Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maga: Another Grand-Mother (Grand-Mothers IV)

Helen Farthing at 18
(or 16, or maybe 14)
My maternal grandmother was Helen Lois Farthing (1910-1984).  In 1932 she married Frank Maxwell Perry (1910-1970).  Helen & Frank were divorced in 1950, and Helen married Joseph Matthew Solana (abt 1895-1961) in 1958.  Helen’s parents were Mamie Clyde White (1884-1957) and Irving Colquitt Farthing (1885-1974).  We called my grandmother Helen “Maga”, pronounced mah’-gah (emphasis on the first syllable).  The family story is that she didn’t want to be called “grandma”, so of course everybody tried to get her first grandchild to call her that.  But no matter how many times they said it, “gramma, gramma”, over and over, when he pronounced it he reversed the syllables, and a baby-talk “gamma” came out “maga”.  And that’s how she got her name.  But she wasn’t alone in having a unique name within the family.  Frank was called “Daddy Mack”, Joe Solana was “Pop”, Irving was “I.C.” to his friends and colleagues, and “Papaw” to his us, as his wife Mamie was “Mamaw” to her grandchildren.  There is some variance in spelling, Papaw-Pappaw and the same with Mamaw-Mammaw.  We pronounced them with a short “a” in the first syllables, like “pat” and “mat”, and the long drawl of “–paw” and “–maw” trailing after, so I’ve adopted the single middle consonant spelling.

I haven’t yet obtained copies of Maga’s marriage licenses or her death certificate but hope to do so this summer.  Mamaw and Papaw were married in 1907, and I do have a copy of their marriage record from the Georgia’s Virtual Vault website.  They obtained their marriage license from Laurens County (Dublin) on 30 November 1907 and were married the next day, 1 December 1907, by A.L. Hobbs, N.P. & J.P (Notary Public & Justice of the Peace).  And there’s plenty of information on the next three censuses.  In 1910, they were renting at 217 Gaston Street in Savannah.  Irving C and Mamie (they stretched the truth a little bit, claiming 3 years of marriage), their twins Elmer C & Ethel F (1 7/12 years old), and Papaw’s brother Troy. Under employment it looks like I.C. was in the Const [?] Dept, Insurance, and Troy was an Insurance Agent (my mother remembers her mother’s Uncle Troy; I think he might have been Papaw’s favorite brother maybe).  In 1920 the family had moved a bit north of the city to the small town of Pooler and were renting on Morgan Street (no house number was recorded).  My mother said that her grandfather rented all his life.  He never bought a house.  He didn’t believe in going into debt for anything.  Irving C and Mamie are now living with five children: Ethel F, Elmer C, Helen L, Bernard C & Alvin R, and I.C. is a lawyer.  1930 found them back in Savannah, living in rented digs at 205 W Gwinnett, and paying $40 per month in rent.  Irving C., Mamie C, Ethel F, Helen L, Bernard C & Alvin R live together, Elmer having moved out and gotten married.  Papaw is still a lawyer, and interestingly three of the children are working: 21-year-old Ethel is a stenographer in a loan office, Helen, 19, is a saleslady in a department store, and even 13-year-old Bernard works “curb service” at a drugstore.  Only the youngest, Alvin, 12, doesn’t work outside the home.  No doubt he had more than his share of chores to keep him out of mischief!

Robert White's marriages
Since Mamie and Irving were both born in the 1880’s and the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, there’s only one earlier census for each of them.  In 1900 Mamie was living with her father Robert A White, brother Robert and step-mother Valeria in Dodge County.  Mamie’s father was a teamster, which in 1900 may have meant he actually handled teams of work horses in addition to hauling freight.  Meanwhile, Irving was living with his father Reuben Farthing, a blacksmith, mother Martha, and eight brothers and sisters.  Unfortunately, this is nearly a dead end for Mamaw’s family until I can discover more clues or uncover more documents.  My mother was always told that Mamie’s mother’s name was Elizabeth Rozier or Rosier, and that she died when Mamie was a little girl.  I found a marriage license recorded in Laurens County for a marriage between Robert White and Valeria Warren on 19 February 1894, but so far the only close match in a marriage record I’ve found for his first wife is for Robert White and “Leona Rozar”, married 18 July 1880, also in Laurens County.  I can’t find any Rozars, Rosiers or Roziers in Laurens or the surrounding area in 1870 or 1880 with a daughter names Elizabeth or Leona of the appropriate age.  Nor can I find a family with a young Robert A White.  I did find a Robert D White, aged 28, in the 1910 census living in Dublin with his wife Lula E, 27, daughter Vida Pearl, 2, and father Robert A White, 51, but the 1900 census has father and son named Robert A White, and their ages are 39 and 17.  So it’s acceptably close if I could find more corroboration.
The Farthings are another story.  There is a long line of blacksmithing Farthings stretching back at least a hundred years, but that’s a tale for another day.

Helen Farthing with Tim, 1958
Here’s your summary:
  • Family stories and histories can provide valuable clues.  Sometimes all you need is a name to help confirm some documentation.  It’s not proof, but it can move up the probabilities, so that it becomes reasonable to pursue additional research which can provide corroboration.
  • Census forms, particularly from the decades surrounding the turn of the last century, are often rich in details which can add to the texture of your family history.
  • The handwriting on the census forms can be difficult to decipher.  Don’t waste time trying to decipher the printed column headings.  Use a resource such as the census blanks available from or another source.  Many websites provide the blanks in downloadable form, and they can also be obtained from most FamilySearch Centers (formerly Family History Centers).
  • Don’t forget to try to confirm facts with multiple sources.  Tombstones, marriage records, death records, family Bibles, census forms and family histories should all be weighed and considered carefully.  No single document can provide all the evidence you need, but each is a piece of the puzzle.

 Later y’all,


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grand-Mothers III – Maggie Stringer’s Grandparents

I do apologize for the 10-day hiatus.  I’ve had issuesL  There’s a lot going on over the next month but I promise I’ll try to get back on a regular schedule.

