Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Another Great Grand Uncle?

My Latest Diversion

I came across the above death certificate, purely by accident or maybe it was just good genealogical sleuthing. I was playing around on one day when I came across death information that seemed to indicate my great grandfather, Cornelius Pierce, had another sibling that I wasn’t aware of (that darn missing 1890 census).

So, how did I start piecing this together?

By playing around. Even though I know that during the time period in which my 2nd Great grandparents lived there were no vital records, I still plug their names into various data searches. This is how I discovered the death certificate for my Great Grand Aunt, Nunna Pierce Sims, on Georgia Virtual Vault, which helped in confirming my 2nd Great Grandparents and their family.

Anyway, when I did this on pilot FamilySearch, amongst the results returned was death information for a Jesse Pierce, whose father was Jasper Pierce and whose mother was Jane (Maiden Name Unknown). This caused me to immediately take notice as I’ve only come across one other Jasper and Jane combination, my Jasper and Jane, who might fit as this Jesse’s parents.

I already knew that my 2nd Great Grandparents had had at least one other child, Hester, after the 1880 census. The 1900 census shows in the household of Matthew Sims, his wife (Great Grand Aunt Nunna), their children, and sister-in-law (Hester Pierce born abt. Apr 1880).

This Jesse Pierce was about 39 when he died which means he was born abt. 1889. In 1889, both of my 2nd Great Grandparents were young enough to have had a few more children after the enumeration of the 1880 census. In 1889, Grandpa Jasper would have been abt 39 and Grandma Jane would have been abt. 45.

If my still as yet unproven theory about Jesse M. Pierce being my 2nd Great Grandparents slave owner is correct, it’s quite possible that Jesse was named after him.
After determining that it’s conceivable that this Jesse Pierce could possibly be another Great Grand Uncle, I then tried to find other documentation that could possibly link him to my Pierce Ancestors.

Since he died in Atlanta, I thought chances were good that he possibly had an obituary. Obituaries are typically wonderful sources for determining other family members and relationships.

However, as you can see, such was not the case with the obituary for Jesse. Through, I was able to locate an obituary for Jesse Pierce but it contains the barest of details (name, date of death, funeral and burial information)

I then turned to Georgia Virtual Vault to get an actual copy of his death certificate (shown above), hoping that it would include specifics as far as city and county of birth but this offered up another disappointment. As you can see, only the state of birth is provided. The informant was Clementine Pierce, Jesse’s wife.

Lastly, I tried tracing Jesse back through the census records.

Since he died in 1928, the first census I tried to find him on was the 1920 census. I was able to locate Jesse and Clementine in Atlanta

The 1910 census, Atlanta, shows a recently married Jesse and Clementine.

I wasn’t able to locate a Jesse Pierce in 1900 Atlanta who met the description. So naturally, I checked the White Plains, GA area. Not in White Plains but in another area of Greene County, GA, I came across a 16-year old Jesse Pierce, who was enumerated in the household of Bob Hardeman where he is listed as nephew.

What Next?

• Determine if the funeral home, R. C. Tompkins, is still in existence and if so contact them to see if they have any further information on Jesse Pierce.

• Contact Southview Cemetery, where Jesse Pierce is interred, to determine if they might have records with regard to Jesse.

• Continue tracking of Bob Hardeman through the census records to determine what if any connection(s) may exist between him and my ancestors.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do the DNA Results Support the Story?

Autosomal Results – Maternal Lineage

In April of this year, I subjected both of my parents to another DNA test, Autosomal / Admixture, because 1) I wanted to know if DNA would support the story handed down from my momma all these years that grandmom said that one of her grandmother’s was half white and half Indian and 2) 23andme was having a fabulous sale that I couldn’t afford to let pass.

As noted in my post about my Dad’s autosomal results, the sampling process for 23andme is a bit different from the cheek swabbing that we had done for the other DNA testing (yDNA and mtDNA). With the exception of mom spitting on my hand one time after which I decided to hand the tube to her, mom’s sampling went much smoother than dad’s.

Before I get into the results, I will say that perhaps over the years, mom might have gotten the story a little reversed. I swear when I was younger I remember her saying that it was one of grandmom’s grandfathers. Anyway, through mtDNA testing and descriptions given in the census records, I think I can safely say that if there is any truth to this story, it more than likely comes via one of my grandmother’s grandfathers. Even more to the point, it’s probably her maternal grandfather. At this point, I’ve no clue regarding this set of great grandparents. The only thing I know is that according to census records, they were both born in Georgia.

Now, on to the results. Mom’s results came back as follows: 57% African, 30% European, and 13% Asian. With 23andme, Native American results usually show up under Asian. So, what do I make of the results. First, for the majority of African Americans, there is a certain amount of “statistical noise” that shows up under Asian. No one is sure why this is but it’s there and usually shows up at 6-7% as with my dad’s results. Mom’s Asian results, although still small in comparison to the remainder of her ancestry, were greater than the usual “statistical noise.” To make sure I wasn’t seeing just what I wanted to see in order to support the ancestral story, I consulted with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, author of Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family and Trace Your Roots With DNA. Megan confirmed my initial thoughts and suggested that I have one of mom’s cousins and another descendant of the suspected line tested to confirm the results, etc.

Hopefully testing one or two of mom’s surviving first cousins won’t be an issue but I will have to wait until the next big sale before I can do that. Testing another descendant of the suspected line is a problem since I currently know of no other descendants outside my great grandmother Fannie's branch of the tree.

You are probably wondering how mom feels about all of this. Even though mom doesn’t fully understand all of the DNA testing I’ve been doing, she’s always excited to see the results. And her specific response to the autosomal /admixture results was “I told you I was all mixed up” followed by “I told you momma said…..”

How do I feel about all of this? I’m excited that the results appear to support my grandmomma’s story. It also makes me wonder, did my grandmother have a relationship with said grandparent or was this just handed down from my infamous great grandmother Fannie. Was the relationships between this set of 2nd great grandparents concentual or not? And will I ever determine this line of great great grandparents?  Lots of points to consider and work through when I one day return to trying to find out more about my great grandmother Fannie’s lineage.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Very Late Treasure Chest Thursday Post

It’s hard to believe that I’ve blogged for over a year and this will be my first post for Treasure Chest Thursday, I think, and even it's not actually being posted on Thursday but Friday AM.

My first post for this meme is about one of my mother’s most prized possessions, this simple green lamp. I’m sure you are wondering, what’s so special about this lamp. Well, what makes this lamp special, is the stories it holds and the memories it evokes in my mother.

First, before the days of every household having electricity, when my mother was growing up, it was one of the few sources of light in my grandparent’s house. Back then, the light emitted from this lamp was through kerosene / oil and not electricity. My mother spent many an evening attending to her studies by the light of this lamp. Momma often jokes that it’s a wonder they didn’t go blind straining to see through the smokey glow. Me personally, I’m amazed at the fortitude of mom.

Second and probably what holds the most significance for my mother, the lamp was a wedding present. My maternal grandfather was a tenant farmer all his working days. My grandparents never had a lot of money but what they had they managed well. So, when my parents decided to get married, there were no funds for a small wedding, much less a big lavish wedding, but granddad still wanted to give something to his daughter, so he took the old kerosene / oil lamp and had it wired for electricity. (Aunt Lucille received a similar present on her wedding day. Hers was clear). If you look closely, you can see the remnants of its former life (the fill hole, the mantel, etc.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

Effie Irene Pierce Jackson
1893 - 1951

Aunt Effie is my grand aunt, my maternal grandmother's sister, and is interred at Old Fellowship Cemetery in the Social Circle area of Walton County, GA.

Picture obtained via photo request on

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goals for the Month of August (Maternal Ancestors) - Week 2

No, you didn't miss the Week 1 post because there was no Week 1 post. I can't believe we are starting the second week of August. Where did those first seven months, plus one week, of 2010 go?  For the last 1/3 of the year, I've decided to revamp some of my strategies for hopefully attaining some of my genealogical goals for the year.

I've seen some of my geneabuds state their monthly and / or weekly genealogical goals on their blogs. I'm not one to follow the crowd but when I come across a great idea, I do try to run with it.

Earlier in the year, I had been doing monthly and weekly goals, but did not post them on my blogs. Hopefully by stating them here, I will get most accomplished.

There are three full weeks left in the month so I'm hoping to start small and have a head a steam build up by the end of the month to get back into the research and blogging, at least until the next busy season, which should occur some time around Thanksgiving.

So, goals for this week for research, etc. on the maternal side of my family are

  1. Follow-up letters and / or calls to the Walton County, GA Coroner, Walton County, GA Sheriff, and the City of Monroe, GA Police Department. If you recall, a few months back, I wrote each of these agencies trying to find more information on the murder of my 3rd cousin twice removed (my grandmother's first cousin), Nunna Pierce Jackson. To date, I've not heard from any of them. Hopefully, writing and / or calling will spur them into action if for nothing else than to state they were not able to locate any additional information.
  2. Follow-up with volunteer, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, whom I had contacted about transcribing / taking a picture of the probate records for my great grandfather, Cornelius Pierce.
  3. Request Probate records for Jesse F. Pierce, possible slave owner, of my 2nd great grandparents, Jasper and Jane Pierce. As with my Ewell Ancestors on the paternal side, Jesse F. Pierce did not die prior to the end slavery. However, I'm still hoping that records are available and that there may be some bit of information that will help in the research.
Blogging / Writing

  1. A minimum of two posts to the blog, one of which must be a written post.

  1. Take first steps in planning Hosch Descendants Family Reunion for 2011, i.e. come up with a date. It's been approximately 11 years since the last reunion of the descendants of my great grandparents, Barto Hosch and Sallie Rome Hosch, gathered together.
  2. Declutter and rearrange office
  3. Clean and repaint the "new to me" legal-size file cabinet. Purchased from the Habitat ReStore a few weeks ago for my genealogical research files.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday + Learning New Tasks

The weekend of July 23 - 25, 2010 was the annual celebration of the descendants of my my maternal great grandparents, Cornelius Pierce and Fannie White Pierce. Yours truly actually did a brief presentation on some unknowns about my great grandfather. As part of my presentation I put together a collage using pictures I had on hand of my ancestors and relatives. This was my first attempt at doing this and it was fairly simple to do using Paint. And today, I finally got around to teaching myself how to add a watermark, which I figured out how to do using PhotoBucket.

And here's the finished product.

I think it turned out rather nice. What do you think?

The pictures used to create this collage are part of the personal collections of L. Hosch Evans, O. Hosch Jones, and the owner of this blog.