Sunday, March 13, 2011


Maggie Stringer Jones
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent most of my time on my male ancestors and their descendants, mentioning their wives and their parentage only in passing.  Partly this is my fault, but a great part of the problem is that our entire society is geared toward tracking and documenting the paternal line.  The farther back you go the less we have on the wives and mothers of our forefathers, our grandmothers (“foremothers” sounds wrong), or as I titled this post, our grand-mothers.  For don’t we all have a special place in our hearts for a special woman who raised us, whether she was a mother, a grandmother, or some other relative.  And if that “mommy place” isn’t filled, we know it, and others pity us.  It’s how we’re made.  My cousin Dell (a fine Southern lady, though we’ve never met) posted this on her Facebook page:
If your Mama was a hard working woman and was your hero, helped you no matter how bad you were or was just the best mom ever, if you are blessed to still have her or if she is an angel in Heaven, paste this to your status and let everyone know you are PROUD of your mother. You can replace a lot of people in life, but you only have one......... Mama...
Since she encouraged it, I posted it on my Facebook page, too, and you are free to do the same.

Anyway, I’ll do my best to post more of the information I have on my grand-mothers.  In many cases I have very little on their mothers, or their mothers’ mothers.  Partly this is because of a lack of information and partly it’s because I’ve only been at this genealogy thing for about a year.  I’ve got a lot of bare branches on my family tree just waiting to be “leafed in”!

Maggie Stringer Census Records
[census images from]

Thanks to my cousin Michelle I have a great deal of information on my dad’s mother, Maggie Frances Stringer to supplement my own memories and family photos, and what my dad can tell me.  Maggie was born 5 February 1907 Haw Pond in Bulloch County (according to her own Bible record), and died 1 January 2000 (at the hospital in Savannah, though she lived in rural Effingham County, near Guyton).  She was the daughter of Hattie Mosell Williams (22 Mar 1880 – 21 Jul 1921) and Thomas Henry Stringer (26 Mar 1869 – 1 Jul 1933).  In the 1910 census the family was living in Tattnall County, on Cobbtown Road, and in 1920 in Haw Pond, Evans County.  Evans County was created in August 1914, in part from Bulloch and Tattnall Counties.

Maggie married my grandfather James Dewey Jones, Sr. (13 Dec 1907-27 May 1973) in Evans County on 6 Oct 1928, and they moved in with his parents Jacob and Rosa (Barnes) Jones in Brier Patch, Bulloch County, where they showed up on the 1930 census along with my late uncle James Dewey Jones, Jr, and several other relatives.  Great-granddaddy Jake Jones was a sharecropper.  Granddaddy went by “Dewey”, and Uncle Dewey was “Dewey Junior” to everybody.  According to Hattie & Tom Stringer’s Bible my grandmother’s name was actually “Frances Magadelin” [sic].  For some reason they liked using the middle name as the preferred name seems.  In addition to the two Deweys, my father goes by his middle name “Olan” and so does my mother “Ann”.  So it could very well be that “Maggie Frances” is incorrect, but I’ve always heard it that way, so I’m sticking with Maggie for now.

I’ve got a DVD of a driving tour that Michelle took with my dad and some of his siblings along with their cousin James Sapp, who is a half-generation older than them and remembers more of the life of the Stringers and Joneses in the 1920s and 30s.  One of my “rainy day” projects (that’s a huge list!) is to transcribe that home movie and extract stills from it so that it’s more easily shared and used in documentation. 

Maggie & Dewey Jones
(early 1930s ??)
Maggie and Dewey had eight children, but only seven survived to adulthood.  Their second child, Wilfred Peyton Jones, died 14 September 1934, a week before my father was born.  He was only two-and-a-half years old.  I’ve been told he was hit by a car.  Dewey Jr. died in 2002, but the six remaining siblings, three boys and three girls, still survive so I’ll leave it there for now.  I have a few photos of Maggie and Dewey, thanks to Michelle (and I think in the possession of Aunt Mildred) to supplement a couple I have from my parents’ photo album, but my family wasn’t as “snap happy” in the early years of the 20th century as some were.  You may have noticed a dearth of other documentation (birth, marriage and death).  As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been rather lax about obtaining documents on people I still living or who I remember.  I know I shouldn’t, but there it is.  I hope to remedy some of that later this year, perhaps as early as next month when I’m going home to Georgia for a couple of weeks.

I’ll talk about  Maggie’s parents in the next post.

Here’s your summary:
Dewey & Maggie Jones
(that's me in the middle!)
  • Don’t forget to document your maternal lines.  Just because the surname has disappeared from your family doesn’t mean they didn’t have as much to do with you being here as your father’s father’s fathers.  March is Women’s History Month and Mother’s Day is coming up in May, so now would be a perfect time to start.
  • 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.
  • One thing you can learn from your grand-mothers because most rarely did it is to document who is in your pictures.  Whether you write on the physical prints (bad idea) or add captions and metadata* to your digital images, make sure those who come after you know who they are seeing, when and where the photo was taken, and any other facts you’d like to know if you found that photo somewhere in a family album.  [*Metadata is just a fancy word for saving your photo notes in the picture, as part of the JPG or TIF file itself.  It doesn’t harm the picture and it can’t be lost.  For more information, Google “save photo metadata genealogy” and find an article that helps you.  You can make your search more specific if you add the name of your photo editing program.]

 Later y’all,


No comments: