Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - Watch Night Service

Watch Night Service

There was a time when I dreaded New Year’s Eve because it meant being drug to church one more time. Don’t get me wrong, I love church and my faith has gotten me through many a difficult times but to be there on New Year’s Eve, uggh!

As a child mom, who was Baptist and who more times than not I went to church with, loaded granddad and me in the car and headed to church. Even in my adult years, mom and / or dad could often guilt me into going with them, especially mom with her “There’s no other place I would rather be to bring in the new year.” Last year, I finally understood what she meant as for the first time in my life I was at Watch Night Service because that is where I wanted and needed to be.

Before moving to Colorado for awhile, I always thought Watch Night Service was something everyone did but during my adult life, I’ve learned that Watch Night service is truly an African-American tradition and perhaps only observed in the southern states.

The tradition of bringing in the year in church appears to have it’s origins in the Moravian community, but the significance in the African-American community can be traced back to December 31, 1862, “Freedom’s Eve.” President Abraham Lincoln in his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, dated September 22, 1862, had indicated that the slaves would be freed on January 1, 1863.

So with new found vigor both in my research and the reflections on the history of our celebration, tonight when I go to Watch Night Service, I know I’ll think and wonder about them, my ancestors, as I’m already doing now, and about the thoughts that raced through their minds as they anticipated freedom. I’ll think about my 3rd great grandmother, Eliza Stovall, at the age of abt. 50, possibly with her children and grand children by her side, giving praise that she lived long enough to see this day.

So, in remembrance of all my known direct line and collateral ancestors that endured slavery, roll call:

Direct Line of known enslaved ancestors

 Paternal Ancestors

Issac Ewell – 2nd great grandfather, 1840 – unk
(date of death bwt 1870 and 1880)
Pennie Ewell – 2nd great grandmother, 1840 – unk

Maternal Ancestors

Eliza Stoval – 3rd great grandmother, abt. 1810 – unk
(date of death bwt. 1880 and 1900)
Wyatt Rome – 2nd great grandfather, 1840 – unk
(date of death after 1910)
Alice Rome – 2nd great grandmother, 1836 – unk
(date of death bwt. 1900 and 1910)
Matilda Hosch – 2nd great grandmother, 1840 – unk
Monroe Barto Hosch – great grandfather, 1862 – unk
(date of death bwt 1890 and 1900)
Jasper Pierce – 2nd great grandfather 1850 - unk
Jane Pierce – 2nd great grandmother, 1844 – unk

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 24 - Christmas Eve

Christmas Tree Buying on Christmas Eve

Sometime during my tween years, our old silver tinsel tree finally gave up the ghost. From that point until I graduated college, mom, dad, and I decided to ditch the artificial tree in favor of a “real” tree. By the end of this period, the Christmas tree, for me, became the most hilarious part of our Christmas routine. For you see, we never had a Christmas tree before late on Christmas Eve.

Every year, I would begin December 1st, begging dad to go get our tree and every year he either ignored me or stated I’m not paying those outrageous prices for something that’s only going to get used for a few days then thrown away. During the early years of having a real tree, I would sometimes remind dad that we still hadn’t gotten our tree but by the end of this period, I had learned that no tree was coming into the house any sooner than Christmas Eve. So, I waited and waited and waited for December 24th to arrive so that we could go get our tree.

Even after waiting until December 24th, dad would still make me wait until the about the last hour that his favorite tree lot, operated the Boy Scouts, was open. So, while I’m panicking that we aren’t going to have a tree, dad and I finally set out for the tree lot while mom stays home and finally starts hauling the tree decorations out.

We are finally at the tree lot. I’ve already spied the perfect tree as we are pulling up, so I jump out the car and race to it and declare dad it’s this one. I never did learn on this part of our routine. Dad always declared that my perfect tree was too tall, too big, etc. The real reason was that tree is still going to cost more money than I want to spend on this thing. So, we kept hunting until dad found a tree. Of course I usually thought it was the ugliest tree that I had seen but since he was buying it, who was I to argue. But our fun didn’t stop there. Dad always haggled to get an even lower price. My favorite dad line from the haggling was always “It’s Christmas Eve. What are you going to do with this tree tomorrow? We are the only ones here even looking at the trees.” And every year, dad won the battle. But the buying process is still not done. Dad’s final move is to ask if he can write a check. The reply is always yes, so dad writes his check out to the Boy Scouts and our Christmas tree becomes a lovely tax write-off.

We finally have our tree and head home. I spend the rest of the night decorating our tree. And for as ugly as it was on the lot, I always think it the most gorgeous tree decorated. Mom always thinks so too. Dad just cares that he got a write off, a good deal and that his daughter has stopped pestering him about a tree.

I miss those Christmas Eve tree buying trips and think of them often as I see today's sellers break down their lots days before Christmas, which begs the question, what do they do with all those unsold trees?

Until Next Time

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog Caroling - One of my favorite Christmas Carols

There are just certain Christmas carols and songs when sung immediately bring to mind all the church Christmas programs  of years gone by. For me Carol of the Bells is one of those. Just like summer is never summer until I've had Fried Green Tomatoes, the holidays just aren't the holidays until I've heard Carol of the Bells.

I'm not sure when I first fell in love with this song but ever since the first time I heard it, it moves me. Several years ago, I begin playing it on the piano but I never seem to do it justice. And as much as I love hearing it sung, I adore instrumental versions of the song.

Here are the lyrics:

Hark how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say
Throw cares away

Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold
Ding dong ding
That is their song
With joyful ring
All caroling

One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From everywhere
Filling the air

Oh how they pound
Raising the sound
O'er hill and dale
Telling their tale

Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
On on they send
On without end
Their joyful tone to every home
Dong ding dong ding

Instrumental version

Until Next Time!

Free Signature Generator

Free Signature Generator

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday -

Morris County's Daily Record (Morristown, NJ)
March 12, 1959
From the Personal Collection of Mavis Jones

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Saturday Night

which means it's time for the latest round of Randy Seaver's, Genea-Musings, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

The challenge for this week is as follows:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (where's my Mission Impossible music...drat, lost it), is:

1) Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don't you scan it again just to see if there's something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

My Earliest Unknown Ancester (MRUA) comes to me fairly quickly, my paternal granddad's, Harry Claudius Jones, biological father. This is position 8 on the Ahnentafel List (granddad is position 4)

I know nothing about this man that contributed to my genetic makeup. Something tells me that granddad didn't even know who he was. If granddad did have that knowledge he never passed it along.

The 1900, 1920, and 1930 censuses indicate that granddaddy Jones' father was born in North Carolina (silly 1910 enumerator put born in US). I have no clue if this is what he was told or just deductive reasoning on his part. I imagine that if my granddad knew who his father was that he would have given that name to one of his son's in much the same manner that he gave his biological mother's name to his daughter, Martha.

Granddaddy was born in Hamilton, Martin, NC in 1892. Granddad's biological mother was Martha Jones. She is also a mystery but at least I know her name.  From what I've been able to gather, my great-grandmother Martha was about 15 when she gave birth to granddad. Through my 21st century eyes, I've imagined every bad scenerio with regard to my granddad's conception. Did my great-grandfather even know about granddaddy?

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, granddaddy was reared by Mary and General Williams, who, as best as I can determine, never had any children of their own. I was always told and there does seem to be a possibility that Mary may have been granddad's maternal aunt. Now I'm not sure about that theory as both the 1900 and 1910 censuses classified granddad as a boarder or lodger. Surely if there were a biological connection it would be indicated.

So far, I've only found one document, granddad and grandmom's marriage license, that list granddaddy's biological mother's name and none that list his biological father. Therefore, I don't think a search of documents will benefit me in locating Mr. Sperm Donor.

Perhaps collateral relatives of General Williams might know what the story is but I'm not counting on that. From my one conversation with the one Williams descendant I came across via Ancestry, she truly believes that Mary and General Williams are granddaddy's parents. In the true sense, yes they were but biologically, no. Also, I've not heard back from her, since pointing out that granddad's biological mother was Martha Jones not Mary Williams.

I think the only way that I will be able to uncover granddad's paternal lineage is through DNA and luck. Since I refuse to believe that granddad was this man's only male child, earlier this year, I decided to have daddy's DNA tested to try to determine if there was a possible match and also to determine Haplogroup, etc. Unfortunately, I went through's ancestral DNA service / program. For as great as most things are with, their ancestral DNA program, as far as I'm concerned, is not up to snuff, starting with interpretation of the results. So, after doing additional research on ancestral DNA companies, and ancestral DNA in general, I decided to retest through (FTDNA), which I hope to do next month (ordered the kit today).

Praying that results show a close match to someone in their database. Then I can go from there. In the mean time, I'll continue to think of other approaches.

Of course, if anyone has any ideas, please pass them along.

Until Next Time!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Kreativ Blogger Award #2 - Thank you Renate!

What an enjoyable week. Not one but two genea-friends presented me with The Kreativ Blogger Award. Earlier in the week, genea-friend Gini at Ginisology presented me with the award. My response to to Gini's presentation can be found on my other blog Georgia Black Crackers.

My second Kreativ Blogger Award was presented to me by Genea-friend and fellow North Carolina researcher Renate of Into the Light. Thank you so much for the award and the recognition. It means a lot! I am honored that you chose me for the award!

The winner of The Kreativ Blogger Award has to list seven things about themselves and then pass the award on to seven other bloggers.

Since this was my second presentation, I wasn't sure if I needed to post seven more things about myself but decided to give it a go anyway.

  1. I'm not sure how many of my Genea-friends know that I have two blogs. This one, Conversations with my Ancestors, details the research of my paternal ancestors which hail from eastern NC (Martin, Bertie, and Pitt couties). The second blog, Georgia Black Crackers is about my maternal lineage, which to date is mostly in Georgia (Green, Jackson, Gwinnett, Oconee, and Walton counties). Conversations was started about a month or more after Georgia Black Crackers and between the two is the one I struggle with the most keeping updated because I just don't have the stores, etc that I do on my maternal side.
  2. Another thing some may or may not know is that I'm an only child. I remember when I was a child, I desperately wanted a brother or sister and asked dad to get me one. I think this shocked my parents, they didn't know how to respond because dad told me to ask mom. Mom asked what did dad say, then told me when she got her car paid off I could have a brother or sister. Yes, I'm still waiting. LOL I must say that as an adult I don't miss some of the issues that come with having siblings and thoroughly enjoy and relish my only child status.
  3. I never knew my paternal grandfather as he had already crossed over by the time my parents met each other and married. For the longest time, I was always happy I never met him because of how he treated grandmom. While I'm not sure if I would have had the same type of relationship with Granddady Jones as I had with my maternal grandfather, lately, I've been wishing that he was here to tell me about my great-grandmother. He obivously wasn't ashamed of her. I've always imagined that as the youngest grandchild I would have had him wrapped tightly around my finger and he would have told me everything.
  4. In elementary school, one of my favorite after school shows was Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. I'm not talking about the crap that's out now but the days of Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones, Black Jack Mulligan, Andre the Giant, the "Nature Boy" - Rick Flair, Wahoo McDaniels, et. al. Those were the days, when cousin Daryl (yes the one that I was joined at the hip with) and I would try to do all those crazy moves. It's a wonder we didn't kill ourselves.
  5. My 30 year HS reunion is in a couple of weeks and I have no clue what I'm going to wear. Had hope to be down about 10 more pounds but at this point, I don't think it is going to happen. Heck I'm know even sure I'm going to be down 5 more pounds but overall, I am down 16 pounds compared to where I was this time last year and ever little bit helps. I will be at my goal weight this time next year!
  6. This year, I've been on a mini reading binge. Surprisingly I'm even finding myself  reading a little sci fi thanks to my cousin LaZealtrice who self-published her first book this year.
  7. As far as I know, I was the first and have been the only black majorette at my HS. Shortly after I graduated and our old band instructor retired, the marching band went with a more military style which totally eliminated the majorettes.
Even though the second presentation gives me the opportunity to pass the award on to an additional seven genea-friends / fellow geneabloggers, it's no easier than it was the first time that I did it. There are so many blogs that I admire and enjoy reading that I don't want to leave anyone out.

Lessons From my Ancestors Sara Beth

But Now I'm Found Jennifer

Family Stories Caroline

I Never Knew My Father Sandra Taliaferro

Find Your Folks Drusilla Pair

Even though he's on an extended hiatus right now I would still like to also recognize Remember Our Names Terrence Garnet

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Graves of
Toussaint L'Ouverture Jones, my uncle, and his wife, Aunt Lil

I think I can count on one hand the visits Uncle Toot made back to NC during my lifetime. You see, when he and Aunt Lil got married, there was some type of falling out between he and granddad and granddad told Uncle Toot never to bring that woman in his house, again. While I don't know if this is the reason Uncle Toot and Aunt Lil moved to TN, I think this probably played a big part in their decision to get away from the family. On occasion Uncle Toot would come for a visit but I don't ever remember seeing Aunt Lil until I was l in my mid 20s.

Through the years, I've often tried to find out exactly what happened between Uncle Toot, Aunt Lil and granddad, but those darn aunts, uncles, and even dad were and are a tight lipped bunch on this one. I suspect we nieces and nephews will never know since all the major players in this family secret are gone. I did hear that when granddad was on his death bed, he told grandmom to tell Aunt Lil to forgive him.

Whatever the battle was, it's over now. So, may you both rest in peace.

Until Next Time!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Surname Saturday + Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver's, Genea-Musings, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge, offered a perfect opportunity to combine Surname Saturday and SGNF.

Surname Saturday

The Jones name comes from my paternal grandfather. While it seems to be a very common name, for me it represents my line I know the least about.

According to Wikipeida, it's region of origin is England and Wales. The english usuage of the name comes from term Son of John, similar in usage / meaning to the surname Johnson. And in Wales, it derives from the corruption of loan, Sion or leuan, which is the Welsh version of John. (1)

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge

The instructions for this week were as follows:

  1. Find out the geographical distribution of your surname - in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file - you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.
  2. Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.
I went to the Public Profiler Website and entered "Jones" in the surname box and here is the result for Jones.

The Top Five Countries for the Jones surname are UNITED KINGDOM (9298.36 FPM), AUSTRALIA (6132.79 FPM), UNITED STATES (4954.1 FPM), NEW-ZEALAND (4002.11 FPM), and CANADA (1668.05 FPM).
Wales is the overall top region where the Jones surname is found and the top US region is Mississippi.
No cities in the US are among the top ten cities where the Jones surname is found.
Until next time!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Here's to our Future

The next Generation
Original held by L. H. A.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Your Most Unique Ancestral Name - SNGF Challenge

Both last week and this, I've been a day late in participating in Randy Seaver's, Genea-Musings, Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge.

This weeks challenge reads

Hey, genealogy fans - it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

In honor of Surname Saturday (the new, official genealogy blogging prompt for Saturdays), let's consider this, assuming you accept the challenge to play along (is it Mission Impossible?):

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database - in your ancestry.

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

3) Okay, if you don't have a really good one - how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

Mine would have to be my uncle Corn Sill Jones. Yes, you saw that right, Corn Sill. At least until I started doing my research, that's what I always was told, by Aunt Martha, his name was.
Uncle Corn Sill didn't have a very long life. He only lived 6 months. As the story was relayed to me, he was named after Mr. Corn and Mr. Sill who both had some type of interaction / dealings with my grandfather and impressed him enough that granddad named his baby boy after both men. I'me always telling my cousins that our uncle didn't want to be saddled with the name so he decided to check out a bit early.
A few months ago, I came across my uncle's death certificate which shows his name as being Coan Sills not Corn Sill. Either way it's still a most unusal name. 
Until next time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Challenge #4

Family History Month Challenge #4 from Afrigeneas reads as follows:

OK, everybody, get ready for CHALLENGE #4 this weekend. You have through Sunday to post your entry on one of these themes: 1. Memories of your father at work or at play, or 2. Write about a milestone in you life. That's it! Have fun with it.

These days my dad always jokes about how much time I spend on the computer / internet but I recall when he had a similar hobby / passion. He seens to forget that to a certain degree this passion / obsession comes from him.You see for most of my adolescent and adult life, dad was really into ham radio.

For dad, what started out as a small passing interest, soon came to be an obession. I don't remember how old I was when daddy decided that he wanted to get into ham radio. He had a CB radio for a short time but at some point during the early to mid 1970s he switched to ham radio. Daddy spent endless nights in our kitchen listening to records of morse code and studying for the next exam. As a side note, morse code was the only "foreign language" that I never had difficulty learning which I think, at least for me, proves that children should learn foreign languages, etc. down in the grades and not when they are almost grown (HS) and it should be a natural learning experience but I digress.

While daddy had a true passion for his hobby, I must say that his motivating force for always seeking the next level of licensure came from a fellow teacher who was also a ham radio operator and told daddy he wasn't capable of learning morse code, etc. At least that's daddy's version of what was said. Ahh, I digress again.

After daddy got his license, I use to always love hearing him talk to folks half-way around the world, or so it seemed, and listening to the seemingly constant stream of morse code that came across depending on what band he was operating on. And I'll never forget the trip to parts unkown for daddy to haul back the clunky WWI or II era teletype machine that never worked and still sits in the basement of the old homestead. And oddly, although I was bored at the time, I even enjoyed going to all the hamfests (big swap meets for ham radio operators).

Eventually, daddy was trying to yank the rest of the family into his new hobby because that's daddy. If he's doing something we all had to do it. Daddy pulled two of his older brother's in although Uncle Johnnyson was the only one that really got into it. Daddy even tried to bribe me to take up the hobby. Don't get me wrong, I eventually got my Technician license but the carrot he dangled was not the motivating force. You see that carrot was I'll give you a CD (certificate of deposit) and not actual money being deposited into my hands so for me it was like big deal, what am I going to do with a CD. The reason I eventually got my license was so daddy would quit bugging me about it but it turns out that while I never did develop a passion for the hobby, I enjoyed talking on the little 2-meter radio that he gave me after I got my license even though for the most part the only person I talked to was daddy.

By the mid 1990's, daddy had essentially given up his beloved hobby. I had moved out of state by then and my little 2-meter radio was not going to reach from Colorado to North Carolina. Daddy tried to get me to upgrade my license but I never did because when it got down to it ham radio was truly his passion and not mine. Uncle Johnnyson, as some know from a previous post, moved out of state to be closer to my cousins and his grandchildren, so I think the only time he was on anymore was whenever he came back to NC.

When I moved back home in 1998, daddy was no longer doing ham radio but still stayed some what active in the local ham radio club and we would still try to get to the Shelby Hamfest, which was held in my hometown, and is considered the granddaddy of the hamfest in our area but I think for both of us we eventually even lost the bit of interest we both still had.

So, for all you Hams out there


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Celebrating Family History Month - Challenge #2

Afrigeneas is celebrating Family History month.

The instructions for Challenge #2 are as follows:

On Saturday or Sunday, October 3 and 4, post a photo and/or write about either:
1. Memories of Mom in the kitchen or 2. Sunday memories

I decided to write about Sunday memories

Most of my Sunday memories are good memories. However, at least once a year my Jones cousins and I had to suffer through the most excrutiating time of our young lives (sorry don't have a picture of this).

During the summer months when all my cousins minus one (the oldest), aunt, and uncles descended upon my hometown, my Aunt Martha's house was the meeting place because that's where everyone, except for me, was. So on Sunday after church, we would take off our Sunday best, put on our play clothes, and be ready to go. But there was one little problem, when at Aunt Martha's house, Sundays were for reverence. We weren't allowed to watch TV, we weren't allowed to pull out any toys, we weren't allowed to well kids. This Sunday tradition started with my grandmother and perhaps her mother before her. The irony is that except for Aunt Martha, nobody else in the family seem to follow this tradition. I know my parents didn't and neither did my cousins' parents, so that's why it was like torture for us to sit quitely and do nothing.

Later in life, when we were older and all had driving privileges, everyone figured out they could escape over to my house. And as an adult, I even helped my younger cousin Denise escape, which was really funny. When her mom, who is my first cousin, found out, I remember her mom telling her if we had to suffer through it, you can, too.

As an adult, I sometimes find myself longing for those torturous Sunday afternoons. With the Jones side of my family being so small (especially compared to my maternal side) and spread from east coast to west coast, I don't see my cousins nearly often enough. So strange as it may sound, I do miss those days.

Until Next Time!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Madness Monday

Following the high of Thursday, I have to report that I've not heard back from Isabella. What's even more frustrating is that after the initial contact, I saw where she saved more information from my tree, including pictures, to her "private" tree. This certainly creates a dilemma now doesn't it.

There is the side of me that wants to keep my tree public because I have had some good experiences. After all I did meet two almost cousins (we share a branch of our trees) on my maternal side, and mom and I have even been invited to go on their family reunion cruise next year. We've even shared pictures of  our common line and both of us have had contact with newly found cousins from the shared line. And thus it's the mutual sharing of information that says leave it public.

But then there is the other side of me that thinks I should tightly guard everything for a host a reasons.

Decisions, decisions.

Geneafamily, what's your thoughts?

Until next time!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Unexpected - Recent Member Connect Activity

Today started off like any other genealogical day. Where and what avenue next to try to break through the brick wall of my ggrandmother Martha Jones. So, I was on Ancestry, bright and early this AM when I noticed that someone had added my grandparents and my uncle Claudius to their "private" tree. To tell you the truth, I actually found this to be a bit unsettling. My paternal side of the family is the much smaller of my two lines and no known relatives on my paternal grandfather's line outside of course my aunts, uncles, etc., so you can see why this would be a bit unsettling. Who was this person? Why is their tree private? And most importantly, why are they adding my grandparents and family members to their tree. Well, I decided that the only way to get to the bottom of this was to just ask the person. So, I sent a message via ancestry. For some reason, I wasn't expecting a response. Maybe it was due to the whole tree being private, nothing in their profile, etc.

Well, I did get a response and the gut tells me that I've possibly found relatives I never knew existed. So, let's see if I can lay out the details as quickly as possible. My General Williams, who along with Mary Elizabeth Jones (Jones surname not documented, yet) Williams, reared my grandfather is Isabella's great uncle and get this, Isabella's grandmother's name on her paternal side is Isabella Jones.

Is it possible that Isabella, Mary, and my Martha were sisters? This is not just a coincident. There is something here, I can just feel it. So, return e-mail has been sent and I try to patiently wait for a response from hopefully a new cousin and for a new lead to the mystery of my ggrandmother Martha.

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Uncle I Never Met

I never met my uncle T. Langston , as everyone in the family called him. In my adult life, I determined that the T stood for Thomas and so now when I talk about him, I always call him Thomas Langston. Uncle Thomas' grad school student ID is one of only two pictures that I have of him and I just recently discovered the student ID (it was tucked behind his Masters diploma). Uncle Thomas drowned, along with his girlfriend, while attending grad school at the University of Michigan. Dad and my aunts and uncles always relayed that Uncle Thomas, who couldn't swim, and his girlfriend were on an outing on the Huron river when their boat capsized ,and both Uncle Thomas and his girlfriend drowned. Now his youngest niece, that would be me, always thought there was foul play but I've been able to finally put that thought to rest. You see along with the student ID was a clipping of his girlfriend's memorial / funeral service, which stated she drowned trying to save him after their canoe overturned.

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Aunt Mable Berry

According to cousin Alice Berry's letter to me (1991), Aunt Mable, cousin Alice's mom, was my great-grandmother's, Edith Ewell, younger sister. Cousin Alice said great grandmom finished rearing her mother after the death of my 2ggrandmother. Maybe it's just me but I've always thought it strange that she never showed up on any of the censuses but I have to admit that I've not really looked that hard for her. The other strangeness was that given the closness of cousin Alice and her mom to dad and my aunt's and uncles, they always talked about Cousin Alice being a distant cousin and we were the only family she had. Hearing that for so long, I was really shocked when cousin Alice revealed that she and my grandmother were first cousins and that Aunt Mabel was grandmom's aunt. Sigh, my paternal side, what can I say.
Until Next Time!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Birthday to My First Love, My Dad

banner Pictures, Images and Photos

banner Pictures, Images and Photos

I remember like it was yesterday, when I declared to mom I was going to marry daddy when I grew up. She kept trying to explain to me why that was impossible. She didn't even try to explain based on that you were dad, but that you were already married, to her. My however young self just didn't get it because I remember declaring that I didn't care because you were the man for me and dangit we were going to be married. I did eventually figure out why this couldn't be.

We've had our ups and downs through the years but at the end of it all you're still dad, my first love. So Happy 81st Birthday, and may you be able to celebrate so many more.

Your Daughter

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Story of Two Aunts and One Man

Martha E. Jones and Genva C. Hosch Jackson

To date, I’ve not come across any true black sheep in my family. There are probably those that present and deceased family consider / considered black sheep but in the true sense of black sheep are not. As a result, I never have had anything to contribute to Black Sheep Sunday and even this is not about Black Sheep but the funny story of two aunts, my dad’s big sis, Martha, my mother’s baby sister, Geneva, and one man, Cleveland. I thought that Black Sheep Sunday was the perfect day to remember it.

Now I don’t think I was born when this story took place (if I was I don’t remember any of it) and to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure my parents were married at the time. So, it’s another story that was relayed to me by my mother and it’s one I laugh at every time my mother tells it because having known both aunts, I know all of this took place in exactly the manner as my mother tells it.

Until I find out differently, let’s just assume that my parents were married at the time this story takes place. My two aunts, Martha and Geneva, were both dating Cleveland at the same time. Now my mother knew they were both seeing the same man. Dad on the other hand didn’t. So, as time went by whenever Aunt Martha saw Cleveland’s mother, she would say there goes my mother-in-law, etc., etc., etc. Now momma could have told Aunt Martha that Cleveland was seeing someone else but mom never said a word. Momma, you know you were wrong for that.

I’m sure by now you can guess where this story is heading. Yes, it was soon announced that Aunt Geneva and Cleveland were getting married. Reportedly dad says to mom, “I didn’t know your sister was seeing Sister’s boyfriend.” Mom always thought it was more that Aunt Martha was seeing her sister’s boyfriend.

One day, after she and Cleveland were married Aunt Geneva, I imagine with her usual cackle, asked her hubby why he decided to marry her instead of Aunt Martha given the fact that Aunt Martha was a school teacher and all and she was just a country girl who longed for the action of the big city. Uncle Cleveland liked Aunt Martha but thought she was just a little too bossy.

Aunt Martha never married. She doted on her 6 nieces and nephews. She never forgot our birthdays. To a certain degree, she was the preserver of the bit of family history that I do have on the paternal side of my family. The older pictures that I have of my Jones, Ewell, and Everett ancestors were Aunt Martha’s. She’s the only person I personally know that has been back to the motherland, Africa. She did a couple of trips bringing goodies back each time. (I have some of her artifacts.) Aunt Martha died in 2000. I get constant reminders of her presence, whether it is looking after her house, which she left to my dad, rummaging through the pictures for something to post for Wordless Wednesday, or just staring at the masks and sculptures that she brought back from Africa and that now have a place of honor in my own home.

Aunt Geneva, my cousin Leon (Aunt Geneva’s son) and Uncle Cleveland moved to Detroit. Aunt Geneva and Uncle Cleveland eventually added my cousin Maynard to their family. Aunt Geneva was always sending us packages from the big city. One of my favorite dolls and one of my favorite elementary school outfits came from Aunt Geneva. Aunt Geneva died in August 1995. My last remembrance of seeing Aunt Geneva is May of 1995 when she came to North Carolina to attend Uncle John’s funeral. She stayed with Aunt Marie. Aunt Marie didn’t have a microwave. Aunt Geneva upon realizing that Aunt Marie lacked this vital appliance declared in true Aunt Geneva fashion, “Awww Marie, everyone needs a microwave. When I get back to Detroit, I’m going to send you a microwave.” And she did.

