Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Back to the Book
Sometimes, when you lose your way in a research project, it is best to head back home to the starting point. In the case of my pursuit of King Stockton and his family, I could not find any record concerning his wife Louvenia, besides the names given for her parents on her death certificate.
My main question, after discovering what looked like the surname Dean given for Louvenia's father, was whether she was related to Kelly and Minty Dean, the couple who lived only a few homes away from the Stockton family in Wellborn during the 1870s.
Searching for any other families in Suwannee County with the surname Dean brought up zero results. While the handwriting on Louvenia's death certificate prevented me from fully comprehending what her father's given name was, I could decipher the initial few letters—Thad—but could not find anyone with the name Thad Dean in Florida, other than a white man of nearly the same age, who lived over one hundred thirty miles away. True, Louvenia was listed as mixed race in the 1870 census, but there really was no way to support such a coincidental name, even if the handwriting had been crystal clear.
I stumbled around, trying to find any further hints on Louvenia's connection with either the Lewis family—remembering her husband's biographer also claimed the surname Lewis—or the Dean family. My only other usable clue was the signature of the informant on her death certificate. Again, handwriting issues made it difficult to decipher, but the first name was clear enough: Annie.
I knew King and Louvenia Stockton had a daughter whom they named Annie. Born around 1872, she was easily found in the 1880 census in her parents' household, and even in the 1900 census in the home of her older brother John Henry Stockton. From there, I lost track of Annie, although Ancestry.com's hints recommended I consider a cover sheet for an undated marriage record in Columbia County for an A. Stockton and someone named—if I'm reading the handwriting correctly—U. Curington.
That's when I remembered seeing a section in King Stockton's biography mentioning his children's names. I went back to the book to see what was said about Annie. The drawback was that the text mentioned King and Louvenia had "five daughters and four sons," but the listing which followed did not add up to the promised total. Perhaps that is what comes of lacking an editor who would have spotted such omissions.
Then, too, perhaps such a copy editor would have provided a verifiable married name for Annie. What was given in the book was "Annie Cuenson, who has one child."
Cuenson, I found it interesting to note, was a surname which I could find in searches indicating Scandinavian roots and residences in places like Minnesota—but not families of African heritage in the considerably more hot and muggy Florida. Could Cuenson really have been Curington?
More to the point, could either of those surnames have represented the Annie who signed her name as informant on Louvenia's death certificate? What looks like Curintor—if we really use our imagination—may lead us to further clues on King Stockton's family, and especially to the family names associated with his wife Louvenia.
Above: Informant signature from the 1925 death certificate of Louvenia Lewis Stockton, wife of King Stockton of Hastings, Florida; image courtesy FamilySearch.org.