Hitting the Reset Button – Genealogy Do-Over Week 1

Hitting the Reset Button – Genealogy Do-Over Week 1

Taking the lazy way out with a re-blog. Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 4 starts Friday, October 2, and I am going for broke. If you ever wish you could just start over, now is the time. There is a lot of good advice, a great community, and the opportunity to learn from others. Hope to see you there!

Mary Ann Walker Brown

Mary Ann Walker Brown

Mary Ann WALKER was the second child of Allen Wood WALKER and Bethany Emeline HOWARD. She was born on 24 Jul 1834 in Alabama, USA. She had ten brothers and sisters, namely:

  1. Naomi WALKER was born about 1832 in Tennessee, USA
  2. William C. WALKER was born about 1837 in Alabama, USA.
  3. Howard WALKER was born about 1839 in Alabama, USA.
  4. Hampton Clay WALKER was born on 03 May 1839 in Mississippi, USA
  5. John WALKER was born about 1841 in Mississippi, USA.
  6. James WALKER was born about 1843 in Mississippi, USA.
  7. Nancy Minerva WALKER was born about 1844 in Mississippi, USA.
  8. Kizzie WALKER was born about 1846 in Mississippi, USA.
  9. Jasper N. WALKER was born about Mar 1850 in Mississippi, USA.
  10. Newton WALKER was born about 1851 in Mississippi, USA

When Mary Ann was 17, she married James Snyder BROWN, born 30 Oct 1827 in South Carolina. They had the following children:

  1. Sarah “Emma” BROWN, born on 26 Nov 1852 in Mississippi, USA.
  2. John Thomas BROWN, born on 13 Apr 1853 in Mississippi, USA
  3. Stephen William Coleman “S.W.C” BROWN, born in 1857 in Mississippi
  4. Hampton D. BROWN, born about 1863 in Mississippi, USA.
  5. Nancy C. BROWN, born on 09 May 1861 in Mississippi.
  6. Mary E. BROWN, born in 1866 in Mississippi, USA.
  7. Martha C. BROWN, born in 1867 in Mississippi, USA.
  8. Joseph Eclaston Robertson “J.E.R” BROWN, born on 04 May 1872 in Alvarado, Johnson, Texas, USA.

S.J. and Mary Ann, their children and Mary Ann’s parents left Mississippi in 1868 for Johnson County, Texas. There she lived until she died of a ‘short but painful illness’ on February 1, 1874. She is believed to be buried at Center League Cemetery, located between the towns of Venus and Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas.

Why my Ancestry tree is now private

Why my Ancestry tree is now private

My approach to genealogy research has always been one of sharing. I have gladly shared information I acquired with anyone who asked. My family tree on Ancestry has always been public because I know how frustrating it can be to find your ancestor in someone else’s ‘private’ tree. Ancestry makes it easy to contact the owner but sometimes it is more trouble than it’s worth. Especially when it is your own family who is withholding information!

Which is why it may seem strange that I have made my family tree private. Read more

Wishful Wednesday – Elizabeth Rose

Wishful Wednesday – Elizabeth Rose

Wouldn’t it be great if we could jump in our time machines and interview our ancestors? What questions would we ask? What secrets would they reveal? GeneaBlogger’s prompt Wishful Wednesday gives us an opportunity to imagine such a meeting.

Today, my choice is my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth “Rose” Webb. The place: somewhere in England, most likely Hampshire county where she was born. Rose was a middle daughter of George Webb, a master mariner, and his second wife, Louisa Bedford. They lived in the hamlet of Woolston, a town with Norwegian roots dating back to the 10th century. The date is December 23, 1893, a few days before Christmas Day and the day Rose turned sixteen.

Like other girls her age who are not privileged at birth, Rose has left school and is now ‘in service’; a polite way of saying she works as a domestic servant in the home of a wealthier family. Her duties would include cooking and cleaning, along with caring for any children her employer may have. Her days would be long and tiring. Rose would wake early to build the fire to warm the house and to prepare the morning meal. Before the end of the day, she would ensure the chamber pots were emptied. It was a hard life but Rose comes from a middle class family so there is hope that within her social circle she will meet a man of good means who would take her for his wife. She would give birth to children, attend church on Sunday and engage in less demanding work, such a needlework or mending.

I am sure that is what you dreamed of. What I want to know is where did all go wrong?

I wish you and I could sit down together for a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit. I want to know about the child you are carrying, the little girl who will one day be my grandmother. I want to know who the father is and why he did not support you, either through marriage or finances. Was it because he was already married? Or was he just a stranger in the night. I have to be honest, it’s difficult for me to imagine girls in your time having sex outside of marriage but you probably would blush and say girls will be girls.

Do you love him? Does he love you?

I want to know about your parents because looking back on your life with 21st century eyes, they seem more supportive than one would expect. It was customary for pregnant girls to be sent off to another town to have their child in secret. And for those who could not care for themselves financially, there was also the work house. But you did neither. You will give birth in your parents home and I have to wonder what kind of people they were to have been so kind.

Please understand, there is no judgment here, only questions.

I wish I could give you hope that all will be well, but I know how your story ends, and it is not a happy ending.

If it means anything at all, my mother carried your name. She was also a Rose. rose

 

The Curse of the Common Surname

The Curse of the Common Surname

We all face brick walls during genealogy research and the one I hate most is having a too-common surname. Unless there is a lot of family lore full of hints, an uncommon given name, or GPS precision as to where they lived, trying to sort out family members with common names can be quite… trying.

Case in point is my 2nd great grand-father James Snyder Brown. The surname ‘Brown’ just so happens to be one of the top 10 most common names, based on the 1990 census. A family line does not produce 1.7 million descendants from nothing so I image eSurnameven back in the early 1800s, the name Brown was fairly common.

I don’t know a lot about James Snyder, or Snyder James as he was sometimes known as (or S.J as recorded on his tombstone). He was born on 30 Oct 1827, some place in South Carolina. His parents and any brothers or sisters are still a mystery. He married my 2nd great-grandmother Mary Ann Walker, a line more thoroughly documented in spite of the common last name, and they had nine children, more or less. I know the family lived in Itawamba, Mississippi for a while, and in 1868 moved to Johnson County, Texas, where died on 11 May 1881. I know that much because I have visited his grave at Center League Cemetery. He died on 11 May 1881.

Brown, S.JIn all honesty, I haven’t spent a lot of time on this line. I’m sure there is more information available today and with DNA testing it is much easier to connect with real family members who may have information I am missing. I’ve also learned a lot of new techniques for breaking through brick walls and sometimes the smallest clue can yield great results.