Craven Co. (NC)

Attending the Kilpatrick Family Reunion

Over the July 4th weekend, one of the activities I did during my vacation was attend part of the 2nd Annual Kilpatrick Family Reunion in Ft. Barnwell, NC. My paternal grandmother, Cora, was the daughter of William Lawhorn and Pearlie Mae “Julie” Kilpatrick. So, the reunion is for Pearlie’s family. 

When I was much younger, we used to go to the Kilpatrick reunions. In fact, I have a few pictures of me as a very young baby at some of them.

Daddy holds me at a 1975 Kilpatrick Family Reunion.

Then, the reunions stopped, but they were started back up again two years ago. I was not able to attend the 1st one, but I was glad to be able to at least go to one event of this 2nd reunion. 

The earliest back we are able to go is to Silas and Mimi (Gooding) Kilpatrick. Silas and Mimi were born around the 1830s and had at least 12 children that we know of: Mary, Caroline, Edward, Susan, Ann, Patsey, Alexander, Abner, Nancy, Lucy, Ada, and Handy. Their son Edward is my direct ancestor – he is my 3rd great-grandfather.

1870 Census – Silas & Mimi and kids in Craven County, NC

Not only did I get to go, but I was asked to share some information about the family history research I’ve been doing on the Kilpatrick Family! So, I put together a short presentation and spoke about how I became interested in genealogy, some of the discoveries I’ve made, and shared my website where I have been documenting the family tree. 

presenting family history

While preparing for the presentation, I made a new discovery too! I was able to find the marriage certificate for my direct ancestor Edward Kilpatrick and his wife Violetta. From census records, I knew they were married around 1880, but the marriage record find reveals they were married November 29, 1882.  Fabulous!

1882 marriage certificate of Edward & Violetta Kilpatrick

The couple were married in neighboring Lenoir County with L.J. Jackson, Lewis Grady, and Adam Singleton were witnesses.  I also learned from the record that Edward’s father, Silas, was still alive. I don’t have a death date for Silas, but knowing that information could potentially help focus searches for his death information in the future. The fact that Violetta’s parents (Stephen & Susan Donald) are still living may also help me with them as well. 

It was also great to have the opportunity to see family members I had not seen in awhile, and to meet family members I’ve not met before. I created a Facebook group to help keep the family connected as we do have another reunion planned in 2017. Many thanks to the Kilpatrick Family Reunion committee for allowing me to share some of this with family and I look forward to seeing you all again next time!

Photos with the Ancestors

During the July 4th weekend, I was so fortunate to be able to visit eastern NC again to visit my father’s hometown, Fort Barnwell and my maternal grandmother’s hometown, Plymouth, NC.

My visit to Fort Barnwell was my first time back since my paternal grandmother, Cora Lawhorn Koonce, passed away in 2006. So, I visited the Mitchell Family Cemetery where my Koonce family is buried and visited her graveside for the first time. Since Kaleya was with me, she had to take the requisite pictures with her family. She may not appreciate it now, but it is my hope that when she is older, she will be able to cherish the fact that she has visited the town where her grandfather grew up.

panorama view of Mitchell Cemetery

Kaleya with her 2nd great-grandparents, Josephine Holloway & Barfield Koonce

I also went to the Alum Springs Church cemetery so that I could take pictures of Cora’s side of the family – namely, my 4th great-grandmother’s headstone, Mima Gooding Kilpatrick.

My cemetery visits were short – I had only 30 minutes and then needed to head to the Kilpatrick Family Reunion, but I am so very glad that I had a chance to do this.

Just a couple of days prior, while driving on my way to the Outer Banks, I stopped in Plymouth, the hometown of my grandmother Alice McNair Robinson.  Her parents’ home, the home of Abraham & Mattie (Walker) McNair. The house, at 502 Wilson Street, is in very poor condition, but because it is there, I took Kaleya by and told her that her 2nd great-grandparents lived there.

in front of Abraham & Mattie’s home

I also took her around to the back porch b/c I have a photo of myself as a youngster on the back porch.

at the back porch

We then went over to the McNair Family Cemetery where Abraham & Mattie are buried, as well as our McNair ancestral couple, Rufus Tannahill & Mariah (Wimberly) McNair.

at Abraham & Mattie’s graveside

at the grave of Rufus & Mariah McNair

I told her there would be a quiz later – let’s see how long she remembers the details :-)

New Photo of 3rd Great-Grandmother’s Sister

I just love making connections! Earlier this week, I received an email from another newly-found cousin.  Her great-grandmother, Mary Donald Allen (1858-1916) was a sister to my 3rd great-grandmother, Violetta Donald Kilpatrick (1860-1933).  My cousin Rose and I have had a chance to speak and learn more about each others families and I am so thrilled to start learning more about her branch of my family. As we exchanged information, Rose shared with me a picture her family has and I am so thrilled! This is understood to be a photo of Mary Donald Allen  – my ancestor’s sister!

There is no inscription on the back to document it is Mary, but Mary’s daughter Florence has always told the family it was a picture of her own mother. How beautiful!

Mary and Violetta’s parents – Stephen Donald and Susan Bryant Donald, are suspected to have Native-American heritage. So far, I’ve not fully-researched this potential, but it certainly is an area that could be further investigated. I am just tickled to have a copy of this picture! My own ancestor, Violetta, also had long hair like Mary and Mary’s family. So, to see this picture is just mind-blowing. 

How did Rose find me? Internet searching. Again, another testament to the importance of sharing your family trees online and for researching collateral families. 

Thank you so much Rose for this outstanding picture. 

My First 1940 Census Find

Yesterday I posted about my experiences with the first day of the census and I mentioned that I had no plans to seek out my family members while the images are still unindexed.  Yeah – that didn’t hold out very long. 

