Friday, February 12, 2016

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Two

If you happened to miss part one, here's the link:  Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One

2) Don't Make Assumptions

When I initially connected with my cousin Rudi back in 2011, he told me that he had two children. According to Rudi, the relationship between he and his children was a bit estranged. Even with that being the case I thought for certain he would share with his kids that he made contact with an American cousin . At last, he had a picture of his father, their grandfather Rudulph Henry Harrison. There was a picture of Rudolph's parents Carrie Whitney Harrison and John Thomas Harrison. They all could know a little bit more about their roots.

Imagine how surprised I was when I received this message on Facebook from Rudi's son last July.


My name is Lee Moss. For many years I have been trying to find my grandfather who was based in England in the 1950's. His name was Rudolph Henry Harrison. My ex wife found your blog with your family information on it and it states that Rudolph Henry Harrison died when he was 36. My ex wife knew that you were related as you have a picture of my dad and his wife from Ireland. This is still a bit of a shock to me at the moment as we spent a long time trying to find him. My dads name is Rudi Moss. But before it was Moss his name would of been Harrison. Anyway. Hope you are all ok. Thank you. Lee

I was of course glad to have made another cousin connection. After reading the message though, I realized the error in my ways. I made an assumption. Actually, I made a couple of assumptions. It's something I regret but you live and you learn. I assumed that any cousins who would reach out and contact me as a result of finding my blog would have picture perfect families of their own. Everyone got along with everyone.  Folks would communicate and share information freely with one another. Naive, right?!

I guess you could say I stumbled upon something that I wasn't prepared for? How would things work out?

To be continued....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One:

I went into blogging blind. I started off just wanting to document and share the things I learned about my ancestors. The words and stories I hoped would find those who needed them. My hope was and still is that this information will help fortify the spirits of my children and that they may be able to pass it forward. So I went forward and put words to paper or shall I say cyber-paper and started this journey.

1) Start blogging! 

One of my husbands favorite sayings is, "Do nothing...nothing happens. Do something...something happens." Blogging is that something that you should do if you are into family history. It will take you places. It will take your words ...those things you know about your family and will electronically deliver them to the people who are seeking it.  It may take some time. Be patient. They will find you.

Find me they did. It started with the support of a wonderful online community of fellow family historians and bloggers. From the beginning, people would leave me words of encouragement in the comments of my blog.  I noticed my pageviews were rising. Then my very first cousin connection happened. A cousin found me because of the words and pictures I put forth into cyberspace. I wrote about that connection in February 2012. Here are the links to those posts.

Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part one

Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part two.

Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part three

For some time now, I've been wanting to write an update to this series. Since that initial writing, I've connected with more cousins and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. 

2) Be optimistic, but don't forget about reality.

So you're probably saying now, "What does that mean?" It means that I went into this whole cousin connection thing with rose colored glasses on. The thought of finding family half way around the world was very exciting. I was happy that the information I had provided had helped someone. Time went by and my cousin Rudi and I kept in touch via email. We shared words of encouragement and wish each other well.  Life went on. Then last summer something happened that reminded me that the relationships we have with our family members are often complex.

One cannot simply describe things as black or white. More often than not we find grey.

To be continued....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Our Gymnast

As I mentioned in my last post, our little lady recently competed in the I Love NY Cup a big gymnastics competition hosted by the Southern Tier Gymnastics Academy. I have to admit I was a bit worried that the large venue and the number of girls competing might be a little overwhelming for her. She was fine. Better than fine in fact. She was cool under pressure. She had a solid performance.  

Here are her results:  Level 2  (8 year olds)  Bars:        7th place 
                                                                       Beam:      6th place
                                                                       Vault:       6th place
                                                                       Floor:       4th place
                                                                       Overall:    7th place

Here are some pictures from the day:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence

There's been a lot going on around here lately so please forgive my absence. I feel like finally today I can catch my breath and share a couple of pictures of what's been going on. 

