Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for 2010

2010 is coming to a close and I must apologize to the readers of Conversations With My Ancestors. I’ve not done nearly enough blogging this year about the research on the paternal side of my family. I even had some successes on the research front. Unfortunately, I never managed to get them posted to the blog.

My plethora of excuses for not blogging include: 1) For whatever reason, I had a problem with a spammer on this blog that sort of deterred me a little but probably the biggest problem is 2) on my paternal side, I simply don’t have the family stories as I do on the maternal side of family. That’s partly due to having grown up around the majority of my maternal aunts, uncles, and cousins while my much smaller paternal side was scattered. It’s also due to the fact that yes, that side of my family simply did not talk about the past. I’ve refused to use that as an excuse in my research, so it definitely will should not be an excuse for my blogging.

With regard to my research for my paternal ancestors, I only have three goals for 2011.

  1. A research trip to Martin, Pitt, and Bertie Counties, NC.
  2. Scan all the pictures I inherited from Aunt Martha and distribute them to my cousins. 
  3. Blog more!!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent of Christmas Memories, Day 4 - Christmas Cards

While the maternal side of my family loved to send and receive all sorts of beautiful Christmas cards this time of the year, it was the paternal side of my family, specifically my first cousin LaLeatrice, who introduced us to idea of the annual Christmas letter.

I was so hooked on the annual Christmas letter that the year Cousin LaLeatrice announced that she was discontinuing the annual letter that it didn’t register. When it finally did register, I was a little distraught. But not to fear, her daughter LaZealtrice picked up the torch and we now look forward to her annual Christmas letter. And somewhere along the way, I even started sending out my own letter about the adventures of mom, dad, the granddog, and yours truly.

I had thought that I wouldn’t send out cards / letter this year but in writing this post on Christmas Cards, I find myself getting motivated to do it one more year. However, I have to warn you, it may be a tad late.

The following is the 2005 letter from Cousin LaZealtrice. What a genealogical gem this is and will be.

This 2005 Christmas letter is part of the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent of Christmas Memories, Day 1 - The Christmas Tree

I almost forgot about the Advent of Christmas Memories Series, so I'm a day late for  the first Post in the series. My post on The Christmas Tree is a rehash of the one I posted last year for Day 24.

Christmas Tree Buying

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?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - An Oldie But Goody

My first cousin LaLeatrice and her family ca 1982.

The photograph is part of the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Celebrating another Milestone

Happy Birthday Cuz!

I had intended to post this picture of my cousin Valerie and I yesterday for her birthday, but yesterday was one of those crazy sort of days. Well, as always, better late than never. Separated by 2 months and 10 days (I'm the younger), we'll both be celebrating that milestone birthday that begins with a 5 and ends with a 0. Seems like just yesterday we were kids.

The above picture is part of the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Part 2

Randy Seavers, Gena-Musings, has posted this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. The subject matter for this week is Who's to Blame.

Instructions are as follows:

Read Brenda Joyce Jerome's post Who or What Do You Blame? on the Western Kentucky Genealogy blog. She asks these questions:

  • Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information?
  • Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?
  • Did your interest stem from your child's school project on genealogy?
  • If you have been researching many years, it may be hard to pinpoint one reason for this journey.

On the paternal side of my family, my response to the first question has to be the fact that growing up, it was almost like we were lead to believe there were no other relatives besides the grandparents, dad / aunts/ uncles, the grand kids, and Cousin Alice whom I was always told was a distant relative and we were her closest kin. Funny thing is that all that all anyone had to do was ask, like I did, and they would have found out that Cousin Alice was my grandmother's first cousin. Not very distant at all.

My response to the second question is the same as on Georgia Black Crackers. No, I did not pick up where a relative left off. In the case of my paternal family, there weren't even any stories handed down.

As stated on Georgia Black Crackers, my interest steamed from my own curiosity about my ancestors and also the mini-series, Roots, which aired during my sophomore / junior year (1977) in high school and by Roots: The Next Generations, which aired during my senior year in high school (1979). However, I didn't really get started on actually attempting to research my family until the late 1980s. My first find on my paternal lineage was my grandparents marriage certificate, which contained my grandfather's biological mother's name.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

Picture obtained via photo request at FindaGrave.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Family History Month - Challenge #1

My Childhood Home

The month of October is Family History Month and in honor of the occasion, AfriGeneas is once again doing their Family History Challenge. I really had fun participating in these last year.

The first challenge for 2010 is as follows:

What are your memories about the house where you grew up?

Interpret that question any way you like. Write as long or short as you like. Feel free to post photos to illustrate the story.

Just a couple of rules:

1. Make our lives easier, please! Post your story as a response to this thread so we can keep track of the stories in each challenge.

2. Challenge #1 begins today, Oct 2nd and ends at 11:59 pm CT on Oct 6th.

When talking about the house I grew up in, I always like to point out that the house was build for moi. Before my entry into the world, my parents were boarders in a house that was a few houses away from my maternal grandparents’ house. I’m sure that my parents were probably wishing for a house of their own one day but I don’t know if they had put a plan in place to attain that goal, when they found out they were expecting a little bundle of joy, which would be me.

Even so, I still don’t think it registered with dad that they needed to move. My mother says she had to tell dad that they needed a bigger place if not their own place.

I guess it eventually sunk in because dad applied for a VA loan and plans were soon put in place to build a new home. A lot one street over from my grandparents house was selected (ours would be the second house build on the street) and thus the building of the house for me commenced. I understand during the building phase, mom would often take walks to check on the property and report any happenings to dad.

The house didn’t quite get finished in time for my arrival, so I spent my first 3 months being a boarder with my parents. We eventually moved in and until I went off to college, I spent all of my growing up years in that house.

The house was a typical brick ranch build in the early 1960s and had a full basement, which was often my favorite place to play. The basement was also the social hub of our house and family whether it was hosting birthday parties for me, family dinners, or having friends over (the folks or mine) who wanted to play a little ping pong or shuffle board. (My dad had a shuffleboard lane painted on the floor.)

The back yard was a good size and offered trees that a sometimes tomboy, me again, could climb as well as providing enough land for summer gardens, which my mother loved to do. There were wild bunnies, hoppy toads, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the spring time. Even though we were in the “city,” the critters would visit our property and as a result I still have a fondness for them to this day. Yes my hometown and home were the perfect combination of city and country living all rolled into one.

As time marches on, my parents and I must decide what to do with the old homestead. None of us have lived in it since 2005 and yet, neither I nor they are ready to sell it, just yet. For me, the house represents my anchor, my rock, the place I can always go back to if times every really became tough and yet, for a variety of reasons, I don’t think my parents or myself can really envision ever living there, again, although we all contemplate it from time to time.

Finally, as I’ve reflected back on bygone times one more time, it always eventually comes back to the fact that it wasn’t the house that created the memories that I carry in me but the people who lived inside.

This picture of the old homestead is ca 1962. That's me, mom, dad, my first cousin, and my uncle pictured in front.

The above picture is part of the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

September's in the Rear View Mirror

As noted on Georgia Black Crackers, I wasn't very productive during the month of September. I didn't even meet my blogging goals on Conversations with my Ancestors.

That being said, I do think I unearthed a set of 3rd great grandparents on my grandmother's line. I just have to do a bit more work, to build a case for that being them.

Hopefully, I can get more accomplished during the month of October.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - One Thing Leads to Another

In an effort to catch up on some of my goals for the month of September, I once again found myself going back and forth between Ancestry and FindAGrave in hopes of finding  a tombstone of one of my paternal Ancestors or Relatives to post for Tombstone Tuesday. (Yes, I was working toward achieving my blogging goals for the month.)

Instead, what I found was tons better, a Great Grand Uncle's, Frank Everett, death certificate, Great Granddad Peter Everett's brother. While I had clues all around pointing to his existence, I hadn't put it all together before this morning. Of course, as usually is the case, I wasn't even looking for this this AM when I came across it. In fact, I wasn't even searching for Everetts this morning. I was looking for Hargetts, great granddad's mother, hoping that she had lived long enough to have a death certificate to record her death.

I don't know why I never came across my Great Grand Uncle's death certificate before now. I feel like I've searched the Everett surname plenty of times since discovering great great grandma Vica Ann. Either I never made the connection because I was so focused on other information or it simple didn't surface based on the search criteria I was using at the time. But I think the real reason is I came across this today is simply they, the Ancestors, finally figured it was time to reveal this to me. Today, when I did a search for death certificates, Uncle Frank's death certificate was the first to come up and silly me was still thinking why did that come up I was searching for Hargett. Thankfully, I didn't dismiss it.

Below is Great Grand Uncle Frank Everett's death certificate:

  • The first thing I noticed is that on Uncle Frank's death certificate, the surname is spelled Everetts and not Everett. I'm not sure which way Uncle Frank spelled it but based on other information I had come across, I believe his line spelled the surname the same as our line, without the "S." Given that there is a town in Martin County, NC by the name of Everetts, it would be easy for the recorder of the information to mistakenly to add a "S."
  • Uncle Frank died on 20 Sept. 1938 from lobar pneumonia.
  • His occupation was farming.
  • Uncle Frank's wife, Christina, was the informant for Uncle Franks death certificate.
  • She provided that he was 75 at the time of death, which means he would have bee born about 1863. Most of the data that I've found on my great granddad indicates he was born abt 1863, also. So is Uncle Frank great granddad's older brother? Younger? Twin?
  • Uncle Frank is interred in Williamston, NC. As a side note, what's with the bulk of my paternal ancestors' death certificates not listing an actual cemetery for their final resting place.
  • But the most important piece of genealogical information provided on Uncle Frank's death certificate is that his wife gave his mother's name as Vicy Ann Hargett. Uncle Frank's wife did not know who his father was. My great grandparent's marriage license provides Great Great Grandmom's name as Vicy Ann Hargett. 
Finding Uncle Frank's death certificate led me to some other interesting finds including possible confirmation of a family from the 1870 census that I wrote down almost 20 years ago as possibly my family.

I hope to write about the rest of this early morning saga in the very near future but need to do a tad more legwork, but as of this moment, let me just say that I have possibly peeled back another layer of my Everett line as a result.

So, thank you Uncle Frank and the rest of my ancesters. I couldn't have done it without you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Singing Grace

I could be wrong but the paternal side of my family is the only one that I know of that actually sung grace. And during any family singing, of course the two voices that always could be heard above all others was my dad's and Aunt Martha's.

If you are wondering what we sang, here it is:

God is great and God is good,
And we thank him for our food;
By his hand we must be fed,
Give us Lord, our daily bread
So, how did your family say grace?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Genealogical Goals for the Remainder of September - Paternal Lineage

September Goals

Hopefully, this month or shall I say what's left of the month, I will do a better job on the goals for the paternal side of the family.


