Monday, February 23, 2009

Postcard to Granddaddy

In early October 1972, my mother moved my three sisters and me from Virginia to New Jersey. We journeyed to New Jersey on the Greyhound bus. During our layover in Washington, DC, I purchased this postcard and mailed it to my grandfather Minor Elwood Thornton (1913-1979), some time after we arrived in New Jersey. I don’t remember if I bought other postcards during this layover.

Finding Postcard Years Later
Several years ago, I went through the papers of my maternal grandparents and found this postcard which I had written a few weeks after my ninth birthday. I’m not sure why I didn’t address the card to both of my grandparents. Perhaps I sent Grandma a separate card, but if that actually occurred, she did not keep it.

Observations About the Postcard
I had just begun fourth grade when this postcard was written. Three things come to mind as I look back at this.

First, I thought that I learned to write in cursive during my third grade year, but if this is my signature, and then we would have learned cursive writing in the second grade. This is evident with the way I wrote the majority of the postcard in print and my name is signed in cursive. Also behind the cursive print, I can see that I printed my first name, but then erased it. After carefully, looking at the signature, I began to suspect that my mother may have written my signature in cursive because I remember the shape of her “D’s” when she wrote her name “Dorothy.” I looked at her signature on my birth certificate, and the writing looks similar. Today, I was looking for other documents with her handwriting, but can’t find them right now.

The second observation about this postcard is that I’m amazed that this card, which I wrote in pencil, is still readable after 36-years.

My third observation is that I referred to my grandfather as “Grandpa” instead of “Granddaddy” like I always remember calling him. Did my nine-year-old mind think that Grandpa was the proper way to refer to him in writing? Or did I actually address him as Grandpa during this time in my life?

Cousin Greg’s First Birthday Party
My youngest cousin Greg, not “Grey” as I spelled on the postcard, turned one about a week after our arrival and a big birthday party was given to him by his parents to honor this occasion. The postmark on the card was October 16, 1972, which was a Monday. I remember that Greg’s party was on a Saturday afternoon so I must have written the postcard sometime prior to the event, and mailed it on Monday.

Back to VirginiaWe stayed in New Jersey for about eleven months, but did not return on the Greyhound bus. Instead, we traveled home by a car that was driven by my grandmother’s youngest brother.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the “KreativBlogger Award.” Many thanks go to my fellow Blogger Greta of Greta’s Genealogy Bog for selecting me for this award.

Here are the procedures connected with the KreativBlogger Award:

  1. Copy the award to your site.

  2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.

  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

  4. Link to those sites on your blog.

  5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.
I have added the "KreativBlogger Award" logo to my blog and have placed links to the person who gave me this award in this posting.

Additionally, as a recipient of this award, I am required to nominate seven other blogs. Below, is a list of my nominations for the “KreativBlogger Award.”
  1. Steve’s Genealogy Blog by Stephen Danko
  2. Begin With Craft by Valerie C.
  3. Creekside Cottage Designs by Melanie
  4. The Blessedness of Believing by Linda Meadows
  5. Genealogy – Photograph – Restoration by George Geder
  6. Life in England by Maria & Rodney
  7. Food, Family, and Fun by Crystalcav
Finally, I will leave comments on each of these blogs. Thanks again to Greta for your nomination. I am honored to be included in a group of such Great Bloggers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jerman Family Maternal DNA Results

I received maternal DNA results last week from Ancestry DNA. These results were for my great-great grandmother Susan “Susie” Jerman Johnson (abt. 1858-1939) and her mother Rebecca who was born around 1815 in SC. Grandma Susie is the paternal grandmother of my Grandma Emma. Grandma Emma is my maternal grandmother. Grandma Susie and her family moved to Warren County, NC during the 1850s possibly with their slave master. Although not confirmed, I suspect that they were once owned by Dr. Thomas Palmer Jerman (1826-1905) who was born in St. James Santee, SC and moved to Warren County, NC around 1851. The DNA test was taken by a great granddaughter of Grandma Susie and the results were Haplogroup L, which is African.

After receiving the results, I inputted them into the website and found one exact match both on the HRV1 and HVR2 sections. I emailed this new genetic cousin and she and I have been communicating through email in order to compare our family trees.

Her oldest known ancestor on this matching line is her great-great grandmother, Anne Gannaway Welborn who was born around 1834 and lived in Randolph County, NC after the Civil War.