I wanted to discuss my paternal grandmother’s grandparents.  My grandmother, Maggie Frances Stringer (1907-2000), was the daughter of Hattie Mosell Williams (22 Mar 1880 – 21 Jul 1921) and Thomas Henry Stringer (26 Mar 1869 – 1 Jul 1933).  The family lived in Tattnall County in 1910 and Haw Pond, Evans County, in 1920, and she married my grandfather James Dewey Jones (1907-1973) in 1928. They lived in Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham Counties.

Thomas & Hattie Stringer's parents, from their Bible
According to Hattie’s death certificate (I posted it at the end of the previous post, click here), Hattie’s parents were S. M. Williams and Mary J. Andrews.  Hattie & Thomas’ Bible shows her father’s name as Shep M. Williams.  This is enough information to at least start a census search on  Starting my search in Richmond County because Hattie and Thomas Stringer got married there in 1901, I found a 1900 census right away, showing Mary J. and Shepard M. Williams living there with their seven children.  By 1910 Mary and Shep had moved to Tattnall County with at least the two youngest of their children, and by 1920 the youngest had left home but daughter now-widowed Mattie M. Mincy had moved in with her six children.  The 1890 census doesn’t survive for Georgia.

I have located a Screven County marriage license issued 26 Apr 1881 to Sheppard W. [not M] Williams & Mary Jane Andrews, who were married 13 Oct 1881 (record Marriage Book D, 1874-1881, p 149).  This is of course after eldest daughter, and my great-grandmother, Hattie was born, but I’m finding that wasn’t as unusual as you would think, so while I haven’t committed to that yet, it’s in my files as a possibility.

I haven’t located any other information about Mary J. Andrews prior to the 1900 census.  I have one likely mention of “SM Williams” in the 1860 census, living with his parents “JM” and “HA” Williams in Effingham County.  (I really hate it when the census enumerators only recorded initials!)  The reason I think it “likely” is a combination of family history that Shepard Williams was named after his grandfather, and in 1850 James B and Harriet Williams were living in Bulloch County with an elderly Shepard Williams and two young daughters whose names at least partially match the initials used in the 1860 census (Mary and Ella in 1850, “ME” and “EE” in 1860).  The children’s ages are off by a year, and Harriet’s age differs from the age given for “HA” by 2 years so more research needs to be done.
1900, 1910 & 1920 Census Records for Shepard M. Williams and Mary J. [Andrews] Williams
I’ve loaded a large image of excerpt from those three census records because the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census forms are particularly rich in details.  You can click on the image in here to open a larger size for reference.  I think we should look at these in more detail so you’ve got an idea what can be gleaned from these records.  I’ve added the column numbers to make it easier to refer to the illustration.  You can find blanks which will list all the column headings by number for all census years at the site (, and other websites also have census blanks (just Google “census blanks”).  This is so much easier than trying to read blurry census forms from microfilm or even the digitize ones online.

I was a bit surprised to find my relatives living all the way up in Augusta (Richmond County).  I had assumed they were all farmers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  But of course people try to go where the jobs are, especially when they have seven children!  If you look all the way over to the right, Column #19 of the 1900 census gives the occupation of the employed members of the family.  Shepard was an elevator man at a cotton mill, and three of his daughters worked as spoolers; daughter Mattie was also a room [sp?] hand, whatever that is.  Two of the daughters had been out of work for 1 month each (Column #20).  From Columns #25 and #27 I can find that they rented a house.  All the way back over to the left, in the first unnumbered column, the census enumerator entered the street name in the rows above my family’s entry.  The second unnumbered column has the house number.  So Mary Jane and Shep lived in a rented house at 1929 Hicks Street in Augusta.  I’ll have to research city directories to find out if the houses and streets have been renumbered since 1900, but the current location in Augusta looks like a narrow, almost rural, lane, with a few wooden houses and storage garages (Google maps, street view).

There’s more to be found in the 1900 census.  According to the record, Shep was born in December 1851 and Mary Jane in August 1859 (the double-column #7).  Someone went back and forth on their ages (Column #8).  The census was taken on 7 June 1900, so their correct ages should be 48 and 40, but the darker number indicates 49 and 41.  Which calculation was incorrect?  They reported their ages as 59 and 51 in 1910, and 69 and 61 in 1920, so I’m left wondering if they gave the census taker their age and birthday and he (incorrectly) computed their birth year.  Since we don’t have birth certificates, and I haven’t yet found any tombstones, we’re left with a conundrum.  I confess that I still show 1851 and 1859 in my family tree, but I’m giving serious consideration to backing that up their birth years to 1850 and 1858.

Sheppard W. Williams & Mary Jane Andrews
1881 Screven County Marriage License
As I mentioned above, I found a “possible” marriage record in Screven County, giving their marriage date as 13 Oct 1881.  But here on the 1900 census, Column #10, they indicated they had been married 24 years, which would calculate to a marriage in about 1876.  But if you look down to the 1910 census, Column #9 indicates that Mary and Shepard had been married for 30 years, placing their wedding in about 1880.  This isn’t something I can resolve with the current data available to me, so I’ll just have to put it aside until I can discover more information.  By the way, both the 1900 and 1910 census forms record that Mary gave birth to seven children and that all seven were still living (Columns #11 & #12 in 1900, #10 & #11 in 1910).

While we’re looking at the 1910 census, take a look at the far right columns again.  With the change of residence came a change of employment.  Shepard was and Overseer (Column #18) on “Bukins” or “Perkins” farm (Col #19 – something else to add to my research list).  He rented (Col # 26) a house (#28), and there is further information on entry #89 on the farm schedule (which I haven’t been able to locate – I think this may be one of the years that congress ordered destroyed, so that individual records no longer exist).  There is no house number, since they lived in the country, but the first unnumbered column on the far left indicates they lived on the Reidsville and Statesboro Road.  As an aside, this is census Sheet number 36-B.  On Sheet number 36-A, apparently not far away, on Cobbtown Road, lived their son-in-law Tom H Stringer and his wife (their daughter) Hattie, along with their four children, one of whom was my then-three-year-old grandmother!

