Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday’s Tip

What is a Pedigree Collapse and Endogamy? 

The Meadows Cousins

A family tree has pedigree collapse when one of your ancestors married a cousin. When cousins marry, there are only two grandparents instead of four. In my family line on the Meadows line William Meadows (a 3rd great grandfather) married his first cousin Jane Jean “Jincy” Meadows. William’s father was Isham Meadows, (Jr.). Jane Jean “Jincy’s” father was John Meadows brother of William. 

I first learned of William Meadows marrying his first cousin through Michal M. Farmer’s book The Daniel and Isham Meadows Family a revised edition of her 1976 book Daniel Meadows and His Descendants. You can check out the book here

Do you have colonial roots as I do? Then somewhere in your family tree you probably have pedigree collapse. According to Wikipedia in genealogy,  pedigree collapse describes how reproduction between two individuals who share an ancestor causes the number of distinct ancestors in the family tree of their offspring to be smaller than it could otherwise be. The offspring of two first cousins has at the most six great grandparents instead of the usual eight.

What is endogamy?  Endogamy is the practice of marrying within the limits of a certain community, culture, clan, or tribe. Sometimes, this is the result of tradition or religion, and other times it is a result of necessity. You can read about pedigree collapse here on the ISOGG website.

How many couples in your family tree are cousins? This would be something that you will need to pay closer attention to as you research your ancestors, and it is beneficial to know this as you look at your DNA matches. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mystery Monday

Caspar Kuhn and Life in the Old Country

Little is known about Caspar Kuhn’s family back home in the old country. There possibly is a paper trail for them, but that is a research plan for another time. Researching the Kuhn family here in America will keep me busy for a while.

Caspar left his homeland a young man and probably hadn’t been married for long to Anna Magdalena Mejer. They had an infant daughter when he and Anna Magdalena left their homeland to set out for a new adventure and a new life. Little did they know that their daughter wouldn’t make it to their new home in Carolina. Sometime during the trip to Carolina Baby Anna died and there were two additional children added to the Kuhn family – Margaret and Caspar, Jr.  However, their births were not listed in the Giessendanner list of births and marriages. Therefore, the conclusion is they were born in Germany or on board the ship to America. Anna isn’t listed in Caspar’s will and neither is Caspar Jr. however a granddaughter Elizabeth and Margaret are named in Caspar’s will.  I have not found any online records for Caspar Kuhn Jr. A trip to the South Carolina Archives will be in the future for this researcher.

When the Kuhn family arrived in Charles Town, South Carolina there were Caspar, Anna Magdalena, Margaret, and Caspar, Jr. They came into South Carolina about 1749.

Sometime after the arrival Caspar petitioned for a grant of land or fifty acres of land given to settlers to the area in this case South Carolina. Caspar was granted fifty acres for each individual, therefore he received two hundred acres of land; fifty acres per headright or head.

What was Caspar’s family like that he left behind in Switzerland? Were they a family of means? Did he have the finances to pay his way to America when he set sail for the colonies? When looking at Caspar’s arrival in South Carolina and then acquiring land one could assume that he had some knowledge of how to do business. What family life was like back in the old country is a mystery and one that is worthy of being solved. Perhaps one day a trip to Switzerland to research the Kuhn family line. Until then I will continue researching each of his descendants families to learn about them. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Adam Kuhn the Eldest Son of Caspar

Pryor, Gwendolyn, The Swiss Connection, Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles, and Wyrick. Gateway Press, Inc. Baltimore, Maryland, 1991, p. 421, Chapter 5 "Adam Coon," p. 49.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday’s Notes

The Giessendanner Record

Births and Marriage Records of the Kuhn Family

The Giessendanner Record is a book of births and marriages. The Book contains names of all those who were married or baptized by John Ulrick Giessendanner, Minister. 

There are entries for Caspar, his second wife Barbara Ernst, Caspar’s three sons – John Adam, John Conrad, and John Lewis Kuhn.

The following show the entries for each of the Kuhn family members.

(7) On Thursday, June 28th in the House of these married person by Ditto: Casper Kuhn and Anna Barbara Ernst, late wife of George Adam Ernst, of this Township, deceased; Being present: Valentine Yutzy, John Fritchman, John Friday Jun. etc. etc. p. 112. 

The following entry for John Adam, John Conrad and John Lewis Kuhn sons of Caspar and Anna Maria Kuhn in the Giessendanner Records. The list is found in the History of Orangburg County, South Carolina.

(266) On Easter, Monday March 31st

John Adam, Son of Caspar & Anna Maria Kuhn; born August 12th 1754. Suscep, John & Susannah Friday, & Adam Snell. P.153.

(349) On Sunday September 19th in Orangeburg Church John Conrad, Son of Caspar & Anna Maria Kuhn; born April 16th 1756. Suret: Hans, Ulrick Dantzler, Conrad Hungerbiller, and Christina, Barbara wife of John Jacob Hungerbiller. P. 164.

(433) On Sunday November 20th in Orangeburgh Church – John Lewis, Son of Caspar & Anna Maria Kuhn; born September 24th 1757. Suret: Lewis & Elizabeth Golsen & Peter Stehely. Pp. 172-173.
The last entry for the Kuhn family in the Giessendanner Record is for Caspar’s wife Ann Barbara.

(9) On Wednesday January 2d 1750/1. 

Was entered in the Church yard of Orangeburgh the Body of Anna Barbara wife of Caspar Kuhn of this Township. She dyed after one Days Illness on Monday night December 31st aged-------. P. 195. 

