Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Funny: My Daughter Enjoying Her Dollar Store Glasses

Last night was a bit rough in the land of parenting. It was one of those nights when your child struggles with a cold. They call out in the middle of the night, numerous times for the comfort of mommy. So mommy and my ladybug were not feeling our best this morning. She was not too keen on the idea of going to school today but off she went because it really was just a case of the sniffles and nothing else. On the days my kids have struggles I like to find a little goody from the Dollar Store that will make their day. Today it was googly eye glasses that I presented to her after she got off the bus. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: My Handsome Grandpa

Lemuel Harrison --my maternal grandfather pictured center
I was looking through one of my mother's old picture albums today and came across this one.
I love how handsome and young he looks. Also, I love how you just catch my brother's eyes in the bottom right corner of the shot.  I think this picture was taken in 1971. My uncle Ricky is the one with glasses and I think that is my mother's step-brother Harry in the background. Looks like the basement at grandpa's house.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why It's Important To Keep Digging

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Thanks to a lead that another blogger pointed out on a post of mine, I got inspired to do some more digging on my Ellison family branch. Here's what has been uncovered so far.

My 4th great grandparents were a Benjamin and Rosetta Ellison. They were the parents to the following children:
             Irvin Ellison
             Allen Ellison
             George Ellison
             James Ellison
             John Ellison
             Harvey Ellison
             Ada Ellison
             Sarah Ellison
             Mosella Ellison
             Patience Ellison Blount
             Caroline Ellison Bryant --my 3rd great grandmother

According to Irvin Ellison's Freedman's Bank record entry from November 24, 1869, Benjamin Ellison was residing in Snow Hill, Greene County, NC after the Civil War.

Recently, I did a simple Google search using the following search criteria: "Snow Hill, Greene County, NC"+"Ellison."

The first search result that came up instantly caught my eye. It was a link to Find A Grave and specifically for an entry for Laura Harper Ellison. I recognized that name from the family tree I have on She happened to be the wife of Harvey Ellison, my 3rd great grand uncle. I went to Find A Grave and lo and behold there was a picture of her grave. 

Laura Harper Ellison
March 17, 1867--February 4, 1934
Gone but not forgotten
Image courtesy of  Find A Grave
Picture uploaded by Horace Wiggins

The listing on Find A Grave showed that she was buried at St Peter Church Cemetery in Snow Hill, Greene County, NC. I clicked on the link to St. Peter's Church Cemetery and typed in Ellison to see if any other family members would come up. Guess what? BINGO!

H. V. Ellison Sr. (Harvey Ellison)
February 10, 1861--January 29, 1925
A loving father. a kind husband
Image courtesy of  Find A Grave.
Picture uploaded by Horace Wiggins.
My 3rd great grand uncle, brother to Caroline Ellison Bryant.

Lewis Ellison
May 8, 1887--October 21, 1918
Image courtesy of  Find A Grave
Picture uploaded by Horace Wiggins
Lewis was one of Harvey and Laura's children. 

I went back and checked the death certificate for Harvey Ellison to see what was listed as his place of burial. The cemetery where he was laid to rest was referred to as Snow Hill Cemetery. I will keep this in mind as I continue to do more digging. Perhaps other Ellison family members were buried there as well. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sharing Oral History Brings The Family Together

I have to say I have been amazingly blessed to have had a wealth of information provided to me by mom regarding my family history. The stories she has shared, the names, places and tiniest little facts has allowed me to travel back in time and visit faraway places from the comfort of my home. One of the stories my mother shared with me I talked about on an earlier blog post called Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness For The Kindness of Strangers --Part One. Here's a portion of it:

A couple of years ago, my mother told me a story of one time when she was a teenager she made a trip to Morehead City with her mother and while there, they took a ride in the country. Now I know my mother and we have a similar sense of humor. I know when she was riding in that car she was probably thinking to herself, "Um, How much more country are we talking about here?" My mother was visiting from New York so Morehead City was looking country enough for her. Ha. Anyway, she recalled they were driving out in the woods for quite a ways and finally came to this place where two sisters lived. To her they looked "Indian" or something. They were fair skinned with freckles and with long reddish brown hair. She remembered they were petite. They were referred to as some of her "grandmother's people." She's carried this memory with her all these years and wasn't sure who they were.

