Friday, July 14, 2017

Blogger Recognition Award

Janice Sellers nominated my blog for the Blogger Recognition Award. Thank you very much!

This award also has some rules to follow:

Apparently there are a few “rules” for those who accept the award:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated me.
  • Write a post to show the award.
  • Write a brief story on how my blog started.
  • Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Nominate seven other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post.
I have thanked Janice here and will do so again personally.

How I Got Started
On January 15, 2011, I attended a class at the California Genealogical Society led by Craig Siulinski to learn all the ropes to start a blog. I had spoken with him previously about it and was rattling around an idea in my head before coming to the class. So I had an idea and a title, and with Craig's help in setting up a blog in Blogger, it got started. I am forever tied to Janice Sellers because our blogiversary is on the same day (and the same day as long-time blogger, Dick Eastman. I decided to write about my grandmother's ancestors and so called it "Mam-ma's Southern Family." Mam-ma was what us grandkids called her.

Advice For New Bloggers
Before you start the blog, come up with a few ideas. If you have a nice list of possible topics, you'll keep it going. Will you write about genealogy in general? Will you write about one particular family line? Will you share photos from old albums?

Your posts don't have to be long. It's okay to either write long posts once a week, or write short ones more often. Get a calendar and plan out some of your posts. That will help keep you to a schedule.

Here are Seven Blogs I Enjoy Reading:

Jacqi Stevens                            A Family Trapestry
Michelle Ganus Taggart           A Southern Sleuth
True Lewis                               Notes To Myself
Gena Philibert-Ortega              Gena's Genealogy
Diane MacLean Boumenot      One Rhode Island Family
Pat O'Donnell Kuhn                 Touching Family History
Mary Kircher Roddy                Searching For Stories

Hope you enjoy them, too!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On this Day – Death of Tom J Johnston, Jr., July 11, 1973

My maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, Jr. passed away on  11 July 1973.  He was only sixty years old. He died of cor pulmonale due to advanced pulmonary emphysema.[1] He had been a life-long smoker.

He was survived by his wife, Pansy L. Johnston, his daughter, Lela Nell Hork, his sisters, Beryl Russell and Mildred Bay, and six grandchildren.[2]

Tom had been a member of the Carpenter’s Union and worked at Diablo Valley Community College.

His funeral was held at Oak Park Hills Chapel in Walnut Creek and he was buried at Oakmont Memorial Cemetery in Lafayette.[3]

His was the first funeral I attended. I was 19. At the funeral home, the casket was open when we got there and I was surprised by how peaceful he looked. I had been a bit afraid of him because he always sounded so gruff when he spoke. Though, when he spoke to his dogs, he was very sweet.

Today, I thought I’d share a few photos of Tom and his dogs.

[1] State of California, Dept of Health Services, Certificate of Death, Contra Costa County, #73-087531, Tom J Johnston Jr, 1973.
[2] “Tom Johnston,” obituary, Contra Costa Times, Friday July 13, 1973, p 26.
[3] Memorial Card of Tom Johnston, Oak Park Hills Chapel, 13 July 1973, Gorrell Family Archives.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- What Ancestor Had the Most Children?

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has our weekly challenge lined up:

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

1)  The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months. 

2)  Please answer the question - "What ancestor had the most children?  How many?"

3)  Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post  your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

My story

On my father’s side of the family, I have two ancestors who had ten children: Johann Anton Hork & Julia Ann Sievert (my great-grandparents) and John Gleeson & Margaret Tierney (my 2x great-grandparents).

On my mother’s side of the family,  I have several families with ten or more children: James Loveless & Linna Hughes had twelve children in South Carolina. Their son, Jesse Loveless & wife, Elizabeth Nixon had ten children. Jesse’s son, Ebenezer Loveless and wife, Eliza A. Rodgers had eleven children. James Madison Coor & Melissa Ann Welch had ten children in Mississippi.

But the most were Reuben M. Johnston & Olivia Jane Jones, who had thirteen children, all born in Comanche Co, Texas:
  • Rufus Arthur, b. 9 Oct 1880
  • Malissie Pearl Dode, b. 1 Jul 1882
  • Robert Lee, b. 26 Feb 1884
  • Thomas Newton, b. 25 Jul 1885
  • Florence Ellen, b. 17 Mar 1887
  • Ruby Hardy, b. 22 Aug 1888
  • Edna Mae, b. 26 Oct 1891
  • Woodie Andrew, b. Oct 1892
  • Lillie Estelle Nina, 12 Dec 1894
  • Fannie Bertha, b. 24 Jul 1896
  • Oral Dotterage “Pig”, b. 16 Dec 1898
  • Loyce Smith, b. 21 Sep 1902
  • Lloyd Strickland “Nig”, b. 7 Feb 1904

Reuben also had four additional children with first wife, Catharine Skull:
  • Samuel M, b. Feb 1870
  • Martha Mattie “Sis”, b. 1872
  • Lola D, b. 28 Mar 1874
  • Ocia Catherine, b. 27 Nov 1877
I do have another couple with sixteen children: Dempsey Welch & Elizabeth Rebecca Young. However, I didn’t do the research. and I don’t feel confident enough to include them. I only have birth dates for seven of the children.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Stories for Father's Day

Randy Seaver from Genea-Musing has again asked us to write about our father or grandfather for Father’s Day:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Sunday, 18 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about our father, or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

2)  What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

Last year I wrote about my father, William J. Hork here. This year I’ve decided to write about my maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston.

