Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taking A Look At Frank Bryant Again

Frank L. Bryant
My great grandfather

I have to say since my post on Monday, I have been looking at my great grandfather Frank Bryant with different eyes. If you missed that one here's the link. Military Monday: Frank Bryant's World War I Draft Registration Card Provided An Interesting Find!

With the newly found information that Frank Bryant was working as a butler in 1916 for a wealthy Morehead City business man named Charles Slover Wallace, questions began buzzing around in my head. How long had he been working for him? Did other family members possibly work for C. S. Wallace? Perhaps Jonas Bryant, Frank's mother had the same employer? I decided to go back and review the 1900 and 1910 censuses for clues.

1900 Census

The household is headed up by Caroline Bryant, Frank's grandmother, followed by Caroline's two children Jonas (listed here as Jane) and John. The last two individuals are Frank's cousin William who was raised by Jonas and then lastly Frank. Frank Bryant's age is listed as 9 years old and with no occupation. All the others are listed as clammers.

Hmm. This got me thinking. I went back to a book I recently purchased called, "Morehead City:  A Walk Through Time" by Jack Dudley. Here's the passage I found interesting.

Charles Wallace was born on Portsmouth Island and moved to Morehead City at a very early age. At the turn of the century, he owned C. S. Wallace Seafood Company. He was a businessman by instinct and was always looking for new opportunities. There were numerous "hand factories" down east, and he experimented with them initially but by 1918, had a mechanized plant. 

This is just me speculating but perhaps Frank Bryant's family was working for C.S. Wallace in 1900.

When I reviewed the 1910 census, I found that everyone had had a change in occupation.

1910 Census

Occupations for the Bryants in 1910

Caroline Bryant--Servant --Private family
Joanna (Jonas) Bryant--Chambermaid--Private family
William Bryant--Porter--On the railroad
Frank Bryant--Oysterman--Oystering
Mary Bryant (Frank's sister)--Servant--Private family.

Financially speaking, the family is doing better in 1910. Caroline, the matriarch is shown owning her own home instead of renting as was shown on the 1900 census. Sometime between 1910 and 1916, Frank Bryant became employed as a butler.

Now something clicked in my head that reminded me that I had seen the name C. S. Wallace before. I went to the Carteret County Register of Deeds website and looked at deed information linked to my great grandfather. Aha! I found that on February 24, 1919 my great grandparents Frank and Ophelia Bryant had obtained a mortgage from none other than C.S. Wallace. Now the details of this I don't have at this time. I have to make a request for a copy of this record and for several other records, so when I receive that information I will provide an update. There was one record for my great grandfather that I was able to view on-line from the Register of Deeds. Here it is.

Apparently, Frank Bryant and several other gentlemen decided to go into business for themselves and established the name of the business as "The Progressive Grocery Company." How about that  -- an entrepreneur! Maybe that mortgage obtained from C. S. Wallace was associated with this.  Anyway, it's kind of cool seeing something with my great grandfather's signature on it. The other interesting tidbit here is Harvey Horton, one of my great grandfather's business partners, was the uncle to my grandmother Mary's second husband Cecil Horton.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Easter 1976 --At My Grandparent's House

These pictures were all taken in the backyard of my paternal grandparents in Hollis, NY.

Oh I remember Easter hats well!
Me and Mom

My brother David, my Mom and I

Ahh my grandfather's old Nova.
I have lots of good memories riding around with my grandpa in that car. 
He used to pick me up after school when I attended St. Pascal's Catholic Elementary.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Military Monday: Frank Bryant's World War I Draft Registration Card Provided An Interesting Find!

My great grandfather, Frank L. Bryant
October 6, 1890--December 20, 1953

My great grandfather's father has remained one of those great mysteries as I have been researching my family tree. No one in the family knows who he was and I have yet to dig up anything conclusive. There was a record that I had been meaning to get a copy of for the longest time and finally last month I did. It was Frank Bryant's World War I Draft Registration Card. Unfortunately, there's an error on the website for this database for Carteret County cards where it links to Lenoir County cards so I wasn't able to view the original. I knew it would be a long shot, but I thought maybe there would be a reference to Frank's father on this card.  I emailed the National Archives at Atlanta and within a day a nice lady emailed me back and wrote that they were able to locate the card and that it would be a $5 charge. I quickly called in a credit card payment over the phone to the Archives and a couple days later I had a photocopy in hand. 

