Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My family reunion was this past weekend (22-24) and we had a great time!

Friday night was the Meet & Greet. I got to see family I hadn’t seen in many years. BUT, I met my 2nd cousin 2 times removed (see the bottom of blog for figuring that out). His grandfather, Preston Banks, and my 3rd Great Grandmother, Harriet Banks, were siblings.

I had previously researched his grandfather’s family. So, when my uncle introduced us and explained who he was, I did what most genealogists would do. I started rattling off who he’s the son, grandson, great grandson of..on both sides of his tree. I think he was pretty impressed by the fact that not only did I know about his Banks side, but I knew about his mother’s Williams side as well.

On Saturday, my fiancé and I went around town. I got some things marked off my list. I visited the FRSNNC which I am a member of and met the President, Sharon Gable. It was a pleasure meeting her b/c I have e-mailed her often for assistance with my family research. Then we went by the library to pick up a copy of an article that the genalogist made for me. It cost me a whole $.10 to get. Then we went exploring.

I wanted to see if I could find my great grandmothers house. I was going off of memory and we just started driving. After a couple of wrong turns, we found it.

The beautiful thing about this is, alot of my family stays on this one road. So all we had to do is park the car and visit with more family.

Saturday night was amazing. Going to our banquets is like going to church. My uncles, The Spence Brothers, are gospel singers in Elizabeth City and they sing at many of the churches there. Every reunion, they sing and it makes you want to get out of your seat. We also had another gospel group come and sing. I don’t have the name of them but they were outstanding. When I get their name, I’ll update the post. When I say that the guy singing “Never would have made it” sounded EXACTLY like Marvin Sapp…that is no exaggeration.

My presentation of the family tree and our history went over well. I think it sparked a lot of interest in the rest of the family by seeing how much work I’ve done over the past year. My only regret is that more of Enoch and Rosa descendents weren’t in attendance. However, I employed my daughter to collect everyone’s address, phone # and e-mail address and she did an amazing job!

Sunday was our farewell cookout. I spent most of the time visiting with family, collecting more addresses for my database and taking pictures.

This weekend I took over 150 pictures. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take a group photo. There was so much to do and so little time. Hopefully next year, that will be accomplished.

But I can say that I can't wait to go back on a research trip! Especially since I've learned the city!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Final Project Completed!

I just finished the poster that I'm doing for my family reunion. I almost felt like it was a school project that I better get an 'A' on!!

Hopefully my family will appreciate this and enjoy it. Better yet, they'll open up and hand over some stories and photos.

One question though..Should I add something like 'Completed by A. Spence'?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


All I have to say is this: You have a Ancestry, Footnote, account that you're paying $XX.XX per month for. However, if you are African American/black and have used the Afrigeneas website, you should donate. It is the most valuable place on cyberspace that black people have. To keep it going and keep connected with other researchers, we need to donate.

You can even have them link you on the sponsor's page so that I will help promote your website/blog.

Afrigeneas will keep you connected with everything from Adoption to Writing. With the amount of visitors the site has, it doesn't have nearly enough people donating. I just wanted to encourage anyone that was 'thinking' of doing so, to go ahead and do it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Annie Jones (McPherson)

This is Annie Jones. She is the daughter of William Henry McPherson (B: 1872) and Hattie E. (Bouges) McPherson (B: 1877, D: 23 May 1923). This article was in the family book my aunt made. It had no caption that indicated a connection to our Spence-Lowry family. Just that she was the sister of Zelna Hinton (McPherson).

The other day, I got one of those wonderful “I found your profile on” e-mails. I love those! I don’t care if it’s about my family or the cousin’s husband’s sister’s family that is on my tree. I add everyone I find to my ancestry tree if I can connect them to someone. If a cousin got married, I add the husband and his family. You never know…this may lead to something.

And as it has, this has led someone finding additional piece of their family that they didn’t know existed (this article). The great thing is; she has the same pictures of William and Hattie McPherson that I do. Although mine are photo copies, it’s still great. That means there is a close connection between our families.

I posted this article for her. Here you go ‘cuz’.

You could help....

