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AfriGeneas Brick Wall Forum

Re: A Lone Ralston in Savannah
In Response To: A Lone Ralston in Savannah ()

Greetings, I think this is a very difficult scenario.

You did not mention it so I’m assuming that you don’t know that William in 1870 census did apply for a Freedmen’s bank account (Wm Lapham). The image of the original application is available for free at in case you did not know, but right now I’m having problems accessing that database. If you have you should still be able to see William’s application.

Of William’s listed siblings there is a brother George, I think it’s more likely that this is the older George in 1870 and that your George Ralston is not listed as part of the family. So I’m leaning towards that he is not an immediate family member which was also suggested by that 1880 census taker.

Having said that I would not rule out that there still is some kind of blood connection, maybe there are other children of Georgia and/or Frederick that passed away before 1870 and that George is a grandson of Georgia or Fredrick? That’s a weak guess, but maybe still more likely than not that if George Ralston was ‘taken in’ by the Lapham household there was some kind of family relation.

I do believe the Ralston last name was not chosen out of the blue, and I would look for any and all Ralstons in the area maybe before 1880 (including slave schedules) to try to get some kind of idea/clue as to why George had the last name Ralston. One microfilm I would order at is ‘Index to marriage records (colored), 1866-1879, 1924’, to check for any Ralston marriages, especially up to 1870. But it sounds like you already did research on available Vital Records.

Have you looked for/found any records that indicate where Georgia was before the civil war? One thing I noticed is that Georgia in1870 does own property. Any idea what kind of property that was? Could she have left an inventory that was divided between children or maybe even a will? Again maybe not that likely.

In regards to that Fountain family in 1880, they are also living two households apart in the 1870 census, and in 1870 there is a George Fountain living in that family. That is the same George as 1910-William’s father in 1880 right? (I guess I even confused myself with that question :D ). I would probably look in to him and what happened to him, if he had a will when he passed away etc. Actually looking for a will of Francis Fountain too in case George Ralston was an out-of-wedlock grandson.

Also since Savannah was a pretty big city I would be more hopeful in finding clues in more specific records like church records, newspaper obituaries, city directories (that was already suggested in the previous thread), funeral home records etc etc.

This is a tough one, in all honesty I believe that none of my basic/long shot suggestions here will solve the problem of who George Alston really was, you will have to dig a lot deeper (hope I don't sound too negative here). The last name Ralston to me is the biggest clue.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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