My oldest turned 11. He had two wonderful parties the weekend before last, one at Chuck E. Cheese with his friends and another party back home with his family. I have so enjoyed watching this little man grow up. He's getting so big that I anticipate by next summer he will be looking me right in the eye. 

Here are a few pictures from all the festivities.

The other thing that's kept me busy is my daughter had another gymnastics competition this past weekend. This was a big one. It was the I Love NY Cup which was hosted by her gymnastics academy. So of course leading up to her competition, I was cab driver mom shuttling her back and forth to practices. All of the parents of gymnasts volunteered over the course of the weekend to facilitate the event. It was a lot of time, effort, and energy spent leading up to the competition, but it was well worth it. Our girl did well! I'll share some pictures in my next post.

Things should calm down now for a bit here so I can get back to my research and writing.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Funny: Noah's Beginnings

Let me start this post off by saying, no I am not pregnant. This old ultra sound picture is of my oldest who will be turning 11 on Monday. Gosh it went fast!  My mother has this saying that they're born and then you blink your eyes and they are starting school, then you blink your eyes again and they are graduating high school. I get it now, mom. You are so right!

My son is the lovely jackpot my husband and I brought back from Las Vegas at the beginning of April 2004. Of course we didn't know it until a month after our return that we were pregnant. I was 31 and had always been on time getting my period. I didn't really feel different but I knew I had to find out what was up. This was right around the time when they came out with those digital pregnancy tests, where it says the words, "pregnant" or "not pregnant." I bought one and took it. I remember waiting for the result, saying to myself, "Nah, it can't be. Probably just stress from work or something." Nope. I will never forget that moment when the word "pregnant" popped up. My world shifted.

Fast forward to when I was about 17 weeks along and having lunch with the hubby at a little spa in Skaneateles, NY called Mirabeau. We were dining outside on a beautiful day and something happened. I felt this sensation I had never felt before. It was a fluttery feeling. It happened once while I was talking and I didn't say anything at first. Then it happened again. I said, "I think I feel the baby moving." Man...that was a moment. That's when it really hit me. There was a little being in my belly. This whole thing was truly beyond my control now.

We knew that our baby boy was going to be a talker, after all, both of his parents are.

Here, he said his first "Hello."

In this picture, my son's facing forward. You can see his head, torso and his arm. Is it just me or does it look like he's giving us a bit of rude gesture here? LOL!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865?

This entry is tiny but it provides important information regarding the whereabouts of my 3rd great grandfather Bristow Harris in 1865. This is from the North Carolina Freedman's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862--1870 database on
This bit was found in a section of entries that were recorded between March 1865 and November 1868.

Before I go any further, here's a summary of how Bristow/Brister Harris is connected to me. 

You can also read about him in the following posts:  

I have to take a moment and mention that if you have the time to spare, a great project that you can get involved with is indexing the Freedmen's Bureau Records at

Here's the link for more information:

Now let's get  back to this entry for my 3rd great grandfather. This is the header from the page prior to where Brister was listed.  

Report of Plantations situated in the counties of Craven and Carteret NC now under the control of the Bureau of Refs (Refugees) Freed & Abandoned Lands, the same having been leased by the Specl (Special) Supply Agt. (Agent) of the Treasury and by him turned over to the Bureau.

No. 29
Name of Owner:  Stephen Barrington
Name of Lessee:  Brister Harris
Situation:  On east side of Neuse river opposite RR and the Neuse river. 
County:  Craven
No. of Acres:  (left blank)
Remarks:  Barrington, an advocate of rebellion. Abandoned property at the fall of New Berne.

It looks like Brister/Bristow was leasing land that was owned by a Stephen Barrington. The description of the area points to an area called Bridgeton which is part of the New Bern, NC metropolitan area.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

By 1870, Brister/Bristow Harris was living in New Bern proper with his 2nd wife, Amy Brown, and two children, Sarah and Lemuel.

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