Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: ROBERT L SMITH, RESTORED!

Thank You Major Chance for restoring my grandfather's picture. My family and I are so Grateful for you're kindness!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CHRISTMAS BLOG CAROLING 2010 - A SOULFUL CHRISTMAS

I love Christmas and the Music and Movies that go along with it.

When I was invited to participate in Footnote Maven's Blog Caroling,  there is only one song that came to mind.

It is one of my favorite Christmas Song and I hope it will become one of yours.

This Christmas by Donnie Hathaway



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Saturday, September 11, 2010

IN REMEMBERANCE OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001!

I remember this day as if it was yesterday! September 11, 2001. My day had just began like any other day  processing claims and answering calls from members and providers. Suddenly one of my co-workers shouted "A plane just crashed into the twin towers in NY. At first like everyone else I thought this was just a bad accident, but when the second plane hit, I knew it was much more.

My next thought was of my cousin Tasha, she worked and lived in NY at that time, but I didn't know where.I tried to contact my mom, but by her being a school teacher that was impossible and plus all the phone lines were jammed. By this time the third plane had hit the Pentagon. WOW! Now its close to home.

By now I am really scared. See I live not to far from Washington, DC and although the Pentagon is in VA it seemed at that time like it was right around the corner. Most of my friends worked in downtown DC and I felt such emptiness in my stomach with such worry. I could not get anyone on the phone and no calls were coming through, so the President of my company decided to let everyone go home, I hugged my co-workers that have family and friends that lived in NY.

On my ride home I thought how could this happen? How many would survive such a tragedy and how many would parish? Traffic was terrible that day. I remember it took me almost 2 hours to get home. In the mist of all that was going on around me I started to pray. Pray for those lives lost, Pray for those that survived, and I prayed for those rescue workers that tried to save others.

I never knew that America was so HATED that someone would take innocent lives. See thats when I start really paying attention to what was going on around me. I never been that person to judge, but you really have to ask yourself, "What did we do"? As I sit here and write this blog, I still can't believe something like that happened in my lifetime and after 9 years and 2 Wars, never being able catch the ones that were responsible for such a senseless tragedy.

My heart goes out to those families and freinds that lost mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. All 2,970 Americans that lost their lives for something so senseless and doing what we take for granted everyday, "LIVING OUR LIVES"!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

CARNIVAL of AFRICAN AMERICAN GENEALOGY: HE SERVED WITH HONOR!

As a child I grew up with this picture of my Grandfather Robert L Smith sitting on my Mom's China Cabinet.
I always knew that my Grandfather served in World War II, but never knew exactly what that service was.

 I can imagine him leaving his hometown in Brookhaven, MS going North for a better life and ending up in Chicago.

Then there was a call for men to join the Service and serve their country. Most men were drafted but my Grandfather enlisted.

U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 about Robert L Smith:

Name: Robert L Smith

Birth Year: 1906

Race: Negro, citizen (Black)

Nativity State or Country: Mississippi

State of Residence: Illinois

County or City: Cook

Enlistment Date: 8 Apr 1942

Enlistment State: Illinois

Enlistment City: Chicago

Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA

Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA

Grade: Private

Grade Code: Private

Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law

Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)

Source: Civil Life

Education: Grammar school

Marital Status: Separated, without dependents

Height: 72

Weight: 165

According to his enlistment record he was seperated, but not from my Grandmother. His wife's name was Esther(which happens to be my Mom's middle name). I can see him joining to serve his country and looking toward the future.

Talking to Mom she told me that my Grandfather fought overseas and did see some kind of action. In fact she said he had seen one of his good friends killed. She said it messed him up really bad. I set out to see what his service was and why it had such an impact on my Grandfather. I know War is bad on any Human Being, but I needed to know exactly what my Grandfather did.

First I applied for his DD214(report of seperation), but of course his Army Records were burned in the fire at the Archives.

I was able to obtain his final pay record. At first everything was so foreign to me. I called my brother(who is in the Army) to try to help me make since of the record. He couldn't. In fact he told my Sister-in-law that I was yelling at him because he could not help me. I did not.

