Author Archive: Taneya Koonce

Happy Birthday Calvin!

I missed posting this yesterday, but yesterday would have been my uncle Calvin’s 49th birthday. He died back in 1994, but was my mother’s youngest brother and the baby of the crew. While I did not know Calvin all that well growing up, when I was about 13, he moved back in with my grandmother and I got to know him much better from then until he died. My mother tells some funny stories about him. Yesterday, I asked mommy to tell me a story that I did not know. Apparently, when they were all younger, if Grandma was oversleeping on a Sunday, Calvin would go try and wake her up so they could go to church. Mommy and her other two brothers hated that because the wanted to sleep in!

Genealogy wise, I still need to order his death certificate and get a picture of his grave site. I do have his birth certificate and newspaper obituary.

Happy Birthday Calvin Earl Robinson – January 18, 1958 – January 11, 1994.

I am intrigued by Prosper

Last night while transcribing the Roanoke Beacon newspaper, I came upon an entry that was a death notice for a former slave named Prosper Armistead. There were two tributes in this particular issue for him and as the paper identified who his slave owner was, I felt compelled to look up Prosper in the census. I found him sure enough, and then began looking at his family. Looking at this information, I felt a need to get it “out there” for one of his descendants to find one day, so I started entering his tree into Ancestry Family Trees.

As I continue to research further, I am now looking at the information about his slaveownwer, Dr. Robert Armistead. In the 1950 census, Robert has in his household a Thomas S. Armistead, one of the people very often mentioned in these issues of the Beacon that I’m transcribing – he was a lawyer and a very prominent person in the community. According to the UNC Archives, Thomas may not have been his son, but no wonder Prosper got such attention! Dr. Armistead himself appears to have died by 1860 as I find him in the 1950 census, but not 1960. The 1960 Slave Schedule shows that Thomas owned 23 slaves – including a 22 year old male and a 23 year old male – they are about the same age as Prosper. I wonder if one of them is he? I will have to look for the will of Dr. Armistead and see if there are any specific relationships spelled out.

I’m hoping that Prosper’s descendants know about him. I’m hoping that if they don’t, my efforts will one day help them. Though I believe the tone of the article that depicts Prosper “affectionately served” his master may be revisionist history, I do think this article would hold much value for his descendants.

Update: Dr. Robert Armistead is listed in the book published by the Washington County Genealogical Society – “Washington County, NC Cemeteries – Plymouth Township Volume I.” Robert wa s born March 18, 1800 and died August 3, 1857. He died of Typhoid Fever. His wife’s name was Marietta. They are buried in the Grace Episcopal Church cemetery.

This entry is likely going to keep expanding as I find new information. Prosper’s daughter Fannie, married a guy named Prosper Toodle. Their son, Prosper Toodle Jr. is listed as an undertaker in the 1930 census. I have seen the name Toodle Funeral Home since I started working with records from Plymouth – this must be the Toodle!

Another Generation!

Whipee!! My 3rd great-grandmother’s death certificate arrived today (the one whom I previously posted that I learned she was Native American) and it has her parents’ names as Stephen & Susan Donald. I’m off to search the census records now!

Update 5 minutes later: I found them! I did some searches using the last name Donald, and I could not locate them. So, I decided to browse the pages around where Violetta’s future husband is listed, and sure enough, only a few households away, Stephen & Susan are listed with their children – including Violetta. I’m so thrilled!

A Slave Owner!

Can it be true? Tonight, I talked on the phone with a lady who is a distant cousin of mine. She found my family tree in Ancestry and emailed me – I am her 4th cousin once removed. As we talked, she shared some of her lineage. Her great-grandmother was the sister to a great-great grandfather of mine (Randolph) and the crazy thing is that she didn’t have Randolph in her list of her great-grandmother’s siblings.

One of the things she shared with me, which I am most excited about, is that she thinks she may have found the slaveowner of our common ancestor, Silas Kilpatrick. All that I know about Silas is that he was born somewhere around 1830 and was a slave of course. I also knew that there were white Kilpatrick slaveowners in that same county. In reading the will of Warre Kilpatrick, who died in Craven County, NC in 1831, he wills to his son a negro boy named Silas! I found the will transcription on the Craven County USGENWEB site. Could this be our Silas? I plan to investigate this further for sure.


loving wife Leovicy two beds and furniture, two cows and calves, six ewesand lambs, two sow and pigs, two horses called Snap and Twig, two plows andgeer, one maple desk and third of my household and kitchen furnitureincluding that already mentioned.  I also lend her my dwelling house andnegro woman Hue, during her natural life -  Secondly, I give unto my sonJames, the one half of my manor plantation lands beginning at the East sideand running up Moseley's back line, then a line parallel with the lowerline to the River, so as to include one half of said lands, also one thirdpart of a tract of land on the cypress pond patented by James West, alsonegroes Jack and Edmond, to him his heirs and assigns forever  Thirdly.I give unto my son Wiley the other half of my manor plantation landsincluding my dwelling house and improvements, also the third part of mylands on the cypress pond, also one negro man called Ben and one boy calledSilas, and after the death of wife, also the negro woman Hue, to him, hisheirs and assigne forever. - Fourthly, I give unto my son Worry myplantation known by the name of the Jones Land, also three hundred dollarsto be paid in cash by my sons James and Wiley one hundred each twelvemonths after the lawful time of paying my debts and fifty each twelvemonths after that, also one negro girl called Lucy, also one third of atract of land on the cypress pond, to him, his heirs and assigns forever. Fifthly, having already given a portion to my son John I now give him tenshillings to him and his heirs forever - Sixthly, I give unto mygranddaughter Sally Kilpatrick, one negro girl named Harriet and twohundred and two dollars in cash to her and her heirs and assigns forever - I also give unto my son Wiley the land that I bought at the sale of myson Lewis, dec on conditions t at he pays Sally the above mentioned twohundred and two dollars with interest from the time of my decease.  I leaveall my property not above mentioned,  etc to be equallydivided between my sons, James, Wiley, and Worry.  I appoint WilliamMcKinney and James Kilpatrick Executors to this my Last Will and Testament.- 27 Aug l82l

Worry's widow Lovicey appeared and dissented this Will.


