Monday, March 31, 2014

#52 Ancestors #13 - Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Pittman: Parents Lost in the Genealogy Abyss

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Pittman is my paternal great grandmother


Mary is one of my great mysteries. I don't know who her parents were other than a death record that shows her father to be William Pittman.

Mary was born November 10, 1860 in Alabama. Her death record and census records are consistent in showing her birth in Alabama. The first record available for Mary is when she married John P. Johnston on September 25, 1876. in Limestone County, Texas. All census records showing the birth of her parents are inconsistent.

1880 - Father born Georgia - Mother born Georgia
1900 - Father born Tennessee - Mother born Tennessee
1910 - Father born Alabama - Mother born Alabama
1920 - Father born Alabama - Mother born Alabama
1930 - Father born Texas - Mother born Alabama

The informant for Mary's death certificate was her son John Clark Johnston. Mary died April 26, 1935 at Kosse, Limestone, Texas. She was living with her daughter Rosanna when she died. The death record shows her father was William Pittman birth place unknown and her mother is shown as name unknown and birth place unknown. 

This death certificate only shows the handwriting of two people. The doctor and the person who completed the certificate. The informant line shows J. C. Johnston. He did not sign this. He signed his his World War I Draft Registration and the signature does not match the one on the Mary's death certificate. I sure wish Rosanna would have been the informant. I'm sure Rosanna knew their names.

I have tried to track all Pittman's living in the vicinity of Limestone County, Texas. None seem to be Mary's father.  Surely they must at least be cousins to Mary but I can't connect to them.

My Dad said every single person living in Kosse in the early 1900's was related to us "if not by blood then by marriage". There were some Pittman families living near Mary on the 1900 census. They lived in the same precinct. I feel this J. W. Pittman may be related to Mary. Other researchers show his name as Joseph Wesley Pittman b. 1840 in North Carolina. Some of them have a brick wall on his lineage while others show his father as Wesley Pittman b. 1812 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

My Mary is not the daughter of this Wesley Pittman. I went back one more line in his tree. Wesley's father was Joseph Pittman. This Joseph did have a son named William b. 1815 in Edgecombe. Could this be the father of my Mary? He reportedly died 1861 in Edgecombe. It appears that he never left North Carolina. Of course that's using other trees as a guide. Possibly they are wrong. Possibly he moved (?). It's highly doubtful that he is her father unless he was in Alabama when she was born.

On my list of questions I added "Did her father die and her mother remarry and is living nearby?". That is impossible to answer since I don't have the name of her mother.

There are other Pittman's in Limestone, Navarro, and Leon counties but none of them seem to be my Mary's family as far as I can tell. I'm sure I have overlooked some little clue down the line!

My DNA matches to 34 trees on Ancestry. They are all very distant cousins with the exception of one who shares the same line as me. I also have 10 matches on FTDNA. Almost all of these matches have a William Pittman as a direct ancestor or as a cousin. None of these William Pittman's can be linked to my Mary.

Mary's daughter Rosanna Johnston Herring and my Dad's sister, and my Dad were walking, talking, encyclopedia's of family history. They would tell stories of all the family as well as cousins. They never wrote any of the information down but they knew the family history fairly far back in time. I remember much of the genealogy and stories. Unfortunately, by time I began my family tree they were not here for me to ask questions about Mary. I have no memory of the stories concerning Mary Pittman. I feel certain they knew who Mary's parents were and I regret not asking questions while they were all still living.

I am impatiently waiting for the Genealogy Abyss to open it's mouth so I can find Mary's parents.

Beam me up Cathy - back to top

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