Genealogy – the plot thickens
In researching this family mystery of mine, I was able to get help from a woman who has done genealogy for the past 26 years, and helps out “newbies” as a hobby.
She and I spoke on the phone, in addition to emailing each other. She was able to pull up some records that I hadn’t been able to find, and she taught me some tricks and tips to searching on Ancestry.com, which was very helpful.
She said that, since slavery had been abolished in 1865, at the end of the Civil War, it was unlikely that my G-Grandfather, Frank HOLSTON (b.1880), or his siblings were sold into slavery in the 1880’s. However, she did acknowledge that, even though it was illegal, it still may have happened. She also has another theory: that since my G-G-Grandfather, James J HOLSTON (b.1814) died sometime after his son David HOLSTON was born (1883), and before the 1900 census (the 1890 census burned and was about 99% destroyed), and that my G-G-Grandmother Elizabeth L SCOTT-Holston (b.1843) was working as a laundress, that she may not have been able to financially support the children since she was listed as “widowed”, so she may have sent them off to live with families that could afford to care for them. That may be what was meant by the statement “David was sent to live with a well-to-do family and was educated”, that my father remembers his mother telling him.
My dad was telling me, that in the early 1980’s, he and my Aunt went to a Pow-wow in NJ, and he spoke with an elderly Indian (Nanticoke?) there (whom dad said was at least in his 80’s), who said that the Delaware Indians weren’t officially acknowledged because they were “unsavory people” because they sold their children into slavery. So, there has to be something more to this story … I mean, what are the odds of my dad hearing that story growing up, AND an elder relating much the same story to him many years later?
Dad and I were thinking of making a trip to Dover Delaware, to see if there are state archives, or newspaper archives, or anyone familiar with the history of the Delaware Indians. But I want to have a LOT more info before we make the 3+hour trip, so that I can do a thorough search through any records once we get there.
To add to the mystery, my G-G-Grandfather James J HOLSTON was listed as being born in Delaware on several censuses. However, he’s listed as being born in Maine, on the birth certificate for my G-Grandfather Frank HOLSTON. Also, Frank’s BC states that Elizabeth L SCOTT was born in Scotland, yet on one census, it says she was born in Sweden. I think that, since Frank didn’t get his official birth certificate until he probably applied for something that required it (Social Security, maybe), and that David signed as a “witness” on it, that things may have been written on it that weren’t accurate, and only sparsely remembered by the time they were old men. That may account for the Scotland/Sweden mystery. There are so many inconsistencies, but I’m determined to make sense of it all.
I’m hoping that we can find the birth certificates or death certificates for Frank and his siblings. I would assume we could get a copy of them from Delaware. That might help narrow things down, since there would be more information about their parents.
And, as if this wasn’t enough of a thickening plot, I also found out that my G-G-Grandfather James J HOLSTON was married 2 (maybe 3) times, and that his final wife, my G-G-Grandmother Elizabeth L SCOTT-Holston, was the housekeeper/servant of James and his previous wife! Wow! How does that happen?!