When I finally uncovered my great-grandmother’s parents, I found a Griffith married to a Griffith. This week has been dedicated to sorting through the Griffiths and trying to find a filing system that will keep the two lines distinct in my mind and on paper.
Idella Griffith’s parents were Isom (Isam, Isham) GRIFFITH and Mira (Myra) GRIFFITH. Her siblings were:
Eliza m. R.A. BLOUNT; Nathan; Ophelia; Ada; Oliver; Fronie; Willie; and James (1893 – 1967) m. Hattie MCNAIR.
Contained in the orange binder is the family of Isom Griffith:
Father: Orange Griffith born in Mississippi
Mother: Icy born in Kentucky
Siblings: Elvira, Norvel, Alfred, Lucy, Milly
Griffiths of Kentucky – Searching through records for Hiram Griffith who settled in Covington County in the 1830s with his wife Icy FOUNTAIN from Caldwell Kentucky.
Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contract – located a contract for Icy, Elvira, Alfred, Lucy, Milly and Isom bound to Milton Griffith, son of Hiram Griffith of Kentucky.
Contained in the dark blue binder is the family of Mira Griffith:
Father: Dennis Griffith born in Virginia
Mother: Eliza born in Mississippi
Siblings: Isaac; Malley; Harry; Dennis; Sarah; Elizabeth
Unable to locate family in Freedmen’s Bureau contracts. I will have to start with 1860 slave schedules.
I think that even though I have divided the two families into separate binders that I should track them together. The community of Holledays Creek, Mississippi was very small and I doubt that GRIFFITH was chosen randomly as a surname by both families.
I was very excited this evening to have dinner with my cousin, James. It was great to be able to speak with a fellow family historian. He shared some wonderful stories with me and I could just hear my mom and grandmother saying those things. It was nice to know that they hadn’t changed from the time he knew them to the time that I knew them.
James is the grandson of my great-grandmother’s brother. He is also the nephew of my great-uncle’s wife. His father’s sister married my grandmother’s brother. I think that makes us double cousins?? We are both not sure about that.
James, however, was able to solve one mystery for me. I remembered a set of twins from my childhood. They were adults when I was born. I remember them because of their names – Big and Lil. I didn’t realize at the time that those were nicknames. I have asked older cousins in the past what their actual names were and had always gotten the same response, “I don’t remember”. James was able to tell me that they were named Rufus (Big) and Rascus (Lil). Both names are derivatives of Rucus, our uncle.
We talked about the families, about their love of laughter and their love for each other. They seemed never to grow tired of one another. We talked about hoping to pass this knowledge of the importance of kinship and laughter to our children.
Recently, I was able to connect to the Griffith line of my family. For all intents, this line was lost. My cousins even thought that I had the last name wrong and that it was Griffin not Griffith. (The family historian wins!) I began taking notes on this family line using one of my favorite tools – The Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts search tool available on The Mississippi State Archives website. This tool allows you to search labor contracts by Freedman’s name, Planter’s name, Plantation or County.
I was able to find the following information about Icy Griffith in 1865:
Planter: Milton Griffith
Freedmen connected to Icy and Orange Griffith (3rd Great Grandparents)
Icy – 45
Alfred – 15
Isom -12 (2nd Great Grandfather)
Milly – 11
Elvira (Vira) – 7
Lacy (Lucy) – 5
Icy is listed with all of her children from the 1870 Census with the exception of Norvel, who was born free.
From my very brief overview of the census records, I was able to find the following leads for further research:
Icy Griffith- Born in Kentucky (per 1880 census record)
Milton Griffith (planter) – Mother’s name was Icy, parents lived in Kentucky prior to move to Mississippi (per family trees on ancestry.com)
So there is research to be added to my list of research to be done.
One of my goals for this year was to complete a narrative sketch of Arthur and Idella Hathorn. They were my great-grandparents. I only have two photographs of them, but the stories of their faith and love of family have provided permanent images in my mind and heart.
Idella Griffith Hathorn was a bit of a mystery. While I knew that she was loved and praised by her daughters and granddaughter as a gentle loving woman. I knew little about her family except that she was a Griffith.
I wasn’t able to locate a family in the census that fit with the age as recorded in the 1910 census for Idella when she was a wife and mother. In the previous census, there was Ida Griffith who seemed too old and Ada Griffith who seemed too young. I wasn’t able to locate a marriage record for Arthur and Idella in Covington County. I ordered Idella’s death certificate and waited.
About two weeks ago, I received Idella’s death record. It listed her parents as Isom Griffith and Mira Smith. The informant was her husband, Arthur Hathorn. She had been listed in the 1900 census as Ida Griffith and that recorded age most closely matched the date of birth recorded on her death certificate. The Griffiths lived a few houses away from the Hathorns and I had seen that record in the census so many times!
I began mapping the Griffith family through census records and checking if any of the records had been saved by anyone else on ancestry.com. The 1900 census record for James Griffith, youngest brother of Idella, had been saved to another family tree. I contacted the owner and found my cousin, James!
We talked about Life…how it keeps going. He had always meant to get back to his small hometown to reconnect with the cousins from his childhood, but Life kept happening. He had attended my uncle’s funeral in 1968, but didn’t make it to my mother’s. He had called her “Sis” his entire life and didn’t know that she was known as Toni. We have made plans to have our families meet in the next two weeks. It will be easy since he lives only 20 minutes away! Life.