Tag Archive: #52ancestors

My New Koonce Surname Study Site

A couple of weeks ago I shared that I’d joined the Guild of One-Name Studies. This is Week 6 of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series and how apropos that this week’s prompt is “Favorite Name.”  Guess what name I choose? KOONCE! A perfectly timed prompt for launching my new site dedicated to the Koonce surname. My interest in my Koonce surname is, after all, what sparked my curiosity of those that came before me.  Thus, it is my favorite name.

I am very pleased with my new site.  The design is Template 15 of the TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Site-building software and I like the segmentation of the page. I have a link to my Mailchimp email distribution for updates I share with other Koonce researchers and family members.

The database has about 4,000 individuals and I’ve created sections for both white and black Koonce lineages along with indications to their regional areas. The Koonce to Koonce newsletters, published by my buddy John P. Koonce, are featured on the front page and I could not help but put a picture of myself browsing the newsletters as my “contact” picture.

My next step for the new site is to start re-attaching media files. I made a conscious decision not to transfer them in batch because I needed to do some cleanup. But the sources are all there so at least others will be able to see those.

I love working on my surname study. I enjoy connecting with other Koonces and researching Koonce families.  If you are a Koonce descendant, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

In the Census: I’m Ready for 1950

A view of my presentation

Yesterday, I was delighted to present a session on Researching African American Family History & Genealogy on behalf of the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society. This is our fourth year partnering with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to conduct part of their Black History Month programming and it went well! We had a turnout of more than 60 people and during our post-presentation consultation sessions, had a chance to interact individually to help answer research questions.

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series prompt is “In the Census.” Well, a standard part of my presentations on getting started in your research is that the first set of records to go to are the US Census records. It never ceases to amaze me just how much information can be gleaned when working backward consecutively through the years. During the presentation, I explained how the 1950 census will be released in 2022 and I thought to myself – wow- we are so close!  I did quite a bit of transcription for the 1940 census and I am looking forward to hopefully being able to do the same for 1950.

I am already beginning to think about who I’ll search for first in the 1950 census and it will definitely be my grandparents:

  • maternal grandmother: Alice McNair – in April 1950, my grandmother had given birth to my uncle Stanley. He was born in Brooklyn, NY so I expect to find her and him there; he was only 6 weeks old on census enumeration day. The address on his birth certificate is 44 MacDonough Street in Brooklyn, so I expect to find them there.
  • maternal grandfather: Herman Robinson – my grandfather discharged from the US Navy in 1946 and would marry my grandmother in September 1950. I expect he will be in New York somewhere, but I do not know where. I wonder if he will be near his own mother, Lucinda Lennon Robinson – she would be living on Harlem River Drive in Manhattan.
  • paternal grandmother: Cora Mae Lawhorn –  she married my grandfather in 1951, so I expect to find her still living at home with her parents in Craven County, NC.
  • paternal grandfather: William Koonce Sr. – I also expect to find him still living at home with his parents – also in Craven County, NC.

I will then search for my great-grandparents as 7 of the 8 were still alive in 1950. Until the 1950 census is transcribed, we will need to navigate them by knowing the enumeration districts, so check Steve Morse’s One-Step site for those details.

1950 Craven County, NC Enumeration Districts

And so that I don’t forget my plan, this blog entry is going into my calendar for the first week of April 2022. Are you prepared?

 

 

 

 

The Longest Living Person in My Genealogy Database: Zeola L. Portis

It’s Week 3 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series and this week’s prompt is “Longevity.” For this prompt, I decided to check my genealogy database and find the longest-living person.

I use TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding for my primary software program and it is easy to run statistics and find the longest-living person. This calculation can only be done when there are definitive birth and death dates, so as it stands right now, the longest-living person is Ms. Zeola L. Portis. She was born January 6, 1902, and died September 19, 2008. She was 106 years old when she passed away.

Zeola L., age 8, in the 1910 Calvert, Robertson County, TX census as the youngest child of her mother Hattie.

I learned about Zeola from a fellow genealogist who contacted me after finding my information online about my ancestors from Edgecombe County, NC – specifically, relatives of my 3rd great-grandmother, Mariah Wimberly.  Zeola’s grandparents were Reddin Battle and Amanda Wimberly and we suspect Amanda and Mariah are related – possibly sisters. If Amanda and Mariah are sisters, then I would be Zeola’s 1st cousin three times removed.

Zeola and her family were from Calvert, Robertson County, Texas. And, upon being contacted by the other genealogist and doing research, I discovered that one of Mariah’s brothers moved from Edgecombe County, NC down to that area of Texas; I’ve been able to definitively source his move and his family; in addition to tracing several other Edgecombe County families to that same area.  It is through a conversation with Zeola that my geneabuddy was able to learn about the family’s migration from North Carolina, so Zeola’s oral account, and the documentation I’ve located so far converge.

My research on Zeola and her family is far from complete, but I should re-focus and consider what steps I can take next to seek out more evidence for Amanda’s relationship to my family. I will definitely have to put my thinking cap on.

 

 

Our Visual Address History

As Amy Johnson Crow begins her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series this year, I finally decided to take the plunge and participate! The goal of the series is to do something with the genealogy research that I, and so many others, obsess about 🙂 ; to make it more interactive and dynamic than just names and dates in a genealogy program. I have been blogging about my genealogy for about 10 years, but have slacked off the past few years; it is my hope that participating in the series will help me pick that back up also.

This weeks prompt is “Start.” To that end, I’d like to share a project I’ve just started to document an aspect of my family history. Using Becky Higgins’ Project Life app, I started a scrapbook to document all the places my parents have lived, and all the places my siblings and I grew up.

The scrapbook starts with my maternal grandmother, Alice McNair Robinson, and where she lived when my mother’s oldest brother, Stanley, was born.  She lived on MacDonough Avenue in Bronx, NY and we even have family pictures taken outside the apartment.  I’ve put together some photos and stories from that time period to put the page together.

my scrapbook page

I recently shared an update on my photo organization project and I am reaping the benefits already! As I consider how to put these scrapbook pages together, I know what pictures I have to match the time frame and the location. It has been immensely helpful.

I have plenty to do as I build the scrapbook; growing up, we lived in a lot of places and my siblings and I went to many different schools. I will continue to move through the years and document various aspects of our lives. I am having regular conversations with my parents to gather information for the scrapbook and I am already learning so much family history that I did not know. I plan to include family memories and stories along the way so I know that doing this is going to be a wonderful experience! And, as a final outcome, I’ll have a book that I can gift to my parents and siblings; definitely will make the history tangible.

If you have done a family history scrapbook I would love to hear about it; I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.