Salley, A. S., Jr., The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, Baltimore, Regional Publishing Company, 1969. Chapter II, “The Giessendanner Record,” pp. 112, 153, 164,172-173, 195.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sentimental Sunday

John Adam Kuhn Following in Caspar’s Footsteps

As I have researched my Kuhn maternal line I have often wondered how much my mother knew about her family. Did her father share family information with her? Did she know her grandfather Edward Z. T. Coon? Mother shared very little family information with me about her family. I have learned about them through researching the family to find every nugget of information that is available about them. This has been a project that I began fifteen years ago. However, I then lay it aside. 

Research on the Kuhn maternal line had been packed away for several years. Recently my interest was piqued again when looking at Ancestry DNA matches with Coon cousins and those with whom we share a most recent common ancestor. I have more Coon cousins on Ancestry any other maternal line or paternal. Ancestry was their choice for DNA testing; but I would like for them to have tested with Family Tree DNA so that I could look at the matches on the chromosome browser and matrix tool.  Anyhow, my interest was in Caspar Kuhn the progenitor of the Kuhn/Coon family. He was the immigrant ancestor; the person who at the age of twenty-six left Switzerland for the colonies; and he traveled with his young wife and infant daughter. He blazed the trail for his descendants.

Caspar was faced with tragedies along the way and as he settled in the new world of Carolina. His infant daughter Anna died before he made it to America. Once he arrived in America his wife Anna Magdalena died not long after. Leaving him to care for Margaret and Caspar Jr. He married a second time, 28 June 1750 in Orangeburg Township, Anna Barbara Ernst. Anna was the widow of George Adam Ernst. Anna and Caspar were married a short time and she died 31 December 1750 after a day’s illness (p. 195 History of Orangeburg County). Caspar married a third time Anna Maria in Orangeburg, South Carolina 22 October 1753. Anna and Caspar were the parents of three sons – John Adam, John Conrad, and John Lewis.

John Adam Kuhn followed in his father’s footsteps in being a successful landowner, prosperous in his business affairs, and a patriotic man. Adam the oldest of Caspar’s three sons and probably more was expected of him. He served in the Revolutionary War. In 1784 he served as a footman in the South Carolina Militia in Colonel Thomas Taylor’s Regiment. For his service to his country he was able to purchase one hundred ninety-five acres of land. Adam was also part owner of two hundred sixty-three acres of land with his father and Lewis his brother. Conrad wasn’t mentioned in this land purchase so possibly he had already removed to Tennessee by 6 April a 1789. There is mention of fifty-four acres of land.

Adam is listed on the 1790 census in Richland County, South with two females who are probably Mary his wife and Elizabeth his oldest daughter, and one male under age sixteen probably Jasper. Then One male over sixteen, Adam. There isn’t an 1800 census for Richland County with an Adam Coon. The next census that I found Adam Coon on was the 1810 Richland County census. Adam is probably the male over forty-five, Mary his wife the female twenty-six through forty-four, Mary his daughter the female under ten years of age, Elizabeth his oldest daughter the female ten through fifteen, and Jasper and Harmon his sons in the under ten age categories.

In 1793 Adam Coon received two hundred eighty-eight acres of land a grant from the state of South Carolina. This land was in Camden District. It is interesting to note in the granting of the land from South Carolina it stated, “assigns a plantation or tract of land.” Adam already owned quite a lot of land and now he is acquiring more acreage. So, he has a large plantation by now.
By all indications, Adam Coon was a man who had acquired land and wealth by working diligently and using his resources wisely. Hard work was taking a toll on him and by the age of sixty-one he was getting weak and was sick. He was still capable of making his dictating his will. Witnesses to the will were Thomas Taylor, John J. Kinsler, and C. Bookter. He died by 10 April 1815.

Adam died leaving his widow Mary with four children under the age of twenty-one. However, Mary carried on with the everyday chores of caring for her children and the plantation. With the help of her valued slaves Mary was the head of the household up to about 1830. Then she is found on the 1830 census living with her son Harmon and his family. Elizabeth the oldest daughter is living with the family. Adam’s widow Mary was granted one thousand nine hundred twenty-two acres of land that was resurveyed. This land was in Richland County on Crane Creek a branch of Broad River. Mary and her heirs were issued a grant for this land by the state of South Carolina. Mary Kinsler Coon died 7 July 1846 and left her heirs a nice estate.

Green, Edwin L., A History of Richland County, Vol. One, 1735-1805, Southern Historical Press, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina.
Salley, A. S., Jr., The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, "From It's First Settlement to the Close of the Revolutionary War", Baltimore, Regional Publishing Company, 1969. 
Pryor, Gwendolyn, The Swiss Connection, "Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles, and Wyrick", Baltimore, MD, Gateway Press, Inc., 1991. 
Ancestry.com, 1790, 1810, 1830 and 1840 U. S. Federal Censuses Database online. 
Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday's Thoughts

More Coon Hunting:  John Conrad Kuhn

Up to this point in researching my ancestors, Tennessee is one of the states that my ancestors passed by; therefore, I haven’t researched in Tennessee. That all changed with Caspar Kuhn’s son John Conrad Kuhn. Conrad was one of Caspar’s children that very little information was found about him. Thanks to records that are being placed online at a fast pace, there is now information on this elusive Kuhn ancestor. John Conrad Coon now is a recognized and known son of Caspar and wife Anna Maria Kuhn (Coon). Conrad was the third son of Caspar Kuhn, and Caspar emigrated to South Carolina about 1749 and died in Richland County, South Carolina. So, how did Conrad end up in Tennessee. There haven’t been family stories of Conrad Kuhn as to why he left his home state of South Carolina to live in Davidson County, Tennessee; however, there are a few things that could have drawn him there, but one that most likely drew him to that area was free land. Conrad was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and veterans of the war were rewarded with free land in Tennessee.

Conrad Kuhn was born about 1756 in Amelia Township, Orangeburg, South Carolina. He lived a long and probably productive life. He died 11 March 1843 in Davidson County, Tennessee. When I analyzed the tax records for Conrad my thoughts were that he wasn't a man of wealth. There is no record of him owning land. One would wonder if maybe he left for Davidson County, Tennessee following one of his children there. Simon his son married Delilah Binkley. When I looked for Simon in the censuses there were quite a lot of Binkley males as head of the house on the censuses. Unless more records are put online and family stories emerge one will not know why Conrad moved to Tennessee.

Agnes Hunt Conrad’s wife according to family trees was born in Franklin County, North Carolina; however, there were no sources to prove that, so that is just an assumption for now. But that is a place to look for a Hunt with a daughter in the age range of Agnes.

The children of Conrad and Agnes were married in Davidson County, Tennessee and there were marriage records for all for the children except William Coon. Thanks to sourced online family trees these guided me to the marriage records for the children. Their marriages were proven using those records. Then, I went to census records and looked for the couple on census records. These searches were fruitful.

The John Conrad Coon family now has their rightful place in my family tree. Coon hunting continues on this family.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Caspar Kuhn's Original Will 

Images from Ancestry.com database

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday’s Tip

Analyzing an Ancestor’s Will

Recently I found a will for direct line ancestor Caspar Kuhn (Coon) on Ancestry. I knew Caspar had left a will because it was referenced in Gwendolyn Pryor’s book about the Kuhn families, The Swiss Connection, and she had put a copy in her book; however, it was difficult to read and copy. A trip to South Carolina was out of the question so I have kept an “eye open” for the probate records and wills to be placed online. Ancestry has placed probate records online and not only have I found Caspar’s but other ancestor’s wills. I will add also, that this author does not get any compensation from Ancestry.

Caspar began by stating his name and where he was from, and reassuring those who will read his will that he is weak in his body but he is of sound mind and has perfect understanding and memory of what he was doing. He states this to be his last will and testament, that he desires it to be received by all, as his last will and testament. He gives his whole estate to his wife Maryan during her life. His son Adam is to care for it, “thereof”, during Maryan’s life. Maryan is his third wife, and the mother of his three sons Adam, Conrad, and Lewis.

After the death of Maryan, Adam, his son will receive two hundred acres of land with the house and the comadities that go with it forever. He states this is the house he is living in at that time. Comadities are probably products and goods from working the land or other sources. He then names the Negros and who will get them. Adam gets the Negro man Peter.

Caspar names his son Conrad in the will and he gives him a female (wench) Fanny, two males Prince and a young boy Will. A wench is a girl or young woman. Possibly Prince and Fanny were young adults with the young son Will. Caspar then names his son Lewis a male Negro named Joe and a boy named Ceasar. This is the Ceasar that supposedly went with the family to Woodville, Mississippi when they migrated in 1811.

His daughter Margaret is named in the will. I know from previous research that Margaret is his daughter by his first wife, Anna Magdalena Mejer who died not long after they arrived in the colonies. She left behind Caspar Kuhn, Jr. and Margaret. Anna, the infant daughter, died before they came to the colonies. Caspar gives Margaret the Negro female (wench) Sarah and a young girl Susy. He has a granddaughter Elizabeth Coon, and gives Elizabeth the Negro boy named Ned. Elizabeth is probably the daughter of Caspar Jr. Caspar Jr. was deceased however, was not mentioned in the will.

I find it interesting that Caspar didn’t name his Negros as slaves. I believe from researching this Kuhn family, the Negros were considered family.

As I have researched the Caspar Kuhn families it seems that Caspar was a man of great wealth, educated and religious. He was one of the founders of a Lutheran Church during his lifetime. He gives his two sons Conrad and Lewis two hundred acres of land. He has already mentioned giving Maryan and Adam two hundred acres of land. He is specific about the land and the location, the land lying on Bull Swamp.

“The best of my estate,” he states. What does that mean? Does that mean the that he saved the best for last? Or the remainder of his estate? Whatever the meaning, the estate will be equally divided among his children Adam, Conrad, Lewis, Margaret, and granddaughter Elizabeth Coon.

His three sons are then named as executors of his last will and testament. He names his sons in order of birth. I know from researching Caspar Kuhn that this is the order of birth of his sons. Caspar’s will had several nuggets of information named in it. He named a wife, three of his sons, his daughter and a granddaughter; he stated the place he lived; and he named Negros in the will which is vital information for others in researching African American ancestors. Even though Caspar didn’t mention his religious affiliation I know from previous research that he was of the Lutheran faith. Caspar’s will was short and to the point of who gets what after his death. Caspar wrote his will specifically naming each person and what each person was to receive after his death. There was no doubt as to who was to receive what after his death and who the administrators were of his estate.

Careful analysis of a will is important to family history researchers because these documents can provide information that help in putting together a family unit. This will helped in proving previous research that I had done on this family.

