Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Pilgrim Heritage from Ireland to Maryland to South Carolina to my FRIEND

It was a birthday present to my friend for being such a blessing in my life!  I would have never thought after knowing her for the past seventeen years DNA would tell us that we are cousins.  We typically get together about three times a year; there are three of us who celebrate each other’s birthdays.  It was April 2013 that I told my friend, whom I will call Adele, that in order for me to complete her birthday present, I needed her spittle (just between us, I said spit).

I ordered the DNA kit, had it sent to her house and she mailed off the sample.  Though she was really interested in the matches, Adele’s life is so busy with her business she asked if I would be willing to manage her account.  I told her yes, since I love researching family history!
When I received Adele’s results, I quickly contacted her with the percentages; she was quite impressed and shocked by the ethnicities contained in her DNA! A few days went by before getting back to her results; I was busy keeping track of my uncle’s and my DNA matches (the new matches could overwhelm if you did not keep up with them).

Ok, now I have the time to rummage through Adele’s matches!  The first person I looked at is listed at 3rd to 4th cousin, with an Irish background; I emailed him with a few questions, but nothing came out of our contact.  On to the next person, she is a 96%er listed as Adele’s 4th to 6th cousin.  Looking at the matches surnames, I spot one of my family names, PILGRIM and PILGRAM.  I click on the “IM” spelling and immediately say to myself that this list of ancestors looks familiar.   I go over to my uncle’s matches and search for the same person who is on Adele’s list; I found the match twice; she and another family member got tested and showed up on my uncle’s list.  At that MOMENT I realized that Adele and I are cousins.
I continued to research and made many discoveries.  I strongly believe that the person who connects Adele and I is Amos Franklin Pilgrim, Jr.  He and his family were sponsored to come from Ireland to America, Baltimore, Maryland in particular in 1724, by John Dykes*, as indentured servants to serve for five years.  After serving his five years, Amos Pilgrim and his wife purchased property in Bel Air, Maryland; they called the property Pilgrim’s Rest.  Next, he moved his family to South Carolina, where my Pilgrim ancestors lived.

I will continue to search out this connection and will keep you all updated.

*"Emigrants to America: Indentured Servants Recruited in London" 1718-1735 by John Wareing (Reference # 929.3W in the Hagerstown, MD Library) that John Dykes was listed at least 29 times as the agent for people going to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, and New England.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Randolph Siblings in Virginia: Cousins in Maryland and Massachusetts

My 3rd great-grandmother had children who were born thirty-five years apart!  She had her first baby, born in 1827, at the tender age of fifteen and twins in 1862.  She was in her seventies when she died in 1885.  The thirty-five year age difference had become evident to me after meeting a cousin of mine, who lives in Malden, Massachusetts, who I met about two months ago on's message board.  I found her as I searched through, again, some information on my paternal 3rd great-grandparents, William Randolph and his wife Martha Jasper; I spoke of their daughter Mary Jane Randolph Summons in a previous blog post.

My newfound MA cousin has a family tree that gave me chills; she has all this mind-blowing info I had been dying to find!  I have had great difficulty finding ancestors of my dad’s dad beyond his grandparents.  The last person on her tree to die was as recent as 2009; I thought, “I am close to finding a living person with whom I can share.”   We are now friends on Facebook!  She is a great resource. 

My cousin visited the archives in MA to find some of my Summons relatives who migrated from Virginia to Massachusetts in the early nineteen hundreds.  Through some info she uncovered, I was able to follow-up and solve the mystery of “James A. Summons.”  During one census, he was not with his wife and daughter, my cousin found info to show that the wife had remarried.  I went back to my documents and found that he was living back in Virginia with his mother, Mary Jane; he died two years later in 1912.  I found the death record on microfilm I ordered from Virginia’s library.  His wife Emma B. Courtney Summons was free to remarry.  James and Emma’s marriage produced two daughters Annie Bertha Summons Patrick and Josephine Summons who died five months after birth.

My Massachusetts cousin is the great-granddaughter of the child (Frederick Randolph) born to Martha Jasper Randolph in 1862 and I am the 2nd great-granddaughter to the child (Mary Jane Randolph) born to Martha in 1827.

I will take my family reunions any way that they many cases, it's been ONE PERSON AT A TIME!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Military Man: Willie J. Payne, Jr. of Saluda, Middlesex, Virginia

Willie J. Payne, Jr. was my maternal grandmother’s grandfather, born September 3, 1874 to William Payne, Sr. and Martha Foster; they were all born in Virginia.  Willie, Jr.’s union with my great-great-grandmother Rosa Davis produced one daughter Mazoura Payne.

When I started searching for my maternal grandmother’s paternal side back in 2008, I found bits and pieces for the Griffin family.  I came across the Payne name when I was going through my mother’s papers after her passing.  I found her mother’s (Lillian Griffin) birth certificate.   In talking with an older cousin, I asked her what Mazoura’s mother’s name was and she remembered them calling her momma Rose; no last name was given, she did not know.  I came across Rosa Davis here in Baltimore in our 1930 census in the same household as my grandmother, Lillian Griffin and her siblings; this is how I got Rose’s maiden name.  She is listed as head of the household; where was her husband?

Armed with some info, but not knowing exactly where in Virginia the Payne family was from, I did some serious searching.  Finally, I hit pay-dirt.  I found Willie Payne, Jr. and Rosa Davis Payne in Middlesex, Virginia.  I found them on two censuses.  For two years I was on and off looking for Willie; I could not find a death record on him.  Then I stumbled across a military record for him in 2012.  He was stationed in Annapolis, Maryland as a navy man.  Then I hit another brick wall for a year.

Early in 2013, I began to look for Willie J. Payne, again.  I took another look at the 1930 census for Baltimore.  I missed it the first time, but the record for Rosa read “divorced”.  I found that Willie had remarried.  

I was led to a record stating that Willie died in Los Angeles, California and born in Virginia.  The last names of both his parents were on the death announcement.  Once I found this info, I sent out a request on Find-A-Grave to request a photo of Willie’s headstone.  In two days a nice gentleman filled my request!   After finding this document, I was able to find another military record showing that my great-great-grandfather was on the ship the USS Charleston, stationed in Kobe, Japan; Military and Naval Forces.

I am proud to know my relative served our country!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mary Jane Randolph Summons...called to Motherhood in Powhatan County

My paternal great-great-grandmother, Mary Jane Randolph Summons, according to the 1870 and 1880 census, gave birth to at least eleven children in Spencer, Powhatan, VA.  She and her husband, James “Ditt” Summons, lived most of their lives in the Powhatan County area.  Mary Jane was seen later in the 1900 census as having adopted eight-year-old Ellen Simmons (Summons).  She must have enjoyed motherhood and or simply stepped up to do what was needed in a given situation.

There was probably much activity around the house between the parents and their children.  On the 1870 census, there were seventeen people living at the same address at one time.  I cannot imagine my house being so full; I value my space (would make a sacrifice to move others in if necessary).  Seventeen is a lot of activity!
As many women were probably listed, Mary Jane, was listed as a housekeeper; a role that is important to the family as my great-great-grandfather, Ditt, worked at farming.  I would think that the hard work of farming was passed on to his children; hard work was preparing the children for their future independence.  The many children, as reflected on the various census, were coming (being born) and going (by the next census was old enough to be out of parents’ home into their own).

Most of my great-great-grandparents’ children were part of the first “Great Migration” from 1910 to 1930.  Many of my great aunts and uncles left Powhatan County for Cincinnati, OH and Suffolk, MA.  The one son, Jordan Summons, with his wife Jennie Ross, of Kentucky, moved to Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH a little before 1910.  Some of the other children, Mary J., James, Jr., and a few others moved to Suffolk, MA.  The rest stayed close to home with Ditt and Mary Jane.  Mary Jane outlived Ditt; she was eighty years old by the 1910 census and still living with a few of her kids.

My father’s grandfather, Monroe B. Summons and his brothers Augustus Summons, and William Summons lived in either Powhatan County or Richmond, VA.  That FULL house becomes an empty house, and might I add an empty state.