Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Almost Here! Who Will You Find?

1940 census

 What a fun way to explain what you can find out about your people and how to search for them!
Can't wait to get started searching and indexing!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Surnames Saturday-Williams of Kershaw County,SC

 On the 18th of May, 1952, my widowed Grandmother Azile Daughrity Roberts married Francis Emerson Sullivan Jr. in Camden, SC.  
Frank and Azile  Sullivan on their honeymoon in New York

 "Frank" as we all affectionately called him was a wonderful man. He knew very little about his family as his  father, Frances Emerson Sullivan (1880-1925), died when he was 3, and his mother, Christine Williams Sullivan (5 Dec. 1856-25 June 1930), died when he was 7.
  At the time of Christine Williams Sullivan's death, she and her son Frank were living with her father James L. "Jim"  Williams ( 3 Jan. 1873), Step-mother Sallie Griggs Williams (1885-25 Jan. 1942). They can be found in the 1930 US Federal Census for Camden, Kershaw, SC. Christine was widowed in 1925 when her husband was killed in Miami, Fla. by a tornado. She would die from TB just a few months after the 1930 census was taken.
  Frank continued to live with his grandparents after his mother's death and also spent time with his mother's brother John Edward  "Ed" Williams and his family.  
 Death struck the family again in 1937 when  Frank's grandfather Jim died. Frank continued to live with his Step-grandmother Sallie during his school years and then became a Fireman for the city of Camden until his service in WWII.
  Before Frank's death in 2004, I had asked him many times about his Williams family. The only thing he knew was his mother's and grandparent's names.  He knew that his parents were buried in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden, SC, and had showed me his father's headstone and the unmarked grave of his mother. He had heard that his grandmother, Jim's first wife, was Lizzie Pettigrew but wasn't sure. 
So who were Frank's people?  So far I have found Christine Williams Sullivan's death certificate and it does show that her mother was Lizzie Pettigrew. Further research uncovered a delayed birth certificate for her brother John Edward Williams that has his mother listed as Elizabeth Pettigrew. Since she is not found in the 1900 census, Lizzy must have died between her son's birth in 1893 and 1900.
 I have looked for Jim Williams in the Census to try to find his family. Jas. L. Williams is found in the 1900 US Federal Census of Camden, Kershaw, SC. He was 27 and a widow living with his children Christine and Ed. The head of the household is W. Swygert  and wife Ann. Jim's relationship is listed as Step-son. Another interesting person living in the household is Nancy Williams, widowed, age 67 and listed as Mother-in-Law. It looks as if Ann may be James' mother and Nancy his grandmother.
  In the 1880 Census for the same area there is Jas. Williams, aged 7, living with head of household Nancy Williams. James is listed as grandson. There is a granddaughter, aged 5, named G.W.,  son Thomas aged 19 and single and daughter Ann , 26, listed as single. Looks like the same family. Is Ann James' and G.W.'s mother? Is the check for single a mistake and is she really widowed? Is she the same Ann married to W. Swygert in the 1900 census?   
    A discovery at the Quaker Cemetery in Camden helped me to feel that I am on the right track with this family. I was taking a picture of the grave site of Francis Sullivan, Sr. and Christine Williams Sullivan and decided to take a look around. It's always a good idea to see if there are any family members who are buried close by. To my surprise I found the headstone for Thomas J. Williams (26 Dec.1858-16 Jan. 1938). I was thrilled! He was buried right in front of the grave of Frances Sullivan, Sr. and next to wife Ella Taylor Williams. I quickly turned back to the census records to see that his birth date fit that of the Thomas listed as the son of Joseph and Nancy Williams. Further investigation lead me to Kornagay Funeral Home Records, Camden, SC, and the following:

Williams, Thomas Jasper DOB-12/26/1857 DOD-1/16/1938 Parents-Joe & Nancy Young Williams Widowed POB-Camden, SC Interment-Quaker Cemetery.
 Now I had further information to support a family tie, father's name AND a maiden name for Nancy!  

   A look farther back shows Nancy Williams married to Joseph  N. Williams in the 1860 US Federal Census of  Kershaw District. Unfortunately all the children's names are listed as initials and not full names. There is a female of the right age with the first initial A for a possible Ann. There is also a corresponding  male T. that fits her brother Thomas.
    Joseph N. Williams died before the 1870 census, so I looked in the Civil War Muster Rolls on In it I found a J.N. Williams who served from Kershaw County, SC.  He fought in the battle of Cold Harbor in June of 1864 and died in July 1864 of wounds suffered there. He was in the hospital in Va. and then was furloughed.  I have looked, but so far not found any pension information for Nancy to help connect this J.N. Williams. So far it is just circumstantial evidence.
Recently I found out that my Aunt, who grew up and still lives in Camden, went to school with a member of the Williams family!  I got the phone number and made that call. I spoke to the daughter of James P. Williams who was the cousin of Frank. James and Frank were good friends and spent a lot of time together. As a matter of fact they were listed living together with their grandparents in the 1930 census.  Jimmie had great memories of her "Uncle" Frank as she called him. She was excited to help me and gave me more contact information. She also has some pictures to share. Family history was not something she had thought of doing but got excited about the search while talking to me.

So on this Surname Saturday I present the Williams Family of Camden, Kershaw County, SC in hopes that  someone out there may know answers to who Frank Sullivan's people were.  Was Ann Williams the mother of  Frank's grandfather James? Maybe there were two Ann's. A daughter and daughter-in-law?
 Was the J.N Williams who served in the Civil War from Kershaw County the same Joseph N. Williams who was the husband of Nancy?  I can't wait to discover the answers and more!

And remember-
 In just 9 days the 1940 Census will be released! Where was Frank Sullivan and the rest of his Williams family living? Please consider joining the 1940 US Census Project and becoming an indexer. For more information just click on this link and help us all find our people!