Monday, February 29, 2016

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


I have been a little scatter brained lately when it comes to my research. I should have a plan but...blah blah blah you know how it is. Sometimes, I just can't stop myself from searching for something shiny and new on one of my ancestors. This is how I came across this particular clue for my 3rd great grandfather, Jacob Kerr of Sampson County, NC.

You can read more about Jacob in these posts:  




What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Information found in Slave Deeds of New Hanover County - Series Two, Volume One

Doc # 3043  
Grantor:  Herring, John
Amount:  $500.00
Grantee:  Kerr, James
Div:  2
Enslaved Person(s):  Bur, Jacob

I gasped when I saw this the other night. If you are into family history, you know what I'm talking about. It's that feeling of oh my goodness. What have I discovered here. Is it? Could this really be? Then that feeling of ...

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

What did I find? Well, before I go too much further I want to highlight a resource that is available online. For those of you who happen to have ancestors who were slaves in New Hanover County, take a look at the New Hanover County Register of deeds website. Once you arrive on the home page you'll see a tab that reads "Slave Deeds."

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

When you click on that tab, you'll come to this page.

What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Back in 2013, some Cape Fear Community College students began to index slave transactions that took place in New Hanover County. You can read more about this project here and here

An important thing to keep in mind when researching ancestors, is to be aware of when and how counties were formed in the areas your folks came from. My 3rd great grandfather Jacob Kerr was from an area in Sampson County, NC that was once part of New Hanover County. You may need to look at records from more than one county when researching your family.

I didn't want to rely on just an index entry of course. I needed to gather more information to determine if this entry did pertain to my Jacob Kerr. I called the New Hanover County of Register of Deeds office to see if I could obtain a copy of the actual document. The lady I spoke with wasn't familiar with the slave deeds but was very friendly and helpful. She gave me an email to send my inquiry to. She told me to include the information from the index and any other information I thought would be helpful in finding the deed in question.  This was Friday afternoon. I thought, well it probably won't be until Monday or Tuesday I might here something. Guess what I received within two hours of sending my email? Now that's a quick turn around!

Finally, I had a chance to view the document but that's of course when those other feelings start to come out. Those were feelings of sadness and disgust. This was a Bill of Sale for children. Children! Babies who should have had the chance to grow up with their parents and other kin but instead were shipped off to places and people unknown. When you have slaves in the family tree discovery arrives through bittersweet trails. 

So is it the bill of sale for my Jacob Kerr? I tend to believe it is. This is why. 

a) Based on his age listed on census records, my 3rd great grandfather was born around 1820.

The transaction date was February 28, 1822. Two children were sold on this day. Bur is referred to as a "girl" while the other, Jacob, a "child." Why not boy? Maybe this was to indicate he was quite young perhaps under the age of three.


b)Prior to this finding,  I had guessed that Jacob Kerr was probably a slave of the family of James Kerr prior to the Civil War because of the proximity in which the two families lived. On my post Jacob and Gabe Kerr Purchase Land , I wrote about how Jacob and his son Gabe paid off a bond that was created by James Kerr that allowed for Jacob to purchase his land. You can get a sense how near the families lived to one another from looking at this plat map.


What A Great Resource! Slave Deeds Index At The New Hanover County Register Of Deeds --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
This is an old plat map for Dr. John D. Kerr, Jr.'s land that was passed down to him from his grandfather James Kerr. The arrows noted on the map point to the location of land that was originally owned by my 3rd great grandfather Jacob Kerr. 

c) Finding similarities in naming practices can indicate a connection between families. Quite a few of the names found among Jacob Kerr's descendants can also be found in James Kerr's family. 

Examples: James, Daniel, Ida, Jane, Katie, John

The names Jacob and Gabriel which were the names of two of my 3rd great grandfather Jacob Kerr's sons. Those names aren't found in the family of James Kerr. They are however found among the relatives of John Herring. John Herring is the man who happened to sell Jacob to James Kerr. 


If I can stay awake long enough, I will get another post out tonight. It'll feature the slave deed and it's transcription. 


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Something About Me Saturday: And Now I Can Rest!

