Saturday, October 17, 2020

SURNAME SATURDAY ~ LUNSFORD–Basil Lunsford & Mahala Taylor’s children– Locating the correct person and adding another child–Here’s what I found

According to Legacy I have 179 people who carry the surname LUNSFORD.  This is a direct line for me.  Nancy Delilah Lunsford (1819-1895), is my maternal 3rd great grandmother.  She married William Allen BOGGS (1815-1899) and they had 5 children.

The Lunsfords were a prolific family and many of them had as many as 16 children.  No surprise that I have lots of them in my database.

Today I want to concentrate on Basil Lunsford & Mahala TAYLOR who married 14 Nov 1872 in Ironton, Lawrence, Ohio.  I have 11 children born to them.  Twins Ada & Ida born 1874, Lillie O. born abt 1878, Arabelle born 1880, Charles Azra born 1882, Dennison born 1884, Pauline born 1887, Baby boy born 1888, Lorena born 1889, Chas. Emmit born 1892 and Hazel born 1894.

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

Basil & Mahala Lunsford's family - Legacy screenshot

Of those 11 children who would be my 2nd cousins 3 times removed, I have not done much research.  Only a few of them have birth and death dates and spouses and children. 

What can I find today?  I will spend an hour online and reviewing the Lawrence County Ohio History book to see what I can learn. Note – This process took me more like 2 hours.

I began with the first children I have born to this couple, Ada, who was born 11 Feb 1874 and had a twin sister, Ida.  I know a lot about her twin, Ida, but nothing about Ada. Did she live to adulthood, marry or have children?

I looked at her hints on Ancestry and located an obituary.  This is for an ADDIE Weaver, maiden name Lunsford, child of Basil & Mahala Lunsford.  Addie could certainly be a nickname for Ada, right?  The parents are correct, as is the maiden name.

TIP – As most of you know beginning your research with an obituary, if it is a complete one, can really help your research efforts.  You can find all kinds of family names and connections

In this case, all I had for Ada Lunsford was her date of birth, which I’d located on an Ohio birth register – see this post TREASURE CHEST THURSDAY ~ BIRTH RECORDS (twins) and others on one register page

But…..wait!  This obituary gives a birthdate for Addie as 2 Sep 1876.  The parents names are correct and the place of birth fits with the family information.  But, the birthdate conflicts with the birth record I have for the twins, Ada & Ida, born 11 Feb 1874.  Could the date in the obituary be wrong?  Would there have been two daughters with names so similar?

NOTE – we do find wrong dates on all sorts of records from birth to death to headstones.  Certainly a misprint or wrong information in an obituary is nothing new.  However, with it being the wrong month, day and year I have to investigate.

What do I find, but an 1880 census for Basil & Mahala Lunsford with their children: Twin girls, Ida & Ada, age 6 and ADDIE age 3 along with Lillie age 2 and Arabelle age 7 months. 

This means there was a 12th child born to Basil & Mahala, that I had no record of.  The obituary I’ve located would appear to be for this child, NOT Ada.

This child, Addie, did marry a John Weaver on 31 Jan 1898.  There are many online records for this couple.

Back to square one with Ada.  Let's take a look in Legacy and see if I have any previous research notes.

Yes, I do.  I review my research notes for Ada, dated 27 Oct 2017.  I appears that I had located a marriage record to a Michael G. Keller.  I had noted “is this the correct marriage for her?”  Apparently, I hadn’t followed up on that question.  Let’s investigate.

First – here is the index for the marriage record of Ada Lunsford & Michael Keller on 17 Apr 1897

Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993
Name:    Ada Lunsford
Gender: Female
Marriage Date: 17 Apr 1897
Marriage Place: Lawrence, Ohio, USA
Spouse: Michael G. Keller
Film Number:    000317722

Now let’s try to find them in the 1900 census.  Found it!  Here’s Ada with her husband Mike Keller and two children.

Name:    Mike Keller
Age:    26
Birth Date:    1874
Birthplace:    Ohio, USA
Home in 1900:    Aid, Lawrence, Ohio
Sheet Number:    5
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:    50
Family Number:    80
Race:    White
Gender:    Male
Relation to Head of House:    Head
Marital status:    Married
Spouse's Name:    Ada Keller
Marriage Year:    1897
Years Married:    3
Father's Birthplace:    Ohio, USA
Mother's Birthplace:    Ohio, USA
Occupation:    Farmer
Can Read:    Yes
Can Write:    Yes
Can Speak English:    Yes
House Owned or Rented:    Rent
Farm or House:    F
Neighbors:    View others on page
Household Members:   
Name    Age
Mike Keller     26
Ada Keller     27
Beatrice Keller       2
Bessie Keller    7/12

Now I’ll follow this family forward and make certain this is our Ada Lunsford. 

1910 census – found

1920 census – found

1930 census – found

1940 census – found (she is widowed and living with her son, Rex)

In all of the above census records (click on them to view on Ancestry), Ada is the wife of Mike Keller and her children are Beatrice, born 1899, Bessie, born Oct 1899 and Rex, born 1908.

Ada Keller is listed as the mother of Rex Keller on his World War II Draft Registration card.

Here is a screenshot of Ada Keller in the Ohio death index.  It's difficult to read this.  But, it says: Keller, Ada, Ironton, County code is 441, Volume 10817, certificate number 62973, month, day and year 10 21 4 (which indicates 21 Oct 1944)


And last, I have located the FindAGrave records for both Ada & her husband Mike Keller.  They are both buried in Fairview Baptist Cemetery in Wilgus, Lawrence, Ohio.  Ada’s memorial #95465460 and Mike’s memorial #95465482.

Headstone photos courtesy of Carl Murdock

In conclusion, I believe I have found the records that give an outline of Ada’s life.  It’s nice to know that both she and her twin, Ida, lived well into adulthood, married and had children.

I would very much like to see pictures of twins, Ida & Ada and others from this family. 

If you are descended from or connected to anyone mentioned in this post, please contact me.  I’d love to exchange information.


MILITARY MONDAY ~ Sgt. Presley Lunsford - Killed in Action during the Civil War – 1864

WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ Marriage of my 6th great grandparents–William Lunsford & Rebeckah Basye in 1745

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2020   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Excellent research; very interesting. I marvel at all you were able to locate.

    1. Thank you Cheryl. Isn't it fun when we start with one thing and it leads us to another? In this case, an additional child. The hints and records are all mixed up with Ada and Addie and had to be sorted out. But, in the end, I found what I needed to give an outline of her life.
      Thanks for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.