In my research up to this point, I had learned that “Aunt Jane” Norman was:
--The mother of Jackson Norman (who married Dissie Norman, one of “my” Normans)
-- The mother of Thomas Moore (aka Tom Peat Moore, possibly the son of Michael Thomas Peater Moore, whose family had many connections to my Normans)
-- The last wife of Zera Lucern Cotton (a Civil War veteran and the husband of at least six wives)
-- Possibly the daughter of Louisiana Norman, the sister of my great-great-grandfather Joseph Madison Carroll Norman.
I was extremely curious about her and wanted to learn more, especially about her family and possible relation to “my” Normans.
The Puzzle Piece
I believed that I had enough information to search for Sarah Jane Norman on the 1870 and 1860 censuses: date and state of birth (1857 in Arkansas), possible county of origin (Montgomery, Arkansas), possible name of her mother (Louisiana), and a possible sister’s name (Nancy).
Finding her on the 1870 census was no problem. And to say that what I found whetted my appetite for more information is an understatement:
1870 US Federal Census, South Fork Township, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas, pages 7 and 8, enumeration date 24 January 1870
Line number 38, dwelling 52, family 61
Norman, Lousa Age 31 Female White Keeping house Born in Arkansas Cannot read or write
[Norman], Sarah J., Age 11 Female White Born in Arkansas Cannot read or write
[Norman], Nancy Age 9 Female White Born in Arkansas
[Norman], John W. Age 5 Male White Born in Arkansas
Here was Sarah Jane. Here was Nancy. And here was Lousa – Lousiana? She was the right age to be J.M.C. Norman’s sister Lousiana (both were born in around 1839), but that Lousiana was born in Alabama, not Arkansas.
So my next step was to try to find Lousa and Sarah Jane in the 1860 census. If Lousa had a husband named Norman in that census, she probably wasn’t “my” Louisiana Norman.
I’m not going to wait to post that information. I do have to wrap this story up!
I believe this is the same family:
1860 US Federal Census, Mazarne Township, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas, Page 86, enumeration date 13 August 1860
Line number 7 Dwelling 575 Dwelling 565
John Norman Age 28 Male Farmer Personal estate value $300 Born in Alabama
Jonann [?] Norman Age 23 Female Born in Iowa [?] Cannot read or write
Louisa Norman Age 4 Female Born in Arkansas
Sarah Norman Age 1 Female Born in Arkansas
Although there are a lot of discrepancies in the information for Sarah Jane Norman’s mother, I believe that John Norman was Sarah Jane’s father. The older sister’s name here, Louisa, would indicate that Jonann (it’s not really clear from the handwriting that that is the actual name, but that is how it has been transcribed) is probably Lousiana/Louisa. I do not know why the state of Jonann’s birth is listed as Iowa. The location, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas is the same as for the Lousa Norman family on the 1870 census.
And this John Norman was born in Alabama. That doesn’t mean that he was one of “my” Normans, but it doesn’t rule it out, either.
Lousa Norman household, 1870 U.S. Census, Montgomery County, Arkansas, population schedule, South Fork Township, dwelling 52, family 61; Roll M593_59, Page: 283; Family History Library film: 545558. Accessed via Ancestry.com.
John Norman household, 1860 U.S. Census, Montgomery County, Arkansas, population schedule, Mazarne Township, dwelling 575, family 565; Roll M643_56, Page: 936; Family History Library Film: 803046. Accessed via Ancestry.com.
In addition to the census, I used Findagrave, Worldconnect, Google, and a blog page – not exactly the basis for in-depth research, but definitely serviceable “tip lines” for pointers to an intriguing story. For now I’ve spent enough time on this detour, but I have entered the relevant information on Jackson Norman’s family in my genealogy program (he did marry Dissie Norman, after all). And when I go back to research the parents and grandparents of J.M.C. Norman in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, I’m going to keep these Normans in mind. You never know; there might be a relationship after all.
I could not find Jackson Norman on later censuses, but I did find his brother Thomas Norman and his mother Sarah Jane Norman Cotton on the 1930 census:
1930 US Federal Census, Lincoln Township, Garland County, Arkansas, E.D. 26-27, Page 11A, 5 April 1930
Line number 44 Dwelling 9 Family 9
Moore, Thomas Head Home owned Family lives on farm Male White 45 years old Male Married at age 44 Did not attend school in year Can read and write AR AR AR Can speak English Farmer Farming Employer Actually at work Not a veteran Farm number 8
Moore, Pearl Wife Female White 36 years old Married at age 34 Did not attend school in year Can read and write Ark Ark Ark Can speak English Occupation: None
Cotton, S. Jane Mother Female white Age 76 Widowed Did not attend school in year Can read and write AR TN AL Can speak English Occupation: None
Thomas Moore household, 1930 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lincoln Township, dwelling 9, family 9; Roll 75; Page 1A; Enumeration District 27; Image 657.0. Accessed via Ancestry.com.