It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy I have had an incredibly full year of “firsts”!
My research has been sporadic due to the brick walls on my maternal side, being unable to advance beyond 2nd grandparents has been a constant source of frustration. On the other hand once the tears and screaming have ceased I find solace on my paternal side, which has been very fruitful!
Speaking of fruitful, while rereading my notes for this post I have come to the conclusion that with all of the genealogy related events that have occurred in 2016, this post will need to be in two parts because this has been a year of numerous firsts! Yes, I’ve been just that busy.
My mother was born in Galveston, Texas but she hadn’t been back since she was a young girl. She and her sister owned land there that had been passed down from their grandmother. In March of 2016 we decided to fly down and check on the status of the land and visit with her 1st cousin, Franceta Harkins. We learned that she hadn’t been feeling well.
Franceta had called all of her children to come meet her cousin Anne and their cousin Donna. We had met her daughter Racheal, years before but had never met her sons, Anthony and Bert. This was a first for my mother and me and we enjoyed our visit tremendously! It was fortunate we chose that time to visit because Franceta journeyed to be with her Ancestors a week later.
In April I discovered I needed some more records from Corydon, Indiana, where my paternal family is from, and so – road trip!
DNA and research led me to make a connection to three paternal cousins, Damita Parrish, Chuck Alexander and Adrieanne McAllister and to also discover who our common Ancestor is. The Ancestors were working overtime because I was able to meet Damita, Chuck and his family and Adrieanne’s dad, James Allen, who I affectionately call “Cousin Daddy”.
I’m going to back up a bit to 11 August 2015 because this was the beginning of another first that would happen 11 August 2016. One year to the day.
While checking out my matches on GEDmatch, I saw a name that was also in my DNA matches on FTDNA, 23andMe as well as Ancestry. I knew it was from my paternal side because they didn’t match my mother or my aunt. I sent her a quick email noting that she fell on my paternal side and expressing a hope that we could work together to discover our common Ancestor. That was 11 August 2015.
She responded 13 August 2015 with trepidation and a wonderful story. Here in part is her response.
“Hi Donna! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to hear from you! I noticed our connection on Ancestry, FTDNA and 23andme, but was not sure about the protocol of trying to contact you. I am very new to this and have not taken the time yet to obtain some much needed education on reading DNA results.
Sadly, I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to be much assistance to you in your search for ancestry. I’m adopted.”
To be continued!
Happy New Year!
It’s been a year to the day since I’ve posted on my Franklin ancestors, it has taken me just that long to locate Champ Franklin, my great-great-grandfather!
Champ Franklin was born in either 1849, 1850, 1853 or 1870 in April or December in Mississippi. You may wonder why the confusion of years and months; there could be several reasons. As you may know the majority of information gathered comes from census takers and they may not have gotten the information directly from the subject in question or that person may not have known themselves what year or month they were born in. This could very well have been the case when one was born into slavery, as was Champ.
I believe Champ was born in Marshall County, Holly Springs, Mississippi in April 1849, I also believe he was owned by Bernard Franklin.
The Franklin family were what might be considered moderate slave owners in Marshall County Mississippi. In 1850, Gideon Franklin, cousin to Bernard Franklin owned 25 slaves, Bernard owned 34 slaves and Hardin, brother to Bernard owned 24 slaves, for a total of 83 slaves. By 1860 Gideon had 46 slaves, Bernard 45, Hardin Franklin died in September of 1851.
This begs the question, why do I think Bernard Franklin was Champ’s owner and not Gideon or Hardin?
The 1900 census is the only record I have found to date that list the MONTH and YEAR that Champ was born.
Let’s go back a little while I make my case. On the 1850 Slave Schedule for Bernard Franklin, enumerated 30 Sept., he has a total of 34 slaves, one of which is a 6 month old male. If that child were born in the beginning of April by Sept. he would be about 6 months old.
The 1860 Slave Schedule taken 5 Aug., for Bernard shows him with 1 10-year-old male. If, as I suspect, Champ were in fact born in April then he is likely to be this slave.
The 1860 Slave Schedule would be the last time Blacks were enumerated by sex and age and who owned them.
