Finding Green Stanford

I fell in love with Green Stanford the first time that I found him in the census records.  He was 74 and living in the 1930 household with his son Will Stanford.  Family members did not talk about him so his name was new to me.  What a cool name, Green.  Because of his unique name, I was able to find his father, William Stanford, and trace the family back to 1870.

Green StanfordMy second Green surprise was finding his picture on the internet, the day that I was flying to Birmingham, AL to attend IGHR.  My cousin, whom I have never met, published the picture on the family web site.  Finding a photo is an amazing thing, especially when it is unexpected.  The eyes of Green, my 3x great grandfather staring back at me.

I knew that a picture of Will Stanford was available, but no one told me about Green. (Yes I did ask. Just did not ask the right people.) Here he was on the world wide web.  Quickly I printed the pictures and packed them with my already bursting luggage and headed for the airport.  Looking at the picture of Green and his son Will fascinated me.  At the time I was very taken by Will.  He looks just like my Grandmother’s brother, Uncle Harvey. 

So now I know that Grandmom and Uncle Harvey Lee have strong Stanford features. (Alabama will not know Uncle Harvey without the Lee.  Go to Barbour Co and ask about Harvey.  They will not know who you are talking about.  But ask about Harvey Lee and a broad smile will come across their face.  Uncle Harvey was a character.)  Uncle Harvey Lee and his Grandfather both have a strong jaw.  This is a characteristic that I have noticed when visiting Stanfords in Barbour Co.

Green did not capture my thoughts as quickly, because there was something funny about him, something funny about this picture.  I have seen this picture before.  It was just too familiar.  Maybe someone mixed up a picture of a famous black person with my Green.  I showed the photo to a couple of people who pour thru history books like I do.  I wanted to see if someone said, oh that is one of the black politicians from so-in-so state.  The man in this picture is wearing a nice three piece suit, so he could be a politician, minister, businessman, leader, etc.  No one recognized this man in the photo, with the label Green Stanford.

Finally, back in the room, alone, I gazed.  Will and Green were now leaning against the mirror. First I gazed at Green, and then I gazed at Will.  Will.  Green. Green. Will.  Why am I having such a hard time with Green.  Have I become such a source citation demon that I can not accept this picture and label as fact?  No, that was not it.  Something else was in play here, but for the life of me….

Kevin Toomer 1978-2004

The next day I was able to come to terms with the face of my 3x great grandfather.  I was actually looking at the face of my Mother’s brother.  My uncle looks just like Green and he has passed these eyes on to his children.  They eyes of Green Stanford were in my house not too long ago, two pair.  My first cousin Kevin Toomer and his daughter have carried the eyes of Green Stanford from 1854 to 2005.  The problem with the picture is that it debunked a long held myth and that it was just too close. 

The long held myth is that we mostly resemble our Grandfather’s Toomer family.  The Toomer family is our heart and soul.  Our Alabama heritage is new to us.  The closeness of the picture is that my tall, handsome talented, 20 something year old cousin was lost to city violence eight months before I found this picture.  Maybe it could have made a difference.  One thing for sure, he would have loved this picture.  I can see his smile now, not just on his lips, but in his eyes too.

The picture of Green Stanford will return with me to Birmingham, AL. in June.  He is my inspiration.  Finding his picture on the internet has reinforced a few things.  Follow the itch.  An itch occurs for a reason.  Also, most important, what is on the surface is not always easily seen.


You be the Judge.  

Click on image to enlarge.

Green StanfordKevin Toomer 1978-2004

Green Stanford is on the left, and his 3x great grandson is on the right.


Here is a link to view pictures of Kevin Toomer, and his site.  Click on the photo gallery to see additional pictures.


  1. Catherine Toomer-Williams said

    I am just speachless. Looking at the picture of Green Stanford and my nephew Kevin Toomer almost brought tears to my eyes. Actually I had to fight back the tears when Kevin’s picture popped up. I miss seeing him. Shamele, I just don’t know what to say about you. You are truly a Blessing; not just to me as your mother but to the family on both sides ( mother and daddy).
    Thank you

  2. Shamele,
    I am glad to see that your ancestors are leading you where you want to go. I entered my email to send you a note and found your message that led me to this. I like your style of writing and could read a whole book tonight, if written by you. One gene codes for one protein so the features you see in your cousin that look like the features in Green Stanford came from the same gene and you carry that gene in your genome. Thank you for being Shamele. Moses.

  3. Anthony said

    Very nice site!

  4. Yolanda said

    Shamele, are any of your Toomers from the Port Royal/Beaufort area of SC. Were any in Sylvester Georgia….more specifically, Red Rock? My dad knew some Toomers there, and a good friend of my brother is a Melvin Toomer (from SC) in northern California.
    Very nice site…congratulations! You should be very proud of yourself….

  5. k stanford said

    I was so amazed to find this photo. Last year I put out a posting requesting information on Green Stanford. Green Stanford is my Great Great Grandfather. I also have that same picture that may be an original. If you can please reply and let me know what side of the family tree you are on. Thank you.

    • I have information on Green Stanford, Will Stanford and the Stanford family of Eufaula, AL. For more information go to the web page. There is also a book that has been published about some of the Stanford cousins and their lives in the deep south of Eufaula, AL you may be able to check it out at your local Library. The name of the book is Gone Home the publisher is East Indian.

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  9. Brutellio said

    Hello. I enjoyed reading your website.
    Have a wonderful day and keep up the good work.

  10. brenda said

    my name is brenda stanford my father name was charles stanford born jan 1932 his father was will stanford whose father was green stanford so that makes green my great grandfather i live in atlanta georgia now and would like any information on my ancestors that is available thanks brenda

    • Dear Brenda, This is Beverly Stanford i had uncle named Charles Stanford and my father Mack Stanford was his older brother. My Uncle Charles also had brother named Fred Stanford and both Mack and Fred lived in Teaneck and Engelwood, New Jersey before they died. Uncle Charles use to come from Illinois to visit, My be your Uncle Charles daughter.

  11. name said

    Good day!,

  12. samuel r toomer said

    i was amazed at the picture of kevin what caught my eye was kevin’s eye brows!all of my children and myself have the same kind of eye!that’s amazing how one little part of a person’s face.can be so profound! we have some strong genes and good looks!(will remain modest) will remain a toomer for life! hope to here from you,ya all

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  16. I have information on Green Stanford. If you would like to know more go to the web page and leave a message!

  17. September 6, 2013

    My name is Beverly Stanford and my father was Mack Stanford, may be you have hard of our family. I read your as story on Alabama Genealogy, nice peace. What I would like to share with you is the web page, we two are looking for people who my be Stanford related. If you do not all ready know our family reunions meet ever year, and have meet in all most all 50 states over the past forty years. By the way have you ever been to a Eufaula Alabama family reunion, I have it great, though I do not get to go ever year the the people I meet, and the friends I have made will stay with me for ever because they are very well organized. If you are related to us the Stanford, and the Sanford’s and Samford’s of Carlina and Alabama my God continue to be good to you and my be one day our family will meet. So, keep the dream alive of family ties, because without a vision people have no hope. Beverly Stanford Huntsville. If are related you have cousins here to and one of there names is William Stanford. Peace!

  18. Kara Stanford Haley said

    I just came across this today. I have that photo, may be the original photo. This photo was passed to me from my Mother who passed a few years ago, Carolyn Stanford. The photo was given to her from her father Roy Stanford, also deceased. And if my memory serves me right it belonged to my Grandfathers sister Lena Williamson( Alena Stanford).

    • BJ Stanford facbook\BJStanford said

      So, when am I going to meet you Stanford’s you want to share more you can talk to me on facebook at BJ Stanford.

  19. BJ Stanford facbook\BJStanford said

    Extra, Extra, Read all about it there are Dennis-Stanford and Stanford-Harris family reunion pages on facebook.

  20. Shaina Williams said

    Hi Shamele,
    Thank you for this blog. My name is Shaina. Green Stanford is my 3x great grandfather too. I’m on a journey to find my ancestry and would love to talk with you about your discoveries. I can be reached at

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