So, there you have it, the story of two aunts and one man.

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Granddaddy Jones and Mrs. Mary Williams

Monday, August 31, 2009

Madness Monday Part 2 - Continuing the Hunt for GGrandmother Martha through General Williams

My goal is to find solid evidence, beyond my grandparents' marriage certificate, of my great grandmother, Martha Jones. Part 2 of this week's Madness Monday looks at General Williams who, along with Mary Elizabeth Williams, reared my grandfather, Harry Claudius Jones.

1900 Federal Census - General "WILLIAMS," Head, living in Hamilton township, Martin County, NC. Black, Male, born Jan 1868, age 32, married 9 years, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother Born in NC. Wife, Mary E "WILLIAMS," Black, Female, born Jan. 1872, age 28, married 9 years, born in North Carolina, Father born in North Carolina, Mother born in North Carolina.

Other members of household are as follows:

Je* "WILLIAMS," Head, Black, Female, born Mar 1829, age 70, widowed, 17 children born, 10 living. Born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC

Joseph "WILLIAMS," son of Je* "WILLIAMS," Black, Male, born Sep 1883, age 16, Single, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC

Clansly "JONES," Boarder of Je* "WILLIAMS," Black, Male, born Jul 1892, age 7, Single, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC (I'm sure that this is my grandfather)

Leter "JONES," Boarder of Je* "WILLIAMS," Black, Male, born Aug 1892, age 7, Single, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC

Martha "JONES," Head, Head, Black, Female, born Aug 1877, age 22, Single, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC (I've always assumed that this is great grandmother Martha)

1910 Federal Census - JL "WILLIAMS," living in Hamilton Township, Martin County, NC. Head, Male, Black, age 42, M2, married 19 years. See previous post for the remainder of the 1910 listing.

1920 Federal Census - General "WILLIAMS," living in Cross Roads Township, Martin County, NC, Head, Male, Black, age 53, married, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC. . See previous post for the remainder of the 1920 listing.

Death Certificate - shows that General Williams died on July 25, 1923. He died in Robersonville, Martin, NC. Wife: Mary E. Williams; Father: General Williams; Mother: Jane Williams; Birth Place: Bertie County, NC. Interment at Hamilton Cemetery in Martin County, NC.

Based on the Death Certificate, the 1870 and 1880 censuses for Bertie County were reviewed and the following listings were noted.

1880 Federal Census - General "WILLIAMS," living in Woodville Township, Bertie County, NC, Head, Black, Male, Age 55, Farming, Born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC.

Jane "WILLIAMS," wife, Black, Female, Age 50, Farm Laborer, Born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC.

The following children are listed:

Sarah, daughter, Age 16, born in NC
Hester, granddaughter, Age 1, born in NC
Harry, son, Age 15, born in NC
Genl, son, Age 13, born in NC
Mary, daughter, Age 12, born in NC
Lazarous, son, Age 10, born in NC
Alviny, daughter, Age 9, born in NC
Rosilla, daughter, Age 7, born in NC
Frank, Something other than direct relationship, Age 3, Born in NC

1870 Federal Census - General "WILLIAMS," living in Woodville Township, Bertie County, NC, Age 47, Male, Black, Born in NC

Jane "WILLIAMS," Age 39, Female, Black, Born in NC
Alice "WILLIAMS," Age 18, Female, Black, Born in NC
Della "WILLIAMS," Age 14, Female, Black, Born in NC
Hannah "WILLIAMS," Age 11, Female, Black, Born in NC
Eliza "WILLIAMS," Age 10, Female, Black, Born in NC
Henry "WILLIAMS," Age 8, Male, Black, Born in NC
General "WILLIAMS," Age 4, Male, Black, Born in NC
Mary "WILLIAMS," Age 1/12, Female, Black, Born in NC

So, I've been able to find / establish my General Williams, who along with Ms. Mary, reared my grandfather.

I've still not been able to find Ms. Mary or great-grandmother Martha, prior to 1900. I plan to do more "walking" through the neighborhoods to make sure that I did't overlook her / them. It's possible that Ms. Mary's Jones surname could have come from her first marriage and could explain why I've not been able to find her.

In finding the additional census listings, I've noticed that never once is my grandfather given a blood relationship to Ms. Mary / General Williams. I'm use to seeing nephews and nieces indicated on the censuses, also. Therefore, this leads me to wonder if the blood relationship that the family had always assumed existed between granddad and Ms. Mary just isn't there. Now I suppose since all realtionships are in relation to the head of the household that it's still possible he could be related to Ms. Mary but since he wouldn't be to General Williams, the relationships to Mary wouldn't be indicated via census records. Just something else to ponder.

Until Next Time!

Madness Monday - The Hunt Continues for a Great Grandmother: Part I, Mary Elizabeth Jones Williams

Thanks to GeneJ, administrator and leader for Most Wanted! Ancestors Lost and Found group on Genealogywise, and thanks to the remembrances of my mother, I recently unearthed a few more clues in the search for great grandmother Martha Jones.

First let me review the limited clues that I had

My grandfather, Harry Claudius Jones (1892 - 1955) was reared by Mary Elizabeth Williams and General Williams.

My grandparents married on Dec. 27, 1914. On the marriage license, my grandfather indicated that his mother was Martha Jones and that she was still living.

1900 census analysis from an earlier post.

All these years, I've always tried to follow Ms. Mary back in time, without any success, figuring that she would lead me back to my great grandmother. Don't know why but rarely ever did I try to follow her or General Williams forward.

I now realize, thanks to GeneJ, that I have to think completely outside the box when it comes to this particular line of my family. The straight lines of conventional methods are useless. With GeneJ's help, I've been following both Mary and General Williams pre- and post 1900.

Let's start with Mary

1900 Federal Census - living in Hamilton township, Martin County, NC as the wife of General "WILLIAMS." Mary E "WILLIAMS," Black, Female, born Jan. 1872, age 28, married 9 years, born in North Carolina, Father born in North Carolina, Mother born in North Carolina.

Other information for this household was listed in my previous post.

1910 Federal Census - living in Hamilton township, Martin Count, NC as the wife of JL "WILLIAMS." M2 Mary E "WILLIAMS," Black, Female, age 37, M2, married 19 years, 0 children born, 0 children living, born in US, Father born in US, Mother born in US.

The following person is also listed with JL and Mary E:

Claudius Jones, Lodger, male, black, age 17, single, born in US, Father born in US, Mother born in US.

1920 Federal Census - living in Cross Roads township, Martin County, NC as the wife of General "WILLIAMS." Marie "WILLIAMS," black, female, age 47, married, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC.

The following person is also listed with JL and Mary E:

Mary Furman, Boarder, female, black, age 46, widowed, born in NC, Father born in NC, Mother born in NC.

Death Certificate - Locating Ms. Mary's death certificate was a bit tricky until I remembered a casual statement my mother had made a few months ago. My mother remembered that after Ms. Mary had gotten up in years, her caregiver contacted my grandmother saying that she could no longer take care of Ms. Mary and asked my grandmother to take care of her. Well, this past week, I quizzed mom more on her remembrances of Ms. Mary, and mom told me that she was living in Winston-Salem, NC with grandmom Jones at the time of her death and that she had been taken back to the eastern part of the state for burial. Mom's remembrance even gave me a time frame because this occurred after my parents had married in 1959.

Unfortunately, Ms. Mary's death certificate didn't reveal a lot. My grandmother was the informant and appears to not have known who Ms. Mary's parents were. Ms. Mary died on Sept. 2, 1963. I was 2 at the time and obviously remember none of this. My grandmother buried Ms. Mary in Pitt County, North Carolina. Now I do wonder why grandmother had Ms. Mary buried in Pitt County given that General Williams, who had died much earlier, was buried in Martin. Perhaps there is no meaning to be attached and that was where my grandmother was able to find a burial location for her. Maybe she didn't even know where General Williams was buried. Just one more thing to consider.

Now on to Part 2, General Williams

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ancestors that I have Met

This is the second of Randy Seaver's, Genea-Musings, Saturday Challenges that I have participated in.

Tonight's challenge was as follows:

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

Earl Wilton Jones (1928 - Present), my father was born in Lumberton, NC. As a young boy, dad moved with his family to Winston-Salem, NC, which is where he grew up, and considers Winston-Salem his hometown.

Iola Everett Jones (1893 - 1969), my paternal grandmother. She was born in the Cross Roads section of Martin County, NC. She met and married my grandfather on Dec. 27, 1914 (Martin County, NC). She and granddad and their young family left Martin County and eventually settled in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, NC. There were a few stops in other NC counties along the way, Halifax and Roberson. I remember visiting my grandmother in Winston-Salem. As her health begin to decline, my aunt brought her to my hometown to live with her. She resided there until her death. She's buried beside my grandfather in Winston-Salem, NC.

So, on my paternal side I've met 2 ancestors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Johnnyson "JP" Jones

Friday, August 7, 2009

Uncle Johnnyson

Today's post is dedicated to my Uncle Johnnyson.

Growing up, outside of my aunt Martha, my Uncle Johnnyson was the only other aunt or uncle from my paternal side that lived in the state of North Carolina. When I was a child, Uncle Jonnyson's cigars used to always fascinate me. I remember so many times sitting by him while he puffed on his cigar and asking if I could flick the ashes off. I don't know why but he would always let me do it. From my perspective, sometimes those darn ashes weren't building up fast enough, as I was always trying to grab his cigar out of his mouth so I could flick away the ashes for him. So there were a lot of times I was told, it's not time, yet. So I would sit and squirm until I got the go ahead to flick.

I don't see Uncle Johnnyson much these days. After my cousins and their families moved to the DC area, Uncle Johnnyson moved there, too, to be near them. So, instead of seeing him practically every weekend like I used to, it's now maybe every couple of years. The last few times I saw him, it seems like the early signs of Alzheimer's, which at some point seems to afflict practically every one on the paternal side of my family, was rearing its ugly head. This week, thanks to my cousin Denise, I saw a picture of Uncle Johnnyson that was taken earlier this year. I almost didn't even recognize him and wished for the Uncle whose ashes I was always trying to flick. In that instant, I knew that the genealogical research trips would have to be put on hold for awhile longer because I needed to get my dad up to DC so he could spend some time with his brother. I know the ancestors will understand because you see it's just dad and Uncle Johnnyson left from their generation. I think it will be good for both of them. I hope. The last time they saw each other was fall of 2006 right before dad came to live with me for a couple of months and before he moved into an assisted living facility. Since then, dad's health has been a constant battle which affects him mentally, also. When I mentioned to dad that I was planning to take him up to DC to see Uncle Johnnyson, he thought it was a good idea, too.

Unless, I can coordinate schedules (the cousins and mine) so that I can go sooner, the trip will still end up being a couple of months away (October) but at least I have a target date. And yes, I think I need this trip just as much as daddy and uncle Johnnyson.

Til next time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - A Going Home Service

This week's tombstone Tuesday isn't exactly a tombstone. It's a picture from my great -grandmother's, Edith Ewell Everett, going home service.

This picture has haunted me for years. According to the description that Aunt Martha wrote by this picture, my grandmother and my oldest uncle, Thomas Langston Jones, are supposed to be in the picture, but for the life of me I've never been able to identify them and silly me never thought to ask my aunt while she was still living. My uncle would have been 3 when my great-grandmother died. For some reason, all the children in this picture have always seemed older than three.

The only person that I'm fairly confident that I can identify is my great-grandfather. I believe that's him with the umbrella. To me, he looks like an older version of my other picture that I have of my great-grandfather.

I've often wondered if other relatives / ancestors are in this picture. Could some of the women be my great-great aunts?

The bigger question is where is my great-grandmother buried. I suspect it's going to take a trip to the eastern part of the North Carolina to try to answer that question. I have a copy of her death certificate but no cemetery or undertaker is indicated on it. Sounds like a research trip is in order to Martin County. At the rate things are going, this trip will probably get done sooner than the one I'm trying to plan for GA to research my maternal ancestors.
Until Next Time!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fingers crossed

At the end of May, while googling African-American Everett families from Martin County, NC, I came across an old thread / post on Ancestry. When I say old, I mean that it was started in 2001. The last reply / response was in April of 2008.

Even though it was old, I decided to take a chance and leave a response outlining my Everett Genealogy as I knew it at that time (about a week later I unearthed possible names of my great-great-grandparents). Didn't hear anything. Then last night, I received an e-mail from the originator of the thread. Responded back but haven't received a return e-mail, yet.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is a possible link to a lost branch of our family. I must admit that if it is, it might be difficult to determine at the present time. While I'm able to piece together grandmother's aunts and uncles on her mom's line using the censuses, I know nothing about her dad's line.

Until June, all I knew about my great-granddad was that his name was Peter T. "PT" Everett and that he owned a store. As I recently got a copy of his death certificate, I also possibly have his parent's names, Henry Everett and Vica Ann. I'll post more about my Everett line in another thread.

The other poster doesn't know anything about her Everett line either other than they were from Martin County, NC also. Her grandfather's name was Charles Everett

I have to admit that I'm having another one of my crazy gut feelings. Don't all genealogist get them? I just have a feeling about this. Hopefully, I hear back from the other poster soon. I'm sitting on pins and needles now in anticipation that perhaps I'm reclaiming a part of our family.

Til Next Time!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My parents - couple on the right
My Uncle (dad's brother), Toussaint L'Oveture Jones and his wife, Lillie Arnell Jones

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Facing Mortality

Having a tombstone while still living, definitely forces one to face their own mortality.

