Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jordan Lee and wife Lydia (Hodge) Lee

Elusive Records and Linking Children to Parents:

Jordan Lee and wife Lydia (Hodge) Lee

Researching the Lee family line has been a test of my genealogical skills as well as my patience. The elusive records for the Jordan Lee family lineage has made it difficult to prove with one hundred per cent certainty that Jordan is the father of Benjamin Lee. However, I do feel confident that Jordan Lee is the progenitor of the Lee clan. I have used all available online records in my research, and one day plan to make a trip to Alabama to look for records in the local courthouse and archives. I have concluded from all the records used in researching the Lee family that Jordan Lee is the father of Benjamin Lee.

The connection of the Eleys to the Lees is through Alice Lee, the mother of Esters Eley. Alice Lee’s father was William Alfred Lee and was born in Alexander City, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. This information on the Lee family I am confident of, due to the fact that I have gathered information about the Lee family from Lee family members. I have researched the Lee lineage extensively and DNA tested with all three testing companies.,

The information for the next two generations of Lees gets to be more “fuzzy.” Benjamin Lee is a son of Jordan Lee and wife Lydia, and was born in Richland County, South Carolina. Benjamin is the father of William Alfred Lee.

The censuses used in locating Jordan Lee and following his migration to Tallapoosa County, Alabama are the pre 1850 censuses. On the 1810 Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina census Jordan is the head of family and there are five persons under sixteen years old. The next census for Richland County, South Carolina shows Jordan Lee as the head and there are seven persons under sixteen years of age. In 1830 living in Richland County, South Carolina Jordan Lee is the head and there are five persons under twenty years of age living in the household. It seemed as though there was conflicting information as to where Jordan Lee was living in 1840; however, after careful examination of the inventory papers for his father-in-law Benjamin Hodge I resolved the conflict. William Brown administrator of Benjamin’s Hodge’s estate received the money from Jordan Lee for a purchase he made from the estate. William Brown on November 27, 1843 submitted the money to the Court of Ordinary 5.

Benjamin Hodge, Jordan Lee’s father-in-law died 28 January 1837 in Richland County, South Carolina. Jordan Lee is stated to have bought a set of pewter plates from the Benjamin Hodge estate. Jordan stated, I am entitled by my intermarriage with the daughter of the deceas (deceased).” This is the same Jordan Lee married to Lydia Hodge, daughter of Benjamin Hodge. By 1840 Jourdan Lee was living in Tallapoosa County, Alabama and there were four persons under twenty years of age.

Jordan and Lydia had other known children – Elizabeth “Betsy”, Neoma, Burrell, Margaret, Zady Prescilla, and Zachariah. I have proven these children Elizabeth Betsy, Neoma, and Zachariah – using Lydia Lee on census records living near her children and with them in1860 to 1870.

Lidia (Lydia) Lee was living near her son Zachariah Lee and wife Martha in Township 24, Tallapoosa County, Alabama in 1850. In 1860 Lettie Lee (Lydia) was living with her daughter Neoma Lee Hastin and her husband Hugh (High on the census) Hastin. Then, on the 1870 census Lettie (Lydia) Lee is living with her daughter Betsy Lee Fetner and her husband James in Township 22, Randolph County, Alabama.

Research for the parents of Jordan Lee continues as does research on the Jordan Lee family.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday

Another Coon Sibling: Martha Lavenia

Martha Lavenia Coon is another one of my 3rd great aunts. She was the eldest daughter of Jacob Coon and wife Nancy Smith, and she was born in Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina. Martha was born 20 July 1810. She was an infant when her family migrated from South Carolina to Mississippi. 

She was married to Rev. Peter McDonald.Both Rev. McDonald and Martha are interred in the Shady Grove Cemetery in Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. 

Several of the tombstones for the family are difficult to read and are in need of repairs. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Marriage License of Hubert Morris Gallups

Marriage license for the  Hubert Morris Gallops son of Rethe and George. 



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday's Coon Sibling

James Jasper Coon 2nd great grand uncle

James Jasper Coon was born to Nancy Coon, wife of Jacob Coon, on  8 August 1825 in Mississippi. James Jasper died 5 February 1901. He was married to Susan Penelope McDavid and was a soldier in the Confederacy. He was a private in Company B 7th Regiment Mississippi Infantry C.S.A., and has a military marker that Mrs. Sam White ordered, had placed on his grave, to honor our ancestor for his service. The tombstone shown is James Jasper Coon's is a great tribute to a man who deserved the memorial in his honor.  His wife Susan died several years before, and to my knowledge James Jasper "Doss" never remarried.  

There were eleven known children of Jacob and Nancy Coon. James was the youngest brother of the siblings, and the brother of my maternal second great grandfather John Lewis Coon. Because of the time of James' birth the records to prove his birth date have been difficult to come by. The tombstone is a source that I will use (with caution) to verify his birth and death information. The birth information most likely came from a family Bible, a family member, or other source. Tombstone inscriptions are also used as sources of birth and death information. Such records may be used to supplement standard sources of genealogical information, but sometimes they are the only information that can be found pertaining to the birth and death of an ancestor. Names, dates, places, and sometimes information on the family can be included on a tombstone.  Once you find the tombstone of an ancestor, use caution with the information found on it. Tombstones are notorious for error, for whatever reason there may be errors in the information – incorrect dates, name misspelled to name a few. The information needs to be used with information from other records to verify it.

