the daughter of Hattie Mosell Williams (22 Mar 1880 – 21 Jul 1921) and Thomas Henry Stringer (26 Mar 1869 – 1 Jul 1933). I also noted that her name is written “Frances Magadelin” [sic] in Hattie & Tom Stringer’s Bible, and that the family lived in Tattnall County in 1910 and Haw Pond, Evans County, in 1920. Here are a few pages from that Bible I mentioned (again thanks to my cousin Michelle, who made the scans from the Bible which is currently in the possession of our Aunt Mildred).
|Pages from the Hattie Williams-Thomas Stringer family Bible|
According to the first of these pages from the family Bible, “Thos. H. Stringer and Hattie M. Williams” were married 21 March, 1901, in Augusta [Richmond County], Georgia, by “Louis Schillen” and the witness was Mrs. M. J. Williams. Unfortunately, the last record in the last Richmond County marriage book available online through the Virtual Vault is for a license issued 12 January 1901, so that’s another record to add to my “to be ordered” list. Most likely the handwriting is that of Hattie. I have no proof of this at this time; it’s just a feeling about it.
|Alternate B/W copy of part of page 3 of family Bible above|
There is additional valuable information to be gleaned from these pages. On the second page, at the bottom, you can see the copyright date is 1907. Since I don’t have a copy of the title page of the Bible, which may or may not have a printing date, with the copyright date I know that the earliest this family data could have been recorded in this Bible is 1907. Just above that are Hattie and Thomas’s dates of birth and, of great importance, their parents’ names (though the writer did not record their mothers’ maiden names). Listed as “Grandparents”, Thomas’ parents were Robert F. Stringer and Martha E. Stringer and Hattie’s parents were Shep M. Williams and Mary J. Williams. Thus it seems that Hattie’s mother may have been the witness to her wedding. There is no explanation as to why only one witness is listed.
The third page lists Hattie and Thomas’ children, their dates of birth, their spouses, and their dates of marriage. Maggie is the third child, married to Dewey Jones on 6 October 1928. The rest of the third and fourth pages (parts of which I have blurred because some of these people are still living) concern mostly their grandchildren. It appears to me that these pages bear the handwriting of at least three different individuals. In any case, the fourth page states that Hattie and Thomas were Missionary Baptists, and someone has recorded that both died of “apoplexy” (a term applied to any sudden, unexpected loss of consciousness followed by death), Hattie on 21 July 1921 and 1 July 1933, and that both are buried at “Canoochee”. (OK, I’m cheating again! I have a secondary copy, a black & white photocopy that is a bit clearer along the bound edge of the pages.) In support of the death dates, again thanks to Michelle, I have photos of Hattie and Thomas’ gravestones. Additionally, since Hattie died in 1921 I was able to locate her death certificate online in Georgia’s Virtual Vault, my number-one source for original documents from this time period. In this case, my first search, by first and last name, turned up exactly one record and that was hers. And, Hattie's death certificate gives me her mother's maiden name -- she was Mary Jane Andrews.
Having the names of Hattie and Thomas’ parents will help as I go back another generation. But I think I’ll leave that for another time.
|Hattie M. [Williams] Stringer Death Certificate|
(Death Certificates, Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives)
Here’s your summary:
- The women of the family often had control of the family history (the same as today). If you have a family Bible, it’s a good bet that you’re looking at the handwriting of the women in your family. Women didn’t always take the pictures, but they were usually took charge of them once they were printed, framing them to hang on the walls or pasting them in endless scrapbooks and photo albums.
- Family Bibles can be a rich source of information, but you should treat it as you would any other source and try your best to verify the information. While an invaluable pointer to information you might not otherwise have, without corroborating evidence and documentation it is only hearsay.
- Try to keep the date ranges of your primary records sources in mind as you do your research. In this case, I know that the Georgia’s Virtual Vault website has death certificates from many Georgia counties from as early as 1914 to as late as 1930, though they are mostly from 1919 through 1927. If you remember what you CAN find, you are more likely to quickly find records to support your research.
- Don't forget to check all the fields on a death certificate. It, too, may give you valuable clues.