Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My Mom At 4 Months Old.

I so love the hair!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maritime Monday: Menhaden Chanteymen

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.


Looking Back While Looking Forward.

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 about "the good old days."

I asked my son which trophy he thought was my favorite. He automatically went to the tallest one out of the group which happened to be a first place finish in novice foil. Foil was the weapon I fenced with back in the day.  I then went and told him that in fact, my favorite one was one that I had received for 4th place. Now at my son's age he is all about winning so he turned and looked at me rather strangely and asked why. The story goes that it was I believe Spring of 1991 and I was competing at a tournament at SUNY-Buffalo. When you entered the gymnasium they had laid out on tables the trophies. In my mind before entering the gym, I thought I was going to do my best but more than likely I would be going home with more tournament experience and a good workout and that was it. This was my first year fencing and there were a lot of serious fencers at this meet. I think one or two girls had gone to the nationals so seriously there was no way I thought to myself that I had a chance at winning anything. Well then I saw that they had trophies up to 4th place. Suddenly, I thought to myself --Maybe? However as soon as this thought crossed my mind I saw a girl from Syracuse who I had yet to beat at any competition. She was my nemesis. Sweet girl, don't get me wrong, but I just couldn't figure out how to beat her. Then I looked at that trophy for 4th place again and I told myself that that trophy was mine. Today was going to be the day I was going to figure this out.

As I'm telling this story to my son, I am pleasantly surprised to see he was truly interested in his mother's tale from long ago. I thought for sure I was boring him but I continued on. In a nutshell, I worked my way through the first round and managed to work my way up to direct eliminations. I had to fight my nemesis, Leila, if I was going to get to 4th place. It wasn't pretty, but in that bout something happened that I have always carried with me ever since. Persistence pays off. It was not a pretty bout but I managed to figure out by the end how to beat this girl. What I had thought was impossible, became possible in a few short minutes. I had laid it all out and in the end I was able to beat this girl.  With nothing left, I quickly lost my following bout, but in my head I was beaming with joy from what I had accomplished.

My son then said, "I get it. You gave it your best shot and you didn't give up."  I said "Yes! That's it."

That's all I can hope for as I continue on this journey of motherhood. As I teach him about life lessons, I just hope I can continue communicating with him so I know that  he continues to "get it."

Every so often when the whim hits I feel like sharing my stories. Today was one of those days. Anyway, before I pack these babies up I thought I should share a couple of pictures.

My trophies and medals

My favorite
Sidney Schwartz 1991 SUNYAB Tournament
Women's Foil--4th Place.

1991 Really?! 20 years.
This getting old thing is only going to get more entertaining isn't it. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving At Grandma and Grandpa's House

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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's All Starting To Come Together.

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

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 interesting information. This is from the 1890 Tax List.

Here is my 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Whitney and his sons Augustus and Charles. Augustus is listed as A. R. Whitney and Charles as C. H. Whitney. Also there are additional Whitney cousins listed  all together. I know from census data that the family did not own their land and that is also reflected here. The fourth column from the left lists the number of acres owned. That area was clearly left blank for my family line however the column shown second from the right shows stock. I will assume for now that is in reference to animals and that would make me think the Whitneys were tenant farmers. I found an interesting passage in one of the books I have been reading about Hyde County. It discusses how tenant farmers were paid.

Excerpt from "Hyde County History:  A Hyde County Bicentennial Project." Page 10.

In 1880 farming represented seventy-five percent of the labor activities, and the other twenty five percent was engaged in professions and services, manufacturing, mining, trade and transportation.

Farming was represented by landlord, tenants and day labor. The average time of farm labor was seven months, with the remaining five months dependent on other types of employment, which, in Hyde County, was usually available in farm related or unrelated work. The average percent of wages was forty percent in cash and sixty percent in merchandise by the landlord of the store. Wages had decreased in the past three years due to short crops.  When the tenant farmer provided all his needs himself, his percentage of the crop ranged from one half to two thirds of the harvest. If the landlord furnished the necessary supplies, the tenant received one third to one half of the crop.

It appears from the tax list information from 1890, the Whitney clan were tenant farmers. Life was not easy but they were able to make a living. One nice find from this tax list is that Thomas G Whitney is listed on it. He is listed on the 1870 and 1880 censuses but not on the 1900. I knew he had died before 1900 but now I at least know the time-frame was between 1890 and 1900.

I found some surprising information out in the next passage about tenant farmers of Hyde County.

 In the tenant farm group sixty percent could read and write; public schools, although of no more than four months sessions, were available and their children usually attended.

Wow! Aha--That's how the Whitney boys were able to write and sign their testimonies evidenced in Augustus Whitney's Civil War pension file. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: A Picture Of A Christmas Past

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.

Friday, November 18, 2011

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 myself...not sure how it is for everyone else out there, but you have to constantly go back and revisit the information you have researched. The longer you research your ancestors the more you learn and the more you learn how to research better. So wherever you left off a few months ago or a year ago with a certain family group, it is so important to go back and revisit this information. With new eyes and new tools, you may be amazed that you might be able to break through what was once a brick wall.

So have I broken through any brick walls? No not yet, but I have started to review my Mitchell group with new eyes and I think I may be on my way with something here.  I have to also, follow up with the Coastal Carolina Indian Center for tips on which way to go with my research, so I will keep you posted. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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

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 assumption that someone was of a particular Indian nation."

