Tale of 2 Counties: Pasquotank & Camden County, NC

*The little red dot in the ‘Newland’ part of town is where my ancestors lived.  The black line is the main road going from Pasquotank to Camden County. Pretty close, huh?

The vast majority of my Spence ancestors come from Pasquotank County, NC. I can trace my Spence line to dang near the same road they currently live on today to 1870. But, my [living] family has told me that anyone with the last name of Spence in Camden and Pasquotank County is our cousins. They know this because this is what was told to them by their parents and/or grandparents.

Camden and Pasquotank County is close. Close doesn’t even describe how close they are. They lifestyle of the counties seem to overlap. My uncle works with one of the Camden County Spence’s and another relative works with a different Camden County Spence. Somewhere in this closeness is relation. But, I have yet to figure out how they’re related to the Pasquotank Spence’s..my Spences.

A recent contact on Facebook has me researching this side again.  She is from the Camden County Spence side and she said they go over the family tree every year.  I gave her some information and my theory on how the Pasquotank and Camden County Spence’s are related.  She think that her 2nd great grand and my 2nd great grand, Aaron are brothers.  But her 2nd great grandfather, isn’t old enough [in my opinion] to be his brother.  He wasn’t born until 1889.  Aaron was born 1853.  Somewhere between 1880 & 1900, Aaron’s father passed away and in 1900 his widow, Susan, was living with her son Aaron.

My Theory?

My theory is that one or a few of the Camden County Spence’s born prior than 1853 are the siblings of my 2nd great grandfather Aaron Edward Spence. According to the 1900 census, his mother Susan Williams Spence stated she had 6 children and 4 were living. I assumed that Aaron Edward Spence was the youngest child because parents tend to go live with the youngest child.

But, I do think that her 3rd great grandfather, Moses Spence and Aaron could possibly be siblings.  He was born 1846. Moses married Louisa Turner in 1875. I know I have the marriage certificate around here in my papers.  I remember either seeing no parents listed or N/A listed for Moses parents.  Which is odd for me.  If he is infact Aarons brother, why doesn’t he list his parents when they were alive when he got married??

Then another confusing thing, on the 1880 census for Moses and Louisa (Lewissie), there are 4 children listed.  The wierd part is that their last name isn’t Spence and they were all born after the marriage in 1875.  The oldest child being 4 born 1876.  Not only that, but that child is listed as illegitimate also.  The listing of illegitimate would make me think that they’re her children that she had with someone else, but still came home to her husband. WHOA.

Now, I know what you’re saying..why are you sharing? This is WAAAAYYYY personal, right? Well, the ancestors made me do it.  I was researching Moses, minding my own business and these children distracted me.  There’s a reason. I can’t stop thinking about them. Tomorrow, I will be requesting a copy of the marriage record for the oldest child.

Ancestors are Talking..do you hear them?

I haven’t written much since my aunt passed away last month. Trying to focus on genealogy and/or family stuff is hard. She was an inspiration. She was fiesty. She reminds me of myself. lol.

Today, I signed on to Ancestry.com looking for an inspiration on researching an ancestor. I hadn’t researched anyone in a while, nor have I had that urge too. But, today, I tried to urge myself to do it. As I sat there staring at the page, nothing came to mind. Not one single ancestor. Instead, my mind wondered to what I could be doing instead. The family newsletter.

Yes, I write a quarterly family newsletter for my entire family. For all the Spence, Lowry, Banks, & McCoy descendants. That equates to approximately 150 households and I’m late with my deadline. Very late as a matter of fact. So I decided to work on it tonight.

As I sat here editing the newsletter and trying to add captions to pictures, I realized I was missing names of people who performed at the reunion. So, I called my grand uncle. He is the husband of my aunt that recently passed. While on the phone with him for literally a minute, he tells me that his son was there. Hands him the phone and we start talking.

My cousin tells me that he found a box that contained a lot of pictures. Pictures with names on the back! (I love you Auntie, but I knew you were holding out on me. lol.) He said that he will send them to me to help me with the research. How amazing. I knew that this unfinished work of the family newsletter was what I was supposed to do. I don’t know why I was avoiding it. But, I’m glad I’m working on it now.

My inspiration for Genealogy

Some years ago, my dad showed me this book that my aunt made. It was in essence, a picture book. But, it also had names of family members I never knew of or heard much of. She didn’t have dates or history in the book. It was simply pictures and names. She made this book for all the children of Ed & Bessie Spence. I’m guessing, they all know the people in the book. She is the wife of my uncle, one of the children of Ed & Bessie.

