Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Case: New Clues

It was just a few weeks ago that I sent a letter - snail mail style - to a first cousin (once removed) that I had never met or corresponded with before.  Being the impatient type it didn't look like I would hear back since it wasn't immediately forthcoming.  Shows me!!

My new cousin Dave had sent the letter on to my other new cousin (his older sister) Linda.  Well, Linda answered him and then he answered me - this time by e-mail (my favorite kind of mail). 

Linda had some information which was new to me and included the word DIVORCE.  According to Linda's late mother (my first cousin), Grandma Fannie and Grandpa Canty got divorced.   This was in the early 1900's!  Previously - from another source - Grandma Fannie was referred to as 'The Black Widow" since all of her husbands had died.  I had never really considered that there had been a divorce. 

So... a new avenue to approach.  It still looks like snail mail will be involved as I will have to sit down and write a check and send a letter to the courts to get some definitive answers.   Nevertheless, I have learned that there are always new clues to be found if one is PATIENT. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Fannie BILLINGS ENOS was born abt 1890 in New London, Connecticut where her mother's family line (BRIGGS, COMSTOCK) had been living since before the Revolution.  (Proof of this exists.)  Her father's family line (ENOS) came over in the early 1800's from the Azore Islands of Portugal (More proof). 

Thomas Walter CANTY was born abt 1885 in Barnwell, South Carolina where his father's family line I'm still investigating but went back to at least the late 1700's.  (Proof).  His mother is still a brick wall.

Fannie and Thomas were married (no proof yet) at least by around 1910 and lived in New London where the first of their three children were born (Leona, Nellie and Harold).  Harold being the last of their children was born in 1915.  So far, I have no evidence of a divorce or a death.  I do have proof of Thomas relocating back to the South and living in Clyo, Georgia with/near his brother Willie and his wife in 1918.  I also have proof of Thomas being (honorably) discharged from the Army on May 25, 1913 at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

Fannie re-married Charles Joseph DURR abt 1918-19 and lived in New York where the first of their two children were born (Anna and Lawrence).  In the 1920 Census Leona, Nellie and Harold are listed as "Cantey [sic] Durr" and referred to as the step-children of Charles DURR.  Charles died before 1930.  Thereafter Harold used only the last name Durr, while Leona and Nellie kept the CANTY name.  Harold's family to this day continue to use the surname DURR.

Fannie went on to marry two other times but that is another story.  [A tongue-in-cheek story of Fannie was that she was referred to by later family members as the "black widow" as all of her husbands passed away.]

THE MYSTERY:  Why does Thomas CANTY leave the Army in South Carolina (he was stationed in New London) in 1913?  Does he move back to New London since it appears he has another child (Harold) in 1915?  Why does he end up back in Clyo, Georgia, working as a salesman and living either with or near his brother Willie?  Also, I have found a newspaper clipping of Harold's death saying he was the child of Fannie and Charles?  

THEORIES:  Thomas deserted Fannie.  She moved to New York, met and married Charles.  Harold may really be Charles' son even though he is listed as his step-son in the census.   Or, really any number of scenarios which I have not been able to confirm.

WHY I CARE:  Thomas and Fannie are my grandparents.  Their second child Nellie Frances CANTY was my mother who passed away when I was 5.  I am trying to write their stories and genealogy for the benefit of not only myself but for my children as well.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I'm trying to focus on getting an answer to when and where my Grandpa Canty died.  I can't seem to find this information online so I am going to snail mail.  Sending in a request to Clyo, Georgia which is the last known residence of Grandpa Canty in 1918.  I hope this pans out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mama Has a Great Nephew

Well, 2011 is looking good so far!  My computer is virus-free and I have completed a letter to my Mama's great nephew.  I am hoping he will contact me and we can share our common lineage.  After all his great grandfather is no other than Thomas Walter CANTY.  I'm sure he and his family would like to know more about this mystery man as well.

I have had the fun and excitement recently of looking up old newspaper articles which are on line.  It was easy to pull up some information about my New England anscesters and so I'm off to see what the South has to offer.