Sometimes when you run up against a brick wall, you may have to go a long way in a parallel or perpendicular path to get around the brick wall. True in physics, true in life, true in genealogy.
In illustration of that point, we’ve been trying for a long time to get past the brick wall represented by my great-grandfather, Richard William Gines, who was born in Bossier Parish, Louisiana in about 1860. He lived most of his life in Shreveport, Caddo Parish, and presumably died there between 1900 and 1910.
We’ve been unable to move linearly beyond Grandpa Dick. But in the course of attempting to do so, we come across a lot of other folks in Louisiana named Gines. Perhaps pursuing one of these collaterals will lead us around the brick wall. So we’ve been studying the matter of one Egans Gines who lived in Shreveport for some period of time before dying there in 1948.
We’ve “learned” (that is, we’ve seen record evidence from which we might reasonably infer) that Egans Gines was a child of Julia Turner Gines of Tensas Parish, Louisiana. This information comes from his death certificate and analysis of census records. The problem is, however, that we have nothing that either indicates his paternity or places him and his supposed mother in the same place at the same time. While we have evidence of Julia Turner’s existence as well as evidence of her maternity of several children with the Gines surname, we have no record of her association with or marriage to any one named Gines.
Before we proceed, a word about the census records. In a post here several months ago, we discusses several spelling variations for the name “Gines” (which in the family we’re following is pronounced with a “hard” “G”). Among those variations is “Guynes.” We’ve also found people named Gines under “Gions,” “Giones,” and other spellings. We know that these are mere variant spellings because the same persons sometimes end up with several of the spellings over time. [See here to figure out another way we know the difference between variant spellings and "true" variations in a name].
So, with the foregoing said, let’s look again at the last census record in which Julia appears with the Turner family. It’s 1880. The purpose of re-examining this record to is see whether there are likely candidates to be the father of Julia’s Gines child.
In 1880, the Turners, including Julia, were enumerated in Ward 4 of Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Their household ( #76) appears on page 164 of the Tensas Parish census. So let us look around for people named Gines who possibly and plausibly be the father of Egans Gines.
At the top of page 164, we find that Household #74 is occupied by Milford Guiones and wife Rebecca, along with their children, Ellen, Mary, Charles, and Dorsey. By comparing these names to other census records, we can reasonably surmise that this family is actually named “Gines” (for example, see Louisiana State Archives, death certificate entry for Milford Gines, died on 8 Apr 1930, aged 81 years).
Top: Entry for death of Milford Gines
Bottom: 1870 Census of Tensas Parish; note family # 701
(click images to enlarge)
But Milford’s family is of little use thus far; let’s put them aside for the moment, and lok further into the 1880 census.
At the bottom of page 163, in household #73, we find Elijah Guions, with wife Caroline and children Benjamin, Jane, Prisilla, Lucinda, and Elijah Jr.
Benjamin is 21 years old and Elijah, Jr. is 12. It would not be an unreasonable hypothesis that he may have been involved with (assuming her age was correctly reported in 1870) the approximately 20 year old Julia Turner. Recall that while this Guions family was in household #73, the Turners were in household #76.
Now comes that point in every genealogical problem where we pause a moment to lament the lack of an 1890 census. <pause> . Thank you very much.
Recall that in the 1900 census, Julia Gines is listed as a widow. And we don’t know who her husband was or who all of her children were.
We set out to find something about Egans Gines. We knew only what his death certificate told us and an entry in the Shreveport city directory. We found no marriage records for him or his parents. We found no specific evidence that he had any children. We think he might be a sibling of Tillman Gines, Zeke Gines, or Jeff Gines, the sons of Julia Turner Gines.
So are we any further along than when we started? The goal of chasing Egans Gines as a collateral was to find a way around the brick wall that’s kept us from getting past Richard William Gines. We’re not past that brick wall. Nonetheless, chasing down Egans has led us to numerous other collaterals who might prove more useful. In addition to that, we’ve learned some things about Tensas Parish that also may be of future benefit. Until we analyze all that information, we won’t know if this was a wild goose chase or not.
Coming: Some of the Plantations of Tensas Parish
May 20, 2009 Wednesday at 7:26 am