Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Seaman Ferry License and Fee Schedule

William Christopher Seaman operated a ferry across Back Bay, Biloxi, Mississippi.  Below is the original document describing the ferry license and fee schedule.  This document is taken from the Harrison County Police Board Minutes, Book 1, p. 42 and 43.

Harrison County, Mississippi Courthouse Archives, Board of Police Minutes, Book 1, p 42
Harrison County, Mississippi Courthouse Archives, Board of Police Minutes, Book 1, p 43
Here is a decode of the above document. 
Ordered by the board that there be and there

is hereby established a Public Ferry in the rear

of the village of Biloxi, across the Back Bay

of Biloxi to start from the end of the Road commonly

called “Lameuse Road” on the property now

owned by William C. Seaman Esq. and to

cross the said Back Bay in the most direct and

convenient way, and the said William C. Seaman Esq.

on his entering into Bond in the sum of

Two hundred Dollars conditioned according

to law shall have the right to charge and collect the

following rate of Hirriage and no more, to wit

For Foot Passengers       Twenty five cents each

For Man & Horse              Fifty cents

For one horse cart           Seventy five cents

For a two horse Carriage One dollar

For meat Cattle                 Twelve and a half cents each

For Hogs &Sheep            Six and a quarter cents each    

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Our Canadian Connection

The first Seaman to arrive in America was Captain John Seaman.  John was from England and arrived in America about 1630. John Seaman and his family resided in Long Island, New York.  William Christopher Seaman, my GGG grandfather is a descendant this well established family. 

So how did William Christopher Seaman come to be born in Canada?

William C. Seaman’s grandfather was Benjamin Seaman of Long Island, New York.  During the American Revolution, Benjamin Seaman was sympathetic to the Crown or better known as a Loyalist.  A Loyalist is someone who sided with the British during the American Revolution.

Because of this loyalty to Britain, Benjamin’s home was seized by the Government and by the end of the Revolutionary War he and family were forced to relocate to Nova Scotia, Canada.  Canada was under British rule and the Seaman’s were granted land where they lived for the next 20 plus years.

It was during this time that William Christopher Seaman was born in Nova Scotia, Canada.  After his birth, William C. Seaman,  his parents and siblings returned to New York.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

2015 Burnett Family Reunion

The annual Burnett Family Reunion will be held next month in DeQuincy, Louisiana.  The details can be found below.

DATE: Saturday, October 10, 2015

TIME: Begins at 10:30 AM, Dinner at Noon

PLACE: Oak Street Recreation Building, 507 Oak Street,  DeQuincy, LA 70633

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Kentucky Burnett Connection

As many of you know, determining Alfred Burnett’s pedigree has been a source of frustration for a number of his descendants.  To this point in time, nothing is known to who his parents or siblings were.

Several research methods have been utilized attempting to resolve the question of Alfred Burnett's lineage.  One method is the use of historical records, such as census records, probate records and newspaper accounts.  From these types of records we can determine Alfred was likely born in Kentucky.  The records also show the first documented evidence of our Alfred Burnett can be located in the Jackson County, Mississippi tax rolls of 1838.  However, these types of records have yielded no clues to where or what family Alfred came from.

One more method is to rely on family oral history.  These stories, passed down from generation to generation, tell that Alfred was from near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.  Another story passed down from descendants has Alfred's ancestors arriving in America as part of the Oglethorpe’s debtor colony of Georgia.   Even with these oral histories, no trace of Alfred’s family could be located.

A third method is the use of DNA evidence to help determine Alfred Burnett’s lineage.

At this time, we have autosomal DNA samples from 16 of Alfred Burnett’s descendants. Of the 16 donors; one is from a G-Grandchild, eight from GG-Grandchildren, three from GGG-Grandchildren and four from GGGG- Grandchildren.  Seven of Alfred and Julia’s 10 children’s descendants are represented in the DNA donors.

After searching through the DNA evidence, I am pleased to report that we have a very good match to a line of Burnett’s who once resided (and likely still do) in the Mammoth Cave area of Kentucky.

Mammoth Cave is the largest known cave system in the world and at the time of Alfred’ birth it was located in Grayson, Warren and Hart County, Kentucky.   In 1825 Edmonson County was formed from parts of these three counties.  Today, Mammoth Cave is primarily located in Edmonson County which is the white area on the map below.[1]

As shown in the map below, Edmonson County is located in southwestern Kentucky.[2] 

Although I have not yet tied the two Burnett family lines together with records, there is a very good probability we are related through a common Burnett ancestor that lived in the late 1700’s.  Once we establish how we are related to these Burnett’s, their family lines are fairly well documented and traceable back in time. This line of Kentucky Burnett’s can be traced to John Burnett of Virginia.

John Burnett (1610-1686) was born in Scotland is thought to be the one of the first Burnett’s to settle in America.  In 1638 King Charles I of England granted him a merchant license trade between Scotland and Virginia.  John Burnett settled in what is now Essex County, Virginia and was a merchant and landowner.

What can be done to help tie our Burnett line with the Burnett’s of Kentucky?  It would be helpful to have more DNA samples submitted from descendants of Alfred and Julia Burnett and the descendants of the Kentucky Burnett’s.

We inherited half our DNA from our father and half from our mother.  As shown in the chart below, being a GG-grandchild would mean that I share 6.25% of Alfred’s and 6.25% of Julia’s DNA.  Taking the math a step further, it would mean I have 3.13% of the DNA of each of Alfred’s parents.  


% of Shared DNA











With this said, the closer our relationship to Alfred Burnett the more of his DNA we share.  And the more DNA we share with other Burnett descendants, the better chance we have in making a positive genetic match. 

Our line of Burnett’s preferred DNA donors would be Alfred and Julia’s G- Grandchildren which there are only 8 known living today.  Of these eight G-Grandchildren one has taken the Ancestry DNA test.  This G-Grandchild’s DNA was our clue to matching to the Kentucky Burnett’s.

If anyone is interested in participating in the DNA project please let me know and I will forward the information on how and where to take the DNA tests.  The autosomal DNA test cost $99 and sometimes can be purchased on sale for $79.

[1] Edmonson County, Kentucky Map. Digital image. Ky Gen Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
[2] Digital image. Map of Edmonson County Kentucky. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. <>.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

William H. Morrogh - Murdered in Houston

William Henry Morrogh was a grandson of Alfred and Julia Burnett.  He was one of several grandchildren to suffer a tragic death.  William was born 28-Aug-1883 and is the youngest son of John A. Morrogh and Dorinda Burnett.

William was murdered in Houston, Texas on 11-Nov-1913, by his fiancée, a Mrs. May Belle Cox.

Apparently, William and Mrs. Cox got into an argument and she shot him several times with a small caliber pistol.   Mrs. Cox then drove herself to the police station and surrendered saying, “I killed Will Morrogh; I loved him better than I do my own life, but I had to do it.”[1]

The account in the newspaper tells that William was divorced, though this conflicts with the reported marital status on his death certificate. William was first married to Mabel Freeman on 26-May-1906 in Fort Bend County, Texas.[2]  After William’s death, Mabel did not remarry.

William is buried in an unmarked grave near his mother in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, TX.

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Newspaper Account
William H. Morrogh Death Certificate
In vicinity of William’s unmarked grave; New Strangers Rest section of Glenwood Cemetery Photo by Michael Burnett 11-Oct-2014.

[1] Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX),  Tuesday, March 24, 1914,  Volume XXXIII  Issue 69 Page Ten

[2] Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013

Sunday, June 28, 2015

William C. Burnett - Murdered in Beaumont

Several of Alfred and Julia Burnett’s grandchildren suffered tragic deaths.  There was a work related fatality, an accidental drowning and murders to name a few.
One of the murdered grandchildren was Sherrod Burnett’s son William C. Burnett, born 18-Mar-1876.  William was murdered in Beaumont, Texas on 10-Feb-1914.
The story goes that William, a carpenter by trade and resident of Lake Charles, LA, was in Beaumont working with his brother in law, C.F. Myers.  He was shot and killed by Harvey F. Myers at 10 O’clock at the intersection of College and Park Street.   Harvey F. Myers was a brother to C.F Meyers.  A newspaper account of the murder can be found below.[1]   The newspaper article does not state a motive for the slaying.  A better image of the article can be found by clicking here.
William left behind a wife name Mattie and three children.  William is buried next to his parents in Orange Grove Cemetery in Lake Charles.   

Newspaper account of murder
William C. Burnett's Death Certificate
William C. Burnett's Tombstone, photo by Michael Burnett on 17-May-2014

[1] Lake Charles Man Shot Dead By Relative On Beaumont Street”, Lake Charles Weekly American Press,   13-Feb-1914, Page 8.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ancestry DNA - On Sale Through Father's Day

For those interested in genetic genealogy, Ancestry has their autosomal DNA kit on sale through 21-Jun-15.  The sale price is $89, which is $10 off the normal price.  Click here for more information.  All that is needed to take the Ancestry DNA test is a saliva sample.

