Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mysterious Monday - A Very Odd Photo

Today, I've decided to share one of the many photos I have in my possession of unknown (family?) folks.  I can remember seeing this one when I was younger, perhaps a teenager, in our garage where a couple of old photo albums were kept.  I have no idea who the people are in this picture, but it has always intrigued me, on a number of different levels.

I've theorized a few different interpretations of this photo, but none with any level of certainty.  No one in my family seems to know anything about its orgins, but I'm assuming by the "x" mark over the head of the guy in uniform, that he must be the subject with whom we have a connection.  I am so baffled by the other character, the pose, and the ---- well, the EVERYTHING about this picture!

I don't want to give away any of my ideas, so as not to influence yours.  Please, dear readers, leave me comments on your interpretations of this photo, or if you have actual knowledge (like, perhaps, what kind of uniform the man on the right is wearing), please share it with me.

The photo is on a 3 & 1/4 x 5 & 1/4 postcard, and I did a bit of research to attempt to get a date range for it.  According to the information I found on the site Photos Made Perfect, this postcard was produced by Kodak between 1918-1930.  I was able to determine this by the AZO stamp box, which has two triangles pointing up, and two pointing down.  Also, it's obvious that picture is posed in front of a backdrop showing the US Capital building.  I'm not sure if that means it was taken in Washington, DC or not, but I guess it's something to consider. 

I welcome, and invite your ideas!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans' Day!

In memory of my father, Major Arthur P. Yarborough, Sr.  (Army, Ret.)
June 21, 1924 - October 4, 1997

My father began his service as one of the first black Marines at Montford Point, NC.  From there, he enlisted in the Army, and went on to serve for over 20 years, retiring in 1964 with the rank of Major.  You can read more about my dad and his military service here.

Thanks, Daddy, and thanks to all veterans!!!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Genealogy Certificate!

Wow!  Has it really been two and 1/2 months since I've posted here?  Unbelieveable!  But, I have been unbelieveably busy, so I guess it makes sense!

I just had to drop by to share a "first" with everyone.  I know it may not seem like much, but today I received my very first genealogy-related recognition of any kind.  Check this out:

My regular readers my recall that I've been involved in an indexing project that is being sponsored by the North Carolina Genealogy Society, in partnership with FamilySearch.org.  We are working to index estate records that have been microfilmed at the North Carolina State Archives.  The project still needs volunteers, so if you're reading this and you can help, please click here to learn more about this iniative.  The work is quick and easy, once you get the hang of it, and, as you can see, your efforts will be valued and appreciated if you join in! :)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy birthday, Brother Arthur

Arthur Yarborough, Jr (August 23, 1960 - April 6, 1984)
A short life, but well lived...

Today my heart is aching and I am especially yearning for and missing my brother, Arthur.  If he were still here, this would be his 51st birthday.  Arthur's birthday was always special for both of us, because it marked the beginning of the almost five month period each year when he would claim to be two years older than me.  Notice I said "claim", because in reality, Arthur and I were less 17 months apart.  But from August 23rd of each year, until the following January 16th (my birthday), his numerical age was two years, instead of the usual one, ahead of mine.  Arthur used to announce this publicly, any chance he got, and he tried to use it as leverage to get extra privileges from our parents, even though we all well knew that he was no older than me than he'd been before his birthday, lol.  I can just hear him now, saying, "But I'm TWO years older than her!!!) But for me, August 23rd always meant the beginning of almost five months of teasing, taunting, and torture (just kidding) at my expense, as my "almost twin" brother boosted his own ego by trying to seem "older". :)

I'd give anything to have my brother back.  As I mentioned in my tribute to him last year, it was he who shared my childhood memories; he who knew all of my secrets, and I"m pretty sure I knew all of his.  We shared so much growing up together, and now there's no one with whom I can reflect on those memories.  But, God knew best when he chose to take my brother at the age of 23.  He was loved and cherished by many here on earth, but he is in a better place now.  One day, we'll meet, again.

Happy birthday, my dear, dear brother.  I'll catch up with you in January. :)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - WHERE I'M FROM

Thanks again to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings for providing us with a fun, engaging activity.  This week's assignment, was to use write a poem entitled, "Where I'm From", using the template provided here.   To visit Randy's site and read the entire challenge, please visit http://www.geneamusings.com/2011/07/saturday-night-genealogy-fun-write-poem.html

I enjoyed working on this poem, but found it challenging in some ways, as I had to grope for ideas for a few of the items. However, most came easily, and I found myself smiling, and even laughing as I reflected on memories of days gone by.  I encourage everyone to give this a try, and to share it with your family members, too. :) 
Here's my poem:

Where I’m From
By Renate Sanders

I am from bell-bottom pants, stacks and afros. I’m from Hostess Twinkies and Now & Laters.

I am from the historic neighborhood of Aberdeen, paved streets, big yards, filled with children playing while mammas watched from every window, and where you’d better get home before those street-lights come on.  I'm from playing on the "Big Hills", waiting for the Ice-Cream Man or "The Truck", and from where switches came off trees faster that you could get the last disrespectful word out of your mouth.

I am from azalea bushes and crepe myrtle trees, and from my grandma’s prized roses.

I am from holding hands during mealtime prayers, and perservering above the odds; From Anna Beatrice GREEN and Mary DAVIS and YARBOROUGHS, DUNSTONS, HILLS, and BROWNS. And, like it or not, I’m also from HAWKINS.

I am from the head-strong and faithful. I’m from, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” And, “Pretty is, as Pretty does.”

I am from Baptists, and Presbyterians, and from the foot-stomping, dancing-in-the-aisle United Holy Church. I’m from folks who love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and all that is within us!

I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, by way of Louisburg, Halifax, and Warren Co., NC, Norfolk, VA, and somewhere in Africa where people spoke the Bantu languages and watched their families torn apart, chained, and loaded onto ships like somebody’s cargo. I’m from Nigeria, where my ancestors walked proudly, heads up – backs straight, until that fateful day when they were forced to bend by men whose descendants would one day be kinfolk.

I’m from blue-crabs steamed in vinegar and seasoned with Old-Bay; I’m from collard greens and macaroni-and-cheese, with hot, buttered corn bread on the side.

From Anna Green, a runaway transplant who loved and was loved by Nathaniel Hawkins (a negro trader), and bore six kids by him; from Arthur P. Yarborough, who worked his way up to the rank of Major in the United States Army, only to be cheated out of his next promotion by the stronghold of racism.

I am from the house my grandfather built in Louisburg, the property my grandmother and mother fought to keep in Norfolk, from the last house on the left on the corner lot in Granger Court. I’m from the metal safe box which always sat on the top shelf of my parents’ closet, but now rests in mine. I’m from photo albums filled with pictures of the known and unknown, from manila folders labeled with surnames and CD-roms that hold pictures and documents that provide proof of my history.

I’m from all of this, and so much more. I’m from America.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mystery Monday - Workin' on the Railroad

This picture was amongst the belongings of my maternal grandmother, Mary Davis Walker Hill Thomas. I don't know who any of the gentlemen in the picture are, but I can be pretty sure that they likely worked at the railyard in Norfolk, Virginia, since that is where my grandmother lived, and sinceher father, Walter Davis, and at least on of her husbands worked for the railroad. I would love to be able to identify these men, especially since one of them may possibly be my great-grandfather!

Note: It's possible that the gentleman who is kneeling in front with the brake bar(?) in his hand might be James Allen Walker, my grandmother's first husband. He has the same light complexion and sharp features, however, the man in this picture looks older than 27 (to me), the age Allen was at the time of his sad and tragic death. However, I can't rule him out because Allen did work as a brakeman at the Virginia Railway coal pier, so this very well may be him.

Note 2: It's also possible that one of these gentlemen could have been my grandmother's father, Walter Davis. I've never seen a picture of him, but he, too, worked at the pier, and was mortally injured in a train accident in 1935.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Amost) Wordless Wednesday - My Mom the Military Wife

My mom, Maryanne Hill Yarborough, standing, center.

This photo would have been taken sometime between 1956 and 1964, most likely in the late fifties, though.  The back has our last name, "Yarborough", faintly written in pencil (probably because this was the copy set aside for my parents), and then, in my mother's handwriting, "A coffee for Army Officers' Wives".  The location is unknown, but was most likely either Bremerhaven, Germany, or Cleveland, Ohio.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Second Blogiversary!

Happy blogiversay to me! 
Happy blogiversary to me!
Happy second blogiversary,
Happy blogiversary to me!!!!

Today, on the second anniversary of Into the LIGHT, I've decided to give myself, and the genealogy blogging community a gift! :)  Just moments ago, I wrote the inaugural post for my new blog, Genea-Related!  I hope that all of my readers will visit my new blog, which, as its name implies, is  forum and a platform for all things related to genealogy!  Please click here to learn more!

Thanks to all of my readers for sticking with Into the LIGHT for whatever portion of the two years you've been reading.  I know that my posts have been sparse over the past year, especially recently, but I hope to do better. Without going into it, I want to share that I've been deeply affected by a negative experience I had here, over a year ago, and it has made me a little less than enthusiatic about posting, even though I often really, really want to.  However, as I continue to heal from this experience, I feel myself coming back, and I'm sure that the work I'll put into Genea-Related, will help to speed the process along.

In the end, what's most important is that I continue my research, and I have done that.  However, some of the discoveries I've made have also contibuted to my lack of posts, as I've had to deal with feelings that were completely unexpected as I've learned more and more about parts of my ancestry which, just a couple of years ago, I knew nothing about, as well as with the frustration of not finding anything out about those of my ancestors whom I was aware of, and who are the main subjects of my research.  Still, I won't give up, and I'm constantly inspired by all of you whose blogs I read daily, and who I follow on Twitter each day.

Again, I thank you for reading, and wish you blessings, always.


*Cake photo courtesy of clker.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Mabel GREEN and James POWELL

This is my grandmother, Anna Green's sister, Mabel Lee GREEN, and her husband, James Calvin Powell.  Mabel was born in Rolesville, NC on March 9, 1889 to John Wesley and Susan Dunstan Green. She died in Raleigh, NC on December 11, 1978 at the age of 89.
James was born on June 19, 1889 in Wake Forest, NC, to Calvin and Healon Powell. He died at age 36 on June 16, 1925 of acute Bright's Disease.  According to his death certificate, James was a barber.  This makes me wonder if he may have worked for (or with) my grandfather, who I'm told owned a barber shop.
James and Mabel made their home in Raleigh, NC on Person Street.  They were the parents of five children;  James Jr., Ella, Roger, Mabel, and Ruby (who was born the same year her father died).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This is the Face of Genealogy

I'm offering this post in support of the virtual "protest" of the article that was posted in the LA Weekly, which made light of the research we do, and, to add insult, included a picture of two children who were supposed to be representative of the products of inbreeding. To follow the trail to the article, click here.

Like several others in the genealogy community have done today, I'm sharing just one of the true faces of my genealogy.  This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandmother, Anna Green Yarborough, granddaughter of a slave trader (Nathaniel HAWKINS) and a Mulatto woman (Anna P GREEN).  (Click on her name to read more about her!)
Anna Green Yarborough on the bridge over the Tar River in Louisburg, NC. 
(Photo property of Renate Y Sanders)

Unfortunately, I will never see the majority of the faces of my ancestors, since the majority of them were enslaved people, but through my research, I have gotten to "know" them through the remnants of their lives, and the individual reflections of the spirits they left behind.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NC Indexing Project

Hello Readers:
This is not a typical post, but one in which I'm using my blog as a platform to solicit your help!  As a member of the North Carolina Genealogical Society, I'm privileged to be one of the first to join the effort of an indexing project involving North Carolina Loose Estate Papers!  Having worked for several months now on the SC Project, through LowCountryAfricana and Footnote, I've seen first-hand how much valuable information these records can provide for family researchers.  Of course, most of us have encounter these records on a more personal level in dusty courthouse basements, or perhaps at our state archives, but through this project, we will bring this information right to the fingertips of anyone with access to a computer!

With the permission of Victoria Scott, the Second VP/Publications Chair of the NCGS, I am sharing this information with my genea-friends, and asking for your help!  If you are interested in working as an indexer on this project, please email Victoria Scott at victoria.p.scott@gmail.com.
Here is the partial text of an email I received which explains a bit more about the project:

The North Carolina Genealogical Society, in partnership with FamilySearch.org, and in collaboration with the North Carolina State Archives, is excited to announce that the online indexing project of the North Carolina Loose Estates Records is ready to begin!