The appearance of the tombstone is another important thing to be aware of when using information from a tombstone in researching our ancestors. The photo is of James Jasper Coon’s tombstone. As you can tell from looking at the photo it is an old tombstone. James Jasper died in 1901 so this tombstone is worn, old in appearance and probably the information is reliable.

The information from a tombstone is considered a secondary source. The information on the tombstone most likely is not someone who was present at the birth of the ancestor, such as the midwife, doctor and other person. The information on the tombstone is only as accurate as the person’s firsthand knowledge of the information. The person giving the information is the informant. The information is only as accurate as that person’s memory.  It is so easy for birth dates and places to be wrong - even for a name to be wrong. When using information from a tombstone use it, but prove it with other records. 

The memorial information states that James Jasper was buried in the Attovac Baptist Church Cemetery in San Augustine, San Augustine County, Texas.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Matrilineal Monday

Jacob B. Bixler

Jacob B. Bixler and Matilda Barclay are maternal line ancestors. Mother's mother was Mary Lavenia Ramsey. Venie, as she was known, was the child of Eliza Jane Burnett and Asa Ramsey. Eliza Jane's grandparents were Jacob B. Bixler and Matilda Barclay. Eliza Jane's mother, Latitia Bixler's parents. In researching these maternal line ancestors a Jacob B. Bixler from Pennsylvania is the only one that I could find. Needless to say this is quite a mystery as to how he could have come to Mississippi Territory and married a Matilda who was supposedly born in Louisiana. It is possible though, but how and why? What happened to Jacob B. Bixler after 1820?

The records found for these two ancestors reveal few clues. Is this the same Jacob. Proving this is one and the same who married Matilda has been a trial in patience and endurance. Since I have no family member in my family who can give insight into this mystery maybe there will be someone to stumble across this blog and give some insight into these two ancestors. I would very much like to have them in their rightful place in my family tree if that is where they belong.

Whether or not this is the same Jacob Bixler as the one in Mississippi is unknown. However, research is ongoing to prove or disprove that mystery.
Marriage of Jacob B. Bixler and Matilda Barclay.

There was a Jacob Bixler who owned the slave John in March 1826. He belonged to Jacob Bixler of woodville. Read the article about this slave John.
Amite County, 1820 Census with Jacob B. Bixler listed on the census. The number of family members listed for that year fits what I have for the head, wife, and three children. However, there was a daughter Matilda C.born about 1818, a son John Barclay born about 1819 , Lavenia born about 1820 all born in Amite. 

There is this J. B. Bixler living in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Is that the same Bixler as the one in the 1820 Amite census? 

Matilda Bixler is head of family on the 1840 Pike County, Mississippi census. What happened to Jacob. I haven't found him. Did he abandon her and the children? Or did he die? Was he killed in the War of 1812? 

Looking at these records and analyzing the information on them I came to the conclusion that Matilda Bixler is the mother of Latitia Bixler Burnett and the grandmother of Eliza Jane Burnett. As to what happened to Jacob B. Bixler, maybe he decided to return to Pennsylvania or maybe this isn't the Jacob B. Bixler who married Matilda Barclay. More questions than answers for Jacob B. Bixler. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Zachariah Gipson Edwards, Deputy Sheriff

Son of Charles Edwards and Nancy Baker, Zachariah was born 10 Oct 1847 in Cherokee County, Georgia. He died 31 Aug 1903 in Black Springs, Montgomery County, Arkansas. Another of my Edwards great grand uncles.


Source Public Member Stories, The Mena Star, September 17, 1903, Montgomery Circuit Court.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday

Another Fearless Edwards Woman: Dolly Odessa

Dolly Odessa Edwards was born to John Houston Edwards and Dolly Ophelia Lee 25 Nov 1920 in Eros, Jackson Parish, Louisiana.
Dolly Odessa Edwards died 30 Nov 2000 in Sylacauga, Talladega County, Alabama. She is buried in the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.
She was married to Jonathan Estes Oakes when she was eighteen years old 5 Nov 1939 in Shelby County, Alabama.
Two known sons Barry Lloyd Oakes and Brett Oakes. One known daughter Patricia Sue Oakes.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday's Fearless Woman

Emma Sophronia Meadows 

Parents John Calvin Meadows and Sarah Ann Oliver
Emma was born 10 March 1851 probably in Troup County, Georgia 
Married to William Alfred Lee 05 Sep 1869 in New Site, Tallapoosa County, Alabama
Died 11 Nov 1920 Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana
Mother of James William, Dolly Ophelia, Robert E., and Alice Lee

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Clarisa Messer Edwards Fearless Woman

Clarisa Messer was born Circa 1835 in South Carolina to John A. and Mary Messer. Clarisa  was married to my grand uncle James A. Edwards son of second great grandparents Charles Edwards and Nancy Baker. Clarisa died 2 April 1891 in Shady Point, Le Flore County, Oklahoma. She is interred in Shady Point Cemetery in Le Flore County. Known children were Sarah, David, Savannah, John War, Charles, and Laura, L, Rebecca Edwards.  Living with her family in 1870 were two nephews.

View the Findagrave Memorial here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday

Rethe Cleby Edwards 

Rethe Cleby Edwards was one of my first cousins once removed and, also one of my half aunts. 
She was known to my family as "Rethie." Rethe Cleby Edwards Gallups was the daughter of John Houston and Dolly Ophelia Lee Edwards. She was married to George Morris Gallups. Memorial #79380223 
Harpersville Municipal Cemetery in Harpersville, Shelby County, Alabama
Harpersville Garden of Memories Cemetery

You can read more about Rethe here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sentimental Sunday

Retha Cleby “Rethe” Edwards

One of the things that I remember about Rethe was that she was kind. She came with her mother and others of her family for a visit with the Lee families in West Carroll Parish. The Edwards matriarch Dollie and of her children came to Louisiana for their annual visit. Rethe, like her sister Maggie, was tall, stocky built, and always seemed to be happy. My memories of Rethe are that she had dark curly hair, big brown eyes, and a smile on her face. She just looked happy. I was only about nine or ten years old at that time and was happy to see the Alabama folks when we went to visit Aunt Leakie.

The Edwards family came to visit the Lee families and when they came it was a time for a reunion. They stayed with Aunt Leakie, widow of Granny’s brother Bob Lee. Aunt Leakie lived in a large old frame house on Lee farm. Her son Bill lived with her and Arnold another son lived nearby.

Grand Aunt Dollie Lee Edwards was the mother of ten children. She was the oldest sister of my Granny Alice Lee Eley. Retha Cleby "Rethe" Edwards, her third child, was born 30 April 1904 in Eros, Jackson Parish, Louisiana. Rethe's husband was George Morris Gallups. Tillman was the oldest son, and Maggie Mae was the second child and oldest daughter. You can read about Tillman here, and Maggie Mae here.

Retha Cleby Edwards and George Morris Gallups were married 22 December 1922 in Creswell, Shelby County, Alabama. There were two known children of Retha and George Morris Gallups, and they are on the 1940 census. Hubert Morris was born 15 October 1925 in Alabama and Houston was born about 1923. There possibly were other children, but since I don’t have access to the 1950 census they will remain unnamed.

Retha died 18 February 1998 in Harpersville, Shelby County, Alabama. George Morris Gallups died 07 April 1981 in Harpersville, Shelby County, Alabama. Their son Hubert Morris Gallups died 13 October 1973 in Shelby County, Alabama.

 Photo from my private collection.
Maggie, Aunt Dollie, Rethe, and Odessa 


Sources 1910- 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Jackson, Louisiana; Roll: T624_516; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0053; FHL microfilm: 1374529

Year: 1920; Census Place: Harpersville, Shelby, Alabama; Roll: T625_40; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 121; Image: 1004

Year: 1930; Census Place: Harpersville, Shelby, Alabama; Roll: 48; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0018; Image: 907.0; FHL microfilm: 2339783

Year: 1940; Census Place: Harpersville, Shelby, Alabama; Roll: T627_79; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 59-17A U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.Number: 419-86-8232; Issue State: Alabama; Issue Date: 1973 Alabama, County Marriages, 1805-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. Marriage Records. Alabama Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.Film Number 001571848. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Find A Grave. Find A Grave.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday's Salute

Fearless Females

The female ancestors in our families of long ago are an important part of our family history. Researching them takes certain strategies and techniques to find them. It is possible though, so don’t give up on finding them. You can learn about finding them here

Women have had an influential role in the prosperity and growth of their communities. Females' roles were varied depending on that geographical area and the time in which they lived.

While researching your male ancestors, you have most likely found that those records were easier to find; however, when you research your female ancestors that isn't the case. Females’ roles were household duties. Seemingly, the females' traditional roles kept them quietly working behind the scene including preparing and serving the meals, sewing their clothes, taking care of the children, seeing to the education of the children, in some cases working the garden and crops, and housekeeping chores. If the family had the wealth, then the wife had help with her duties. Otherwise the wife performed her duties until her daughters were of age to help. Women worked extremely hard. There was always something to for the woman and mother of the household. Usually they worked from sun up to sundown.

There were no trailblazers in the families that I have researched. Although, their occupation of farming was an important part of the early days of colonial America. They were trailblazers to their families, though. While the men were working, the fearless females were at home performing their duties. As well as, protecting their families from the dangers during that era. It took all kinds of occupations to get through those difficult years, and the "stay at home moms" were a part of that era. 

March is Women's History Month and a fantastic way to honor your female ancestors, relatives, or fans (friends, acquaintances, and neighbors) in your ancestor’s family. Lisa Alzo, The Accidental Genealogist, has again posted her Fearless Females Blogging Prompts series for 2017. For those of you who do not know of Lisa Alzo she is a teacher, writer and genealogist. You can checkout Lisa's Fearless Female prompts here.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday's Faces From the Past

Do you know your cousins? Most everyone has grown up around cousins, but there are many new-found cousins we encounter in our genealogical research and genetic genealogy. Once we get far enough into our genealogy research, we will be faced with a list of cousins some will be first cousins, others will be of varying degrees of closeness to us. A cousin is a person belonging to the same extended family. So, they are our cousins regardless of the degrees of closeness. We share a common ancestor couple with them.

