Saturday, January 31, 2015

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #4 William Bryant

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition:  #4 William Bryant  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small is back hosting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series in 2015. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Week 4, Closest to your birthday — Not too much to think about here. What ancestor has the birthday closest to yours? (I mean in terms of month and day, not the year)

My birthday falls on October 18th. If I wanted to go by the closest birth date to mine then I would be looking at both my great great grandmother and her daughter who were born on the same day --October 11th.

Sarah Harris Whitney b. October 11, 1859--September 12, 1937.
Carrie Whitney Harrison b. October 11, 1897--August 1, 1939.

Since I have written about both of them quite a bit, I decided to go with someone else. 

William Bryant was born on October 10, 1890 in Morehead City, NC. He was my great grandfather, Frank Bryant's 1st cousin. His mother was Rose Bryant, my 2nd great grandmother's sister. 

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition:  #4 William Bryant --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

I've written about him before on this blog. You can read about him here:

Military Monday: World War I Registration Card for William Bryant

He was a lifelong resident of Morehead City and worked as a fisherman.  He married an Eva Dudley on October 6, 1917. As far as I can tell, the couple didn't have any children together. They resided at 304 North 14th Street which was right around the corner from my great grandparent's house.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

The purple marker noted with the letter A is the location of William Bryant's home 
while the red marker is the location of 1400 Fisher St --the home of 
Frank and Ophelia Bryant, my great grandparents.

With them living in such close proximity to one another, I would have to think that Frank and William must have had a somewhat decent relationship.

William Bryant died from a cerebral hemorrhage on October 10, 1960. Now on his death certificate his date of birth was noted as October 9, 1890. On his World War I Draft Registration card it showed October 10, 1890. I have chosen to follow the earlier record, which means it appears William died on his birthday. Well, that's got to be about the worst birthday ever!

He's buried at Bayview Cemetery in Morehead City, NC.

Friday, January 30, 2015

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #3 Loris Melba Bryant Gwyn Helton

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition:  #3 Loris Melba Bryant Gwyn Helton --Mt Airy, NC
Loris Melba Bryant Gwyn Helton

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small is back hosting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series in 2015. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Week 3, Tough woman — Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?

I have already fallen behind on the 52 Ancestors series. Yikes! Well time to play catch up, so here goes #3 Loris Melba Bryant Gwyn Helton.

My grand aunt Loris was one tough lady. At least I think so. She was born on January 2, 1918 in Morehead City, NC to Frank and Ophelia Bryant. She was the oldest daughter in the family and helped out her younger sisters when they needed it most.

My maternal great grandmother Ophelia Bryant would succumb to cancer on February 20, 1939. This was a tremendous loss to the family. My grandmother Mary had already completed high school in Morehead City and gone on to Fayetteville State Teachers College. My great grandfather Frank spoke of splitting up the two youngest children, Rosa and Eloise, to live with other relatives. My aunt Loris would have no part of it. She was already married and living on her own. She with the assistance of her husband, Luther Lee Gwyn, were able to send Rosa and Eloise to boarding school in Laurinburg, NC. Those girls had just lost their mother, Loris made sure that Rosa and Eloise didn't lose each other too.

Loris became a school teacher.  Once she and her husband settled back in his hometown of Mt Airy, NC, she taught at Jones High School. Here's a link to a post I did not too long ago about something I found on her using Google:  Not So Wordless Wednesday: Another Great Google Find! If you go to the link you can see a picture of Loris from her teaching days. She was a member of the Surry County Winston-Salem Teachers Alumni club, an organization that helped to fund scholarships for young people to go to college.

She raised two daughters with her husband Luther, Gloria Gwyn Davis and Melba Loris Gwyn McCarther. My aunt Loris was definitely a survivor. I say that because she was able to go on after the deaths of Luther in 1963 and her eldest daughter, Gloria in 1976.

She found love again later in life. She married John Thomas Helton on July 30, 1977. She remained married to him until her death on December 14, 1987.

She was a smart, funny and talented lady. Oh yeah and tough!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It's Complicated --Part two

If you missed part one, here's the link:  Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It Gets Complicated.

Carr, Kerr, Hays, or  Hayes. What's the deal with these names great grandma Ella?

I left off with on part one finding out that my great grandmother's maiden name apparently was Kerr. Her parents were a Henry Kerr and a Tina Murphy both from Sampson County, NC. So hurray at last I had a jumping off place to find out about my Ella. I had questions though. Here's why.

