Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I have always enjoyed school and can’t imagine a life without education. Over the years, one of the key things I have learned through oral history interviews is about the struggle of my family in obtaining an education. My great Uncle Washington Moore who was born in 1900 talked about being able to only attend school through the third grade because he had to work to help care for his family. My maternal grandfather, Minor Thornton, who was born in 1913 in NC, was also the oldest of his family, and had to stop school in the third grade. Both Uncle Washington and my Granddaddy lived during a time when work took priority over education. Today, in America, we have opportunities for a free education. However, as I learn more about my family in Africa, I find that even today, many of them live in a society where work takes priority over education.

The video below is about the life and educational opportunities of a 10-year-old girl named Mariama Samu, who lives in Cassaca, Guinea Bissau. Like Uncle Washington, my paternal grandfather, and other ancestors, little Mariama has to rise early to help with household chores. However, the installation of a water well by the UNICEF organization, has made her chores somewhat easier. Now Mariama is able to attend school where she is progressing extremely well.

I am fortunate to have advanced further educationally than my ancestors. My first step was to obtain a high school diploma, which none of my direct ancestral line had ever completed. Later, I completed both bachelor and masters degrees.

UNICEF: Giving girls a better education in Guinea-Bissau

Monday, May 26, 2008

Guinea Bissau Mission Trip

This photo slide show video looks like a mission trip of young people working in Guinea Bissau. This video brought tears to my eyes as I looked at the images of the people of Guinea Bissau, especially the children. Guinea Bissau is a country that I am connected to genetically through my maternal DNA and my father’s paternal DNA. I am thankful that through video, I am able to see the faces of the people of this West African country.

The music is a nice touch to this video. Even though I don’t understand the lyrics to the first song, “II mondo che vorrei,” it still sounds like a beautiful and powerful song. The second song “We Are the World” further adds an inspirational touch to this photo slide show of my genetic family.

Guinea Bissau 2006

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Visiting Guinea Bissau through Video

I am a fan of You Tube and watch videos on this site often. This morning I decided to type in the names of some of the African countries where my DNA matches. I started with Guinea-Bissau and up came numerous videos. I hope to visit Africa someday, but until that times comes, I'll have to visit by video. Below is one of the videos I discovered.

Going Back to Guinea Bissau: Suzana Village

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Three Sets of Children of Ellen Moore (continued)

Searching the 1880 census for Pleasant Lundy led my research to Chesterfield County, VA and to the family of Charles and Roxanna Lundy. Pleasant’s age progression from the 1870 census to the 1880 census is consistent (age 6 on the 1870 census and living with Washington and Ellen Moore in Greensville County, VA and age 16 on the 1880 census and living with Charles and Roxana Lundy in Chesterfield County, VA.)

1880 U. S. Census, Chesterfield County, VA, population schedule, roll #1361, Matoaca Township, ED 72, Page 4, Dwelling 32, Family 36, Lines 16-19.

Looking at the 1870 census of the household of Charles Lundy, I find two children listed—all of the first names of the two children in the household match the names told to me by Aunt Della. “My Grandma Ellen had children named David, Mary, and Pleasant,” she has said on numerous occasions. “They were not Washington Moore’s children,” she recalled.

1870 U. S. Census, Chesterfield County, VA, population schedule, roll #1640, Matoaca Township, Page 113/374, Dwelling 763, Family 891, Lines 9 -12.

The 1870 and 1880 censuses are the only documents I have found on Pleasant Lundy so far and the 1870 census is the only one found for David Lundy. However, further search of Mary Lundy, the daughter of Charles Lundy led to various revelations.

One document found on Mary Lundy was her 1884 marriage license to William Spratley in which her father was named as Charles Lundy. The mother on her marriage license was named as Ellen Lundy, rather than Roxana Lundy, who was listed as wife of Charles Lundy on the 1870 and 1880 censuses.

The marriage occurred on December 30, 1884 in Chesterfield County, VA. By 1900 William and Mary Lundy Spratley were living in the city of Petersburg, VA.

View of section of marriage license with name of parents of bride and groom.