Currently we have autosomal DNA from 15 of Alfred and Julia Burnett’s descendants.   Additionally, there is autosomal DNA from six of William C. Seaman’s descendants and eight descendants of Ignatius Grantham and Catherine Sheffield.

The DNA results are interesting - to say the least. I will be blogging about them in the near future.  If anyone has questions about autosomal DNA please contact me and I will do my best to answer.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

William C. Seaman and Catherine Sheffield Marriage

William Christopher Seaman was married to Catherine Sheffield.  Record of the marriage can be found in the probate court records of Wayne County, Georgia.   Wayne County is where Catherine’s father, West Sheffield’s will was probated.  The marriage record can be found in the book, “Estates 1822-1855” page 202. 
 The following is as it is recorded in Wayne County.

State of Mississippi
Jackson County

I  Allen McLendon Clerk of the County Court of said county do certify that the rites of Matrimony was duly Solemnized between William C. Seaman and Catharine Grantham on the Second day of November in the year of our Lord on Thousand eight hundred and twenty eight as certified to this office by A. McLendon justice of the Peace. Given under my hand and private Seal there being no seal of office this 11th day of January 1832.

A. McLendon Clk Cty[1]
It is possible the original letter from the Jackson County Clerk is filed with the West Sheffield estate loose papers.  Catherine was previously married to Ignatius Grantham, so at the time of her marriage to William Seaman her last name was Grantham.

The Jackson County, Mississippi court house burned in 1875 taking all of the records with it.  Unless a descendant has the original marriage license or certificate the recorded information in Wayne County, GA is the best proof we have of the marriage.

Wayne County, GA Estates 1822-1855, p. 202

[1] "Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch (,267841001 : accessed 14 June 2015), Wayne > Estates 1822-1855 > image 103 of 174; county probate courthouses, Georgia.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

William C. Seaman, Part IV

William Christopher Seaman, my GGG grandfather, was born in the Township of Granville, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The Province of Nova Scotia is located on the east coast of Canada and Granville is located in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia.

William is the son of William Seaman 07-Aug-1764 to 14-Dec-1835 and Elizabeth Brewerton Benson 11-Jan-1771 to 13-Aug-1840. William’s material grandfather was Christopher Benson, which could be the source of his middle name. William had an older brother also named William Christopher Seaman who was born in 1792 and died in 1793.[1]

There are many online sources that show William’s birth date to be 16-Jun-1796, which is possible; however none of these cite the source of this date.    What we can find evidence of is William being baptized 09-Aug-1796, Middle District, Granville, Nova Scotia, Canada.[2]

By 1800 William and his family had moved to New York City, New York.   Little is known about William growing in New York City and by 1818 William was residing in Jackson County, Mississippi.

 William died in 1844 and is buried in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Map of Nova Scotia, Canada

[1] Burgess, Ross, and Ruth Burgess. Granville Township Book. Middleton, NS: Annapolis Valley MacDonald Museum, 2000. Print.

[2] Morse, William I. Gravestones of Acadie: And Other Essays on Local History, Genealogy and Parish Records of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. London: Printed by A. Smith & Co, 1929. Print.

Monday, May 18, 2015

William C. Seaman, Part III, Estate Appraisal

William Christopher Seaman died intestate or simply put, not having a will.

There is an extensive file concerning W.C. Seaman’s estate located in the Chancery Court records of Harrison County, Mississippi.  The file covers a period of two years after William’s death and a lot of interesting information can be gleaned from these records.

One of the first documents required by the court was an appraisal of the “goods, chattels and personal estate of William C. Seaman”.[1]  An appraisal of the estate was presented to the court on 19-March-1845.  The appraisal included an inventory and a list of people owing money to William.  These assets totaled $192.87, which is about $6,000 in today’s money.  Sadly, this was not enough money to cover William's debts.  Other court records document the sale of his real property to settle his debts.

Listed below is a partial list of the items appraised.

Two looking glasses, $2.00.

Three bedsteads, $6.00.

Two feather beds, $3.00.

Two tables, $1.50.

One writing desk, $3.00.

One dozen chairs, $4.00.

One lot of books, $2.00.

Two wheelbarrows $.75,

On cow, $5.00.