Now when my mother shared with me this story, I instantly wanted to see if I could figure out who these ladies were. They were kin and their names should be known I felt. Having their names known to me, would mean it was real, not some sort of fairy tale or myth. Another one of the blessings I have received from researching my family history and from blogging is that I was able to figure out who these women were and even better I was able to share that with my mom. The thing that made me the happiest from this whole experience was seeing the look of validation from my her. She finally got to know who these folks were. Her memory was a concrete thing that actually happened and now by having these facts it wasn't going anywhere. 

Oral history is what keeps our family chain connected. Stories, thoughts, and feelings from the past shared in the here and now, forever bind the past with the present. It is our job, as the storyteller, the family historian, or the keeper of the word to pass this on to the next generation. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: A Letter From Benjamin Ellison

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Here's a recap on where we are with the Ellisons:

We learned from my last blog post, Benjamin and Rosetta Ellison were my 4th great grandparents. Rosetta died in 1864, according to her son Irvin's Freedman Bank record entry. From the same record entry, we learned that Benjamin was residing at Snow Hill, Greene County, NC as of 1869. 

Benjamin was still living in Greene County in 1870 as evidenced by the census of that year.

Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1140; Page: 457A; Image: 74; Family History Library Film: 552639. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 

Listed in the household, in addition to Benjamin were Nelly, Benjamin's 2nd wife and children Ada, Allen, Bob (Robert), and Henry (Harvey).

The 1880 census shows only one minor change. Allen's no longer residing in the household. He may have moved away or perhaps died. As of this time, I have not been able to find any additional information on Allen.

Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Roll: 965; Family History Film: 1254965; Page: 47A; Enumeration District: 064; Image: 0348. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA

Unfortunately, Benjamin and Nellie/Nelly's union came to an end in 1880. She died in May of that year.

Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Archive Collection: M1805; Archive Roll Number: 4; Census Year: 1880; Census Location: Olds, Greene, North Carolina; Line: 4. Source U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [database on-line]. 

Which brings us to that wonderful discovery I made the other day on I was doing a search query using Benjamin's Ellison's last name with the last name being spelled as Ellerson and I stumbled upon a collection I hadn't noticed before.   The collection is called Washington D.C. , Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files, 1892--1922. and is located under the category group, Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills. 

Nah...It couldn't be. I clicked on Benjamin Elerson and here's what I came across:

Source Information: Washington D.C., Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files, 1892-1922 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

To the Secretary of the War department
                                                                                       Dear Sir,
We have heard that there has been has been made a provision to gives all of the old Slaves, Darkies a pension and wherein, I Benjamin Elerson am 72 years old and was born in 1826 and used to belonged to William Jno. Elerson, whom died in 1863, and my wife Matilda Elerson, age 60 years old and was born in 1838 and used to belonged to Jno. Harvey whom died in 1886 and Franklin Harvey, age 42 years old and was born in 1856. 
     Therefore, We has sent forward our Names to be placed on record to meet the Benefit of such provisions if such is a fact.

                                                                  Yours Respt,
P.O. Snow Hill                           }               Benjamin Elerson &
             N.C.                                               Matilda Elerson
                                                                    Franklin Harvey

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This Is Why I Love Genealogy People!

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If you missed my post called Don't Forget Those Alternate Spellings! More From My Ellisons and Bryants, you may want to read that one first, including the comments.

I have to send a special thank you out to fellow blogger, Patrick Jones of  "Frequent Traveler Ancestry" for his random act of genealogical kindness he shared with me in a comment on the above mentioned blog post. Here's what he said:

Do you have access to Irwin Ellerson appears in Company H, 36th Colored Infantry (filed as Irvin Ellerson). Enlisted on 5 June 1863. Brother James Ellison was also in the 36th Colored Infantry as a drummer (he was 16). There is also a Joshua Ellison (age 19) in the 36th. All three of them mustered out of service in Texas in 1866. Joshua's file contains his enlistment papers. 

There is a Civil War pension on file for Joshua Ellison and one for Irwin Ellerson, both from same company. My experience from other pension files is that they are a genealogical gold mine.

That's why I love genealogy people. I say genealogy people because I want to include everyone with an interest in the field. Those who are into genealogy just have this natural born curiosity that won't be denied. They want to know answers and they love helping others who are also in search of their ancestors. Thank you again Patrick for your help!

