Saturday, November 24, 2012


The Ott family can be traced back to Germany & Switzerland as early as 1398. My father’s family left there and traveled to South Carolina. They later moved south into Louisiana and Mississippi. 

Ruth Wallis wrote:
"The Otts from whom Jacob descended settled in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and from there, Jacob emigrated to Louisiana about 1808.  He first settled a Spanish Grant, which was located near what is now Amite, Louisiana. While living here, Jacob helped to establish the Mt. Nebo Church. About 1812, Jacob moved to the Burch headright, located southeast of the village of Mt. Hermon, Louisiana, in what is now Washington Parish. Here he built a large house and acquired numbers of slaves to help in cultivating the eight hundred acres which comprised this estate. The family cemetery was started here, for several of the children died and were buried on the home site. In 1830, Jacob Ott moved again.  This time to the Busby headright, which he and his son, Charles, purchased together.  This headright is located in Washington Parish, Louisiana, on Silver Creek, about two miles north of Mt. Hermon, Louisiana.  Here the father and son worked together, raising cotton and operating a water mill.  Jacob Ott died on this site in 1836, and the entire estate, six hundred acres, was taken over by his son Charles. The other heirs received their part in slaves.  The land which comprised this estate is, at the present time, in the possession of descendants of Jacob Ott."

Ott names in my direct Family Line:

·         Hans Ott b c 1666 in Siwtzerland; married Anna Imdorff
·         Melchoir Ott 1699 Switzerland – 1755 SC; married Gretchen Schmitts
·         Jacob Ott I 1725 Switzerland – 1786; married Margaret Fitchtner
·         Jacob Ott II1755 SC – 1816
·         Jacob Ott III 1774 SC – 1836 LA; married Margaret Jackson; 8 children
·         Charlotte Temple Ott 1815 – 1895; married Nathaniel Brumfield; 5 children

A few Ott Resources:

  • Clawson, Alma Dell Magee.  Fields of Bloom.  Privately printed. 1972.
  • Culler, Daniel Marchant. Orangeburgh District 1768 - 1868 History and Records. Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1995.
  • Salley, Jr., Alexander S. The History of Orangeburgh County South Carolina. Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Company, 1969.
  • Wallis, Ruth Temple. Descendants of Jacob Ott of South Carolina and Louisiana. 1967. Bogalusa, Louisiana. Privately printed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for My Family

   Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for my family…

   My ancestors who came from afar to bring us to where we are today
   My brothers who share my childhood memories, today’s holidays & life’s best future
   Our parents who guided, hugged, challenged and loved us
   My sisters and brother in law, always there to share the sunny or cloudy days
   My husband’s family who are as loving as the family I was born into
   Our growing list of in-laws who add new life and spice to our family
   All our nephews and nieces who I've watch grow into kind and talented young adults
   Cousins, aunts and uncles, each with their own special place in my life and my heart
   My grandnephew & niece, adorable darlings who will lead the family into the future

I am thankful for my husband and my children who are the answers to all my life’s questions.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Census Sunday – Maps Can Help Locate Census Reports

I wanted to find more about Henry Sims Brumfield, 1835 – 1915. I knew he was born in Mississippi but I didn’t know where in the state or if he moved to another state. A book of maps showed me where he lived.  The book is

Boyd, Gregory A. 
Family Maps of Pike County, Mississippi. Deluxe. Norman, Oklahoma: Arphax Publishing Co., 2005. 

When I saw this book in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City I snatched it right off the shelf. My paternal grandfather was born in Pike County and I started turning pages of this handy book as I headed back to the library table. Flipping through the pages I found “Surnames in Pike County, Mississippi Patents”. I found familiar surnames” Alford, Brown, Brumfield, Ellzey, Fortenberry & more. After returning home I bought a copy of this book.

Henry S Brumfield was shown to have an 1860 land patent. Therefore, I knew he was in Pike County, MS. I went to and quickly found Henry & family in the 1860 Census, living in Holmesville with his wife, Martha and three young children. In 1870 Henry & Martha were still there and now had seven children. In 1880 there were four more children. I would have missed all these people without the book of maps to lead me to the correct county.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Report: A Patriot’s Legacy

When I started to research my father’s family Patricia A. Brock Smith helped me out in many ways. At one time she mailed me photocopies of a couple pages from this book:

Creel, Bevin J. A Patriot's Legacy:
The Family of Richard Dillon and Ann Lawrence
from Bertie County, North Carolina to Southern Mississippi and Louisiana.
Franklinton, Louisiana: Printed, 2002.

A Few of the Surnames included:
Alford, Ball, Bankston, Berryhill, Blades. Brock, Brown, Brumfield, Conerly, Cutrer, Dillon, Ellzey, Fortenberry, Ginn, Graves, Magee, McDaniel, Miller, Schilling, Simmons, Smith, Strickland, Tate, Tynes, Varnado, Warner, Yarborough

Recently I was looking into my Dillon ancestors and reread my notes from my earlier research. I was wishing I had more than just a couple photocopied pages of this book. I started an internet search to purchase the complete book. Amazon & did not have it. Google Books did not have a book or ebook. Further searching led me to the Family History Family Catalog where I hoped to locate it on microfilm. Even better, I found a link to a digital copy!

Bevin J Creel wrote that this book is an expansion of an earlier work, ‘A History of the James Brock Family’. Because of the many ties between the families he “consider[ed] the present work to be based on the Brock volume.” Mildred Penton Richboroug is given credit as co-author.

Bevin wrote:
I would like to say a few words about proof of descent to those of you who are using this book for research purposes. One's listing in a genealogy such as this is not considered as proof of descent according to common-held genealogical standards. The primary records which stand behind this book ARE considered as proof. Ideally then, one should use this book as a guide to doing one's own research. We have made every effort to check every will, deed, tax record, etc. in an effort to make this as accurate as possible, and we believe that the information within is an honest representation of the extant evidence. Additionally, we have every assurance that those who submitted family information did so responsibly and were careful to achieve the utmost accuracy in their reporting of data.

1.    Background
2.    Dillons in Bertie County and the surrounding area
3.    Richard Dillon and the Lawrence family of Bertie County
4.    Various other records from Bertie County
5.    South Carolina and Mississippi

There is an all name listing of individuals at the end of the book.

Mr. Creel explains his numbering system for the many individuals included. Once I understood that it became easier to navigate and understand the relationships. Although I would like to see more sources included, he has given dates and locations that have enabled me to find many of the individuals in census and other records myself. His work has certainly expanded my knowledge of this part of my family. If you have connections to any of the families mentioned in this book it would be worth your time to look this over.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ancestor Anniversaries, November 15 - 28

15 November 1883    Eli B Blades [son of Benjamin Blades & Hollander Elizabeth Morris] & Morgana Dean Thompson. They were married in Tangipoha Parish, LA. They had a son and a daughter.

15 November 1883    Anthony Casper Ritter [son of Isaac Ritter & Isabell Fisher] & Emma Alice Mowrer. They had four sons and a daughter. They were married for over fifty years.

20 November 1901    George Washington Mark [son of William Mark & Elidia Rebecca Ritter] & Elizabeth Shifferly. They were married in Cedar Valley, Wayne, OH. George was a farmer.

23 November 1823    David Brumfield [son of John Brumfield & Margaret Kelly] & Cynthia Holmes [daughter of Elisha Holmes Sr.] They had four children.

24 November 1892    Edward Newell & Cora Bell Mark [daughter of William Mark & Emma Abeline Flory]. They were married in Wayne Co., OH. They had two daughters. Cora Bell was only 32 years old when she died.

25 November 1930    Ollie Lee Cutrer [son of Isaac Omer Cutrer & Fannie Rebecca Smith] & Laura Lee.

27 November 1918    William F Cass & Maryanne Coyle [daughter of Patrick Coyle & Margaret Brady]. Maryanne was born in Waterbury, CT.

28 November 1875    Henry Leibe Arnold & Catherine Wolf [daughter of Jeremiah Wolf & Eliza Ann Reigle]. They had twelve children. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Genealogy – Is it about the Past or the Future?

Genealogy, people will tell you, is all about the past. It is a trip into history which some folks are just not interested in. However, I think my research into the lives of my ancestors is also about the future. These people who I never met are giving me lessons for the future. There are lessons on endurance and adventure from ancestors who crossed the Atlantic to start a new life, like my 5th great grandmother Appollonia Dick who was born at sea in 1738. There are stories of strength from ancestors who fell on hard times and had to work several jobs to keep their children fed. They made it through the dark days and their family line continues today.

