Those Shaky Leaves Really Work

Today has been a great day. I have been able to be in contact with a 2nd cousin of mine for a branch of my family for whom we have lost contact. And, she found me via those great Ancestry shaky leaves! Practically just like the commercial below: :-)

She shared with me that she was watching TV and an Ancestry commercial came on. She’d had a tree set up some time ago, but she’d not pursued it until the past couple of days after seeing the commercial. She logs on, checks out a leaf, and up pops my tree where she saw that I had her grand-father, Frank Robinson in it.  A few email exchanges later and we were chatting it up on the phone. And I am absolutely thrilled.  Her grandfather Frank, was a brother to my grandfather Herman, so we are 2nd cousins. Frank and Herman were the 2nd and 7th children respectively or our great-grandparents, Lewis Robinson and Lucinda Lennon Robinson.

I am hoping that from speaking with her, we can re-establish contact with some of the other family members. We’ll have to see. But at least we now have details on family my  mom hasn’t seen in close to 40 years. Yeah!  We are making plans to possibly meet in November.  Ancestry leaves FTW.  8-)

Perfect Picture for Memorial Day

My uncle Stanley Robinson passed away in July 2010.  Just 10 months later in May 2011, his mom, my grandmother Alice, also passed away. Stanley was my grandmother’s first born and they were always very close. Even though we lost them both so soon after each other, I relish in the fact that they are buried in the same cemetery – the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida.

Not only are they buried in the same cemetery, but their plots are in the same diagonal row. In the picture below, Stanley’s headstone is in the foreground, with the red flowers and if you look down the row diagonally grandma is where you see the yellow flowers. Click on the picture for a larger view.

I have been meaning to post this picture for two years and today seemed like the perfect day to do it. :-)

My Great-Grandparents in the 1925 NY State Census

Oh how I love genealogy!

Tonight, while doing a little Twitter reading, I saw Thomas post that Ancestry has put the NY State Census indexes online for 1892, 1915, and 1925.

Excitedly, I quickly hopped over to the Ancestry site to search 1925 for I expected to be able to find my great-grandparents – Lewis & Lucinda (Lennon) Robinson.  Sure enough, after doing a few variations in their name spellings I found them.

The handwriting is not the easiest to read, but it’s good enough.  The family as they *should* have been enumerated are Lewis, his wife Lucinda, and their kids Ethel, John, James, Frank, George, Andrew, and Isaac.  New to me is the listing of Lewis’s brother William! William is also a Longshoreman. 

I’m not sure why Ethel has an “E” for middle initial for her middle name was May.  And, I’m not sure why John has Lewis instead of Robinson for last name?  My grandfather, Herman, is not yet born here – he came along in 1926.  :-)  I knew already that Lewis was a longshoreman so it’s interesting to see his brother was also.  

Additionally, before today, I had as Lewis’ parents, a William Robinson and wife Rebecca Toon based on his death certificate. I also found Lewis as a son to William & Rebecca in the 1900 census.  Lewis’s brother William is younger than he, so is not in the 1900 family group, but now I need to go look for William & Rebecca in 1910 to see if William Jr. is listed.  But, this 1925 census record having a William listed as a brother goes along with the family structure so far.  

How cool! Now I have a few other leads to explore. 

Image citation: Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: State population census schedules, 1925. Albany, New York: New York State Archives. Election District 09, Assembly District 01, New York, New York, 1.

He’s Been to Florida Before

This is a photo of the envelope that my uncle Stanley (1950-2010) sent to my grandmother back in 1984.

This letter is notable because Stanley was a “wanderer.”  He would leave New York and go travel and the family would never really know where he was at.   His return address here is “On the Road” and interestingly, in Florida.  He would eventually settle in Florida,  living there near my mom.

SNGF: My Maternal Grandfather’s Paternal Line

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise tonight is as follows:

Find a living male person in your database from your maternal grandfather’s patrilineal line who could take a Y-DNA test.  

Then, we are tasked to answer several questions.  Here are my responses – fortunately, this was a very easy topic for me given all the testing I’ve been able to do under the auspices of the 23andMe’s Roots Into the Future Initiative.