Over the last fifteen years as I have researched I have learned there are limitations to the information that may or may not be found in wills. Wills can be one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence if they have the right information in them. However, keep in mind there are limitations in some wills. Remember those limitations as you search for a will of your ancestor.

What is very frustrating is when family members’ names are omitted in a will. I have come across an ancestor’s will that didn’t name the wife or children. There may not be names of the wives or children in the will. Keep in mind the wife mentioned in the will may not be the mother of the children named. A child may not be mentioned in the will because he has received his share of the inheritance. If you have a marriage record of the couple, you may use that to verify if the wife named is the mother of the children.

Your ancestor might not have left a will. Caspar is the only Kuhn/Coon ancestor that I have found who left a will. The death date is usually not given in a will, but you can estimate a death date. The location or residence of your ancestor may not be named in the will. Your ancestor my not mention a deceased child as Caspar did in his will. His son Caspar Jr. was deceased but he didn’t mention him; however, he named Caspar Jr.’s daughter Elizabeth. I knew about son Caspar Kuhn, Jr. from previous research on this family. If my memory is correct Caspar Jr died when he was an adult between 14 April and by 1887. His estate was taxed in 1887. More research needed for Margaret and Caspar Jr.

Another limitation you may find is there may be a no punctuation in the will. Remember the time period and education of individuals during that era. In Caspar’s will he named his wife Maryan; however, I have seen it listed as Mary Ann in the records. Usually the maiden name of the wife isn’t stated in the will. Take careful notice to the witnesses of the will though, there could be a family member who is a witness to the will or an executor of the will. Fortunately, in Caspar’s will the relationships were stated, however, that isn’t always the case. Relationships may not be stated in a will or relationships may be misleading.

Lastly, one limitation to keep in mind is there are no every name indexes for the persons named in the will. Write down those names listed in the will, where you found them, and keep them for future research.  

Caspar Kuhn (Coon) left a will and I am thankful for him taking the time in his time of weakness to write his will. He probably never thought that a descendant of his would be using his will to prove his/her ancestry.

U.S., Revolutionary War Pensioners, 1801-1815, 1818-1872 
for Adam Coon T718: 1818 - 1872 18: Widow Pensions, 
1835-1850. Adam Kuhn, son of Caspar,  widow Mary is listed on this form. 
Image from Ancestry.com. U.S., Revolutionary War Pensioners,  database.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday’s Sentiments

Caspar Kuhn the Progenitor of the Coon Family 

For as long as I can remember, the only country that I have desired to go is Switzerland. It is ironic that when I began researching fifteen years ago, that I learned in researching the Kuhn maternal line that the progenitor of the Kuhn family, Caspar Kuhn, emigrated from Switzerland. A trip to Switzerland is added to my bucket list; however, for now I will learn about my ancestors and their homeland.
Anyone who has researched the Kuhn familial lineage soon found out there are many spelling variations to this surname. An experienced genealogist, would know that you look for spelling variations as you research surnames or given names. My mother’s surname was spelled Coon. When I began researching fifteen years ago, I quickly learned to look for Kuhn, Coon, Coone, Conn, Koon, and other possible variations when researching the Kuhn familial lineage. The resource that was a great help in researching my maternal line ancestors was a book by Gwendolyn Pryor “The Swiss Connection” Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713 – 1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles, and Wyrick. I am forever grateful for Gwendolyn Pryor sharing her meticulous research in this well documented book about my Kuhn/Coon ancestors. Along with this book and pedigree information for the Kuhn/Coon family that other researchers posted on FamilySearch.org and at that time Rootsweb.com I could research my direct maternal line Kuhn/Coon family. Remember from previous blog articles that I only had a few names, dates, and places of my mother’s family that she had given me in the early seventies. Who is Caspar Kuhn? Where did he emigrate from? When did he emigrate?

Caspar Coon emigrated from Zurich, Switzerland in 1739 and came into the Port of Charles Town. He settled in South Carolina in 1749. He had three wives Anna Magdalen Mejer, and Anna Maria Anna Barbara Ernst, He lived in South Carolina until in death in 1792.

Pryor, Gwendolyn, The Swiss Connection, "Hans Caspar Kuhn (1713-1792) of South Carolina and His Descendants with Related Families of Kinsler, Nettles, and Wyrick," Gateway Press, Inc. Baltimore, MD 21202. 1991.

Author's note: You can find Gwenolyn Pryor's book in several libraries in the United States and one in Switzerland. You can find those libraries by going to World Cat.

Map from Google Images

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday's Faces from the Past

Emigrant Caspar Kuhn the Adventurer 

Rieden, Zurich, Switzerland was the place of Caspar Kuhn's birth. Caspar Kuhn, wife Anna Magdalen Mejer, and infant daughter Anna, born 29 April 1739, leave their home in Switzerland for a new homeland – America. Caspar was about twenty-one years old when he left his homeland.  


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday’s Tip

Do You Research Just Direct Line Ancestors in Your Family Tree?

Over the years, I have grown from researching direct line ancestors (when I was a beginner) to researching the family unit and collaterals. Collaterals are any blood relative who is not your ancestor – such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings, and so on. Ancestors are parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on.
This method of research, researching direct line ancestors and collaterals, has given me a snapshot of the family unit. It gives a look into their lives and helps to see them as real people who faced challenges and triumphs. As I researched the siblings, aunts and uncles I learned about their migration path, tragedies, occupations, the education level, their children, and grandchildren. When researching a great uncle, I found out that one of his young sons died not long after the family moved to Texas from Mississippi. Then, three years later this same uncle’s eleven years old son drowned in pond. They had moved from Mississippi to Texas and this great uncle worked for the railway. These people aren’t my direct line ancestors but they are my relatives.