My grandfather liked his automobiles and both my grandfather and grandmother liked having their photos taken with their cars. We have lots of photos taken with them posing in front of an automobile.

There were always dogs in my grandparent’s home. My grandfather enjoyed having small dogs that would jump up into his lap. With one dog, Pierre, he taught to do tricks like dance on his hind legs and “sing” where it sounded like he was saying “I love Mama.” Their dogs were very spoiled and would get to lick the ice cream dishes each evening.

With Goober
My grandparents with Thunder


My grandfather was a carpenter and loved making furniture. My grandparent’s home was full of items he had made in his woodshop. Picture frames, tables, cabinets, and lamps were among some of the furniture he made. My mother had a magazine rack and a bench which housed an ironing board. 

Here is the magazine rack

He made the lamp, side table and coffee table

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Tribute to Your Mother

Randy Seaver of Genea-musing has a new challenge for us this week. For this week's mission we were challenged to:
1)  This is Mother's Day weekend, and I have been thinking about my mother - the family times, the hard times, the wonderful times.
2)  For SNGF this week, write a tribute to your mother.  It can be any length.  What do you remember about her, and what did you learn from her?
3)  Share your tribute or memories in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or other social media.  Please leave a comment on this post if you post something elsewhere.
My mother was an only child but dreamed of having a big family. She did. I am the oldest of six children born in the 50s and 60s. She was fun-loving and doted on her children. But I think a big family was a bit overwhelming to her as well. It was a lot to handle, even though she was a stay-at-home homemaker.

Lela Nell Johnston was born 21 August 1934 in Stephenville, Texas to Pansy Louise Lancaster and Tom J. Johnston, Jr. Perhaps her mother doted on her. Photos of Lela, as a child, showed her in pretty dresses and fancy hair-does. There are shots of them in matching dresses.

Teenage Love
My mother was popular in her first two years of high school at Acalanes High School. She held the office of Social Secretary as a Freshman . She also had lots of dates and kept track of them with a chart.

She met my father, William J. Hork, at the Walnut Festival where she was attending with other friends. They double-dated with one of Bill’s friends and went steady afterwards. They had a very traditional wedding at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church which was written up in the newspaper.

Growing up, I remember Mom as a great cook, who was able to stretch the food dollars. She read all the women’s magazines such as McCall’s, Women’s Day, Family Circle, and Cosmopolitan.  She got lots of recipes from them, as well as the newspaper. She made shopping lists from looking at the LoRay’s grocery store ads. When I was older, we shopped together, each with a shopping cart and list.

She also saved money by sewing clothes for me and  my three sisters. She even made matching clothes for us, including shirts for my brothers. The best outfit she made for me was a matching skirt and jacket which was the rage when I was in 8th grade.
The suit made by my mother
I remember when I was young that my mother would paint using oils. At our house in Pittsburg, there was a smaller house in the backyard where she had a little studio. But by the sixth child was born, I guess she didn’t have time for painting. She was artistic in other ways. She made many items out of used things such as bowls from 78 rpm records she baked over coffee cans and then spray painted  gold, or taking old metal platters and decopaging pictures cut from old calendars or magazines. One of her favorite activities was going “junking” at second-hand stores. Finding treasures she could re-use was a highlight. All of her children seemed to inherit the love of “junking” and having a bit of the creativity bug.

Although we didn’t go out much as a family, we did play games. We played card games, dice games, and board games. She taught us a game much like the game Scattergories. We just made our own grids and used a magazine to get letters for the game. We played gin rummy, double solitaire, liars dice, and Scrabble.

Advice Giving
When I married, I called often for advice. I valued her wisdom about how to deal with household chores because I hadn’t paid as much attention to those things before. But she died young and couldn’t be a resource on how to raise my children, nor did my children get a chance to know their grandmother.

Hork Family 1978
It’s been sad having my mother gone, but the artistic trait lives on in my daughters: one is a fine artist and the other a fine actor.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday – WWII Draft Card for “Tom Junior Johnston”

Not all records can be found online and this draft card for my grandfather, Tom J Johnston, is no exception. Tom was born in 1912 and was part of the group of men born between 1897 and 1927 who registered for the draft.[1] There were men born before 1897 who also registered for the draft and their cards can be found online at and These cards are often referred to as the “Old Man’s Draft.”

