January 12, 2011

Next, some background …

As you know (or you will discover), once you get behind the 1850 census, it’s a real challenge to keep going backwards. The census from 1790 through 1840 is only head of household. We have a transcription problem with our surname Rud(d) to overcome, particularly with the indexes for records and documents which created a problem for data collection. In some cases the upper points on “U” looked like “EE” and have turned our surname into Reed rather than Rudd.

And as unusual as the name Rudd would seem to be to those of us who carry it, there were at least three distinct and unrelated Rudd males in the colonies very early on which has created some false entanglement with the descendant lines as they migrated. Lieutenant Jonathan Rudd of Connecticut and Captain John Rudd of Virginia are not related to Burlingham Rudd of Anson Co., North Carolina. The Rudd of Connecticut and the Rudd of Virginia had arrived in colonial America years before Burlingham was sentenced to transportation. Over the course of time, as their descendent lines grew, they did migrate into North Carolina, Tennessee and mid-western states where the Burlingham Rudd descendent lines also migrated.

We don’t know for sure how many children Burlingham Rudd had, nor do we know how many survived, but two sons emerge from Anson, Burlingham II and George Lounsdell, who produced a third generation. Alas, each of them appears to have named a son Burlingham which adds to the confusion and that is compounded by the fact that each of those sons named a son George and a son Elias.

Also, Burlingham Rudd and his offspring lived in some pretty sparsely populated wilderness places which left very few written records. After the American Revolution, as the country began to expand, two branches followed the movement of the American frontier which also left few records. The George Lounsdell Rudd branch migrated to the Four Holes Swamp area of St. James Goose Creek Parish, South Carolina. The Burlingham Rudd II branch migrated to the Lower Three Runs area of Barnwell Co., South Carolina. The Elias David Rudd and George Washington Rudd families left the Barnwell area and migrated into Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas. The Burlingham Rudd III branch crossed the Alleghany Mountains into Tennessee and then moved farther west into Illinois.

I’ve written our family story in a narrative fashion and placed it in an historical context in hopes that I’m able to bring the family to life for you. They lived ordinary lives during the historic events that charted the destiny of America. So where we don’t have records to tell us specifics, we have history. And as a family genealogist, I take very seriously my responsibility to get it as right as possible, I don’t pass off assumptions as facts. When I don’t know for sure, I’ll tell you it’s my best guess based on the facts, documents, historical and cultural context and my experience. My approach to genealogy is as an investigator. I try not to have any vested interest in any outcome. No one better than I, understands the pitfalls of tunnel vision and the frustration of brick walls to overcome. There is always a tendency to make things fit and it can be a challenging temptation. But … to do any less than to seek the truth is a dishonor to the ancestors we seek to find.

January 8, 2011

First, a little personal history…

My paternal line is Rudd. When I was growing up, the only people in my life with that surname were my father and his married sister. Their mother, Ella Wilson, had divorced their father, Eulis Franklin Rudd, when my father was about five years old. Their mother remarried a few years later and eventually moved from Florida to Texas. So like most of us, when I began my search for my Rudd ancestors, I started with a five generation chart and soon realized that all I could record were the names of my father and his father. I couldn’t recall the name of my great-grandfather. I did know they had originated in Gadsden Co., Florida. The 1910 census index was the latest available at the time and I found my grandfather, Eulis Franklin Rudd, listed as a son in a household and when I saw his father’s name in print a recollection came rushing forward from somewhere deep in my memory of hearing that name before, Walter Washington Rudd. It was a weird experience. I then remembered hearing that name when I was younger in the very few stories that were told to me about my Rudd family.

This was also about the time that genealogy research tools were hitting the Internet. Message boards were coming into being, RootsWeb as being born followed by US GenWeb and Cyndi’s List. The Church of Latter Day Saints was working to put their trove of records online. Looking back, I don’t think I could have predicted just how profit-making genealogy would become. I’ve found that surely there are a variety of reasons why people become involved in family research, even those who long ago compiled all those books of court records and land deeds seemed to be of the same passion as me, but over the last few years I’ve watched it turn into a commercial enterprise, on it’s way to becoming a huge global industry and, frankly, I’m not really very thrilled about the gobbling up of the free-flow of information. But I digress.

It didn’t take me long to identify that my Rudd line descended from Elias David Rudd and Frances “Fannie” Tanner of Gadsden Co., Florida. After I got past the confusion of my great great-grandfather, Zenithan Miles Rudd of Florida, being a twin to Zeno Minor Rudd of Alabama and that was why I found two men with the same birth date and same initials in two different states at the same time … well, tracking back to their parents, Elias Trowell Rudd and Mary J. Jones, was relatively easy for me because of all of those Rudd cousins who had been involved in researching the same Florida Rudd family for years before me. Not only did they help me fill in the blanks they shared their research information and family genealogies with me. They told me about the different theories that were being discussed concerning the parentage of Elias David Rudd, and the debating about who were and were not his sons. Without their help and the historical knowledge of the research that had gone before, I truly do not believe I would have been able to tell you this story of Burlingham Rudd of Norfolk, England. So I will take this opportunity to name some of those “cousins” from what I’ll call “the old days of genealogy” who shared their work with me back in the days of SNAIL mail, microfilm readers and courthouse adventures. You young people don’t know what you’re missing!

With my eternal gratitude and in no particular order:

Dora Dean Fraize Rudd, wife of Henry Lewis Rudd, Sr. 3rd cousin twice removed; Kathryn Geletta Rogers Shepard, 3rd cousin once removed; Walter Eugene Rudd, 5th cousin once removed; Jerry Segars, 4th cousin once removed; William Harry Rudd, 5th cousin once removed; James Owen Rudd, 3rd cousin twice removed; Harold Massey Rudd, 1st cousin once removed; Rodney Rudd, 4th cousin twice removed; Mallie Croft Erickson, 2nd cousin twice removed; Garrard Lamar Rudd, 2nd cousin twice removed; Merle Rudd Harms, 3rd cousin twice removed and Hugh Rudd who was an early gatherer of Rudd family information in America.

To Kay Bunton of the Burlingham Rudd 3rd branch who brought down the brick wall when she discovered the family of Burlingham Rudd back in Norfolk, England. And to her cousin, Beth Ferguson for providing me with the link back to Kay after so many years had passed.

To Jean Hollars of the George Lounsdell Rudd branch who helped me sort out the branches of the second generation and untangle the assumptions made which threw our Elias David Rudd branch off track.

As well, a big thank you also goes to all the countless number of cousins over the years that I have had contact with and who have shared their research with me. It has been a truly enriching experience to be able to expand my knowledge of my own family history branches. The repository of data and information that I’ve had to work with is truly a compilation of several family members who have shared our same passion for the pursuit of our Rudd identity and as a result I’ve been able to see a much bigger family picture.

Now, I find myself in a unique position. It’s my turn to tell you what I’ve found.

Linda Isabell Rudd
4th great-granddaughter of Elias David Rudd and Frances Tanner


For all my Rudd cousins

But most especially to my cousin

Michael Trent Rudd
April 24, 1956 ~ November 28, 2007
and Cisco

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~