This past weekend I worked on the Lyons family. My starting point is the William Lyons’ family Bible.1 I have photocopies of the pages provided to me by the Pascagoula, Mississippi Public Library. William Lyons was my 3rd great-grandfather, born 19 January 1813 in the Mississippi Territory. Most of the entries are pretty straightforward but some are perplexing.
William Lyons is listed as William Lyons, Jr. in the Bible. There is a Charles William Lyons listed who died 23 March 1842. Is this William’s father? I don’t know. This is not his son unless he named two of his sons William. His known son was James William H. Lyons (1840-1846).
The 1840 federal census taken in Jackson County, Mississippi has this:2
1 free white male age 20 to under 30 [William]
1 free white male age 70 to under 80 [Could this be Charles William Lyons?]
1 free white female age 15 to under 20 [wife Mary Ann]
I don’t want to jump to a conclusion too quickly because William’s Bible has a couple of first cousins listed so I can’t be sure that Charles William Lyons isn’t one of them.
I did go back to the 1830 census and there is a Charles Lyons listed as head of household but he is only listed as being age 40 to under 50 which isn’t old enough.3 Normally the first place I look for answers pre-1850 are probate records. Unfortunately, the Jackson County wills and administrations only go back to 1858 so that isn’t going to help me in this case.
Another mystery. There is a Mrs. Mary Lyons listed that died 17 June 1839. This is NOT William’s wife Mary Ann (Cates) Lyons. Could this be William’s mother? Again, I just don’t have enough information yet to make this connection.
I also have some names that I can’t fit into the family at all.
James L. Cilburn born 10 April 1819
Mary Cilburn born 06 March 1821 married John Clark 08 June 1837
Elizabeth Cilburn born 19 December [not sure of the month] 1827
Pheldread Hamilton born 18 May 1827
Elizer Hamilton born 28 May 1829
John D. Hamilton born 30 January 1832
Harretta McCole born 15 April 1799
Elizabeth McCole born 17 November 1801
James Wilkerson McCole 12 February 1803
Samuel Bean born 21 January 1831
Many times the oddball names belong to grandchildren but not in this case. All of these are way too old to be William’s grandchildren. Nieces and nephews? Only if William had a few much older sisters. These could be relatives of William’s wife Mary Ann but her maiden name is Cates so I am in the same situation with her.
So what am I going to do with all of this? I am going to enter every single person that is listed in this Bible into my database because I know that they are related somehow. For the ones that I don’t know, I will just enter them as unlinked individuals. I will put a blub in William’s notes that says that Charles William Lyons and Mrs. Mary Lyons MIGHT be his parents.
After I typed all of this the Pascagoula Public Library emailed me a article from the Journal of the Jackson County Genealogical Society in response to a question I sent them asking them if they knew the physical location of the Bible. The article they sent is a Bible transcription of this Bible.4 The article names the transcriber and the person that has possession of the Bible, or at least the person that had possession of the Bible in 1991. Now I need to do a bit of forensic genealogy and track down the person named as having the Bible. It took me 30 seconds to find her on Facebook. I have sent her a message and we shall see. I would love to have some quality digital images of the Bible pages because there are some discrepancies between what I am seeing on the photocopies and what the transcriber saw.
I would also like to talk with the owner of the Bible because chances are she is a descendant and may have information about the unknowns in the Bible.
1 William Lyons Bible, The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior (Cooperstown, New York: H & E Phinney, 1826), Family Record; privately held by Pascagoula Public Library, (Pascagoula, Mississippi), 1998; The Pascagoula Public Library holds photocopies of the Bible pages. They do not know the location of the actual Bible. The photocopies were donated.
2 1840 U.S. census, Jackson County, Mississippi, p. 276 (stamped), line 4, William Lyon household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 214.
3 1830 U.S. census, Jackson County, Mississippi, p. 8 (stamped), line 8, Charles Lyons household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 May 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M19, roll 71.
4 Thomas C. Wixon, "Family Bible Records," Journal of the Jackson County Genealogical Society 8 (1991): 25-6.
Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis