Friday, February 15, 2008

Of Course It's True - It Was On Her Death Certificate! - NOT

For twenty years I looked for Marguerite Goodall and Will Guinn. I had a death certificate of their daughter, Lady Clara Guynn. The death certificate showed Marguerite Goodall and Will Guinn as the parents of Lady Clara Guynn and also showed Memphis as her birth place. Lady Clara Guynn was born in 1876 and was my mother-in-law's grandmother. After twenty years I finally decided to use the strategy that I preach to others: If you can't go forward on your direct line, drop back and follow the information for siblings of your direct ancestor. I worked dilligently for months, tracing siblings and finally tracing them, geographically, to the place where they probably died. I wrote successfully (and unsuccessfully many times) for death certificates on these siblings of Lady Clara Guynn. Remember, I'm looking for the parents of these siblings. Lady Clara was a middle child in the group of children, so she was likely to have the same mother as the oldest and/or the youngest siblings. I had a funeral program that contradicted Memphis Tennessee as the birth place for Lady Clara, and listed Nashville Tennessee as her birth place.

Here's what each death certificate said for each sibling:

1) Certificate of Olin Guynn shows his parents as Mart Guynn and Margaret Nanny.
2) Certificate of Ida Guynn Kizer shows her parents as Mart Guynn and Jimmie Nannie.
3) Certificate of Lizzie Guynn shows father as Mart Guynn and mother as Martha Nanny.
4) Certificate of Lady Clara Guynn Worley shows her parents as Will Guynn and Marguerite Goodall.
5) Certificate of Miles Albert Guynn shows his dad as Mark Guinn and his mother as unknown.

After looking at the above info, I felt pretty sure that Nanny/Nannie should be the last name for her mother. I decided to start looking for a Guynn/Guinn connection to a Nanny/Nannie anywhere in Tennessee. I searched many indexes and the following indexed entry caught my eye in the IGI:

Martin Gevin married Mary Nanny 21 Jun 1861 Davidson TN (IGI Batch M519142 1838-1863; source # 0200295 Film)

I had seen Guynn/Guinn written as Gwin before, and I started rationalizing: If you place a "v" and an "i" together, they could look like a "w"; second rationailzation: If you abbreviate Margaret as Marg, that might be transcribed as "Mary"..... So I wrote for the originals from Davidson County, and as the Genealogy Guys often say (on their podcast): I did the genealogy happy dance when the papers arrived.

Here's what the papers showed: Martin Gwin married Margaret Nanny in Nashville, Davidson County Tennessee 20 June 1861.

So, I guess there are several things to learn from this:
1) Do the "drop back and follow the siblings" routine sooner than 20 years,
2) Keep a creative open mind when reading transcribed indexes: These guys wrote Geven for Gwin, Mary for Margaret and June 21 when it clearly shows June 20. HOWEVER, they DID have the Martin and the Nanny part right, so it was enough to trigger my interest.
3) Question information that you can't verify, even if it's on official records.
4) Remember the difference between primary and secondary sources.

The person who gave the "Goodall" information on the death certificate was a granddaughter of the deceased. The only explanation I can think of for the Goodall name is that maybe Margaret remarried and I just haven't found it yet..... benefit of the doubt and all.... As far as the Will Guinn instead of Mart Gwin, I think his name was actually William Martin Guynn/Gwin/Guinn, but I've not found any other reference to the William/Will part of the name. I think it all goes into the category of "what was she thinking (or drinking)?

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