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!