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.


A little bit of everybody – Cloud, Terral, Foster, Olds, John Harville

I have been researching most of the day.  Started off uploading some pictures to ancestry.com for the last few generations.  I have scanned in quite a few pics that came from my grandmother’s (Ruby Hanes Terral)  house.  I helped clean out her house when we had to sell it and I rescued the photographs so I could scan them in and share with the rest of the family.  It is nice to have a face to put with the name.  While I was uploading pics, I became distracted filling in some gaps in information on the Cloud and Terral sides.  I used the PDFs I have of the most recent generations.  I was trying to fill out all my father’s cousins so I could upload pics to theirs.

I did a little more looking on Samuel Osborne and John C. Hanes including searching at Newspapers.com and Fold3.com.  I found some people by those names but the dates and locations didn’t match up so I don’t think they were my guys.  I was pleased to find some interesting stories in the newspapers even though I don’t think they are my relatives.  Here is one about a man named Samuel Osborne:

Not relatives - Samuel C. Osborne old article

And this is a poem by a man named John C. Hanes (not a relative):

Not relatives - John C. Hanes poem

I also did some searching on those sites for John Harville because he pulls up with a Civil War service record.  I found a few different entries and it is hard to tell which is the correct John Harville.  More than likely the Confederate soldier and not the Union one because he is from Louisiana.

       I was happy to find some information on Mary Ann Olds, wife of Reuben Valentine and mother of Sophronia Valentine.  She showed up through ancestry.com as either Oles or Olds.  Looking through the census records led me to believe it should be Olds.   Her mother was listed as Ann Fortner in some places but when I worked back from Sophronia Valentine, my 2nd great grandmother it led to Mary Ann Olds.  Through census records and findagrave.com plus the names on Sophronia Valentine’s wedding certificate (I have a copy from a family member), I found names that supported Ann Foster Olds Parker Day as Mary Ann Olds mother.  Benjamin F. Parker, son of Ann Parker, was a witness at Sophronia Valentine’s wedding.  William J. Valentine, Sophronia’s brother, was also a witness.

          Now I’m questioning the man pulled up by ancestry as Mary Ann’s father because he lived in New York.  I will have to do some more digging on that line to try to support that relationship.

JC Hanes Sophronia Valentine marriage

1870 Census Valentine, Day

1860 Census Valentine, Day, Parker

1850 Census Ann Foster Parker

Ann Foster Day Olds findagrave

Mary Ann Olds headstone