April 12, 1861 Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter. The Civil War began.
When the Union army marched into Holly Springs, Mississippi in November of 1862, I think Champ became one of the many slaves who fled to and with the Union forces seeking freedom. With thousands of slaves fleeing their owners and flocking to Union Camps provisions and accommodations were sorely needed. Contraband Camps became the solutions.
“America’s Civil War Contraband Camps
Most Americans have never heard of Civil War contraband camps, and a lack of knowledge concerning the role the camps played in shaping the African American transition to freedom is unfortunate as it oversimplifies our understanding of emancipation–especially the active role blacks played in gaining their own freedom. Literally hundreds of thousands of the four million African Americans still enslaved in 1860 came into contact with Union lines or forces. While many blacks remained on farms and plantations in areas occupied by federal forces, many other blacks either took flight, searching for Union lines, or departed from their former homes as the Union moved out. Camps for fugitives ranged from makeshift cover just outside military encampments to abandoned barracks to small “neighborhoods” envisioned by superintendents, army officers placed in charge of fugitives. These wartime and postwar communities were built by the fugitives themselves. Thousands of freedom seekers also boarded Navy vessels on the Potomac, Mississippi, and other of the nation’s southern rivers and other waterways. Camps existed in most areas where the Union gained a foothold. Such areas mostly included towns and cities. In all cases, especially after 1862, the freedom-seekers were put to work in various capacities, making the camps the first places of wage employment for former slaves. While in some areas strict systems of registration and passes were required of blacks seeking to remain in a city, contraband camps should not be confused with concentration camps or internment camps of the World War II era. For the most part, blacks were not forced to stay in contraband camps.
For most African American bondsmen and women, the Civil War years were the best and worst of times. It is true, as Jim Downs, author of Sick from Freedom, reminds us that whole families perished together and apart, literally thousands of blacks trying desperately to transition from slavery. Yet, the war also opened a new space for freedom, and, as complicated as the many stories of freedpeople are, thousands also either by their own ingenuity or by the assistance of the federal military found employments and created homes for themselves. That their descendants are alive today gives evidence of their survival. Of the importance of remembering the death toll and the reason for it there can be no doubt, but stories of fortitude and success must be told as well.” Source: http://lastroadtofreedom.org/
Thanks to the fantastic work of Dr. Alisea Williams McLeod in transcribing the Register of Freedmen, I located Champ Franklin in Camp Shiloh. He was 15 years old. The last place he stayed was listed as LaGrange, TN. and his owner is listed as Franklin Franklin. The Register was created between 1863 and 1864. If Champ were born in 1849 he would be 15 years old.
Camp Shiloh was located on the south border of Memphis, TN. on the Mississippi River a few miles north of the Mississippi border.
Here’s the last piece of my puzzle in regard to who Champ’s owner was. In the 1870 Census he has come full circle, back to Holly Springs Mississippi and he’s living 3 doors away from Bernard Franklin! He is now 20 years old with a wife and son. A free man!
There’s much more to come on my great-great grandfather Champ Franklin!
There are many men who are responsible for my being here today. I salute you, I thank you!
Happy Father’s Day!
William Alfred Shannon, called Billy by all who knew him. I just called him Daddy.
Daddy was born 9 September 1933 to Ralph Shannon and Louise Brown Shannon.
He grew up in Maywood, Illinois and served in the Air Force from 1952-1959. His life is mostly a mystery to me, my parents divorced when I was young. Momma has shared a few stories with me that let me know he was a character in so many ways! Like the time she went into labor with me, he was in the Air Force and stationed at White Sands Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Well, she was screaming to beat the band and he was yelling and threatening the doctor, demanding that he do something for his wife! He got so out of hand that they had to lock him in the brig!
There were some good times with my Daddy, he use to call me knucklehead, some not so good. He was an alcoholic. He was a very intelligent man and very charismatic, I don’t know what his demons were but I know they affected every area of his life.
Alcohol played a large part in his death, I also suspect there was foul play involved. He “fell” out of a third floor window to his death. The police investigation stated that he was attempting to burglarize the apartment….from the outside. He was found shirtless and shoeless, his death was ruled an accident. He died 11 October 1973.
I will always regret not having the chance to know the man he was or could have been. I regret that he didn’t get to watch his daughters grow up or meet his grandchildren. I am grateful that he lived!
Well, it really wasn’t that simple, it involved lots of things which include emails and phone conversations and I’m still figuring out where the puzzle pieces go. But the bottom line is there will be Family Reunion, July 3-5 2014 in Kansas City MO.! *Cue song* Jill Scott, Family Reunion
My mother and I will drive from Chicago to K.C. Missouri to meet cousins who are also descendants of Sam Smith and Sarah Walker.
Sam Smith was born in Feb. about 1856 in Louisiana, Sarah Walker was born in Jan. about 1866 in Arkansas. I have no proof but I believe Sam was born in Shreveport in either Caddo or Bossier Parish, Sarah may have been born in Lafayette, Arkansas. These are guesses and only because these places border each other.
The family line I’ll be visiting with is one born of the marriage of my Great Grand Aunt, Elizabeth C. Smith and John White. Based upon research, they had (9) nine children: John White Jr., Virgina, Tom, Orange, Rosemary, Samuel, Edna May, Elizabeth and Florence.
Social media is a wonderful thing and we have been using Facebook to start the party early! Linda Spence, my 4th cousin, (I think) along with her sisters are responsible for spearheading this event and for that I am incredibly grateful!
As I study the family tree I see the “naming pattern” that somehow I missed, Great Grand Aunt Elizabeth named her girls Virgina, Rosemary, Edna May, Elizabeth and Florence. The 1900 census for Sarah (Walker) Smith states that she had (7) seven children, but only (5) five are listed. I mentioned this in a previous post. Well I still haven’t located the missing children. Is it possible that their names were Edna May and Florence?!
There was always talk in the family that my great grandmother, Julia was one (1) of seven (7) girls and she had two (2) girls and those girls had girls…until I had the first boy in five (5) generations! I was always doing things differently…lol
I’m looking forward to perhaps not only getting some answers to my mysteries but having more questions to ask and puzzles to solve!
“I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come!”
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, because I have been hunting Sarah!
Whenever I’m researching, different songs pop in my head that seem to reflect my state of mind at the time. It usually happens about 2am after I’ve been searching for several hours, I think it’s my brains way of saying go to bed!
Sarah’s song is All Around The World by Lisa Stanfield,
I substitute Sarah’s name for “baby” it just keeps running through my head, from one census record to another LOL!
Sarah Walker Smith was my maternal Great- Great- Grandmother. I first found Miss Sarah in the 1900 census living in Shreveport, Ward 3, Caddo Parrish, Louisiana. She’s living with, Susie Jackson age 31, Sam Smith age 44, Julia Smith age 14, Elizabeth Smith age 13, Rosa Smith age 12, Virginia Smith age 7 and Mingo Lovelady age 17, Sarah is 34. Susie Jackson is listed as head of household, Sam, Sarah and Mingo are listed as boarders.
The actual transcription list Sarah as the daughter of Susie(Sarah is older than Susie)…and Virginia as being 27 (Virginia is Sarah’s daughter)! Of course I looked at the actual census, did the math and submitted corrections. Another reminder to look at the census with your own eyes and NOT rely on what the transcriber saw!
Over the summer I took a genealogical road trip that included Shreveport, it was there that I found the marriage license and certificate issued for Sarah Walker and Samuel Smith! Boy did I do some jumping up and down, I now had Sarah’s maiden name! They were married October 17, 1881. I wish I could read all the names of the witnesses, one looks like Ann Smith. I’m sure I could solve some more puzzles if I could read the other names.
Weeks and weeks of head banging and Sarah’s song going around in my head trying to locate Sarah prior to 1900, I reached out to a Facebook friend, Pam Camacho, to share my frustration. I was ready to hire a researcher! She suggested I reach out to a Facebook friend of hers, Cynthia Wilson. Once Cynthia and I connected I gave her what I had and wished her luck! (Here’s where another pair of eyes, a different way of seeing things and years of genealogy research trumps head banging)
Cynthia got back to me the next day she had found Miss Sarah in the 1800 census! To say that I was surprised is putting it mildly! I read Cynthia’s email and went to see what she had found.
