Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Piece to the Hayes Puzzle

By shutterbug 18:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC) (shutterbug 18:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC)) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend, I took advantage of my free time to get some genealogy in. Even though I have been focusing on my paternal line lately, something told me I needed to switch back to the maternal line, specifically the Hayes. I'm glad I listened to that little voice in my head.

As you may recall from previous posts, my 2nd great grandfather was James Thomas Hayes. I had found a possible family for him just before taking a break from my maternal line. When the little voice urged me to switch back to the Hayes' line this weekend, I decided to start with his possible siblings.

To date, all I had on the possible siblings was their appearance in the 1900 census with my 2nd great grandfather, the residence of the two brothers in the 1910 census and the brothers' WWI draft cards. I also had a reference to a Sally Hayes of Hahira (which is where the family was in 1900) visiting Valdosta twice in 1909.

I decided to start with the brothers. My first stop was marriage records. I knew both of the brothers had been in Berrien County in 1917 and my 2nd great grandfather had married there. I wasn't able to find a marriage record for John, but I did find one for Lee (actually his middle name, his first being Joseph). On 13 Jun 1925, he married Mamie L Brantley in Berrien County.

With his wife's name, I was able to finally locate him in the 1930 census living in Colquitt County. Apparently they had moved after their marriage. I also found that he had two children, Luel and Maude, at this point.

It took some creative searching, but I managed to find him in the 1920 census in Lowndes County. The reason he was so difficult to find is that the name had been poorly written on the page and the transcription was even worse. He is listed as Lu Hoze in the index. Just above his name was that of John. Both men were listed as brother-in-law of household head Goldie Griffin (actually Loldy Griffin but the transcription was off).

When I checked the name of the wife of the head, it was Belle Griffin. For the men to be brother-in-law to the head, that meant Belle was probably their sister Isabelle. I love records that give me more than expected. With one census record, I located three siblings, learned who the sister married and the names of some of her children.

With names in hand, I went back to marriage records. I first checked Berrien County since I knew all three brothers were there in 1910 and based on the ages of Belle's children, this would have been about the time of her marriage.

I struck out there so I switched to Lowndes County marriage records. After some digging and deciphering a really smudged entry in the name index, I found the marriage record. Belle Hayes and Loldy Griffin were married 19 Aug 1906 in Lowndes County. I was surprised that the marriage was as early as it was considering the oldest child living in the household was born ca 1912. Either she had difficulty carrying children to term, some had passed in their early years or something else was going on.

So I went hunting in the 1910 census for Belle and Loldy. Again, it took some creative searching because of the image quality and the transcription which has their surname as Chaffin. What was interesting is that they are living in the household with a family named Hays, Joe and Louisa Hayes to be exact. Both Belle and Loldy are listed as stepchildren of Joe. A child named Alder Chaffin (actually Griffin) is listed as his granddaughter.

The really curious thing about Joe Hayes, though, is that he is the right age to be Isabelle's father Joseph Hayes. I went back to marriage records and located a record for Joseph Hays and Louise Griffin. They were married in Lowndes County on 12 Feb 1905. According to the 1910 census, this was the second marriage for both of them.

According to the 1930 census, Loldy's mother was named Louisa. I suspect that Louisa was Loldy's mother and Joe was Isabelle's father. Belle and Loldy probably met as a result of their parents marrying. This means my earlier suspicion that Belle's father died between 1900 and 1910 is probably wrong.

I haven't been able to locate Joe or Louisa in the 1920 census. I know Louisa was alive because she appears with her son in the 1930 census. I did find a death certificate for Louisa. It appears she passed away shortly after the census was taken. She is listed as widowed in both the 1930 census and her death certificate.

I assume that Joe probably passed at some point between 1910 and 1930. This can probably be narrowed down even further due to absence in the death records available in Georgia's Virtual Vault. However, this isn't definitive since it may not have been recorded. A search of area cemeteries has not located him so I'm stuck for now on exactly when he passed.

Now for the last point of serendipity. As you may recall, one of my cousins set up a group on Facebook for everyone to connect and share photos and stories. I check in on the group this morning and saw that one of the cousins that descends from a Sweat-Griffin marriage remembered visiting the Hayes when my uncle Earnest was killed in WWII and thought there was a connection between the families.

Another cousin who also has Hayes and Sweat lines (her father was a Hayes and her grandmother on her mom's side was a Sweat) chimed in with another clue. She said that her dad had told her the Hayes and Griffin lines were related, but she didn't remember the exact connection.

Based on the information I've found so far and the comments I've got from my cousins, I feel confident that I'm on the right track.

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