The Mystery of Research on the Life of John G SNEAD


Mystery of Family History
Mystery of Family History

 Researching A Mystery

For the past fifteen years, I have been researching the life and times of John G SNEAD.

John G SNEAD is my paternal Great, Great, Grandfather.

His life is a mystery.

Well, not his whole life, just some key points like his birth, his death, that sort of thing.

When working with genealogy, or family tree history you have to separate what you know and the things you learn about into groups of information; Conjecture, Theory and Fact .

With conjecture, you can make things up and if the theory behind the supposition sounds good, you can accept the event as a fact.

After looking at some of the online ancestor research sites, I think that’s what a lot of people do.

Make a conjecture look good, attach a name and add several more branches to a family tree.

Like a social network thing.

Of course, that is only a theory of mine; but I digress.

What makes my G-G- Grandfather a mystery man is the following three facts.

1-      John wrote in his family Bible that he was born in 1803 in South Carolina. There is no mention of his parents in the Bible. Did he know the names of his parents? Even if he was an orphan, a known fact is: John was part of a lottery selection for property in Gwinnett County,Georgia.(Snead Orphans)

2      In all the papers, documents, census reports, deeds, book mentions, tax records and vital statistics, there is no mention anywhere of what the letter ‘G‘ stands for in his middle name. The names Gordon and Guy are used several times down through the generations, but without proof, there is no real answer. There is a document out there somewhere giving a full name. The search will continue.

3-      Even GG Grandfather John’s death, is surrounded in mystery. The date of death on his tombstone is 1878. A person fitting his description is listed in the 1880 census and John G SNEAD is on an agriculture census for the same year.

Newspapers and church records from around the area may give some clue. However, since the actual date of death may span several years, pinning a definite time down will take longer. There is a theory the tombstone was ordered several years after his death. John G SNEAD’s second wife, Mary Polly Bryant has a matching tombstone to John’s. She died in 1904.

Will unlocking the answer to one question reveal any other answers?

The only way to find out is to keep researching and following any clues.

Thanks for Reading.

If you should have any questions about this blogpost or just want to say “Hi!” you can reach me at my ‘Contact’ page or via E-mail at

Stay Well! William

Blog Author

2 thoughts on “The Mystery of Research on the Life of John G SNEAD”

  1. Dear William:
    Your posting reminded me of something. My line is John G Snead, Francis Marion Snead, Benjamin Franklin Snead, Mildred Louise Snead. My Mother Mildred once told me that she asked her father about family history. He would not answer her question. He said, ” You don’t want to shake the family tree too hard. You never know what might fall out.” He never answered her question. I wonder if there is a mystery in South Carolina that the family wanted to forget?

    1. Thanks for commenting Gene. I have only been able to go back to 1826…the year John G Snead and Sara Beckett Johnson (John’s first wife) were married. I’ve looked in a book that dealt with criminals and the like but didn’t find anything bad. Still, you never can tell.

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