Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Family Connection: Are Judy & Maria sisters?

In May of this year, I decided to take another look at the family of Anderson & Judy Brown of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. This family has been of interest to me because Anderson was listed as a witness on several family members marriage records, and he also provided testimony in order to help Roland Norris [aka Roland Ford] obtain his Civil War Pension and later assisted Peggie Norris in obtaining her Widow's Pension. Peggie and my ancestor Jesse Buie were siblings.

1870 U.S. Census -- Ward 7 , Catahoula Parish, Louisiana [p. 12]

After reviewing the 1870, 1880, and 1900 census for the Brown family I searched the Louisiana Death Index on Familysearch looking for the children of Anderson & Judy Brown. One of the death records immediately caught my attention. It was their daughter Edith Brown Taylor, her parents were listed as Anderson Brown & Judy LANE. Could Judy and my ancestor Maria Lane Buie be sisters? Both Women had daughters named Edith/Edie which was the name of Maria's mother Edith Lane. Based on the naming patterns among the children I'm inclined to believe that it's a strong possibility.

Louisiana Death Certificate of Edith Taylor - Vol. 2, p. 544
Informant was niece Annie Brown Turner

Judy's age and maiden name lead me to believe that her and Maria could be half-siblings rather than full siblings. The Louisiana Marriage Index list Judy under the name "Julia Fortner". Anderson and Judy married on January 3, 1867 in Catahoula Parish. I placed an order for their marriage certificate and received a copy in the mail the following week. The actual marriage certificate shows her maiden name as "Fortune" and not Fortner [though there was a family of white Fortners in the area].

 Anderson Brown & Julia Fortune [Vol. B - p.142]
    Married by: Rev. Thomas B. White at the residence of Benjamin Cuny, Esq.
                    Witnesses: John Oliver, George West, and Frank Lewis

I remembered that on the 1880 Census the Brown's lived right next door the Lane's in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. Living in the household of William & Edith Lane was grandson, Henry Fortune. Henry was listed under the surname Lane in 1870 and resided in the household of his grandmother Edey Lane. It appears that Henry is likely an older child of Judy Fortune Brown who ended up in the care of his grandparents. 

1880 U.S. Census -- Ward 2, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

I recently placed an order through the website http://www.acwancestor.org/ to obtain the Pension File of Anderson Brown and Minor Pension (for his young children). I should receive my copies soon and my hope is that the depositions/testimony located within the files will help confirm my suspicions. In addition to that I able to locate a descendant of Anderson & Judy Brown on Ancestry.com in order to explain our potential family connection.

Terrence A. Garnett
[August 5, 2014]

 Source Citations:

  1. 1870 United States Census, Ward 7, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana; p.12, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M8QY-8FJ : accessed 05 Aug 2014), NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552008.
  2. 1880 United States Census, William Lane, 2nd Ward, Catahoula, Louisiana, United States; citing sheet 107D, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MD6K-9TH : accessed 05 Aug 2014), NARA microfilm publication T9.
  3. Louisiana, Marriages, 1718-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  4. Civil War Pension File of Roland Norris & Widows Pension of Peggie Norris obtained on 26 May 2009.


  1. Interesting post Terrence, also interesting because the Fortner name is my husband's surname and also Fortune is also in his family surnames. They are scattered from North Carolina to Texas straight across the south, they are mostly in Georgia and Alabama but the other branch went on to Texas.

    1. Very interesting indeed!

      Thanks for stopping by Xzanthia!

  2. Great detective work T! It always amazes me how back-tracking to old records can lead to new major clues and ultimately family connections. Your post has me chomping at the bit to get back to my own family research work too. Work deadlines are drawing to a close and I should be good to go with my research soon. I look forward to reading more from you this year!

    1. Very true Liv, I try to go over my information from time to time just in case I overlooked something important the 1st time around.

      Thanks for stopping by Liv!

  3. Great post Terrence! You have definitely done your work. Looking at your research, It does sound like they were siblings.