Last night I downloaded a few ED sets from the NARA website around the Craven & Lenoir counties in North Carolina.  My father’s family is from there so I was curious to see who I would see.  I didn’t plan to search for anyone specifically, but rather to browse.

To my delight, I quickly found my paternal grandmother, Cora Mae (Lawhorn) Koonce!

She is living in ED 25-10, Craven County, sheet 8A.  She is 7 years old, and thus, this is the first time she appears in the census.  Her father William is 28, her mom Pearlie Mae is 27.  Interestingly enough the family is enumerated as McLawhorn instead of their true name, Lawhorn.  Cora is accompanied by brother William (age 9), brother John Wright (age 5) and brother Randolph (age 1).  This is the first census for all the children, as William & Pearlie were married  in 1931. 

Enumerated below William & Pearlie are Randolph & Mary Kilpatrick. These are Pearlie Mae’s parents.

Enumerated above William & Pearlie is another interesting family.  George & Roberta Tew.  George was the brother of a man named Oscar Spears Tew.  Oscar was the great-grandfather of someone I work with here at Vanderbilt.  Last year, while doing some research on his family tree, I discovered this connection to my ancestral home area and based on other records had speculated that my family must have known the Tews.  I had no idea they lived next to each other!  


23andMe: Another Cousin Connection

I am elated to share another cousin match story from my 23andMe results!  This time it’s even more interesting because said cousin (i”ll call her DK) has been following my blog for several months, saw my posts about the free 23andMe testing, and ordered her kit because of it.  But, while she knew she was related to me, I had no idea who she was prior to tonight!  I just knew that there was a mystery match in my Relative Finder that shared .80% of her DNA with me and 23andMe predicted us to be 3rd-4th cousins.

DK matches my sister and I at several segments.  Here is our shared DNA (she matches me where it is blue; matches my sister where it is green).

DK matches to me (blue) and my sister (green)

After speaking on the phone tonight and learning who her father was, I was able to tell her that they graduated high school together and share pictures from the class yearbook (since I *stole* it from my father a few years ago).  :-)

Newbold High School - Craven County, NC

DK and I actually are double cousins though – both of her grandparents are related to me – her father is related to me on my father’s maternal side and her grandmother is related to me on my father’s paternal side.  I wonder if we’ll be able to tease out which DNA is from which couple?  Theoretically, DK should also match another of my known cousins who also did the 23andMe test but I’ll need to check.  23andMe does not have a way to establish more than one known relationship but they should add it.  Not only are DK and I 2nd cousins once removed, but we are also 3rd cousins.

I am so pleased that the testing has brought us together!

Isariah – I Know Your Lineage

Tonight, the 23andMe results have come back for a relative of mine – a gentleman for whom I am his 3rd cousin once removed.   At this point in time, his Relative Finder results are not back but his daughter and I spoke this evening about his results and we learned some interesting things!

Of particular interest for me was his mtDNA.  His maternal lineage is L3e2a1b. It is through this line that we are connected for he is the son of a female descendant of my 3rd great-grandmother, Isariah Wood.    Isariah is a paternal ancestor of mine, so I don’t have her mtDNA.  I am so pleased to know her lineage now!

However, this is a perfect example of needing a capacity as I described in an earlier post of being able to tag DNA sequences to specific individuals in a more shareable fashion than what we currently have with 23andMe.  Furthermore, tomorrow his Relative Finder matches should come in so I am particularly interested to see where we will match DNA.  Oh, the anticipation is killing me!  :-)

Note: Read my other blog posts on mine and my family’s 23andMe results.


Connecting with More Cousins

Back in 1997,  my paternal grandmother Cora, gave me some family documents that she had in her possession.  One was a copy of court proceedings about my grandfather’s death that I’ve blogged about before.  Another, is the oldest funeral program that I have in my all of my family files.

The obituary is for Randolph Kilpatrick, who was her maternal grandfather. He passed away in 1966 in Craven County, North Carolina.  It is an original of the obituary –  she’d kept it all of those years before giving it to me.

Over time I have been filling out Randolph’s family tree. One of his sisters was named Clemmie Ethel.  Today, I was fortunate enough to speak with one of Clemmie’s granddaughters who found me after her uncle told her about my site.  For this, I am so grateful!  Speaking with her and others in her family will help in filling out the family tree and getting to know this branch of the family better.   In the brief time I spoke with her, I learned for example that Clemmie & husband Charlie were the first black family to move to Bethel, NC.

This is why I love having my family tree information on the internet. :-)

Tombstone Tuesday: Filling in Our Find-A-Grave Entries

Sunday afternoon I was reading Susan Petersen’s post on her Long Lost Relatives blog about how to make the most use of Find-A-Grave.  It’s a useful article and while I do most of what she discusses, as I read it, I was inspired to create the memorial for my grandmother that just passed away on Mother’s Day.

So, I went ahead and created hers, then realized I did not have memorials for her mother, nor three of her brothers – all have predeceased her.  I was busy Sunday afternoon creating them, then linking the family together.

Now, she and all her brothers are there and linked to their parents, Abraham Lincoln McNair Sr. and Martha Jane Walker McNair and each has pictures added.

I am so glad I’ve done this.   I have more family members to add of course, but it was important that I do her family cluster right away.  With her passing, all of their children have now died.

Part II – There is another part I need to add onto my original post.  I wrote this Sunday, but Monday morning when I logged onto my email I had another tombstone treasure — someone was nice enough to send me a picture of my 2nd great-grandmother’s headstone that he’d taken! This is the headstone for Polly Hood Holloway.  I was tickled pink!


I then went over to Find-A-Grave to see if she had a memorial and sure enough someone else had added it and an picture back in November.  See, Susan is right – you must go back to review regularly! Thank you Susan for the inspiration.