So how did I get this card? I ordered the records from the National Archives in St. Louis. Information about how to order is here. There is a special form you fill out for the registrant you’re seeking and when the archives personnel find the record, you’ll receive a letter with an invoice to order the copies. The Registration Card is $7.00 and the Classification Record (including the Registration Card) is $27.[2]

Draft Card[3]
The date of the registration was October 16, 1940 at Stephenville, Texas. Most of the information on the card was typed except for Tom’s signature on the front and the registrar’s check marks and signature on the back. The information on the card was what I expected, except the Jr. that is usually at the end of his name was written out as “Junior” for his middle name. Tom’s father’s name was Thomas Newton Johnston. My grandfather has always written his name as Tom J Johnston, Jr.

At the time of the registration, he was living in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas and his address was Box 627. A telephone number was listed as 192. He was 28 years old and stated his birthdate as Oct. 7, 1912. This was the date we always celebrated his birthday. He said he was born in Gustine, Texas (which is in Comanche County). The person who would know his address was his wife, Mrs. Pansy Louise Johnston, who lived at the same address. At this time, he was working for himself, doing woodworking. He signed the card “Tom Johnston Jr.”

The description on the back of the card had check marks for white, brown eyes, blonde hair, and light complexion. He was 5 ft. 10 inches tall and weighed 182 pounds.

Registration Certificate from Tom Johnston's Wallet
Registration Certificate[4]
I have the contents of my grandfather’s wallet from when he died. One of the documents was a very worn card entitled “Registration Certificate.” This card was to certify that he had registered with the Selective Service and was to carry the card with him at all times. The information is the same as the card above and was likely filled out at the same time.

Classification Record[5]
This classification record came to me in several sections. This gives a history of the draft registration process for Tom. His serial number was 1738. The following dates were recorded:
  • date of volunteering for induction: 3-8-44,
  • date questionnaire mailed: 5-26-41,
  • date questionnaire returned: 5-28-41
  • classification III: A
  • date appeared for physical:
  • date classified: 5-24-41, 1-6-44, 1-23-44
  • date of order for induction: 3-9-44
  • time fixed for transp to induction sta: 3-24-44, 1:30 pm
  • final disposition at induction sta & date: acc, 3-25-44
  • remarks: medical survey: 7-11-44

The inserted page was the listings of classification with dates in the following columns:
  • Classification: IIIA, 1-A, 1-C, 1-C
  • col 32: 7-7-42
  • col 33: 7-11-42

U.S. Navy

Tom was inducted in the United States Navy and did leave for duty on 25 March 1944. He served the entire three and half months in Farragut, Idaho, where he received a medical discharge.[6] This discharge card was also in his wallet.

Discharge Card from Tom's wallet

[1] “Selective Service Records,” National Archives at St. Louis, : accessed 16 April 2017)
[2] ibid
[3] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Ser. No. 1738, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston, Erath Co, Texas.
[4] Selective Service Registration Card, 16 October 1940, privately held by Lisa Gorrell, [address for private use], Martinez, CA 94553. Draft Card. Passed on to me by Pansy Johnston, wife of Tom J Johnston
[5] World War II Draft Registration Records, Selective Service Records, National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, Classification Record, Erath Co TX, p. 59, order no. 1870, Tom Junior Johnston.
[6] "Certificate of Discharge,'" Tom Johnston Jr., U.S. Navy, National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Lunch With a Fearless Female

Randy Seaver of Genea-musing has an assignment for us this week:

1) This is March, the month for Fearless Females posts, started by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog - see her Fearless Females blogging prompts for 2017 at

2) Answer this question for March 16 (I've changed it a bit): If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead), or any famous female, who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you talk about?

3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google+.

I participated in this blogging meme back in 2012 and wrote specifically about my great-great grandmother, Martha J. Coor.  Click here to see the post. I still wish I could ask her the question.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday – Deed: Mary Lancaster to Lancaster Heirs

I’ve been in Salt Lake City this week conducting some research at the Family History Library where I have been viewing microfilmed images of deed records for Shelby County, Kentucky, where my five times great-grandfather, Robert Lancaster died.

I had previously concentrated on the estate records for Robert and wondered why there weren’t any records mentioning his wife, Mary. I have no vital information about this wife at all, so had no idea if she was still alive.

However, I found in the deed records a deed recorded on 26 October 1840 between 
“Mary Lancaster widow of R. Lancaster of Shelby County Kentucky of the one part and Ellis Lancaster, John Lancaster, Creath Neill & Lenis Ann his wife, Robert N Myers & Mary E his wife, William Lancaster, Josiah Lancaster & Eliza Jane Lancaster of the other part.”[1]
The people listed as the “second part” were Robert’s children: Ellis, John, Lenis Ann, Mary E, William, Josiah, and Eliza Jane.

