Unexpected Connections – Fortner, Parker, Stapleton, Whatley

Earlier this week, I was researching the line for Mary Ann Olds.  She is my 3rd great grandmother on my paternal grandmother’s side of the family.  Mary Ann Olds was born around 1829 in Mississippi and died around 1900 in Catahoula Parish in Louisiana, USA.   Her mother was Ann Fortner, daughter of Bersheba Arrington and John Fortner.   While I was doing some searching online, I ran Bersheba Arrington through Google.  When the search results came up, I noticed one had the name of one of the nurses I used to work with at Mid State Home Health.  I’m just going to call her Whatley because I haven’t asked permission to use her name.  I followed the link to see why the names came up connected but it was to a forum with 500+ entries and I couldn’t find the correct thread.  So I searched the nurse’s name on Google and came up with her family tree online.  Thankfully, she had the surnames for all the people on her tree set up as links so I could skim that list to see if any matched with my people.  I found the surname Stapleton which led me to Ana J. Stapleton, the wife of Phineas Harmon Whatley.  Ana J. Stapleton is daughter of Nancy Jane Parker & John Wesley Stapleton.  Nancy Jane Parker is daughter of Ann Fortner and William Parker, Ann’s 2nd husband.  This makes Ana J. Stapleton great granddaughter to Bersheba Arrington as well as my 1st cousin 4x removed .  I was able to navigate my way through the Whatley family tree until I reached the entry for the nurse I once worked with at Mid State. Her 1st cousin 4x removed, Phineas Harmon Whatley, married my 1st cousin 4x removed, Ana J. Stapleton.  I know that was probably hard to follow but I hope it isn’t impossible.  It is so cool to learn about connections to people I have known for years and never knew there was any kind of family connection.

Over the years, people have asked if I was related to one person or another and I would always say no because I didn’t see beyond my immediate family up to 1 generation back.  I wish I had started this research when I was younger or at least before I did home health.  I may have taken care of family over the years and never knew it.  I have discovered family in LaSalle Parish in Louisiana and the home health I worked for had offices in Jena, which is a bigger town in that parish, and in Pollock, which is in Grant Parish.   I’ve found connections to Natchitoches Parish, Winn Parish, Catahoula Parish, and Grant Parish in addition to the ones I already knew about in Rapides Parish.  I’m looking forward to finding out so much more in the future.

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