The first goal is one I'm bringing forward from last month. Actually it's been on the to do list for several months. Praying that I finally get it accomplished this month.

  1. One of my geneabuds gave me the name and phone number of one of her husband's friends who happens to be a Ewell. I'm ashamed to admit that I've not called him, yet. So, I plan to call this week. There doesn't appear to be a familial connection but you just never know.

  2. Write Martin County, NC public library for obituaries for Sandy Ewell and William Ewell (great grand uncles), Pennie Ewell Tyner Eley and Mattie Ewell Gorham (3rd cousins twice removed), and Goldie Everett Johnson Hyman (grand aunt).
Blogging / Writing

  1. Not including today's goals post, three posts to the blog, one of which has to be a written one.

Listed on September 2010 Genealogical Goals - Maternal Lineage at Georgia Black Crackers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August Goals Revisited

I'm feeling like I didn't get as much accomplished on the research on the paternal side as I had planned for. So, let's see.


  1. Request probate records for Jesse M. Ewell, Joshua L. Ewell, and Randol Ewell (Martin County, NC). I believe that one or possibly all 3 of these men (father and 2 sons) might have been my Ewell ancestors slave owner(s). Although two of them died after slavery ended, I'm still hoping that their wills, if available, can provide some clues.
  2. One of my geneabuds gave me the name and phone number of one of her husband's friends who happens to be a Ewell. I'm ashamed to admit that I've not called him, yet. So, I plan to call this week. There doesn't appear to be a familial connection but you just never know.
I did send away for probate records for Jesse M. Ewell and Joshua L. Ewell. I decided I would wait to request probate records for Randol Ewell. Surprisingly, there were no probate records for Joshua L. Ewell. I've not heard back on my reqest for records for Jesse M. Ewell.

Unfortunately, I've still not managed to get a call to my geneabuds friend. When, I have time, I seem to never think about calling and when I don't have time, I do.

Blogging / Writing

  1. Two posts to the blog, one of which has to be a written one.
I did manage to get this accomplished.


  1. Declutter Office
  2. Clean and Repaint my "new to me" legal-sized file cabinet. (I got this from the Habitat ReStore a couple of weeks ago, and it's sepcifically for my genealogy research).
  3. Rearrange Office to accommodate said file cabinet
No, I didn't manage to get any of this items accomplished. Hopefully, I'll get more accomplished this month.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Everetts Cemetery

Everetts Cemetery
Everetts North Carolina

In this cemetery, in an unmarked grave, lies my 2nd cousin once removed (my daddy's first cousin), James Henry "Buddy" Johnson, Jr. (1911 - 1971). Cousin Buddy is my Grand Aunt Goldie Everett Johnson Hyman's son. Cousin Buddy never married and was a farmer.

I imagine that I probably met cousin Buddy when he came to my grandmother's funeral but I don't remember anything about him. I was 8 at the time and don't remember a lot about my grandmother's funeral other than it was a whirlwind of events. I remember there being two funerals, one in my hometown where grandmom spent her later years, and one in Winston-Salem, NC, where grandmom resided most of her adult life. I only know Cousin Buddy attended one of the two, maybe both, because my mother, who has a better rememberance of events on daddy's family than daddy does, remembers him being there.

Picture of Everetts Cemetery obtained via FindaGrave.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Autosomal DNA results – Paternal Line

A few months ago, April to be precise, 23andme, ran a one-day sale in honor of DNA Day. It was one of those things that while it wasn’t in the budget or planned for, the sale price was so phenomenal that I couldn’t afford to not subject my parents to one more ancestral DNA test. 23andme’s $499.00 package which includes ancestral and medical testing was offered for, are you ready for this, $99.00. See what I mean about couldn’t afford to pass it up. Who knew when there would be another opportunity like this?

The main reason I was interested in autosomal testing is due to the stories of Native American ancestry on my maternal grandmother’s line. I figured this would be a way to prove once and for all whether there was any truth to the story. I’ll talk about my mother’s results on Georgia Black Crackers.

Unlike the previous DNA testing I had my parent’s do for yDNA and mtDNA testing, the sampling process for 23andme was different in that you spit into a tube instead of swabbing your cheeks. Daddy, of course did some more complaining. “I thought you had already tested my DNA.” “I can’t spit in that little thing.” and the last one was really funny considering he’s always spitting, “I can’t fill it up to that line.” With much cajoling, I finally got him to collect enough spittle, my opinion only as it was not to the mark, so that we could ship it off.

Due to the high volume of people that managed to catch the one-day sale, it took awhile after shipment back to 23andme for them to acknowledge receipt of the kit. Once receipt has been acknowledged, I always feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, constantly checking to see if results are in.

The month of May came and went and no results. In June, I went on vacation and when I returned part of the trove of genealogical surprises was that the autosomal DNA results were in. Even though I don’t have nearly the stories, etc. on my paternal lineage as I do on my maternal lineage, I had / have formed some hypotheses over the years. One is, there was very little miscegenation going on my father’s side of the family. Granted that hypothesis was developed based purely on the old pictures, etc. that I had seem of my ancestors. Well, daddy’s results tend to support that hypothesis. Dad’s results were 85% African, 8% European, and 7% Asian. Wow dad’s even higher than Emmitt Smith’s 81% African, shown on a recent episode of the American version of WDYTYA. When I told dad the results he just chuckled.

23andme also offers Relative Finder, which is another reason I was interested in the autosomal testing, as I keep hoping to come in contact with another descendant on one of my paternal lines who can perhaps help with filling in some of the details behind the dates and places. I’ve still not had any success in that area of my research. Relative Finder did provide me with possible 4th – 5th cousins but of the people that I’ve had contact with, there aren’t any familial matches that I can confirm / trace. Hopefully, in the future, there will actually be a match.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goals for the Month of August (Paternal Ancestors) - Week 2

Nope, you didn't miss Week 1 because there was no Week 1 post. As I'm already into the last third of the year (Where did those first seven months go?), I've decided to revamp my strategies somewhat for hopefully achieving some of my goals for this year. I've seen some of my fellow geneabloggers state their monthly and / or weekly goals on their blogs. I'm not a crowd follower but when I come across a possible great idea, I do run with it.

Earlier in the year, I had been doing monthly and weekly goals, but did not post them to my blogs. Hopefully by stating them here, I will get most accomplished.

There are three full weeks left in the month so I'm hoping to start small  and have a head a steam build up by the end of the month to get back into the research and blogging, at least until the next busy season, which should occur some time around Thanksgiving.

So, goals for this week for research, etc. on the paternal side of my family are


  1. Request probate records for Jesse M. Ewell,  Joshua L. Ewell, and Randol Ewell (Martin County, NC). I believe that one or possibly all 3 of these men (father and 2 sons) might have been my Ewell ancestors slave owner(s). Although two of them died after slavery ended, I'm still hoping that their wills, if available, can provide some clues.
  2. One of my geneabuds gave me the name and phone number of one of her husband's friends who happens to be a Ewell. I'm ashamed to admit that I've not called him, yet. So, I plan to call this week. There doesn't appear to be a familial connection but you just never know.
Blogging / Writing
  1. Two posts to the blog, one of which has to be a written one.
  1. Declutter Office
  2. Clean and Repaint my "new to me" legal-sized file cabinet. (I got this from the Habitat ReStore a couple of weeks ago, and it's sepcifically for my genealogy research).
  3. Rearrange Office to accommodate said file cabinet

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I know, I know. It's Sunday evening, not Saturday night, but I wanted to participate in yesterday's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun since it was one I could easily do.  This past Saturday Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings, gave the following assignment.

  1. Find something that you have written that you are really proud of - the best of your work. Do an Edit > Copy of it.
  2. Go to the website and Paste your text into the waiting box.
  3. Tell us which famous author you write like. Write it up in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog, or post it on Facebook. Insert the "badge of honor" in your blog if you can.
For this assignment, I chose my posts on Grand Aunt Goldie, They Served With Honor, and the April 27th Tombstone Tuesday posts and my results were as follows:
  1. James Joyce (1882 - 1941): Joyce was an Irish novelist and was to modern literature what Picasso was to modern art: he scrambled up the old formulas and set the table for the 20th century. He is best known for Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. He died in 1941 from a perforated ulcer. (1)
  2. Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937): Lovecraft was born and raised in Rhode Island. It is said that he was one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century and is most noted for his stories involving a slimy alien god named Cthulhu. (1)
  3. Dan Brown (1964 - ): Author of The Da Vinici Code, one of the most talked about novels of 2003. Most of his works share his signature mix of secret societies, international intrigue, scholarly puzzles and fast paced action. (1)
(1) All information obtained from

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grand Aunt Goldie Everett

Seems like life has taken over the past 1 ½ months, and I’ve not spent the time on my research that I would like to.

A couple of week ago I mentioned on Georgia Black Crackers that I had happenings on the paternal side of my research, also. However, I never got around to posting about what was happening on my paternal side.

First, let me provide the background information. My paternal grandmother had one sister, Aunt Goldie. After returning to my research efforts, I’ve often wondered what became of my Grand Aunt. I knew of her children and grandchildren but through the years, there’s not been much contact with them and whenever I asked dad about her I got the usual “I don’t know.”

Based on the 1920 and 1930 Federal Census records, I determined that Great Granddad, Peter Everett, ended up rearing his oldest daughter’s children, cousins Etherlyn “Hun” Johnson Curtis and James Henry “Buddy” Johnson, which probably explains why great granddad remarried after great grandmom died. With great granddad rearing his grandchildren and not being able to locate Aunt Goldie anywhere after the 1910 census, I just assumed that she and her husband J. Henry Johnson had both died sometime between the 1910 and 1920. What other explanation could there be for Grandpa Everett ending up with his grandkids. However, that wasn’t enough for me as I longed to know more about my grandmother’s big sister.

What else? I also knew that Aunt Goldie’s youngest grandson, Cousin Clifford (my second cousin), was residing here in my home state. Of Aunt Goldie’s remaining descendants, Cousin Clifford is pretty much the only one we’ve had contact with, but after dad had to move into Assisted Living, we lost touch with him. So, my first step in trying to learn more about my Grand Aunt was to try to locate and get in touch with Cousin Clifford. Earlier this year, through Google, et al, I found an address and wrote but never heard anything. As weeks passed, I always meant to follow-up but never did and eventually let the whole matter drop.

Well, while I was on vacation last month, Cousin Clifford called. When I got in touch with him, he explained that he had received my letter but accidentally shredded it before he had a chance to call. He had to do a bit of detective work of his own to figure out how to get in touch with me. So, after we got caught up on how everyone was doing, we got down to discussing Aunt Goldie.

Cousin Clifford explained that since he was the youngest of his siblings, he didn’t remember a lot about his grandmother. He told me he was six when she died. He remembered that she had married several times and that she died around 1956. He also confirmed that his mother and uncle were reared by our great grandfather. Cousin Clifford also suggested that I talk to his brother who’s be working on the family research, also, but best of all, Cousin Clifford said whenever I venture to our ancestral home in Martin County, NC that he would like to go too.

Well, since reconnecting with Cousin Clifford, I’ve actually been able to find a few more bits and pieces of Aunt Goldie’s life as a young adult. Thanks to the Pilot Family Search I’ve located information on Aunt Goldie’s marriage to both her first husband, James Henry Johnson, Cousin Clifford’s granddad, and her second husband, James J. Hyman. I tell you it’s almost like Aunt Goldie was waiting for Cousin Clifford and I to reconnect before allowing me to find out about this snippet of her life. Could this be the start of uniting the two branches of descendants of my great grandparents? I’m hopeful.

You see, between my maternal side and paternal side, my paternal side is much smaller (26 grandkids vs. 6 grandkids) and scattered. Just in my grandmother’s branch of the tree, we, her descendants, are in California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Cancun, Mexico. Growing up, I always wondered why there weren’t the tons of relatives, the big family reunions, etc. on my paternal side like on my maternal side.

There are also a lot of “old” genealogical lessons to be learned from all of this.

  1. Be careful when making assumptions – things aren’t always what they appear (Aunt Goldie was very much alive during the time period I thought she was dead.)
  2. Always follow up on any correspondence. If I had have done this, Cousin Clifford and I could have been in contact so much sooner.
  3. Persistence pays off – Keep at it. Don’t be deterred! (Cousin Clifford was determined to reconnect even after I had dropped the ball.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Birthday Wishes

Birthday wishes to one of my younger cousins.
My first cousin, once removed
 One of the best younger relatives a person could have.

This picture is from the personal collection of D. Dawkins.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

This picture is part of the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

The Time Capsule

It's Saturday night and you know what that means, it's time for the next assignment from Randy Seavers, Genea-Musings.

Tonight's assignment:

  1. Go to the dMarie Time Capsule Website

  2. Select a date in your family history that you want to know about. You might pick a birth date or wedding date of your parents or grandparents.

  3. Enter the date into the search form, and select the news, songs, toys, books and other things that you want to feature.

  4. Share the date, why you picked it, and the results of your Time Capsule study on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a comment or post on Facebook.
I chose September 14, 1887, my paternal great grandparents (Peter T. Everett and Edith Ewell) marriage date.

The top News Headlines for this week were:

  • Sept. 5 - Gas lamp at Theater Royal in Exeter catches fire killing about 200

  • Sep 15 - Phila celebrates 100th anniversary of US Constitution

  • Sep 26 - Emile Berliner patents the Gramophone

  • Sep 28 - Gele River (Huang Ho) in China floods, kills about 1.5 million

  • Sep 30 - Start of the Sherlock Holmes Adventure "The Five Orange Pips" (BG)

  • Sep 30 - Volunteer (US) beats Thistle (Scotland) in 8th America's Cup
The President of the United States was Grover Cleveland. There was no Vice President, (Thomas Hendricks died November 25, 1885.)

People Born on that this date include:

  • 1887 - Karl Taylor Compton physicist/atomic bomb scientist
  • 1887 - Stanley "Midnight Assassin" Ketchel HW boxing champ (1908-10)
Hot new toys were Parcheesi, Snakes and Ladders, and Cap Guns.

A loaf of bread was $0.02, milk was $0.17 / gal, a house was $5,600, and average income was $580 / yr.

Some of the hits were:
  • A Night on Bald Mountain
  • Minuet in G
  • Away in the Manger
  • If You Love Me Darling...
  • La Cinquantaine
  • Comrades
  • Slavonic Dances
  • Pictures at an Exhibition

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carnival of African-American Genealogy, 3rd edition - They Served With Honor

The Jones Men Who Served

WWII and Korean Conflict

I originally thought I had nothing to contribute to the 3rd edition of the Carnival of African American Genealogy (CoAAG), They Served with Honor - In Memoriam, African Americans in the Military 1914 - 1953 . Even though I knew dad and two of my uncles had served in the military, I really didn’t know a lot about their service. There is still a lot of knowledge to be gained about their service but as a result of this carnival, I've been able to start working on one of my genealogical goals for the year, which was to sit down and interview / record my parents. Turns out, even though I waited until the last possible second to work on this carnival, I’ve enjoyed doing it and am proud of the contributions my ancestors / relatives gave in service to their country no matter how big or small.


First, there was Uncle Claudius Jones. Uncle Claudius enlisted in the Army and was part of the Army Band. At this time, I don’t have a lot of details on Uncle Claudius’ service. I contacted my aunt to try to get additional information. Unfortunately, I waited until the last second to call her. She was planning to have her daughter, my first cousin, take her to her house to get Uncle Claudius’ service records. So, I will give more details on Uncle Claudius’ service at a later date.

The picture shows Uncle Claudius, on the left, with one of his army buddies.

Next was Uncle Toussaint Jones. At this moment, I don’t’ have much information on Uncle Toussaint. Uncle Toussaint and Aunt Lil are both deceased. He had no children so there are no descendants to ask. Tried asking his brother, dad, who told me Uncle Toussaint wasn’t in the army.

Uncle Toussaint’s tombstone lists him as a Tec 5 (Technician 5th Grade) during WWII. A brief online research shows that those who held this rank were addressed as corporal. From what I understand, the Technician designation was basically a pay grade designation. In today’s army, I think those with this designation would be called specialist. They were possibly non-combat positions. Specifically, technicians, as the name implies, tended to have a technical skill. Perhaps, one of these days, I will try to get a copy of Uncle Toussaint’s military records so that I can learn more about this part of his life.

Korean Conflict

Finally, there is Daddy. Daddy served in the Army during the Korean conflict. He was part of the Signal Corps, servicing and repairing RADAR and Radio equipment. Daddy tells me that he was drafted for service. As he put it, “I certainly didn’t volunteer to go.” When quizzed about how they decided what he would do, he says that he was given a test to determine where he would fit in. After that determination was made, he was sent off to RADAR school and Radio Repair School for training.

Daddy received his training at Fort Gordon in Augusta Georgia and Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. After his training was completed, daddy flew to California then embarked on his voyage to Japan where he was stationed. Knowing nothing about military life, I didn’t understand why he was stationed in Japan if he was part of the Korean conflict. Daddy explained that the broken equipment was sent from Korea to Japan, where it was repaired then returned to Korea.

Daddy went in as Private. There were no promotions although he did make Soldier of the Week. According to him, his Rank was frozen unless he went through the OCS program (Officer Training School). Daddy says he passed the test to be accepted into the program but decided not to go because he had no desire for a career in the Army. So, he came back home to North Carolina and began his teaching career.

As you can see, none of them were in combat. Being college educated men appears to have afforded daddy and my uncles a luxury that few men, white or black, had at that time. For me, this doesn’t minimize their service to their country for their roles were still important.

The pictures of dad and Uncle Claudius are part of the collection of the owner of this blog. The picture of Uncle Toussaint's tombstone was obtained via FindAGrave.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The Jones Grandkids
 ca 1987

From the personal Collection of the Owner of this Blog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

It’s hard to believe that until two weeks ago, I had only been to my paternal grandparents’ grave twice. The first time was when my grandmother was interred and the second time was when Aunt Martha was interred.

Unlike the maternal side of my family, when I was growing up, my paternal side never pushed visiting the gravesite of my grandparents and uncle, which now also includes my aunt. Through the years, for as often as we were back in dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s hometown, I don’t ever remember anyone saying, let’s go by the gravesite, and while I’ve always wanted to go by the old home site, I don’t ever remember requesting a visit to the cemetery.

Lately though, I’ve felt a need almost a beckoning if you will to go visit the gravesite of my paternal grandparents, aunt, and uncle. So, on Friday, March 16th, having a gorgeous afternoon free, I decided to make the little over an hour drive, from work, to Winston-Salem, NC for a long overdue visit.

I had located the address of the cemetery before I left and plugged it into my trusty GPS unit. While enroute, I called my cousin Valerie, who lives in the Triad area of NC, hoping that she would meet me at the cemetery because even though I had a picture of the tombstone in my mind, I had no clue where in the cemetery the gravesite was located. But Valerie and Cousin Denise, her daughter, both had other plans for the day. After I hung up, I realized that I had forgotten to ask Valerie exactly where in the cemetery our grandparents’ graves were located. As she was in a hurry to get to her destination, I didn’t call back.

Arriving into town, I got off at the exist that usually takes us to dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s alma mater, Winston-Salem State, but instead of heading to the left as I’ve done on so many previous trips, I turned right. Before long, I arrived at Walkertown Road, the street the cemetery is located on. I made a right onto Walkertown and was at the cemetery in little or no time. This amazed me as through the years, I had always imagined that Evergreen cemetery, where my grandparents, aunt and uncle are interred, was way out. Why didn’t we ever visit seeing how close it was to the alma mater?

As I turned into the cemetery, I stopped at the front gate and took a picture. If the words gorgeous and beautiful could be used to describe a cemetery, Evergreen, definitely fits the bill. From this point on, it was truly my Ancestors’ guidance that lead me to their graves as I wasn’t seeing any tombstones that matched that picture in my head and of course there were lots of Joneses. I had made almost a complete circle through the cemetery when suddenly I decided to pull over and get out. I parked right beside a Jones family plot that I knew wasn’t it but checked anyway. I then proceeded on to the last row of graves in this section and started walking when suddenly I stopped and looked to my right. Yes, it was their graves. How amazing was that?

I took pictures of the headstone and footstones, and I talked to them, telling them I was sorry that I hadn’t been before now. I promised my grandmother that next time I would bring flowers since I knew how much they had meant to her.

Prior to leaving Winston-Salem, I of course went by the lot one more time where the old ancestral home once stood because no visit is quite complete until I do that.

As I made the journey back home, I would venture by the gravesite of other relatives, those being on my maternal side, and which I will discuss on a future post at Georgia Black Crackers.

Uncle Thomas Langston Jones

As you can see, my grandparents stressed education and were so proud of the accomplishments of their first born, whom preceded them in death, that they had his degrees awarded engraved on his tombstone.

Aunt Martha Jones


All pictures are from the personal collection of the owner of this blog.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Surname Saturday


My Aunt Martha indicated in a letter to me, dated 2 July 1991, that we had cousins with the surname Hargett and that the then owners of the Hargett funeral home in Greensboro, NC were our distant cousins. Well, this is one of those so-and –so is our cousin type things that I’m beginning to possibly validate.

Based on information that I have to date, my Hargett Ancestry is as follows:

1. Mavis Jones

2. Earl Jones

3. Iola Everett, born May 1893 in Cross Roads, Martin, NC; died 05 April 1969 in Shelby, Cleveland, NC; interred in Evergreen Cemetery, Winston-Salem, Forsyth, NC

4. Peter Everett, born abt. 1863 in Martin County, NC, most likely the Cross Roads area; died 27 Jan 1931 in Cross Roads, Martin, NC; possibly interred in Everetts Cemetery, Everetts, Martin, NC.

5. Vica Ann Hargett, born abt. 1850 in North Carolina, possibly Pitt County; date of death and interment unknown

While I’ve been at this awhile, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until this year, that I requested a copy of my great grandparents’, Peter Everett and Edith Ewell, marriage license. On the marriage license granddaddy Peter’s parents are listed as Vica Ann Hargett, living, and what appears to be Henry Cherry (name difficult to make out), deceased.

There is a great deal more work to be done of this line, and sometime in the future I will begin more research on it but from my quick assessment of census records, I believe that

  1. My 2nd great grandmother Vica Ann was an Everett when granpa Peter was born.
  2. She later married John Hargett and had several more children.

Once again, this shows that you have to continually look back and go through your notes for missed items or from a different perspective. I think the reasons I had never requested my great-grandparents marriage license is that 1) when I initially begin my research, I had wrongly assumed that it was so far back in time that there wouldn’t be a record of my great grandparents marriage or 2) even though I keep somewhat decent records of my correspondence to various places, I might have thought I had already requested and was told there wasn't a record. Either way, I’m glad I realized that I had never asked as the find puts me back one more generation and more or less confirms the information on great granddad’s death certificate.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Ancestor Approved Awards

I’m a little behind on acknowledging the Ancestor Approved Awards that I received for Conversations with My Ancestors. I hope that my presenters didn’t think I didn’t appreciate it. It’s just that it was hard enough to come up with 10 things the first time. In fact I included some of my surprises, thrills, etc. from my paternal side in the 10 things posted on Georgia Black Crackers. So, I’ve been more or less stalling trying to come up with an additional 10 things.

The Ancestor Approved Award for Conversations with my Ancestors was presented to me by Deborah, The Sum of All My Research and Renate, Into the Light.

As a reminder, the rules are the recipient of the Ancestor Approved award lists ten things learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened. The recipient then passes the award to ten other bloggers that are doing their Ancestors proud.


  • The realization that my grand aunt Goldie Everett Johnson and her husband James Henry Johnson both appeared to have died young (unconfirmed) and that my great grandfather, Peter Everett, and his second wife, Della, finished rearing two of his grandchildren, Cousin Etherlyn “Hun” Johnson Curtis and Cousin James Henry “Buddy” Johnson.

  • That for now, neither of the surnames of my great grandfather Peter Everett’s parents matches his surname. Just means there is more research to do, which of course is not a surprise. :)

  • This one could probably go into all three categories but I’m surprised by how much I matured as a researcher during my ten year hiatus away from my research. Of course I still have a long way to go and will still make mistakes but when a fellow researcher, whose workshop I was taking, asked me if I had ever thought about teaching a class, it definitely was an exclamation point to my research.

Humbled By

  • The drive and ambition of my great grandfather Peter Everett, who masterfully carried out a plan to be his own man at a time when the deck was stacked against him.

  • The activism of my grandfather, Harry Claudius Jones, in Winston-Salem, NC through the Forsyth Black Chamber of Commerce and as Director of the Negro Home and Welfare Association in helping to lay the foundation for future generations.

  • By the fact my father, in order to earn money to pay his way through college, took one of the only jobs available to him, working on the chain gang.

  • The drive for and attaining of educational goals by my father, aunts and uncles with virtually no financial resources and at a time when society probably thought they were wasting their time in pursuing those goals.

Thrilled By

  • The Pictures I have of my great grandparents, Peter and Edith Ewell.

  • The renewal of my voracious appetite for reading which was fueled by the renewal of my research. Granted most of my reading has to do with my research but it’s allowed me a chance to get to know my ancestors in their time and quit trying to interpret their life in my era.

  • The willingness of some Probate Courts and Register of Deeds to return your funds when there is an unsuccessful search of records. It wasn’t and is not always the case. Every little bit helps, you know.

Passing it on to Another 10

Darlene, My Colored Roots

Elizabeth, Little Bytes of Life

Taneya, Taneya’s Genealogy Blog

Miriam, AnceStories: The Stories of my Ancestors

Elyse, Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

Caroline, Family Stories

Drusilla, Find Your Folks

Ruth, Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me

J, J-Macs Journey

Terri, All Roads Lead to California

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carnival of African-American Genealogy, 2nd edition - Grandma’s Hand

Grandmomma Jones
Iola Luvenia Everett Jones

Late 1960s
From the personal collection of the owner of this blog

This is my second post for the second edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy. As mentioned in my post about my maternal grandmother, this carnival has been a tough one for me. As previously noted, it’s not that I never knew my grandmothers but that I really didn’t get an opportunity to know them.

I was a bit older, 8 to be exact, when my paternal grandmother died. While I had her a bit longer, as fate would have it, father time had mentally taken her away from me a few years before. Even so, while no single moment sticks out for me the way the last visit with my maternal grandmother does, I know that my paternal grandmother and I had our special moments.

For the first few years of my life, Grandmomma Jones stayed in Winston-Salem, NC, where she and granddaddy settled after leaving their home county in the eastern part of the state. While I always seemed to get sick off the fumes that seeped through the floor of daddy’s old Ford, I always enjoyed and looked forward to the trips to my grandmother’s house. However, I must admit that the house itself always seem to terrify me. I always had a problem with basements, so the cellar of the Big House was especially terrifying.