It went on to state that 
“Robert Lancaster departed this life intestate (meaning without a will) leaving considerable real and personal estate to one third of which the said Mary as his widow is entitled during her natural life.”
Mary was not the mother of the above children. She was Robert’s third wife, though I have not found the marriage record yet.

So the parties of the second part have 
“agreed to pay the said Mary Lancaster $2800 in cash and give her a negro girl named Teresa about fifteen or sixteen years old & also to give to said Mary the household furniture which the said Mary owned at the time of her intermarriage with the said Robert.”
 This Teresa was not listed in the slave inventory of the estate.[2]

First part of the deed Mary Lancaster to Lancaster Heirs
Shelby Co KY Deeds, Bk G2, p. 231
Mary Lancaster  then relinquished and quit claimed her interest and claim to the estate of Robert Lancaster. The deed went on to describe the estate as a tract of land in Shelby County on Bullskin containing three hundred and thirty one acres and on which Robert resided at the time of his death, eleven slaves, his stock of cattle, hogs and sheep, housing and kitchen furniture, farming utensils, bonds, notes, cash, all and every other species of real personal or mixed.

She signed the deed with a mark, indicating that either she could not write or was too infirmed to write.

So this deed indicated that Mary Lancaster was living at the time of Robert’s death. It explained why I never saw anything about the widow in Robert Lancaster’s estate records and why she hadn’t become the administratrix of the estate. Was this buyout an indication of how Robert’s children thought of Robert’s current wife? Or had the wife asked for the buyout? Unfortunately the deed didn’t answer that question.

[1] Shelby County, Kentucky Deeds, Bk G2, p. 231-32, Lancaster to Lancaster heirs; FHL film 259241.
[2] Shelby County, Kentucky Probate, Bk 14, p 64, Inventory of Robert Lancaster’s Estate; digital images, FamilySearch ( : 22 Sep 2016); citing FHL film 259254, item 3.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Friday, January 27, 2017

On This Day – The Birth of Nathaniel H. Osborne Polly, January 27, 1820

My maternal fourth great-grandfather, Nathaniel H. Osborne Polly is one of my brick walls. I have written a little about him before when I wrote about his wife, Lydia in this post. I know a little about his life but not who his parents were.

His tombstone photo shows a birth date of January 27, 1820.[1] According to the Find-a-Grave memorial for him, he was a “medical doctor, a Judge, a farmer and a gospel minister.”  That’s a lot of occupations. Let’s look at what I know from records I have found.

In 1850, he was listed as a “C. Bap. Minister” living in Dallas County, Texas.[2] The “C” might stand for Christian. The Bap. is probably for “Baptist” and the minister is clear. From most of the records I have found on him, he was a minister.

In 1860, he and his family were living in Montague County, Texas. The occupation on the census was listed as “M.D.”[3] I can see where the creator of the Find of Grave memorial might think that he was a medical doctor. This M.D. could also mean master of divinity. 

1860 U.S. census, Montague County, Texas for H.O. Polly
In 1870, he and his family were living in Kaufman County, Texas. Here his occupation was listed in the census as Minister Gospel.[4] Clearly he was still a minister.

In 1880, the sixty-one-year-old Nathan Polly was listed as a farmer.[5]

The next available census was 1900 and he was listed as a minister and he reported he had zero months not employed which would indicate that he was still working as a minister.[6]

He passed away 2 November 1902 and was buried in Rockwall County, Texas at the Rockwall Memorial Park.[7]  A search of the death indexes on FamilySearch resulted in zero returns.

From these census records, it is clear that he listed his occupation as a minister. He was definitely also a farmer, at least in a minor way. More research is needed to determine if he was ever a judge or a doctor.

Future research needed
  • Check out this website: for mentions of NHO Polly. There are bios, obituaries, and a photo of him.
  • Look for land records in Montague, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties.
  • Look for records that might name Nathaniel Polly as a judge or justice of the peace in Montague, Dallas, Rockwall, or Kaufman counties.
  • Check out trees on and the FamilySearch Family Tree for possible ties to Nathaniel’s parents.