The book she made bit me. That book is what started me on my path to figure out who my ancestors are and find out how I’m related to people in Elizabeth City. It hurt deeply to find out she passed away on Thursday. If it wasn’t for her and the book, I wouldn’t have started researching my family tree. She knew alot about our family. She remembers my father as a child and was there for the first reunion. She would quickly correct you when you were wrong about family history. But, she was also guarded when it came to it. Outside of that book, I didn’t get much information from her. She never understood why a ‘young person would be interested in dead people’. I would always tell her that I just want to know who my cousins are. She would just smile.

Rest in Peace Auntie. You are deeply missed and loved. I know you’re better now.

Still Searching

So, after spending last week in a frantic search for my 80 year old cousins phone number, I finally got it. This is the man that worked with my grandfather, George Washington Bolden, on the docks in VA.

Granted it really didn’t take much searching. It was just frantic because when I wanted to talk to his sisters, they were home. So, my inability to be patient set in. So in a nutshell, I was frantic, the search was not.

Well, I got the number last week and have yet to call. I’m not exactly sure why I hadn’t called him. I know I need to call ASAP. Maybe I’m a little scared that I may get the same “I’m 80 years old, I can’t remember that far back” response that he gave me last time. It was crushing then when he told me. But, I have a new plan.

My plan is to call him and ask about his life during that time. Find out what type of work he did, but talk to him more about himself. Maybe in talking to him about this will jog his memory. Maybe he’ll remember some kind of detail that can get me to the next door.

So, tonight, I will be calling my cousin. Wish me luck.

Plan of Action from Karen

Thank you Karen SOOO much for your comment. I’m reposting the comment because this is information anyone searching for long lost military relatives can use!!!

From what little information you have about his movements in the Navy, here is a long shot for you. It might be difficult to find these sources, but you might try libraries and used book stores. Squadrons and ships and shore units often will publish yearbooks with photos and names of the personnel assigned to that unit. Maybe someone in Norfolk (I recommend RAOGK – Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, http://www.raogk.org, and look in their directory for someone in Norfolk). You might get lucky.

I just wish I could see his left arm in the photo because his rating insignia (what his duty was in the Navy) would be there. He does appear to have a lot of medals. The really unfortunate thing is that he doesn’t seem to have a name tag on his uniform. If only he’d worn a name tag, that might have helped you a lot, if you could get the picture enlarged with some clarity. At that, you might try, because the name of his ship might be on the band of his cap! Something is written there, but I cannot make it out.

One thing you might think of trying is to go to the armed services website Military.com (http://www.military.com), and on the left-hand side of that home page, click on Navy. You will have to register, but it is free. Post the photograph on the site, if you can, and see if anyone recognizes your grandfather! That, too, is a long shot, but there could be some old retirees who just might remember.

You could try to get his service record with the sketchy information you have. It would be difficult. I would recommend that you call the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, which is where his record would be kept. Their phone number is 314-801-0800. I have found NARA and NPRC personnel to be very helpful. Explain your situation to them, and how much this means to you, and see if they can find his record just with the name — even though they’d have to sift through variations, in your case.

Much good luck, and I’m going to follow your blog to see if you have any luck with this.

Karen Packard Rhodes

Karen – I’ve started working on this. I did fill out a form and sent it to the National Personal Office. Since an immediate descendent had to do it, I had my dad send it to them. They replied back saying that we need a SSN in order to get information. But, I’m going to call and see if there is something else I can do.

Thanks again. This has given me some hope in finding info on my grandfather.

Not so Wordless Wednesday: I wish I knew my Grandfather

This is a repost of sorts about my grandfather, George Washington Bolden/Bowden/Baldwin.

When I think about this, my heart really breaks. Although, it doesn’t affect me as much because never having a grandfather, I don’t know what a relationship with one is like. But, for my dad, to not have a father, I can imagine the hurt he must have had growing up.

My dad joined the military to find him. All he knew was his dad was in the military. And all he had was this torn picture of a man he didn’t know. His step-father tore this picture into 4 pieces. Ripped it up out of rage. For what reason, I’m not sure. But, from that point forward, my dad was not to have that man raise him. My dad was raised by his grandparents. Raised as a sibling to his Uncles and Aunts. Cousins may be mad at me for what I have to say, but that’s what it is.

I smile when I look at this picture because to be honest, my dad looks a lot like this man…in his younger years. I see the features that make up my dad’s face…my face.

I often wonder about my possible Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and what not from this side of the family. My last name would have been something other than Spence. My life may have been different with knowing who my grandfather was. I imagine cousins that I could have known and/or grown up with. I wonder if I’ve dated any of those cousins…eewww.

The fact that the story behind this man has varied over the years and the fact that I have such little information is poignant. I wish I had more to go on. I wish I had more information. Hell, I wish I knew where he was from! But, I don’t even know that. There is a paper trail for him. There is documentation. He was obviously in the Navy. He had a career. People knew him somewhere. I just want to find him. Maybe one day someone will come across the original post. Recognize some of the details. Compare notes and contact me.

Maybe The Locator will be able to locate him. I’ll continue to dream my little dream and wish my little wish and hope that one day I will know who he his.

Side note – George Geder did restore this photo for me. But, I think it’s more appropriate to see the picture in it’s semi original form.

To-Do List: DO IT NOW!

I’ve been so scatter-brained lately. There are so many things to do that I can’t focus on one to get started. So, I decided to write a to-do list to help me get moving.

  • 1. Update family database. I have some addresses I need to update.
  • 2. Work on September newsletter. It’s nowhere near completion and due to be mailed out by September 15th. *sigh*.
  • 3. Make phone calls to a new cousin in TX to get his family info.
  • 4. Export database to get the birthdays for the coming quarter (September –November). I add this to the newsletter to recognize family.
  • 5. Scan pictures and documents received on my last trip to NC.
  • 6. Send document and picture of ancestor to cousin. It’s a surprise. The family doesn’t think she’s ever seen the document and picture of her parents. They think she should have them. Don’t worry, they’re scanned.
  • 7. Upload my images to a reliable image hosting site. Especially for times like these where my laptop is out of commission due to my cat eating the charger. Still waiting for my new one to be delivered. I was thinking of using Google for my images…
  • 8. Learn WP. I really want to move this blog to a WP blog and incorporate my family tree online for the family to view. I understand that WP is more customizable than Blogger. But, I’m just so comfy on my Blogger platform..it’s hard to leave.
  • 9. I know I’m forgetting something.
  • 10. Now I know, plan the 2010 family reunion in Orlando. I need to decide on where in Orlando we’re going to have it.
  • 11. My genealogy friend, Our Georgia Roots, reminded me that I need to be posting to all the online boards. I hadn’t been doing that. So, when I get my charger, I’ll make more of an effort.

So, right now, I’m working 1, 2 & 4 items on my to-do list since they go hand in hand.

I Genealogy People.

I know what you’re thinking, what does “I Genealogy People” mean. The order of words is confusing. But let me explain.

I recently started watching True Blood. All my co-workers, friends, facebookers, twitterers, etc. is in love with this show. So, I decided to start seeing what the hubbub is all about. Well, I instantly fell in love with the grandmother on the show. Why? Because, she isn’t at all shocked that Bill is a Vampire or worried that her granddaughter is fascinated with him. Her main concern is, his knowledge on Civil War facts. SHE WANTS TO PICK HIS BRAIN. I love that!!! She is interested in him for his genealogy facts. When he comes over for dinner, she starts asking him about ancestors and people that lived in the area WAY before her time. Lol. I would love to do that!!!

Second – The day my ancestors spoke to me.

On lunch the other day, I decided to kill some time by going to the health food store. Not really wanting anything, but really had nothing else to do. While wondering the store, I passed by a FINE man…and I mean FINE! Well, I didn’t break, stop or slow. But I did make eye contact, smile and say hello. Ladies, you know that feeling you get when you KNOW someone is watching you walk away. I had that feeling.

Sure enough, I rounded the corner and started looking at essential oils and he came sortly after. Mind you have a have a Mr. Man, so there was no entertaining this one. But it was flattering when he asked me my name and if I was single. Once I gave him my status, we chatted for a quick minute and then he said “Nice to meet you”. I don’t know why I asked, but I thought about it ‘He didn’t even give me his name..so I technically didn’t meet him like he says’. I asked him his name. ENOCH. At that moment, I genealogy’d him. I repeated it back to him “Enoch, really? E-N-O-C-H? Wow, that’s a family name.” See that?? I have a problem..lol I have never met a Enoch. Not even the Enoch’s in my family. There are only a few. I was shocked that I ran into one.

Enoch Spence is my great grandfather’s brother. He is also the other half of the 2 brothers that married 2 sisters in my family lore. I think the ancestors were speaking to me with this one… What do you think? Were they speaking to me? lol

Sad News…

My family reunion is in a few weeks and I was looking forward to attending. This year’s reunion is in NC and only for 2 days (Saturday & Sunday) instead of the usual 3 days (Friday-Sunday). I live in Florida and it’s a pretty long drive for me. My plan was to go up Friday night, stay for the activities on Saturday and leave early Sunday morning.

Well, recent required home & car repairs are cancelling my plans to attend this year’s reunion. It really bothers me that I won’t be able to go. But, I have to keep my priorities in order. My house and transportation take precedence over the reunion.

So, while the rest of the family will be having fun fellowshipping, I will be home tending to a roof leak and idling issue. I miss those days when my parents handled getting to and from the reunions. 😛