My paternal grandmother was Ethel Smith Murrell. She was born in Wilmington, NC and her mother's name was listed as Ella Carr on the birth certificate. Now that's not too crazy. The marriage certificate to her second husband, William Dixon, read Ella Kerr so Carr and Kerr are pretty close. The thing that has always intrigued my father and I was that on my grandmother Ethel's social security application form she wrote that her mother's name was Ellen Hayes? Why? Did grandmother not know her mother's true identity. Or was she instructed by her mother to use a different name or alias? Or perhaps it was for some other reason there was a different last name listed?

I thought for a moment and then I remembered that on the 1930 Federal census there was a cousin residing in my great grandmother's household. 

Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1573; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0917; Image: 860.0; FHL microfilm: 2341308

L B Hayes  born about 1900 in New York
Father's birthplace: West Indies
Mother birthplace:  North Carolina

Hmmm. Mother's birthplace North Carolina. Perhaps the choice of using the Hayes surname wasn't a random thing. It looks like the Hayes/Hays name is a family name. Was this cousin L B Hays a distant cousin or close?

Anyway, I feel my ADD kicking in about now so I must remind myself to stay on target. Oh yeah, Ella. I'm supposed to be finding out more about great grandma Ella. I decided to look for Ella's parents first because if she was born around 1882 I wouldn't catch her on the 1880 census and she may not even be on the 1900 census because I know she didn't stay in Sampson County. By 1911 she was in Wilmington, NC because that's where my grandmother was born and then by 1920 she was in NY marrying William Dixon.

Here's the 1900 and 1880 censuses for who I believe are my Henry and Tina/Tena Kerr

Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 1217; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 1241217

1900 census for Franklin Township, Sampson County, NC

Source Information and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Source CitationYear: 1880; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 981; Family History Film: 1254981; Page: 67B; Enumeration District: 192; Image: 0596

1880 Census for Franklin Township, Sampson County, NC

Sadly, no sign of my Ella on these but there was a lot to be gained. 

1) On the 1900 census Tena/Tina is listed as Jane T. Perhaps her middle name was Jane. (Well actually I know that her middle name was Jane but that will be discussed in an upcoming post.)

2) Henry Kerr was born Jan 1854. Tena/Tina Kerr born Nov 1852.
They were married for approximately 23 years, making the year they were united around 1877.

3) They owned there own farm free and clear! Woohoo!

4) Tena/Tina was the mother of 6 children 4 still living in 1900. 

From what I can tell so far, these are the children.

Henry Tupper Kerr  b.1878--d.1940
Ida Kerr Brown b.1883--d.1968
Emma Kerr was born about 1886. As of now, I can't locate her after 1900.  Did the census taker hear the wrong name and put down Emma instead of Ella?
Murchison Kerr b.1880 --I think he died before 1900. I haven't found any further records on him either.

So where was Ella? Had she picked up and already gone to Wilmington by 1900? Or perhaps was she living in one of the neighboring households in Franklin, NC? 

It may have been a case of the latter. Let's take a look at the full census page for 1900.

Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Source Citation.Year: 1900; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 1217; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 1241217
On this page, you find households that go by the surnames of Kerr, Hayes and Murphy. Now remember those three names have all been linked to my Ella. I think I am definitely looking in the right neighborhood!

Same thing can be said for the page before.

Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Source Citation.Year: 1900; Census Place: Franklin, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: 1217; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0091; FHL microfilm: 1241217

I even found an Ella and an Ellen. I think I will be looking through some census pages and plotting out how these families are all connected. I also have to take a closer look at the Ella and Ellen I found here. Like I already said, it's complicated.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

He's 10! Happy Birthday To My First Born.

It finally happened. He hit double digits. It was a perfect day with family and friends. Happy 10th birthday to my dear sweet boy. Love you forever and beyond.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It Gets Complicated.

Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It's Complicated.  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

I've written about my paternal great grandmother before on this blog. If you read these posts first, they will provide you a little bit more background on what I knew prior to ordering a marriage certificate from the New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives:

The Mystery Surrounding My Great Grandmother Ella

Now What? What Am I Supposed To Do With That?

Where Were They?!

The last time I wrote about Ella was back in 2013. I had learned that she had been in living in NY as early as 1925, which was a bit of a surprise to my family and I. Previously, based on oral history I was working under the assumption that she was living in Philadelphia at that particular time. Well, that turned out to be untrue. The address that Ella, my grandmother, and her two younger sisters resided at was 326 West 37th street in New York City.

Pause on that address for a minute. Okay now let's move on.

Let's jump ahead now to January 2014 when the news release came out that New York City Vital Records were now available on I quickly looked up to see if I could find my great grandmother listed in the New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937. My grandmother, Ethel Murrell's maiden name was Smith and so I worked under the assumption that I was looking for an Ella Smith. From the 1925 New York State Census, I already knew the man she had married went by the last name Dixon because that was the same last name my aunt Hilda/Bernice, my grandmother's younger sister went by. 

Ella Smith --marriage date March 29, 1920. This looked right, so I ordered the certificate and look what I found.

Image courtesy of New York City Department of Records/Municipal Archives.
Marriage certificate for William Dixon and Ella Smith

I did a quick scan of the document and then narrowed in on what let me know I had the right Ella.

Source Citation: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 42; Assembly District: 03; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 13. Source Information:  New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
1925 New York State Census Entry for Ella "Dickson" and family

As I had mentioned previously, Ella and her family resided at 326 West 37th St in 1925.  Hilda "Dickson", my grandmother's youngest sister, was born in 1921 which corresponds perfectly with Ella getting married in 1920. My dad had told me that he thought Hilda's father was from Jamaica. This all made sense.

Ella was born sometime around 1882 in Sampson County, NC. Her parents were a Henry Kerr and a Tina Murphy. Names!!! Finally! Not only that, I knew where to search now.

So you know my next stop was to see if I could find her on the census in Sampson County or perhaps her parents or maybe even all of them together in the same household. One could only wish that it would be so easy right?

In the different documents I've come by regarding my great grandmother, her surname has been listed as Carr/Kerr/Hays/Hayes. How would she be listed in the census?
Or would she be?

This is where it gets complicated.

To be continued...

On a side note, I'd like to thank Victori M Bass for this month's prompt inspiration from the Griot Gram Family History Writing Group on Facebook. The prompt was to tell a story about one branch that you can't find much documentation of. Last year, I learned the names of Ella's parents but I stopped researching this branch and went on to other parts of my family tree. I have a bit of ADD so I find myself getting easily distracted at times. Now I've been back researching Ella the last few days and as a result, I have been able to break through another brick wall. Stay tuned!

Great Grandma's Name Was Ella. After That It Gets Complicated --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 70 --What Have You Learned About Yourself?

The Book Of Me:  Prompt 70 --What Have You Learned About Yourself? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Reflections

This week's prompt is - What have you learned about yourself and your family?

Think back to the question we asked in Week One - Who am I?
Before you look back at the answers you wrote then, answer the question again.
Now compare are there any similarites, it is the same, or have any of the answers changed?
What has made the change?

Now lets look at the wider and original question - What have you learned about yourself and your family?
Is there anything you still want to write and explore?

I have learned that to be a writer, you have to keep writing. Writing has to become part of a regular routine. Some of your writing may come out mediocre, while some may come out extraordinary but the key is to keep writing. This prompt series was a wonderful exercise for me. It pushed me to keep up with a writing routine. No excuses. I am very glad I stuck with it. 

I really appreciated the feedback given by other folks who were also participating in The Book Of Me series.  Your comments and/or the gesture of a liking one of my posts did not go unnoticed. Thanks to all who read my posts even if you didn't leave a comment. I hope you enjoyed something I wrote along the way.

Thank you to Julie Goucher for hosting this project. You are an amazing lady! Thank you for pushing us to look within ourselves and to share our stories.  

So with that being said, I am going to do the Who Am I? exercise again. Here goes.

Who Am I?

I am...

a woman who is stronger and more focused
a mother
a wife
a lover of life
a daughter
an optimist
someone who enjoys a good laugh
and one who believes that hugs are often the best medicine.
someone who continues to look toward the light even through times of darkness.
a dreamer
a writer
a friend
wiser than I was 15 months ago
someone who knows they still have a lot to learn
I am grateful
I am me
I am imperfect
I am a lover of beauty in all shapes and forms
I am happy
I am open

You can see my original responses to this exercise from week one here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 69 --What Is Your Most Treasured Possession?

The Book Of Me:  Prompt 69 --What Is Your Most Treasure Possession? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

This week's prompt is - What is your most treasured possession?

This could be something that you have bought from an inheritance
A gift from a family member
An item that you have been left by a friend or family member
How do you plan to secure it's survival with future generations?

Now this prompt really had me thinking. I've narrowed it down to three possesions. I just couldn't get it down to one. 

