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Showing posts from 2011

My Paternal Grandfather, Harold Murrell--Part one.

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Harold O. Murrell
Happy New Year to everyone in the blogosphere! I have decided to start things off by diving into my paternal line. My paternal grandfather was Harold Osmond Murrell (August 16, 1903--October 9, 1996.) What a sweet man. I am blessed to have so many fond memories of him. This picture is from a wallet of his from when he was a young man






The story of grandfather begins back in St Philip, Barbados.  He was one of four children born to a George Murrell, a carpenter, and a Frederica Augusta Inniss. The two daughters Lillian and Edna never married. Rupert, my grandfather's older brother did marry and had a family. There were not many opportunities on the island beyond sugar cane and fishing so my grandfather sought out opportunity elsewhere. Rupert being the oldest took on the responsibility of caring for his sisters and his own family.

A couple of years back, my father told me the story of when my grandfather left the island. My grandfather went down to an area on the …

Wordless Wednesday: My Paternal Grandparents Wedding Photo

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Ethel Smith Murrell and Harold Murrell My paternal grandparents Wedding Photo from 1932. They were married at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem  by Adam Clayton Powell Sr.

My Mind Is Back In Hyde County Folks!

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I am back in Hyde County folks. No, not physically but in my mind in terms of researching my family tree. For those of you who are new to the blog, my Whitney family line came from Hyde County, NC.  I am very  thankful for the helpful nods I have been given along the way while studying my ancestors. I had on the Ancestry.com message board for Hyde County an inquiry about additional information regarding my 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Whitney and Margaret Merritt (Merrick) Whitney. A very helpful Kay M. Sheppard told me about two publications that could help me with my research. Both provided details about the land called the "Donnell Farm," where I believe my ancestors worked and eventually I believe were laid to rest at.

The first publication is called "Hyde County,(NC) Land Divisions in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries" by  Richard B. Lupton. This book has tons of information regarding the different land divisions in the county as well as background info…

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and good tidings for the New Year!


Wordless Wednesday: My Daughter's First Christmas! December 2007.

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Christmas 2007 My baby girl.

What a sweet angel!


So Where Do I Go From Here? Looking At What Maybe To Come In 2012.

We are now almost at the close of 2011 and I have started to reflect on this year's genealogy journey and I wonder where it will take me next year. I am certainly hoping for a chance to dive further back on my paternal side of the family. My father's side of the family has been challenging in regards to finding out information. My father's father came from St Philip's Parish, Barbados and my father's mother's line has proved to be the greatest challenge of all. My grandmother's mother came from Wilmington, NC  according to family oral history. After this, much is a mystery regarding the woman I refer to as "Miss Ella." I call her Miss Ella because it seems to be the only thing that had remained consistent about her name over the years. She became involved with the church associated with Father Divine and did not remain in contact with the rest of the family. Maybe with the release of the 1940 census, I might be able to crack this brick wall. We…

Blog Caroling: O' Holy Night.

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I finally decided to join in on Blog Caroling. Thank you to Footnote Maven for putting forth a beautiful tradition. Here's one of my favorite versions of this song, "O' Holy Night." To me, Patti LaBelle could sing the Encyclopedia and I would be mesmerized. So enjoy and sing along if you like.


Now this version includes only the first verse before the chorus, the chorus and then the chorus is repeated... but it is absolute heaven to listen to. I can feel my grandma next to me raising her hand to to the Lord in praise whenever I listen to it. 


O' Holy Night Composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chretiens"(Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. Singing version created by John Sullivan Dwight (information courtesy of Wikipedia)
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary so…

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas When My Mom And Uncle Were Little.

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I am not sure what year this was. The expression on my Uncle's face is priceless. I have to ask my mom if she recalls the story behind this picture.

A Tragedy For One...Leads To An Opportunity For Another.

Since I just finished part two of my family history movie which was about the Mitchell family line, I thought this would be a good time to do a post on how my 3rd great grandfather Mortimer Mitchell came to own his land in Riverdale, NC. If you missed that post, here's the link The Mitchells.