So I have been reviewing information that I had already collected regarding the Ellisons. I went  back on, Fold3, and  and Bam! I have some updates.

I have already put in an order for the Civil War pension file of Irvin Ellison at the National Archives. According to the National Archives website, it will take 42-120 calendar days to receive the file. I can't wait to get it, but I'll have to be patient. 

Today, I found a record collection on that I never looked at before. As a result, something amazing was revealed to me about my 4th great grandfather Benjamin Ellison. I know who owned him prior to the start of the Civil War. Just an example of why we need to continuously go back and review what has been researched. Sometimes, things are missed. Plus, the more you do something, the better you get at it and this certainly applies to doing research.

So who owned Benjamin Ellison?

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To be continued.....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thinking of Mom Mom and Granddaddy Today

My paternal grandparents
Ethel and Harold Murrell

Missing you. It always hits me near Thanksgiving. 
I close my eyes grandma and I am back sitting at the table in your tiny kitchen. The smell of fresh baked roles floats in the air while you work feverishly to prepare the greatest gastronomical feast of all time, until the following year when that meal takes the title. Grandpa, I miss the smell of Old Spice and the scratchiness of your face when you hadn't shaved. I miss accompanying you as you would take Shane, your dog and my afternoon playmate out for a walk. Wish you were here. It's a little early but, Happy Thanksgiving in heaven. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't Forget Those Alternate Spellings! More From My Ellisons and Bryants

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I have to start this post off by saying, I am not the most disciplined genealogist. I am an amateur. I don't always follow through with the one generation at a time approach with my research and yes this has led to some mistakes along the way. Sometimes I feel like some of my searches have been guided by a little help from the other side. A name will get stuck in my head one night and if it still is there in the morning that may become my starting point for following day's research.

Well, on a day about two years ago, I decided to do some poking on regarding my 3rd great grandmother, Caroline Ellison.  I had found her previously on each census between 1870--1920. I could not find a death record but at this point I figured she died sometime after 1920. Later, I would find out the exact date, August 1, 1920, when I found a picture of her grave on the Find A Grave website. Anyway, at this time I hadn't really looked into other types of records. The Freedman's Bank records seemed to be a possible place to find additional clues about my ancestor's life. I tried at first a search using her married name, Caroline Bryant and location in Beaufort county. A couple of entries came up this way with her name but no other information. Next I tried looking with her maiden name. Nothing. I tried searching using her husband Henry Bryant's name to see if anything would come up under him. Some entries came up, but none of them appeared to be for my Henry Bryant . Hmmm. On a whim I decided to put in just the last name this time and spelled it as Ellerson and with Beaufort county as the location again. No Caroline but somehow this time something caught my attention on the results screen. 

Here's what came up:

Now in previous searches Irvin Ellison had come up before but I just didn't take notice until this point. When I clicked on this name amazing things started to be revealed.

Source Information: Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1871 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

No. 1372 Record for Irvin Ellerson

Date of Application, November 24, 1867
Where born, Beaufort Co.
Where brought up, do.
Residence, James City--now live) live near Moseley Hall
Age 28 -Aug. 10, 1869
Complexion, Dark -Pox marked
Occupation, Distiller - going to farming
Works for Peacock

Father, Benj. Ellerson--lives near Snow Hill
Mother, Rosetta Ellerson d. 1864
Brothers, Allen 18 - Harvey 10 or 12 - George 18 - James went in army 21 - dead - John-
Sisters, Patience 26 (Blunt) - Caroline 23 (Bryant) Ada 20 E.-

dead   Sarah - Mosella

Signature, Irvin Ellison

I said to myself...Say What!! Okay, hold on now. Could this be my Caroline Bryant mentioned here in this record? The age would be about right for her. I went back again used the name Caroline Ellison and Beaufort county for search criteria again, realizing now that I probably overlooked something the first go round.

I clicked on Patience Blunt this time and there it was the confirmation I was looking for. 

No 1516 Record for Patience Blunt
Where born, Beaufort Co.
Where brought up, do.
Residence, James City
Age, 26-
Works for
Wife, Husb, Austin Blount.
Children, Fanny B. Alice - Rosetta - Samuel
John -

Father, Benj. Ellison -

Mother, Rosetta E.

Brothers, Irving - James -& 3 others - Allen-
Harvey - Robert

Sisters, Caroline (h. Henry Bryant) Adah E.


Just like that I learned the names of my 4th great grandparents, Benjamin and Rosetta Ellison and so much more.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Ellisons and Bryants --Part three

Here are the links to parts one and two, if you missed the beginning of this series: The Ellisons and Bryants --Part one and The Ellisons and Bryants --Part two

What would make my 3rd great grand parents, Henry Bryant and Caroline Ellison Bryant, leave Beaufort County, NC to come to Carteret County, specifically Morehead City. I think the answer to this is tied to how the Civil War unfolded in eastern, North Carolina. From the evidence I have found from various death certificates of my ancestors, I have identified that they were residing in the city of Washington, NC prior to the Civil War. On another post I will go into who I believe may have owned Caroline and Henry. For now, let's look at my theory regarding why they eventually made Morehead City their home. 

Beaufort County, Washington, N.C. "Hoisting the Union flag at Washington, North Carolina." Harper's Weekly, April 19, 1862, p.252. Courtesy of the North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio, Prints and Photographs, North Carolina Collection from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Shelling of rebel batteries in the woods opposite of Washington, N.C. April 16th 1863." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 16, 1863, p.124 Courtesy of the North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio, Prints and Photographs, North Carolina Collection from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The cities of New Bern and Morehead City became Union occupied in 1862. A short time later Washington, NC shared the same fate. As a result, these cities became a safe haven for slaves and freed people of color. My ancestors would have been living under the protection of the Union until things changed in April of 1864.

Here's an excerpt from a website I found that gives detail on what changed in 1864. The link to the full article you will find here:

When Confederate forces won the nearby Battle of Plymouth in April 1864, Union forces were ordered to leave Washington, but before they did, they struck the town with a devastating blow. For three days, Union troops plundered the town, breaking into stores, houses and stables. They took all the goods they could carry and destroyed the rest. 

On the morning of April 30, 1864, the day the troops left, a fire started in Washington. It burned from the Pamlico River through the northern limits of the town, consuming one-third of the town. Soon thereafter, another fire burned from present-day Market Street eastward. Much of the town was reduced to ashes and its 3500 residents had dwindled to only 500 after the fires.

Morehead City was still under the control of Federal troops when this occurred. If you recall from my last post, my 3rd great grandparents registered their union in Carteret County. The start of their cohabitation according to the record was July 31, 1864. Hmm...are you thinking what I'm thinking? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Ellison's and Bryants --Part two

If you missed out on part one, here's the link: The Ellison's and Bryants --Part one.

So was Caroline Ellison, my 3rd great grandmother, a slave or was she a free person of color?'s North Carolina Marriage Collections, 1741--2004, on line database gave me my first indication of what her status was.

Now when I found this online, I wasn't satisfied with just this. I wanted to see if there was an original document somewhere that had information regarding their union. I wrote to the North Carolina State Archives and made a request of a photo copy of their marriage document. 

This is what I received.

The very last entry on page 128, shows my 3rd great grandparents listed as Henry Bryan and Caroline Bryan. The date of the commencement of their cohabitation was July 31, 1864. The date of acknowledgement was May 5, 1866. 

Until I had made this request, I hadn't known that former slaves were allowed to register their marriages, to allow for some legitimacy of their unions. Caroline and Henry were both ex-slaves who registered their marriage when they had the opportunity. But why did they come to Morehead City? My theory regarding this I will discuss in my next post. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Ellisons and Bryants --Part one

If you missed my last post, here's the link: Tombstone Tuesday: Caroline Ellison Bryant --My 3rd Great Grandmother's Grave. I know that I am extremely blessed to know where two of my 3rd great grandmothers are buried and that they have actual stones still on their graves. The song from the movie The Sound of Music, "Something Good" comes to mind.

Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

After featuring the picture of Caroline's grave here on this blog, it seemed to me to be the right time to share something more about my Ellison and Bryant family lines. 

Here's a recap of how I am connected to Caroline Ellison Bryant .

My mom
Grandma -- Mary Horton
Great grandfather --Frank Bryant
2x great grandmother, Jonas Bryant
3rd great grandmother Caroline Ellison Bryant (August 4, 1844--August 1, 1920)

When I began my research three years ago, all I knew of Caroline was information found on two of her children's death certificates. I learned of her name and that she was born in Washington, Beaufort County, NC. I never found a death certificate for her. It was only when I received deed information in the mail which showed the transfer of ownership of her home to her daughter Jonas, that I had an idea of what year she died. 

