Monthly Archives: June 2009

Our Alabama Roots is LIVE!:-)

OAR_screenshotWith all the blown-up MySQL databases, I want to remind you OurAlabamaRoots is live & cousin Glenza is already talking about a family reunion in Cincinnati next year!:-)

There is something to be said for all these “fresh” starts – be it voluntary {Our Alabama Roots} or forced {Our Georgia Roots}, I seem to be cutting several new paths these days.

Guess I’ll just wait & see what the Ancestors have in store!:-)

Lest we forget…

Georgia Here I Come

I’ll be on a plane in a few hours {5 hrs to be exact!}… heading home for the day to interview & visit briefly with my Mom.

Pray that the interview(s) goes well because my ♥ is in Georgia.


My Catie Was Not Free

Catie WINGFIELD DORSEYYou may remember a few weeks ago my being excited about a conversation I’d had with James Dickey III, the Great Grandson of Rev. James Madison Dickey, the minister who owned my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD DORSEY in 1861.

During our conversation, James mentioned he believed Rev. Dickey to have “freed” Catie before he left Wilkes Co. in 1861 & that she “continued to work in the church” after his departure.

I was thrilled & hoped this revelation was true. For me it would have answered my question as to what happened to Catie between the years of 1861-65, before emancipation and just the thought of her being free gave me a little sense of comfort.

But, when a Georgia State Archivist dismissed the notion of Catie’s freedom in a brief email, though irritated by her lack of explanation, I should have noted her response.

As it turns out, she was correct – in 1851 the State of Georgia made it virtually IMPOSSIBLE for a slaveholder to willingly manumit {free} a slave.

Please note below the Georgia law regarding manumission of slaves and free people of color –

Section 46 from A Digest of the Statute Laws of the State of Georgia, Athens, 1851:

  • Slaves can be manumitted only by the Georgia Legislature
  • Penalties for any manumitter from $200 to $1000
  • The manumitted slave shall be liable to arrest, conviction, and re-enslavement
  • Contracts or deeds of manumission are null and void and are not to be recorded by Clerks of the County Courts
  • Free people of color are forbidden to own real estate and slaves

So all this leaves to determine who did Catie go to […]

Wiping The Slate Clean!:-)

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the unexpected “events” that keep life exciting!:-)

Tonight, after spending the day tweaking the new Our Alabama Roots site, I decided to update my existing OGR Theme & WordPress installation.

So being the “techie” I am, I followed each step perfectly. I was home free – after several hours, WP 2.8 was successfully updated & the new theme in place! Aside from a few minor edits to the header, my work was finished.

But then I logged-out & encountered a database error & rather than doing a step-by-step analysis to determine the error source {which of course, I know to do}, I was impatient & decided to do the next best thing – I deleted my EXISTING database!

Yep the entire database & of course once I hit “delete”, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that Our Georgia Roots, the blog, was G-O-N-E!

Of course I can salvage the links & thank God my data collections live at Picasa & AfriQuest but all of my posts & your insightful comments? Gone just like that!

Hmmm… well I guess it really is time for a new look & a fresh start!

Lest we forget…


By |June 28th, 2009|Reflections|0 Comments

Amazing & Sad – Delaware Legal Slave Papers

355555barwick, solomon 1786-355555barwick, solomon 1786-1While searching for slave data online pertaining to my Grandfather’s line BARWICK, I happened upon this link – SLAVE PAPERS, which in essence is a compilation of legal documents relating to slaves in the state of Delaware.

While it may not have any connection to my personal BARWICK research {my Ancestors were from Alabama}, I just could not bypass these Ancestors & the documentation of their existence, and in some cases – their liberation.

If you are and/or know of any researcher with Delaware roots, please pass this link on – SLAVE PAPERS.

Just think… what if EVERY state had a compiled list like this?!


Accepting No Brick Walls!

Whenever I find myself frustrated by the lingering questions that remain about my Catie & her migration to Wilkes-County Georgia, I force myself to remember where I started – a woman with very little information & virtually no family support in the effort to dig-up a long forgotten history.

Before my cousin, Elbert Stringer, uttered her name – Grandma Catie, I never knew she existed. Nope, I did not know Catie, nor anything about the PHENOMENAL life she’d lived & the legacy of love she’d left behind.

How exciting were those early years when my research was like an unraveling adventure… when every day led to a new discovery & another piece of my family history being restored.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to know! The desire is never-ending!

I realize I have been blessed with my research. I am no longer fighting family battles to preserve our history. I’ve cataloged & accomplished a lot. The Great Aunts who once protested this work, now support it wholeheartedly & even regularly contribute content!:-)

I think (or hope) they find comfort in knowing that when they depart this life, all is not lost. Someone remains who is committed to sharing their stories & the stories of those who came before them.

When I think on this, I know I cannot allow myself to be dissuaded by pseudo-brick walls of information.

As long as there is a courthouse, archive, computer, internet, telephone, elder & living descendant anywhere, I’ll be plugging away with my questions!

I trust that James Dickey III will one day have that conversation with Mary Anne, and she will shed […]

Wordless Wednesday: James & Laura ROSS BARWICK (Our Alabama Roots)

James & Laura ROSS BARWICK

By |June 24th, 2009|Barwick|0 Comments

Catie’s HerStory Posted @ CNN!


Catie’s HerStory has been posted to CNN’s Black In America: Your Roots! Help you & your ANCESTORS! Use to tools people… use the tools!:-)


Tombstone Tuesday: Nuby & Lucretia WINGFIELD

nubyandcreasywingfield_headstone_wilkescoRecently, I met a new Washington-Wilkes cousin, Farrel – descendant of Nuby (Newby) & Lucretia (Creasy) COHEN WINGFIELD.

In some respect I envy Farrel’s close-knit Wingfield clan (former slaves of Archibald S. Wingfield), who remained in Washington-Wilkes following emancipation & close to one another.

Selfish as this sounds, it makes the challenged slave ancestry research effort so much easier if your folks stayed put!:-)

Even before I met Farrel, I’d always marveled at the 1870 Census that shows this huge Wingfield family still living together & later was amazed to find them for the most part, being owned by Archibald S., as evident from his Estate Inventory ledger.

I have always been told by my Great Aunts that we were related to Cohen’s too, although they did not know how & have even found a THOMAS COHEN living with my other Washington-Wilkes Grandparents, Phillip & Annie CARTER on the 1900 Census.

Yesterday, I sent Farrel a copy of the COHEN Family Genealogy that was given to me several years ago by our elder cousin, Nancy COHEN GUNBY, in Washington-Wilkes. It really is an amazing documentation of the COHEN, WINGFIELD, ARNETT bloodlines!

Today Farrel tells me that she believes her NELSON (Nuby’s Father) & another cousin, Malinda’s JACK/JOHN (Mingo’s Father) Wingfield to have been brothers!

Why do I love the kernel of news? Because I have always believed Jack/John & my 4th Grandfather, James […]

By |June 22nd, 2009|Cohen, Wingfield|0 Comments

Annie’s Kitchen Tales – Spelman Seminary

Spelman Seminary 1902

My Great Grandmother, Annie Carter Jackson {1898-1980} was truly one of a kind!

I adored her in EVERY way… from her penchant for hot tea with milk, to her old school tenderness, to her wry sense of humor.

Even today, at any given time, I can find myself reciting one of Grandma Jackson’s common sayings! My favorite – “A cow will need his tail to fan flies for more than one summer!” {translation: be careful who you wrong because you will need them again someday!}.

Aside from gardening, Grandma’s favorite pastime was sitting at the kitchen table & sharing her life stories!

During one sitting I recall her telling me about her exploits as a student of Atlanta’s Spelman Seminary {founded in 1881 & now the prestigious, Spelman College} – pictured above.

I can still see the grin spread across her face as she told me how when a teacher refused to excuse her to the restroom, she’d pulled up her dress & squatted right beside her desk! Yep, my Grandma peed right there on the floor folks!:-)

Tonight, when I take in the Atlanta Spelman Seminary collection from the NY Public Library, I can’t help but wonder if my Annie is among those girls sitting on the steps or is the teacher who refused her restroom relief pictured with the staff?

Hmmm… wonder if I can dig-up any old student enrollment rosters?! I tried many years ago to no avail but who knows? After all, this is the first time I am seeing actual […]