Tag Archives: surnames

Surname Saturday – Daniel Ancestors

My paternal grandmother, Lillie Mae (Daniel) Ford.

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Some of my fondest Easter memories come from celebrating with my grandma, Lillie Mae.  Here’s the story behind her maiden name.

The other day while poking around online, I found my uncle’s social security death index record and listed under mother’s maiden name was “Daniel.” But my paternal grandmother’s name was Lillie Mae Daniels, with an “s.” I assumed the informant got it wrong or the recorder dropped the S until, I was chatting with my cousin in Mississippi and she mentioned our grandma.

“I always thought Granny’s maiden name was Daniels, but it’s Daniel,” my cousin said. She was reading from our grandparents’ marriage certificate, tickled over the fact that they were married on Halloween. It’s funny how both of us had somehow absorbed the same erroneous information. Just goes to show the importance of documentation.

Our paternal grandmother, Lillie Mae Daniel was born on August 3, 1909 according to census records. Grandma didn’t have a birth certificate and she always assumed she was a little bit younger (a woman’s prerogative, no?). Her father was Walter Daniel but he and Granny’s mom died when she was just a little baby. We don’t know anything more about the Daniel line and I haven’t been able to find anything more about them – maybe because I was researching the wrong name.

Turns out that Daniels is a variation of the surname Daniel, according to several online sources. From the Hebrew personal name, “Daniel” it means “God is my judge,” after the prophet and eponymous book in the Bible. Daniel has various European roots and is most prominent in France, Australia, USA, the United Kingdom and Hungary according to World Names Profiler.

I wonder how much difference a little letter s can make? I guess I’ll find out as I go forward researching Lillie Mae Daniel, not Daniels and her ancestors.


Filed under African-American history, geneology, Uncategorized

Surname Saturday – The Burton Family

My great-grandmother, Josephine Burton's marriage license

After finding my great, great-grandmother Temple Burton’s tombstone this week, it seems right to focus on the surname Burton for Surname Saturday.

According to a myriad of ancestry and genealogy sites on the internet, Burton is of  English origin and means “settlement by a fort.”  Alternate spellings are Burtone, Bortune, or Bortone.

I also found a few Burton family crests and coat-of-arms, including this one at BurtonsCoast2Coast.

Tempe, aka Tempy or Temple Burton is the oldest ancestor of African descent that I’m able to trace on my father’s side.   According to an obituary included on Ray Bellande’s Ocean Springs website and archived at the Southern University of Mississippi,  Tempe was born in 1821 and her tombstone lists March 1, 1925 as her date of death.  That means she lived a whopping 104 years!  Census reports show that many of those years were spent with Col. W.R. Stuart and his wife Elizabeth McCauley Stuart in Ocean Springs, first as their slave and after emancipation as their cook.

My family believes that the Colonel and Tempe had several children together including, Alfred Burton Stuart and my great-grandmother, Josephine Burton Ford.

Alfred Burton Stuart was born in April, 1860 and died on Oct. 4, 1928 in New Orleans. With wife,  Clara he had nine children, including the musically talented,  Tempy Stuart Smith.  My grandmother, Lillie Mae Ford remembered Tempy Smith and  her family as “famous New York City musicians.”  After living in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Tempy and her family did relocate to New York City in the late 1920s.  My cousin, Monique Smith Anderson, also partner on this research journey with me, is a direct descendant of Tempy Smith.

Josephine Burton Ford was born around 1875 according to census records.  She raised her children in Ocean Springs, Mississippi after marrying the Reverend James Ford on April 17, 1894.  Census forms show she lived in Ocean Springs until 1920, but after that, I can’t find a trace of her.  Josephine and James had at least six children,  two of which stayed in Ocean Springs.  My grandfather, Martin Luther Ford was born to the couple on October 19, 1905.  He married Lillie Mae Daniels Ford and they  raised their five children there.  Eventually, Grandpa Martin moved the family to New Orleans where he  died in January, 1985.

My father,  Joseph Burton Ford is the last of Tempe’s descendants to carry her surname.

The only famous Burtons I can think of are Richard Burton and Tim Burton. (My husband reminded me of Roots’ LeVar Burton). But I’m sure there must be some historical figures that I’ve overlooked. If you know any, shout them out to me.

What historical figures share your name?


Filed under African-American history, family history, geneology, Multiracial families, slavery, Uncategorized

Finding the Colonel’s Sword

The handle of my great great-grandfather's 19th century Knights of Pythias sword

My cousin is a great searcher.  She’ll exhaust every page of a google search, unlike me.  If I don’t find what I’m looking for after the second page, I assume the item in question is just not meant to be found.  Bad researching, I know.

But my cousin’s persistence is how she found the above sword which belonged to our ancestor, Col. W.R. Stuart.

Way back in 1999, my cousin’s dad posted a note to a Stuart surname message board on ancestry.com.  A decade later, a woman replied that she didn’t have any info about the colonel, but she had an engraved and personalized sword with his name on it bought from an estate sale in Minneapolis.  By that point, my cousin, Monique had picked up where her dad left off. After a lot of back and forth over the course of five months,  Monique bought the sword.  In a remarkable test of self-will which I think ties in with her persistence, she kept the sword a secret from her dad so she could give him” the most incredible Father’s Day gift ever.  It definitely topped the previous year’s golf shirt and magazine subscription!” Monique says.

She found my post on the same message board as she awaited the sword’s arrival.

I need to get back to checking those surnames message boards.

And speaking of surnames, it’s Surname Saturday at the Geneabloggers site.  In keeping with their ingenious daily theme, here is a list of my family surnames (some still need to be confirmed).  Hopefully, my cousin is reading this and will check  these on the surnames message boards, since I’ll probably forget.

Paternal: Ford, Burton, Stuart, Rasin, Frazier, Dames, Perry, Flaherty or Fluharty, Chipley, Alford, Goddard and Morgan

Maternal: Jones, Walton, Coleman, Watson, Lively

How has persistence paid off for your search?

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Filed under family, family history, geneology, Multiracial families, slavery, Uncategorized