Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year - New Discoveries!

This first day of the new year has brought several nice surprises for this worn-out researcher.  The morning began with a bit of frustration in the wee hours, as I discovered that my subscription to the North Carolina Genealogy Society was not yet activated.  I'd placed my order back in November, but had to wait until January 1st in order to have access to the members area.  I'd looked forward to entertaining myself with this resource as soon as the clock struck 12, but that was not to be.  So, I went to sleep.

Back awake, and restless at about 4:30 a.m., I decided to get back on the computer and continue my ever-lasting search for any mention of my paternal ancestors in any document that I haven't already discovered.  I started to look in the usual places, then tried to think of some new and unique terms to put into a google search that might lead me to something new.  Nothing worked.  I'd seen it all. So...

.... then I did it.  I decided that I would put some time and energy into trying to further my knowledge about my maternal ancestors.  After all, I knew their names all the way to my gg-grandparents, but I'd never really tried to go any further back than that.  The reason?  Mainly because the people on that side would only be names to me, and not only that, since my mother and her siblings know even less than I do about their ancestors, there wouldn't really be anyone with whom I could check or verify any information I might find.  There are no family stories at all to lead me in any direction on anything.  As a matter of fact, it was me who informed them of their own great-grandparents names just a couple of years ago.  And neither my mother nor her siblings had any idea that their own mother, Mary Davis, had ever had a sibling, Samuel.  They all knew their mother to be an only child, so I guess her brother must've died as a youngster.  Anyway, wide awake on the first morning of 2010, and trying not to be too upset about my lack of access to the NCGS Journal archives, I decided to take another look at the BROWNS and DAVISES of Littleton, NC.

I started by trekking backward on my tree at Ancestry.com, starting with my mother and going back to her great-grandparents, Acy and Louvenia BROWN.  I've come back a few times over the years and tried to search for Ace (name varies) and the family sometime other than where I'd previously found them (in the 1900 Census).  Though I found a few potential "suspects", none could be proven, so shoeboxed them and decided to focus on Louvenia, his wife.  I'd never even tried to find her family of origin, even though I had her maiden name, Ross, from an earlier document.  A quick search took me right to Luvenia's birth family, and with that, an exciting discovery!  Not only did I find the names of Louvenia's parents and siblings, but right away I learned something else.  My mother's grandmother, Minerva DAVIS, with whom my mother was very close and deeply connected, was actually named after her grandmother, Minerva ROSS!  That's right - my 4th great-grandparents were Everett and Minerva ROSS, and they were right there in Littleton, NC.  They'd had seven children, of whom my 3rd-great grandmother, Louvenia, was the oldest.  Louvenia's oldest child was my great-grandmother, Minerva, whose second child was my grandmother, Mary, whose second child was my mother!  Whew!

I was so excited, but I had no one to tell!  My mother no longer answers her phone when it rings; my oldest daugther is vacationing in Egypt, my youngest daughter had gone to Richmond and was staying with friends, so I didn't dare ring her phone at that hour... well you get the picture.  So, what did I do?  I tweeted my news!! :)

Well, the morning, and then the day just got better and better.  First, I took the time to fill out family group sheets (like a good little researcher) on the Ross and Brown households, taking care to stay true to my goal for the new year of documenting my sources for each little thing.  I found the Rosses in two more censuses, and also found them to be surrounded by other Ross families on both sides.  I shoeboxed all the extra Rosses, since I don't yet know their relationships.  Oh, and since neither Everett nor Minerva appear before 1870, I can reasonably assume that they were enslaved.  I will look for a cohabitation record for them on my next trip to the Archives. Oh, and by finding the widowed Louvenia in the 1910 Census (with son, Wesley now as HOH), I was able to determine that Ace/Acy died sometime between 1900 and 1910.

Once I did as much as I felt I could on these two families, I finally got up to fix coffee and attend to my persistent hunger pains.  When I got back to the computer, my day was made even better because I'd finally been granted access to the member area of the NCGS site!  As a member, I have access to the NCGS Journals from 1975 to 2007! Of course, I dug right into this wonderful resource, and already I've found several items of interest. nd now, I have something new to keep me busy during those "down" times, when I just can't think of another way to search for my ancestors.:)

Looks like 2010 is off to a fruitful and interesting start!



  1. Renate,

    Congrats on your new discoveries. Looks like your research is off to a great start for 2010. I'm sure with these new leads you'll uncover more in the months to come. Good Luck. Happy New Year!


  2. You tweeted..ha,ha. I love that. Our research nowadays is so internet based. It gives us access to things we would never be able to find in person due to money and time constraints.
    And then when we hit the jackpot we can share it with everyone no matter the time of day or night. Excellent.

  3. Renate,
    I love your fierce determination as a researcher. I too have learned that going over that old ground sometimes turns up a necessary building block. But sometimes I forget ===thanks for the reminder to just keep digging.

  4. Congratulations on your discoveries. You described it perfectly. I was just reading along and I felt like I was there doing the genealogy happy dance with you. Nice job.