Just so happen that when I was waiting on my son to pick me up from Union Station from my trip to Savannah, I met a really nice man which happens to be an Veteran Advocate. I told him what I knew and what I had tried to do. He gave me his email address and told me to email him the Final Payment Record and he will see what he can do.

He was able to determine that my Grandfather was processed out at the Old Camp Grant, IL post on 10 Nov 1945. He was last in ARS staging detachment(APO 980). His actual date of transfer was 21 Oct 1945 and his Service no#36 399 247.

As you can see from his enlistment record he went in as a Private and came out as a Corporal.

I am still trying to get his actual service record and currently working on a FOIA Letter.

No matter what my Grandfather actually did, I am so Proud to know that my Grandfather fought to defend his country to make it more safe for You and I.

Although our African American Men were not given the recognition that they deserved for their Service and the sacrifices that they made to help keep this Country safe. I will always remember their efforts.

I just want to say Thank You and you're service will never be forgotten.


Source cited: Beverly E Smith-Mathis, United States Archives, John Weiss, and Ancestry.com

Saturday, May 1, 2010

SURNAME SATURDAY: CLOSING IN ON THE MATHIS/MATTHEWS MYSTERY!!

Earlier this week I recieved a call from a Mathis Cousin.

We were talking and shooting the breeze when she mentioned that my Uncle was turining 86 and my Aunt was having a Fish Fry for his 86th Birthday. (Catfish no Doubt)

I told her to call me when she get there because I have some questions about Family History for my Uncle.

She then said "Yeah, because I need to know about this Mathis/Matthews thing, I seen the Marriage Certificate".

Wow!! I was Blown Away, I never knew she even read my Blog and for to be concerned about the last name just blew my mind.

The night of the Fish Fry I recieved no phone call (Cousin's phone was dead), but nethertheless there was a lot of talking about Family History going on without me.

From what my Cousin told me when she brung up the subject of Genealogy and the Marriage Certificate the whole room was silent and she relayed some very interesting information:

Looks like there is a picture floating around of my Great Grandmother Alice Casey Matthews. My Uncle says he gave the picture to my Aunt to make a copy and she lost it. My Aunt says she just can't find it! LOL

My Uncle was able to name all of his Matthews Aunts and one Uncle, but did not mention of any children that they might of had.

My Uncle also said that Virgle Matthews Jr. was the one that used the Mathis name, as a matter of fact he used both. I'm thinking since Virgle was my Grandmother's older brother and he used that name maybe she just changed her name to Mathis. From what my cousin said "Grandmuh used to always talk about her brother Virgle, with Glee in her eyes. (My cousin said at that point someone was a little tipsy and was stating how they have been a Mathis all of their lives and did not want to change their name to Matthews)

But where did Mathis come from? Was it a name that Vigle was familiar with or was it a misspelling of Matthews? One thing is for sure that Virgle is the one that introduced the Mathis Surname and I have to find out WHY?

Since my Uncle is getting on up in age I need to get some oral history.

My Aunt is planning a big party for her birthday at the end of this month. Spoke to Mom and she is on for a road trip. See no matter what I find out she listens to me and is getting more interested day by day.  She is excited as I am.

I now need to go call my Aunt letting her know that Mom and I will be at her Birthday Party and make room. I will be keeping everyone posted . Plenty of Tweets throughout the trip and lots of questions for my Genea-Fam on what kind of questions to ask my Uncle and a whole lot more.

Until Next Time Fam!!


Source Cited: Dionne Mechelle Mathis Akerson


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CARNIVAL of AFRICAN AMERICAN GENEALOGY: GRANDMA HANDS! GRANDMOTHERS and THEIR INFLUENCE on the FAMILY!

A child is born with two sets of Grandparents, Maternal and Paternal.

My Mom and Dad split when I was around 3 or 4, but my Mom made sure we(my Brother and I) maintained a relationship with our Dad, his Mom and all my relatives as they say "On that side of the family'.

I was able to meet, know, and live with my Paternal Grandmother Lily Mathis and the Influences she had on me and the Family still remains in Us today.

