Thursday, May 3, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 18: Close-up of the Jones & Johnston Family in Comanche Co, Texas

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

When we first find our ancestors in a census record, we tend to just focus on that one family on the page. We carefully record the head of household, his wife, and children into our genealogy program or into a word processing document. There might be others in the household such as one of the parents or in-laws, or perhaps a sibling or servant.

It is a good practice to at least look at the census entries before and after the targeted family. I try to look a page or two before and after the family and record the head of household’s first and last names. At first glance, we may not know whether any of these people are kin, especially if they are not of the same surname.

I have a family on a page in Comanche County, Texas, where nearly everyone on the page were kin.[1] But I didn’t know this at first glance because I was focused on my family, listed as M. Reubin Johnston. Next door was J. Marian Johnston, a likely brother and in his household, Elizabeth Johnston, their likely mother.

However, above Marion was Henry Wright and Mary Wright, his wife. 

And above him was George Knox and Bettie Knox, his wife. In his household were several Joneses: Amanda Jones, his mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Laura and Mattie Jones

And above George was Thomas W. Jones.

Below Reubin was James McDonald and Sarah McDonald, his wife.

What was common with all of the wives of these men was their birthplace of Mississippi. Every woman except Sarah were sisters. They were the daughters of Amanda Jones and the sister to Thomas W. Jones. Sarah was the sister of Reuben and Marion Johnston.

In this close proximity were seven families living next door to each other who were interrelated. The common thread was the family of Reuben's wife, Olivia: her mother, Amanda Jones and her siblings.This is a real close-up of a tight knit family.

[1] 1880 U.S. census, Comanche Co, Texas, ED 30, p 95a, fam 173, M. Reubin Johnston, digital image, Ancestry (, citing NARA T9, roll 1297.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

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