Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rowland Cook, you had mail.

In my study of the lines of Shem Cooke (brought about by the results of my brother's YDNA test) I've noticed several names which are used frequently by his descendants.  Shem/Shemuel/Isham, Rowland and Claiborne are very common in his line so I've been collecting and studying each of those including all of the spelling variations of both the given and surname.   I found mention of a Rowland Cook in a listing of persons with letters remaining at PO in Cedar Bluff Alabama(Cherokee Co.)  This would be Rowland B Cook, son of Shem Cooke and Temperance Blackwell. Why was his mail not picked up?  Maybe he was away on business in 1841 or had just lapsed on picking up his mail.  He was enumerated in Cherokee Co Alabama in the 1840 AND 1850 Federal Census. This branch is covered in Many Cookes and their Broth (see Ancestry Message board post about book) published in 1967 by Charles G Cooke, which is a self described  "genealogical outline of the Cooke Family of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama."  The author mentioned that he had been unable to place where Rowland B. Cook was during the 1870 census. According to records within the churches where he attended and preached, he had removed to Giles Co TN and been there during that time.  Improved search and indexing in recent years has allowed us to see that he was enumerated  in Madison County Alabama with his wife(30 yrs his junior) and their children.  Amazingly in this entry he is only 5 years older than she. Given the names and ages of his children and wife I can tell this is him. 


Jacksonville Republican (Jacksonville, Alabama) 01 Dec 1841, Wed • Page 4  (

Year: 1830; Census Place: Fayette, Georgia; Series: M19; Roll: 17; Page: 196; Family History Library Film: 0007037.  Search on Rowland B Cook (

Year: 1840; Census Place: Cherokee, Alabama; Roll: 3; Page: 132; Family History Library Film: 0002332.  Search on R. B. Cook (

Year: 1850; Census Place: District 26, Cherokee, Alabama; Roll: M432_3; Page: 53B; Image: 112.  Search on R. B. Cook (

Year: 1860; Census Place: Bowdon, Carroll, Georgia; Roll: M653_113; Page: 552; Family History Library Film: 803113. Search on R. B. Cook (

Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 3 Range 1 Subdivision 53, Madison, Alabama; Roll: M593_27; Page: 102A; Family History Library Film: 545526.  Search on Bryant Cook (

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Almedia Jones Bassett--U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives

James A Bassett and Almedia Jones

The Special Census entry for Almedia and James was the first one that I located and led me to finding those for the rest of the extended family.  In the initial post(US Special Census Find) I detailed the information for the couple so I won't repeat most of it but I would like to add additional info which was not on that form about the family.

James and Almedia were married about 1874 according to their deaf census information and their 1900 census entry says about 1875.  Their marriage took place in Franklin Co Indiana.  Almedia  was living in Indiana with her sister and brother in law and that is where she married James. They must have been in California by 1876 as their oldest child is listed as born there in their 1880 Sonoma Co CA enumeration.  They were in California for several years and then in Tennessee during the birth of one child before going back to Indiana and eventually on to Chicago IL area.    James was born in Pennsylvania and his parents were born in California and New York. Almedia was born in Tennessee as were both of her parents. They seem to have traveled a great deal.  James and his sister Jane Bassett Adkinson in particular and for a time the family was in Wisconsin.  There were several deaf schools in those areas they traveled to and that may have been part of the reasoning.

James and Almedia along with their families left records in so many places--- a wonderful thing because it maps out the timeline of their lives.  If you are a Bassett or Atkinson research (or a Riddle and Hitchcock researcher) I'd recommend checking out the Special census for all of the families.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Correspondence in Pension file of James Blackwell

On August 28, 1930, Dr. Blackwell Markham of Durham NC wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions in Washington, D.C. asking for information on the following Revolutionary Pensioners of North Carolina.

  • James Blackwell, 10th Regiment, Bradley's Co. enlisted July 20, 1778.
  • Thomas Marcum, private.
  • Thomas Blackwell, private.
The information provided in the response gives a bit of insight into the Blackwell, Pope, Cook, Clopton and Nall families of the Granville County, North Carolina area.

The digital images of the original file including the correspondence can be found at in the Pension file  of James Blackwell(North Carolina) which include his widow's pension W. 18613 .  Below is the information(typed by me) which was included in the 2 page letter from E.W. Morgan in response to Dr. Markham's inquiry. 

Digital Images from Fold3 located at :

Digital scans of original info from The National Archives (
NARA M804. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application
Files. Roll 0256.  James Blackwell (North Carolina)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Estray Notice --Amelia County, Virginia(1766)

An estray notice in the Thursday, December 4th 1766 edition of Rind's Virginia Gazette placed by Shem Cook. (

A search of estray laws at Google Books yielded several books which cover colonial and early American law.  I found one about the areas in which many of my ancestors lived but I'm sure there are others there or at the other online books sites. Try a search for one and include the name of the area in which your ancestors lived.

