- William W. Lanier: One Man or Two?
More to the point—was the William W. Lanier who died on 7 Nov 1931 in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama the son of William Washington Lanier and Charlotte T. Jackson? A number of people think so based on the online trees that give William and Charlotte’s son that death date along with the wives and children of the man who died in Birmingham.
Maybe they are the same person. This is the first in what will be a series of posts as I try to answer this question.
William and Charlotte’s Son
William and Charlotte had a son named William W. Maybe his middle name was Washington, like his father (you’ll find him with that middle name in those same online trees), but I haven’t seen one record to back that up. I’ve actually only seen two records that I am sure are for their son.
William W. was listed with his parents in the 1860 U. S Federal Census as a 16-year-old farmhand, born in Alabama and living in Rock Mills, Randolph County, Alabama.1 The family has not been located in the 1850 Census.
W. W. Lanier was also listed as a child of William and Charlotte born on 16 September 1844 in a Bible owned by their grandson, William Larkin Lanier. Death dates for some of William and Charlotte’s children are included in that Bible but not for William W.2
Birmingham William W. Lanier
According to his death certificate, William W. was born 16 September 1843 in Georgia and his parents were Geo. Lanier (born in England) and Martha Malone (born in Georgia). This information was provided by his daughter Mrs. Price Foster of Charleston, South Carolina 3
George Lanier and Martha Malone as the parents on the death certificate seem to answer the question with a resounding “NO. This guy was not William and Charlotte’s son.” But the birth date is interesting—same month and day, the year only off by one.
Can we be sure the daughter knew who her grandparents were?
If Birmingham William was William and Charlotte’s son, believing her grandfather was born in England, in addition to being named George, would be a big mistake for his daughter to make. The elder William was 5th generation U.S. born. That’s a pretty big difference to the grandfather the she seemed to think she had.
And Martha Malone as the mother’s name is also interesting. Certainly that isn’t close to Charlotte Jackson, but Charlotte’s mother was Lavinia Malone. Coincidence? Somehow a scrambled version of family information?
Finding George and Martha Lanier in census records should shed some light on this. To be continued.
William and Charlotte were my 2nd great-grandparents through their son Joseph Smith Lanier.
- 1860 U.S. census, Randolph County, Alabama, population schedule, Southern Division, Rock Mills, p. 692 & 693, dwelling 459, family 459, William W. Lanier; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 22. ↩
- Lanier Family Bible Records, The Holy Bible, “Children”; privately held by Charlotte, scaned copies received from Fran Lanier (ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE), 2010. (Charlotte is the daughter of L. F. Lanier and the granddaughter of William Larkin Lanier who originally owned the Bible. William Larkin was the son of James Jackson Lanier, oldest son of William Washington Lanier and Charlotte Jackson. Handwriting indicates that most of the information was recorded at the same time by the same person. The identity of that person is undetermined.) ↩
- Alabama Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate no. 24647 (1931), William W. Lanier; FHL microfilm 1,908,493. ↩