Thursday, April 30, 2009

As You Are, So Once Was I

“As You Are, So Once Was I” is a series of videos of Pacific Northwest pioneer stories brought back to life. Each of the videos is set in Vancouver’s Old City Cemetery and begins with a shot of the grave marker of the deceased followed by an actor portraying the person. The videos are presented by the Vancouver Heritage Ambassadors, State of Washington.

What a creative idea for the Heritage Ambassadors to honor the deceased of this cemetery by portraying their stories on video. As I visited the cemetery at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in the Skippers area of Greensville County, VA this past Sunday, I thought about the video. What if the deceased in this cemetery (Antioch) could have their story told, what would it say?

In the video series, “As You Are, So Once Was I,” each character explained how they came to the Pacific Northwest. What if the residents of the Antioch cemetery could tell their life story and their affiliation with Antioch church? What a powerful story this would be for me as a family historian, as well as the current members of this church.

“As You Are, So Once Was I” portrays the stories of five individuals: 1) Maria Hidden, 2) John Mickey, 3) Esther Short, 4) Sarah Jane Anderson, and 5) Jarius Harmer.


Maria Hidden, 1847-1924
Pacific Northwest pioneer Maria Hidden comes back to life and recites a political stump speech she made as an early women's Suffrage Movement member in Vancouver, WA.

  • Maria Hidden Video

  • John Mickey 1834-1924
    Pacific Northwest pioneer John Mickey comes back to life and shares his story as a "stump farmer" in Vancouver, WA in the mid-1800's. The

  • John Mickey Video

  • Esther Short, 1806-1862
    Pacific Northwest pioneer Esther Short comes back to life to tell her story of settling in territory claimed by both the U.S. and Britain's Hudson's Bay Co.

  • Esther Short Video

  • Sarah Jane Anderson, 1837-1912
    Pacific Northwest pioneer Sarah Jane Anderson comes back to life and tells of early community and medical developments in Vancouver, WA.

  • Sarah Jane Anderson Video

  • Jarius Harmer, 1843-1886
    Pacific Northwest Civil War soldier Jarius Harmer recounts his time with the Union Army and eventual move to Vancouver, WA.

  • Jarious Harmer Video

  • Additional Information:

  • The Vancouver Educational Telecommunications Consortium
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Cousin Rosella

    I visited the cemetery of Antioch Baptist Church (Skippers area of Greensville County, VA) during a visit to the church this past Sunday. I took losts of photos. Here is the tombstone of a cousin who was a granddaughter of my great-great grandparents Joshua and Ersie Jane Providence Robinson.

    Cousin Rosella provided me with valuable information about our Robinson and Greenaway family history. I met her during one of my visits to Antioch Baptist Church and we talked on the phone on several occasions. She was a daughter of Lucretia Robinson Hill (1881-1915), who was a daughter of Joshua and Ersie Robinson, and is also buried in this cemetery.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    Aunt Della Wearing Hat

    This is my Aunt Della, the youngest sister of my paternal grandmother, Hattie Moore Pair. I love the hat and outfit she is wearing. This photo was taken in August 2008.

    Aunt Della will turn 100 on December 26, 2009. We look forward to celebrating with her in a BIG birthday bash with family and friends.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Uncle Richard’s Birth Certificate


    List some vital signs. Talk about specific birth, marriage and death certificates. Topics may include misspelled names, fudged dates, other anomalies that stand out in your records.

    Around 2003, I acquired the birth certificate of the youngest brother of my maternal grandmother from the Register of Deeds Office in Vance County, NC. I was concentrating on acquiring vital documents on my grandmother’s siblings during that year.

    There were several interesting discoveries on Uncle Richard’s birth certificate.

    1. Name: Originally listed as Richard Rod Johnson, but name was changed or corrected on certificate on November 6, 1987 to “George Richard Johnson.” Our family always called him “Richard” or “Uncle Richard” in my case. Was the name “Richard Rod” written incorrectly or did he change his first name to “George” in honor of his deceased father whom he never knew? His father George Johnson died two months before his birth on February 28, 1932. Note: I need to ask my grandmother and Uncle Richard’s wife about this name discrepancy.

