Monday, May 16, 2011

Strange Names

Antique names in the South tend to be quite unique, even by today's standards.  The great thing about that is when you search for them, you tend to get exactly what you are looking for.

Here are a few people who I have run across in my search for Jacob that are possibly related, and may even hold some key to finding more information on my ancestor.

Loami Pittman
The State of Mississippi       }
iss           vs                            }
Job Rowley and                    }              Indictment for Assault & Battery
Loami Pittman                                     }                              This day came the District Attorney who prosecutes in behalf of said State and also the defendant Job Rowley in person, and also came Aaron Smith the prosecutor and injured party, and the said prosecutors was compromised by the said Job Rowley and the said Smith and the same dismissed, so far as the said Rowley is concerned, upon his paying the costs of said prosecution.  Whereupon it is considered by the Court that the said State of Mississippi do recover of and from the said Job Rowley the costs by said State about his prosecution in this behalf Expended, for which Execution may issue.

So here is a fellow connected to a known relative (Job Rowley).  with a very interesting name.  

On, he is listed as William Loami Pittman, born 1828, and many folks list him as the son of Jacob.  That would make him my second great grand uncle.  Why he is listed as William Loami, I do not know, because all of the records attached to his name just show him as Loami.

He is on the 1860 census with his family, next to Nancy, Calvin, and the rest of their family.  He also lives next door to his own in-laws.

UPDATE:  This website ( ) also says that Loami was the son of Jacob and Nancy... and it gives yet another name for him (William Loami "Saul" Pittman)  Crazy Southerners, and their crazy nicknames.

Theophilus Pittman

In my search for Loami, I ran across this:

3. THEOPHILUS2 PITTMAN (MALACHI1) was born 21 July 1816 in NC or SC, and died 14
August 1907 in Washington Par LA. He married (1) SAVILLA JAMES. She was born 11
September 1826 in Louisiana, and died 26 December 1879 in Washington Par LA. He
married (2) MELISSA STAFFORD Aft. 1880. She was born 22 October 1838, and died
17 July 1914 in Washington Par LA.

1850 Washington Parish, LA Census 176-176 (Next door to Malachi Pitman) Offa
Pitman 30 m Farmer 100 , b NC; Savilla 24 f, b LA; Malachi 4 m, b LA
1850 Washington Parish, LA Agricultural Census: #36 Offa Pitman 12 acres
improved, 124 unimproved; $100 cash value of farm; $50 value of farming
implements & machinery; 1 horse; 3 milk cows; 2 working oxen; 4 other cattle; 12
swine; $115 value of livestock; 50 bushels of Indian corn; 50 bushels of sweet
1860 Washington Parish, LA Census 91-91 Theophilus Pittman 45 m Farmer, b SC;
Savilla 33 f, b LA; Malachi 13 m, b LA; Malachi 70 m, b SC
Pitman Theophilus LA WASHINGTON PAR 1860 FRANKLINTON P.O. 777 1860
Pitman Nancy LA WASHINGTON PAR ROBERTS P.O. 798 1860
Pitman Loami LA WASHINGTON PAR ROBERTS P.O. 798 1860
10/30/1865 Theophelous Pittman & A.J. James and wife deed to Tyra J. Tynes, his
son accepting for him, land on Deep Creek bounded N. by Wm. Holton, E. by B.L.
Lea, S. by public land, & W. by S.W. Varnado, 280 acres as transfered to vendors
by J.C. Fisher, for $700. Savilla James wife of Theopelous Pittman, & Rebecca
Fussell wife of A.J. James relinquished dower. Wits: T.C. Brumfield & Wiley
Strahan. Recd. 12/2/1865.
Pittman Theophilus LA WASHINGTON PAR 18704 W FRANKLINTON 242 1870
Pittman Cemetery, Washington Par LA

Sure enough, here is another odd named fellow right next to my relatives.

Theophilus being a Latin name, I find it pertinent here to mention other Latin names in my family. 
  • William Loami had a daughter named Theodosia
  • Jacob also appears to have had a son named Augustus

More to come.... 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More About DNA

I was recently put in touch with Dan from the Pittman Family DNA site, and he was a tremendous help in understanding some of the things that can be interpolated from my DNA results.

Below are selections from the things that he said in the course of several emails.

In comparing your results (Ancestry) with those in the Pittman DNA Project (through Family Tree DNA),
we can only compare on 34 markers out of the 46.  You match exactly on 32 markers with 18 different men who have submitted saliva samples.  Three of these men have good records (and the family was in the right place at the right time / family  traditions are strong) that lead conclusively back to (Capt.) Thomas Pitman (bc 1614) of Surrey / Isle of Wight Co. VA.

