One year ago, I launched this website. Since then, there were 51 posts and 160 surnames added to the index in 2020! This site has been my first experience with WordPress and building a website. Previously, I had 2 blogs that I made in blogger/blogspot. I’ve spent a lot of time learning and testing website design and various formats for presenting information. I’ve tasked a lot of my friends and family to navigate this site looking for specific things, to see where they might get stuck, and then I tried to make it more user friendly. I’ve tested colors, fonts and contrast for family with various vision challenges. I’ve also changed structural formatting a few times to better handle large amounts of information that I expect to add to the site; including pictures, charts and a cemetery project. I’ve also learned how to better use the flow chart software, draw.io, as well as Photoshop Elements for various features I wanted to add to the website. I’ve enjoyed being at home more this year, and having been able to learn new ways to collaborate and share my work. This website has been one of my “covid projects”. It’s been a fun challenge for me to learn more about website formatting, making clickable buttons and linking pages.
Most of my work is divided between Virginia genealogy, and Polish genealogy. Catherine Stowe is the daughter of Fannie Gray, who was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia. Catherine married Paul Sanetra, whose parents and two sisters were born in Poland. Paul was raised in the Chicago area. My research, projects and two websites are about Catherine and Paul’s families. I started up my Polish website a few months after I started this website.
Over the last three years I’ve spent a lot of time researching and trying to better document my Virginia families in the time period of 1820 and earlier. Originally, I was only looking at the Newman family before 1820. James B. Jones, the ancestor of most Jones families in the Bracey and Blackridge area, married Martha Newman who was born in Orange County, Virginia. Three of Martha Newman’s sisters married three Walker brothers. The more I’ve studied colonial Essex and Orange counties in Virginia, the more I think it’s possible that many of my Mecklenburg ancestors might have lived in these same places, before moving to Mecklenburg. William Jones who was the grandfather of James B. Jones, died in 1818 in Mecklenburg, but where was he born? Many neighboring families in 1750 Essex County, Virginia are the same family surnames as those that were neighbors in Mecklenburg 100 years later.
Two books were written about the Newman family, about 100 years ago. Some bad errors from those books have multiplied and been copied all over the internet. Martha Newman’s grandfather William Newman was a dragoon during the Revolutionary War, from Orange County, Virginia. His brother George also joined the same unit. A published regimental write up incorrectly reported that George died during the war, along with several other stories about George that also contained incorrect information. I have a copy of George’s pension record, the military troop roster and muster rolls, which show that nothing that was said about George in the published regimental history is true. The Pre-1850 time period is challenging to document because household names aren’t on the census yet, parents are not listed on marriage records, and deeds and wills don’t list people’s ages. Many people used the same names over and over in their family. I have seen a situation where five brothers each gave their firstborn son the same name. The oldest son in many of my Newman families is Thomas Newman. This means that several first cousins, born within a 2-5 years of each other all have the same name. People often assume in error, that several people with the same name must be the same person. I was researching the will of William Walker in Brunswick, Virgnia. This will was written just before his sons that were married to the Newman sisters moved to Mecklenburg. William’s will mentioned that his son is also named William Walker and also mentiones his good friend, William Walker who he named his executor… three William Walkers in the same document! It is very easy to get these people confused with one another! To hopefully help clear up some of this confusion, I launched my third and final website in December; about the Newmans, their family, and neighbors. The framework for it is ready, but much of my content is still in the draft stage. When the website is more established, and I find connections that show families moving to Mecklenburg, I will share the Mecklenburg related information here on this website.
I celebrate another big anniversary this month. I took these pictures on my first visit to Mecklenburg, eighteen years ago! At the time, my mother and I both had little ones at home. My grandma was living in Florida, and came up to join us for our trip to Mecklenburg. A friend who I’d been emailing with offered to show us around the area where my family would have lived. We met at Arnold’s diner in South Hill. We then visited an old Rainey property which included Williamson Rainey’s tombstone and the windmill for the well picture. We also visited Sardis Church, LaCrosse cemetery and Rehoboth church. Most of my visits to Mecklenburg since then have been in these same areas.
This year I hope to visit other areas of Mecklenburg County, and take pictures of churches and cemeteries. I’m also hopeful to receive more submissions of pictures of both people and places. I’ve been working during the week to have things ready and scheduled to post before Monday morning. This helps me continue to post weekly, even when my personal life gets a little extra crazy, or when I’m spending extra time on behind the scenes website formatting or getting cemetery information formatted and ready to post. I’m currently reformatting the surname index pages. I plan to add more cemeteries and interview notes to the site this year. I will also add some chancery case summary notes.
The above linked page is my write up of the Carroll Cemetery which is just off Nellie Jones Road in the Bracey area. This cemetery was part of John B. Kidd’s estate. There are no tombstones there, only field stones that mark the head and feet of the burials. I believe this cemetery dates to before 1830. The land was bought then divided between John B. Kidd’s children in very different acreage amounts. John B. Kidd is listed in the deed books as purchasing land five times. He bought land in two areas. The northern land ran partly along Hall Rd, much of which Miles Hall ended up purchasing from his wife Elizabeth Kidd’s siblings. The land south of Nellie Jones road was labeled on the estate plat as “the lower tract.” I added up all 5 purchases but there are discrepancies in numbers. John B Kidd’s estate shows a total (northern and southern lands) of about 320 more acres than I can account for him purchasing. My guess is that he inherited land in both areas.
I learned several things that interested me while trying to discover who owned the land before John B. Kidd. The first was that Samuel McKinney owned property bordering the Griffith estate property that John B. Kidd purchased in 1841. Samuel married Elizabeth Newman, the older sister of Martha Newman. This Martha Newman married James B. Jones and they are the ancestors of most of the Jones in the Great Creek area. I thought Samuel and Elizabeth McKinney lived in Brunswick County, so I was surprised to find them living by Great Creek.
I also found it surprising that the chancery case (to divide Arimenta’s estate) said that this land was known as “The Arimenta Glover tract of land.” This land was inherited from her father, John B. Kidd, and Arimenta had been married to Robert Carroll for 18 years. Arimenta’s first marriage was to Granderson Glover, my great…grandfather. (I’m a descendant of his first marriage in Tennessee.) She was only married to Granderson 10 years before he died, yet this was known as the Arimenta Glover land.
I wasn’t able to drive for a few years. My birthday is in the summer, so I asked my husband Aaron to take me to Mecklenburg for my birthday. He’s visited the area with me several times over the years. He took me to meet new friends, visit farms and cemeteries, and get pictures of things I wanted to remember. I also love to write, but grammar is not my thing. My high school English teacher would often give me an “A” for content but mark the page up with red, for all my grammar errors. Aaron helps me with that now. He also reads my drafts to tell me if things are confusing or not explained enough. I also test lots of visual ideas and charts with him, for this website, to see if they make sense to someone other than myself.
I met Anne Willson almost 15 years ago and we’ve been working on projects together ever since! She’s not even related to me, but she knows my family tree inside out. I like to joke that we don’t have a DNA match, but we have the best friend gene. I think you would be amazed at how well she knows the connections of Bracey and Blackridge families. Anne visited Mecklenburg with me in the summer of 2014. We tested out GPS tagging using our phones so we could try to put things on a map. That eventually led to the GPS map on this website. Anne moved across the country, so we worked on that map together over what is currently called Google Meet. I sent her plats, we took turns sharing our screen. We both had our Photoshop programs open, I read her information from deed books, and we built it together.
We’ve done projects together over video every week, for many years. Whenever I get stuck, I video call Anne to brainstorm ideas. I run story ideas by her and ask her how she would show things in pictures. We study maps, plot DNA charts, and test ways to visually share ideas. We also look for new ways to find answers to our genealogy questions, using newer technology. Anne is an admin on the Mecklenburg Facebook group and my Mecklenburg Ancestry.com tree. The majority of my Google Drive folders are shared with her. When I have a bad day with my health challenges, and I want to think through a genealogy puzzle, I call her and she looks stuff up for me. She’s even read deed books with me and helped me chart groups of people to try to better document my Mecklenburg roots before 1800.
Anne and Aaron have helped me with a lot of behind the scenes types of things, so I can share my research with you. I’ve had a lot of fun making Mecklenburg discoveries with them. I wanted to publicly express my thanks, and thought you might like to know a little more about two of my best friends.
I’m very excited because I learned how to crop pictures into circles. The whole website has been updated with about 300 circles! I made blue clickable buttons for links. Anything in red text or a blue button/circle is a hyperlink. Here are a few highlights of the site updates:
Posts have all had their links updated with buttons. This image is of last week’s post. The red words “this previous post” have a link, as well as clicking on the blue circle with a picture of Henry Kidd.
Many pages were reformatted with new things I’m learning. Here is part of the military page:
Hope you enjoy the new updates. I also hope you find the changes user friendly. Do you have any pictures or stories you would like to share on this site?
Elva Kidd White shared these two newspaper clippings with me. The first gives the year as 1928. The second dates the picture as 1920’s, but lists all the men’s name. Elva’s father is the one marked as “grandad Kidd”. For more information about Henry Kidd, see this previous post with his WWI military picture:
Here is a transcription of this 92 year old picture:
This picture of the South Hill Methodist Church Men’s Sunday School Class in the 1920’s was turned in by Miss Delphine Hatch. Left to right are:
First row: M. M. Carver, Henry Pettus, Clifford Shaw, Charlie Crowder, and Lee Matthews.
Second row: Bennie Walker, W. H. Butterworth, Aubrey Holmes, C. E. Carver, Willie Clark and W. E. Jolly.
Third row: Dr. H. C. Coleman, Joe Taylor, _____ Tanner, R. H. Clayton, C. N. Howerton, Jack Crews, Y. M. Hodges, Tom Allen, Fletcher Bobbitt, H. F. Ledbetter.
Fourth row: Lube Matthews, Frank Mason, Lawrence Crowder, Peyton Smith, Jimmy Radcliffe, Henry Kidd, Jessie Gill, Tom Strange, Tommy Hines and H. P. Bugg
Do you know anything about the men pictured? If so please comment below. If you have any further stories or pictures about them you’d be willing to share on this website, please contact me.