Still… chugging (or maybe puttering) along at my 52 Ancestors… I haven’t totally given up. We’ll see how far I get by the end of the year.

Mom, Carol and I in Detroit, 1985It seems like many people (especially as viewing the world through children’s eyes or memories) have a family member around that they are sure their related too—they’re at all the family gatherings, everyone knows them, etc.—but you don’t quite know how they’re related. Now, yes, not all of them really are related but mostly in my family they have been.

For my Trotter side of the family that was Cousin Carol pictured to the left with my mother and I. This is a detail from a larger group shot I’ve shared before here. She was a regular face at my grandparents’ house. I remember her at Thanksgiving (our big annual Detroit gathering) and at all the in-between visits. But for the life of me I didn’t know how she fit into the family—especially after I started researching them. I didn’t even know her last name. Come to find out she’d been in my database all along but she (like many people in my family) didn’t use the name given in “official” sources within the family.

Cousin Carol was in fact my Grandfather Levi’s older first cousin through Great Grandfather Harrison’s sister, Pearl Trotter. Pearl married George Washington Webb on Christmas of 1905 and had a passel of children in Bradley County, Arkansas. Carol, born Calidona Webb, was the sixth child and second daughter, born in 1913. She married Robert Nickolson in 1935 (recorded as Nixon—though he clearly signed Nickolson) in Bradley County, Arkansas. After that it’s a bit of a blank for me.  She may have had a child named Charles? As I mentioned, she was family. I saw her often in Detroit. But I never really knew how she fit.

Nickolson-Webb Mg 1935Aunties, if you’re reading this I have more questions!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Easter Egg Hunt, 2008Easter’s coming up. Here’s a picture of my younger nephew and his two grandmother’s at my library for our indoor Easter egg hunt in 2008. Not my favorite program of the year… the run for eggs always seemed so dangerous.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Lee-TrotterNintendo

Last week’s chair is celebrating a birthday this week! Jack’s the red-head getting help from my brother. I’m thinking this is around about the first time we met our soon to be cousin. It was a Nintendo kind of afternoon with my brother at my parents’ house.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Harrison Trotter SS AplicationI have mentioned my 2nd Great Grandmother, Josephine Johnson Trotter a few times as Harrison’s mother or Sam Trotter’s first wife but she, like her husband, is a bit of a mystery to me. My first knowledge of her was from family gatherings and reunions. The Trotters gather as the descendants of Sam and Josie Trotter but until I tracked down my grandfather’s Social Security application from 1942 when he named his parents I hadn’t seen her maiden name. I have since been able to track down a transcription of her and my 2nd Great Grandfather’s wedding license in Ashley County, Arkansas records from December of 1880. My one additional find has been a transcript of her testimony at the Coroner’s inquisition at the death of Joe Lawson in 1883. She, like her husband, just seems to have fallen through the cracks. I’m hoping that there is more out there on both of them—though I’m resigned to the fact that I’m probably going to need to head to Arkansas and find it.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Roseanne Lee Trotter JohnsonSaturday, March 1st, will mark the 102 anniversary of the birth of my Great Aunt Roseanna Lee Trotter Johnson. She was born in 1912 in Bradley County, Arkansas and married Leroy Johnson in 1932. This photo was one shared with my father prior to a recent Trotter family reunion.

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.S. Sharp-eyed Bradley County researchers, check out the picture in the upper left-hand corner. I swear I’ve seen that posted somewhere. It’s not something I’ve found in my collection.

Trotters, c1980

The 93rd anniversary of Grandpa Levie’s birth is coming up this week. I love his smile in this picture—enough to post it despite my expression. Yes, I’m the put-upon looking child on the left followed by Grandma Trotter, my older cousin, Grandpa, and my brother. This was taken in late 1979 or early 1980 at my parents’ home in Lansing, Michigan.

I have found the magic formula to get some of you to talk to me… post a picture and misidentify the people!

So this is actually my Great Grandfather Harrison and his half-sister Cora,  in the foreground—not my Great Grandmother Rhoda as I posted at the beginning of the month.

Harrison Trotter and Cora (Trotter) Steppes

This, however, is my Great Grandmother. She is the older woman in the cat glasses pictured with a few of her children,  including my Grandfather Levie immediately behind her.

Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter & Children

Keep correcting me. Really!

Happy hunting!

Jess

As I’ve mentioned in passing before, Levi Hampton is not (to my knowledge) a direct line ancestor but he has been at the center of my research on the Trotter and Johnson families.

Levi Hampton was born into slavery around 1835 in Alabama according to most Census records. His direct descendants pass down a story that he was used as a “Stud” by slave owners and possibly belonged to a plantation owner named Graham but I haven’t been able to verify that. By the time of the 1870 Census he was married to a woman named Sally and had 5 children in their household: Homer, Edward, John, Willie, and Lottie. According to the paperwork associated with his Homestead Application he settles a plot of land in or around January of 1873 and formally applied for the land in September 1884 under the Homestead Act of 1862.

Sally died sometime between the birth of daughter Anna (born in 1876 according to the 1880 Census) and his second marriage to the woman I believe to be my 2nd Great Aunt (and sister to Josephine), Jane Johnson, on 05 Nov 1877. The 1880 Census also enumerated a widowed daughter Mary Hampton. But my guess is that she is actually a daughter-in-law by way of Levi’s son Homer.

Levi Hampton PatentIn September of 1890 Levi testified in the process to prove his claim to the Palestine homestead and the land patent was signed in July of 1891. His testimony also stated that he regularly voted, and a 1905 Poll Tax list for Palestine Township show him as paid in full and qualified to vote.

I have been unable to find Levi’s family in the 1900 and 1920 Census, but the 1910 Census, shows a daughter probably with Jane, Lou Hampton, as well as his nephew (and my Great Grandfather) Harrison Trotter.

I also have a transcription of Levi’s will written in 1916 which names five living children: Ed, John, Willie, Lottie Sims and Orrie Nelson (I’m pretty sure this is Annie Hampton who married John Nelson). He also willed to Harrison Trotter “the small old field southwest of my house on the west 80 acres”—the site of the Trotter Homestead I featured last post.

I know there’s more to know about the Hampton/Johnson/Trotter ties but for now I feel I’ve hit a brick wall—at least until I can get out on the road and locate more Arkansas records.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Harrison and Rhoda (Rodgers) Trotter

Saturday also marked the 120th Anniversary of my Great Grandmother Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter’s birth.

I think this is a shot of the porch of the Trotter Homestead. Rhoda and her husband Harrison are the couple in the center of the picture which was taken some time before Harrison’s death in 1975.

Happy hunting,

Jess

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that this is actually my 2nd Great Aunt Cora (Trotter) Steppes. Full Correction will post on Sunday Feb 16th.

Jess

Trotter Babcock

Thinking of Gran this week… My paternal Grandmother and my youngest maternal cousin (and the back of my head) hanging out in my parents backyard in Lansing, Michigan in the summer of 1982.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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