Research Update: Ronald E. McNair

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger explosion which killed Ronald Ervin McNair and six other astronauts. My maternal grandmother was a McNair and from time to time various family members ask if he is related to us. It’s been awhile since I searched, but I today I went back further on his paternal line.

Ron was the son of Columbus Carl McNair (1923- 1992) and Pearl Helena Montgomery (1926-1993). Using a combination of census, vital, and military records, I learned that Columbus Carl McNair was the son of Bishop Anderson M. McNair (1884-1956) and wife Lina (1882-1962). Bishop Anderson McNair was the son of a man also named Anderson McNair.

At this point, all I know about Anderson Sr. is that he was born about 1846 in South Carolina. I’ve located him in the 1880 census, but not yet in 1870. In 1880, Anderson, his wife Mary, and kids Frank, Joseph, Prett, Emanuel, and Fuller, were living in Adamsville, South Carolina.

1880 Census – Anderson & Mary McNair – Adamsville, SC

I know my McNair lineage back to Rufus Tannahill McNair (born about 1823) of Edgecombe and Washington counties in North Carolina and I cannot place Anderson in it with the information I have so far. In the 1880 census record above, Anderson’s state of birth is listed as NC, so that’s interesting. But, there were many McNair families spread out around the state of North Carolina.

In fact, Adamsville, which is in Marlboro County, SC, is near the state line with NC and on the other side of  that line are Scotland and Robeson counties.

I do know of some black McNair families from Robeson County that are seemingly unconnected to mine – though, the white McNair families in both areas were distantly related. It would not surprise me if I learned Anderson Sr. was from this NC bunch rather than my bunch. 🙂

I, of course, need to research Anderson McNair Sr. more thoroughly but I was excited to get back this far – it’s further than I was able to go a few years ago. It will be interesting to continue with the research and see if any connections can be made.  Ron accomplished much in the time he was granted and I want to help document his family lineage as fully as I can.

Comments (6)

  1. True!

    Thanks for Remembering Astro McNair. I remember when I worked for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. One of the places we had Soldiers located at was at a school named after him.

  2. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Thanks True. Yes, there are many places named after him, and well-deserved too 🙂

  3. Dawsr

    I love these quests to solve riddles of “Could I be related to…”. Happy hunting!

  4. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    It is interesting for sure. I have family members who have had it told to them that he is related so I’m looking for the evidence 🙂

  5. David Bachman

    Hmm, that was very interesting read! Thanks for your insights, I enjoyed them totally.

    Regards,
    David Bachman from Other Genealogical Society.

  6. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Thanks David!

Comments are closed.