During my childhood, youth, and even as a young adult, I thought of death but only in regards to my relatives and ancestors. I don't know if it was an only child thing, but when I was a child, I use to sometimes wake up terrified that something had happened to my parents. My mother would always reassure me that they were okay and that I didn't need to worry. Then throughout junior high and high school, every time the phone range, I was fearful that it was someone calling to say that my maternal granddad had passed, yet when the call finally came during my senior year in HS, I still wasn't prepared.

In my 20s, like most young people of that age, I thought life would go on forever. It didn't phase me that I was already losing friends and classmates by the time of my 10 year HS reunion.

The first time I was forced to think about my own mortality was in my late 20s or early 30s. My mother called to tell me that she, dad, and my Aunt Martha had been discussing burial plots. At the time, my aunt wanted to be buried near my parents and mom wanted to know if I wanted to be buried next to them or did I want to wait, in case I got married. Mainly because I didn't want to think about it (I couldn't even think about their mortality much less my own), I told her I would wait. Eventually, Aunt Martha decided to be buried with her parents and brother (she remembered there was a fourth plot there) and except for mom giving me all the details about her and dad's plots, the subject was actually put to rest until 2007.

In 2007, one of my childhood friend's lost her battle with cancer. No questions were even asked this time. Next thing I knew I had both a plot and a marker. I remember the first time I saw it, I still didn't want to talk about it. But somewhere along the way between then and now, I've come to terms with it and now am always pointing it out to someone. I must say that it was still kind of freaky when I pulled it up on

Acceptance of your mortality is something most of us will have to face. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up but living each day to the fullest with no regrets because tomorrows aren't guaranteed.

Till next time!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - My Paternal Grandparents

Harry Claudius Jones and Iola Everett Jones

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Search for a Great-Grandfather, Ancestral DNA, Haplogroups, and Mali

Seems like so much has happened in the genealogical world during my ten year break. One of the most fascinating areas to me, that is big in the genealogical community, is the use of DNA to search for ancestors. And so it was with excitement, anticipation, and nervousness that I decided to have both my paternal and maternal lines tested.

First I should probably do a brief explanation of what ancestral DNA is and is not.

1. Ancestral DNA can not provide you with your complete family or tell you who your ancestors were.
2. Ancestral DNA can
  • Determine if two people are related
  • Determine if two people descend from the same ancestor
  • Help in determining if you are related to others with the same surname
  • Prove or disprove your family tree research
  • Provide clues about your ethnic origin
Two types of DNA tests are available, mtDNA and YDNA. mtDNA is passed from a mother to her children, both male and female, without any mixing. So, mtDNA shows your mother's DNA, her mother's DNA and so forth back through the generations. Y Line Test tracks the Y Chromosome, which is only passed from father to son. YDNA tests can only be performed on a male descendant. Markers in both tests can be used to determine an individual's Haplogroup, which is a grouping of individuals with the same genetic characteristics.

There is also autosomal DNA, which as I understand it, is supposed to look at percentages of various groups that you descended from. If you need further information, check out Ancestral DNA 101,, or just google ancestral DNA.
Testing and Results
I went through and ordered the 33-marker test. At this time I decided not to do the mtDNA test on dad. Probably the only thing I've regretted in doing this is going through Ancestry. Not because Ancestry didn't do a good job with the testing but because their database is not the greatest. I chose them primarily because I was already a member of Ancestry, could link the results to the family trees I have there, and finally, price.

Although dad complained the entire time (don't know why you are doing this, all those people are dead), testing was easy. After receiving the kit from Ancestry, I took the 3 swabs that came with the kit, swabbed the inside of dad's checks, put the swabs back in envelope that was provided, dropped them in the mail, then anxiously awaited the results.

Haplogroup I1 - the Stonemasons
I received the results back much sooner than I expected and must admit I was surprised by the results. Dad's Haplogroup was I1 (formerly I1a) and the report stated that ancient ancestors primarily occupied what is now present day Norway, Sweden, Denmark and part of Finland. Not that I didn't believe miscegeny could have occurred, but if it did, unlike my other lines, there just didn't appear to be any identifiable physical traits of it. Of course that's purely conjecture as I never met my grandfather and am only going off the pictures I've seen of him.

Here is where the frustration with Ancestry's database comes in. Their database showed a really close match, within 3 generation of having a common ancestor in the last 70 years. I wrote this person not once but twice before realizing that the match hadn't checked in in over a year. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed. I was so looking forward to possibly having more family members.

Sorenson Database and Mali
Thanks to a wonderful new genealogical networking site,, I've learned about other databases where I can take dad's results and manually enter them into their database.
So, last night, dad's results were entered into the Sorenson database. And the results are surprising given the Ancestry DNA report. My ancient ancestors more than likely came from present day Mali and our african surname is possibly Traore. Let's just say at the 85% match, ton's of names from Mali showed with the Traroe surname being the most common, etc. (23/25 markers).

What this Means to Me
I set about trying to determine who my great-grandfather (father of Harry Claudius Jones) was and that desire has not vanquished. Given the circumstances of my grandfather's birth, I suspect I may never find my great-grandfather. I won't give up on trying to find him but with regard to my Jones line, I finally feel like I'm starting to build a trunk to my tree even if I don't have names. It's the realization that I am no longer just part of a branch but something bigger than myself even I don't fully know what it is. It's being able to say, at least for now, my family came from Mali.

One of these days, when funds allow, I hope to retest through Family Tree DNA or another site that has a more extensive database than Ancestry, so that I hopefully can get in touch with possible relataives. In the meantime, I'll do further research on Mali and specifically the Traore family, and I also need to understand Haplogroup I1 more and its connection to that part of Africa.

Till Next Time!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Missed Opportunity ?????

Last night while conversing with CHASTITY, Genealogywise, about her Jones line and my Jones line, I suddenly remembered my Aunt Martha telling me about a family, surname Gaynor, that I think lived in Texas that were our cousins. So, as I was looking for the information on the Gaynors, I reread a letter Aunt Martha had written to me in 1991 when I was in the early stages of this search. There it was just as plan as day yet somehow I've missed it all these years, the two cousins, Ophelia Hargett and Arbutus Carter, that were still alive and living in Martin County, Williamston, in 1991.

I immediately plugged Ophelia's name into ZabaSearch and to my surprise there was a match for an Ophelia Hargett in Williamston, NC. So I thought to confirm the ZabaSearch results that I would double check using No match. Not to be deterred, I decided to search census, birth, and death records, using Ancestry, to try to find Ophelia. No matches for birth or census but there appears to be a match for a Death Certificate.

