Budding Genealogists

Thought I would share a photo from my phone’s photo stream from last spring. While on a short visit to Ft. Sill National Cemetery, my two oldest children, Lila and Jackson, found a gravestone with both their names. They were quite excited!



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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


Nathaniel Davis Signature

Some time ago, I inherited some books from the personal library of my great-grandfather, Rev. C.J. Davis (1908 – 1995). Two volumes had belonged to my great-great-great grandfather, Rev. Andrew Nathaniel Jackson Davis (1844 – 1938). He went by his initials: N.J.

Most of his sons went by initials as well.

Robert Wallace – R.W.
Rufus Urial – R.U.
Benjamin Franklin – B.F.
Thomas Jefferson – T.J.
Charles Walter – C.W.

Below are a couple of photographs of an 1879 book entitled “The Church.” The title page contains the signature of both C.J. And N.J. Davis.



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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Genealogy


The Ambrotype Mystery

After my great-grandfather, Clarence Jackson Davis, died in May 1995, an original ambrotype photograph was found. The image is of a woman aged 35-40s holding a small child on her lap.

No one in the family knows who is in the photo.


From what I know about this method of photography, they were produced between 1855 and 1865. The metal preservers of the ones produced before 1859 were quite plain. Since the one on this photograph is more ornate, I’m guessing it was made sometime around 1860 to 1865. That gives a pretty narrow time frame for it to have been made. Having the child in the photograph also helps out some, I think. How old is the child? Two?

The female ancestors from this branch of the family for this time period (for whom I have never seen another photograph) would be:

Etna Luvina Daniel O’Bryan (1822 – 1890). She had a son born in 1858, and a daughter in 1860.

Emily Huse Smith Cavender (1819 – 1900). She had a daughter born in 1858, and a son in 1861.

Margaret Elizabeth Wright Johnson (1834 – after 1880). Had children born in 1857, 1860, 1862.

These are the three that I have narrowed it down to. No idea if I’ll ever been able to say for sure who it might be.


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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


Trip to Riley, Kans.

It’s been a while since I have posted anything of note.

Thought I would share some photographs of a trip to Riley, Kansas, from last September. One of my dear cousins, Charlotte, lives in Riley, and is always willing to share photographs and documents with me.

We took the opportunity to visit some new cemeteries this trip, including one in Manhattan, and a couple much further northwest of there where some of the Swart aunts and uncles are buried.

Here’s a photograph of me standing at the grave of my great-great-great uncle, Wilhelm Hinderks Swart. He was the first Swart to emigrate from Germany in 1867.
Ian @ William Swart Grave

Swede Creek Cemetery, north of Riley, with Swede Creek Church visible in the background:

Swede Creek Cemetery

Photograph of the G.R. Nanninga Family. The wife is the sister of my great-great grandfather. Photograph from Cousin Charlotte:

G.R. Nanninga Family

Pages from the Nanninga Bible, which list the births of the children of G.R. & Hinriette Swart Nanninga:

Nanninga Bible - Births

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


Davis portraits located!

I caught the “genealogy bug” early in life. I was 14 or 15 at the time. I credit my grandpa Swart, a fascinating story-teller, with part of this. His stories of the Swart family immigrating to America in the late 19th century were enough to whet my historical appetite. All these years later, that appetite is still not sated.

I was contacted this week by a 2nd cousin of my grandmother, LaWana. He lives in Beaumont, Texas. My grandmother’s grandfather, Robert Wallace Davis, was a sister to this cousin’s grandmother, Amanda Melvina Davis Thomason.

Robert Wallace married a woman named Lizzie Thomason, whose father was a double-cousin (and step-brother) to Amanda’s husband, Homer Thomason. A bit confusing, I know.

During my teenage years, I was given a set of xerox copies of some old family photographs as well as typed copies of obituaries and other memories of older family members. In no way was there a notation to suggest who might have owned the portraits that had been copied.

And I didn’t know the answer to that question until today!

This cousin in Texas owns the original portraits to the copies I have had all these years. I’ve been trying to locate them for the past fifteen years or so!

Here are the copies I have:

Andrew & Sarah Davis

Sarah Greene O'Bryan

A. N. Jackson Davis

How exciting to know that these portraits exist!

Turns out, this cousin (and his brother) have a large collection of other Davis photographs as well. The extremely weird part of it all? The 89 year-old brother lives three miles east of my house here in Tulsa! I can’t wait for the chance to visit him and see what stories he has to share. It’s been a good day.

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


William Lewis Baker Estate Records, 1914

[I will switch gears a little bit. This record is for my great-great-great grandfather, Wm. L. Baker, who died in 1914 on January 31st near Rocky, Washita County, Oklahoma. He left a widow, Nancy Rebecca Arminta Hollis Baker. He had been married once before to Martha Ashby, who died in the 1890s in the Choctaw Nation. He and Nancy are buried in the Elm Flat Cemetery east of Rocky, Oklahoma.]

State of Oklahoma,

Washita County

In the Matter of the Estate of William L. Baker Deceased.

Comes Now William E. Clanahan and shows to the Courts that William L. Baker departed this life at Rocky, Okla on or about the 31st day of January 1914, that said decedent at the time of his death was a resident of Washita County, State of Oklahoma; that said decedent left estate in the County of Washita, State of Oklahoma, the general charater and probable value of which is hereinafter stated; that said decedent left a Will bearing date of about the 18th day of Dec. 1913 which petitioner alleges to be the last Will and Testament of said deceased, and which is herewith presented for probate; that William E. Clanahan the person named in said Will as executor to as as such.

That William E. Clanahan for whom letter testamentary are prayed herein is a resident of Washita County, State of Okla his post office address being Rocky, Okla.

That the names, ages and residence of the heirs and devisees of decedent so far as known to petitioner are as follows:

Nancy R. A. Baker, widow, 50, Rocky, Okla.

Mollie I. Scott, 30, Ft. Cobb, Okla.

Fanny M. Robinson, 28, Rocky, Okla.

William F. Baker, 26, Rocky, Okla.

Sally Miller, 24, Chickasha, Okla.

Charley W. Baker, 22, Rocky, Okla.

Laura C. Davis, 20, Rocky, Okla.

Lenora Baker, 8, Rocky, Okla.

The general character and probably value of said estate is as follows:

E 1/2 of Section Sixteen (16) in Township Eight (8) North of Range Seventeen (17) W.I.M., consisting of a lease from the Commissioners of the Land Office of Oklahoma; personal property of the probably value of $600.00, all the probable value of $4000.00.

[Signed] William E. Clanahan

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


Dennis G. O’Bryan Estate Records, 1843

Warren County

State of North Carolina


An inventory and account of Sale of the property of Dennis G. O’Bryan, deceased. Sold by Solomon G. O’Bryan Executor upon a credit of twelve months, for small sums of five dollars and upwards; all under five dollars, Cash. Excepting the land which was sold upon a credit of two years. 21 Decr. 1843.

  • 665 7/8 acres of land @ $2.91 – sold to A. H. Davis – $1908.60
  • Henderson – sold to Dr. Ward – $540.00
  • Abner – sold to Dr. O’Brein – $375.00
  • Bernard – sold to Dr. Peter Hawkins – $501.00
  • Charles – sold to Louis Bobbitt – $370.00
  • Peggy – Dr. O’Brein – $64.00

Property not sold:

25 Negro slaves – one of which is in Tennessee & from the last information is alive & well.

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized