Home » 52 Ancestors Challenge » 52 Ancestors #4: Finding Henry STOKES

52 Ancestors #4: Finding Henry STOKES

I have been doing a lot of research on the STOKES line of my tree and have been concentrating on the family of Henry STOKES, my maternal great great grandfather. He is the father of Bessie STOKES, whom I shared with you last week. He has been a bit elusive on the census and is making it hard to answer several questions that I have. Out of frustration, I often find myself saying “Grandpa Henry, where are you and why are you hiding from the census taker!!” I have gone page by page, viewed census on ancestry.com, Family Search, and Heritage Quest, and have searched by other family members (siblings, children, wife, etc) as well as neighbors. I even went to the archives to see if he showed up on the soundex index for 1900 and 1920 and came up empty handed. So, either he was hiding or the census taker simply refused to take down the information because I seem to find everyone but him (except for his brother Robert…I can’t find him on 1900 or 1920 either)!!

Henry Stokes

Henry Stokes, Sr.
New Hope Cemetery
Quitman, MS

I am not quite sure of his year or place of birth. I am finding conflicts between the census records that I have found, his grave marker, and what is on his and his children’s death certificates (those that I was able to order). I do know that he died on 22 September 1926 in Clarke County, MS1. I was able to find the certificate because the year of his death on his grave marker, so that was easy! When I received his death certificate last year, I learned that his parents’ names were Taylor & Cornelia (?) STOKES2. I was later able to confirm this based on the information received from the STOKES family reunion committee.

He married Malissa PICKETT somewhere between 1873 and 1875. I have not been able to find their marriage record in Clarke County. I am in the process of going image by image on the microfilm a second time to be sure it’s not there before I start to look at surrounding counties. From this union I believe there were at least 9 children. I understand that they may have had 2 more children; however, it’s been difficult to confirm the number of children because the family seems to have been skipped on several of the population census for Clarke County. Currently, I only find Grandpa Henry on the 1870 census with his parents3 and the 1910 census with his wife and 3 of the children, one of which is my great grandmother Bessie STOKES4. It’s on that census that the census taker recorded Malissa had given birth to 13 children, 11 of which were still living. It is my goal to find the names of all of the children. I am almost certain they were in Clarke County at the time of the 1900 census because I found that he acquired land in 18975. However, since I can’t find them on any census outside of the two mentioned, I am going through the tax rolls available online for Clarke County to confirm that he was actually in the county during those time periods. In the meantime, I guess I will need to figure out if there is another way to identify all of the children.

Interestingly enough, when reviewing his death certificate, I also learned that he married a second time to a woman named Indianer6. Did his wife Malissa pass away or did they divorce? Each new record find seems to add more questions to my list. At this point, I have quite a few questions that I am trying to find the answer for about Grandpa Henry (and his family). I will continue on in my research on his children and siblings in hopes that it will give me the answers I seek.

This is my fourth post as a part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small.


1. Mississippi State Board of Health, death certificate 17599 (1926), Henry Stokes; Death Certificates and Indexes; Mississippi Department of Archives & History, Jackson.

2. New Hope Cemetery (Clarke County, Mississippi; County Road 691 GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 31.98102, Longitude: -88.67754), Henry Stokes, Sr. marker, photograph taken by Amy L Cole, September 2013.

3. 1870 U.S. census, Clarke County, Mississippi, population schedule, Quitman, p.18, family 95, Henry Stolks; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2013); citing Family History Library microfilm: 552225.

4. 1910 U.S. census, Clarke County, Mississippi, population schedule, Quitman, p. 76, dwelling 652, family 652, Henry Stokes; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: 2013); citing Family History Library microfilm: 1374749.

5. Clarke County, Mississippi, U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 27 July 2013), entry for Henry Stokes, T2N, R16E, S27; generically citing United States Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records as the source of this database.

6. Mississippi State Board of Health, death certificate 17599 (1926), Henry Stokes.

© 2014 Amy L. Cole and Tracing Amy: My Ancestral Journey. All rights reserved.

Cite This Page:
Amy L Cole, “52 Ancestors #4: Finding Henry STOKES,” Tracing Amy: My Ancestral Journey, 16 March 2014 (https://tracingamy.wordpress.com: [access date]).

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7 thoughts on “52 Ancestors #4: Finding Henry STOKES

  1. Good luck finding Henry on the census. I know how frustrating it is when an ancestor is missing on the 1900 census. Unfortunate that this is the census following the missing 1890 — makes the gap even larger.

      • I hope so for you. I have several ancestors missing in the same WV county in the 1900 census. I went through page by page and used all search tricks I knew. Finally I found my Cooley couple listed as Cowley. I passed them up everytime as the head of household was listed as born in Mississippi instead of Missouri. Getting desperate I took a closer look at the widowed boarder and granddaughter who were listed with them. I found a marriage record for the boarder and he turned out to be the son-in-law. The granddaughter was listed with the step-father’s surname. Luckily WV has their vital records online and I was able to use these to prove I finally had the right household. This taught me to be extra careful and keep looking!

  2. That may be the case here because I have found about 7 or 8 different spellings on the census so far. I am going to take a break for now and then come back and look for them again. I’m probably just too frustrated right now!

  3. I fully understand your thoughts about him possibly “hiding” from the census taker. Many folks were apprehensive about giving information to the government. I know one of my relatives absolutely refused to give information because she thought it would some how hurt her later on. Best wishes for finding Grandpa Henry and yes it does often help to “step back” and look later.

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