There are lessons on relationships. Look at Gasua Chapman Fortenberry, my 2nd great grand uncle, who married Sarah Brown in 1832. There had to have been both good and bad times for the couple. They had two daughters who died as toddlers and another who died as a young woman. Those tragedies can easily pull people apart.  However, they were married for over 50 years. That’s a lesson in commitment that’s important for any era. In 1859 William J M Smith married Rachael Ellzey. They were married only three years when William died. The lesson for the future is not to take your partner for granted. You may have over fifty years together or only three years. These are messages about love for any decade.

Genealogy has ‘happy ever after’ stories that give us messages in hope and happiness. There is the story of my great grandfather who entered a boarding house in New York City to see a young Irish woman walking down the staircase and fell instantly in love. They married and had seven children. My maternal grandparents came from very different backgrounds and religions but were a devoted a loving couple.  

Hope, happiness, love, commitment, endurance and strength are just a few lessons from the past for the future. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Thanks to Adrianne Fortenberry Criminger and G. K. Fortinberry we have wonderful, well researched books on this family. They were the first family history books I ever read and I was greatly impressed by the immense amount of information included. Just holding the hardcover copy of Adrianne Fortenberry Criminger's book inspired me to find out more about my father’s family and to dream of writing my own book. This family, that has been in the USA long before it became a country, includes Revolutionary War & Civil War soldiers, farmers & preachers.

G. K. Fortinberry wrote:

"The first pair as we know it, was William Fortinberry,1776-Feb. 1, 1842 and Violett Kennington, 1786-May 18, 1858. They had a beautiful romance which never gave out. On their honeymoon, they traveled in an ox-wagon from Lancaster, South Carolina about 1812 to southern climes and found contentment in hard work and rearing a large family. From that union, our grand-sires emanated, 10 in actual count."

This surname can also be seen as Fortinberry & Falukenberry.
My father’s Fortenberry family could be found in South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Fortenberry Names in my Direct Line:

· Jacob Faulkenberry bc 1715

· John Faulkenberry b 1740; married Hannah Hubanks; 6 children

· William Jasper Fortenberry c 1772 – 1842; married Violette Kennington; 10 children

· William J Fortenberry 1814 – 1896; married Elizabeth Martha Ann Cutrer; 10 children

· Amanda Adarene Fortenberry 1865 – 1949; married William S Ellzey; 10 children

A few Fortenberry Resources:

· Conerly, Luke Ward and E. Russ Williams. Source records From Pike County, Mississippi 1798 – 1910. South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1989.

· •Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry. The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi. South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984.

· •Fortinberry, G. K. Abstract History of the Fortinberry Family. Privately Printed. 1942. Family History Center microfilm #1036152.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cousins Connect

The Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, CT was the most recent meeting spot for my Coyle and Brady cousins. We are a small but growing group of third cousins [more or less] who are related to Thomas Brady & Catherine Gibney from County Cavan, Ireland.

We are the descendants of three of the children of Thomas & Catherine (Gibney) Brady, all born in Ireland:
Bartholomew A. Brady of New Jersey, 
Anna (Brady) Kilday of Connecticut and 
Margaret (Brady) Coyle of Connecticut. 

We cousins connected on the internet, finding each other through various message boards. Once a year we drive from our NY, MA, CT and NJ homes to gather, exchange any new information we have uncovered, catch up with each other’s lives and generally have fun. We have enjoyed the New Jersey shore, taken a boat ride on the Hudson River and strolled through Minute Man National Historical Park together. 

Colleen, Lisa, Maureen, Pat & Bonnie
This time we wanted to do some research. The Godfrey Memorial Library was a great place to meet. 

The Godfrey Library's mission is to "promote the study of family history by inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history, supporting educational activities that create enthusiasm for family research and making genealogical and historical resources available to all on a national and international level by continuing the expansion, modernization, and distribution of print, electronic manuscript and other information media."

Lisa, Bonnie, Maureen & Pat
Sharon, the librarian, was friendly and helpful. We had a wide table to gather around to share information. We found our family in the library’s Waterbury and Ansonia City Directories. Our newly found Kilday cousins passed around a lovely photo album as they told us about generations of strong, independent women, including a bootlegger and a welder.

