Tuesday, December 3, 2019

More Questions Than Answers - My Grandfather's Social Security Application

Temporary Joy?
Today, I received a copy of the Social Security Application for my maternal grandfather, Daniel Webster Hill. I was so excited when I got the envelope from my mailbox, especially since I'd kind of forgotten I'd ordered this document. Daniel's life, as well as that of his mother and full siblings, has been challenging to document, either because of conflicting or absence of information.
1937 Social Security Application for Daniel Webster Hill
My hope, when I ordered this document was that it would provide conclusive data, so I was quite excited as I carefully tore open the envelope. Instead, its contents have led me to more questions as I try to uncover the true facts of my grandfather's life.

Dissecting the Document

Out of this entire document, only two items bore no concern; my grandfather's gender (male) and race (Negro). Everything else either provided confirmation of my research or conflicted with previous findings, thus inciting further questions that will need to be answered.

Name (Red):Thankfully, this document confirms my grandfather's full name: Daniel Webster HILL.

Address (Purple and Brown): This was the first issue on the document. The address given is not the address of the home in which my grandparents lived while they were together. Family lore has always been that my grandfather left (abandoned) the family when my mother was 4 and her brother was 7. That would have been sometime between September 10, 1938 and March 23, 1939. However, this application is dated February 25, 1937, which precedes that date range by over a year and a half, making my mother not even 3, yet, and her brother, only 5. The only thing I can think is that perhaps he came back after this date, before leaving for good.
BUT.... there's another thing these two items actually corroborate for me! My late uncle, Howell Hill, who I interviewed numerous times about his and my mother's family and ancestry, told me something I haven't forgotten. In describing what he recalls as a domestic abuse situation between Daniel and my grandmother, Mary, my uncle told me how when Daniel Hill first left them, he just moved into a room in the house next door, and they would see him watching them from an upstairs window. He expressed how afraid this made him, because Daniel Hill "was so mean". Well, I used google maps to look up the address on the SS application, and, lo and behold, 1301 W. 42(nd) St. is right next door (though across a small street) to my grandmother's house, 1273 W. 42nd Street.

In this current-day photo from Google Maps, the house on the left (1273) is the house my mother grew up in. The house on the right (1301) is the house Daniel Hill was living in at the time he filled out his Social Security application. Notice the upstairs side windows on this house, which directly face my grandmother's home, making my uncle's story seem quite likely to be true.

Employment (Yellow/Blue): In 1930, according to the Census, my grandfather was working as a Longshoreman at the Pier (usually meaning Lambert's Point). However, at the time of his SSA, he states that he's unemployed. Could this have been part of the issue that played into the problems he and my grandmother were (apparently) having? Also, Item 13 indicates that Daniel was registered as an employee with the W.P.A., something I wasn't aware of and will need to research further.

Age (Orange): Daniel Hill's true birth year has been an issue since I began researching him, many years ago. It seems that he began using this 1885 birth year around the time he married my grandmother. He was much older than she, so perhaps this was his way of smoothing that out. I really don't know. But, Daniel shows as a one-year-old in the household of his parents in 1880 and, in 1900, he is a boarder in the home of his mother and stepfather, enumerated as 20 years old with a birthdate given as March 1879. It's not until after his 1926 marriage to my grandmother that I first see him being referred to as a younger man -- with his age being enumerated in 1930 as 40, with whoever gave the information stating that he'd been 36 at the time of his first marriage. From this point on, any documents I've found on Daniel Hill give him this younger age.

1880 Census showing one-year-old Daniel W. in the household with his parents and sisters, in Tyrrell County NC. Birthplace is given as North Carolina for the entire family.
Place of Birth (White): I have seen Daniel's place of birth given as Virginia on other documents, but I'm confused about that, since I know the family (both his mother and father) were from North Carolina, and he is enumerated with them, at just one year old, in that state. However, I guess it is possible that his mother could have been in Virginia (for some reason) when he was born, though I really doubt it. He lists "Gilmerton, Norfolk Co., VA" as his birthplace on this application. This is, indeed, where his mother, Pinkey, later lived and ran a boarding house with his stepfather, and where, according to the newspaper announcement of her death, she was buried, but she doesn't appear there before 1900. Perhaps she was visiting a family member at the time of his birth, just as she was at the time of her death? This will require further research.

Death notice from Norfolk, VA Journal and Guide, announcing the death of Pinkie (Hill) Howell

Parents' Names (Green/Pink) - Daniel confirms his parent's names. but with exceptions. His father was known as "Henry" Hill, but his full name was actually Charles Henry Hill. (I think it's quite possible that Daniel may not have know that.) His mother, Pinkie's, maiden name has been another source of confusion. She'd been enslaved on Somerset Plantation, in Creswell, NC, which was owned by the COLLINS family. Her father was Mack TREDWELL, but sometime prior to Emancipation, her mother married a man named Peter KING. Pinkie has been recorded as using each of those surnames on different documents, so it's hard to know which (if either) was actually her "legal" maiden name. It does seem clear, though, that she considered Peter King to be her father figure and that seems to be what Daniel understood, also, according to this document.

Social Security Applications are typically very useful documents for genealogists; however, as this one shows, sometimes that usefulness can provide a mixture of evidence-types for the researcher: direct and indirect, consistent or conflicting, and, sometimes, negative or even absent. A careful researcher will study all of the information on a document, analyzing each item and following up with further research to work towards solving conflicts and/or filling in blanks. This SSA for my grandfather, Daniel W. Hill certainly is leaving me with more work to do, but I am up to and looking forward to the challenge!

Thanks for reading,

 United States Social Security Application, Form SS-5, Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service: Daniel Webster Hill, February 25, 1937.

United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Scuppernong, Tyrrell, North Carolina; Roll: 983; Family History Film: 1254983; Page: 269D; Enumeration District: 134; Image: 0453.

New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); June 1, 1929; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Norfolk Journal and Guide, p. 4

Link to Google Maps:

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Renate Yarborough Sanders - Speaker Profile

Renate is an experienced teacher and genealogy presenter, and is available for speaking engagements year-round. 

Speaker Bio

Image result for microphoneRenate Yarborough Sanders has been engaged in genealogy research since 1997 and has been giving genealogy related presentations, to a variety of audiences, since 2012.  She is the descendant of formerly-enslaved ancestors, as well as enslavers and free people of color. Renate is the author of two blogs: “Into the LIGHT”, which focuses on her own family history; and, “Genea-Related”, which is a platform for presenting a variety of information of genealogical interest.  Renate also produces a “(Mostly) African-American Funeral Programs” online database, in which she publishes vital data extracted from funeral programs. For a more extensive bio, please email Renate at yarsan@aol.com.

    Current Topics:
       Finding Calvin: Following My Enslaved Ancestor Through Multiple Owners: A Case Study
In this presentation, the researcher models the process used in verifying an ancestor’s slavery status, and shares the methodology and documents used to document his owners during 25 years of enslavement.

Researching Free People of Color in Antebellum Years: 1800 – 1865
Discussion of the lives and circumstances of FPOC in the states of North Carolina and Virginia, the laws enacted to exert increasing control over them, and a look at useful record types for researching this population. (This talk can be broadened to include other areas.)

       The Case for DNA: Why Should I Test?
Are you on the fence about DNA testing? Do you wonder if the results are “real” or if they can truly help you to further your genealogy research? Participants will learn about the three main types of DNA testing, and how each can help to inform genealogical research. Examples of real-life DNA success stories will also be shared.

        Getting Started with Genealogy Research
How does one get started with genealogical research? Today’s technological advances make it easy! Getting started means going from what you know, to using a variety of resources – in person and online – to discover the unknown. Learn about common record types, and how to access them, in this informative workshop!

     Getting More Out of Your Genealogy Research: Methods, Documents, and Websites
An in-depth exploration how to extract information from certain types of documents, as well as a modeled approach to using some of the more popular websites for genealogical research. This session can include an additional “Part 2” hands-on workshop, with participants on computers, for an added fee.

         Researching Enslaved Ancestors
The presenter shares and models best practice and methodology for researching formerly enslaved ancestors. Participants learn about helpful record types and web sites and how to extract data about the enslaved from records of slave-owning communities.

         Researching Formerly Enslaved Ancestors: It Takes a Village!
This talk is designed for mixed or predominantly non-black audiences. The focus is on how descendants of slave owners are crucial to and can assist in the efforts of those researching the formerly enslaved.

         Researching Ancestors of Color
This session is specific to researching ancestors of color, to include formerly enslaved and free people of color. Participants learn which record types and web sites are most helpful in this type of research and how to extract data about people of color from various document types.

         Using Funeral Programs to Inform Genealogy Research
Funeral Programs are often rich with genealogical information. In this talk, the presenter will dissect the parts of commonly used funeral programs, and model how to extract important genealogical information and clues from these valuable documents.

         In Their Own Words: Genealogy in the Slave Narratives

Uncovering the genealogy of the formerly enslaved can often be challenging; but sometimes, the information is left in first-hand accounts, commonly known as "Slave Narratives.” From books, to projects set up to learn about life during slavery, researchers can find an abundance of genealogical and other information about enslaved families, their owners, and their communities - straight from the mouths of the Ancestors.

Please email me at yarsan@aol.com for information about availability and fees. I would love to be considered as a speaker for your next event!


Permalink to this post: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2019/09/speaker-bio-renate-yarborough-sanders.html

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Military HERO On My Tree! Ernest Roland Morgan

Up All Night
Wow. I guess there's something to be said for going down a genealogical rabbit hole at 4:30 in the morning, after being up all night!

Since I was sleepless, I decided to work on tracking down the families of some of the mysterious people who were named in my elusive grandfather's, 1940 will. In doing so, I uncovered the names of the grandchildren of his second-cousin, Lillian Batts Melton, whom he'd left all of his real and personal property to. One of her descendants was her grandson, Ernest Roland Morgan, who, in 1940, was living in her home, along with his mother, Evelyn, and brothers, Harry and Sherman. His uncles, LeRoy and Larry, were also in the home. My grandfather, Daniel Webster Hill, who died on June 7th of that year, had also lived there, and should have been listed, since the enumeration date was to have been May 1, however, it's a possibility he may have been out of the home and "shacked up" elsewhere, at that time. (Another story for another time...)

Year: 1940; Census Place: Petersburg, Petersburg City, Virginia; Roll: m-t0627-04316; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 115-21, retrieved from Ancestry.com 7/8/2019 at 4:46 a.m.
After discovering all of these previously-unknown-to-me names, I began to follow-up and research each individual. After just a few minutes, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I began to get hint after hint about Ernest Roland Morgan. It was clear that he'd followed in his own father's military footsteps, but information from his death records, as well as subsequent obituaries and newspaper clippings I ran across, showed me that Ernest was no run-of-the-mill, ordinary man. No, this cousin of mine was ALL THAT and a bag of (military) chips! And for me, this is an anomaly for my tree - a tree that's filled with a lot of wonderful people, who did much good in the world, but who were mostly behind the scenes worker-bee types (like me), not those who shine in the spotlight and get tons of recognition and/or accolades. That just isn't who my family's been - and I'm okay with that - but, Cousin Ernest? Cousin Ernest was a STAR!

*Military Accomplishments
Ernest Roland Morgan, General, United States Army (retired) was born March 29, 1932, and he was called back home November 21, 2001, following knee surgery in Huntsville, Alabama. He made national headlines in 1975 when he was captured in Beirut, Lebanon by Lebanese terrorists and released 13 days later.
He went on to become the Adjutant General of the D.C. National Guard and finally the Commanding General of the National Guard of the U.S. Virgin Islands. His military career spanned 35 years. He had a tour of duty in Korea and in Vietnam and retired in 1987.

*Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

DATE OF BIRTH: 03/29/1932 
DATE OF DEATH: 11/21/2001 

(The preceding excerpts were taken from http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ermorgan.htm. PLEASE click the link to read the full tribute page from Arlington National Cemetery.)

*Appointed Adjutant General of the Militia of the District of Columbia

This next blurb from "Public Papers of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1981 tells about Cousin Ernest's appointment as Adjutant General of the DC National Guard.

Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United State: Ronald Reagan, 1981. Published by Best Books on, 1982
*Abducted and Prisoner of War for 13 Days

Sunday, March 3, 2019

What's What in the United States Census?

As a professional researcher I often get questions from those who are just getting started, as well as from fellow genealogists who've been at it just as long as I have. These questions come by way of emails, Facebook messages, texts, and phone calls. One thing I've noticed, consistently, is that I'm often asked about where information about an ancestor might be found, and the answer is a simple, "In the ____ Census".

The United States Federal Census has been taken every ten years, since 1790. Most people know that. However, what many fail to realize is that no two Census years are identical in the information that was collected. As researchers, it's so important to familiarize ourselves with the questions that were asked in each census year; and, not only that, but to also be aware of the many supplemental census documents that are available from various years. Being armed with this information will move us forward in our research in a more informed way, and can help to eliminate the frustration of trying to find certain valuable nuggets of information which might be just one quick click away.

For a very comprehensive listing of what is included in each census year, as well as what other schedules (such as slave, mortality, agricultural and more) are available, please visit this excellent source from The Family History DailyThe Ultimate Quick Reference Guide to the U.S. Census for Genealogy  Although I did find one error - that the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules are exactly the same - this guide includes a wealth of information about what is included in each enumeration, for each census and supplemental schedule. Though all data collected in census documents needs to be corroborated from other sources, the U.S. Census is a valuable starting point for most who engage in genealogical research.

Additional sources for understanding census rules and enumeration can be found at these links:

Happy researching!

Permalink to this post: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2019/03/whats-in-census-and-when.html

*All sources are linked in the post, above.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Carolina Weekend!

This weekend, I had the opportunity to give two presentations as the "Featured Speaker" for a genealogy symposium in Charlotte, NC. Held at the beautiful Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the event was cosponsored by the church's African American Heritage Ministry, Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), and Comprehensive Genealogical Services.

The day-long symposium, to which registration was open to the public, was the culminating event for the conclusion of 5 weeks of genealogy classes which had been held at the church, in which upwards of 50 students had been enrolled. The day included a period reenactment by a descendant of a formerly enslaved woman, recap sessions for the members of the two classes (beginner and intermediate), lunch, and two presentations by yours truly - "Finding Calvin: A Case Study" and "Introduction to DNA for Genealogy". Both presentations were extremely well-received and were followed by tons of compliments and expressions of gratitude from audience members. And, guess what? At the end of the day, I received an enthusiastic standing ovation - a first for me in the 7 years I've been giving genealogy talks!
The weekend was made particularly joyful and memorable for several other reasons, the most special of which was the fact that I got to spend time with FAMILY and FRIENDS.  On Friday, my second cousin on my Green-Hawkins line, Kelly, who lives just outside of Charlotte in Mathews, picked me up and, after we got a quick bite to eat, rode me around to a couple of places I wanted to see - Johnson C. Smith University, where my aunt, Susie Yarborough, was a dorm matron in the 1940's and 50's; and Barber Scotia College, a school I recently discovered that my ancestor, Jessie Green, attended sometime between around 1916 -1920. (You can read about that, here.) Kelly and I had a lovely few hours together, and I'm ever-so-grateful that he so generously took the time to spend with me and to ride me around in the rain. After my afternoon with Kelly, I met up with a dear friend of 40 years and college sorority sister, Debbie, who lives right there in Charlotte. We had a great time catching up over a yummy dinner at the Rock Bottom restaurant.
With my cousin, Kelly
With my Soror Debbie
Then, on Saturday, Kelly attended the entire day of the genealogy event, just to support me! But, seeing Kelly wasn't the only "relative-treat" I got on this trip. Also on Saturday, I actually had the pleasure of meeting another second cousin - this one on my Yarborough line - for the very first time! Cousin Eunice and I have been communicating by phone, email, and Facebook for many years and she (and her brother, Samuel) even graciously tested their late mother - my father's first cousin - to assist in furthering my research.  On Saturday, she too came to support me and to hear my talk about our shared ancestor, our great-grandfather, Calvin; and she also stayed the whole day! Meeting my cousin was such a pleasure! I look forward to seeing her, again!
With my cousin, Eunice
Having these two cousins present at the symposium on Saturday was amazing, in itself, but it also constituted a first, for me. I've been giving genealogy-related presentations since 2012, but this was the first time any member of my family has ever been in my audience. To have not one, but two family members present - representing different lines, at that - warmed my heart to no end. And, to top off my "family time" for the weekend, I was able to make a quick stop at Kelly's house, on my way out of town, to see his wife, Michelle, and my young cousins, William and Sydney. This brief, but pleasurable visit was the icing on the cake of a great visit to Charlotte!

Here are a few additional photos from my trip. I do hope to return to the "Queen City", someday, for a longer (drier) visit. I had a great time! :)
Barber Scotia College
Graves Hall at Barber Scotia

Corner entry and sign for Johnson C. Smith University
Marker on JCS campus honoring one of the
founders of my sorority

View of Charlotte Uptown from my
 hotel room window


Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Tracking Down Ancestors Through Mystery Photos

As genealogists, we are constantly seeking evidence of our ancestors' existence. We delve into census data, wills, probate and military records, vital and burial records, and more! We visit repositories, cemeteries, churches, plantations, and old homesteads in our efforts to learn more and more about family members who preceded us. But, nothing tops off our research findings more than the blessing of coming across (positively identified) photos of our ancestors!

Some families are blessed to have tons of pictorial records, but that is not the case for everyone. In my family, photos, prior to those of my own generation, are far and few between and hard to come by. However, every now and then, a family member surprises me with new (to me) photos they've "found". Such was the case, just a couple of days ago, when I visited the widow of my late cousin, Harold Green, of Louisburg, NC. I'd contacted her with a request to stop by and rephotograph some pictures I've seen many times before, since the cousin they've been left in the care of plans to donate them to a repository. My cousin's wife, Christine, was very happy to allow me to do this. In an attempt not to take up too much of her time, I got in there, snapped the photos I'd gone for (while exchanging pleasantries and getting caught up on each other's lives), and was thanking her and preparing to leave when she surprised me by saying, "I found some more pictures, not too long ago, and I'd love to let you see those. They are in a bag, somewhere, but I can't seem to find where I put it." Of course, I stopped dead in my tracks and expressed how much I'd love to see the pictures. She and I both looked around the room for the mysterious "bag", which she eventually found. One by one, Christine started pulling out 8x10, framed photos. I had to ask her to slow down so I could examine each one!

These are the first two photos Christine showed me:

This was the only photo Christine was able to identify. "She said,
I know who that is! That was Jessie's husband - the doctor."
This photo of Dr. Patterson was taken by Ellie Lee Weems,
an African American photographer in Jacksonville, Florida,
where he and Jessie lived.
Next, Christine pulled out this photo. She said she didn't know who it was, but I felt that I was
looking at a photo of the same man - only a little older and thicker. I belive this to also be Dr. James Perry Patterson, of Jacksonville, NC.
Who was James Perry Patterson? Dr. James "J.P." Patterson was the husband of my first cousin-twice-removed, Jessie GREEN. Jessie was the daughter of Annie Green and a yet-unidentified father, and granddaughter of my 2x great-grandparents, Nathaniel Hawkins and Anna Green. It's been challenging to find much information about Jessie, over the years; but her husband, being a prominent black doctor and engaged community member in Jacksonville Florida, has left a bit more of a document trail.
James worked at a Jacksonville hospital, located at 103 E. Union Street. He and Jessie shared a home on 8th Street and also owned a home on American Beach, which some of their close family members, from Louisburg, fondly remember visiting. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and may have been a Freemason.