    2. Date of Birth: The date of birth is listed as “April 23, 1932” on this birth certificate. The certificate was filed in the Vance County, NC Register of Deeds office and signed by the Registrar, Mr. H. B. White, on April 26, 1932. However, Uncle Richard used “April 30, 1932” as indicated on his funeral program. I also asked one of his daughters about his birth date discrepancy and she said that her father was told by his mother that “April 30th” was his date of birth. Note: I need to ask Uncle Richard’s wife and his children about this birth date discrepancy.

    3. Midwife on birth certificate is named as “Luvenia Bullock.” I knew from oral history that my great grandmother Bell was living with her mother at the time of the birth of her youngest son. I also knew that her mother Luvenia was a midwife, but no one had ever mentioned that Grandma Luvenia delivered her grandson Richard.

    Uncle Richard was 55 years old when his birth certificate was amended on November 6, 1987. Surely he would have noticed the date discrepancy on this document. I wonder how old he was when he first saw his birth certificate. Hopefully, I will find some answers about these discrepancies from Uncle Richard’s family.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Memory Monday - The Cost of Carelessness

    When you are in the library or any place of research, do you ever leave your personal belongings unattended even for just a second?

    Whether it’s just to look in an index for a quick second or to make copies, taking your eyes off your personal belongings for any amount of time can provide an open invitation for a thief during your moments of inattentiveness.

    When I first began researching my family history, I learned an expensive lesson while in the library. I had attended my father’s family reunion in Emporia, Virginia the week earlier and had obtained the names of his mother’s ancestors. I was so excited and consumed with my research that I became careless with my personal belongings.

    I had withdrawn over $100 from the bank on Saturday and placed it in my wallet. After church on Sunday, I prepared for my library trip and placed my wallet, a walkman to listen to music on cassette tape, and other items in a small briefcase. I had intended to take some of the money out of the wallet prior to my library trip, but forgot to do it because my mind was focused on my finding my ancestors. While using the microfilm reader, I walked away several times leaving my briefcase unattended. Even while I was doing this, I kept feeling that I should be more cautious about my belongings, but I quickly dismissed the thought because of my excitement about achieving my research goals.

    As I prepared to leave the library at closing time at 5 p.m., I began to gather my belongings. My heart stopped when I noticed that my briefcase was missing from the microfilm table where I was sitting. I frantically searched the genealogy room and found my briefcase on a table at another microfilm reader just few feet away. At that moment, I remembered seeing a young man sitting at that table earlier and I recalled looking at him and thinking that he did not look like a serious researcher. However, because of my preoccupied mind, I had dismissed that thought. All of my belongings were in the briefcase except for my wallet. Thoughts of replacing my wallet contents flooded my mind as I went to the front desk informing them of the robbery.

    The librarian informed me that library robberies were common, and sometimes the robbers left the wallets somewhere in the library after taking what they wanted. He searched the bathrooms and brought back my torn wallet, a handful of receipts, driver’s license, and other important cards, but no cash.

    This experience taught me a very valuable lesson early on in my research. Now, I don’t take a lot of things to the library or courthouse when I am researching. Instead, I wear a fanny pack so I don’t have to be concerned about leaving my wallet unattended. The fanny pack is also convenient for carrying the change I need for copies. I know that once I start researching, I will be too excited and consumed with the research to be attentive to my personal belongings.

    Since this incident, I have observed many researchers, especially women, who are careless with their purses and briefcases. But my expensive lesson of 1995 constantly reminds me to take precautions even before I go to any place of research.

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    Church Homecomings

    Next weekend, I plan to attend a church homecoming at Antioch Baptist Church in Skippers, VA which is located in the county of Greensville. This will not be my first time attending this church because I have attended other homecomings as well as family funerals. Antioch is the church once attended by my paternal grandmother Hattie Moore Pair (1902-1956) and her maternal ancestors the Robinsons of Skippers, VA. Several living family members are still members of this church and I look forwarding to seeing them as well as meeting new family members.

    Success in Attending Church Reunions
    I have had much genealogical success with attending church reunions because it has enabled me to connect with living descendants of my ancestors as well as others who knew them.

    Visiting Family Cemetery
    Besides meeting family, I hope to also have time to visit the Robinson Family Cemetery which is adjacent to the church where several of my family members are buried including my paternal grandparents Matthew and Hattie Moore Pair and Robert and Mary Eliza Robinson Moore, who were the parents of my paternal grandmother.

    Finding DNA Candidates
    I also hope to find DNA candidates to test the 1) maternal and paternal ancestry of my great-great grandfather Joshua Robinson (abt. 1846-1935); and 2) maternal ancestry of Lucretia Providence Cook Greenway (abt. 1855-?)., who is believed to be a sister of my great-great grandmother, Ersie Jane Providence Robinson (abt. 1850-aft. 1900). Grandma Ersie’s maternal DNA has been tested twice; the results match the U6a1 Haplogroup, which is European.

    DNA results from Grandpa Joshua’s maternal ancestry will provide more information into the heritage of his mother Maria Morgan Greenaway (abt. 1809-aft. 1900) and her mother, Lizzey Morgan, who was a slave freed in the will of Dr. James Greenway of Dinwiddie County, VA around 1795. As a result of her mother’s freedom by Dr. Greenway, Maria was born free in Virginia. At the time of Grandma Maria’s birth, if a mother was free, her children were born free. The status of the father did not matter according to this law.

    Grandpa Joshua’s 1935 death certificate gives the name of his father as Moses Robinson. This is all I know about Grandpa Moses; therefore DNA results may give some clue as to his ethnicity. On several documents, Grandpa Joshua was listed as a “Mulatto.” Some of his grandchildren remember that he was very “light skinned’ in complexion. Therefore, it is possible that he had a European paternal ancestry.

    If Grandma Ersie Jane Providence Robinson and Lucretia Providence Cook Greenway were sisters as was told to me by a granddaughter of Grandma Ersie, then the maternal DNA results should match. No written documentation has been found to indicate that these two women were sisters. They did, however, have the same maiden name, but Grandma Ersie’s marriage license does not name her parents. Lucretia’s marriage license names her parents as John and Eliza Providence.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    The 9th Cousins

    President Barack Obama, who was a Senator at the time of the interview, discusses being distantly related to former Vice president, Dick Cheney. President Obama and former Vice President Cheney are 9th cousins.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Easter Outfit Parade

    Happy Easter to All!

    This is one of my favorite pictures of the childhood photos of my oldest nephew, Tyrone. Here, he is wearing his Easter outfit with the yellow jacket, black bow tie and pants. He was so cute and I just love his smile. He was about three-years-old, therefore this photo was taken around Easter 1984.

    Other Easter outfit photos in my family include photos of my mother and uncle, and some cousins.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009 - Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Blog

    Lately, I have been exploring new blogging platforms in order to better understand the differences. The video tutorial below provided me with information on the features of WordPress. The video is 45 ½ minutes long, but is well worth watching for those who want to learn about the features of WordPress. When I first began blogging in 2008, I tried to set up a WordPress blog, however it was difficult, and I abandoned the set up. The video tutorial simplifies the set up process.

    One of the features that I like in WordPress is having a choice in ways to place a link. I like my links to open in a new window and in Blogger, I have to insert the HTML code, which can be a tedious process. In WordPress, you are able to choose the new page as an option when inserting a link. I also like the calendar and search features in WordPress.

    One thing I do not like in WordPress is having to make adjustments to the embedded code of a video such as YouTube. In Blogger, you simply copy the embed code in the HTML section of a blog posting. In WordPress, the embedded code has to be edited. I use a lot of YouTube videos, and if I switched to WordPress, I don’t want to have to edit the embed code every time I post a video. - Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Blog

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    The Excitement of Meeting Online Friends

    In October 2007, I attended a genealogy conference in the Boston, MA area. I knew that my online friend Barbara lived in the area. She and I took a Family Tree Maker class in 2006 and since that time, our class has continued communicating through our website on Several members of our group have visited Boston and met with Barbara while in the area. It was quite exciting to see photos of their visits on our website.

    The Sunday after the conference, Barbara and I met at the Burlington Mall for about an hour or so. It was great hearing her voice as opposed to just reading her postings. We took several pictures, but I only recently had them developed because I misplaced the disposable camera.

    In October 2009, I plan to attend a genealogy conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many of my new online genealogy friends will also be attending and I am looking forward to meeting them face to face and taking many pictures. The best thing of all will is being able to share these photos on my blog and other websites such as and Facebook.

    Saturday, April 4, 2009

    Welcome to New Blogger - African Roots Podcast

    Please join me in welcoming my genealogy friend, Angela Walton-Raji to the blog world. Angela is an author, lecturer, and genealogy researcher and has recently created the blog podcast African Roots Podcast. She and I met through annual conferences of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

    Welcome to the blog world, Angela!