Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Who Do You Think You Are?" - A Second Season

Now that genealogy research is hot, cable and network television have decided to air shows that appeal to family researchers everywhere.  Just in case you watched any of the six episodes of "Who Do You Think You are?" that aired on NBC last spring (and enjoyed them, as I did), a second season is in the works. 

Late last week, I received a copy of a press release (reprinted below) that announces how NBC and have teamed up to produce the new show this fall.

PROVO, Utah, August 25, 2010– is pleased to announce it has extended its relationship with NBC for the second season of the “Who Do You Think You Are?” television series. worked with NBC on the first season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” that debuted in March 2010. The company provided important family history research for the show, including tracing the roots of the seven celebrities featured, and collaborated with NBC to promote the series. Each episode took one celebrity on an emotional, and often times soul-searching journey to discover the lives of family members who came before them. “It is remarkable to work on this series with the leader in the online family history category,,” said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming & Production at NBC Universal. “A show of this caliber takes a lot of research and ground work to make the celebrities stories come to life. With the valued collaboration of, we’ve been able to tell seven amazing stories in the first season, and look forward to even greater family history discoveries to be uncovered in season two.”

 “We are excited to continue working with NBC on this series,” said Josh Hanna, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing for “The first season of the show has truly elevated awareness around the family history category and we couldn’t be more pleased to be an integral part of a television series that brings excitement to the discoveries people can make when researching their ancestral roots.”
“Who Do You Think You Are?” is produced by Wall to Wall Entertainment in collaboration with Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky for their production company, Is or Isn’t Entertainment. NBC has announced the show will air in the 2010-11 season.
About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 18 million family trees containing over 1.8 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dicy Netherland and John Saul, Jr. - "Gone to Texas"

The term, "Gone to Texas", or "G.T.T.", was quite common during the early to mid-1800s, when so many settlers moved further west to claim unsettled land.  Much has been written about Texas migration, including my own post on this blog over a year ago, in which I mentioned another blogger, Vickie Everhart. The author of BeNotForgot, Vickie is the administrator of a website for those who are researching ancestors who allegedly migrated to Texas from Mississippi and other states.

Recently, when I began researching the Fenner, Neatherlin/Netherland, and Pettus families, I discovered that they, too, were among the families who were said to have "Gone to Texas."  I can't imagine what these families experienced when they left their homes in wagons for an unknown area and an often unsafe frontier known as The Republic of Texas.  Among these families was one headed by John Saul, Jr., whose wife, Dicy Ann Netherland, was a daughter of my third great-grandparents, Rachel Fenner and William Neatherlin, Sr.

Yesterday, I wrote a post on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek about the Saul family.  Around 1824, John Saul, Jr. left the Mississippi Territory with his wife, children, and his parents, John Saul, Sr. and Rachel Saul, settling in the Nacogdoches District of Texas around 1826.  Most researchers agree that John Saul, Jr. was born in Georgia before his parents moved into the Mississippi Territory and that he married Dicy Netherland in Mississippi around 1817. Interestingly, Neatherlin child, Dicy's brother, William Neatherlin, Jr., married the sister of John Saul, Jr., Easter Saul. Eventually, John Saul, Jr. moved his family to Williamson County, Texas, where he and Dicy later died and are buried. Yesterday's post includes photos of the grave stones of Dicy and John Saul, Jr., in Bagdad Cemetery, near the town of Leander, Texas.  According to a profile included in "Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Volume I, Patriot Ancestor Album," Dicy and John Saul, Jr. are memorialized as early pioneers and patriots of The Republic of Texas.

My research is only beginning, and it certainly looks as if I have much more to do.  But I have already found one thing for sure - the trail for many of the Fenner, Neatherlin/Netherland, Pettus, and Saul families seems to end in Texas.

Stay tuned for more......

1.  Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Volume I, Patriot Ancestor Album; Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, Kentucky, 1995. GoogleBooks, accessed on August 28, 2010.
2.  Find-A-Grave, Bagdad Cemetery, Leander, Williamson County, Texas, website accessed online August 27, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Delta Blues" by Ted Gioria

I just bought a copy of Delta BluesThe Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music.  The book was written by Ted Gioia and published in 2008 by W. W. Norton and Company.  Already, Delta Blues has received rave reviews including those published in The New York NewTimes, Rolling Stone, Living Blues, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Publishers Weekly, and the Dallas Morning News. The book's cover even bears a seal identifying it as "A Book Review Notable Book of the Year - The New York Times."  Cool......... 

