Monday, July 18, 2011

North Carolina Funeral Programs

I have in my possession over 200 funeral programs from the services of people who were born and/or raised in North Carolina.  The majority of the deceased either lived in, or originated from Franklin County, however, there are a few from surrounding areas.

These funeral programs date back as early as 1949, to as late as 2001.  They are from the personal collection of my late grandmother, Anna Green Yarborough (1891-1977) and her daughter Susie B. Yarborough.  My aunt was kind enough to allow me to "borrow" these precious documents last summer, so that I could index them and get the information online, in case family members or descendants would like access to the information, or receive copies of the programs.  As is common, these documents are filled with genealogical data, such as birth and death dates, names of parents and family members, and occupation, residence, and burial informaton.  The deceased individual's church affiliations and life accomplishments are typically included, and occasionally, there are pictures!

I have created an Excel document which gives the names (maiden and married for females), birth/death dates, place of death (or burial), and spouse's name for each of the dearly departed.  As of the date of this posting, I have completed 40 listings.  I will add to the document, as time permits.

I will happily scan and email a copy of any funeral program by request.  If you have an interest in a particular program, please contact me with the row number (from the Excel doc) and the first and last name of the deceased person. (I would also love to know what your connection or interest is in the deceased.)  In a few cases, there are also newspaper clippings that were with the funeral programs.  If so, you will see a comment indicating that on the document.

To give an example of what I have, I am including one program in this post.  My grandmother was a founding member of the Mt. Hebron United Holy Church in Louisburg, NC.  She was a dedicated servant of the church, and so it didn't surprise me that she traveled to Goldsboro, NC in 1949 to attend the service for the president of her church's national body, Bishop General Johnson Branch.  What did surprise me was the almost perfect condition this funeral program is still in, although it's been right on a shelf in our old homestead for the past 62 years!

Back and front of funeral program

Inside of funeral program

As you can see, this funeral program is filled with information about the Bishop's life.  There is even a photograph of him, although only a few in my collection have pictures.  For some reason though, the names of his five children were not given.  This is highly unusual, but perhaps because of his status, his program was a bit less personalized.  I don't know, but I can assure you that most of the program I have do list the departed person's children by name!

It is my plan to donate the entire lot of funeral programs to a repository in North Carolina - either to the North Carolina State Archives, or to the Franklin County Public Library.  However, I won't do that for quite some time, because currently, these bulletins remain the property of my aunt, Susie Yarborough Hawkins, of Louisburg, and are on loan to me for the above stated purpose.

Please click here to see the index of names for whom I have funeral programs.  Comments and requests for copies are welcome here, or by emailing me at yarsan@aol.com. In addition to the complimentary scanning and emailing, I'm willing to make and mail hard copies of each program for a cost of $3.00 per document, which will be payable to me via Paypal.  Please contact me directly via email if you are interested in this service.

I hope this venture will prove worthwhile for folks who are researching in or around Franklin County, NC, and/or who may be descendants of any of the people on these programs.  Please share this post with as many researchers as possible, so that the word can get out! :)

Thanks, and happy researching!

Monday, July 11, 2011

KUCKS of Brooklyn, NY

While traveling from Wilmington, NC back to Topsail Beach last month, I stopped at an intriguing spot called, Baker Street Curiosity Shop, appropriately named since it was exactly that - my curiosity - which led me to stop there!  I took my time perusing the two-level property, filled with a plethara of furniture, antiques, and other "curious" items, and, although there were many fascinating articles, I didn't see the one thing that I was hoping for - photographs.  So, before I left, I decided to ask the lady up front if she had, or ever got any.  At first, she told me that she didn't, but then she thought about it and began to tell me about a some boxes that she needed to "get to".  I explained to her a bit about myself, my blog, and the genea-blogging world, and told her about how the Web is being used to share "orphan" photos, with the hopes of getting them back into the hands of family members.  Then, she told me to wait a second, and she came out with two large envelopes.  She told me to feel free to dig through them, as she hadn't had a chance yet, and so I did.  It turns out that these envelopes were filled with miscellaneous items that had come along with a bulk purchase from an estate sale.  As I pilfered through the contents, I found several things that might be of interest, but decided to spend my money on three items that seemed most likely to be of value to a family member or descendant, if they could be found.

Pictures and postcard found together.  Click to enlarge.