1) What was your mother’s father’s name?

Herman Robinson.

2) What is your mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Herman (1926-1986)  –>  Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson (1886-1928) –> William Robeson/Robinson (1830-?) –> Bob Robeson (1800-?).    Bob & William were former slaves from Columbus County, NC as best as I have been able to determine to date.

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your mother’s father, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.  

Yes, I can identify living male descendants and one of them has already been tested – my mother’s brother.  His 23andMe results show his paternal haplogroup to be E1b1a8a, a haplogroup with deep origins to Africa.

This post is a reminder to me to upload his info to Gedmatch.com so I can check his yDNA against others. I’m off to do that now!

Establishing my Great-Grandparents DNA Profile

Well, parts of it anyway. :-)

This week, the 23andMe DNA Roots Into the Future results came back for one of my mother’s paternal 1st cousins.  A great advantage of her having done the test is that I can now begin to establish segments of my mother’s DNA that comes from her paternal grandparents,  Lewis & Lucinda (Lennon) Robinson, whom Cousin C and my mother have as their Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).

“Cousin C” shares 10.5% and 28 segments of DNA with my mother.  All 28 of those segments come from Lewis & Lucinda.  Additionally, Cousin C shares some DNA segments with my mother’s brother that she does not have in common with my mother (11.2% and 32 segments).    Because the sharing with my mother and uncle are not 100% overlapping, this means even more segments from the great-grandparental units.

In the image below the DNA Cousin C shares with my mother is marked with green; the DNA she shares with my uncle is marked in blue.

This means that as I sort through my mother’s Relative Finder matches, if someone matches both her and Cousin C – then that person is related to us through Lewis & Lucinda and will thus help me narrow which branch to focus the search on.  As I have started to tabulate these shared segments into my analysis spreadsheet I have already identified a few individuals who I can now narrow our search for our MRCA to that branch of my tree.

And also of interest, I have parts of DNA of a set of my 2nd great-grandparents, Andrew & Gracy (Bullock) McNair on my mother’s side since a 3rd cousin of hers, for whom Andrew & Gracy are the MRCA, has also had his testing completed.  On my father’s side, I’ve got DNA segments attributed to ancestors of mine even more generations back that these — how cool is that?

I really need for one of the DNA testing companies to add the tagging capability I’ve described on my blog in the past — it would be so helpful!

In Memoriam: Stanley Hines Robinson

Today, July 28, 2010, my mother’s eldest brother, Stanley Hines Robinson passed away.   Hospitalized just 9 days ago, this has come about rather suddenly for our family and we will miss him so.  Stanley had many adventures in life, liked to travel, and was an independent & free spirit.

We love you and will miss you Uncle Stanley.

Stanley @ about 3 months old on the shoulder of his Uncle June. New York, 1950.

He Was the 7th Son

Today is my grandfather’s birthday – Herman Robinson.  He died in 1986, but had he lived he would have been 84 years old today – born February 5, 1926 to Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson & Lucinda Lennon in New York, New York.

Taken in 1975 at my parents' wedding.

Herman was the 7th son of his parents; no children born in between them and his two sisters were the 1st and 8th children.   In many cultures, there is a special significance tied to the 7th son; the number 7 in general has a long history of having mystical and religious signficance.   I wonder what he would have to say about that?

Herman was a very practical man. One of the most interesting stories my mother has told me about him is that he and his father-in-law never met.  Abraham (his father-in-law), being from the South, never had any interest in going up north to New York.  Herman on the other hand, having grown up in New York, certainly never had an interest in coming down south either given the ongoing racial tensions.  My parents moved from New York in 1978 and Herman finally came down south – once – for a visit that lasted about 36 hours.  In fact, we were living in the house I recently posted about when he visited.

Happy Birthday Herman!  Now, it is also my stepmother’s birthday! For privacy reasons,  I won’t give you details, but I wanted to at least wish her a very happy birthday indeed. :-)  She’ll have to watch out though, she may be online soon enough. Her alma mater, UNC_Greensboro’s yearbooks are currently being put online by the University of North Carolina – her year looks like it will be added within the next few weeks at the rate their going!

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!