And finally, the 1920 census shows Shep and Mary living on their own farm (“Operator” in Column #26, “Farm” in Column #27, and “OA”, meaning working on his own account, in Column #28).  There was further information on row 211 of the farm schedule (Column #29; again, I don’t know if this schedule still exists in complete form).  As I’ve said, I have no record of their deaths or burials, only a notation, drawn from family recollection that Mary Jane Andrews Williams died in 1926 and Shepard M Williams died before 1930.  Hopefully I’ll be able to dig up some more information from my family in the near future.

I hope I haven’t totally confused you, and I’ll be moving on to another branch of the family next time.

Here’s your summary:
  • Family stories and histories, whether oral or written, are often the only starting point you’ll have to find out information on the “mid-distant” ancestors – those who may have died within living memory or within the memory of the very recently departed.  And there’s often no way to confirm this information with primary sources, so many times you’ll have to begin relying totally on the census to corroborate the stories.  At some point you may be totally reliant on what you can glean from the census forms.
  • The handwriting on the census forms can be difficult to decipher.  Don’t waste time trying to decipher the printed column headings.  Use a resource such as the census blanks available from or another source.  Many websites provide the blanks in downloadable form, and they can also be obtained from most FamilySearch Centers (formerly Family History Centers).
  • Census forms can be a valuable source of information for more than just name and age.  Don't neglect all those "other" columns, particularly for 1880 and for 1900, 1910 and 1920. 
  • You can't expect to resolve every issue the first time with only the records at hand, so make notes and move on.  Revisit the questionable data or incomplete results when you have access to more information.
Later y’all,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grand-Mothers II – The Parents of Maggie Stringer

In the first Grand-Mothers post, I stated that my paternal grandmother was Maggie Frances Stringer, the daughter of Hattie Mosell Williams (22 Mar 1880 – 21 Jul 1921) and Thomas Henry Stringer (26 Mar 1869 – 1 Jul 1933).  I also noted that her name is written “Frances Magadelin” [sic] in Hattie & Tom Stringer’s Bible, and that the family lived in Tattnall County in 1910 and Haw Pond, Evans County, in 1920.  Here are a few pages from that Bible I mentioned (again thanks to my cousin Michelle, who made the scans from the Bible which is currently in the possession of our Aunt Mildred).
Pages from the Hattie Williams-Thomas Stringer family Bible
According to the first of these pages from the family Bible, “Thos. H. Stringer and Hattie M. Williams” were married 21 March, 1901, in Augusta [Richmond County], Georgia, by “Louis Schillen” and the witness was Mrs. M. J. Williams.  Unfortunately, the last record in the last Richmond County marriage book available online through the Virtual Vault is for a license issued 12 January 1901, so that’s another record to add to my “to be ordered” list.  Most likely the handwriting is that of Hattie.  I have no proof of this at this time; it’s just a feeling about it.

Alternate B/W copy of part of page 3 of family Bible above
There is additional valuable information to be gleaned from these pages.  On the second page, at the bottom, you can see the copyright date is 1907.  Since I don’t have a copy of the title page of the Bible, which may or may not have a printing date, with the copyright date I know that the earliest this family data could have been recorded in this Bible is 1907.  Just above that are Hattie and Thomas’s dates of birth and, of great importance, their parents’ names (though the writer did not record their mothers’ maiden names).  Listed as “Grandparents”, Thomas’ parents were Robert F. Stringer and Martha E. Stringer and Hattie’s parents were Shep M. Williams and Mary J. Williams.  Thus it seems that Hattie’s mother may have been the witness to her wedding.  There is no explanation as to why only one witness is listed.

The third page lists Hattie and Thomas’ children, their dates of birth, their spouses, and their dates of marriage.  Maggie is the third child, married to Dewey Jones on 6 October 1928.  The rest of the third and fourth pages (parts of which I have blurred because some of these people are still living) concern mostly their grandchildren.  It appears to me that these pages bear the handwriting of at least three different individuals.  In any case, the fourth page states that Hattie and Thomas were Missionary Baptists, and someone has recorded that both died of “apoplexy” (a term applied to any sudden, unexpected loss of consciousness followed by death), Hattie on 21 July 1921 and 1 July 1933, and that both are buried at “Canoochee”.  (OK, I’m cheating again!  I have a secondary copy, a black & white photocopy that is a bit clearer along the bound edge of the pages.)  In support of the death dates, again thanks to Michelle, I have photos of Hattie and Thomas’ gravestones.  Additionally, since Hattie died in 1921 I was able to locate her death certificate online in Georgia’s Virtual Vault, my number-one source for original documents from this time period.  In this case, my first search, by first and last name, turned up exactly one record and that was hers.  And, Hattie's death certificate gives me her mother's maiden name -- she was Mary Jane Andrews.

Having the names of Hattie and Thomas’ parents will help as I go back another generation.  But I think I’ll leave that for another time.

Hattie M. [Williams] Stringer Death Certificate
(Death Certificates, Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives)
Here’s your summary:
  • The women of the family often had control of the family history (the same as today).  If you have a family Bible, it’s a good bet that you’re looking at the handwriting of the women in your family.  Women didn’t always take the pictures, but they were usually took charge of them once they were printed, framing them to hang on the walls or pasting them in endless scrapbooks and photo albums.
  • Family Bibles can be a rich source of information, but you should treat it as you would any other source and try your best to verify the information.  While an invaluable pointer to information you might not otherwise have, without corroborating evidence and documentation it is only hearsay.
  • Try to keep the date ranges of your primary records sources in mind as you do your research.  In this case, I know that the Georgia’s Virtual Vault website has death certificates from many Georgia counties from as early as 1914 to as late as 1930, though they are mostly from 1919 through 1927.  If you remember what you CAN find, you are more likely to quickly find records to support your research.
  • Don't forget to check all the fields on a death certificate.  It, too, may give you valuable clues.

