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My New Found Cousin

The past couple of weeks I’ve been more focused on my Koonce genealogy work than anything else.  Ever since having that flurry of Koonce activity, I’ve just been caught up in it.  I have decided to do a new blog devoted to chronicling my quest to research and findings; not just of my own Koonce line, but for Koonce’s in general – my very own Koonce surname project I suppose.  Since I’ve been so busy with school and work however, I don’t expect to begin any real efforts towards it until late summer.

But, I did have a great week this week in that I was contacted by a new cousin! She commented on my Ancestry tree and we believe that our respective Robinson (of Columbus County, NC)  ancestors were brothers.  We don’t have any concrete proof yet, but are building up a theory based on several things such as proximity, shared names in the family, ages, etc.

My Robinson line stems from William Robinson, born about 1830  North Carolina.  William married Rebecca Toon and they would have at least 9 children, their youngest being my great-grandfather, Louis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson.

Yolanda’s line stems from John Robinson, born about 1842 who married Matilda Toon.  John and Matilda, or Tilly, would have at least 7 children. Their son Nathaniel is her great-grandfather.

We suspect that John & William’s parents were Bob (born about 1800) and Hagar (born about 1815).  John had a son named William and William had a son named John.  Both men had sons named Nathaniel.  In 1880, the two families are only a few households away from each other.

We are in the process of exchanging information and pictures, so I’m looking forward to learning more.

Wordless Wednesday: E.B. Koonce Mortuary

Postcard image sent to me by John P. Koonce of E.B. Koonce Morturary in St. Louis, Missouri.   The mortuary was owned by Ernest Benjamin Koonce and his wife Virginia from what I have been able to determine via some quick research.  This African-American Koonce family is not related to me, but as I’m now on a mission to collect Koonce families,  they will be added to my database.

Wordless Wednesday: Pearlie Mae and her Pearls

I have to preface this picture with a few comments. Yesterday, my cousin, the granddaughter of my great-grandmother Pearlie Mae “Julie” Kilpatrick sent me this picture and I am absolutely mesmerized by it.  I only have a few pictures of Pearlie Mae and this one is exquisite.  She was all dressed up, including a pearl necklace and pearl earrings.  My cousin took the picture of the picture w/ a digital camera, hence the glare, but we’ll be getting that edited out soon enough.

The picture was taken after she and my great-grandfather were married in 1931 as she is wearing a ring on her left hand (can’t see it in the photo), so we think the picture was taken soon thereafter.  I never knew her, she died when I was not even yet 2 years old, but I do have a memory of being at her house and seeing her in the bed, even though I was so young.  

This month’s Carnival of Genealogy topic is “A Tribute to Women;” my scrapbook page is my tribute to Pearlie Mae.

From My Digital Scrapbook Layouts

Music Monday: For Once In My Life

I’m writing this post as a pre-published post, but I was just flipping channels and ran across the movie The Temptations.  When I watch this movie, I think of my grandfather Herman.  My favorite scene from the movie is when actor Christian Payton (playing Paul), sings “For Once In My Life.”

At the time, I did not know the song, so asked my parents about it and my mother told me that this song as done by Stevie Wonder was one of her father’s absolute FAVORITES! He would play it repeatedly.  So, this post is for my grandfather Herman.

New Book about Wessyngton Plantation

A couple of weeks ago, when I bought In Search of Our Roots, I’d also seen a book by John F. Baker Jr. called The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation.  Tonight, I went ahead and purchased this book too.  I will probably not be able to start reading it right away, but I’m glad to own it now.   The Wessyngton Plantation was here in Tennessee and the author used their papers held on file at the Tennessee State Library & Archives for some of his research, so this is very close to home for me.   You can read more about the plantation in the online version of Profiles of African-Americans in Tennessee

In the book, the author accounts his family’s background, as well as information about other slave family descendants as he discovered them through his research. Again, this is another example of my previously expressed wish that books of this nature also do accompanying online family trees to faciliate later discovery by others and possible extended family members.  One of the main ancestors of the author is Granville Washington 1831-1898) of which I find no information in Ancestry Trees in a quick and dirty search.  