I was intrigued mostly by the picture of the young lady.  At first, I thought she appeared to (perhaps) be of mixed-race.  I still wonder, but I'm not sure.  But, anyway, that was what most attracted me to her photo, given my discoveries about my own family history.  Unfortunately, there is no identifying information on the back of either photo, but the names and locations of the photography studios are clearly printed on the front of both of these cabinet-card photos.

Photo 1: Adult Female - Main St Photographer W J Tompkins Castile, N.Y. (This photo has 75 cents written in pencil in the upper right hand corner on the back, as if maybe someone had tried to sell it in a yardsale.)

Photo 2: Adult Male - BOLTON, 508 High Street, MILLVILLE, N.J.

Postcard Front: Approach to Fish Cove Inn   Southampton, Long Island, N.Y.
Addressed to Miss Anna Kucks  131 Highland B'lv'd  Brooklyn, N.Y.
Transcription: (Postmarked Southampton N.Y. Jul 24, 1942 - 7 pm.)

Dear Aunt Annie and Jack:
     We are having a fine time out here.  This view is the one that we had at first but we moved to a different location.
     Both of us are very happy.  Hoping that you had a good time last Saturday.
                       Love, Eva and Artj (This is my best guess at the signature.)

A quick check of Ancestry. com took me right to the recipient of this postcard.  In 1930, 42 year-old Anna Kucks is shown as the head of household and owner of her home at 131 Highland Boulevard in Brooklyn. She is a widow, and has another widow, Hattie Brenkerhoff, living with her.  (Both are listed as HOH, but Anna is noted to be the owner, and Hattie, an insurance clerk, is a renter.)  Anna was born in New York, but both her parents were born in Germany, which indicates to me that she is most likely the same Anna Kucks shown in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 Census as the daughter of Peter Kucks, and sister of Louisa, Mamie, Mary, and four others whose names are unknown to me.  In 1910, Peter's70 year-old brother, Henry, was also living with the family. (Peter was already widowed by 1900.)  According to the 1910 Census, Peter immigrated to the United States in 1860.

My guess is that the senders of the postcard may have just gotten married on the previous Saturday, and were possibly on their honeymoon.  Also, I strongly believe that this KUCKS family is probably the same family which had previously gone by the KUSSLER/KESSLER surname.

At this point, that is all of the research I've done on this family.  I may in my "spare" time, come back and add more findings.  If you are a descendant of this family, please contact me via this blog, or by emailing me at yarsan@aol.com.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Brand New Blog!

Today, on the two-year blogiversary of my genealogy research blog, Into the LIGHT, I've decided to venture into a new blog adventure, one that will hopefully serve to help others who are researching their family history and/or who are simply searching for any connections to their family artifacts online.

I've been inspired by the many bloggers who so unselfishly give their time and energy to research the lives of others outside of their own ancestral lines.  And then, there are those who invest in the purchase of photographs and other artifacts, and post them online with no more than the hope that these items will somehow find their way to the families they're connected too.  Still others in the blogosphere take the time to share their wealth of knowledge of research techniques, best practices, and so much more, to help us all (and each other) to be as well-learned and efficient in our efforts to uncover the lives and the histories of our ancestors.  All of you who are doing these things in addition to your own research are providing valuable service to the entire genea-community!

For quite some time now, I've been quietly trying to think of a way that I, too, could give back to this wonderful community of researchers.  I've had several ideas, but finally, a few weeks ago, I had that "light-bulb" moment when I realized what I would do.  You see, throughout my years of research, I've often collected information that did not pertain to my own family, but which I felt might be useful to someone.  However, I've never done anything with it!  Some has been lost (unfortunately) to a computer crash, but there are still some things that I have, and with this effort, I plan to begin to collect more.  Although there will be some documents, my main effort is going to be to collect and post "orphan photos" and postcards, and to try to help to unite those items with family members.  Although this is being done by several folks already, I've noticed that there are very few photos of African-Americans being posted, so that will eventually (after these first few) be my area of focus.  I will also pass along research tips, but most will be specific to North Carolina and/or Virgina genealogy research.

My main purpose in creating a new blog in addition to Into the LIGHT is to keep my personal research separate and clutter-free.  I've said before that my research blog is not meant to be a platform for anything else, and in my effort to keep it that way, I've failed to share items of interest which may have been a help to other researchers.  So, with that, I ask that you add this blog to your reader, and tweet or share it with others who might benefit from the occasional, posts that will appear.

As usual, I thank you for reading.  I hope that my genea-friends and all others will accept my new blog, "Genea-Related", as my gift to this community on the second anniversary of Into the LIGHT!