I actually chose Delta Blues as a gift for someone special who loves blues music and its history. But since I also like blues and its amazing history, I just had to flip through its pages to see just what this book is all about. Well, let me tell you this: Delta Blues is destined to be a must-read for blues enthusiasts everywhere.  And it will likely become required reading for certain degree programs that focus on music and history.  The book is also a perfect fit as reading material in courses that explore society and culture, particularly Southern culture. 

Contained within the book's 449 pages are chapters named for some of the best known blues songs around, including "Hard Time Killin' Floor" and "Hellhound on My Trail."  Other chapters are named for locations in Mississippi that are significant not only to those who follow the Mississippi Blues Trail, but to others who like to delve into the state's history and its influence on the development of blues as an art form.  Examples of these chapter names are "Dockery's Plantation," "Where the Southern Crosses the Dog," and "Parchman Prison." Also included in the book are a dozen or so black and white copies of actual snapshots of some early blues musicians. One such photograph was taken in H.C. Speir's Store in Jackson, Mississippi, a place, according to the book, that was a "magnet for blues musicians such as Robert Johnson and Skip James, who came record....labels."  

By writing "Delta Blues," Ted Gioia has superbly chronicled the history of a music style he believes to be "the most influential musical tradition America (has ever) produced." Gioia's early training was in jazz and piano, but he developed an early interest in blues music. Ultimately, it was this interest in and a lifelong dedication to exploring the history and influence of the Delta blues that led to his writing a book that is destined to become a classic.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Children of Rachel Fenner and William Neatherlin

At the time of this post, I have not verified the actual date and place where Rachel Fenner and William Neatherlin were married.  Many researchers believe they were married in Richmond County, Georgia before 1800.  According to most accounts, their union produced ten children.  These children included four daughters, Mary, Sara, Dicy, and Rachel, with the latter most likely being named for her maternal grandmother, Rachel Austin.  Their six sons were named James, Levi, William, Jr., Joseph, John Patrick (my great-great-grandfather) and Lewis Solomon Neatherlin, with William, Jr. carrying forth his father's name. it is interesting to note here that William is a common name in both the Neatherlin/Netherland and the Fenner families.

In the coming weeks, I will be tracing the Neatherlin/Netherland family as it moved from the southwest Mississippi Territory into Louisiana, and later, as various family members migrated further west into Texas.  It was likely in Louisiana that Neatherlin family members apparently changed the surname to "Netherland" and where many of their descendants still live around Winnsboro.  By the mid-1800s, however, a number of these Netherland family members had settled in Texas, where they raised their families and later died and are buried. 

If you are a descendant of any of the ten Neatherlin/Netherland children born to Rachel and William, I would love to hear from you.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Fenner - Netherland Union - Rachel and William

Rachel Fenner, the daughter of William Fenner and Rachel Austin, and William Neatherlin, the son of James Neatherlin and his wife, Mary, married and had a large family.  The names of their children were James, Levi, Sarah, William, Jr., Dicy, Joseph, Lewis Solomon, John Patrick, Rachel, and Mary. Their son, John Patrick Netherland, was my maternal great-great-grandfather. Although John Patrick's son, William Bailey Netherland, from whom I descend, lived in Holmes County, Mississippi most of his life, it appears that many other Netherland family members migrated to Louisiana first, and then to Texas. Continue to watch this blog for stories about some of these family members as they moved further westward and integrated into the 19th century culture in Louisiana and Texas.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Fenner Cousin

Although my Fenner family research is still in the very early stages, I have already found a new cousin! Actually, this isn't entirely correct - - my new cousin found me!  When I opened my inbox today, I discovered an email from another Fenner researcher I had discovered online and had contacted via email several days ago. The Fenner family member included a phone number, so I called him and we talked earlier today. While my family line descends from Rachel Fenner, my new cousin's line descends from Rachel's brother, William.

