23 November 2013


Abijah Bray was one of the original settlers of eastern Tennessee. He received a substantial amount of land from the land grants of North Carolina and Tennessee that begin to shape this portion of the State throughout the Antebellum period. That I've been able to locate, there are three land grants attached to his name:

Land grant to Abijah Bray for a portion of land in Claiborne County, Tennessee; 28 Jul 1824

Land grant to Abijah Bray for land in Grainger County, Tennessee; 20 September 1832

Land grant to Abijah Bray for land in Hancock County, Tennessee; 9 July 1857

I find that these land grants are better off paired with this website, The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Included are interactive maps for the United States, which allow you to track the changes in county boundaries over time. Of interest here will be the interactive map for Tennessee.

While I was searching online, I saw that there is a lot of confusion about this particular family because names repeat every other generation, so there is more than one Abijah Bray, and likely more than one Stogner Bray.

I began with the marriage record and pieced the story together from there.

Marriage record for Abijah Bray and Polly Webb, married on 4 January 1838 in Tennessee
(Line 68 in the image)

From there, I was about to find the 1860 census, where Polly appears with her daughter Rachel, from whom I'm descended. We also see that Rachel Bray is named after her grandmother, Rachel Webb, who is living together with her daughter at the age of 86.

Rachel Bray's brother Stogner lives in the same community and appears on a different page of the census, with his wife Jane and daughters Nancy and Mary.

In 1870, Stogner Bray will appear with a 9 year old son, also named Abijah. Much of the confusion in regards to this family happens here between these two names. I also suspect that Stogner is not the first of his namesake, and confusion arises from there as well.

Rachel has three daughters from an unknown husband; Eliza, Tennessee, and Nancy. She marries William Farmer in 1877, but it must be noted that he is not the father to her children. Her daughter Nancy Bray later marries John P. Clark, and I'm descended through their children.

What I find so interesting is that all of this confusion arises from reusing names, but the name that I most readily recognize is Nancy. Nancy was my great-grandmother's actual given name, and nobody knew it because she always went by Violet. We didn't find out until after my great-grandmother died that her legal name was Nancy, and not Violet.

I loved my great-grandmother very dearly as a child. She was a wonderful playmate for me, and my memories of her stand out remarkably well to me even in my adulthood. If ever I were to give my child a namesake, it would be after my great-grandmother, Violet Nancy Greene.

I suspect that somewhere in the history of her family is a great matriarch named Nancy, who inspired generations after her to name their children after her. I haven't discovered her yet, but I'm hoping some day I will. Anyone who has had their name travel down through this many generations has to be a pretty special person.

For now, I'm just happy to have known the Nancy that I knew.

14 November 2013


As I continue to make my way backwards in the records for the Pinheiro family, Judith Fingard's article has given me some needed confirmation for Charles' Pinheiro's wife, Rose. If you'll look back to her death certificate, you'll notice that her parents are listed as John Delless from Grenada and Hannah Quinn from Nova Scotia. But it wasn't until I found Fingard's article that I was able to do anything with that information.

Augustus Dallas on the 1871 Canadian census for Halifax, Nova Scotia

The citation in her article pointed me to this census image from 1871, where Rose appears with her parents, Augustus Dallas and Hannah Dallas. I had suspected that Delless was a misspelling of the name Dallas. It was nice to see my instincts confirmed on that.

Fingard mentioned that Rose has a step-father and a step-sister named Catherine. Based on these images, I'm not sure when or how this information comes into the picture. So I decided to do some digging.

Hannah Dallas on the 1871 Canadian census for Halifax, Nova Scotia

On the 1881 Canadian Census for Halifax, Hannah appears with her two children Rose and Augustus. William was already old enough to have left home. But their father is visibly absent, and returns for the next census. His absence was likely related to his job, seeing as he was a seaman.

Augustus Dallas on the 1891 Canadian census for Halifax, Nova Scotia

By 1891, Augustus Sr. and Hannah appear alone on the census. So the question of where Rose's step-father and step-siblings come from would have to come from somewhere else. Fortunately, I was able to contact Judith Fingard and she'll be able to provide me with some information on these lines in the next couple of weeks. I'm surprised how much I was already able to discover without her help. She clearly knows much more than I do about Rose and her parentage.

I'm looking forward to talking to Judith in the coming weeks. Although, the questions I had when I first contacted her and the questions I have now are certainly very different. Either way, she'll still be able to fill me in with many details I do not have.

Now the only trick is waiting patiently until then...

11 November 2013

Military Monday: Veterans

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I did the #VeteransDaySalute today. I've been meaning to make a list of my direct-line military veterans for research purposes, and it has stayed on the To-Do list for far too long. So, in honor of my vast military heritage, I'm going to post that list here today.

Thomas Gardner Bartlett, 8th VA Cavalry, Civil War

John P. Clark, 61 TN Infantry, Civil War

Raymond Richard Doyle, Korean War

Lester Edgar Ince, Canadian Expedition Forces, WWI

Moses Blanton Keats, US Navy

Randolph Keatts, War of 1812

Richard C. Keatts, 57th VA Infantry, Civil War

Williams E. Loveless, 45th NC Infantry, Civil War

James P. McKenzie, 29th VA Infantry, Civil War

These are only my direct-line ancestors. Most, if not all of these men had brothers and sons who also served in these wars. If I added all of the veterans I have in my family, the list would include dozens of men. I also have other family members who allegedly served but I have no documentation as of yet to prove it, like Crafton Bennett in the War of 1812.

Lester Ince is my only military veteran who is not from the United States, and it is proving very difficult to find out what happened to him. He does not reappear with his family after the end of World War I, but there is also no record of him dying in the war--at least not that is available through Library and Archives Canada. If I can prove that he survived, it will mean that I have had ancestors in every major conflict clear to the American Revolution, and they all survived.

Being a survivor is every bit as noble as giving your life during a war because to go on living after war is a conflict in and of itself. To be able to rebuild and start again, which proved a challenge for men regardless of the place or the war. Having Veteran's Day is the opportunity to recognize not only their battles throughout the wars in which they fought, but the very real personal struggle they still have, even when they live in peace.

Be sure to thank your military relatives today. They need it and deserve it for all they've given.

09 November 2013

Good Eats

My research also recently tipped me off to the fact that Charles Pinheiro was a Freemason. He wasn't the first in my family to be a Freemason, but despite that fact I still don't know much about the organization. I can tell Charles was an officer, but what is an S.S., and what would that have meant his duties entailed?

I found my answer in a pretty unconventional place. Did you know that The Complete Dummies series did a book on Freemasons? I didn't either. Their guide was actually pretty helpful!

Senior Steward and Junior Steward
Because the Stewards are the low guys on the totem pole of the officers' line, they do much of the grunt work. They're the Junior Warden's assistants, and they help to set up the lodge room. They prepare all new candidates before entering the lodge for their degree rituals, and escort them to the lodge room, where the Senior Deacon takes over. They may also be the kitchen and wait staff of the lodge, which means they're champing at the bit to move up to the Junior Warden's job.
The Stewards, like the Deacons, also carry rods, in imitation of England's Lord High Steward's rod in the House of Lords. The rods are also topped with the jewels of their offices.
The Stewards' officers jewels are the same: a cornucopia, or "horn of plenty," symbolizing — what else? — lots of food. Masons love to eat and will find any excuse they can to have a breakfast, luncheon, or dinner to commemorate just about anything.
As I continued to search across the internet for more mention of Charles, I found him in several more partial entries on Google Books, as well as on this blog. As I continued to explore the New Memories blog, I found something pretty exciting; a recipe for something I sure Charles would've eaten.

Akara (Bean Balls)Makes a great snack, or may be served as a side dish.
Ingredients2 cups of cooked beans (navy, black-eyed or lima)
1 egg
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooked meat (any kind of meat can be used)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
1/3 cup peanut oil
  1. Cook the beans until they are soft. 
  2. Mash the beans.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the oil and flour.
  4. Mix into a thick paste, then form into small balls.
  5. Coat the balls lightly with flour.
  6. Heat the oil. Fry the bean balls in the oil until crisp and brown.
Recipe taken from: The Black Canadians: Their History and Contributions, by Velma Carter and Levro (Lee) Carter. (Edmonton: Reidmore Books, 1989)

We're planning on making it tomorrow after Church to try it. Who doesn't like trying new food, right? Who knows, may it was his favorite and he always made it for the lodge meetings. Or whenever he came home from his church meetings. Here's to a new tradition if it turns out well!

07 November 2013


Good research questions get you thinking about your old roadblocks in new ways, and that exactly what just happened with all of the questions I was asking myself yesterday. I have just had an incredible flow of answers and new information. I can hardly keep up with it, between the fast pace and the excitement I'm feeling.

So let's just start with the questions I began with yesterday, before I make a mess!

Question 1: Did Charles and Lester working for the railroad (CPR and ICR) have an impact on their moving from Barbados to Halifax, Nova Scotia?

Answer: YES!

Google Book Search for "Intercolonial Railway and Barbados" produced this result. And you want to talk about genealogical serendipity--I didn't even put Charles' Pinheiro's name in the search, and the blurb on the search result included his name. I would have skimmed right on over it if I hadn't seen the name. I love this stuff!

Check out this page from this book I found, North of the Color Line: Migration and Black Resistance in Canada, 1870-1955 by Sarah-Jane Mathieu. Saje Mathieu teaches history and the University of Minnesota. It was at this point that I began to recognize that my ancestor is a very well-researched individual in all the right circles.


What is the S.S. Acadia? I wondered. Wikipedia took care of the rest.

Question 2: Where did Charles go to church? What bearing did it play on his personal life?