Just as our ancestors and relatives of long ago had a community of friends, acquaintances, and neighbors, we too have them. Because of the manner of travel, the community of the past were made up of people who lived near each other. Our community of today may be different - our fans may live across town or attend church in another area. These are the people who have an impact on our lives, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors.These are people who are there for us when we need them.

The photo of Alice Lee, Unknown man, and Ollie Landrum was shared by a second cousin with the Family Facebook Group on our Facebook page. Grandmother Alice Lee Eley was a a young woman, when this photo was taken. The two other people in the photo were her family friends. Alice’s brother, Uncle Bob Lee, married Leakie Landrum, Ollie’s sister. The families were close to each other living in West Carroll Parish. There have been pictures shared with the group of Granny (Alice Lee Eley) and Aunt Leakie Landrum Lee. They stayed close until their deaths. Uncle Bob Lee Aunt Leakie's husband and Alice's youngest brother died in 1941 in West Carroll Parish. Even after Uncle Bob died Granny and Aunt Leakie remained close.

The unidentified man is a mystery man to me and my cousin who shared the photo. I would love to know who he is, but I don’t have a clue. Possibly the unidentified man is James Benard Landrum. I compared him to a picture when he would be older and there is a remarkable resemblance. But I won't know for sure unless a descendant of the person comes across this blog and recognized him and identifies him.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday's Tip

Family photos are a treasured part of family history. Analyzing and looking for clues in photos to identify ancestors in the photos has been a hobby that I enjoy studying and learning about. Looking at photos of people, kin folks or any kind of photo is interesting.

New found cousins and cousins that I have reconnected with have shared family photos with me. There were very few family photos of my parents, grandparents and their families. I am fortunate to have this photo of Uncle Johnny and Aunt Dollie Edwards. A cousin who I recently connected with through this blog sent it to me.

You may have photos that you can’t identify the people. There are ways to identify and date old photos. By looking at some clues or identifiers in the photo you may be successful in your quest.

The setting for the photo may give you clues to the location and time the photo was taken. Look at the clothing they are wearing. What was the occasion or event? Was it a wedding, funeral, reunion, or family photo? Look at details in the photo. Is the photographer’s name on the photo? If so, research the photographer and get all the information you can find for him. That information may help in identifying the people in the photo and the location.

Also, look at the props used in the photo, the jewelry, the hair styles, and the background. Using these resources, you may possibly identify the people in the photos.

The photo that I am sharing was given to me by a new-found Edwards cousin who lives in Alabama. In the photo is my biological grandfather John Houston Edwards and his wife Dollie Ophelia Lee Edwards, oldest sister of my grandmother Alice Lee Eley. The Edwards lived in Alabama.

I don’t know the details of when or where this photo was taken; however, I am guessing this photo was taken on a Sunday afternoon after church. They were dressed nicely. Uncle Johnny had on his nice khaki pants and shirt. From what I remember Uncle Johnny was a farmer, and Aunt Dollie was a midwife. A farmer wouldn’t wear this attire to work on the farm. They were taking a well-deserved rest after a long hardworking life.

Uncle Johnny (as he was called) and Aunt Dollie were sitting comfortably and relaxing in their chairs probably in the living room of their home. If you notice the chairs they were sitting in, they were different styles. Aunt Dollie had a flower in her hair which was her signature; she always wore a flower in her hair and with her curly hair pulled up. She had what looks like a watch on her left arm and wedding ring on her finger. I would guess that she always wore a watch because of her job as a midwife. She was wearing glasses, and her ears were pierced. I would guess that this photo was taken late in their lives.

When I was a young girl growing up in West Carroll Parish Aunt Dollie was “old” looking to me. Realize now, that I was a young girl of about nine years old. It looks as though there is a pin just above the first button on her dress. I think Aunt Dollie most likely made her dress that she was wearing. There was a doily placed on the back of the chair Uncle Johnny was sitting in. Aunt Dollie probably knitted the doily or crocheted it. Aunt Dollie affectionately had her hand on Uncle Johnny’s arm, and a smile on her face. Uncle Johnny had his head leaning to his right and he wasn’t smiling. I wonder if he was ill and wasn’t feeling well when the photo was taken. He has his left leg crossed over his right leg.

What are you going to do with all your old photos that you inherited? Whatever you do, don’t throw them away. Store them in a container that is made for preserving them. Invest in a storage container that is archival-quality, acid and lignin free boxes. Keeping your photos in archival-quality boxes that are lignin free will preserve your photos for many years. If you are interested in taking  on a new hobby you might consider getting out your photos that have people in them who are unidentified. You might use the identifiers or clues in
 identifying the people in a few of photos. You will be glad you did.

You can always ask family members for help in identifying people in those photos. I had a picture of Daddy when he was about forty years old. The man in the picture with Daddy was unknown to me. I posted the picture on my Facebook timeline and a cousin that I had reconnected with identified the unknown man in the picture. Now the unknown man has a name and he was Daddy’s cousin. I researched the cousin, and now he has his place in my family tree.

I have only about four family photos taken when I was a young girl of about nine or ten years old. Those four photos are a treasure, and I am thankful to all the cousins who have been willing to sharing family photos.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday’s Child

Tillman Lee Edwards, Sr.