 Later y’all,


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget

I normally won't write a topical post (current events) because that's not what I intended this blog to be about.  But I had to make an exception in this case.  In case you haven't read elsewhere, funding for the Georgia Archives (which includes the Virtual Vault) is scheduled for serious reductions, below the level that the Archive needs to function as a viable public resource.  The letter below has been sent out to many people across the state and the country, and I quote it as is:
Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget

An open letter from FOGAH Chair, Virginia Shadron:

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget that passed the Georgia House of Representatives on March 11 as HB 78 includes budget reductions that could result in the State Archives closing its doors to the public.

The budget contains two items that together would reduce the Archives’ budget by at least $300,000.

The Archives’ base budget, after preceding budget cuts, is $4,643,588. Over 65% of that goes to pay fixed costs (such as rent) that cannot be reduced. The current bill proposes an additional cut in “personal services and … savings from reduced hours …” in the amount of $260,458. The second way in which the Archives’ budget is eroded is that the House budget does not fund the annual increase in the Archives’ rent, an amount of more than $40,000 for FY12.

Altogether, the additional cuts to personal services and the failure to fund the rent increase means that the Archives’ sustains a critical $300,000 in cuts. You might wonder, “What is the fuss about?” That shortfall can come from one place only—and that is staff.

Without intervention the Archives will almost certainly be forced to close its doors to the public, reduce scanning operations and preservation activities, and eliminate most transfers of records from state agencies—the records that protect Georgia financially and legally.

The House version of the budget now goes to the Senate for adjustment and passage. Call and write your state senator immediately and ask that a minimum of $300,000 be restored to the Archives budget! Go to and click on "Find Your Legislator" to find your senator.

- Virginia Shadron

I don't know if letters from non-residents will do any good at this point.  Heck, I don't know if letters from ANYONE will do any good at this point.  But if you still live in Georgia, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write to and call your Georgia State Senator an let them know that they need to restore the funding for this valuable historical and cultural resource.  Not doing so is like forgoing regular maintenance on your car.  You can't make up for it later.  And we can't just buy a new history if we lose the one we have! 

Thank you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's Awards Season: The One Lovely Blog Award

I received a very nice note from Lisa Wallen Logsdon at the blog “Old Stones Undeciphered” informing me that I was a recipient of the "One Lovely Blog".  It’s a community award that circulates through the blogs, awarded by bloggers to bloggers.  There are rules to this award:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So what, you say?  As I wrote Lisa, “Someone once said that everyone thinks awards are silly ... until you win one. Seriously, though, it is always nice to find one is not just shouting into the void.”

Thank you again Lisa, and thanks to all the other bloggers out there.  Writing can be hard work.  Yes, you might say the work is its own reward, but it nevertheless is work, and it’s nice when someone gives you an “attaboy” for your efforts.

Without further ado, here’s my list.  These are some of the blogs I’ve discovered in the past few months that I find entertaining, informative and/or intriguing.  Congratulations to all of you, and I hope your new readers will be as pleased to discover you as I was.

Later y’all,



Maggie Stringer Jones
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent most of my time on my male ancestors and their descendants, mentioning their wives and their parentage only in passing.  Partly this is my fault, but a great part of the problem is that our entire society is geared toward tracking and documenting the paternal line.  The farther back you go the less we have on the wives and mothers of our forefathers, our grandmothers (“foremothers” sounds wrong), or as I titled this post, our grand-mothers.  For don’t we all have a special place in our hearts for a special woman who raised us, whether she was a mother, a grandmother, or some other relative.  And if that “mommy place” isn’t filled, we know it, and others pity us.  It’s how we’re made.  My cousin Dell (a fine Southern lady, though we’ve never met) posted this on her Facebook page:
If your Mama was a hard working woman and was your hero, helped you no matter how bad you were or was just the best mom ever, if you are blessed to still have her or if she is an angel in Heaven, paste this to your status and let everyone know you are PROUD of your mother. You can replace a lot of people in life, but you only have one......... Mama...
Since she encouraged it, I posted it on my Facebook page, too, and you are free to do the same.

Anyway, I’ll do my best to post more of the information I have on my grand-mothers.  In many cases I have very little on their mothers, or their mothers’ mothers.  Partly this is because of a lack of information and partly it’s because I’ve only been at this genealogy thing for about a year.  I’ve got a lot of bare branches on my family tree just waiting to be “leafed in”!

Maggie Stringer Census Records
[census images from]

Thanks to my cousin Michelle I have a great deal of information on my dad’s mother, Maggie Frances Stringer to supplement my own memories and family photos, and what my dad can tell me.  Maggie was born 5 February 1907 Haw Pond in Bulloch County (according to her own Bible record), and died 1 January 2000 (at the hospital in Savannah, though she lived in rural Effingham County, near Guyton).  She was the daughter of Hattie Mosell Williams (22 Mar 1880 – 21 Jul 1921) and Thomas Henry Stringer (26 Mar 1869 – 1 Jul 1933).  In the 1910 census the family was living in Tattnall County, on Cobbtown Road, and in 1920 in Haw Pond, Evans County.  Evans County was created in August 1914, in part from Bulloch and Tattnall Counties.

Maggie married my grandfather James Dewey Jones, Sr. (13 Dec 1907-27 May 1973) in Evans County on 6 Oct 1928, and they moved in with his parents Jacob and Rosa (Barnes) Jones in Brier Patch, Bulloch County, where they showed up on the 1930 census along with my late uncle James Dewey Jones, Jr, and several other relatives.  Great-granddaddy Jake Jones was a sharecropper.  Granddaddy went by “Dewey”, and Uncle Dewey was “Dewey Junior” to everybody.  According to Hattie & Tom Stringer’s Bible my grandmother’s name was actually “Frances Magadelin” [sic].  For some reason they liked using the middle name as the preferred name seems.  In addition to the two Deweys, my father goes by his middle name “Olan” and so does my mother “Ann”.  So it could very well be that “Maggie Frances” is incorrect, but I’ve always heard it that way, so I’m sticking with Maggie for now.