When I received Mortimer's deed sometime ago, the first thing I researched was information regarding the people he bought his land from.  Maybe by doing this I would be able to unveil more information about my ancestor. The owner of the land was an Elizabeth Williams and her husband is listed as a witness on the deed, R B Williams. I found it rather curious that the wife was the owner of this land due to the fact that this deed was dated from March 1878. So I did some digging. It turns out that Elizabeth was originally Elizabeth Tolson who married a Gabriel Hardison back on Dec. 7, 1858. Elizabeth and her first husband were married until some terrible events unfolded in December 1866. Her…

The Mitchells: Part Two of My Family History Movie

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Okay, this Windows Movie Maker Program I am starting to really get into. This is a great way to document the discoveries I have come across and since I have family in different parts of the country, it makes the perfect way to share those discoveries. So here's the latest installment.




Wordless Wednesday: Here's My First Movie With Windows Live Movie Maker.

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I Am So Excited About What I Have Been Working On.

Okay, I have been away from my blog for a few days here for good reason. I started playing around with a program on my computer called Windows Live Movie Maker and Bam! Now I have a new hobby. LOL. I just finished my first family history movie with images of my ancestors on my maternal line; more specifically of my ancestors who came from Morehead City and Riverdale, Craven, NC.  I feel like Ken Burns all of a sudden. Well anyway I am going to tweak the movie over the next couple of days and then let a couple of people in my family view it and see what they think. I will keep you posted.

Wordless Wednesday: My Mom At 4 Months Old.

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I so love the hair!

Maritime Monday: Menhaden Chanteymen

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So thankful for my heritage. So mixed and so rich. My maternal grandmother's line heralds from Morehead City, NC. Some of my Jones and Bryant ancestors were involved with Menhaden fishing or working in the fish factories to make a days wage. Thank goodness for the age of Youtube, where you can capture a feeling or sense of your ancestors as quick as couple of typed in key phrases.






I have included a link to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center Web Page where they have featured "Raising The Story of Menhaden Fishing." The site provides great information regarding how important this industry once was to Carteret County, NC.

http://coresound.com/on-site-programs/raising-the-story-of-menhaden-fishing/

Looking Back While Looking Forward.

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Microsoft Office Downloaded Image


Okay, I did something that made me feel just a little dated recently. Now I know I'm not old but I am really starting to see how quickly the years start to slip on by. Well, the other day I decided to talk to my son about how sometimes your best wins in life don't always result in a first place finish. He is approaching his seventh birthday and he is starting to take an interest in sports so I thought I should talk to him about the importance of putting forth your best effort.

When I was in college I fenced on an amateur basis in a club at Binghamton University. I absolutely loved it. Let me tell you, if you want a sport that will get you in shape ultra fast while learning how to strategically beat your opponent, there's no better sport than it. Now I would like to stress I was an amateur, but I did rack up a few medals and trophies in my day. Anyway, my son was curious to see the trophies the other night so I took them out and reminisced ab…

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving At Grandma and Grandpa's House

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My Grandmother Ethel Murrell Just love her smile!
My Grandpa Harold Murrell
I have so many fond memories of going to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving. Best meals of my life. My grandmother could cook! I couldn't help but think of her as I was home today, attempting to make rolls for tomorrow's dinner. I know mine don't quite stack up to hers but I love making them because I feel like she's right there in the kitchen with me. I miss them dearly.

It's All Starting To Come Together.

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Okay, I am back on the topic of my Whitney family line. Just a refresher to where we are at in case I have any new folks following.

Samuel Whitney --speculating was my 4th great grandfather resided in New Bern
Thomas Whitney--3rd great grandfather resided in Lake Comfort, Hyde, NC.
Samuel Whitney--2nd great grandfather resided in Lake Comfort and then later New Bern, NC.
Carrie Whitney Harrison--great grandmother lived in New Bern .
Lemuel Richard Harrison--grandfather in his youth lived in New Bern, NC later settled in Queens, NY.
My Mother
Me

Okay, so back to the Whitneys, specifically Thomas and his extended family when they resided in Hyde County, NC. It seems I have narrowed down where they lived as somewhere on the land between Juniper Bay and the village of Lake Comfort.


Image Courtesy of Google Maps.

Reviewing tax lists can be very helpful when researching your ancestors. Well when I was going through the Hyde County, NC tax lists on the Hyde County Gen Web Page  I found some interesti…

Sentimental Sunday: A Picture Of A Christmas Past

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Me, My Brother David, Cousins Audrey and Nicole
Pictures are little time machines. I was looking through some of my family photos today and this one jumped out at me. It's a perfect little snapshot of the holidays at the house I grew up in Cambria Heights, Queens.

