Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"History of the Slave South" online course

I am taking an online course "History of the Slave South" to supplement and increase my knowledge on the subject.  Also to connect to my ancestral families.

The first homework question is :   This week you have studied the wide-ranging history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Given the massive scale of the trade, its impact was surely felt in many parts of the world.
Investigate your local area.  How was your nation or region shaped by the slave trade?

Major coastal regions from which captives were taken from Africa, all years

According to my DNA results, from both and 23andMe, my original region/nations are those that were covered in the initial lectures and shown on the map above.

I know I am supposed to look at the question objectively, but I can't  --  I am a genealogist desperately trying to piece together my family that was torn apart due to the slave trade.  I am in the United States because of the slave trade.  I am a Northerner because of the slave trade.   I am second generation Northerner.  All my grandparents were born and raised in the South  --  they came North during the first Great Migration.  Many of their siblings also came North during that time.  For the most part the men worked in the factories and the women worked as domestics or day workers.

My Mississippi families followed the migration route into Chicago and Ohio.  My Georgia families strayed from the migration route of Georgians and ended up in Detroit.

                       from Google images

So my dilemma in answering the question is what region/nation do I embrace?   I embrace them all  -- every place my family walked, laid their heads, reproduced, and died.

Friday, January 10, 2014

African American Funeral Program Collections

A question on the facebook page of the African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research  group (AAGSAR)  prompted me to post this information that I complied as a reference source at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library which houses the Buffalo African-American Funeral Program and Obituary Collection.

African American Funeral Program Collections
A Select List

The Eula M. Ramsey Johnson Memorial Funeral Program Collection of 800 programs spans more than thirty years of African American funerals in the Augusta area.  (Online)

African American Funeral Programs of San Antonio
The collection consists of over 1,000 programs that date from 1935 to present day and depicts the African American community in Bexar County.  (Online)

The Black Archives Obituary and Funeral Program Collection documents the lives and deaths of three centuries of black South Floridians, 1962—2010.

African-American Funeral Programs
The Kelly Bryant Funeral Program Collection is housed in the North Carolina Room, Durham County Library, Durham NC. (In-house collection)

West Tennessee African American Funeral Programs, 1958-2005
Brownsville/Haywood County 
Funeral Programs collected by individual residents and family members of Haywood Countians  (Online)

Maryland State Library Resource Center,  Enoch Pratt Free Library
Funeral programs from the 1960s to the present. (On-site collection)

Index of Funeral Programs, 1800-1965
Compiled by the Indiana African American Genealogy Group, Indianapolis, IN
A CD that contains over 1600 names and also references funeral homes and cemeteries that served the black community.  ($)

Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society (MPAAGHS), Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck Funeral Programs Project

The Chatham County Funeral Programs exhibit documents the lives and deaths of several generations of African American Chatham County residents.  (Online)

Arkansas Freedmen of the Frontier - Ft. Smith's Black History Site, African American Funeral Program & Obituary Collection
Geographic focus of the collection mostly Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.  Name index.  (Online, cost for copy)

Buffalo Genealogical Society of the African Diaspora
Buffalo African-American Funeral Program and Obituary Collection, volumes 1-4
Over 7,000 programs & obituaries of Buffalo & Western New York residents.
Copies of the microfilmed titles are housed at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library, The Buffalo State College Archives and The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center, Buffalo State College (In-house collection)
Volume 1, Index of over 3,000 funeral programs & obituaries (Online)

A blog with approximately 400 funeral programs; most of the people either lived, or had roots in Franklin County, NC.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brown family secrets

I came across a "family secret" yesterday in two death records.  I called my Mom and in the middle of the conversation I told her that I found information on two of her aunts without revealing what I found and she verified my discovery by relating a rumor.  She also told me that her sister knew the answers.  I then moved our conversation to something else.  My mother, Evelyn Brown Williams, is the youngest child of Noah and Lucy Brown.   Her sister/my aunt, Verlie Brown Walton, is the oldest child.  Aunt Verlie has NEVER been forthcoming with what she knows about family history.  When I've asked her for information in the past, she has basically told me that there was no need for me to know the answers to my questions.

This is my find.  My great aunt, Luella Brown Berry died on August 17, 1928 in the Massillon State Hospital of pulmonary tuberculosis.  Her younger sister, Fannie Brown McCall also died in the Massillon State Hospital of pulmonary tuberculosis; but two years prior on June 23, 1926.   Was Massillon State Hospital a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients?  Was there a tuberculosis epidemic in Massillon Oho during the 1920s?

With my next find I had more questions.  The full name of the hospital at the time was Massillon State Hospital for the Insane.  It is considered an historic asylum because when it was built in the 1890s, it was the first state hospital in the United States and Canada. The first building to be completed was McKinley Hall, named after the then governor, William McKinley.   Did both my great aunts have mental problems?  If so, what?  Were they long-term patients?  How were they treated?

McKinley Hall
Massillon State Hospital

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Mississippi BROWN tree

Mississippi Counties
In a previous post about my Granny, Lucy Washington Brown, I refer to her husband (my grandfather) as Mr. Brown.  That's how I think of him.  He wasn't in my life nor his children's lives and I've heard some not too nice things about him.  But never, never from Granny.  I think that is why I put aside  looking into the Brown family side of my ancestry.  Well, the Brown ancestors have reached out and touched me.

So I've gone back over what I have on Noah Brown's parents and siblings.  My great grandparents: Sam Brown and Mary Stamps Brown.  Also their nine children: Luella born 1886; Ida, born 1888; Fannie, born 1890; Whit, born 1892; Simon, born 1894; Willie, born 1895; Sam, born 1898; Noah, born 1902; and Elizabeth, born 1905.  My great grandparents and all their children were born in Mississippi.

Samuel Brown of Simpson County, Mississippi and Mary Stamps of Rankin County, Mississippi were married on April 10, 1885 in Simpson Mississippi.  I have found my great grandparents in the 1900 federal census living in Simpson County Mississippi with seven of their nine oldest children.  In the 1910 federal census, Mary Brown is listed as a widow with her seven youngest children, still in Simpson County Mississippi.

By the 1920 federal census my great grandmother, Mary Brown, and four of her children: William, Samuel, Noah, and Elizabeth are living together in Cuyahoga County Ohio.  They were clearly part of the "Great Migration" of African Americans who moved from the rural south to the industrial north.

Looking into the Brown family opens up more questions, more surnames and, of course, more cousins, cousins, cousins.   I embrace this challenge as I look for more branches of my family tree.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year, Family

I usually don't make new year's resolutions because I don't consider January 1st as my new year  --  that occasion happens on my birthday.  This year I'm breaking my rule and challenging myself to dig deeper into my family genealogy  --  my roots.  I am going to learn more about DNA and molecular genealogy to let it aid me in my family genealogy research.  I'm going to make that genealogy road trip to pour over court records.  I want to see those places in Georgia and Mississippi where my ancestors lived and died.  My ancestors are calling.  I know they will guide me and use me to tell our family stories..