I know little of my fatherís parents.  I grew up believing that they both died before I was born in 1950. But, that may have not been the case.  My father once showed me a photograph of them.  They looked modest. I was lost for complements. My mother once declared that my father would not drive her crazy like his father drove his mother. Was there some hidden secret embedded in that seemingly hysterical statement?  For many many reasons, my father and I never developed a close "talking" relationship.  But thatís a story for another time.  The point is, we did not talk about his boyhood nor his parents nor the circumstances that forced he and his brother to leave their parents home and move in with aunts and uncles. When my father died in May of 2002 we may have lost his personal memories of his parents, his boyhood and of his people. As the family's de facto historian I will have a difficult time piecing things together without my father's input.

 When I found my father and his family on the 1930 US Census I was thrilled. The information detailed answered many questions but sparked many more. The narrative that follows details my findings and research.  It is a work in progress!


1930 US Federal Census  (Jacksonville City) Duvall County, Florida

There is a great deal of information disclosed in this one small graphic from the 1930 US Federal Census.  My father, Ernest L. James (aka Aaron) was three years old at the time.  He and his family were living in Duvall County, Florida. Specifically, his parents, Jimmy and Elizabeth, and his brother, Joseph, were living in the household of his grandparents, Lonnie and Hattie Armstrong. At the time, Jimmy and Elizabeth were 38 and 18 years old, respectively.  If their ages are reported correctly, then Jimmy was about twenty years older than Elizabeth. It appears that they had been married for 3 years. And, Elizabeth had given birth to her first child, Ernest, at age 16.  Elizabeth married Jimmy when she was 16 and by the time she was 18, she had two babies.  Everyone in the household was born in Georgia except, Jimmy and his two sons, Ernest and Joseph were born in Florida. According to this Census, Elizabeth's parents are Lonnie and Hattie Armstrong.  This is probably not entirely correct. It is unlikely that Lonnie at age 29 could be Elizabeth's, age 18, father.  Lonnie is apparently Elizabeth's step-father and is 10 years younger than his wife Hattie. The 1910 and 1920 Censuses disclose that Hattie was married to William Anderson and that he is Elizabeth's biological father.

Viola King is listed on this Census as Lonnie Armstrong's sister in law. This description may mean that she is Hattie's sister.  I will try to verify this.  Eugene Clark is listed as Lonnie's step-son.  That may mean that he is Hattie's son from a third marriage or at the least a previous liaison. More research is need.  Daisy Albino, age 2, is listed as Lonnie's niece. There is not yet enough information to determine where to place her on my developing family tree.

 Lonnie Armstrong is listed as the head of house and is presumably married to Hattie. Strangely, the obituary for Aunt Edna (Edna Dixon) stated that her first marriage was to a Kary Armstrong and that they had a son named Lonnie Armstrong. If the information detailed on the Census and in Ednaís obituary are both accurate, then what a strange coincidence that mother (Hattie) and daughter (Edna) both married men with the surname of Armstrong.  On the 1920 Census, Edna was only 11 years old so the Lonnie Armstrong above on the 1930 Census is not her son.

My Uncle Joe (Joseph James) died years before my father.  Joe was a life-long alcoholic.  And sadly I remember him as such.  He was married once to a woman named Mary. That marriage dissolved a long time ago.  There was a child but I am not sure that Joe fathered it.

In 2003 I interviewed my fatherís cousin Freddie Perkins.  Freddieís mother, Thelma Walker, was Jimmy Jamesí sister. Freddie did not know my fatherís parents personally but it is his recollection that Jimmy James died after his sons Ernest and Joseph moved in with one of their aunts.  And, Elizabeth died in a sanitarium.  Iím now trying to substantiate this information.

The Florida State Population Census for 1935 for Marian County finds 23 year old Elizabeth James widowed. Since Jimmy James appeared on the 1930 Federal Census we can assume that he died between 1930 and 1935 and that he was between 38 and 42 years old.  He died a young man. It appears that Elizabeth and her boys, 8 years old Ernest  and 6 years old Joseph were living with Ruby Walker who was also widowed.  Ruby may be Jimmie James' sister. I need to research this.

The search for Jimmie James. An experienced researcher suggested that I request the death certificate for Jimmie James.  She informed me that in addition to cause of death, I may discover the name of Jimmieís parents and where he was born. Earlier I deduced that Jimmie died between 1930 and 1935 because he appeared on the 1930 US Census and his wife is listed as a widow on the 1935 Florida Population Census. It took about two weeks to receive the copy of the death certificate from the state of Florida.  I opened the envelope and read the certificate and found that Jimmie still remains a mystery.  According to the cert Jimmie died February 11, 1935 from a uremic coma.  It also stated that Jimmieís wife, parents, and birthplace are unknown.  It lists his age as ďabout 55Ē when previous information suggests he would be around 43.  There is illegible text that appears to state that there was no other available data on the county referral papers.  Just five years earlier the 1930 Federal Census clearly listed his wife Elizabeth and sons Ernest and Joseph and his age as 35 and his work as labor Ė odd jobs. So, what occurred in the intervening years to lead the examiner to guess at Jimmieís age and to list the spouse as unknown? Could it be that illness took a great physical and financial toll on him and that he was abandon or estranged from all family members and no family member could be reached at the time of his death?