The magnitude of researching family can be overwhelming at times, and it’s nowhere near completion. I have made every effort to make sure every statement has a proper source citation as I go along in my research and to fill in the gaps in my family tree. Have I been successful at this daunting task, probably not.

Researching family and building my family tree on direct-line ancestors and leaving out the “other” family members limited my research. It is helpful in researching those other family members and identifying your ancestors and their families. You learn about the whole family. This method of research deepens and broadens the scope of your research.

It made sense at the time researching the direct line because I was starting out with very little information, and I felt it was a daunting task to research the “other” family members. That was the best way for me to begin learning about my ancestors without becoming overwhelmed or frustrated. Learning about my ancestors would tell me the most about my family’s histories. Also, I needed to focus on the direct line to learn of my heritage and where family originated. Researching direct line ancestors was important to me since there wasn’t firsthand knowledge of them and I had very little information to go on. The information about them was in a courthouse, on censuses, a history book, or a cemetery and the only way it would be discovered is for me to go out there and find it. I took the little information that I had for my ancestors and began my quest. There just wasn’t any time to waste on other family members.
The children of your grandparents, great grandparents and third great grandparents can be beneficial in your research. You may find information that will help break through a difficult research problem. It may even lead you to a missing ancestor. Also, boarders living with them could be relatives. While looking for Clifton Coon’s brother Edward the censuses led me from Lincoln County, Mississippi to West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. On the 1930 West Carroll Parish census George D. Coon was living with E. M. Coon as was another boarder Henry Hampton. When I researched E. M. Coon I discovered that he was Edward the brother of Clifton Coon. Living with E. M. was Clifton’s youngest child George D. Coon and Henry Hampton. I found out from further research that Henry Hampton was the son of Edward’s sister Martha Sophrona Coon, who married a Hampton. Had I not taken the time to research great uncle E. M. Coon I would not have learned about him and his family.

Recently I have been researching my grandfather Clifton his parents and siblings and have learned about the family. Clifton’s father is an interesting person. Maybe a little on the “shady” side. However, he possibly had a sizable estate since he had a very large tall ornate tombstone placed on his burial site. This family member though made research interesting.

Researching each family unit and all the people in a family’s circle or community will give you a deeper and broader picture of the families. So, research direct line ancestors, collaterals, and friends, acquaintances, and neighbors in your family’s community.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mystery Monday

Tracking down Clifton Coon’s Sibling
Edward M. Coon

There are mysteries in genealogy research, some will be solved and others will remain mysteries. It has taken a while for that fact to sink into my way of thinking; but I finally got it! I won’t find every family member in a family unit. There are some who will be elusive forever. There are some that are there staring you in the face waiting to be discovered and placed in their rightful place in the family tree. I have discovered there seems to be more mysteries found in researching the matrilineal lineage than the patrilineal lineage. If only there was someone to talk to from the maternal line family members to help in solving some of these mysteries; however, there isn’t so research continues until all avenues have been exhausted using available records.

What happened to Edward M. Coon? Where did he go after 1930? When did he leave Oak Grove, Louisiana? Or did he? He was living with his two nephews in 1930 West Carrol Parish. While researching the siblings of Clifton Coon everything was going along smoothly until the youngest son of Edward Z. T. and Janie Coon came along. Edward M. Coon was the last child born to this couple. Janie isn’t found on any records after the 1880 census; and on the 1900 District 92, Beat 1, Lincoln County, Mississippi census, Edward age fourteen shows up. The census shows that Edward was born August 1885. Edward Z. T. has another wife Colferna, and step-daughter Nancy H. Coward living in the house with him, his sons Sephus and Edward. Where is Janie? What happened to Janie?

Edward is listed on the 1900 census with his family, but isn’t found on the 1920 census. After using various approaches while searching on Ancestry, Family Search, and Google I concluded he wasn’t on the 1920 census. Possibly he was on the move when the census taker came around because he is living in West Carroll Parish in 1930. E. M. Coon is single, forty-four years old, a farmer, renting a home and has two boarders living with him – George D. Coon, son of Clifton, Edward's brother, and Henry Hampton, son of Edward's sister Martha Sophronia. Edward apparently filled out an application for Social Security October 1942. His applied for Social Security using Eddie Murray Coon and parents Edd Coon and Janie Mason, and his birth date was 10 August 1883. His place of birth was Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi.

The Social Security Application and Claims was the last record Edward M. Coon was found on. His death information is unknown. Family trees on Ancestry show that his death date was 1930 and 1935, and he died in Jasper County, Mississippi. There is no proof of either the date or the place of death. Research is ongoing for Edward M. Coon youngest brother of Clifton Columbus Coon, Martha Sophrona, Sarah Caroline, Berkley Martin, Harris C., and Cephus (Sephus) Coon.

There are records being placed online at a rapid pace and it is possible records to prove the conflicting birth and the death information will eventually show up in the updated records. Until then Edward M. Coon has his place in the family tree with his parents Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon and Jane Ann Mason, and his siblings. 

