1861 - 1940

Tracking Robert's ancestry from family
anecdotes and data collected from
State and Federal census records
and from other public records

My grandfather, Robert Norris, was born in 1861 in Rehobeth, Wilcox County, Alabama. There is some confusion about the date because my dad told me that his father always claimed he was born "four years after Surrender". But the census records 1870-1920 are pretty consistent over that 50 year span and place his birth four years before the end of the Civil War. This means, of course, that he was probably born a slave although this hasn't been confirmed. No one knew who his parents were or whether he had siblings 1. What is known is that he was mulatto and his children believed that he was somehow related to the McMillans, a White Rehobeth family. 

Robert lived in the same area of Rehobeth from his birth until the day he loaded his wife and children into his surrey and drove them "up from the country" to their new home in Selma. That was about 1920. And because he always stayed in the same place, even though little was known about him, I was able to track him back through the census records and then extrapolate from what was known to come up with this version of his likely origins. 

Keep in mind that this is a work in progress and that this website will be updated as I uncover new facts and information during my research. 



Are we cousins? Do you have information about this family?
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Write me!: B.J. Smothers,

Created: 19 April 1997
Updated: 31 March 1999
Copyright © 1997-1999 by B.J. Smothers, All Rights Reserved.