Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting ready....

So, I’ve been working on our family book lately and I have 1 page completed. My reunion is coming up in August and my family wants to see why I’ve been calling them for the past year. It really amazes me that some members of my family (the elder ones) know nothing. It seems as though when my great-grandmother was telling the stories of family, a lot weren’t listening.

I’ve also been trying to figure out how I should present my research so far. My cousin suggested I do a large family tree on poster board so people can have a visual. Others suggested the same.
When I started researching my family tree, it began more as a curious mission. ‘Let’s see how far I can go’. Then it turned into irritation. ‘Why don’t you know who your family is!’ Then it turned into pride. ‘I know we’ve been here since at least 1866!’ I know feel a sense of responsibility to make sure I research as many family members on my tree. Even the 4th cousin twice removed. They’re still family. I’ve called myself the family historian. I’m claiming that title now.

"We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors; to put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family their story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts; instead, it is breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as if it were in our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story, and so we do. In them we find ourselves."-Author Unknown

It always amazes me those that are not interested in the family or their genealogy. I went to a family reunion this weekend for my fiancés family. I asked him “Why do they call it the Mahone-Knight?” He had NO CLUE. I was really saddened by it b/c I think it’s such a shame when WE don’t know who our family is.

Family is an extremely part of our lives and our families past lets us know the struggles they went thru. I hope I’m making my ancestors proud by making them have a voice in my future.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alfred Ferebee 1875-1923

This is who I believe to be my 3rd great grand Uncle Alfred Ferebee. I believe that Alfred is the half brother of William Lowry, my 2nd great grandfather.

I found Alfred’s death certificate on Ancestry. It stated he was murdered. The wonderful people at Pasquotank Library were able to send me an article regarding his murder. This is from The Independent, Friday 28, 1923.

The wording is a little hard to read, but it says:

“No One Understands Why Alex Jones Killed This Harmless Negro Tenant”

More or less mystery surrounds the killing of Alfred Ferebee, a negro farm worker at the home of Alex Jones, a prominent Newland Township farmer on the Newland Road, about ten miles from Elizabeth City. Jones is held for a preliminary hearing Friday morning under a $25,000 bond.

Ferebee was brought to the Community Hospital in Elizabeth City last Thursday night in a semi-conscious condition as a result of a blow on his head. He was put under options and died Sunday afternoon without regaining consciousness or making a coherent statement. The autopsy revealed that he had been dealt a crushing blow on the left temple, the blow fracturing his skull from a point over the left eye to a point just behind the left ear. It was a blow that might have been struck from the side or from behind, but could not have been easily dealt face to face. Jones will plead self defense.
Wow! I can’t even believe it. I don’t know the outcome of the case against Alex Jones. But I will be looking into that when I go to Elizabeth City in August. It does go on to say.

Alfred Ferebee was one of the most dependable and respectful negroes in Newland township. He had lived at peace with his neighbors all his life according to reports gathered by this newspaper. For 21 years he had lived in a little tenant house on the grounds of the late W. Frank Williams. He stuck by Mr. Williams during his life time and when Mr. Williams died, Alfred stuck by the widow of his former employer, worked her lands and did many of her chores. He was not a robust negro and is said to have been a consumptive.
My next step is to order the marriage certificate for Alfred Ferebee and Nancy Griffin. I'm curious to see who he lists as his parents.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

“Hi, you can call me Ally or AL”

I don’t know about you, but I come across a lot of nicknames in my family. I still have living family members that I still don’t know their real names. I learned that my grandmother’s name was really Hala Rose and not Bay Rose. Then I learned that the ‘Bay’ is just country for ‘baby’. So, now I can look back at my aunts who’s names I thought were ‘Bay (insert name here)’ and know that it was really just ‘Baby’. Crazy…I know.

My dad was telling me about our family reunion and that our cousin Bummy was coming down with us in FL. Since I have been researching our family tree, I haven’t come across a Bummy. I asked my dad who is BUMMY! He explained to me who he was. He was the son of ‘such n such’. But, I had to ask again to get the real name.

When my great grandmother Bessie died on May 3, 1998, my uncle was the one to call me. I remember that day. I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter and got a phone call that went like this:

ME: Hello
HIM: Hey Baby Girl, this is your Uncle Jeffrey. Grandma Bessie passed away.
ME: What? Who is this?
HIM: Al it's me Jeffrey.
ME: I don’t have an Uncle Jeffrey. WHO IS THIS?
HIM: *quieter voice* Al it’s your Uncle Kim.

I was 20 when this happened and at age 20 I had NO clue that my Uncle Kim’s first name was Jeffrey.


I remember the first time I met my grandmother. It was in 1985. The first family reunion that I remember. I had never seen this woman a day in my life. However, everyone told me that this was my grandmother. Me, being the tender age of 7 didn’t get the significance. I heard all my other cousins refer to her as Aunt Bay Rose. Everyone referred to her as that. I recall waiting for my brother to call her something so I could get the cue of what I should say. But, he was playing with our other cousins. Finally, the time came where I had to say something. We (my cousins and I) were going to another relative’s house down the street, cousin Pokie (real name Pocahontas Banks). She was an older woman but she sold candy out of her old scary lookin house. Well, I had to ask my grandmother for some money to buy some candy. I tugged on her shirt and said “Aunt Bay Rose, can I have some money please.” She politely said “Baby, you call me Grandma”. I remember feeling embarrassed after that!

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