Sunday, November 15, 2009

My first award! Thank you, Mavis

Well, this is a very nice surprise. Most of the time I feel like I'm having a conversation with myself when I blog. Mavis, who blogs Conversation with My Ancestors and Georgia Black Crackers, has presented me with my very first Kreative Blogger award. I am honored.

According to the rules in accepting this award, I must now tell seven things about myself before passing it on to seven bloggers. Although I love writing about my family, I rarely write about myself but here goes.

1. I am the oldest of four girls. Actually, I am the oldest child of my mother who is the oldest child of her mother who was the oldest child in her family. My grandmother started that link and I continued by having my daughter Arianne first.

2. I was born, raised and live in Gary, Indiana. In fact, I live within walking distance to Michael Jackson's home since his home is in the shadows of my alma mater, Roosevelt High School.

3. Although I was the oldest in the family ( and the oldest grandchild in my mother's family), I was the last of my sisters to get married.

4.One of my fondest memories is of my father walking me to the library to get my first library card. I had to be five years old. My father and his father were also bookworms.

5. I am an anglophile and addicted to British TV. I watch Eastenders on the computer every week among other shows.

6. I wrote my first play at 9. I'm still waiting to be discovered.

7. Even though some may say that at my age I'm over the hill, I believe I'm still standing at the top. One of my heart's desire is to fall in love again.

I pass this award on to
A. Spence

Low Country Africana
George Geder

Amanda's A Tale of Two Ancestors
Claudia's genealogy blog
and Bill West West in New England

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Six degrees of separation

Another day of trolling the internet for data and I'm coming up with more and more coincidences. Coincidences -- "the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection." These following things do have a connection but are they pertinent?

Oscar Dears, Winnie Anderson and family are living a couple of lines down from Lucretia Dears on the 1870 Amite County, MS census. Lucretia Dears was married to William Carraway before marrying William Dears. William Carraway's brother was Bruce A. Carraway who was married to Lucretia (may be Letitia) Cotten. Lucretia was sister to Joseph R. Cotten. When the Carraways died young, Thomas L. Cotten was appointed guardian to their children for a short time. One of those children, Bruce M. Carraway, married Huldah Cain. The only surname I'm missing is Anderson. Could that be why my ancestors changed their name from Anderson?

It feels like I'm playing six degrees of separation here. Time and research will tell if it is only a game of coincidences or if it is a realconnection.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On the trail again

It has been two weeks since the International Black Genealogy Summit ended. I came back with renewed fervor. Then I went back to my job. But I am endeavoring not to let all that good information and zeal go to waste.

Working on a tip written in my previous blog, I looked up H.S. Anderson on the 1850 slave census for Franklin County in Mississippi. The "H" stands for Henry. I was pleasantly pleased to find that Henry was living next to Joseph R. Cotten in 1850. This is the same Cotten that I once thought was Winney's slave owner. There is a female slave and male slave listed under both Joseph's and Henry's name that correspond with the ages of Winney and her oldest son Hiram.

I googled Henry's name and found some minutes for Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Franklin County, Mississippi. Henry, Joseph and a few Cain's were members of the church in 1852. Now I'm getting excited.

Could this be the smoking gun for my ancestors? Of course, I don't know the answer to that yet. I have looked up several Andersons that I thought may be the slave owners. However, the coincidence of Joseph and Henry being neighbors is making me think this may be the right trail to follow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

From the Internation Black Genealogy Summit

These are photos of our small genealogy group at the summit. It also shows how many people were at the conference luncheon held on Saturday, October 31st. The keynote speaker was Hanna Stith, the driving force behind the creation of the African American Museum in Fort Wayne.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Black Genealogy Summit

Wow! I didn't know it had been so long since I blogged. School started the last week of August, enrollment is way up, and I am far behind in grading papers. Those are the reasons not the excuses for me not writing.

But I'm back. Not just to blogging but from the first International Black Genealogy Summit that was held this past week in Fort Wayne, IN. It was a wonderful conference. I learned a lot and met some wonderful people. I am inspired and energized to get back to work.

However, I also learned one disturbing fact. I have been searching for my Cotten ancestors for years now. Cotten is my maiden name. Napoleon Cotten is my great grandfather. Several years ago, I learned that Napoleon's surname on the 1870 MS census was Anderson not Cotten. That threw me for a loop and I've been trying to recoup ever since. Well, I learned at the conference that not only was it common for surnames to change constantly, the reasons for the different surnames are numerous. This makes it even harder to track down my ancestors' beginnings.

I searched the Allen County library, the second largest genealogy collection in the U.S., for hours. I came up with nothing, zilch, nada. Then on the last hour of the last day, I talked to a lady who sat across from me in the library. I was helping her locate the MS files so I asked what were her surnames and who was she searching. Her counties were close to my counties. When I looked at her family group sheet, she had the name "Anderson" as one of her ancestors. After talking with her, she said she had come across lots of Cotten's that were owned by H.S. or H.R. Anderson in Franklin County. That name sounded familiar. I checked it right away but time was waning so I couldn't verify the information. I will.

I also found, after her urging, that my family was using the last name Cotten in 1890. I found this on the school records of Pike County by Serena Haymon. It was a small fact but hey, it was better than nothing.

The search goes on. I'm not giving up. Genealogical pursuits are what I love to do.