

Last January 1, my stated genealogy goals seemed mostly achievable. I did not anticipate any major issues.  My father-in-law’s death on February 17, 2019,  although not totally unexpected, impacted me more than I expected.  My father died in 1998 and my mother in 2007.  My in-laws have been my surrogate parents for the past 12 years. For weeks after his death, I felt mired down. I went through the motions on genealogy projects.  I barely managed to post regularly on my blog. The quality of some posts probably suffered.  Even simple tasks requiring minimal thought, i.e. scanning certificates from a cousin on dad’s side, overwhelmed me.

FYI. My mother-in-law is doing OK. We made it through the summer and winter holidays.  There were tears and happy moments.

Genealogy presented a coping mechanism. Using lessons and skills from the Genealogy Do-Over, I have a well-defined, specific process for reviewing, cataloguing and saving information.  These specific steps help me stay on-target, at least most of the time! Did I occasionally veer off and follow those bright shiny objects that detract from a specific goal?  Oh, yes! But, then, routine took over and I was back on track.sticky note_test

A new project especially helped with grieving. In July 2019, I presented Papa’s sister with copies of the Simmons and Ellerbee scrapbooks. The Simmons scrapbook, presented to Papa in 2013, traced his maternal lineage. The Ellerbee scrapbook, presented to Papa in January 2018, traced his paternal lineage.  I cleaned up source lists and included new information.  The tactile work of cutting and pasting proved therapeutic.

I became more aware of placing ancestors within historical and other perspectives.  For example, I reacted emotionally to the removal of Native Americans from Georgia to make room for my husband’s white ancestors.  I read two books on the topic and one book about the Federal Road between Georgia and Texas. Looking beyond dates and places, I gained a broader view of ancestors’ lives within the context of time periods and places in which they lived.  Consider the impact of local events, such as opening or closing a factory or a major weather storm, on individuals and their community.

I found the “Beyond Kin” project (https://beyondkin.org/ ).  The project helps descendants of slaveholders identify and trace their family’s former slaves. My husband’s paternal and maternal ancestors hail from various Southern states and most were slaveholders.  I downloaded the templates and began by entering slaves held by John E. Ellerbee (1808, Georgia – 1877, Louisiana) in 1850 and 1860.  I haven’t done anything beyond these initial steps. Reports to follow!

Overall, I feel like the fog has  lifted and I am again on semi-solid ground.

Death of my laptop computer caused a major, although temporary, setback. Fortunately, we knew the laptop’s end was near.  I had hoped to have a new computer before the old one’s demise. My computer savvy son built me a new desktop computer. What saved me?  Purchase of notebook computer in 2017 and regular, frequent backups to the Cloud and an external hard drive!

Two maternal cousins found my blog in 2018. We stay in contact. We regularly share information and family heirlooms such as pictures.   An unexpected result and blessing!

I pinned a print copy of 2019 goals to the bulletin board in my office. I tried to review these goals at least once a month. As I completed, added or deferred goals, I wrote the information down. These notes provide quick reminders of progress.

Here are my refined 2019 goals and actions taken during the year:

Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):

  1. Continue paper & digital file clean-up. Timeline:  January 2019.  Met- ended major work at end of February 2019.
  2. Defer remainder of work as needed. Some work continued throughout the year, usually to answer a question posed by one of maternal cousins. Goal met.

Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)

  1. Purchase notebooks for Ellerbee-Simmons & Johnson-Reed certificates, photographs and other memorabilia. DONE.  Purchased dividers for notebooks. Documents placed in appropriate notebook when found  online or in paper files.
  2. Send in husband’s DNA test. NOT DONE.  Purchased kit but did not use.
  3. Continue paper & digital file clean-up for father-in-law’s and/or mother-in-law’s family. Goal MET. More work done on Ellerbee files than Johnson files. 
  4. Plan field trip to Alabama and Georgia to trace Ellerbee family migration. If time and geography permit, follow migration of Johnson-Reed family. DEFERRED – Maybe 2020??

Added in 2019:

  1. Copy Ellerbee and Simmons scrapbooks for father-in-law’s sister. COMPLETED
  2. Resume work on scrapbook for extended family member. Work resumed in Summer 2019. Completed and given as Christmas present.

Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)

  1. Copy paper BMD certificates from Posten relative to digital files. Place originals in Posten BMD notebook. NOT DONE.  Continue in 2020.
  2. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter.  Priority: Use information from 2010 Posten family history (continued from 2018). NOT DONE. Same goal for  2020 without priority.
  3. Assist nephew to combine family trees of his parents (continued from 2018). Partially  met. Discussed his family tree during visits. Nephew loaned some documents to me. I scanned, copied then returned the documents to him. 
  4. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options for  2020.  (One chapter done in 2018). NOT DONE.  Continue in 2020. Contacted by person from a ‘possibly related’ branch.

Genealogy Blog:

  1. Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks. Posted 26 times in 2019.
  2. Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law). GOAL PARTIALLY MET. Posten-Richards: 0 stories; Tucker-Maurer:  3 stories; Ellerbee-Simmons: 12 stories; Johnson-Reed: 2 stories. Two posts discussed members of all families. Seven posts with no specific family group.
  3. Limit each post to about 1500 words or less. GOAL MET.
  4. Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. NOT MET. Defer to 2020.  
  5. Address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports. PARTIALLY MET. Addressed in 75-90% of posts. In some posts, I discussed one or two criteria. Most of my blog posts are not meant to be the final report on a person or family. In those posts, I acknowledge that the ‘reasonably exhaustive research’ criterion has not been met. However, other criteria are likely to have been met. 

General items:

  1. Create master lists of To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family. Begin with Tucker-Maurer and Ellerbee families. Partially met. Began using a color-coded file card system.
  2. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month. Partially met. Requested death certificates for Anna Klee Maurer, Anna Katharina Korzelius Maurer and Margaret Tucker (mom’s ancestors). Received first two. All from New York and take 6-9 months.
  3. Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs” ; possibly Dragon software.   Not Done. Keep same goal for  2020.
  4.  Continue volunteer genealogy work with Daughters of the American Revolution. GOAL MET.
  5. Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.  Attended one free webinar on various topics.
  6.  Review Genealogy Proof Standard. Buy book on this topic.   DONE.  Used book as reference. 

BUDGET: 

Budget Spent (Over)/ Under 2020 Proposal
Archival materials $60.00 $279.37 $ (219.37) $200.00
BMD Records $100.00 $59.00 $      41.00 $120.00
Books $75.00 $34.95 $      40.05 $75.00
Copying $10.00 $25.45 $   (15.45) $25.00
Education $150.00 $0.00 $   150.00 $100.00
Ink/ Printing $50.00 $131.68   (81.68) $180.00
Paper $25.00 $55.45   (30.45) $50.00
Subscriptions- annual $50.00 $288.80 $ (238.80) $290.00
Subscriptions-monthly $560.00 $550.80 $        9.20 $560.00
$1,320.00 $1,425.50 $ (361.50) $1600.00

Average cost per month:  about $118.00.

SUMMARY:

Met or partially met 14 of 21 goals set for 2019. Seven goals deferred to 2020. Two additional projects completed in 2019.  Overall, I may have been a bit over-ambitious with goals but am satisfied with progress. Over budget by $361.00.  Added two subscription services, paid annually, in 2019.  Two scrapbook projects were not anticipated when preparing 2019 budget.  Increase budget in these areas for 2020.

