Getting started on my Stevenson research was not very easy. Until I received the letter that my Aunt Juanita supplied to me, I had no idea where to start. All I knew was that my grandmother’s name was Winnie Ida Stevenson. After reading the letter from Gladys (Campbell) Stevenson, I had a list of names and some dates.
So, where should I start?
I decided to take a look at Census records and see if I could verify some of this information. Since Emmit and Nettie were married in 1881 and their first child was born in 1883, the 1880 Census did me no good and there is no 1890 Census. I did a search for them in the 1900 Census and this is what I found:
In Justice Precinct 3, Marion Co., Texas we have listed
- Name – Relation – Age – Birth – Birth Place
- Emmet Stephenson – Head – 47 – Apr. 1853 – South Carolina
- Endora – Wife – 34 – Mar. 1866 – South Carolina
- Elbert – Son – 16 – Dec. 1883 – South Carolina
- Boston – Son – 15 – Aug. 1884 – South Carolina
- Charly – Son – 12 – Mar. 1888 – South Carolina
- Raymond – Daughter – 8 – Feb. 1892 – South Carolina
- Mollie – Daughter – 6 – Jan. 1894 – South Carolina
- Jefferson – Son – 3 – Aug. 1896 – South Carolina
- McKinley – Son – 5/12 – Mar. 1900 – Texas
This all works pretty good according to the data in Gladys’ letter. There are a couple of things that are different, such as Jefferson being born in 1896 on the Census and 1898 in the letter and Emmit showing his birth year as 1853 instead of 1863, but for the most part everything looks good!
So, here is a little verification on what is contained in the letter. However, there are still a couple of questions here. Why is Foster shown as Boston and why is Hubbard shown as McKinley? Could this be a nickname or perhaps a middle name?
One other thing to notice is that Jefferson was born in 1896 in South Carolina but McKinley was born in 1900 in Texas. This shows that the Stevensons (Stephensons?) arrived in Texas somewhere between 1896 and 1900!
So, let’s take a look at the 1910 Census and see what it has to show us!
Once again, we are in Justice Precinct 3, Marion Co., Texas. Here is what is listed:
- Name – Relation – Age – Birthplace
- Emmit Stevenson- Head – 47 – South Carolina
- Ledora – Wife – 44- South Carolina
- Elbert J. – Son – 26- South Carolina
- Foster- Son - 25- South Carolina
- Raymond- Daughter - 18- South Carolina
- Charlie- Son - 22- South Carolina
- Mollie- Daughter -16 – South Carolina
- Jeff- Son - 13- South Carolina
- Hubbard- Son - 10 – Texas
- Winnie – Daughter – 8- Texas
- Willard- Son - 5- Texas
- Ben T.- Son - 3- Texas
So, in 1910 we see the addition of Winnie (my grandmother), Willard and Ben. The birth year for Winnie would match pretty good but the ones for Willard and Ben are a year off. Perhaps there is a logical explanation for this. We also note that Emmit is still 47! Either he didn’t age or his age in the 1900 Census was wrong.
Note also that Nettie’s name in both censuses are wrong. In 1900 it is shown as Endora and in 1910 it is shown as Ledora. However, that will be explained further in my research!
So, lastly, let’s take a look at the 1920 Census and wrap this up.
This time we are in Justice Precinct 2, Marion Co., Texas. Here is what we have:
- Name – Age
- Emmit – 56
- Nellie E. – 53
- Jeff O. – 22
- Hubbard B. – 19
- Ida W. – 15
- Lesley W. – 14
- Ben T. – 12
As you can see, several of the children have moved on and can be presumed to have started their own families elsewhere. How do the remaining children measure up against Gladys’ letter? Let’s look. Jeff, Hubbard, Willard and Ben match up good, but Ida W., (Winnie Ida, my grandmother), is way off! Being born in 1903, she should be 17! Hey, what woman really gives their real age anyway!
On a better note, we see that Emmit is aging again. That’s nice to see.
One last note on the 1920 Census is that we are given a hint as to the middle names of some of the children. Jeff, Hubbard and Ben have their middle initial available. Winnie and Wesley are listing what is probably their middle name as their first!
So, my initial foray into the census to help verify some of the information given in Gladys’ letter is successful. I’ve verified each name and most of the birth years given by Gladys and I now have a little insight into their middle names also! Armed with that information, where should I turn to next?
Find out in my next post!