Tuesday, March 24, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #11 My Paternal 3rd Great Grandfather Jacob Kerr

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition:  #11 My Paternal 3rd Great Grandfather Jacob Kerr --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


If you would have asked me a few years ago if I thought I would ever be able to figure out who my paternal 3rd great grandfather was on my father's side of the family, I am pretty sure I would have answered No. Well, thanks to DNA and my great grandmother's marriage license I now know the names of my 2nd great grandparents and 3rd great grandparents.

On my post Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It Gets Complicated, I featured my great grandmother Ellen "Ella" Kerr Smith Dixon's marriage license to her second husband William Dixon. On it, it revealed the names of her parents, Henry Kerr and Tina Murphy of Sampson County, NC. I wrote about how DNA testing confirmed that I was indeed researching the correct Kerr family in Sampson County in my post, DNA Proves I've Got The Right Family!

For this post, I'm going to review what I know so far about my 3rd great grandfather, Jacob Kerr.

1) It appears he was born around 1820 based on his age as it was listed on the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses. At this time, I am guessing that he was born in either Sampson or New Hanover County in North Carolina.


1870 Federal Census

(continued from the previous page)
Source Information Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 212B; Image: 136; Family History Library Film: 552650

 1880 Federal Census
Source Information Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.Source CitationYear: 1880; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 981; Family History Film: 1254981; Page: 67B; Enumeration District: 192; Image: 0596


Jacob Kerr's occupation was noted as "farm laborer" in both censuses and it appears that he, his wife Clara and his older children were not able to read or write. By 1880, it appears that the younger children had received some schooling. 

2) Members of the Kerr family

Jacob Kerr and his wife Clara Kerr

Their children: 

Tenor Kerr
Gabriel Kerr
Caroline Kerr Hayes
Hays Kerr
Henry Kerr --My 2nd great grandfather
Caldonia Kerr Barnhill
Andrew Kerr
Samuel Kerr
Robert Tate Kerr
James Kerr
Thomas Kerr
Sarah Kerr
Augusta Kerr
Mary Kerr
John Kerr
Daniel Kerr

3) Where did Jacob Kerr live? --Franklin Township, Sampson County, NC



Map of Sampson County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Image courtesy of Wikipedia


Currently, I am researching where the property Jacob Kerr purchased in 1873 was located. You can see a copy of the deed for that purchase on my post Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land.

So far, I haven't found the plat map for land that was owned by Jacob but I did find a map for Dr. John D. Kerr Jr. He was the son of John D. Kerr Sr., the same John D. Kerr Sr that my 2nd great grandfather, Henry Kerr, purchased land from in 1879. Now the plat map that I found is from 1955 so property lines probably changed a bit from when Jacob Kerr bought his land. I have to say I am pretty happy that I now have a sense of where the family land was located.


Image courtesy of Google Earth
Tomahawk, NC is noted with the red marker.


Plat map is from Book 3 Page 122 from the Sampson County Register of Deeds

I have a plat map featured on the left and an image from Google Earth shown on the right. On the plat map at the very top left I've placed two red arrows where you'll see the notation "Henry Kerr Est." The yellow arrow is pointing to a notation for "Jake Kerr."
For now, I have an indication of where Jacob Kerr's property line began. Woohoo! :)

I've been working under the theory that Jacob and his family were more than likely the slaves of this white Kerr family. The proximity in which they lived to James Kerr and his descendants and that the fact that I can't find Jacob listed in a census prior to 1870 seems to point that way. In an upcoming post, I will review through the Slave Schedules of James Kerr.

4) Jacob Kerr composed a will on June 30, 1895 and that's the last record I've come across with him in it. I suspect my 3rd great grandfather passed away shortly thereafter. I will feature the will in an upcoming post. 

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.





Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sugar Plantation Barbados, Carting Sugar Canes To The Mill

From time to time, I like to share postcards that show the places where my ancestors once lived. This particular postcard I purchased a couple of weeks ago off of Ebay. My paternal grandfather came from St Philip Parish, Barbados. According to my dad, his father said they're weren't many options for work when my grandfather was coming up. Harold Osmond Murrell had learned the skills necessary to be a carpenter but there wasn't a living to made at home. Pretty much his options were either harvesting sugar cane or fishing. He opted out of doing either and left Barbados in search of work elsewhere. He spent a year in Venezuela before immigrating to the United Stated in 1927.

"Sugar Plantation Barbados, Carting Sugar Canes To The Mill"
 W. L. Johnson & Co. Ltd., Barbados. No. 15


You can read more about my paternal grandfather in these post:

My Paternal Grandfather, Harold Murrell--Part one.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land

I left off on my last post, A Look At A Few Of Jacob Kerr's Neighbors, with a question. Was Jacob Kerr, my 3rd great grandfather, able to purchase land during his lifetime?  Well, you already know from the title of my current post that the answer was ...

Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


If you recall from my post on Jacob's son, Henry Kerr, Henry purchased land in 1873 from a white man named John D. Kerr. John's father was a James Kerr (b. March 10, 1800--died Oct 4, 1872.) In 1871, James Kerr created a bond for my 3rd great grandfather Jacob, and another son of his named Gabriel "Gabe Kerr." Payment of the bond would allow for Jacob and Gabe to be issued a deed for the land. James Kerr died in 1872 leaving his son Charles S. Kerr and wife Jane E. Stevens Kerr to handle his estate. After paying off the bond in March 1873, Charles and Jane Kerr executed a deed and Jacob and "Gabe" Kerr became landowners. If you have ancestors who owned land in Sampson County, NC, you may be able to find their deed right online. Here's the link to the Sampson County Register Of Deeds Remote Access Site:  http://www.sampsonrod.org/Opening.asp
This deed information is from Book 38 Page 515


Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Sampson County

     Deed from Charles S Kerr Exec & Jane E Kerr Executrix
     To Jacob Kerr & Gabe Kerr
     Seal of North Carolina
          Sampson County
          This Indenture made the sixth day of March A.D. 1873 between Charles S. Kerr and Jane E. Kerr Executrix of the last will and Testament of James Kerr deceased of the first part and Jacob Kerr and Gabe Kerr both colored of the second part witnesseth that the same parties of the first part by virtue of the power and authority to therein given in and by the said last will and testament and for land in consideration of the sum of thirteen hundred and seventy five dollars. 
Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Sampson County

and eighty eight cents lawful money of the United States of America to them in hand fair and for the further consideration that the said James Kerr did on the second day of January AD 1871 execute to the said parties of the second part a bond to make a deed binding his heirs and executors by said bond to make said deed upon the payment of the thirteen hundred and seventy five dollars and eighty eight cents by the said parties of the second part have by the said parties of the second part the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and the said parties of the first part have by these presents granted bargained sold aliened released conveyed and confirmed unto the sale parties of the second part and their heirs and assigns forever all the following lands on the East side of South river and being in Sampson County Beginning at a small pine on Luther Cromartie's corner near the road leading from the mill to Dr Sloane's thence south said Luther Cromartie's line No 87 E 370 poles to a pin on east side the branch in Treadwell's line thence No 17E 17S south said line 135 poles to a stake in edge of bay thence W 188 poles to a stake on the sand hill thence No 45


Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Sampson County

W 30 poles to a stake in sand hill thence No 45 E 40 poles to a pine on side of bay thence through the bay No 45 W 218 poles to a stake thence No 47 E 28 poles to a stake in the bay thence with Smith's line No 18 W 68 poles to a stake thence through a bay W 86 poles to a stake over a school house thence S 65 E 80 poles to a lightwood stump thence So 25 W 60 poles to a stake in a bay thence through the bay S 65 E 48 poles to a stake thence S 31 W with Dr Sloan's line (erassing mill?)branch 220 poles to a stake in (entry?) of some Junipers thence S 40 E 65 poles to a small pine thence S 7 E 16 poles to the beginning containing five hundred seventy-seven acres more or less To have and to hold together with all and singular the heriditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging with the remainder and remainders reversion and reversions thereof and also all the estate right title interest claim and demand whatsoever both in law and equity which the said testator had in his lifetime and at the time of his decease and which the said parties of the first part hath by virtue of the said last will and testament And the said parties of the first part do for themselves their heirs and assigns covenant to and with the said parties of the second their heirs and assigns to forever defend this title against all persons claiming under any right


Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Sampson County

title or interest of said parties of the first part 
In Witness where of we have here with set our hands and seals signed sealed and delivered in presence
of Edwin W Kerr                              Charles S Kerr Executor {Seal}
                                                          Jane E Kerr Executrix    {Seal}

577 acres at a purchase price of $1375.88. In today's dollars, $1375.88 would translate into $28,550 based on an average rate of inflation of 2.16% per year.

I did the best that I could to transcribe this. Old hand writing can be hard to decipher. I put in parentheses a segment that I was quite certain of what it said. If anyone who reads this sees an error in what I transcribed, please let me know. 

