Saturday, August 11, 2012

Questions About Grantor Indexes, the Ku Klux Klan, Death Certifcate Errors and Name Variations

A Question from Trish:
I received information from the Grantor index for Lenoir/Johnston/Dobbs [counties in North Carolina]
Book 24 Aug 1810 to August 1819.
Page 196 Dorcas King to daughter Elizabeth.
Page 189 Dorcas King to Elizabeth Askew.
Page 266 Dorcas King to Henry King.
Elizabeth and Henry are siblings of my Jerusha King Adams.
My question to you. Is it possible for me to get copies of these pages and is it necessary that I need these for proof? Thanks

Yes, you can get copies and you SHOULD get copies! You should never use an index if you can get the originals. The problem you have is that the person listed these as Johnson/Dobbs/Lenoir Grantor Index Books. So which county is Book 24? You need to know that. It won’t be Dobbs County though because Dobbs ceased to exist in 1791. You can request the deeds from the county register of deeds (most counties are cooperative, some are not).

Johnston County Register of Deeds 919-989-5160
Lenoir County Register of Deeds 252-559-6420

I would start by giving them a call and finding out which county has book 24. If they do not copy deeds then you will be able to get them from the North Carolina State Archives. Another option is to see if the Family History Library has microfilmed them. A side note, many of the North Carolina counties have put their deeds online [actual images of the documents]. Unfortunately, Johnson and Lenoir haven’t yet.

A Question from Todd:
Supposedly one of my great grandfather's brothers was in the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. Are there any membership records or anything? It isn't anything to be proud of but I still want to know if it is true.

I have always been told that one of my grandfather's uncles was in the KKK so I too wanted to find out if it was true. I was unable to find any published records. Supposedly if someone left the KKK their membership records were destroyed. Many more were destroyed whenever the individual groups felt pressure from the authorities. I am yet to find any repository having any of these old records. There are several books about the Mississippi Ku Klux Klan specifically but they only name a few of the men in leadership positions and these names are readily available on the internet. The Mississippi KKK put out a newsletter called the Klan Ledger. I have seen several issues and it is nothing more than propaganda. There are no members names in it. I did see a KKK membership form from 1955 at a flea market about 8 years ago. It looked authentic to me. I would have bought it but the guy wanted $40. This one was from Alabama.

A Question from Macilynn:
There is a mistake on my grandfather's death certificate. They have the wrong parents. If I write the vitals office will they correct it?

What an interesting question! I have never even thought about trying to get an old death certificate corrected. Your grandfather's death certificate was issued in the state of Alabama so I called the Alabama Center for Health Statistics and asked them. The short answer is no (at least in your case). The only people that can formally request that a death certificate be amended is the funeral home, the original informant or the spouse of the deceased. Even then a court order may be required. The cause of death portion may only be amended by the physician or coroner that signed the death certificate. If they do approve the changes, then an amendment form will be attached but the original will not be changed. Each state might have slightly different rules but I am sure that Alabama is representative of what one can expect.

A Question from Benny:
Some of my ancestors are listed as Blackstons and some are listed as Blackstones. How exactly am I supposed to record this? [Benny and I started conversing because we have some Blackston/Blackstones in common]

I have Blackston/Blackstone, Maddock/Maddox and Boon/Boone. In all three cases some of the family members preferred one spelling while the others preferred the other spelling, including siblings within the same family. I record it however the person seemed to prefer it. If their name is also recorded the other way, I list it in the AKAs field. For example, Daniel Austin Boon [1819-1886] had 15 children. Seven preferred Boon and eight preferred Boone. On the family group sheet that is exactly how it is listed. This discrepancy is of course explained in the notes. The only time I go against this is if I have birth certificates, baptismal records or the parents' bible with all of the children's names recorded with the same spelling [You can expect a followup post about name variations in records. In this particular case the name variations were due to the personal preferences of the persons involved and in one case it was because of a falling out between siblings. There are other reasons why you will find name variations and that will be discussed later].

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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