Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Preparing for Day 1 of The Family History Writing Challenge

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY . . . the first day of The Family History Writing Challenge. The challenge is to write the first draft of my family history book in 29 days.

29 DAYS! What I have I gotten myself into?!?!?

It's not really all that bad! Our writing guide, Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist, is coaching us step-by-step, to set realistic goals. Assignments are shared in a safe online forum where we support our fellow family history writers.

So far I have:
  1. narrowed the scope,
  2. outlined the book, and
  3. and defined the plot.
Now . . . one more challenge before the big day . . .

organizing my research!

I wondered were those prints of microfilmed obituaries from Surry County, NC were! They were from an October 2010 research trip, and found just in time for a return trip next month.

And the copies from a book which included the history of the synagogue my 2nd Great Grandfather David Silverman  co-founded! It's amazing what you'll find when locating past research materials! 

I've prepared a file box with topic folders for each phase of the book. Now, to get them filled with the information I'll be needing right at my finger tips . . . .

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On Accepting the Armchair Genealogist's Family History Writing Challenge

On January 24th I took the plunge & accepted the challenge...The Armchair Genealogist's Family History Writing Challenge, that is.

Lynn Palermo, author of the blog, wrote a post that caught my attention: Let's Be Honest. In it she talks about FEAR as being a motivator which hinders writers from getting the story down on paper. And of all the internal questions that storm in our minds, I found one that has always resonated with me...
  • I don't have enough research...
and one akin to it:
  •  what if my subjects don't like my writing?
Perhaps the fear is not so much that they might not like the quality of the work . . . just the tenor of it. You've seen the timeline . . . and for this work, I actually will be working on the previous generation, from the death of Isaac Carter's parents in 1853 to the birth of Hezekiah in 1874.

I hope you'll stop by from time to time to see how I'm progressing. Although I won't be writing the story here, I will keep you posted on the process.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From Timelining to Calendaring: 100th Post

Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you work on your family history that when you go to put the facts together, it just seems like something's missing? Do you ever feel like the facts are far and few between? Have you ever considered that perhaps THAT is where the story lies...between the dates?

Last year I was having some trouble getting the myriad of facts and dates in order, so I began with constructing a timeline. At that point, I had selected my husband's grandfather, Hezekiah Carter, whom he had never met, as the focal point of the timeline. Hezekiah Carter's Family Timeline covered the dates 1874-1922: the former date being the year of Hezekiah's birth, and the latter date the year of Hezekiah's oldest child's marriage.

Since that time I have decided that the story actually begins with Hezekiah's father, Isaac Carter, since Hezekiah's noted success is seen as a reaction to his father's impoverished upbringing and legacy. Now the timeline begins with the year 1839, the year of Isaac's birth as the fourth child born to parents who died early in life. The second date in the timeline is September 1853, the date of the Sheriff's order for the four orphaned children of Isaac and Rhoda Carter to appear at the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions with their grandparents, Kelsor and Sarah Braddock.

But what happened between the years of 1839 and 1853? 
Besides two census records (1840 & 1850), 
no recorded details remain.

Until the time of Isaac's release from his apprenticeship bond to William Temple, dates remain approximately five or six years apart. Suddenly, they begin to fall annually...and then, when Isaac applies for his Civil War Pension File, the dates become regular within a two year span.

My question became:
How do I track the dates in REAL TIME so that I might gain a feeling for what it was like to wait for the response from a letter...
I was actually in church when the revelation came upon me. Noted Bible Study leader Beth Moore had stated in a DVD that the Gabriel was not only the angel of announcements, but he was also the calendar keeper. That resonated well with me. The Calendar Keeper!

After church this past Sunday, I made a trip to my favorite office supply store and purchases three 14-month desk pad calendars similar to this one, and some small white multi-use labels. When I got home that evening, I started the task of affixing the labels over the numbers of each day on the first calendar.

I then went online and Googled "1864 Calendar." The site < timeanddate.com > offered exactly what I was looking for! This site also shows me the cycles of the moon and on what days holiday observances fall. Other calculators are included for:

  • Duration between two dates
  • Date calculator
  • Birthday calculator
  • Seasons calculator, etc.

