Sunday, July 5, 2009

Working Toward a Research Trip

This year I was / am hoping to do my first research trip. I've pushed toward this date for many years, yet I still feel unprepared for this next step in the journey. Have I done enough before hand to even warrant this trip? Do I want to try to do too much? (I hope to be able to get to both Greene and Walton counties)

Even with all the questions I have, there is the need to make this trip, at this time, ready or not, if for no other reason than to provide my mother an opportunity to trod some of the same soil that her parents, grandparents, and great-parents did.

Here are the Goals of this trip

Walton County

  1. Obtain a copy of Cornelius and Fannie's marriage certificate. (Praying there is additional information that might lead me to Fannie's parents, etc.)
  2. Visit Sheats cemetery, where my great-grandfather is buried. (Look for additional relatives)
  3. Visit Macedonia Church Cemetery. Recently discovered the death certificate for one of mom's brothers (don't think she ever mentioned him to me until this past week when I discovered the certificate) He only lived 3 months but possibly other relatives could be interned there.

Greene County

  1. Look for possible marriage record for my great-great grandparents (Jasper and Jane Pierce)
  2. Look for agriculture and tax records for Jesse F. Pierce, who was possibly their master.
  3. Visit the Greene County African-American Cultural Museum.


1. Information on my great-grandmother Fannie is in my previous posts.

2. While I've never been able to find my Pierce ancestors on the 1870 census, I feel that I've gathered enough information to place them in Greene county immediately after the Civil War.

  • They were in Greene County on the 1880 census.
  • Death certificates for uncle Lonnie Pierce, born abt. 1864, and aunt Nuna Pierce, born abt. 1871, indicate that they were born in Greene County and that their parents, Jasper and Jane were born in Greene County. The informant for uncle Lonnie's death certificate appears to be his daughter Nuna (married at this point - her last name is Jackson) and the informant on aunt Nuna's death certificate is her husband.
  • The only thing that bugs me about not having the 1870 census is that it leaves me without actual documentation showing my great-grandfather, Cornelius, in the household of his parents. There is a Cornelius Pearce, 16, living in Greene county. There is no relation to the head of household and the age / year of birth is consistent with later censuses (1900 and 1910). For now, I think I've build a strong case with other supporting documentation through his brother and sister.

3. Based on the 1880 census and 1860 slave schedules, I'm fairly confident that Jesse F. Pierce was Jasper and Jane's owner. The 1880 census list Jesse F. Pierce followed by several black Pierce families. The 1860 slave schedules for Greene county list 2 Pierces that owned slaves. The other Pierce slave holder, Theo Pearce, only owned 2 slaves, a 22 year old male and a 13 year old female, which doesn't match the information for Jasper and Jane from the 1880 census.

In 1860, Jesse Pierce owned 15 slaves, of which two match the description for Jasper and Jane, a Mulatto boy age 12 and a Black Female age 17. The 1880 censuses indicated that my great-great grandfather was about 30 and mulatto and that my great-great grandmother was about 36.

Should I go?

Is there anything else that needs to be done before I go? Should I set more goals? Outside of planning the trip and getting my materials and information organized and making out a schedule, I can't think of anything but I've a nagging feeling that perhaps I've not unearthed enough information and it's that feeling that leads me to the feelings of unpreparedness.

Till Next Time!


  1. You're much more planned out than I am. I went on my research trip in May with a few things on my to-do list. I got all but 1 accomplished. But, once I started looking into the old deeds and wills, I realized that there should have been more on my list. I enjoyed my wondering trip. Since it was in the family hometown, I had plenty of stories to write down. Oh..get a tape

  2. Do you have an idea when you might go? I would love to do a research trip too, so until then, I live through others.

  3. Taneya, whenever my mother decides to set a date. Had planned to go this month but a couple of things came up for mom. So, I told her the whole month of August was open and she could pick the date and I'm still waiting for that decision.

  4. Should you go YES!:-)

    One other thing... DO NOT speed in Greene County & make sure all your ducks are in a row {basically, insurance, not open tickets, etc!}.

    They are known to follow unfamiliar "visitors"!:-)


  5. Luckie, thanks for the info.


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