Here's a copy of that information:


     THIS DEED, Made this 24 day of September 1921 by John Bryant & Silia Bryant, Henry Bryant & Henrietta Bryant & Mott, Hester & Sidney Hester of Carteret County and State of North Carolina, of the first part, to Miss Jonas Bryant of Carteret County and State of North Carolina, of the second part:

     Witnesseth, That said Parties of the first part in consideration of Forty Five Dollars and our affection to me paid by our sister Jonas Bryant, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged have bargained and sold, and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell and convey to said Jonas Bryant her heirs and assigns, a certain tract or parcel of land in Carteret County, State of North Carolina adjoining the lands of ___________________________and others, bounded as follows, viz:  Being one house a lot in the town of Morehead City and known in the place of the said town as lot number (3) in the square which lies north of square one hundred and fifty two (152) Being the property of our mother Caroline Bryant who is deceased. 

     TO HAVE AND HOLD the aforesaid tract or parcel of land and all privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, to the said Jonas Bryant  her heirs and assigns, to her only use and behoof forever.

     And the said parties of the first part for themselves and their heirs executors and administrators covenant with said Jonas Bryant her heirs and assigns, that they are seized of said premises in fee and have right to convey in fee simple; that the same are free and clear from all incumbrances, and that they do hereby forever warrant and will forever defend the said title to the same against the claims of all persons whomsoever_________________________.

     IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals, the day and year first above written. 

                                                    John Bryant   (Seal)

                                                    Henry Bryant  (Seal)
                                                   Henrietta Bryant X her mark(Seal)
                                                   Mott Hester  (Seal)
                                                   Sidney Hester X her mark (Seal)
Attest: Jas R Bell
            as to mark

North Carolina, Carteret County.

     I, Jas R Bell, Justice of the Peace do hereby certify that John Bryant -Henry Bryant -Mott Hester and Sidney Hester & Henrietta Bryant their wives personally appeared before me this day and acknowledged the due execution of the annexed deed of conveyance; and the said Henrietta Bryant, Sidney Hester being by me privately examined, separate and apart from their said husbands touching their voluntary execution of the same, do state that they signed the same freely and voluntarily, without fear or compulsion of their said husbands or any other person, and that they do still voluntarily assent thereto. 

     Witness my hand and private seal, this 24 day of September, 1921
                                                        Jas R Bell    J. P. (Seal)


     I _________, a___________ in and for said County and State, do hereby certify that ____________personally appeared before me this day and acknowledged the due execution of the foregoing instrument, for the purposes therein expressed. Let the same, with this certificate, be registered.

     Witness my hand and __________seal, this ______day of __________192_

NORTH CAROLINA, ___________County.

     The execution of the foregoing instrument was this day proven before me by the oath and examination of __________the subscribing witness thereto. Let the same, with this certificate, be registered. 

______________, this ______day of __________, 192_


     The foregoing certificate of Jas R Bell a Justice of the Peace of Carteret County, is adjudged to be ^indeed formed to be correct and the foregoing deed is adjudged to have our duly acknowledged proven. Let the instrument, with this certificate, be registered.

     Witness my hand and official seal, this 26 day of September A.D. 1921

                                                  L.W. Hassell, Clerk Superior Court.

Filed for registration Sept. 26, 1921 Registered Sept 29,1921
                                                 Troy Morris Registrar of Deeds

This deed was made out on September 24, 1921 and there's specific mention in it of Caroline being deceased. Upon review of this, I was temporarily satisfied to have an approximate year of death. Plus, other lines of my family tree were calling that had information that was easier to access and just waiting to be discovered. It wasn't until I was pleasantly surprised in March of 2011, when I looked on the Find A Grave website and up popped a picture of Caroline Bryant's grave. Finally I knew when she was born and specifically when she passed away.

Of course there was still more to be discovered. Was she free or a slave? If a slave, who owned her? How and why did she leave Beaufort County, NC.

I will reveal the answers to some of these questions and discuss my theories regarding her motivation to come to Morehead City, in my next few blog posts.

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