I’ve got a DVD of a driving tour that Michelle took with my dad and some of his siblings along with their cousin James Sapp, who is a half-generation older than them and remembers more of the life of the Stringers and Joneses in the 1920s and 30s.  One of my “rainy day” projects (that’s a huge list!) is to transcribe that home movie and extract stills from it so that it’s more easily shared and used in documentation. 

Maggie & Dewey Jones
(early 1930s ??)
Maggie and Dewey had eight children, but only seven survived to adulthood.  Their second child, Wilfred Peyton Jones, died 14 September 1934, a week before my father was born.  He was only two-and-a-half years old.  I’ve been told he was hit by a car.  Dewey Jr. died in 2002, but the six remaining siblings, three boys and three girls, still survive so I’ll leave it there for now.  I have a few photos of Maggie and Dewey, thanks to Michelle (and I think in the possession of Aunt Mildred) to supplement a couple I have from my parents’ photo album, but my family wasn’t as “snap happy” in the early years of the 20th century as some were.  You may have noticed a dearth of other documentation (birth, marriage and death).  As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been rather lax about obtaining documents on people I still living or who I remember.  I know I shouldn’t, but there it is.  I hope to remedy some of that later this year, perhaps as early as next month when I’m going home to Georgia for a couple of weeks.

I’ll talk about  Maggie’s parents in the next post.

Here’s your summary:
Dewey & Maggie Jones
(that's me in the middle!)
  • Don’t forget to document your maternal lines.  Just because the surname has disappeared from your family doesn’t mean they didn’t have as much to do with you being here as your father’s father’s fathers.  March is Women’s History Month and Mother’s Day is coming up in May, so now would be a perfect time to start.
  • The women of the family often had control of the family history (the same as today).  If you have a family Bible, it’s a good bet that you’re looking at the handwriting of the women in your family.  Women didn’t always take the pictures, but they were usually took charge of them once they were printed, framing them to hang on the walls or pasting them in endless scrapbooks and photo albums.
  • One thing you can learn from your grand-mothers because most rarely did it is to document who is in your pictures.  Whether you write on the physical prints (bad idea) or add captions and metadata* to your digital images, make sure those who come after you know who they are seeing, when and where the photo was taken, and any other facts you’d like to know if you found that photo somewhere in a family album.  [*Metadata is just a fancy word for saving your photo notes in the picture, as part of the JPG or TIF file itself.  It doesn’t harm the picture and it can’t be lost.  For more information, Google “save photo metadata genealogy” and find an article that helps you.  You can make your search more specific if you add the name of your photo editing program.]

 Later y’all,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

L. Ann Wade Perry

Rev. Henry Holcombe, DD
So far I’ve discussed male ancestors and their descendants almost exclusively.  I’ve mentioned their wives and their parentage hardly at all.  In part this was because with the blog being so new I wanted to establish the two primary lines, Jones and Perry.  Now that I’ve done that so far as I’m able at this time I can branch out and I can explore individuals in depth.  I’d like to start with Joshua Perry’s wife, Louvicia (or Luvisa) Ann(e) Wade.  Her name is written as "Louvicia Ann Wade" in the Screven County marriage record from 1832.  The 1850 census lists her as "Lavisa A Perry", while she's "Louvicia A Perry" in 1860, "Louvisa A Perry" in 1870, and "Lovisa Perry" in 1880.  For simplicity’s sake I’ll call her Ann Wade here.

When I first started working on my genealogy I was fortunate to have access to family histories put together by a previous generation.  This is all I had to go on initially:
JOSHUA PERRY was born December 6, 1805 in Warren County, GA. and died March 29, 1868 in Calhoun County, GA. He married LOUVICIA ANN WADE October 2, 1832 in GA, daughter of REV PEYTON L WADE. She was born September 26, 1806 in Screven County, GA, and died October 9, 1884 in Camilla, GA.

Joshua Perry died Calhoun Co. March 29, 1868. Buried at Edison, GA. He had a throat infection causing death. He married L. Anne Wade from Screven County, GA. They lived in a home which stood where the present cemetery in Arlington. GA stands. He was well educated. a teacher, was business and legal advisor of neighbors, drawing wills, deeds, etc.
[Descendants of Humphrey Perry, received from Barbara Perry Walker, based on research by Ruth Perry Irwin]
Men of Mark in Georgia
Besides some interesting details about Joshua Perry, this bit does have some errors.  She was still living in Calhoun County in 1880, with her son William Preston Perry, and there is no documentation to indicate she moved in the last four years of her life.  She is buried in Edison, Calhoun County, at the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery.  I have a picture of her gravestone, which I showed in an earlier post

I found an index listing the marriage of Joshua Perry to “Louvicia Ann Wade” in Screven County in 1832.  It would be a while before I could obtain a copy of their marriage record because the books digitized online and posted to the Georgia’s Virtual Vault website only go back to 1837 for Screven County.  I had to order the Microfilm from the Family History Library, but I finally got it (image is in the same post as the gravestone cited above).  Next I tackled the person mentioned as her father, Rev. Peyton L. Wade of Screven County. 

A Standard History of
Georgia and Georgians
It turns out that the Rev. Wade is quite a famous person in Georgia.  A quick Google search turns up a lot of information (the books available through Google Books are particularly interesting, though they repeat a lot of information: Men of Mark in Georgia and A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians, among others; both of these are available for free download or can be read online).  Wade was a well-known Methodist preacher who became a wealthy plantation owner.  There’s only one problem here.  He was born in 1797 and died 21 December 1866.  A quick glance at Ann Wade’s tombstone shows that she was born 26 September 1806 and died 9 October 1884.  Cousins they may be, though I haven’t found the link yet, but it is almost certain he isn’t her father.  No matter how great a man Peyton Wade was, I doubt he was so precocious as to father a child at the tender age of nine!  I must keep looking.

