So that they will not be lost….

I know the heartache of looking for over 25 years for an ancestress who lived in the late 1800s, yet no records of her except the 1880 census exist. She was a very poor share cropper and her story would be lost to all time if it weren’t for me, her 3rd great grand daughter who was born 120 years later. So I can’t imagine what it would be like to try and trace a black ancestor through the wills and deeds of some unknown master, when you really don’t even know where to begin or what name to look for.  So when Schalene Dagutis of  decided to start a slave name roll call of slaves we have found in the homes of our ancestors, I decided I would participate. Who knows, maybe someone out there is looking for this very family.

In September 1850, James Edde wrote his will in Lincoln County, TN:

     Know all men these present that James Edde of the County of Lincoln and the State of Tennessee being of sound mind and believing from my age and feebleness of Body that my departure from time is not far distant.  I therefore make my just Will and Testament as follows:
     I Will first that my just debts be paid and then I first give unto my son Hiram Edde one dollar in addition to what he has already received and secondly I give unto my son Moses P. Edde one dollar in addition to what he has received and thirdly I give to my daughter Fanny M. Enochs one dollar in addition to what she has received and fourthly I give my daughter Patience Rees one dollar in addition to what she has heretofore received.
     I Will that my plantation remain  in possession of my wife and my minor heirs until the youngest child become of age that is to say during my wifes (sic) widowhood and if my wife should marry this Will to be void as to her but remain as to my minor heirs.
     I Will that my boy Ben. and boy Cain and my woman Kisiah and Hanner, remain upon the plantation for the benifit (sic) of my Wife and the raising of the minor children, the balance if any to be sold or divided the balance of the negros aside from those above named to be sold or divided.
     I Will that my son Mitchell have the privaledge (sic) to remain upon the plantation with his mother until my youngest child becomes of age and have the fourth part of all property that is raised with the hands, I have left with my wife.  He is to have the privaledge (sic) of raising stock for himself and not to be transferred to no other person.
     I Will also the Negros that I Will to remain upon the plantation with my wife and minor heirs fall immediately into the hands of my executives when the youngest child comes of age for the be sold or divided as the balance and  I further Will that if my Wife is living when my youngest child becomes of age and remains a widow she is to occupy my dwelling and have sufficiency for her comfortable support and somebody to wait on her her lifetime or Widowhood apart from the above Will.  And appoint my sons Mitchell and William my executives to this my last Will and Testament.
     Jas Edde <SEAL>
Signed sealed in the presents of us, Sept. 8th, 1850.
     Witnesses: John Bird and Daniel Brown
     Recorded 10th July 1857

He left behind the slaves Kisiah, Hanner, Ben and Cain to the benefit of his wife, the rest to be sold immediately.  On 29 Dec 1858, Mitchell Edde, James’s son, sold to  Daniel A. George,a portion of the slaves.

   This indenture made and entered into this 29th day of Dec. 1858 between Mitchell Edde of the one part and Daniel A. George of the other part and both of Lincoln County, Tennessee witnesseth that the said Mitchell Edde for and in consideration of the sum of One Hundred and Seventy Five Dollars to him in hand paid (the receipt of which is hereby acknowledge) hath bargained and sold doth hereby transfer and convey to said Daniel A. George all the rights title and interest which he said Mitchell Edde has under the Will of his father James Edde Deceased, to the following described property- being an interest of one eighth in the same-  To Wit: one tract of land situated in Civil District No. # 1, Lincoln Co., Tenn. containing by estimation 170 acres be the same more or less.  Bounded on the North by the land of Jno. Bird, on the East by the lands of Daniel Brown Deceased, on the South by the land of ? Sikes Deceased.  On the West by the land of Susan Parks and Samuel Bobo, said land being now in the possession of the Widow of said James Edde, and to be held by her until her right expires under the Will of said husband James Edde Deceased.  Also the one eighth interest in the following Slaves and their increases.  Benjamin aged about 60, Cain aged about ??, Kizza age about 50, and Hannah aged about 20, those said slaves being now in the possession of said Widow and to be held by her until her rights expire under the Will of her said husband.  Also the entire interest which the said Mitchell Edde may have in the stock of every description under the Will of his father aforesaid.  To have and to hold the entire interest in said land and Negros and stock of the said Mitchell Edde, to the said Daniel A. George, his heirs and assigns forever- and the said Mitchell Edde hereby binds himself, his heirs and personal representatives, to warrant and forever defend the title to the above described one 8th interest in said land and slaves, to the said Daniel A. George his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of all persons whatsoever- In witness whereof the said Mitchell Edde has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.
     Mitchell Edde <SEAL>