From Google Books
Laws of the State of Tennessee: Including Those of North Carolina Now in Force in this State. From the Year 1715 to the Year 1820, Inclusive, Volume 1

The Revised Code of the Laws of Virginia: Being a Collection of All Such Acts of the General Assembly, of a Public and Permanent Nature as are Now in Force; with a General Index. To which are Prefixed, the Constitution of the United States; the Declaration of Rights; and the Constitution of Virginia, Volume 1

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our Cook YDNA results are in---my thoughts

Several months back my sister,  my youngest brother, and I  "went in" thirds on a 37 Marker Y-DNA test for our Cook/Cooke line which has been stuck at our 2nd Great Grandfather W. C. Cook(1811-1882) for the entire 27 years that I've been researching.  FTDNA is the only option for YDNA testing at this time.  We had very few clues. His place of birth which was given as North Carolina in all his census entries.  Our other clues was that he was somehow connected to the Joseph S. Cook who died without a will  in Williamson Co TN in 1838.  With no will,  there were no other clues to the connection other than the names of those who purchased from the estate.  We needed to narrow down the NC Cook lines assuming that he was born in NC as his census entries suggested.

In autosomal DNA testing,  your DNA(all 22 pairs of chromosomes and the X chromosome--2 xs if you are female)  is compared to the DNA(Chr 1-22 & X) While you get 50% of your DNA from your Dad..and 50% from your Mom.  You won't always get the same portions as your siblings.  It will be an assortment.  So much so by the time you get back to the 3rd cousin level 10% of 3rd cousins won't share DNA and at 4th Cousins you have a 50% chance of sharing DNA. The Y DNA which is passed from father to son in the direct male line does not change that much from generation to generation.  Sometimes it will pass unchanged for many generations which is why YDNA testing helps to "zoom in" on your direct male line.

The results came in a week ago and I've spent most of my research time focused on understanding those results.  As we expected my brother's test had a good number of matches ranging from a genetic distance of 0-3 with others who had a direct male line back to a Cook ancestor.  We also have Patterson males among the matches ranging from 0-3 and going back to the 1700s like the Cook lines.  Our Cook matches seem to all have a connection to Shem Cook out of  VA and later Granville NC.  Our closest Cook match is from the line of Stephen Cook who moved his family from Granville Co. NC to Clark Co. Arkansas in the late 1840s.  Names which repeat frequently among the Granville Co Cooks are Shem/Isham/Shemuel Rolin/Rowlan and Claiborn.  While my Cooks were mainly in the Rover and Unionville area of Bedford Co TN there are others off of Shem Cook's line which raised families in Carroll, Gibson, Henderson, Monroe and Shelby Counties of Tennessee and still more which moved from North Carolina and Virginia to Georgia and Alabama.  Using the DNAgedcom software without my own and other Cook descendants results I was able to find 10 testers who shared DNA with us and also have Shem as an ancestor.(three of them have  15+ cM segments)  Does this mean the DNA came from that line.  No....but it is worth checking out to see if the DNA segments along which we match triangulate.   So now I'll be writing those matches and hoping they agree to upload to GEDmatch for comparison.  I've also written the top 6 matches(2 genetic distance 0 and 4 genetic distance 1)

If you can't afford to purchase a Y DNA test on your own, consider sharing the cost among your siblings or cousins.  Holiday sales will be happening soon so it is a good time to start thinking about that.  With a common surname like COOK one really can't afford not to test.

We may upgrade to a Y-67 marker but we have six matches at the 0-1 genetic distance level(tests ranging from 37-111)  I realize that having only tested at 37 that is all they are compared to and someone who matches you at 0 Gen Distance at 37 may have additional mutations which will increase the genetic distance  if they both upgrade to a higher marker test.  You may have to do as I did and find the path to your match's most distant male ancestor(in the case of Y Testers).

As far as autosomal testing recommendations, test as many of your relatives(especially the older generations) as you can.  Second Cousins are very helpful for sorting thru your matches.  If you test at AncestryDNA, be sure to upload to Gedmatch.  23&me tests can be uploaded to the Genesis section of GEDmatch.  Hopefully FTDNA will be allowing uploads from 23&me and AncestryDNA again soon.

**Hint** Sometimes you have to join the surname project in order to see the matches contact info. If you see a match and there is nothing in the TESTER portion of the table except for the name(ie.  COOK, PATTERSON etc.)  that tester has their settings to only show to project members.