[1] Find A Grave, database with images ( : 9 Sep 2011), Memorial# 30074063, Rockwall Memorial Park, Rockwall TX, Dr. Nathaniel H. Osborne Polly.
[2] 1850 U.S. census, Dallas Co, Texas, pop. sched., p. 93 (stamped), dwelling 305, family 314, Nathan H. O. Polly, digital images, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2010), citing NARA M432, roll 910.
[3] 1860 U.S. census, Montague Co, Texas, pop. sched., p. 76b (stamped), dwelling 721, family 743, H. O. Polley, digital image, ( accessed 21 Dec 2010); citing NARA M653, roll 1301.
[4] 1870 U.S. census, Kaufman Co, Texas, pop. sched., p. 31, dwelling 372, family 386, N.H.O. Polly, digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2010), citing NARA M593, roll 1594.
[5] 1880 U.S. census, Rockwall Co, Texas, pop. sched., District 30, enumeration district (ED) 30, p. 600 (stamped), dwelling 183, family 184, Nathan Polly, digital image, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2010), citing NARA T9, roll 1324.
[6] 1900 U.S. census, Dallas Co, Texas, pop. sched., ED 143, sheet sht 2a, p. 179 (stamped), dwelling 32, family 32, N.H.O. Polly, digital image, ( accessed 21 Dec 2010), citing NARA T623, roll 1626.
[7] Find A Grave, database with images ( : 9 Sep 2011), Memorial# 30074063, Rockwall Memorial Park, Rockwall TX, Dr. Nathaniel H. Osborne Polly.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On This Day - Birth of George Warren Lancaster - January 19, 1893

One hundred and twenty-three years ago, my maternal great-grandfather, George Warren Lancaster was born, 19 January 1893.[1] His parents were William Carlton Lancaster and Martha Jane Coor. George was the eldest of six children.

His delayed birth certificate, dated  6 July 1942 and signed by his father, William C Lancaster, stated he was born in Victor, Erath County, Texas. According to The Handbook of Texas, Victor was settled shortly after the Civil War and was located in western Erath County on Farm Road 2156 a mile south of Desdemona. During the 1890s there were general stores and a post office that was later discontinued in 1907.[2]

Here is a satellite map of the area today. All that is left is the Victor Cemetery which is located at the corner of roads 2156 and 357. As you can see, it is clearly farming country and George’s father, William was a farmer.

Victor was in the area of Roads 2156 & 357.

According to his World War I Draft card, he stated he was tall of medium build and had dark brown hair and eyes.[3] In fact, he still had dark brown hair when he died at the age of 71.[4]

He worked as a farmer in the early part of his life and later worked as an auto mechanic. My grandmother stated, “he was good with cars and would work on them on Sundays after church when big groups of people would come with food and their cars to be worked on.  He later worked with Ford Motor Co in Stephenville.”[5] His obituary stated he had been the shop foreman for the old Reid Sales Company.[6]

[1] Erath County, Texas, Births, Volume 11, p 250, delayed birth record for George Warren Lancaster, 1893; FHL film 1428139.
[2] “Victor, Texas,” The Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association,
[3] "WW I Draft Registration," database and images, ( : accessed 28 Jul 2008), George Warren Lancaster.
[4] Letter from Pearl Weatherly to Pansy L. Johnston, 15 Nov 1964, describing how he looked at the viewing.
[5] Interview of Pansy L. Johnston, daughter of George Warren Lancaster, by Lisa S. Gorrell, 3 June 1995.
[6] “Warren Lancaster,” obituary, Stephenville Empire-Tribune, 13 Nov 1964, p 4.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Happy Blogiversary & Happy 100th Blog Post!

Today is a big milestone.

This is the 100th blog post I have written and the 6th anniversary of the beginning of this blog.

I began the blog on January 15, 2011, through a blog writing class I took at California Genealogical Society, taught by Craig Siulinski. It was something I wanted to do but wasn’t really sure what I would focus on. I finally settled on writing about my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster’s family and this was my first post.

In the beginning it was hard to get started. I learned from the Geneabloggers website, that there were blogging memes I could use and I have done that off and on, especially at the beginning. But I finally learned that what worked best was to write about my discoveries as I researched my grandmother’s family.

So what have I written in six years?

I discovered I have only written four posts specifically about my grandmother:

She was included in other posts:
6 Generations of My Maternal Lineand many of the posts labeled “Johnston Family.”

I have written about many of her ancestors and collateral lines:
  • Coor Family
  • Welch Family
  • Lancaster Family
  • Nixon Family
  • Polly Family
  • Loveless Family
  • Rogers Family

Just click on the labels at the right to see these posts.

The Loveless and Lancaster families have the most posts, 51 for Lancaster and 25 for Loveless.
Of course this is all based on the labels I put when I wrote the posts. In the beginning it was difficult to determine what labels I wanted. I have worked through that, trying to label a post with as many subjects that I might like to sort later in time.

In the past year, since my grandmother died, I have focused more heavily on research and the discussion of what I have learned. I am currently working on Robert Lancaster’s estate in Shelby County, Kentucky and the Lancaster families who lived in Erath County, Texas from newspaper accounts. There will be a continuation of both series in the future.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, January 8, 2017

On This Day – Birth of Elizabeth Rebecca Young on 8 January 1804

Elizabeth Rebecca Young was born 8 Jan 1804[1] to unknown parents. According to the 1850 census in Copiah County, Mississippi, Elizabeth was born in Georgia.[2] She married Dempsey Welch on 21 January 1821 in Clarke County, Alabama.[3]  Their daughter, Melissa Ann Welch, was my fourth-great-grandmother, who married James Madison Coor.