Biographies + Online gedcoms/family trees are my desire. Who will be the first author to do it?  I am encouraged though to see that on his website, Mr. Baker does have a few representative documents and some newspaper articles about his research.  He is on Facebook, on MySpace, and has a blog too where he continues to share his research.   This looks like a great start to my dream 🙂

And, unlike Gates’ book, his is searcheable over at Google Books.  Mr. Baker will be here in Nashville for a book signing in a week, I must try to go!

See below for a two mintue overview of the book

Wordless Wednesday: Basketball

My father in 1970 – point guard for the Newbold High School basketball team in Dover, North Carolina. Picture taken from his yearbook. 

daddy_bball

Research tip for me: consult newspapers from the time period to see if his performance was mentioned 🙂

Latest Addition to my Genealogy Bookshelf

Last weekend, I picked up the new book from Henry Louis Gates, In Search of Our Roots. This is the companion book to the African-American Lives 2 special from last year.

I just started reading the book yesterday and I am enjoying it  There are profiles in the book for the highlights of the research Gates and his collaborators did to learn more about each person’s family tree.  Some of the people featured are Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou.

As I began to read the book, I wondered how much of their tree information was available online?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a supplemental online tree to go along with the book where a reader could interactively navigate?  Also, it would be useful to have the information online to faciliate discovery by other researchers (perhaps distant cousins) to connect to the research conducted.

On the African-American Lives site, there is an interactive timeline that includes major milestones in black history as well as major milestones in each of the participants history, but it is an image based representation, thus not indexable or searcheable.

I’ve been thinking about this concept lately as I read another book, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. This book details the family history of white and black Hairstons of Virginia & North Carolina and is full of genealogical details.  One thing that was quite noticeable for me is that the author has a tree structure for the white Hairstons, but so far, I’ve not seen a tree structure for the black Hairston’s he discusses.  I have searched online for tree information for some of those families and not been able to find anything online in a consistent manner.

Here is my wish and desire — for both these books, and any others that chroncile family history having an companion online tree (perhaps at Ancestry Family Trees, WeRelate, or FamilyHistoryLink would be an interesting way to share some of the work online in a way that is more easily discovered by others.  Alternatively, at the site they could use my favorite genealogy software, TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding to provide an online view to the trees.  At the minimum, the Gates book could have been made searcheable at Google Books (update 8/15/09 – it is now searcheable);  the Hairstons book is searcheable.  In the age of web 2.0/ Genealogy 2.0, this would be a wonderful means for establishing more connections!

Search Enhancements At GenealogyBank

I really need to go to bed, but I just had to post this!

I was sneaking a peek in GenealogyBank.com tonight and noticed that they have made some enhancements to their search interface for the Historical Newspapers Collection.   When you go to the search screen, you are shown several new search options that were not there last time I searched about a month ago.  I don’t see an announcement on the GenealogyBank blog though. (update 2/18/09 — today, they made a blog post about it)

The first new item on the search screen is the option to search the *updated content* that is added to the database.  GB often adds new pages and I’d written to them several months ago that it would be nice to be able to search the new additions only.  I was told that it was coming, and now it’s here.  At the time of this post, the options for searching just the updated content allow you to select things added since Feb 2009, since Jan 2009, or since Dec 2008.

genealogybank

They have also added a graphic map of the United States with blue dots to represent locations where they have newspaper content.   While it’s not my dream vision of seeing a Google Maps ultra-mashup of all the online digitized newspapers online, it is a nice view to get a sense for where they have coverage and where they don’t.  I wish all providers of historical newspapers would do something similar.   Beneath the graphic is a list of all the states and you can select which states to limit your search to.  Previously, you could only select one state at at time; now you can select multiple states.

If you haven’t searched GenealogyBank in awhile, you should revisit it.  If you are not a subscriber,  try out the one-month trial.  (No affiliation, just a very happy customer).

