The Power of Photographs

I just read a wonderfully powerful story. One that would not have been possible with out photographs.   The heroine of the story is Annie Correal,  a reporter for the New York Times.  I am so happy that she took the time to rescue this precious photo album and return it to the family members it was connected to. It was quite a lengthy search.

I hope that the photographs I take today, will continue to tell the story of my family.  It’s also a cautionary tale about labeling pictures with dates, full names and locations.

Read it for yourself and tell me what you think.

Love & Black Lives


Do your part for history. Help preserve your local cemetery.

This sounds like a great event!

The Global Cemetery Meetups are happening October 7-9

Attend this special event or plan one of your own. Visit a cemetery in need to take photographs and videos of headstones, explore the grounds, and share stories and discoveries with others who want to make a difference. With your thoughtful contributions, history will never be forgotten.


I have been looking for information on my Paternal Grandmother, for a very long time. Growing up I knew a lot of about my Maternal side (didn’t know the word then) but very little about my Paternal side. I had an assignment in Middle School asking me to fill out my family tree. A very familiar story. I zipped through it writing down all the names of my maternal ancestors. And when I came to my Father’s side, I was stumped. I knew my Dad’s name, but that was it. My Dad’s parents both died when my father was young. And He never spoke about them and I didn’t think to ask.
I asked My Dad to help me fill in the blanks, so that I could finish this assignment. He told me his mother’s name was Mary Cannel and I assumed she was born in Kentucky. He gave me his Dad’s information and his grandparents. I wish I would have asked him to tell me about their relationship. What they looked like, what they did together. I just didn’t think to ask.
I thought I would have years to spend time with my Dad and ask him questions. I was wrong. He died when I was 23. There were a lot of genealogical questions left unasked.
Upon his passing I was bequeathed a family photo album. Many of the pictures had no name. There were pictures of my Grandfather Roland but none of my Grandmother.
R.L.H  was the only child of Mary Elizabeth Cannel and Roland. Over the years, I searched for documentation on her, it was very slow going. I finally found her in the 1920 Barren County Federal Census. She was the youngest of 8 children of Hade/Haiden Rhodes and Mattie Emmerson Rhodes.


Sissy Rhodes 1920 Census KY

Many years later I met her last living brother, Alonzo. By the time I met him, He was up in age and living in a nursing facility. He was excited to meet me and to talk about his sister. He said that the family called her Sissy. Great Uncle Alonzo teared up when he spoke about her. I really wish I had a picture of her. At the time I spoke to him, I didn’t think to ask, when or where she died.
Over the years I kept on searching for information about my Grandmother. Another wrinkle in this search was the fact that I didn’t know what name she was using at the time of her death.

(I wrote this at the time I found Sissy’s birth certificate.)
I have searched for my Grandma Sissy’s (her brother Alonzo called her Sissy) birth certificate for many years. I was looking at the KY Vital Records database thru on September 19, 2006. I did a search for her name. Nothing popped up. I then zeroed in on the her mothers’ name. Mattie Emmerson. I saw a listing for a Garnel Rhood w/ Mattie Emmerson. I knew it had to be her. Her name is Connel Rhodes. It was obviously (I thought) a typo. I sent off the request to the Kentucky Registrar and waited impatiently for the record. I checked the mailbox everyday. Sometimes even twice a day. :0) I am getting closer! About a week later it arrived. I was right! It was my Grandmother. So excited!

Sissy's Birth Cert short.JPG

Last week I did another search for my Grandmother Sissy’s death information. I decided to look at Find A Grave. I reviewed all of the graves at a Rocky Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Smith’s Grove, KY were many Rhodes family members are buried. The cemetery has a new section, close to the main road, and a old section that is farther back on a dirt road. Several, years ago I saw the new section, but was unable to get back to the old section due to the bad road conditions at the time.

Rocky Hill Baptist Church Cemetary


After searching the records, I saw one for “Elizabeth Hayes”. I felt like it was her! She was buried in Kentucky and I filled out the death certificate request for the State of Kentucky. At the last minute I decided to go back and read a short biography that my Father had written. It indicated that his Mother died in Indianapolis.

Elizabeth Hayes Find A Grave listing

I went to the Marion County (Indiana) Health Department right after work (the office is open late on Wednesday’s) and did a search for her death record based on the information on Find a Grave. I went into the office and requested her death certificate, it was her! I was beyond excited. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I also felt like I was finally giving Grandmother Sissy the respect she so richly deserved.

RIP Grandma Sissy!

Anna Mae & Sissy’s Oldest Grandbaby

Happy New Year Everyone!

Feb. 19 Webinar on Carter G. Woodson Celebrates Black History Month

 “Illuminating the Life and Work of Carter G. Woodson through His Papers”

Celebrate Black History Month with the Library of Congress through the papers of its founder, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson.

Known as the “father of Black history” in 1915 Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). Eleven years later he started the annual February commemoration that has since blossomed into Black History Month, this year with the theme “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.”

On this hundredth anniversary of the ASALH’s founding, join Manuscript Division archivist Joseph Brooks to explore the documents that chronicle Woodson’s groundbreaking achievements as a pioneering historian and public intellectual. Comprising some 18,000 items, the Carter Godwin Woodson Papers collection at the Library of Congress brings together an array of significant materials including:

* Woodson’s own correspondence and papers;
* a broad variety of records that document African and African-American peoples, events, organizations and movements; and,
* the papers of the ASALH and its publications.

The son of former slaves, Woodson went on to earn a doctorate from Harvard. He made it his life’s work to study, document and promote the substantial achievements and struggles of African Americans while highlighting their contribution to American life. Join us in learning more about Woodson’s own leadership and contributions in this anniversary year.

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time)

Web discussions are held in real time via webinar software, which allows participants from around the country and the world to join us. Registration is required. Confirmation and log on instructions will be sent via email.

Questions? Ask A Librarian at

Source – Library of Congress

The History Behind the Mini Series – The Book of Negroes (This is a repost of blog article from National Archives)

Record of the Week: The Book of Negroes

by on February 5, 2015

This February, the Rediscovering Black History blog is kicking off a new feature – the Record of the Week. Every Thursday during Black History Month there will be a post highlighting one of the records from the National Archives’ vast holdings.

The Inspection Roll of Negroes (NAID 5890797), more commonly referred to as the Book of Negroes, is a record that is not widely known, but will soon become more prominent and recognized for its value to the history of American slavery, the Revolutionary War, and Canadian history. In the middle of Black History Month, Black Entertainment Television (BET) will air a three-part miniseries based on the novel The Book of Negroes (or Someone Knows My Name) by Lawrence Hill. The novel and miniseries tells the story of Aminata Diallo, a protagonist whose life is forever changed because of this real-life historical document.

The Book of Negroes is actually a set of two ledgers that lists the names, ages, and descriptive information of about 3,000 enslaved African Americans, indentured servants, and freedmen that were evacuated from the United States along with British soldiers at the conclusion of the American Revolution. Over the extent of about 200 pages, this record captures what is now invaluable genealogical information such as where a person was held in slavery, their owner’s name, and when and how the person obtained freedom.

Why was the list generated in the first place? At the suggestion of Sir Guy Carleton (commander of British forces during the War), the list was effectively an IOU to the United States. Per the terms of the Treaty of Paris (NAID 299805), the United Kingdom was supposed to return all property that was seized during the War, including slaves. Sir Carleton took exception with that component; for he intended to keep the promise of freedom that was made to African Americans who joined and fought for the British in the course of the Revolution (declarations such as Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation were made as early as 1775). Instead of giving in to the terms, Carleton negotiated that this Book of Negroes be made, as a way to tally the loss of ‘property’ to the US, of which the British government would compensate for at a later date. A record of that check has not been found.

The 3,000 people that were listed in the Book of Negroes were evacuated by ship to the colony of Nova Scotia. From there many of the new African Canadians continued on and settled back on the continent of Africa, establishing the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. During that voyage, in a bit of great irony, the ships that carried about 1,000 freed persons to a new home passed many ships that would bring thousands more enslaved peoples to the United States.

The National Archives in Kew, London holds the British version of the record. The Book of Negroes will air on BET February 16, 17, and 18 at 8 p.m.

Follow the link below to access the original blog post

MLK Heirs Fight Over Family Heirlooms

Priceless heirloom or hot commodity. Would you part with a family treasure for any amount of money? Should individuals stipulate in their will what should or shouldn’t happen with precious items after their passing? Are some items literally priceless?  Food for thought.  To learn more about this particular story click on the link below.

2014 in review The Ties That Bind – Thank You for an AWESOME Inaugural Year!!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

The 2014 National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair begins TODAY!

Take time to check out this wonderful resource. Do you wish you could attend a great genealogy fair, but you lack the time and money. Well here’s your chance. This fair is as close as your nearest wifi connection.

Visit  the National Archives for the 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 28, 29, & 30, starting daily at 10 a.m. eastern time. This will be a live broadcast via the Internet so you can ask our genealogy experts questions at the end of their talks. The entire event is free and open to all, so there is no registration.

There will also be content of specific interest to individuals searching for African-American ancestors. For more info on one of these presentations go to


I’m excited! I can’t wait to see what great information I’ll be able to glean.

Happy Hunting Everyone!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand-baby

Nichelle ~