Category Archives: Misc Records

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY: Family means you’re never alone

COCKRELL_HughMurry_1904_2Whenever I’m stressed, I like to walk in cemeteries to help calm myself and today was a beautiful day for it.

Today, I found myself walking through Salem Associate Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery located in Atoka, Tennessee. I decided to walk to the furthest corner to see who was there, but on the way I stumbled upon a little headstone, lying on the ground and all alone. The stone will certainly be lost to the effects of nature within a few years, if not returned to a standing position.

COCKRELL_HughMurry_1904The stone I discovered marks the final resting place of little Hugh Murry Cockrell who’s life was just beginning when he died on March 28, 1904. It saddened me to see him all alone, with no parents or other relatives buried next to him and it made me want to know more about Hugh and his family. Where were his parents and why weren’t they buried next to him? Did they move away from the area after he died?

Hugh Murry Cockrell was the first born of Bryant Thomas Cockrell and Margaret E. Morrison and was born on Oct. 16, 1898 in Tipton County, Tenn. His father moved to Tipton County with his family when he was just a boy, and it is where he met his mother.

Bryant Thomas Cockrell was born Aug. 1, 1873 in Kentucky, the son of Thomas E.S. Cockrell and Sallie Tipton. His father was born in Kentucky about 1838 and his mother, in Kentucky on Dec. 8, 1848.

The 1880 federal census finds the Cockrell family living in Brighton, Tipton County, TN. Thomas, 42 was a general mechanic and Sallie, 28 was a house wife, busily taking care of Bryant, 7 and his older sister Mary C. who was 10 at the time.

Hugh’s mother, Margaret E. Morrison was the daughter of Hugh and Ellen L. Morrison. She was born in Tipton County, Tennessee in December 1872. Hugh Morrison was the son of Irish immigrants, Chestnut and Margaret Morrison, and was born in South Carolina in May 1848 and died Oct. 4, 1914. Her mother, Ellen, was born in Mississippi on Oct 29, 1844 and died on Feb. 12, 1875, when Margaret or Maggie, as she was better known as, was just two years old. She died four days after giving birth to her sister who later died in September of that year.


The 1880 federal census for Monroe, Mississippi, Arkansas lists Hugh Morrison, 32 and his young daughter Maggie, 8, living with the Guyne family as borders where her father worked as a farmer.

The Morrison family eventually found their way back to Tipton County where Maggie met and married B.T. Cockrell on Dec. 29, 1897. The young couple was blessed with the birth of their son Hugh Murry, a short ten months later.

The young family, along with little Hugh, is located on the 1900 federal census, living with Maggie’s father at Carson Lake in Troy Township, Mississippi, Arkansas. Bryant, 27, is a farm laborer, working along side with his father-in-law.

A daughter soon joins the family and she is named Flossie Ellen. She shares her name with her father’s youngest sister and her maternal grandmother, and she was born on March 5, 1901 in Tipton County, Tenn. But, like her mother suffered before her, she too loses her mama before the age of two. Maggie dies the following year at the age of 29 on Aug. 7, 1902. Bryant is just 29 when he becomes a widower with a young daughter and son, just a couple of years older than his father-in-law was when he became a widower.

Approximately 18 months later, tragedy strikes the family again when young Hugh Murry passes away at the age of 5 on March 28, 1904. The pain must have been unbearable for the young father to bear for it seems he vanishes for a time being. The 1910 federal census shows an 8-year-old Flossie living with her paternal grandmother Sallie and her new husband, Robert R. Mitchell, in Justice Precinct 3, Cherokee, Texas without her father.

But by the age of 18, Flossie has been reunited with her father and is now living with him and her grandmother, who is once again widowed, in Tipton County, Tenn. In 1920, Bryant is 47 and doesn’t appear to have ever remarried. He is employed as an automobile machinist, which seems he has followed in his father’s footsteps. His mother, Sallie, is 71 and keeps house. Sometime, after 1920, Flossie marries Leonard Thomas Abraham and has a son, whom they name Leonard Thomas, Jr.

Hugh’s father, Bryant Thomas Cockrell died on Nov. 15, 1953 in Shelby County, Tenn., and was buried in Salem alongside his mother. His sister Flossie Ellen Cockrell Abraham died on Dec. 24, 1963 and is also buried in Salem, along with her husband and son. His grandfather whom he was named after, Hugh Morrison, died on Oct. 4, 1914 and is also resting in Salem, as well as his grandmother Ellen and his great-grandparents, Chestnut and Margaret Morrison, who died in 1902 and 1904, respectively.

When I stumbled upon little Hugh’s headstone I was sad to think he was spending eternity all alone. There are no family stones next to him, but after learning whom his family is, I find he is not alone and has never been. For in Salem ARP Cemetery, he has his parents, sister, and his maternal and paternal grandparents, great-grandparents, not to mention uncles, aunties and cousins all at rest within the same hollowed grounds. Although his time on earth was cut too short and he was unable to leave his mark, I have to believe his family has done that for him, for with family, alone is something little Huge will never be.


Finding the missing link

My week at the Family History Library is coming to an end and I feel like I’ve just experienced the grande finale… Today, I broke through two brick walls that have been haunting me for the past ten years.

The first, was discovering the names of my great grandmother’s parents. My great grandmother, Mary Brown Mello, was born about 1877 in the Azores and died in Bermuda on May 1, 1962. It has bugged me for years that her name was listed as Mary Brown. I knew that was not her birth name, but no one was left alive who knew the truth. My auntie Carol, her grand daughter, told me she vaguely remembered her mother telling her it was something like Baum or Braun, but I had never been able to pinpoint what it was actually.

I needed the correct maiden name, because without it, I had no idea of who her parents were.  Out of 16 great great grandparents, I had located all of them except for her parents.

