November 8, 2015

Ancestry Day in Raleigh, NC

Yesterday was the long awaited Ancestry Day event in Raleigh, NC. It was preceded on Friday with an event at the NC Archives that included informative sessions, vendors, and time in the search room. 

I volunteered both days -- what a rewarding experience!

On Friday, I worked at the registration desk in the lobby area of the NC Archives. I made a number of new friends, checked in folks for the events, and even got to spend a couple of hours in the search room roaming around, with no real agenda or research purpose. How fun!

On Saturday, Ancestry Day was held at the McKimmon Center on the campus of NC State University. What a beautiful facility!  Again I helped register people and was a door monitor. Not only did I make even MORE new friends, but I got to sit in on a couple of sessions and heard Crista Cowan (Ancestry's Barefoot Genealogist) speak on how to more effectively use She's a great speaker and even more engaging in person (as opposed to her You Tube videos).

All in all, it was a really wonderful experience and I'm glad I did it, although I must admit getting up at 5am on a rainy Saturday morning to be at the event by 6:30am was a bit of a chore!

A couple of upcoming events to be aware of:

National Genealogy Society's annual conference will be held in RALEIGH May 10-13, 2017!  WooHoo!  Right in my own backyard!

Treasures of Carolina exhibit at the NC Museum of History, running through June 19, 2016. You can see NC's copy of the Bill of Rights, the original 11th admemdment to the US Constitution, the Carolina CHarter of 1663, and document signed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and more!  Learn more here

Have fun!

October 11, 2015

Bud Allen: Moonshiner and Farmer

My great grandfather, Eugene Narron ALLEN, has always been an enigma to me. His nickname was Bud and I've seen his middle name as Nebron and Newman. From all accounts, he was a rough fellow from a dirt poor family. He surely fit right in with his peers.

Bud was born 03 May 1880 in Wake County, NC. He was the fourth child of parents Henry J ALLEN and Armeda HUSKETH, who have proven to be as much of a mystery as their son.

He was definitely a bad boy, having served time in the joint for making moonshine. By that time, he'd been married to Elizabeth "Sissy" Ray for nearly 23 years and had 7 children. Bud and Sissy must have had quite the farewell just before he reported for 6 months on the road crew in November of 1927, because their last child Marvin was born 18 April 1928. Sadly, Sissy died a day after giving birth to Marvin, her 8th child. Bud must have been out of prison by then because he was the informant on her death certificate. 

He lived another 11 years and did not remarry. He was living with his daughter Mamie in Raleigh, NC when he passed away from pneumonia  and heart disease. 

Bud shows up on the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census. He was also a registered voter, per the 1902, 1904 and 1906 voter registration records, Wake County, NC. He registered for the draft in 1918 listing Sissy as his next of kin. He was 38 years old at the time of his registration. I cannot find any evidence he was called to serve.

He lists a variety of occupations along the way; farmer, dairyman, laborer.

Bud was buried on 05 Mar 1939 in the cemetery of New Light Baptist Church in New Light, NC in extreme northern Wake County, next to Sissy.

October 2, 2015

Davis Family Reunion

My Davis family reunion is tomorrow and I'm really excited about seeing the family. Unfortunately, the weather here on the east coast is very very wet and may impact attendance. For those hardy souls who are willing to venture out in the torrential rains, we'll have the requisite BBQ and tables of food.

I like to think of family reunions as more than just an opportunity for us to eat and chat. Reunions should honor those who came before us and give us an opportunity to learn more of our family history.

Sadly, many are just not interested in those who came before us or just want to see the pictures. I love sharing the pictures, but what is a picture if you don't know anything about the person? Or the circumstances that caused the picture to be taken? 

For example, what was going on in the picture below? Was this a family reunion? A church event? Or just Sunday dinner? Wish I knew!

I think heavily each year about how I can provide info on the family history without boring people to death. I'm not sure I ever hit the mark, but every once in a while someone will email asking about family history and that makes me very happy.

Ummm....this would be me.