Next post:   My personal genealogy goals for 2020

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Catherine D. Brown Ellerbee Barker: The tie that binds

Ellerbee-Powell-Barker Blended families: Part 3

Blended families are not new or unique to the 20th century.  Genealogists regularly encounter men with sequential, multiple wives and women with sequential, multiple husbands.  Widows and widowers often married men and women with children from a previous marriage.  This series began with a  summary of one blended family in the Ellerbee family tree. Next, I told about James T.L. Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah A.C. Daniel. Now comes Catherine Brown, 2nd wife of James T.L. Powell and the tie that binds the Ellerbee and Barker families together.

red scarf bow

Tied Red Scarf.  Original photo by Susan Posten Ellerbee

PROFILE: Catherine Deborah Brown

Born:     19 November 1860, Mississippi (possibly Simpson county)[1]

Married:  22 March 1877 to James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas[2]

Died:     10 March 1944, Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas[3]

Buried: Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas

Parents:  R.L. Brown & Marguerite Puckett (as named on her death certificate)

Children:

  1. Katherine Deborah Powell (18 August 1879, Cherokee county, Texas – 9 July 1959, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas)[4]. Married 27 January 1895[5] at Cherokee county, Texas to James Walter Ellerbee (7 December 1872 – 9 September 1942)[6], son of James John Ellerbee and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Hays. Katie and Walter are my husband’s paternal great-grandparents. 6 children: Odie Lesley (1896-1958), Ernest Aver (1897-1951), Evie (1901-1994), Aver I (1906-1928), Ordra (1907-1987), and James Dreebon (1915-1973).  James Dreebon Ellerbee is my husband’s grandfather.  Their stories are for a later post.
  2. William Ball Powell. (19 February 1882, Cherokee county, Texas – 25 January 1960, Cherokee county, Texas).[7] Married about 1905 in Cherokee county, Texas to Maude F. Chumley (18 October 1888 – 22 March 1958), daughter of Tom Chumley and Frances Hagood. [8] William and Maude apparently divorced and Maude remarried to _____________ Conway.   William and Maude had 4 children: Thomas Otis (1906-      ); Madaline (28 March 1908 at Nacogdoches, Texas -27 May 1909)[9]; Muriel (1912 –      ) and Margaret Nancy (7 October 1915 – 25 October 1977), married  to Tommy Ford.[10]
  3. Jessie Powell (27 January 1889 -26 November 1959), [11]. Married 1st on 24 December 1905 at Cherokee county, Texas[12] to John Thomas Beasley (20 October 1873 – 29 March 1918)[13] . Married 2nd on 29 September 1918 to Robert C. Thames. [14] * ( 1873 – before 1930). Married 3rd between 1930 & 1940 to Gust Karl Beyers (25 November 1880, Germany – 25 October 1967,  Lufkin, Texas)[15].  Children: Mattie Beasley (1907 –      ); Alma Beasley (1909 –    ); Thomas Layfeet Beasley (1910 –     ); Homer Beasley (1912 –    ); Nettie Beasley (1914    –     ); Buford Beasley ( 1919 –     ); Harold Thames (1920 –     ).

PLACE IN HISTORY:

Catherine’s life spans two centuries and eight decades. Modes of transportation changed from horse-drawn buggies  and wagons to motor cars. Wide availability of electricity markedly changed lives from candles to electric lights and wood stoves to ones powered by gas or electricity.  In-door plumbing generally made life easier.

June, 1870: 10-year-old Catherine Brown in Simpson county, Mississippi with presumed parents, W.P. and Mary J.  Brown.[16]  Her father probably fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Between June 1870 & December 1872: Brown family relocated to Cherokee county, Texas.

March 1877:  17-year-old Catherine D. Brown married James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas. Her parents apparently moved to Texas.

August 1879: Birth of daughter, Katherine Deborah, in Cherokee county, Texas.

June 1880: James & 20-year-old Catherine in Cherokee county, Texas, with her stepsons, Alvey, 14;  J.M, age 12, and Peter, age 9 plus 9 month old daughter, D.C.

February 1882: Birth of son, William B. Powell in Cherokee county, Texas.

January 1889: Birth of daughter, Jessie Powell in Cherokee county, Texas

September 1890: James T.L. Powell dies at DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He was probably visiting his son, Peter.  Catherine was now a widow with 3 young children.

September, 1892: Angelina county, Texas. Catherine Brown Powell married Elias Barker, a widower with six children.

CATHERINE’S STORY:

Catherine Brown was a Southern girl through and through. Moving to Texas when she was 12 years old, she barely remembered Mississippi before the Civil War. Her daddy followed an oft traveled route from the devastated South to the promise of a better life in Texas.  They possibly lived close to James T.L. Powell, Deborah and their 3 children. In rural Texas, ‘close’ could mean within a mile or two. When she was 16 years old, Catherine married 41-year-old James, now a widower, and assumed care of his sons, now  6, 9 and 11 years old. James had given up teaching school to become a farmer.  The older boys married, began their own families and eventually moved to Louisiana. Three children of her own (Katherine, born 1879; William, born 1882; Jessie, born 1889) enriched Catherine’s life.  An event in Louisiana in 1890 had unforeseen consequences. Alvey Monroe Powell, James’ 1st grandchild, was born to Peter and his wife, Evelyn Spinks. A visit was certainly in order. Whether Catherine and their young children accompanied James is unknown. In September 1890, 65 year old James died in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, where he is buried.  Catherine, now 30 years old, became a widow with three young children. She endured for two years before marrying Elias Barker, a widower with 6 children.

Next in the series:   Elias Barker &  Catherine Brown Powell or Elias Barker & his first wife. To be published in January, 2020.

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Reflection

This is the 3rd  installment of my series about one set of blended families. I followed the outline started with the 2nd  installment – person profile, place in history, narrative story. I found this format on a webpage with scrapbooking ideas. The format helps me to be more concise and to write a more interesting story.

Earlier this year, a Brown family descendant contacted me. The person is a DNA match with my father—in-law. We traded ideas and information about the names of Catherine’s parents.

What I learned:  Writing a narrative that isn’t just reciting facts is challenging. I like the finished result.

What helped:  Previous completed research on the family.

What didn’t help:  Waiting until the last minute to begin the post.  Incomplete research logs and copying of information to RootsMagic tree on my computer.

To-do:  Update information about William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell on home computer.  Create research logs.  BSO for later—follow descendants of William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell.

SOURCES: 

[1] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

[2] “Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for J.T.L. Powell and Catherine Brown, 19 April 1877, Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[3] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944.

[4] Cherokee county, Texas, certificate no. 36955, Katherine Deborah Ellerbee, 9 July 1959; digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 4 October 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas.

[5]. Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for Katie Powell  and Walter Ellerbee, 27 Jan 1895,  Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[6]. Cherokee county, Texas, Texas, Death certificates,1903-1982, certificate no. 39161, J.W. Ellerbee, 9 September 1942; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 26 September 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.

[7] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 12 November 2019), memorial page for William B. Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 91355097, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Wanda Karr Ellerbee, photograph by Wanda Karr Ellerbee.

[8] Bexar county, Texas, Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982, certificate no. 13386, Maude Chumley Conway, 22 March 1958; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & printed 12 November 2019); Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed & printed 11 October 2019), memorial page for Madaline Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 103081400, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas).

[10] “U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 12 November 2019), entry for Margaret Nancy Powell Ford; citing Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[11]  “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org     : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019), entry for Jessie Byers, daughter of Tom Powell and Kathryn Brown; citing State Registrar Office, Austin, Texas; Vol. 132, certificates 065501-066000,Nov-Dec, Wheeler_-Bexar counties.

[12]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for J.T. Beasley and Jessie Powell, Cherokee county, Texas.

[13]  “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019); entry for John Thomas Beasley, died 29 March 1918, Wells, Cherokee, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[14]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for Jessie Beasley and R.C. Thomes,  Cherokee county, Texas.

[15]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed and printed 11 October  2019), memorial page for Gust Karl Beyers, Find A Grave memorial no.69403504, citing IOOF Lufkin Cemetery, Lufkin, Angelina, Texas.

[16] 1870 census Catherine. 1870 U.S. Census, Simpson county, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 1, p. 266A, family 486, Catherine Brown age 10; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 23 January 2016); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_748.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Thinking of Thanksgiving

Sharing of my genealogy journey needs a short break. In my next post, I  resume telling the stories of 4 blended families- James T.L. Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel; James T.L. Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown; Catherine Brown Powell and her 2nd husband, Elias Barker; Elias Barker and his 1st wife, Euna Barber. 

Thanksgiving in America is generally viewed as a time for family. Many have Pilgrim and /or Native American ancestors in their family trees. Our American holiday originated with a specific event – English immigrants in Massachusetts sharing a harvest celebration with Native Americans. However, one part of the story is often forgotten. The Native Americans taught the  newcomers basic survival skills such as planting crops, caring for plants and eventually, harvesting food. 

The Puritan/ Pilgrim settlement in Massachusetts was not the first European settlement on the North American continent.  Jamestown, Virginia was founded in 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed.  Early settlements included, but were not limited to:

1565: Saint Augustine, Florida, founded by the Spanish

1608: Quebec, Canada, founded by the French

1615:  Fort Nassau (New York), founded by the Dutch

Some Native Americans do not view our American Thanksgiving Day favorably. Since Europeans first landed here, we pushed Native Americans from their traditional homes. Some Native American tribes were decimated by illnesses brought by the Europeans. Other tribes were removed to make way for growing numbers of white settlers. Native American rights were largely ignored in treaties.

