My Mema Jean grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Mae Jean Holley and James Lloyd Igou. An obituary I found among her things revealed that James Lloyd had a successful career as newspaper salesman at The Commercial Appeal, which I vaguely remember Mema mentioning at various times growing up. Oral family tradition claimed that they were French, perhaps Huguenots. Until recently, that is about all I knew about my Igou lineage.

When Mema Jean passed away in 2012, I inherited the family Bible from her Igou side of the family. My parents kept the Bible for me at their house, and on a recent trip to visit them I finally went through it, happily revealing a long awaited breakthrough that is a perfect post for Crestleaf’s 12 Months of Fascinating Family Finds Challenge. 

IMG_4061Stuck between the pages of the large, worn leather bound Bible was a piece of paper that has seen better days. The page itself had come out of a Bible, but not the one in which it was currently being protected. At some point, the page had been torn apart and taped back together. The tape has yellowed and browned over time, but has thankfully kept the torn and tattered pieces together.

Listed on the page are the births of the immediate family of James Lloyd, who appears to be the youngest of six children born to J.A. Igou and M.J. Igou. James Lloyd was born on December 20, 1884. J.A. was born September 16, 1849 and M.J. was born August 31, 1857.  In addition to the information on James Lloyd, it is of interest that someone also went in later and penciled in the dates of death for everyone but James Lloyd.  They had one baby that was born August 19, 1879 and died two days later.  Other penciled in dates suggest that that their first child, L.P. Igou, passed two years after birth, and yet another child, L.B., died at five years of age. This would mean that of the six children listed, only three survived to adulthood: G.L., C.H. and J.L. (James Lloyd).

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Taped to the bottom of this page, was a clipping – the obituary of Mrs. Martha J. Igou, age 88.  The clipping states that she died at her home at 2300 Long Street, and is survived by two sons, James Igou of Memphis (my great grandfather) and Claude Igou of Chattanooga; one daughter, Mrs. Gertie Hundley of Memphis. These first names all match up with the initials of her children that survived into adulthood I listed previously. Unfortunately, it does not list the date or the name of the publication it came from. Knowing that M.J. was born in 1857, this would put her death in 1945.

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The final item located in the large Bible was a paper copy of a newspaper article from The Chattanooga Times, dated Sunday, October 21, 1934.  The article appears to be a a regular feature, entitled “Leaves from the Family Tree….Igou.” It was written by Penelope Johnson Allen, who was the State Chairman of Genealogical Records, Tennessee Society, Daughters of the American Revolution and State Historian of the U.S. Daughters of 1812.

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The article has an amazing amount of history included in it regarding the Igous of Chattanooga, and their original ancestor Louis Igou, who the article claims came from Paris, France. (A-HA! A confirmation of our French lineage!) It also features General Samuel Igou (pictured) and his descendants.

Trying to connect the Louis Igou from France, to my great great grandfather, J.A. Igou reveals to be somewhat challenging.  According to the article, Louis had a son, Joshua Igou, who resided in Pennsylvania and was a soldier in the Revolution and served with the a company of Pennsylvania rangers on the frontier.  It states Joshua was born around 1760 and died between 1830-1832.  By his first wife, Mary Roller, he had six children, one of whom is most likely my link to J.A.

  1. Jacob Igou. Born 1790, died 1869. Married Agnes Scott
  2. Peter Igou. Born 1793. Married Mary Scott
  3. John Igou. Married Martha Glass
  4. Joshua Igou. Married Sarah McFarland
  5. Ruth Igou. Married Joseph Hopkins
  6. Margaret Igou. Married a Mr. Adair

I am hoping that I can successfully trace backwards from J.A. Igou to Louis Igou with this information to assist me. I can’t believe that this information was under my nose the whole time!  You never know what family history gems may be hidden between the pages of a Bible or book!

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