Finding Your Folks: Byram bits and Pike County books

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Even though I've temporarily shelved the Byrams until I can find something documentable to prove Beverly Byram's children, I want to thank the people who wrote in last week and sent a little more information on William Dawson Byram (son of James William Byram and grandson of Beverly Byram) who moved from Pike County, Ga. to Blountville, Ala. I could not find him in any census, although I did several searches with several variations on the name.

Chris Wren sent information showing that William filed for a Confederate Pension in Blount County, Ala. giving details of his service and stating health problems which had occurred as a result of his service. His pension was approved. He married Frances Entrekin who died in 1907.

Chris included her obit in the info he sent me, as well as the obit and a memorial by his daughter, Viola, for William Dawson Byram who died in 1929. William remarried following Frances' death. Chris wanted to make sure I gave Robin Sterling credit for the research on William Dawson Byram. Chris said Robin had an excellent Web site which he took down after he found others claiming credit for his research. Sad, but it happens all the time.

Chris added his own research stating that William was in the Blount County, Ala. census in 1880 and 1900 listed as William Byrum, and is 1910 and 1920 as W.D. Byrum. Another reader who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed the census information (adding Carroll County in 1870) which listed the names of the children. Frances must have been Lucinda Frances because she is Lucinda consistently in all censuses.

I will put that information aside with the rest I have accumulated and see if I can come up with something concrete in the future. There are so many questions that it has been hard to put aside research on this family. Call me stubborn, but I find it hard to go to sleep when there is a big genealogy question on my mind.

One thing it's going to take is delving into research on the families Beverly Byram's alleged children married into and seeing if they have any kind of record proving that he was behind their line. Other connections may turn up in miscellaneous court records but that will involve sitting down with the court books and going over them page by page. Time consuming but it can be done. If you want to get it right, it HAS to be done.

I also heard a rumor that might explain the lack of court records in Pike County. It seems that overzealous county officials may have gone on a courthouse-cleaning binge at one time and destroyed some of the old county records. Actually "dumped" was the term used. I don't know if that's fact or fiction but it would certainly explain the inconsistency of dates on the records that are still there.

Also, on a suggestion from a friend, I went to and checked the LDS catalog for microfilm records for Pike County. There is no Index to Estates among their holdings. Some of the records were microfilmed as early as 1957 and some in 1963. I didn't check for dates on all of them. I was just trying to get a ballpark figure of when the LDS catalogued the Pike County records. That means that if the dastardly dumping deed was done, it was done quite a few years ago. That has happened in several counties across the U.S. and, while tragic for those of us who are researching, is not an unusual occurrence. Again, if you know what you're up against, you can try to find a way around it. Knowing the records are not there has, at least, stopped me from searching.

And, while I'm on the subject of Pike County, I want to mention that one of their older history books has recently been reprinted and is for sale. "The History of Pike County, Georgia 1822-1932" by Lizzie R. Mitchell is available by mail from the Pike County Historical Society, P.O. Box 178, Zebulon, GA 30295. The cost is $22.50 and includes shipping and handling.

The book is paperback and spiral bound and is an excellent resource. While it does not go into intricate genealogies, it has short stories about the early settlers of Pike and the families who became their descendants. There is a lot of historical information on the individual communities and county/state officials who were local folk.

I picked mine up directly from Lynn Cunningham and discovered that she has just finished several books herself on Pike County records. Lynn has completed transcriptions of seven books on Pike County marriages covering 1823 through 1912 and another on "returns" of marriages which includes information on applications (parents, place of birth, etc.) brides and grooms gave when they applied for a marriage license. Marriage information in the marriage books includes the date, page number, name of bride and groom, and name and title of the official performing the ceremony.

Other books she has done include one on Pike County Confederate Rosters, two books on newspaper clippings from the Pike County Journal covering 1888 through 1909, and Pike County Confederate Pension Rolls 1898-1901. All books are paperback and spiral bound. You can obtain a list of books and a price list from Lynn. Contact her by email,

This will be the last column before Christmas and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope Santa brings you all the genealogy goodies you've wished for all year. He already brought me the Pike County History Book and three of Lynn's marriage books. Thank you, Santa!

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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