I'm trying to see if DNA can chip away my brick walls. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to come up with anything new after the inspirational conference I had attended. So today I decided to concentrate on my Cotten family mysteries.
To recap, my great grandfather is Napoleon Cotten. His mother is Winnie Deer. It took me years to find them on the 1870 census mainly because I was looking for Cottens. Then on one of my searches I used only the first names and the state, Mississippi. Heritage Quest rewarded me with success. I found the whole family in 1870 in Amite County. The reason I couldn't find them before was because I wasn't looking for Andersons, the surname they were using in 1870.
I then tried to find them on various Amite county farms owned by Andersons. Moses Gordon Anderson became a person of interest in my mystery. He lived near Winnie in 1870. In 1860, he owned 40 slaves including a 100 year old woman named Sophia. On the slave schedule, following the tip I learned at the conference, I noticed a family group that corresponded to the ages of Winnie's family. There were discrepancies. There was a one year old male. On Winnie's tombstone and on the 1900 census, she is recorded with only three sons and a daughter. If this is Winnie, she is recorded on this slave schedule with four sons. Also the ages of the sons were a little off except for Napoleon's.
I then looked at the 1850 slave schedule. M. G. Anderson owns 23 slaves. They are separated into two groups. On the smaller group, there is a 15 year old female, the right age for Winnie, and possibly her oldest son Hiram at one year old.
I went back to 1840 and found Anderson with a new wife and seven slaves. I checked out his bride. Her name was Cynthia Carolyn Causey, daughter of Capt. William Causey and Susanna Jackson. The Captain had died in 1828 and left a will. He had sired many children. He also possessed many slaves. He willed only one, "negro girl named Mary" to his daughter Cynthia. Now I know Mary is a very common name and it means very little but it still gave me a glimmer of hope that this was Winnie's mother, Mary. And when I checked the 1840 census, Anderson owned only two female slaves-a child under 10 and a woman between 24 and 35 years old. Could this be Mary and Winnie?
I continued searching family trees for the Causeys on ancestry.com. I came across a familiar name. The woman who owned one of the Causey family trees was also a match to me through DNA!!!
I still have much to do to determine who was the shared ancestor. Her family tree had a surname that was also on my family tree-- Cain. We may be connected that way. Cynthia Causey's brother had married Lucretia Cain, a daughter of Isaiah Cain and sister to Mary Cain Cotten. These same surnames keep coming up. That is why I am holding out hope that this bread crumb trail will finally lead me to the ancestors of Winnie and Napoleon and knock down that brick wall.