This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Map It Out. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)
I love using maps for genealogy. Most of my ancestors were farmers who owned land across the southern United States, so my research is never complete without land patent and deed searches. Mapping my ancestors’ land can uncover neighbors’ names who quite often turn out to be family. Graphing the land on a map also shows me proximity to other counties and parishes, providing clues to jurisdictions where additional records may be found.
This week I chose a branch of my family I haven’t explored very much — just for the academic exercise of graphing a parcel of land and seeing what resulted. I chose my earliest known Ingram ancestor, my 3x-great-grandfather Jackson P. Ingram. And the result was discovering a veteran in my family I never knew existed from a war I barely knew existed.
Continue reading Jackson P. Ingram: Mapping Land Uncovers Military Service
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Cousins. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)
My great-grandfather John Thomas Horne lived with his grandparents John Johnston and Malinda McCauley Johnston for a majority of his life. His first cousins, once removed Charles Nathan Riles and Landrum Cheek Ryals also lived in his grandparents’ household and seemed to have remained nearby throughout several moves around Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
I know very little about John Thomas Horne and his wife Georgia Smart after 1900. Therefore, I’ve examined records for Charles and Landrum more closely to see if their movements can shed any light on my mysterious great-grandparents.
Continue reading Charles Nathan Riles & Landrum Cheek Ryals: Tracing Cousins for Clues About My Great-Grandparents
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Mistake. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)
I made my share of mistakes as a baby genealogist. I trusted others’ trees blindly and didn’t bother to cite my sources. But as I built my family tree, I began to question its accuracy — and then I learned about evidence analysis. I discovered the importance of original records and basing my research on solid evidence. A year after beginning my genealogy journey, I scrapped my tree and restarted with better methodology.
One mistake I discovered was an incorrect mother for my 2x-great-grandfather Cicero Edward Hendry. I connected him to his step-mother Mattie Viola Thomas instead of his biological mother Jane Tucker. It was an easy mistake to make, as Jane never appeared on a census with her children or husband because of the gap between the 1880 and 1900 U.S. censuses. And in my early years of research, I relied heavily on census data. As my skills improved, I added probate and court records to my research, and those records — specifically tutorship records — are what tell the story of Jane Tucker, my 3x-great-grandmother.
Continue reading Jane Tucker: Correcting an Earlier Mistake with Tutorship Records
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is School Days. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)
Ogden School sits in the middle of the Liddieville community — right at the intersection of LA-135 and LA-870 in Franklin Parish, Louisiana. Once the center of community life, this beloved school educated three generations of my family.
I attempted to count just how many of my family members attended or graduated from Ogden, but I quickly lost count. Here was my best attempt:
- I attended Ogden from kindergarten through 8th grade (1986-1995).
- Both my parents spent all their school years at Ogden — my dad was Class of 1965; my mom, Class of 1970.
- My grandfather James Paul Smith, Sr. attended all grades at Ogden and graduated in 1943.
- My grandmother Ethel McMurry also attended Ogden, possibly from 1922-1932, according to 1940 census data.
- 8 of my great-aunts and great-uncles attended or graduated from Ogden.
- 13 of my aunts and uncles attended or graduated from Ogden.
- At least 7 of my first cousins attended Ogden.
- My first cousin, once removed Charles “Cuz” Horne taught high school science and coached basketball at Ogden in the 1960s. He was also a Franklin Parish school board member and a parish school administrator.
And even more relatives and extended family members had connections to Ogden. If their last name was Horne, Johnston, McMurry, Ritchie, Smith, Wiggins, or Wright — they’re probably my family! I can also claim a few Ogden cafeteria workers, janitors, and bus drivers.
Ogden is special to me both for its place in my family history and because I spent most of my school years there. I also watched as our community fought to keep Ogden open during school consolidation in the 1990s and mourned as it died a slow, bureaucratic death in the years that followed.
Continue reading Ogden School Days: A History of Liddieville’s Community School
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Work. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
Growing up in rural Louisiana, I’ve always been surrounded by agriculture. Both sets of my grandparents were cotton farmers, so I haven’t been surprised to find generation after generation of farmers in my family history research.
But our family’s farming history hasn’t been one of sweeping plantations and large-scale operations run by slave labor. For the most part, my ancestors had small family farms — fathers and sons working together to provide just enough for their immediate needs. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was their way of life.
My 4x-great-grandfather — and also possibly my 3x-great-grandfather, but that’s another story — James D. Smart, was one of these small-scale antebellum cotton farmers. Ironically, the land he owned in Louisiana is even used for agricultural research today.
Continue reading James Smart: Yesterday’s Antebellum Farm is Today’s Agricultural Research Station