#52Ancestors: Fresh Start

I had to make a fresh start on researching my family tree when I discovered evidence that a lot of family trees already out there – and even a headstone – were wrong.

When I first started this journey, everyone said my great-great-great grandmother Arminta was the daughter of Daniel McKenzie. The Baldwin County Heritage Book, many family trees online, and even her tombstone (pictured) gave her maiden name as Headstone at the Old Cooper Cemetery in Baldwin County bearing the name Arminta McKenzie Cooper.McKenzie. I started researching her father and was thrilled to find the ancestor who came to the U.S. from Scotland. After all, I started this quest to find Scottish roots and a tartan to call my own. Mission Accomplished!

Then I looked at some marriage records.

Her mother Catharine Stephens married Andrew McKinzie (sic) in 1847.

Arminta was born in 1842, according to her tombstone. Census records put it in the ballpark as well.


Armenta (sic) Stephens married John J. Cooper in 1857.


Then I recalled reading somewhere, perhaps in the heritage book, an explanation for that marriage license – that Arminta must have had a first, brief, marriage to someone named Stephens.

I don’t think so.

I have had just a tiny bit of luck in researching her, our, Stephens ancestors. A New Orleans doctor wrote a report about a yellow fever outbreak that affected her family.

Someday, I hope to discover her biological father’s name and more about his family.

As for the research I did on her step-father, it is time well spent. She clearly considered him her father, for her children and grandchildren to believe all these years that Daniel McKenzie was her dad.

This is a response to the week one prompt in the 2020 #52Ancestors Challenge.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
This entry was posted in Genealogy, My Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #52Ancestors: Fresh Start

  1. I had to totally rework my 2nd great-grandmother after I discovered the kinds of discrepancies you uncovered. Challenging!

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