1821 Marriage of Dempsey Welch & Elizabeth Young, Clarke Co AL

I have thirteen children born to the couple with six of them dying as young children and seven living to adulthood. This information came from the book Welch Family compiled by Mary Helen Sims. As I review the page about Dempsey and Elizabeth, it does give the name of her mother as "Elizabeth Young, daughter of Col. James Welch, brother of A. Dempsey" Welch. The information might have come from a Family Bible.  

Elizabeth died 1 Jul 1852 in Copiah County, Mississippi and was buried at the Welch Plantation Cemetery. The tombstones were read and the information published in a book in 1954.[4] There are photos of her tombstone and Dempsey’s tombstone on the Welch Cemetery page of the MS GenWeb Project website.[5] Her birthdate and death date can be clearly read from the photo.

The Find a Grave memorial has the death date as Jan 21, 1862 but there are no photos of the tombstone at her memorial.[6] I can see from the photo at the MS GenWeb site that someone might interpret 1862 from the image. It looks like the stone had been broken once. Also, from the 1860 census I found Dempsey living only with a man named William Smith.[7]

It is obvious I need to add to my to-do list finding Elizabeth Rebecca Young’s parents. The first place might be to look for her where Dempsey Welch’s family lived in Georgia.  The second place would be FamilySearch Family Tree and Ancestry Member Trees to see if someone else has possible parents for her.

[1] Mississippi Genealogical Society, editor, Cemetery & Bible Records Vol 1 (Mississippi: n.p., 1954.), 44, Welch.
[2] 1850 U.S. census, Copiah County, Mississippi, pop. sched., p. 268b, dwelling 898, family 898, Dempsey Welch,  digital images,  ( : accessed 21 Mar 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration M432, roll 371.
[3] Alabama, Clarke County, Marriages, , "Marriage Record, Volume A, 1814-1834," p. 111, 1821, Welch-Young; FHL film 1290227.
[4] Mississippi Genealogical Society, editor, Cemetery & Bible Records Vol 1 (Mississippi: n.p., 1954.), 44, Welch.
[6] Find A Grave, database with images ( : ), Memorial# 17312910, Welch Plantation Cemetery, Copiah Co MS, Elizabeth Rebecca Young Welch.
[7]1860 U.S. census, Copiah Co, Mississippi, pop. sched, p. 161 (933 in corner), dwelling 1121, family 1130, Dempsey Welch, digital image, ( : accessed 21 Mar 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration, M653, roll 580.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Friday, January 6, 2017

Robert Lancaster Estate Continued: Division of Robert Lancaster’s Land in Shelby County, Kentucky

In the January Term 1843 of Shelby County Court, the land of the Robert Lancaster estate was divided among the heirs of Robert Lancaster.[1] Robert’s estate was entered into probate on 12 October 1840 with Josiah Lancaster, John Lancaster, Creath Neel, Robert Myers, Wm Lancaster, and Wm Price as bondsmen. Josiah Lancaster was appointed administrator.[2]

I haven’t discovered yet why they waited over two years to divide the land between the heirs. The division begins,
“On motion of John S. Lancaster, Ellis W. Lancaster, Josiah R. Lancaster and Wm T. Lancaster who filed their notice herein to Creath Neill and Lewis Mary Ann his wife, Robert N Myers and Elizabeth his wife and Creth Neill as Guardian to Eliza Jane Lancaster, heirs of Robert Lancaster decd which notice was proven in open court to have been executed on the parties. It is ordered that Wm A. Hamblin, Arthur Chambers, James Maguire & John Crawford or any three of them being first sworn do appraise the lands of which Robert Lancaster decd died seized & possessed between his heirs and legal representatives and that they make report thereof to the court.”
The children of Robert Lancaster listed here were sons John S., Ellis W., Josiah R, and William T, and daughters Lennis, Mary Elizabeth, and Eliza Jane. Two of the daughters, Lennis and Mary Elizabeth were married to Creath Neel and Robert N Myers. Creath Neel was also the guardian for Eliza Jane. He had been appointed guardian to Eliza Jane in the January 1843 term.[3]

So why was there a delay in appointing a guardian for Eliza Jane? Is it possible that Robert’s wife was still alive and had since died? There was no mention of a wife in Robert’s first probate papers. One of his sons was appointed administrator instead of a wife. According to a family tree, Robert’s third wife was Mary Taylor, but his second wife, Jane was the mother of Eliza Jane Lancaster, who was born about 1832.[4] There are no sources for the marriages in this tree.

Back to the division of the land. The plat was laid out at 100 poles to inch and drawn in the probate book. 

Division of the land of Robert Lancaster, decd in Shelby Co, Kentucky
The land was surveyed and divided on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of January 1843. My guess, there wasn’t much or any snow on the ground. It was done by Arthur Chambers, James Maguire, and John Crawford. This survey was done on land that was located on the waters of Bullskin and Floids fork. They began by describing the total land:
“Beginning at a stone at A corner to James Neal, Thence with his line S69W 41 poles to a stone at B corner to Charles Ellis, Thence with his line N20 ¼W 162½ poles to a stone corner to Wilson Maddox, Thence with his line N71½E 112¾ poles to a stone corner to said Maddox and the heirs of Samuel Ellis decd, Thence with their line N70E 117½ poles to a stone corner to Garland Williams, Thence with his line S20¼E 93½ poles to white oak corner to said Williams, Thence with his line S80¾E 6⅔ poles to a Hickory corner to said Williams, thence with his line S8E 63 poles to a Honey Locust corner to said Williams in Wm Williams line, Thence with his line S69¼W 78¼ poles to a Beech corner to Wm Williams, Thence with his line S19¾E 166¼ poles to a stone corner to said Williams in Allen Kinkeads line, thence with his & James Neals lines S68W 103 3/5 poles to a stone corner to James Neals, Thence with his line N19¼W 170½ poles to the Beginning containing three hundred & thirty eight acres and five poles.”
This describes the land as drawn but also gives clues to the neighbors of Robert Lancaster. Each time the line changed direction there is a “thence” which I have shown underlined. Each of the neighbors are listed above in blue. Next the names of the neighbors could be written in on the lines.

After the surveyors drew up the complete description of Robert’s land, they divided the land into lots. There are a total of 9 lots, even though there were only seven heirs. Each of the lots were also described in the same manner.
“Lot No 1 allotted to William Lancaster Beginning at a stake at near the stable, thence N20¼W 40 poles to a stake at 2, Thence S68W 40 poles to a stake at 3, thence S20¼E 40 poles to a stake at 4, Thence N68E 40 poles to the Beginning containing ten acres.”
As you can see with lot no. 1, it is a small square that has numbers written on the corners. This lot was drawn inside of lot no. 6. His total acreage was ten acres.
"Lot no. 2 and Lot no. 4 allotted to John S Lancaster. No.2  Beginning at a stone at A, thence N68E 47 poles to a stake at 5, thence S19¼E 170½ poles to a stake at 6, thence S68W 47 poles to a stone at L, thence N19¼W 170½ poles to Beginning Containing fifty acres & four poles, No. 4 Beginning at a stone at A thence S69W 41 5/6 poles to a stone at B, thence N20¼W 38 poles to a stake at 7, thence N69E 41 5/6 poles to a stake 8, thence S20¼E 38 poles to the Beginning containing nine acres one hundred and fifty two poles."
John S. received two lots (2 & 4) that totaled 59 acres and 156 poles, much more than William’s share.
“Lot no. 3 and Lot No. 5 allotted to Ellis Lancaster. No 3. Beginning at a stone at K, thence S68W 56 3/5 poles to a stake at 6 corner to Lot No. 2, Thence N19¼W 143 poles to stake at 10, thence N68E 55½ poles to a stake at 11, thence S19¾E 143 poles to the Beginning, containing fifty acres and 3 poles. No. 5 Beginning at a stake at 7 corner to lot No. 4, Thence N20¼W 38 poles to a stake at 9, thence N69E 41 5/6 poles to a stake at 3 corner to Lot no. 1, thence S20¼E 38 poles to a stake at 8 corner to lot no. 4, thence S69W 41 5/6 poles to the Beginning containing nine acres and one hundred and fifty two poles.”
Ellis received two lots (3 & 5) that totaled 59 acres and 155 poles.
“Lot no. 6 allotted to Lenis Ann Neal. Beginning at a stone at A corner to Lot No. 4, thence N20¼W 36 poles to a stake at 4 corner to lot No. 1, thence N68E 40 poles to a stake at 1 corner to lot no. 1, thence N20¼W 40 poles to a stake at 2 corner to Lot no. 1, thence S68W 81 5/6 poles to a stake at 9 corner to lot no. 5, thence N20¼W 86 ½ poles to a stake at 6 corner to Wilson Maddox, thence with his line N71½E 71 poles to a stake at 13 thence S20¼E 79½ poles to a stake at 12, thence N68E 18 poles to a stake at 18, thence S20¼E 80 poles to a stake at 5 corner to lot No. 2, thence S68W 47 poles to the Beginning containing fifty acres and forty five poles.”
Lenis Ann received one lot (6) that totaled 50 acres and 45 poles.
“Lot no. 7 except the graveyard allotted to Eliza Jane Lancaster, Beginning at a stake at 10 corner to Lot no. 3, thence N20¼W 107½ poles to a stake at 18 corner to Lot No. 6, thence S68W 18 poles to a stake at 12 corner to Lot no. 6, thence N20¼W 79½ poles to a stake at 13 corner to Lot no. 6, thence N71½E  41¾ poles to a stone at L, thence N70E 13 3/8 poles to a stake at 14, thence N20¼E 185 poles to a stake at 15 in a line of lot no. ?[hidden by book binding, but from map should be lot no.3], thence S68W 37½ poles to the beginning containing fifty two acres and 31 poles.
Eliza Jane Lancaster received one lot (7) that totaled 52 acres and 31 poles.
“Lot no. 8 allotted to Josiah Lancaster. Beginning at a Bech [Beech?] at J, thence S19¾E 23 Poles to a stake at 11 corner to Lot no. 3, thence S68W 18 poles to a stake at 10 corner to Lot no. 7, thence N20¼W 185 poles to a stake at 14, thence N70E 49 2/3 poles to a stake at 17, thence S20¼E 159½ poles to a stake at 16, thence S69¼ W31¼ poles to the Beginning containing fifty two acres and twenty eight poles.”
Josiah R. Lancaster received one lot (8) that totaled 52 acres and 28 poles.
“Lot no. 9 allotted to Mary Elizabeth Myers Beginning at a stake at 16 corner to Lot No. 5, thence N20¼W 159½ poles to a stake at 17 corner to Lot No. 8, thence N70E 53 6/10 poles to a stone at E, Thence S20¼E 92½ poles to a white oak at F, thence S80¾E 6 2/3 poles to a Hickory at G, thence S8E 63 poles to a Honey Locust at H, thence S69¼ W 47 poles to the Beginning containing fifty three acres and seventy poles.”
Mary Elizabeth Myers received one lot totaling 53 acres and 70 poles.

The surveyors’ report continued by saying:
“by the heirs drawing which they aid as follows: Lot no. 1 was drawn by William Lancaster which contains the dwelling house & Lot no. 2 and Lot No. 4 by John S Lancaster, Lot no. 3 and lot no. 5 by Ellis Lancaster, Lot no. 6 by Lennis Ann Lancaster, Lot No. 7 except the one fourth of an acre laid off so as to include the Graveyard by Eliza Jane Lancaster, Lot no. 9 was drawn by Mary Elizabeth Myers. The graveyard was reserved by the request of the heirs and the drawing was done by themselves, their husband, guardian, or agents according to which we allotted to each of them all of which we respectfully report to the Shelby County Court.”
In this last paragraph, we learn that the heirs were part of the allotment and drawing. Some were present, some might have had an agent because they lived elsewhere. By the time his father had passed away, Ellis W. Lancaster was living in Lewis County, Missouri.[5] I cannot tell from this document whether he was present at the division of the land.

We also learned that William Lancaster received the small piece but it had the dwelling house, and perhaps other outbuildings such as a barn and sheds. There was no mention if lots 4 or 5 had any buildings but the way they were cut from lot 6 and their proximity to lot 1 where the house was located, it was possible that other outbuildings were in no. 4 or 5.

Here is a summary of the division in table form where it is easier to see how the division played out for each heir. Also I have labeled the map with the allotments.

Division of the land of Robert Lancaster, deceased
Extra Info
William Lancaster
Lot No. 1
Ten acres
Dwelling house
John S. Lancaster
Lots Nos. 2 and 4
59 acres and 156 poles

Ellis Lancaster
Lots Nos. 3 and 5
59 acres and 155 poles

Lennis Ann Lancaster
Lot No. 6
50 acres and 45 poles

Eliza Jane Lancaster
Lot No. 7
52 acres and 31 poles

Josiah R Lancaster
Lot No. 8
52 acres and 28 poles

Mary Elizabeth Myers
Lot No. 9
53 acres and 70 poles
Less the acre graveyard

Division, labeled
Did they children sell the land or keep it and passed it down to their heirs? The next blog post will describe what happened to the shares.

[1] Shelby County, Kentucky Probate, Bk 15, p. 106-07, Robert Lancaster Division, FHL film 259257, digital image, FamilySearch (https// : accessed 24 Sep 2016).
[2] Shelby County, Kentucky Probate Records, Bonds, p. 171, Robert Lancaster estate, Josiah Lancaster administrator, FHL 259272, digital image, FamilySearch (https// : accessed 24 Sep 2016).
[3] Shelby County, Kentucky Probate Records, Order Book, p. 171, William C Price vs Creath Niell Gd to Eliza Jane Lancaster, heir of Robert Lancaster, decd, FHL film 259265, digital image, FamilySearch (https// : accessed 24 Sep 2016).
[4] Nancy Mathews, “Prince Edward Co., VA Lancaster’s,” 23 Mar 2002, (, Robert “Robin” Lancaster (1784-1840) entry.
[5] 1840 U.S. census, Lewis Co, Missouri, pop. sched., p. 186, Ellis Lancaster, digital image, ( : accessed 20 Jan 2011); citing NARA M704, roll 225.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family