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AfriGeneas Brick Wall Forum

Robert NORRIS, Wilcox County, AL, 1861-1940

My "Brick Wall" is my grandfather, Robert Norris, born abt 1861 in Alabama. I would like to: (1) find him in the 1870 census; (2) find the names of either of his parents; and,(3) find the names of any siblings, cousins or other relatives.

I have plenty of information on Robert after 1880 when I first found him in the Wilcox County census: Mulatto male, 19 years old. Single. Occupation: laborer. Can read and write. Born: Alabama. Father born: Alabama. Mother born: Alabama. Enumerated in dwelling #348, in Wilcox County, Rehobeth Beat, AL. The household consisted of the following persons:

McMillan, Jim Black M 30 Head of Household
McMillan, Lavenia Mulatto F 26 Wife
McMillan, Isaac Mulatto M 6 Son
McMillan, Judy Ann Mulatto F 3 Daughter
Norris, Robert Mulatto M 19 Laborer
Small, Henry Mulatto M 19 Laborer

He was already a father in 1880 but never married the mother of his child. His son, James Henry, was enumerated with his mother's family in Wilcox County, Rehobeth Beat, dwelling #34:

Wood, Moses Black M 60 Farmer
Wood, Hester Black F 39 Wife
Wood, Annie Black F 18 Daughter
Wood, Tom Black M 10 Son
Wood, Jimmy Black F 5 Daughter
Wood, Elinora Black F 3/12 Daughter
Norris, Jim Mulatto M 6/12 Grandson

I cannot find this family in 1870 although I did find a 15 year old Annie Wood as a servant in a (White) Wood household.

I have not been able to find Robert as a child in the 1870 Census. Other surnames linked to him are McMillan, Mixon, Irby and Hazel. The Jim McMillan who headed his household in 1880 may have been the same Jim McMillan found in the household of Sam Mixon,Wilcox County, Rehobeth P.O., dwelling #409, in 1870. Jim was enumerated as Jim Mixon in the 1900 Census.

Mixon Sam 40 M B Farm laborer AL
McMillan Isaac 20 M M Farm laborer AL
McMillan Jim 19 M B Farm laborer AL
McMillan Charles 16 M B Farm laborer AL
McMillan Tom 14 M B Farm laborer AL

A few houses away is the household headed by Becca Mixon, Wilcox County, Rehobeth P.O., dwelling #402. The boy Robert, age 10, may have been my grandfather. The Henry enumerated with him may have been Henry Small who lived with him in 1880.

Mixon Becca Black Female 35 yrs Farm laborer Alabama
Mixon Tom Black Male 15 yrs Farm laborer Alabama
Mixon Jane Black Female 13 yrs Farm laborer Alabama
Mixon Robert Black Male 10 yrs - - - Alabama
Mixon Henry Black Male 10 yrs - - - Alabama
Mixon June Black Female 12 yrs - - - Alabama
Mixon Margaret Black Female 6 yrs - - - Alabama
Mixon Willy Black Male 8 yrs - - - Alabama
Mixon Columbus Black Male 7 mos - - - Alabama

I cannot find Becca Mixon in 1880 or later years although I have found many of the children in subsequent censuses living in the vicinity of Rehobeth, Wilcox County, and near my GF. Not convinced that Becca was the natural mother of all these children.

The most tantalizing clue that I have so far regarding my GF's parentage is an indenture dated 1848 transferring ownership of a 12 year old girl named Julia to a Mary Ann Norris. Mary Ann was the wife of Joseph (J.E.) Norris who according to the 1860 census was an overseer living near the Mixon, Hazel and Irby farms. In 1860, Joseph and Mary Ann owned two slaves -- a 24 year old female and a 4 year old female. The 24 year old may have been the girl Julia.

Deed of Sale: William B. Shields to Mary Ann Norris

Cannot find a Julia Norris is any subsequent census or any Julia of the right age with a boy who could have been my GF. Joseph and Mary Ann Norris had 3 sons between the ages of 18 and 23 in 1860 all living in close proximity the year before my GF was born. One of them, lived in a household in 1860 with two other young men with the surnames Smalls and Mixon.

I have done extensive research on the Norris, McMillan, Mixon, Irby and Hazel surnames, Black and White, in Alabama and in South Carolina. So far I haven't been able to pin anything down.

My father is the only one living of Robert's 24 or so children. He is 89 year old. His niece is 100 years. Because of their ages, my search has taken on a sense of urgency. I've turned to DNA to try to pin down my GF's ancestry. As expected his Y-DNA led to Europe and his mtDNA led to Africa. So far the closest matches to Dad's Y-DNA are not with the Norris, Mixon, McMillan or Irby surnames. To date, he matches 24/25 markers with the surname Stewart meaning that they are related to my GF but only within 17 generations. I have found members of this family in Wilcox County in the 1860 census, the year before my GF was born.

I have also tracked the descendants of Joseph and Mary Ann Norris to Texas. The line seems to have mostly femaled out but I have found one straight male descendant living as late as the 1940s. I'm still trying to make contact with this family in the hopes that they'd be willing to do DNA testing.

Any, ANY, help appreciated. Again, I'm looking for definitive (or pretty durned close) evidence of: (1) my grandfather in the 1870 census or in any records prior to 1880; (2) find the names of either of his parents; and,(3) find the names of any siblings, cousins or other relatives.

I was always told that my GF's fathers's name was Lee McMillan (White). I disproved that years ago as Lee McMillan and my GF were contemporaries but I have continued to pursue the notion that they might have been brothers. They must have had a close relationship as one of uncles was named after McMillan's sons. I also appears that my GF was a tenant farmer on McMillan-owned land. Some years ago, I was told that my GF may have had a brother (White) named John Hay(e)s. I've never found such a person but one of my GF's children who died in infancy was buried on the "Hayes Place."

So, here I am, stuck, stuck, stuck. I've haven't made any progress in almost 8 years. More information about my research is on my website although I haven't updated it in a while.

Norris Family of Selma and Wilcox County, AL



18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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