1) My wedding ring
2) A statue of hands that I inherited from my grandmother.
3) Picture of my maternal great grandmother, Ophelia Bryant Jones

My wedding ring is relatively new to me but it is not a new ring. My original ring I lost, sadly last year. My husband and I had matching rings of a modern design in gold and diamonds. My husband still has his and wears it and I still feel some sadness from losing it's match. Sometimes, things happen for a reason though. In the last couple of years we've really worked hard to reconnect in our relationship and perhaps the loss of the ring could be symbolic of a letting go of the old. I am particularly partial to deco jewelry nowadays. My wonderful husband surprised me with the absolute most perfect replacement ring this past Fall. It's a vintage art deco design in platinum that I just love. It represents "the us" that we are now and that we are more committed to each other than ever. My wish is to pass this ring on to my daughter someday. 
The statue of hands was something I inherited from my maternal grandmother, Mary Horton. I've written about them before here on this blog. Check out my post, Sentimental Sunday: These Artifacts Are My Time Machines., and you can see what they look like. I think those should go to my son. 

The picture of my great grandmother, Ophelia Jones Bryant, I have shared many times. I have it saved on different computers and backed up to external hard drives. I have a copy of it in a beautiful silver frame in my living room and my mother has a copy of it as well at her house. Other family members also, have a copy of this lovely picture. It's the inspiration for what I do and I will be eternally grateful to Ophelia for having that portrait taken. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hey Everyone, I've Moved!

After playing around with my blog for a bit today, I finally decided to jump in and move over to my own domain name. You can find my blog now at

If you still have me under my old address it will automatically forward you on to the new. Please take a moment and update me in your readers though. I would hate to loose anyone in the move. Thanks as always for following my blog :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #2 Melba Lee Gwyn McCarther

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small is back hosting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series in 2015. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link: Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

This week's theme:

Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did you ancestor flee from an oppressive king?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to use this week's theme for my post. As of now, I don't know of any connection to royalty and I can't think of a way of tying in Martin Luther King, Jr. with one of my ancestors. This week's ancestor is linked to week one's though. 

Melba Lee Gwyn McCarther was the younger sister to the ancestor I featured here last week, Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis. She was my 1st cousin 1x removed and also my godmother. When I was a child, my godparents and their daughter Keisha would usually visit NY in the summertime. My aunt, Loris Bryant Gwyn, who was Melba's mother would usually travel along with them and they would would all stay at my aunt Rosa's house in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Rosa Bryant Sanders was Loris's sister.

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition #2 Melba Lee Gwyn McCarther How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
My Aunt Loris is pictured center with daughters
 Gloria on the left and Melba on the right.

Melba Lee Gwyn McCarther
My Godmother and 1st cousin 1x removed

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 68 --Memory Tree

The Book Of Me: Prompt 68 --Memory Tree  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

As we head into the festive / holiday season I want us to think of those who will not be with us for the season. If this was your memory tree who would you put on the tree and why?

This can of course be friends and family, but what about former pets and colleagues.

I am still playing catch up with these prompts but I can see the finish line closing in. The holidays have already come and gone. I still would like to honor those who were on my mind during the season. Even though they are no longer with me in the physical realm, I carry so many wonderful memories that they are always with me in spirit.

My grandparents --Harold and Ethel Murrell 
                            --Lemuel Harrison and Vadnie Harrison
                            --Mary Bryant Harrison Horton 

When I was little, the holidays meant spending time visiting the grandparents.  House to house we'd go, my parents, brother and I. There would be kisses and hugs and presents exchanged and houses filled with the smell of yummy goodness. Oohs and Ahhs over how pretty each tree was. 

My maternal grandmother's sisters --Eloise Bryant Grigsby
                                                        --Loris Bryant Gwyn Helton
                                                        --Rosa Bryant Sanders

I miss the sound of their voices and how each of them loved on me in their own special way.

My uncle Napoleon Sanders was reunited with his dear "Rosa" on December 14, 2014. He wanted to spend this Christmas with her in heaven.

My father's sister, Janice Murrell, we lost when I was 17. She was a special lady who loved to laugh.  She would take my brother and I on special outings to the city. We'd see plays or movies together and have lunch at McDonald's. 


My paternal grandfather's first dog was named Shane. He was an early playmate of mine. My grandparents would watch my brother and I after school at their house.  Shane would be waiting there. He was a beautiful German Shepherd who loved to be petted. I would go on walks with my grandpa and that big gorgeous dog. 