This is addicting

Now that I have worked out the format for how I want to do these newspaper transcriptions, this is addicting! I started on another paper – the Talladega Daily Home of Talladega, Alabama. A few months ago, I ordered one roll of microfilm covering the last half of 1961 as I was looking for the obit of Kalonji’s great-grandfather. So, I have started with that one. I plan to now order the earliest available as I like to start at the beginning 🙂

More people should do this really! It is quite fun to read through these old newspapers. While I know I’ll never get all the content up that I’d ideally like, I feel like every little bit counts! The new blog is listed on my sidebar of links.

And, I’m not done yet! I can think of at least two other newspapers that I want to work with, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to order microfilm. Thanks goodness for the microfilm scanners at my public library! Working with digital files are so much easier than dealing with printouts. And, it’s free to use the scanners!

I’m on Cyndi’s List

I submitted a link to my Nashville Globe Blog to Cyndi’s List and it was posted to the new section on the 18th! Whoo-hoo!

Now, the drawback is that the “new” list has a long waiting period before incorporation into the actual site – on the order of three years!

Only One Issue?

I have just finished transcribing a lot of content from the January 18, 1907 issue of the Nashville Globe, and I already have over 40 posts. Wow. That’s a lot of content! But, I am hopeful that it will be forever cached and available long-term to those who seek it. Tomorrow, I shall start on the January 25th issue. Or, maybe I’ll start a couple of supplemental pages to make looking for subjects and browsing issues a little easier. We shall see!

And, in other news – my Nashville Globe blog was added to Genealogy Blog Finder! I’m so happy! This weekend I’ll work to get it publicized in as many places as possible as I really want to get this as accessible as possible.

The Tennessee State Archives

I have just returned from the Tennessee State Archives here in Nashville and had some great finds! I first went to the archives last weekend as I was able to steal away a few hours to go. My primary reason for going there was to do some research for my friend on her family tree as her family is from East Tennessee. I have been pleased to find death certificates and some family tree information for her and today, I even started looking for information relevant to me and Kalonji’s tree.

One thing I did find that is pertinent to Kalonji, is a list of all the cemetery transcriptions for the cemetery in Talladega where he has family buried. However, there are of course, family members missing from this list as some of his family’s stones were overgrown with thick trees, and then some don’t have headstones at all. In fact, I meant to post about this last month, but our last trip to Talladega, Kalonji started clearing away the area around their stones. The picture below is what it looks like right now, but before he started, you would not have known those stone were there the branches and leaves were so thick.

Also today, I came across a black newspaper that used to be published here in Nashville. I’ve been thinking of a project I could do to help with the genealogy cause for African-Americans in Davidson County — I’m thinking I might do some indexing of this paper.

And, in other genealogy news, I haven’t been doing all that much with my own family. I haven’t written away for more records lately, I’m waiting for the holidays to go by. The records I want are mostly birth/death certificates from places that don’t offer uncertified copies, so they will be a bit costly by the time they all add up.

Morris Wisdom — 1892-1976

I’m posting this a day early, but I wanted to do it before I forgot about it. November 13th (tomorrow) will be the anniversary of the death of Kalonji’s great-grandfather, Morris Wisdom. As I have been doing my research, I have yet to find Morris in the 1900 census, but two independent sources (his death certificate and his newspaper obituary) tell me that his parents were Margaret Wisdom (nee Meriwether) and Dick Wisdom.

Kalonji’s mother remembers her grandfather Morris and I really must interview her one day. All I really know at this point are some details. I have three different dates for his birthday – the death certificate says 8 May 1905, the Social Security Death Index says 12 May 1892 and his WWI Draft Registration Card says 12 May 1896. I’m inclined to believe that the 12 May 1896 may be the most accurate since it is the earliest recorded one so far, but I need to order his SS applicaton form to see what he reported on it. I also hope that the app form will also state who his parents are. If only I could find out more about Dick & Margaret. Just a couple of weeks ago the public library in Clarksville was kind enough to email me his newspaper obituary, so I was very glad to receive it.

I know from a coworker of mine who is from Clarksville, TN (the area where Morris is from) that the Merriweathers were a prominent white family in that area, so there are a lot of African-Americans with that last name there. I will pursue this avenue in my research to see if I can make a connection of Margaret with those Meriweathers.

Annie Moore

If you’re into genealogy, no doubt that you’ve heard the story of the uncovering of the real Annie Moore, the first immigrant to arrive through Ellis Island. When the news came out about this last month, I read some info about it, but didn’t bother to read in-depth about it all. Tonite, I have just finished watching the press conference that was given at the NY Genealogical Society and am just absolutely blown away by it all! I watched it online at the new Roots Television, a genealogy focused website that has videos, blogs, and other information. To think that after all of these years her story has been discovered and shared internationally is amazing to me. If you get a chance, you should definitely watch it.