I want to share my memory of meeting my Grandmuh(thats what we called her) and all her wisdom that I learned from spending my very first summer with her.

I was around 7 or 8 years old. My mom told us that we were going to visit our Dad. See although they were split up he still came over to our house and got us ready for school and stayed with us until my mom came home from work. So at this time all that had stopped and we were missing our Dad. I had no idea I was going to be spending the whole summer.

Seems like it took forever to get there(we lived on the Southside of Chicago and my dad lived on the Westside), but finally we pulled up in front and everyone was outside on the porch waiting on us. (thats where the kids hung out during the day and the adults hung out at night). We use to hear them laughing and drinking it seemed like all night.

My Grandmuh lived in a two flat dwelling. One of my Aunts and her family lived on the second floor and my Grandmuh, Dad, and my other Aunt lived on the first floor. I spent most of the time between the first and second floor that summer usually staying wherever I fell asleep. Although my cousins tried to make me feel bad about staying in one place or the other, my Grandmuh never did. I believe in my heart she was just happy to have my brother and I over that summer.

I was a shy little girl and when everyone came up to the car I got scared and refused to get out. No matter what my Mom and Dad said I would not move(I was stubborn also), but when my Grndmuh came down the stairs from her chair and took my hand and reassured me in that stern voice saying "everything is going to be alright". At that moment I knew that it was and I could not resist her and got my but out of that car.

I was lead up the stairs and put in a chair right next to my Grandmuh and thats where I stayed for the first couple of days of that summer. More mad at my Mom for tricking me. Not even realizing that I was hurting myself!

Now that I look back on things, I am so glad that I was stubborn as I was because thats where I learned most of my wisdom and how to read people. Thats where I learned some courage and learned how important family is.

I was tested so much that summer and all I can remember is my Grandmuh saying "If you don't go out there and take up for yourself, I'm going to whip your behind".

I was not having that. We all knew that Grandmuh kept a big stick and a switch by her Lazy Boy Chair where she sat and watched the Chicago Cubs BaseBall Games. With her feet in the air, she always wore stockings(knee highs) not matter what season of weather it was. When one of us got in trouble, we had to sit right next to that Lazy Boy Chair with that stick or switch on her lap. We would be under her in that chair wether we were in trouble or not one time she came down on one of my cousins that was under the foot part of the Lazy Boy as she was trying to get out of the chair. He was hollering, but she just said "Shouldn't been under there".

Although my Grandmuh did not have much money and propably could not afford to have my brother and I over, she always made sure we felt welcome and had no more or less that the other kids. My Mom would leave money for us with her, she would not let us spend it all up and she always knew when someone had talked us into asking for it.

When my brother ran off with my cousin one summer and no one knew where they were, we all banned together to look for them. When they showed up and my Dad whipped my brother ad hit him in the eye with a belt(my brother still to this day have problems with that eye), Grandmuh was apologizing to my Mom more than my Dad was.

See its those little things that I learned from my Grandmuh back then. Apologize for something sometime even if it is not your fault. Have some compassion. Care about others.

Every summer that I spent with her and my cousins, she taught and instilled in me something different. She taught me so much as a Grandmother would. I learned so much from her and I have passed it on to my children and I Pray that they pass it onto theirs. (WISDOM)

Grandmuh passed away when I was 14 years old. See at that time I was a little rebelious and she took me in and showed me a little structure. Although she was sick by this time, she still had that stern hand on the Family.

I never got our Family History from her, but every little thing that she did and taught us I carry with me every day and I would not change the time I spent with her for nothing in the WORLD!!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

SURNAME SATURDAY: MATHIS OR MATTHEWS WHICH ONE DO I USE?

I visited my Family History Center today to obtain a copy of a marriage record for my Paternal Great Grandparents Virgle Matthews and Alice Casey. I made a copy of the record, but on my way home my mind start racing and now I'm more confused as ever.

As you can see from the record my Great Grandfather Virgle signed the marriage record using the last name of Matthews. I can see it clear as day. The problem that I am having is my Grandmother Lily used the last name of Mathis. Which is my last name, my dad's last name, and all my Aunts and Cousins last name in between.

