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Willie Thomas Walker

At the family reunion one of my cousins shared this photo with me. It is a picture of Winnie Willis Walker. Winnie was this grandmother’s cousin, but she was also married to my 2nd great-grandfather, Anthony Walker. Anthony was her 2nd marriage – her 1st marriage was to Isaac Thomas Willis.

Many thanks to my cousin. What a great picture to have! 

Recording Family History

For some time now, I’ve given though to recording my family members talking about their memories. However, I’d not taken the time to look into how I could record phone calls. For me, phone calls are going to be the best chance I have of making it happen.  Last week, one of my geneabuddies, Brenda, posted on Facebook about tapes she rediscovered of her mom telling stories and I thought it was about time I actually do something to start my own recordings.

So, I did and found that I can record incoming cell phone calls using my Google Voice account. Sweet! Not only that, I can start and stop the recording as I wish and the file can be downloaded as an mp3 file.  With this information in-hand, I called my mother and asked her to let me record her telling a story. Just yesterday, she found out something about her mother that she hadn’t realized via a Facebook friend who grew up in the same housing community as my mother. I also recorded mommy talking briefly about where she grew up in NY. I slightly edited the mp3 files and then used Windows Movie Maker to add her voice as a track to a video slideshow of pictures to compliment the information.

Yes, it’s a rough 1st attempt, but I just think this is the coolest thing ever! I am going to definitely have to do more of these!

Unity Cemetery

This blog post is part of a series about my trip to Plymouth, NC for the 44th Annual McNair Family Reunion.


In my last post I wrote about visiting the home of my 3rd – great grand uncle Dred Wimberly. Well, I also wanted to stop at nearby Unity Cemetery since this is where Dred is buried.

entrance to Unity Cemetery

Unity was easy to find but my heart breaks at the condition of the cemetery. There are stones grown over, hidden by trees, cracked and broken, and even more disparaging states.  Unity Cemetery is the oldest black cemetery in Rocky Mount and definitely needs to be preserved.

a few stones in the cemetery

The only reason I know Dred is buried there is because of another genealogist who lives in the area. A few years back we’d correspondence about Dred and she was able to send pictures of his grave(waving thanks to Carole!) With my limited time, I couldn’t search for Dred’s marker as I’d ideally like, but I am eternally grateful for the pictures for he and his wife.

Dred Wimberly grave marker – photo by Stephen Hart

Grave marker for Ella Bertha Wimberly – photo by Stephen Hart

Also buried in the cemetery is one of the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – Anna Easter Brown. Anna moved to Rocky Mount in 1925 and was quite active in the community.  I wonder if she knew Dred?

It was so quiet in the cemetery; very peaceful. I only wish the conditions were better. But, I am glad for the chance to see it and family research wFor the family research I would like to follow-up and find out, with the help of local genealogists, exactly where he and others in his family are buried in the cemetery. 

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.

Additions to my Genealogy Collection

If I never felt like a genealogist, boy, I sure do now! It all started simply enough.  An email from my friend Kay Lynn, who volunteers with me in the NCGenWeb project:

…while cleaning out and going thru all my genealogy books I came upon a few Washington County cemeteries that were surveyed in 1936.. would you be interested in these? 

I maintain the Washington County, NCGenWeb page and I of course had to take her up on the offer! Then, as we exchanged emails, it turned out she had some other Washington County items as well.  Since Kay Lynn only lives about 20 minutes away from me, I decided to just go up and visit yesterday. 

And what a pleasant visit we had.  Her land has a few buildings on it, so she has a vehicle to get around. Here are Jihad and Kaleya with her “mule” as she calls it :-). 

Kay Lynn was cleaning out her research room of material that she doesn’t use often for the sites she maintains. It was my lucky day that she had things relevant for counties that I work on or contribute to for both NC and the  TNGenWeb Project. Thus, I came home with waaaaay more than I knew I was going to get! :-)

And, I had to clear out space on my bookshelves for it – see the one that’s just about empty 2nd from the right? This is to be their new home.

The collection of material includes:

  • Onslow County, North Carolina marriage records 1764-1867 by Frances T. Ingmire (1983)
  • Onslow County, North Carolina 1860 Census – compiled by Michael Whaley & Bob Jenkins in 1989
  • Onslow County, North Carolina Voter Registration Records: 1902, 1904, 1906, 1908 – by Delmas D. Haskett, Jo Ann Galloway & Helen Moore Sammons (1995)
  • Abstracts of Land Entries, Onslow County, NC 1778-1796 and Jones County, NC 1795-1797 – by Dr. A. B. Pruitt (1990)
  • Onslow County, North Carolina Cemetery Records – an 11 volume set compiled and indexed by Michael Whaley in 1996
  • Washington County Genealogical Society Newsletters & Quarterlies from their very first issue in March 1990 – November 1994 
  • Transcripts of Washington County North Carolina Marriages from “Index to  Marriages, Vol. 1″ 1851-1872 published in 1993
  • Washington County 1850 US Census
  • the above-stated 1936 Survey of a few Washington County cemeteries
  • “Family Findings” – monthly newsletter of the Mid-West TN Genealogical Society from their very first issue in April 1969-1992!
  • quarterly publication of the Middle TN Genealogical Society from 1988-1997
  • “Ansearchin” News – publication of the TN Genealogical Society, 1989-1991
  • 2 big binders of records from a funeral home in Lauderdale County, TN that cover 1923-1986 and 1989-1991