The mitochondrial DNA is passed through the female line and our common ancestry may have occurred either within a genealogical timeframe, or hundreds to thousands of years ago. For the sake of my new genetic cousin and me, we hope that this common ancestry occurred during a genealogical timeframe and that we are able to discover the specifics of the kinship.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My First Grade Picture

I was in first grade from 1969-1970 when this photo was taken. My family purchased my first grade photos, but all of them somehow ended up in a diaper hamper and were damaged. During my first grade year, my maternal grandmother was caring for five grandchildren, which included my three sisters and I, and our first cousin Jeff. He and my youngest sister Darlene were between one and two years old during my first grade school year, and both were still in diapers. During these days, babies wore cloth diapers, and not pampers like they do today. There was some type of diaper genie or hamper in the house for these two toddlers. I don’t know how it happened, but my first grade pictures ended up in that hamper. I cried when I found them there. Did one of those toddlers put it there, I wonder? Or maybe it was one of my other two sisters, who were ages 2 and 5 during that school year.

Nevertheless, the copy of my first grade class photo was not damaged. The class photo was a card about 5 x 7, with an individual picture of each student, the teacher, and school principal,. Another first grade photo was discovered many years later, sometime after the year 2000, when I discovered one in a photo album which belonged to my grandmother’s sister Mary.

The dress I am wearing in this photo was bought for me by my mother’s brother and sister, and it was one of my favorite childhood dresses. My aunt and uncle bought me several other new outfits to begin my first grade school year. This dress was passed down to each of my three younger sisters, who always inherited my old clothes. Guess that was a little advantage to being the oldest.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

African American Research

Learn about research methods and the challenges of African American Research.

African American Research, Part 1 of 2

African American Research, Part 2 of 2

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Memory – The Jackson 5

I grew up during the time of Soul and Rhythms and Blues music and popularity of the Motown sound. People like Diana Ross, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson were the popular singers of my parent’s generation. These artists were young adults during my childhood and were still making hits which I enjoyed hearing. But the favorite artists of my generation were The Jackson Five. This group of five brothers from Gary, Indiana mesmerized black children of my generation as they sang and danced and wore fashionable bell bottom pants and huge afros. I could never afford to go to a Jackson Five concert, but I enjoyed watching them on television, hearing them on the radio, or drooling over photos of them in The Right On magazine. This magazine was a popular magazine about black singers like the Jackson Five and other celebrities such as actor Billy Dee Williams.

Today, thanks to Internet resources such as YouTube (video) or Playlist (music,) I can still enjoy the funky pop music sound from my youth.

Most African American girls had their favorite Jackson whom they admired and even dreamed about. My favorite was Jermaine, but I don’t remember why I liked him the best. Perhaps I developed a crush on him after he debuted his first single solo in 1972 called “Daddy’s Home.” I was nine years old in 1972.

Some of my favorite songs by the Jackson Five were ABC, I’ll Be There, I Want You Back, Rockin’ Robin, and Sugar Daddy.

Jackson Five Websites

The Jackson Five: Biography
The Jackson Five
Classic Motown: Jackson Five

I’ll Be There

I Want You Back

Rockin’ Robin

Sugar Daddy

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Genealogy Happy Dance Moment

On Tuesday night, February 3rd, I received a phone call which gave me another "Happy Dance" moment. It was a call as a result of a letter I wrote to a pastor requesting information on former members of his church. In my blog posting on Finding Church Trustees Through Newspapers and Other Sources, posted on October 1, 2008, I wrote the following about my research of the Trustees of Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, which was a church organized by and named for my great-great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951.)

"I plan to write the church regarding my research and ask for information on their history. I hope to also find people in this church who are either descendants of the Bynum, Booth, and Suitt families, or who would remember any of these individuals. I also hope to visit this church before the end of the year."

On October 13, 2008, I wrote a long letter to the current pastor of the church (Friendship House of Prayer) where Trustees Bynum, Booth, and Suitt were once members. In the opening paragraph, I stated the reason for my letter.

"I am interested in learning about the history of your church. The reason for my interest is that I discovered that my great-great grandmother, Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951) was associated with former members of your church (Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, and Georgia Suitt). These three individuals were named on deeds related to Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, which was a church established by my great-great grandmother Luvenia around the early 1930s. I have traced the existence of this church through the 1960s and the three individuals named above were named as Trustees on several of the deeds for Veanus Chapel."

The letter also included a brief history of the three locations of Veanus Chapel Church. Attached to the letter were a variety of documents which further explained the information I had uncovered. The attachments were:

  • Photo of Grandma Ven and a lady (see photo above.) In my letter, I asked for an identification of this lady.

  • Article from my “Find Your Folks” genealogy blog entitled ‘Finding Church Trustees Through Newspapers and Other Sources.”

  • Land Deeds of property for Veanus Chapel House of Prayer Church from 1951, 1955, and 1966 where either Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, and/or Georgia Suitt were named as Trustees.

  • Brief Biography of Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951) which I had written this for the Souvenir Journal of the 100th anniversary of Saints Delight Holy Church in Vance County, NC.