Now I am going to go find my eyeballs. They fell out of my head from staring at this deed for so long.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Look At A Few Of Jacob Kerr's Neighbors

I've been looking at Federal Census pages from Franklin Township, Sampson County, NC for clues to help me with my research on my Kerr and Murphy ancestors. These two family lines are part of my paternal lineage. Here's how the names fit in my family tree.

A Look At A Few Of Jacob Kerr's Neighbor  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

It's important to look at the folks who lived near your people. These were often friends, coworkers, fellow family members, or if you are African American you may find the folks who previously enslaved your ancestors.

Jacob Kerr was my 3rd great grandfather, father to my 2nd great grandfather Henry Kerr. I wrote about Henry Kerr and his wife Tina Jane Murphy Kerr recently on this blog. It seemed like a natural progression to now take a look at Jacob Kerr and his neighbors in Franklin Township, NC.

Franklin township was counted as part of New Hanover County, NC in 1870 for the census. Here's Jacob Kerr and his family. You'll see his son Henry Kerr was residing nearby.

A Look At A Few Of Jacob Kerr's Neighbor  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Source Information Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source CitationYear: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 212B; Image: 136; Family History Library Film: 552650


I have Jacob's household marked here with arrows. It's interesting to note that going back to 1870 Murphys and Kerrs have resided near each other. This particular Murphy family happened to be white. Could they have a connection  to my 2nd great grandmother Tina Jane Murphy Kerr?  I will be looking into this so if I come across something I will feature it in a future blog post. Jacob Kerr's household continued on to the top of the next page.


A Look At A Few Of Jacob Kerr's Neighbor  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Source InformationAncestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 213A; Image: 137; Family History Library Film: 552650

I like to jot down on a piece of paper the surnames that I come across when I am look at a census page. If the ancestor you are researching stayed within the same community, the same surnames often come up again and again when looking for your ancestor or his/her descendants.  I've been researching Jacob Kerr for a bit of time now, so I can verify that in the records I've looked at thus far these surnames continued to pop up around the Kerr family and their descendants: Hayes/Hays, Cromeday/Cromartie, Smith, Mckoy/Mckay, Bannerman, and Newton. 

I looked at several pages before and after the Jacob Kerr household and found a connection that allowed me to figure out how the Kerrs came about their land. 

On my post about Jacob's son, Henry Kerr, I featured the deed to land Henry purchased in 1879. I thought if Henry was able to purchase land then, it's quite possible that Jacob Kerr was able to purchase land as well. A white man by the name of John D. Kerr was the person who sold the land to Henry. Would I find John D. Kerr's family near Jacob's family? You betcha.

John D. Kerr I found two pages before Jacob's family. Here he is listed living with his parents and siblings.


Source Information Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source CitationYear: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 211B; Image: 134; Family History Library Film: 552650

There's also several African American Kerr households listed here as well. These folks are probably kin and/or other people who were previously enslaved alongside Jacob Kerr's family. I have a lot of work ahead of me on figuring out who and how all these folks are possibly connected.

Back to Jacob Kerr now. Was he able to purchase land like his son?

The answer will be in my next post.

Friday, March 13, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #10 My Paternal 2nd Great Grandmother Tina Jane Murphy Kerr

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: Tina Jane Murphy Kerr --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Tina Jane Murphy Kerr is a shadow right now waiting to have her story emerge. I know she was the mother of my great grandmother Ellen "Ella" Kerr Smith Dixon. Mothers are often called the heart of the family. Was she kind? Was she there for her daughter Ella when she needed her? Or was she something else. Was she the cause of why Ella left home?

Of course I am assuming a lot here. In my post, Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It's Complicated --Part three, I shared a 1900 Federal Census entry from Colly, Bladen County, NC that I believe shows an 18 year old Ella living with possible relatives. Why wasn't she at home with her mother, Tina? Perhaps it was for economic reasons to help out her relatives? Or perhaps it was to help send money back home to her parents?

When I think of my 2nd great grandmother my thoughts tend to meander around my mind and more questions arise. What did she look like? What was the relationship like between she and my 2nd great grandfather Henry Kerr? 

For now, I can only catch a glimmer of who she was from the censuses.  


Based on information from the 1900 Federal Census, Tina Jane Murphy was born in March 1852 and married Henry Kerr in 1877. Her birthplace was more than likely in Sampson County or New Hanover County, NC. I have located her for sure on the 1880 census and that marriage date of 1877 seems to make sense based on the ages of her children in 1880.

Source Information Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Source CitationYear: 1880; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 981; Family History Film: 1254981; Page: 67B; Enumeration District: 192; Image: 0596

Could Hayes Murphy who's listed living next door be a relative, perhaps a sibling? Still trying to figure this out. There are other Murphys listed in the census near the Kerrs in 1880. I bet that some of these are kin of some sort. 

I may have located her in 1870 in New Hanover County, NC one county over but I am still trying to verify if this is her or not. 


Source Information Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Source CitationYear: 1870; Census Place: Union, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1151; Page: 329B; Image: 370; Family History Library Film: 552650


I have an arrow pointing to who I think might be Tina. She's been referred to as Tena, Tina and Jane in records that I've found so far. Perhaps this is her. If it does turn out to be her than wouldn't it be interesting if the "Ceyla" noted in the same househould here turned out to be Celia Robinson. Celia Robinson was listed as the head of household in the 1900 Federal Census entry in Colly, Bladen county that I mentioned in an earlier post. Ellen Kerr was shown to be living with Celia Robinson and her family. That's just me speculating though.

Anyway for now, I know that Henry Kerr and Tina Jane Murphy had at least 6 children together. The names of the five I've been able to identify so far were Henry, Murchison, Ida, Emma and of course, my great grandmother Ella. 

When Tina's husband, Henry Kerr passed away in 1909 she renounced the right to administer his estate and gave permission to her son Henry Tupper Kerr to handle things.


"North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KLYF-NPB : accessed 3 March 2015), Henry Kerr, 1909; citing Sampson, North Carolina, United States, State Archives, Raleigh; FHL microfilm 2,194,650.North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979, Sampson County K Kerr, Henry (1909) Image 4 of 5

It appears she wasn't able to write, since she marked her signature with an "X."

The last record, I've been able to find on my 2nd great grandmother is a 1910 Federal census entry where it shows Tina residing with her daughter Ida still living within Franklin township in Sampson County, NC.


Source Information Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Source CitationYear: 1910; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1132; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0081; FHL microfilm: 1375145


As I do more research, I hope more will be revealed about Tina's story.

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:
Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.



Monday, March 9, 2015

I Have To Remember To Be Patient

I Have To Remember To Be Patient --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Sometimes, I get so excited to learn about a place where my ancestors once called home. I want to instantaneously understand everything about the timeframe they once lived in. I want to know the people my ancestors interacted with. What did the land look like? How did the air smell? I want to know anything and everything all at once, kind of like this scene from the movie, The Matrix.



Oh only if it were so simple. But then again, what fun would that be? I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the hunt for information.


I Have To Remember To Be Patient --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Well, right now I am trying to absorb all things Sampson County, NC so I can better understand the lives of my Kerr and Murphy ancestors. Just feeling happy that at last I can learn more about my paternal roots. 


Of course, I have a couple of books on order. I can't wait for them to arrive.


The Sampson County Historical Society:  
The Huckleberry Historian
Issues 2004--2014
Editor:  Kent Wrench

A Journey To Sampson County: 
Plantations & Slaves in NC
by Christy Faircloth Judah



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: In Memory Of Gloria Maureen Thacker Harrison Moss

Gloria Maureen Thacker Harrison Moss
(December 28, 1934--January 15, 2015)


Recently, I was saddened to learn of the passing of my cousin Rudi's mother. She passed away in January after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She's at peace but will be dearly missed. 

If you aren't familiar with Rudi's story, you may want to read this series.



Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part three


In 1949, one of my maternal grandfather's brothers joined the Air Force. While stationed overseas in Fairford, England my grand uncle met Gloria and married her in 1952.  My grand uncle, Rudolph Henry Harrison and Gloria had one child together, my cousin Rudi.

I know I am not responsible for my grand uncle's actions but I can't help but feel bad for the state my grand uncle left Gloria in. After marrying Gloria in 1952, he remained in Fairford, until his unit was shipped back to the U.S. in April of 1953. The only information she had was that the unit had returned to America. That's it. No address. Nothing. 

He abandoned them. I don't have any better words to describe it. How does one abandon their child and wife? It's not right. 

So although I am not responsible for my uncle's actions, I wish to make an acknowledgement to Gloria and as well to Rudi. Rudolph did not do right by you both and for that I am truly sorry. You deserved better than that.

Rudi recently shared this picture of his mother with me. It's the missing piece. I knew what his father looked like but this was the first I had seen his of his mother. 




Rudi is the perfect blend of his parents.
He has her kind eyes and his father's chin.



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