My Ancestors

My 3rd Great Grandparents Ann Olivia Sweden/Smith & Emanuel Smith

When your Ancestors want to make themselves known to you, their is nothing that will stop them. Lately my Ancestors have been wanting to build a more deeper connection, by leading me to their personal information. While reading the diary of their plantation owner, I came across the marriage information of my Great, Great, Great, Grandparents, Ann Olivia Sweden/Smith born 1855 & Emanuel Smith born 1857. The plantation owner even drew a picture of them in his diary on their wedding day.


My Great, Great, Grandfathers Daughter Georgia Moss

 My Great, Great, Grandfathers daughter Georgia Moss was born 1908 in Mississippi. The photo below is the most mesmerizing picture I have seen in my collection… what a beauty.


My Ancestor Ephraim Calvin Johnson born 1870

 I research and discover my Ancestors who was born in the 1700s. One of them was Ned Johnson who was a Freeman, who married my other ancestor Nancy Edward who was still in bondage. I learned most of this from a book that was written in 1899 by my Ancestor Ephraim born 1870 in Mississippi. A elder in my family, allowed me to get a copy of all the pages of the book, but ask that I only share it with family, so I will respect her wishes. But I still want to tell you all about Ephraim. He was educated, artistic, and he loved to draw and loved having his solitude. I also discovered that he was a Seer, and he had visions and could see in both realms. He also spoke with Higher Beings. He mention that they told him about “the race”, as he put it. They also taught him astronomy. Being able to read personal information about my Ancestors has been over-whelming and hard to contain my emotions. How much more will they show me? Only time will tell, but I look forward to every second of it.


Theodore Roosevelt and My 4th Great Grandfather

Research has become apart of life for me. I look forward to all the information my Ancestors are willing to share with me. One great tool I have found, was collecting books that are written about the State/County/Town that my Ancestors once inhabited. Although most of the information is about other people who lived in those areas, I always seem to find little jewels in the information that is written. One of my great finds is about a man named Clive Metcalfe. I first spotted him as a “Witness” on my 4th Great Grandfather George Mortimore Sweden born 1821 “Will & Testament”. Then I spotted Clive, in the book I have recently purchased. Clive’s father was a former plantation owner and close acquittance with my 4th Great Grandfather George. Clive’s brothers was also listed on George’s “Will & Testament” . In the book I purchased, it tells that Clive Metcalfe was friends with Theodore Roosevelt, the 26 President of the USA. Clive and Theodore use to go hunting together. Its always interesting to find added information on my Ancestors in the lest expected places. (Clive is #4 and Theodore is #3 in the picture)


Slave Manifest Of My 5th Great Grandfather George Sweden

One of the rarest things you can find when searching for enslaved Ancestors, is actual records that indicate them as slaves. Most of the records during that time did not list enslaved African Americans by name on most documents. But I have located the actual Slave Manifest that list my 5th Great Grandfather George Sweden as a slave on board a ship in 1835. The Manifest shows him entering the ship as a 12 year old boy in Maryland, and departing in Louisiana. Another very important piece of information that is listed, is the name of his slave owner at that time.


My 5th Great Grandfather Will & Testament

Below you will find my 5th Great Grandfather George Mortimore Sweden born around 1821. He spent part of his life in Washington County, Mississippi, where I located his Last Will & Testament. My 4th Great Grandmother Annie Olivia Sweden/Smith was listed on the record as well. She is the daughter of George.


Mystery Of My 5th Great Grandfather born 1821

Researching Ancestors is a life long thing. It doesn’t stop because you reach a road block. You continue on with another part of your family tree, and come back with fresh eyes to look for more information to break the road block. There are pieces in my family tree that I thought was always going to be a dead end. But I decided to take another look with the assistance of my Ancestors. While sitting at my desk something gave me the idea to search for one of my Ancestors using another spelling of their name. Wow, I located my 4th Great Grandparents marriage record. That small bit of information allowed me to get closer to my 4th Great Grandmother Annie born 1855. On the record I learned her middle name was “Olivia” and her maiden name was “Sweden” even though they spelled it incorrect on her marriage record. I had spent years looking at the 1870 census record of my 4th Great Grandfather Emanuel (E.J) and never knew, Annie was living two spaces down with her parents George born 1820 and Sarah born 1838. There is a mystery with my 5th Great Grandfather George. I located his burial site in Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi. It was among only 3 other graves that stood side by side on the edge of a Public Golf Course. No other graves sites are visible or known to be anywhere nears those 4 graves.