Something About Me Saturday: And Now I Can Rest! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Fencing



I am absolutely exhausted! Why? I fenced foil and epee today at Binghamton University, my alma mater. Can I tell you, I'm paying for it now. After a shower, dinner, and a bunch of Ibuprofen I am now relaxing in front of the TV just like princess Tiana. No tiara or fancy gown for me. Just a cozy bathrobe and slippers :) Pure heaven!

I didn't win anything but I sure did get some good exercise and got to hang out with some really cool people. Hope everyone's having a good weekend so far. 


Something About Me Saturday: And Now I Can Rest! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey fencing

Friday, February 19, 2016

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Three

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Three  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Blogging, Harrison family


If you missed Part One and Part Two, please take a look at the following links:

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One:

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Two:


4) Listen To What The Stories Are Trying To Tell You.
Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Three  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Blogging, Harrison family

What is this story trying to tell me? Well first, there's always more to any story. In Part Two, I left off with sharing a message that my cousin Lee Moss sent me. If you are late to this storyline, I'll fill you in that Lee is the son of Rudi Moss who is my mother's first cousin. Rudi's father was Rudolph Henry Harrison who was one my maternal grandfather's brothers.  My Harrison family line came from New Bern, NC.

Here's how we are all connected: 



Rudolph Henry Harrison, Lee's grandfather, enlisted with the Airforce when he was a young man. He was an engineer surveyor stationed at Fairford Airbase in Fairford, England.  Rudolph married Gloria Thacker in 1952 and they welcomed a son to the world, Rudi, that same year. Rudolph returned to the United States in 1953 leaving his wife and child behind in England. Rudi grew up without every seeing a picture of his father.

Back in 2012, I thought that the reason for Rudi and I finding each other through the internet was so that Rudi could at last have a picture of his father. He could know that he had kin in the U.S. and and that he had deep North Carolina roots. I thought he would share that information with his kids and grandkids so they too would know about their roots. 

When Lee reached out and contacted me I quickly learned that the family information was not shared. I learned that in a sense that a cycle of abandonment that began with Rudolph Harrison and his son had repeated itself with Rudi and his kids. But why? How could this be? I would think that if I were abandoned by my own father I would hold the privilege of being a parent near and dear to my heart. I would be there in whatever way possible for my kids. Not talking to them or being a part of their lives could simply not be an option. Period.

But that's me. I can't speak for anyone else.

This story has reaffirmed my belief that...


Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Three  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Blogging, Harrison family

My husband and I are committed to each other and we are intending to be in it for the long haul. However, we have discussed that no matter what happens between us, our commitment to our children is for life. That means being there. That means keeping the avenues of communication open even when times are difficult. 

5) If you are kin, I will not remove your name from my family tree, so don't ask.

I forgot that Ancestry.com sends out an auto-generated email to those you have invited to view your tree when a new person has been added to that tree. After Lee contacted me I updated my tree to include him and his sister Nicola, as well as their families. Rudi was one of my invitees. A short time after I made those additions, he emailed requesting that I remove the names of certain folks from my tree. I was kind of taken aback from his request. I didn't understand how someone could think removing names from a family tree was okay. Whether you get along with someone or not does not change the fact you are related. 

I'm still processing my feelings regarding all this. I have to say I feel sad for all those involved. Parents and children need each other. A child needs love and guidance no matter what age. At the same time, I can't even begin to tell you how much my children have taught me about myself. They guide me as I guide them. 


Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Three  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Blogging, Harrison family



To be continued...



Friday, February 12, 2016

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Two

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Two  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



If you happened to miss part one, here's the link:  Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One

3) Don't Make Assumptions

When I initially connected with my cousin Rudi back in 2011, he told me that he had two children. According to Rudi, the relationship between he and his children was a bit estranged. Even with that being the case I thought for certain he would share with his kids that he made contact with an American cousin . At last, he had a picture of his father, their grandfather Rudulph Henry Harrison. There was a picture of Rudolph's parents Carrie Whitney Harrison and John Thomas Harrison. They all could know a little bit more about their roots.


Imagine how surprised I was when I received this message on Facebook from Rudi's son last July.

Hello,

My name is Lee Moss. For many years I have been trying to find my grandfather who was based in England in the 1950's. His name was Rudolph Henry Harrison. My ex wife found your blog with your family information on it and it states that Rudolph Henry Harrison died when he was 36. My ex wife knew that you were related as you have a picture of my dad and his wife from Ireland. This is still a bit of a shock to me at the moment as we spent a long time trying to find him. My dads name is Rudi Moss. But before it was Moss his name would of been Harrison. Anyway. Hope you are all ok. Thank you. Lee

I was of course glad to have made another cousin connection. After reading the message though, I realized the error in my ways. I made an assumption. Actually, I made a couple of assumptions. It's something I regret but you live and you learn. I assumed that any cousins who would reach out and contact me as a result of finding my blog would have picture perfect families of their own. Everyone got along with everyone.  Folks would communicate and share information freely with one another. Naive, right?!

I guess you could say I stumbled upon something that I wasn't prepared for? How would things work out?


Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part Two --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


To be continued....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One:

I went into blogging blind. I started off just wanting to document and share the things I learned about my ancestors. The words and stories I hoped would find those who needed them. My hope was and still is that this information will help fortify the spirits of my children and that they may be able to pass it forward. So I went forward and put words to paper or shall I say cyber-paper and started this journey.


Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One:  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

1) Start blogging! 

One of my husbands favorite sayings is, "Do nothing...nothing happens. Do something...something happens." Blogging is that something that you should do if you are into family history. It will take you places. It will take your words ...those things you know about your family and will electronically deliver them to the people who are seeking it.  It may take some time. Be patient. They will find you.

Find me they did. It started with the support of a wonderful online community of fellow family historians and bloggers. From the beginning, people would leave me words of encouragement in the comments of my blog.  I noticed my pageviews were rising. Then my very first cousin connection happened. A cousin found me because of the words and pictures I put forth into cyberspace. I wrote about that connection in February 2012. Here are the links to those posts.

Thankful Thursday: Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part one

Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part two.


Thank Goodness I Began My Blog --Part three


For some time now, I've been wanting to write an update to this series. Since that initial writing, I've connected with more cousins and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. 


2) Be optimistic, but don't forget about reality.

So you're probably saying now, "What does that mean?" It means that I went into this whole cousin connection thing with rose colored glasses on. The thought of finding family half way around the world was very exciting. I was happy that the information I had provided had helped someone. Time went by and my cousin Rudi and I kept in touch via email. We shared words of encouragement and wish each other well.  Life went on. Then last summer something happened that reminded me that the relationships we have with our family members are often complex.

One cannot simply describe things as black or white. More often than not we find grey.


Some Things I've Learned Along The Way --Part One: --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

To be continued....






Sunday, February 7, 2016

Our Gymnast

Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

As I mentioned in my last post, our little lady recently competed in the I Love NY Cup a big gymnastics competition hosted by the Southern Tier Gymnastics Academy. I have to admit I was a bit worried that the large venue and the number of girls competing might be a little overwhelming for her. She was fine. Better than fine in fact. She was cool under pressure. She had a solid performance.  

Here are her results:  Level 2  (8 year olds)  Bars:        7th place 
                                                                       Beam:      6th place
                                                                       Vault:       6th place
                                                                       Floor:       4th place
                                                                       Overall:    7th place

Here are some pictures from the day:


Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



Our Gymnast -- How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence

There's been a lot going on around here lately so please forgive my absence. I feel like finally today I can catch my breath and share a couple of pictures of what's been going on. 

My oldest turned 11. He had two wonderful parties the weekend before last, one at Chuck E. Cheese with his friends and another party back home with his family. I have so enjoyed watching this little man grow up. He's getting so big that I anticipate by next summer he will be looking me right in the eye. 

Here are a few pictures from all the festivities.


It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey, Chuck E Cheese's



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey



It's Been A Bit Busy Here, So Please Forgive My Absence --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

The other thing that's kept me busy is my daughter had another gymnastics competition this past weekend. This was a big one. It was the I Love NY Cup which was hosted by her gymnastics academy. So of course leading up to her competition, I was cab driver mom shuttling her back and forth to practices. All of the parents of gymnasts volunteered over the course of the weekend to facilitate the event. It was a lot of time, effort, and energy spent leading up to the competition, but it was well worth it. Our girl did well! I'll share some pictures in my next post.

Things should calm down now for a bit here so I can get back to my research and writing.
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