Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 26th

This conversation with my daughter that took place on December 26th. Keep in mind this happened before I had proper levels of caffeine in my system and while I was still in my bathrobe.

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Yes sweetie.

Can we put together my Lego Dolphin Cruiser?

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Uh-okay sweetie.

Daughter quickly runs and retrieves box with the Lego Dolphin Cruiser in it from under the tree. She brings it gleefully into her bedroom.  I get my camera and decide to document the process of putting it together. 

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

I open the box and several bags of Lego blocks fall out and not one, but two instruction books.

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
What?!! Two instruction books!

That's when I look at the box again and one very important detail sinks in. 

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

612 pieces. What have I done?

December 26th --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Daughter laughs maniacally.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Christmas Eve 
Santa noting a job well done :)

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Christmas morning.

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Some Pictures From Christmas 2013 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
A boy and his book.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Image courtesy of  Danilo Rizzuti /

Wishing Everyone A Very Merry Christmas!
Don't Forget To Be Present And Enjoy Your Loved Ones.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blog Caroling: O' Holy Night

It's that time of year again for Blog Caroling. What a wonderful tradition created by Footnote Maven. If you are not aware of her tradition please feel free and click on the link to her blog to learn all about it.

I have gone back to my favorite version of "O' Holy Night" sung by Patti Labelle. I featured this version here on this blog two years ago. Enjoy!

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 soul rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! 
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, 
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, 
In all our trials born to be our friend!

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his Gospel is peace. 
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
Let all within us praise His holy Name!

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Something About Me Saturday: My Daughter's Christmas Party

It's been awhile but I thought it was time to do a Something About Me Saturday Post.  Life has been busy as I am sure it has been for most of you out there. This week I had to stop and remind myself to be present this time of year. The hustle and bustle had started to distract me from what's really important and that is to have fun and be open to the moments of joy that only happen this time of year. My daughter's class had a holiday party on Thursday and I caught myself initially saying, "Oh man, do I have to go?" There's all that shopping, wrapping, and cleaning the house I have to do. But I went and it was so worth it. Kids are only kids once right? The rest of that stuff can wait.

My lady bug working on her frosting Christmas tree.

The finished product.

Looking serious with a candy cane she made from beads and a pipe cleaner.

A picture she drew on the outside of her candy goody bag.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Wonder Of Wandering

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Images.

It never ceases to amaze me the wonders that may arise when one wanders through records. It's kind of like going for a walk in the woods and taking a new path, one you've never been on before. You keep walking, unsure of exactly where you are going but you take in the scenery and breathe in the air. You may keep walking for so long that you might begin to feel lost. Then suddenly something appears in your view that tells you, you are not lost at all. In fact, you knew where you were going, you just didn't know it yet.

I have made my home as of late on the website I have been reviewing through Newbern, NC newspapers looking for mentions of the little town of Riverdale where my Mitchell and Sampson ancestors resided. At first, I began looking for my ancestors names to be specifically mentioned. I found a couple of snippets but not much. Then I thought well, let me look at what was going on with the town as a whole.

I came across a mention of the "Messrs. Mallett" and an interesting enterprise they started in this tiny town. 

The Daily Commercial News, August 13, 1881 Page 1

So I kept looking through my search results and found more on these Malletts. I soon found mention of a Rob (R. G.) Mallett, J. F. Mallett and lastly a Charles(C. E.) Mallett. From what I've been able to pick up from reading several articles is that they were brothers in business together.

The Wilmington Morning Star, January 22, 1881 Pg. 1

It turns out that R. G. Mallett was a ticket agent for the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company.

Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the
 Stockholders of the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad Co., 1883.

It also turns out that he had a bad run in with some machinery.

The Daily Journal, (New Bern, NC), April 18, 1883  Pg. 1

But I digress. Let's go back to Charles Mallett. This name was registering somewhere within me as I stared at it. I didn't know why though. Then I went to to see if I could find anything on him there. 

I found out that he was the postmaster at Riverdale at one point.

Image courtesy of

But then there was this.

1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Township 7, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: 959; Family History Film: 1254959; Page: 227B; Enumeration District: 039; Image: 0623

On the 1880 census, an interesting fellow was working as a porter in Charles Mallet's store. There's my 2nd great grand uncle, David Sampson.  If you are new to my blog, you can learn about David Sampson in these older posts:

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part one
Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part two
My Speculation Regarding Dave Sampson's Parentage
Mappy Monday: Camp Bryan, NC and "The Savory Dishes of An Aged Negro."
Funny Friday: A Tall Tale From David Sampson

So perhaps Dave Sampson guided me to this information. Perhaps it was a completely random event. Either way, I think I am going to keep researching these Malletts and looking for other tidbits about the Riverdale community in these newspapers. At the very least, I will continue to gain a deeper understanding of the town my ancestors called home.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Book Of Me: Prompt 13 --Special People/ Iconic People

Image courtesy of -Marcus- image ID: 100107996/

For details about The Book Of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher, of the Anglers Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week’s prompt is – Special People / Iconic People

If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite? 
You can NOT include family in this – the special people could be famous or historical people. What made you select the people that you chose? What questions would you like to ask them?

What meals would you serve and why?

Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items!

I think it would be fun to make it a potluck dinner. Each guest would bring a dish or two. They could bring something that was created from a family recipe or simply something that they learned to cook well. This would take a little planning and coordination to ensure we didn't wind up with all desserts or something. I like to see what other people like to eat because it tells a lot about the person.

I like to laugh and I like to learn so my list would have to include people I find funny or people who I have learned a lot from or I could learn something from.

1) Oprah Winfrey--Yes I love me some Oprah. The Oprah Winfrey show debuted nationally on September 8, 1986. I wasn't quite 14 yet. I watched as often as I could from her debut until her very last show on May 25, 2011. These days, I watch a number of shows on her network OWN.  She's inspired me to look within to find contentment, instead of letting the ego run the show. I think she's an intelligent woman who's in tune with her own power and I admire that.

2) Barack Obama-- I would love to meet our current president.

3) Abraham Lincoln--It would be interesting to see how conversation developed between him and our current president.

4) Nelson Mandela --We lost a giant this month.  It would be an honor to have a chance to speak with him.  May he rest in peace.

"During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Nelson Mandela's statement from the dock at the opening of the defense case in the Rivonia trial. --April 1964

5)Bayard Wootten --For those of you who are not aware of who she was or her work, here's some information about her.  This description of her is from the UNC Libraries, Bayard Morgan Wooten Collection.

Bayard Wootten (Mary Bayard Morgan Wootten) was a female pioneer in the field of photography. She was successful as a photographer and studio operator from the early 1900s through the early 1950s, when the field was dominated by men. Wootten was born in New Bern, N.C., and, although she traveled across the United States during different periods of her career, North Carolina was her home. Her first studio was attached to her home in New Bern. In 1928, she opened a studio with her half-brother George C. Moulton, a partnership that spanned over 30 years. George and another of Wootten's siblings, half-sister Celia Moulton, helped Wootten keep her studios running in New Bern and Chapel Hill while she was out in the field taking photographs. Wootten lived in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1928-1954, returning to New Bern shortly before her death in 1959.

To learn a little bit more about her check out this link:

Her work includes many photographs from the places my ancestors called home specifically, New Bern and Morehead City NC.  I would love to ask her what it was like growing up in her hometown of New Bern. Did she know of my Harrison or Whitney relatives?

6) Charles Slover Wallace --C. S. Wallace as he was often referred to, was my great grandfather Frank L. Bryant's employer. As a young man, Frank was a butler and then later on became a chauffeur for the Wallace family.  I wonder what C. S. Wallace might have to say about my great grandfather.  To learn more about Charles Wallace, take a look at an older post of mine:   Military Monday: Frank Bryant's World War I Draft Registration Card Provided An Interesting Find!

And now for the funny people...

7) Whoopi Goldberg

8) Wanda Sykes 

9) Ellen DeGeneres

10) Larry David

11) Gene Wilder --What can I say? I have had a thing for Gene Wilder since the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

And who should be number 12? Hmmm. Oh I know. (Sorry in advance about the language.) 

12) Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson
Movie:  Snakes On A Plane

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My AncestryDNA Updates

A while back, just like many of you out there I received my updates to my DNA results with I am finally getting around to sharing them today. 

Images courtesy of

Here's what my original results were:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Was Simon Harrison Watching?

Image courtesy of  artur84/

If you have been following my blog recently then you know I have gone back to looking at my Harrison family line.  Simon Harrison was my 3rd great grandfather on my mother's side. For a recap on his life you may want to check out this post:  What I'm Reading Right Now: Crafting Lives --By Catherine W. Bishir.

One of the things I highlighted on that post was Simon's occupation on the 1870 Federal Census which was listed as "watchman."  What was he watching? Hmmm.  Google to the rescue.

Images courtesy of Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Stockholders 
of the Atlantic & North Carolina R.R. Co, June 30, 1870

Simon was employed by the Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road Company. He earned $40.00 per month for his work as a watchman. It turns out that Moses Bryan, a member of the United Brotherhood Society like Simon, also worked for the railroad. 

So now I have a bit more to work with on Simon.  Time to see if I can find out more about the railroad company he worked for.

Image courtesy of A New Bern Album: Old photographs of New Bern, North Carolina and the surrounding countryside by John B. Green III. Photo from the John A Clark Jr. Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection.  Picture circa 1890.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Not So Wordless Wednesday: You Never Know When The Tears Will Come

Two Sundays ago, while reading Crafting Lives by Catherine Bishir I had one of those moments when your heart drops and you can't help but feel incredible sadness for those who suffered the indignities of slavery. You would think it was because I read a narrative about something terrible that happened to someone or seeing people listed as property in a will. It was nothing like that. It was something very simple.

From page 154

Image courtesy of  Crafting Lives, by Catherine Bishir
Sketch map of New Bern, 1864. Drawn by C. A. Nelson

This sketch drawing gives a depiction of key buildings that stood in New Bern in 1864. So what moved me so. I will show you.

This simple notation of where the slave market was located in 1860 just moved me to tears.  This was that place...that dreadful place where some of my ancestors were bought and sold as property. 

What does this spot look like now?

Image courtesy of Google Maps.
New Bern, NC 2013

Street view 2013:

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Straight ahead where the car is waiting at the intersection is approximately where the slave market would have been. On a side note, when my maternal great grandfather John T. Harrison was a young man, he used to work at one of Caleb Bradham's Pharmacies in New Bern. There were two locations, one of which is now the Chelsea Restaurant which is shown on the corner on the left. If this is the location where my great grandfather worked, I wonder what were his thoughts about this space he walked by each day on his way to work.  What stories had he been told? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Book Of Me: Prompt 12 --The Year You Were Born

For details about The Book Of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher, of the Anglers Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week’s prompt is -  The year you were born
What happened
  • Historical
  • Films
  • Music
  • Books
  • Television
  • Or use any other historical (well known or otherwise) event

I am a child of the early 1970's.

I thought a good starting point for this exercise would be to refer to the baby book my mother created for me when I was born.  (Thanks Mom!) After 27 hours of labor, I was born via Cesarean section a month early at La Guardia Hospital in Queens, NY.

These are some of the things she jotted down in the book about the year I was born.

Public officials:  Mayor Lindsey, President Nixon

Clothing styles:  layered look for women, Men --wide leg pants, high heeled shoes.

Signs of the times:  Apollo 17 to the moon, Viet Nam War concluding. Long hair worn by men and women.

Here are a couple of the movies that came out that year that I was born.  I've only seen them in bits and pieces of over the years but after looking at the trailers today, I am going to make a point to sit down and watch them from start to finish. They are both classics and it would do me some good to see them with grown up eyes now. 


Lady Sings The Blues


Songs playing on the radio were Bill Wither's "Lean on Me", Don McLean's "American Pie", Roberta Flack's "The First Time I Saw Your Face" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together.


One of my favorite children's books that I remember reading when I was child was published the year I was born.

Frog and Toad Together
by Arnold Lobel

I also loved this one.  

Freaky Friday
by Mary Rodgers

Shows on television:


Kung Fu

Sanford and Son

And who could forget this!

All In The Family

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