April 23, 2014

National Register of Historic Places - An Overlooked Treasure!

I'm probably the last to realize this, but I've recently discovered the genealogical treasures held in the nomination forms for the National Register of Historic Places. Wow!  

I owe the folks on the Wake, Harnett, & Johnston County Genealogy Facebook page a huge THANK YOU for enlightening me! These forms are used to nominate properties for the National Register and golly gee do they contain some great stuff:

  • History of the general area in the nomination
  • Thorough description of the property including location, past owners, and the genealogy of those owners
  • References such as census records, newspaper articles, survey maps, deeds, vital records and on and on and on
  • Transcripts of live interviews with descendants
  • Pictures of the building and property
As an example, the above form is nominating the Godfrey Stancil (my 1st cousin 7x removed) House and grounds in the Penny Hill area of Edgecombe County, NC. It provides a rich detailed history of Penny Hill, thorough description of the house and property, GOLDEN genealogical info on cuz'n Godfrey including all the references mentioned above (it's already sourced for you!). 

You can read or download the entire document here

You can find a complete list of nominated places in NC here - along with all the documentation and maps. HOW COOL!

I'm usually a day late and a dollar short, but at least this time I'm just late to the party. Have fun geeking out with the National Register of Historic Places!

April 22, 2014

Obituary of Edmund Johnson, 1818 - 1907

Death of an Aged Citizen, 
Smithfield Herald, May 17, 1907

Mr. Edmond Johnson, living about five miles west of Smithfield died Thursday, May 9th. He was 88 years old. He had been married four times and lived to see his children and grand children a great host. His youngest daughter is over 21 years old.  He was a man of remarkable strength and endurance. Last call he picked out more than three bales of cotton. He liked to smoke and usually carried his pipe with him whereever he went. "Uncle Edmond" as he was familiarly called, was liked by everybody. His friends and acquaintances will regret to hear he is dead. The burial took place on Friday of last week at a graveyard  near Mr. Josephus Johnson. Seldom does so large a crowd assemble to see a burial as was present.

Note: Name is misspelled in obit (should be Edmund) and date of death is incorrect (should be May 7, 1907).

Note:  He is buried in the Johnson Family Cemetery west of Four Oaks, NC near intersection of SR 1330 and 1350. In the north west corner of a field, all stones are broken. It was a family cemetery before Johnson Chapel Church was established. 

April 21, 2014

Will of John Dent, 1812

Will of John Dent
NC Archives, Franklin County Wills. Box C.R. 039.801.2; Folder John Dent 1812

In the name of God Amen, I John Dent of Franklin County & State of North Carolina, being of sound mind & memory, & calling to mind the mortality of my body & knowing that it is appointed for men to die – do make & ordain this my last will & testament, viz:

First, I give my soul to God & my body to the grave to be burryed in a Christian manner; at the direction of my executors. And touching such worldly estate as I am blest with possession, right or title of; I dispose of as following:

Item, I give & bequeath to my beloved wife, Sarah Dent, the plantation whereon I now live, during her life, to possess in peace & quietness (and after her decease the whole tract of land containing, three hundred acres, more or less, as it is by grant bounded to me, I give to my two sons, John Dent and James Hutcherson Dent divided by a line running South from a post oak and red oak; to a white oak on the Spring Branch, viz John Dent’s Junior’s Spring Branch, thence East across the said branch to a hickory eleven poles; thence South to a post oak, on the dividing line between myself and Josiah Morgan. The west side of the line by the old plot and grant, I give to my son John Dent and his heirs forever. And the East side as it stands bounded by the aforesaid plot & grant I give to my son James Hutcherson Dent and his heirs forever.
Item, I give & bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Liles, wife of Stephen, Anna Pearce, wife of Jeffrey, Mary Dent, Ruth Hornsby, wife of Isaac, & Obediance Dent. After my said daughter, Mary Dent, taking her choice of bed, bedsted & completate furniture, the residue of my personal estate, consisting of different description of stork & household furniture, I mean that my daughter Mary Dent to share equal with my other daughters, exclusive of the bed, bedstead furniture above bequeathed. And I appoint my said wife Sarah, Executrix & my son James H. Dent Executor to this my last will & testament. In testimony I put my hand and seal this the 30th day of Jany. Anno Domini 1812.

John Dent Sr. (Seal)

Signed in presence of:
James Z.? Hill
Thomas Young

Berry Crocker

April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday

Joyce Allen Lucas and
Gladys Allen Stancil,
circa 1972
Easter has always been a big deal for my family. Mom would take me to "Hudson Belk" in downtown Raleigh to buy a new dress (which would do double duty for Mother's Day) complete with hat, gloves, tights, shoes, and a purse to match. She'd buy herself much the same.

The dress must be frilly and the shoes patent leather. Not white, because everyone knows you can't wear white before Memorial Day!

Carla Stancil,
Gladys Allen Stancil
and Joyce Allen Lucas
We would attend Easter sunrise service, head back home for pancakes, and then to regular church services followed by a huge Easter lunch of ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, and coconut cake. I always got a homemade Easter basket full of candy and little toys. Easter was the next best thing to Christmas.

Sometimes, we would spend Easter with mom's sister and her family in Appomattox, Virgina. The picture to the right was taken in Aunt Joyce's front yard as we were about to head off to church.

Gladys Allen Stancil and
Carl Donald Stancil, 1969

April 15, 2014

The Five Williams

Stancil Family Crest
I try to remind myself how lucky I am to live in the area where my family has resided for over 366 years. That's over 9 generations. Wow!

But it gets really complicated when I'm trying to sort out the William Stancils of the world. There are SO MANY OF THEM!

For example, my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th great grandfathers are all named William Stancil.  And they all live within a four county radius of each other. 

My William Stancils are in addition to many many OTHER William Stancils from different branches of the same tree. There are literally hundreds of them in a four county area. Cumulatively, of course. Not all at the same time.

All were very talented farmers and land owners. One was a Patriot. At least two were slave holders. All fathered large families. Between them, they had 6 wives and 27 children who they really liked to name John, Godfrey, Peter, and of course...William. The same names, over and over. 

It is all very confusing to a simple gal like me.

A prolific bunch, they were!

April 13, 2014

Where in the world is Mezie Huskey?

My great great grandmother is a mystery to me. Mezie HUSKEY was born about 1860 in Granville County, NC. She died about 1910. 

When she was 20, she married Henry A. ALLEN, son of George Benjamin ALLEN and Mary THOMPSON, about 1880. Henry would have been about 40 years old. An older man.

Henry and Mezie had four children, best as I can tell. 

Their son Eugene (nickname Bud) was my great grandfather. He was born on 03 May 1880 in Wake County, NC. He had 3 sisters Adie, Ester, and Iowa.  Eugene's death certificate lists Mezie and Henry as his parents. 

I've found tons of information on Henry. Not so much on Mezie. I've heard her last name could be Husketh, Huskie, or Husky. Mezie may be a nickname. Perhaps her real name is Lauronieca, Armeda or Arillda. 

I'll continue to search for Grandma Mezie, but in the meantime, if you see her please let me know!  Tell her I love her and I'd like to meet her.


April 9, 2014

Delayed Birth Certificates in North Carolina

Births were not officially recorded in North Carolina until about October of 1913. Even then, many births were not registered as they often took place at home and without a physician attending. This is particularly true for rural births. 

There is no federal law requiring birth certificates which are generally kept at the state or local level. As far as I can tell, birth certificates are not required by law. Registration of a birth is voluntary, but you cannot get a social security number without a birth certificate and the parents cannot claim a child as a dependent without same. So...

Many folks got "delayed" birth certificates so they could conduct whatever business that required a social security number. It is very interesting to me to look at the documentation that was required for proof of idendity. There are clues in them 'dar documents! 

In both my Davis and Stancil lines, mention is made of family Bibles on delayed birth certificates. A gold mine of information!  And marriage certificates, personal knowledge, insurance policies...

Delayed birth certificates offer far more family details than regular birth certificates. Love that!