So, on this day, enjoy time with your family and celebrate the harvest. Give thanks for the sacrifices of all. Oh, yes, one more thing. These holidays are great for seeking help to answer those burning genealogy questions you’ve discovered.  Share your findings.  Print a 1 or 2-page summary for people to take home. Ask if anyone has great-grandma’s death certificate or obituary. Who has the oldest family Bible? Take notes when your uncle tells about an ancestor, especially if he heard the story from one of his grandparents or one of his grandpa’s brothers or  an elderly aunt.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn! Remember, too, every family has saints and sinners, scoundrels and heroes.   

To read more about Native American views of Thanksgiving, start with these articles:

“Do Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?” Powwows.com, 19 November2019 (https://www.powwows.com/do-native-americans-celebrate-thanksgiving/    : accessed 27 November 2019).

Kisha James.  “For me, Thanksgiving is a ‘Day of  Mourning’” Refinery29, 21 November 2016 (https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/11/130572/day-of-mourning-thanksgiving-protest-native-americans    : accessed 21 November 2019.

Nadra Kareem Nittle, “Should we celebrate thanksgiving and the Pilgrims?”.  ThoughtCo, updated 29 July 2019  (https://www.thoughtco.com/do-native-americans-celebrate-thanksgiving-2834597  : accessed 23 November 2019).

“What does Thanksgiving mean to Native Americans?” Native Hope (https://blog.nativehope.org/what-does-thanksgiving-mean-to-native-americans    : accessed 22 November 2019). Blog post, undated.

Have a blessed and happy day!

School teacher, soldier, farmer-James T.L. Powell

Every soldier has a story before they became a soldier. In genealogical research, I sometimes identify people only in terms of their military experience. But, there is more to each person’s story. Previously, I wrote about a Confederate soldier, James T. L. Powell. This post describes James in terms of his other roles — son, husband, father and school teacher and farmer.

Little Creek School house, circa 1870, Buchanan, posted July 11, 2017.  Courtesy Brian Brown/Vanishing North Georgia

Profile: James T.L. Powell & Deborah Daniel (1st wife)

For more information about education in the 1860s:

 “Education during the 1860s,” American Battlefield Trust, no date ( https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/education-during-1860s   :   accessed 5 November  2019).

Elyse Hoganson,  “The evolution of  schools in Bartow County, Georgia,”  Etowah Valley Historical Society,  no date  (https://evhsonline.org/archives/43743   : accessed 5 November2019).

Brian Tomlin. “Schooling of the 1860s”,  Civil War Blog,  a project of PA Historian,  26 March 2012 (https://civilwar.gratzpa.org/2012/03/schooling-of-the-1860s/   :  accessed 5 November 2019).

Reflection:

I rewrote this post more often than usual. I just wasn’t happy with my standard recitation of facts and questions. I googled ‘writer’s block’ and found a website, “Warts and All” (https://wartsandall.blog/2019/06/25/writers-block/ ) with some ideas and templates. I tried one of the templates and liked the relative clean look. The result is this post.  

I still have lots of questions about James and Deborah. I didn’t meet the ‘reasonably exhaustive’ research criterion.   I checked Family Search again for new documents – no results. I checked Internet Archive for books about the histories of Calhoun county, Georgia and Cherokee county, Texas.  I found one book about each with no results for relevant persons with surnames of Powell or Daniel.  Print books are available at libraries distant from me. I searched Louisiana newspapers (Newspapers.com) with mixed results, specifically obituaries for Alvey and some of James’ grandchildren. Research about these descendants is not complete.

Unexpected result:  Grandparents of Cora Dowdle  (wife of Alvey Powell) are Stephen Myers Hester and Mary Delphine Fayard. Stephen and Mary are also grandparents of Deedie Bailey Simmons, my husband’s great-grandmother. My husband shares more DNA with Alvey and Cora’s descendants than we thought!

What I learned/ recalled:  Value of using multiple sources. Obituaries often give married names of female siblings and daughters.  More than one way to present information.

What helped:  Previous research about James and Deborah virtually complete with research logs and sources.

What didn’t help:  Stopping to follow-up on James and Deborah’s descendants. Finally realized that I didn’t need to include all information about all descendants for this post. I still can’t confirm Deborah’s death date or place! 

To-DO:  Obtain death certificate copies for Alonzo Powell (died 1940, Louisiana); James M Powell (died 1948, Louisiana) and Peter Powell (died 1955, Louisiana). Add to BSO list – create research logs for Alonzo, James & Peter; learn more about their children. Questions:  Who moved to Louisiana first? What was reason for moving from Texas to Louisiana?  Follow Miles & Mahala Buzby as clue to James’ parentage. Mahala could be related to James. Discover information about Thomas and Eleanor Daniel, presumed parents of Deborah A.C. Daniel.  

Sources for James T.L. Powell, School Teacher

Sumter County, Georgia, Marriage Books, Sumter County Ordinary Court, 1850-1857, p.218, no. 24, James T.L. Powell, Deborah A.C. Daniel, 28 June 1857; digital images, University System of Georgia, Georgia Archives (http://vault.georgiaarchives.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/countyfilm/id/289112/rec/3      : accessed,downloaded, printed 24 March 2017); Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, pop. sch., 3rd Distric, p. 139 (stamped), dwelling 335, family 335, James T.L. Powell age 25; digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com   : accessed, downloaded & printed 8 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M653_113.

National Archives & Records Administration, “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 8 October 2018), entry for Powell, James T.L., 18 pages; citing NARA M266. “Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Georgia units, labeled with each soldier’s name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier.” Roll 0366.

1870 U.S. Census, Calhoun County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 626, p. 55 (ink pen, p. 585 (stamp), dwelling 510, family 486, Jas T L Powell; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, downloaded. printed 9 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_138.

“Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 1 November 2019), entry for J.T.L. Powell and Catherine Brown, 19 April 1877, Cherokee county; citing county courthouse records  extracted from copies of original records in microfilm, microfiche, or book format.

1880 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct no. 8, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 1 (ink pen); p. 447A (stamp), dwelling 6, family 6, D.C. Powel age 9/12; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : viewed, downloaded, printed 26 December 2015); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T9, roll 1295.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

A tangled web of 4 blended families

Blended families are like a tangled spider’s web. The web consists of marriages, children, spousal deaths or divorce, remarriages, more children, another spousal death (or divorce) and marriage to a spouse with children from a former marriage. Suddenly, you are tracking four or more families.  Names and dates blur. My web includes two families that eventually became two (2) blended families (total of four families) and 17 children. This post outlines the families and their relationships.

As every genealogist knows, you do not always find records in chronological order. Bits and pieces emerge at various times during your search. You put these bits and pieces together into a timeline of events. The families in this web are:

  • Family #1:  James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah A. C. Daniel.  3 children.
  • Family #2/ Blended family #1:  James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 2nd wife, Katherine Deborah Brown. My husband’s paternal great-great grandparents.  5 children.
  • Family #3:  Elias Barker and his 1st wife, Launa Barber.  6 children.
  • Family #4 / Blended family #2:  Elias Barker, 2nd husband of Katherine Deborah Brown Powell. 3 children.

I found documents at various times. Retrieval dates indicate the sporadic nature of my research on these families. I offer this chronology to show the back and forth nature of genealogical research.   

2011. Document #1:  Death certificate for Katherine Deborah Ellerbee [1](wife of James Walter Ellerbee), my husband’s paternal great-grandmother. Parents listed as James Thomas Lafayette Powell and Katherine Deborah Barker.   

2012. Document #2: (I didn’t realize its significance until later). Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension, filed in 1932.[2]  “Mrs. Catherine Barker. . . widow of J. T. L. Powell. . . . James Thomas Lafayette Powell. . . . remarried to E. Barker, Sept. 1st, 1892, who died Aug. 20th, 1900.”  Conclusion:  Barker was surname of Catherine’s 2nd husband.  What was her maiden name?