Morris Clifton Coon son of Clifton Columbus Coon and wife
Mary Lavenia Ramsey Coon and the brother of Alma Lavenia Coon..
Clifton was the brother of Edward M. Coon.
This photo is from the author's private collection.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sentimental Sunday

Memories of Ruby Lee Eley

My sister Ruby Lee Eley enjoying the time off from work. 
This photo was taken in 1975 when Ruby lived in Russelville,
Arkansas and this is near a "swimming hole" near her house.
She was watching the children swing from the rope on
a tree limb, then drop into the swimming hole. Those were fun
times. Ruby was enjoying the break relaxing with my family.
We were on vacation at that time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sibling Saturday

Coon Hunting:  Sarah Caroline Coon

The Coon family is an interesting family to research. One never knows what one will discover while researching this family. There have been humorous stories and sad stories along the way. There have been discoveries where I have said, “I can’t believe that.” There seems to be a fantastic paper trail for the Coon family, and there have been several Coon families’ DNA tested. There is so much information online for family history that one could soon get overwhelmed. However, every genealogist knows to take one family at a time. And that is what I learned to do in the early years of researching family. The family unit that I am researching is the matrilineal line. The Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon family. Grandfather Clifton Coon’s parents and siblings. While researching the Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon family unit, I was preparing to research EZT and Jane’s second from the oldest child Sarah Caroline Coon.

Sarah is the second oldest daughter of Edward and Jane. Her oldest sister and the oldest child of Edward and Jane, Martha Sophrona died in 1914 at the age of forty-four. Their mother Jane also died at a young age of thirty-four years old; most likely at the birth of the last child Edward M. Sarah is also the sister of Berkley, Harris C. Cephus, and Edward M. Coon. You can read Berkley, Harris C. and Cephus’ stories here. Research for Edward M. is ongoing. He seems to have vanished after the 1930 census in West Carroll Parish; however, I am on his trail and he will be found, it just will take a bit more of my time.

Sarah Caroline married at a very young age of sixteen to James W. Lentz. Now, it depends on which family tree or census you look at as to Sarah’s husband’s name – Lutze, Lucas, Lentze, or Lentz. His given name was James W. Lentz per the 1900 and Lentze per the 1910 Lincoln County, Mississippi censuses. After analyzing the handwriting and comparing the middle initial and the surname with other letters of similar handwriting, I determined his name is James W. Lentz. Could his given name be William S. Lutze or Lucas as shown on online family trees? On the 1910 Lincoln County census Caroline’s spouse is listed as William Lentze. Again, after carefully and methodically studying the handwriting in the census I concluded his surname was Lentze; and in this spelling with the e was added by the census taker; and his middle initial on the 1900 census was W.; therefore, the conclusion is James William Lentz is the spouse of Sarah Caroline Coon.

This is the reason it is so very important that names be analyzed carefully and all spelling variations are considered when researching a family. There are too many conflicting names for her spouse on family trees to know which name is his name; however, I am going with the name on the 1900 census until I find a marriage record to prove or disprove that information. When I looked at the name on the 1900 and 1910 censuses I looked at the census takers handwriting in other letters of names on the census and made a comparison of the letters to determine how the census taker (enumerator) wrote a letter. Once I was confident it was the same letter, then I concluded, the spouse’s name was James William Lentz.

One fact that I know is that Sarah Caroline Coon is the daughter of Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon and his wife Jane Mason Coon; and the oldest sister of Clifton Coon. Clifton was living with his sister in 1900 after the death of their mother Jane. Clifton was eighteen years old at that time. Clifton and his wife Mary L. and children are living next door to Sarah and her family at the time the 1910 census was taken.

Sarah was born in Brookhaven in Lincoln County, Mississippi and she died 29 September 1911 where she grew up in Brookhaven. She was a young thirty-seven years old at the time of her death. She was the mother of nine children: Emma, Mary J. Chauncy, Minnie, Mandy, Ruby, Johnny S. Edna, and May. Her place of burial is unknown now; but research is ongoing.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday’s Faces from the Past

Coon Hunting:  Berkley Martin Coon

Coon hunting has been a rewarding project, in that I have connected with several Coon and related families on the DNA matches. There have been several Coon families to test with Ancestry DNA. One DNA Coon match on 23andMe, and a few on FTDNA; and the matches are from first to fourth cousins. Using genealogical research, the DNA records and the match information the job of finding the most recent common ancestor began; therefore, this is a work in progress. Connecting Berkley Martin Coon to my grandfather Clifton was made using traditional genealogical records.

Berkley moved to Marshall, Harrison County, Texas after the birth of his son Norman K. who was born June 1912 but before the birth of his son Arthur Nolan born in Texas July 1915. Berkley worked as a generator attendant for the Texas and Pacific Railroad in Marshall, Texas. The move from Lincoln County, Mississippi to Harrison County, Texas was a good move for Berkley and his family.

Tracking Berkley through the censuses over the years from Beat 3, Lincoln County, Mississippi one can glean nuggets of gold about him and his family. In 1880 Lincoln County, Berkley is four years old and hasn’t started to school yet. His parents are Edward Coon and Jane. Berkley has two older sisters and a younger brother:  Sephrona born in 1871 and Sarah 1874 and Harris born in 1879.  Each of them were born in Mississippi. Edward’s father was born in Mississippi and his mother was born in South Carolina, which from previous research was known, Jane’s parents were born in Mississippi. There is a twenty-year span to the next census and a lot of things can happen in twenty years.

Berkley is no longer a four year on child, and is twenty-four years old by1900. His mother has passed away, he is still single, living as a boarder, and living in Lincoln County near family. Also living nearby are his future bride and her family. Marriage is on his mind and by 11 March 1903 he is married to Victoria Viola Kelley in Brookhaven in Lincoln County where both were born. They most likely grew up together, went to school together, and played together as children.