On pair of millstones, $1.50.

One pirogue, $.50

One skiff, $1.00.

A scan of the appraisal can be found below.

Estate Appraisal of W.C. Seaman page 1.

Estate Appraisal of W.C. Seaman page 2.


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.

[1] Estate of William C. Seaman Appraisal, filed 26-May-1845.  Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Records.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Magnolia Cemetery - "Graveyard Working"

On Saturday, 18-Apr-2015, Magnolia Cemetery in Ragley, Louisiana held a “Graveyard Working”, or Cemetery Cleanup Day.  This day is when family members and friends meet at the cemetery to clean and perform maintenance to their family’s graves.  It rained the night before, so the turnout was light. Nevertheless, a few brave souls showed up to help clean and preserve this graveyard.

Magnolia Cemetery is in the Ragley community, which is located in the SE part Beauregard Parish.  Magnolia is an old cemetery with graves dating back to the 1880’s or earlier.  The cemetery is divided into two sections by a chain link fence.  The section on the east side is where the oldest graves are located.  Two sides of the cemetery are bordered by tall pine trees and another side by Magnolia Church Road and the Masonic Lodge.

There are many Burnett’s and associated families buried in this cemetery.  Two of Alfred and Julia Burnett’s children are buried there; Sidnah and James Jefferson.

George Gilley and Pheriba Davis Gilley are buried at Magnolia Cemetery too.  Three of George and Pheriba’s children married children of Alfred and Julia Burnett and a fourth child married a grandchild of Alfred and Julia.

 Augustus Hodges and Alizenith Insall Hodges are also interned at Magnolia Cemetery.   Many of the Burnett’s in the Ragley area are related to this Hodges line.

During the cemetery cleanup day, we were able to clean the graves and headstones of James Jefferson Burnett, wife Leona, and Sidnah Burnett Gilley.  Below is a map of where James Jefferson and Sidnah’s graves are located and some before and after photos of the cleanup.

Aerial view showing grave location of James Jefferson Burnett and Sidnah Burnett Gilley.
James Jefferson and Leona Burnett graves before and after clean up. Photos by Michael Burnett.
Sidnah Burnett Gilley headstone before and after clean up.  Photos by Michael Burnett 18-Apr-15.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

William C. Seaman, Part II

William Christopher Seaman spent much of his adult life serving in local and state government.  During this time he lived in Hancock, Jackson and Harrison County, Mississippi.  These three counties are located in the most southern part of Mississippi and are adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.  There is evidence that William was a lawyer, which is consistent with the government positions he held.

Below are some of the documented positions he held.

1822, 1824 -Justice of the Peace, Jackson County

1827 - Representative, Jackson County to the Mississippi Legislature

1832 - Delegate, Jackson County to the Constitutional Convention of Mississippi

1841 - President Board of Police, Jackson County

1842 - Clerk of Court, Harrison County

Below are some good sources for further researching William Christopher Seaman’s public life.

Jackson County Courthouse archives, Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Harrison County Courthouse archives, Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi.

Cain, Cyril Edward. Four Centuries on the Pascagoula. Spartanburg, SC: Reprint, 1983. Print.

Cassibry, Nap L. Early Settlers and Land Grants at Biloxi. 5th ed. Vol. I, II. Biloxi, Miss.: Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society, 1986. Print.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi: Embracing an Authentic and Comprehensive Account of the Chief Events in the History of the State, and a Record of the Lives of Many of the Most Worthy and Illustrious Families and Individuals. Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified, 1962. Print.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

William C. Seaman, Part I

William Christopher Seaman is my GGG grandfather and is the father-in-law of Alfred Burnett. William was born about 1797 and is believed to be the son of William Seaman and Elizabeth Brewerton Benson.

William was married to Catherine Sheffield, who is the daughter of West Sheffield and Susannah Sherrod. Catherine was born in Wayne County, Georgia on 11-Apr-1793 and is thought to be the mother of at least 6 of his children.  Catherine had been previously married to Ignatius Grantham and they had one son, West Grantham 04-Jun-1815 to 21-Sep-1894.

