Need help finding my Holt family, grandfather changed name in late 1800's

+4 votes
My grandfather killed a man in self defense in the late 1800's, the man's family threatened to kill him so he left his home in Texas and changed his name to James Marion Franks,  his original surname was Holt.  We know no other names besides the surname Holt because it was all kept a secret until my grandmother told my father the story after his father had died.  I did my dna in hopes of finding my paternal ancestors,  I have found many matches with Holt in their tree or Holt's themselves.  I have yet to find out who my great grandfather was but I will keep looking,  I just need help from those who are learned in discovering and finding things from the past.  

Madge Franks Gentry
WikiTree profile: James Franks
in Genealogy Help by Madge Gentry G2G Crew (390 points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

Queen Elkins

 in the Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965

Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965 No Image
Text-only collection

    Name: Queen Elkins
    Gender: Female
    Marriage Date: 20 Sep 1874
    Marriage Place: Atascosa, Texas, United States
    Spouse: James M Franks
    FHL Film Number: 1013758

    Nancy Bowie

     in the Texas, Marriage Index, 1824-2014

      Name: Nancy Bowie
      Marriage Date: 25 Feb 1897
      Marriage Place: Newton, Texas, USA
      Spouse: James Frank
      Both of these are in Texas so may not be the right Franks.

      James M Franks

       in the 1910 United States Federal Census

      View 1910 United States Federal Census

      • View blank form
      Name: James M Franks
      [James M Tranks] 
      Age in 1910: 54
      Birth Year: abt 1856
      Birthplace: Texas
      Home in 1910: Degnan, Latimer, Oklahoma
      Race: White
      Gender: Male
      Relation to Head of House: Head
      Marital Status: Married
      Spouse's Name: Arena J Franks
      Father's Birthplace: Mississippi
      Mother's Birthplace: Georgia
      Native Tongue: English
      Occupation: Farmer
      Industry: Home Farm
      Employer, Employee or Other: Employer
      Home Owned or Rented: Rent
      Farm or House: Farm
      Able to Read: Yes
      Able to Write: Yes
      Years Married: 28
      Neighbors: View others on page
      Household Members:
      Name Age
      James M Franks 54
      Arena J Franks 57
      James D Franks 18
      Lola Franks 16
      Jesse Franks 14
      Corean Cook 5
      Marion Richardson 15

      James Marion "Jim" Franks

      Learn about sponsoring this memorial...
      Birth:  Dec. 2, 1855
      Texas, USA
      Death:  1915
      Haskell County
      Oklahoma, USA
      Shady Grove Cemetery
      Haskell County
      Oklahoma, USA
      Created by: cjgriffith
      Record added: Feb 26, 2011
      Find A Grave Memorial# 66198454
      If you could fill in some blanks that would be helpful. When was he born? Where was he born? Whom did he marry?
      This is the wrong James M. Franks,  my grandmother was Arena Josephine Jones,  Queen was the name of the other person.
      This is my grandfather,  I have found two census reports on him, 1900 and 1910,  He married my grandmother in Lamar county, Texas, around 1882 under his name of James Marion Franks.  He was born around 1855 in Texas,  but there is no record of him that I can find before he and grandmother Arena Josephine Jones married.  Don't have any names other than Holt as his surname before he changed it,  Don't know if he changed his entire name or just the last name.  This is hard as you can see.
      Thanks cjgriffith, this is my grandfather.  Not hunting him, trying to find his Holt family.
      Do you have any family names that lived around James Frank when he was younger? Does your grandmother know any friends of his back then? When I do an 1870 search I find a D. Holt living with the Alverson family.

      Any of that ring a bell?
      We don't have any names whatsoever,  my grandparents have been dead for many years,  my dad has been gone since 1979,  he didn't know anything, names or such,  his mother told him about the name change, but she didn't know any names either.  Nothing rings a bell since I don't know any names and I presumed he lived with his parents until he left and changed his name..

      2 Answers

      +2 votes
      Hi, Madge,

      I don't have James Marion Franks in my tree, but I do have Holt surname to mid-1700s. They are not connected (as far as I can see) to the Franks directly in my tree. My Franks family hails from Marion County, Alabama, and moved to Oklahoma I think in the 1920s. The Franks' were known for traversing back and forth across the South. I'm not sure if I can help, but we can compare our DNA and see if anything pops. Good luck to you.
      Don't remember if I responded to your answer, anyway, you said we could compare dna and see if anything pops.  Where is your dna listed, on Ancestry or some other site.   I have always thought there were Franks in the Holt family since my grandfather took that name when he changed it.  Let me know how to find you so that we might compare dna,  I don't match any Franks except those that are in some other part of my family that I match,  I have matches that I don't have any idea where they came from, but then besides my great grandfather who was the Holt that my grandfather belonged to, there was a great grandmother, and I don't have any idea what her surname was, so there will be lots of matches that probably come from that line.

      Let me hear from you, please, Lenise Franks.
      +3 votes

      You might try an elimination. It would be a big job. These are the male Holts born in Texas between 1850 and 1860. Track them through census and death records and find who disappeared suddenly from the records. Perhaps also focus on the names of his sons and grandsons. Southerners tended to repeat names through the generations.

      by Eddie King G2G6 Pilot (570k points)

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