My very first pet of my own was a cat named Harry. He was a yellow tabby. I believe we adopted him when he was about 10 weeks old. He was sweet and playful but became sick at about a year old. He came down with FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) and had to be put to sleep.

Rodney and Bobby were the next two cats that my parents adopted. Rodney was more a traditional yellow tabby. Bobby had tan and white fur. They were brothers who had to be adopted together. Bobby had the sweeter temperament. Both have joined Harry up in heaven.

On January 8th, another fury friend joined the other three. I went with my mother to the vet to put her cat, Roger, to sleep.  He lived a happy 13 years and will be missed.

Oh Wow! I Forgot How Much I Love This Album

Oh Wow! I Forgot How Much I Love This Album  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Okay, this is a case of how the right thing found me at the right time this morning. I was reminiscing using Youtube. I found some of the songs that I used to listen to when I was in my twenties and was jamming out doing housework and such. Then I came across Dion Farris's song,"I Know." I forgot how much I loved the album, Wild Seed, Wild Flower. Not all the songs are on Youtube, but this particular one I am about to share was. I haven't heard this in a good 10--15 years. The CD is packed up in my house, somewhere. I am going to make a mental note and go through my old music this week. Anyway, I digress, here's one of the songs I'll be singing along with as I fold laundry. Hope everyone has an awesome day! I was going to wait to share this as a Something About Me Saturday post, but I think the song may brighten the mood of someone who needs it today.

Find Your Way from the album Wild Seed --Wild Flower

Never knowing in the dark, in the light
When the world will change
Eliminating all the fear, all the sadness
In the falling rain
Touch my heart, touch my soul
Lead me into the light of the day
Time slips ever fast, instantly becoming the past

You've gotta find your way before it's too late

Endless sky, yours and mine
For to see all our dreams to come
With all you see, focus your energies on what is to be done
Live your life, love yourself
Know that everything has just begun
Time slips ever fast, instantly becoming past

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 67 --What Are Your Priorities?

The Book Of Me: Prompt 67 --What Are Your Priorities? How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - What are your priorities?

The American author, Kathleen Winsor owns this quote:
"Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to do what they want to do."
So, what do you want to do? how can you achieve that? and why is it important to you?

My Priorities:

1)Be the best mother I can be. I have two kids who need me. They have so much yet to learn about life and I want to be around as long as I can to help guide them. I want to make good human beings who are kind, respectful, honest, productive and loving. I think my husband and I have gotten them off to a good start, but they still need more from us. I need more from them. The longer I am around them, the more I learn about myself.

2) My husband.  He's my rock and best friend. I love him dearly. He tried to check out early on me in December via heart attack so I am still a little rattled from all that. Thankfully, he's doing better now but I have to continually remind him he's not super man and to take it easy sometimes.

3) My health. I have to get back into eating better and exercise. My husband's recent health scare was a definite wake up call. I can't take my body for granted. I eat fruits and vegetables but my intake has to go up in regards to both and I have to look at ways of reducing sodium in my diet. Right after I had my daughter, I went through a period of really paying attention to what I ate and it made such a huge impact on my life. I had more energy and lost weight. I know that I am capable. I just have to do it.

4) Family History. I want to keep doing family history. I want to learn as much as I can possibly learn before I leave the planet. I will keep researching and blogging about my discoveries. I get such enjoyment from it so I don't think I'll ever stop digging.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 66 --What do you treasure?

What do you treasure? The Book Of Me:  Prompt 66  --What do you treasure?

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

You choose on what you treasure, the things, the people, 
The things that are not seen, 
The things that are seen yet not obviously treated as a treasure.

I did an exercise where I wrote down the first things that popped into my mind so here's what came out. This doesn't cover everything. It's just the first things that I jotted down without pausing.

I treasure...

loved ones
hopes and dreams
maintaining my optimism
good health
my wedding ring
the laughter of my children.
laughing so hard you can hardly breathe
the sun
green leaves blowing in the wind.
the beach on a summer's day.
a good meal
my mother
my life

The Book Of Me: Prompt 65 --Colleges and Universities

The Book Of Me:  Prompt 65 --Colleges and Universities --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey  Binghamton University, SUNY Binghamton

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Colleges & University

Did you go to college and / or University
if not, did you want to or did you not want to?
did you perhaps change your mind at a later date?
What did you study?
Was your studying vocational or a step on the ladder to another profession?
What was the educational path you took to get to University or college?
Where did you go? & why there?
Regrets of study choice?
Did you belong to clubs there?
As always, share what you are comfortable with.

