Select Page

… it wouldn’t be fun, right?

The Legal Genealogist‘s mother was Hazel (Cottrell) Geissler (1926 Texas – 1999 Virginia).

Hazel’s mother was Opal (Robertson) Cottrell (1898 Texas – 1995 Virginia).

Opal’s mother was Eula (Baird Livingston) Robertson (1869 Alabama – 1954 Virginia).

These generations are all easy to connect; I have tons of records including death certificates for all three.1

Eula’s father was Jasper N. Baird (1843 Alabama – 1909 Arkansas). That one’s much tougher, because it isn’t entirely clear if Eula’s mother, Martha Louise Shew, ever married Jasper. Eula is recorded as age six months in 1870 in Cherokee County, Alabama, with her then-17-year-old mother and 38-year-old grandmother Margaret Shew — but the head of household is simply recorded as a 22-year-old farmer, surname Baird, no first name.2 Family oral history records the father as Jasper Baird and the grandfather as Billy Baird,3 there is a Baird family headed by a William with an 18-year-old Jasper in Cherokee County in the 1860 census,4 and autosomal DNA links us tightly to that family with matches to multiple descendants of William and Christian (Campbell) Baird, and no known alternative common ancestors who might explain the shared DNA.5 So the evidence says Jasper is Eula’s father, whether he and Martha Louise were ever married.6

John Baird

Jasper’s father was William Baird (1816 Tennessee – 1888 Arkansas). That one’s easier by far. Jasper was recorded in William’s household in 18507 and, as noted, in 1860,8 and J.N. Baird was listed as a survivor in William’s 1888 obituary.9

William’s father was Hiram Baird, a boot- and shoemaker, according to a profile of William’s son Madison Hiram Baird.10 That matches up to the Hiram Baird who was born around 1792 in Tennessee or North Carolina and was enumerated as a shoemaker in Cherokee County in 185011 and in Marshall County, Alabama, in 1860.12 Again DNA links us to this line with matches to multiple descendants of Hiram and Mary Baird, with no known alternative common ancestors who might explain the shared DNA.13

Our working theory, supported with land and military records, is that this Hiram is the Hiram who came from Wilson County, Tennessee and, if that’s right, then Hiram’s father was John Baird. We can say that because, when that Hiram sold his own land in Wilson County right at the time our Hiram moved to Alabama, the deeds of sale described one parcel as “part of the tract of land formerly owned by my father John Baird”14 and the other as “deeded to said Hiram by his father John Baird.” 15

This is all terrific, isn’t it?

Except for where it leaves me right now.

Because there were — count ’em — one, two, three, four John Bairds in Wilson County, Tennessee, enumerated on the 1830 census when Hiram was recorded as well.

And then there’s Johnson Baird just to the west in Davidson County, and two Johns just to the south in Rutherford, and one to the southwest in Williamson, and one to the south in Bedford, and …

But hey… who’s counting?

Sigh…

Now some of these men can be eliminated by age or other factors. The Johnson of Davidson, for example, was a free man of color and probably can be eliminated from consideration.16

Hiram was born around 1792, if the census records are right. He’s shown as age 30-39 on the 1830 census.17 So we can eliminate the John enumerated just above Hiram on that census page, since he was also shown as 30-39 years of age.18 Age also eliminates the John in Williamson County (age 20-29)19 and the John (20-29) of Bedford County.20 It rules out the younger of the two Johns in Rutherford (age 20-29), but doesn’t completely rule out the older one (age 40-49) on the same page.21

But the John enumerated on the same page as Hiram’s land buyer Peter Mosley was shown as age 60-70.22 He has to be left in as a candidate. And the John recorded as 40-49 can’t be eliminated by age alone, since a man close to age 50 could well be the father of a man close to age 30.23

Sigh…

Now if I’m taking bets, I’m betting on the older man. Among other things, matching up the tax lists with the census lists and deed records, it’s the older John who seems to be recorded consistently in the same area as Hiram and has the same group of folks acting consistently as witnesses to each other’s land transactions.

And … of course … the one who is the best documented, with the most information is the other John. The one who moved to Gibson County by 184024 — the one with loads of trees identifying parents and siblings and children with Bible records and more. And, of course, the one who, almost undoubtedly, isn’t Hiram’s father, since that John has an extensive probate file listing a ton of kids and grandkids — and not naming Hiram or any of Hiram’s kids.25

As to the John I think could be my John? Not a clue as to his origins.

