Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do Some Random Research

This weeks Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise from Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings, is

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to follow Chris Staats' rules (from Freaky Friday: Random Research Reports) for picking a random person's name and then doing some online research about that person. Here are Chris's rules:

  1. Go to The Random Name Generator and click the red “Generate Name” button at the top of the screen
  2. Go to and enter your generated name in the search box on the main search page. [Randy's add: If you don't have, go to and do it there - it's free.]
  3. From the results, your research target will be the first census result for your generated name.
  4. Using whatever online resources are at your disposal, see what else you can discover about your random person and write about it. It can be a formal report complete with footnotes, or just a “research story” about what you tried, problems you overcame, or success you had. Maybe you want to create a research plan for practice?
  5. Post about it on your blog or wherever you wish, and link here to tell Chris about it. Tell Randy about it too as a comment here or a comment on Facebook or Twitter.

The first name the Random Name Generator generated, Efren McDaniel, didn't produce a result, so I generated a second name, Gloria Bennett.

The first Gloria Bennett that showed on Ancestry was from the 1930 United States census. Gloria M. Bennett is listed in the household of G. Clark Bennet, her husband. She is a white female. Her estimated year of birth is 1889. She was born in California. Her father was born in England and her mother in California. She resides in Chico, Butte, California.

In addition, there is a possible previous marriage as there is an Edith V. Wanless, step-daughter, listed in the household of G. Clark Bennett. (Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Chico, Butte, California; Roll: 112; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 11; Image: 1042.0.)

Additional information:

1920 Census - Enumerated as Georgie M Bennett and listed in the household of Clark Bennett, husband. Her estimated year of birth is 1888. She was born in California. Her father was born in England and her mother in California. She resides in Chico, Butte, California.

Here, Edith, Mr. Bennett's step-daughter, is enumerated as Edith V. Philips. (Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Chico, Butte, California; Roll: T625_94; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 22; Image: 106.)

One World Tree® via Ancestry
  • Born 13 Jan 1887 as Georgia May James
  • Father: Georgia Marion James
  • Mother: Canzanda Isabella Hicks
  • Died 25 Aug 1966
  • Married George Clark Bennett 9 Aug 1910
Tree source citations are as follows:

Title: California Death Index 1940 - 1997

Note: Internet
Media: Book

Title: Butte County Index to Marriage Certificates
Author: Paradise Genealogical Society, Paradise, Butte, CA
Media: Book
Page: 15

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Mattie Henyard Martin
25 March 1885 - 18 October 1918
Harris-Jones Cemetery, Walton County, GA

Mattie was my maternal grandmother's older half sister. Per conversations with my Cousin Irene, Cousin Ovella, Mattie's daughter, had this tombstone placed at her mother's grave many years after Mattie had passed.

The picture of my grand aunt's tombstone was obtained via photo request at FindaGrave

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Surname Saturday

Confirmation of a Surname, a Marriage, and Family Lore

While I regroup and decide on my next plan of attack in trying to determine the last slave owner of my 2nd great grandparents, Jasper and Jane Pierce, I thought I would briefly revisit my great grandmother Fannie.

Since I’ve not written about Grandma Fannie in awhile, some of the basic background with regard to her various surnames is as follows:

Henry – This is the surname handed down by my grandmother concerning her mother’s maiden name.

White – This was the surname handed down by grandmom’s siblings, Ossie, Evelina, and Roy. Prior to 2009, I had never heard of the White surname.

Sanford – This was the surname that the descendants of my grandmother’s older half sister knew Grandma Fannie as.

Amazingly, I’m slowly confirming all of my great grandmother’s surnames.

First there was the White surname. This was Grandma Fannie’s surname at the time she married my great grandfather, Cornelius Pierce, in 1889. I wrote about this discovery in 2009.

During my research trip to Walton County, GA probate court (November 2010), I was finally able to confirm the Sanford surname when I found the marriage certificate for one Fannie Pierce and B. F. Sanford. I do wish that GA marriage certificates gave more information but based on research to date as well as the stories handed down by my grandmother and other descendants, I’m confident that this is my great grandmother and that she married B. F. Sanford after the death of my great grandfather.

To repeat the story handed down from grandmom, after Cornelius died, Great Grandma Fannie had stated that she was not going to marry again because of how great granddad had treated her. (Based on family stories, I think Great Grandpa Cornelius was a ladies man.). However, not too long after Cornelius’ death (14 May 1910), there was some man hanging around and Great Grandma proceeded to try to get her girls married off. However, grandma never did complete the story and never divulged this new man’s name or even if Fannie remarried although I guess it’s sort of implied. Years latter, and after my grandmother had passed, we learned of the Sanford surname when some of Grand Aunt Mattie’s children came to visit.

