Friday, January 14, 2022

Taking a Second Look


When stuck on a research question, as I am with my fourth great-grandfather Job Tison, it sometimes helps to go back and take a second look at all the documentation already gathered. When we focus on one specific research question—as I had in the past, when looking at Job Tison's probate case to examine the specific listing of slaves named in his records—unrelated details may fly by our eyes unnoticed. Sometimes, the very facts we are seeking now turn out to have been there all along. This time, looking with fresh eyes, we can sometimes unearth those details from their camouflaged position.

Now that I'm stuck on Job Tison's personal details—specifically, what documentation can I find to pinpoint where he came from in North Carolina, if those reports are indeed true—I'm more than willing to go back and check everything I've already gathered, in minute detail if necessary. And as I go, I'm thinking things through—for instance, with his timeline.

Supposedly, Job was born in 1770. And reports of his later life in Georgia portray him as having come there from Pitt County, North Carolina. But "coming from" and nativity are not always the same detail. All I know is that the man ended up raising a family in Georgia and leaving a messy probate case in Georgia's Glynn County which took decades and additional family deaths before it was resolved.

In my own record, Job's oldest child had shown as a daughter, Sidnah, who became part of my direct line upon her marriage to George Edmund McClellan and subsequent move to a new life in northern Florida. That is not exactly the case, however. Besides Sidnah—"Sidney," born about 1806—there was an older son, Aaron. But there was also an unnamed daughter listed in Job's will, a child who had predeceased her father—but not before marrying a man by the name of Carter and bearing him two children.

Those two children were remembered by name in their grandfather Job Tison's will. Thankfully, they can now be found by name in this transcription of Job's will, as well as another published abstraction of the same. The granddaughter, named Eliza, and her brother Job, named after his grandfather, were likely born to a Tison daughter named Naomi, who married a Matthew Carter in Wayne County, Georgia, on August 4, 1811.

Think about that for a moment. If Naomi Tison was married in 1811, she could likely have been born sometime around 1791 or a few years afterwards. Where did her parents live then? Could there have been additional children before Naomi, as well?

Looking back over other resources I had found in the past, I noticed this one entry in another of Job Tison's granddaughters' D.A.R. application summary. Unlike the others printed in the Lineage Book of D.A.R. charter members, this particular entry had neglected to include the simple letter "m" signifying "married" before a date published in the granddaughter's entry. Thus, the line concerning her grandparents read:

Granddaughter of Job Tison (1770-1824) and Sidnah Sheffield (1776-1855), his wife, 1790...

and then continued with the other ancestors in the D.A.R. member's line. Not seeing the "m" before "1790," my mind just glossed over the significance of that date.

So...if Job and Sidnah were married in 1790, where did that occasion take place? And were there any additional children born before the listing I now have, beginning with son Aaron's birth in 1803? A gap between the 1790 date of marriage and that of the birth of the first child I have listed (1803) seems unusual for that time period.

An insignificant mere letter like the missing "m" may not seem to you to be worth the attention I'm giving it. On the other hand, realizing that was the date of marriage, it now opens worlds to me in my quest to find an answer to my research question. Granted, since Sidnah Sheffield's father seemed already to be living in Georgia, the marriage likely occurred at that same location. But just in case, I'd like to trace not only where any earlier children might have been born, but any other sign of a household headed by someone with that name—Job Tison—anywhere besides his eventual home in Georgia.



  1. I also like to look far downstream for information about from this early period. Mostly, I look for histories and obits published in when their children were living or an article about some older person who is recalling the early settling of a county.

    I don't know if you have already found this, but it is a little bio of Hon. John Mason Tison, published 19 February 1879 in the Brunswick Advertiser. Since he was a judge, there is likely to more information about him somewhere that could lead to more information about his parents. Anyway, this might help you narrow down the region of North Carolina to search. This is in the Georgia Historic Newspapers database:

    1. Thank you so much for mentioning this resource, Kathy! I had forgotten you had been researching a Tison line, too. I have wandered down the lines of descent for Job Tison, mainly because of my goal of connecting with DNA cousins, and have worked on John Mason Berrien Tison, so this will be an interesting read! I knew he was an attorney--he's the one who fished out the languishing probate after decades in court--but wasn't aware he was a judge. Good point!

    2. John Mason Tison was both a judge and a senator, which may increase your odds of finding references to him in a variety of places. I am seeing that his daughters have extensive obits.

      You might also revisit the Georgia Archive Virtual Vault online for tidbits. I found a pension claim for Mrs. Sallie Tison Barber, based on Frances Marion Tison's service. It had their marriage date and location in it.


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