From what I know about my grandmother, she was a resourceful and strong woman who like Jesus fed the masses with very little. Unlike my maternal grandparents who farmed, my paternal grandparents were more city folks. However, that doesn’t mean they struggled any less. In fact, it seems like they may have struggled more. Grandmomma’s small garden provided just enough for her to feed her family. Grandmomma Jones could make practically anything from greens and squash and that’s how she and her family survived.

Grandmomma Jones endured the death of her first born who drowned while away at grad school and her youngest who only lived a few short months. She also survived having cancer in not one but both breast, which was totally unheard of at that time, the survival that is.

Grandmom was definitely proud to be a grandmother and was proud of her grandkids. My mother tells the story of one summer, when most of Grandmomma Jones’ grandkids had descended on her. My cousin Valerie and I were still babies and I think my cousin Lafrieda was there and maybe even cousins Jay and Claudius. We were all outside, and grandmom was holding me. One of her neighbors came by asking where all these babies came from and Grandmom proudly proclaimed these are my grandbabies.

Eventually Grandmomma Jones’ health started to fail. Around this time, her daughter, Aunt Martha, who lived in my hometown, decided to build a house and have grandmom move in with her. So, the last years of her life were spent in my hometown. Given the fact Aunt Martha’s house was < 2 miles from our house, for awhile I had the double pleasure of having both of my grandmother’s near. Even though at this point in time there was little interaction due to her health, I still enjoyed spending time with grandmom and always went bounding into Aunt Martha’s house with a hey grandma and plopping down beside her for a awhile.

Grandmomma Jones departed this world on April 5, 1969. It occurred over Easter break while Cousin Valerie and Aunt Emmanuline were visiting. Grandmom stumbled, lost her balance, and struck her head. Eerily, Aunt Martha’s death, which occurred almost exactly 31 years later, happened in the same manner.

As with my maternal grandmother, I wish we had had more time but I will always be grateful for the time that we did have together. I still feel the pride that she exuded in having me / us as her grandkids and would like to think that if she were here that she would be proud of the work that I’ve done on her ancestral line.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Madness Monday – Slave Owners

The Hunt Continues

I think I’ve determined why there was no clustering of African-American Ewell families around a former Ewell slave owner on the 1870 and 1880 censuses. He was dead and his son, who also owned slaves, had moved on.

Last week, I looked at the 1860 slave schedules but forgot to check the 1850 slave schedule as well as the regular censuses for 1850 and 1860. So, going back and examining these documents, here is what I discovered.

1. J M Ewell is Jesse M. Ewell.

2. The enumeration for Jesse M. Ewell on the 1860 census is as follows:

  • The enumeration for Jesse Ewell, age 63, contains a J. L. Ewell, male, age 29. I would venture to say that J. L. Ewell is Jesse’s son. J. L. Ewell is married. Could it be that Jesse gave his son some of his slaves as a wedding present?

3. The 1850 census shows a Joshua Euell, age 19, in the household of Jesse Euell. This points toward J. L. Ewell being Joshua Ewell.

4. Where as the 1860 slave schedule shows Joshua, then 29, and Jesse being the owners of the slaves, the 1850 slave schedule shows Jesse Euell owning 19 slaves and a Randol Euell, who lives next door, owing 6 slaves.

  • As Randol is 28, I believe he may also be one of Jesse’s children. But what happened to Randol and his family between 1850 and 1860? Did he die? And if so did his brother inherit his slaves?

The Carolina Ewells

Remember that wonderful website, Ewell Family Genealogy and Historical Society, I came across about a moth ago. I decided now was as good a time as any to poke around on it some more and low and behold, I found some of the history of Jesse Ewell’s family, which dates back into the 1700s in my North Carolina research area. You know, that was just too easy.

So here is a brief synopsis of this family. Jesse Ewell was born in neighboring Pitt County in 1798. His father was James Ewell, b 1750 in Pitt County. Jesse had five children, Randall, Jesse James, Joshua Lawrence, Parthenia Olivia and Lillitha.

Randall Ewell was alive in 1855 but has not been able to be traced beyond that. To date, no further information is available on Randall.

Jesse M. Ewell died in 1869. Although his death occurred after emancipation, I still plan to check any available probate records. Maybe he had his will drawn prior to the end of slavery and never changed it. I can hope can’t I?

Joshua Lawrence Ewell died in 1905. It appears that perhaps after the Civil War, Joshua never returned to the life of a farmer. In 1880, he was Clerk of Court and at the time of his death, he was the Justice of the Peace in Williamston, NC and this appears to be what he is best known for. Surely there is more?

My gut tells me that I’ve found my slave owning family but I tread lightly as things may not appear as they seem to be. So, where do I go from here?

• Obtain a copy of Jesse M. Ewell’s probate records.

• Tax Records, if available?

• Deeds? – So wishing that the Register of Deeds was open on the weekend as I would just hop in my car and drive to the eastern part of my home state.

• Other suggestions gladly accepted.

To Be Continued

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is a picture of my granddad, Rev. Harry Claudius Jones, and the rest of the men who made of up the Black Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. I actually think this organization may still be in existince, but with so many genealogical irons in the fire, it's one thing I've not taken the time to do further research on. Perhaps in the next few months. Granddad is on the back row, second from the left.

The picture used in today's post was inherited from the aunt of the owner of this blog.