Monday, May 31, 2010

My WDYTYR Episode - 1989 Bullock Family Reunion

I first learned about Uncle Andrew when I attended the Bullock Family Reunion held in Soul City, NC on Saturday, August 12, 1989, with my maternal grandmother and one of my sisters. One of Grandma’s first cousins told her about this reunion of Bullocks who were the family of their maternal grandfather, Andrew Bullock (1864-1915). My grandmother’s mother, Bell Bullock Johnson, and her cousin’s mother, Nancy Bullock Evans, were sisters.
I had never met any of these Bullock family members, but my grandmother knew some of them whom she had not seen in many years. Hugs and kisses filled the room of these joyful family members who were dressed in red and white reunion t-shirts.
A one page family history was distributed at this reunion which included the information below. The history was read aloud by Cousin Queen, one of the elders of the family at that time. Later I leaned that she and her sister Minnie had written this one page history. They were the nieces of my great great grandfather Andrew Bullock.

“How am I connected to this family?” I asked my grandmother and others at our table. The others included my grandmother’s cousin Sarah, the one who told her about the family reunion, Sarah’s father, Clarence, and his second wife. Cousin Sarah was the offspring of his first wife, Nancy.
On the back of the one page family history, I scribbled out a tree which outlined my connection to the Bullock family. During the conversation at the reunion, I learned that I was a descendant of Ottoway and Julia Bullock through their son Andrew. Later through research I would discover that Julia was Ottoway’s third wife and that I was a descendant of his first wife Mimmy.
I made a vow to myself to find out more about this family after I read this one page history at the reunion. I had no idea how to do this, but five years later in 1994, I began the process of learning how to trace my family history.

Since I began my family research in 1994, I have not only dug up info on my ancestors, but also on their siblings. Most of my great grandmother Bell’s nine siblings remained in NC during their adult lives, but three of them (Uncle Andrew and Aunts Mima and Chaney) migrated from NC to various cities.
I had heard my grandmother Emma mention a few of her mother’s siblings such as Aunts Chaney, Mollie, and Bessie. However, the 1989 reunion is the first time I learned the names of her maternal aunts and uncles, including Uncle Andrew. Later after I began my research in 1994, I would learn more details about the lives of this family branch and from time to time Uncle Andrew’s whereabouts in New York would spark my curiosity.
Stay tuned. . . Coming Up! – Professor Dru learns more about Uncle Andrew from Oral History.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Who Do You Think You Are Episode

I conducted a genealogy presentation on Thursday evening, May 13th for my genealogy society entitled “Who Do You Think You Are.” This was an introduction to genealogy workshop and I used document examples from my maternal grandmother’s family.

As I finalized my PowerPoint presentation, I noticed that quite a few of my document examples related to Andrew Bullock, one of my grandmother’s maternal uncles. Uncle Andrew left NC at an early age (possibly teenage years) to move to New York City. My grandmother knew all of her mother’s siblings, except this uncle whom she only saw once. That one time encounter was in February 1951 when Uncle Andrew attended his mother, Luvenia Jeffress Bullock’s funeral in Vance County, NC.

So what if I had the opportunity to do a WDYTYA episode? I thought as I studied the slides which seemed to be “jumping out at me” screaming “Uncle Andrew.” I let my mind drift down the WDYTYA genealogical road.

The standard structure of the WDYTYA episodes begins with the celebrity stating what they want to learn about their family history and the reason(s) why. Most of the celebrities choose one side of the family to search and in some cases a specific ancestor such as Susan Sarandon’s grandmother. Actress Brooke Shields wanted to know something about both sides of her family. I know that the show focuses on the journey of finding direct ancestors, but at this time, the Uncle Andrew mystery is the one I’d like help in solving. If I were on the show, I would say:

“I want to know about the life of my great grand uncle Andrew Bullock who moved to New York from North Carolina during his teenage years. I want to know why he went to New York and about his life there. Through searching his life in New York, I also hope to discover other family members who may have also moved from North Carolina to New York.”

I continued to let my mind indulge in this genealogical fantasy when it occurred to me that I should analyze the documents I have already collected on Uncle Andrew by writing a timeline. As I searched my Family Tree Maker software file for data on Uncle Andrew, I discovered that I had already begun documenting some of the known facts on him by typing them in the Facts section of the genealogy software. I printed out a Documented Events Report and began reanalyzing and updating facts from my document collection.

Currently, I have gathered the following sources of information on Uncle Andrew.

  1. Information obtained from family reunion

  2. 1900 census

  3. Military draft registration card

  4. Social security death index

  5. Social security application

  6. Cemetery records

  7. Clue from obituary of his sister, Bell (my great grandmother)

  8. Knowledge learned through oral history

This would make a great blog series I thought as my mind continually entertained this Uncle Andrew scenario. So that’s what I plan to do in the next several postings— to blog about my analysis of documents related to Uncle Andrew Bullock.

My primary localities of research are Virginia and North Carolina. The research and availability of New York genealogical documents are a mystery to me at this time. Through blogging about my analysis of research on Uncle Andrew, I hope to achieve the following goals:

  1. To complete this timeline and analysis of documents and facts I have already collected.

  2. To help other researchers learn about the document analysis process.

  3. To learn more about New York genealogical resources.

  4. To discover new documents related to the life of Uncle Andrew.

Finally, I hope that blog readers will offer me suggestions for further research in learning more about Uncle Andrew.

Stay tuned. . . Coming Up! – Professor Dru learns about Uncle Andrew at Family Reunion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hampton University's Peabody Collection

The Peabody Collection located at the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library at Hampton University is one of the oldest African American library collections in the country. I have visited this facility on a few occasions to research the education of Mr. James A. Fields (1844-1903), whose home is now a historic landmark in my community. Mr. Fields was a part of the first graduating class in 1871 of Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute (now Hampton University).

On my first visit, I used a copy of a rare book which was published in 1893. (Read more about this rare book). The book was falling apart due to age and I did not feel comfortable in using it or turning the pages of such a rare and fragile copy. The pages were in good condition, but part of the cover was separating from the book.

On my second visit, I used a photocopy of the same book and felt more comfortable in flipping through the pages and and using this book.

I look forward to having time to back to the Peabody Collection to continue my research on Mr. James A. Fields.

The Peabody Collection

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy 101 Award

I would like to thank Leslie Ann of Ancestors Live Here , for giving me the Happy 101 Award. Leslie, sorry that it took me so long to accept this award. I am deeply honored that you choose me as one of your recipients of the Happy 101 Award.

The Award Rules
My task in accepting this award is to 1) name ten things that make me happy and 2) to pass this award on to ten other blogs.

Here are ten things that make me happy (not in any particular order).

  1. Eating chocolate

  2. Eating at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA

  3. Solving a genealogical mystery

  4. Doing the genealogy HNumbered Listappy Dance

  5. Reading a good book

  6. Learning how to do something new on the computer

  7. Hanging out with good friends

  8. Taking a genealogy research trip

  9. Relaxing and listening to good music

  10. Hearing my maternal grandmother talk about her life’s memories

Passing the Award
Finally, I am passing this award on to ten bloggers whom I recently discovered from the MyHeritage Top 100 Genealogy Site Award list.

  1. Before My Time

  2. Brenda Dougall Merriman

  3. Crowe’s Nest

  4. Cruwys News

  5. Kick-Ass Genealogy

  6. Paula's Genealogical Eclectica

  7. Renee’s Genealogy Blog

  8. St. Vincent Memories

  9. The Armchair Genealogist

  10. The Chart Chick

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

I would like to thank Mavis of Conversations With My Ancestors and George Geder the Evangelist
for African Ancestored Genealogy
, for passing me the Ancestor Approved Award.

I apologize for my tardiness in accepting this award. My life has been quite busy during the past few months and there has been little time for blogging.

The Award Rules
As a reminder, the rules are the recipient of the Ancestor Approved award lists ten things learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened. The recipient then passes the award to ten other bloggers that are doing their Ancestors proud.

Here are ten things I have learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened me.


  • After 15 years of researching my ancestry, there is still more to be found.
  • All of my ancestors living prior to the Civil War were not enslaved; two lines were free—the Ashe family in Halifax County, NC and the Greenaway family in Greensville County, VA.
  • I have such a high percentage (22%) of Native American genes showing up in my admixture DNA.
  • I was able to determine the names and number of babies delivered by my Midwife great great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951) by study of birth certificates in Vance County, NC. Birth records are easily accessible in NC and there is not time stipulation on obtaining certificates if you are not a direct descendant. If my ancestor had been a midwife in Virginia, then I would have not been able to do this study since the birth record accessibility laws are tighter.


  • By the struggles and sacrifices made by my ancestors and their perseverance though hard times such as racism and slavery.
  • Appreciative of the benefits of the clerical and computer skills I obtained through education and work experience prior to doing genealogy research. These skills have been an asset in the process of genealogical data.
  • By all of the wonderful opportunities I have gained through my genealogy hobby such as meeting numerous relatives whom I never knew, conducing genealogy workshops, writing about my ancestors, attending numerous family reunions, and appearing on television in a genealogy related segment.


  • How study of ancestral records is helping me with transactions in my own life such as study of land deeds and wills.
  • Discovery of “good people” in my paternal family whom I did not get to know when I was growing up.
  • That the study of genealogy is more than just about history, but covers other disciplines such as science/genetics, geography, language/writing, mathematics, and so on.

Passing the Award
Finally, I am passing this award on to the ten bloggers listed below. By the way, these are all genealogy blogs I just discovered from the MyHeritage Top 100 Genealogy Site Award.

  1. Before My Time

  2. Brenda Dougall Merriman

  3. Crowe’s Nest

  4. Cruwys News

  5. Kick-Ass Genealogy

  6. Paula's Genealogical Eclectica

  7. Renee’s Genealogy Blog

  8. St. Vincent Memories

  9. The Armchair Genealogist

  10. The Chart Chick

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Top 100 Genealogy Site Award

I am honored to be a recipient of the MyHeritage Top 100 Genealogy Site Award for 2010. Congratulations of the other 99 recipients of this award and I look forward to visiting your genealogy sites.