Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday~Thomas Jasper Williams-Leading Me To Family

 My Step-Grandfather Francis "Frank" Emerson Sullivan, Jr. (1923-2004) never knew much about his family since both of his parents died when he was a child. He was raised by his mother's Father and Step-Mother. By the time Frank was 19 they had also passed away. 
  Frank's parents are buried in Quaker Cemetery, Camden, Kershaw, South Carolina. His father's military headstone is on the right, not too far from the front gate, his mother's next to his in an unmarked grave. His Grandparents and other family members were not buried there, or so he believed.

 Visiting Quaker Cemetery is something done quite often as there are many of my family members buried there. On one visit, I again walked over to Frank's parents graves. Reflecting on the fact that I still hadn't found much about their ancestors, I silently said a prayer and out loud explained to them that they needed to help me find their people! The thought occurred to me that I had never walked around to see who was buried near them. 
Wouldn't you know, right in front of the Sullivan graves was the headstone for a Thomas J. Williams (1858-1938) and his wife Ella Taylor Williams (1867-1930). 

Thomas Jasper Williams
Quaker Cemetery, Camden, Kershaw, South Carolina
@Cheri Hudson Passey

Williams. Frank's mother's maiden name was Williams! Was there a connection?

After a few weeks of searching for information on this newly found couple I discovered that yes, Thomas Jasper Williams was in fact the son of Frank's 3rd Great Grandfather!  The jury is still out as to whether Frank's Great Great Grandmother had his Grandfather out of wedlock or if she was a widow and the name of his Williams Great Great Grandfather is unknown. Either way, Thomas is related to Frank via his maternal Williams line. This information lead me back several generations to find a Civil War Hero and a new surname, Young, to research. 

I needed a little shove that day. I needed to be reminded of something I already knew. When doing cemetery research, always look for and record the information on the surrounding headstones.There may not seem to be a connection at the time, but cemeteries are like little communities. Often family, friends, and neighbors are buried close by.
 Was it Frank, his parents or Thomas himself? I'll never know, but I know that our ancestors want to be found and if we will let them, they will help us!

Have you discovered unknown ancestors while visiting a cemetery? Did you feel like you were being lead to them? I would love to hear your story!

Are we kin? Need help with your research? Please contact me.
Together we can find our people.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



  1. Cheri, I do believe there are time my ancestors have nudged me in the right direction, whispering to me to look at a document just one more time, visit an out of the way library or pursue an old book. My ancestors deserve thanks for my discoveries.

    1. So true, Colleen! Without their help, much wouldn't get discovered!