CoAAG Carnival: Research Connections

The topic of the first Carnival of African-American Genelaogy prompts us all to consider our individual roles in slave research. Luckie, our gracious carnival host, provides four topic areas to choose from for this initial go-round.   I have chosen to blog about the following:

As a descendant of slaves, have you been able to work with or even meet other researchers who are descendants of slave owners?

To this question I would definitely have to yell a big resounding YES!  My Koonce ancestry is the line that in many ways to which I feel most connected and I’ve researched my family back to former slaves of Jones & Craven counties North Carolina.  Though I’ve not yet found my exact slaveowner, I have narrowed it down to a few potential candidates, both white Koonce men of Jones County.   I am so connected to my Koonce name that I decided this past year to start a surname-focused blog about Koonce families.  Well, since starting the project I have been able to connect with many different Koonce researchers & families, both black & white, and one of the highlights of this whole experience was the research trip I took to a nearby city with John Paul Koonce

Taneya Koonce & John Paul Koonce

John invited me to go with him and his wife to Fayetteville, TN in April 2009 (read more on my blog post about it) and we had a great time! John is a descendant in the white Koonce lineage of which my potential slaveowners likely belonged to and for years was active in all things Koonce-genealogy related – even publishing a newsletter for a brief period of time.  He’s still involved in Koonce genealogy matters and I look to him as a wonderful resource for information.   We have worked together to locate information on various Koonce families and though there’s not been a specific connection yet to my own Koonce family, I have enjoyed the interactions nevertheless.

Additionally, I’ve had so many other encounters with white Koonce descendants and received nothing but the kindest words of encouragement and appreciation for all the efforts being made to help us understand the joint family history more thoroughly.  Slavery was not a pleasant time for our history, but hopefully, the more we all continue to make connections and bridge gaps in our collective knowledge of our ancestors.

Guest Blogger on Worldcat.org!

Guess what? I’m featured as a guest blogger on the Worldcat.org blog!  While I have not yet participated in the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy series yet this year, I was particularly interested in the goal of Week 5 – to explore Worldcat.org.  As a librarian, I’ve been familiar with Worldcat for many years and since the Worldcat.org site launched have been an avid user.   Just as Week 5 was coming to an end I emailed WorldCat to let them know that many genealogists were exploring the site and posting their experiences with it and that they may be interested in this user perspective.

Then, one the marketing directors, Alice,  emailed me back saying that she had indeed been aware of the series and even invited me to guest blog about it!  So, my post went live today.

On top of this, I also inquired about WorldCat’s possibility of more extensively linking to books that are available full-text online (for example, through Google Books or the Internet Archive).   As a user of WorldCat, I’ve recently seen a potential value as I’ve been closely monitoring books uploaded to  Internet Archive.  Alice reminded me that they do indeed already have an integration with Google Books and are exploring how to do this with the Internet Archive.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could also know of full-text of books from the WorldCat item record?  I’ve been very pleased with how responsive WorldCat has been to suggestions & feedback.  I think I’ll have to consider this as my post for Week 5 now, even though it’s about two weeks late :-)

Tombstone Tuesday: Balthazaar “Balthus” Faith

This Tombstone Tuesday post is not for someone in my family, but rather that of a co-worker.  The furthest back I’ve traced her Faith lineage is to the mother of this ancestor, Balthazaar “Balthus” Faith.

This image of his tombstone is courtesy of an upload from a FindAGrave volunteer at his gravesite in the Calvary Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.   Balthazaar was born in April 11, 1811 in Germany, emigrating to this country from Berne, Bavaria.   His father died in Germany, but his mother, Mary, came over to this county with him and they settled in Maryland.  While in Maryland, Balthus married Emily Gordon and together they would have at least 5 children (that I know of).  My coworker is descended from their son Joseph Faith.    The family moved to Springfield in 1867.

SNGF: Remember When?

Tonight’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun prompts us to recall a day from when we were 12 years old.

1) Remember when you were 12 years old? On a summer day out of school? What memory do you have of fun activities?

2) Tell us about that memory (just one – you can do more later if you want to) in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Instead of writing about myself however, I asked my parents to recall a day from when they were 12 years old.  Here were their responses.

My Mother : The day that she shared with me was November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  She was 12 years old and in the 7th grade in Brooklyn, NY.  While she doesn’t remember the whole day, she does remember her teacher calling the classroom together crying, to let them know that the President had been killed.  My mother also remembers watching the funeral on television and that the horse drawing the casket “wasn’t acting right.”

Since she couldn’t remember much more about any particular day, this led us into a discussion about what her typical days were like at that age.  She grew up in the hustle and bustle of New York, living in the Cooper Park Projects.  Her and her brothers would take the city bus to school and her 7th grade year was the year she transitioned to junior high school.  After school, she’d go home, change, and they typically would spend the afternoon playing outside.  She did remember that she had to wear dresses at school, per school dress code. In fact, all the way through to her first job after my family moved to North Carolina she had to wear dresses, pants were never allowed.

My Father:  My father gave me flack about asking him – said he didn’t remember any particular day. So, I asked about what life was like in general.  He grew up in rural NC so back then, there was only one school black kids went to – Newbold.  He went to that school for all his school years.  He lived with his maternal grandfather, William Lawhorn.  Since my great-grandfather owned a tobacco farm, my father was one of the family members that helped work it, so Daddy would get up early before school to help, go to school, then come home and continue working until it was dark.    When my grandmother died in 2006, I had an opportunity to take a picture of the home so I can visualize exactly where Daddy grew up.

Home of William Lawhorn

Asking them this question was a nice opportunity to revive some of their childhood memories.  I also learned some other family tidbits, all the more to add to my collection of stories.

Now, what about me? I turned 12 years old in 1987 and would enter the 7th grade that year.  I attended Cochrane Middle  School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We’d been in Charlotte a year now since my parents divorced.  This school year was particularly important for me because this was the first time I was going into a new school year already knowing other kids! My parents moved a lot and I’d been attending a different school each year.  I too have difficulty remembering any one specific day, instead I remember a series of events.

For example, one day I was outside and slipped on ice in front of a whole group of 9th graders; I was so embarrassed! My friend Leslie and I used to get picked on (well, maybe not picked on, but teased) by a 9th grade boy and he in particular would call me Raw Deal.  Why? Because I used to always wear a black jacket that said “Raw Deal” on the back.  To this day I always think of him whenever I listen to my favorite L.L. Cool J. song – “I Need Love.”  In that song, he has a line where he says “..and I know that I’ll never dish another raw deal….”   And, I also remember being in the guidance counselor’s office one day charting the courses I would need to take from 9th to 12th grade in order to prep for college. Ah, the memories!

I wish I could share pictures from my 7th grade yearbook; I only recently pulled it back out from our storage behind the house.  But, my scanner is not hooked up, so that will have to wait another day.  Also, in the course of talking to my mother we ended up talking about some other things and taking a virtual trip through Greensboro in Google Maps.  That shall be the topic of my next post!

SNGF: Dream Database

This week @ GeneaMusings Randy has asked us to consider what our dream database would be

Define one or more genealogy or family history databases, that are not currently online, that would really help you in your research. Where does this database currently reside?

What are some of the things people are wishing for??

1)Randy stated that he would like to see an index to the San Diego Union newspaper as well as index to probate records

2) Chris states that he has an interest in seeing Pennsylvania marriage, deed & probate records go online, in addition to a nationwide county level inventory of records.

3) Tina would like to see NARA’s Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land records

4) Mel also has a desire to see newspaper indexes go online, one from Hawaii and one from San Francisco – in addition to some other resources

5) GeneaDiva has a request close to my heart – the actual images of TN Death Certificates, as well as those from AK and AL. She also has a newspaper in her list – an index to the Jackson, TN paper and one from Jonesboro, AK.

6) Family Tree Writer keeps it simple — every small town newspaper indexed!

7) Transylvania Dutch also desires newspaper indices -for the St. Louis Dispatch that is comprehensive enough to cover existing gaps; better indexes for the St. Louis Globe Democrat;  and indexes for 4 St. Louis area Jewish newspapers.

From these posts that I could quickly locate (there may be more and I’m sorry if I missed you), there is something that very clearly stands out for me.  Do you see it?  NEWSPAPERS!!!  5 out of 7 people have newspaper indexes on their wish list.  Guess what? That is also what I desire for my dream database.

As I began doing genealogical research, I quickly realized the tremendous value of newspapers; I think primarily because of the work of the Evansville Public Library’s Browning Obituary Database and how I was able to find a tremendous amount of information about my husband’s family using their extensive database.  When I considered how I could do something to give back to the genealogical community as I felt I’d been given too, I quickly settled in on creating newspaper indexes.

Instead of just wishing for my dream database, I’m making it happen!

For these efforts, I have three separate newspaper indexing projects going on.  True, they are slow-going, but they have been incredibly valuable for my understanding of local history and culture.  And, I try as I can to share notices from them with other researchers by posting to message boards, looking up persons named in the articles in Ancestry Member Trees and sharing them with tree creators, and sharing them with USGenWeb sites & project archives.

Some people help out by indexing records for FamilySearch & Ancestry.  I personally, would rather work on my own databases.  My three projects so are:

a)  Roanoke Beacon Index — newspaper of Plymouth, Washington County, NC.  So far, I’ve covered issues from the late 1800s.  In addition to my efforts, I’ve just recently made contact with another researcher who wanted to help, so now there are two of us working on it.  This is a weekly paper and the database includes 96 issues so far.

b) Kinston Free Press Index – newspaper of Kinston, Lenoir County, NC. To date, I’ve covered issues from the late 1800s to early 1900s.  This is a daily paper and so far I’ve done 81 issues.  Right now I’m working in 1905.

c)  Black Nashville History & Genealogy Blog – this started with my interest to index a former black newspaper of Nashville, the Nashville Globe, but I’ve expanded the scope to include other aspects of the history & genealogy of blacks in Nashville.  This is the one I get the less work in on because I have to visit the public library to capture the content.  With the other two, I have purchased microfilm and had the microfilm digitized so I can work on them as I wish.

