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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: Looking for NORRIS Family - AL > Chicago, IL

Family found!!!!!! Part of it, at least. Seems they weren't lost, just hiding . . . in plain sight.

On the day that Dad was buried, reunited with the son and granddaughter of Dad's nephew, Columbus Norris.

While talking with a cousin about how whole branches of our family had been lost, he mentioned that he knew some Norrises growing up in Birmingham and he was pretty sure they were related. He didn't know the name Columbus but asked me whether I'd ever heard of someone named "Latt". The name rang a bell and I fired up the laptop (always with me, you never know) and there, under my notes, was "Columbus Norris nicknamed 'Latt'".

My cousin called his sister who called some other cousins who called someone else . . . and in short order I received a call from Columbus Norris, Jr. (my first cousin once removed) who, it turns out, was now residing in Georgia not too far from where we were. Later that evening he drove up with his beautiful daughter who uttered words that I and my cousins had said many times, "I thought I was the ONLY black Norris; all the ones I ever met were white." She knew almost nothing about her father's people, had no idea that she had a huge family, quite a few of whom still bore the name Norris.

How did they get lost? Well, Columbus Sr. married a few times and turns out that except for this cousin and his sister and a half-brother, the rest of Columbus Sr.'s children were named Eaton and West. Seems that Columbus long ago adopted the Eaton surname (presumably from his aunt, another lost family) in order to get another mining job after he was injured. He never married the mother of his West children.

Lesson: Keep track of those nicknames folks. If it were not for this one, our connection may never have been made.

Now, working on finding the families of Columbus' brothers.

I like to think that on that day we received a gift from above. A sad day. A happy day. The circle closes.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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