Category Archives: More Genealogy

Dirt’s Secrets

*This post is not possible without the assistance of Justin Stanley and Stephen Jenkins.

Ancient Planters Map 1624

The study of past events in American History have always intrigued me as it relates to genealogy of my Jenkins family.  There is nothing more amazing and perhaps imaginative than pondering the Wild West or in this case the east coast in the 17th century of Virginia.  I had the opportunity a month ago to be included in a research project  by Real Estate Appraiser Justin Stanley of Hampton, VA.   Justin contacted me via my Descendants page on Facebook inquiring about land formerly owned by Jenkins owners in VA.

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Lynchings

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1911 lynching victims that were mother and son. You will see their monuments in the slide below. photo credit: google.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice  or Lynching Museum was inspired from the Apartheid Museum   and  the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  It was founded by the Equal Justice Initiative and its creator Bryan Stevenson.  Its location is in the Deep South in Montgomery , Alabama.

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Go On Now

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There is old time history in those Kentucky hills.  If one is lucky enough, you might hear of it told in a story or two by your kinfolk.

“Go on now, help me get my shoes off,”  in distress papaw asked the girls.

Jeanette unlaced her grandfather’s left boot and June the right.  They tugged until the boots fell to the wood floor.

Mama knew her daddy was short of breath.  Her girls were too young to understand, but they knew something was not right.  Jack was even younger at 9 years.

Mama secretly told Willie her husband to go on now to a neighbor’s home to call the doctor. He returned shortly never making that phone call.  Willie had heard the dinner bell rung by mama.  It was the S.O.S. that her daddy was gone.

My Dad's first cousin pointed out to me where papaw's farmhouse used to set.

My Dad’s first cousin pointed out to me where papaw’s farmhouse used to set.

Night before last, the family had went down to papaw’s house to visit.  Papaw said he was not feeling well. For the first time ever, he decided to spend the night at his daughter’s home.  Little Jack strolled alone with grandpa back to his parent’s farm after the rest of the family had left to go back early.  Jack loved Papaw.  He knew Papaw always had a good story to tell.  That day, he did not know that it would be his last he was to hear.

Stories and long tales are family favorites of mine.  Some of them are sad, but more often there is a good laugh to be had by all.  Jack was my dad.  The girls were my aunts.

Recently on a trip back to Kentucky, I had the opportunity to attend my family reunion and my Aunt Jeanette’s 90th birthday party which just so happened to fall on the same day.

I was able to shock my Aunt coming in from Seattle. I kept it a secret.

I was able to shock my Aunt coming in from Seattle. I kept it a secret.

I was able to visit the family farms and see the old cemetery that dates back to my four times great grandfather.  He is buried way back in the tall trees far from anyone.

This map is from public records showcasing the farm highlighted in blue with the number 62-37 77-9. You can see open fields, but in those woods is where the cemetery actually has our ancestors.

This map is from public records showcasing the farm highlighted in blue with the number 62-37 77-9. You can see open fields, but in those woods is where the cemetery actually has our ancestors.

Three years prior to this visit, the cemetery was cleaned up.  This time I saw the place after very little work had been done to it.   I thought I would share in pictures a bit of what I saw along with a story that makes us all wonder about what it must have been like growing up on a farm. You see 911 was just not available and as a matter of fact many of these farms still have no 911 addresses attached to them.  It is as if time stands still when you think about it.  But we all know that is not true.

In the next few days I will be writing about the adventures involved in finding the exact location of the cemetery.  Public records do not include the cemetery notated when I made reference to it with the folks who hold this information in the courthouse.

In the woods leading to the cemetery, we found critters and many dangerous plants such as these. Do you know what they are?

In the woods leading to the cemetery, we found critters and many dangerous plants such as these. Do you know what these plants are?

This story is dedicated to all fathers.  Happy Father’s Day Jack ( in Heaven otherwise known as Randall by some, Bill by others, and daddy by me).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Took 78 Years, But Siblings Meet For First Time!

Awhile ago I shared a heartwarming story about my WWII VET step-dad Roy and his celebration of his 90th birthday ( http://wp.me/p2rYD1-o8 ). Roy grew up very poor and his parents divorced while he was a boy. Roy never knew when his real dad had passed away. One day he asked me if I could find this information out because of the release of the 1940 census. I was able to give Roy his father’s death date and burial location, but the biggest surprise was that we found out he had a half-brother, and a half-sister he did not know about. When you think you have heard it all life throws you a few new curve balls! We were fortunate to contact them both and plans were made for a reunion.
This reunion finally took place. Roy greeted his new found family today at his home with my mom. It was a joyous occasion . Seven family members came to meet Roy. Since this reunion occurred in Alabama , I was unable to attend, but I did receive a phone call from them thanking me for making their reunion possible. Below is a photo of Roy in the middle who is 90, George- 78, and June – 72. The second photo is Roy working with Governor George Wallace. The third photo is Roy during WW II and the fourth photo is Roy with my mother, sister, and her husband. Life never ceases to amaze me!

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What’s In A Name?

