“Was there anything in the mail today?” I ask.
“Yeah, a lot of stuff. But nothing really exciting,” she replies. “It’s there on the table.”
I look there on the table, and wade through the usual bills, sales flyers, charitable solicitations, junk mail disguised as first class mail, until I finally come to a big brown envelope marked “Louisiana Secretary of State.”
“I thought you said there was nothing really important here.”
As every genealogist knows, one of the most exciting times of the day is when the mail comes. The envelope from the Louisiana Secretary of State contained five death certificates which I had found listed on their web site at http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/640/Default.aspx. The five death certificates are for:
1. Syntrilla Brayboy LeJay, my great great grandmother who died on July 24, 1923.
2. Sandy Lejay, Syntrilla’s son, who died on March 10, 1946.
3. William Brayboy Sr., who died on January 14, 1933.
4. Jane Jefferson who died on October 29, 1918.
5. Egans Gines who died on March 8, 1948.
Each of these death certificates may hold the answer to particular secrets that I’ve been researching. On first blush however they raise more questions than they answer.
Syntrilla Brayboy LeJay was my great-great-grandmother. She was the mother of Sylvia LeJay, who was the mother of William Edward Gines, who was the father of my mother. I’ve been trying for awhile to sort out Syntrilla’s paternity. I had thought that her father was William (Billie) Brayboy (c.1795-?). The death certificate gives her father’s name as Jim. So the first issue is: might William Brayboy and Jim Brayboy be the same person?
As I ponder that issue, I peruse another death certificate, that of Jane Jefferson. Karen Burney has written a number of times about Jane Brayboy Jefferson at Louisiana Lineage Legacies. Jane would be Karen’s great-great-grandmother. According to her death certificate, her mother was Phoebe Morris. This was no surprise to me, because that’s what Karen’s research has shown. Phoebe Morris had been known as Phoebe Brayboy. For awhile at least, Karen had the same thought that I did–namely that Phoebe’s first husband had been William or “Billie” Brayboy. But the death certificate gives her father’s name as Jim Brayboy, the same as Syntrilla’s father! The informant was Issac Jefferson, Jane’s husband. He certainly would be in a position to know her father’s name, having apparently lived in the same parish.
Another death certificate I got was for a William Brayboy Sr. He died in Frierson, De Soto parish, on January 14, 1933. The death certificate gives his age at time of death as 70. That would make his birth date sometime in 1863. His father is is listed as Billy Brayboy and his mother is listed as “Feebie” Jones. Could Feebie Jones be the same person as Phoebe Brayboy Morris?
Karen says that nobody really knew the name of Jane’s father, but many surmised it was Billy Brayboy because Jane had a brother named Billy. Karen also points out that Jim Brayboy is also listed as the father of Boykin Brayboy (1900-1966). Could the same Jim Brayboy have fathered children nearly 60 years apart? Well, it is biologically possible.
Clearly, we have some issues that need further exploration.
April 25, 2009 Saturday at 8:06 pm