One thing I learned researching my family tree is names carry on from generation to generation. Knowing these family names helps make connections.
For example: My Great Grandfather is Aaron Edward Spence (B: 1906). His brother was Enoch Spence (B: 1894). Their father was Aaron Edward Spence (B: 1853). His father was Enoch Spence (B: 1807, D: 1880-1900).
I found this on Ireland naming patterns. My family is far from Irish, but some of these patterns seem to ring true with African-American ancestry.
I was able to make these connections by names alone. But to prove it, I ordered marriage and death certificates. But it proved, at least in my family, the names of your ancestors can help you make family connections.
For the sake of blogging, I’m only going to use one variation of the last name.
William M. LOWRY was born abt 1871. When I was researching him in the beginning, I only found him on the 1900 Census living with his wife Harriett (BANKS) and their children, Annie P (B: 1892), Maggie (B: 1893), George T. (B: 1894), Rosa J. (B: 1895), Martha A (B: 1899). I knew he had to be on earlier census that listed William. So, I did what any good amateur genealogist would do. I searched Ancestry.com by soundex.
That’s when I came across a William LOWERY and his wife Ann in Newland, Pasquotank, NC on the 1880 Census. This LOWERY was born abt 1820 in VA and I knew he couldn’t be the LOWRY I was looking for. He was much too old. In their home were grandsons of Issaac BOYKIN (B: abt 1868), William BARKER (B: abt 1871) and Alfred FEREBEE (B: abt 1875).
I started researching this William LOWERY and his wife Ann. On the 1870 Census, he’s listed as Wm LOWRY (B: abt 1817). In his home is his wife Annie (B: abt 1816), daughter Martha (B: 1852) and son James L (B: 1854).
With help of FRSNNC, I was able to make some connections. William BARKER listed on the 1880 census with his grandfather William LOWERY, is probably my William LOWRY. They are the same age. Considering that the elder LOWERY had a daughter old enough to have a child of his age. I began to think of the term ‘throw away baby’ and maybe my ancestor was the product of that. It’s possible that by the time he married, he decided to take the last name of his grandparents.
What I have been able to confirm is:
- My great aunt said that William Lowry (B: 1871) had a younger sister named Cora that married Jordan Thornton. Was able to find a marriage certificate for Cora Alphenia HOWARD age 69 and Jordan THORNTON age 71. Her parents are listed as James HOWELL and Martha LAURY Howell. (NOTE: I did the genealogical happy dance when I got this death certificate!)
- My aunt also told me that Cora lived in Washington DC when she met her in the 40’s or 50’s.
- Martha LOWRY married James HOWELL about 1877. I know this b/c in 1880 she’s living with her husband and children. The oldest being 3.
Cora is the link to help with this line of my family. Now, I’m looking for a death certificate.