Today, I discovered the last of my great great grandparents.

Antonio de Mello & Maria de Brum on their wedding day.

Antonio de Mello & Maria de Brum on their wedding day.

A few years ago, I came across a wedding photo of my great grandparents taken by a photographer in New Bedford, Mass. I remember that surprising me, because I had only known of them living in the Azores or Bermuda. It even had a date, Sept. 9, 1885, but that still wasn’t enough information to locate the marriage record – looking for Antonio Mello is like looking for Joe Smith and it seemed everyone named their daughter Maria.

But today… today was different. Today, I found my answers. Today, I discovered the elusive marriage record of Maria de Brum and Antonio de Mello, married on Sept. 9, 1885 in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The marriage record of Antonio de Mello and Maria de Brum

The marriage record of Antonio de Mello and Maria de Brum

And the best part?

It listed the parents for both, the bride and groom, and validating, I had the right couple.

Francisco  & Rosa Emilia de Mello  Francisco & Izabel de la Brum

Francisco & Rosa Emilia de Mello
Francisco & Izabel de la Brum

Today, I discovered the names of my last remaining great great grandparents – Franisco and Izabel de Brum and my family is more complete.

Amanuensis Monday: 1865 Deaths at Saint Thomas in Bombay

The below table is a page from the 1865 Ecclesiastical Returns of Births, Baptisms, Marriage & Burials of Saint Thomas Cathedral in Bach Bay, Bombay, India.

Saint Thomas Cathedral in Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay. Built in 1718, it is the oldest British building in India still in continuous use.

Saint Thomas Cathedral in Mumbai, India, formerly known as Bombay. Built in 1718, it is the oldest British building in India still in continuous use.

Saint Thomas was erected in 1718 as the first Anglican church for India’s growing British settlement. It has been used for services continuously since its erection and was the church of my family who lived, were born, and now laid beneath its grounds in India.

William Brown, listed below, was my fourth great grandfather who was born on Def. 7, 1805 in Dover, Kent, England. The son of John and Elizabeth Brown, he moved to India and worked as an cathedral clerk.

He married my fourth great grandmother Celindah Court who was born in Calcutta about 1805. They had nine children, including my third great grandmother Celindah Elizabeth Jane Brown, born April 25, 1828. William lost his beloved wife on March 8, 1843 at the age of 38, just months after the birth of their last daughter, Henriette Caroline Brown, who later died two months after her mother passed. She is buried at Saint Thomas.

William married again to Elizabeth Horrocks in July of that same year, I imagine because he had eight minor children, although she, herself was just 14 years old to his 38 and younger than two of her step-children. William had six more children with Elizabeth, but it is evident he missed his first wife very much, and named a daughter he had with Elizabeth after her, Ellen Celindah Court Brown.

William died at age 60 on Sept. 1, 1685 in Bombay from gangrene, perhaps from a cut he received while working as an undertaker, and is also buried on the grounds of Saint Thomas.

Back Bay from Saint Thomas Cathedral in the year 1865

When Died

Cause of Death Christian Name Surname Age Quality, Trade or Profession When Buried Signature by whom Buried


August 13

Fever Lerence Adams 38 years Widow of the late William Adams. L # Rifles 1865August 14

Charles Gilder

Clerk in Holy Orders


August 27

Dropsy William Rigdon Hayman 63 years Shipping Master 1865August 28th

W. Maule

Chaplain of Colaba

1865August 31


Acute Dysentery Isaac Pardo Twenty six years A soldier of H. M. 45th Regiment under sentence of Penal Servitude for seven years 1865September 1st W. K. FletcherSenior Chaplain


September 1

Gangrene William Brown Sixty one years undertaker 1865September 1

W. K. Fletcher

Senior Chaplain


September 8

Acute Hydrocep halus following Diarrhea Walter Wynne Lake One year, three months & twenty four days Son of N. C. LakeMarshal County Jail 1865September 8
1865September 10 Aneurism of the Aorta Lewis Gilbert Twenty seven years Overseer of Reclamation works 1865September 10 Charles Kirk
S. O. G.Missionary Minister in the Diocese of Bombay

SOURCE: Ecclesiastical Returns of Births, Baptism, Marriage & Burials; Bombay, India; 1865; Ref# N/3/39 Vol. 39; FHL SLC, Utah; microfilm #523,924


Unknown Female Child

While researching today at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I ran across an interesting entry in a parish record that made me stop and do a double take. After magnifying the document so I could read it better, I was dismayed at what I had discovered – the burial of an unidentified child.

The parish record, which recorded the marriages and burials for the village of Harworth in Nottingham, England, held the following disturbing entry for the date of January 26, 1723:

An unknown female child found dead upon Harworth Comon & buried in Harworth Church Yard.

COLDCASE_1723No name, age or identifying marks, was used to describe the child and unlike the other burial entries, there was no father or mother’s name listed, claiming kinship. There was no evidence that this child was loved, missed or even remembered.

Unknown female child.

Somewhere, a family is missing a part of their family tree. An descendant doesn’t know that unknown female child is a part of their history – one of their ancestors.

Unknown female child.

Just thinking of those words, the only words left to history to remember her, bothers me and leaves me with so many unanswered questions. For almost 300 years, this child, somebody’s baby, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s loved one, has been known only as an unknown female child.

What happened to that little girl? Was she an infant? A toddler? Was she old enough to speak out? Did she have a family that loved her and missed her? Was it an accident? Did someone hurt her? Was it someone she knew or loved?

And the biggest question?

Why wasn’t she claimed?

Everyone deserves to be remembered. Every being deserves to know that they mattered. Every life deserves to be recorded.

Especially, an unknown female child.


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