Lalla Rookh Napoleon Foster

For those who don’t know me, I am not a genealogist but a family historian. The subtle difference is that I am not as interested in connecting the dots as I am in collecting the stories. That doesn’t mean I don’t desperately want to find my James Foster’s parents.
This story is not so much about ancestry as it is about how I became interested (obsessed?) with a seemingly unrelated person and how I tracked down her tree. The following is my tale, so far, of Lalla Rookh Napoleon Foster. You can see Lalla’s Family here.
I was researching the family of George Foster and Sarah Wilkes. Their grandson, Joseph Foster, had moved to northern Mississippi and one of his ancestors had submitted his DNA to Sorensen and is the closest match found for me. (Tied with William Lindsey Foster)
Anyway, as I was searching I found a first cousin of Joseph, Richard Singleton Foster, Jr., living in Maury County, Tennessee on the 1850 census with the most peculiarly named daughter, Lallah Rookh Napoleon Foster.
I have had a copy of Lalla Rookhby Thomas Moore for many years. I can’t remember why I originally picked it up, I must have loved the sound of the name as a young man. It’s basically a long poem about a Persian princess, named Lalla Rookh, who goes off to meet her new husband, an arranged political marriage. On the way she meets a poet and falls in love with him. Duty bound, she faints when she enters the palace of her new husband. She awakes to the sound of the voice of the poet she loves and opens her eyes and see that the poet is the prince to whom she is engaged. (everybody say, “Awwwww”!)
Back to reality. In 1860 the 11 year old Lalla was listed in Richard and Sally’s family as “L. R. N.”.
1870 was a difficult search. To be truthful, I did not find her on the census when I first searched but was able to come back and find her later. When I first searched in 1870 I was afraid I had lost her trail forever.
Not being a completely rational person, I tried another approach. I searched the 1870 census for anyone named Lalla born in 1849-1851 in Tennessee. I came up with one hit. Lalla R. Fry was living in Fannin County, Texas with her family that included her husband, James A. Fry and a daughter, Dellah, age 10. A quick search of all Fry’s in Maury County, Tennessee in 1860 found an Alonza Fry with a wife, Sallie and a 1 year old daughter, Dellah. Could it be? I had to keep digging.
Darn that 1890 census! I had to skip ahead 20 years. In 1900 I found Lallah R. Fry, age 50 as the head of the household in Fannin County, TX. In 1910 I found a female “L. R. Fry, age 60″. In 1920 it was “Lala Fry” living alone but age 63, a neat trick if you can do it. By 1930 she was gone.
I had scoured everything I could from Ancestry.com so next i swung over to Footnote.com. They have a growing repository of Texas birth and death certificates so I decided to give it a whirl. I searched the death certificates for “Fry Fannin”. Up popped a death certificate for C. F. Fry. The birth date matched a son of James and Lalla that I had from the 1900-1910 census named Cyma F. Fry. He had died of Typhoid fever at the age of 23. His parents were listed on the death certificate, “J. A. Fry and Lalla Foster both from Tennessee”! Eureka! It was her!
Further searching helped me fill in her family tree. I posted a couple of queries on-line to find any descendants of Lalla that were still living. This morning I received an e-mail from “Granny Nelda” Fry. She is married to a great-grandson of Lalla Rookh Napoleon Foster. I look forward to corresponding with her and finding more about Lalla. I wonder why they would add “Napoleon”?
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