Sigh…

Remind me again, will ya?

If this was easy, it wouldn’t be fun.

If this was easy, ….


Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “If this was easy….,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 17 Apr 2021).

SOURCES

  1. See e.g. Virginia Department of Health, Certificate of Deaths No. 99-018720, Hazel Cottrell Geissler, 23 Apr 1999, No. 95-011808, Opal Robertson Cottrell, 15 Mar 1999, and No. 6367, Eula Robertson, 14 Mar 1954; Division of Vital Records, Richmond.
  2. 1870 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, Leesburg Post Office, p. 268(A), dwelling 15, family 15, Baird household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication M593, roll 7.
  3. Interview with Opal Robertson Cottrell (Kents Store, VA), by granddaughter Bobette Richardson, 1980s; copy of notes privately held by Judy G. Russell.
  4. 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 136 (stamped), dwelling/family 332, Jasper N., age 18, in Wm. G. Baird household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2012); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 5.
  5. Just using Ancestry’s ThruLines feature, my mother’s brother and sister match descendants of three of William’s other children as of today. See also Judy G. Russell, “The matchmaker’s match,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 7 Oct 2012, and “Another matchmaker match!,” posted 31 Mar 2013 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 16 Apr 2021).
  6. If they were, they certainly didn’t stay married. As Martha Beard, she married Abigah Livingston in 1876. See Jordan R. Dodd, compiler, “Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920 (Selected Counties) (database on-line),” database, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Oct 2011).
  7. 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 35B (stamped), dwelling/family 472, Jasper N., age 9, in William “Barid” household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M432, roll 3.
  8. 1860 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., p. 136 (stamped), dwell./fam. 332, Wm. G. Baird household.
  9. “Obituary,” Russellville (Ark.) Democrat, 9 Feb 1888, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, Library of Congress, Chronicling America (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 16 Apr 2021).
  10. “M.H. Baird,” in Dallas T. Herndon, editor, Centennial History of Arkansas, 3 vols. (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publ. Co., 1922), 2: 865; digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/ : accessed 16 Apr 2021).
  11. 1850 U.S. census, Cherokee Co., Ala., pop. sched., p. 44A (stamped), dwelling/family 594, Hiram Baird.
  12. 1860 U.S. census, Marshall County, Alabama, population schedule, p. 136 (stamped), dwelling 219, family 191, Hiram Baird snr.; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 16.
  13. Again using Ancestry’s ThruLines feature, my mother’s brother and sister match descendants of five of Hiram’s other children as of today.
  14. Wilson County, Tennessee, Deed Book N: 483, Hiram Baird to Peter Mosley, 8 Aug 1829; digital images, “Wilson County, Tennessee, deed records (1789-1965),” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 16 Apr 2021).
  15. Ibid., Deed Book N: 540, Hiram Baird to Peter Mosley, 22 Dec 1828
  16. 1830 U.S. census, Davidson County, Tennessee, p. 275 (stamped), Johnson Baird; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 172.
  17. 1830 U.S. census, Wilson County, Tennessee, p. 114 (stamped), Hiram Baird; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 182.
  18. Ibid., John Baird.
  19. 1830 U.S. census, Williamson County, Tennessee, p. 240 (stamped), John Baird; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 182.
  20. 1830 U.S. census, Bedford County, Tennessee, p. 99 (stamped), John Baird; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 174.
  21. 1830 U.S. census, Rutherford County, Tennessee, p. 279 (stamped), Jno Baird (15th named person), Jno Baird (23rd named person); digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M19, roll 179.
  22. 1830 U.S. census, Wilson Co., Tenn., p. 101 (stamped), John Baird.
  23. See ibid., p. 70 (stamped), John Baird.
  24. 1840 U.S. census, Gibson County, Tennessee, p. 171 (stamped), John Beard; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Apr 2021); imaged from NARA microfilm M704, roll 521.
  25. See M.A. Gray, Abstract (7 Mar 2010), Gibson County Quorum Court Book E: 223-224 (1851); typed with comments, uploaded to Ancestry.com (2010).
Print Friendly, PDF & Email