Probably many Genealogy Researchers have found someone in their family
has changed his/her name. Many are just the given name which makes it difficult to follow someone in the census and other official records. Others have
even changed complete identities for either convience or also possibly due to previous marriages or some other sort of legal problem.
Here is just one which is very interesting.
by Sharon Sprouse Bramhall
By researching ZACHARIAH T. SMITH - who served in the same company with John E. Smith in the Civil War, I was hoping to discover a relationship so I could prove parentage. Turns out Zachariah was not even a Smith - his real name was Thomas Singers (ca1851-June 4, 1906)!!
I emailed the following to Linda Fluharty for her Civil War website on September 28, 2002 including the following results:
Zachariah T. Smith (alias) Thomas Singers
Pension Cert.# 956.272, Thomas Singers
Invalid #1028804 Pension Bureau
Private, Co. E., 7th WV Vol. Cavalry
THOMAS SINGERS (aka Zachariah T. Smith) was born about 1851, and died June 4, 1906. As a teenager of about 14-15 years old, he must have enrolled as "ZACHARIAH T. SMITH" early in 1865, to serve in the Union Army. He was honorably discharged at Wheeling WV in September of 1865. There was nothing in the Civil War pension papers to indicate WHY this soldier went by an alias. Perhaps, he chose an alias because of his young age.
After the war, H. C. MILLER, a notary public of Ben Franklin, Delta, TX, stated that as the duly elected justice of peace in Delta, TX in 1887, that he united in marriage THOMAS SINGERS and ANNIE CALAWAY on or about the 14th day of February" in 1887. (Miller was 59 years old when he made affadavit in the 1908 Widow's Declaration for Pension)
Thomas Singers (a.k.a. Zachariah T. Smith), using his real name, may have been about 36 years old when he married Nancy Anna Calaway at her home in Paris, Lamar Co., Texas. Neither had been married before. Tom & Annie Singers settled in Lamar, Fannin, Texas.
In his application for pension October 12, 1897, he stated they had no children, living or dead.
July 17, 1893: M. W. LEONARD, 51, & JAMES SMITH, 42, both of Fannin County, TX. (Note, another "Smith"). "They each had known the claimant, Thomas Singers, also known as Zachariah T. Smith _three years? _ _ from their own personal knowledge that he is afflicted with hernia and _ _ his disability and hernia was caused by a bale of hay falling on him while __(issuing?) it to horses at Wyandolt West Va. in the winter of 1864, while in the service of the U. S. in the war of the Rebellion because he has after _ _ _ hay falling on him and after the disability incured thereupon. We believe what he says in regard to the disability complained of because he is a truthful man and is respected as a man of the community in which we (lived?). We do not believe his disability is __ by vicious habits as he has no vicious habits." November 1, 1895 - he was issued a pension of $8/month.
On March 1, 1902, Thomas Singers (Zachariah Smith) applied for an increase in his invalid pension in which he states, "That I am entirely disabled to perform manal (sic) labor. That my present income is not sufficient for the suport (sic) of myself and family. That I have no means whereby to increase my present income, it being my present pension of only $6 (sic) per month." (Signed) "Thomas Singers alias Zachariah T. Smith"
At age 45, in 1904, while living in Lamasco, Fannin, TX, in 1904, he applied for an increase in his "invalid pension", in which he stated that he had enrolled in 1865, in Wheeling, WV. He continued to receive $8 a month, beginning November 1, 1905, but he only collected this for six months, until May 4, 1906. He died in June, 1906.
In 1907, the widow of Thomas Singers, "Annie Singers", age 66, made a widow's declaration for pension. She and other deponents verified that Thomas was never married before...."as far as they knew". Those who gave declaration in his invalid application of 1894, were RJ Griffiths of Gainorco, TX, and W. C. Epperson of Lamasco, TX, who had known Singers for about 4-5 years. He said that Singers had stated to him that he had a hernia and an injury to his breast caused by a bale of hay falling on him during his service about March 1865 at Wyandotte WV. (This leads one to believe that Thomas's duty in the Civil War involved tending horses.)
On October 14, 1907, NANCY ANN (CALAWAY) SINGERS, a resident of Harmon, Lamar County, TX applied for a widow's pension. Harmon Brown HARROL and Felix Cromwell ROGERS, residents of Harmon TX, appeared in her behalf, having known her for 50 and 20 years, respectively. Harrol, 63, was a neighbor of Annie's for 30 years. He had the same post office box as Annie. He stated that Thomas Singers was never married to anyone other than Annie, "at least that is what he, the said Thomas Singers, alias Zacariah (sic) Smith, said."
Also in the Widow's application of 1908: Mrs. Belle HARROL-JOYCE, 46, of R.F.D. No. 3, Honey Grove, TX, also said in the 1908 affidavit that "Neither of them was ever married to any other person, or that is what they said."; James W. DEWEESE, 32, of Paris, TX, a tax accessor of Lamar County, stated that Annie Singers does not appear on the tax rolls of that county, proving she owned no property.
On January 3, 1908, Annie Singers, 66, a resident of Lamar County, TX (R.F.D.No. 3, Honey Grove) in making general affidavit as the widow of Thomas Singers, states she has neither property nor means of support, no insurance, that her husband died without a will, though he had nothing to will. She states that they lived continuously together all through marriage. "Neither of us was ever married to any other person before or after our marriage to each other. At least he always told me that he was never married before."
Back in Harrison County, WV, I could find no other records for Zachariah Smith, but there are Singers in adjoining states.
I wonder if there are any more Alias stories out there. If so, drop me a line at
Maybe someone has a Thanksgiving or Christmas story
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