Wait! Wait! Wait hold up! This can’t be her! Her place of birth and place of birth for her parents are different from what it shows in the 1900 census! In 1900 it’s listed that she was born in Arkansas and so were her parents. This 1880 census lists her and her parents as being born in Texas! Email back to Cynthia. Email from Cynthia back to me, Samuel Smith is also listed a few blocks away with an Ann Smith who based on age is probably his mother! Oh… Wait Sam in 1900 says his parents were born in South Carolina, in 1880 North Carolina is listed!
More head banging and now head shaking.
Having spent 25 years as a police officer my thinking is geared towards facts and these facts just didn’t add up! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as is required, I will NEVER stop learning until the day I’m dead!
So this wonderful woman, Cynthia Wilson, responded to my email this way,
“After many years of researching (since 1993), I’ve learned from a pro that birth places/dates can be very misleading. You have to remember that the Census Taker is getting information from family, friends, next door neighbors, occupants of the same household, unrelated to the head or others within that household.
If you are looking for perfection in information regarding your family, you are not going to find it. I often tell my students that if the age is within 5 years or less, your match is probably good. If the years of marriage don’t match the ages of the children, then it’s a good guess that the children are either the 2nd husband’s children or the wife’s children by another man. The children may even assume the surname of the mother’s husband.
If you notice, Sarah is 15 years old – maybe she doesn’t know for sure or her employer gave the information. By the time she is a grown woman, she’s decided Arkansas was where she was born.”
Thank you one again Cynthia!
Armed with this knowledge I dug deeper into the 1880 census and guess who else I found living four doors away, Mingo Lovelady! This Mingo is not the same one living with Sarah and family in 1900 because he’s 50 years old but I believe he is the father, even though there is also a difference in place of birth, how many men can there be with the same exact name! Coincidence? I think not!
Not only had Miss Sarah been found but Samuel as well! Now, who is Ann Smith, mother, sister? Another mystery for another day!
I have learned that Louisiana, the northwest section in particular is part of a socio-economic region where Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma intersect. That helps in bringing some understanding of the different birthplaces.
Sarah Walker Smith was born about 1865 or January 1866 in either Arkansas or Texas. She lived in Shreveport Louisiana in 1900. It’s listed in that census that she bore seven children, five of which were living at the time. Only four are listed as living with her, who are the other three?
The more information I find, the more question I have that need answers. I will give voice to my Great– Great- Grandmother.
PS I think Ann Smith is in fact Samuel’s mother and my great grandmother, Julia Ann, was given Ann as a middle name and my mother was named after her grandmother, Julia Ann!
Smile Momma 🙂
This blog is dedicated to my Aunt, Barbara E. Shannon, 1931-1992, who began the search for her mother’s ancestors so many years ago. She complied an enormous amount of material, which included, but is not limited to, copies of wills of my great great grandmothers owners, land records and newspaper clippings. She intended to publish her research in the form of a book titled Parables.
This is from her book; Author’s Note
“For the most part, the historical events depicted in this book are based on true occurrences and can be documented. Further, in most instances, the real names of those who participated in the events portrayed have also been used. Of course, some fictionalization of details was necessary in order to add clarity and substance to the story line.” copyright; Parables by Barbara E Shannon 1984.
I would love to transcribe her stories for you, they are fascinating! But until I can determine who her copyright belongs to since she had no children, I’ll just have to present what I have based on her research in my own manner.
As to documentation, some I have been able to locate on my own and some came from copies she obtained. I am currently seeking the documents I am missing that would substantiate the information.
Alford Brown, 1828 Kentucky -1982 Corydon, Indiana and Emeline Wimp, 1837 Meade, Kentucky-1919 Corydon, Indiana were my great great grandparents. And here is a small portion of their lives.