Tillman the oldest child of John Houston and Dollie Ophelia (Lee) Edwards was born 05 September 1900 in Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama. Tillman Lee Edwards died 21 July 1979 in Wilsonville, Shelby County, Alabama. His wife Ostella Marie preceded him in death 06 December 1972. They both are buried in Fourmile Cemetery in Wilsonville.

Tillman Lee was given the Lee surname for his middle given name. He registered for the World War Draft 12 April 1918. He was a medium built, medium height, brown eyed, black hair eighteen-year-old young man. At the time of his registration for the draft he was living in Vincent in Shelby County, Alabama. He was living on the farm and working for his father. His mother Dollie was listed as his nearest relative when he registered.

By 1920 Tillman Lee is still living at home with his parents and a laborer on the farm. He is single. Then, by the 1930 census he has settled down living on Bethel Church Road in Columbiana. Tillman was a young man of twenty-five years old when he married his wife. His occupation is farming and working on his own. He wasn’t a veteran in any branches of the military. Tillman completed the eighth grade and his wife completed three years of high school. By 1930 Tillman and Ostella had been married four years and they were the parents of two children Tillman, Jr. his namesake, three and a half years old and a daughter Doris Marie, one month old infant. Did Tillman and Stella have more children? I don’t know because the 1940 census is the last census until the 1950 census is released April 1, 2022. In 1960 Tillman, Jr. was living Bessemer, Alabama with his wife Lazelle. They lived at 2716 Clyburne Avenue TCI employee. He and his wife are listed on page 99 in the Bessemer City Directory for 1960.

A strange turn of events happened by the time the next census was taken. April 1, 1935 Tillman and his family were living in rural Shelby County, Alabama. Tillman, his wife and two children were living in Beat 5, Monroe County, Mississippi by the time the 1940 was enumerated. Tillman was a farmer that was his occupation and Stella was a laborer and they worked for themselves; so, why were they living in Monroe County? Why did Tillman moved from the area where he was born and reared to Mississippi? Did he have better opportunities?

This is a new twist in the Edwards family place of residence. The Edwards families have lived in Shelby, Jefferson, Tallapoosa, Coosa, and Elmore Counties for many years. I am not aware of Edwards families living in Mississippi, though there might be families living there. Perhaps Stella has family there and they moved to be near her family. There isn’t an answer to these questions yet; however, there may be a cousin who will come across this blog and have answers.

Tillman Lee Edwards is my father’s half-brother. They share the same biological father. Tillman made occasional trips to Louisiana to visit family. There are happy memories of the Alabama folks coming to Louisiana for their visits.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Jackson, Louisiana; Roll: T624_516; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0053; FHL microfilm: 1374529

Year: 1920; Census Place: Harpersville, Shelby, Alabama; Roll: T625_40; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 121; Image: 1004

Year: 1930; Census Place: Columbiana, Shelby, Alabama; Roll: 48; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0002; Image: 557.0; FHL microfilm: 2339783

Year: 1940; Census Place: Monroe, Mississippi; Roll: T627_2050; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 48-34

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Alabama; Registration County: Shelby; Roll: 1509430

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 for Tillman L Edwards; Bessemer, Alabama City Directory 1960, page 99.

Marriage Records. Alabama Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT, Film Number 001571849.

Find A Grave Memorial# 75021891, Tillman Lee Edwards, Sr. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current,

Social Security Death Index, Number: 417-24-1230; Issue State: Alabama; Issue Date: Before 1951

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday

The Gill Boys
Maggie Mae Edwards and Cecil Browne Gill buried three sons in 1929. The boys , Theron Manuel and Cecil Brown Gill, died less than a month of each other. In 1929 there were any number of causes for deaths and infants and small children were vulnerable to disease. Mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion such as 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1936-1937. What was the cause of the deaths of the two boys in June and July? You can look at the headstone John David and read his death dates and deduce that he died at birth. 

The mystery of the deaths surrounding these two young boys may forever remain a mystery unless a living cousin with knowledge of the family and their circumstances stumbles across this blog and contacts me. 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday’s Tip

What Happened to the Gill Boys?

Family history researchers look for all available records when researching family. When researching, we do a thorough search for the records that are available for the time for which we are researching. We also take the time to write down where the information came from, making sure that information is accurate so if we need to refer to it we will know where the information came from.  We also make sure that our information for an ancestor or relative is reliable and that we interpret it correctly. Also making sure the evidence too is resolved and there is no contradiction in the information. But what happens when you have done these things and you miss important information while researching a family. That is what happened when I was researching  Aunt Maggie Mae Edwards recently.

John Houston and Dollie Edwards were married on 05 March 1899 in Elmore County, Alabama. By 05 September 1900 Tillman Lee was born in Tallassee.  There was another addition to the family on 11 January 1902, a daughter and they named her Maggie Mae. Then the family left Alabama about 1903 for Louisiana. There in Louisiana in 1904 Retha Cleby another daughter was born in the town of Eros. At that time Eros was the largest town in  Jackson Parish. It was the center point for the small surrounding communities. In 1906 the family continued to add new members and Marvin Alfred Perry was born on the 03 September 1906 in the neighboring parish to the north, Ouachita Parish. Then, by 1912 the Edwards family was back living in Shelby County, Alabama, and by 1923 there were six more children born to Dollie. Dollie had her last child when she was forty-four years old.  She was getting beyond the age to have children. Her last child Truman was born 19 November 1923 and he had Downs Syndrome.

