Saturday, February 5, 2011

Research Plan for James Thomas Hayes

Research Problem

I want to find out who the parents of James Thomas Hayes are. I also want to know where he is buried.

Known Information

He was born in Georgia ca 1888-1889 per census records.

WWI Draft registration card lists birth as 5 Jun 1889 in Valdosta, GA. There is a note that says the age is guessed and not accurate.

Parents were both born in Georgia per census records.

He died 13 Feb 1960 in Berrien County, Georgia.

He had a brother named Lee.

He was married twice, first to Minnie L Rice, who died giving birth to their youngest child, and second to Charlotte Jane Unknown.

Suspected Information

According to his grandson, my grandfather, James Thomas Hayes is buried at Brushy Creek Cemetery in Cook County, Georgia. A visit to the cemetery found that there is no marker bearing his name. However, there are two nameless markers beside where two of his sons are buried..

I never asked my grandfather how he knew Grandpa Hayes was buried there and unfortunately I no longer have that option. He was 18 when his grandfather died so presumably he attended the funeral or was aware of it. I also know that James Thomas Hayes lived with his daughter, my grandfather's mother, after her marriage so it is conceivable that my grandfather spent time with him in his youth.

According to my first cousin twice removed, another grandchild of Grandpa Hayes, he is buried at Long Bridge Cemetery in Berrien County, Georgia. She said her information came from her aunt, a sister of my 2nd great grandmother and her father.A search of transcriptions available online didn't find his name. I haven't had a chance to visit this cemetery yet, but have it on the list for when I go back down in a couple months.

I found a family in the 1900 census for Cat Creek, Lowndes County, Georgia that might be his family. The family consists of Joseph Hays (b in GA Jun 1855, widowed), Jonnie (b in GA Mar 1889), Salley A (b in GA 1890), Thomas (b in GA Jan 1891), Isabelle (b in GA Sept 1892), Joseph L (b in GA Mar 1895) and Salley (b AL date unknown, widow, grandmother).

I have a few reason for suspecting this is the correct family. First is the use of Thomas. All census records I've found give his name as Thomas and that is what our family called him as well. Second is the sister named Isabelle. My great grandmother, the daughter of James Thomas Hayes, was named Alice Isabel Hayes. The brother named Jonnie is also significant since one of the Hayes children named their son Johnnie. Lee may be the middle name of the brother Joseph L.

I researched Cat Creek and learned that it is near Valdosta. According to Grandpa Hayes' WWI Draft Registration card, he was born in Valdosta.


Contact possible cemeteries to see if they have records of burials. If they do, hopefully he will be listed. If he's at Brushy Creek, I also want to find out who is interred in the other marker since this very well be his first wife, who I've been trying to determine an exact death date and burial place for.

Check local newspapers for an obituary. I'm hoping that there is an obituary available and it not only tells me where he's buried, but also who his parents and/or siblings are.

Continue researching possible family from 1900. I need to follow this family further to confirm they're the correct family.

Order death certificate. This is something I have put off for a while because Georgia charged $25. I'm on a budget and try to utilize all available free resources before shelling out money.


  1. I found a James T Hayes listed on in Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998 index. It stated he died Feb 13, 1960 in Berrien and was a resident there also. It listed his age as 75 which would put him born in 1885, a little earlier than what you thought. His cerficate #02641, so you would still need to send for the death certificate. I tried to find him in the SSDI but did not locate him but the SS application would still cost $27. Good luck! It looks like it might be a good investment to pay for the death certificate and hopefully get his parents name.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. I plan to order the death certificate next week once I have some extra money. Keep your fingers crossed that it has the information I'm looking for.