By the 1945 Florida State Population Census for Dade County Ernest and Joseph were living in Miami with Elizabeth's sister Janie Murray. We know that Jimmie James died in 1935 but where was Elizabeth? Rumor has it that Elizabeth may have been hospitalized with emotional problems.  I'm hoping to find her on the 1940 US Census when they are released.

The next group of graphics trace Elizabeth before she married Jimmie James and she family.

1910 US Federal Census - Militia District 576 - Grady County, Georgia

On the 1910 US Census William and Hattie Anderson were a young married couple living in Grady County, Georgia.  They had two young children: Edna age 3 and Jimmie age 10 months.

1920 United States Federal Census - Duncanville - Grady County, Georgia

Ten years prior to the 1930 Census, Hattie was living in Duncanville, Georgia.  Then, she was known as Hattie Anderson. She was widowed from William Anderson who must have died at a very young age. Now in the 1920 Census she is the head-of-house to her four daughters: Edna, age 11, Elizabeth, age 8, Anna Bell, age 7, and Janie age 5.  The 1910 Census included a son, Jimmy Anderson, who is not listed here. 



More to come!

Author, Noriega E. James

Research Material

Anderson - James
Jimmy James married Elizabeth Anderson and fathered Ernest (Aaron) and Joseph James.
Documents   Information Image
1910 US Census Grady Co Ga   

William and Hattie Anderson & children Edna & Jimmie.


1910 US Census Militia District 1624 Turner Georgia 


William Murray 22 and Mary Murray 19. Children: William Murray 2 and Tom Murray 9/12.

1920 US Census Grady Co Ga  

Hattie Anderson & children Edna, Elizabeth, Anna Bell & Janie

1930 Census Duval Co Florida  

Lonnie and Hattie Armstrong; Jimmy & Elizabeth James and children Ernest & Joseph

1930 US Census Miami Dade Florida  

William Murray 43 and wife Mary Murray 40. Children: Viola Murray 12, William Murray 22 and wife Cora Murray 20, and Tom Lee Murray 20 and wife Annabelle Murray 17.

1935 Florida State Population Census Marian County   Ruby Walker, Elizabeth James, Ernest, and Joseph

Note: Ruby Walker may be the former Ruby Troy who was the sister of Thelma Troy. I was told that Thelma was the was probably the sister of Jimmy James.
1935 Death Certificate   Jimmie James PDF
1940 Census Fl Foley in Taylor Co   David 29 and Janie 27 Murray and children Hubert 11, Eugene 9, Helen 7 and nephew Ernest James 13.

Note: By the 1940 US Census the Ernest (Aaron) and Joseph James were separated from their mother and living with relatives.
1940 Census Fl Foley in Taylor Co  

Eddie 26 and Edna McLarin 31 and child Lonnie Armstrong 14 and nephew Joseph James 11.

1945 Florida State Population Census Dade County  

David and Janie Murray and children Eugene, Herbert, Helen and Ernest and Joseph James

1988 Obituary for Edna Dixon   Obituary for Edna Anderson Dixon. Daughter of William and Hattie Anderson PDF

Census Records for Freddie Perkin's family

  Census records for the Sullivan and Troy families. html

WW2 Army Enlistment Record

  Possible enlistment record of Ernest L. James PDF

Florida Divorce Index

  Ernest and Eula Mae James PDF

Florida Divorce Index

  Ernest and Rosa Mae James PDF


Ernest James' second marriage was to Eula Mae Smith who was the daughter of Irvine and Molly Smith of Webster Co Ga.
Documents   Information Image
1920 US Census Georgia, Webster, California, District 144, 3  

Lists Blumer Murray 23 and wife Fadonia Murray 27 and child Ervin Murray 10.

The child listed as Ervin Murray is probably the same person who on later Census is listed as Irvin Smith.

There is a Smith family listed immediately after the Murray family. Is this family related to Ervin aka Irvin Smith?

1930 US Census Georgia, Webster, Militia District 978, District 3, 11  

Lists 37 year old Fadonia Murray as the head of house and widowed. Also listed are her children Irene Murray 4 and Irvin Smith 19.

Irvin Smith was listed as Ervin Murray in the previous Census.


1940 US Census Sumter, Sumter, Georgia


Lists George Taylor 45 and his wife Fredonia Taylor 46 and child Irene Murray 14

In the previous Census (1930), Fadonia had been widowed. She has now remarried.


1940 US Census Preston, Webster, Georgia


Lists Irvin Smith 29 and wife Mollie Smith 21 and children Valdra 9, Willie Curt 8, Eula Mae 7, S C 5, Louise 4, and Anna Elsie 9/12