At the end of the letter, I asked the following three questions. Some answers (provided below in bold) were provided in the phone call that I received this past Tuesday night from a granddaughter of Trustee Estora Bynum and his wife Annie. The granddaughter (Renee) is also a great granddaughter of Trustee Sarah Booth, who was the mother of Annie Bynum.

  1. Was Friendship House of Prayer formerly named Veanus Chapel House of Prayer? If so, when did the name change to Friendship House of Prayer? No, Friendship is not formerly Veanus Chapel. The former church name was Milgrove House of Prayer.

  2. Is there a written copy of the history of Friendship House of Prayer? If so, how can I obtain a copy? No, there is no written copy of the history of Friendship and Renee did not know when the church started.

  3. Are there members of your church who might remember any of the following? (Veanus Chapel House of Prayer Church, My great-great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock, or Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, or Georgia Suitt) This question was answered with the call from the Renee, who had been given my packet by her pastor. She also said that she is the only one in her family who is still a member of this church where her grandparents and great grandmother once worshipped.

Another great bit of information learned from this phone conversation is the identification of the lady in the photo above standing to the right of Grandma Ven, who was identified as Georgia Suitt. Renee commented that Georgia Suitt was a pastor and minister of several churches. Some of my family members have said that Grandma Ven's church was pastored by a female minister. One cousin, who is now deceased, thought that the lady in the photo was Georgia Suitt, but she was not positive. Georgia Suitt's obituary is very short and does not mention that she was ever a pastor or minister.

Before ending the conversation, I got Renee's phone number and plan to call her later to ask more questions. Even though I had planned to visit the church last year, I did not make it there. I still plan to visit sometime this year. At least now, I know the name of at least one member. Although my specific questions were answered, there is still so much more to research about the Trustees of Veanus Chapel House of Prayer. I look forward to whatever new information I will uncover through my new contacts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Grave of Luvenia Jeffress Bullock

This is the tombstone of my great, great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951). She is buried in the cemetery of Morning Star Holy Church in Vance County, NC.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don’t Always Follow the Crowd

When I was in first grade during the school year 1969-1970, we would play “Boys chase the Girls,” during recess. From what I remember, the object of the game was for the girls to run around the playground and not get caught or tagged by a boy. The playground was filled with me and other screaming little girls running around as little boys chased after us. As I ran around the playground participating in this game, I noticed that many of my classmates were falling down on the ground. For some odd reason, I was not falling down like they were, so I decided to make myself fall. Silly me didn’t look down before making myself fall, and lo and behold I fell down on a piece of glass (probably a broken glass bottle), which pierced through my left knee.

Blood gushed everywhere and my accident undoubtedly brought a halt to the boy/girl chase. I remember looking down at my left knee and I could see the bone in my knee.

The fifth grade teacher, whose name was Mr. Small, lifted me (a little first grader) from the playground and carried me to the nurse’s office. I don’t remember any other teachers coming out or what initial type of first aid was administered to control the bleeding.

After my mother was called to the school, I was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital where the gash in my knee was stitched up. Today, almost 40 years later, I still have a scar on my left knee as a reminder of this first grade accident and the painful lesson I learned about why you should not always follow the crowd.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Genealogy Happy Dance

Many genealogists experience the “Genealogy Happy Dance” after finding something special on their ancestor. I have experienced this on several occasions. My first Happy Dance experience came early on in my research sometime after 1994, when I received a picture of my great-grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951). I was talking to my mother’s brother about information I had found on Grandma Ven. “I sure wish I had a picture of her,” I told him. I was shocked when he told me that he had a photo. He was visiting from New Jersey and promised to send me a copy when he returned home. Uncle John kept his promise and it was a “Happy Dance” day when I received a copy of the photo in the mail.

Another “Genealogy Happy Dance” experience occurred one day when I was in the Register of Deeds office in Vance County, NC looking birth certificates where Grandma Ven was named as midwife. During this visit, I found numerous birth certificates where she was named as midwife. As I looked through the 1936 book of birth certificates, I came across the document below which was in front of one of the stillbirth certificates. After reading it, I realized that this was a statement from my ancestor Luvenia. I wanted to scream and holler with joy, but held back since I was in a public place.

At this deeds office, copies had to be made by the staff. “This is a statement from my ancestor,” I exclaimed to the staff person as she made a photocopy of this document. My face was lit up with a smile from ear to ear and I felt that I had to tell somebody the good news. The staff person didn’t share my excitement and I don’t think she even responded to my statement. Nevertheless, I didn’t let this spoil my “Genealogy Happy Dance” feeling and spent the remainder of my time at the deeds office full of joy.

Dancing is an act for showing pleasure and joy. Happy dance styles vary depending on personal style, taste, and culture. It doesn’t matter if your “Genealogy Happy Dance” is a twist, a river dance or holy dance. What matters is that all genealogists experience this pleasure from time to time.

Chubby Checker and the Twist

River Dance

Holy Dancing