I have brick walls that I’m more focused on trying to break through, but I’ve written about them before.
Today, my focus will be on my 3rd great-grandfather on my dad’s side, John Ross Parker.
Going forward in time, my 2nd great-grandmother was Ellen Parker, who married John David Givens on the 28th of August, 1894. Her obituary, published on the 7th of March 1940 in the Foley Onlooker, in Baldwin County, Alabama, says she was born in Escambia County, Florida on 23 September 1873, and she died in Beulah, Escambia County, Florida, on 26 February 1940. John David Givens and Ellen E. Parker were married in Baldwin County, Alabama, on the 30th of August, 1894.
In the 1880 United States Census, I find Ellen Parker, aged 7, listed in the household of John Parker, age 34, in Baldwin County, Alabama. His wife is Caroline Parker (née Manning per a marriage record from Escambia County, Alabama, dated 19 April 1867).
Of course, Alabama and Florida marriage records from the 19th century are among those that are very vague about the bride and groom – no ages, birthdates, or parents’ names are included.
Some say John Ross Parker’s parents are William M. Parker and Elizabeth Hobbs. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but William M. Parker’s profile on FamilySearch has only two sources – the 1850 and 1860 Censuses. In 1850, William is living with adult Elizabeth and children Martha, Frances, Syndarilla, Greenberry, John, and Robert in Conecuh County, Alabama. In 1860, the family is in Baldwin County: William and Elizabeth, and children Frances J., Caroline M., John and Robert J. Living next door is a G. B. Parker who is likely Greenberry. In 1850, Syndarilla’s age is given as 8; in 1860, Caroline is listed as 16. This could be the same child, and likely this is the same family, but oh, why didn’t the enumerator include John’s middle initial? I’d like something a little more concrete that this John is John Ross.
On FamilySearch, the father of William M. Parker (1805-1888) is listed as William Parker (1757-1809). The senior William’s wife’s name is listed as Mary Freeman. No other children are attached to the family. No sources are attached to the parents.
Steps I could take to try to work through this brick wall:
Look for estate records, such as as a will or probate file, for John Ross Parker, to see if any siblings are named. Look for the same type of records for William M. Parker, to see if children are listed by their full names, if spouses are named, or if grandchildren are included.
Examine DNA matches. On Ancestry, Thrulines indicates there are several matches to John Ross Parker’s children. I could review shared matches, look for those same matches on other sites, and search for other Parker matches on MyHeritage, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and GEDmatch. Matches may have other sources attached to their family trees to help verify the information.
I have done some newspaper searches, primarily for death notices, but I could do deeper searchers for the Parker family in South Alabama and Northwest Florida.