Did you go to college and / or University
if not, did you want to or did you not want to?

I attended Binghamton University from August 1990 until December 1994. Since I didn't finish my degree requirements until December of 1994, I had to wait until May 1995 to get my physical diploma.

What did you study?

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Where did you go? & why there?

When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to go away to college. I wanted to break out on my own but I knew that there was a budget that my parents had to stay within since they were going to be the ones footing the bill. I was given a choice. I could go to a state school and they would pay for it or I could choose a private school which they would pay for part and I would have to take out loans to pay the difference. I didn't like the idea of coming out of school with big loans that had to be repaid ASAP, so I decided a state school was going to be the better choice. I considered going to Fredonia, Oneonta, or Binghamton. When I received my acceptance letter to SUNY Binghamton, I made my decision. The univerisity had and still has an excellent business school so the choice seemed obvious. 

Regrets of study choice?

Well yes and no. Yes, because if I had it to do all over again, I probably would have looked at a degree in marketing or business administration. I never really truly wanted to be an accountant. I wanted what I thought it meant to be successful back then. I thought I was supposed to go out and earn as much money as possible and have the big house and the fancy car. The fancy car was going to be a silver or black BMW with leather interior. The big house I wasn't really sure where that was going to be just yet, but those were the things I was supposed to attain. Becoming a CPA seemed like the best chance for me to achieve getting those things. Now, I look back at how I used to view things and think to myself, Wow... that was such a crock of horse shit! My belief system was so superficial. At that time, I just didn't get it. I didn't understand what the truly important things in life were. I think one of the most important components of being successful is happiness. I should have asked myself then what sort of work would make me happy and then see if a living could be made doing that. I know now that things happened as they were supposed to. I wouldn't be the person I am now if I had made a different choice and I really like who I am now.

Did you belong to clubs there?

I was a member of the Fencing club. I enjoyed it tremendously and met cool people along the way. It was a great way to get into shape too. You can read a little more about my fencing days on this post, Looking Back While Looking Forward.

On to prompt 66!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ready, Set, Blog!

Ready, Set, Blog!  How Did I Get Here?  My Amazing Genealogy Journey --Happy New Year, Andrea Kelleher
Happy New Year, Y'all!

Yup, that's me taking a selfie before the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve. It was a pretty laid back night at my house. It was the hubby, myself and the two kids enjoying time together and counting our blessings. We really have a lot to be thankful for. The number one thing we are all thankful for is that my husband is still here! What happened to him? Well, he had two heart attacks over a two day period back on December 11--12th and scared the crap out of all us. Luckily, he underwent a cardiac catheterization which revealed he had a single blockage in one of his arteries. The blockage was removed and they placed a stent inside. He was back home with the kids and I by the afternoon of the 13th. The whole thing has been a bit surreal. 

When something like that happens, it wakes you up. You see how little control we have over our lives. One moment you may be here, the next gone. You hug your loved ones tighter, tell them you love them more often. You savor their presence versus the presents during the holiday season.

So since tomorrow isn't promised to any of us, I am committing to blog more often. The more often I write and share my own memories, the more my children will know about me. The more I write about my ancestors, then there's more cousin bait out there to catch someone's attention. There's no time like the present so...

Ready, Set ...Blog!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy Birthday In Heaven Grandma!

Happy Birthday in Heaven Grandma! How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey Ethel Smith Murrell
Happy Birthday Grandma!

My paternal grandmother, Ethel Murrell, would be 104 years old today if she were still alive.
Thinking of you on this day, grandma.

The Book Of Me: Prompt 64 --Jobs and Careers

The Book Of Me:  Prompt 64 --Jobs and Careers  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:
This week's prompt is - Jobs and Careers

Did you have a Saturday job, holiday job?
Where was it?
What did you do?
Can you recall who you worked for and with?
What was the biggest / most important thing you learned here?
Did it inspire your future?
Do you have any pictures / photos / clippings?
Did you have full / part time job?
Job or career
Does it not matter?
Is it the same?
Did you enjoy what you did? - Why?
Was it a passion or a means to an end?
Who did you work with?
Did you have work place reviews?
Did they fit with your personal plan?
Did you have a career / employment work plan?
Did you stay at home?
Or did you really want to?
Did you have employment hopes and dreams

Jobs were the places I worked at that weren't going to be long term things. They were a means to earn money for whatever was going on in my life at the time.

Careers I consider to be the positions I was employed at after I finished college. 