Currently, five counties have digitized images available for indexing. More will be forthcoming over the next few weeks and months. This project requires "double blind" indexing, so counties that may have previously been indexed from microfilm will be verified a second time. This is to ensure accuracy before their entries are uploaded into the FamilySearch index database and the images made available for viewing.

The Publications Committee, as well as the entire Board of the North Carolina Genealogical Society, are very excited about this project. It will be a tremendous resource for all researchers with North Carolina ancestry.

Thank you for your participation!

I hope that many of my readers will decide to help out, especially those with a personal research interest in North Carolina!  Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you. :)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Discoveries on the Maternal Side - HILLS, HOWELLS, and HAYES

Yesterday was a banner day in my research life for two reasons: One, I visited the Library of Virginia for the very first time, and two, while there I discovered the name and hometown of my maternal great grandmother!

The Library of Virginia is indeed a beautiful building. It is spacious, well-lit, and beautifully appointed. I'd gone there planning to tour the entire edifice, and take it all in, with plans only to view and get copies of three of my Norfolk, VA ancestors. After all, I was only in Richmond for an impromtu breakfast meet-up with my youngest daughter. This was just going to be a quick stop on a day filled with "to-do"s. Four hours after arriving, I was reluctantly leaving for the drive back home to attend an afternoon engagement. Not only did I have the death certificates (which provided lots of surprising information that I'll blog about later), but I'd also taken advantage of the Pro-Quest access to uncover more articles about my ancestors, the tiniest of which provided me with information about the family of my elusive grandfather, Daniel W. Hill, my mother's father (who abandoned their family when she was just four).

Daniel Webster Hill has, until now, just basically been a name on my family tree.  He is definitely one of my brick walls, and he is the one closest to me, generationally, as he was my mother's father.  Daniel and my grandmother, Mary Davis Walker, were married in Philadelphia in 1929, and they lived there for a short time after they wed.  However, by 1930, they are already back in Norfolk, VA, living in the home which Mary had moved out of to join Daniel in PA.  I've often wondered why they returned to Norfolk so soon, but perhaps now, I've found my answer.

As a result of my search of the Norfolk Journal and Guide on ProQuest for "Daniel Hill Norfolk", this little article popped up.

It reads: Mrs. Pinkie Howell of Gilmerton, VA, who was strickin with illness while visiting her daughter in Philadelphia, Pa., died Sunday, May 19.  The remains were brought to Gilmerton for funeral and internment.  She leaves to mourn her loss a son, Mr. Daniel Hill, of Norfolk, and one daughter, Mrs. Emma Hayes of Philadelphia.

..... and
             brick wall
                    began to immediately

In just these three little lines, I learned the following information that I never knew before:
  • The name of my great-grandmotherPinkie Howell would have been my mother's grandmother.  This explains so much for me, as I've often wondered how and why she never knew her father's parents, or any of his relatives, despite the fact that he abandoned the family when she was four.  I've asked her and her brother many times if they are sure that no one ever asked after them, or visited them from their father's family.  They've always insisted that no one had, and they've both grown old not knowing a thing about their own father or his family - except for their father's name.  Now, at least I can let them know that it wasn't that their own grandmother didn't care enough to want to know them; she had passed before either of them were ever born. :(
  • The origin of my mother's brother's first name, Howell.  My grandparents named their first-born child, Howell Webster Hill.  I've always felt that the "Howell" had to be for something or someone, since they gave him the same middle name as his father (Webster).  Now that I've discovered his mother's surname, I'm beginning to question whether or not Daniel's real last name might've been Howell, too.  Maybe he was running or hiding from something or someone, and maybe this is why he's remained a brick wall for so many years.  This is a stretch though, because there are some other Hills in the Norfolk area who my mom and her brother say that we are related to.  Maybe Pinkie was just married to a Howell who raised Daniel.  I'll have to research this further.
  • The location of my grandfather's family.  According to the article, Pinkie Howell lived in Gilmerton, Va.  Well, there is no longer a township by that name, but when I looked it up, I discovered that Gilmerton was actually located in Chesapeake, Va (which is right next to Norfolk), and after a few moments reflection, realized that it must be in the section of Chesapeake which now hosts the Gilmerton Bridge, which I hear about every morning and evening during the traffic segment on the news.  This was confirmed today during a telephone conversation with my Uncle Howell, who lives in Chesapeake now.  This means that my grandfather, Daniel Hill, whom I've always known was born in Virginia, was most likely raised right in Chesapeake.
  • The fact that my grandfather had a sister, Emma, her married name, Hayes, and her location.  This means that my mother and her brother had an aunt, who sadly, never knew them or vice-versa.  However, Emma will most likely be the key to my finding out more about my grandfather's family and circumstances, and she may even lead me discovering what happened to him.  I've already found the Emma Hayes that I'm pretty certain is her.If I'm right, she was married to McCabe Hayes, a gentleman who appears to have been 8 years younger than she, and who was a WWI Veteran.