My mom always told me that my Grandmother never married, in fact I was never bothered by the fact that I have not gotten married because I just thought that I was going to be like my Grandmother(which is not a bad thing).

I'm starting to think that is not so. My Paternal Grandfather's name is suspected to be Al Peoples. I don't know anything about him, not really sure if anyone does because no one has ever really talked about him. I'm starting to think that maybe she did get married. She had to, thats the only way I can explain the use of the last name of Mathis. Althought they seem to be in the same Surname Family and I know after Slavery most African Americans did change their last name, but this is a bit much.

My grandmother was born in 1908 long after Slavery had ended. Then again maybe she just adopted the name. I know way back when you could obtain a Social Security Card without showing a Birth Certificate. I'm not sure. Its just that now I have so many question and not enough answers. The real problem is Who Do I Ask?

Friday, March 5, 2010

FEARLESS FEMALES: HOW MY PARENTS MET


Thanks to Lisa Alzo of the Accidental Genealogist, for National Women's History Month today March 5th I get to tell how my parents met, so here goes:

The story that I was given was that my mom was friends with my Aunt Mildred first. They met in school and once they became really good friends she decided to introduce my mom to her brother, my dad Allen Mickey Mathis. Here they are on their wedding day July 26, 1964, four months after my brother was born. Hmmmm I'm going to ask my mom about that one, but anyway as they say the rest is history. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

FEARLESS FEMALES: THE MARRIAGE OF MARINDA GRANBERRY

For National Womens History Month of March, The Accidental Genealogist Lisa Alzo came up with Fearless Females, and for today March 4 we have to post a marriage certificate or a marriage record and tell a little something about that marriage. So here goes:

This is the marriage certificate for my Great Grandmother Marinda Granberry to her first husband John Isiah Turner, they were married on November 26, 1904 in Lincoln County Mississippi in the city of BrookHaven. There was one child from this marriage, my Great Aunt Pauline Turner. It was a short marriage because John Isiah died at work June 15, 1904 in a milling accident at work. Marinda recieved $300.00 from his Workers Compensation Claim.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SENTIMENTAL SUNDAY: THE HAPPY 101 AWARD



This award is really worth its namesake, because it truly made me Happy at a time when I needed some Happiness. Thanks Sandra I Never Knew My Father I really appreciate this.
In true fashion of the Award I have to name 10 things that make me Happy and then name 10 Blogs that I want to recieve this reward.

Heres my Happiness:

1. My Family and Friends. My mom and Boys are the most important things in my life and they truly make me happy. We can laugh together and at each other and still hold that family togetherness. My Friends are the same way and anyone that I call my Friend is Family anyway.

2. Doing my Genealogy. Since starting my Research over a year ago, I have learned somethings I didn't know about my family and I also have met some really nice genealogists that has become more like family than my own family. Thats because we are always Tweeting, Blogging, and Emailing each other. We are in each other lives than our own families. (LOVE IT)

3. Reading

4. Blogging

5. Cooking and my Family has no problem when I test a new recipe or bake something different. I love them for that.

6. Shopping. Have an addiction, but I have developed a concept that when I buy something new, I have to get rid of something. Weither Shopping for clothes or groceries I am there
.
7. Coffee and Tea. Have to have a cup of coffee every AM and if under the weather Tea and Lemon

8. Tweeting. May seem strange, but I love to Tweet and RT

9. Being supportive. I try to read all the Blogs and RT as much as possible, just to let the Fam know Hey I am there for you and I Love when they let me know they are there for me.

10. My alone time. After all is said and done, I love when I get to spend time by myself. Without all of the above. If I just go for a drive, walk, or simple do the me thing, it truly makes me HAPPY!!

Now for my nominees:
1. Andrea's Genealogical Attic
2. Before My Time
3. Chicago Genealogy
4. Desperately Seeking Surnames
5. Find Your Folks
6. Lessons From My Ancestors
7. Lucie's Legacy
8. Random Relatives
9. Tina's Genealogical Wish List
10. Twig Talk

Thanks Again for Everyones Support. Really means a lot to me!!
Felicia