Friday, March 22, 2019
Some Good Ideas can Become Messy
It seemed like a brilliant tactic: if I couldn't find anything more about King Stockton's history to trace his line back before that brick wall of the Civil War, then try the same move, using a sibling's line.
I've been through almost every one of Frank Stockton's children, and once again, I'm stuck. They all seemed to disappear after the 1885 Florida state census. Only a few could I find in the 1900 census. Then—nothing. So much for bright ideas.
I did discover one tidbit, though: Francis Stockton had married a woman by the name of Sarah. Just as the marriage record for King Stockton had appeared, Francis' wife was listed only by a given name. It took searching through each of their children's lines to find a record which provided a maiden name for Sarah. That I discovered when finding a Social Security application for her son, William Colfax Stockton. Interestingly enough, just like had turned out for King's wife Louvenia, Sarah's maiden name was given as Dean.
Remembering that King Stockton's biography had mentioned about Louvenia that she was the youngest of five sisters, Sarah likely was not sister to Louvenia, despite having that tantalizingly matching maiden name. For one thing, census records agreed that Louvenia was born in 1832, and that Sarah was younger, with a birth year of 1835, inconveniently disrupting that hopeful possibility. But they still could have been cousins.
The aggravating thing about it all is that almost none of the children of Frank and Sarah Stockton could be convincingly located past 1900. It was as if the entire family disappeared. Most likely, it was because, once they became adults, each one of the Stockton children moved out of the area. But where? There seems to be no clear confirmation of where each one went.
Doubts begin to surface. Could it have been that every one of Frank and Sarah Stockton's children died by the time of the early 1900s? Could they have been so poverty-stricken, or their health so poor, as to not live long lives? It hardly seems possible that this would be the case for every one of the family, considering there were at least ten children.
I begin to wonder how accurate government records might have been for freedmen in the south immediately following the Civil War. Could the family have decided to relocate? Or were they just not counted, living in the same place where they always had been?
It's pretty clear that a search like this will have to expand from simply relying on Ancestry.com records. Of course, that should be true for any genealogical quest, but in this case, there may be no alternative but to look elsewhere.