Notes from the past…


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Is he Coleman…. or is he Abner….who is this guy, anyway?

Coleman Carr was a second granduncle on my Dad’s side. He was the 6th child of my third great-grandparents James F Carr of South Carolina and Martha Watts of Alabama. Yesterday, I was researching Coleman and following him through the United States Federal Census enumerations for the years 1860 (he was born in April, 1855) through 1920.

Coleman’s life looked to be that of the average Southern farmer of the time: farming, marriage, babies (lots of babies!), more farming until finally, eventually disappearing from the census rolls. With a little luck, he might show up on Find-A-Grave or maybe a USGenWeb cemetery list somewhere. More likely, he’s just gone…

But something interesting and quite unexpected seems to have happened to Coleman Carr of Alabama…

Here are Coleman’s appearances in the Census:

1860 James F Carr family, Wilcox County, Alabama
Coleman, age 4, born in Alabama

1870 James F Carr family, Monroe County, Alabama
Coleman, age 14, born in Alabama

1880 James F Carr family, Monroe County, Alabama
Coleman C, age 24, born in Alabama
father born in South Carolina, mother born in South Carolina

1900 Coleman Carr family, Clarke County, Alabama (he is now married with family)
Coleman, age 45, born in Alabama, married 15 yrs
father born in Alabama, mother born in Alabama
wife L E, age 38, born in Alabama, married 15 yrs
dau Mattie, age 15
son Cleveland, age 12
dau Florence, age 11
son James C, age 9
dau Lela L, age 7
dau Bessie E, age 5

Everything looks pretty ordinary and expected, right? Look at the 1910 census…

1910 Abner M Carr family, Clarke County, Alabama
Abner M, age 49, born in Alabama, 1st marriage, married 23 yrs
father born in Alabama, mother born in Virginia
Lucinda, age 46, born in Alabama, 1st marriage, married 23 yrs
Cleveland S
Florence
James C
Lela
Bessie E

Ok, obviously the same mother and children, but who is Abner M Carr? Let’s check 1920…

1920 Abner M Carr family, Mobile County, Alabama
Abner M, age 63, born in Alabama
father born in South Carolina, mother born in Alabama
Lucinda, age 56, born Alabama
Mattie
Cleveland
James C
Leila
Florence
Bessie
(also a couple of sons-in-law)

Again, obviously the same mother and kids… and Abner.

Very interestingly, husband’s age appropriate to birth date of 1855, husband’s and wife’s ages are again 7 yrs apart and husband’s father again born in South Carolina (remember James F Carr was born in South Carolina) and mother again born in Alabama. Everything about the actual 1920 census (with Abner) is appropriate to the expected 1920 census (with Coleman).

So were Coleman C Carr and Abner M Carr one and the same man? If so, why did he change his name?

Abner M Carr died in 1930 in Mobile County, Alabama.
Lucinda Carr died in 1939 in Moblie County, Alabama.

I am unable to find either in the 1930 census for further comparison.

I am unable to find Abner M Carr anywhere prior to the 1910 census.

What do you think???