NAMES: Givens

Dear Zoe,

It appears there are two distinct Givens families: the first arrived prior to 1860, and the 2nd (yours) arrived sometime after 1860, since Joseph R. Givens isn't in that census.

The 1880 census (online on our website) shows Joseph R. givens with 1st wife, Malissa, and children Andrew J. (6), Mark P. (4), and Harry P. (1). I presume you already have checked this census.

I checked the 1900 and 1910 censuses to see if I could find the family and found the following:

1900 Fed Census, Mt. Sterling Twp, Brown Co, IL 385/398:

Joseph P. Givens, b. Sept 1824 (age 75), married 30 years, b. TN, both parents b. TN
Malissa Givens (wife), b. Jan 1842 (age 58), 4 children born, 4 living, b. CT, father b. CT, mother b. RI
Andrew Givens (son) b. Jan 1874 (age 26), single, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT
Harry Givens (son) b. Oct 1878 (age 21), single, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT
Amasa L. Givens (son), b. Nov 1881 (age 18), single, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT
Henry C. Porter (father in law) b. Jan 1816 (age 84) widower, b. CT, father b. ?, mother b. CT

1910 Fee Census, Mt. Sterling Twp & City, Brown Co, IL 412/430:

Melissa Givens, 68, widow, 5 children born, 4 children living, b. CT, both parents b. CT
Andrew Givens (son) 36, single, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT
Harry Givens (son) 31, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT
Amasa Givens (son) 29, b. IL, father b. TN, mother b. CT

1910 Fed Census, Mt. Stelring Twp & City, Brown Co, IL 343/358:

Mark P. Givens 34, married 10 Yrs, b. IL, parents b. USA
Annette Givens 28, 3 children born, 2 children living, b. Sweden, both parents b. Sweden
George E. Givens (son) 9, b. IL, father b. IL, mother b. Sweden
Harry W. Givens (son) 6, b. IL, father b. IL, mother b. Sweden

Cemteries of Brown Co, IL, p. 217, Mt. Sterling City Cemetery:

Joseph R. Givens 1824-1909 Mexican War Soldier
Amanda Givens (d. 1869)
*Melissa Porter Givens, w/o Joseph R. Givens (1824-1909!!!)
These dates are obviously Joseph's! Your dates are correct. I went to the 1900 and 1910 censuses to verify your dates. She was still living in 1910, and so probably died in 1917, as you said. The Cemetery book is frequently VERY incorrect, so we have other sources, luckily.
Andrew J. Givens (1874-1955)
Mark P. Givens (1875-1910)
Harry P. Givens (1876-1957)
Amasa Givens (1881-1972)


I didn't find Mark & Annette Givens in Mt. Sterling township or city in 1900, but they married that year according to the 1910 census, and may have been in another township. I also didn't find a cemetery listing for Annette Givens.

You will note that in 1900, Melissa reported having given birth to 4 children, with all four living, but in 1910 she reported 5 children born and 4 living. Apparently another child was born after Amasa, but we don't know whether it was male or female. All the other Givens in the cemetery book appear to be linked with John A. and Jane M. Givens, out of kentucky, (who may or may not be blood relation to Joseph), except Jennie Givens, who has no dates given. Perhaps she is the missing child?


Cemeteries of Brown Co, IL, p. 231, Mt. Sterling City Cemetery:

Henry C. Porter (15 Jan 1816-9 Feb 1903)
James R. Porter (11 Sep 1871-2 Mar 1916)
Josie B. wife of J. R. Porter (16 June 1872-22 Dec 1855)
Thomas Porter (1876-1955)
Clara, wife of T. Porter (1887-?)
Jane B. Porter (died 22 Dec 1955, aged 83 years) *born 1872


I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with all of this. I would imagine you already have a lot of it, but I like to send things "just in case". Let me know if I can be of any further help to you. Please let me know if you need other census searches done on these or other families in Brown County.

Laurie Huffman
Brown County Lookups

Zoe Hawley wrote:

I have been researching my relative Melissa A. Porter Givens who resided in Mount Sterling, Brown County, Illinois and died there in 1917. She and several of her relatives are buried in the Mount Sterling Cemetery. Reference is given as page 217. Would it be possible for you to provide birth and death dates for the following
Joseph R Givens I have 1824 - 1909
Amanda Givens (1st wife)
Melissa Porter Givens (2nd wife) I have 1842 - 1917
Andrew J Givens (Son) Born abt 1874
Mark P Givens (Son) Born abt 1876
Harry P Givens (Son) Born abt 1879
I was able to visit the Mount Sterling cemetery about 20 years ago, looking for the grave of Henry Charles Porter (On page 231) and although all records indicated he was buried at Mt. Sterling, I was unable to find any grave or grave marker. His date of birth was abt 1815 and died 9 Feb 1903. He was living with Melissa and Joseph at the time of his death. I did locate Melissa and Joseph's graves, but did not know the names of her children. And, at that time, I was not wise enough to record everything I could related to a given surname. Any assistance you can provide will really be appreciated, I know how time-consuming these email requests can be, and I've learned to be very patient while waiting for a reply.
Thanks again....
zoe hawley