When James wrote his will in 1850, the United States was also taking a slave census that year.  Here are the slaves James Edde had living on his plantation in 1850 in the 2nd District of Lincoln County, TN:

1850slave James Edde

So what happened to these slaves?  Well, we know that Sarah Edde was still alive in 1860, because she is enumerated on the 1860 Lincoln County, TN Federal Population census,  so the slaves were still in her possession then. Her youngest daughter was born ca 1841, and would have still been considered a minor. 

Here is the family in 1870 Lincoln County, TN. I could not find a marriage record for Hannah in TN. Not sure if she married and is living elsewhere or has already passed away.  If we look at the children of Benjamin and Keziah Edde, we notice that Booker was born ca 1831, Mary Jane was born ca 1839, F. M., was born ca 1849 and they are not mentioned in the Edde will, yet it appears that they were living on the Edde farm in 1850.  We have to assume that they were meant to be sold off after James’ death, since he says, “balance of the negros aside from those above named to be sold or divided.” Yes, it appears that in 1850, when he wrote his will, James Edde intended to sell six year old Mary Jane and 2 year old F. M. Edde away from their mother and father.  Why he did not plan to keep the teenaged Booker is unclear.

It looks like after being emancipated, Ben and Kizzie reunited their family.  I do not have the probate records for James Edde, so we have to assume that his Executor sold these slaves after the death of James Edde.  Most likely members of the family purchased them, as it is assumed they stayed in the area.

1870 Cain Edde

By 1880, Cain and Rhoda are living in Moore County, TN.  Benjamin and Keziah are living in Bedford County, TN and are enumerated under the surname Eady as is most of my family living in the area. 

They are 79 and 71 years old.  From slaves to free in their old age. 

Posted in 52 Ancestors, Edde, James-Patience Prewitt, Genealogy, Saturday's Stories, Slave Narratives | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Genealogy Go Over-The Epiphany…..

I have been doing the Go over now for 7 weeks and I admit that this week, I haven’t even read Thomas’ email.  For one, the deep south has been anticipating this:

And so, I have been busy watching the weather and preparing… Okay I have been doing what ever southerner does when 3-10 inches of snow is predicted. I bought junk food and more junk food. 
But today the snow has kept us home and after working a bit this morning, I decided to get back to my do over. 
I have been looking at Administrator’s Bonds for Wilson County, TN and setting up research notes in Evernote. 

I use the Tennessee microfilm inventories to help me set up research notes and today I have been working on Wilson County, TN Roll 207.  On Family Search, that is broken down into four different record sets, but at the state archives, they are all on one roll of film. I only create one research note in Evernote, but I create a box for each record set so I can work on them one at a time at Family Search.  I make notes about the record set on my research note in Evernote, like “indexed at end of roll”, “hard to read” and/or “handwriting really good”.  Though I admit that last one is rare. :)Here is a portion of my research note for Wi207:  I divide each section in a box by first creating a 1×1 table.


I have a list of ancestors that lived in the county and as you can see, I have checked them off and made notes as I went along.  I will record information about others in the county with those surnames as well. Once I have done the entire four record sets, I will tag the note with all my ancestors either found or not. But for now, I am still working on this research task.

When I find a document, I make a note for the document and save it as well. I tag it as well with Wi207: It’s hard to tell, but the image is part of this note. The source citation is in the box above the image….If this were a direct ancestor I would also tag it with his name, but this is a 2nd cousin 4 times removed, so I do not.


