I’ve been doing a more than average amount of research this week – and I’m loving it! But I haven’t taken any time to write about it, so I thought I’d jot some quick thoughts.
I’ve been working my way “up” my family tree – double checking sources, updating notes and FTM, spending time in the library – all things that I don’t normally get to do as much as I’d like during the school year. I reached my Stephens branch and realized that I had never put together any notes for this family, so I’ve been working on those and as I’ve been doing that, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at some sources that I’ve never checked before. I’ve had Andrew J. Stephens, son of William Stephens in my Russell County line for a long time, but I’ve never taken the research outside of Kentucky. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to do that.
I knew that Andrew was born in Mississippi because of census records, but I didn’t know where. I think I’m getting closer to figuring that out. I was able to find a marriage record for Andrew Stephens and Lucy Stephens (aha! That really WAS her maiden name!) in 1858 in Ripley County, Missouri. I had never considered searching Missouri and I’m still not sure what the connection is to that state. Because I have no family information for Lucy, I wonder if that’s where her line comes from, but so far, no luck in finding that. I do not find a Lucy Stephens of the correct age in an 1850 Missouri census, so that train of thought is on hold for now.
Andrew and Lucy didn’t stay in Missouri for long. They had 1 daughter there (Nancy E.) and then all 3 of them show up in the 1860 census in Alabama living with Andrew’s family – William Stephens and Nancy Wiggleton/Wiggenton (still haven’t figured out this line either.) By 1861, Andrew and Lucy show up in Metcalfe Co, Kentucky. There, I can find the death record for Nancy and the birth of their first son, William Dudley. I believe a 2nd daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was also born in Metcalfe Co, but so far, I have not found that record. (Mary Elizabeth is the branch for my direct line, so I’d really like to find this!)
I cannot find Andrew and Lucy in the 1870 census, although William and Nancy appear in the Russell County census. I suspect that Andrew and Lucy are nearby, but not indexed correctly, so the search continues!
As far as William and Nancy are concerned, I’ve found them in 1850 in Marion County, Alabama and then in 1860 in Franklin County, Alabama. Franklin County is the county to the north of Marion County. There are Land Grant records for Marion County for William Stephens from 1839 and 1858, but how can I tell if this is the same William that I am researching? There is one other William Stephens family also in Marion County and so far, I can find no records to help me sort them out. I know I could order the original files, but since my husband has been unemployed for a year now, my budget for genealogy is pretty slim!
Most of William’s children are listed in the census records as being born in Mississippi, so I thought that maybe I should search Mississippi counties that are near Marion and Franklin County. There is a William Stephens in Tishomingo County, Mississippi (one county to the west of Franklin and Marion County). I have found the 1840 federal census and 1845 state census for Tishomingo County. Of course, these only list the head of household, but the ages of family members seem to match pretty well. Somehow, I need to find some type of records to help me confirm or disprove this line – but what???
Any other Stephens researchers out there who’d like to work on this together?