Monday, October 17, 2011

Pulling Fanny White out of obscurity - Matrilineal Monday

One line of family that I have found countless brick walls, some of which I have climbed and some I'm still running into, is the White family of Roanoke County, Virginia. I have found some records, a census here, a headstone there. But I have had a hard time finding conclusive facts to track this family. The patriarch of this line is Edmund Penn White. He married Sarah McClanahan on October 14, 1820 in Botetourt County, Virginia.
The Roanoke County, Virginia historical marker. Photo by MarmadukePercy from Wikimedia Commons.
I have found record or "mention" of the following children for Edmund and Sarah:

William White, no dates
Francis P. White, 1822-1891
Virginia Lafayette White, 1825-1913
Agnes Lewis White, 1825-1873
Gay White, 1830-
Marcellus Fulton White, 1832-1895
Ann White, 1835-
Watkins Leigh White, 1837-1903
Mary White, no dates
In an effort to find out more about the White family, I decided to find out more about the siblings of my ancestor, Marcellus. Through doing this I came across a written history of Virginia Lafayette White that included all of the siblings names.
A possible photo of Virginia Lafayette White McClanahan.
But Virginia and her sister Agnes were the only sisters I could pull out of the woodwork until yesterday. I decided to look in to Fannie P. White, a sister I was only aware of because of the listing of siblings in the history of Virginia White McClanahan. A search of marriages on the Roanoke County, Virginia GenWeb page lists a marriage for a Francis P. White to Adolphus Huff in 1841. The date seemed to make sense, but I had no idea if it was "my" Francis. So I decided to add the couple to my "test" tree on Ancestry.com. I maintain a test tree on Ancestry used solely to gather information and records for potential relatives, without inadvertently messing up my "real" tree.

I added Francis and Adolphus and quickly found many census records and nine children. One child was named Edmund and one was named Sallie...names that Fanny's parents went by. A good start, but not conclusive. I was able to trace Adolphus through 1900 where I found him living with two sons in St. Louis, Missouri. A terrific stroke of luck because Missouri has a wonderful collection of death certificates on the Missouri Digital Heritage website. If one of the sons died in Missouri I had them...and potentially had a link to Fanny.

The first son I looked for, named Lindsay B. Huff, died in St. Louis in 1940. But his death certificate lists his parents as "unknown." The second son, Warner, died in St. Louis in 1929. I clicked on his death certificate and low and behold...
His mother is listed as Fanny White. So now I have two mentions of Fanny White linked to Adolphus Huff. I later find Adolphus and Fanny Huff buried in East Hill Cemetery in Roanoke County, Virginia. The same cemetery where other members of the White family are buried. It turns out the Fanny died in 1856.

I have three links to a Fanny White: a marriage in the family's home county, mention on a son's death certificate and burial in the family's home county. The age on the headstone matches what makes sense for my Fanny White. Plus, her children include names from her family line and her family immigrated to Missouri like four of the other White siblings. Have I pulled Fanny out of obscurity? While I don't have actual conclusive proof I feel like I have.

(Note: Following this post I learned from a cousin that Fanny White Huff's children are buried in the same plot as Edmund White. Proof enough for me!)

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