The six other children born after they arrived back in Shelby County were: Twin sons named Leman who died at birth and Leonard, Robert Lawrence, John Emery, Dolly Odessa, and Truman. They now have ten living children and are settled back in their home state of Alabama in the county they left in 1903. Alabama is where the Edwards family lived the remainder of their lives. 

On the 1910 census along with their parents are Maggie Mae, Leonard, Tillman, Reathey, Marvin, and Noah living in Ward 1, Jackson Parish. They are living nearby Dollie's parents William Alfred and Emma, and Alice the youngest sister of Dollie. Also, living nearby is James William and Robert E. Lee and their families. They are Dollie's two brothers. Noah is the mystery child in the family. The family was living on Pine Bluff and Columbia Road in Jackson Parish. There are six children including Maggie on the 1920 census for Harpersville, Shelby County.

Maggie is still living at home in 1920 and preparing to get married on the 28 of March to the love of her life Cecil Browne Gill.  Cecil was seven years older than Maggie. Maggie probably had a lot of responsibilities being the oldest daughter. If that was the case then she was prepared for what she had to face as a wife and mother.

By 1930 Maggie Mae Edwards is married and living with her husband of ten years. They were living on Avenue F, Block 107, House number 510, Dwelling 183, and Family number 183 in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama on April 1, 1930. Life is going well for Maggie Mae and her love Cecil. They had been married for ten years; and there were no children. She was married when she was eighteen years old to Cecil Brown Gill. She wasn’t working, and had not attended school. It stated on the 1930 census that Maggie could read and write; however, she was eight years old on the 1910 census; and Maggie had not attended school and couldn’t read and write. Apparently, she had taught herself how to read.  Maggie Mae and Cecil were married and hadn’t yet started their family.  Cecil was twenty-three years old when he and Maggie Mae married. He was working at a Railway Express Agency as a cashier.

By 1940 Maggie and Cecil were back in Shelby County, Alabama. They now had two children Maxine who was nine years old and James E. four years old. This census states that Maggie completed the eighth grade and Cecil four years of high school. Cecil is a Vehicleman with the R. R. Express. His income was $1,564 for fifty-two weeks’ work. Maggie did private work and worked forty-eight hours a week.

When I research relatives or ancestors I analyze census records and all other records carefully gleaning all the information from the record that I can possibly glean from it. It is vital to talk to family members to get family stories, Bible records, or any nugget of information you can about the family you are researching. Not all vital information will show up in census records or other records. That was the case with the three children of Maggie Mae. Sometimes you will just overlook vital information, not purposely but we get so involved in analyzing the record that we get tired.

Yesterday I was researching Maggie Mae Edwards, daughter of John Houston Edwards and his wife Dollie. Maggie was the oldest daughter and next to the oldest child of the couple. Maggie was born 11 January 1902 in Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama. She was born before the Edwards migrated to Eros, Louisiana.

All of us as researchers have overlooked vital information, only to go back again and see information that we had overlooked previously. As a researcher, I look at records several times to glean all those nuggets from the record. Recently as I was looking through the information recorded in the family tree on the Family Tree Maker Program for Maggie Mae and her husband Cecil Brown Gill, I noticed something that I had not noticed before. Maybe I did notice it, but it didn’t catch my eye as it did this time.

Maggie had five children Maxine, James E., Theron Manuel, John David, and Cecil Brown, Jr. As I looked through each child’s information I noticed one child died at birth. Two of Maggie’s son died in the same year a month apart. They died in June and July 1929. Theron Manuel Gill died 25 Jun 1929 and Cecil Brown Gill Jr. his father’s namesake died 07 July 1919. What happened to those two boys? Did they get sick and die? 

Maggie’s family visited my family in Louisiana several times as I was growing up in Louisiana. Did they talk about these two boys deaths? These three boys did not show up on any census records. How was I to know that Maggie Mae had three sons? All that I saw was two children a daughter Maxine Elizabeth and a son James E. on the 1940 census. Maxine was married 29 December 1948 in Jefferson County, Alabama. She was eighteen years old when she married Quincy A Bearden. Maggie would have been expecting her daughter when the 1930 census was taken. James E. was born in 1936. Dou know how I found out about the three boys that were not listed on the census with their parents? On a Findagrave Memorial for Maggie Mae Gill.

A volunteer had taken the time to add the family information to the memorial for Maggie Mae Gill. I will forever be grateful for this genealogical act of kindness. i went to Maggie's memorial on Findagrave and all three of her young sons had gravestones on their plot. Without the information provided by the volunteers, I might not have ever found out about these three precious boys who died at a young age.