Actions speak louder than words. At least that is what my daddy used to say. He grew up dirt poor in rural Kentucky and farmed land with his own daddy. Parts of the land owned by my paternal ancestors stayed within our family for generations. In fact names also stayed in the family. Let me explain. My oldest son’s name is Luke William. My dad’s name was William Randall. My grandfather’s name was Willie. Willie’s daddy was William Farr. In fact the name William goes all the way back to William Whitnell who was a preacher. He was born in 1796 in North Carolina and fought as a young teenager in the War of 1812. His actions helped save our country and make it what it is today. The land he owned was his payment for his military service and is where this cemetery lies.
About two weeks ago, 10 men got together and cleaned our old family cemetery. It is with delight I saw cemetery stones I had never seen before. This blog post is dedicated to all you genealogy buffs out there. Keep on searching and at some point you just might find your gold mine. These people represent a part of me. Seeing these stones and this cemetery being cleaned up was one of the best gifts I could have ever imagined. There are so many folks I could thank for helping me to locate and clean this place up. I send you warm wishes with this blog! If you are interested in more photos you may go to my dedicated facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/DescendantsOfWhitnellJenkins

When You Think You Have Heard It All…..

1940 CENSUS brings together cousins. Roy (my step-dad) and Melda met for the first time after extensive research was done to find relatives from the past.


Recently I shared a heartwarming story about my WWII VET step-dad Roy and his celebration of his 90th birthday ( http://wp.me/p2rYD1-o8 ). Roy grew up very poor and his parents divorced while he was a boy. Roy never knew when his real dad had passed away. One day he asked me if I could find this information out because of the release of the 1940 census. I was able to give Roy his father’s death date and burial location, but the biggest surprise was that we found out he had a half-brother, and a half-sister he did not know about. When you think you have heard it all life throws you a few new curve balls! We were fortunate to contact them both. In fact a reunion is planned for them to meet. I hope they hurry. No one is getting any younger!
I had recently flown home from Montgomery, Alabama 3000 miles to Seattle after witnessing a tender-hearted visit between my step-dad Roy and his cousin Melda. She was also researching her family tree that included Roy. She decided to drive to Montgomery, Alabama for a delightful visit while I was in town. Melda and I found each other through our mutual research.

Roy and Melda discuss their family roots with photo albums as their respective spouses look on. Genealogy work has confirmed their family lines all the way back to Germany.


Melda reminded me in an email of how special this experience was for her. Upon returning home Melda spoke with her elderly mother about meeting Roy: ” I couldn’t help but stare at Roy’s striking ice blue eyes. When I mentioned it to my mother, she said my grandfather had eyes like that.”
While Melda and Roy are second cousins, Melda’s father who has passed away as well as Roy led interesting work lives in the history of Alabama. Melda’s father was a Superintendent of Education during the changing times in Alabama Public Schools serving the children in Alabama. During that same time period, Roy was working as the Director of Veteran Affairs serving our Veterans. Today I give tribute to both men in their work and their lives.

Roy meeting with Governor George Wallace while he served the Veterans of the Military.

Brain “Teasers” from the Grave

Ancestors Almost a year ago, I was at an appointment with my neurosurgeon discussing among other things the possibilities of my brain tumor recurring and what I could do now to help my memory issues. I told him I am not interested in puzzles in the conventional way you think of them or sodoku. He laughed and said, “Well just find something you like that works for you and your brain.” It was shortly after that I became interested in genealogy. I found out so much information that I was starting to write it down to keep up with it. After a month or so of working on my ancestors, I began helping others. I felt like I was putting together real life puzzles.
In the months that have passed by, I realized that when you discover your past, it may make you emotional. You might find out something you did not expect. It is not always for the good either! Here are some of the examples of some of my discoveries from my own ancestors or other folks I assisted with their own research. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Oh, I mean those that are still alive. Better yet, I will not mention any names…..You will see why in a minute…Thank you also to those who taught me alot about research..YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE..THANK YOU FOR HELPING MY BRAIN!!!
1. It was found in one family that an ancestor( an uncle back from the civil war-time) was considered a hero in the south because he killed several Yankees for retribution for losing all his confederate soldier brothers in the war. He kept the buttons off their outfits as souvenirs. After awhile it was said his mother told him to leave the state he was living in because the law was after him. He did move away, but drowned in a river a few years later.
2. Another uncle who was 68 years old (why is it always uncles?) married a woman who was 12 years old. He had grown children and grandchildren older than his 12-year-old wife. This happened in the late 1800’s. They had at least four children together.
3. Another male “family” member was shot dead in the early 1900’s by two women that were sisters. Another find was a young ancestor who was shot dead accidently by his childhood friend.
4. A very rich and wise ancestor who owned much land and was well-known as a “banker” for the town he helped to develop in the late 1700’s hated one of his daughter’s husband. The husband allowed his daughter to die while she was in labor with their child when he could have tried to get her help. He chose not to. My research found a news clipping ad he paid for calling this man every name in the book and making sure this husband knew exactly where he stood with his father-in-law. Can you imagine taking an ad in the paper in this century?
5. A family member finds out she had an uncle she never knew existed. A person also had photos of a great-grandmother and never knew her name. This is found out from find a grave and other information like death records, or census records that identify other children in the household.
6. A family member found out he has a sister living that was 20 years younger than him with the use of the 1940 census and great detective work.
7. A family member finds out they had an ancestor on the Ship The Tennessee at Pearl Harbor when Japan invaded Hawaii.
8. Family members find out their parents are double cousins or worse yet that their parents were sister and brother.
9. A family member finds out their ancestor was a NAZI in WWII.
10. Last but not least, a family member finds out they are related to Conway Twitty, or better yet possibly Napoleon from a DNA match.