Author: denzelnuke

Zeeman parents

Well, I’m behind in blogging. Not unexpected.

Here’s a quick post just to keep it rolling. A picture of my wife’s parents on their wedding day. Provided by a cousin this week. Very nice.


Collis ancestry

Spend some time this long weekend trying to decipher Collis ancestors. Jesse Richardson Collis’ parents are going to take a little work. And this gets into the area where there’s a lot of copied family trees in, but does anyone have the right information – or – is everything copied from the same wrong source? So, let’s take it backwards. From my cousin, here’s a picture of Jesse’s mother labeled Rittie Collis.

According to, Rittie Collis is buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Union County, GA. She was living with Jesse during this time frame and they were in the Northern part of Georgia in Murray and Fannin Counties. Union County is in north Georgia, adjacent to Fannin County. According to the headstone, she died October 18, 1890.

So, these seems to agree with each other. She’s not that old in her photograph, but it’s unknown when the photo was taken. Rittie is a pretty unusual name also. Is it short for Henrietta or Harriette? Rittie can also be a surname.

In the 1880 Census, Ritta (or possibly Rittie) was shown as the mother of the head of household (Jesse) and was 67 yo, born in North Carolina with parents born in Virginia.

Ritta or Rittie…I don’t trust census takers. But, I’d say they’d be pronounced the same way, so I go with Rittie born in about 1813. So far, so good.

So, now ten years earlier in the 1870 census, we have Jesse (20 yo) and his wife Elizabeth (18 yo) living with “Rachel” who is 67 years old in Fannin County, GA. So, who is Rachel Collis? You’d assume this would be Jesse’s mother living with him. Can you blame the census taker for writing Rachel when he was told Rittie? And this lady was born about 1803. I don’t know.

They can’t be found in the 1860 census. Jesse would have been 10 yo and they were somewhere between North Carolina and Georgia.

In the 1850 census, Jesse (2 yo) {I don’t know why this is 2 years off from the later censuses} is found with his siblings and a head of household of Susan Collis (40 yo) in Cleveland County, NC. One would assume that Susan was their mother and their father was not around. So, this is the third name (Ritta/Rittie, Rachel, Susan) and a third year of birth (1813, 1803, 1810) for Jesse’s mother. The one constant is that this person could not read or write (according to the census). I don’t know how this plays into the name and birth year differences. And I don’t have a father’s name (other than Collis) who was no longer around in 1850.

The other confusing thing is that there is also a (Rev.) James and Susan Collis in the area that lived into the 1880’s at least. Different family though.

So, I’ve sent a couple of emails to people who might have some information on this family. I think I’m going to revise the tree I have to change the mother’s name to Rittie and delete any father and his family at this time.

Some things to try:

Look for all Collis in Cleveland County, NC in both 1850 and 1840 to try to locate the right family for the father. However, the 1840 census only has head of household name.

How to look for Rittie? Born 1803/1810/1813 in NC, married before 1838, parents born in Virginia. As more records become available, maybe more information will be available.

Jesse Richardson Collis

Since I was just writing about Jesse Collis, I thought I’d include a picture of him. And at the same time see how well a photo posts from an email post. This in included as an embedded photo in my email.

He lived to about 100 years old but I’ve got a couple of different dates for his birth date. I don’t know if people didn’t keep up with their birth dates very well back then or changed them to suit their purposes since it would be hard to prove them one way or another. The older the date, the harder it seems to be able to pin it down for some people.

Hensley, Littleton, Thomas, and Willis Surnames (and Collis)

This is my first post via email. This should be an easier, and thus, more likely way to post to my blog.

Talked to my aunt a little yesterday about Jesse Collis. She remembers him living in a big house in Maryville, TN with his daughter Myra (my great-grandmother) and Aunt Elsie. I knew Aunt Elsie (Dillingham) when she lived in Etowah, TN when I was a kid. I knew she had retired from working as a telephone operator but I didn’t know she had lived in Maryville.

In my tree, I have Jesse’s wife as Mary Elizabeth Hensley but did not have her parents. While perusing Ancestry a few days ago, I saw Jesse and Elizabeth in the 1900 (I believe) census and noticed a lot of Hensley’s on the same page of the census. So yesterday, while looking a little deeper, I found several shared family trees with Mary listed in them with her parents John and Martha. John and Martha are two of the Hensley’s listed on the same 1900 census in Hemptown, Fannin, GA. So, based on the shared family trees on Ancestry, I expanded my family tree with a few names. Of course, you have to take these trees with a grain a salt and they will require some research to see if they make sense.

So, Mary Elizabeth Hensley (wife of Jesse Collis) had parents:

John Westley Hensley (1829 – 1910) & Martha Thomas (1833 – 1900)

John Westley Hensley parents were:

Berry Hensley (1783 – 1860) & Elizabeth Littleton (1786 – 1860)

Martha Thomas parents were:

William Hunsuker Thomas (1810- – 1906) & Nancy Collis Willis (1817-1904)

So, this adds surnames Littleton, Thomas, and Willis that I did not have before.

There are more ancestors for these parents listed in various public family trees on Ancestry, but they aren’t all in agreement. I’ll have to look at these a little harder before I add them. Interesting that Nancy’s middle name is listed as Collis. Makes we wonder if I’ll find an overlap in the Collis side of my family.

John Duff Green and Elizabeth Baker Family

John Duff and Elizabeth Green Family

Great photo I found from the book McMinn County, Tennessee and Its People 1819-1997 while researching in the Huntsville, Alabama library. It’s amazing how much information from all over the US is contained in this library.

This is a picture of my great-grandparents John and Elizabeth Green. I don’t have specific information, but I’d assume that the children in this picture are (from oldest to youngest) John H. Green (from John Duff’s first marriage to Nettie Clayton), Charlie M. Green, Robert J. Green, Homer P. “Toy” Green (my grandfather), Villa Belle Green, and Frank Floyd Green.