Now, I'm not asking for much. Just a little cooperation on your part. *smile*

  • Your voice mail must say “You have reached the descendants of Aaron Spence, please leave a message”
  • Your e-mail signature should read “Our ancestors are African American”
  • You’re required to have a 3 generation family tree on hand at all times.
  • Know where your precious photos are and who they were given too.
  • Scan them (at 600 dpi) before you hand them over to anyone.
  • Do not put tape on the front of the photo...PLEASE.
  • Stop claiming fake cousins – it’s nice and all…but..very confusing.
  • Attend the family reunion.
  • Give out your #. We are not telemarketers..we're family.
  • Everything is important, even that lil note you had from auntie such-n-such on the proper method of baking a pie.
  • When I say send all pictures, I really do mean all.
  • Tell me the whole story at once. No need to revisit with you 4 times and get 4 different versions.

That is all....for now....

Friday, August 15, 2008

American Legacy

One day, in a search for 'African American Magazine', I came across American Legacy. I had never heard of this magazine before and loved that it was for us. Not about Lil Wayne or Puffy. But about the little known black people in history that made a difference. I loved it.

After going thru the site, they have a family reunion page for you to list your family reunion. Of course, I listed mine. However, if you scroll all the way to the bottom, there is a link for 'Family Reunion Sample'.

What they do is offer a discount subscription for the attendees. I thought that was awesome. So, I sent an e-mail to the person. This was about 2 months ago.

Today, when I came home I had 6 boxes at my front door. In each of the 5 boxes contained 40 copies of their magazine.
In the last box, contained about 250 or so copies of an actual family tree with our names printed on it and 250 copies of family group sheets.

I am so happy about this!! Do you know how much printing this saved me?!?!?!?!

Thank you American Legacy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sad Story.....

….about family memories lost.

When my Great Grandmother Bessie passed away, her things were divided. As many precious things, some her children didn’t know what to do with. So, they left them in her home to make a decision at a later date. Her home is in our family so there were no worries of anything happening to them.

However, one relative came to live in Grandma Bessie’s house after her passing. Many of her things were removed when this relative moved out. Such as: a picture of my 2nd great grandparents, William and Harriet Lowry. These were Grandma Bessie’s parents.

The story goes that this relative took the picture to take to ‘someone’ to get copies made. But, this ‘someone’ lost the picture. Nor does this relative remember who this ‘someone’ is now.

I hope this story is NOT true. I hope that the relative is just hoarding the picture and other belongs. I hope that they weren’t just lost due to irresponsibility. Something so precious just can’t be lost!

I know I’m early into my research and people having quite opened up completely to everything just yet. But, I hope and pray that this is something that will come to light soon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Word of the day: Griot

I have never heard this word before today. Thanks Mechie for the new word.

I love to Google things I don’t know and of course when I read her comment on my other blog, I googled this word.

Griots are West African Story Tellers of family histories of a tribe. Now, when I read that, I thought “I’m mostly East African since my mom is from Ethiopia” But as I read further, the first person on the list of griots on Wikipedia is an Ethiopian man by the name of Ayalew Mesfin. And he seems to be the only Ethiopian listed.

Then I searched for him, and came across Ethiopiques. I’ll be ordering this CD for my mom when I get home.

My search also took me to this website, African American Griots. I never knew this existed. But, I quickly submitted my blog and surname info so I can be listed. As George Geder always says, "Guided by the Ancestors". This is a definite case of that.

My Calling

If you see on the lower right hand-side, I have about 20 surnames. Not all are blood lines to my tree. Most are the spouse, person on the census, or some other type of connection in my research. However, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to know more about them.

I believe that every black person in these counties are related me some kind of way. I’ve even found connection between my Cuz Tina’s paternal line and my family (her ancestors and mine married further up the tree-so we’re cousins a couple of times along the way)

I post all the surnames I come across because you never know who is reading. What if someone just so happens to be researching an Uncle that they knew about but didn’t really know?

I truly believe that this is my calling; connecting the dots on my tree with solid lines! And as I begin working on my presentation and try to think of what I’m going to say at my family reunion, I came across this poem that says it perfectly.

My feelings are in each family we are called to find the ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live again,
To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead,
Breathing life into all who have gone before.

We are the story tellers of the tribe.
We have been called as it were by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us:
Tell our story.
So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

How many graves have I stood before now and cried?
I have lost count.