Bert was working at a planning mill in Lincoln County. He was a laborer and had worked steady in 1909. The Berkley Coon family was living well for that era. He was literate, completed the sixth grade, had learned to read and write, and was renting a house in the town of Pearl Haven on First Street in Beat 1 in Lincoln County. 
The couple started a family soon after they were married and by 1910 Beat 1, Lincoln County census they had three children ages six three, and six months. The eldest was Ethel, then the two sons Sherman and Preston. Victoria had given birth to three children and all three were living. In 1912 another son Norman was born in Brookhaven, Lincoln County. Berkley is getting restless now, and getting ready for the next chapter of life. Both his parents by May 1912 are deceased and family members are moving out of the Lincoln County area going west.  So, after 10 June 1912 and before 13 July 1915 west is where he is headed. The first child born to the couple in Texas was Arthur Nolan born in Alvord in Wise County 13 July 1915. Berkley signed up for the World War I Draft Card C September 2, 1918 but wasn’t called into the service. He and Victoria were living on E. Bowie in Marshall when he signed up for the draft.  In less than a year tragedy struck his family – Berkley and Victoria’s youngest son, Berkley’s namesake Berkley Martin, Jr. born 6 February in Marshall, became ill with pneumonia and died 27 January 1919. Then, 1 May 1921 another tragedy struck the family. Preston drowned in Richter’s Pond in Marshall. The child was a young eleven years old.

The Coon family has left the poverty-stricken state of their births – Mississippi. They are seeking better opportunities out west in Harrison County, Texas. They are living in Marshall in east Texas where Berkley is working for the railways. One can only imagine what Berkley and Victoria are thinking at this point in their lives. What if we had stayed in Lincoln County? Why did we move from our home where we were born and grew up? But they went on with their lives and they lived in Marshall until their deaths.

Opportunity did happen in the form of a job with the steam rail road. In 1930 he is an ax welder for the steam rail road; and the family is living on Allen Street, in District 12, Ward 4, in Marshall City, Harrison, Texas. He and Victoria have been married twenty-seven years, they own their home, the family owned a radio, and the value of the home is eight hundred dollars. They have lived through some difficult times but the family members are working steady jobs. Ethel the twenty-six-year-old single daughter is working as a grain nurse; Sherman the oldest son is twenty-two, single, and working as a baker in a bakery. Neither Sherman nor his father were veterans. The two younger sons, Norman age seventeen, and Nolan age fourteen are not employed. The parents most likely kept those two sons nearby after the death of their other two young sons.

The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Berkley filled out the Social Security Application and Claims form January 1937. His father Edward T. and mother Janie Mason were listed on the form. Berkley listed his place of birth as Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi and birth 7 March 1876.   In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Social Security Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement. Retirement was looked promising to Berkley. He had several steady jobs in his lifetime and could eventually retire.

By 1940 Berkley is getting near retirement age and is still working as an ax welder for the steam rail road in the rail road shop. He is now doing private work as a welder, and worked forty-four weeks in 1939. His income was one thousand twenty dollars and had no other income from other resources. Prior to the 1940 census he worked forty hours.  The Berkley Coon family is living in the same house on N. Allen Street in Marshall Texas in 1940. Living in the house with the family is a two-year-old granddaughter Shirley Ann Coone. Whose child is she? Is she twenty-four-year-old single Nolan’s or twenty-seven-year-old Norman who states he is wd (widowed) on the 1940 census. Other than B. M. and Victoria those are the only family members living in the home or nearby.

Berkley and Victoria lived in the same house on N. Allen Street in the same area of Marshall until their deaths. Berkley died of pulmonary edema in the Texas and Pacific Hospital in Marshall at the age of eighty 23 February 1957. He also had heart disease and pulmonary emphysema, and was probably a heavy smoker. His niece my mother was a chain smoker until her death. Berkley’s surname was changed from Coon to Coone on the first Texas census that he was listed on. He retired as a generator attendant for the T & P Railway. His oldest son Sherman Coone was the informant for the information on the death certificate. Whether he spelled it for the census taker one will never know. But he is listed as Berkley Martin Coone on the Texas Death Certificate.

Victoria Kelly Coon died of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease and uremic syndrome 25 October 1962 in the Memorial Hospital in Marshall. She had lived in Marshall for thirty years. She was a housewife and was still living on N. Allen Street in Marshall at the time of her death. Her two sons Sherman and Nolan were the informants for the information on the death certificate. Victoria’s father was Samuel Kelly which I knew already from previous research on her family. She and Berkley are interred in the Greenwood Cemetery in Marshall.

The eldest child Ethel Coon is twenty-six years old on 1930 census, which is the last census she was listed on with her parents and siblings. She hasn’t been found on any other records, but research is ongoing. 

Photo from Google Images

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thankful Thursday

Coon Hunting in Texas
The Coon matrilineal families are being discovered and their stories are being told. Great grandparents Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon and wife Jane Ann were the parents of seven children. Clifton Columbus Coon my grandfather lived in another state from my family as I was growing up; and family stories or information was nonexistent.

Using the “tidbit” of information about the Coon family from my mother, I have researched the Coon familial lineage for fifteen years and done extensive research on them. Last year I decided to go back start over and research the family unit. Previously, when I began researching all those many years ago, I researched the direct line. Researching the family unit has been an enlightening and fun project. In researching the family unit I am getting to know each Coon family. 

