Author Archive: Taneya Koonce

Treasure Find!

The past couple of days have been amazing for my genealogy research. Thanks to being contacted by another person (NK) who is researching the descendency of Rufus & Mariah McNair on behalf of a mutual cousin of ours (VM), I have learned that a Bible Record exists for the children of Rufus & Mariah!

VM is a great-grandchild of Rufus & Mariah through their youngest son Solomon. Solomon’s brother, Andrew, was my great-grandfather. In the Bible, Solomon had written the birth dates of his brothers and sisters. I talked to both VM and NK last night, and though the bible pages are faint, we believe the information to be as follows:

Rufus & Fannie had a son named either Houston or Austin (I think it may be Austin)

Rufus & Millie had son Sterling b. 10 Dec 1852

Rufus & Mariah had the following children:

  • Christopher D. McNair born May 8, 1858
  • David born Feb 1, 1860
  • Byron W. born July 18, 1861
  • Blount born March 8, 1863
  • Rufus M. — (he was a son of theirs, but i’m not sure yet if he is in the bible record).
  • Andrew D. born May 5, 1866
  • Shedrick H. born March 3, 1868
  • William H.born May 23, 1870
  • Louisa born Jan 25, 1872
  • Joseph H. born Feb 9, 1874
  • Octavia born Dec 24, 1875
  • Susan born July 10, 1878
  • Sophia born Nov 19, 1880
  • Sarah born March 30, 1884
  • Solomon born Aug 7, 1887

The Bible was passed down to one of Solomon’s son, who’s wife likely has the bible. i would love to see it one day, but that would require a trip to Oakland, CA. VM was a great source of information when I spoke with her and I look forward to many more conversations!

JCB Koonce’s Headstone

As I do my research on the white Koonce family, I was recently contacted by a person who shares ancestry with an ancestor of JCB Koonce (of Jones County, North Carolina). Interestingly enough, the person that contacted me is also a descendant of one of the families I’ve gathered a little bit of information on from Washington County. Small world!

But, this person sent me headstone pictures of JCB and his wife Elenor. JCBs family is one of my candidate families for having owned my Koonce ancestors. Still tracking that down, but I appreciate the grave photos. JCB stands for John Counsel Bryan Koonce. These are their gravestones in Jones County,NC.

John Counsel Bryan Headstone
Eleanor Fordham Koonce Headstone

New Acquisition

Genealogy work for me has been varied for me these past couple of days. We recently went on vacation to Florida and had a wonderful trip. I’ve got more info on my main blog and some pictures as well.

As for genealogy – while I was away, I did get a goody in the mail. I’ve posted before about Somerset Place – a large plantation in Washington County, North Carolina. I was so curious that I ordered a copy of the book from a bookseller online. Only cost $3. I am glad that I ordered it too. While I doubt I’ll find any connection in my family to this plantation, it does provide some insight into plantation life at that time. If you’d like to know more about it – it is in Google Books.

Trying a new tactic

Today I received a group of birth and death certificates that I requested from Bladen County, North Carolina. The certificates were for the children of a man whom I suspect to be a brother of my great-grandmother, Lucinda Lennon Robinson (see previous post below). As the family structure as I have it is an educated guess based on the information I’ve culled together (and with help from a distant cousin), I have a theory of who her siblings were.

So, I’m going to try and find a living child or grandchild of this possible brother to see if I can find any connections to my great-grandmother. We’ll see if I get anywhere!

Happy Birthday Lucinda!

Today would have been my great-grandmother Lucinda’s birthday. She was born May 28, 1887. Well, 1887 is most likely the year she was born. This is the year shown in the 1900 census and in the SSDI database. However, on her death certificate, her birth year is listed as 1885. Since the 1900 census is closer to the time, I’ll go with that date.

Lucinda is my mother’s paternal grandmother and my mother remembers her well. She describes Lucinda as being a very sweet person and just the nicest person you’d ever meet! My mother thinks that she is now in life, starting to resemble her grandmother.

Lucinda had nine children. Her husband, Lewis Robinson, died when the youngest child, her only daughter, Lucinda, was about two years old. I understand from my mother that all of her children were very close to their mother Lucinda. When she died in 1969, my grandfather, her youngest son, Herman, put up such a fuss at her funeral in not wanting her to be removed, that when he died, almost 20 years later, the funeral home director remembered him.

Lucinda was from Columbus County, North Carolina, near the NC/SC state line. I know that the family lived in both NC and Georgia at some point, though, they are still elusive to me in 1910 – I have not been able to locate them. When they moved to Manhattan, by 1920, they would stay there. Lucinda lived at 159-48 Apt. 12H Harlem River Drive in Manhattan at the time of her death. She had been living here already for many years. Herman, my mother’s father, remained living in that same apartment (along with his brother Ike) until he died in 1986. I well remember visiting him here and I’m amazed that the family had lived there so long.

I still have research to do on Lucinda’s family – her parents and siblings are still somewhat of a mystery to me. Happy Birthday Lucinda!

Happy Birthday Ella

Today would have been my aunt Ella’s 50th birthday. She was born May 22, 1957 in Lenoir County, North Carolina and was my father’s youngest sister. I have very fond and clear memories of Ella, she died when I was 9 years old, in 1984. She had one daughter, my cousin Aiesha.

One of the clearest things I remember about Ella was that she taught me how to count to 49 in Spanish (b/c I never could seem to remember the word for fifty)! Just last November, my aunt told me the story behind Ella’s middle name. Apparently, it was supposed to be Evonne, but when their father went to do the birth certificate, he messed it up and she ended up with the name Levon. However, everyone called her Evonne anyway.


My blogging is light these days. I’m in Philadelphia right now on business, so I’m not having much time to do anything genealogical. I continue to kind of work on my co-worker’s tree, though I’m starting to get back to my own research.

One thing I do want to do this week is look more closely at This is a web 2.0 for genealogy site that looks highly promising and I am excited about it’s possibilities. Several blog posts have been made lately about it, and the parent company, World Vital Records, has been announcing several partnerships of late that are tempting me to reconsider that site as one I may wish to subscribe to. We’ll see.

Found Him!

Today my mother received the SS5 form for her aunt Ethel. It’s been two months in the waiting, but we were happy to get it. We learned from it that apparently, Ethel was born in North Carolina, and not New York as we’d thought. I now have to try and see if it is possible she had a birth certificate (though this is before NC started birth certificates).

Then, inspired by this, I decided to search for my grandfather’s family in the 1930 census. I had not been able to find them with previous searching. And I found them! I tried a different searching strategy and good thing – the family is listed as Robertson instead of Robinson. Also, my great-grandmother is listed as Lucille instead of her name of Lucinda. But, it’s the right family. Her husband had died by now and she was raising the kids on her own. My grandfather Herman was 4 years old.

I’m so glad I found them! From this record, we learned a few extra details as well. It seems one of my grandfather’s brothers, John, was given their father’s name as his middle name, so he was John Louis Robinson. I don’t know much about John Louis except that family tradition has it he died as a teenager and was in the Navy. His job as listed on the census is “Advertiser” – wonder what that means?

Pick me! Pick me!

I submitted my application to the African-American Lives Casting Call. The last step was to send a photo of myself and I did that yesterday. By Friday, applicants are supposed to know if they’ve made the next step – they will select a handful to submit video entries. Keep your fingers crossed. I would love to see a genea-blogger get this – it doesn’t even have to be me 🙂 They received over 2,000 applications.

My genealogy research last week was practically non-existant. I had gotten sick and then work was so busy that I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to it. Well, that changed late last week. I received an email from a lady who is working on a family in East Tennessee that I am compiling for a friend. Our email exchanges have been great and she’s put me in touch with other researchers too. Having so much fun working on someone else’s family tree has got to be a crime!

More Information from the State Archives

After visiting the Tennessee State Library and Archives again today, I have more information to help me in figuring out the trees for the white families I’m researching. Some of the goodies:

While there, I also looked through the Heritage Books for Martin County, Craven County and Lenoir County. Made copies of a few key pages. However, I have to say that overall, I am quite disappointed with these series of books. They seem to have been mostly done by local genealogy societies in the 80’s and 90’s? My disapppointment with them is the true lack of adequate representation of black familes. Is it b/c the societies decided not to pursue as many black families? Is it because they tried and didn’t get participation from black families? For the Craven County book, the church section did not include black churches! (at least not the two that my families have been going to for the past 70 years. I am truly dismayed. Not sure what to do about it yet….