My 98 Year Old Great, Great Grandmother

It’s interesting how I received this photo of my Great, Great Grandmother Elzina Ganison born 1880 in Mississippi. I began to ask more question to certain family members, and someone told me that one of my family members had an obituary of Elzina. So I decided to ask my Mom to call her brother, and ask him for the obituary. My Mom said, he wouldn’t give it to her, so she doesn’t think she should ask him. But my spirit knew my Ancestors would get that obituary one way or another. So I decided to ask my uncle for myself. Then one day out the blue I get a text, and it was the obituary with Elzina’s picture on it. I shared the photo with my family, and one of them mentioned Elzina was blind in her old age. That is something I would have not known on my own. What I discovered is, certain people have their own memory of events, and it’s best to always listen closely and take it all in. I also learned that Elzina lived to be 98 years old…two years shy of 100. I confirmed that through records I had also discovered with the assistance of the obituary. Even if I would have never discovered a picture, our bond would have been sealed from my attempt to get to know her. 


 My 4th Great Aunt Jemima Lance Born 1858 

I have made so many bonds and close connections with my Ancestors, through just their Documents and Records. Reading the small details of them, makes me feel like I know them. Yet, I have never heard of most of them until I decided to do a deep dive into my past. The latest photo I have come across, is the daughter of My Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparents Robert and Leann Lance. She is my 4th Great Aunt, Jemima Lance born 1858 in Arkansas. Someone uploaded this photo 19 years ago, and somehow it has made its way to me.


Finding My Great Grandfather John Henry Edmond

For years I thought the only information I would ever receive about my Mother’s (Paternal) Great Grandfather John Henry Edmond born in Mississippi in 1904, was his name. In my mind I would never find more than that, because I thought no one knew anything else. For a week, my Ancestors have been encouraging me to ask my Mother about the old obituaries she has, that was in my Grandmother’s collection. But every time I would speak to my mother I would never ask her about the old obituaries. Yesterday, I made a joke to my Ancestors, while looking at my family tree, and I said, “It would be funny if I find more information on him.” (I was referring to my Great Grandfather John Henry Edmond) Well my Ancestors didn’t think it was a joke, because today before getting off the phone with my mom, I asked her if she would take a second and tell me some of the names on the obituaries? One of the names she read off was “John Henry”. His information had been sitting in my mothers closet for 17 years. It would have been sitting there for more, if I had ignored the hunch of my Ancestors.


My 4th Great Grand Mother Ann Bell Found In A Will & Testament

My Ancestors are constantly amazing me with the knowledge and wisdom they grant me. Yesterday, I reached the height of my years of research on my Ancestors. Within two days, I have discovered two different Slave Owners, for two of my Ancestors. Both from my Paternal line. But today, we will just focus on one of them…Ann Bell. Ann Bell is my 4th Great Grandmother born around 1820. in 1880 Ann Bell can be seen living in the home of her daughter Margaret/Marcus Palmer. Right next door my 3rd Great Grandfather Robert Bell and his brother Alexander Bell can be seen living together. In 1900, I spotted Ann living in the home of her son Alex/Alexander. Ann’s daughter Margaret was listed as “Marcus” in 1900. She was still living with her husband Richard Palmer. I found Ann and her daughter Marcus/Margaret being given to John Bell Jr. the son of her former Slave Master John Bell Sr. in Wilkinson County, Mississippi in 1857.