I think the best way for me to go about this prompt is to split things into two sections. 


My first job was at McDonald's. That's right good ole Mickey D's. I was 14 years old with no work history and I had just received my working papers in the summer of 1987. I put on that wonderful little uniform and went to work. I hope my kids carry on in the tradition. I think everyone at some point should wear a uniform and have to go work. I think it teaches humility. Anyway, I worked there from June through August to pay for school clothes. 

The next job I had was a discount retailer that has since gone out of business called Cheap John's. They were popular on Long Island in the 1980's--1990's.  I think I got that job the following year in the late Spring and worked through Fall of 1988. I may have my timing wrong on this one but that sounds about right. Anyway, I was a cashier there and then they had started to train me in the Fall to become a keyholder/bookeeper (What they called the person who was in charge of cashing out the registers at the end of the night and made the deposit and who wrote down end of day sales figures.) I quit before getting the position because I was so anxious I was going to mess something up. This was one of those times I let my anxieties get the best of me.

Here are the next three jobs that I can remember.

Cashier/Stock    Rockbottom Drug Store
Holiday help     Things Remembered
Cashier              C-Town grocery store

Next came working as an Orientation Adviser for what was then called SUNY-Binghamton but now is referred to as Binghamton University. Oooh I have to see if I can find one of our staff pictures. 

Here's one:

1993 Summer Orientation Adviser Staff

I worked as an Orientation Adviser for two Summers, 1992 and 1993. This picture is from the second year I was part of the staff. I really enjoyed this job. I developed my confidence with public speaking and I enjoyed working with a group of folks who had to achieve common goals. We would each get a group of about 15--20 Freshman to work with over the course of two days. We would lead campus tours, help them with choosing their courses and educate them on the basics of campus life. It was a lot of fun.

I was a cashier at the campus mini-grocery story called "Munchies." It was located in the basement of the University Union. That job was awesome because I had a lot of free time between customers to do homework or to study. Plus, my friends sometimes would pop in for a visit. At one point I was working part time at Munchies and I decided to try to squeeze in another job as a dishwasher for food services on campus but that didn't last long. It quickly became too much with my class schedule and the other activities I had going on. I lasted at food services for about a month. 

Summer of 1994, I worked two part time jobs. The first one as a sales associate for a small printing company that was in Johnson City, NY called Printing Plus USA. I think I worked something like 32 hours a week there and then in the evening I worked for my area's paper, the Press and Sun Bulletin, selling newspaper subscriptions via telephone.

I believe I started working my next job at a store called C J. Buller in Fall of 1994. It took me an extra 1/2 semester to complete my bachelor's degree so I worked at Buller's part time while finishing up school. The store was a gift shop that sold leather goods and luggage as well. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of leather and luggage there. That place made me a better sales person.

I can't remember the specific timing of this but I think I picked up a part time job working at a bookstore that for the life of me, I can't recall the name of at this time. It wasn't Borders or Barnes and Noble. Oh well, when I'm not thinking about it, it will come to mind. The discount was nice though. was Coles Books! Ha! Some of my brain cells are still working. LOL! That was in probably January--April of 1995.


May 1995  -- I was hired as a account sales representative for WKGB radio in Binghamton. I sold air time. The first time I ever sold something that wasn't tangible. I was given a list of businesses that I had to make contact with and attempt to sell radio advertising to. I lasted 8 months on the job. It was definitely a learning experience and I am glad I went through it. Especially, since that is how I met my husband. I tried to sell him advertising but instead walked away with a date and whole lot more. (It's crazy that we've been together almost 20 years! Where did all the time go?!) While this was going on, I think I still kept a few part-time hours going at C. J. Buller.

February 1996 -- I became an assistant manager for a Bombay Company Store. They sold furniture, pictures, mirrors and all sorts of home decor. This was another job I really liked and learned a lot from. I enjoyed showing people how they could go about decorating their homes. I learned how to hang pictures, mirrors, wall sconces, and how to repair and paint walls. I think I worked there until March of 1998. 

March 1998 --Took a position as assistant manager at a Bath and Body Works store. If you can work for Bath and Body Works, you can work anywhere. The company specializes in selling shower gels, fragrance mists, and all sorts of other body care products. Fun job, great people to work with but they are not will work when you work for them! 

Me,  my store manager,Wendy, and 
Amy, the other assistant manager.

Decenber 2000 --December 2004 --The NCI years

Probably St. Patrick's Day 2003

Country and Western day probably late 2003 or early 2004.