What About Cousin Jessie?
What I know about Jessie Green is that she is one of several siblings, children of Annie Green and a purported "white mill owner" (believed to have the surname, Vann), who left Louisburg and were passing as white. I've found mixed documentation on all of them, but not enough evidence to confirm that any of them were actually passing - at least not full time. However, I can clearly see that Jessie was married to a black man. He worked at a black hospital, was in a historically-black fraternity, and owned property in a black beach community. I feel fairly comfortable that she and her husband weren't passing, despite the fact that I've been told that by family members who actually knew them. Either way, I'm told over and over again that Jessie looked white.  Even today, before writing this post, I called Christine to confirm some things and she reiterated that Jessie looked just like a white woman. I asked about her hair, and she said that looked like a white woman's, also. With that in mind, it's hard for me to think that this next photo is Jessie, although it would just really make sense for it to be, given that the two photos, above - the only other 8x10 framed photos in the bag - were of her husband. Could this be my cousin Jessie Green, Dr. Patterson's wife?
Is this Jessie Green? Yes, she's light, but her hair is not that of a white woman. If this is her, is this a wedding gown she's wearing? If so, might it be a wedding portrait? I feel really unsure about this one, but I really don't know who else it would be. This person doesn't fit the profile of any of my other known family members.
I have seen a few photos that might have been Jessie, but they all have multiple subjects and it's unclear which is her. However, there is one photo (below) that was shared with me many years ago, and which I was told was a portrait of Jessie. I guess I can see it as slightly possible that this could be a younger photo of the woman above, but I really think the jury's still out on that. What I do notice is the similar style and material of the dress - especially the sleeves - which makes me think these photos would have been taken during the same time period, and, therefore would NOT be the same person.
This is the photo that was identified as probably being Jessie Green. I've had this one for several years. It was not with the recently-discovered photos.
I'd like to end this photographic journey with another photo that was in the bag. It was quite the mystery - for about 48 hours. However, thanks to the help I got from gen-friends, after posting it on Facebook, I've been able to follow a research path, based on one very valuable suggestion, and have gone from not knowing where the photo was taken, who the group of people was, or why it was relevant to my family- to now having the answers to all of those questions!

This photo is encased in a hard, cracking black cardboard frame. When found, I had no idea what the context was and neither did my late cousin's wife, Christine.
Unraveling the Mystery of a Photo
The first step in attempting to uncover the mystery of this photo was to simply note what I could observe. Obviously, this is a group of black women, most likely a school group, perhaps at the college level. The white male standing to the side appears to be in charge - maybe a principal, president, or founder - and I assumed the older adults (in the back and on the porch) to be faculty/staff members, one being a nurse and the one seated perhaps having another level of importance. I noticed that all of the young ladies seemed to be wearing a similar hairstyle (with parts in the middle) and that they were dressed uniformly, in white blouses with dark skirts. Some of the women are wearing dark bows or ties and a few seem to have something pinned over the left breast. They are sitting on the steps of a brick building. I noticed the white wooden rails and ballisters as well as the shuttered doors behind them. Also, I took note that there appears to be an area behind the stairs that may have been a basement or lower floor.
With all of my observations noted, I posted this photo on Facebook - on my profile and in several groups. Right away, people began to suggest that this may have been a nursing school. I'd thought about that, also, but was leaning more towards it being some other kind of program, with the woman in the nurse's hat being part of the faculty - the school nurse. Several historically-black women's colleges were suggested as was a specific building on the campus of Shaw University. All of the suggestions were considered and vetted, but there were two which immediately showed themselves to have merit: Scotia Women's College and Lincoln Hospital.

Scotia Women's College, now Barber-Scotia College, is located in Concord, NC. It was started immediately after the Civil War, as Scotia Seminary, with the purpose of educating formerly-enslaved black women. As soon as one of my FB friends suggested it (and showed a series of photos that seemed to match mine), I thought the "where" part of this case was solved.
This is one of the photos of Scotia Women's College shared with me by my Facebook friend, ItsMheMorris. I found the photo on the Internet and saw that it is labeled with the years 1915-1916. Everything about the building is the same as in my photo.
I was sooooo excited when I saw this photo! I just knew I had it! Besides, I remembered being told that someone in my family went to Barber-Scotia, but I just didn't remember who. I thanked my Facebook friend and was ready to just start the work of determining which family member might be in the photo. Buuttttt... 
..... then came another suggestion in a different group: Lincoln Hospital in Durham! Again, a photo was shared and again it seemed to match very much with mine. Take a look.