A Funny Thing Happens When You Revisit Something...You Just Might Have A Different Take On Things.

Okay, I have to thank my fellow genealogy friend and colleague, Yvette Porter Moore, with inspiring me to dig deeper into my Tuscaroran Roots. By the way, she has an excellent blog called Digging Roots: My Family History, here's the link to it.  http://sugarhillharlemny.blogspot.com/#axzz1e6sZ0S8z If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. You're missing out. My last post called "Things That Make You Go Hmmm....My Native American Roots And Discoveries" discussed some of the things I found out while researching my 2nd great grandmother Rosa Mitchell Jones. Here's the link to that post if you missed it. http://howdidigetheremygenealogyjourney.blogspot.com/2011/11/things-that-make-you-go-hmmmmmy-native.html

Well, anyway Yvette had commented that I should get in contact with the Coastal Carolina Indian Center for tips on how to further my research on this line. It's funny when you are on this journey of discovering your ancestors, I have found at least for…

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....My Native American Roots and Discoveries.

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I am taking a break from my Whitney family line today. I believe I had mentioned somewhere in my earlier posts about  Rosa M. Jones, my second great grandmother, being of some portion Native American. Her maiden name was Mitchell and I have come across some circumstantial evidence that gives me the impression that the family was of Tuscaroran descent.
On a site called "The Coastal Carolina Indian Center", I found a section which shows a listing of surnames that have been associated sometimes with certain Indian tribes.
Mitchel(l) (Tuscarora)
This surname shows up on Indian Woods deeds as Tuscarora.
     . See Bertie Deed Book M file
     . See also 1766 Tuscarora Land Leases

Now the site does warn people,"Please keep in mind that just because someone is of a particular surname that has at some point been associated with a particular tribe DOES NOT NECESSARILY mean that the person was of that tribe. It is necessary to establish a preponderance of evidence before making the ass…

Thank You To All Our Veterans.

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Nathan Whitney January 1, 1845--May 10, 1912 New Bern National Cemetery New Bern, NC. Image Courtesy of Find A Grave.

Nathan Whitney I believe was my 3rd Great Grandfather Thomas Whitney's nephew.  He served with Company B of the 37th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops.

Fascinating Finds on the Hyde County GenWeb Page.

Okay folks my brain is still in Hyde County, NC and I can't get it out.  I have 3 books on order from Amazon. I am Googling everything Hyde County....You name it, it is Hyde County up in here. Did I mention that I'm into Hyde County? LOL


Well anyway I decided to venture over to the Hyde County GenWeb Page, part of the U. S. and N. C. GenWeb Project and this time instead of glancing over things as I had done in the past, I really dived in. 


I have to pause and explain something. I am really starting to see how there is a correlation between the thought processes involved with studying and learning a new language and how those processes are so similar to how you learn and study family history. With a language, you start with the basics. You learn simple nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Then you build up your vocabulary from there. You learn the nuances of the language and keep learning until you literally start thinking in the other language.  The process is very similar with genealo…

Those Places Thursday: Images and Sounds from Hyde County, NC

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Part of fleshing out our ancestors begins with understanding the places they lived and the air they breathed. I woke up today wanting to go sight-seeing in Hyde County and decided to see what links I could find on YouTube. This first one is of the Lake Mattemuskeet. It is from a show called NC Weekend from UNC-TV



I guess I now know how Swan Quarter, Hyde County got it's name.

Then I wanted to hear the sound of their voices and see a bit more of the landscape. That's when I took a look at this video. It is a clip from the documentary film called "Hyde Talk" by Benjamin Torbert from the North Carolina Language and Life Project.

Lastly, I found someone who had uploaded a family history film to Youtube. When I saw it for the first time I realized I had come across some of these same images when I was researching the family of Dr. M. M. Murray. My ancestor Augustus Whitney worked for Dr. M. M. Murray before the Civil War. The film was uploaded by jayward63.