Monday, October 16, 2017

1844---Whigs of Middle TN Dist 4 delegates added

The Tennessean (Nashville TN) 23 Feb 1844(Fri) pg 2
Whigs of Middle TN gathered February 22nd
Appointed Presidential Electors and Delegates to the Whig Convention
which will be Monday, May 6th 1844

4th Dist

Dekalb Co
J.F. Goonner
Thomas C. Noe

Jackson Co. 
Wm. B Hoffs
R. M. Kinniard
Geo W. McWhirter
D. G. Shepherd

Warren Co. 
Josiah F. Morford

White Co.
Thomas Eastland
Elisha Frost
William Frost
Bud S. Rhea
John B Rodgers

Friday, October 13, 2017

1844 Rutherford Co TN Whig Delegates added

The Tennessean (Nashville TN) 23 Feb 1844(Fri) pg 2
Whigs of Middle TN gathered February 22nd
Appointed Presidential Electors and Delegates to the Whig Convention
which will be Monday, May 6th 1844

This is a list of those added from Rutherford Co TN.  There are additional counties in the 7th District and you can find more information about others added in the district from other counties as well as other districts at the source listed above which is available at

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Home for Self Supporting Women(Chicago IL. USA)

I found this listing of a Home for Self Supporting women listed in 1900 Chicago.  It was run by Virginia Smith who is enumerated on the previous page.  I'm not sure why the Green section is across the top of the image.  If anyone knows I'd be interested to hear.   It is on a few pages and some of them you can see thru it and read the words North Town.  Almost looks like a digital bookmark.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 24, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 274; Page: 10B;Enumeration District: 0731; FHL microfilm: 1240274 Img 20 of 26 at's 1900 US Census images for above location
I Googled the city and the phrase "Home For Self-Supporting Women" and found several items on Google Books--among them Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 which looks interesting. 

1844 Bedford County TN Whig Delegates Added

The Tennessean (Nashville TN) 23 Feb 1844(Fri) pg 2
Whigs of Middle TN gathered February 22nd
Appointed Presidential Electors and Delegates to the Whig Convention
which will be Monday, May 6th 1844

Whigs of Middle TN Dist 5 --Bedford County

Franklin, Lincoln and Marshall Counties of Tennessee were also in Dist 5 and had delegates added which are not listed here. You can find those in the paper listed above.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Omelia Jones Fuller--U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives

Octavus Fuller and Omelia Jones
From special census forms on Deaf Families information on the marriage date place for the couple and the name of their parents are given with listing of their children as well as siblings of Octavus and Omelia.  This one in particular left more questions than answers so I had to read over what I know of Omelia's early life and go looking for more information in various records to see if I could piece together the picture.

Omelia Jones was one of the daughters of Thomas Jones and Rebecca Hitchcock.  She and her husband Octavus Fuller are listed in the U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895.  Thomas and Rebecca raised their family in White County Tennessee  The information from the forms show that Octavus and Omelia  married in Peeled Chestnut, TN in 1874.  While the day and month are correct, they are off by a year according to White County TN Marriage records which give the year as 1875.  Octavus and Omelia were both deaf and dumb from birth.  She attended the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville during 1855-1856  and then again after the war in 1866.  It is unclear how she met Octavus.  He grew up in Maine.  Octavus appears to be well traveled as he is in San Francisco in 1870 working as a shoemaker and his deafness is not noted on that census.  In 1870 Omelia is living with her older sister, Catherine(also deaf mute) and Catherine's husband and children in Franklin Co Indiana.  Another sister, Almedia(also deaf) lived there as well. By 1880 Octavus and Omelia are in the area of Maine in which he grew up and are starting a family.  They would have two sons, both of whom could hear.  This is noted in the Special census on Deaf Family and Marriages as well as in the 1880 Supplemental Schedule of Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes(see snippet from below.) U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes [database on-line,, search on Octavus W Fuller in Maine]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine; U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes; Year: 1880; Roll: 19-161 Paris Oxford County, Maine, USA

Their oldest son Edward dies in 1900 at age 23 from Diabetes.  Omelia is widowed in 1911 when Octavus dies from Cancer of the Liver.  I find her next in Chicago where sister Almedia and her husband live.  Omelia marries Richard Tracy in 1915 and this is where she is living when she dies Christmas Eve of 1924.    I still don't know exactly how she came to met Octavus.  I thought maybe it might have something to do with schooling or function for deaf persons.  Maybe some day.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Democratic State Convention 1853 Williamson Co TN --Delegates

Democratic State Convention
Nashville, Tennessee Davidson Co. Courthouse
Wed 27 April 1853

Williamson Co TN

Nashville Union (Nashville, Tennessee)26 Apr 1853, Tue Pg 2

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Edward Wright Fuller--my 2nd Cousin 3 times removed

I've been on a search for those who carry mtDNA of Milly Riddle Hitchcock(my 4th Great Grandmother).  You can read more about the reason in my earlier posts.  Only females are capable of passing on the mtDNA to their children.  Although he would have never been able to pass the mtDNA on, Edward was a carrier of Milly Riddle's mtDNA.  His mother Omelia was the daughter of Rebecca Hitchcock and Rebecca was the daughter of Milly Riddle Hitchcock. He died at 23 years of age of diabetes mellitus. Maine, Wills and Probate Records, 1584-1999 [database on-line accessed Oct 2, 2017 search for Edward Wright Fuller]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Digital images in online database Maine, Death Records, 1761-1922 [online database]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. accessed Oct 2, 2017.