There is an astronomical supply of resources online available for genealogists and family historians. Also, available is DNA testing another tool that is now affordable for those who are willing to spend the time and energy to use it along with their genealogical research to prove family connections. Those all are of tremendous help for the genealogy community; however, one thing that comes to mind that is available online are the Texas Death Certificates for 1903-1982. This is reason for a “Thankful Thursday.”

While researching my grandfather Clifton Coon’s children and siblings I have found death certificates for those who lived and died in Texas. Berkley Martin Coon is Clifton’s eldest brother and the sibling that I recently began researching. There was a goldmine of records for Berkley on Ancestry including a Texas Death Certificate. The information on Berkley’s Death Certificate along with the information from documents that I already have, verified his mother’s maiden name. Also, listed on the Social Security Application was his mother’s given name and maiden name. Available for Berkley online were city directories, marriage record, censuses World War 1 Draft Registration Card, Social Security Application and Claims Index, and Findagrave Memorial. There was a Texas Death Certificate for Berkley’s eleven-year-old son who drowned in a pond in 1921. Vital information for adding to Berkley’s children’s stories. Analyzing all the records and looking at the births and places of birth of Berkley’s children, I determined Berkley Coon left Mississippi soon after his father Edward ZT died.

Those Texas Death Certificates have given pieces of information about each individual that has allowed me to put together parentage, births, places of birth, deaths, places of death and names of family members (informants); and giving information for furthering research on the family unit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

More Coon Hunting:  Burkley Martin Coon

Burkley Martin Coon son of Edmund Zachariah Thomas Coon
and wife Jane Ann Mason Coon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesday's Tips

Finding My Ancestor Who Didn’t Leave a Paper 


How do you find information about an ancestor? You interview family members and ask the right questions. What if there are no family members to ask? Then you go to online records, newspapers, look for records in the courthouse, look for church records, and analyze census records gleaning – every nugget of information about a person. Next, you research the family unit. These are techniques that I have used since those family members who could be interviewed and questioned are now deceased.

While researching matrilineal Coon ancestors for the last fifteen years, one very important lesson learned is there hasn’t been a large trail of records leading to them. Very little is known about the Coon maternal line ancestors. Having seen maternal grandfather Clifton Columbus Coon only once very little is known of him, his siblings, or his parents; therefore, I have begun researching Clifton’s siblings. Clifton was one of seven children of Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon and Jane Ann Mason Coon. Their stories need to be shared so others may get insight into the Coon families’ lives.

Most of the Coon ancestors have census entries. Usually on all available censuses during their lifetime. The Lincoln County courthouse burned on the 19 November 1893. Reasons for the lack of records could be: Burned courthouses may be a reason for the lack of records; mysterious people, possibly; private people, maybe; farmers and they just didn’t leave a paper trail – more likely the reason. Very few Coon ancestors left wills, probate, church, marriage, Bible, journals, stories, or land records. Those ancestors lead interesting lives, were hard workers, and have stories to tell. Even though, there is a shortage of records gleaning all the information from census records is vital in telling the story of each individual Coon ancestor. That is exactly what was achieved in telling the story of Cephus Coon.

Cephus (Sephus) Coon is an ancestor that very little is known of him and he was almost forgotten. Cephus is the sixth child born to Jane Ann Mason Coon and Edward Zachariah Thomas Coon in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi. These two hard working farmers were the proud parents of two daughters and five sons. Martha Sophrona was the oldest known child of the couple. Sarah Caroline was the other daughter. Then there were the five sons: Berkley Martin, Harris C., Clifton Columbus, Cephus, and Edward.

When one looks at the names of these children one can only wonder how Jane Ann and EZT chose the children’s names. Were they family names? Possibly Jane Ann named them after her family members. This information isn’t known since there is little information about her Mason family. Maybe there were Coon cousins, aunts, or uncles that were special to them. Clues to family relationships may be found by analyzing naming patterns within a family. Look at the middle name of an ancestor and look for people with that name as a surname within the family circle or community.

The only record found online for Cephus Coon was the 1900 District 92, Beat 1, Lincoln County, Mississippi census. Cephus is single, living with his father Edward ZT Coon, step-mother H. Colferna, brothers C. Harris and Edward, and step-sister H. Nancy Coward (whom C. Harris later married). The 1890 census would have given information for Cephus; however, that census was not available because it was destroyed. Cephus hasn’t been found on the 1910 census; but , the search continues for him since his headstone shows his death date 1911. What was the cause of Cephus’ death at the young age of twenty-eight? Was he killed? Did he become ill and die suddenly? Those are questions that will go unanswered unless more records are found or there is a connection to a Coon living relative.

The 1900 census shows that Cephus (Sephus) was born September 1882, seventeen years old, a farm laborer, can read, write, and speaks English. That is all that could be gleaned from the census and is known of grand uncle Cephus Coon. One other record found was a marriage record J. C. Coon and Rosie Ward marriage date 19 December 1905 in Lincoln County, Mississippi. Could this be Cephus? Possibly, but a trip to the Lincoln County courthouse is needed to look for the marriage record to prove or disprove this marriage to be of Cephus Coon. Per Ancestry trees this is J. Cephus; however, work to prove this information is ongoing.

Sephus Coon died at the age of twenty-eight in 1911. Sephus is buried in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Lincoln County, Mississippi.

What was the cause of death? Research continues on Sephus (Cephus) Coon.