So, this only leaves one surname to prove or disprove and of the three, it’s the one that presents the biggest challenge and yet, based on family lore, and circumstantial evidence I believe it existed, too and while I’ll continue to try to find Grandma Fannie via the White surname, my gut still keeps telling me it’s the Henry or versions there of that will help me to locate her prior to 1889.

The picture of the marriage license for my Great Grandmother to B. F. Sanford was taken on November 15, 2010 by the owner of this blog. The marriage license is located in Book K, page 124, Walton County, GA Marriage Records, Colored.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Motivation Monday - Can I Apply FlyLady Methods to Genealogy?

I along with a lot of my fellow genealogists / geneabloggers have organization as one of our main goals for 2011. This, along with Weight Loss, always seems to be at the top of my list of goals for each year.

In order to meet this goal in life and in genealogy, one thing I’ve decided to do at the start of 2011 is revisit the FlyLady method / principles of organization. Several years ago, when I applied the Flylady to my everyday life, the methods / principles seemed to have an effect on me. But since I have a tendency to get bored, easily, I ended up dropping it and have been struggling ever since. So today, I’m recommitting to applying the FlyLady principles / methods in all aspects of my life including genealogy.

The FlyLady method is fairly simple; it’s just a matter of doing it. In fact, I think a lot of what she says is just common sense but it sure helps to have a bit of nudging, instructions, and motivation from her and the rest of the FlyBabies.

As I reacquaint myself with FlyLady and get back in the grove, I’ll discuss how I’m incorporating FlyLady into my genealogical organization efforts.

Household Chore 1 – Shine Your Sink

Under the FlyLady system, shining your sink is the first household chore. Why is this the first chore? As FlyLady explains it, if you’ve struggled as long as some of us have in this area, you need to feel a sense of accomplishment. When I did this years ago, I really didn’t think she knew what she was talking about but surprisingly that little accomplishment lead to more and more.

So, how do I plan to make this fit a specific chore in genealogy? This one’s an easy one. Instead of shining my sink, I’ll be shining my desks.

Sentimental Sunday - Star Search Contestant

Approximately 23 years ago, there was a little girl with a big voice that appeared on Star Search.


Well, that little girl, who is my 2nd cousin once removed, is all grown up now and still singing her heart out.

May 2010

The videos of my cousin were obtained via Youtube.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Necktie Quilt

My mother made this beautiful Necktie "Crazy Quilt" sometime during the 1990s. One year she entered it at the Cleveland County Fair and received Judges Choice honors.

The picture of this beautiful quilt is part of the personal collection of the mother of the owner of this blog.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Madness Monday – The 1870 Brick Wall

Depending on your age, most African-American researchers arrive at that towering and almost impenetrable 1870 Brick Wall rather quickly. For me, depending on the line, it took only 3 generations (parents, grandparents, great grandparents). Think about that for a minute. When I started out hoping to duplicate what Alex Haley did, hitting that wall was one of the most disheartening things imaginable. I knew it was there but somehow I still wasn’t ready when I ran up against it.

When I was younger (20s and early 30s), emotionally, I couldn’t handle the WALL. I think I shed a tear for each nameless individual listed on the 1860 Slave Schedule. Along with life taking over, I think it’s why I had to step away from my research for awhile.

These days, from an emotional stand point, I can handle the Wall, although I still find myself shedding a tear now and again.

I don’t think about the Wall everyday but it’s there and yet, if I bring it down, what do I find on the other side? Just how much further can I go if I bring it down? I know DNA can take me back to Africa but it’s a hollow victory without the names of those that resulted in my being.

The Wall stares at me, mocks me, frustrates me, and yet I refuse to give in to it. To do so would be devaluing the lives of my enslaved ancestors. They didn’t give up, so why should I?

So, I will continue to plan trips to courthouses hoping to find some shred of evidence in an old master’s will or the mention of a name in a tax record. I’ll continue to write descendants of possible slave owners hoping for something recorded in an old family bible. I’ll also contact churches, cemeteries, and funeral homes hoping their records chart a course. And I’ll continue to review what documentation I already have searching for that minute piece of information that I might have missed previously. And maybe, just maybe, even if I don’t bring it down, by the end of 2011, I’ll at least have made a hole in one if not all of my current 1870 Brick Walls.

The 1870 Brick Wall on the maternal side of my family that I began working on in 2010 and will continue to work on in 2011 is that of my 2nd great grandparents, Jasper and Jane Pierce.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


To all my readers,

May you have a blessed 2011!