Emeline was born in either Jan. or Feb. 1837 in Meade County, Kentucky she was born a slave, on the farm of Jonathan Simmons. Her father’s name was George Stith, he came from Virgina with his family, Jack and Annie Stith and their owners, the Stith’s. Milley, Emeline’s mother was born in Kentucky and may have been a slave on the Simmons farm since that’s where George and Milley met.
George and Milley had ten children, Mahaley (died at age 12), Henry, Deliah, America (may have been Milley’s mother’s name), Malinda, Mary, George Jr., Sanders (called Sandy), Moses and Emeline.
April 21 1824 Jonathan Simmons died, four months after his death the Meade County Courts appointed three people to administer his estate. William Wimp was one of the administers. Now Milley had been bought and sold several times but was kept in the Simmons family, this time she was sold to Joseph Simmons but her husband, George went to Jonathan Simmons Jr.
From the Bullitt County, Kentucky Will Book B 1823-1838 GEORGE 1824 estate sale for estate of Jonathan Simmons left in Meade Co. – Jonathan Simmons Jr. purchases “A Negroe George” for $355.00
Joesph Simmons died three years after buying Milley..and she gets sold again, only this time to John Wimp Jr.
It’s 1836 and Milley has three children, Henry, Mahaley and Malinda. In the twelve years since Milley and George were separated and sold they each were sold two more times. Eventually they both wound up in the Wimp family, they were back together again after twelve years!
Sometime in September of 1836, Mahaley died of consumption and Milley was pregnant with Emeline. Owner, John Wimp was the father.
Perhaps as George and Milley walked away from the grave of their daughter my grandmother, Emeline kicked, kicked to let her mother know that the darkest hours are just before dawn and that dawn was coming!
This is just the beginning of life for Emeline Wimp Brown, there is so much more!
Because I had so much trouble tracking my grandmother, Eunice Sarah Franklin, I decided to see if I could locate any of her mother’s family and perhaps I could track back.
My great-grandmother, Julia Ann Smith was said to have had four sisters. To date I’ve only found three. One of the sisters, Rosa Smith, was born July, 1887 in (possibly) Shreveport, Louisiana, died October 1975 in Shreveport. She married Ulysses Jones Sr. and this is where the Jones journey begins!
Ulysses was born June 28, 1886 in Homer, Louisiana which is a town in the Parish of Claiborne. He married Rosa Smith November 24, 1906. On a trip to Shreveport I was able to obtain a copy of a deposition/affidavit that was was given in 1954 by Rosa’s aunt, Lula Jackson attesting to the marriage.
This union bore nine children, Sarah, Aretha, (which was spelled Ireca in the 1930 census), Buelha, Ulysses, Douglas, Malcolm, Sam, Harvey and Evelyn. That’s a lot of Jones’ to keep up with!
The 1900 census shows Ulysses Sr. 18 years old living with his mother Rosa Jones, (yes, another Rosa) and siblings. In this census his name is spelled “Vlis” (had fun time with that one!) It also shows his birth information as December 1886. But his World War I Draft Registration card shows D.O.B. as June 28, 1884 – presumably filled out by him, which is why I chose to use that information.
I noticed that Ulysses stated that his present occupation was farming and that his employer was Neyoh/Neaoh Smith. Could this be “Noah” and could this person be related to his wife’s family? Another mystery to investigate!
I was unable to locate Ulysses or Rosa in the 1920 census but I did find them in U.S. City Directory, 1821-1989 living at 1307 Royal St. On my trip to Shreveport, I found that their home was no longer there.
Moving into 1930, we find Ulysses and Rosa living at 1305 Royal St with all of their children. His occupation is listed as Watchman for a Cotton Mill. For the question of Age At First Marriage there’s 24 for him and 14 for her! Doing the math I think there’s some ‘splaning to do!
In the 1900 census Ulysses is listed as 13, D.O.B. December 1886.
In the 1900 census Rosa is listed as 12, D.O.B. July 1887.
Ulysses and Rosa married in November 1906.
Daughter Sarah was born in 1906/1907.
In the 1910 census Ulysses is 26, Rosa is 24. It’s magic – now 2 years apart!
In 1918 Ulysses filled out a Draft Card stating he was 33 D.O.B. June 28, 1884.
No 1920 census.