Dec 2015. Document #3:  1880 census for J.T. L. Powel, age 45, and wife, Catherine, age 20.[3] Children:  Alvey Powel, son, age 14;  J.M. Powel, son, age 12; Peter Powel, son, age 9; D.C. Powel, daughter, age 9 months.  Analysis:  Alvey, J.M. and Peter could not be Catherine’s children.  D.C. Powel Is probably Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee, born 1879 per her death certificate.

2016. Document #4:   Death certificate for “Mrs. Catherine Barker”.[4] Parents listed as “R.L. Brown” and “Marguerite Puckett”.   Conclusion:  Catherine’s maiden name was Brown, not Barker.

2016. Back to Document #2:  “I was married to him [J.T.L. Powell] on the 22nd day of April, A.D. 1877, in the county of Cherokee, in the state of Texas.” Confirms marriage date for Catherine and JTL Powell.

2016. Document #5:  (recorded as “tentative”): 1900 U.S. Census for Elide Booker, age 46, and wife, Catherine Booker, age 41, with 8 children [5]—Isaac, age 15;  Milton, age 13; Cora, age 11, Katie L, age 8; Bertie R., age 6; Ernest E., age 4; Alpha M. age 1; and stepdaughter, Jessie, age 11.  Analysis: Catherine & Elide married September 1892. Isaac, Milton, Cora are certainly not hers; Katie could be hers but could also be daughter of Elias and his 1st wife.  Bertie R., Ernest and Alpha are certainly children of ‘Elide’ and Catherine. Catherine listed as mother of 8 children, 7 living.  Who are Jessie’s parents? 2019:  Elide Booker identified as Elias Barker.

March 2017. Document #6: [6] 1870 census for J.T. L. Powell, age 35, and Dan A.C. Powell, female, age 32.  Presumed children:  Alonzo Powell, age 4; Jas M, age 2.  Analysis:  “Dan A.C. Powell, age 32” is probably James Powell’s 1st wife.  What is her first name and maiden name?

March 2017. Document #7.   Marriage certificate for James T.L. Powell and Deborah A.C. Daniel, married 1857. [7] Analysis: Name of James T.L. Powell’s 1st wife was Deborah A.C. Daniel.  Consistent with 1870 census. Confirms Deborah as James’ 1st wife.

October 2019.  Documents # 8 and 9.  Marriage record for Elias Barker and Launa Barber, 1874. [8] Find A Grave memorial number 79870105 for Euna Barker, “mother”, death date 1892. [9] Analysis: Confirms Elias’ first marriage and his first wife’s death in 1892.

October 2019.  Document #9.  1880 census for Elias & Launa Barker with one child, Tempe, age 3 months. [10] Analysis: Elias and Launa were married with one child in June 1880.


FAMILY SYNOPSIS:

Family #1:  James T.L. Powell married Deborah A.C. Daniel in 1857 at Sumter county, Georgia. James and Deborah had 3 children- Alonzo, James M. and Peter (born 1872).  Deborah presumably died in Texas between 1872 and 1877.

Family #2/ Blended family #1:  James T. L. Powell married Catherine Deborah Brown in April, 1877 at Cherokee county, Texas. They had at least 5 children – Katherine, William, Jessie and two undiscovered.  James T. L. Powell died in 1890 leaving his wife, Catherine, a widow with 4 or 5 children.  The older children from James’ 1st marriage apparently married before their father’s death.  

Family #3:  Elias Barker married Launa Barber in 1874 at Milam county, Texas. Records show 6 children.  Launa died in 1892, possibly after birth of youngest child, Katie, in February 1892. 

Family #4/ Blended family #2:  Elias Barker remarried in September 1892 at Cherokee county, Texas, to Mrs. Catherine Powell, widow of James T.L. Powell.  Elias died in August 1900, leaving Catherine again a widow. Elias and Catherine had three children – Reba ‘Bertie’, Ernest and Alpha.  Four of Elias’ children from his first marriage – Isaac, Milton, Cora and Katie- were still at home.

SUMMARY:

I found these records over an 8-year period.  Some records were duplicated in my files.  Current analysis of the combined documents revealed previously overlooked information. I didn’t fully identify gaps until this review.

Next steps for me:   Review all documents again. Search for additional documents and information about each family. Report findings as blog posts focusing on one family per post.

REFLECTION:

Another task for Genealogy Do-Over.  Filling out the research logs for James Thomas Lafayette Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown (my husband’s great-great grandparents) showed me that more than one family was involved.  I completed research logs for James and both of his wives.  I started Research logs for Elias Barker and his 1st wife.  Research logs for the 17 children?  One done for my husband’s great-grandmother, Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee.  Others are on my to-do list with priorities to be assigned.  I am on a different path than when I started.

What I learned/ recalled:   Blended families are not a unique phenomenon to the late 20th century.  1900 and 1910 censuses list number of children born and number living for women.

What helped: Access to online databases. Created ‘Blended family pedigree chart’.  Printed records in files.

What didn’t help: Incomplete paper files and research logs.

To-Do: Search census records for Catherine Brown Powell Barker- 1910 through 1940; add to her research log — DONE. Create & complete research logs for Deborah A.C. Daniel, Elias Barker.  Defer research on other children of these families. Confirm birth, marriage, death dates for Catherine’s known 6 children.  Search for information about her other children (2 or 3 as indicated by 1900 & 1910 census).  

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019


SOURCES:

[1] Cherokee county, Texas, , certificate no. 36955, Katherine Deborah Ellerbee, 9 July 1959; digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com    : viewed, printed, downloaded 4 October 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas.

[2] “Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

[3] 1880 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Precinct no. 8, enumeration district (ED) 19, p. 1 (ink pen); p. 447A (stamp), dwelling 6, family 6, D.C. Powel age 9/12; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com    : viewed, downloaded, printed 26 December 2015); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C., microfilm publication T9, roll 1295..

[4] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com      : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Calhoun County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 626, p. 55 (ink pen, p. 585 (stamp), dwelling 510, family 486, Jas T L Powell; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded. printed 9 November 2017); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_138.

[7] “Sumter County, Georgia, Marriage Books, Sumter County Ordinary Court, 1850-1857,”p.218, no. 24, James T.L. Powell, Deborah A.C. Daniel, 28 June 1857; digital images, University System of Georgia, Georgia Archives (http://vault.georgiaarchives.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/countyfilm/id/289112/rec/3   : accessed,downloaded, printed 24 March 2017); Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

[8] “Texas, County Marriage Records, 1817-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 10 October 2019), entry for Elias Barker and Launa Barker; citing “Marriage Records, Texas Marriages,” Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com   : viewed & printed 10 October 2019), memorial page for Euna Barker, Find A Grave Memorial # 79870105, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by seemore, photograph by Deb.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Lee county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 094, p. 79A (stamp); p. 49 (ink pen), dwelling 316, family 319, Elias Barker age 26; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 10 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 1316.

Of laptops and laundry: A light-hearted look at things that interfere with genealogy

Do you remember this poem? I embraced this idea when the boys were small. Now, those babies are grown and out on their own. I retired from work outside of the home in 2016. Genealogy is now my 40+ hours per week job although my husband sometimes says it’s more of an obsession. I need to remember that genealogy DOES keep! Especially, if you have thorough, complete records of your efforts. 

My 10-year-old laptop died a few weeks ago. That event certainly interfered with my genealogy work.   In January 2017, I accepted the reality of disorganized paper and digital genealogy files. I resolved to correct the situation. That’s when I discovered Thomas MacAntee’s Genealogy Do-Over program. [1]  One step is “securing research data.” I followed directions and began routine backups.  Daily data and image backups on the cloud and weekly backups to an external hard drive. Last year, I began monthly backups of all laptop files (not just the genealogy files) to the external hard drive.  These activities resulted in minimum loss of data when my laptop died.

I knew that the laptop’s days were numbered. Laptop’s response time gradually slowed.  My son offered to build a desktop computer for me. We planned for the new computer to be functional before laptop died. Oh, well!  Only one loss found so far – bookmarks to websites. Remedies:  Sync bookmarks with another computer. Periodically save bookmarks to HTML file; store file on Cloud, flash drive and/or  external hard drive.  

We bought a Surface Pro notebook computer in 2017. The purpose was twofold:  (1) Don’t take laptop with personal information on a genealogy field trip.  (2) Take pictures with notebook rather than a camera. Pictures didn’t need to be downloaded from camera to computer.  My husband became an excellent photographer of gravestones! Although there was a lot of perceived ‘junk’ on old laptop, we decided to use the Surface notebook minimally. The Surface became my lifeline while son built desktop computer.  Desktop is now up and running!

