April is National Procrastination Month

kickingmyself AND…I don’t even think that’s right, but I’ve put off looking it up. Fitting, right?

Anywho..it’s been a while since I’ve posted. But life gets in the way of pleasure. However, I have purchased (finally!!) the Spencelowry.com domain. It was off limits for a while and I had to settle for the previously owned spence-lowry.com…which I hated. Who knew you could hate a dash so much. But, your domain name is like your internet home and I’m happy to finally have the one I’ve wanted.

In the spirit of procrastination, I’ve been procrastinating a lot lately. As stated early, life has gotten in the way and whenever I get down time, I just don’t want to think about anything. My grandfather contacted me 6 months ago about an event going on at Albermarle Museum. He gave me the name and number of a person attending and hosting part of the event. Well..that was some time in November and I was preparing for my husband’s deployment. I just didn’t have the time to give it my attention. But, I wrote down the info and saved it for a later date.

Well, today was the later date. My dad called me yesterday to tell me to call my grandfather about the museum. I even put off that call. Then my grandfather called me the next day (TODAY!) about it. SOOOOO…I finally fought my procrastination and called the number from 6 MONTHS AGO. and now is the moment in which I kick myself….

This man is related to William Jordan Thornton and has information on my ancestor Cora Alpenia Howard. You know…the same one I’ve been trying to find info on for…idk…a few years now. {insert mind blowing meme here….yeah}. Lets just say…I was just blown away at what he was able to tell me about Cora. Although I may have been relatively small information, just knowing another African American person is researching my county (Pasquotank) was enough to get me excited. I mean..I was excited AM excited (hence the post today).

Just imagine if I would have done this sooner! UGH!

Back up and running.

I’ve been able to get my blog pointing back to http://blog.spence-lowry.com.  I don’t know what I did to my DNS…but I jacked it up.  Now it’s back working..WOOHOO.

So, new developments.  I’ve been asked to be editor of the Family Research Society’s quarterly newsletter.  I’m currently the webmaster for their site.  But, being editor..WHOA.   I know I won’t have the time.  So, the president, Sharon Gable, suggested being co-editor with the current editor.  Hmmm..that could work. 

Family research has been slow lately.  Kind of hit roadblocks with every turn.  I hadn’t blogged about them because I keep hoping for the ‘AH HA’ finding to write about…so sad.

Planning the family reunion is TIME CONSUMING to say the least! I’m doing it alone and there is alot to do!

I know I’ve missed several of the Carnival of African American Genealogy!!! Ugh!! I hate that!  I swear I can’t find time in my day *cries*. 

About Mount Carmel Baptist Church.  My first thought for the church was how upsetting!! That has been the church that many of my ancestors and current family members were raised.  I have uncles and cousins who are deacons at that church. 

Then on the flip side, the family researcher in me just kept thinking..WHAT ABOUT THE RECORDS????? *sigh*.  Unfortunately, when I spoke with the secretary last year, she said that she didn’t know about any records.  I was hoping to find information about Great Great Grandfathers sister, Cora Alphenia Howell.  She got married in that church in 1955 and hoping to find more information about her.  I know she had children and one daughter was named Inez.  *sigh*

Who’s ready for the 2012?? I’m ready to see the 1940 census!!!

Fire of Home Church

Today, a fire destroyed a 147 year old church in Elizabeth City.  This church was the home church of my family for many years and possibly had records related to my family research.  It’s sad to know that information and history may have been lost thru this fire.  Many ancestors were baptized, married and laid to rest in this church.

No one was injured in this early morning fire.  However, the church building appears to be a total loss.

Fire destroyed a 147-year-old church in the Newland community of Pasquotank County early Sunday morning.
Fire officials weren’t sure what sparked the blaze that completely gutted Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 158. The Elizabeth City Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
Robbie Whitehead, chief of the Newland Volunteer Fire Department, said passers-by notified emergency dispatchers about the blaze about 4 a.m. Sunday.
By the time firefighters arrived a short time later, the church was fully engulfed in flames, Whitehead said.
The Newland VFD, joined by firefighters from the South Mills Volunteer Fire Department and the city of Elizabeth City, battled the flames for more than an hour, bringing the fire under control about 5:30 a.m. Approximately 50 firefighters responded, Whitehead said.
By noon Sunday, all that remained of the brick church was a smoking hulk. The church’s menu-board sign announcing Sunday services and a gold-painted bell, both of which sit in front of the church, were not damaged.
Right now, fire officials don’t have any idea how the fire started or where in the church the blaze began.
“When (a fire) becomes fully involved, it’s hard to tell that at this point, Whitehead said.
Whitehead said firefighters had spoken to several of the church’s deacons, and none had any idea how the fire might have started. Church officials told Whitehead that parts of the church were at least 147 years old.
There is nothing right now to suggest the fire had suspicious origins, Whitehead said.
“Right now the investigation is going on,” he said.
Fire investigators from the Elizabeth City Fire Marshal’s Office visited the fire scene earlier Sunday and are expected to continue their investigation today, Whitehead said.

Link

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.

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.

Tombstone Tuesday – Oak Grove Cemetery


These are pictures of headstones in Oak Grove Cemetery in Elizabeth City, NC. Oak Grove is one of the black cemeteries in Pasquotank County and appears to be the oldest.

When I went this past may, I made sure to go by one of black cemetery’s to see my ancestors. Although the cemetery is kept in pretty good condition, I couldn’t help but be heart broken when I saw many tombstones deep in the woods surrounding the cemetery. I wouldn’t dare attempt to go that deep in the woods as I was already warned by family that there are snakes…rattlesnakes. However, I did try to get as close as possible!


Many of my ancestors are buried here as this cemetery was started in the 1800’s. One of my grand aunts is buried out there, but her grave does not have a marker. My grand uncle showed me the general location of where his sister was buried, but he was certain.

It broke my heart to walk thru the cemetery and see these headstones looking like this. I just wondered who they may be? and who’s looking for them…

Researching Humans…

I just completed the newsletter interview with my 80 year old 1st cousin 2 times removed. She is the grandchild of my 2nd great grandparents, William and Harriet Lowry.

My cuz, Tina, is usually responsible for this, but she tried on several occasions get it done. However, this cousin was not available when she called. So I told her I’d try. BINGO – she was available.

She gave me some insight in to who my 2nd great grandparents were as people. She said that William was a fun man. He played with all his grandchildren and she remembers him having a garden that she would play in. He was short ‘about 5’ somethin’ and dark skinned. Harriet was a ‘big fat light skinned’ woman. She was also somewhat taller than her husband. She had long hair down her back. She enjoyed when this cousin would come over and cook for her. She also said that they both were very nice people.

Now, this cousin was only about 8 or 9 when her grandparents passed. So imagine…cooking at that age.

It was nice getting to hear what type of people they were and it helps put more humanity to the names. Hearing for the umpteenth time that Harriet had long hair down her back (from someone that actually saw here), is something. In African American genealogy research, it is often assumed that if an ancestor was noted having long hair or long dark/black hair, they must be Native American. Of course, this is just and assumption and we all know…you should never ass-u-me.

Help I’ve fallen…

…and I can’t get my genealogy butt up!!!!

Life has been so busy I hadn’t had the time to focus on my research in a while. I don’t ‘feel’ my ancestors pointing me in the directions they once were or they’re pointing me in the direction I’m currently going. Hopefully, I’ll get bit again and the urge will return.

Meanwhile, I was award with the One Lovely Blog Award by Kathryn Doyle at CGS. THANKS!!!!

Geneabloggers use awards to support each other and to spread the word about new blogs with a family history focus. The honor comes with the stipulation that it be passed on to seven more “lovely” blogs.

Here are my picks….sorry if you’re duplicated..I’m selecting the top 7 genea blogs that I stalk that have updated lately…

Heritage Happens

Find Your Folks

But Now I’m Found

All My Branches Genealogy

Roots Reading

Our Georgia Roots

BackTrack

In other news, I’m going to Elizabeth City on the 25th to spend more time with family and doing more research. I hope to take pictures of more cemeteries in the area as well as interviewing some of the older family members.

But, before I go, I have to scan the 2 photo albums I got from my grandma and pictures I received from my grand-aunt. I’ve been slacking on my scanning. But, since this is my daughter’s birthday weekend and I’m torturing myself with allowing a slumber party, I figure I can lock myself in my room and get it done. My grandmother’s only requirement was that she get a new photo album for her pictures. I got the new album, now I need to start scanning.