In 1930 Ulysses is 48, Rosa is 38. More magic, 10 years apart!
In 1940 Ulysses is 48, Rosa is 44. He hasn’t aged one single day! But she, on the other hand, has by 6 years! Sarah is now 31..Mmm..
On the death certificate dated June 3, 1954 for Ulysses, his age is listed as 67, D.O.B. June 28, 1886, Rosa is listed as 64!
Are you keeping up with the Jones’?
I will probably never know the reason for the discrepancies. Were the date of births different because they really were unsure what year they were born? But you would think that Ulysses’ mother would know if he was born when it was cold, December or warm, June! Was the marriage date fudged a little to account for a child, Sarah, born out of wedlock? Did the census taker talk to someone other than the family? The information for the Death Certificate was more than likely provided by someone other than Rosa. These and other questions may never have answers but it’s kinda fun trying to keep up with the Jones’ of Bossier and Caddo Louisiana!
And just think, I have nine other Jones’ to track down!
My Mom called me yesterday to wish me a Happy New Year, we had already exchanged text messages the night before. I still can’t get over her learning how to send text messages, go head Momma!
She asked me what I was doing and before I could get it out she said, “looking for dead people, I bet.” Of course she was right…Once again I complained how I couldn’t find her mother, Eunice Franklin before 1930 and that I wasn’t sure if the Eunice Franklin in the 1930 census from Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri was even her!
I started reading the names to her of the other household members, John White, Elizabeth White, Virginia White, Orange White, Samuel White, Rosemary White, Ednamay White, Elizabeth White, Florence White, Artelia Jones and Lucy Brown. She said, very calmly I might add, “Oh, those are Mother Dear’s (that’s what her daughters called their mother) cousins, I don’t know who that Jones woman is or Lucy Brown.” I’m like, “WHAT?” “Yeah, I remember Mother Dear talking about Orange, I think I even met him once.” “Maaa..!” “What?” “You never mentioned any of those names!” “You never mentioned them to me either and when you read them I remembered.” “You’re right, I shoulda asked. Thanks Ma, but now I gotta go, I gotta go find me some more dead people! With a name like Orange White I should be able to find a bunch more information! Love you, talk to you later.”
Just for kicks, I searched and found five males with the name of Orange White for 1900, 1920 and 1930! But I put him to the side to investigate later. I wanted to know if Elizabeth White was my great grandmothers sister. Several hours later I had my answer and more questions!
Why did I have to track Elizabeth? I come from a family of women, my great great grandmother had five girls, I’ve only found four, my great grandmother had two girls, my grandmother had three girls, my mother had three girls, her sister had two girls and her younger sister had one girl. That’s a lot of women!
Yes Elizabeth was my great grandmother’s sister and now I have her married name! I have no idea who “Artelia” Jones might be, I suspect the name may be something else but I can’t decipher the handwriting. And I don’t know who Lucy Brown is..but I will find out!
I STILL can’t find Grandma Eunice before 1930 but now I know she went to Kansas City for a visit.
I’m hunting and untangling.
My Elusive Grandmother
I have a few ancestors who are easily found in one census but can’t be found in any others with any certainty.
For example, my grandmother, Eunice Sarah Franklin is listed in the 1940 census with her husband and daughters.
|Save This RecordAttach this record to a person in your tree as a source record, or save for later evaluation.
Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Galveston, Galveston, Texas; Roll: T627_4038; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 84-32.
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
There’s a census from 1930 that list a Eunice Franklin in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri. She’s listed as a niece, but neither the head of household or the wife list their parents as having been born in Tennessee (Father) or Louisiana (Mother) where Eunice’s parents were born. So is this MY Eunice Franklin?
I checked the 1920 census on both Ancestry and Family Search and I came up empty.
I used Family Search to try and locate a birth certificate; I used just the last name of Franklin, years of birth 1913-1915 and just the state of Texas as my parameters. 2,467 records later and I came up empty yet again!
There is a birth record for her sister Bernice Franklin, who is the oldest but not for Eunice. But then I can’t find Bernice until 1934 listed in a city directory and then not until her death in 1987.
Where are these women?