I love virtual sig…

Those Places Thursday on Sunday: Donnell Farm, Hyde, NC

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Donnell Farm may have been the reason my folks wound up in Hyde County. If you have read my earlier posts about the Whitneys, then you know I believe that my Whitney Ancestors came to America en-route to Virginia and then traveled south to New Bern, NC. They, according to oral history in my family were of Portuguese descent from the Azores Island, arriving and staying in Bermuda for a period of time and eventually making their way to America....and as on the show Seinfeld they would say, "Yadayadayada, here I am."   So what's the connection to Donnell Farm?

For the years 1830 and 1840, the family is headed up by my 4th great grandfather Samuel Whitney, residing in New Bern, NC.



Images courtesy of Ancestry.com.

For 1850 and 1860, I cannot find the family on the censuses for New Bern or Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC. Perhaps they had moved to a different area or were simply missed by census takers. 

By 1870, Thomas Whitney, the son of Samuel and his extended family are shown  living…

Wordless Wednesday: Hyde County, NC

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Closeup of a map at the NC State Archives called "Hyde County, North Carolina (State Highway and PublicWorks Commission)" Published in 1938. Lake Comfort is shown labeled in the center and is apparently where my Whitney Clan lived. It spans approximately from Swindell Fork on until it ends at where the map is labeled New Holland (part of the word Holland is cut off in the right portion of the map)

So the book came. That's right, the book I ordered a couple of days ago called "Hyde County History:  A Hyde County Bicentennial Project" by the Hyde County Bicentennial Committee. It is an excellent resource if you have connections to Hyde County. I have only started to skim through it but it looks like it has lots of good information. I have even surmised a theory for why and how the Whitneys may have left New Bern to come to Hyde County sometime during the years following the Civil War. Some good posts are definitely to come.





My Current Obsession--Hyde County, NC

My Whitney family line lived in an area called Lake Comfort, Hyde, NC. It is associated with Swan Quarter, NC. This is my current obsession. This area is rural, small population now and it has always been that way. Have to wait  a couple of days for a book I ordered to come in.  It is called, "Hyde County History: A Hyde County Bicentennial Project" by the Hyde County Bicentennial Commitee. Curious to see what info I may be able to gather from this book. My 2nd great grand uncle's Civil War Pension file I have found so interesting so far, but now I am thirsting for more information about Swan Quarter, Hyde, NC.  I will keep you posted. Happy Researching, Everyone out there in the Blogosphere.

Wedding Wednesday: My Wedding March 30, 2005

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Recreation Park March 30, 2005 Binghamton, NY My son is the best man. 








Just Breathe! Whooh.







What a great day! We had been together for almost 10 years at this point, so we were already committed to each other. It was nice making it official, especially with our son as best man. Went home and had hot dogs for dinner and that is how we celebrate our anniversary...that's right with hot dogs.

Oops! My Bad..It was Folly Island, not Pawleys Island, SC

Okay, I made a mistake. I was researching my ancestor Augustus Whitney last night and came across information regarding Folly Island, SC . The first time I used Google to search, I kept putting in Polly Island or Holly Island, SC because to me, that is what the cursive writing on the Civil War pension file looked like. The only thing that came up that was close was Pawley's Island, SC so I assumed, well maybe back in the day they spelled it as Polly and then later it was modified to Pawley. Well, You know what happens when you assume.  I looked at the file again last night and decided, well maybe that is an F not a P and guess what came up..Folly Island, SC. The site of a staging area for Union troops during the Civil War. I found some great information on the site called the civilwaralbum. here's the link to the section about Folly Island.http://www.civilwaralbum.com/misc9/folly_island1.htm

Another good read was a Los Angeles Times Article from 2010 that centered around a man …

Dr. John DeGrasse--African American Civil War Surgeon.

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When I was reviewing my 2nd great grand uncle's civil war pension file I came across some interesting side-note information. One of those little known facts that is often overlooked when discussing the grand story of the Civil War. According to Augustus Whitney's pension file he was treated by a Dr. John V. DeGrasse. So now in this age of google, I decided to google the good doctor's name and I was brought to several articles about the man. 

Dr. John V. DeGrasse b.1825--d.1868   African-American Doctor who served as assistant surgeon with the 35th United States Colored Infantry. Image Courtesy of the Massachusetts African American Museum, Boston & Nantucket, MA and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Here is one that appeared in Black America Web.com, Dated Thursday December 16, 2010 By Erica Taylor http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/the_black_diaspora_news/24333

Another golden nugget I found, was on the RootsWeb Page (An Ancestry.com Community), called The Afr…