One marker - DYS442 - had a value of 5 lower thatn what is posted in our Project.  Another marker - Y-GATA-H4 - you is a value of one lower.  The other markers are apples and oranges.  (I have some experience checking with FTDNA when someone wants to compare Ancestry or Relative Genetics results with a group of people in my Project.

All in all - with an exact match of 32 markers - plus knowing that direct blood line descendants of (Capt.) Thomas did move to Robeson Co., it is a safe bet that both of you [sic. a cousin and myself] are descended from Thomas.  I am also related, but like you, have not discovered the missing link or 2 that would time me directly into his line.

Both Ancestry and FTDNA test many similar markers but they also test markers
that are unique to their own program.  Also, FTDNA has a person's saliva sample tested by the
Univ. of Arizona and Ancestry, I'm sure, uses some other group.  I have found in some instances,
even when testing the same marker, such as DYS442, they interpret the results differently.

And finally:

There are people in the Project who are connected to Thomas' line by a genetic distance of '1' and '2'.  I can go back far enough in there lines to know they probably are related but somewhere in England and perhaps descend from an uncle or great uncle of Thomas.  But that is really stretching my limits of understanding this DNA stuff.

As an example we have a family with a strong tradition that they came from Lancashire, England and migrated to the American colonies in 1765-1766.  Yet they are a perfect match with Thomas' descendants.

The tradition / common story  in my line is that I probably descend from Samuel Pitman Sr. who shows up in 1766 Granville Co. NC and the 1790 SC Federal Census.  My proven ancestors were living in the same
area of SC in 1805 (Tygerville Baptist Church Minutes).  But the common thought is that Samuel was born in England about 1740.

Thomas came over about 1650 as a bonded person to Robert Hutcinson.  Approximately that same time, a
Joseph Pitman came over and settled in Accomac Co. VA.  I have proven descendants of both in the Project.  Descendants of both migrated to NC about the same time.  But there is no indication that they knew each other.  Yet, at the Y-37 level, all markers match exactly.  That's enough to know that they relate by blood very, very closely.  Brothers? Cousins?  We don't know.
One of the things that makes it hard is that in England - before about 1837 - you almost have to know the parish / church that the family attended in order to get earlier information.  that's the problem I'm having researching UK records.

So thanks so much for the edification Dan.  Surely, one day we'll find what we are looking for.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The End of the Trail

What We Know

Several events have conspired against us in our search for Jacob Pittman's ancestry.  Below, you will find everything that I know about him, gathered together in this one place.  It isn't very much data, but hopefully it is enough to connect him to the rest of the family tree some day.

  • He lived in Mississippi by 1830.  From the federal census, we have this image.  It doesn't directly tell us much.  There were six people in his household, and he was the head. Males: 1 < 5.  1 >5 < 10. 1 > 20 < 30. Females: the same as the males, actually.  It is also noteworthy, that this census tells us who his neighbors were.  Two in particular are noteworthy.  One was John S Pittman, who by DNA is shown to be at least a cousin, potentially closer.  The other, is James Gill, who might be either his father-in-law, or brother-in-law.
  • Still in Marion County MS at 1840.  By 1840, the federal census shows his household at eleven members.  There is not much else to glean from this census.  He no longer shares a page with John S Pittman and James Gill.  John is two pages back.  James seems to be gone, and may have already moved to Louisiana at this point.  Neither of the household members over twenty years of age could read or write.  Five of the household were employed in agriculture.
  • He was in Marion County MS until at least 1845.  I have only abstracts from the Mississippi state census, but he is listed in both 1841 and 1845.  This is the last that I've seen of him on any official record.
  • His family is in Louisiana without him by 1850.  As we said in previous posts, his wife went to live with the Gill families in Louisiana sometime between 1846 and 1850.  That is where they show up on the census records.
  • His Y-Chromosome: Through DNA testing, we know that if he was indeed my ancestor, he was a descendant of Thomas Pittman.

R1b 14 12 14 12 13 29 23 11

DYS392 DYS393 DYS426 DYS437 DYS438 DYS439 DYS441 DYS442

13 12 12 15 12 12 14 17

DYS444 DYS445 DYS446 DYS447 DYS448 DYS449 DYS452 DYS454

12 12 13 21 19 30 30 11

DYS455 DYS456 DYS458 DYS459a DYS459b DYS460 DYS461 DYS462

11 15 17 9 10 11 12 11

DYS463 DYS464a DYS464b DYS464c DYS464d DYS635 GGAAT1B07 YCAIIa

24 15 15 15 17 23 10 19


23 15 12


Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Calvins

What follows represents the work of a lot of people. To get to the point where we are today took a great deal of careful work.  I haven't really done any of it.  This is just what I know through the gracious counsel of many others to whom I am eternally thankful.