To Be Continued . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Three Sets of Children of Ellen Moore

It is through conversations with my great aunt Della, a sister of my paternal grandmother Hattie Moore Pair, that I have learned clues about the life of my ancestor Ellen Moore. Although Aunt Della remembers fragments about the family of her paternal grandmother Ellen, these clues have aided me in finding documents to piece together the life of Grandma Ellen.

Ellen Moore was born into slavery around November 1841 in Virginia and worked as a Cook during slavery. I do not know what part of Virginia she was born in, but I find her in living in Greensville County, VA beginning on the 1870 census. Her grandchildren did not recall her ever naming a slave owner and I have not yet identified one through my research. Aunt Della, who is now 98 years old, has repeatedly told me that her Grandma Ellen had three sets of children (two sets born during slavery).and the third set born afterwards. Aunt Della’s father Robert Moore (1869-1955) was born in the family of the third set of children.

From her recollections, Aunt Della named Junious Scott as part of the first set and she remembered seeing him. She remembered hearing about Pleasant Lundy, but she was not sure which set of children he belonged. Other children of the second set, she recalled, were named David and Mary. She did not remember much about David, but she remembered that her Aunt Mary married a Spratley and lived in Petersburg, VA. During Aunt Della’s childhood, her grandmother sometimes lived with her daughter Mary Spratley in Petersburg and with her son Robert Moore (Aunt Della’s father) in Greensville County, VA.

The 1870 census is the first document that I have found on Grandma Ellen Moore. This record lists her husband Washington, and some of the children whom I learned about through oral history. Although the 1870 census does not list family relationships, either future censuses or other documents, give information on the relationships of these children to Grandma Ellen.

1870 U. S. Census, population schedule, Household of Washington Moore,
Greensville County, VA, Hicksford Township, roll #1649,
Sheet 7, Page 352, Dwelling 53, Family 54, Lines 12-17.

Three Sets of Children of Ellen Moore (Continued)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

African Connection - Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

My mitochondrial DNA also matches the Temne people of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone, whose official name is Republic of Sierra Leone, is a West African country on the Atlantic Ocean about half the size of Illinois. The country is surrounded by Guinea, in the north and east, and Liberia, in the south. The terrain of Sierra Leone consists of Mangrove swamps along the coast, wooded hills and a plateau in the interior, and mountains in the east.

Here are a few facts about Sierra Leone.
  • Land area: 27,653 sq mi (71,621 sq km)
  • Total area: 27,699 sq mi (71,740 sq km)
  • Population (2007 est.): 6,144,562 (growth rate: 2.3%)
  • Birth rate: 45.4/1000
  • Infant mortality rate: 158.3/1000
  • Life expectancy: 40.6
Source: InfoPlease, Sierra Leone,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

African Connection - Guinea Bissau

Guinea Bissau

It is through the use of DNA technology that I can discover my African ancestry. DNA does not give me the name of a specific ancestor, but it does indicate my biological connections to present day living Africans and African countries. In the country Guinea Bissau, whose national name is the Républica da Guiné-Bissau, my mitochondrial DNA and my father’s Y-chromosome DNA match people of the Biafada and Balanta tribes. Guinea Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is a small country on the West African coast, about half the size of the state of South Carolina, and is a neighbor of countries of Senegal and Guinea. The terrain of Guinea Bissau is a low-lying coastal region of swamps, rain forests, and mangrove-covered wetlands, with about 25 islands off the coast.

Here are a few facts about Guinea Bissau.

  • Land area: 10,811 sq mi (28,000 sq km)
  • Total area: 13,946 sq mi (36,120 sq km)
  • Population (2007 est.): 1,472,041 (growth rate: 2.1%)
  • Birth rate: 36.8/1000
  • Infant mortality rate: 103.3/1000
  • Life expectancy: 47.2
Source: InfoPlease, Guinea Bissau,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In Memory of My Mother Dorothy Ashe Thornton Pair (1944 - 2007)

She was called “Ashe” and “Ashecake” by her family and was named “Dorothy” after a paternal aunt, Dorothy Thornton Andrews, and “Ashe” after the maiden name of her paternal grandmother, Marcia Ashe Thornton.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Revealing DNA Results to Family

Below are videos of the revealing of the DNA results of six famous individuals. Most of these results were revealed by Gina Paige, a cofounder of the African Ancestry DNA company, at the family reunion of the famous individual. We see in these videos tears, joy at hearing about their African connection.

Watching these videos gives me creative ideas on how I will reveal the DNA results to my father’s family in an upcoming reunion in July. I have not decided on the method yet, but want it to be creative.

The famous individuals whose DNA results were revealed are:

  • Dr. Dorothy Height, Chairman of the National Council of Negro Women
  • Singer India Irie
  • Actor Isaiah Washington
  • T.V.’s Judge Hachett
  • Emmy-award winning news anchor Susan Kidd
  • Actress Vanessa A. Williams

Dr. Height African Ancestry Reveal

India Arie African Ancestry Reveal & Testimonial

Isaiah Washington and African Ancestry on GMA

Judge Hatchett Finds Her African Roots On Air

Susan Kidd African Ancestry Reveal

Vanessa A. Williams and African Ancestry on ABC News

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Robinson Family Cemetery

Photo taken at the funeral of their father Robert Moore in April 1955.
Sitting on front row (left to right,) my grandparents, Matthew and Hattie Moore Pair and Grandma Hattie's brother Washington Moore and his wife Candace.

The Robinson Family Cemetery is located adjacent to Antioch Baptist Church in the Skippers area of Greensville County, VA. My first visit to this family cemetery was Saturday, May 23, 1987, when my paternal grandfather, Matthew Dennis “Mack” Pair (1897-1987) was buried.

Since my parents were separated much of my life, I did not spend much time as a child getting to know my father’s family. It was around 1986, after discovering that my grandfather lived in Richmond, VA, that I began to take interest in getting to know this side of the family. My sister Doretha moved to Richmond that year and so one day we decided to visit Grandpa Mack who was living with his daughter Liz. Aunt Liz introduced us to her father and we just spoke, but did not engage in a conversation. Grandpa Mack died the next year.

While at the Robinson Family Cemetery on the day of Grandpa Mack’s burial, my father pointed out the grave of his mother, Hattie Moore Pair (1902-1956.) This was the first time I even knew her name. Later, in 1994 after I began family history research, I went back to the cemetery with Grandma Hattie’s youngest brother, Channie. Uncle Channie pointed out additional graves which not only included my grandparents, but some of their children and their spouses, as well as some of the Robinson family members, who were his maternal family. Uncle Channie pointed out an unmarked grave, which he believed to be the grave of his maternal grandfather, Joshua Robinson (1846-1935).

Below is a list of my ROBINSON, MOORE, and PAIR family members buried in the Robinson Family Cemetery.

Burials - Robinson Family Cemetery,
Surname, First Name, Birth Year/Death Year, Relationship

  • Green, Amos, Sr., 1921-1974, Husband of Sarah Pair Green
  • Johnson Moore, Candis, 1903-1986, Wife of Washington Moore
  • Jones Moore, Thelma, 1915-1979, Wife of John Marshall Moore
  • Moore Robinson, Alice Virginia, 1926-1991, Daughter of Washington and Candace Moore
  • Moore, Charlie Buster, 1911-2004, Son of Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Moore, Dale Bert, 1940-2005, Son of James Jefferson Moore and grandson of Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Moore Pair, Hattie Maude, 1902-1956, My paternal grandmother
  • Moore, Robert, abt. 1869-1955, My great grandfather and husband of Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Moore, Samuel Bell, 1917-2003, Son of Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Moore Foster, Sarah Ann, 1906-1995, Daughter of Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Moore, Washington, 1900-1997, Son of Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Pair Green, Lucille, 1923-1983, Daughter of Matthew and Hattie Moore Pair
  • Pair, Matthew Dennis, 1897-1987, My paternal grandfather
  • Pair Green, Sarah, 1928-2007, Daughter of Matthew and Hattie Moore Pair
  • Robinson, Charlie, 1891-1971, Son of Joshua and Ersie Jane Providence Robinson
  • Robinson, Joshua, 1846-1935, My great-great grandfather and father of Mary Eliza Robinson Moore
  • Robinson Moore, Mary Eliza, abt. 1880-1920, My great grandmother and wife of Robert Moore
  • Robinson, Moses, 1893-1979, Son of Joshua and Ersie Jane Providence Robinson

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Family Genetics

I do not know much about the reputation of the Family Genetics DNA company, but I found their video on You Tube and like the way it explains the science behind DNA, shows people taking DNA tests, and relates the results to the migration of mankind.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Alex Haley Interview

Alex Haley (1921-1992) was a biographer, scriptwriter, and novelist. His most famous work was Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the story of family through the line of his slave ancestor, Kunta Kinte. Other works of Haley include the following:
  • Queen
  • Mama Flora’s Family
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Roots: The Next Generation
1983 Alex Haley InterviewIn 1983, Alex Haley visited Fort Wayne, Indiana for an interview to discuss his book and mini-series, "Roots". While there, he also appeared on the talk show, "A New Generation" and was interviewed by Steve Miller.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Joy of Genealogy and Family History

It was 1994 when I began tracing my family history and I thought that I would finished by now. However, I soon learned, like everyone who has begun this hobby, that family history is never completed. It is a joy and an obsession. In school, I didn’t really like history classes, however now history is more meaningful. I never imagined in 1994 that this hobby would be so rewarding and that I would learn so many things and meet so many people, both face-to-face and online.

World Vital Records has a video of various family researchers sharing the reasons they enjoy this hobby.

If you are a family researcher, please share with me the reasons you enjoy genealogy and family history.

The Joy of Genealogy and Family History

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sacred Sunday


Union Chapel Holy Church located in the Ridgeway, NC of Warren County was organized in 1912 under the leadership of Mother Emma Collins Craig. She was born in 1872 in Roxboro, NC and later moved to Durham, NC. Before the first church was built, the members would gather at neighbor's homes in the Ridgeway community for church services. Union Chapel is part of what is now known as the United Holy Church of America, Inc. This organization began in Method, NC in May of 1886 and was first known as Holy Churches of North Carolina and later as Holy Churches of North Carolina and Virginia. Mother Craig and her husband Rev. Charles C. Craig founded a total of sixteen churches in North Carolina.

According to the official church history, founders of the church included my great grandparents, George and Bell Bullock Johnson. My great grandparents were not married in 1912 when the church began, but I believe that Grandma Bell was living in Ridgeway with her Aunt Kate Bullock Johnson, who was also a founder of the church. Other founding members included Grandpa George’s siblings and their spouses. His sister Mollie Johnson Rowlett and her husband James Rowlett, and his sister Elsa Johnson Alston and her husband Guy, his brother Charlie Johnson and his wife Kate Bullock Johnson, and his brother Calvin Johnson and his wife Dora. Other founding members were Robert Quinitchette and John Jefferson. Grandpa George’s mother Susan Jerman Johnson later joined her children at Union Chapel.

Most of the members of Union Chapel were baptized in a local pond. The land to build the church on was deeded to the members by Guy Alston and his wife, Elsie in 1913. The second church building, which now stands, was built in 1952. The church has a cemetery where my great grandmother Bell and three of her children (Richard, Mary, and Charlie) are buried.

Mother Emma Craig served as pastor of Union Chapel for several years. After she served, Rev. Louis Young became pastor and remained 17 years. Elder Tom L. Lynch then became pastor and remained 37 years. In 1975, Elder Jasper Spruill became pastor and remained until 1983. In April, 1983, Rev. Josephine Wilson became pastor. The current pastor, Rev. Bobbie Rainey became pastor in 1992.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

African Ancestry Videos

The DNA company African Ancestry has an excellent four-part video series which explains the DNA process and its benefits.

  • African Ancestry Part 1: Finding Your Identity
  • African Ancestry Part 2: Understanding the Science
  • African Ancestry Part 3: Understanding the Impact
  • African Ancestry Part 4: Using Your Results

African Ancestry Part 1: Finding Your Identity

African Ancestry Part 2: Understanding the Science

African Ancestry Part 3: Understanding the Impact

African Ancestry Part 4: Using Your Results