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Miscellaneous Tidbits on the Murray Surname
of North Georgia (Extracts by Southern Muse)

During my search for the marriage records of Winfield Scott Murray, I ran across this couple: Ransom mare and Caroline/Adeline MURRY, an unusual entry that appears in the Fannin County, Georgia, marriage books. The format of the entry is different than other entries, and leaves the record open to some ambiguity.

Ransom mare and cAroline [or Adeline ?] MURRY 21 Feb 1838, Union Co., Georgia
This is one of those maddening moments of genealogical research. The record creates a puzzle, since it has the individuals' names separated by "and." The given names are written rather crudely, in a halting hand, as if the individuals wrote in their own given names and couldn't write very well, or the clerk was attempting to write a phonetic interpretation of the names. In this respect, it was different than all the other marriage records in the book. The odd record makes it unclear as to whether "mare" is the surname of the groom or part of the given name. I have seen the given name of "Ransomer" for an individual (Ransomer PATTY, unrelated). I thought of several possibilities for interpreting this record. It is possible that the clerk or the couple failed to put the bride's maiden name. In that case, the record would be for Ransom mare MURRY and Caroline/Adeline unknown. (In that case, there's a slight possibility that I found the record for Winfield Scott MURRAY and Caroline UNKNOWN, but that the groom's given name has an unaccountable discrepancy (which often happens in genealogy). It is also possible that both the bride and the groom are named "MURRY" In that case, the record would be for Ransomer and Caroline/Adeline MURRY. If the individuals wrote their own names where the clerk had left blanks for the purpose (and this appears to be likely) the groom may have intended "mare" (not capitalized) as the surname. In that case, the record would be for Ransom MARE and Caroline/Adeline MURRY. Another possibility is that the groom was illiterate, and that "mare" might be his attempt to write "MURRY" (unlikely, but possible). The supreme irony of it is that the final surname of MURRY is written in a clear, beautiful hand, perhaps nicer than the writing in any of the other records in the marriage book. I had wanted so badly to find a record relating to my couple, so it was irritating to find one where the surname was crystal clear, but the format of entry left the details of the marriage record ambiguous.

Note ~ Description of search method: I did a page by page search for any record pertaining to Winfield Scott Murray, hoping to find both of his marriages: to Caroline, maiden name unknown (first wife), and to Nancy Petty (second wife); result negative on both counts. The fact of the marriages is known from various sources, including family; however, no marriage record was ever found, which is not unusual for this era and location. I did find the puzzling record on Ransom mare and Caroline/Adaline Murry, but it does not seem to match.

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