To add to my excitement about the new search options, I also found something of great interest to me.  In my last post, I shared how this week has been all about my Koonce research.   A lot has happened this past week with that.  Well, as I often do, I did a keyword search for a city of interest for blog fodder, and one of my results was a slave runaway advertisement that I’d seen before and blogged about previously.  I’d selected to search new content only, so even though this was something I’d seen before, I knew that often ads were run in multiple issues.  I decided to take a look at this particular issue of  the New Bern Sentinel and as I was browsing the pages, I came across this marriage announcement

kooncedavid_marriage

Source: “Marriage: David Nunn & Alice Koonce.” New Bern Sentinel 6 Sept. 1823. GenealogyBank. 16 Feb. 2009 <http://www.genealogybank.com>.

This is the marriage notice of David Nunn and Alice Koonce who married in Jones County, North Carolina in 1823.  I am quite happy to see this! I have Alice Koonce & David Nunn in my “other” Koonce gedcom collection.  I added David & Alice after *meeting* Jennifer, another African-American Koonce researcher who is descended from a slave David sold to his brother-in-law Isaac, named Solomon.   Isaac, as part of some of the pioneer families migrating from North Carolina, moved to Tennessee, bringing Solomon with him and that is where Jennifer’s family is from.  She’s got a wonderful website and blog with more details.  In any case, I just happened to browse the pages and I see a notice of David & Alice’s wedding.   Up until now, I’d only had secondary sources for their marriage.   I can’t believe I have yet another Koonce-related discovery and I wasn’t even searching for it!

I Proclaim This My Koonce Week

This past week or so has been especially rewarding for me – asI’ve had a cluster of activity around my Koonce surname.

In these past several days I’ve spoken to the daughter of my great-aunt that recently passed away, spoken to two Koonce descendants who also have ties to Lenoir & Craven counties in NC; and gotten permission from a third Koonce researcher to post the issues of the Koonce to Koonce newsletter online.

To top it off, today after doing some searching at Newspaper Archive.com, my mother found mention of my grandfather’s (William Koonce Sr.)  fatal car accident in a story that was picked up by the Associated Press on New Year’s fatalities from the new year of 1976.  I’ve blogged before about my experience reading court records involving his accident, and to read his name in the newspaper brought those same feelings back again- it truly feels like going back in time.  It is just one sentence, but it is a powerful sentence for me.  I’ve not yet found a newspaper obituary for my grandfather, so this is the closest I’ve come yet.

In the Syracuse Herald-Journal newspaper of Syracuse, New York, there is an article that was published January 2, 1976 titled “Hoodlums, Accidents, Fire Mar Holiday Spirit” and here is my grandfather listed among the fatalities

kooncewilliam_apstory

My Own Valentine

In honor of Valentine’s day, let me share my own Valentine, my ancestor and 2nd-great-grandfather, Valentine Lawhorn. 

Valentine Lawhorn was born about 1830 in North Carolina, and by the 1870 census, lived in Craven County, North Carolina.  I have not yet uncovered any information about who his parents may have been, and even trying to figure out potential slaveowners has been to date a challenge in my research.  I’ve not been able to locate any white Lawhorn families in the area, though I have seen a few McLawhorns. 

Valentine was married to Harriet (born about 1843) and as far as I can tell, they had 5 children.   For this side of my family, we do have an early Bible with listings of births, deaths, and marriages and there is one reference to Valentine in the bible – for his son Wright who was a preacher

lawhornbible

Valentine’s son Samuel Becton Lawhorn is my direct ancestor, the father of my grandfather, William Hew Lawhorn. 

Valentine passed away some time before 1900 as by then, his wife Harriet is listed as a widow and lives with her son Wright. I have no information about where Valentine may be buried either, but one day I hope to learn more about this family. 

Valentine’s name continues to be passed along in the family; his son Samuel named a son Valentine and my great-uncle named gave one of his sons the middle name of Valentine.