Thursday, January 12, 2017

Box Family Mystery Solved

On Monday January 9th the Oklahoma State Department of Health launched it's index for vital records.  The new site is called OK2Explore (
I was up all Monday night searching the death index for death record information.:)

Box Family Mystery
One of the long time mysteries in my family tree was in the Grief Johnson Box family.  Grief and his wife, Roenna Box, were our Grandma Mabel Baldwin's grandparents.  They were the parents of 10 known children, although in the 1900 Census Roenna states that she gave birth to 13 children with only 4 still living in 1900.  Those four children that Roenna referred to as still living in 1900 (Mary, Caldona, Matilda, & Tom) are the only children with information known about them and their posterity.  This mystery concerns one of the other children not much is known about: Susan Ann Box Tucker and her children.

Grief died in 1874 in Cooke County, Texas.  In the Cooke County, Texas 1880 census Grief's widow Roenna is listed as head of household and the following is a list of persons in her household:
(Name, relationship to head of household, age, birthplace, Father's Birthplace, Mother's Birthplace)
Rowena Box, head of household, 57, Alabama, TN, TN
T.A. Box, son, 15, Texas, AL, AL
H.J. Box, son, 10, Texas, AL, AL
John Tucker, son-in-law, 47, Alabama, ?, ?
S.A. Tucker, daughter, 37, Mississippi, AL, AL
F.C. Tucker, granddaughter, 13, Texas, AL, MS
F.M. Tucker, granddaughter, 10, Texas, AL, MS
W.H. Rodgers, great-grandson, 2, Texas, ?, AR
Lewis McCoy, Laborer, 16, Texas, IL, MO

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Cooke County, Texas, Prec. 1, pg 209/34 B.
Roenna's daughter (Grandma Baldwin's aunt) Susan Ann is listed by her initials "S.A. Tucker."  Also listed is her husband John Tucker and their two daughters: F.C age 13 and F.M. age 10.

Susan Ann Box, age 16, married John Tucker, age 22, on 10 Feb 1860 in Bradley County, Arkansas. A copy of the marriage record is shown below.
Bradley County, Arkansas Marriage Records, page 123
Found on FamilySearch: Arkansas County Marriage Collection
 Susan died between the 1880 census, previously shown, and the 1900 census, when John was found as a widower living in Jack County, Texas.  He was enumerated next to Susan's sister, Matilda Box Ewing.  John was "head of household" and living by himself in the 1900 Census -- so what happened to the daughters, F.C and F.M that were listed in the 1800 census?
(I really-really dislike census takers who used initials and not the full name!!)

What were the full names for F.C. Tucker and F.M. Tucker?  
What happened to them after the 1880 Census - did they die or marry and move away or what?  

F.C. Tucker and F.M. Tucker were first cousins to our Grandma Baldwin, but no one in the family that I contacted seemed to know about them or what happened to them.

Leffel Family
On our Leffel side of the family, my great-grandmother, Caldona Jane Box, married Charles E Leffel.  Charles E Leffel, had a brother, George Leffel whose first wife had died.  He then married a widow by the name of Mrs. Florida Stanford on 16 Jun 1898 in Graham, Young County, Texas.  I wanted to know Florida's maiden name since Stanford was her married name.  After some research, I found a marriage record for Florida Tucker to Rufus Stanford on 29 Sep 1889 in Wichita, Texas.  So, the maiden name for Florida Stanford who married George Leffel was Tucker.
I started wondering if the Florida Tucker Stanford Leffel could be our lost "F. M. Tucker" in the 1880 Census.  They were both born in 1870 in Texas.  And both were in the same proximity in Texas where family lived.  Widower George Leffel would have known widow Florida Tucker Stanford through family relationships -- his brother Charles was married to Caldona Box who was Susan Box Tucker's sister - mother of our mystery F.M. Tucker.  But, I could never find proof to support the theory.

Some months ago I noticed that one of my 23&me DNA matches had Florida Tucker Stanford in her direct line.  The match descended from Florida and her first husband, Rufus Stanford, but did not have any information on Florida's parents or even know that Florida had married again.  The only way this newly found match and I would share DNA is if Florida Tucker Stanford Leffel was (1) the "F M Tucker" in the 1880 census and (2) the daughter of Susan Box and John Tucker.  Since the DNA match was on 23&me, I was able to see that she had a maternal haplogroup of U3a1.   U3a1 is also my mitochondrial haplogroup: me>mom>Mable Leffel>Caldona Box Leffel>Roenna Johnson Box>Anna Hellums Johnson.  So that meant that we most likely also shared our autosomal DNA on my maternal line.  My match also shared matches with several other Box relatives and we all shared the DNA on some of the same segments.  I beginning to feel confident that Florida was the mystery "F. M. Tucker"😊.

But, I still wanted "proof" that it was Box DNA that we both inherited from our Box 2nd great-grandparents, Grief J Box and Roenna Johnson, through their daughters Susan and Caldona.  That proof came in the form of a death certificate.

Newly launched Oklahoma Death Index
In the past I have not had good experiences trying to obtain Death Certificates from Oklahoma.  So, I was excited to at least see an index of deaths placed online for Oklahoma.
Florida Leffel was one person I wanted to find in the newly launched Oklahoma Death Index.  And after finding her on  OK2Explore, I immediately ordered her death certificate.  It arrived within just a few days at our office.  My son (who was at the office when it arrived) called, opened it and read the information from the certificate, all the while I was crossing my fingers and holding my breath...was she or was she not the daughter of John Tucker and Susan Box.  
She was!!
The death certificate gave the names of Florida's parents and she was the daughter of John Tucker and Susan Box.  My hunches were right and "Florida Melissa Tucker" Stanford Leffel was the mystery "F. M. Tucker" in the 1880 census.

Now, what happened to her sister who was listed in the 1880 census as F.C. Tucker??

Thank you Oklahoma 
for providing us with an online death index!

Death Certificate for Florida Melissa Leffel

Death Certificate Information:
Name: Florida Mellissa Leffel 
Death Date: 3 Feb 1938 
Death Place: Marlow, Stephens, Oklahoma 
White, Female 
Widowed Spouse name: George Leffel 
Birth Date: 30 May 1870 
Birth Place: Hunt County, Texas 
Father: John Tucker, b. Texas 
Mother: Susan Box, b. Tenn 
Informant: Jimmie Leffel of Marlow, Oklahoma 
Burial Place: Marlow 
Burial Date: 4 Feb 1938 

Any DNA matches to Florida through children of her first husband will be from the Box family.  Florida and her 2nd husband George Leffel had 5 children.  All of their descendants will be double cousins to us (descendants of Mabel Leffel Baldwin), because we share common ancestors on the Leffel family and on the Box family.  So any DNA from the children of Florida and her 2nd husband, George Leffel, could be Box DNA or Leffel DNA or a combination of both.😕

In the Box family, Florida is the daughter of our 2nd great-aunt, Susan Ann Box Tucker.  In the Leffel family, she was the wife of our 2nd great-uncle, George Leffel.

All descendants are encouraged to test their DNA.

Grief Johnson Box Family Blog Posts:
Roenna Box Headstone
Caldona Jane Box and Charles Leffel
Caldona Jane Box Leffel
Mitochondrial DNA and Me - Haplogroups

Using DNA to Find Florida's sister -- "F C Tucker"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us know about the Oklahoma death index. This will keep me busy for a while! I have so many lost relatives in early Oklahoma.