When I searched for Ann Wade's name in the majority of family trees indicated she was the daughter of John McGruder Wade and Nancy Anne Holcombe. That rang a bell because in the Descendants of Humphrey Perry document mentioned above, under William Preston Perry, it says:
William Preston's nickname was "Press".  Reverend Davis gave the funeral eulogy - said "Press" was a direct descendant of Rev. Henry Holcombe.
I still didn’t have a positive link to John M. Wade, but I spent several days researching the Rev. Dr. Henry Holcombe.  He was a fascinating figure.  This is when Google Books really became my friend!  There is a wonderful book called History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia, a 2-volume work originally published in 1881.  It can be found on the Google Books site (click here), which has a limited view of the 2001 reprint (Volume 2 can still be ordered from  But there is a free version you can view online or download as a pdf, epub, or other file format, available from the Internet Archive website (click here).  Volume 1 has a history of Georgia Baptists through 1880, and Volume 2 has biographical sketches of early Baptist leaders both in and out of the pulpit.  The sketch on Henry Holcombe can be found in Volume 2, pages 2/2-275.  Page 273 has one of my favorite lines, full of insight into the character of early 19th century Georgians, “Indeed, in those early days a very large proportion of the Baptists of Georgia entertained a prejudice against education, and took no interest in institutions of learning, except to oppose them.”  There is also a typescript on the website called The Holcombes, nation builders which spends several pages on Henry Holcombe and his children (you need a paid subscription to access this document).

Louisa Calvin Wade Collier's obituary
Looking further into the matter, this time I made use of the facilities available through the Wisconsin Historical Society library in Madison, Wisconsin (you can search it through WorldCat or MadCat).  I found a set of books compiled by Mary McKeown Overby which index (and sometimes summarize) marriage notices and obituaries from much of the 19th century that were published in The Christian Index, the Georgia Baptist paper.  In one of the volumes, Obituaries Published in The Christian Index, 1880-1899, (1982, Georgia Baptist Historical Society) I looked up “Wade” in the index of the book and found two particular items of interest:
COLLIER, LOUISA CALVIN WADE, 71 yrs, b. 12-7-13, Screven Co, Ga., d. of Nancy W. and John McGruder, niece of Rev. Henry Holcomb, D.D., wife of: John Scott, Ed. Morris, and Jesse Collier; d. 12-6-1884, Early Co, Ga., 5 children.  11-25-1886
[Overby, p. 53]

PERRY, LOUVICIA ANN WADE, 79 yrs, b. 9-26-06, Screven Co., Ga., d. of John McGruder Wade and Nancy Holcombe, w. of Joshua Perry d. 10-7-1884, niece of Rev. Henry Holcombe.  03-25-1886, p.15
[Overby, p. 182]
In looking for the availability of a digitized, online version of The Christian Index, I was only able to locate the issues available through ProQuest (a service available through many public and university libraries), which I accessed through the Wisconsin Historical Society library.  This is an extremely limited set of issues from scattered years, but I was able to locate Louisa Collier’s obituary, which says, in part:
Mrs. Louisa Calvin Collier was born December 7th, 1813, and died Dec. 6th, 1884, being 71 years old, lacking one day.  My precious mother's maiden name was Wade, the youngest child of John McGruder and Nancy Wade, many years ago residents of Screven county, Ga.  She was a niece of Rev. Henry Holcombe, D.D., and was proud of the relationship she bore to that great and good man.
[The Christian Index: Thursday, November 25, 1886; p. 15]
John Wade & Nancy Holcombe
marriage notice, 1796
(image courtesy of
I plan to acquire the obituary for Ann Perry when I visit Georgia in April.  The Jack Tarver Library at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, is the official repository for the Georgia Baptist Archives, and has “as complete a set of The Christian Index as is possible to secure” on microfilm (Jack Tarver Library Special Collections webpage:  I haven’t found the marriage record for John Wade and Nancy Holcombe, but I was able to find the marriage announcement for John and Nancy from the Georgia Gazette (9 Jun 1796):
Savannah, June 9
Married on Tuefday laft [Tuesday last] in Screven county, Mr. John Mc Wade
to Mifs [Miss] Anne Holcombe, fifter [sister] of the Rev. Henry Holcombe,
of Beaufort, South Carolina.
[Georgia Gazette (Broughton St, Savannah, GA; James & Nicholas Johnston) Tuesday, 9 Jun 1796; No. 698); p 3; image from (paid subscription required)]
Dixon Hollingsworth card on John M. Wade
Another valuable research tool for Screven County, Georgia, is The Dixon Hollingsworth Surname Cards Collection “contain[ing] names and information about families in Screven County” from its origin through about 1994.  I did a surname search on both Perry and Wade and came up with many interesting factoids to pursue.  Among them were summaries of the obituaries for both John and Nancy Wade (Ann Wade’s presumed parents), and the fact that John Wade remarried after Nancy’s death.  Plus an interesting tidbit, that John Wade may have represented Screven County in the Georgia Legislature.  The obituaries specifically reference The Christian Index, so I have more issues to look up while I’m in Macon.  When you click on your results from a search you see PDF images of the actual 3x5 index cards, like this example of one of John Wade’s cards.  I looked up John Wade in the Georgia Official and Statistical Register, which lists most of the people who have ever been elected to state offices in Georgia, and wasn’t able to find him.  However, there is a “John McWade” listed as representing Screven County from 1811 to 1814.  I think that whoever transcribed the names from the written lists read the written “John Mc Wade” and took out the space.  Having seen pages of the Screven County Returns where John Wade was a principal or witness in a legal proceeding, I know that his name was written with the “Mc” abbreviation of his middle name “McGruder”.  This was common well into the 20th century, usually with the "c" written as a superscript but not always.  You can find numerous examples of indexes where the “Mc” names are listed separately from the “M” names, instead of between the “Ma” and “Me” names as is the modern practice.  I want to find the original handwritten lists of legislators someday so that I can confirm this, though.

