Monday, August 31, 2009

Madness Monday - GGrandmother: Ms. Fannie What's Her Name

I haven't forgotten her, not by a long stretch, but decided to take a mini break for awhile and do a bit of reading but I feel the ancestors stirring, again. It's like they really do know time is running out for them, so they keep pushing ever so gently.

Revisiting the 1910 census:

1910 Federal Census - living in Militia Dist. 419, Walton County, Georgia as the wife of Cornelius "PIERCE."M2 Fannie "PIERCE," Mulatto, age 43, married 21 years, M1, mother of 13 children, 8 living, born in Georgia, Father born in Georgia, Mother born in Georgia.

The following children are listed with Fannie and Cornelius

Mary, daughter, age 19, born Georgia

Clara, daughter, age 18, born Georgia

Effie, daughter, age 16, born Georgia

Felton, son, age 13, born Georgia

Carl, son, age 10, born Georgia

Ossie, daughter, age 9, born Gerogia

One thing that I included this time that I didn't previously is that the 1910 census indicates that this is Cornelius' second marriage but Fannie's first. Do I take this "fact" at face value or do I ignore it in light of Fannie's various other surnames? For now, as you can determine from my previous posts, I've decided to ignore it but keep it tucked back.

As a reminder of the all the surnames:

  1. White - the surname name handed down by Aunt Evelina Pierce and Aunt Ossie Pierce. Based on the Walton County Marriage Index, it's the name great grandmom used when she married Cornelius. This is the name that appears on Aunt Evelina's death certificate. The informant for Aunt Evelina's death certificate was her husband, Jim Jackson.
  2. Henry - the surname handed down by my grandmother, Mary, and this is the name that appears on her death certificate. The informant for my grandmother's death certificate was my grandfather, Lucillous Hosch.
  3. Sanford - the Martin cousins knew Fannie as grandmother Sanford. Unfortunately, Aunt Mattie died right on the cusp of Georgia keeping death certificates. Therefore, I've not been able to locate documentation of her death and therefore, any lineage information that may be indicated there.
  4. Hilyard / Henyard - the two surnames for Aunt Mattie obtained from the Martin cousins. During our conversation last weekend, cousin Eunice stated that her mother always said Mattie was a Hilyard. Some of the other Martin cousin's (Ovella and Harrison) stated Henyard. Assuming that Aunt Mattie is great grandmother Fannie's child, these are other possible surnames.
What I've been up to since my last post on Fannie.

  • Ordered a copy of the death certificate for Claude Durden, my grandmother's cousin, in hope's of determining how they were related. The Durden family, Claude's grandparents and their family, appeared in Walton county on the census about the same time that my great grandparents did. The Durden side of Claude's family is originally from Morgan county.
  • Ordered a copy of Roy "JD" Pierce's SSN Application
  • Ordered a copy of Aunt Effie's death certificate (what surname did she indicate?)
  • Hoping to find out if there are any deeds / mortgage records / probabte records for Cornelius that might also shed light on Fannie. GGranddad Cornelius was in the process of buying his own farm (1910 census indicates he owned his farm and had a mortgage) when he died in May of 1910.
  • Ordered a copy of Cornelius and Fannie's marriage certificate (had hope to pick this up in person during my research trip but since I have no idea when I will make it to Georgia, I went ahead and ordered a copy)
  • Trying to find out if there is a birth certificate for any of the great uncles. Per their WWI Draft Registration cards, all three indicated they were born in Watkinsville. Last night I discovered that Oconee County has birth records dating back to 1875, so I'm hoping that a birth certificate is available for one or all 3. I decided to start with the middle brother, Willie Felton, and go from there.
Hopefully, responses to my various requests will start coming in this week. Please let there be some snippet of information that finally allows me to break down this seemingly monstrous brick wall. After discovering cousins Eunice and Irene last week, I have a feeling that after all these years, I'm getting close to solving my mysterious / fascinating yet maddening great-grandmother. Then it will be on to the next brick wall.
Until Next Time!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Newly Discovered Cousins

Feels like I've been so busy this past week, that I've not had a chance to really sit down and talk about my telephone conversation last week with my newly discovered cousins.

It's been exactly a week since the conversation with cousin Irene and her mother, cousin Eunice. I was excited but concerned at the same time. If you recall, on my post about Aunt Mattie's descendants, I had commented about how my mother felt she thought her cousins were passing and that it may have been a reason there was very little contact. I was really concerned that my new found cousins might take offense with the statement. Surprisingly, they didn't and even said that I was kind of right in making my statement.

Anyway, cousins Irene and Eunice, and mom and I had a wonderful conversation. I learned a lot about this branch of the tree, acquired another surname to search for Aunt Mattie in hopes that it will lead me back to great grandmother Fannie's line of the family and confirmed, again, that everyone seems to know Fannie by a different surname. The Ohio cousins have always known her as Grandmother Sanford.

Cousins Irene and Eunice were amazed at how much I had already figured out especially how I figured out, without a death certificate, the exact year / time frame that Aunt Mattie died.

Found out that cousin Evelyn (mom's first cousin, Eunice's aunt and Irene's great aunt) is still alive and well at the ripe young age of 99. Wish that I could actually meet her in person. I sent Irene an old picture of my grandmother and Evelyn, which she plans to take with her the next time that she sees Evelyn.

This week I must sit down and go back through all my notes from our conversation and organize them. Irene and I plan to keep in touch. We kept e-mailing each other all week.

I just had this feeling all week that the ancestors were smiling down on us.

Til next Time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ancestors I have met Challenge

This is the second of Randy Seaver's, Genea-Musings, Saturday Challenges that I have participated in.

Tonight's challenge was as follows:

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

Ovella Hosch Jones (1928 - Present), my mother has resided in our hometown her entire life and is the embodiment of an active senior. She's on the board of elections and until recently, my mother was actually running a few errands for one of her elementary teachers.

Lucillous Hosch (1888 - 1978), my maternal grandfather. Granddad was born in Jackson County, GA. Both of his parents died when he was a little boy and his maternal grandparents finished rearing he and his brothers in Walton County, GA. Looking for a better way of life, he first traveled to VA but eventually settled in Cleveland County, NC. My granddad died in Cleveland County during the fall of my senior year in HS.

Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch (1890 - 1966), my maternal grandmother. As best as I can piece together through documentation, my grandmother more than likely was born in Watkinsville, GA. Her family latter settled in Walton County, GA. She and my grandfather, Lucillous, married on Oct. 9, 1910. While my grandfather searched for a new home for his family, my grandmother remained in GA. After granddad settled on NC, my grandmother and their children joined him. Per mom, my grandmother when referring to her children always separated them into her Georgia children and her North Carolina children. Grandmom died during my fifth year of life in Cleveland County, NC.

So, a total of three on my maternal side. Even less on my paternal side. Information on my paternal ancestors will be posted on Conversations with my Ancestors.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Greene County, GA 1850 - 1885

This past Monday, while waiting in the emergency room with my dad, I was able to finish reading How Curious a Land: Conflict and Change in Greene County, GA 1850 - 1885 by Jonathan M. Bryant. I purchased this book hoping there would be a mention of my ancestors, my 2ggrandparents Jasper and Jane Pierce, or at least a mention of their last slave owner. Sadly, there was no mention of either my ancestors or their owner.

Even though there was no mention of my ancestors, I am glad that I read the book as it gave me a snapshot of what was going on in the county in which they lived prior to and immediately following the civil war. This is not a full blown review of the book but just some of things I noted or that came to mind as I read the book.

One of the interesting things, based on this book, is that a great many of the slaves were able to "freely" move about and visit other farms as the patrol laws were never really enforced in Greene County. And although not legally recognized, they were allowed to marry and they were allowed to build their own church because it was thought they would do better spiritually if they had their own place of worship.

Maybe it was this limited Freedom during slavery that gave the former slaves of Greene County the strength and solidarity against great odds to continue to fight for their rights long after the other former slaves of GA had been put back in their place. They build their own community, Canaan, and they greatly impacted the politics of Greene County for many years. It was a several years before Democrats came back in power in Greene County. (For those that may not know, Lincoln's party was not the Democratic party. The former slaves and their descendants were overwhelmingly Republican and it stayed this way until the 1930s.)

Unfortunately for many of the former slaves of Greene County and yes even for some of the former slave owners, Greene County put all it's eggs into one basket, Cotton, and a market economy over which they had no control. Even though I've yet to visit Greene County, I understand the effects of this decision still hang over Greene County even today.

The one thing that I confirmed by reading this book but had already suspected is that even within Greene County there was further fragmentation depending on where one resided. My ancestors and their suspected but yet to be confirmed owner, Jesse Pierce, lived in White Plains, GA. The White Plains and Siloam areas were known as the Grey Lands due to the light sandy soil. Those that settled this area tended to be small time farmers, usually owning less than 200 acres, with only few slaves (15 or less) and it's reported that the owner's often worked in the fields alongside their slaves. I wonder if having to work alongside the slaves they owned affected the owner's view of slavery. This fact also make me realize that it may be just a bit more difficult than even I imagined to continue past my 2ggrandparents but I refuse to give up.

And lastly, I wonder what my ancestors went through in the years immediately following the civil war. Did they ever think about moving to Canaan? Did they ever try to vote? Or did they just simply want their own little piece of land to farm and raise their family? Eventually, my ancestors left Greene County. My ggrandfather and his brother Lon would eventually end up in Walton County and my great aunt Nuna would eventually end up in Atlanta. I suspect that one by one or together that the rest of my ggrandfather's brothers and sisters left Greene County, too as I've not been able to locate them past the 1880 census. I think my 2ggrandparents more than likely spent their entire life in White Plains. GGgranddad appears on the 1880 census, then never again. I've found what appears to be my gggrandmother on the 1900 census still in White Plains.

Til Next Time!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

I finally was able to get back to the cemetery and take a few pictures. This is my grandparents' tombstone. Yes it's backwards. It was inscribed wrong so it had to be fliped so the grandparents' names would line up right. I think mom and the aunts and uncles shouldn't have accepted it like that but that's my personal opinion.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Unearthing Cousins

It seems that for the past 3 weeks, I'm always almost on the verge of reclaiming ancestors but then it never seems to happen. Maybe I'm not handling the introductions or inquiries correctly. As I started to feel that I will never attain one of my desired dreams and goals, that of reconnecting with distant and not so distant cousins, I got the most wonderful surprise.

My story is not nearly as amazing as my genefriend Luckie's, Family Bible Retrieval but it's still pretty awesome.

Remember my great aunt, Mattie Henyard Martin, my grandmother's older half sibling that nobody seems to know about except our line. Well back in May of this year I posted the following query on Surnames and Family Research Forum on

Pierce Family in Walton County, GA
By:M Jones
Date: Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 7:24 pm
I'm seeking information on Pierces that lived in Walton County, GA during the early 1900s. My grandmother was Mary Magdalene Pierce (m. Lucillous Hosch in 1910). Her parents were Cornelius Pierce (born abt. 1863) and Fannie Henry or Henyard (abt 1865). My GGrandparents were married abt 1885.

It appears that they migrated to Walton County after 1895 from Watkinsville. The family is listed in Walton County on the 1900 and 1910 censuses. However, my great uncles (grandmother's brothers) Claud, Roy, and Felton all list on their WWI draft registration cards that they were born in Watkinsville. Roy was the youngest of the brothers and was born abt. 1895. My grandmother also had an older half sibling, Mattie Henyard (born abt 1885), that was the oldest of her sisters. I've not been able to locate Fannie or Cornelius prior to 1900 or Mattie prior to 1910. By 1910, Mattie was married to Thomas "Tom" Martin. Also, I'm not sure if Mattie is Cornelius' or Fannie's daughter but believe that she is my ggrandmother's child.

Cornelius died about 1910 and Fannie remarried (Sanford or Sandford). Fannie died about 1916.

Cornelius had a brother Lon / Lonnie Pierce, born abt 1864 who also had a wife named Fannie. They too resided in Walton County in the early 1900s.

There is a family, Jasper Pierce, in Greene County listed on the 1880 census that I believe could be my GGrandfather's. There is also a Cornelius Pearce listed in Greene County, 1880 census, that is possibly my grandfather but I've never been able to make a connection.

Any information or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Well, this week I got an email with this story sounds very familiar. "Mattie Henyard" was my great grandmother but I've never heard of the Pierces. So, as briefly as I could in my reply e-mail, I went through as much as I could. Was so happy when she responded back and was even more excited when she wanted to talk. Better still, she thinks her mom, my 82 years young second cousin may be able to fill in some blanks. Her mom didn't know about this part of the family either but the more that we furiously sent e-mails back and forth, her mom remembered a woman from NC that was visiting and another relative telling her she needed to meet this lady from NC but the lady got away before she had a chance to talk to her. I suspect that lady was my grandmother who was visiting with her nieces.

