It was the spring of 1987 when my English Teacher tasked our class with our research project which was to develop a family tree. At the time I knew my maternal great-grandparents on my grandmother, Jessie Mae Heath-Eubanks' side and so I began the task of asking questions. I knew the assignment would be easy as I spent every summer and weekends at my great-grandparents house, so I knew the family history or at least I thought I did. My grandmother's parents were Mitchell Heath and Anna Lue Barrow, and there story will be told in another post.
My Great-Grandmother, Anna Lue Barrow-Heath, often talked about her family and our southern roots. Granny, as I called her, was born in Chambers County, Alabama near the state line and near West Point, Troup County, Georgia. Granny went down south every year to visit family and sometimes her sister, Sarah Barrow-Thompson, traveled with her. Each trip south consisted of visiting the Nelloms families in Atlanta as well as Troup County in the areas of LaGrange and West Point and some visits even back to Chambers County in Alabama. I knew Granny's maiden name was Barrow, but she always talked about the Nelloms. So my first question to Granny was "Who are the Nelloms?"
Granny always talked about Uncle Mans, Uncle Bossie, Uncle Clem, Uncle Tom, and Uncle Henry. But many stories were told about Uncle Bossie and Uncle Tom which were two of her favorite uncles, and they were Nelloms. They were the brothers of Granny's mother, Annie Elizabeth Nelloms-Barrow. Granny died in 1989 and I felt like my ancestral journey was closing in as Granny possessed generations of knowledge until I turned to her sisters, Sarah and Clara Mae. Through Aunt Sarah and Aunt Clara Mae I learned that Grand Annie's mother's name was Minerva and that she was married to a Hunter. Granny always said her mother was a Hunter before marrying Granny's father, and later becoming Annie Barrow. So who are the Hunters I asked and wondered as Granny always said her mother's maiden name was Hunter and yet the family name was Nelloms. As you see, my journey started off with confusion.
Annie Elizabeth Nelloms-Barrow
Sitting in front of her house on Richmond Street in Cincinnati, Ohio
For years, Granny and her surviving sisters always said Grand Annie was a Hunter, but Grand Annie's brothers went by Nelloms. I searched and searched for the family in Alabama and Georgia for years only finding Grand Annie married in the 1920 Census living in East Point, Georgia. My big discovery of Grand Annie did not come until 2010, when I found her as a girl in the 1900 Census living with her parents in Lee County, AL. Grand Annie, as she was called, was born in June 1891 in Opelika, Lee County, Alabama and was the daughter of Edward Hunter and Minerva Hunter. She was listed along with her sisters and brothers, whose names were slightly different than what I had been told for years (more on that story later), but it was indeed the family I had been searching for years. Then I found the family again in 1910 Census living in Troup County, GA but this time under the surname Nelms ( an original form of the Nelloms surname).
Edward Hunter and Minerva Nelms Family,
1900 Census Image for Lee County, Alabama
My Nelloms mystery continued until I noticed Minerva, now listed as NervyAnne Nelms, was listed as a widow living with her son Henry Nelms in 1910. I continued searching till I finally discovered the marriage certificate of Edward & Minerva which provided proof of the Nelms family connection as Minerva's maiden name was Nelms. I finally understood the Hunter and Nelloms connection, but wondered why Edward and Minerva's children went by the surname Nelloms. Grand Annie and her siblings were listed with the Hunter surname in the 1900 Census, Nelms in the 1910 Census and thereafter. After further research and discoveries, I learned the Hunter children of Edward and Minerva all went under the Nelms surname after the death of their father. The Nelloms spelling came later.
Discovering Grand Annie among the records was a joy and bridged the gaps in our family's history after many years of searching and speculating over the Hunter and Nelloms connection. Grand Annie is the matriarch of our Alabama and Georgia connection, and her story is being discovered more and more each day.