Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z April Challenge: C is for Confusion!

 This is Day 3 of the A to Z April Challenge.

 is for Columbia and Cabel, two mysteries in my database.  

According to the 1870 Federal Census for Greene County, Virginia, Columbia A. was the fourth child of James Franklin and Lucy Ann Shiflett Jollett, making her my great grandaunt. 

1870 Greene County, Virginia

The chronological list indicates she was three years old, falling between sisters Laura and Mary.

Easy enough.  But look what happened just ten years later in 1880. 

1880 Greene County, Virginia

There is no Columbia.  While it would be easy to assume Columbia had died, there is a new name:  Leanna.  There was no Leanna in the 1870 census.  However, there she is in 1880 listed between Laura and Mary, just as Columbia had been, and she’s the same age that Columbia would have been had she been listed.

I have two theories to explain this mystery:
  1. Census taker error:  Possibly Columbia and Leanna were twins, but with so many names to list, the census taker simply forgot to list both. 
  2. Morphing of names:  A common nickname for Columbia was “Lum.”  MAYBE her middle name was Anna.  MAYBE people called her “Lumanna.”  MAYBE after awhile it simply morphed into “Leanna” and that name stuck.

Leanna Jollett Knight is the fourth sister from the left.
Victoria Jollett Breeden, Sallie Jollett Clift, Mary Frances Jollett Davis,
Leanna Jollett Knight, Laura Jollett Sullivan, Emma Jollett Coleman

This next mystery concerns Cabel or Cabell Slade who is either my second great grandaunt or second great granduncle. 


In the 1850 and 1870 census in Florida, Cabel is listed as a male.  

1850 Madison County, Florida
1870 Lafayette County, Florida

However, in 1874, there is a marriage record in Lafayette County, Florida, for Cabel Slade and Charles A. Ross.  


Did Stephen and his wife SAY Cabel was a male or did the census taker just assume so? 

And what about 1860?  No Cabel in 1860.  

1860 Lafayette County, Florida

However, there is a Louiza who is the same age as Cabel should be, but no Louiza in 1850 or 1870.  I wonder if Cabel was really Cabel Louiza Slade or Louiza Cabel Slade.   

It’s possible.

To “C” what others have Created, Carry yourself over to the A to Z Challenge.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Another enjoyable and well written post Wendy.

    Maybe you should start a "certificates to buy list" like me :)

    (a smile because I am thinking of your comments on my post)

    Seriously though, I have solved many mysteries by buying certificates.

    Good luck with solving your mysteries

    1. See, I told you I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to buying a certificate that could clear things up. I must love being in a quandry.

  2. Oh intriguing with ambiguous names and slack record keeping. You will probably never uncover the truth.

  3. Wendy, we finally share a name: Confusion! I've got that! ha!

  4. Wow, those are quite the mysteries! I hope somehow you're able to find the answers.

    Thanks for commenting on my poems. ☺

    1. You'd think I could at least find this Charles Ross but no. Without definite birth and death dates, I might never.

  5. Really??? Surely the census taker would not make those kinds of mistakes!!! Reminds me of the mistaken gender/name record and picture of my Great Uncles wearing skirts. So, I'm going with Census taker error and the Twin Theory...Leanna and Laura sure do look-a-like. Otherwise, I'm 'C'onfused!
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

  6. Interesting mysteries. That's one of the fantastic things about digging into family history - there's so much to uncover. Loving these posts!


    Find me:
    Twitter: @AllysonLindt

  7. Due to lack of WiFi in my area I have read a, b and c together.
    My goodness, this would make a great book!! Very interesting. So many errors; who knew who who was?! Look forward to coming back!

  8. So I have been following you for a year now...since the last A-Z April...and you never cease to amaze me with your ancestory info! And you have even been the spark to make me do a few searches into my family history.
    Happy WEdnesday!

  9. I always enjoy your mysteries, okay truthfully I adore any good mystery! Just the word alerts me! I often wonder about all that information, because so often once I match our family records to theirs, sometimes there is a whole lot of fudging going on? Especially when it came to professions!

  10. Wow...this is really fascinating and I am impressed by the amount of work and thought you have put in!

  11. Oh ya! There's definitely some confusion going on here!

  12. With those names, the girls probably planned a revolt and picked their own! I am having fun catching up on your A-Z posts.

    Louisa is my Great-Great Grandma Hedrick's name and I think that it is so pretty. I'll name somebody that someday ... maybe I'll get two cats and name the Louisa and Talitha; what you say to that, Ms. Wendy? I'd rather use those names on dogs, because they seem to last longer around here than cats do though.

    Kathy M.

  13. Family trees are so interesting, if rather confusing at times! My grandma worked out some of ours a few years back. Nothing too confusing but we did find some interesting names! Bezeliel was my personal favourite.

    Inane Ramblings

  14. That is the trouble with nicknames so many stick; think of all the nicknames we have!