Wednesday, July 4, 2018

MAAGI 2018

This has been a crazy year but with tiny steps I seem to finally, although ever so slowly, be returning to my research.

And to help me get back into the grove and keep pushing forward, this year, I will be attending the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute better known as MAAGI.

I'm looking forward to reconnecting, again, with my on-line genealogy buds that I've know for years and have have meet many in person. And as the old Girl Scout song states, I  also hope to make some new friends.

Most importantly, I'm looking forward to learning and acquiring new skills as I fully return to my research. The ancestors are once again stirring and telling me that I need to get back at it that I need to move beyond this stuck place that I've been at ever since my dad died in 2011.

And as I get back to the research, I also hope to get back to blogging.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - My Santa Claus Memories

It doesn't seem possible that it has been 4 years since the last time I participated in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

The last time I participated in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun appears to be  December 8, 2013, when I wrote a letter to Genea Santa. Sadly, many of the things I requested are still needed especially the drive I had back in 2009 when I returned to my research after a 10 year hiatus. Back in 2013, I was still grieving the loss of my dad and had no motivation to do a lot of things. These days I'm just busy. Between work, being caregiver for my mom, trying to take care of myself and trying to become more active at church, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of time left for research.

Well enough reminiscing and whining, so without further ado, it's time to get to this week's assignment.

Here is the assignment that Randy tasked us with.

1)  Answer these questions:

a) Did you ever send a letter to Santa Claus?
b) Did you ever visit Santa and "make a list?"
c) Do you still believe in Santa Claus?
d) When did you find out "the truth" about Santa Claus?


Growing up, I use to right letters to Santa all the time. I even remember mailing some of them. Looking back, I actually think there was some big warehouse, all those Santa letters got forwarded to before they got sent of to the landfill or to some incinerator.

There was something special about that letter traveling all the way to the North Pole and Santa reading it.


Back in the day, mom would come home from work and grab my cousin Daryl (1st cousin 1x removed) and I and we would make the annual trek to the Sears in my hometown to have our visit with Santa. It never bothered me to hope up on Santa's lap and give him a detailed list of what I want.

Daryl, on the other hand was terrified of Santa. Every year he would declared he was going to be a big boy and not cry and scream, and every year he would hold it together while we were standing in line but the minute it was his turn to hop up on Santa's knee, he would lose it. Daryl was one year younger than me and to this day, I still pick at him about screaming at the top of his lungs every year during our visit to Santa.

3c) Nope I know longer believe in Santa. That being said I get a tremendous amount of joy from being Secret Santa to boys and girls who wouldn't have a Christmas if it wasn't for the Secret Santa's of the world. Also, even though I've been unable to participate the past two years, I also enjoying helping out at Spirit of Christmas, which the church I attend puts on ever year, because in addition to toys, sometimes children just need a pair of shoes and a warm coat to get through the winter months.

3d) I think I was about 12 years old when I found out Santa no longer existed. I don't think I was snooping, but maybe I was, when I found the doll hidden under my mother's bed. That was the point I knew Santa was a made up thing. I don't remember being sad to discover that Santa no longer existed. I think I was more disappointed than anything.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Madness Monday - Photobucket

I've not blogged in awhile. While I've been away, there have been some changes that occurred at Photobucket that affected my blog and many others.

In case you haven't heard, Photobucket, where I've stored pictures for years, has decided to start charging for posting pics to third party sites, which includes blogs.

While this change happened a few months ago, I'm just now finding the time to discuss it.

When Photobucket decided to make this change, they 1) gave no warning that they were making the change and 2) made it retroactive. What this meant for those of us who used Photobucket is that the links to the pictures in our blogs were suddenly turned off.

Instead of the picture that you included when you did your post, you now get this.

In order to be able to turn your past photos back on and to be able to post in the future, Photobucket is now charging $33.33 / month or $399.96 per year. Sorry Photobucket but that's not happening.

So, I've been researching trying to find the best way to revive my blog to include the currently lost pictures. By the way, the pictures are still on Photobucket, they just don't show up on my blog.

I know with blogger, I can just have the pictures stored here with Google but am wondering if there are other options.

So I have a question for my fellow bloggers, how do you store the pictures that you use on your blog?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Johnny Lonnie Phillips

This is my 2nd cousin 1X  removed and his wife. Mr. Phillips mother and my maternal grandmother were first cousins. His grandfather, Alonzo (Lonnie) Pierce, and my great grandfather, Cornelius Pierce, were brothers.

Since I really, really need a DNA analysis from my great grandfather's side of the family, I'm hoping that one of Mr. Phillips descendants will be willing to do a DNA analysis for me. Per my mother, one of his daughters is married to our former neighbors' son. I just need to determine where they are currently living, so that I can contact them / her.

Praying for success on this one.

The picture of cousin Lonnie Phillips and his wife's tombstone was obtained via Find-a-Grave.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Madness Monday - Revisiting the Sharps and the Durdens

Hey everybody, this is actually a brand new post, as opposed to a previously posted post.

I actually did a little research this weekend. Yay for me!

When I first returned to my research, way back in 2009, I was hoping that by tracing some of my grandmother's cousins, I could crack the case of my mysterious great grandmother, also know as Fannie of the many names.

Two of those cousins that I was trying to trace were Pvt. Wheeler Sharp and Willie Claude Durden. I wrote about Pvt. Wheeler "Bubba" Sharp here and here and I wrote about the Durdens here.

My last activity on Bubba was to contact the funeral home that provided the services for his son, Avie, who died in November of 2010. 2 of Avie's siblings were still living and my hope was that my letter and info to the funeral home would be forwarded to them. I waited and waited and waited for a response but never received one.

I eventually forgot about both Bubba and Claude until this past week, when I received an email from Shelly, who informed me that her boyfriend was Bubba's great grandson and that she had come across documentation that listed Bubba's mother as Cora Durden.

I wrote her back and told her what I had on Pvt. Sharp and that his SS-5 application showed Cora Wheeler as his mother but I remembered that cousin Claude Durden's mother was named Cora, too. I also pointed out that for a brief period the two family's lived next door to each other. I also mentioned, that although Cousin Claude's SS-5 application stated that his mother was Cora Clemmons, my gut was telling me that these 3 Coras were all one in the same.

Glad I listened to my gut. It took me awhile to confirm what my gut was telling me, and even though the transcription was in error, there it was, the marriage of Warren Durden and Cora Sharp. (Cora's name had been transcribed as Cova)

So, Pvt. Wheeler was Cousin Claude's older brother, which explains the two families living next door to each other after they migrated from Walton County, GA to my home county (Cleveland) in NC. So from what I've been able to gather so far. Cora and Wheeler's Father, Ive, probably married sometime around 1890. by the 1900 census Cora was a widow with 4 children, one of which was "Bubba". She married Warren Durden in 1904 and had 2 more children, one of which was Willie Claude.

Since both of these men were related to my grandmother, I immediately assumed (rightly or wrongly) that more than likely the connection to my grandmother was on their mother's line. Unfortunately for me, just as quick as I had that bit of success in putting the brothers together, the door shut right back.

I had always wondered what happened to Cora after Warren Durden died in 1932. I've searched every record I could think of in NC and it was like she went pouf. No death certificates,  no marriages, nothing. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier but it appears that Cora may have actually gone back home to GA, as I found a death certificate for a Cora Durden in Walton County, GA that appears to be my Cora. Unfortunately, the informant did not know her parents names. What's with all these mysterious women on my grandmother's side of the family.

Of course, there could also be the possibility that the men are related on their father's lines but for now, I'll just concentrate on Cora.

  1. Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
  2. "Georgia Deaths, 1928-1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 April 2016), Cora Lee Durden, 24 Mar 1938; citing Good Hope, Walton, Georgia, United States, Georgia Archives, Morrow; FHL microfilm .

#A-Z Challenge 2017 - M

M is for Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch, my maternal grandmother.

This was originally posted on April 5, 2010, as part of the 2nd edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy.

My last Visit with Little Grandmother
Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch

Date and location unknown
From the personal collection of the owner of this Blog

Surprisingly, the theme for the second edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy has been a tough one for me. It’s not that I never knew my grandmothers but that I really didn’t get an opportunity to know them.

My maternal grandmother died when I was 5 and the only true remembrance I seem to have of my Little Grandmother, which is what I’ve always called her due to her small stature, was visiting her in the hospital right before her death. When she died, I didn’t even have a grasp, yet, on the concept of death. At her funeral I remember asking my mother why is everyone crying. Mom explained that everyone was sad because grandmom was gone, which caused me to ask my next question, “how come I’m not crying?”

Even though my last visit with my Little Grandmother should have been a sad time, I don’t seem to remember it that way. It will always be etched permanently in my brain as a joyous occasion in my young life. As the years have rolled by, it’s a memory that I treasure and one that I decided to talk about.

My grandmother had been sick for some time. She knew long before she was ever diagnosed with cancer that something was wrong. I’m sure there were other times that she must have been in the hospital, although this last visit I had with her is the only one that I remember. I don’t remember the day of the week or the time of the visit just that mom said we were going to visit grandmom in the hospital. Even though some aspects of this memory are vague, I remember being excited about getting to see her. Living only one street over from my maternal grandparents and with a few of my older cousins babysitting me, I got to see grandmom almost daily, so obviously I was missing her.

