Saturday, May 20, 2017

James Jefferson Burnett - Homesteader

The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed US citizens to become the owner, free of charge, of 160 acres of US Government land.  To become owner was a three step process; file an application, improve the land and file for a deed or title.  Before applying, the homesteaders were required to live five years on the land, improve the land by establishing a building and grow crops.  My Great grandfather, James Jefferson ‘Jeff” Burnett did just that.

Jeff Burnett filed a homestead claim in 1889, which is recorded in the National Archives, in Washington DC.  There are several interesting documents which were included with the homestead application.  One such document is the “Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant” which can be found below.  In this document Jeff Burnett tells that there has been a house located on the land for about 10 years and he has established residence for 8 years.  The testimony goes on to confirm there was a barn and stable, fowl house, smoke house, garden, orchard, fencing and a well.

Although the land was free, there were some filing fees which accounted to $16.54 or about 10 cents per acre.   You can read more about the Jeff Burnett land holdings here;

Homestead Proof – Testimony of Claimant, Land Entry Files, Louisiana, New Orleans Land Office, Homestead Final Certificate # 6,290. 
Every effort is made to cite my sources and give credit to others that have supplied information or photos for this blog.  If you use photos or information from this blog, including use in your family tree, please consider giving credit to those which have furnished the information or citing the source for the material. Most of the credits or citations can be found in the photo captions or in the footnotes section

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Burnett Genealogy Facebook Group

I have taken some time off of blogging about our Burnett Ancestors.  I plan to resume blogging in the next few months, but in the meantime I wanted to announce we have started a Facebook Group to discuss our Burnett heritage.  The Group is titled “Burnett Family Genealogy, Tracing our Roots from Kentucky to Louisiana”.  This link is an invite to the group,

The goals of the Facebook Group are to inform others about our Burnett family genealogy, locate Kentucky cousins, and determine how the Louisiana Burnett’s are related to the Kentucky Burnett’s.

Please consider joining and participating in the group.  Social Media interaction is a great way to discuss our family roots and reach others who might be interested in our Burnett ancestors.  As well, discovering distant cousins and possibly proving a common ancestor would make participating worthwhile. This group is to discuss the Burnett family genealogy, hopefully locate Burnett cousins in Kentucky and confirm how the Louisiana Burnett’s are related to the Kentucky Burnett’s.This group is to discuss the Burnett family genealogy, hopefully locate Burnett cousins in Kentucky and confirm how the Louisiana Burnett’s are related to the Kentucky Burnett’s. This group is to discuss the Burnett family genealogy, hopefully locate Burnett cousins in Kentucky and confirm how the Louisiana Burnett’s are related to the Kentucky Burnett’s.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Catherine Sheffield's Residence 1819-1828

Catherine Sheffield and Ignatius Grantham were married in 1810. According to court documents, they lived together until 1819 and divorced in 1828.  Where was Catherine residing from 1819 until she married William Seaman in 1828?

The Grantham and Seaman households were enumerated in the 1820 United States Federal Census of Jackson County, Mississippi.  The census shows the Ignatius Grantham’s household had no females that would fit the age or race of Catherine.  In fact, there were no white females of any age in Ignatius’s household enumerated in the 1820 census.  However in the William C. Seaman household, there was counted a free white female less than 10 years of age and another free white female age 26-45. 

The 1820 US census was the fourth census on the United States.   This Wikipedia article gives some insight to the difficulties in using the census as genealogical proof. “Census taking was not yet an exact science. Before 1830, enumerators lacked pre-printed forms, and drew up their own, sometimes resulting in pages without headings, line tallies, or column totals. As a result, census records for many towns before 1830 are idiosyncratic. This is not to suggest that they are less reliable than subsequent censuses, but that they may require more work on the part of the researcher.”[1]

1820 United States Federal Census was conducted on 07-Aug-1820.  The census of Jackson County, Mississippi had this note at the top of the first page.  The number of persons within my division, consisting of Jackson County appears in the Schedule hereto annexed subscribed by me, the twelfth day of December one thousand Eight hundred and twenty. E. Williamson.” [2]

The above note confirms the census was reported on 12-Dec-1820, but the count was supposed to be recorded as of 07-Aug-1820.  Keeping these dates in mind, Catherine would have been 27 years old and would fit within the white female age range that was reported in the Seaman household. The only evidence that Julia was born on 17-Aug-1820 is taken from her obituary.  It is reasonable to assume that the white female under age 10 reported in the Seaman household is the infant Julia.

Even though the official date of the 1820 census was August 07, it is likely that Catherine and Julia were counted in the William Seaman household.  The leads to the question where was Ignatius and Catherine’s son West during this time period?  West was born in 1815, and would have only been 5 years old during the 1820 census.  According to census records, there are no white males of this age in the Grantham or Seaman household.  Perhaps after his parent’s separation he lived with relatives?

There is further proof that Catherine and William were living together (before marriage) during this time period.  I will write about that evidence in another blog.

Below is a recap of the 1820 census.  I have hi-lighted in green where I believe Catherine and Julia were counted. 

1820 US Census, Jackson County, Mississippi

[2] 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Jackson, Mississippi; Page: 44; NARA Roll: M33_58; Image: 62

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Divorce

Catherine Sheffield was the wife of William Christopher Seaman, my GGG Grandfather.
Catherine was first married to Ignatius Grantham on 09-Oct-1810 in Wayne County, Georgia. [1] 
Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Marriage record
In 1815 they had a son, West Sheffield Grantham.  Court records show that they lived together as man and wife for nine years, but by the 1820 US census neither Catherine nor West were enumerated in Ignatius’s household, meaning they were likely no longer living with Ignatius at the time of the census. 
Uncommon in the era, Catherine filed for divorce in 1825 citing:

 “…soon after said intermarriage, the said Ignatius Grantham, disregarding the sanctity of his vows & the rights & duties incident to the married State, committed the crime of adultery with one Lavinia Grantham & with divers other lewd women to your Oratrix unknown.”   “… the said Ignatius hath willingly, constantly & obstinately deserted & abandoned your Oratrix.”[2]  Oratrix is a legal term for a female petitioner.
The court attempted to locate Ignatius during the divorce proceedings, but he could not be found.   

Interestingly, the divorce records show that she was legally represented by her “next friend” William Seaman.  Yes, this is the William Seaman that she later married. The divorce must have been granted about 1828, because in November 1828 Catherine married William Seaman.  The divorce petition records Catherine asking for equity, but the settlement required Catherine to pay the court cost of $23.03 and give up one slave girl.

Next up – where was Catherine living from 1819 -1828?

[1] Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
[2] Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, Drawer no. 65, Case no. 15, Catherine Grantham vs. Ignatius Grantham, 21 February 1825; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Catherine Sheffield Grantham Seaman - Wife of William C. Seaman

Catherine Sheffield was born 11-Apr-1793 in Wayne County, Georgia.  She is the daughter of West Sheffield (13-Dec-1747 to 22-Sep-1830) and Susannah Sherrod (11-Oct-1754 to 02-Jun-1802).  Catherine was the youngest of 7 children.  When Catherine was 9 years old her mother died and a few years later her father remarried.

Catherine married Ignatius Grantham on 09-Oct-1810 in Wayne County, Georgia.[1] 

Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield Marriage Record

Together they had one son, West Sheffield Grantham (04-Jun-1815 to 21-Sep-1894), who was born in Mississippi.

On 18-Feb-1825, Catherine filed for divorce in Marion County, Mississippi.[2]  Oddly enough, William Seaman was called her “next friend” in the divorce papers.  The divorce decree cannot be located, but the divorce was probably finalized about 1827.

William Seaman and Catherine were married 02-Nov-1828 in Jackson County, Mississippi.[3]

According to Catherine’s tombstone she died 09-Sep-1853 and is buried next to William Seaman at the Biloxi City Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Catherine Seaman Headstone
Photo by Michael Burnett 31-May-2014

Next up – Ignatius and Catherine’s Divorce

[1] Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.Original data: County Marriage Records, 1828–1978. The Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.
[2] Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, Drawer no. 65, Case no. 15, Catherine Grantham vs. Ignatius Grantham, 21 February 1825; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.
[3] "Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267841001 : accessed 14 June 2015), Wayne > Estates 1822-1855 > image 103 of 174; county probate court

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Birthplace and Year of my Paternal Ancestors

Below in an interesting chart showing where my father’s ancestors were born.  Also shown is the year they were born.  The geographic locations are grouped by color.  

The leftmost side of the chart is my father and the rightmost side is my GGG- Grandparents.  My father’s parental (Burnett) ancestor’s move diagonally upward and his material (Hollingsworth) ancestors are the lower part of the chart.

Interestingly enough; most all of my paternal lines are colonial or pre-colonial and not part of the more recent “Ellis Island” immigration.

If you mouse click on the chart, it will launch a larger chart that is easier to read.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Burnett Family Members Who Served in the American Civil War

Alfred and Julia Burnett’s family played an active role in the American Civil War.  One son and four son-in-laws were members of the Confederate States Army.  Amazingly, all survived the conflict.
The family members are:
  • Sherrod V. Burnett, son, who served as a private in Company K, 10th LA Infantry. At the war’s end he surrendered at Appomattox, VA.
  • Melinda Burnett’s husband, George W. Reeves, served as a private in Company A, Ragsdale’s Battalion, TX Cavalry.
  • Nancy Burnett’s husband, William C. Reeves, served as a private in Company K, 10th LA Infantry and the Army of Northern VA.  He fought in the battle of Gettysburg.
  • Dorinda Burnett’s husband, John A. Morrogh served a private in Company A, Waller’s Regiment, TX Cavalry.  John ran away from home and joined the army at age 15. 
  • Sidnah Burnett’s husband, Isaac Gilley, served as a private in Company B, 25th TX Calvary. Sadly, military records show Isaac was absent without leave and though Sidnah tried, she was never able to clear his name and collect a widow’s pension.
Rosteet, B. T., Miquez, S. F., & Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Society. (1994). The Civil War veterans of old Imperial Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. Lake Charles, La: Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Society.
"Louisiana Confederate Pensions, 1898-1950." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. State Archives, Baton Rouge.