No information about his dad but something else I found that I hadn't known before. You see, I knew that Frank's last occupation was as a chauffeur, from what my mother told me. The card here was filled out when Frank Bryant was 26 and closer to the beginning of his marriage to my great grandma Ophelia. At this time his occupation was a butler and he was employed by a C S Wallace. So I said to myself, Who was this C. S. Wallace? Turns out that C. S. Wallace was a pretty important figure in the town of Morehead City.

This is an excerpt from a book called "Morehead City Centennial Jubilee:  Morehead City, NC 1857--1957 100th Anniversary" 

December 2, 1864--September 14, 1945

He entered the fishing industry at an early age and became actively engaged in the civic and economic growth of Morehead City. His positive leadership and financial assistance lent strength to many failing enterprises, with which he became associated. He served as mayor of Morehead City from 1894--1908. In 1909 he was elected to the General Assembly of North Carolina, serving through 1914. He was chairman of the Carteret County Board of Commisioners from 1918--1920. He served as chairman of the local school board from 1913 until his death, and it is in his honor that the present school is named. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Greensboro College in 1910, and served as chairman of the Board from 1917 until his death. 

This last picture is from a lovely book I recently purchased from  The Carteret County Historical Society's Museum, The History Place, and the name of the book is called "Morehead City:  A Walk Through Time" by Jack Dudley.  This is the house where Frank Bryant worked!

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Harris Family Line --Part three

If you missed parts one and two, here are the links My Harris Family Line --Part one and My Harris Family Line --Part two.

So I was able to locate one of Bristow Harris's children that were listed on the Freedman's Bank Record for him. Lucinda Harris we saw on my last post tragically died from complications that evolved from a Cesarean section operation. Her residence listed on the death record was Cambridge, Massachussetts. So what happened to the rest of Bristow's children?

After some more digging I found Hester A. Harris Pierce's Death Certificate. Guess where she was residing at the time of her death? Hmmm Cambridge, Massachussetts!

Hester A. Harris Pierce Death Certificate found on

Another beautiful thing was found on this document. The name of her mother and Bristow Harris's first wife. She was referred to as Rosa on the Freedman's Bank Record. Shown here we see it is Rose Anderson and that she was born in Wilmington, NC.

I found William Harris, another of the children born from the union of Bristow and Rose, living in Cambridge, Massachussets as well.

He's found in the 1910, 1920 and 1930 Censuses, living in Cambridge Ward 6.
His occupation was listed as a belt maker in a machine factory.

I still have some research to do on the other children listed on Bristow's Freedman's Bank entry to see if I can find where they wound up. So when I know more on Thomas, Eliza/Elizabeth, and Brister/Bristow, I will provide an update.

Here's the bank record entry again for Bristow Harris, my 3rd great grandfather.

Bristow's father, Benjamin, I have a feeling more than likely passed away before the Civil War. That may have been the case as well with Bristow's first wife Rose/Rosa. Julia Harris, his mother, luckily was still alive after the war and I found her living with her son Donam.

Here they are in the 1870 census for Township 9, Craven County:

From the combined evidence, it would seem then that Benjamin and Julia Harris are my fourth great grandparents. Wow! Ask me if five years ago I would have thought I would be able to find that out? :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: My Grandma And Me In Her Kitchen

My grandmother, Ethel Murrell, and I in her kitchen. If that kitchen could talk, it would be talking about homemade this and homemade that. So many beautiful memories I have up in there, watching her make one incredible gastronomical feat after another. Fresh rolls, lemon chicken, homemade cornbread stuffing, collard greens, lemon pound cake, oooh I could go on and on and on. Above her food, I miss her kindness of spirit. She loved her kids and her grandchildren with everything that she was. I think this picture is from about 1987 or 1988.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Harris Family Line --Part two

If you missed Part one here's the link My Harris Family Line --Part one.

