Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia

My people.

Going back six generations, I have 126 direct ancestors. I have images of only a sixth of them. Twenty, to be exact.

Here they are:

BeFunky Collage 4x5

From top left across each row to bottom right:

One (of 64) great-great-great-great-grandparent — William M. Harrison (1817-1865); two (of 32) great-great-great-grandparents — Margaret Balkcum Henderson (1836-1915) and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge (1829-1924); five (of 16) great-great-grandparents — Louvicey Artis Aldridge (1865-1927), Martha Miller McNeely (1855-1934), Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart (1861-1926), Edward C. Harrison (1847-1908) and Mary Brown Allen (1849-1917); six (of eight) great-grandparents — Bessie L. Henderson (1891-1911), J. Thomas Aldridge (1886-1968), Lon W. Colvert (1875-1930), Caroline McNeely Colvert Taylor (1883-1957), John C. Allen Sr. (1906-1948) and Mary Agnes Holmes Allen (1877-1961); all four grandparents — Margaret Colvert Allen (1908-2010), John C. Allen Jr. (1906-1948), Hattie Henderson Ricks (1910-2001) and Roderick Taylor (1883-1947); and my parents.

Hat tip to A. Kearns for the inspiration.

Standard
Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Photographs

Rest in peace, Melroy Houser Sr.

My grandmother’s mother’s family often sought the warmth of other suns, and by 1940 all of her aunts and uncles had left North Carolina. In consequence, I did not grow up knowing my McNeely kin, but I often heard wonderful stories of them. My grandmother treasured all her aunts, but had a special regard for Emma McNeely Houser, who migrated to Bayonne, New Jersey, around the time my grandmother was born. All three of Emma’s children have long passed away, and she had only a handful of grandchildren. Just over a year ago, I traveled to Augusta, Georgia, to meet her son Henry‘s middle son Melroy Houser. I wrote here of my visit, which was filled with reminiscing and easy laughter.

I received word from one of his sons that Cousin Melroy passed this morning. I wish that I had gotten to know him better, but will always cherish those hours on a warm May afternoon. My deepest condolences to his children, who, like me, carry a legacy as McNeely great-grandchildren.

13612121_10207190148811812_8104347402350139997_n

Standard
Maternal Kin, Military

Cousin Charles joins up.

C James

My cousin P.J. recently shared this photo of her father Charles Worth James, Jr. (1917-2002), who was the son of Charles and Mattie Colvert James (and thus my grandmother’s nephew). Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Great Lakes Naval Training Center:

“On 7 December 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan and around 6,000 sailors were training at Great Lakes. This grew to 68,000 in six months and by September 1942 over 100,000 sailors were training at Great Lakes. The base grew to 1,600 acres in the next 10 months. By mid-1943 there were over 700 instructors at the Class A service schools.

“The Navy selected Great Lakes to be the site of the first African American trainees. On 5 June 1942, Doreston Luke Carmen of Galveston, Texas was the first recruit to enter the segregated training facility at Camp Robert Smalls. In September 1942, segregated “Negro Service Schools” were opened. The policy of segregation led to small service school classes with only four or five students in a class. By 1944 Great Lakes began to integrate training and all training was integrated by mid-1945. The Golden Thirteen were commissioned in March 1944 after training at Great Lakes.”

Standard
DNA, Maternal Kin

DNAnigma, no. 20: a Colvert-McNeely?

The tests I had two maternal second cousins (first cousins to each other) take may be bearing fruit.

My maternal grandmother, Margaret Colvert Allen, had two full sisters, Louise Colvert Renwick and Launie Mae Colvert Jones. K.J. and G.W. are Aunt Launie’s grandchildren by a son and daughter. Per Gedmatch, K.J. and I match 394.4 cMs (46.2 on the X), which is a whopping match for second cousins. G.W. and I match 151.5 (45.6 on the X), which is on the low side of the second cousin range.

Here is matrix showing the matches between K.J. and G.W. and my grandmother’s descendants, me (L.Y.H.), my mother B.A.H., my uncle C.C.A., and my sister K.H.J.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 6.41.20 PM

I have ZERO identified matches to my grandmother’s African-American lines. I was startled then to get a new match last week that matched me at 40 cM (per Ancestry, which lowballs estimates), K.J. at 91 and G.W. at 137.  It didn’t take long to get a response from him that identified him as E.J., the great-grandson of my Aunt Louise. In other words, a second cousin-once removed to me, K.J. and G.W. My cM total with E.J. is lower than might be expected, but K.J.’s and G.W.’s are right in line with the estimated range. (I’m hoping he’ll upload to Gedmatch so we can get better cM estimates and wider comparisons.) So, finally, descendants of all three Colvert-McNeely sisters have done DNA testing and all match appropriately.

Several months ago, K.J., G.W. and I had a match to an unknown person who hit us all in the estimated 3rd-4th range. I have communicated with his sister, who indicated that three of their four grandparents were Caribbean-born, making her maternal grandfather the most likely connection. Unfortunately, A.P. knows very little about her grandfather. Comparing A.P.’s brother A.R. to me, K.J., G.W. and E.J. yields cM totals of 99, 98, 111 and 27.7. That’s in the half-second cousin or second cousin once removed range for me, K.J. and G.W. and half-third/third once-removed for E.J., indicating that we likely share at least one great-grandparent/great-great-grandparent.

