Tuesday, June 11, 2013

William Aaron Garner's father

Baptist church records, particularly in the South, are not often very useful for genealogical purposes.  Sometimes, however, they can at least provide a strong pointer to the answer. 

William Aaron Garner was born in 1850 and first appears in the 1860 census with his mother Nancy, living in the household of Moses Garner.   While that census does not give relationships, Nancy is living with him in 1880, described as his mother.    It has long been known that he was illegitimate but not who his father was.

Enter the minutes for Union Baptist Church of Washington County, GA.  There is a very short entry, where James L. Cook and Nancy Garner are expelled from the church for adultery.  This record appears about 5 months before William's birth, so presumably about the time that it became obvious that she was pregnant.   More evidence is needed, but James appears to be a likely candidate for William's father.

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