Thursday, May 27, 2010


Well, moving definitely throws me off balance when it comes to posting. Let's see if I can't make this more regular.

My sister and I have spent the last several years looking for the marriage date and place for our grandparents Charles Gordon Garner and Mattie Hendrix. At first we thought it would be an easy effort, just check out the records in the county where they lived when they got married (Toombs County, GA). Well, there was no record there, so we checked the county where she was from (Union County) and the neighboring counties since transport sometimes made it easier to get to a different courthouse (Lumpkin, White, Fannin). No luck. A cousin thought they got married in Athens, so checked out Clarke county. Then, since we were in the area, checked out the counties where he grew up (Washington and Hancock). We tried the county where they honeymooned (Chatham), where he had lived a couple of years before (Stephens), where his closest sibling lived (Fulton) and then a couple of counties because we were in the area - Crawford, Peach, and Houston. We had actually printed out the Georgia map on the GAGenWeb site and marked off counties as we went.

The only "known" facts we had were that their engagement was announced in November 1920 in the Atlanta Constitution, with no date given for the wedding but a statement that it would be "soon". And in the 1920 census, both of them were shown with their parents, in Union and Hancock counties respectively.

At that point, we had just about reached the point of just working out from all those counties until we had got lucky or eliminated the entire state. However, at that point a little bit of luck hit in. As I had done many times before, I did a news search on her name ( and had a social news hit - Miss Mattie Hendrix of Swainsboro visited her sister Mrs. Floyd in Atlanta. I knew my grandmother had a sister Maude Floyd, so even though we had no knowledge of any connection to Swainsboro, we checked it out and there it was! Embarrassing moment of high-fives in the courthouse, but the staff just wrote us off as crazy genealogists.

So why Swainsboro - it turns out Mattie was a teacher there at the time. Once I knew that this was my Mattie, I did more research and found out that she was also on the 1920 census down there (something I would have dismissed before since I knew I had her with her parents. Didn't think to check the dates). This also explained the long-term question of how they met - she was running literacy programs from Statesboro, he was doing extension agency outreach in Lyons, putting them actually in fairly close proximity to each other and in fields where their missions might have overlapped.

And the moral of this story - check and recheck every possible source of information. I had checked her name in genealogybank and ancestry many times, but genbank had added more source newspapers and I was not being careful on the census or I would have caught the duplicate entry for her.