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.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My 16

I’m going to take Randy up on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for August 8, 2009.  Not because of the intent to document my ethnicity for that is very easy – to the best of my current knowledge, all (with the exception of 1) of my ancestors as far as I can trace have been black and former slaves. But for the intent of serving as a great way for others to find me should we have any shared ancestry I think this is an excellent idea!

My 16 great-great grandparents are:

1.  Unknown? – I am not exactly sure who the father is of my great-grandfather Barfield Koonce. No name is given on his death certificate, and I’ve only found Barfield enumerated with grandparents. Maybe if we had the 1890 census I’d know more, but this is one of my genealogy brickwalls.  Whomever it is, he would have likely been born around the 1850s in Craven County, North Carolina.

2.  Caroline KOONCE was the daughter of James & Isaih Koonce. Caroline was born around January 1851 in either Jones or Craven County, North Carolina.  After having my great-grandfather and at least one other child, Caroline married George C. West on March 18, 1891 in Craven County.  She died August 12, 1928 in Dover, Craven County, North Carolina.

3.  Thomas HOLLOWAY Jr. was born around 1853 in Wayne County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Thomas & Phillis HOLLOWAY.  He married Polly Hood around the late 1870s.  The family lived in Wayne County in 1880 and I do not know when he died.

4. Polly HOOD was born abt. 1860 likely in Wayne County, North Carolina.  Her mother’s name was Caroline.  Polly died in Ft. Barnwell, Craven County July 16, 1916.

5. Samuel Becton LAWHORN was born abt. 1871 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Valentine & Harriett Lawhorn.  He married Cora Cox on May 28, 1899 and according to the Lawhorn Family Bible died April 11, 1917.

6. Cora COX was born March 3, 1876 in Craven County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Robert & Amanda Cox. Cora’s first husband was Samuel Becton Lawhorn whom she married May 28, 1899. After his death, she married neighbor Willie Morton on December 23, 1924.  She died November 26, 1949 in Craven County, North Carolina.

7. Randolph KILPATRICK was born September 2, 1885 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Edward Kilpatrick & Violetta DONALD.  In 1905 Randolph married Mary Maggie HARVEY.  He died September 24, 1966 in Craven County, North Carolina.   (His mother Violetta is reported by family to be half Native American, and her grandson told me a few years ago that she had hair all the way down her back, a trait that was carried down to all of her daughters.  He remembers her from when she lived with him and his family and she died when he was about 15 years old.  So, this would make Randolph 25% Native American.)

8. Mary Maggie HARVEY was born August 4, 1889.  Her exact parentage is not exactly known, but according to family information, she was the daughter of two individuals that were both married to other people.  Her father was Clayton HARVEY and her mother is said to be a DAWSON, but I’m unsure if that was her mother’s married name or maiden name.  Mary died August 21, 1940, likely in Craven County, North Carolina.

9. William ROBINSON was born in September of 1830, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  He may have been the son of Bob & Hagar Robinson.  In 1855 he married Rebecca Toon. His date of death is unknown.

10.  Rebecca TOON was born in May 1841, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina. Her parentage is unknown as is her date of death.

11. John LENNON was born approximately in 1854, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  Another researcher has informed me that his parents were Josh & Barbary Lennon.  John married Etta Lennon March 30, 1882 in Columbus County, North Carolina.  His date of death is unknown.

12. Etta LENNON was born approximately in 1862, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  The current thought on her parentage is that she was the daughter of Council & Elizabeth Abigail Lennon though I am not 100% sure on this.  She married John Lennon in 1882 and married Isaac ROBINSON May 25, 1905.  Her date of death is unknown.

13. Andrew D. MCNAIR was born May 5, 1866 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was the son of Rufus Tannahill McNair and Mariah Wimberly.  Andrew married Gracy Bullock around 1893, then after her death, married Bennie Slade.  Andrew died February 10, 1930 in Washington County, North Carolina.

14. Gracy BULLOCK was born in March 1874 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Lawrence & Chanie Bullock.  Gracy’s date of death is unknown, but it was prior to 1910.

15. Anthony WALKER was born in May 1850, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Prince Walker & Lovey Boston.  Anthony married Martha Jane Baker on December 29, 1881.  He married Winnie Walker between 1910 & 1920.  Anthony died January 10, 1921.

16. Martha Jane BAKER was born in August 1853, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  She was the duaghter of Daniel & Frances Baker.  Martha died between 1900-1910.

More on the Holloways

In today’s mail I received another Social Security Administration Form OAC-790 that I’d ordered. This was for the sister of my great-grandmother Josephine, as I’ve been trying to fully verify their parents. I have posted before how I found early census records that led me to further confirm Josephine’s parents, but I’d like to take this post to fully document my sources so far for her parents.

I am a fairly certain the Hargett above is a mistake, and yes, the form did have the Tom crosse out just as it’s shown. With this information(minus Dizzer’s OAC-790 which I just received), when I searched in the 1880 census, I looked in Wayne County, North Carolina (see previous post) for a family that had a 20 something year old Polly and a man named Thomas/Tom or David or James. The only family that I found that matched was one that had a Thomas as a head. Perhaps Thomas’ middle name was James? In any case, this does lead me to believe that he went by Thomas(Tom) and Polly Hood was definitely her mom’s maiden name and I feel more comfortable having the 1880 census information as part of my tree.

Is Priscilla a nickname for Polly? Josephine had a sister named Priscilla, so I’m also thinking their mother must have been a Priscilla “Polly” Hood?

Josephine had two other sisters that I know reached adulthood – Louise and Lilla Mae. I plan to follow-up by looking for these additional resources:

– Lilla Mae’s Death Certificate
– Lilla Mae’s SS-5/OAC-790
– Louise’s Death Certificate
– Louise’s SS-5/OAC-790

The problem is, I have to find out when they died!

Finding the Holloways

I think I may have found an elusive census record. Not 100% sure, but I have a set of evidence that leads to believe it may be them.

I was searching for the 1880 census record of my great-great grandmother Polly Hood Holloway. I was not completely sure of her husband’s name b/c I have documents that say his name was David and some that say his name was Thomas. I have more that say Thomas though. So, I was off to search for them.

I looked in Wayne County b/c I have the following info –

1) Polly’s death certificate says she was born in Wayne County
2) Their daughter Callie’s death certificate says that she was born in Wayne County (though her delayed birth certificate says she was born in Craven County)

So, in Wayne County, I find a Thomas Hollowell and a Polly Hollowell. Thomas is 25, Polly is 23 – their ages are close to what I indicate. Also, in that same community of Wayne County, there are numerous people with the last name of Hood. I feel sure that this must be them. Also, it indicates that Thomas is a Jr, so his father must also be Thomas! That would be one more generation back for me.

I know this may not be them 100%, but I am putting this into my tree for now as I feel I have a preponderance of evidence. I’ll just keep researching!

Social Security Administration

Today I got back some information from Social Security. I sent away for my great-grandmother’s SS-5 form. Prior to today, we did not know her parents’ names. We had a suspicion based on census records, but it turned out our suspicion was incorrect. So, we now know their names for certainty! This was very encouraging and I am definitely going to order more SS-5 forms in the future. They are expensive though at $27 a piece, so I’ll have to ration it out.

Over the past few weeks I have continued to receive more death and birth certificates that I wrote away for. Over the past couple of months I have accumulated approximately 100 of them! Each one continues to add new information that I can add to the website. If only all states were as easy as NC though — for example, in AL, you can only request certified copies of them, so the cost is much more than NC’s uncertified copies. Also, Alabama has restrictions on what years can be ordered (no death certificates younger than 25 years and no birth certificates younger than 100 years). That sucks.

Over the next few weeks I plan to start seriously drafting a plan for indexing the newspaper of a county in NC where my maternal grandmother is from. At first, I was all gung-ho and thought I would index the whole paper. But then I realized, it would probably be more beneficial to genealogists if I first did the obituaries, and then went back and did other parts of the paper. My model for this is the online index of Evansville, IN area deaths. I love this site and I found quite a bit of information on my husband’s family by using it.

More discoveries

Today’s mail brought another 20 or so birth/death certificates. I am thrilled to say the least. And, among them, I made a very interesting discovery.

My paternal great-grandmother’s name was Josephine. In her funeral program and on her death certficate, it stated that her mother’s name was Priscilla. In searching census records looking for Josephine as a child, the only black Josephine in Craven County, NC at anywhere near the right age was living in a household with a sister named Priscilla and a mother named Polly. So, I began to wonder as to the accuracy of the funeral program and the death certificate. From Josephine’s funeral program, I knew that she had a sister named Dizzer (what a name right?) Well, I received a copy of Dizzer’s delayed birth certificate today. On the birth certificate, her parents are listed at Tom Holloway and Pollie Hood. Furhtermore, one of her items of “evidence” to her birthdate was an affadavit from her older sister “Parcilla”. Looks like my suspicions were right! Priscilla (Parcilla) was not their mother, she was their sister and their mother was indeed Polly (Pollie). I can only surmise that at the time of Josephine’s death, the family must have misremembered her mother’s name. Tonite, I discovered a new generation of ancestors — my great-great grandparents Tom & Polly.

On my maternal side of the family, of significance so far are three death certificates I received. My mother’s mother’s mother (Mattie) had 10 children. Five that lived, five that died. My mother always heard about my grandmother’s siblings that never got a chance to grow up – they died as babies/toddlers. Two girls and one boy that we know of. I also know from one birth certificate that Mattie had a stillborn child. There is still one child unaccounted for, so we will have to ask my grandmother about that. I really cannot imagine what it must be like to lose half of children – -in reading their death certificates, I was just filled with sadness for this loss of life.

  • Abraham Jr was 2 years old. He died of 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his arms and legs. My mother is not quite sure what happened, but she did remember that he somehow got hot water on him and this caused his burns.
  • Daisy was almost two years old when she died. Cause of death appears to be Laryngeal Diptheria (hard to read on the certificate).
  • Martha Jane had just turned one when she died. We can’t read the cause of death, but we know that one child passed away from an overdose of some medicine that people used to give children to sleep while they worked in the fields. Tragic to think that people resorted to this, but maybe this was her cause of death.

So sad. Also, a rather interesting thing I noticed, on each of their death certificates, the date of birth is slightly off from the date of birth on their birth certificates. For record purposes, I am going with the date of birth on their birth certificates since it was closer to the actual event, but I find it again striking how variable people’s birthdays seemed to be years ago. From census records, I have seen ages fluctuating quite widely between the 10 years and this is an interesting phenomenon to me. Were birthdays not as celebrated as they are now? I surmise that with the creation of state record keeping requirements, this has helped establish dates more concretely.