While tracing family history, I decided to forego any further search for Jennie and Vines Beasley for a while.
I cannot construct a scenario whereby I can call the family found in the 1880 census, my ancestors.
Although, many of the details about the family were compelling, I nevertheless lacked reliable information.
I could not say conclusively that they are my grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother.
Moreover, my main disconnect concerned VINES BEASLEY, as I had never heard any mention of him in the family oral history.
My research in tracing family history on my maternal line is based on my mother’s oral recollection of her family. That recollection did not mention Vines Beasley, but rather, Fred Allen.
I have it written in my mother’s own writing, “FRED ALLEN MARRIED JENNIE SUTTON.”
Late one evening, unable to sleep, I am online looking for my mother’s father. I have been unable to find him in the 1900 census.
I am using my local library card that allows me access to HERITAGE QUEST--an online searchable resource for genealogy records.
I find my grandfather’s parents and hope that my grandfather will be found in close proximity to his parents. I scroll down the page slowly, so as not to miss him.
As I scroll, I pass something of interest that I have never noticed before--a surname, which appears to be misspelled.
The surname is STTON (sic). I slowly go back, look again, and what I see is stunning: “head of household, Henderson STTON (sic). Wife, JENNIE.”
According to the census of 1900, this Jennie has been married to Henderson Stton (sic) for 11 years. She gave birth to four children, but only one is living.
My paternal grandparents live in “house number 72,” Jennie Stton (sic) lives in “house number 75.”
This is too coincidental. I ask myself, “Is this Jennie Stton (sic) living a few doors from my great-grandparents, could this be the Jennie Sutton I have searched for, searched for over 3 years?”
I do believe I have hit on something: that this is my great-grandmother of whom my mother spoke.
If so, then it is possible that all of the oral history handed down from my mother to me about her maternal grandmother was incorrect.
It may be incorrect because it is the recollection of a five-year-old child, and it is through this five-year-old’s eyes that I have searched for all of the wrong information.
My mother was five-years-old in 1914 when both her mother and grandmother died. After their deaths, she was sent to live with various relatives and then off to boarding school.
Her father remarried after his wife’s death and more than likely not too much was ever said about his first wife, Emma.
My dear mother shared with me what she thought to be true, but it was wrong. Because she was not around her father, her knowledge about the family history was faulty.
I was able to get the marriage record for Henderson Sutton. Henderson Sutton married Jennie Beasley on 29 November1887, in Leflore County, MS.
The marriage record of Henderson Sutton and Jennie Beasley--I believe--may be the best proof that the family I located in the 1880 census of Leflore County, MS, is probably my ancestors.
I have not found a marriage record for Jennie Johnson and Vines Beasley.
The Jennie Beasley I found in 1880 is my great-grandmother, and the mother-in-law in the 1880 household of “Vines Beasley” is my great-great-grandmother, Vinie Johnson.
The two-year-old child with Vines and Jennie, I believe is my grandmother, Emma.
Whether or not Vines Beasley is Emma’s father, I may never know. This is because my grandmother’s death certificate validates what my mother said, that Fred Allen is my grandmother’s father.
The search continues as I try to find Jennie Sutton with Fred Allen...
More to come! Please visit our previous installments of tracing family history: