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 were no requirements 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.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ---- Missing Children

Missing Children

When I first became interested in genealogy, I asked my older family members about our heritage. Members of my maternal family line provided a good source of information. My father raised as an only child with no living siblings was dead for years prior to my interest in genealogy. My paternal ancestry source consisted of meager reminiscences of my mother and my adolescent memory.  I soon realized that only 2 generations earlier consisted of nuclear families which had many children.  I wanted to go back and beyond slavery. I wanted to know if I had native  American and European ancestry which is a prevalent perception in my family.
In my early attempts at genealogy research, one of the first documents I looked at was the publicly available United States federal census records.  At that time, only the 1920 census was the most recent census available.  My first goal was to identify individual families’ parents and children. I have tried to research not only a my direct lineage but associated family members. I reviewed the census from the known to the unknown or reverse chronological order.  The federal 1870 and earlier census records did not identify family relationships.  The grouping of individuals however suggested probable familiar relationships.  It was in the 1880 federal census, the head of the family was identified and relationships to the head was enumerated. The head of the household was in most cases was identified as a man.

   After multiple times, I recently reviewed the federal census for clues.  I found an attempt to identify the maternal lineage.   The 1890, 1900 and 1910 federal census had 2 questions that was specific to women 1) Mother of how many children? 2) Number of these children living?  I think these are very interesting questions which lead to a genealogy conundrum. The names of children were could be listed with the present enumerated family. A different number of children could be listed with the mother of the family.  

The possibly answers could be:
  •  A mother may have given birth to a child who was not identified with the present family in the census
  • A mother may have had a stillborn or a newborn who died prior to 1880 
  • A mother may have had a child after 1880 and died before 1900
  • An adult child not previously enumerated with the mother in 1900
  • The mother may have died prior to 1880 and a living child may therefore was not associated with a mother
  • The head of household surname may be different from the mother’s surname and child’s surname
  • A child could have been born after 1900 and died prior to 1910 
  • A child associated with a mother and father may became  an orphan 
  • A child may have guardian or adopted 
I am now looking for the all children and determine if this information can be ever be found.

------The Tree Gardener