Finding Grandma Roseanna…

Hello All,        

         Anyone who talks to me on a regular basis knows I’ve spent the past year looking up my family’s history on This has been so much fun because I am finding out so much about my family!  At first, I literally spent hours searching, printing, calling my relatives to see what they knew and then went back to searching the online data base.  Next to talking to my relatives, has been the most helpful.

            This experience has been an uplifting one because I didn’t think I’d be able to find very useful information since I’m African-American.  African-Americans were not counted in the US Census until 1870 since they were considered property.  Therefore, every generation I was able to locate was a victory in my heart.  The oldest relative I found was born in 1795. I found my great- great-great-great grandmother Roseanna O’Neal on a US census record.  I was beyond excited about it.

           So far my research has been pretty easy because my mother’s paternal side of the family stayed in the same rural county in North Carolina for three generations.  Even when great-grand parents finally did move, it was just one county south.  They also had large families which helps with searching. 

            The next turn in my research came when I discovered some LDS websites and noticed they used Pedigree Charts and Family Group Charts.  These helped with my organization because I had about fifty sheets of copies and they were cluttering up my home office area.  The Pedigree Charts condensed my findings to nine pages.  They also helped me see gaps in my research.  The only issue was they only looked at direct family lines without including any siblings.  That’s where the Family Group Charts came in handy.  The Family Group Charts proved to be great reference sheets.  There were spaces for information on occupations, previous spouses and burial sites. 

             The next step was to do more research.  My Ancestry database searches have come to a plateau.  I haven’t been able to go any further back because slave holders did not live enslaved people by name on their tax property sheets.  I’d need to make a personal visit to look through documents in order to find out who my ancestor’s owners were. 

              I’ve bought a couple of books to help me with my search.  This first one is “The Reader’s Digest: The Genealogy Handbook” by Ellen Galford.  This book is geared towards helping a person preserve artifacts they find in their search.  It’s also geared for someone looking for relative of European descent.  It’s not very helpful now, but it could prove to be in the future.  According to a DNA test I took last year, I have Eurasian ancestry.

            The second and  most useful book is David T. Thackery’s book, “Finding Your African-American Ancestors: A Beginners Guide.”  This book may be slim, but it is full of information relevant to my search.  I reccomend this book to any African-American who is serious about find an anscestor.

           So what’s next???

          Well, I’m working on a Family Heritage book that includes some pictures and obituaries I have collected over the years.   My dh’s family has already traced their family tree so I can just add that into our heritage book at a later time.  They even know the plantation they were on when enslaved people were declared free.  They have family reunions there every five years.

        I’ve also infected my friends and have been asked to do some pedigree charts for them. We’ll see how that goes.  If this keeps up, I’ll have to charge ’em.

Happy Searching!


Featured post


Hello All,

It’s been a while since I posted, but we all know life gets in the way. 

The online part of my family history research is pretty much over and now it’s time for footwork.  I’m currently working on a Heritage book for the family and making sure my other relatives have copies of pedigree charts. 

I’m looking forward to another trip home so I can do some more “creepin'” but in the mean time, I’m planning to join  local genealogy group to sharpen my skills in case I missed something.

I look forward to hearing from you all. Take care.


Cemetary Creeping…

Hello All,

          I recently ran across some pictures I took the last time I went home to NC.  They aren’t the type most people take when they go on vacation, but who said I was normal?

               Anyway, my husband and I took a ride to the family cemetary to see who we could find.  Most of my relatives are buried at our home church so it wasn’t hard finding everyone.  During this trip, I was able to take pictures of some head stones and the family church.  I eventually want to document our church’s history.  Here are some of the pictures I took:

My family church
My family church
Grandma Lottie and Granddaddy Poley
Grandma Lottie and Granddaddy Poley


If you plan to go for a ‘cemetary creep,” here are some things you need to keep in mind-

1. Get permission first.  Since I was creeping around my family church everyone knew me, but once your searching leads you into unfamiliar areas make sure to call first. Also, if there are mourners at the cemetary, come back at another time.

2. Go during mid-day. We went later in the evening so we had to work quickly.  Make sure to give yourself plenty of time because you never know who you may find.

3. Get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to make a great picture. Clear off any leaves or old flowers you find on they grave site.  Remember, you’re documenting information for future generations.  Don’t be shabby.

4. Bring extra batteries and memory card.  It never hurts to be prepared.

5. Wear jeans and sneakers.This is not a time to be cute.  We went to the cemetary the day after a rain so it was pretty muddy.

6. Never go alone.  You never know what may happen in unfamiliar places.  If no one is available, at least take a fully charged phone.

If any of you can think of any other tips, feel free to post them in your comments.  Happy searching!



“Grandma’s Hands”
by Bill Withers

Grandma’s hands
Clapped in church on Sunday morning
Grandma’s hands
Played a tambourine so well
Grandma’s hands
Used to issue out a warning
She’d say, “Billy don’t you run so fast
Might fall on a piece of glass
“Might be snakes there in that grass”
Grandma’s hands

Grandma’s hands
Soothed a local unwed mother
Grandma’s hands
Used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma’s hands
Used to lift her face and tell her, she’d say,
“Baby, Grandma understands
That you really love that man
Put yourself in Jesus hands”
Grandma’s hands

Grandma’s hands
Used to hand me piece of candy
Grandma’s hands
Picked me up each time I fell
Grandma’s hands
Boy, they really came in handy
She’d say, “Matty don’ you whip that boy
What you want to spank him for?
He didn’ drop no apple core”
But I don’t have Grandma anymore

If I get to Heaven I’ll look for
Grandma’s hands

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