Thank you volunteers for your genealogical acts of kindness. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sentimental Sunday Maggie Mae Edwards and Cecil Brown Gill

This morning I was working on my family tree on Ancestry to make sure the data that was added to each family member was accurate and sourced. The John Houston Edwards family caught my attention. John Houston is a paternal grandfather; and my father’s biological father. He married Dollie Ophelia Lee, sister of Alice Lee, Daddy’s mother. Somehow, I overlooked adding Uncle Johnny and Aunt Dollie’s ten children to my family tree on Ancestry. So, this task took priority over the task at hand, which had lead me to logging in to Ancestry; and that was to look through the Ancestry DNA Circles.Those fascinating cousin Circles! 

I looked through the records for John Houston and Dollie and everything was in order; All available records that Ancestry offered for them was already added. Then, the next task was to add the ten children of John and Dollie starting with the oldest child Tillman Lee Edwards, Sr. All available records that Ancestry offered for Tillman, his wife Stella, and their known children were added to their family tree. The next child was Maggie Mae Edwards the oldest daughter. As I was working on her information and looking through records for her something caught my attention. This information was new to me and wasn’t a story shared by family members as I was growing up. What a sad thing for a family to have to experience! The loss of their children. 

As most of you know if you have researched for long, it is easy to get off the task at hand and get off on a "rabbit trail.” That is what happened this morning while working on the family tree on Ancestry. The rabbit trail took me through the records of the children of Aunt Maggie Mae Edwards and Uncle Cecil Brown Gill.  I recall Maggie coming to Louisiana to visit my family when I was a little girl growing up in West Carroll Parish. Maggie was tall “stocky” built, with a sturdy form,and a cheerful lady. She had brown hair and a pretty smile. She always seemed happy, as did her husband Cecil. Her husband Cecil was a nice looking older man and well dressed. They also drove a very nice car for the late 1949 and early 1950. Remember, I was a young girl of about ten or eleven years old. Little did I know that Aunt Maggie and Uncle Cecil had gone through plenty of heartbreaks before I was born. Now, I grieve for them thinking about it.

Their other son John David Gill was born 05 September 1929 and died the same day. Then, they had a third son, Cecil Brown Gill, Jr., his father's namesake, born 24 June 1924 and died 07 July 1929 in Harpersville, Shelby County, Alabama. What happened to the seven and five year old boys?  There are no older family members living to ask. I would love to know what were the circumstances of their deaths; however, the two boys deaths will remain a mystery

You can view a picture of Aunt Dollie Edwards and her daughters Maggie Mae, Odessa, and Reathey here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sibling Saturday

Willie Grace Edwards was the daughter of Marvin  Alfred Perry Edwards. Marvin Alfred Perry Edwards was the son of John Houston and Dollie Ophelia (Lee) Edwards. Marvin was born 03 September 1906 in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. He was one of ten children of John Houston and Dollie. Marvin died 16 June 1994 in Columbiana, Shelby, Alabama. His wife Lorene died Dec 1974. Willie would be a paternal half first cousin. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday's Faces from the Past

Willie Ellzey Jones born January 13, 1913- died February 28, 1990
His parents are William Morris Jones born 08 Feb 1856 and Maggie Lucinda Ramsey
born 27 Apr 1889 in Pike County, Mississippi.
Willie Ellzey Jones 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Circles and NADs

Genealogical research is a hobby that I enjoy immensely. There is so much to do and so many relatives to find. Some of those relatives are out in the open and easy to find. Others are hiding and a bit more difficult to find. But they are all important and are a part of family. There just isn’t enough time to find all of them. Then you throw in another tool, genetic genealogy or genealogical DNA testing, to use with traditional genealogical research with a goal of answering genealogical questions, and the work goes on and on and on.

Genetic genealogy is tool for family historians and is time consuming, continually changing, and is a great tool to use if you have difficult family lines you are researching; and you have hit the ultimate brick wall.  The work will never end! With just genetic genealogy one could stay busy for a very long time. However, I keep plugging along one relative at a time using the tools available such as Ancestry DNA Circles and NADs. Ancestry DNA offers subscribers DNA Circles and New Ancestry Discoveries or NADs. Each is laborious, and to add more work to that, the shared matches are added. Each member of the circle shares DNA with at least one other member in the circle, and each member in that circle have the same ancestor in their family tree. Ancestry does provide the centimorgans for DNA matches; however, it would be great if Ancestry provided members with a chromosome browser. I have several members from the Coon and related families who have DNA tested. I would love to look at our DNA segment on a chromosome browser to see if we match on the same chromosome and DNA segment; however, that option isn’t available on Ancestry.  

There is the possibility that you have members of a circle with whom you share DNA through another ancestor couple. Shared matches can be used for that, but again that is a laborious job. It takes a bit of reading to understand DNA Circles, NADs, and using the shared matches to triangulate. New Ancestry Discoveries are research tasks that is done one cousin at a time. Research continues until I find a common ancestor couple. Some NADs can be challenging, but is worth the time put into identifying a common ancestor couple.  

My sister tested with Ancestry DNA, and I manage her DNA account. She has fifteen NADs. Why she has more NADs than I have is a question I have yet to find an answer. She has thirty Ancestry Circles and I have twenty-eight. She has fifteen NADs and I have six. She has eight hundred and one fourth cousins or closer matches and I have one thousand and seventy-one. I have one hundred shard ancestor hints and she has one hundred forty-one. My sister has matches in her DNA results list that I don't have and she shares DNA with them; and vice versa – I have DNA matches she doesn't have in her test results.  