The Kilday family showed up in the Ansonia directory and the Patrick and Margaret (Brady) Coyle family turned up in the pages of the 1890, 1898, 1914, 1922 & 1925 directories. Patrick was a laborer and Margaret ran a small grocery from their home. Their children were teachers, construction workers and clerks. 

Colleen, Lucille, Maureen & Pat. front: Bonnie & Lisa
Interestingly the 1890 directory shows Patrick and James Coyle living together. He is probably a relative, possibly Patrick’s older brother. We’ll need to research this James Coyle. There is always more for us to uncover!

Saturday, November 3, 2012



Christian Robertson, who died 1821 in MS, was the father of Sarah Robertson.  About 1804 she married Moses Brown. They lived in Marion County, MS. They had four children: Christiana, Edward S., James G., and Sarah. Sarah (Robertson) Brown died in Liberty, Georgia in 1810 soon after the birth of her fourth child.

Unfortunately, I know very little about my Robertson family. I did find this interesting note about Christian Robertson, my 5th great grandfather:

The Sherriff of Marion Co. MS is ordered to summon 12 men to examine the intellectual ability and mental capacity of Christian Robertson. Witness by Honorable Benjamin Lee, county judge of the Orphan Court, April, 1819. The men appointed for above: John Warren, Sr., John Warren, Jr., John Smart, Soloman Warren, Daniel Buckhalter, Fleming Tynes, Thomas Smith, Thomas Fultch, Samuel Perkins, William Warren, Philomon Terrell, Robert Staacy.  Recorded May 14, 1819

I hesitated writing about this family because I know so little but, just perhaps, that is the perfect reason to write. How else can I 'meet' others who may know more? I’d enjoy connecting with anyone who has interest in this branch of my family.


  • 1813 MS Census, Marion County, Moses Brown.
  • 1816 MS Census, Marion County, Moses Brown.
  • 1820 US Census, MS, Marion County, Moses Brown.
  • 1820 MS State Census, Marion Co., Moses Brown.
  • Criminger, Adrianne Fortenberry.The Fortenberry Families of Southern Mississippi with Early Records Concerning the Faulkenberry/Fortenberry Families of the South. Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1984.
  • Orphan Court Records, Marion Co., MS; May 1819, Book A p 88.
  • Williams, E. Russ. Marion County Mississippi Miscellaneous records, 1812 - 1859. Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1986.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ancestor Anniversaries, November 2 - 13

Some of our family members were married in November. Maybe you were too.

2 November 1902     George Howard Alford & Mayme Indiana Simmons. George and Mayme were born in MS. They were married about 47 years.

2 November 1950     Glenn Rollin Mark & Eva Lena Mosley. They were married in California. They had one daughter.

5 November 1934     Otis Charles Massie & Ethel Elizabeth Good. Otis and Ethel were both born in Ohio. They had three children.

6 November 1781     Jacob Balliet & Barbara Ritter. They had three children.

6 November 1856     John Franklin Wolf & Caroline Orwig. John was married twice. Caroline was his second wife. They were married in Wayne Co., OH. They had one daughter. John was a stone mason.

6 November 1873     James Custer & Susan Wolf [daughter of John Franklin Wolf & Elisabeth Burkholder]. They were married in Wayne Co., OH.

6 November 1886     William Shirley & Eliza J Wolf [daughter of John W S Wolf & Elizabeth Jane Anderson]. They were married in Wayne Co., OH.

6 November 1936     John Wortman & Ruth Grace Hurd [daughter of Roy Hurd & Mona D Morrison]. This couple had three children.

7 November 1925     Lynn Elias Blades [son of Wiley Blades & Elizabeth Breland] & Otera Pierce. They had five children.

9 November 1895     Michael Coyle [son of Patrick Coyle & Margaret Brady] & Mary Josephine Mullane [daughter of Daniel Mullane & Brigid English. Michael & Mary Jo were both born in Ireland. They met and married in New York City. Michael was a baker. They had seven children. Their oldest daughter was my maternal grandmother.

11 November 1939    Roy Lawrence Steele & Annabelle Louise Rowlee [daughter of Karl Clayton Rowlee & Florence Vera Morrison]. They had one daughter.

13 November 1848    Isaac Ritter [son of Johannes Ritter, Sr. & Anna Mariah] & Isabell Fisher [daughter of John & Catherine Fisher]. They married in Plain Twp., Wayne, OH. Isaac & Isabell had twelve children. Isaac was a carpenter.