How many times have I told the ancestors
you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us?

How many times have I walked up to a grave
and felt somehow there was love there for me?
I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts.
It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do?
It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever
to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen.
The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.
How they contributed to what we are today.
It goes to respecting their hardships and losses,
their never giving in or giving up.

Their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us
That we might be born who we are.
That we might remember them.
So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence,
Because we are them and they are us.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.

It is up to that one called in the next generation,
To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do my family genealogy,
And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

[Author: Della M. Cumming ca 1943.]

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesdays - Follow up

I don’t know who these people are. For some reason they were in the ‘family book’ my grand aunt made for the elders.

O.k. the picture of the 2 people are top are William Henry McPherson (B: 1872) and Hattie E. (Bouges) McPherson (B: 1877, D: 23 May 1923). They married in 1895 in Pasquotank County, NC. They had 9 possibly 10 children.

  • Tem McPherson (B: 1897) – He possibly married Penelope Griffin in 1915 in Pasquotank.
  • William Ernest McPherson (B: 1899). He married Georgia Temple in 1919 in Pasquotank.
  • Lillie M. McPherson (B: 1901)
  • Mabel L. McPherson (B: 1903)
  • Flossie Luciele McPherson (B: 1923). Possibly married Mavin or Malvin Griffin in 1923 in Pasquotank.
  • Carrie McPherson (B: 1909). Possibly married Joseph T. Williams in 1926.
  • Zelna (Zelda) McPherson (B: 1914). Married Rufus Hinton
  • Naomi M. McPherson (B: 1916).
  • Ruth McPherson (B: 1919)
  • David McPherson –Possibly married Emma Griffin in 1924. This is the one I’m not sure about.
Now, in the family book we have a picture of Annie Hinton. It states she is the daughter of Henry and Hattie McPherson. I believe that Ruth and Annie maybe the same person. I don’t know who these people are and in my research, I haven’t been able to connect them to the tree. So, maybe they were close friends of the family but no one really knows.

Now the article is about 5 generations of Negro farmers. I don’t know this family either. Based on the age of Margaret L. Hinton (90) in the article, I estimate it was written around 1937. According to the 1930 & 1920, census she was born 1851. The 1910 Census states she was born 1855. 1900 Census states she was born about 1848. 1870 she was born about 1846. She died on 11 Sept 1938.

I’ve contacted the Pasquotank Library for assistance on getting a better copy of the article.

Why are these people in the family book?

Maybe someone in cyberspace is looking for this tidbit of info.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

I have a GHD!

That’s right I have a Genealogy Hater Degree. I’ve helped my cuz research some of her family members..and yeah..i’m hatin a lil on the fact that her people owned property that can be traced. One of her surnames has been free since the late 1700’s. I’m a lil salty since I can’t even find my Spence’s before 1880 let alone the slave owners of the rest of my surnames.

I’m a lil perturbed that some folks on Afrigeneas are able to make connections to other folks on Afrigeneas like “Hey long lost cousin. I’ve been looking for you. When’s the reunion?” I get a lil frustrated when a blog buddy makes online connections. I always think…WHERE ARE MY PEOPLE??

Side Note: I did find my cuz Tina on She would be the only other person researching the family tree. (there cuz, you're not chopped liver! lol)

My dad has come to the conclusion that I’m probably the only one researching our family tree that includes the Spence-Lowry.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mad at those that make their connections. I think it’s wonderful. But I always say, ‘Where are my people!!”

Of course, my frustration comes from something I always tell my cousin. “Everything isn’t online”. I know that I will have to make hands on genealogy trips to Pasquotank and Camden County in NC in order too make some headway. I also know that those who have found more info have done this. Next year, that’s my goal!

But then I get to thinking. I am like my GG grandfather, Aaron Spence, I don’t recall filling out a census in 2000. I was single and living in my own home with 1 child. So, in 72 years when my GG grand daughter is looking for her GG grand mother Al on the census, maybe she’ll find this long lost post about where I was in 2000. My daughter was 2 and I was 22. I was single. I bought my home that year and loved it. I was working at a mortgage company. Not yet interested in genealogy or who my ancestors were. Hope you find this and put me on the tree.

Love always,

Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide