Blog 2023 01 18 Finding Proof of Strange Moves

Two recent research projects for the same client showed moves that simply did not make sense.  At least not at first and I almost dismissed both.  Let’s take a closer look.

The first one involved a widow moving to Louisiana and the other, parents leaving small children with the maternal grandparents in Jones County, GA, and moving to Mississippi without them.  Starting with the widow, Nancy Jane Sanders, nee Williams.  She and Tilman Sanders were married on 7 August 1851 in Bibb County, GA, by Rev D. H. Moore. [i] They are found on both the 1860 and she is on the 1870 censuses living in Bibb County, GA. [ii] In 1871, Nancy’s father, Reuben Williams, is listed as “Agent for Mrs. Tilman Sanders” on the tax digest for Bibb County. [iii]

Tilman apparently died before the 1870 federal census but after registering in the 1864 Census for Reorganizing the Georgia Militia. [iv] So what does this have to do with moving to Louisiana?  Many, many family trees online say she died around 1897 in Louisiana but they had no proof.  The hunt for proof was on!

Tilman Sanders pops up out of nowhere in 1850 as a 24-year-old man living with William Rufus Mosely and William’s wife, Mary.  Many believed that she was Tilman’s sister but the Mosely daughter, Sarah Angeline Mosely Parker’s death certificate in 1936 lists Mary’s maiden name as Bickley. [v] Additionally, the obituary of their son, Johnnie E. Mosely, that ran in The Macon Telegraph, lists him as 90 in 1954 putting his birth as 1864 and his mother is again listed with the maiden name of Bickley. [vi]

William Rufus Mosely is 32 in the 1850 census and becomes a prominent citizen in the area and is often referred to as Reverend.  He had several children, including a  son, William, who is listed as 8 on this census.  William grows up and marries Nancy Jane’s sister, Maggie Margaret C. Williams in 1877 in Bibb. County [vii]  Their eldest was Thomas H. Mosely, who wrote several books, one named Humorous Travels From Ridiculous to Sublime: From Laughter to Weeping in which, he tells many family stories he recalls as a child and shares some that were sent to him by family members. [viii] He remembered his aunts and uncles.  According to his writing, his Aunt Nancy died in Louisiana where her sister, Mary Addie Williams Moseley, and her husband, Bill Moseley along with the Williams sister’s brother, John H. Williams, were living.  Nancy reportedly died in 1897.  No official record has been located at this time to support her living there or her death.

Is this conclusive?  I would say it is because it is a firsthand account of where she was and seeing the evidence of two siblings living there gives credence to the fact.

Now, what about a William Parker and his wife, Elizabeth Jourdan Parker leaving some of their children in Georgia and moving to Mississippi?

In researching the parentage of Tabitha Ann Parker who married Michael Hartley in Crawford County, GA circa 1858. [ix] We know she was Tabitha Ann Parker based on the death certificate of their son, Walter Lee Hartley which lists his parents as Michael Hartley and Tabitha Ann Parker. [x] So who were Tabitha’s parents?

We first see her name as a 15-year-old living with an apparent grandmother, Tabitha Jordan in 1850 Crawford County, GA. [xi] Assuming that Tabitha Jordan is her grandmother, then who might her parents be?  Making the normal assumption that Tabitha Parker’s father was a Parker and her mother a Jordan, we find there is only one record of a Jordan(Jourdan) girl marrying a man named Parker and that is Elizabeth Jourdan marrying William Parker on 27 March 1832 in Jones County, GA. [xii]

How can we further support our position?  Let’s see who C. E. Odom, a 40-year-old woman listed in he same household on the above 1850 census is.  In a newspaper clipping from one of Tad Evans’ Jones County, GA Abstracts, we learn her name was Cynthia E. Odom.  A look for the marriage of a Cynthia Jordan to a Mr. Odom we find a marriage recorded to a Richard T. Odom on 31 January 1833 in Jones County. [xiii]

Numerous family trees show William and Elizabeth dying in Hancock County, MS.  Many documents, including newspapers, sometimes spelled Jordan as Jourdan.

While not conclusive in itself, the 1840 census for William Parker in Jones County, which is on the other side of Macon, GA from Crawford County, shows one female aged 5-9, and one female aged 10-14.  Either of these could be Tabitha. [xiv] Is there any proof they moved to MS?  An 1850 census for Hancock County, MS shows an Elizabeth Parker, aged 63 and born in NC, living with a son or grandson named Jourdan Parker, aged 14. [xv] Two households before her is a Henry Jourdan from SC.  Based on the grandson’s name being spelled Jourdan, the same as Elizabeth’s maiden name, and assuming the enumerator got the place of birth wrong for one or both, it is logical to believe she is the same Elizabeth Jourdan who married William Parker and that they moved to MS.

For the purpose of keeping this short, I found other evidence that provides sufficient proof that shows the relationship of Cynthia Jordan Odom, the Jourdans in MS, and the Jourdans in GA to call this proved.

[i] Overby, Mary McKeown, Marriages published in the Christian index, 1828-1855; abstracts, Shady Dale, GA, 1971, Georgia Baptist Historical Society.

[ii] 1860 U. S. Census, Bibb County, Warrior District, Macon Post Office, p. 197 (inked), dwelling 1486, family 1526, hhld of Tilman Sanders, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication M 653, roll 111. AND 1870 U. S. Census, Bibb County, GA Subdivision 8, Macon PO, p 78, Dwelling 716, family 681, hhld of Nancy J. Sanders, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication M 593, roll 136.

[iii] Bibb County, Georgia, Tax Digest for 1871, Militia District 482 (Warrior), image 394/582, ( accessed 15 January 2023).

[iv] Cornell, Nancy J. 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia, Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.

[v] Lamar County, GA, Certificate of Death, Georgia Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, registered no, 1442, stamped 4608, death certificate of Sarah Angeline Parker, date of death 23 February 1936, (, accessed 28 September 2022).

[vi] “Johnnie E. Mosely, (Macon, GA) , The Macon Telegraph, 27 February 1954, p. 8, c. 1, ( accessed 17 November 2022).

[vii] Bibb County, Marriage Book F, p 153 (middle), (W. J. Mosely – Maggie C. Williams, 22 Nov 1877), Bibb County Probate Court, Macon, Bibb County, GA.

[viii] Mosely, T. H. Humorous Travels From Ridiculous to Sublime: From Laughter to Weeping, Macon, GA 1961.

[ix] 1900 U. S. Census, Crawford County, GA, Militia District 577, SD 3, ED 4, heet 21 A (inked), dwelling and family 376, hhld of Michael Hartley, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication T 623, roll 190.

[x] Taylor County, GA, Reynolds Township, Georgia Certificate of Death, GA Department of Public Health, Registered # 3-8092, (, accessed15 January 2023).

[xi] 1850 U. S. Census, Crawford County, Division 20, p. 73 & 74, dwelling and family 533, hhld of Tabitha Jordan, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication M 432, roll 67.

[xii] Jones County, Georgia, Marriage Book B, p 76, (Parker-Jourdan 1832), Jones County Probate Court, Gray, Georgia, (, accessed 28 September 2022).

[xiii] Jones County, GA, Marriage Book B (1821 – 1936)m p. 138 (bottom), (Odom – Jordan, 31 January 1833), (, accessed 28 September 2022).

[xiv] 1840 U. S. Census, Jones County, p. 132 (stamped), line 23, William Parker, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication M 704 and roll 44.

[xv] 1850 U. S. Census, Hancock County, Beat 2 Police Jurisdiction, p 118, dwelling 213, family 219, (, accessed 28 September 2022), citing NARA publication M 432 and roll 372.