September 17, 2015

Wake County Genealogical Society presents JC Knowles and The Life and Times of Andrew Johnson

Please join us for the first Wake County Genealogical Society meeting since
our summer hiatus.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Place: Olivia Raney Local History Library
          4016 Carya Drive
          Raleigh, NC 27610

Speaker: J. C. Knowles

Topic: The Life and Times of Andrew Johnson

J. C. Knowles is a well-known speaker and teacher with an amazing resume. He
is the official Ambassador of Apex, North Carolina, and he was the 2007 Apex
Citizen of the Year. He is a publisher, writer, auctioneer for 44 years
(retired), North Carolina Historian, a member of the Apex Rotary Club, the
Swift Creek Exchange Club, and the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh. He served on the
Raleigh/Wake County School Board 15 years, the North Carolina Historical
Commission  for six years, and the President Andrew Johnson Commission for
10 years.

J. C. and his wife were married on July 21, 1954, on national television. He
was born in Wallace, North Carolina, on June 28, 1928, and raised at the
Oxford Orphanage 1930-1943. He served in the Merchant Marines and the U. S.
Army, and he taught North Carolina History to fourth graders for six years
as a volunteer.

Meetings are free and open to the public.  Guests are welcome. Bring a
friend!  Refreshments will be served during social time after the

August 16, 2015

Louisa Davis Allen, 1917 - 2015

Louisa Davis Allen
Louisa Davis Allen passed on July 19, 2015. She was 97 years old. My 1st cousin one time removed, "Liza" was the daughter of Ernest Davis and his wife Evie Allen. She was one of 10 children born in Granville County, NC.

When she was 19, she married Richard Lee Moore, Sr. They had two boys: Vance Julian and Richard, Jr. Vance passed in 2006, and some think he may have had a twin who did not live past birth, Ernest Davis Moore.  

Lisa married Paul Parker Allen when she was 36. I'm not sure what happened to Richard Sr, though he may have been killed in WWII, although I cannot find a death certificate for him. Paul Allen died in 1974.

Liza once showed me a gold wedding band she said belonged to my great great grandmother, Lucinda Davis. Granny Lucinda (Liza's great grandmother) died in a house fire in 1922. I have a grizzly image in my head about that ring on her finger, but aside from made me very happy to be able to see my great great grandmother's wedding ring.

Liza lived all her life in the Granville and Franklin County areas in central North Carolina. 

Edith Davis Gulley, Buss Davis,
Richard Moore, Jr.,
Charlie Davis, Louisa Davis Allen,
Mildred Davis Parrish
Edith, Vera, and Louisa Davis (sisters)

Liza was quite the pickle. She had the reputation for being very opinionated and didn't care who knew it or what they thought of her. 

She was one of a kind, for sure. 

July 12, 2015

Abandoned, Old and Interesting Places in North Carolina

Photos by the talented guys at Abandoned,
Old and Interesting Places
I've been wanting to give a shout out to the really talented photographers who maintain the FaceBook site "Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places."

Scott Garlock and Cye Gray use their talents to document disappearing Americana. I'm especially pleased the Americana they are taken with is my beloved North Carolina. 

All of the pictures to the left are from their FB pages and I can't tell you (or them!) how much I enjoy following their stores and photos. 

So be sure to give the page a visit, but only when you have time to linger and really appreciate the beauty of another time in North Carolina history.

June 24, 2015

Grimes Wills

If you've done research in North Carolina for any length of time, you are probably familiar with Grime's Abstract of North Carolina Wills.

I've referenced it many times at the NC Archives or in one library or another. But did you know that it's online now??  WooHoo!

Maybe it's been online for a long time and I'm just now seeing it. But it's new to it might be new to you, too!

It is on the Library of Congress site, as well as others, but the link I use most often is in the East Carolina University's Digital Collections

Just a bit of North Carolina trivia:

  • John Bryan Grimes was NC Secretary of State for 22 years.
  • His daddy was Confederate Major General Bryan Grimes.
  • His granddaddy was a Congressman.
  • Before he entered NC politics as a Democrat, he was a tobacco farmer. 
  • He grew up on his family's plantation in Pitt County.
Source: NCpedia

God bless Mr. Grimes. He sure left us researchers a true gem.