From this 1920 Census document, I also learn that Emma's father was born in North Carolina, and her mother in Virginia.  Assuming that Emma and Daniel shared the same parents, these would be my great-great grandparents. :)
  • In addition to the information above, several "mysteries" have been cleared up for me by this article.  I now understand why, despite an announcement in the Journal and Guide (which I shared in a previous post) that my grandparents (Daniel and Mary) were married and had moved to Philadelphia in 1926, they were back living at her home in Norfolk by the time the 1930 Census was taken. I also never understood just how it came to be that they got married in Philadelphia, rather than in Virginia.  Even though my mother and her brother have always said that their father had some kind of connection to Philadelphia, they never seemed to know what it was.  Now, we know that at least one close relative, Daniel's sister, Emma was there.  Perhaps, after the death of their mother, they came back this way to close her affairs.  I may never know the answer to that, but at least it all makes more sense now.
What was supposed to have been a quick visit to the Library of Virginia, has resulted in a smashing (no pun intended) insult to a long-held brick wall!  I now have my work cut out for me as I begin to explore this newly found branch of my family tree.  There are many questions to be answered, and lots of verifying to do, but I'm up for the task!  In just a few weeks, school will be out for the summer, and I'll be digging into my research around the clock.  Surely, this will keep me busy for hours on end!

Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Farm Life

My father, Arthur P Yarborough (behind the cow) and his cousin, George R Greene, apparently doing a little farm work.
(Photo is property of Renate Yarborough Sanders)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Separate But Equal? WWI Draft Registrations

This will be a quick post.  It was inspired by a question posed to me by George Geder, of Geder Genealogy, after a comment I made on his recent post about his grand-uncle, Frederick Geder.  George had included a copy of his ancestor's WWI Registration Card, and I noticed right away that, although Frederick was clearly of African descent, the corners weren't cut off of the bottom of his registration paperwork.  So, I inquired about this to George, and responded by asking me to enlighten him about this practice.

Well, I don't have all the details, but I see this as an opportunity to share something (for once) that I'm aware of, and that perhaps others, like George, may not have been.  Quite some time ago, I was engaged in a discussion in what I believe was the Afrigenas chatroom  on this issue.  At that time, although I'd found and save several of my ancestors' WWI Draft Registrations, I hadn't even noticed that, on a large percentage of them, either one, or both of the bottom corners had diagonal cuts on them.  After the chat, I went back into my documents and looked at them, and this was indeed the case.  However, there were some, like that of my my own grand-uncle, William Green (who was passing for White in NY), on which the corners were not cut. (See below.)

Before I responded to George, I googled the topic, and found right away that Ancestry.com had a copy of the blank registration form on their site, showing that it was actually a part of the written directions on the form to cut the lower left corner if the registrant was of African descent.  (All this time, I'd been thinking that it was just something that was being done "unofficially".  I know... I should have known better.)  You can see this copy, below:
Screen shot from Ancestry.com: http://c.ancestry.com/pdf/trees/charts/DraftCardB.pdf

Another thing I did after responding to George's query is that I went into my files on Ancestry to take a look at a couple of my ancestors' forms, with the intent to send George a few copies.  I went right to my grandfather, Calvin YARBOROUGH, and his brother, Eugene, because I remembered having theirs and I knew that they had gone (presumably together) on the same date to register.  Upon revisiting their forms, I noticed something interesting:

Here's my great-uncle Eugene YARBOROUGH's first registration form, from June 5, 1917.  Notice the cut corners.

Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005

 I also noticed the writing across Eugene's registration form, indicating that his registration was "Cancelled by order of the Adjucant General, May 12, 1918.  (I can't read the line under that.)  I guess finding out the reason for that gives me another "mystery" to work on solving.

Now, look at my grandfather's registration.  He and Eugene were brothers, less than two years apart, in age.  The corners are not cut.

Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Here is a picture of my grandfather, Calvin R. YARBOROUGH, Jr.  Like with George's ancestor, there is no question of his African ancestry.

On that day, my great-uncle Eugene re-registered.  Apparently, September 12, 1918 was the main registration date for Franklin County, NC.   Notice that this time, his corners are not cut, either.  Here's his second registration:

Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

I have visited all of the WWI Draft Registration cards for surnames beginning with D, G, and Y for Franklin County, NC on Ancestry.com, and I've found that fairly consistently, the corners were cut for African-Americans.  What made them not cut them for my grandfather and his brother on September 12, 1918, is a mystery to me.
Oh!  I almost forgot: Here is the registration form for my grand-uncle, William A Green.  As you can see, he is designated as White, and his corners are not cut.  What makes this even more interesting (to me) is that less than two decades before this, when he was still a North Carolinean, William had actually served in the 3rd NC Volunteer Infantry, a colored regiment in the Spanish-American War.  Just one of those things that makes you go, hmmmmm, huh? :)

Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

I hope this information has been helpful to other researchers.  If you weren't aware of this distinction being made on the WWI Registration Forms, you might want to go back and take a look at the ones you have for your ancestors, to see how they were "assigned".


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Family Time in the Cemetery

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you've seen this plot before.  It's the family plot for my paternal grandparents, Calvin and Anna (Green) YARBOROUGH.  This plot is located in the Louisburg City Cemetery, formerly known as the Louisburg Colored Cemetery, and often referred to by locals as, "The Hill".  The majority of my paternal ancestors are buried throughout this serene, remotely located cemetery, but the plot shown holds my grandparents Calvin and Priscilla YARBOROUGH and my uncle, Calvin R. Yarborough, III.  Space remains for my aunt, who just celebrated her 91st birthday.  I also plan to place a marker there in memory of my father, Arthur Yarborough, Sr., although he was interred in the Hampton National Cemetery with full military honors, when he passed in 1997.
On Saturday, the day before Easter, my daughters (who had both come in for the holiday weekend) and I, along with my oldest daughter's fiance, took the 2 and 3/4 hour drive down to Louisburg to visit my aunt, with an ulterior purpose being for her to meet the fiance. :)  After a nice visit, we piled back into the car to leave, when lo and behold, my vehicle (which has a mind of its own - hee hee) just knowingly made the turn from the old homeplace (where my aunt still lives) onto Mineral Springs Road, and directly towards The Hill!  Seriously though, this was an opportunity I just couldn't resist.  Usually, I'm alone when I take my trips to Louisburg, or occasionally, my youngest daughter (now 22) might be with me.  But to have a chance to visit our ancestral burial ground with both of my daughters in tow (and a future son-in-law, to boot) was too good to pass up.  So, there we went, up the winding rock-covered path which was once traveled by horse and buggy (and is still only wide enough for one car at a time), through the woods, and up the hill to the cemetery. 
As we entered the clearing, I began pointing out the ancestors:  GREENS to the left, a little further up, Hilliard and Mattie YARBORO, and the tiny graves of all the children they'd lost too soon... Next to them, Cousins Geral, Sheldon, and others... over to the right in the center of the field, Eugene and Lucy YARBOROUGH and their children, several of whom also died young.  Then, on the corner near the top of the hill we stopped.  Our family plot, proudly bearing the YARBOROUGH name was in full view.  As I began to tell the stories (mostly for the benifit of the fiance), my daughters gave in to what they knew was inevitable - a photo shoot!

                           Photo property of Renate Y Sanders.  April 23, 2011 - Louisburg City Cemetery

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Maryanne's Birthday - Bringing Family Together!

This past Wednesday, March 23rd, was my mother's 77th birthday. On Sunday prior, I hosted a little celebration in her honor, which was attended by her siblings, their spouses, a cousin, and my oldest brother, Ed. It's difficult for me to write much about the dynamics of this side of my family, because I am innately guided by the mantra, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." Not only did my father reiterate this phrase over and over again during my childhood, but I also heard it each morning on the radio station. I didn't realize (or remember) until searching for the exact voice to link into this post, that this was a line from the movie, Bambi!
Anyway, the gathering was a complete success, and my mother was truly happy to see her family members all together. It was a long day for her, and she was tired by the time we started taking pictures, but I do have a couple to share.

Mom was wide awake and excited about the "surprises" I had in store for her.

My brother, Ed, helping mom read one of her cards.

Mom with her sister, Gwen, and brother, Howell. (I forgot to get the 7's for the cake, so I used the number one to indicate that she is the #1 Mom!)

Maryanne Hill Hoggard Yarborough was born March 23, 1934 to parents Daniel W. and Mary Hill.  I thank God for allowing her to celebrate another birthday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Roots Television - Where Have I Been?

At this moment, I'm just sitting here shaking my head.  Where have I been?  I've been seeing fellow bloggers and tweeters making mention of Roots Television for as long as I've been a member of this community, but for some reason, I have never clicked on one of the links to this amazing resource for genealogists and family historians!  That is, never before today. 

I've just viewed two segments of the "Ancestors Series", and I'm just amazed at how well-done these videos are, and how well they explain the feelings and experiences that I've had as an African-American researcher.  For me, the videos didn't offer a lot of new information, but I can see where they would be of great help to a beginning researcher.  I can image that once I watch some of the other segments on the site, I will certainly find information that will help me, too. 

So now, with my "tail between my legs", I'd like to take this opportunity to share the first two segments of the "Ancestors Series" on Roots Television with my readers.  I plan to include these in my next "Family News" email update - the newsletter that I send out to my family members, each month.  I think that if they will take the time to view these videos, many of my relatives will gain a better understanding of the work I'm doing, and the critical role that they can play in helping to enhance the research!
If you are a "newbie", don't miss this opportunity to expose yourself to a fabulous source of guidance for the African-American genealogy researcher!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Jacobina Sherrod Hawkins

My third-great grandmother, Jacobina/Jacobine Sherrod Hawkins, wife of Philemon; mother of Archibald, Madison, Lucy, Nathaniel (my gg-gf), Fannie, Mary, and Benjamin. Her grave is located in Oakwood Cemetery, Louisburg, NC.  Photo Source: http://www.findagrave.com/ (Memorial# 41496203)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mysterious Monday - Diagnosis: Pellagra

This Mysterious Monday is not about a picture.  Instead, it's about a disease, and the startling finding I've made of it in my family history  The name of the disease is Pellagra.  You can read all about it, here and here.

I have written before about my great-grandfather, Calvin Yarborough, Sr.  This post is about the wife of his son, and namesake - my grandfather, Calvin Yarborough, Jr.  My grandfather died decades before I was born, but it was a desire to know more about him and my grandmother, Anna, that actually started me on my genealogy quest 15 years ago.  Calvin was married twice - first to Toynetta Littlejohn, and then to my grandmother, Anna Green.  It is Calvin's first wife, Toynetta, who is the subject of this post.

For many years, I've tried to find evidence of Toynetta's death, so that I could get a better sense of the timeline between my grandfather's two marriages, and of what life may have been like for him and his three oldest children.  Until last week, I could never find a death certificate for Toynetta, despite my searches on the Internet, as well as visits to the Franklin County Register of Deeds office, where the death certificates are housed.  In my research, I'd found that several members of Toynetta's birth family, the Littlejohns, had died of tuberculosis in the first decade of the 1900's, as had some of my Yarborough ancestors, so I've been assuming all this time that it was this same disease that took her from my grandfather, especially considering that Calvin, himself, was later consumed by it.  But, thanks to a surprise finding of Toynetta's death certificate (when I wasn't even looking for it), I know differently.  Toynetta did not have tuberculosis.  She died of pellagra.

Pellagra, for those who don't know, is a vitamin deficiency disease, which is characterized by the "4 D's": diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.  In the early 1900's there was an epidemic of this disease in the southern states.  Apparently, the disease appeared in 1902, and peaked in 1915-16.  Toynetta died of it in May, 1914.

Ancestry.com. North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

What is most interesting to me about this, and what presents the mystery, are the circumstances as presented by Toynetta's death certificate.  I've learned from reading about Pellagra, that its victims were isolated in hospital settings, away from the general population, so I guess this is how Toynetta ended up in St. Agnes' in Raleigh.  I'm aware that this was the Colored, or Negro hospital for decades.  But, still, it surprises me that Toynetta somehow ended up there from Louisburg, a town about 30 miles from Raleigh.

Toynetta is listed as single, though she was definitely a married woman.  The hospital seems to have no information on her.  It almost seems as if perhaps she went there on her own, or was left on their doorstep.  Where was Calvin?  Why wasn't he (or anyone) there to provide information about her to the hospital?  Surely, she was demented from the disease by the time she arrived there, just four days before her death, but why didn't anyone know anything about her?

Toynetta's body was returned to Louisburg for burial, but this was handled by a company out of Raleigh.  Why didn't the undertaker from Louisburg (Blount) who was handling most of my family's (and the Littlejohn's) handle the arrangements?

Toynetta Littlejohn Yarborough was born in 1884, and died May 3, 1914, apparently demented and alone.  She was survived by her husband, Calvin Yarborough, Jr., and four children, Vida (7), Priscilla (6), Felix (4), and Fredrick (9 mths).  Her son Felix, who turned 5 the month after she died, followed her to the grave in September, 1914.

My grandfather remained a widower for an unusally long (for that time) five years after Toynetta's death, until he married my grandmother, Anna, in 1919.  I can only imagine the sorrow he must have carried in his heart after losing his wife, and his young son in the same year.  I hope to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Toynetta's illness and subsequent death, as well as Calvin's life as a single father, who ended up courting, and marrying my grandmother-to-be.

Source information:  Information about the disease, Pellagra, was obtained for this post from the following articles:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Search Terms

It's been a while since I've participated in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun , but after reading a few of the posts from this week's task, I was curious, so I decided to go for it. 

The "mission" (as Randy puts it) was as follows:
1) Go to your Blog Statistics website (e.g., StatCounter, Google Analytics, etc.) and find the page for "Keyword Searches" done on your blog.

2) Tell us some of the funniest or most interesting keyword searches and your reaction to them. Write your own blog post or put them in a comment to this post, or in a comment or status on Facebook.

I use the free counter provided by Sitemeter http://www.sitemeter.com/. I do not pay for the upgrade.  Perhaps if I did, there might have been a page for Keyword Searches, as Randy suggested, but I didn't see one, so I had to click through each of my hits (no big deal) to see if the person had found me by way of a keyword search, or otherwise.  I had read the instructions for the mission on Saturday, and thought I remembered what I was supposed to be doing, so I didn't look at them again before I started.  For some reason, I thought that I was supposed to look at the last ten search terms that people had used to come upon my blog, so that is what I did.  It wasn't until I'd finished that I went to Randy's site to get the exact terminology to copy and paste (above) into my post, and I then saw that I hadn't exactly followed directions!  Oh, well.  Se le vie...

Here, starting from the most recent, are the ten last search terms that landed folks on my Into the LIGHT. 

my brother arthur white
diary writing - death of brother affected me

betty howell new Norfolk

tribute to brother died

tribute to a brother

into the light blog

photos of mulatto slaves

a tribute to my brother

tribute to my brother

a tribute to my brother
Clearly, the post that I did about my brother, Arthur, A Tribute to My Brother, is generating the most hits via search terms on my blog!  I don't know why, but this really surprises me, just as it did that this post has generated the most comments of any on my blog.  I guess I was expecting to see more of my surnames pop up, or maybe the locations in which my ancestors lived.  But what I also noticed in several of the details, was that many of the searches were from overseas and/or Canada.  This made me wonder if, perhaps, people were looking for ways to pay tribute to fallen soldiers.  Just a thought, but who knows, really?  Anyway, I will just consider it an honor that, for whatever the reason, even more people than I'd anticipated are learning about the life of my brother, Arthur!