Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Story of Latimore Brumfield

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ----- Missing Children Part 4

The Silver Sparrow

The book Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones is a fictional story about a man who has two families--- a bigamist. It takes place in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1980’s.  Both families live in the same town but only one family is aware that the other family exists.  One of the man’s family remains in the shadows and not recognized by the community. Tayari Jones uses the metaphor of the Silver Sparrow to describe the child of the hidden family.  

Married men who have more than one family or more than one set of children is not unusual.  The treatment of the unmarried mother and her child is dependent upon their position in society and the time period. Sometimes the parentage of a child is considered a family secret and rarely discussed. There are situations in which the mother and father married after the birth of the child. 

 In the case of adoptions, the process  may have  been informal, legal, black-market or involve one related parent. The child may have been reared by a foster parents. The discovery of information is even more complicated if the adoption occurred generations ago.   The institution of slavery in the United States in which families were sold and separated is also another element that makes it difficult or impossible to identify parents.

 Nowadays, children are born daily with unmarried parents. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, the number of live births to unmarried women in the United States was 1,604,870 With hospital records, school records, birth certificates, Social Security numbers, census, baptismal records and DNA analysis there are more tools available to determine parentage and ancestors. There is usually a limited paper trail of documents to verify information.  Relatives who are are knowledgeable about a child's birth maybe uncooperative about giving information. Finding the missing father or the parents of a child or orphan can still be difficult and possibly never identified. 

"I don't why I'm here Lord, I just know I'm here "
---- The Tree Gardener

Friday, February 19, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ----- Nicknames

Nicknames, Moniker, Name Variations

The search for individuals is first based on identifying the person’s name.  Some people are known by a substitute name, moniker or a nickname.  I have found that some of the people I have tried to locate were known by their nickname and not their given name. I was only able to find some people because family members gave me their nicknames.  Some families have people with the same given name for multiple generations. I have found at least 4 people in extended family named Tom Brumfield. I think that other names have evolved to distinguish people in a family with the same name.

Common name variations of have been helpful in finding ancestors.
Examples of a variations: Elizabeth (primary name) Liz, Liza, Lizabeth, Lizzie, Libby, Lisa, Beth, Bess, Betsy, Betty. Sometimes it necessary to look at all name variations to find an individual.

Nicknames often are not related to the given name. One of the children of Irvin Brumfield, Louis Brumfield was known as “Doc”. The entire family is listed in blog post Ervine, Irvine, Irving, Irvin Part 1 on 11/15/2012.

I was told that he was given that name because he acted as the local veterinarian. He is listed with wife Elizabeth as “Dock” not Louis in the Pike County, Mississippi Federal 1930 census. Last family listed.    

Year: 1930; Census Place: Beat 1, Pike, Mississippi; Roll: 1162; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 627.0; FHL microfilm: 2340897

I would not have been able to find Louis if I did not know he was known as "Doc" Brumfield. His brother William Brumfield and his family are listed above on this census image which helped with identification.                                                                        
  Nicknames are nonexistent information in general genealogy research.  It is important to always talk to family members.                                                                                        
------- The Tree Gardener                                                                                                                       


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ---- Missing Children Part 3

Mississippi Black Codes

One of the benefits that I have enjoyed in genealogy research is learning about the history of the United States. I have focused recently on identifying ancestors post-Civil War known as the Reconstruction period. I have concentrated on this time period because I am still trying to find information to break down the brick wall of 1870.  I have tried to find the whereabouts of entire families.  The culture and laws during that time affected how and where they lived.  While trying to locate missing children, I found out about The Apprentice Law which was part of the Mississippi Black Codes. 

The 13th amendment to the U. S. Constitution passed congress January 1, 1865 and ratified December 31, 1865 eliminated slavery.  Mississippi however was not readmitted to the union until February 23, 1870.  The Mississippi Apprentice law passed in November 22, 1865 was a law passed under the umbrella of the Black Codes. The Black codes were a series of restrictive laws applied to freedmen, free Negroes and mulattoes to restrict migration and insure a free or cheap labor force.  Black codes were not exclusive to Mississippi but present in other southern states.

The Mississippi Apprentice law allowed any sheriff, justice of the peace, or civil officer authorization to identify children under the age of 18 who were orphans or parents who could not properly take care of the children. These children could be apprenticed to white masters and mistresses for labor until the age of 18 for girls and 21 for boys. If the age of the child could not be determined the judge would assign an age. There was no requirement that the child receive a wage but the master or mistress paid a fee to the county in which they resided. Under this law children could be separated from the their family or extended family.

I have searched for records for children retained under the Apprentice law and have been unsuccessful. I however, have not performed an exhaustive search. Possibly these records are in Freedmen's Bureau records, a  private collections or under another legal heading.  I think  however, little effort was made to record or maintain any records. Although these children may not be associated with the family trees in my research, I will not give up my search. If anyone has information, please share.

I would recommend as a must read book Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon which describes using Black codes which forced freedmen into involuntary servitude.

Further description of the Apprentice law can be found in this link

---- The Tree Gardener

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ---- Missing Children Part 2

Information errors

Most genealogist realize that there are inaccuracies in the United States census records. Identifying the number of children a woman may have had is no exception.

Louisa (Louiser) Brumfield is enumerated with her husband Irvin Brumfield  and children in the Federal census for Pike County Mississippi in 1900.  Louisa is identified as having 9 children and 9 living children.  The reality is Louisa Brumfield had 10 children and all 10 were living at that time.  The household listed below  Irvin and Louisa Brumfield  enumerated  Richmond and Martha Primm.   Martha was Martha Brumfield Primm a child of Irvin and Louisa Brumfield. 

Irvin & Louiser Brumfield  and  Richmond  & Martha Primm Year: 1900; Census Place: Beat 1, Pike, Mississippi; Roll: 825; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0105; FHL microfilm: 1240825

Another source of information is necessary to determine all the children.  It is difficult to find other sources.