Showing posts from February, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Harold and Janice Murrell

Harold Murrell and his baby girl Janice. My grandpa and aunt 1937

Tombstone Tuesday: More of the Bryants Buried At Bayview Cemetery

Grave of Henry Bryant located to the left of his wife Caroline Ellison Bryant. Headstone missing.
Last Tombstone Tuesday I featured the grave of my 3rd great grandmother Caroline Ellison Bryant and after doing so I thought well that's not right, I should have included her husband's grave. Unfortunately, his stone is missing but his grave is covered with a cement slab. Henry Bryant, my 3rd great grandfather was born around 1830 in Beaufort County, NC. He died before 1900.

Here's my 3rd great grandmother's grave again. She was born in Beaufort County, NC as well.
It appears that Henry Bryant son's tombstone shared the same fate as his father's. Henry B Bryant's grave is located in the same area of his father and mother. 
Henry B Bryant grave is on the right in this picture. Henry B Bryant --March 5, 1876--August 4, 1937 2nd great grand uncle

Henretta Bell Bryant  December 25, 1877--June 19, 1925 2nd great grand aunt

All these graves are located in Bayview Ce…

The Mystery Surrounding My Great Grandmother Ella

My grandmother, Ethel Murrell, and my brother, probably, around 1970.
When this past January came around I thought, this year was going to be the year I was going to break down the brick wall surrounding the mystery of my great grandmother, Miss Ella. I am going to refer to her as Miss Ella because that is the one piece of information I feel the most confident about, her first name being Ella. You see, Ella was the mother of my grandmother, Ethel Smith Murrell. These are the pieces of information I know. I know from grandmother's birth certificate, that her mother was listed as Ella Carr and her father was a John Edward Smith and that she was born on January 6, 1911 in Wilmington, NC. John Edward Smith's occupation was listed as being a carpenter. Ella Carr according to my father had a set of children prior to her having my grandmother. The names of two of those children may have been George and Larcy.  The whereabouts of those children we have no idea about. My grandmother ha…

Mom Has Always Enjoyed A Good Book!

My mom as a little girl. She has always enjoyed a good book!

My Reaction To Finding Out My DNA Results And What Does This Mean?

So there's my genetic make-up, 70% African and 30% European. I do want to add something here that I left out from yesterday's post. In the supplemental information that African Ancestry sent with the test results, there is a section describing test accuracy. Here it is.

Now the thing that stood out for me the most after receiving my DNA results is this. That 70% African. Instantly, like a light switch, my focus in my head said, why am I focusing on the minority portion of my DNA so much. Not that it isn't is. It's part of me. Now it turns out, it doesn't look like I have Native American ancestry.There is one thing to consider perhaps there are not enough DNA samples from Native Americans to rule this out, especially since there are number of Eastern Carolina tribes that no longer exist. The one thing that I go back to then for myself is okay, let's say they missed something...what would that be 2--10%? For me the test just handed me what Oprah cal…

My DNA Admixture Results Are In!

Image courtesy of
I am sure many of you have been waiting for a follow up on my post from a couple weeks ago, called  My Thoughts About My Pending DNA Results. As I had mentioned in that article, I used a company called African Ancestry to have my DNA Admixture tested. This test provides you with a percentage breakdown of what your ancestral make-up is. Typically after 6 weeks you receive your results, however, the company had a sale in December for this particular test and I believe that they had a tremendous response from that. Subsequently my results took a little longer. I did call to see what the hold up was and I have to say the company has wonderful customer service over the phone. They are real people and you can tell they truly care about the service they are providing. Well anyway, I received the results last night and I have to say I am thrilled but not for the reasons I thought I would be thrilled for. I wanted to take this test to either prove or disprove …

Tombstone Tuesday: Caroline Ellison Bryant --My 3rd Great Grandmother's Grave

Caroline Ellison Bryant (August 4, 1844--August 1, 1920) My 3rd Great Grandmother Bayview Cemetery, Morehead City, NC I love the inscription, "Mother We Honor Thy Memory"

Sundays Obituary Update: A Picture Of Freddie Harrison

Freddie Harrison  January 20, 1925--November 9, 1979 Another brother of my grandfather Lemuel Harrison

Back in September of 2011, I posted Freddie Harrison's obituary and mentioned I really didn't know anything more than what was written in it about him. My trip to New Bern and Morhead City in January yielded a picture. The link to that post is here.
I would like to add that now I know a little bit more about him. I have located his U.S World War II Young Man's Draft Registration Card.
Image courtesy of
I know he served in the Army and that he is buried at New Bern National Cemetery, in section 3 site 27.

Pictures From The Day My Brother Graduated From St. Pascal's Catholic School

I wasn't sure what I was going to post when I sat down to write today, so I looked at the pictures I have saved on my hard drive and these stuck out. They were taken inside of St. Pascal's Baylon Church in Hollis, NY. My brother and I attended school across the street. These pictures were taken on the day he graduated from the 8th grade. I guess I am feeling sentimental for those who have passed on.
From left to right.
Me, my mom, my paternal grandparents Ethel and Harold Murrell, my maternal grandmother Mary Horton who's standing and my aunt Janice Murrell.

Harold Murrell, Janice Murrell, Mary Horton and my cousin Audrey Harrison
Everyone in this photo has passed away since it was taken.

Janice and my dad.