The Starting Point

Hardy Hiram Pittman
The safest place to start this discussion is with my great grandfather, Hardy Hiram Pittman (1869 - 1934). We know that his father's name was Calvin from the Census record, and that his mother's name was Caroline.

Finding the parentage of Calvin Pittman from Marion County MS is tricky.  You see, through a twist of luck, there were two men named Calvin Pittman born in Marion Co, at roughly the same time.  One of them is easily traceable back to Thomas Pittman, and for a long time, I thought that he was my 2nd great grandfather.

Unfortunately, things are rarely that easy, and I have trouble beating 50/50 odds sometimes.  It seems almost certain that the Calvin Pittman who Married Caroline Rowley and had, among others, Hardy Hiram Pittman, was the son of Jacob Pittman and Nancy Gill.

The Trail of Evidence

One of the most daunting things about using US Census records is that before the 1850 census, only the head of household was named.  Everyone else in the household is just a number by the box for the appropriate age, race, and gender group.

In 1850, we find one Calvin Pittman, aged 12, born in Mississippi, living in Louisiana, with the following:
  • Nancy Pittman, 42, born in Mississippi
  • Alfred Pittman, 10, born in Mississippi
  • A Pittman, 8, born in Mississippi
  • Hardy Pittman, 6, born in Mississippi
  • Hiram Pittman, 4, born in Mississippi
 In 1860, we can also find a 23 year old Calvin Pittman living in a Gill Household with:
  • James Gill, 50
  • Nancy Gill, 45 (Not to be confused with the above Nancy, who as we shall see, was once a Gill)
  • Benjamin Gill, 23
  • Emily Gill, 18
  • Amanda Gill, 16
  • James M Gill, 15
Lastly, we know from marriage records that Jacob Pittman married Nancy Gill in 1825.

All of this loosely connected information paints a rather compelling picture that the Calvin Pittman, who married Caroline Rowley, and had a son named Hardy Hiram, was himself, the son of Jacob and Nancy.  It is quite likely that he named his first son after two of his brothers.

Jacob is not seen on record after the 1846 state census in Mississippi.  This is unfortunate, because just four years later, he would have been cataloged along with the rest of his family in the 1850 census.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Problem (Or How I Had To Start A Blog To Figure This Out)

For Christmas 2010, my wife gave me a DNA test through  She had gotten one for her father in the previous year, and I thought that it was about the coolest thing ever.  This particular test was for my Y chromosome, that's the one passed down from father to son, relatively unchanged, each generation.

In my family history, there is a man, Thomas Pittman, who is rather well documented, and participated in Bacon's Rebellion.  There are websites all over with people related to him, and their DNA.  I thought that it would be fun to see if I were really descended from him, or if somewhere along the line, I had either gotten the links wrong, or perhaps something more scandalous would come up and give me a good topic for conversations in the future.

My results came back incredibly quickly.  Apparently there wasn't a huge inrush of tests just after the Christmas season as I had feared.  (Aside:  Am I the only person that had this on my Christmas list?)  The results fascinated me.

There were 3 people with an MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) number of 1.  That meant that every marker that we each had tested on our Y chromosomes (46 of them) were exactly the same.  There were 3 more people who had an MRCA number of 3, and they had no differing markers.  They simply did not pay to have more of their chromosome tested.

One of my exact matches even had a group started with several members.  I contacted the group to request membership, and thus my strange, and confusing journey began.

The group, it turned out, was dedicated to finding the paternal link of one Everett Pittman who moved from North Carolina to Mississippi around 1840.  My Y Chromosome was an exact match for these folks, but there was no Everett in my family tree.  To this day there is no link between him and my family tree, even though he lived in roughly the same places as my ancestors.  Apparently, he was a brother of one of my g(x) grandfathers, but exactly where, we can't say.

Through this group, I met my second cousin (once removed) Betsy, who introduced me to the mystery that she had been tracking down for a number of years.

It seems that there is no definitive link between the Jacob Pittman in my family tree and the Nathan Pittman that I had associated as his father.  In fact, there was compelling evidence that Nathan was not the paternal link in my family tree.

So now here I am, with DNA clearly tied to Thomas Pittman, and no clear way to link my family tree to his.  This blog will be a place to share the various theories, links, and questions related to finding this link.