Which brings me to another thing that interferes with genealogy – laundry (and other housework).  There are always 2-3 loads of laundry to be done.  Buzzers on washer and dryer alert me to step away from the genealogy work (usually on the computer) for a few minutes. Actually, not such a bad thing! Cleaning house has never been one of my favorite jobs. I describe myself as a ‘laissez-faire’ housekeeper—the house doesn’t have to be completely dust-free and spotless clean.  I live by this motto:  “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”  Everything does get cleaned, just not every day!

And, there is the issue of food! My family is always appreciative when I cook. Sometimes, I resort to my “meal prepared and on the table in 30-45 minutes” mode that was common when I worked outside of the home. One advantage of retirement is that I can now prepare those ‘’week-end only when I have lots of time” meals on a weekday. Of course, there are still the “what do you want from take-out” days and “let’s get a pizza” days.  Grocery shopping and meal prep also mean that I put the genealogy aside for various time periods.

Genealogy does keep! But only if you have complete, thorough records of the data and your analysis. Document everything you do, then save it in more than one way.

Try this mantra:  

      Records searched and dutifully filed. 
      Data reviewed and analysis writ down.    
      Media saved, backup plan in effect, files are in order.  
      More Genealogy will keep till tomorrow. 
     (Unless, of course, you just found that elusive person or item 
       that answers one question but generates more!)  

Reflection:

I had to get out of serious genealogy work for a bit. I have been getting bogged down with small details. The elusive ancestors from the early 1800s and late 1700s remain elusive. Oh, I have names, dates and places.  Questions remain:

  • Who is Thomas Ellerby’s father? Thomas bought land in North Carolina in 1724.  Candidates include Thomas, John, William and Edward Ellerby, all of whom were in Virginia circa 1683-1690.     
  • What is relationship between Thomas Ellerby, who moved from Virginia to South Carolina about 1737 and John Ellerby, who bought land in North Carolina in 1738? Both men owned property near the Pee Dee River which runs in both North and South Carolina.
  • John Ellerby died 1751 in Anson county, North Carolina. Is he ancestor of our John Ellerbee, born 1808 in Georgia and died 1884 in Florida?

The amount of work needed for do-over of Ellerbee family tree is overwhelming. Other projects beg for my attention. Solution? One project at a time. Work on each project at least once a week.

Temporarily put aside further review and searches for those early Ellerby/ Ellerbe/  Ellerbee ancestors.  I reviewed digital and paper files for John E. Ellerbee and his two wives, completed research logs and re-wrote citations to meet standards.  The same process is complete for four generations of Ellerbee men who are direct descendants of John E. Ellerbee plus 13 other persons. Scattered re-written source citations appear throughout my RootsMagic tree. Proposed work plan:

  • Wives of Ellerbee men and their direct ancestors.
  • Siblings of Ellerbee direct ancestors.
  • Simmons direct ancestors (father-in-law’s mother’s family).
  • Wives of Simmons men and their direct ancestors.
  • Siblings of Simmons direct ancestors.

Continue applying lessons learned in Genealogy Do-Over.


[1] Thomas MacAntee,  Genealogy Do-Over (https://genealogydoover.com/are-your-ready-for-the-genealogy-do-over/    :  accessed 7 October 2019).

John E. Ellerbee’s wealth

How is wealth measured? Today, we say a person is wealthy because of their high salary and/or the value of their business and other investments.  Home and land ownership reflects a person’s financial status. Our ancestors measured wealth by the amount of land owned and the value of crops and livestock. Sadly, in the antebellum south, wealth was also measured by the number of slaves owned.  How wealthy was John E. Ellerbee, my husband’s ancestor? This post, fourth in my series about John E. Ellerbee, addresses that question.

SOURCE: Blake Harris, powerpoint “The Pre-Civil War South”. Slide Share ( https://www.slideshare.net/BlakeHarris2/the-pre-civil-war-south-ppt : accessed 21 September 2019).

John E. Ellerbee, born about 1808 in Burke county, Georgia, married at least two times and fathered at least 16  children.  The family consistently moved southwest through Georgia to Florida from 1830 through 1880.  I described their migration pattern in my last two posts. 

A typewritten manuscript[1]  was privately published before the printed Ellerbe family history. [2]  In that manuscript, Morris “Buck” Ellerbee commented on John’s south-westerly moves:

South-western Georgia was the West of the day and that is where
new and cheap land was to be found. . . and it appears that John 
Ellerbee kept moving Westward as new lands became available. . . .
 [and] (1) the family is larger, and (2) the family fortune is larger. 
The 1860 census lists John Ellerbee’s property as follows: 
real estate valued at $3000; and personal property valued
at $4500. Three thousand dollars of “cheap land” could have 
been considerable acres. And since his personal property 
was surely made up largely of mules and slaves. . . there must 
have been quite a number of them. . . . John Ellerbee
was considered a wealthy man before the Civil War. [3]

In 1850, the “larger family” consisted of nine people (John, Martha, six children[4] and one slave[5]).  His real estate was valued at $2500. Older children left home between 1850 and 1860 and new children were born. The 1860 population schedule[6] shows John and Martha with 10 children plus two slaves. [7]  John’s real estate value increased to $4500 and personal property increased to  $3000.  John’s wealth certainly included more than “mules and slaves”.  

How many acres of land did John own?  Turn now to the Agricultural Schedules of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Agricultural schedules of 1850, 1860, and 1870 provide the following information for each farm: name of owner or manager, number of improved and unimproved acres, and the cash value of the farm, farming machinery, livestock, animals slaughtered during the past year, and “homemade manufactures.” The schedules also indicate the number of horses, mules, “milch cows,” working oxen, other cattle, sheep, and swine owned by the farmer. The amount of oats, rice, tobacco, cotton, wool, peas and beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat, orchard products, wine, butter, cheese, hay, clover seed, other grass seeds, hops, hemp, flax, flaxseed, silk cocoons, maple sugar, cane sugar, molasses, and beeswax and honey produced during the preceding year is also noted. The 1880 schedules provide additional details, such as the amount of acreage used for each kind of crop, the number of poultry, and the number of eggs produced.

Exclusions–Not every farm was included in these schedules. In 1850, for example, small farms that produced less than $100 worth of products annually were not included. By 1870, farms of less than three acres or which produced less than $500 worth of products were not included.

SOURCE: https://www.archives.gov/research/census/nonpopulation/#ag

Following the Civil War and the family’s move to Florida, John’s wealth diminished.   Real estate value fell to $240 and personal estate value fell to $300 in 1870. The family size remained at 12 (John, Martha and 10 children).  [10]  His small holdings would not be included in the 1870 Agricultural schedule.

Family tradition says that John owned a small orange grove in Hillsborough county, Florida, where the family lived in 1880. In 1883, John Ellerbee bought 150 acres “east of Tallahassee Meridian in Florida.” [11] John’s personal property, sold after his death, included 1 yoke of oxen (sold to J. A. D. Branch for $30.00 and one stock of hogs (sold to J.B. McPherson for $2.50). [12]  Total for all items sold at auction was $51.80. John’s son, W. M. Ellerbee, bought John’s 160 acres for $445 in 1887. Total value of John’s estate= $496.80.

Summary:

How wealthy was John E. Ellerbee? In pre-Civil War Georgia, John doubled his land ownership within one decade. Overall monetary value of the land and livestock remained static ($4150 in 1850 and $3995 in 1860). Crop production almost doubled during the same period (665 bushels in 1850 to 1150 bushels in 1860).  His 500 acres may seem paltry compared to thousands of acres on some plantations but the land provided enough to take care of his family with produce left to sell. The abrupt decline in their financial status must have been devastating.  I haven’t found proof of the orange grove purchase. I believe that John kept trying to improve his lot.

For more information:

REFLECTION:

This post concludes the 4-part series about John E. Ellerbee. When I started the first post, I didn’t realize that there was so much to his story. I confirmed sources cited by others and added details. I responded emotionally to several items, specifically the lumping together of “mules and slaves” as a measure of wealth and John’s acquisition of Indian cession land in Georgia. Although I can’t absolutely prove that John bought Indian land, he lived in the right place at the right time for that to occur.

What I learned:   Details found in agricultural schedules.

What helped:  Internet access to multiple records, books, manuscripts and articles. Books found in local library about Creek and Cherokee Indians in Georgia before their removal to Oklahoma. Creating research log for John E. Ellerbee.

What didn’t help:  Having bronchitis for 2 weeks and not feeling like working on genealogy.  Getting sidetracked as I search for John’s parents.  

To-do:  Compile the 4 blog posts into one article. Share with relatives. Consider submitting for publication to Historical or Genealogical society journal in Georgia.  Resume work on scrapbook for another relative.


SOURCES:

[1] LRB typewritten manuscript; digitized by Internet Archive 2018. Ronald W. Ellerbe & Morris B. Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee. (privately printed, 1963). Digital copy, The  Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/lrbellerbyellerb00elle  : accessed and printed, 27 August 2019). Sections ‘The Ellerbee’s of early Georgia’ and ‘John Ellerbee (1808-1885)’ probably written by Morris B. (Buck) Ellerbee, a descendant of John.  Source citations minimal but records can be found. 

[2] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), p. 14-41.

[3] Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 31-32.

[4] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49B (ink pen), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee.

[5] 1850 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, slave schedule, District 3, no page number, John Ellerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M432.

[6] 1860 population census. 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, slave schedule, 3rd District, p. 265 (stamp), John Elerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M653

[7] 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, slave schedule, 3rd district, p. 265 (stamp); p. 27 (ink pen), John E. Ellerbee; NARA microfilm publication M653.

[8] 1850 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, agriculture schedule, 3rd District, p. 39, John Ellerbee; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com    : accessed & printed, 7 September 2019); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T1137, roll 1.

[9] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, agriculture schedule, 3rd District, no page number, John Elerba [Ellerbee]; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed & printed, 7 September 2019); National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T1137, roll 4.

[10] 1870 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Marianna, p. 54 (ink pen), dwelling 586, family 587, John Ellerbee age 63; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_130.

[11] Certificate of the Register of Land to John Ellerbee; United States Bureau of Land Management “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1716 – 2015,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed, downloaded 6 September 2019); citing Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes, Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

[12] “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee; citing “Florida, Willas and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Moving south: Historical and financial clues to John Ellerbee’s migration

My husband’s ancestor, John E. Ellerbee, married twice. The identity of his first wife remains elusive. Wife #1 gave birth to 4 children between 1830 and 1840.  John’s marriage to Martha Love in September 1842 suggests that Wife #1 died about 1841 or 1842.  John sired 12 children with Martha Love. 

First, I reported on John E. Ellerbee and his two wives. Then, I described the family’s southwards migration pattern from eastern Georgia to western Florida.  I posed a question: “Why did John move south?”  Now, I continue the saga with clues found in historical and financial records.

 John E. Ellerbee was born about 1808 in Burke county, Georgia. [1] Burke county resides on Georgia’s eastern border with South Carolina. From there, John moved west and south to Houston county, then south to Randolph, Baker and Calhoun counties.  His southern migration continued to Florida, first to Jackson county in the Panhandle then to Hillsborough county on Florida’s west coast.

Why did John move south?  After my last post, I found a privately published, typewritten manuscript[2] that appears to be the precursor to the printed Ellerbe family history. [3]  Morris “Buck” Ellerbee commented on John’s south-westerly moves:

South-western Georgia was the West of the day
and that is where new and cheap land was to be found. . . 
and it appears that John Ellerbee kept moving Westward 
as new lands became available. . . . [and] 
(1) the family is larger, and (2) the family fortune is larger. 
The 1860 census lists John Ellerbee’s property as follows: 
real estate valued at $3000; and personal property valued 
at $4500. Three thousand dollars of “cheap land” could have 
been considerable acres. And since his personal property was
surely made up largely of mules and slaves. . . 
there must have been quite a number of them.  [4]

The “cheap land” in southwestern Georgia originally belonged to the Creek Indians. [5]  Review the formation of relevant Georgia counties:

  • Houston county (John’s location in 1830 and 1840), formed 1821 from Indian land cession.
  • Randolph county (location of John and Martha’s marriage in 1842), created 1828 from Lee county. Lee county formed 1827 from Indian land cession. 
  • Baker county (John’s location in 1850 and 1860) formed 1824 from Early county. Early county created 1818 from Creek Indian land cession.
  • Calhoun county (John’s location in 1860) formed 1854 from Early county.  

This discovery adds a sad historical perspective to John’s story.  Our ancestor benefitted from the removal of the Creek Indians from Georgia to Alabama (about 1826) and their eventual removal to Oklahoma Territory in 1836.[6]  The Cherokee Indians, who lived in northwestern Georgia, experienced similar forced removals, known as the “Trail of Tears”.  Our ancestor gained while others were forcibly moved from ancestral homelands.

The map illustrates Indian Land Cessions in Georgia and the dates of those cessions. The original map is titled ‘Indian Land Cessions in the United States.” Georgia Map 15, United States Digital Map Library.  http://usgwarchives.net/maps/cessions/ilcmap15.htm . Map with dates downloaded from Don & Diane Wells, “The loss of the remaining Creek Indian Territory,”  Smoke Signals: News and views from Big Canoe and around North Georgia, digital edition (https://www.bigcanoenews.com/news/news-col1/columns/6447-the-loss-of-the-remaining-creek-indian-territory

I do not dispute that both the family and the family fortunes increased.[7]  Census records are clear on those issues. The number of children in the household increased from 4 in 1840[8] to 8 in 1850[9] and 12 in 1860[10].  John’s real estate was valued at $2500 in 1850[11] . Mr. Ellerbee reversed the numbers for the 1860 census:  $4500 in real estate and $3000 in personal property.[12]  Family tradition says that “John Ellerbee was considered a wealthy man before the Civil War.” [13]

One of John’s sons kept “a trunkful of worthless Confederate money” inherited from his father.[14]  In my last post, I asserted that the family moved circa 1863-1866 from Calhoun county, Georgia in 1860 to Jackson county, Florida by 1870, based on reported birth and marriage dates for children.  Buck Ellerbee suggested that “he [John] made the move during the Civil War when it was still possible for him to convert his holdings to cash- even though it was Confederate cash.”[15]  This makes sense and likely answers when and why they moved to Florida.

John was a slave owner.  Pre-Civil war census records show that he owned 1 or 2 slaves at any given time:  1840[16] – 2 slaves; 1850[17]:  1 slave; 1860[18]:  2 slaves.  These numbers dispute Buck Ellerbee’s claim that “there must have been quite a number of them [mules and slaves].” What effect did emancipation of the slaves have on John and his family? Unknown but possibly minimal. 

Personal note:  The concept of equating mules with slaves is repulsive to me. We accept the fact that my husband’s ancestors owned slaves. However, that doesn’t negate my gut reaction.  

How many acres of land did John own?  In 1883, John Ellerbee bought 159 acres “east of Tallahassee Meridian in Florida.” [19] How much land did he buy and sell in Georgia? How much livestock did John own? How productive was the land?  That, my friends, will be subject for next post after I locate and review the agriculture census records.

SUMMARY. Why did John choose to move south rather than west? I believe the question has been answered. During the decades before the Civil War, the lure of cheap land was likely a definite factor. The cost to the Indian tribes may not even have concerned John.  The reason for moving to Florida is less clear. Did John foresee the defeat of the Confederacy?  Did he attempt to minimize his losses by moving to Florida before the end of the Civil War?  Buck Ellerbee’s belief—that John used Confederate money for his initial purchase of land in Florida- suggests that the answer to both questions is “Yes.”   

For more information about Creek and Cherokee Indians in Georgia:

Brian Hicks. Toward the setting sun:  John Ross, the Cherokees, and the Trail of Tears. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011.

Claudi Saunt. “Creek Indians.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, (https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/creek-indians  :  accessed 30 August 2019);  original 20 July 2018.

Don & Diane Wells, “The loss of the remaining Creek Indian Territory,”  Smoke Signals: News and views from Big Canoe and around North Georgia, digital edition (https://www.bigcanoenews.com/news/news-col1/columns/6447-the-loss-of-the-remaining-creek-indian-territory;  accessed 30 August 2019); originally published 30 November 2001; created online 14 October 2014.