The next step in this brief journey is tomorrow, four cousins who didn't know of each other less than a week ago will sit down and have a telephone conversation. I'm so giddy with anticipation that I almost can't stand it. It's like Christmas eve as a child except this is way better.

So tomorrow at about 2:00 EDT, may aunt Mat, my grandmother Mary and great-grandmom Fannie be smiling down on us.

Til Next Time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Great Uncle - Roy "JD" Pierce
My Grandmother's Brother

Picture is from the collection of O. Jones, mother of the owner of this blog.

Until Next Time!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ultimate Genealogy Goal (UGG)

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings posts a "fun, challenge, assignment, or such" each Saturday. Since I started blogging, this is the first time I have participated. So, here is this weeks challenge / post:

What is your UGG - your "Ultimate Genealogy Goal" for the genealogy research that you wish to leave to your heirs, descendants and the genealogy community?

My Ultimate Goal has always been to reconnect all the "lost" branches of my family tree even if it is just starting with my 2great-grandparents and all the lines that descended from them.

My secondary goal, which is a more recent occurrence, is to tell the family story. What's the point in doing all this if I keep it to myself. How will unknown or denied ancestors be allowed to take their rightful place if I don't give them a voice.

How long do you think you have have left to fulfill this ultimate goal?*

I'm in my late 40's, so I'm not sure. Based on the longevity of my maternal side, I would like to think that I have another 40 to 50 years but one never knows. I just hope that if I don't make my ultimate goal that I've at least made enough of a dent that it can be handed off to one of my younger cousins, who I'm am sure will have their own dreams of what the ultimate goal should be.

Are you prioritizing your time adequately in order to achieve this goal?

Not at all. I've many interest and get distracted easily. As long as I don't take another full blown 10 year break, I think I will at least make progress toward fulfilling my goals.

If not, what should you do to achieve the goal?

To achieve my goal, I would have to give up all my other interests (Interior Decorating, Natural Hair Care, Fashion). Also, work and as Randy mentioned, it would probably help if I could be in the same locale that my ancestors are from.

Will you do what you need to do?

I doubt it. Just like the old saying "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy," all genealogy and nothing else makes Mavis a dull girl.

So, I will continue to work on all my other interests, there will be times when one will be the main focus, currently it's genealogy, hair, and weight loss, and the others get relegated to the background but what makes me me and gives me life is the sum of all my interests. And that is as it should be.

Till Next Time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Patiently Waiting

It's been a little over a week now since I mailed the letter's to the two ladies who I think and hope are my cousins on my granddad's side. This has to be the hardest part of being a genealogist, being patient and sometimes knowing when to let go. I was hoping that they would get my letters and be so excited to reconnect with this branch of their family that they would immediately pick up the phone and call. But having been on the other side of a few of these type letters, I can honestly say that I would understand if I didn't hear anything. Unfortunately, the world has gotten crazy, so receiving a letter out of the blue from someone you don't know stating that you are kin does send up red flags. Maybe they will be like I was, after the initial I have no clue who this is period has subsided (I was in college at the time), I begin to ask family members if they had an idea who this was.

And speaking of being on the other side, thanks to this blog, one of my much younger cousins, who I've never met, contacted me via e-mail. He was working on a class project and came across my blog. His great grandmother, Effie Pierce Jackson, was my grandmother Mary's, next to youngest sister. Anyway, my new found 15 year old cousin along with his mother still reside in Monroe, Walton County, GA. So, looks like I have another item, visiting my cousins, to add to my research trip "To Do List."

Till next Time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Marriage Certificate of Augustus "Gus" Hosch and Ella Bullock

Gus is my 2great uncle, father of Etta Mae Hosch

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

No Tombstone Today

Since I still need to get out and take some tombstone pictures, I decided to take a mini break today from Tombstone Tuesday.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, over the course of the weekend I finally got around to thoroughly reading a packet of information that my second cousin, Roy Hosch, sent me back in 1998. The packet contains several obituaries. Several were of my granddad's first cousins, Etta, RJ and Early Hosch in Lawrenceville, GA. Since mom on several occasions has discussed Etta with me, I decided to check and to see if Etta's descendants might still be living. It appears that her daughter Doris is still living. I also think I found one of Etta's granddaughters.