So the Freedmen's Bank record for Bristow Harris, left me a lot to chew on.  I wanted to be sure that this record I was reviewing was for my Bristow Harris. I went back to the search I did on with the criteria being Bristow Harris and New Bern, NC. The next thing I looked at when I pulled the information from this search was another census record for 1880. This one was for a Bristin Harris who resided in the 5th ward of Wilmington, NC. This Bristin or shall I say Bristow is approximately 50 years old.  Look at the names of children listed with him, Lucinda, Bristin, Billy (William), and Tom (Thomas). Those are the names listed on the Freedman's Bank entry. I think to myself these are connected.

1880 census for Bristin Harris listed in the 5th ward of Wilmington, NC

So back I go to and I look at another record that I pulled up when I did this search.  This record is from Massachussetts Deaths 1841--1915.  This is the death record for Lucinda Harris.

Sept 18, 1900
Lucinda Harris  F (Female)
                         B (Black)
Age: 33 yrs, 7 months, 3 days
Disease or cause of death:  Endocarditis-Valv. Insufficiency shock of cesarean section operation
Place of residence: Cambridge
Place of death and burial: Boston
Occupation: Milliner
Place of birth: Newberne, NC
Name of parent:  Briston Harris
Place of birth of parent: Newberne, NC

Have to take a break to get kids to bed. Don't worry, more to come soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Harris Family Line --Part one

I have to admit I jump around a bit regarding what part of the family I feel like discussing. Well, the whim today has taken me to my Harris family line. The Harrises are part of my maternal line. I think I will start with my 2nd great grandmother, Sarah Jane Harris Whitney. Here's how you get to Sarah from me.

Me--My mother--Lemuel Richard Harrison--Carrie E. Whitney Harrison--Sarah J. Harris Whitney

Sarah Jane Harris was born sometime around 1860 in Jones County, NC. Her death certificate shows her birth date as being October 11, 1866, however this conflicts with information provided on censuses and her marriage record. She died Sept 12, 1937 in New Bern, NC at the family home located at 10 Brown's Alley. Sarah's husband, Samuel Whitney, passed away in 1916, so you find their daughter Mrs.Carrie Harrison as the informant on the certificate.

 Sarah J Harris Whitney's death certificate

Marriage record for Samuel Whitney and Sarah Harris
Image courtesy of

Sarah's parents were a Bristow Harris and an Amy Brown both of Jones County. Now Bristow is referred to sometimes as Brister, Bristol, or Bristo on different records but I have to chosen to stick with referring to him as Bristow. 

The family can be found on both the 1880 and 1870 censuses.

1880 Census

I find it interesting that the family is living on the "Alley with no name," which I suspect is a reference to Brown's Alley before it was given it's name. The household shows Amy, Bristow, Sarah and a son Lemuel. There's also, an Allen Hatch who upon further research on him I found he was listed as lumberman in New Bern in 1870. This is interesting because my 3rd great grandfather, Bristow was listed as "Boatman" in the 1870 census. Perhaps, Bristow Harris and Allen Hatch had some kind of business partnership going on. Who knows?

1870 Census

The interesting thing about Bristow is that he had a previous family that I discovered from various bits of evidence. When I did a search on the website,, I found quite a few clues when I entered simply Bristow Harris and New Bern in the search fields, the first of those was an entry in the Freedman's Bank Records. Words placed in parenthesis are my interpretations of what is written.

Freedmen's Bank Record for Bristow Harris

No. 5439 Record for Brister Harris
Date:  Dec 28th, 1872
Where born, Craven Co. NC
Where brought up, DO (not sure what DO means, perhaps abbreviation for ditto?)
Residence Wil. (Wilmington)
Age, 47- (after his age there's an abbreviation that looks like Aug 25--perhaps his birthdate?)
Complexion, Drk Bw
Works for,
Wife or Husband, Rosa 
Children, Eliza, Thomas, Lucinda, Brister, Hester, Wm (William)

Father,  Benj   dead
Mother, Julia
Brothers and Sisters, Elias, Donam, Eliz, Martha Hill
See Record No.

     Signature, Brister Harris

Where were these children? What happened to Rosa, Bristow's wife? Then there is the whole thing about now could those really be my 4th great grandparents, Benjamin and Julia?

More to come tomorrow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Birthday And St Patrick's Day In Heaven Grandma

My step-grandmother Vadnie Randolph Harrison
Happy Birthday in heaven!
I always considered my grandmother honorary Irish since her birthday fell on St Patrick's Day. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A Comment Goes Unnoticed... No Longer!

If you missed parts one and two to this series here are the links, A Comment Goes Unnoticed. --Part one and A Comment Goes Unnoticed. --Part two.

So it appears that lightening has struck twice. Another cousin has found me! William Arthur Harrison Sr., another brother of my grandfather Lemuel Richard Harrison, joined the military at a young age. He married a beautiful Japanese woman named Machiko Shinagawa while he was in the service and they had a son together, William Arthur Harrison Jr.

When I started corresponding with Erika, my cousin Bill's wife, I talked to my mother about it. My mother then gave me some more details to the story. She had met Machiko. The family called her "Nickie." My mother told me that my cousin's mother was a real go-getter and wanted to have a good life for her family. William Sr., his wife and child settled into a house in South Ozone Park, NY.  My mother said, I remember "little Billy." He was a very well mannered little boy and that she had babysat for him once or twice when she was a kid. She said that her father Lemuel really liked the little boy's mother and was not happy with the way his brother was handling his responsibilities. He helped out with the closing on the house that Machiko purchased in South Ozone Park. Unfortunately, the marriage between Machiko and William Sr. did not work out and the couple divorced in 1959. After the divorce it seems the family lost touch with "Nickie" and "little Billy," until now.

I have had a wonderful time corresponding with Erika and Bill Harrison. Guess where my newly found family is from? Hawaii! Amazing. They have 3 kids too, so three more cousins. I spoke with my grand aunt Carrie after I connected with my cousin and his wife. She is one of two of my grandfather's siblings that are still alive.  She actually lived in the same apartment building in Manhattan that Machiko and Bill lived in when they came to America. She too sometimes babysat for this beautiful chubby cheeked boy she lovingly called "Chunko." She couldn't believe that I had found him. I told her no you have that wrong....they found me!

William Arthur Harrison Sr. and my cousin Bill as a baby.

Machiko Shinagawa Harrison

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Another Cute Picture Of My Aunt Janice Murrell

Janice Murrell
This picture I believe my grandfather Harold Murrell took.
Seeing this photo reminded me that my grandfather used to enjoy taking pictures. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Comment Goes Unnoticed.--Part two

If you missed Part one, here's the link A Comment Goes Unnoticed. --Part one.  So I send off a quick email to the author of the comment I found on my grand uncle William Arthur Harrison's profile page on It reads:
Sept 26, 2011

I don't know how I missed your comment from a year ago. I am sorry I didn't contact you sooner. Thank you for contributing information about William and about his wife and son. May I ask what relation you are to him? I hope this message finds you well. 

Andrea Kelleher

Some time goes by. I am nervous that I may have missed my window of opportunity to make contact. I am mad at myself for not checking my tree more thoroughly and more often. Then I get a reply.

November 19, 2011

I am his wife. (William Arthur Harrison's son's wife) Do you have any additional information about his relatives? Thanks Erika

And with that short sweet response, I knew it wasn't too late. 

To be continued....

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Comment Goes Unnoticed.--Part one

If you have been following my genealogy journey you know I have recently connected with a cousin I never knew about who was born in England. If you missed these posts I have the links here:   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.  Well, something interesting began to unfold as I connected with my newly found cousin Rudi. Here's the story. 

I connected with Rudi and his wife Sheila at the end of September via an amazing phone call, one I will never forget. After that call, I decided that I would go review one of my trees that I have on to look at information regarding the siblings of my grandfather. My grandfather Lemuel Harrison came from a family of 13 children. I never really knew any of his siblings as a child, although I had met my grandfather's sister Carrie, but I was just too young to remember it. I went to look at my grandfather's brother, William Arthur Harrison's information.  If you are familiar with, you know that you can leave comments on people's profile pages. Well, I had placed a comment after I set up William Arthur Harrison's profile page. The comment was based off information I had received from my mother. Her basic recollections about her uncle. Here's the comment I placed: 

"Married a Japanese woman. Lived in South Ozone Park. Recollection by __________, my mother."

I added this comment on November 21, 2009. 

Crazy thing is that day when I decided to review information, I noticed another comment above mine. This comment was placed on my tree on September 7, 2010. It had been on there for a year! I read it and it tells the name of the woman my grand uncle had married and that they had had a child. That child was married and had kids. I ask myself, how could I have missed this comment for so long? I write an email to the author of the comment.

Microsoft Office Downloaded Image.

To be continued.......

Friday, March 9, 2012

Harold Murrell --A Proud Father.

My grandfather Harold O. Murrell 
and my dad.
I love the placement of my grandfather's hands on my father.
His eyes say to me, "That's my boy."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness I Hit The Jackpot In Vegas!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

In March/April of 2004, my then husband and I took a fabulous well earned trip to Las Vegas. It was my first time there so I wasn't sure what to expect. We stayed at the Rio and had a blast. We hung out by the pool, had an adult beverage or two. Ate tons of fabulous food and saw a couple of great shows like "O" and "Zumanity"  We even had time to travel out to "Red Rock Canyon" and explore until it just became two darn hot. Oh yeah and of course we gambled. It was a great trip. The interesting thing is that I didn't know I had hit the jackpot until we returned home to NY. I'll explain.

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas!

What my Jackpot looks like today :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Janice Murrell As A Little Girl

My paternal aunt Janice Murrell
Probably 3 or 4 years old.
The year would be 1940 or 1941.
So Adorable!

Tombstone Tuesday: Willie Kennedy--The Future Is Now!

In January, I made a trip to Morehead City and New Bern, NC to attend the funeral of my grand aunt Rosa Sanders. While down in North Carolina I made it a point to visit a special little cemetery located behind the Mount Olive AME Zion Church in Riverdale, Craven, NC. Well, it was a wonderful visit. I took pictures of my 3rd great grandmother's headstone and several other pictures of my ancestors graves. One of those pictures I took was of the grave of the father-in-law to my my 2nd great grand uncle, Alfred Mitchell. Alfred Mitchell married the daughter of a man named Solomon Allen, a Miss Chloe Allen. Anyway, while I was visiting the cemetery I became so impressed by the size of Mr. Soloman Allen's grave stone and the masonic symbol presented so beautifully on it. As a result, I took several pictures from different angles. Here is one of them.

Solomon's grave is in the forefront and another grave is in the right middle ground of the picture.

Now when I was taking  this picture, my focus was on Solomon Allen's grave. I just didn't notice until later on the other grave that was quite noticeable in the shot. So I decided to crop the shot down on my smart phone.

Now I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with early 1980's SciFi but the movie " Blade Runner" came out during that time and is one of my favorite films. I love cinema, so the movie just resonates with me on many levels...and I am talking about the director's cut (the version without Harrison Ford's annoying voice over.) Anyway, there is this section during the movie, where Harrison Ford's character takes a photograph and uploads it into a machine that allows you to pan through different areas in the shot that reminded me of what to a certain extent we are able to do on today's smart phones. Now take note of the above shot. Now look at what I was able to crop down to on my smart phone and then later upload on to my computer.

Willie Kennedy
October 2, 1899--August 2, 1978 (on headstone)
Gone but not forgotten
Social Security Index--November 2, 1898--August 1978

Now for those of you who are not familiar with the scene I am talking about from "Blade Runner," here's a clip I found on YouTube that shows the scene.

Segment from the movie "Blade Runner."

So who is Willie Kennedy and his relation to Solomon Allen? Okay, so this is what I have found. It looks like that Mr. Willie Kennedy was born a William Kennedy to Solomon's daughter Mariah Allen and her husband Charles Kennedy. That makes him Solomon's grandson. Now we know why he's buried so close.

On a separate note, I can't help but add one of my favorite clips from any movie and it turns out, it is from the same movie mentioned above, "Blade Runner." 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Remembering My Special Aunt --Janice Murrell

Janice Murrell
Thanksgiving at my grandparents house.

My father's sister was an incredibly sweet woman. Janice never married and she resided in the family home in Hollis, NY. She was an extremely bright with a terrific sense of humor. I can still remember her laugh. She would laugh with her whole body and spirit. She did not have kids of her own so my brother and I became "her kids."I have so much to be thankful for from her. She loved taking us kids to the city to experience things that not all kids had an opportunity to do. She would take us to plays. I remember seeing musicals such as "Barnum" and "Snow White" with these beautiful stage productions.  For two hours I would be transported to another world until the curtain would close and the house lights would come on. Sometimes a trip would involve going to the World Trade Center. She worked for AT&T in an office located at one of the towers. I loved it there, especially going up to the interior observation deck, picking out a souvenir from one of the vendors and having lunch with her at my favorite restaurant in the basement there called "The Big Kitchen"

She knew that her niece and nephew were bright and would be able to appreciate what would be deemed a grown up movie. I remember her taking us to see "Gandhi" back in 1983. At first, I didn't want to go see it. It looked too long and boring. The movie was so long that it had a scheduled intermission. The funny thing is that when the intermission came, I was disappointed that we would have to take a break. My bladder wasn't though. Anyway, this experience of going to see this movie with her and my brother still remains high on my list of great memories. 

Another fun memory I have of my aunt Janice is the time she took my brother and I to see the first "Ghostbusters" movie. During the scene where the characters are trying to clear their minds of everything but are unsuccessful and as a result the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man comes to wreck havoc on the city, I don't think I ever heard my aunt Janice laugh so hard.

Last year, my father shared some family pictures he had from when he and his sister were little. My mouth dropped opened when I saw my aunt for the first time as a little girl. Again, another one of those moments when you only think of a person as always being a grown-up, that they never were a little kid. 

Here's one of those pictures.

Janice as a little girl.
Love the little outfit she's wearing!

I was talking to my husband today about family members of mine which I wish he had had a chance to have met and she is definitely one of them. Unfortunately, my aunt Janice passed away from breast cancer in 1989. She is always with me in spirit. I can still see her twinkling eyes and hear her wonderful laugh.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ethel Murrell and Janice Murrell

My grandmother Ethel Murrell and aunt Janice Murrell
My aunt looks like she is about 4 or 5 years old so the year is 
 probably 1941 or 1942.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thriller Thursday: The Kidnapping of Geraldine Kuylen

This newspaper article I found on ProQuest's Historical Newspapers Database during their recent free trial period they offered in celebration of  Black History Month. I have to thank my fellow Geneablogger friend and colleague, Yvette Porter Moore, for bringing the ProQuest site to my attention. I was lucky enough to find this article on a kidnapping that took place in my family that I knew of through information my father told me. Finding this article brought some additional details about what happened to light. My paternal grandmother was Ethel Murrell. My grandmother's sister Hilda who later in life went by the name Bernice had we believe two children. Geraldine and Theodore. This article is regarding the her first child who was kidnapped from her by a former babysitter.

From ProQuest Historical Newspapers:  New York Amsterdam News (1922--1993) pg. 1

(Above a picture of Geraldine Kuylen--wrong first name listed under picture but she is referred to correctly as Geraldine in the article.)

Unfortunately after this second kidnapping, Geraldine was never found. From what we the family know of the kidnapper she loved the child and we don't think she would have caused her physical harm. I am hopeful that perhaps someday by some miracle of the internet, perhaps this child or a descendant of hers may come across this article or my blog and perhaps the family can be reconnected. My Aunt Hilda Dixon, formerly Kuylen, passed away in 2000 so she will not have the opportunity to find out the outcome of this story but her nephew and grand niece would love to.

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