Viola...Cousin of Faith, Joy and Encouragement

Do you know anyone named Violet or Viola?  During the late 1800's through 1910,  Flower Names including Violet, Viola, and Violeta, were popular first names.  Violet was the 88th most frequent girls' given name in 1900, and oddly enough, Violet has made a comeback in the 21st Century.  In 2013 it was the 69th most popular girls' name.

In my Family Tree on Ancestry, out of over 1500 names, I found one Viola.  She was my 2nd cousin 3x removed, was born on September 1, 1873, and was born in Texas.  She fit the time period for girls given floral names, however, her birth state of Texas did not fit in with the rest of her family born in Georgia.  Her grandfather was my 4th Great Uncle and brother of my 3rd Great Grandfather.  Both deeply entrenched in Georgia's early history. 

Needless to say, I was curious how she came to be a Texan.  Viola was the youngest of six children with her five siblings born in Georgia.  In the 1870 US Census Viola's family was enumerated in Texas which indicates they left Georgia between 1862 and 1869.  Viola was first listed in the 1880 US Census taken in Texas with the number 6 placed in her age column.  Viola's father, Joseph was one of the first Georgia family members to migrate to Texas after the Civil War.  He led the way for others, including my Great Grandfather.

The 1880 Census also revealed Viola's father, Joseph at age 51, served in the electoral position of District Clerk.  Her mother Laura, age 45 was a housekeeper and her siblings listed were 21, 19, 17,16, 14.  In 1883, when Viola was 10 years old, her mother died.  She continued to live with her father and siblings until his death in 1898...she was 16 years old.
Surely, Viola was an example of forgiveness, faith and joy to her family and friends.  Even after losing both her parents at a young age, she in all likelihood, never spread unhappiness or doubt.  But where did she go after the death of her father?  Which of her older siblings became her guardians?  The answer most likely was in the 1890 US Census which was destroyed by fire in January 1921.

"Some people bring encouragement to everyone they touch
...they really know what life is all about".
Viola didn't get a chance to fulfill the last verse of knowing what life is all about...she died on January 7, 1891 at 17 years of age.  With her death and the lack of the 1890 Census, my research on Viola came to an abrupt end at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Goliad County where she was buried in the family plot along with her parents, an infant brother and an uncle and aunt.
As it happens in Genealogy Family research, one name leads to another, and Viola's distant Texas cousin relationship is a perfect example.  Through her, I discovered her older brother Walter who although a distant cousin, lived, died and is buried a short distance from where I am now. 
Thank-you Viola for touching my life
...you really did know what life was all about...Family!
Disclaimer:  Photo from collection of Vintage Photos...not intended to portray anyone mentioned in this family history post.


  1. Family ties and links are fascinating study and thoroughly enjoyed this post. So many died so young, one reason they had so many.

  2. I have a grandaunt Violetta. I used to think it was a hideous "old lady" name, but she always loved it. I see "Violet" is making a big comeback in the list of popular baby names.

  3. She lived a lot in her seventeen years. I was hoping for a happier, flowery ending to this research. Very interesting. I think there's a Violet in the past on my Dad's side.

  4. Somehow people seemed to accomplish (or perhaps experience) a lot more in the 1800's. Viola was so young but had seen so much life by the age of 17.


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