  • Vonzella Ophelia Hargett
  • Female
  • Black
  • Non-Hispanic
  • 78 years
  • Date of Birth - 25 Jul 1919
  • Birth County - Martin
  • Date of Death - 3 Aug 1997
  • Death County - Bertie
Is this the Ophelia that Aunt Martha referred to? I may never know but I'm not about to give up now because one of my goals when I started looking for my ancestors was a determination to reclaim lost lines of my family. Many years have passed since I first started my research and I ended up taking a 10 year break, (What can I say, life took over) but the need, the desire, to reclaim my kin is just as strong now as it ever was.
As I continue to hunt for my information on the Gaynors (where did I put it), I can say I've learned a valuable lesson here
  1. No more 10 year brakes - At this point in my life, the ancestors cannot afford for me to take another break of that magnitude.
  2. Always, always, go back and look at notes, documents, etc. - Now that I've awaken from my 10 year hiatus, I'm constantly picking up on things in documentation, notes, etc. that I never would have noticed when I first started. I really believe this comes with maturity as a genealogist. Unfortunately, many of us when we first began the journey do try to get back as far as we can as fast as we can and even now, I sometimes find myself falling back into that pattern. In the early stages of research, we don't often pick up on what appears to be an insignificant mention of a name, place, event because in those early days and years of research, unless it has to do with your direct line you aren't as interested. As you mature in your research efforts, you begin to realize that those insignificant mentions can be a goldmine of information and researching other branches of the tree can actually lead you back to your direct line.
Until Next Time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Evergreen Cemetery

Being a genealogist, some how you always are seeking out bits of local history, no matter how minor, as you search for your ancestors. You definitely have to slow down and take in local history while you are waiting for the ancestors to reveal themselves or the next clue because often times it can take years for those clues to come.

I only remember being in Evergreen cemetery on a three occasions, for the burial of my Grandmother, which I barely remember at all since I was only 8 at the time; the burial of my aunt, Martha Edith Jones; and once just to visit at which time Aunt Martha told us that there was an 4th plot (my grandparents and uncle, Thomas Langston, are in the other three) and to bury her there.

Since I have no pictures of the grandparents/uncle/aunt's tombstone, I thought that I would do a brief history today of where they are interned. This is directly from the website,

The New Evergreen Cemetery is located on a 47-acre plot of land located at 2124 New Walkertown Road on the city's east side. It was opened in 1944 to take place of the former Evergreen Cemetery, a graveyard on private property owned by James Foy, a prominent African-American farmer. The original graveyard was in the Liberty Street area and backed up to Smith Reynolds Airport. It had to be moved in the early 1940's because the airport needed to expand it's runways in order to ship goods during WWII. The Work Progress Administration helped move 700 graves from the old Evergreen Cemetery to the New Evergreen Cemetery on what is now New Walkertown Road. The Winston-Salem Foundation helped pay for the move, spending about $15,000 to buy the land, grade and surface the roads and pay for the actual relocation of the remains.

The City Council agreed to take over the cemetery in 1944. The cemetery was expanded in the late 1960's to 32.5 acres. In 1998, the cemetery was again expanded to 48 acres, increasing the cemetery's capacity for future interments.
Usually when I'm in the Winston-Salem area, I always want to go back to neighborhood where my grandparents house use to be (where dad and the aunts and uncles grew up). I just never seem to think about going by the cemetery. But I think the next time I'm there, I will make a special effort to get there.
Till Next Time!

Friday, July 10, 2009

What happened to Aunt Goldie?

It's funny how you can pour over and over the same historical documents and then one day something that you hadn't noticed before or should I say that hadn't registered with you before just suddenly jumps out at you.

Well it happened with me on the 1920 and 1930 censuses. About two weeks ago, I noticed that great-granddad Peter Everett basically reared two of his grandchildren, Etherlyn (Cousin Hun) Johnson and James (Buddy) Johnson. This discovery lead me to wanting to know what happened to aunt Goldie Everett, my grandmother Iola Everett Jones' big sister, and what happened to Goldie's husband, J Henry Johnson.

I think Cousin "Buddy" Johnson came to my grandmother's funeral, which was in 1969 but that is all I know about him.

Cousin "Hun" died in 2002 at the age of 95. I don't ever remember meeting Cousin "Hun" but do remember writing her when I was in college. I was taking a history class where we had to write a paper about a member of our family and relate their personal history to US history. I remember deciding to write about Cousin "Hun" and wrote her for more info. While cousin Hun was interested in what I was doing, unfortunately, she didn't respond to my letter and I ended up writing something off the top of my head as best as I could. Cousin Hun has three sons, but from what I can tell, there has never been a close relationship between her children and the rest of the family. I have met cousin Hun's youngest son on a few occasions but have lost touch with him after Cousin Hun's death. Since I'm back on the ancestral hunt (after a 10 year break), I think now is as could a time as any to try to locate him and reestablish ties. Perhaps he can fill in the missing pieces of his grandparents.

Till Next Time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another Great-Grandmother Mystery

Just like my great-grandmother Fannie on my maternal side, one of my great grandmother’s on my paternal side has haunted me for years.

She’s the one that seems to push me the most amongst my North Carolina ancestors and yet she’s the one I know the least about. She’s the one that I always felt like was denied her rightful place amongst the ancestors, and that’s it always been up to me to tell the world about her.

Unlike like my maternal side, very few stories or information about the ancestors were handed down on my paternal side. So it’s been dogged determination with the few snippets I did get that have allowed me to even get a small glimpse of her.

And so here is what I knew when I begin this search

1. My aunt, Martha Edith Jones, was named after both of her grandmothers.

2. My dad always said that Mary Williams, who he and my aunts and uncles called grandmother wasn’t really my granddad’s Mom. Dad always suspected that Mary Williams was my granddad’s aunt.

3. On occasion, dad mentions that he thinks granddad had some siblings.

What I know and have discovered through the years

1. On my grandparents’ marriage license, granddad lists his mother as Martha and she was still living when my grandparents were married (Dec. 27 1914).

2. On the 1900 census, Hamilton, Martin, North Carolina, there are three families listed for dwelling, 110.

  • Family 121, General Williams and his wife, Mary E.

  • Family 122, Je* Williams (female), age 70, is listed as head. With her is Joseph Williams, age 16, listed as her son and Clansy Jones, boarder, and Leter Jones, boarder.

  • Family 123, Martha Jones, head

3. I’m fairly confident in stating that (1) this is the Mary E Williams that reared my granddad (granddad’s death certificate list General Williams as his father and Mary Elizabeth Jones as his mother. My grandmother was the informant on granddad’s death certificate), (2) Clansy is my granddad, Claudius, and (3) the Martha listed is my great-grandmother.

And now, the headaches, frustrations and questions

1. Where were Mary and Martha between 1880 and 1900? Based on the 1900 census, Mary was been born abt. 1872 and Martha was born abt. 1877. To date, I’ve not been able to locate either of them on the 1880 census. I've also never been able to locate them or granddad on the 1910 census.

2. What happened to my great-grandmother after 1914? I’ve not located her on the 1920 or 1930 census. Did she marry?

3. Who is Leter Jones? Is it possible that my grandfather had a twin? On the 1900 census both are listed as being born in 1892 with granddad being born in July and Leter being born in August.

Till Next Time

Finally Up

This has been a long time coming but my second genealogy blog, this one documenting the trials and tribulations of searching for my paternal ancestors, is finally off the ground.