Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mr. Eleven Years Old!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Eleven Years Old! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
That was then...



Happy Birthday, Mr. Eleven Years Old! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
...this is now.

Happy Birthday to my first born!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Funny: Noah's Beginnings

Friday Funny: Noah's Beginnings --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Let me start this post off by saying, no I am not pregnant. This old ultra sound picture is of my oldest who will be turning 11 on Monday. Gosh it went fast!  My mother has this saying that they're born and then you blink your eyes and they are starting school, then you blink your eyes again and they are graduating high school. I get it now, mom. You are so right!

My son is the lovely jackpot my husband and I brought back from Las Vegas at the beginning of April 2004. Of course we didn't know it until a month after our return that we were pregnant. I was 31 and had always been on time getting my period. I didn't really feel different but I knew I had to find out what was up. This was right around the time when they came out with those digital pregnancy tests, where it says the words, "pregnant" or "not pregnant." I bought one and took it. I remember waiting for the result, saying to myself, "Nah, it can't be. Probably just stress from work or something." Nope. I will never forget that moment when the word "pregnant" popped up. My world shifted.

Fast forward to when I was about 17 weeks along and having lunch with the hubby at a little spa in Skaneateles, NY called Mirabeau. We were dining outside on a beautiful day and something happened. I felt this sensation I had never felt before. It was a fluttery feeling. It happened once while I was talking and I didn't say anything at first. Then it happened again. I said, "I think I feel the baby moving." Man...that was a moment. That's when it really hit me. There was a little being in my belly. This whole thing was truly beyond my control now.

We knew that our baby boy was going to be a talker, after all, both of his parents are.


Friday Funny: Noah's Beginnings --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Here, he said his first "Hello."


Friday Funny: Noah's Beginnings --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
In this picture, my son's facing forward. You can see his head, torso and his arm. Is it just me or does it look like he's giving us a bit of rude gesture here? LOL!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865?


Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


This entry is tiny but it provides important information regarding the whereabouts of my 3rd great grandfather Bristow Harris in 1865. This is from the North Carolina Freedman's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862--1870 database on FamilySearch.org.
This bit was found in a section of entries that were recorded between March 1865 and November 1868.

Before I go any further, here's a summary of how Bristow/Brister Harris is connected to me. 

Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


You can also read about him in the following posts:  





I have to take a moment and mention that if you have the time to spare, a great project that you can get involved with is indexing the Freedmen's Bureau Records at FamilySearch.org.

Here's the link for more information:




Now let's get  back to this entry for my 3rd great grandfather. This is the header from the page prior to where Brister was listed.  

Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Report of Plantations situated in the counties of Craven and Carteret NC now under the control of the Bureau of Refs (Refugees) Freed & Abandoned Lands, the same having been leased by the Specl (Special) Supply Agt. (Agent) of the Treasury and by him turned over to the Bureau.

Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

No. 29
Name of Owner:  Stephen Barrington
Name of Lessee:  Brister Harris
Situation:  On east side of Neuse river opposite RR and the Neuse river. 
County:  Craven
No. of Acres:  (left blank)
Remarks:  Barrington, an advocate of rebellion. Abandoned property at the fall of New Berne.

It looks like Brister/Bristow was leasing land that was owned by a Stephen Barrington. The description of the area points to an area called Bridgeton which is part of the New Bern, NC metropolitan area.


Where Was Brister/Bristow Harris In 1865? --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Image courtesy of Google Maps

By 1870, Brister/Bristow Harris was living in New Bern proper with his 2nd wife, Amy Brown, and two children, Sarah and Lemuel.




Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thanks Jen! You Were Right.

Thanks Jen! You Were Right. --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as frequently about my ancestors so far this year. Well we are only 14 days into 2016 so maybe I should cut myself some slack. After all, I did make it one of my resolutions to maybe slow things down a bit on this blog just because life had gotten quite busy. Busy is good. Busy is also tiring and today was one of those days I was feeling it.

I found myself over at Target around 2pm starting to hit that afternoon slump that comes on when the morning caffeine has completely left my body. My brain grew foggier as I was trying to pick out the least girly looking bathing suit for my 8 year old daughter. She's not into pink, princesses or cartoon characters, so my choices were limited. I narrowed it down to two and got stuck. I had no energy left. I was done. I thought how on earth am I going to make it through the rest of the day. After Target, I had to go home and pack suits, towels, and snacks for each kid before picking them up from school. Then it was off to swim lessons. Afterwards, head back home, quickly change, woof down dinner and then it was my turn to go work out. Fencing practice. Ah-ya. The thought of all this was just about too much and then out of nowhere a ray of sunshine pierced the fog in my mind.

A friend I used to work with many years ago at Bath and Body Works appeared and made me laugh. She had coffee in her hands which planted the seed in my head that perhaps I should seek some out once I was done shopping. We talked briefly about life, our kids, and how tired we were. She's one of these people who when they smile you just can't help but smile and the air around you suddenly feels lighter and brighter. She made a suggestion on what bathing suit she thought would look best on my daughter and it was just the nudge I needed to get the job done. Thanks Jen! You were right. She loved it.

I'm a spiritual person and I don't think it was an accident that my friend showed up at that particular moment when I needed a boost. Sometimes, God sets things in motion so help can arrive when you need it most.

Now with that all being said, perhaps I can carve out a piece of time tomorrow to do something genealogy related :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Grandma Horton at Aunt Eloise's House

Wordless Wednesday: Grandma Horton at Aunt Eloise's House --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Mary Bryant Harrison Horton (July 22, 1922--August 7, 2001)


I think this is the only picture I have of the inside of my aunt Eloise Bryant Grigsby's house when she lived in New York. Here's my maternal grandmother Mary seated at the piano. The love of the piano was inherited from her grandmother/my 2nd great grandmother Jonas Bryant who had a piano in her home. My grandmother's parents Ophelia Jones Bryant and Frank Bryant also had a piano in their home at 1400 Fisher St in Morehead City, NC. 

Life has been rather busy as of late. Thought I should do a quick post to let y'all know I'm still around. 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #52 Resolutions for 2016

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #52 Resolutions for 2016 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

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


Week 52 (December 24-31) – Resolution. A resolution can be something that you resolve to do. It can also be the end or conclusion of something. What ancestor do you resolve to find more about in 2016? What ancestor have you resolved conflicting evidence about?

So this is it!!!! The last one. Finally I've made it to the end. I'm seven days late but at last here's week number 52. 

I have to send a huge thank you over to Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog for developing this challenge. It has been a great motivator for me to continue to get these stories about my ancestors written down. After all, I can't share them if they are just simply floating around in my head. I've enjoyed participating and thank you to everyone who's read my posts. 

The time has come for me to make some changes in regards to the pacing of my writing. I've been working on improving the quality of my life in the last year. Specifically, I started exercising again and eating better. I've spent more time away from the computer and you know what? I kind of like it. Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take a step forward. I feel I at this time that I need to perhaps slow down how often I write and just concentrate on doing it when I'm feeling inspired. Now I'm not going anywhere. Don't worry. If you look forward to reading my genealogy ramblings you'll still see them. I just want to perhaps savor the present just a little more than the past right now. 

With all that being said, I have a few goals for the New Year that I would like to achieve. 

1) Finish creating blog books for 2013--2015. This is another way I back up my blog posts. Plus, I like flipping through the pages to see how far I've come on my genealogy journey.

2) See if I can go back another generation on my Mitchell and Taylor family lines. I've been stuck on my 3rd great grandparents Mortimer Mitchell and Annie Taylor Mitchell for sometime now. It's time to see if I can break down those brick walls. I have leads that suggest that they came from Martin County, NC so that's where I'm going to focus my research in the coming months.

3) Create a new family history movie. I did a couple of short ones a few years ago and I think it's time to get back into this.  I'd like to work on doing one or two for my paternal lineage.

4) Embrace the present. I am going to continue to savor the time spent with my family. Kids are growing up too darn fast on me. I want to make sure I enjoy the time I spend with them now. Down the road, I don't want to look back at this time in my life and say to myself, "I should have done this or I could have done that."

5) Keep fencing! I am having a blast! I am so glad I got back into doing this. I've met great people and I'm getting in shape again. 

So that's my list. It's short so I think it is attainable. Whatever the pace I must go, just need to remember to keep moving forward. 

This reminds me of some lyrics from a Whitney Houston song called Step by Step.

Well, there's a bridge and there's a river
That I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Oh, I might be lost

And there's a road I have to follow
A place I have to go
Well, no one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know 'cause I'm taking it

Step by step, bit by bit
Stone by stone, yeah, brick by brick
Step by step, day by day
Mile by mile



Read more: Whitney Houston - Step By Step Lyrics | MetroLyrics 




Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy Birthday In Heaven Grandma

Happy Birthday In Heaven Grandma --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
My paternal grandmother and me.
Ethel Smith Murrell (January 6, 1911--July 4, 1996)



Happy Birthday In Heaven!

Monday, January 4, 2016

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #51 Nice Times Spent With The Family --The Holidays 2015

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


Week 51 (December 17-23) – Nice. Define “nice” however you want to :)

Well I am not quite done with the 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition but I can see the finish line is just ahead. 

I decided to share holiday pictures of the family and I. Can't forget to document the lives of the living. After all, one day we will all be one with the ancestors. Perhaps through these pictures our descendants will get a chance to see how we spent these special times together.
























































Happy New Year, Everyone!





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