Now to copy the dates onto my calendar. 
I am anticipating that there will be a more defined space between dates that might help me imagine all the ordinary daily occurrences that took place which made the time seem to drag on. After noting dates directly connected with Isaac and his family, I will add dates of local historical account. And THAT, I believe, will help me to SEE & FEEL just a portion of the passage of time in the life of Isaac Carter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Part 6

On June 12, 1888 Isaac Carter's Civil War Pension application was filed. The long, tedious process of red tape began, and one can only imagine how he and his family must have felt as it dragged on.

This letter from the War Department, Adjutant General's Office (document #7), dated October 10, 1888, Isaac's military career was encapsulated into a nutshell. The transcription follows:
  Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions.
Isaac Carter, a private, of Company B, 14th Regiment U.S. Col'd Arty (Hvy) Volunteers, was enrolled on the 12th day of March, 1864 at New Bern, and is reported: On rolls from enrollment to June 30/65 present.
  Roll for July & Aug/65, Co. G 14th U.S. Col'd Arty (Hvy) (to which transferred Aug/65) reported him present. Sept &
Oct/65 present. He was mustered out of service with Co. [--]
December 11, 1865, at Fort Macon, N.C. Promoted Corpl.
Sept. 1/65, promoted Sergt. Sept. 20/65.
Records of this office furnished no evidence of disability.
R. C. DRUM, 
Adjutant General

PREVIEW (Document #8)
The next document in the Pension File is a three-page, handwritten affidavit of Isaac Carter, sworn on October 17, 1888 before the Clerk of Superior Court in Craven County. I have found that the most interesting parts of a Civil War Pension File are the affidavits where the prospective pensioner and witnesses describe what happened to cause the disability. 

Within each affidavit lie points of interest which lead to more questions...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some Updates & The next phase in the life of Isaac Carter

On the question of a M. E. Church, South built in 1854/55
I am so thankful to be living in an age when we are able 
to have our questions answered in much less time 
than in my grand aunt Helen Beers Newton's era!

Tourneykill or Tanneyhill?
Victor Jones, Jr. of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library 's Kellenberger Room corrected the Tolson transcription, "Tourneykill's Branch" to Tanneyhill's Branch or Creek, named after an early settler.
The name has been mentioned in other deeds around Clubfoot Creek, but no specific location given, and it is not on current topo maps. . .

A search of the Early Settlers of Craven County database on the library's Genealogical Resources page reveals five (5) sources mentioning Jn. Taneyhill, Esq. between the years 1714 and 1720. His tithables, pole tax and land tax records reveal that he owned 1,400 acres in Bath County (formed in 1696).

The county formation map found at n2genealogy states that:

  • Bath County divided into Wickham, Archdale and Pamptecough Precincts in 1705. 
  • Archdale name changed to Craven in 1712.
Even though the county's name change preceded this document by seven (7) years, the original county name of Bath had been retained since the record had been obtained from the source: Miscellaneous Papers of Craven Precinct, 1714-1719: Bath County - Land List of Lands Surveyed, 1706 by John Lawson" (New Bern: C.R. Holloman, 1974). 

You can count that a further question followed . . .

Duke University's holdings: United Methodist Church records, 1784-1984
When I first came upon this record I felt for sure there might be something relevant here. My original question had been referred to Angela Mace, a PhD candidate in musicology at Duke's Rubenstein Library. After searching in the online and card catalogs, she requested that I look at the finding aid and narrow the search. 

I searched first for New Bern Circuit, and then the years 1854 and 1855. The only box of documents that showed any remote possibility was located in the Circuit, Charge & Station Index: Box NCC35: Newport & Trent Circuit, NC Conference, Carteret & Craven Cos. I remained hopeful, but today I received a reply:
I just pulled NCC35 and had a look, but there does not appear to be any item relating to Craven County. What I can suggest for you now is that you contact one of our free-lance researchers, who can come in and spend some quality time with this collection on your behalf.
I have to admit that I am disappointed, but not surprised. Rather than pay someone to conduct possibly fruitless research at a premium, I will postpone this evidence search for a time when I can do the work myself.

It is settled, then, that the writing of the church history phase 
will begin now... 

The next phase in the life of Isaac Carter
The Civil War broke out in April of 1861, and by October of that year, Isaac Carter turned 21 years of age and was released from his apprenticeship indenture. What happened to him between then and his induction is uncertain, except that in January of 1864, missionary James Walker Hood came to New Bern to start AME Zion churches in the area. 

On March 12, 1864 Isaac Carter enlisted in the 14th Heavy Artillery USCT. The following year Piney Grove AME Zion Church was founded in the community of North Harlowe, then referred to as Blades.

The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Documents #4 - #7
The following pages (3) illustrate how something as simple as careless penmanship could lengthen the duration of filing a claim. The first page appears to have been dated Aug. 25, 1888, and the number "7" written over the "5." Below is a transcription of document #4:
Department of the Interior.
     I have the honor to request that you will furnish from the records of 
the War Department a full Report as to the service, disability, and hospital treatment of 
Isaac Carter, who, it is claimed, enlisted March 12, 1864 and served as Sgt.
in Co. [E], 14 Reg't U.S.C.H.A. . . . . 
and was discharged at Fort Macon NC, Dec. 11, 1865. 
    While serving in Co. [E], 14 Reg't U.S.C.H.A. he was disabled by 
Diarrhea & Piles, Asthma, Lung 
trouble, Shortness of breath, Swelling in 
feet and legs, pains in finger joints 
and Rheumatism in the  Winter of 
1864 and 1865 at Moorhead (sic) City, NC, 
and was treated in hospitals of which the names, location, and dates are as
at Moorhead (sic) City and Fort [B]acon N.C. 
(date not given).

Very respectfully, 
    John C. Black,
The Adjutant General, U.S. Army

On August 29th, the following communication (document #5) was made:

The next communication (document #6) on a form very similar to the first, which is transcribed above, indicates that Isaac Carter was a member of Co. G.

The document which followed (#7), and dated Oct. 10, 1888, outlines Isaac Carter's service record...disclosing yet another problem with the initial request: Isaac had enlisted as a Private on March 12, 1864 and was a member of Co. B, 14th Heavy Artillery U.S.C.T. It was at his mustering out that he was a Sgt. in Co. G.

In the mean time, Isaac has been waiting to hear from the 
Bureau of Pensions for four (4) months. . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting Fresh for the New Year

It's been a month since my last post; 
but even though I've been silent, 
I have NOT been idle!

The Conclusion of Dark Salvation
In late December I finished reading Dark Salvation, by Harry V. Richardson.While I had been summarizing my gleanings on the formation of the AME Zion Church as related to the development of post-Emancipation churches in rural Craven County, NC, the final chapters outlined:

  • the fight for ordination of black pastors 
  • and the continual power struggles between Methodist groups -- both black and white,
so they were omitted from the series.

Books for 2012
Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree: The African-American Church in the South 1865-1900, by William E. Montgomery, is the next book I'll be reading. I have not yet decided if I will post a series on this book, which focuses on the missionary efforts to rebuild the South following the Civil War.

After that I plan on checking the first-hand accounts of AME Zion Bishops Rush, Moore and Hood, as outlined below:

  1. One hundred years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, by J W Hood
  2. A short account of the rise and progress of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by Christopher Rush
  3. History of the A.M.E. Zion Church in America, by John Jamison Moore
Old discoveries lead to NEW direction . . .
Around the same time I had finished reading Dark Salvation, I started looking through the TEMPLE family history, compiled by T. J. Tolson. A curious entry -- one I know I must have read several times and overlooked -- stood out for the first time. 
Records indicate that William bought one acre of land from Cilas (sic) Richards in June 1854 for $2.00. The deed described the land as Tourneykill's Branch and purchased for a church site (p. 5).
By the first week of the New Year, I held in my hands a copy of the deed shown below:

Craven County Register of Deeds,
Deed Book 1854/Page 353

You might remember that in 1860, the Rev. William Thomas was enumerated in the William Temple household. This deed dated 1854 . . . just one year after Isaac Carter and his younger siblings had been apprenticed to William Temple . . . marked the beginnings of a house of worship for the Methodist Episcopal Church South congregation in North Harlowe. 

When does the research end and the writing begin?
At this time, the bulk of the research is completed. I will begin focusing more on adding to the timeline, and asking myself probing questions about how events in our family history impacted the lives of individuals. My key focus will be on Isaac Carter, my husband's great grandfather. 

You might remember that Civil War Pension File I obtained earlier last year . . . 

more to come . . .