A NAD is created when Ancestry finds that you share significant amounts of DNA with several members of a DNA Circle; and this means that you may be related to the ancestor for which the DNA Circle is created. Remember, a DNA Circle is a member of a group who have well documented family relationships to a common ancestor in their Ancestry family trees; and the members in the group share DNA with at least one (that is the key-at least one) other member in the DNA Circle. I have found with my DNA Circles I usually share DNA with more than one member unless it is a very small circle. I have a DNA Circle that has four members and all four are DNA matches. There is another circle with four members and two out of four are DNA matches.

I can research the NAD and find a new relative and connect that person to a common ancestor couple. I have six New Ancestry Discoveries and looked through each and didn’t recognize any familiar names. The fifteen NADs on my sister’s account are more promising than my six. I found two new relatives, Stephen Alford Edwards and Mary Ann Emma Bates, from her NADs.

As I looked through my sister’s NADs to see if there were familiar names, I recognized Edwards and Bates surnames.  I looked through the members who were a DNA match to see if anything was promising. The first DNA match was a descendant of Stephen Alford Edwards.  Now I was getting excited because there were two clues here that helped me to know which family line this member belonged and our common ancestor. Those two clues were the given name Alford and surname Edwards. Alford, the name of a third great grandfather, Alfred Edwards, on my paternal line.

This NAD was a keeper and further research to verify him gave me a collateral relative to add to my family tree. For the era that I was researching there were census records for 1880 through 1940; a marriage record; and Findagrave death and burial information.

My plan of action in identifying these ancestors in the NADs was to first look at the names; then look at the members who are DNA matches going through each until a common ancestor was known, and the locations.

Another familiar name that I recognized as I looked through the NADs was Mary Ann Emma Bates (1836-1902). I had seen the surname Bates before when researching. Bates is not a direct line ancestor’s surname, but I had seen the surname come up while researching collaterals. I looked at the location and it was Big Fork, Polk County, Arkansas. My Edwards families lived in that area. Further research revealed that Mary Ann Emma Bates was the mother of Stephen Alford Edwards. So, she was the wife (a FAN) of a second great uncle (a collateral relative).

DNA Circles and New Ancestry Discoveries are hints that are relevant to your research since members are related to you in some way. Since I never know if circles and NADs will be there indefinitely, I do a screen shot of the circles and NADs and save for future research. They will disappear, but they may eventually reappear.  

You may be a direct descendant of a NAD, you may be related through a marriage, or through a collateral line. You may be related to the ancestor of the DNA circle through more than one line. They are relatives waiting to be discovered. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday’s Tip

More About Ancestry’s New Ancestry 

Ancestry Discoveries are potential new ancestors or relatives that are not in my Ancestry family tree. These are folks that I need to research to see how they connect to the people in my family tree. As of this morning I have six of those potential new relatives. My sister has tested with Ancestry DNA and she allows me to manage her DNA test results. She has fifteen New Ancestry Discoveries. I have gone through her NADs and recognized names in some of them. The ones that I recognized I researched them and found a common ancestor couple. When I look at the names in the six NADs on my account there are no familiar names, and as I look through the information for these NADs there is still nothing familiar.

How do these NADs show up on the DNA homepage? Almost without exception the NADs are somehow connected to my maternal Coon family line. These NADs are collaterals. The ones that don’t have familiar names, I just leave those for the time. I will snip a picture of them and save it for future reference.

New Ancestor Discoveries come from members of a DNA Circle with whom you share a lot of DNA. You share DNA with the descendants of a particular ancestor. New Ancestor Discoveries is a feature where Ancestry uses historical records, Ancestry family trees, and Ancestry DNA results to give you a potential new ancestor or relative. I will remind you, this is one important reason why family historians need to not only research the direct line ancestors, but the direct line ancestors’ siblings, children, grandchildren, etc. Research the family unit – parents and children, and parents’ siblings. Then the work begins. You must research the NAD to determine if there is a link to a common ancestor couple.

One of the six New Ancestry Discoveries on my account had twenty members and five DNA matches. I went through each member match, and didn’t recognize any names. This NAD has the DNA evidence that links them to me in the circle. The five members have shared DNA matches of 7.4 cM, 6.6 cM, 7.0 cM, 9.3 cM and 7.3 cM. This is not saying the members who did not share DNA aren’t related to me, they possibly are related; however, due to recombination of the DNA, they didn’t receive any DNA from that particular ancestor couple. These aren’t large enough segments of DNA for me to take the time to research these members. That will be another project for a rainy day when I don’t have anything else to do. As far now I will let those remain as NADs.

New Ancestry Discoveries are another hint that I use to find collaterals. If my DNA matches the DNA members of the New Ancestry Discovery then, there a seventy percent chance that I will either be a descendant of the NAD or relative. Also, two of the NADs on my sister's account that I have done the research on was related through marriage. That was an interesting one to research. Two separate NADs and they were the sons-in-law of two descendants of a maternal third great grandfather. I have also found that I am related to others in the DNA Circle through more than one ancestor couple.

New Ancestor Discoveries are there for you. You can use them or you can ignore them. It is left up to you what you would like to do with them.