The Maiden Name of Pleasant LAWRENCE, Wife of James “Jim” LAWRENCE

My paternal grandmother was Fannie Mae LAWRENCE. Her father was George Lawrence, and his parents were James and Pleasant Lawrence. They are all from Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. I did not know the maiden name for Pleasant. Given that I am researching the LAWRENCE line “in the blind” so to speak with no prior knowledge of anyone and no living relative to assist, I am piecing things together as I go.

 In the 1880 census for Greensboro, Greene Co., Rebecca TURNER, born about 1805 in Virginia, is listed as the mother for head of household James LAURENCE. This same census lists wife Pleasant as being born in Virginia also. So, being persuaded by another researcher that the census taker did not take the time to write mother-in-law for relationship to head of household, I recorded Rebecca as the mother of Pleasant, and therefore, Pleasant’s maiden name as TURNER. A recent discovery has proven this to be incorrect. Honestly, I was never really comfortable with making Rebecca the mother of Pleasant; it just did not feel right to me. But, the logic of the other researcher won the argument.

 Something, or rather someone, spoke to my spirit and told me to look closer at the children of James and Pleasant for clues. I had discovered early in my research that Nellie LAWRENCE, daughter of James and Pleasant, had married a Robert WHITEHEAD. I decided to go to Georgia’s Virtual Vault and look for a death certificate for Nellie Whitehead.  Bingo!

 Nellie died 22 June 1925, in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia. 1  The informant on her death certificate was her husband Robert WHITEHEAD. Nellie’s parents were listed as James LAWRENCE and Pleasant LITTLE, both born in Greene Co. So, Pleasant’s maiden name was LITTLE. I have looked at a lot of census records for Greene County, but I don’t recall that particular surname. Now I need to look more closely.

Now that I can document a maiden name for Pleasant, I need to revisit Rebecca TURNER.

 I believe, as the census indicates, that Rebecca TURNER is the mother of James LAWRENCE. If I can find a death certificate for James maybe it will confirm my theory.  Stay tuned.


  1. Nellie Whitehead, death certificate #1546, Death Certificates, Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives; digital image, Georgia’s Virtual Vault, Georgia Death Certificates, 1919-1927 ().
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7 Responses
  1. says:

    I had a similar experience with my Turner family, who I am also researching pretty much blind. I found the mother’s name on one of the children’s death certificates. Such a good feelng! I look forward to the next chapter.

  2. Bookish Miss says:

    I think this experience must be pretty common — at three other genealogists I’ve spoken with have run into this before. For me, though, I found the answer while researching what I *thought* was the mother’s “maiden” family. My older cousin, from whom I received a large chunk of family history information, was never sure himself if the name of one of our many times g-g-grandmothers was correct, but could never find anything to disprove it. By looking at the wills of some of the people she mentioned in her will, I discovered what we thought was her maiden name was the name of her first husband!

  3. says:

    I liked the story of your research thoughts — and how you let your instincts lead you on. Very nice.

  4. Terrence Garnett says:

    Hi Sandra,

    I’m not sure if you have this information or not, but you most likely do.

    1870 U.S. Census- Greene County, Georgia

    House #:1193
    Larence, James
    ———-, Pleasant
    ———-, Anderson
    ———-, Betsy
    ———-, James
    ———-, Jefferson
    ———-, William

    House #:1195
    Turner, Rebecca
    Bryant, Elmida
    ——–, Candis
    ——–, Thomas

    House #: 1196
    Lawrence, Jerry
    ————, Jenny
    ————, Linda
    ————, Ellen
    ————, Gilford

    In 1880 Jerry and Jenny have several more children born to their union including a son named James Lawrence.

  5. sjtaliaferro says:

    Kristin, Joan, Bookish Miss and Terrence, thanks to all for your comments. I was so excited to make this find. It is a challenge searching with no clues, but that just makes finding info that much sweeter. I’m looking forward to what turns up next.

    Terrence, thanks for taking the time to pass on the 1870 census info. Yes I do have it. Seeing Rebecca living between two Lawrence households is another reason I think she might be the mother of James Lawrence. I’m hoping his death certificate will confirm this.

    Thanks again,

  6. says:

    I’ve shared the “Lovely Blog Award” with you. Stop by Genealogy Frame of mind to pick it up!

  7. sjtaliaferro says:

    Thanks so much Karen. Heading over to pick it up!!


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