Sarah Frances “Fannie” Russell

When I first wrote the article about my fourth great-grandfather, Edward A. Russell, I expressed interest in finding his daughter whose initials were “S.F.”. You see, Edward first married Jemima Owens in Maury County, Tennessee and had one child, S.F. After Jemima died, Edward married her sister, Martha Ann Owens. They had one daughter, Nancy Louisa Russell, before Edward died around 1864. All I had was S.F.’s initials on the 1860 census for Dickson County, Tennessee and her birth year of about 1855.

I wanted to figure out if S.F. passed away, or if she married and had a family. I tried to find her on the 1870 census, but couldn’t. Her stepmother/aunt, Martha, had remarried by 1870 and was living in Robertson County, Tennessee. S.F. wasn’t living with her. I wasn’t sure if S.F. would stay in Dickson County, go back to Maury County, or go with Martha and her half sister to Robertson County.

I tried to imagine what S.F. stood for, and my best guess was Sarah Frances, given the popular names of the time. I still couldn’t find S.F. or Sarah Frances using records alone.

My great uncle (my paternal grandmother’s brother) took an Ancestry DNA test to help me with my genealogy search last year. One of his extremely high matches was a lady I’ll call TRB for privacy reasons, since I have not been able to reach her by Ancestry message.

TRB and my great uncle share 66 centimorgans of DNA. This is about 3rd cousins range.

TRB’s great-great grandmother was a lady named Sarah Frances “Fannie” Russell… and my great uncle’s great-great grandmother was Nancy Louisa Russell, which would be Fannie’s half sister, but also first cousin. I admit I am not good at calculating complex cousin relationships! But, this does fit the DNA range of sharing 66 centimorgans.

I also took a look at the shared matches with TRB. I found matches to other descendants of the Owens family.

TRB has Fannie as the daughter of a different Russell family, but through census records I found that Fannie couldn’t be the daughter marked on the census due to other conflicting records.

So, what do we know about TRB’s Sarah Frances “Fannie” Russell? Here’s a look at her timeline.

Records Timeline

1870 – Not on the 1870 census.

1871 – Robertson County, Tennessee – Fannie Russell marries Henry Tollerson. (Tolleson)

May 20, 1880 – Robertson County, Tennessee – F T Tollison marries R B Jacobbs. (Richard Jacobs)

1880 – Robertson County, Tennessee – This is a strange census record, as it doesn’t list the wife’s name. It does list her as 25, birth year 1855.

K.B. Jacobs (Richard Jacobs)
Jacobs (Fannie)
C.E. Tallican (C.E. Tolleson, child from first marriage)
L.W. Tallican (L.W. Tolleson, child from first marriage)

1900 – Robertson County, Tennessee – Sarah F Jacobs is listed as 25, being married 20 years. Obviously at age mistake. Probably meant her age as 45. She says she’s had 9 children, only 5 living.

Richard B Jacobs 40
Sarah F Jacobs 25 (45?)
Bell Jacobs 17
Willie Jacobs 15
Euring E Jacobs 13
Georgia Jacobs 9
Sallie Horn 46   *Occupation is servant.

1910 – Robertson County, Cedar Hill and Clarksville Road – Sarah F Jacobs is listed as 54, with the same information from the last census that she’s had 9 children, only 5 living.

Richard B Jacobs 50
Sarah F Jacobs 54

1920 – Robertson County, Tennessee – Sarah F Jacops is listed as 65 living with husband R Bell Jacops.

January 9, 1929 – Turnsville, Robertson County, Tennessee – Sarah Frances “Fannie” Jacobs passes away. From her death certificate we find her birth day as November 17, 1854 in Tennessee. Cause of death is bronchopneumonia. Father is listed as “Ed Russel”.

I am confident that Sarah Frances “Fannie” is S.F. Here’s why:

  1. S.F. = Sarah Frances…
  2. Fannie was born in November of 1854. S.F. was born around 1855. This matches up.
  3. Martha, S.F.’s stepmother/aunt, moved to Robertson County and remarried in 1868. That is how Fannie ended up in Robertson County.
  4. Fannie’s father’s name was listed as Ed Russel! AKA Edward A. Russell
  5. DNA!

Do you descend from Fannie Russell? I would love to hear from you at

Last Updated 1/24/2018


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