Looking At The Faces Of My Ancestors

For months my Ancestors on my Maternal side, has been urging me to contact my cousins, on my Mother’s Father side. My cousins have been on my Facebook page for several years, and I have not seen them in person, or spoken with them since the 90s. I sat at my dinning room table yesterday, and thought about when my Aunt Renee (my Mother sister) showed me pictures of her Grandmother and others. But now my aunt has passed, and I have no access to that picture. So my Ancestors suggested once again to contact my cousin…this time I listened. I’m so glad I did, because within a hour she sent me a picture of my Great Grandmother Victoria born in 1906. My mom had told me stories about Victoria, and how much she loved her. This morning, I woke up to a message with more photos of Victoria and my Granddad’s Brother D.C/Daniel


Seeing My Great Grandmother For The First Time

Today someone uploaded a picture of my (Paternal) Great Grandmother Kate Bell/Evans born 1894 daughter of Ella Bell/Tolbert. My Grandmother Mavis born 1928 can be seen standing next to her Mother Kate. I didn’t discover Kate’s name until I was in my 30’s. (Kate on the Left and Mavis on the Right)


Never in a million years would I have imagined seeing My Great Grandfather on a photo

Never in a million years would I imagine waking up today, and being able to view my (Paternal) Great, Grandfather Robert Evans born 1881 picture. Someone from my Family Line decided to upload his picture online. It is so rare to find any photos of unknown Family/Ancestors, that this is more than a simple coincidence. Robert was never mentioned to me as a child. At one point in my teenage years, I even lived with my Grandmother for a couple of years, and we never discussed her father.


Seeing My Paternal Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother For The First Time

During Thanksgiving, I was having a conversation with my parents and they mentioned attending a family reunion… I did not attend. My father told me during the event everyone was given a booklet with Ancestor information. Although I was excited to hear this, I held my composure. I asked my father did he still have the booklet, and he told me yes and to ask my mother where to find it. My Mother knew exactly where it was and directed me to get it. As I searched through the booklet, my eyes fell on two pictures, one of my Great Grandmother (Paternal) Eveline Moss born 1905 and the other of my Great, Great Grandmother (Paternal) Mariah Moss born 1875. The joy I feel when I look at those two picture is something I will never be able to explain. (Picture on the left is Eveline and the picture on right is Mariah sitting)


My Great Grandfather John Mackey born in 1885

My great grandfather John Mackey was born in 1885 in Webster County Mississippi. He worked in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1933. I located a Directory that shows he worked at a Funeral Home/Crematory. He was listed as a driver. (Photo of John Mackey, and Page of Directory)


Where would I be if I had tossed out my notes in 2007?

Where would I be if I had tossed out my notes in 2007? What if I gave up and left my ancestors buried and forgotten during this lifetime? Can you imagine? I can’t, because I can’t see a world without their stories being told or their names being remembered…even if I’m the only person that remembers. (Originally all the paper I wrote my note on was pure white, now it’s beige)


Stephen Poe born 1797 father and slave master to my Great, Great Grandfather Thomas Poe born 1835

Stephen Poe born 1797 is the father and slave master to my great, great grandfather Thomas Poe born 1835. According to the document Stephen Poe didn’t have any slaves in his house when he was in Alabama in 1830. There were two free African Americans listed in his household during that time. But things changed when he arrived in Choctaw, Mississippi. Choctaw County was taken over from the Choctaw Indians in 1833, and before 1837 Stephen Poe was settled in Choctaw, Mississippi. By 1840 he had a total of 9 slaves, then in 1850 he had a total of 12.


Hard Copy of Ancestor Information

Always have a hard-copy of your ancestors information. Don’t leave it up to online resources to house your ancestral documents. It’s also fun to show your friends and family members actual records of a time that has long passed. (Homemade binder I created for my ancestors)


My Grandmother Mamie

Although my grandmother never shared information about her childhood environment, I can still paint a picture from the census records that I have. Part of her story was found within 2 pages.
The census record told me:

When she was 4 and 16 years old, there was 9 people living in her farm house in Mississippi. She was raised with her mother and father. Her mother and father were laborers on a farm and worked for themselves. She was considered the baby of the family, being born in 1925. Her mom was born in 1888 and her father was born in 1885. Her parents were married in 1904. At 16, she only had a 4th grade academic education. But were also street smart and used her environmental learning, to move to Chicago IL, to start a new journey. If your interested to learn about your ancestors’ story, let me assist you.


My Great, Great Grandmother Minerva, Known By Many Names Part 2

My great, great grandmother Minerva, had 3 possible slave masters according to documents and information. The Last names that are attached to her are Peebles, Waits and Poe. One of the most recent names I have discovered was ” Ratliff”. My great grandmother Virgie Poe/Mackey list her mother, Minerva as “Menevia Rateleff ” on her social security record. I found Minerva on a 1870s census record listed as ” Manervia Ratliff “. Minerva was only married once in her life time, and that was to Thomas Poe in 1878. Then how did she get all of those last names? I think I can answer that. Alpha Pebbles was a slave owner, who lived a few spaces from Minerva. James Waits was also a slave master that happen to live one farm away from Alpha Peebles. My grandfather Thomas Poe possible slave master Stephen Poe lived in the same town. He just happen to live next door to a Samuel Ratliff a fellow slave master. Every name, besides Poe, that was attached to Minerva was once owned by a Slave Master: Waits, Peebles and Ratliff.


My Great, Great Grandmother Minerva, Known By Many Names Part 1

My great, great grandmother Minerva, known by many names born in 1850, has many pieces to her puzzle. I have gathered some of them, but far from all of them. On my personal ancestor journey, I have accumulated several of her records, from 1880 to 1920. Now I have stumbled upon another clue! On my great, grandmother Virgie social security record it list her mother as ” Menevia Rateleff “. But for over ten years I have known her as “Minerva Peebles/Waits/Poe, according to her marriage bond. She was only married once, to Thomas Poe in 1878. She obtained the ‘Peebles” and “Waits’ names from former slave masters. I have found records of the slave masters living two farms, apart from each other according to the documents. On the census record of my great, grandmother Virgie, it list her mother as Minerva Poe and Father, Thomas Poe. So, when I saw the information on the Social Security material I thought nothing of it….until yesterday. I have almost ever census record available for Minerva, but I could not locate her in the 1870 census records. But yesterday, the day before Halloween/Day of The Dead/ Día de Muertos a record popped up, when I typed in the information from the Social Security document. It was a 1870 census record for “Manervia Ratliff ” estimated birth year: 1855, located in the same town and city as all of Minerva’s documents. I can’t express the feeling that rushed through my body. So now my goal is to find out if their was any slave owners close by with the last name, “Ratliff “. My journey continues…..


Signature of Will Henry Lighthall on World War I Draft card

I never met my great grandfather, Will Henry Lighthall born 1899. Viewing his World War I Draft Registration Card, still gave me a glimpse of him. The record tells me that he was tall, with dark eyes and black hair. He wasn’t to big or to small, he was medium build at 18 years of age. Seeing his actual signature on the card, makes the experience surreal. It’s like I can picture him signing his name, as thoughts of entering the war submerged his mind. (My great grandfather actual signature at the bottom left of the card)


Finding My Great, Grandfather Will Henry Lighthall

I have been trying to locate my great grandfather Will Henry Lighthall born 1899 for several years. He only appeared on three documents at first. One World War Draft record, and 2 Social Security records of his sons, one of which is my grandfather Edmon Lighthall. All of the location was listed as Mississippi.
So I decided to search the entire database of “Lighthall” on Ancestry .com. I searched 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, NOTHING! Not one single person with the Last name Lighthall was in Mississippi around those times. Turns out no other “Lighthall” popped up in Mississippi around Will’s date of birth, or even before 1920. The biggest population of “Lighthall’s ” was found in New York. I’ve found that the “Lighthall” name was very rare for a African American to have during that time, regardless of the State. Then something came me, seemly out of nowhere, “Why not search just, “Light” without the “Hall”… OMG, there it was. A 1920 census record Of “Hall Will Light” with a estimated birth year of 1900. He was also listed with his wife “Evaline” my great grandmother, mother of my grandfather Edmon. What I gathered from the census record is, he was unsure of his father, because the only information listed was USA. But now I know his mother, my great, great grandmother was born in Louisiana. All this adds another piece to my on going journey. 
The journey continues…..