Here’s to making dreams come true!  When I’m done with my academic studies in May, I am looking forward to really picking these projects back up; adding a few more newspapers to the mix and hopefully recruiting a few other interested researchers in helping with the work.  In the ideal world, I’d love to have a database for the newspapers of each of the counties I coordinate for the NCGenWeb Project (Jones, Martin, & Onslow — I already have Washington covered w/ the Roanoke Beacon).

Fundamentally, as I am a librarian, I believe area public libraries should be spearheading these efforts.  Some are, but so many more could be involved.  Until then, you’ll find me indexing away!

Advent Calendar: December 10 – Christmas Gifts

In this installment of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, our daily prompt is “Christmas Gifts.”  Today, I’d like to share two pictures of me with some of my Christmas gifts

First, here I am in 1980 when I was 5 years old.  I remember getting this needlework set and I just loved it! I was 5 here and I do believe this was the part of my initial spark for needlework! (see my cross-stitch projects here)

taneya_christmas_1980

Me - December 1980

And, another picture of me in Christmas, 1982 when I was 7.  This was the year I got my Barbie RV too – ooh, how I loved that toy! In this particular picture, I’m holding up my Snoopy pajamas I got.

taneya_christmas1982

Me - December 1982

Then, there was the year my mother dressed up as a gift for a work holiday party.  They were having a contest for the “best gift” and needless to say, my mother won :-)

My mother - December 1996

My mother - December 1996

Advent Calendar: December 6 – Santa Claus

This is another post for my Advent of Christmas Calendar Memories.  Here on Day 6, the prompt is as follows:  Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

Me & Santa Claus at my father's company Christmas party around 1984.

Me & Santa Claus at my father's company Christmas party around 1984.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written a letter to Santa, but I do remember making lists.  I don’t feel like I have enough to really post about that specifically, so, instead I share this picture – I think it is my only one with Santa.

Advent Calendar: December 1 – The Christmas Tree

I’ve never participated in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories before, so this will be fun for me this year.  I won’t be doing all the days, but I’ll do some as I can.  I am beginning to get in the Christmas spirit as I look at some of my old pictures, so this should be fun!

The theme for today, December 1 is “The Christmas Tree.” We are to discuss our family/ancestors’ Christmas tree.  Well, I honestly have no idea what my ancestors did for Christmas trees – I’ll have to ask my parents about that one, but in my own family, most of the Christmas trees we had were when I was very young.  I believe we had mostly artificial trees too..

Here is a picture of me in December 1977 at our apt in New York; I was two years old at the time.  Can I just say that I LOVED the fact that our walls were pink and the trim blue??

taneya_christmas_newyork_rev
Later in the day, we would go to my paternal grandmother’s house.   Here I am at her house, posing.

taneya_christmas_newyork1_rev1

My mother tells me that I walked in and said, “Hi! Where’s my present?”  Well, at least I said Hi first :-).  And, here is another picture from that day with my grandmother and aunt Ella.  Looks like grandma’s tree was probably an artificial one?

tk_cora_ella_rev

My thoughts on Christmas trees now? I don’t do them; I just don’t have the inclination to put a tree up, decorate it, etc.    I did try one year just for Kaleya, but the cats made it their personal playground, so that was nixed fairly quickly.  Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll come back around.

My #15

I really enjoy Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun assignments.  Sometimes they really give you an opportunity to look at someone in your file who may not get much attention, or at least you haven’t visited in awhile.   So, this week’s assignment was as follows:

1. Figure out the age of your father this year:  my father is 57
2. Divide the # by 4 and round to the nearest whole number:  15
3. Find that person in your files and write 3 facts about them.

My #15 in my file is my maternal grandfather, Herman Robinson.  He was born February 5, 1926 to Lewis Robinson & Lucinda Lennon.

My three facts:

– Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life” was one of his favorite songs. I’ve posted about that before.

– He was born and raised in NY and when my mother moved down south, he pretty much refused to come down because of all that he’d heard about how blacks were treated.  Ultimately, he made on visit down south, around 1983 to visit us. He rode the train down, and spent less than 36 hours before going back home.  He never met his father-in-law either because he wouldn’t travel down south and his father-in-law would not travel up north.

– He was a Steward’s Mate in the US Navy and would never eat in restaurants b/c he knew how badly they handled food.

    My grandfather died December 31, 1986 when I was 12 years old of prostate cancer.