According to my contact, William Fenner, the elder, died around about 1777 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Later, William's son, also named William, along with other members of the Fenner family, used the river system to migrate from Georgia, where they had settled after the Revolutionary War, to the Mississippi Territory. Allegedly, the group arrived in the Mississippi Territory about 1790, settling in what is now Wilkinson County, Mississippi.

Family history indicates that William Fenner and his wife, Mercy Ogden, migrated further west to Louisiana, where they settled in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana and raised a family of twelve children. In Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, the Fenner name became a prominent one, with Fenner Road named for family members who surveyed the area, and Fenner's Landing named for members of this family who operated a ferry across the Ouachita River.

My contact recalled family information that says William died in Avoyelles Parish, en route from St. Landry Parish to his home near Monroe, while Mercy's death occurred several years later in Ouachita Parish.

Around 1850, many of William Fenner's descendants migrated to Lavaca County, Texas, where my new cousin's family has deep roots. He and I plan to talk again tomorrow to continue sharing more of our families' histories, so stay tuned for more Fenner posts.

Like most stories, this one has a moral:  The power of the Internet has never been stronger, the world is constantly growing smaller, and genealogy research has never been better! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

William Fenner, Revolutionary War Veteran

Early Fenner family records indicate William Fenner was the son of Richard Fenner, born about 1725 in Dublin, Ireland and Ann Coddington, also born in Ireland.  Most historians report that William's date of birth was about 1725, and that he, too, was born in Dublin.  William allegedly served as a 1st Lieutenant in the 2nd North Carolina Militia during the American Revolution, and according to Colonial Ancestors,  he took his oath of office as a Major in the 7th North Carolina Regiment of the newly formed country's military at Valley Forge in the Spring of 1778. This reference also reports that William Fenner retired from military service on June 1, 1778.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fenner Family Research

Today, as I began researching the ancestry of my third great-grandmother, Rachel Fenner, I stumbled upon an online genealogy book that chronicles the Fenner Family in America.  Now in its 4th Edition, the digital book is well-researched and documented by a number of Fenner descendants.  Included among chapters in the book are those entitled Fenners in England, Swiss-American Lines, German-American Lines, and Irish-American Lines. Also included is an extensive list of deceased family members and the cemeteries in which they are buried. If you are researching your connections to the Fenner Family, this is a site you must visit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coggins, Fenner, and Trigleth Family Research

Beginning today, I will be focusing my family research efforts on three lines of my mother's family, specifically the Coggins, Fenner, and Trigleth families.  Read below to see how these surnames fit into my family tree.  Also, I invite you to read future posts on this blog as I document the results of my research about the three families. If you have connections to one of the surnames listed here, please contact me; I welcome the opportunity for us to share information.

  • Ancestors of George Walter Trigleth, Sr. and Susan Elizabeth Elviney Coggins, his wife. George, Sr. and Susan E. Coggins Trigleth were my maternal great-great-grandparents. I am descended through their daughter, Lucy Lula Trigleth. Lucy Lula Trigleth was born in 1881 in Brozville, Holmes County, Mississippi and died in that county in April 1951.  She is buried in Coxburg Cemetery, also in Holmes County. Lucy married first William Elza Pettus around 1900 in Holmes County, and they had four children.  One of their daughters, Rosa Mae Pettus, was my maternal grandmother. Many deceased members of the Pettus and Trigleth families are buried in Holmes County, Mississippi cemeteries.
  • Ancestors of Rachel Fenner, wife of William Neatherlin. Some researchers believe Rachel Fenner's parents emigrated to the U. S. from Holland.  Rachel and William Neatherlin were my maternal great-great-great-grandparents. One of their sons, Patrick Netherland, who was born in 1804, married Jane Elizabeth Smith, born on July 17, 1825. The marriage between Patrick and Jane Elizabeth Netherland produced a son named William Bailey Netherland, who married Martha Elizabeth Garrard.  One of their twelve children, Ralph Ernest Netherland, was my maternal grandfather. Ralph Netherland and Rosa Mae Pettus, my maternal grandparents, married in Holmes County about 1925 and divorced in 1940.  Rosa Mae Pettus Netherland Parsons and Ralph Netherland, as well as many other deceased members of the Netherland family, are buried in Coxburg Cemetery in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Family of John P. Gibson - My Brick Wall

This is an update of my "brick wall" family, headed by John P. Gibson. During the past three months, I have searched and re-searched for any information I could find on this family that consisted of John and his wife Margaret J. Williams Gibson, and their children, Elvira, Malverda , Francis, Asberry, Mary, Martha, and Becky.  Although I have little to show for my efforts, I am posting what I have found to date, in the hope that someone will be able to connect with one of these individuals and, in turn, help me uncover more about my Gibson ancestors.