Now Rosa Mitchell Jones did not live in Bertie County, but rather she grew up in the Riverdale area of Craven County and later married and resided in Morehead City. Craven County was at one time definitely a hot bed for Tuscaroran activity so location seems right.  I do know that her brother Alfred Mitchell worked in Bertie County, specifically in an area called Roxobel according to the 1880 Census. 

Here are some images from Wikipedia of Tuscaroran Indians:

Here is an image of Rosa Mitchell Jones.

Hmmm. What do you think?

If you want a good summation of what happened to the Tuscaroran People in North Carolina before the Tuscarora War and afterwards, Wikipedia is great source to turn to. In summary, the Tuscaroran people after the war were displaced to a reservation called "Indian Woods" in Bertie County; those who did not move to the reservation moved north. Most moved to join the Iroquois Five Nations of New York, becoming the Sixth Nation . It turns out the Tuscarora are descended from the Iroquoian tribes of this area. Now when I researched this information out about a year and 1/2 ago, I had one of those goose bumps moments when you find something out that is really enlightening. Well there's a Professor Arwin D. Smallwood, who is the author of a book I own called "Bertie County:  An Eastern Carolina History." In this book, he provided some information I found to be very intriguing. He goes on to talk about how many of the survivors of the war would blame those with the "Tuscarora Eye" for their misfortune. Specifically here is part of the testimony of a Dr. Hamilton of East Orange , New Jersey.

These Tuscarora, who may have been the descendants of the white women taken from Roanoke Island, were born with blue, green, or gray eyes. As time passed, the eye became more prevalent throughout the tribe, along with problems with white settlers. 

Now a little bit after this passage, there is a section that talks about the testimony of a woman called Aunt Tamar.  

Aunt Tamar, a former slaved who died at 127 or 129 years of age in the mid-1920s in Salisbury, Maryland was also part-Tuscarora and stated ther her great grandmother was Tuscarora and said they were cursed. "

Part of that curse turned out to be that the family was forced to go north . She did not want to go and stayed in Maryland and where the climate was warm and married an African slave.

It is not clear if Tamar or her family had the "Tuscarora Eye," but Hamilton did state that marrying African Americans eliminated it for a while in his family before it began to reappear in his generation.

DING! Went off in my head. From the picture I have of Rosa M. Jones, it appears she had brown eyes. She would have been born many generations after the time of the Tuscarora War.  I do not know what percentage Native American Rosa was but what I do know is that from her generation on forward married African Americans. Now, let's fast forward to the birth of my daughter. She is born to me, a woman of mixed ancestry, which includes African, Portuguese, Native American, and possibly Irish bloodlines and my husband who's background is Irish and English.

 Yes, she has blue eyes. Hmmmm.

Then, the last thing that was the kicker. A few days after I had found all this out, I came across a site called "Sunbury: A History." It provides information about the area around Sunbury, PA., surrounding the confluence of the Susquehanna River.

The Tuscarora Path, named after the Tuscarora Indians, traveled from North Carolina through Path Valley to Shamokin. Some claim that it received its name after the original Tuscarora tribe was defeated and its survivors were forced to travel up this path to find refuge within the Iroquois Confederation (eventually becoming the sixth nation in the Iroquois Confederacy). Others claim that the Iroquois merely named the path Tuscarora because they viewed the trail as a means of connecting with their friendly neighbors.
The Tuscarora Path is now followed by Md. 57 and Pa. 75 north through Mercersburg, Fort Louden, and Port Royal; U.S. 11 from Sunbury and Northumberland to Pittston; Pa. 92 from West Pittston through Falls and Tunkhannock; U.S. 6 through North Towanda; U.S. 220 through Athens and Waverly; N.Y. 17 through Owego, Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton; and U.S. 11, a second time through Great Bend.

Guess where I live? Let's just say I live in the Greater Binghamton area and have lived here since I was in college. I can see  NY 17 from my house. Hmmmm.

Perhaps, somewhere deep down inside of me, part of my DNA knew it was coming home when I settled here.

Just another one of those things that make you go Hmmm.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You To All Our Veterans.

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. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

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 genealogy; you start with what you know like names and places associated with your mother, father, grandparents, and so on. Then you build and expand your horizons. You start studying extended family. You go beyond the censuses and death certificates. You learn geography. Pretty soon you begin diving into land records and tax records. You study neighbors. Where was the market? What church did they attend?  And you build and build and build, until you really get that sense of what a community was like.

So what is my point here. I truly have an understanding of Hyde County, specifically the areas of Lake Comfort, Juniper Bay, Swan Quarter, and Lake Landing. When I hear a certain surname now I have an immediate sense of who that person was connected to and where they might have lived. And of course with the more I learn, there's that craving to want to know more. 

So back to the Hyde County Gen Web Page. If you have connections to Hyde County, this is an excellent resource. A highlight of my Sunday evening was reading an article on the site by Dr. Joyce I. Humber-Faison called, "Black American Genealogy Hyde County, North Carolina."  Here's the link http://www.ncgenweb.us/hyde/ethnic/FAISON.HTM 

Anyway, got to run. Kids are bugging me to watch Phineas and Ferb with them. Happy Researching Everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

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

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 sight-seeing!

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