Sorry this post was late; I was a bit under the weather.  Hopefully you weren’t too bored by its length!

Here’s your summary:
  • Even though they are usually very suspect and you must validate the information with your own research, the family trees posted in,, and other online websites and forums can provide valuable pointers when you might otherwise be at a dead end.  Don’t ignore them completely just because they often don’t cite sources.  Evaluate them as you would any other reference you find.
  • Contemporary books, modern indexes and abstracts, and other printed sources can be a valuable resource.  Many of these can be located with place and/or surname searches on Google Books, WorldCat, Internet Archive, and regional archive, library and university websites.  Some surprising resources are online, such as The Dixon Hollingsworth Surname Cards Collection which targets eastern Georgia, specifically Screven County.  It is hosted online by the Screven-Jenkins Regional Library System.  There are probably others if you just look.
  • Also, don’t neglect traditional booksites such as,, and Barnes and Noble, plus you can sometimes turn up good finds on eBay.  That’s where I found two out-of-print books that have been invaluable to me as ready references: Bulloch County, Georgia Genealogical Source Material, compiled by Alvaretta Kenan Register (1985, Magnolia Press, Swainsboro, GA) and 37,000 Early Georgia Marriages, compiled by Joseph T. Maddox and Mary Carter (1975, Georgia Pioneer Genealogical Magazine, Albany, GA). 
  • Newspaper resources online include, the Google News Archive, Chronicling America from the Library of Congress, and regional sites such as Georgia Historic Newspapers.  GenealogyBank is a pay subscription site; others are free.
  • State resources such as the Virtual Vault, the Georgia Archives and the Digital Library of Georgia can provide more than just vital records.  Don’t neglect these just because you can’t get a birth or marriage record from them.  Contemporary newspapers, books and official publications can often lead you in unexpected yet rewarding directions.

Later y’all,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Keeping Up With the Joneses IV

Mathew, Pete & Emily Jones
I think that my Jones ancestry is pretty solid from my grandfather James Dewey Jones to his parents Jacob Jones (1866-1951) and Nancy Rosanna “Rosa” Barnes (1872-1948), and to Jacob’s parents Mathew Jones and Emily Nevil Jones (the Nevil name is variously spelled Nevil, Nevils, Neville, Nevilles, and others).  I got distracted by the serendipitous discovery, made while preparing my last post, of additional documentation to support the Mathew/Emma to Jacob connection, so I didn’t even mention Mathew & Emily’s marriage record I found at the Georgia’s Virtual Vault website.  There is a lot of bleed-through on this page of the marriage book, but I enhanced it a bit, and it legible enough to make out that they were married in Bulloch Count on 7 June 1860 by John G Williams M.G. (Minister of the Gospel).  A quick Google search confirms that Williams was an early pastor of the Upper Black Creek [Primitive Baptist] Church.
Mathew Jones & Emily Nevil marriage record

The only confirmed census records for Mathew Jones I have so far are 1900, 1880 and 1870.  I also have Matthew & Emily’s gravestones and Emily’s  Widow’s Indigent Pension application from 1906.  These are often called Confederate soldier's widow's pensions.  The last two are in agreement that Mathew died 21 September 1904, and that Emily was born 21 September 1839 (yes, sadly, her husband died on her 65th birthday), and her tombstone gives her date of death as 27 November 1910.  But when was Mathew born?  Mathew’s tombstone says 16 May 1833.  Emily states on her Pension application that it was 16 May 1834, in Liberty County, Georgia.  The 1870 census says he was 35 and the 1880 census says he was 45, both of which allow us to calculate his year of birth as 1835.  However, the 1900 census, which asked the month and year of birth in addition to the age, records that he was born in May 1833 and was 67 at the time.  So far I’ve had no luck finding him in the 1850 or 1860 census, and prior to 1850 the census didn’t list the names of all members of the household, so the year of birth remains inconclusive.  Then there is the matter of his parents.  On that both my cousin and I were stuck for a while.

Then I came across a posting from 2001 on the Jones mailing list archive (JONES-L Archives) on Rootweb.  In the opening sentences is states:
I found this in the Atlanta Archives. Hope it helps someone, I copied it verbatim:
Nancy Hendricks b. 2-17-1820 d 8-8-1907 married William M. Jones b 11-24-1813 d 8-25-1877
Their children:
Mathew E. "Mack" Jones b 1835 married in 6-7-1860 to Emily "Emma" Neville b 1839
The posting goes on to list additional children of William and Nancy and their spouses.  I tracked some of these and was able to confirm names and dates in many cases.  I was able to find 1850 (Lumpkin County) and 1860 (Bulloch County) census forms for William and Nancy Jones, nothing for 1870, and 1880 and 1900 census forms for a widowed Nancy Jones living in Bulloch County with her children.  So far I haven’t found a marriage record or gravesites for either of them.  The problem is of course that there is no census or other form listing Mathew on the same document as his parents.  Additionally, I can’t confirm William or Nancy living in Liberty County around 1833-1835.  I had hoped to verify some documents this week, but the Virtual Vault website seems to be down this weekend (4-6 March 2011).  The main Georgia Archives website works (, but none of the links to the Vault ( seem to be working. [UPDATE 4/7/2010: The website has been fixed, just make sure that the first part of the web address url after the // is cdm.sos instead of content.sos.  I will update attempt to update all the links in my posts.]   In any case, I haven’t had luck with the finding additional documentation, but I hope to at least find a marriage record, perhaps by ordering microfilm from the Family History Library
Emily Jones' Widow's Indigent pension application for 1906
East Georgia in 1835; map courtesy of the Newberry Library
 Another issue, and the reason I spent so much time discussing Mathew’s year of birth, is that if the record of Nancy Hendricks’ birth is correct she would have been 13, 14 or 15 years old when Mathew was born.  None of these very young ages are unheard of for brides in the early 1800s, but it does give one pause.  I did find Jones and Hendricks/Hendrix families in close proximity in Bulloch County, so the connection is entirely possible.  Nevertheless, the link to my possible 3G Grandparents William M & Nancy (Hendricks) Jones is tenuous at best, supported by only one transcribed document with no additional primary or secondary sources.  Still, while researching this particular set of names I came across another posting in the Rootsweb mailing list archive, in this case the GA maililng list (GADATA-L Archives) at  This is a lengthy discussion of a Daniel E. Jones who was born around 1787 in North Carolina to a Welsh immigrant, Daniel Eastwood Jones, and his Irish wife.  (I’ve also seen both father and son listed as Daniel Eastman Jones in other family trees since this initial discovery.)  The original posting to Rootsweb was made by William Scott, Jr., in 2004.  It details Daniel E’s wife Susanah and lists their children, William among them.  In part, it says:
He [Daniel E. Jones] married Susanah Miller on 3 October 1811 in Tattnall County, and they had all their children there. Susanah was born in Screven County, Georgia, in 1793, a daughter of Revolutionary Soldier William Miller (1759-1837) and Amy Barker (1760-1831). One of William Miller's ancestors, James Wood, founded Winchester, Virginia.
William M. Jones
b. 24 November 1813 Tattnall County, Georgia
d. 25 August 1877 Bulloch County, Georgia
married Nancy Hendricks
17 February 1820 Tattnall County, Georgia
8 August 1907 Bulloch County, Georgia
daughter of John Hendricks (1790-1837) and Jemima Brewton (1798-1876)
The post also details property ownership by Daniel père in Tatnall and Bulloch Counties and by Daniel fils in Bulloch County, and that Daniel E. (the son) moved his family to Lumpkin County, near present-day Dahlonega, in the 1840s.  As Bill Scott tells it:
In the 1840s, Daniel and his family, with the exception of daughter Mary (who married John Smith), moved to Lumpkin County in the 1840s. He was listed in the 1854 and 1855 Lumpkin Tax Digests, in Davis's District #935, owning 154 in 1854 and 156 in 1855, and one slave. His son William M. Jones (who married Nancy Hendricks), the only one of Daniel's children to eventually return to Bulloch County, was also listed, with 3 children and 70 acres.

Why would Daniel E. Jones move with his family at that time even though he owned farmlands in Bulloch County?  Because of the Georgia Gold Rush.  The Wikipedia article is a good starting place, but this is a good example of why you should try to understand the history of the state and the country at the times in which your ancestors lived.  Knowing when major events of the time occurred, not just wars, but things like this Gold Rush, the various financial panics and depressions, etc. help you to understand their motivation and something of their lives.  This will help to make your forebears come alive to you.

Marriage record for Daniel E. Jones & Susannah Miller
I was able to find a transcribed marriage record from the Tattnall County marriage books for “Danl. E. Jones to Susannah Miller; License issued 30 Sept. 1811, and married 3 Oct. 1811”.  This marriage transcription, dating from March 1938, is what is preserved in the microfilm.  I can only assume that the original books had deteriorated to such an extent that they weren’t made available to the team performing the microfilming.  There is a notation in the book verifying the authenticity of the transcription, performed by Hazel Easterling and Ella Mae Scott and signed by the Ordinary of Tattnall County.  I also have census forms for Daniel E. Jones for 1820 and 1830 in Bulloch County and for 1840 and 1850 in Lumpkin County.  The ages of the members of his household given before 1850 seem to agree with what is expected based on the children listed in the Rootsweb posting.

One big problem connecting all Daniel and William M. Jones to Mathew “Mack” Jones is that on two separate census years (1880 & 1900) Mack says that his father was born in South Carolina.  The census for William M. Jones reports that he was born in Georgia, as does the document detailing the two Daniels and William.  While this isn’t a complete deal-breaker, it is a huge red flag.  More research and more documentation are needed before I can accept the lineage given in these two Rootsweb postings.  This is a prime example of both the value and the danger of relying on other people’s research.  I need to do additional research of my own in order to decide which of the conflicting claims, if either, is true.  And I’ve reached another brick wall.  My plan of attack is to document all the Mathew Joneses and William Joneses for the appropriate years, and their families where possible, by search census records, deeds & mortgages and marriage books.  This will give me an idea of how many people could have these names, and how many could be related.  Hopefully someone will come through with more information to make this search more focused, or another discovery will open new windows on this portion of my family’s past.

Here’s your summary:

  • It is often helpful to search Rootsweb, forums, GaGenWeb and other forum sites and mailing lists for your surnames and counties.  Often a Google search will turn these up; to search within each forum or mailing list using Google without having to go to each site separately use the following trick (I learned it from The Genealogy Guys podcast, but it has been posted on numerous other websites and blogs): in the Google search box, type in the surname and any other search terms to narrow your search, then type a space, then type the word “site” (without the quotation marks) followed by a colon (the two dots) followed by a forum or mailing list website’s base url, like this
    Jones Bulloch Georgia
    Typing in
    Jones Bulloch Georgia
    gives a different set of results, as does
    Jones Bulloch Georgia
    The important thing is to leave a space between your search term(s) and the word “site” but DON’T leave spaces between “site” and the colon (“:”) and the url.  You can have whatever complex search terms you want, with or without quotation marks before the space and the word “site”, so I can type:
    “Mathew Jones” +Bulloch +“deed book”
    in Google and hit the search button for a different set of results.  As usual, add or subtract search terms and modify the url as needed.  The + marks (plus signs) aren’t supposed to make a difference, but I find that sometimes they do.
  • To repeat (because it bears repeating frequently): Families weren't always consistent or particularly accurate with names or ages when talking to the census takers.  When conflicts arise, try to arrive at a reasonable decision based on a preponderance of evidence.
  • Marriage and death records can often be found online at Georgia’s Virtual Vault, a digital document resource from the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Later y’all,