More Resources

Last night brought some more information! I received two emails in response to some posts I made on Ancestry that yielded some beneficial information.

1) Someone was able to send me a list of marriages of persons of color from the book Somebody Knows My Name by Barbara McGhee White. In the list is the marriage of my great-great-great-grandfather, James Koonce, to his first wife Susan. They got married in 1860 and I learned her maiden name – it was Craff.

2) I also was provided a link to an online database of deaths in the five boroughs of NY from 1891-1945. In searching that database, I think I have located the death date of my mother’s grandfather. There is only one Lewis Robinson listed that comes close to even being him! My uncle lives in NY, so he is going to the Municipal Archives sometime within the next couple of weeks to check it out and if it is him, get a copy of the death certificate for us. Maybe, just maybe, Lewis’ death certificate will have his parents names — here’s to hope. Furthermore, it turns out I am going to help contribute to the cause and will be helping add more records to the database! The coordinator is going to send me papers that I will help transcribe into Excel.

What is up with Barfield Koonce?

I am having the hardest time learning much about the very line whose name I have! Barfield is the furthest back I can go and I thought that once I received his death certificate, I would surely get his parents names. No such luck. It came in the mail today and both fields are “unknown.” Barfield was my great-grandfather and he died in 1953. I did learn that he died of a fall that occurred a few days before his death and he struck his back. Official designation: Fracture of the cervical spine. My father’s other grandfather also died of injuries as a result of a fall.

I also got Barfield’s wife’s death certificate. Josephine Holloway Koonce died in 1977. I was hoping for her father’s name on her death certificate, but that was blank too. It had her mother’s name on there which confirmed the name I had from her obituary. I am having trouble locating Josephine’s family as well, but will keep investigating.

And, on my mother’s side of the family, a cousin sent me the printed family tree from the McNair Family Reunion. The McNairs are based for the most part in Plymouth, NC and let me tell you — I think I am related to every McNair in that area – there are so many of them! The farthest back we go so far is to Rufus (b. 1824) and Mariah. They had 12 children at least and then each of those children had tons of children. Too many McNairs! Kaleya is a 6th generation descendant of Rufus & Mariah McNair – they are her 4G grandparents. 6 GENERATIONS! That is amazing to me. But, this is great information to have because it confirms that all those McNairs I’ve been seeing in the census records are indeed relatives. The quest to get as many birth/death certificates as possible seems neverending…. As of tonite, there are 142 individuals in Rufus’ descendant chart and I’ve only put in about 50% of his grandchildren.

Here is her relationship to him:

1st "Official" post

These past 2-3 weeks have been exhilarating! I have been so fortunate to have been able to find great information on my ancestors and related family that I have just been walking around in a constant state of excitement. I have been so preoccupied in the hunt, I haven’t even taken the time for reflection that I intended this blog to bear. I don’t expect that I will post here more than weekly, or as I make great finds but we will see what happens. If I find that I am just not blogging like I think I should, then I will re-evaluate.

For now, here have been the highlights of my research:

1. I have received approximately 20 certificates (birth and/or death) on various family members from writing to the county specific register of deeds offices. I have requests out for at least 30 more and plan to write more requests this week for another 15 or so. Fortunately, the counties that my family are from have cheap fees for uncertified copies – the average price is twenty-five cents.

2. Using census records after I joined Ancestry I was able to find ancestors another 2-3 generations back on some of my lines. The ancestor tree for my maternal grandmother for example is complete to her great-grandparents and it is one of her lines that I have my earliest ancestor – Prince Walker born in 1812. I can only surmise that Prince was a slave but have not yet done any research to this end.

3. I have “met” and reconnected with family members. As a result, it is likely that I will make my best efforts from now on to attend my family reunions. I have two coming up this summer that I hope to be able to go to. Doing so will be an incredible opportunity to connect and hear family stories.

There has been so much more I have done, but I have to go to bed for now! Doing my family history is making me feel so connected to my past – it is a wonderful,wonderful thing. I am learning so much and truly appreciate being able to have this knowledge that I can now share with my own family.

First Post

Welcome to my genealogy blog! Like I really need yet another online diversion in my life, but I decided to go ahead and start the blog as a way to document what I learn as I research my family’s genealogy. I’ll post a longer post over the weekend as to how I got started, so until then, let this be my placeholder.