I had created a custom source type for this roll of microfilm (at the state archives) and record set (at Family Search) and was wondering how I would ever remember to use it again, when it hit me. Create a note for the source citation template and tag it with Wi207 as well. (Notice I tagged it with rolls Wi207-Wi212. They are all the same record types.)


So there you have it. My research task note, my document note, and my custom source template note all tied together with the common Wi207 (Wilson County, TN roll 207)….

My epiphany for the day!  Now I must go find out what Thomas wanted me to be doing this week. :)   My guess is getting more organized and finding probate records for 2nd cousins 4 times removed is where he eventually wants us all to go, so I won’t worry if I got off task too much this week.  Supposed to be 60 degrees next week, so I will have spring fever!

Posted in Documentation, Evernote, Family Search, Genealogy, Genealogy Do Over, Organization, The Master Genealogist | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

She Haunts Me….

Susan Markham was born circa 1848 in Tennessee according to the 1880 census. It is the only record we have of her. According to that document she is living with her son-in-law, Jeff Davis Lannom and his wife, her fourteen year old daughter. She has one other daughter who is four.

Family legend is that the girls were both Markhams and Blaylocks. The father was Irish and they had a cousin named Jenny.  That is all we have to go on.

My mother interviewed Susan’s grand daughters in the 1960s since doctor’s thought my brother’s cerebral palsy could have been related to intermarriage of my father’s family and my mothers.  She was told stories of child sexual abuse and how Jennie Markham Lannom apparently told her daughters that “was just the way men were.”  We have already discussed the fact that Jennie’s husband was considered the meanest man in Rutherford County.  Was it marrying him at age 13, that gave her the view that men could take whatever they wanted from women and it was okay, or did she learn this from her mother?

As far as we know, Susan Markham was never married. The father of the girls or at least the youngest was Bill Blaylock. Little is known about him, except that he was supposedly Irish. If he was the father of both girls and he and Susan never married, they had an on going affair for over ten years.  In 1880, W. B. Blaylock was enumerated on the next page from Susan as married, age 44 and a farm laborer.  How or if he is related to William Blaylock, son of Charles and Rebecca Blaylock isn’t known.  It is possible that he is the same man.

By 1900, both of Susan’s daughters have married and have families in Wilson County, TN.  I have read the entire county numerous times and Susan simply is not there. My guess is that she passed away and is buried in an unmarked grave. Most likely that grave is in the Mullins Cemetery in Smyrna where her daughter, Jennie and son-in-law Jeff are buried in unmarked graves.  But that is purely speculation. She has no death certificate.  She could have married by 1900 and have a whole new name and family.

Since Susan was born circa 1848, she should show up on the 1850, 1860 and 1870 U. S. Population censuses.  Since Jenny (Virginia Caledonia) was born circa 1866, she should have been around four on the 1870 census. I have tracked every variation of Susan and Jenny I could find and every lead has proven to be someone else.  Susan did not own land as far as I know and family legend has it she never married. Nor has a marriage record been found for her.  I have spent many, many hours reading census pages by pages, to see if maybe she was misindexed. 

So why does this woman haunt me.  Because I want to know more about her and why her family’s views were created. I guess I’d like to exonerate her.  The things I had been told about her grand daughter Ola over the years turned out to not really be the case, and I’d like to find out the same about Susan.  Or maybe as a genealogist, she’s a frustrating brick wall, because there should be more records on her.  I’d also like to know what happened in the ten years between her two daughter’s births. Did she have more children that died?  Was she and Jenny struggling alone?  Did she have family around?

