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Sunday, October 25, 2009

SNGF: Most Unique Ancestral Name: Fannie Clutts Pitts

Thank you to Randy Seaver of Geneamusings for tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun misson.

I have a a box left by my grandmother. On the scroll are hundreds of names, hand drawn circles, and squares. Each 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper is linked to its neighbor with yellowed, brittle tape. Where  did she get all the names? Not one single source is listed. But I have a scroll...and it is a start!

Herein lies my most favorite ancestral name. The honor goes to my 3rd great grandmother, Fannie Clutts Pitts.
Her husband is listed as John (Jay) Perkins.

She is as much of a mystery to me as how she got her name or even if it is her real name.

Let's look at the evidence I have so far. My great great grandfather was Sidney Leander Perkins, 1870-1957 (aka Sidney Lee Perkins). His death certificate from Cass County Texas lists his father's name as Jay Perkins and his mother as unknown. Sidney's birthplace is listed as Yalobusha, Mississippi. The informant was his son Leon Perkins.

The 1870 Federal Census for Yalobusha County, MS shows the following family that I believe may be the family of Jay Perkins: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1870. Township 25, Yalobusha, Mississippi; Roll  M593_754; Page: 131; Image: 266.

First let us see what is listed on our scroll for this family:
John (Jay) Perkins b. 09 Feb 1847 m. Fannie Clutts Pitts b. unknown
Children: John Hugh b. 15 Sept 1868; Sidney Leander b. 21 Feb 1870; Edward Wallace b. 09 Sept 1873. 

The head of household is listed in the 1870 search index as Jehue R. Perkins b. 1847. Could this actually be "J. Hugh" since the eldest son is named J. Hugh it is something to consider especially if the Head of the household went by "Jay" which appears to be the case if the information in the scroll is correct. The birthdate matches. 

The wife is listed as Jennie F. Could this be Fannie or a previous wife? Hum, maybe. The oldest son is listed as Hugh J. b. 1868/9. Could this be our John Hugh b. 1868? Then there is Sidney A. b. 1870. Could this be our Sidney Leander b. 1870? 

I am not convinced, but there are strong similarities that deserve further consideration. 

The 1880 Federal Census for Yalobusha County, MS shows the following family living in Coffeeville that I believe may be the family of Jay Perkins: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. 1880 Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1880. Coffeeville, Yalobusha, Mississippi; Roll  T9_669; Family History Film: 1254669; Page: 180.4000; Enumeration District: 207; Image: 0564.

This data more clearly matches the information we found in the scroll. It clearly shows the Head of Household's initials as J. H. so it is possible that Jehue could actually be "J. Hugh." Age is correct. Need more evidence. This time the wife is listed as Fanny with the correct age. Eldest son is H. J., age is correct. S. L. A. could be our Sidney Leander *note-the A initial is tied into the 1870 Sidney A. reference. Could our census taker have heard "Sidney Lee Ander?"Maybe, age is correct. W. W. could be Edward Wallace age is also correct. Thus, the data is still very similar. Though not conclusive it merits further investigation.

At the moment this is all the information I have on Fannie and her family. She and her husband apparently deceased prior to the 1900 Federal Census. The scroll lists the dates of death as 1890 for Jay and 1896 for Fannie.


  • Search cemeteries in Yalobusha county near Coffeeville, Mississippi for interments. 
  • See if Yalobusha county has probate records for the period 1860-1900. 
  • Search probate records of Yalobusha county for Jay and Fannie Perkins. 
  • Search probate records of Yalobusha county for Thomas Anderson Perkins, possible brother to Jay Perkins, died 1860. Look for relationship evidence. 
  • Search probate records of Yalobusha county for Edmund Perkins, possible father of Jay Perkins, died 1862. Look for relationship evidence. 
  • Search marriage records of Yalobusha county for evidence of union between Jay Perkins and Fannie Clutts Pitts. 
Until then...I have a scroll...with lots of names, and hey, it's a start!


  • Fanny/Fannie was a common nickname for Frances/Francis. Could our Fannie have been Jennie Frances (Jennie F.) as in the 1870 census?
  • The 1870 Census lists Elmira J. (b: c1845 AL) and Wm C. Stutz (b: c1857 AL). Could these be siblings of Jennie F. whereas Stutz is a misspelled Clutts? hmm...
Bingo! Thank you for naming your child Elmira Clutts! The 1860 Federal Census shows the following family in Marion County, Alabama that I believe may show Fannie (Frances), Elmira, and William C. as siblings: 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls. North Western Division, Madison, Alabama; Roll  M653_15; Page: 36; Image: 37.

Jas B. Clutts (James ?) 37 born c1823 AL
Cassa Clutts 42 born c1818 TN listed as Blind
Martha Clutts 17 born c1843 AL
Elmira Clutts 15 born c1845 AL
Mary Clutts 13 born c1847 AL
Frances Clutts 11 born c1849 AL
John F Clutts 10 born c1850 AL
Thos Clutts 8 born c1852 AL
Wm C Clutts 6 born c1854 AL

  • If that is the case and Fannie's maiden name is Clutts then where does the Pitts come from?
The scroll lists John "Jay" Perkins death date as 1890 if that is the case then he died at age 43. Fannie was about 41 and still had minor children. Could she have remarried before she died 6 years later at age 47? There were Pitts living in Yalobusha County according to tax and census records. That would explain why she is listed as Fannie Clutts Pitts on the scroll. Good lead...

  • Need to search marriage records between 1890 and 1896 in Yalobusha County, MS for a union between Fannie Perkins and unknown Pitts.  
Found Marriage bond for J. H. Perkins and Fannie Clutts 3 Oct 1867 Fayette, Tennessee. Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN, USA: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm.


  1. What a special prize your grandmother left you! Just think how long she spent making this scroll with family names and dates on it - waiting for you or another descendant to discover it.

    Excellent detective work, and a research plan to find out more. Great post! Isn't SNGF fun?

  2. Randy, I am addicted to SNGF! It is the perfect "me" time - everyone (read: all three kids) is asleep and I can stay up as late as I want! Thank you for all your ideas!

  3. Well that is a most unusual name and an interesting twist if Pitts is a first marriage. I admittedly haven't done much on the Pitts line. It took me a long time to even figure out that my Jennie Pitts Scott was Zerlinda Jane Pitts. I have corresponded with another Pitts researcher who gives some evidence the Pitts line was from North Carolina eventually working their way to Lee Co, Iowa. Could be that your Mississippi Pitts are connected. Keep me posted if you ever find a North Carolina connection.