Of this list, some items are already available online, some are not.  Some have copyright, some do not.  Thus, the extent of what I can put online will vary for each of them. Some are very hard to come by – for example, the Washington County Genealogical Society doesn’t even have in their own library their issues going back to the beginning. And, they’ve given me permission to put old issues online already so you can guess what’s going to happen with these!

However, in each case, no matter what I can or cannot do with them online, there is a distinct benefit to actually owning a physical copy and I am quite delirious! Look at them in their new location.

What exactly am I going to do with all my new-found bounty?

  • figure out the best way to make sure researchers in the counties these are most relevant to know that I have them so I can offer lookups
  • get at least the indexes posted online when possible
  • in a few cases, the whole document can be put online so work on that
  • digitize it all (for my own personal use if it is still under copyright)
  • catalog it all – as well as the rest of my book (physical & electronic) collection 

Thank you so much Kay Lynn! You truly made me a very happy gal.  And, of course, I still left room for anything else you may wish to pass along as you finish your cleaning. :-)  What a great start to my Memorial Day Weekend this has been.  Today is going to be equally exciting.  I’ll post about that later so stay tuned….

Wearing my 1940 Census Ambassador Badge

I added a new icon to my sidebar this evening — the 1940 Census Ambassador Badge.  I joined last week as I am going to be contributing to the creation of the index.

So much has been made available online about the upcoming census that I will not rehash here.  In short, when the census images are released on April 2nd, there will not be an index.  The only way to find people will be to really have a good sense of where they were living.  An index would be far more useful so there is a multi-partner initiative that is encouraging us all to volunteer and help create the index.

More excitingly for me is that I created a group for the TNGenWeb Project so that we can work as individual indexers, but contribute “points” towards our group.  More information about that is on the TNGenWeb site, so if you would like to be on our team, just let me know. 

 

Microfilm Scanners at Tennessee State Library

I heart the Tennessee State Library & Archives :-)

This week they announced on their blog the new availability of two microfilm scanners attached to computers to allow for digital capture.  I was quite happy to hear the news because I have been wanting this for years now.   The Nashville Public Library has two stations that I use from time to time, but I go to TSLA more than NPL for genealogy research.  Besides, the TSLA has so many microfilm holdings just waiting to be explored and printouts cost .25cents/page.  I’ve tried to capture images using my digital camera and my wand scanner, but neither has given me the kind of results I ideally desired.

The systems in place are the ScanPro2000 machines.  They offer many features and the best way to get acquainted is to watch their YouTube video. Ultimately, you just need to know that this machine rocks! I kept telling the staff how pleased I was with it and how grateful I was to TSLA for having purchased them.

Here is my picture of the setup at TSLA

Microfilm scanning machine at the Tennessee State Library & Archives

In the few hours I used it, I captured around 250 digital images of old newspaper issues.  I was in heaven.

Since the installation is new, there are some features that are not enabled and I wonder if there are plans to?  For example, I noticed that this machine allows remote microfilm viewing.  With this feature, someone at TSLA could load microfilm and I could look at it and navigate it from home.  I would pass out if they implemented this  –give me access to a roll of microfilm that has a couple of hundred newspapers issues on it? Wow.  Maybe they will get to that?

Better yet – maybe the North Carolina State Library should get one, enable remote viewing, and then I could get to all those newspapers I’ve been longing to get my hands on!  Dick Eastman blogged about the machine last summer and by reading the comments I learned of several other libraries (including FHL in Salt Lake City) that have them, and even one that allows remote viewing overnight while their facility is closed.

I am still overjoyed.  Thank you so much TSLA.  You will definitely see me using these on a regular basis.

 

 

 

Facebook Comments

Can my friends help me out?? I have added a plugin that allows you to comment on my blog using the Facebook Comments API.

This is a short-term test and I may not keep it. But, the only way to get a feel for how it works is to have some test users.  Won’t you help?

Click on the “Comments” on the sidebar to the left to leave a comment.  (Ignore the fact that the whole comments section is flush left. I’ll figure that out later if I decide to keep it).

My Genea-Wish List

This week Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one I could do quite easily without a second thought.  Here’s the task:

1)  Think of the genealogy related wishes you have – what education, database, or information would make your genealogy research dreams come true?  Be specific – as many wishes as you want to list!

2)  Tell us about some of your genea-wishes in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

I have one wish:

that every issue of every extant newspaper was fully name-indexed and searchable at the county level

See how easy that was? :-)

I hope genealogy database vendors are paying attention to this week’s topic – there are some excellent suggestions circulating the blogsphere!