Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Strangest Thing I've Ever Found While Doing Genealogy Research Was...

My bad! I almost completely forgot about the Genealogy Blog Party going on over at Elizabeth O'Neal's blog Little Bytes of Life. Elizabeth put forth the theme of sharing the strangest thing you've come across while doing genealogy research. Well, this was mine.

The Strangest Thing I've Ever Found While Doing Genealogy Research Was...--How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

A cousin of mine was kind enough a few years back to share several pictures of folks from my Jones family line, including this one. This picture isn't in the best condition but you can still make out that it is a medical student performing an autopsy of some sort. It is a picture of my 1st cousin 3x removed William Thomas Jones. 

He was born in 1886 in Morehead City, NC to William Henry Jones and Emma Shepard Jones. He was a promising young medical student in this photo. His life was tragically cut short by influenza in 1918.  

Even though the subject matter is a bit strange, I am still glad that I have this picture. Pictures help to strengthen our connection to those who lived before us. 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Brister/Bristow Harris Found In Freedmen's Bureau, Land and Property Records

So I finally, had a pinch of spare time to do something genealogy related today and I mean a pinch. That's okay. For the forseeable future that's what it's going to have be like here on my blog. My kids and I have activities that take us out of the house most evenings and free time literally has to get carved out from another activity's designated time. Right now I'm supposed to be doing housework. Oh well, vacuuming is going to have to wait.

Back in January of this year, I shared an entry I found in the North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862-1870 record group on FamilySearch.org that mentioned my 3rd great grandfather Bristow/Brister Harris. You can read that post here. The entry I featured before gave a brief description of a lease agreement that my 3rd great grandfather made in 1865 to work the lands of a man named Stephen Barrington who supported the confederacy.  Stephen Barrington had abandoned his property once New Bern fell under Union occupation in 1862.

Amanuensis Monday: Brister/Bristow Harris Found In Freedmen's Bureau, Land and Property Records  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Amanuensis Monday: Brister/Bristow Harris Found In Freedmen's Bureau, Land and Property Records  --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Image courtesy of FamilySearch:  "United States, Freedmen's Bureau, Land and Property Records, 1865-1872", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2Q1-GQHZ : 1 September 2016), Brister Harris, 1865.


Memorandum of an Agreement made the 12th day of January 1865 between D Heabon Supery Special Agent of the Treasury Department duly appointed under the acts of Congress respectively approved March 12, 1863 and July 2, 1864 for taking charge of captured and abandoned property and leasing abandoned and confiscable lands houses and tenements in the Sixth Special Agency and Brister Harris of New Bern in the County of Craven and State of North Carolina.

Witnesseth that in pursuance of said acts and of the instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury, the said agent for and in behalf of the United States, agrees upon the terms herein after contained to lease to the said Brister Harris from the first day of January 1865 to the first day of January 1866 the following described lands and promises to wit: 


     As many trees suitable for the manufacture of turpentine as he shall be able to box and work on the Lincoln plantation opposite New Bern on the East Side of the Neuse River and between the two forts. 


     And the said Brister Harris hereby agrees that one equal forth part of the production realized by the cultivation and working of the plantation aforesaid shall be promptly gathered prepared and delivered to the authorized Agent of the United States at New Berne in said state on or before the first day of January 1866 in proper packages and condition for transportation.


     And the said Brister Harris hereby agrees in relation to the employment and payment of freedmen worked upon the said plantation that he will employ and pay them and provide for their families in compliance with the Regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury dated July 29th 1864 concerning the employment and general welfare of freedmen, which Regulations are made a part of this agreement so far as they relate to employers and employed and further that he will do all things required of him by the Regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury concerning abandoned, captured and confiscated property 


Signed sealed and delivered}       D Heabon

in presence of                               Supy Spec Agt W Dept
Wm S Benjamin                                        his                                 
Chas P. Pierce                               Brister  X  Harris
                                                                  mark


          Stephen Barrington        
The owner of the above plantation alleged to have been an advocate of the rebellion. Abandoned his property at the fall of New Bern and went within the rebel lines. 




After I found this agreement, I took some time to brainstorm and think of ways I could learn more about my Bristow Harris. I asked questions. 

1) Why this piece of land? 
2)What was Bristow's connection to it? Was there a connection to the man who originally owned it--Stephen Barrington?
3) Was his choice to lease this particular piece of land linked to his occupation as a cooper.
4)Could I pinpoint where the land he leased was located?


If you are new to my blog or just missed my posts regarding my 3rd great grandfather Bristow Harris here's the links to those:

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Universe Sent Me A Golden Nugget This Morning.

I am in tears. Not sad tears, happy tears. The universe sent me a golden nugget. One of those things that appears in the guise of being merely accidental. There are no accidents. I love everything about this piece that I caught while getting my son ready for school this morning.  Thank you, universe. I am listening.









Monday, October 17, 2016

A Great Day At Skate Estate!

Here's my favorite photo from yesterday at Skate Estate. You can just tell from her face how much fun she had. My lady bug had a blast hanging out with her friends and celebrating turning 9 years old. 

A Great Day At Skate Estate! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Here's a little movie I put together using pictures from her party.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Just Like That...She Turns 9!

Just Like That...She Turns 9! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

What can I tell you. I gave birth to a real character 9 years ago.


Just Like That...She Turns 9! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey




Just Like That...She Turns 9! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey


Who is this crazy lady?!


Just Like That...She Turns 9! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Oh now I recognize her. There's my big girl.


Just Like That...She Turns 9! --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

And yes that's her dressed in a panda jumpsuit,
 gold necklaces and shades.


I can't wait to see what she wears next year :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Riley Merrick, I Thought You Might Be Family



Now who the heck is Riley Merrick, you're probably asking. Well, Riley Merrick is someone who can be found on the same page of the 1880 Federal Census as my maternal 3rd great grandparents Thomas Whitney and Margaret Merritt Whitney. Riley and my ancestors resided in Swan Quarter, NC that year. When researching Hyde County records in the past I noticed that sometimes individuals with the surname of Merritt, sometimes were recorded as Merrick and vice versa.  I have always had a hunch that there was some sort of connection between my 3rd great grandmother Margaret and him but was unable to prove it. That is, until now.

First, here's a visual of my connection to Margaret Merritt Whitney.





Image courtesy of Ancestry.com . Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Swan Quarter, Hyde, North Carolina; Roll: 968; 
Family History Film: 1254968; Page: 534A; Enumeration District: 076; Image: 0297

 1880 Federal Census showing the Margaret Merritt Whitney
 noted in yellow and Riley Merrick in red.


Thanks to DNA, it looks like my hunch was probably right. I have found a DNA cousin who is a descendant of Riley Merrick. Her relationship to him was that he was her 3rd great grandfather. According to Ancestry.com, it shows us listed as 4th to 6th cousins. So what was the connection between Riley Merrick and Margaret Merritt Whitney? 

First, here's what I know about Riley Merrick. I am putting this out there just in case anyone else who may be researching him should happen to Google his name. Hopefully, that will lead them to this post. 

He was born around 1835 in Hyde County, NC. On his death certificate, his parents were listed as a Harry Merrick and Patsy Evans of the same county. His daughter Dollie McCabe was the informant on the document so I tend to give credit to the validity of the information. According to the Federal Censuses, he resided in Hyde County, NC from 1870 through 1900.  By 1910, he called New Bern, NC his home, following the same migration pattern of my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Whitney, Margaret Merritt Whitney's son.

Year                   Occupation

1870                    Farmer

1880                    Laborer

1900                    Farmer

1910                    Gardener

His wife's name was Sarah and they were married around 1860. The pair had at least 12 children with only 5 still alive in 1900. The children I've found names for thus far are as follows:  Patsy, Edwin, Henry, Dollie, George, Hester, Louisa, Alice, Julius, and Sampson. Riley Merrick died July 23, 1919. He's buried at Greenwood Cemetery in New Bern, NC.

My 3rd great grandmother Margaret was born between 1810 and 1825. Riley was born around 1835. It's possible they could have been siblings especially if Margaret's date of birth was closer to 1825. However, this span in age makes me lean towards another possibility. They might have been cousins. 

Here's Riley Merrick's death certificate. 


Source Information Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to the death certificate, Riley's parents were a Harry Merrick and Patsy Evens of Hyde County, NC.  This Harry Merrick I believe is the same one found on that page of the 1880 Federal Census I featured earlier in this post.

Image courtesy of Ancestry.com . Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Swan Quarter, Hyde, North Carolina; Roll: 968; 
Family History Film: 1254968; Page: 534A; Enumeration District: 076; Image: 


There's Harry or shall I say "Harrie Merrick" listed just below Riley Merrick's family. Based off this, he was born around 1815 making him a candidate for possibly being Margaret Merritt Whitney's brother.

If I follow Harry Merrick's trail, I might get closer to finding out who my 3rd great grandmother's parents were.  
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