William C. Seaman’s children are:

1.       Julia Jane Seaman, 17-Aug-1820 to 07-Dec-1880, wife of Alfred Burnett.

2.       William Christopher Seaman, 1823 to Apr-1850, unmarried.

3.       Nancy Ann Seaman, 24-May-1826 to 4-Jun-1853, wife of Lazarus Seymour.

4.       Melinda Tison Seaman, 09-Jan-1827 to 28-Dec-1890, wife of Peter Leinhard.

5.       Henry Elbert Seaman, 1827 to 1901, husband of Patience Maranda Powell.

6.       Pliney E. Seaman, 1830 to 14-Oct-1889, husband of Ann Hutson.

7.       Sherrod Seaman, 29-Dec-1831 to 14-Nov-1904, husband of Susan A. Baxter.

8.       Benjamin Benson Seaman, 05-May-1833 to 24-Nov-1910, husband of Delphine Moran.  Second marriage Corean Bosarge, third marriage Idell Grelot.

9.       George Washington Seaman, 29-Apr-1837 to 23-Mar-1907, husband of Nancy Lyons.  Second marriage to Mary Isabella Porter, third marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Turner.

There is a lot of published information concerning W.C. Seaman’s public life, though less is known of his family life.   Here are a few bits of information about his private life.

A disposition of William C. Seaman Clerk of Courts Harrison County, Mississippi, taken at Biloxi, April 12, 1844. “That he has been an inhabitant of the vicinity of Biloxi since the year 1818.”

There is an affidavit in Wayne County, Georgia courthouse showing William C. Seaman married Catherine Sheffield Grantham on 02-Nov-1828.

There are documents on file at the Harrison County, Mississippi courthouse which show William C. Seaman to have the title of Esquire.  The title of Esquire is used by those in the legal profession, especially lawyers.

William operated a ferry across Back Bay in Biloxi, Mississippi.
There is a Seaman road near Biloxi which was likely named after William or one of the Seaman family members.

In October 1844, William deeded land to each of his children and died a month later leaving no will.

William died 23-Nov-1844 and Catherine died 9 years later on 09-Sep-1853.  They are buried next to each other in the Biloxi City Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.
William and Catherine Seaman grave marker, Biloxi City Cemetery, Biloxi, Mississippi, photo by Michael Burnett, 31-May-2014.
William and Catherine Seaman grave plot, Biloxi City Cemetery, Biloxi, Mississippi, photo by Michael Burnett, 31-May-2014.
Seaman Road, D'Iberville, Mississippi, photo by Michael Burnett, 01-Jun-2014.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Alfred Burnett's Descendants and Autosomal DNA

In an attempt to learn more about our Burnett heritage, I and other known Alfred Burnett descendants have taken an autosomal DNA test. 

Autosomal DNA test results, along with family tree records can be helpful in tracing your roots to about 5 generations or to your GGG-Grandparents.   Every human has 23 pairs of chromosomes and Autosomal DNA is found in 22 pairs of these chromosomes.  Autosomal DNA is inherited from both your father and mother.  You can read more about autosomal DNA by clicking here.

The popularity of the autosomal DNA test has brought the cost down to $100 per test.  As well, there have been recent breakthroughs in analysis techniques which have resulted in more accurate results.  Autosomal DNA is one of three types of DNA test used by Genetic Genealogist to aid in confirming relationships.  For more information about genetic genealogy, click here.

Through autosomal DNA analysis is how I found and confirmed the Isabella Burnett line.

Below is a descendant chart of Alfred Burnett and Julia Seaman. The green boxes represent the known descendants who have taken the autosomal DNA test.  All of the green boxes match with a high degree of confidence.  This genetic base-line will be useful in our search for Alfred Burnett’s parents.  The test results also will be used to help confirm who Julia Seaman’s mother was.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

William C. Seaman - Birth and Marriage

I am beginning in-depth research regarding my GGG grandfather William C. Seaman.  My connection to William Seaman is depicted in the chart below. 

I have located many documents concerning W.C. Seaman and now I am attempting to verify information concerning his birth and marriage.  

1)      There are online sources such as Ancestry and Find A Grave that mention his birth date as 16-Jun-1796.  The tombstone reads “About 1801” for his birth.  Some state the place of birth as Nova Scotia, Canada and other sources cite New York.   Does anyone have proof of his birth date and location?

2)      Online sources show he was married to Catherine Sheffield on 02-Nov-1828 in Rankin County, Mississippi.   Is there a marriage license or other evidence of this date and location?
Below is William C. Seaman's signature from a letter dated 05-Apr-1832 authorizing his brother in law, Sherrod Sheffield to act as his attorney and sell land in Wayne County, Georgia which belonged to his wife Catherine.
W. C. Seaman signature, 05-Apr-1832.