Let’s work with that assumption. Though it’s possible that Caroline McNeely Colvert had a child other than my grandmother and her sisters, presumably older, I’m doubtful. She would not have been the first McNeely sister to bear a child out of wedlock, and there’s no reason to think she would have given up such a child. (Especially to anyone outside her large immediate family.) So, of the two, the more likely shared ancestor is Lon W. Colvert. Another possibility is Lon’s son, John Walker Colvert II. He had only one known child, a son who died in childhood in a car accident, but there could have been others and the cM numbers could work in that scenario. Right now, we just don’t have enough information, but Lon and Walker are the starting point of my working hypothesis.

Standard
Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Virginia

Aunt Lizzie, found.

Cousin B.J., my partner in all things Aldridge, sent me this clipping a few days ago from the 28 June 1952 edition of the Norfolk New Journal and Guide:

13510539_994583317329928_755399815_n

1612 Lovitt Avenue was the house in which Tilithia Brewington King Godbold Dabney had lived in her latter years. Who was this Elizabeth Aldridge? And who was in the family plot?

We quickly suspected that this was Lizzie Aldridge, sister of my great-great-grandfather John W. Aldridge and B.J.’s great-great-grandmother Amelia Aldridge Brewington, but knew little of Lizzie’s whereabouts as an adult. I’d wondered if our Lizzie was this woman, found in the 1900 census of Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia: North Carolina-born  dressmaker Lizzie Aldridge, 30, shared a household with a boarder, William Hendricks, 36, a divorced day laborer. So there was some precedent to the speculation that Lizzie had migrated to Norfolk. But why the “Mrs.”? We don’t know for sure, but quickly determined that this death announcement was definitely for Lizzie Aldridge, daughter of Robert and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge, and she seems to have been the longest-lived of their children. In other words, Elizabeth Aldridge was Tilithia Dabney’s aunt.

In the 1870 census of Brogden township, Wayne County:  Robt. Aldridge, farmer, with wife Eliza, and children George, 18, John, 17, Amelia, 14, Mathew D., 13, David S., 12, Amanda, 10, Ella, 9 Eliza, Robert and Joseph, 7 months, plus farmhand Isham Gregory.

In the 1880 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: Robt. Aldridge, wife Elizar, and children Matthew, Sloan, Amanda, Louella, Lizzie, Robert, Joseph, and Fannie.

By 1898, Lizzie (and, it appears, her teenaged nephew Zebedee, John’s oldest son, and her sister Louella) had migrated to Norfolk, Virginia. Here are their listings in the city directory:

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.41.18 AM

In the 1900 city directory, Louella remains at 100 Henry, but Zebedee, working as a fireman, is living with his aunt at 17 Nicholson. Nonetheless, as noted above the census taken that year showed Lizzie sharing a household only with a boarder.

On 4 July 1902, Wayne County Superior Court set off a dower and partitioned Robert Aldridge’s land  among his wife and heirs. With Lot No. 10, Lizzie Aldridge received 32 acres on the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad and Stoney Run Branch valued at $193. (Louella, referred to as Louetta, received a similar share, but two years later it was divided among her siblings when she died without heirs.)

In the 1904 Norfolk city directory, Lizzie is at 17 Nicholson, but in 1906, she is listed at 100 Henry. As “Elizabeth Aldridge,” she is living at 100 Henry in the 1907 and 1908 directories, too.

In the 1910 census of Norfolk, Virginia: Elizabeth Aldridge is listed as the keeper of a lodging house at 100 Henry Street. She had nine lodgers, all born in North Carolina, and one of whom, 22 year-old Jessie Baker, may have been Jesse Frank Baker, son of Lizzie’s first cousin Mary Ann Aldridge Baker.

Per city directories, as early as 1913, Lizzie Aldridge was living at 852 Henry in Norfolk.

In the 1920 census of Monroe Ward, Norfolk, Virginia: at 852 Henry Street, Elizabeth Aldridge, 49, keeper of a lodging house, headed a household that included her 7 year-old adopted son Elisha Newton and eight lodgers aged 16 to 20, all North Carolina-born and working as longshoremen or, in one instance, a fireman on a boat.

In the 1930 census of Norfolk, Virginia: in rented quarters at 940 1/2 Hanson Avenue, 60 year-old laundress Elizabeth Aldridge, her adopted son Arther E. Newton, 18, and a boarder named Mack Rice, a longshoreman. Elizabeth claimed to be a widow who first married at age 21.

In the 1940 census of Norfolk, Virginia: at 938 1/2, Elizabeth Aldridge, 70, was herself a lodger in a household headed by Lena Forekey.

43006_162028006055_0155-00016

As for the “family plot,” B.J. discovered the following (probably partial) list of Aldridge family members buried together in Norfolk’s Calvary cemetery: Elizabeth Aldridge, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space SW 0 06/15/1952; John Dabney, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space W CTR 0 12/29/1974; Tilithia Dabney, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space NW 0 11/24/1965; and Arthur Newton, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space SE 0 09/09/1979.

 

Standard
Business, Migration, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia, Vocation

Home-cooking a specialty.

I’ve written of Cousin Tilithia Brewington King Godbold Dabney here and here. Her restaurant in Norfolk, the Strand Cafe, made a deep impression on my grandmother, who laughingly recalled waiting tables there on childhood visits and being dazzled by Cousin Tilithia’s menu offerings.

Thanks to B.J., great-granddaughter of Tilithia’s sister Mattie Brewington Braswell, who found these Norfolk Journal & Guide articles, we now know more about the cafe:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.10.21 PM

12 March 1921.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.10.51 PM

9 December 1922.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.11.44 PM

28 May 1927.

Standard