So then I let my creative mind go wild.  In my mind, Susan is a sweet 13 year old girl when the Civil War starts. Where others see death, and starvation and horror, Susan finds love.  But he is swept off to battle and she has to wait for him to come home.  She pines for him until the end of the war, when he doesn’t come home.  She then gets pregnant with her daughter Jenny and leaves home.  For a few years, the two travel from place to place looking for work. The reason we can’t find them in 1870, is they are mistakenly enumerated under her employer’s name.  Then she meets Bill Blaylock and is once again swept off her feet, but  he is married and so they have an affair.  The fact that a William Blaylock was arrested for lewdness in 1870 in Wilson County, makes me wonder how close this part is to the truth.  But when he finds out she is pregnant, as is usually the case, he refuses to marry her.  She allows her 13 year old daughter to marry Jeff Lannom because it will put a roof over their heads.  There, of course, reality sneaks in and the romance ends as we know that Jeff Lannom was not your romantic hero.  However, Jennie and he did live together until her death in 1928, so he must have not been too bad. What happens to Susan after that one snapshot of the 1880 census we will never know.  That is why she haunts me.

Posted in Genealogy, Markham, Susan | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Genealogy Go Over Week 7




Yes, I know I am late getting this one up. Blame Thomas who went off to something called Rootstech and wasted a week wearing tiaras and beads.  ;) (Just kidding Thomas, everyone deserves some down time and a working down time is probably the best kind. ) However, due to traveling and what he calls “being a control freak”, whatever that is, he got his post up late and that made me later and so here we are…  As I said in an earlier post, life happens.  Conferences, birthdays, sickness, work….  And that is what happened this week to Thomas. Most of the genealogy world took a break to go to Rootstech and that’s okay.  That’s the beauty of genealogy. Dead guys aren’t going anywhere.  And we genealogist need to get new training and hang out with other people that get it from time to time. So here’s how am I going to deal with this week’s topics.

Reviewing Genealogy Database Software

I have used numerous genealogy softwares over the year. I am considered by many to be a guru of The Master Genealogist. which basically is defined as someone with way too much time on their hands.   :) But as many of you know, TMG is no longer being supported because it’s underlying database FoxPro is no longer being supported.  Not being supported and not working are two different things however.  As far as support goes, for the most part, I am one of the users most people go to when they need help with TMG.  I am, by far, not the most perfect person to go to, but I am one of the ones that understand it a great deal, so when I did need support with TMG, it was usually pretty serious, or I had found a bug.  So not having support from Whollygenes isn’t the end of the world for me.  And version 9 is fairly bug free.

I have looked at all of the competitors to TMG. The main two being Legacy and Rootsmagic. Both are great programs, with excellent support. I have sent emails to both companies and gotten immediate response. I would be a happy customer with either company and would recommend either product to a friend just starting out. HOWEVER, I am not just starting out and there are so many features in TMG that the other two haven’t even gotten to yet, that to move to them, in my opinion, right now, would be a step backwards.  That doesn’t mean there won’t come a day when I make that step, it’s just not going to be today. I do watch both software companies for updates and maybe soon they will add the features I need to make me take the leap. 

Some of those features are: 

  • Customizable source templates:   I do not use any template that came with TMG. Every source template I have has been customized. 
  • Customizable source elements:  Within those templates, I want to be able to name my source elements whatever I choose and have those show up on my templates. 
  • A place to store microfilm or deed/will book information:  I only want to enter this information ONE TIME. In TMG, I can use the repository field, but in the other software, repositories are mainly places.  That’s not very helpful to me. Give me a place to enter microfilm or deed/will book information and link to it, so I only have to enter it once. Then this needs to something I can add to my source template so this information prints.  Allow me to add tasks to that microfilm or deed/will book link. 
  • Color code event tags:  Not just people and have it so those same colors print on FGS. (The later is not a feature of TMG, but oh, how I wish it were). 
  • Allow for multiple people to be attached to a tag: And have multiple roles for each tag. Get rid of the idea of a PRINCIPAL. 
  • Print reports chronologically: Get rid of the idea of family events and person events.  Just allow me to link as many people to an event as I want. Assign a role to each person and refer to other roles in sentences.  This is one area where TMG is far superior to anyone else on the market.  I understand the need to limit an event when printing to a chart, but don’t limit me as well when printing narratives.