When we got to the hospital, I remember I had to wait for grandmom to come down from her room, because children weren’t allowed to go up to the rooms. I thought grandmom would never arrive, but then there she was. I remember she looked frail and weak, but she also had the biggest smile for me as I was prancing up and down and I’m sure yelling grandma, grandma. Then she bent down and gave me a kiss in the usual spot that was reserved just for her. I was ecstatic. Our visit wasn’t long as I think the walk had zapped what little strength she had at that moment. I looked on with sadness as she slowly ventured back in the direction that would lead back to her room.

After the visit, mom and I went shopping for flowers. Yes, they were the plastic kind, but mom thought they would cheer grandmom up. At some point during the flower shopping expedition, I told mom I wanted my own set of flowers to give to grandmom. Mom must have said okay, because I picked out a small arrangement of pink flowers in a white vase to go along with mom’s big yellow arrangement. Afterwards, we returned to the hospital to deliver them. I don’t remember if mom took them up or if grandmom came back down but they were delivered.

On March 18, 1966, my sweet Little Grandmother said goodbye to this world. Somehow, mom managed to retrieve the flowers that she and I had given grandmom. For years, both arrangements were stored in our basement, and through the years, every time I came across them, which was often, I thought of my grandmother.

There are many days that I wish my grandmother was still here, that we had had more time together, etc, but I’m thankful for the five years Little Grandmother and I had.

Monday, April 10, 2017

#A-Z Challenge 2017 - H

H is for Hosch!

This post was originally posted on March 7, 2010 for the first edition of Carnival of African-American Genealogy. The theme was Restore My Name.

Carnival of African – American Genealogy


As an African-American whose family is deeply rooted in the South, there was never any doubt that my ancestors were slaves. Even knowing this, there are still surprises along the way.

You see I had always had this, what now appears to be, idealist notion that most plantations were gigantic. For some reason, I figured this would make it easier to find my Ancestors. However, what I now know is that at least for my ancestors there were no giant plantations, which means that while my ancestors can still be found, it just may take a bit more work, but it can be done.

As you know, to date, the only documentation I have on any of my ancestors during slavery comes through my Hosch line.

First, there is the will of Matthew Hosch that lists the names of his slaves, which includes my 2nd Great Grandmother Matilda as a girl. Approximately thirty years later, Grandma Matilda and child, more than likely Grand Uncle Allen Hosch, can be found in the appraisal and distribution of Henry Hosch’s estate.

However, my greatest treasure can never be found in old probate records, deeds, etc. My greatest treasure is the names of the “Negros” listed in the family bible of Henry Hosch and his wife Matilda. My Great Grandfather’s, Monroe Barto Hosch, birth is recorded here. If you look closely, you will notice that the recording of the births doesn’t necessarily go in chronological order, which typically means the names were added after the fact and could mean some of the dates may not be exactly accurate. For Grandpa Barto, the dates recorded in the bible correspond (1 year difference) with information provided on the 1870 and 1880 census. So, I’m fairly confident in this information and the aunthenticity of it.

I received copies of this wonderful treasure through Henry’s great granddaughter (hope I have the number of greats correct) who I’ve had contact with off and on for the past 10+ years. When I initially received the copies of their family bible, I had discussed with Pat, Henry’s descendant, about using them on my blog. I always wanted the moment that I posted them to be just right and today I couldn’t think of a better time than the first Carnival of African-American Genealogy. Having restored the name of Grandpa Barto awhile ago, it’s now time to restore the names of my collateral relatives as well.

From the personal collection of P. Hardin (

#A-Z Challenge 2017 - G

My friend Renate, from Into the Light, turned me onto this blogging challenge a little over a week ago. I immediately decided that I would participate as it would help me get back to blogging but as you can see, here I am a little over a week later and haven't posted a thing.

So, my goal is to start today and then, hopefully go back and get caught up on the days I missed. Now I admit, some of these may be previous posts from years gone by but at least it will hopefully, finally be a start in getting me going, again.

So, this first post, about one of my Ancestral Home Counties, was originally posted back in 2009 and was my musings on the book How Curious a Land: Conflict and Change in Greene County, GA 1850 - 1855 by Jonathan M. Bryant.

Greene County, GA 1850 - 1885

This past Monday, while waiting in the emergency room with my dad, I was able to finish reading How Curious a Land: Conflict and Change in Greene County, GA 1850 - 1885 by Jonathan M. Bryant. I purchased this book hoping there would be a mention of my ancestors, my 2ggrandparents Jasper and Jane Pierce, or at least a mention of their last slave owner. Sadly, there was no mention of either my ancestors or their owner.

Even though there was no mention of my ancestors, I am glad that I read the book as it gave me a snapshot of what was going on in the county in which they lived prior to and immediately following the civil war. This is not a full blown review of the book but just some of things I noted or that came to mind as I read the book.

One of the interesting things, based on this book, is that a great many of the slaves were able to "freely" move about and visit other farms as the patrol laws were never really enforced in Greene County. And although not legally recognized, they were allowed to marry and they were allowed to build their own church because it was thought they would do better spiritually if they had their own place of worship.

Maybe it was this limited Freedom during slavery that gave the former slaves of Greene County the strength and solidarity against great odds to continue to fight for their rights long after the other former slaves of GA had been put back in their place. They build their own community, Canaan, and they greatly impacted the politics of Greene County for many years. It was a several years before Democrats came back in power in Greene County. (For those that may not know, Lincoln's party was not the Democratic party. The former slaves and their descendants were overwhelmingly Republican and it stayed this way until the 1930s.)

Unfortunately for many of the former slaves of Greene County and yes even for some of the former slave owners, Greene County put all it's eggs into one basket, Cotton, and a market economy over which they had no control. Even though I've yet to visit Greene County, I understand the effects of this decision still hang over Greene County even today.

The one thing that I confirmed by reading this book but had already suspected is that even within Greene County there was further fragmentation depending on where one resided. My ancestors and their suspected but yet to be confirmed owner, Jesse Pierce, lived in White Plains, GA. The White Plains and Siloam areas were known as the Grey Lands due to the light sandy soil. Those that settled this area tended to be small time farmers, usually owning less than 200 acres, with only few slaves (15 or less) and it's reported that the owner's often worked in the fields alongside their slaves. I wonder if having to work alongside the slaves they owned affected the owner's view of slavery. This fact also make me realize that it may be just a bit more difficult than even I imagined to continue past my 2ggrandparents but I refuse to give up.

And lastly, I wonder what my ancestors went through in the years immediately following the civil war. Did they ever think about moving to Canaan? Did they ever try to vote? Or did they just simply want their own little piece of land to farm and raise their family? Eventually, my ancestors left Greene County. My ggrandfather and his brother Lon would eventually end up in Walton County and my great aunt Nuna would eventually end up in Atlanta. I suspect that one by one or together that the rest of my ggrandfather's brothers and sisters left Greene County, too as I've not been able to locate them past the 1880 census. I think my 2ggrandparents more than likely spent their entire life in White Plains. GGgranddad appears on the 1880 census, then never again. I've found what appears to be my gggrandmother on the 1900 census still in White Plains.

Til Next Time!

Monday, March 13, 2017

February 25th Genealogy Showcase

Hey everyone, I know it's been several months since my last post.

I'm still not totally back to the genealogy but I am trying to at least stay active these days. On February 4th, I attended the the Spring Genealogy Conference, African American Genealogy: Overcoming Roadblocks, at St. Augustine University in Raleigh.

Later in the month, February 25th, the African-American Heritage Ministry at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, put on a Genealogy Showcase. I'm a member of both the church and the ministry. The ministry tries to plan activities throughout the year in order to try to educate the members of our church, especially our youth, about our history and heritage. However, most of our activities are centered around the month of February.

Several of these activities center around genealogy / family history. Last year, one of the other members of the ministry and I conducted a 1 1/2 hour presentation on getting started in genealogy.

This years event was the Genealogy Showcase. We invited the members of the church to participate and share part of their family's history. In addition we invited several of the local genealogy organizations, including AAHGS - AAGIG, Comprehensive Genealogical Services, and the Mecklenburg County Library. Guest speaker, via Skype, was Dr. Gina Paige of African Ancestry DNA.

Due to several events, such as the CIAA tournament, occurring that same weekend, attendance and participation was not what we had hoped for but it was still a nice event.

Here are some of the visual displays.

This first one is from my friend, Beatrice Cox. Mrs. Cox and I are the main two researchers in the ministry. She's the one I did last year's presentation with.

This next display is from our chair person, Cynthia Dumizo. Cynthia, as well as Mrs. Cox, are very active in a local group, Comprehensive Genealogical Services, which is active in finding local abandoned slave cemeteries.

This was the beginning of the display by another of our ministry members, Rosalyn Johnson. Originally, this was all that Rosalyn had planned to bring. She was planning to use a corner of my table but I ended up using my entire table, so Rosalyn ran back home and brought in some other materials. Since I was also doing a lot of running around (even going back home myself), I did not get a picture of Rosalyn's completed table.

The following tables were done by other members of the church and unfortunately, I didn't get their names.

And last but not least, here are the pictures of my table. If I had known we could use more than one table, I would have definitely brought more materials but for this being the first time of doing a visual display, I think it turned out okay. I got several tips from the Conference / Workshop earlier in the month that I employed in creating my displays.