Just wanted to let anyone out there that reads this, I haven’t disappeared, just busy.

Surnames I’m Researching

I know I’m late but I’m trying to catch up. But, a few weeks ago, other blogger began posting the surnames their researching. I believe Geneablogie was the first one (I got a Note from him on Facebook).

For those of you who don’t know, the surnames that I’m researching are listed on the right side. I try and tag my blogs with the surnames I’m writing about.

Pasquotank County, North Carolina

  • Spence
  • Lowry/Laurie/Lowery/Laury/Lowrey
  • Banks
  • Williams
  • Ferebee/Ferbee
  • Howell
  • McPherson

Camden County, North Carolina

  • McCoy
  • Spence (Want to see if the African-American Spence’s of Camden are related to the Pasquotank Spence’s)

I’m back…

…hopefully for good.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything. But, I haven’t abandoned the blog. I’ve been busy trying to manage a lot of tasks.

Anywho…last month on the 20th, I went to the Black Family History Day in Morrow GA. That was a 5 hour drive for me, but it was my first genealogy related trip since starting my research in 2007. I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed it! There were so many African American people that were knee deep into their research. Me, on the other hand, I’m only about toenail deep in comparison. It was at the NARA in Morrow, GA and they gave excellent presentations regarding resources to use when researching your ancestors. Many resources I didn’t know about. Especially since I’m just getting started with my hands on research and doing less internet research. Also, I was able to meet Melvin J. Collier. Melvin is one of my friends on Facebook and I was extremely delighted when he instantly recognized me. He’s the author of Mississippi to Africa, A Journey of Discovery and I got a copy of my book signed. One day, I could be worth some money 😉

I highly recommend this book researching their African American ancestors. Melvin shows you in his book how he traced his ancestors and the tools he used specifically to get the information. I’m half way thru the book and I’m jealous of the pictures he has of his ancestors!!! I’m only 2 years in, but I haven’t turned up treasures that he has.

The following weekend, Feb 27th, I went to Elizabeth City, NC. My father, daughter and myself left Thursday morning for our 9 hour drive. I was excited on the way up. My plan was to spend all day Friday at the county clerks office researching my ancestor, Buenna Spence. Friday came and my dad dropped me off at the county clerks office. However, I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t make sure they had the book I needed before I left. I did call and made sure that I could access their records and hours of operations. But, when I got there, the book I needed, 1922 court records, was sent out to archives. DARNIT!!! I didn’t let myself get upset. I just got to know the other dusty records they had on hand. And they have a lot!!! This was my first time doing research in a courthouse and I just wanted to look at everything. I viewed wills from 1800. I was loving every bit of it. I didn’t find anything about my ancestors because I was just ‘looking’. I didn’t know what I was looking for since my original mission was squashed. But, I made a decision that I’ll go back for an entire week. That way, I’ll have more time to do what I need to do.

The most important part of the trip was sitting and taking to my grandmother and grand uncle about stories they heard and people they know from around town. My grand uncle has a lot of stories because he would sit and listen to his mother when she told them about family. Not many of the other siblings, my grandmother included, listened to their mom when she talked about ‘olden days’. But my uncle did. I need to get back there and sit with him and pick his brain.

Last but not least, I think I know exactly where the Millpond Burial Ground is. This is a picture of a spooky old house that I would need to past in order to get to the field where the cemetery allegedly is located..(that was a long sentence). I got was so excited to be able to see the house that’s on the map in person! We also went to Gallop Cemetery on Blindman Road. Thursday and Friday in Elizabeth City were cold but dry days. However, Saturday, the day we went to look at cemeteries, it rained!! It was freezing! But, I had my tail outside taking pictures of headstones…in the cold and wet. Nothing but adrenaline was pushing me at that point. I’ve never been in a cemetery before, so I don’t know proper cemetery etiquette when it comes to the dead. So, I just said, ‘Sorry’, if I stepped on any graves.

I didn’t recognize any names on the headstones in my family tree. But I took pictures of all of them. My cuz, Tina, is researching her dad’s side of the family and several of these names are in her tree. I plan on posting the pictures to Find A Grave once I get some time.