Wordless Wednesday: Earl Whitney Harrison --My Grandfather's Brother

Earl Whitney Harrison May 23, 1927--February 25, 1985
Earl is another one of my grandfather Lemuel Harrison's siblings. My mother's father was Lemuel Harrison. Until recently, I did not know that Earl's middle name was Whitney until released the U.S. World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1898--1929.  Here is his draft card.
Image Courtesy of

Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part three

If you missed my last two posts, you will want to read those first before beginning this one. Here are the links to those posts. Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part one and Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part two

So now you know about my new found cousin. Amazing things can happen when you least expect them.  After Rudi and I connected at the end of September we have been in contact via email. My unexpected trip to Morehead City and New Bern due to the death of my Aunt Rosa, allowed me an opportunity to finally get a picture of Rudi's father. You see, he had never seen a picture of him. I can't even imagine going through life not knowing what your father looked like. I had a wonderful visit with my Aunt Carrie who is a sister of my grandfather Lemuel Harrison. She was so sweet to share images that I had never seen before of the family. Here is one of my cousin Rudi's father.

Rudolph Henry Harrison (born 1930--died April 1966)
Here's another picture…

Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part two.

If you missed yesterday's post, you will want to read that one first. Here's the link to it. Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part one

Microsoft Office Downloaded Image.
So the next day rolls around. I am nervous to make this phone call to Ireland.  What am I about to find out? I finally pick up the phone and dial. The phone rings and this lovely lady with the beautiful accent answers the phone. Her name is Sheila. She lets me know that what she is about to tell me may come as a bit of a shock but a good shock. She lets me know she will have to explain things a bit before the story becomes clear. I don't remember exactly how the conversation unraveled but she said this information was about a man who was a brother to my grandfather Lemuel Harrison. She explains. She tells me the story about how a man named Rudolph Henry Harrison served in the U.S. Airforce over at Fairford Airforce Base in England in the early 1950's. He was an African American gentlem…

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

Last year on May 30, 2011, I decided once and for all to begin to blog. I wanted this journey that I had been on of discovering my ancestors to mean more than just bits of paper with dates of births, deaths, and census records. I wanted to share with friends and family or anyone who would listen how special all these pieces of information put together truly were. And so I began to write.

In my mind I had a bit of a plan. My maternal line has been absolutely amazing to research with an abundance of information and stories so this made a logical starting point. I shared information about my Morehead City, NC ancestors (Jones/Mitchell/Bryants) first and then moved on to begin talking about my Harrison family line which was from New Bern, NC. At first, I tried to make myself write a blog post everyday. Soon I realized that probably wouldn't be realistic and just concentrated on when I felt the need to jot something down. As I continued to write, I felt good that finally I was getting i…

Wordless Wednesday: Bryant Siblings In Birth Order

Frank, Linwood, Loris, Ray, Mary, Rosa and Eloise standing on the front steps of my Aunt Rosa's house in Queens, NY.

Tombstone Tuesday: Solomon Allen's Grave

Solomon Allen May 4, 1824--May 10, 1926 Gravestone reads:  "Died May 5, 1926 Age 100 Yrs
He followed virtue  As his truest guide. Lived as a Christian As a Christian Died"
Solomon's connection to me is through his daughter Chloe Ann Allen who was married to my 2nd great grand uncle Alfred Mitchell. Alfred Mitchell was the brother to my 2nd great grandmother Rosa Mitchell Jones. Solomon Allen's grave is located in the old African American Cemetery behind Mt Olive AME Zion Church in Riverdale, Craven, NC.
Solomon's death certificate provides a different date for his death. 
Image courtesy of

Looks like my 2nd great grand uncle was the informant. 

Amanuensis Monday: The Whitney/Harrison Bible--Part three

Almost forgot it was Amanuensis Monday. Whoops, my bad. LOL. Today was mad busy for me. You know the usual stay at home mom stuff. Clean house, grocery shop, get kids off to school and back again, run errands, host playdate....yadayadayada.  Anyway here is the last  portion from the Whitney/Harrison family bible.

From pages 22-30 there are no hand written notes of family births/deaths etc.
Picking up with page 31.

Page 31

Robert (Bobby) Eugene Harrison
Born: July 28, 1939
Place: Good Sheppard Hospital
(West Street)
City: New Bern  State: North Carolina

One sent Forth--prophet ---Apostle--not of this world (Adopted in God's Family before Time began) was no ordinary child Like Jesus Christ and Moses, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob Etc.---

Page 32:  No handwritten notes.

Page 33
March 24  1895
I Sam Whitney & Sarah J Whitney his wife do & did agree to liece a part of their lot to Julia Lock to build her house on for five dollars a year as long as we can agree and if any di…

My Thoughts About My Pending DNA Results

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So back in December I decided to dive into the world of DNA testing. For my first test I decided on finding out my DNA mix through the DNA testing company African Ancestry. At a later point in time when I could afford it, I would test my individual maternal and paternal DNA. My best friend told me about the sale African Ancestry was running on their admixture testing and that she herself had already done it and was awaiting her results. For those of you who may not know, the admixture test will give you a percentage breakdown of what your ancestral make-up is, by breaking it down into the following categories: African, European, Native American, East Asian and Indian ancestry. I thought this would be a good test to start with because I wanted to prove or disprove family oral history. Both of my mother's parents were supposed to have some portion of Native American ancestry, specifically through my Mitchell and Harrison family lines. Now I am sure …

Wordless Wednesday: My 2nd Great Grandfather--Thomas Duke Harrison

Rev. Thomas Duke Harrison December 25, 1864--February  7, 1940
My 2nd great grandfather

The 1907--08 Hill's City Directory for New Bern shows him listed as pastor for that year at a St James AME Zion Church. Later he became part of St Peter's AME Zion Church in the same city.