Answer: St. Paul's Church of England

I hit Google Books again, this time for Charles Pinheiro in Halifax, and found a fantastic article by Judith Fingard, From Sea to Rail: Black Transportation Workers and their Families in Halifax, c.1870-1916. She goes into an unprecedented level of detail on the personal life of my ancestor.

Fingard mentions that he was a member of St. Paul's Church of England, with the exception that he and his wife Rose Dallas were married in the Methodist church because her family was Methodist. He was also a Freemason, and Fingard points out how many other black men in the railway industry would have been masons in the same lodge together.

Question 3: What happened to Lester Ince?

Answer: He joined the military

My family has veterans galore. Now I can say I have them from two different countries. Lester Ince joined the Canadian military as part of the troops assembled to fight in World War I. Library and Archives Canada provides access to the applications, which provide insight into what Lester looked like and his other military service.

Because he doesn't appear with his family after the war in the 1921 census, I think it's safe to theorize that he died in the war. That would certainly explain why he doesn't show up in any of the death or burial records back in Halifax. I'll have to keep looking so I can substantiate that theory, but it does provide me with my next step.

Question 4: What happened to Charles? Where did he die? Where is he buried?

Answer: He moved to Montreal and died there.

And there's an obituary! I can't find an online archive for the newspaper yet. But thanks to Judith Fingard, I know there's an obituary for him in The Halifax Chronicle of 22 July 1944. Once I get a copy of this obituary, hopefully it'll tell me where Charles is buried. He was a true patriarch. He loved and cared for the extended generations of his family. I want to know where the final resting place of his body is. If I ever get the chance, I want to be able to pay my respects.

I wrote to Judith Fingard with what I deduced must be the email address provided to her from the university. I asked her for whatever help and insight with which she could provide me. She just wrote me back about 20 minutes ago, and we'll be touching base in a couple of weeks. I'm simply in awe of how quickly and completely these pieces are falling into place.

There is even MORE to go into, but I'm going to call it good for today. Be on the lookout for the follow up with Judith Fingard, the missing Pinheiro census records, and the new records I found for Rose Dallas and her family!

To be continued...

Problem Solving

So when we left off in terms of new discovery, I was unraveling the mysteries of my Black Canadian heritage. When I said I was taking a break from them, I ended up taking a break from genealogy in general. I've slugged my way through some adulthood complications, and I've decided to continue plugging away at these same families.

I may not be able to take the lines back into the records of their native countries, but I can fill in the gaps I still have missing. And many of them center around the men in these families. So I want to take the time to revisit all of the documentation I've already found, establish what I know about these families, and make some specific research questions so I can decide what I need to find and where to look next.

Charles Pinheiro is definitely the patriarch and staple of this family. It's only from knowing about him that I've been able to find as much information as I have. He's always attached to anything significant that happens to his descendants. The important events in this family either occur in his house, or his signature is attached--as was the case when his grandson Lester died at 12, or his granddaughter Muriel was married. Even after his only daughter, Ethel May Pinheiro, married Lester Ince--they still lived in her father's house as a large extended family.

According to the records, Charles is originally from Barbados and he entered Canada some time in or around 1875. Lester Ince is from Barbados as well, entering  Canada in 1900. They both work for the railroad, Charles for IRC, or Intercolonial Railway. Lester works for CPR, or Canadian Pacific Railway. I'm instantly beginning to wonder if their ability to immigrate across the globe was related to their jobs. Did either of these railroads have shipping sectors in their business that would have picked these men up in Barbados and brought them to Canada?

They were members of the Church of England, and it appears that Ethel and Lester were married in an Anglican Church somewhere in Halifax. Where was that church? What does that mean in terms of their personal beliefs and lifestyle?

Between 1911 and 1921, something happens to Lester Ince and he is no longer a part of the picture. Ethel's last child, William Ince, was born in 1916. So some time between 1916 and 1921, Lester Ince either died, left, or was simply away from home when the 1921 census was taken in Halifax. But I have my questions about what was going on in this relationship--because when you look at the 1921 census, Ethel's marital statue was written over. This census taker appears to have done this more than once on this page, so it may be irrelevant. But the question remains of where Lester was and what happened to him. If he died, where was he buried?

These documents have quite a few addresses on them, which I need to compile and explore as best I can. The numbers on the streets have changed drastically, but if I can find a decent historical map of Halifax, I should be able to figure out where things were.

  • 54 Garrish Lane--Charles' home
  • 174 Gottingen Street--Charles' home at time of Rose's death
  • 80 Oxford Street--the address attached to Muriel's marriage license, appears to be the address of the Church. What church is it?
Charles outlives his wife and seems to disappear off of the record. Is he buried in Camp Hill cemetery like the other members of his family? What happened to him? Where did he die? 

These are just a few of the questions I was able to come up with after looking at the records again. I barely got these questions down before I started finding the answers to them. Sometimes the information is just waiting for us to find it, and we can barely keep up with it once we do.

Everything we know always merits a second look. And overwhelming majority of the time, what we need to keep moving forward is buried somewhere in what we already know.