Last night I typed my letters (I know handwritten is more personal but.....) and today, I dropped them in the mail. I pray these are my cousins and also that they respond. I'm so excited about the prospect of reclaiming a lost line and wonder if descendants of my 2ggrandmother's other children are still living in the Gwinnet / Jackson County, GA area.

Etta's pedigree is Etta May Hosch → Augustus "Gus" Hosch → Matilda Hosch

Till Next Time?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Names the Same

Over the weekend, I started working on something I had been putting off for forever. To me it had always seemed like a monumental task but somehow, I felt like it just couldn't be put off any longer. I'm sure at this point you are probably wondering what this monumental task was.

This monumental task that I could no longer put off was the beginning stages of inputting my great uncle's, Will Hosch, descendants into my family tree. Big deal ,right? Wrong? My great uncle had 18 children. Yes, you read that right 18, all single births, and all by the same woman, his beloved wife, Maude Johnson Hosch.

As I began on this project, I was reminded of another maddening hurdle a lot of genealogist face, names the same.

This is just 2 of my HOSCH (granddad and uncle Will) lines but so far I have

2 Roy Edwards
6 Roys
6 Wills / Willies

and I haven't even inputted everyone, yet.

All the Willies are how the family reunion was started. Cousin Julius Hosch's wife, Janie, contacted my mother back in the early 60s and stated "with all these Willies in the family we need to have a family reunion." And that's how our family reunion started. Later, my grandmother's side of the family was included.

While having all these names the same can be maddening, it's also what makes my family my family. Strangely, it helps you to get to know your ancestors on a more personal level by focusing on the minute things that separate one Willie in your family/ancestry from another family member with the same surname named Willie.

Till Next Time!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This Past Week

This week has been an interesting genealogical week.

First, I was contacted by a first cousin once removed (first cousin's son). I've talked to my cousin Vincent on occasion but I wouldn't say that we have a close relationship. Perhaps searching for our ancestors will change that. To make a long story short, cousin Vincent is in Iraq, was bored and researched our family name and came across one of my post on and not realizing that it was me, although he says it thought it was, he responded to my post. I hope this leads us into getting to know each other better. Both Vincent and his dad bear my great-grandfather Cornelius' name. Rumor has it that my grandmother, Mary Pierce Hosch, suggested naming my first cousin Cornelius because he reminded her of her dad.

Second, I was going back through some of the items my second cousin, Roy Hosch (grandson of my great uncle Will Hosch), sent me back in 1998. Some of the items he sent were obituaries for some cousins in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County. These were my grandfather's and great uncle's first cousins. Reading through the obituaries I decided to check and to see if possibly some of their descendants may still be living in the Lawrenceville area. Much to my delight, I believe that I've located some of the descendants of my cousin Etta Mae Hosch.

Etta Mae's ancestry is as follows:
Etta Mae Hosch → Augustus (Gus) Hosch → Matilda Hosch

Matilda Hosch is my great-great-grandmother.

I plan to write two of the people that I belive are Etta's descendants next week and hopefully this will be a first step into helping me attain one of my most sought after goals, reclaiming the lost branches of the tree. My goal is to reestablish the family getting together since after all my Hosch ancestors / family were the originators of the family reunion that is now held on my mother's side of the family.

In closing out today's post, I must say that I'm ashamed that it has taken me all this time to thoroughly go through the packet that cousin Roy sent. I met cousin Roy in 1998 shortly after I had moved back home to North Carolina from Colorado. One of the first things I did after returning home was get connected to the Internet. From there, besides looking for a job, the first Internet activity was trying to to get into the slavery era. I don't even remember the site now but I remember posting about my Hosch ancestors. My cousin Roy responded. I didn't even know his name at this point but as as soon as he said he was from Salisbury, NC, I knew instantly he was one of my great uncles descendants. Unfortunately life took over shortly after Roy and I met. Within 3 months after moving back home I was 1) driving 60+ miles one way to work 4 days a week 2) driving to grad school (about 50 miles in the opposite direction) 1 day a week and 3) helping take care of an aunt who had Alzheimer's. Needless to say, genealogy was the furthest thing from my mind.

Until Next Time!