I know that I have shared this before but I have been tracing my ancestors for over twenty years. It is a lot easier now that we have web sites like Ancestry, Family Search, and others. Even with all of the information that is available the "find" can still be rather brutal. I have sat at the computer and searched for information on one person for hours and not come up with anything. Then when I come back to look again I hit a goldmine or not.
Here is what I had encountered over the weekend. My grandmother was Azzie Lee Bolden, my mother's mother. She is the young woman in the far right of the picture which was taken around 1922 or 1923. Her father was Alfred Lee Bolden, the dapper looking man standing behind her. I don't have a picture of Alfred Lee Bolden's father, John Thomas Bolden but wish that I had one. John Thomas Bolden's father was John Thomas Bolden too or should I say Bolding. The name kind of morphed as my ancestors migrated across America. They started out Bolding and ended up Bolden when they moved. This is where things start to get tricky for me.
John Thomas Bolden the 1st father was Jonathan Lee Bolding of Pickens County, South Carolina. J.T. (John Thomas) was born in 1834 in the same county. John met and married Margaret White on August 9, 1855 in Pickens. He enlisted around May 15, 1861 in the Confederate army and fought with Company H, 2nd S.C. Rifles Regiment until his death on June 10, 1863. J.T. was captured and killed by the Federals in the swamps near Suffolk, VA. Are you with me so far? Let's continue.
In 1870 the family decided to move to Forsyth County, Georgia. John Thomas Bolden the 2nd went by the name of Jack. I understand that the nickname for John is Jack. Jack married Martha Fowler on October 10. 1880 in Forsyth County, Georgia. I am okay with this so far. Then I started trying to put my book in order. Here is where I nearly lost my sanity.
I tried to separate both of the John Thomas Bolden\Bolding from each other. When trying to research a relatives steps I always use the Census. In general they provide a vast amount of information, supposedly. It really depends on the Census taker and the person providing the information.
J.T. was living in Pickens County, S.C. in 1860 with his wife Margaret and four children. Remember he is killed in 1863 so he will not be listed on the 1870 Census. He is not the person I am looking for anyway, it is the second John Thomas Bolding\Bolden. In 1870 I find Margaret with four children living in Anderson, S.C. One of her children was named Jackson. Ok, I thought, this is my second John Thomas. Then in 1880 in Forsyth County, GA Margaret has three children listed. Jackson is now listed as Andrew Jackson. Oh what the hell! I keep searching. In 1900, Margaret is living in Forysth County with her youngest son. I couldn't find Andrew Jackson anywhere. I found a marriage certificate for John T. Bolling and Martha Fowler in Forsyth County in 1880. I found John living with his wife in Murray County in the 1900 Census. In each Census thereafter John Thomas was either listed by John Thomas or Jack. The key name is Jack. He was always called by this name.
For years I searched and searched for John Thomas when he was right under my nose all along. This is not the first relative that changed their name that I have found in my family search and it will probably not be the last.
P.S. I don't go by my given name either.