According to the death certificate for my great grandfather, Alexander Middlebrooks, his parents were Albert Middlebrooks and Malinda Guise.1 I found “A. Middlebrooks” and wife “Malinda” in the 1880 census for Woodbury, Meriwether County, Georgia.2 The death certificate and census record were all the documentation I had for these ancestors.
This is how the Middlebrooks family looked in the 1880 census.
I have searched and searched, then searched some more, but cannot find them as a family unit in the 1870 census. Actually, I have not found any of them in the 1870 census. I have a possible candidate for Albert in the 1870 census, but that is a story for another time. This post is about finding Malinda.
Over this past year, thoughts of Malinda have consumed me, but I continued to push her to the bottom of the list and focused my research efforts elsewhere. Other than searching census records, I really didn’t put much effort into finding Malinda. Then, FamilySearch.org added Georgia, Probate Records, 1742-1975. The same night that I discovered these records were available online, I started looking for Malinda – and I found her!!
A few years ago, I made a copy of a will for Samuel Guise. Samuel Guise died in Meriwether County, Georgia in 1842.3 His will is dated 21 [?] 1841, and was recorded on 7 [?] 1841 in Meriwether County, Georgia.4 No enslaved persons were mentioned in Samuel’s will so I filed it away for another time. This time around, when browsing the records on FamilySearch, I checked for any inventories, appraisements and/or returns for the Samuel Guise estate.5
On 13 September 1858, an Inventory and Appraisement was made for the Estate of Samuel Guise deceased.6 Listed as property were:
Nancy a Negro Woman valued at $450
Mary and her child Melissa valued at $1275
Melinda and her child valued at $1200
I FOUND MALINDA!! Although her name is spelled with an “e” instead of an “a” I’m pretty sure this is my Malinda Guise. Of course, I was elated. It is such an incredible feeling to see that ancestor’s name, but it’s tempered with mixed emotions; happiness for the discovery, sadness for the circumstances.
Unfortunately, Melinda’s child is not listed by name. My great grandfather Alex was born about 1862, so for now I’m going to eliminate him as this child. Malinda also had a daughter Laura, born about 1854. This “child” could quite possibly be Laura who would have been about four years old at the time. But, why is there no name? I thought it odd that the name of Mary's child was given, but not Melinda's. Maybe this child was a baby recently born and had not been given a name. There are so many questions.
In the 1880 census there is a “Malissa” in the Middlebrooks household enumerated as the daughter to the head of household. This Malissa, who I always assumed was Malinda’s daughter as well, was born about 1860. That’s only about two years after the inventory. Is it possible the Malissa in the 1880 census is Mary’s child Melissa? Or, did Malinda also have a daughter Malissa and named her after Mary's daughter? The next obvious question, of course – is Mary related to Melinda? Are they sisters? Finally, but just as important, who is Nancy? Could Nancy be the mother of Mary and/or Melinda? There are so many questions.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Finding Malinda. There are more unexpected findings.
1 A. L. Middlebrooks, Certificate No. 25008, 14 Oct 1927; Death Certificates, Vital records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives, digital images, Georgia’s Virtual Vault (http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/index.php : assessed 10 Oct 2012)↩
2 1880 U.S. Census, District 669, Meriwether, Georgia, population schedule, Woodbury, enumeration district (ED) 83, p. 4 (penned), dwelling 28, family 28; Middlebrooks, Malinda; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 October 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 157.↩
3“Pedigree Resource File,” database, FamilySearch (hhtp://www.familysearch.org/pal : assessed 13 Oct 2012), entry for Samuel Guise.↩
4 Meriwether County, Georgia, Wills, Book A, (1831-1859), Samuel Guise, pp. 63-64; Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1975, Meriwether County Wills, 1831-1903, digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 7 Oct 2012); the Guise will, images 46 and 47.↩
5 Other estate records under the Guise surname were found. This post, however, is limited to the estate records for Samuel Guise.↩
6 Meriwether County, Georgia, Inventory and Appraisement of the Estate of Samuel Guise deceased, pp. 574-575, 13 Sep 1858; “Inventories-Appraisements-Returns-Sales, Book F, 1856-1859,” digital images, Probate Records, 1742-1975, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 7 Oct 2012); the Guise inventory and appraisement is image 320.↩