REFLECTION:

I am constantly amazed about what is available on the internet. The typewritten LRB manuscript, dated 1963, is new to me. Digitized in 2018, it popped up on a Google search.  Some information clearly made its way to Ronald William Ellerbe’s 1986 print book. The 1963 manuscript contains more details about John Ellerbee and his family.  The “Ellerbee’s of early Georgia” section expanded my knowledge and led me to new insights.  The Ellerbee family apparently owned land near the Pee Dee River in South Carolina.   😔– another lead to follow!

Each post starts short and focused but seems to expand as if it has a life of its own. My goal of about 1500 words is often tested (1462 words in this post). I foresee a journal article about John E. Ellerbee??

What I learned:  Buck Ellerbee talked with elderly descendants of John Ellerbee, some of whom were  John’s grandchildren. These persons are now deceased. Buck’s insights paralleled some of my own and provided some new ones.

What helped:  Finding LRB manuscript.  Thank you, Internet Archive!!

What didn’t help:  Feeling overwhelmed.  Clean-up of records for Ellerbee family tree has stalled.  I have been sick with bronchitis for a week and didn’t get to state history center library.

TO-DO:   Locate and read books/ articles about removal of Creek and Cherokee Indians from Georgia. Found one book at local library—still reading.  Review source citations in LRB manuscript. Library at Oklahoma History Center has some potentially useful books and other sources. Explore BLM land records. Locate agriculture census schedules for John Ellerbee. Locate and read information about Pee Dee River settlers.


SOURCES:

[1] 1850 census. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49 B (penned), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed, downloaded 3 January 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll M432_61.

[2] LRB typewritten manuscript; digitized by Internet Archive 2018. Ronald W. Ellerbe & Morris B. Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee. (privately printed, 1963). Digital copy, The  Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/lrbellerbyellerb00elle  : accessed and printed, 27 August 2019). Sections ‘The Ellerbee’s of early Georgia’ and ‘John Ellerbee (1808-1885) probably written by Morris B. (Buck) Ellerbee, a descendant of John.  Source citations minimal but records can be found. 

[3] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), p. 14-41.

[4] LRB bio p. 31. Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 31.

[5] “Georgia county creation and parent counties,” Family Search Wiki (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Georgia_County_Creation_Dates_and_Parent_Counties :  accessed 25 August 2019).

[6]. Don and Diane Wells. “The loss of the remaining Creek Indian territory,” Smoke Signals: News and views from Big Canoe and around North Georgia, front page; digital edition (https://www.bigcanoenews.com/news/news-col1/columns/6447-the-loss-of-the-remaining-creek-indian-territory;  accessed 30 August 2019). Originally published 30 November 2001; created online 14 October 2014.  

[7] According to Buck Ellerbee, “Tradition also says that John Ellerbee was married three times, and fathered 24 children. . 17 living to maturity” (Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 31). “The spread in years between Edward [born 1831] and Elizabeth (born 1836] [per 1850 census]” is given as evidence. I may need to re-write earlier post!

[8] Abstracted by Lorraine H. Robinson, “1840 Federal Census Houston County, Georgia (file 2 of 5),” database, US Gen Web (http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/houston/census/1840/pg373.txt : downloaded & printed 29 August 2011), page 10 sheet no. 376, line 21, John Ellerbee; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microflim publication M704, reel 43.

[9] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49B (ink pen), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee.

[10] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289, John E Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M654_113.

[11] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49B (ink pen), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee.

[12] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289, John E Ellerbee.

[13] Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 31-32.

[14] Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 30. 32. Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History, 14-41.

[15] Ellerbe & Ellerbee, LRB, Ellerby, Ellerbe, Ellerbee, 32.

[16] Abstracted by Lorraine H. Robinson, “1840 Federal Census Houston County, Georgia (file 2 of 5),” database page 10 sheet no. 376, line 21, John Ellerbee.

[17] 1850 U.S. Census, Baker county, Georgia, slave schedule, District 3, no page number, John Ellerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M432.

[18] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, slave schedule, 3rd District, p. 265 (stamp), John Elerbee, owner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : printed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, microfilm publication M653.

[19] Certificate of the Register of Land to John Ellerbee; United States Bureau of Land Management “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1716 – 2015,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, printed, downloaded 6 September 2019); citing Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes, Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Moving south: Migration of John E. Ellerbee (1808-1884)

Moving south. Those two words summarize the migration pattern of my husband’s ancestor, John E. Ellerbee. John’s story begins at his birth near Georgia’s eastern border with South Carolina.  His story ends on Florida’s western coast.  My last post told about John’s two marriages. This post describes the facts of John’s migration pattern based on census and marriage records.

SOURCE:  “Research our records- Military records-Civil War-Pictures of the Civil War,” digital images, The National Archives ( https://www.archives.gov/files/research/military/civil-war/photos/images/civil-war-013.jpgaccessed 25  August 2019), photo no. 200-CC-306, “A refugee family leaving a war area with belongings loaded on a cart, ”  NARA identifier  559267; citing Library of Congress Collection, ca 1905-ca 1909, Series: Stereographs of the Civil War, 1861-1865.


To refresh your memory, I found John, Martha, and 8 children, ages ranging from 2 to 19 years,  in Baker county, Georgia in 1850.[1]  Baker county is in the southwestern corner of Georgia.  Earlier censuses, specifically 1830 [2] and 1840[3],  show John Ellerbee in Houston County, Georgia.  

The 1850 census taker recorded both county and state of birth. Many census takers recorded only the state as birthplace. These unexpected details provided a way to easily trace the family’s migration. Here are the census data with my comments in italics:

  • John Ellerbee, age 42, farmer born Burke county, Georgia about 1808. Presumed head of household.  
  • Martha Ellerbee, age 25. Born North Carolina about 1825. Confirmed as wife by 1842 marriage record for John Elibee and Martha Love in Randolph county, Georgia [4].
  • Edward Ellerbee, age 19, farmer.  Born about 1831, Houston county, Georgia. Presumed son of John Ellerbee and his 1st wife.
  • Elizabeth Ellerbee, age 14. Born about 1836, Houston county, Georgia, Presumed daughter of John Ellerbee and his 1st wife. Same birthplace as Edward suggests that she is Edward’s sister.
  • James Ellerbee, age 12. Born about 1838,  Houston county, Georgia. Presumed son of John Ellerbee and his 1st wife. Same birthplace as Edward and Elizabeth suggests a sibling relationship.
  • Presumed children of John Ellerbee and Martha:
    • Sanderlin Ellerbee, age 6. Born about 1844 in Randolph county, Georgia.
    • Smith Ellerbee, age 5.  Born about 1845 in Randolph county, Georgia.
    • Jasper Ellerbee, age 4.  Born about 1846 in Baker county, Georgia
    • child not named, age 3. Born about 1847 in Baker county, Georgia.
    • Martha Ellerbee, age 2. Born about 1848) in Baker county, Georgia.
    • Ages of the youngest five children suggest birth intervals of 12 months to 2 years which is consistent with spacing during this time period.
  • James Parker, age 15. Born about 1835 in Washington county, Georgia. Possibly not related.

The 1860 census taker found the family in Calhoun county, Georgia.  [5]  Calhoun county was formed in 1854 from northern sections of Early and Baker counties. [6]  The family possibly  lived in the same place from 1850 to 1860.  By 1860, the family expanded to 11 children:   Sandlin, 16; Smith R, 15; Jasper, 13; Damarius, 11; Martha, 10; Candis, 7; Eliza, 6;  Marion, 4; O.Suphena and I.Suphena (twins), 2; “babe”, age 2 months.

By 1870, John had again moved south. John, his wife and 10 children lived in Jackson county, Florida. [7]  Their youngest child, SmithiAnn, was born about 1863 in Georgia. Sandlin married in Jackson county in 1866. [8]  These dates suggest a move between 1863 and 1866. James John Ellerbee, youngest son of John and his first wife, remained in Georgia, where James later died. [9]  During 1872, two daughters, Candis and Martha, married in Jackson county. [10], [11]

Northern Florida still seemed too far north for John. So, he moved his family to Hillsborough county, Florida. [12] His son, Jasper, married in Hillsborough county in 1874[13] so the move probably occurred about 1873.  Hillsborough county is near the middle of Florida on the western coast. You may recognize Tampa, Jackson county seat. John died in Hillsborough county, Florida, in 1884. [14]

After John’s death, Martha Love Ellerbee moved in with her daughter, Eliza Ann Carter, and family. The 1885 census [15] in Hillsborough county, Florida, is the last record found for Martha.

MAP SOURCE: Bonner, W. G. (1851) Bonner’s pocket map of the state of Georgia. [Milledgeville, Ga.: Wm. G. Bonner] [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/99462703/.      Retrieved 31 July 2019. County names and dates for John Ellerbee’s migration added by Susan Posten Ellerbee.

Combining information from census and marriage records yields this migration timeline: 

  • 1808:  John Ellerbee born Burke county, Georgia
  • 1st marriage, about 1830, possibly Houston county, Georgia; distance about 150 miles.
  • Circa 1831 – 1840:  Houston county, Georgia
    • Edward, Elizabeth and James born in Houston county; estimated birth years 1831, 1836, 1838, respectively
  • Circa 1840 – 1842: Death of 1st wife. Location: unknown; either Houston or Randolph counties
  • 1842:  Randolph county, Georgia (marriage to Martha Love). Distance: about 100 miles.
  • Circa 1844: Randolph county, Georgia
  • Circa 1846-1850: Baker county, Georgia. Distance: about 20 miles
  • 1860: Calhoun county, Georgia (possibly same place as 1850 since Calhoun county was formed in 1854 from parts of Early and Baker counties)
  • Circa 1865:  Jackson county, Florida. Distance: about 75 miles
  • About 1873:  Hillsborough county, Florida. Distance: about 340 miles
  • 1884:  John Ellerbee dies in Hillsborough county, Florida
  • After 1885:  Martha Love Ellerbee dies, probably in Hillsborough county, Florida.

Taking only hours today, these moves would have taken days or even weeks. The last move of over 300 miles must have been especially grueling for John, in his late 60s, and Martha, in her mid to late 40s. John and Martha moved at least 4 times during their 40+ years of marriages. At least 9 of their 12 of their children remained in Florida.   

Why did John move south?  Much of southwestern Georgia originally belonged to the Creek Indians. [16]  The opening of Indian land for settlement is a likely reason for John’s moves. This discovery adds an historical perspective to John’s story.  I need to explore this further.  

Why did John choose to move south rather than west? Some of my husband’s ancestors trekked to Texas after the Civil War. Other white Southern families moved to Mexico and South America after the Civil War. Many black families moved to Northern cities and towns. (See “For more information” at end of post).   Although John did not serve in the Confederacy, at least three of his sons (Edward, James John and Sandlin) did. The Ellerbee book presents one clue: “According to family tradition, he converted his life savings into Confederate money during the Civil War. One of his younger sons kept the trunkful of worthless money for many years.”[17]  Were there too many memories and hardships in Georgia?  What was offered in Florida that enticed him to move? Did he just want to start over in a new place? And, again, why south?

For more information:

Shari Eli, Laura Salisbury, Allison Shertzer. “Migration responses to Conflict: Evidence from the Border of the American Civil War,” Working paper 22591, National Bureau of Economic Research, (http://eh.net/eha/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EliSalisburyShertzer.pdf  : accessed 25 August 2019).

Kendra Taira Field, Growing up with the country: Family, race and nation after the Civil War. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2018.

Katie Vernon, “The Mass Exodus of  Confederates to Brazil after the Civil War,”  The Vintage News,  13 August 2018 (https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/08/13/confederates-brazil/ :    accessed 25 August  2019).

Todd W. Wahlstrom, The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration across the Borderlands after the American Civil War. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The epic story of America’s Great Migration. New York, NY: Random House, 2010.

Reflection:

This post began as part of last week’s post about John’s wives. I realized that the post was just getting too long and had 2 different topics. Separating the topics helped me focus.

What I learned:  My husband’s family migrated to Texas after the Civil War. I accepted their movement West as a well-known fact. I did not realize that other Confederate families went to Mexico and South America until I searched for additional sources for this post. I remember hearing briefly in history class about the Great Migration of Black families to the North. The impact of those decisions did not directly affect me or my family but I want to learn more. John Ellerbee occupied land that originally belonged to the Creek Indians.

What helped:  Digital and paper file clean-up almost complete for John & Martha. Scrapbook done last year for father-in-law. Online interactive county formation maps.

What didn’t help:  Finding, then losing, digital 1850 Georgia map. Laptop death at end of July.  

To-do:  Continue research on John & Martha’s children. Prepare research logs for each child. Locate death date and location for Martha Love Ellerbee focusing on Hillsborough county, Florida.  Locate and read Isabel Wilkerson’s book. Locate information about Indians in southwestern Georgia and the loss of their lands.

SOURCES:

[1] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Baker County, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 49 B (penned), dwelling 1111, family 141, John E. Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 3 January 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Roll M432_61.

[2] 1830 U.S. Census, Houston County, Georgia, population schedule, page 291, John  Ellerbee; digital images, US Gen Web (http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/houston/census/1830/pg1.txt   : viewed, downloaded, printed 6 February 2016); page 291, line 14, John Ellerbee; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M19, roll 18.

[3] Abstracted by Lorraine H. Robinson, “1840 Federal Census Houston County, Georgia (file 2 of 5),” database, US Gen Web (http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/houston/census/1840/pg373.txt    : downloaded & printed 29 August 2016), page 10 sheet no. 376, line 20, John Ellerbee; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M704, reel 43.

[4]  “Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828-1978,” marriage record, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : downloaded & printed 5 January 2018), entry for John Ellibee & Martha Love; citing County Marriage Records, 1828–1978; The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

[5] 1860 U.S. Census, Calhoun county, Georgia, population schedule, District 3, p. 42 (ink pen), dwelling 289, family 289, John E Ellerbee; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M654_113.

[6]  “Maps of Georgia,” Map of US (https://www.mapofus.org/georgia/  : accessed 15 August 2019).

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Jackson county, Florida, population schedule, Marianna, p. 54 (ink pen), dwelling 586, family 587, John Ellerbee age 63; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed, downloaded, printed 3 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_130.

[8] “Groom Index to Jackson County, Florida,” database, US Gen Web Archives (http://files.usgwarchives.net/fl/jackson/vitals/marriages/184800g3.txt  : accessed, printed 25 August 2019), entry for Ellaby, Sanderlin and Jane Grantham, 3 Dec 1866; citing “Florida Marriages, 1848-1900, DU-HA”; Book B, Page 208.

[9] 1870 U.S. Census, Miller County, Georgia, population schedule, , p. 15 (penned), family #120, John J. Eleby, age 31; digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com accessed, viewed, downloaded 8 March 2017); National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[10] “Florida, County Marriage Records, 1823-1982,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 6 January 2018), entry for George Dudley & Candis Ellerbee, 14 January 1872; citing Marriage Records. Florida Marriages. Various Florida County Courthouses and State Archive, Tallahassee, Florida.

[11] “Florida Marriages, 1837-1974,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:1JY  : 10 February 2018), Richard F. Edenfield and Mattie Ellerbee, 27 Jun 1872; citing Jackson, Florida; FHL microfilm 0931955 V. D-E.

[12] 1880 U.S. Census, Hillsborough county, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 5, enumeration district (ED) 061, p. 33 (ink pen); p. 407C (stamp), dwelling 402, John Ellerbee age 72; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, printed, downloaded 1 May 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 128.

[13] “Florida, County Marriages, 1823-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 3 January 2018), entry for Jasper Ellerbee and Jane Hanna, 17 December 1874; citing various Florida County Courthouses and State Archive, Tallahassee, Florida.

[14] Probate record for John Ellerbee. “Florida, County Judge’s Court (Hillsborough County),” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed & printed 5 May 2019), entry for John Ellerbee; citing “Florida, Willas and Probate Records, 1810-1914” [database online], Florida County, District and Probate Courts; administrator: W.M. Ellerbee.

[15] 1885 Florida State Census, Hillsborough county, population schedule, , page 4 D (ink pen); page 105D, family 35, J L Carter age 37 head; M. Ellerbee, 68, boarder; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, printed, downloaded 1 May 2019); citing Schedules of the Florida State Census of 1885, National Archives microfilm publication M845, roll 4.

[16] ).  “Georgia county creation and parent counties,” Family Search Wiki (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Georgia_County_Creation_Dates_and_Parent_Counties :  accessed 25 August 2019).

[17] Ronald William Ellerbe, The Ellerbe Family History (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986), p. 14-41.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019.