Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Possible family members?

Today I added a sister for William Bradbury to my tree - remember "Mary E." from the 1880 US Federal Census who was 18, single and living with her brother's family?  She's supposed to be his sister, so I added her and what little I knew about her, and did a quick search...and found this possible connection in the 1870 US Federal Census just 2 pages after the entry for William and his family!  It reads:

     Bradbury, Mahala age 36, female, white, Keeping House, born in Tennessee
                  James M. age 16, male, white, at home, born in Texas
                  Charly P.  age 18, male, white, at home, born in Texas, attended school this year but cannot
                                   read or write
                  Eliza J.     age 12, female, white, at home, born in Texas
                  Mary E.   age 9, female, white, at home, born in Texas
                  Sarah M. age 6, female, white, at home, born in Texas

Now, I can't prove that this is the right "Mary E. Bradbury" of course, but she's in the same area as her brother's family, and the names here correspond well with the 1860 US Census record which is presumably the correct family in Denton, TX.  It is tempting to just add this record to my tree and try to find supporting evidence, which I may do, but for now I'm planning to print this out and work on it separately from my online tree.  There is already enough misinformation out there on this family!

I still have 15 min. left in my lunch hour - better get back to research!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

William Bradbury Overview

This could be him...or not!  I found this image on  It was posted by another user, Mitch Fitzgerald, along with several other wonderful images purported to be Bradbury ancestors in my own direct line.  How exciting, right?  So, I contacted Mr. Fitzgerald to ask where the photos came from and how he knew who they were.  He kindly wrote back and informed me that these images were from a collection of his wife's family photos, they were known (identification of folks in the images) to family members as they were passed down, and these heirlooms were, sadly, sold on Ebay by another family member since Mitch scanned them.  Unfortunately, the selling price was too high for the Fitzgeralds to reclaim these priceless photos, so they are now out there somewhere adrift!!

When I found this image, I already had a little information about my ancestor, William Manuel Bradbury:

1.  I first found him in the 1900 US Federal Census when I was searching for my Great Grandfather, William's son, Thomas Elliott.  The family looked like this:
       Bradbury, Wm - Head White Male born Feb 1846 married 33 yrs. born in TN as were both parents
                Indianna S. - Wife  White Female born Mar 1848 married 33 yrs. born in TN, father GA, mother                                                TN Mother of 9 children, 7 living
                 Wilkins N - Son White Male born Apr 1881 single born in Arkansas
                 Thomas E - Son White Male born Mar 1884 single born in Arkansas
                 Clara S     - Dau White Female born Sep 1886 single born in Arkansas
                 Ada U      - Dau  White Female born Apr 1889 single born in Arkansas
                 John W     - Son  White Male born Apr 1868 single born in Arkansas
       They were living in Donald Twp., Franklin County, AR at that time.

2.  I then relied on the unusual name of Indianna to help me trace the family in the 1880 US Federal Census, when the family looked like this:
      Bradberry, William  white male age 34 married farmer TN TN TN
                 Indianna S.   white female age 32 wife              TN GA TN
                 John W        white male age 12 son farm lab.    TX TN TN
                 James R       white male age 10 son farm lab.    AR TN TN
               Stephen H      white male age 7 son                    AR TN TN
               Texanna B      white female age 1 daughter         AR TN TN
                  Mary E        white female age 18 sister single   TX TN TN

      They were living in Hogan Twp., Franklin County, AR at this time.  The possible Texas connection is
      new information (possibly) to follow up on.

3.  This led me back to the 1870 US Federal Census which shows a young family:
       Bradbury, William  age 24 male white born in TN
                        Indiana  age 22 female white born in TN
                        John W age 2 male white born in TX
       At this time the family was located in Horsehead Twp., Johnson Co., AR.

4.  Now I'm really curious about the Texas connection, and any possible Civil War service records!!  I (and many other users) believe this entry applies to William's family:

1860 US Federal Census - Denton, TX
     James Bradley      age 42, male, farmer, born in TN
     Mahalia  "             age 30, female, born in TN
     William   "             age 14, male, born in TN
     John       "             age 10, male, born in TX
     James     "             age 7, male, born in TX
     Charles   "             age 5, male, born in TX
     Eliza       "             age 2, female, born in TX

This is where things get fuzzy.  LOTS of Ancestry trees AND Mitch Fitzgerald's wonderful photos say that William's father was a James Madison Bradbury and his mother was Mahala Mary Hunt.  Aside from the last name potentially spelled incorrectly, these names seem to fit the family shown above in 1860, right?  But how to be sure??

Well, I've asked a number of folks on how they came to the conclusion that James and Mahala were indeed this particular William Bradbury's parents, for there are a few William's of this age out there who were born in Tennessee.  Sadly, I have yet to receive any actual evidence from anyone.  They all point to another tree that gave the information!  Sorry, folks, but that doesn't mean much.

I've since been doing what every good genealogist would do:  gathering as much information as I can reliably tie to William, Indianna, and their children in search of clues about William's parents.  I wrote to the state of Arkansas to obtain William's application for a Confederate Pension.  He claimed to have served as a mail carrier in Texas in the Cavalry, but his pension request was denied.  I received only a single page giving this information and stating that William was old, sick and poor at the time of the application.  Anyone who could corroborate his story was dead, he said.  I continue to hope that I may find a death record for William which may include his parents' names, but so far all I have been able to fine are his grave (including only the year of death - 1931) and his will (written in 1920).  Without a date of death I can't order a death certificate search from the state.  A date of Jan 5th, 1931 is given on, but that's more mystery information.  His will was, however, admitted for probate in March 1931.

So, to sum up, my question/the mystery is:  Who were the parents of William Bradbury/Bradberry?? I do have the more recent census records for the family, Indianna's family is relatively easy to trace (her maiden name is Weems) but I'm stuck on William.  Any ideas?


     Like many genealogists, I have a few branches of the family tree which are harder to follow than the others.  This blog aims to air my personal "brick walls" in hopes that:
     A.  writing about my research problems will lead me to solutions
     B.  others can learn from my struggles
     C.  perhaps some other family members will come forward with the information I need after reading my

     I have only just (about 1-2 yrs. ago) begun researching my Bradbury ancestry, and though I have gleaned a lot of information from,, Fold3, com, etc. I am already stuck.  My first cold case/brick wall will be the subject of my first proper blog post.
    If you are reading this and have any advice or information to offer, PLEASE feel free to comment or contact me.  The more we all share what we know, the better!