It amazes me how fast time flies. Has it really been 10 years since I worked at NCI. The answer is yes, yes it has. NCI stands for Nationwide Credit INC. They handle accounts receivable management services for various companies.  Towards the end of 2000, I was really feeling burnt out from working retail for so many years. You can never fully leave the job at the end of the day when you work at a store. Someone either calls in sick or there's some last minute floor move that the corporate offices sends notification of at 3pm in the afternoon when you are due to go home at 5pm. You wind up working long hours. I was just done, so I went to work at NCI. I was a unit manager, which meant I supervised 15 to 20 representatives who handled collections phone calls. I was the person who would get on the phone when an angry customer said, "I want to talk to your supervisor"  Needless to say, I learned quickly not to take the sometimes unpleasant things people would say to me personally. 

I've been a stay at home mom since January 25, 2005 when my lovely son was born. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

52 Ancestors--2015 Edition: #1 --Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis

I am so glad that Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small is back hosting the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series in 2015. I had all good intentions in 2014 in keeping up with the series week after week however, I started off late and then quickly fell further behind with each week. Finally I fell off in October 2014 with writing posts for the series. Oh well, better to have written some then none at all. Life has a way of getting in the way of my writing at times, but I am feeling optimistic that I have the drive this year to stick with the series to the end.  I like the idea of optional weekly themes too. It changes things up a bit. On weeks I have more time to write, I'll try to utilize the theme. This week I am under a bit of time crunch so this post is going to be a shorter one. Again, better to post something rather than nothing.

I found this picture on-line of a cousin of mine who died before I had the chance to really know her. I was 3 1/2 years old when she passed away all too soon. I believe I had met her but because I was so little I really had no memory of what she looked like.

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #1 --Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis
1962 --Winston Salem State University Yearbook 
Source Information: U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line].
 Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010

Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis was my 1st cousin 1x removed. She was born on May 29, 1941 in Carteret County, NC to Loris Melba Bryant Gwyn and Luther Lee Gwyn. Gloria's mother, Loris, was my maternal grandmother's older sister. Gloria's younger sister, Melba Gwyn McCarther was my godmother. So now you know how she fits in the family picture.

Source Information: North Carolina, Birth Indexes, 1800-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina State Archives. Microfilm.

Once I saw the yearbook picture, I knew instantly I had the right Gloria. Here's a picture of Gloria's sister, Melba McCarther Gwyn, in her youth. I love looking at the faces in old photographs and when you can see shared family characteristics.

52 Ancestors --2015 Edition: #1 --Gloria Beth Gwyn Davis --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Melba Gwyn McCarther 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Book Of Me: Prompt 63 --Addresses and Locations

The Book Of Me:  Prompt 63 --Addresses and Locations --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Addresses and Locations
Are there addresses and locations from your childhood you can recall?
Can you remember your next door neighbors?
Their name
What they looked like
What car they drove (if any)
Addresses of family and friends
Describe the houses
Do you have any pictures - houses, street signs etc

Are there addresses and locations from your childhood you can recall?

The first address that I can recall is so hard-wired into my memory that it's absolutely ridiculous. When I was in kindergarten, I had to memorize the address that we lived at and our telephone number. Had to know it, no ifs ands or buts. Mrs. Carroll, my teacher, was a smart lady and wanted us know to know basic information in the event that we ever became lost. I came up with a little song in my mind and I would recite my address and telephone number to it.

115-42 223rd St Cambria Heights, NY 11411

Telephone:  (212) 723-9680.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

View of the Cambria Heights Neighborhood I once called home.

Can you remember your next door neighbors?

I remember that my father was friends with the neighbor who lived in the house to right of ours. I think it was a family of four. Eddie Sr. was the father. I don't remember what the mother's name was. They had two kids, a boy and a girl. The son was also named Eddie and he was the older of the two. I can't think of what the little girl's name was.  I remember that their backyard didn't have much grass but I was so jealous of the fact that they had a swing set in theirs. I wished and wished we could have one in our backyard, but it wasn't to be. 

Image courtesy of Google Maps

What car they drove (if any)?

They had a Volkswagen Rabbit. I thought that was cool because during the late 1970's there were so many commercials out promoting how good a car the Rabbit was. It's funny as I'm writing this post I am laughing at myself because I realize how much I have forgotten about my time in Cambria Heights. I can't even remember what color the car was that they had. I want to say it was white or yellow but I really am not sure. 

Okay on to prompt 64!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...