I do know that John P. Gibson married Margaret J. Williams on January 3, 1843 in Aberdeen, Monroe County, MS.  This event is substantiated by a copy of the marriage bond that I obtained directly from the Monroe County courthouse.  I first found the date by searching through the Mormon Church's records at, when the site first went online almost ten years ago. The fact that I found the information the first time I searched the site was remarkable to me, and I immediately made a phone call to the Monroe County courthouse in Aberdeen to request a copy of the marriage record.  For less than five dollars, including postage, I received a copy in the mail a few days later. 

Later, I found out quite simply by accident, while reading a blog post written by the late Terry Thornton, that a fairly large number of residents of northeast Mississippi and the neighboring Alabama area became part of a group of Mormon followers that migrated west during the early 1800s. That event led to the twentieth century microfilming of early Monroe County vital records, including the marriage record of my third great-grandparents. 

An examination of the marriage record for John and Margaret revealed that Joseph Gibson had posted a five hundred dollar bond for John to marry his bride.  The posting of such a large bond (five hundred dollars in 1843 was a very large amount of money) almost certainly means that either John or Margaret had been married previously. The simple fact that Joseph Gibson posted a bond for John indicates some sort of familial relationship. To date, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to validate a previous marriage for John or for Margaret, nor have I been able to prove a blood relationship between the two men.

A few years ago, I examined Joseph Gibson's will, on file in Monroe County, Mississippi, but the document failed to establish a blood relationship between John and Joseph.  A search of the Monroe County deed records conducted at the same time found that John P. Gibson had owned no real property in the county.  Joseph Gibson, however, owned large amounts of land, including several parcels that he had sold to others.  One of those individuals who purchased land from Joseph Gibson was John Williams. This finding raised a still unanswered question about Margaret's relationship to John Williams.

Several online researchers believe that Joseph Gibson was the son of John Gibson, a Revolutionary War veteran, born September 16, 1760 in Orange County, NC, who was living in Lincoln County, Tennessee, at the time of John's marriage to Margaret.  But according to the elder John Gibson's will, dated June 4, 1844, his sons were named Albert G., John H. Gibson, Felix G. Gibson, and Parke Gibson. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that Parke could be John P. Gibson, when he already had a brother named John H.

An important fact was established early in my research by a review of the U. S. Census recorded in 1860 in Calhoun County, Mississippi.  John P. Gibson was enumerated on that census, and details included an approximate date of birth of 1799, South Carolina as his place of birth, and the fact that he and his family resided in the Cherry Hill community at the time the census was taken.  John's occupation was shown to be that of "Blacksmith."

Earlier this summer, I was fortunate to have some assistance from a kind lady in Calhoun County, Mississippi, who found evidence that John P. Gibson sold land that he owned in Calhoun County in the late 1860s, when he and his family moved to Carroll County and purchased land there.  This move to Carroll County, Mississippi, validates oral family history information that places Malverda Gibson, a daughter of John and Margaret Gibson, in the area of Carroll County where my paternal great-grandmother, Margaret Susanna Meriweather Porter, grew to adulthood.

But the question still remains:  Who were John P. Gibson's parents?

Monday, August 16, 2010

William "Terry" Thornton - July 26, 1939 - August 9, 2010

Remembrance Card Design by footnoteMaven

Dr. William Terrance "Terry" Thornton (1939 - 2010)

A precious one from us is gone,
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our midst
Which can be never filled.
God in His wisdom has called home
The one His love had given
And though the body slumbers here,
His soul is safe in Heaven.

William Terrance "Terry" Thornton was the author of The Hill Country of Monroe County Blog. Terry was also the author of a "Hill Country" column at the Monroe Journal, a Monroe County Mississippi newspaper, and a "Graveyard Rabbit" column at the digital magazine, Shades of the Departed.