Digitizing Photos and Documents

The genealogy UGGG moment.  We all have stacks after stack after stack of these to do.  So like most of you, I am working on it a little at a time.  When I do photos, I add them to my Facebook page and tag the cousins that are in the picture. It keeps me motivated.  In the meantime, my method of dealing with these is to hope they magically scan themselves. :)


Just like to welcome all my genealogy friends home from Rootstech.  Hope you had a great time. Hope to have time to watch some of the streaming videos myself in the coming weeks. Maybe I can watch and scan at the same time….

Until tomorrow, have a great Do Over.

Posted in Documentation, Genealogy, Genealogy Do Over, Organization, The Master Genealogist | Tagged , | Leave a comment

When The Documents Have the Wrong Date…..

My grandmother and her twin brother were indeed twins born in 1918.  I spoke with the lady (their aunt) who was the midwife and she told me exactly what their birth was like. My great grandfather named the girl Leona, most likely after his twin brother Robert Lee.  The sister named the boy Robert, after her then boyfriend, soon to be husband.  However, my grandmother celebrates her birthday on 17 Feb 1918 and her brother on 17 Feb 1917.  Why?

Well, let’s look a little at the family history. Neither child had a birth certificate and the mother had them at home with a younger sister-in-law for a midwife. No doctor was in attendance. The birth was recorded in the paternal grandmother’s Bible as 17 Feb 1918.  In 1920, the father dies of TB. The children were two when their father died.  According the the Bible, he died in December 1920.  He has no death certificate.  The mother’s family hated the father’s family and the mother rarely went around her in-laws after the death of the father.

When he was about five years old, Robert Lee Victory, my great uncle jumped out of a barn onto a pile of hay, breaking his leg.  Whether the leg didn’t heal properly or never received treatment at all is unknown. Knowing the personality of his grandfather and the economy of the time period, it most likely never received treatment, or the treatment wasn’t good.  At any rate, his mother put him in the Junior League Cripple home.  The Junior League Cripple home in Nashville, TN opened in 1923. To be admitted, a child had to be six years old.

It is only speculation, but I believe when my great grandmother took her young son to admit him, they asked how old he was. Knowing he had to be at least six, she stated he had been born in 1917, making him six years old.  Maybe she didn’t know his real birthday. Maybe she confused the years. Maybe she did what any loving parent would do, she lied to get him the treatment and schooling he needed. A year later, the school might have been full and he might not have been accepted.  We will never know.

In 1928, my great grandmother died.  You can read her story here:  Sins of the Father….  Her father decided to put the younger two girls into the Tennessee Industrial Home for Children.  This was an orphanage for children with no family support. The older two girls were old enough to work on the farm and the youngest child was a boy.  My grandmother and her sister would enter the Tennessee Industrial Home for Children and stay there until they were 18.  My grandmother’s date of birth: 17 Feb 1918. The same date recorded in her paternal grandmother’s Bible.

So there you have it:  Two official records of birth, with different years. The children were indeed twins.  Officially born a year apart.  There is usually a good explanation for why a record is incorrect. Human mistakes, emotions, ulterior motives. We just have to figure out what those were.

Posted in Documentation, Genealogy, Lannom, Ola | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Genealogy Go Over Week 6


Remember when we were in school. Each grading period had 6 weeks. That last week before report cards came out was the one most of us got serious about school. Up until then, we were just sitting in seats, pretending to care, now suddenly, we were about to have to deal with the wrath of a mother who was going to have to borrow a car to go to a parent-teacher conference because we were not “performing to our abilities.”  Nothing made my mother madder than to find out that in teacher speak I was goofing off in mother speak.

So here we are at week 6, and it’s time to take stock. How have we been performing so far?  For me, I have made great progress. I have been moving documents into Evernote, cleaning up source citations, and checking off to do lists.  And job hunting…. Plus trying to do a good job at my current job, since it is one of the busiest months I have.

Step 1: Evaluating Evidence
I haven’t ever seen the point of worrying about whether a source is primary, secondary, derivative, etc. To me, it’s a source.  Good for some information, not good for other. While a source might be primary for a birth, it would be secondary for the father’s occupation.   I will cite it and make clarifications in my notes. If the death certificate gives the grandfather as the father, that doesn’t mean the other information is incorrect. It means the child’s aunt giving the information was distraught and instead of giving her brother’s name, she gave her father’s name instead.  I make a note of the mistake and the possible reason why she made the mistake. Other sources will either collaborate what she said, or disprove it.  In the note section of my citation, I might record “Aunt Becky was 49 and most likely going through menopause.  She was known by the family to be quite forgetful, having left cousin Johnny at church more than once. When asked for the child’s father, she must have misunderstood, and given her father’s name instead. Knowing how close she was to her sister-in-law in later years, seeing her lose a young baby must have been terribly upsetting to her. It is no wonder she made this mistake. “

So this week, I plan on continuing with making sure the sources I have are well cited and that I make good notes when I find a discrepancy between one document and another.  And I will learn that my ancestors made mistakes.  Wonder if my 5th grade teacher ever took that into account when she was deciding I was just lazy?

Step 2: Reviewing Online Education Resources

Oh my gosh, a genealogist could make a career out of this. :)  There is so much good stuff online to watch to help a genealogist cite sources better, know more about a historical event, use software better.

My goal is to make good use out of these resources.  On a “as have time basis”.  Since most are posted on Facebook and Twitter, I admit for now, I plan to follow the seat of my pants on this. 

Posted in Documentation, Genealogy, Genealogy Do Over | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Effective Parenting 101….

Years ago,  a little girl would come into preschool every morning and threw a temper tantrum when Mom got ready to leave. As soon as Mom was gone, she was fine and was one of the sweetest children her teachers had ever worked with. They all knew she was playing Mom. After many weeks of this, Mom was emotionally and physically exhausted. She was considering taking the child out of preschool, when her teacher suggested a solution. For every morning that she threw a fit, she had to go to bed 30 minutes early.  Mom decided to give it a try.

On the first day, a Wednesday, the little girl came in and threw her usual fit. Mom told her tonight you have to go to bed 30 minutes early.  That evening, when Mom picked her up, they went home and Mom put her to bed as promised at 7:30 instead of her usual 8:00.  When she complained, Mom explained that if you were so tired that you had to cry going into school, you needed to go to bed early and that for the rest of the week, she would go to bed at 7:30. She only came to preschool three days a week, so Mom explained that if on Friday, she threw another fit, she would go to bed at 7:00.

Friday morning came, and again she threw her fit. Mom was wiser than any of us gave her credit for. That night she was prepared.  At 7:00 she put her daughter to bed and popped popcorn for her siblings. They got out a movie she’d been promising the family for a while.  The siblings were told that because it was Friday, and because they had all been so good going to school, that they got to stay up 30 minutes later than normal.  As her little one protested from her room, Mom explained that she must be very tired if going to school was so hard in the mornings, kissed her goodnight and took her own very broken heart into watch TV with the rest of her children. 

Monday morning came and the sweet little girl and her Mom bounded into school all smiles. The teacher greeted them and was told, “Mrs. A. I feel so great. I must have been really tired, but I have grown up some and now I can come to school without crying.”

That night, Mom got ready to put the kids to bed and her princess told her, “Mom I want to stay up and watch a movie.”  Then Mom said the most intelligent thing a parent has ever said. “We have to go to bed now.  Mom planned a special weekend for our family and you didn’t get to participate because you misbehaved at school.  Our actions have consequences.  For me to make tonight special just because you did what I have asked you to do would be a disservice to you and your siblings. Maybe if you do what you are supposed to do, then next time Mom plans something special with our family, you will get to participate too.” 

“When will that be Momma?”

“When Mom and Dad feel that the time is right.  You need to learn to be good because that is what is expected of you, not because you may be rewarded for doing so.”

The little girl never had trouble getting to preschool on time without crying after that.  Her mother became the hero of all the teachers for her strength under great duress.  And a few weeks later, she and her little girl had a movie day, just the two of them.

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