                         nursing students posing for a photo in front of their dorm.
Well, certainly you see my dilemma here. Clearly, this photo, supposedly of Lincoln Hospital nursing students, is of the exact same people pictured in my photo - apparently on the same steps in front of the same building. So, what now????

I have searched for any connection between Lincoln Hospital and Scotia/Barber-Scotia College, and found none. The Lincoln Hospital photo is from their Wikipedia page. We know that Wikipedia is a community-based resource, which offers an invitation to anyone to edit its pages. That was a fact that had to be considered as I began to sort through this. The Wikipedia page is the only place I found this photo (or anything else) that matched with the one I had.

The photo to the left is a screenshot from the YouTube video, "Long Live Barber-Scotia", which is featured on the "Our Heritage" page of the Barber-Scotia web site. Several similar photos are found in connection to Barber-Scotia's early days as Scotia Seminary and Scotia Women's College. In addition, Graves Hall, the building the group is seated in front of, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is described exactly as (what we can see of) the building in the photos.

In addition to the evidence already mentioned, which points to the photo being of Scotia, not Lincoln, the gentleman pictured in my photo (and on the one purported to be Lincoln Hospital) is also pictured in some of the others I've found online in connection with Scotia. He is, without a doubt, Scotia College's third president, Mr. A.W. Verner, who is shown here in this screenshot from the book,

Portraits Of The African-American Experience In Concord-Cabarrus, North Carolina 1860-2008. 

Though the above photo is not as clear as I'd like, it's easy to see that this is the same building, porch, man, and many of the same students and staff as shown in my photo, as well as in the others from Scotia College. This source, independent of the college, itself, is (I believe) the strongest piece of evidence that my photo is from Scotia and that the one on the Wikipedia page for Lincoln Hospital is incorrect. To put the icing on the cake, I made another call to Christine Green, who, when asked if any of the Greens went to Barber-Scotia, proclaimed, "Yes, Jessie went to Scotia! She used to talk about it all the time!" She hadn't even thought about that when she found the photo or when she'd shown it to me or to Cousin Florine.

So, there you have it. All the evidence points to this photo being of my cousin, Jessie Green's class at (most likely) Scotia Women's College. In addition, once I realized this, I pulled up the portrait of the young lady I'd been told was Jessie (above), and realized that the blouse she's wearing is of the same style as that of most of the young ladies in my photo. I've blown up the photo and closely inspected the features of each of the lighter-skinned females but still can't definitively say which one is Jessie - but I guess she has to be in there. Interestingly enough, there's one who looks like she could be that older lady (from above) but she would not be a match to the younger photo of Jessie. (In the re-post of the photo, below, I've indicated with green dots the only young ladies I think could be Jessie. I've added a yellow dot in the middle of the one I believe is most likely of the four, but the proof remains to be seen.

I've reached out, via email, to the number on Barber-Scotia's web site and I'm hoping they will have information about Jessie's enrollment and time at Scotia, as well as (hopefully) a photo that has her positively and uniquely identified. In addition, I'll be sharing this post with the folks at Wikipedia, with hopes that they'll remove the incorrectly-attributed photo from their Lincoln Hospital page.

"Mystery photos" don't have to remain that way. As genealogists, we must simply apply our sleuthing skills in a different way and we must share with and ask help from our friends, thus bringing those long-hidden photos out of the darkness and into the LIGHT! (Couldn't help that one!) :)

Thanks for reading! If you have additional ideas or info about any of these photos, please leave a comment here on the blog. Thanks!


P.S. There were several other photos (and a few documents) in Christine's bag. I'll be coming back to share more about those at another time.

Permalink: https://justthinking130.blogspot.com/2019/01/tracking-down-ancestors-through-photos.html

Portraits Of The African-American Experience In Concord-Cabarrus, North Carolina 1860-2008, Bernard Davis, Jr., Xlibris Corporation, 2010

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, May 31). Lincoln Hospital (Durham, NC). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:45, January 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.phptitle=Lincoln_Hospital_(Durham,_NC)&oldid=843736295