No joint researchers

I have been crazy busy lately at work which has left me not time to blog, let alone think about genealogy. I know sad!

But, since starting my search 2 years ago, I have come across ZERO fellow researchers.  Granted, I’m researching 2 specific counties in NC (Pasquotank and Camden) and 4 surnames: Banks, McCoy, Lowry & Spence.  Still no one.  Not one descendant from these other lines are researching the tree…that I know of.  

Why is that? Why aren’t more people, mainly African Americans, researching their roots? Is this not important??

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)

Life has settled….

….a little. Life changes constantly whether you want it to or not. Since my last post, I have moved, maintaining our family database, started working on scanning pictures, maintaining the family website and generally keeping busy.

The life changing event is the move. Don’t really want to elaborate but, I believe everything happens for a reason.

Now that I seem to have a little more time on my hands, and the projects are well on their way, I can get back into my research. I took a few months off because I was feverishly trying to get our first family newsletter out (Cousin Connections) by the first of December. Mission accomplished! With the help of family members on input and editing, the newsletter went out and the feedback has been great! The next issue is scheduled for March 2009.

We also have an ISSN. For those of you who don’t know, an ISSN is a unique 8-digit number used to identify print or electronic periodical publications. The benefit of having this is, our newsletter will be available for generations to come.

I may have created enough buzz with the family that they have started looking for the cemetery off of Mill Pond road. Heard it thru the grapevine, that some family members have actually taken pictures of some headstones at other cemeteries. I’m excited and hope to see those soon.

Thanks to Wendy who tagged me. I didn’t get a chance to complete it, but I appreciate being tagged and that I was still thought of during my hiatus!!

I plan on taking a research trip in February (depending on the weather) to Elizabeth City. This will be my first one and I’m excited about doing hands on research. Maybe I can find the court records that put my 2nd great grandmother, Cora Spence, in jail.

I don’t want you to think that I disappeared. I’m still here and will be in genealogy mode full force come the beginning of the year.


Oh My Genealogy!!!!!!!!

Mechie once told me to “the Ancestors are assisting us” and George Geder always ends his posts and comments with “Guided by the Ancestors”. Unless you research your family tree, you won’t understand this. However, those of us who are can feel themselves being lead in a certain direction.

Yesterday, while going thru my spreadsheet of ancestors, I stopped at Martha Lowry (B: 1899, D: 1916). She was only 16 when she died and I had already looked at her death certificate. The cause of death was unknown and the informant was James Armstrong, not her parents, which I thought was odd. Martha is the sister of the 2 sisters that married 2 brothers. However, yesterday I looked at the death certificate again and noticed something that I didn’t see before.

Place of Burial: Mill Pond Ground.

How did I miss this earlier?!?!?!?!?!?! Could this be the Hinton Burial Ground that has been eluding me for the past year?!?!

I have asked SEVERAL family members that live in Pasquotank and no one knows about the Hinton Burial Ground. However, after speaking to my dad about this one day, he did mention about a burial ground down the street from my great grandmothers house (Mill Pond Road). The same street several of my relatives have lived for YEARS! So, in recent days, I have asked several family members about burial grounds on Mill Pond Road. Low and behold, several family members remember a burial ground off a dirt road about 1 mile down the street.

I got chill bumps yesterday when I spoke with one of my cousins about it and he confirmed. If this is the Hinton Burial Ground, it’s an important piece of our family. The parents of our Spence-Lowry connection are buried here. Typing this is giving me chills!!!!!

I got chill bumps this morning when I spoke with my Cuz Tina and told me what her father said. “My father said that there is a cemetery on Mill Pond road. It’s at the end of the road.”

The hairs on my arms stood up for at least 2 minutes. I just kept thinking this must be it!!!!!

My dad is going to Pasquotank this weekend for a funeral. I’ve asked him to see if he could find this burial ground and take a picture.

If it is still there, I intend to make it my mission to get this restored.

*Update- I went back and looked at other siblings of Martha Lowry an found a sister of that was buried at Mill Pond Burial Ground also.*

**Update again-I was clicking on the Pasquotank County NC Gen Web site and then clicked on the Pasquotank County Government link. Wouldn’t you know, the county is trying to identify these unknown cemeteries!! I think I found mine.**

View Larger Map

Now What?!?!

Now that my family reunion is over, I’m feeling a little lost on what I should do next. Of course I’m researching my family tree, but I had a project. It was to present the family tree at the reunion. Project completed. NOW WHAT?

I have several ideas in the works. Still working on the family website and trying to decide should I have one or convert it to the site. If I keep the website, I want to have pages for all branches of my tree (Spence, Lowry, Banks, McCoy). We’ll see what happens.

I plan on starting another project called “Millpond Project”.

I’ve been told for many years that everyone on this road is family. Now, I aim to prove it. After doing some quick research on a few different people on that road, I have been able to connect them back to my tree. In addition, since these are living family, I won’t be posting about them just their ancestors.

I am working on a mystery regarding a cousin. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him since he passed before I began this journey. He was the nephew of my great grandfather, Aaron Edward Spence. However, when I asked how. Of course, no one could tell me. Prior to the reunion, I was able to track his daughter down and ask her some questions about her father. It’s amazing what information you can find. More about this mystery on another blog.

The family network site is going well, and I like it much better than a Yahoo or Google group since it doesn’t have to be tied to having one type of e-mail address to use it. Thanks to Mechie for introducing it to me and thanks to my family who have signed on and invited more family to join!

She died in jail!!!

O.k. so, I’ve been a slacker when it comes to the library. Everything should be on the internet, right?? But, we all know it’s not. Somethings you’ll actually have to do some leg work to figure out. Today I went to my local library to see what they had as a genealogy collection.

I couldn’t even believe that they have obituaries from 1919-1924 for Elizabeth City, NC. I live in Florida! It’s not like Elizabeth City is a large city. Hell, I think I’m somehow related to every black person there. Anywho…..

This is my 2nd great grandmother, Cora Spence. She died in 1922 in JAIL!!!! That’s something I didn’t even know and none of the elder members knew either.

Cora L. Spence. A 56-year old colored woman of Newland Township, living about 13 miles from town, died last week after having grieved herself sick because she was placed in jail a day or two during the last term of Superior Court in this county, about three or four weeks ago.
The colored woman was held in jail Tuesday to Saturday, having been held as a witness in a case in which her daughter Beunna Temple was involved. She couldn’t understand why a witness should be jailed, and the burden of falling into such disgrace at her age was too much for her. [October 10, 1922, p. 1]

Why in the hell was she being held in jail?? She was only a witness?!?!??!

So in the first paragraph it says ‘a day or two’ and in the second it says ‘ was held in jail Tuesday to Saturday’. Uh…lemme pull out my fingers and count…that is more like 5 days not ‘a day or two’.

Correction 06/12/08

: I received an e-mail today from Irene at library. She stated that “Cora didn’t die in jail but as a result of heartbreak at having been jailed about three weeks earlier”. She’s sending me some pages from the Superior court case from 1922. Hopefully, this will shed some light as to why Beulah was going to court and why her mom, Cora, had to testify.

Passed Down

The family stories passed down from generation to generation tends to change. No one wrote it down; it’s always by word of mouth. I have 2 main stories in my family that are either inconsistent or just not true!

My great grandmother, Bessie Lowry, had an older brother named Shelton Lowry (B: 1908, D: 10 Sep 1947). The story from my great aunt was he died in a drowning. He was out on a boat and someone started rocking the boat. Shelton told them ‘don’t rock the boat, I can’t swim’ and he and a friend fell in the water and drowned. The story from another great aunt is everyone in the boat died.

Hopefully some info from the FRSNNC will help clear this up.

Now for the complete untruth.

Leroy McCoy, possibly the son of Ernest McCoy who is the son of William Everett McCoy (my 3rd great uncle), was researching the family tree until his death in 2005. He told several elder Spence family members a story. I remember when I first heard this story, before I began researching the tree, I said it didn’t make sense. So, here we go.

Back in the late 1800’s, 3 Spence brothers came over on slave ships and were separated thru sale. They landed in various counties in NC; Pasquotank and Camden being 2 of them. Our real name was SPENCER however was changed to SPENCE when we were sold into slavery. Remember, this is the late 1800’s. at we came over on slave ships in the late 1800’s. The Spence brothers that were sold into slavery was either my great grandfather, Aaron, and his siblings or my 2nd great grandfather Aaron (to be know as Aaron Sr.) and his siblings (have no clue who his siblings are).

Well, for the truth.

The truth being that none of the above happened. Aaron Sr was probably born into slavery. His parents are Enoch Spence and Susan Williams who were also slaves. They officially married in 1866. I’m certain they had other children; however, I haven’t been able to locate them. In 1900, Susan was living with, Aaron Sr. On the 1900 Census, it states she had 6 children and 4 living.

I’ll be discounting the ‘SPENCERS on a slave ship’ theory that the elders have included in family history. Hopefully they don’t throw stones.

Long Lost Relatives

In the picture book my aunt made, there was a picture of Alfred (B: 1907) and Thelma Ferebee (B: 1910)-pictured to the left. Below them, there was a picture of Maggie McCoy at age 100. There was no description of these people and when I asked her nor could anyone else tell me exactly how they’re related. My great uncle told me that Ferebee was related thru his father, a Spence. But, that didn’t make sense, especially since I couldn’t find any Ferebee’s in the tree, except for the one living with William Lowry in 1880.

I began obsessively researching Alfred Ferebee. I first found Alfred and Thelma living with Alfred’s brother, William Ferebee, in Camden County, NC in 1930. It was obvious that Alfred and Thelma recently married since they had a 7 month old daughter named Vivian at the time. I knew I wouldn’t find them together in 1920. In the 1920 census, Alfred and his brother, William, were living with Julian and Ella Daniels in Camden County, NC listed as nephews. Then in 1910, I found Alfred and William living with their parents in Camden County, NC, Luther and Daisy Ferebee.

The birth index for Alfred lists his DOB as 5 April 1906 and his father as Speed Ferebee. I found another birth index for William Edward Ferebee with a DOB of 28 June 1903 and his father was Speed Ferebee. Maybe Speed was a nickname for Luther. Unfortunately, a lot of Camden County records aren’t available thru like Pasquotank County. So, marriage records didn’t show a marriage between Alfred Ferebee and Thelma.

I called my uncle again and asked about the Ferebee’s and he said that he thinks we’re related to the wife, Thelma, and not Alfred. Why didn’t he tell me this the first time?? That means Thelma is a Spence, Lowry, Banks or McCoy since those are the main branches of my tree.

*Genealogical info-When a couple decides to get married, the man would apply for the license in the county the woman is from.

My McCoy line is the only one from Camden. She must have been from Camden also since there was no marriage record for a Thelma marrying anyone with the last name of Ferebee in Pasquotank.

I searched by Thelma McCoy and found one on the 1920 census living with an Everett and Maggie McCoy. Well, there’s my Maggie…possibly. In 1920, he’s listed as William E. McCoy (B: 1882). So, now who are Everett and Maggie McCoy? I was only able to go as far back as 1910. I didn’t know Maggie’s maiden name to search her on the 1900 census and William didn’t show up on that census.

I sent a letter to Camden County Register of Deeds for a copy of William E. and Maggie McCoy death certificate. When I got it back, William’s parents were Henry and Columbia McCoy. Those are my 3rd great grandparents. That means that William E. McCoy is my 4th great uncle and Thelma is a cousin (don’t to what degree). I didn’t have any record of William and since he was born in that ‘black out’ period, he was hard to know about. Oh and Maggie, well, her maiden name is Ferebee.

*Genealogical info-What I call the ‘black out’ period, is that time between 1881-1899 when most of the 1890 census were destroyed in 1921 during a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C.

When I presented this new uncle to my grandmother and great uncle, they didn’t have any idea. They knew that Alfred, Thelma and Maggie were related, but just didn’t know how.