Sunday, January 25, 2009

Idiot or Insane?

The census takers in the late 1800s had to determine if a person was an idiot or insane and indicate it on their survey.

What a great idea, have a government official go around and locate everyone who fits this description.

Really, it would save us all a lot of time, trouble and debate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Aunts

My grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green was the oldest of the thirteen children in his family. He had five sisters who lived to adulthood and all of them married and had careers.

Two were school teachers in Manatee County Florida and later in life four of them ended up in Manatee County and lived next to each other in two houses.

Aunt Lydia was a teacher at the old Cortez school. My mother didn't meet my father until she was almost 25 but knew his family all her life. This photo is from a Cortez school reunion.

Only two of them had children and they pretty much outlived or divorced their husbands so for me growing up they all seemed like the typical old maid. I would visit with them when my Dad came with us to Cortez, Florida on vacation or Christmas break but I was never around them enough to ever figure out who was who.

They had a beauty parlor in one room of the house so often there would be some old woman with her head under the big hair dryer out on the porch.

After my parents moved to Bradenton in 1974, my Dad made a point of taking me by to see them anytime I was in town.
They were one of his regular stops on his weekly "visiting" trips. He was one of the people at church who drove around and visited people who were shut in and even though the aunts didn't go to church with him, he visited them each week when he was making his rounds.

He made sure I went with him when I was around but even then when I was in my early twenties, I couldn't tell who was who and I guess I was too lazy to really learn.
The last of the aunts, Lydia lived to be 100 years old and died in 1999. My Dad and I visited with her several times when she was living in a nursing home and we would usually pick her up for a drive in the car. This meant I would have to lift her from her wheel chair and put her in the car. She would always apologize to me and say how sorry that she was not able to stand. I finally learned her name.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A place to fish

Growing up in Florida it seemed like the places we could legally fish commercially changed every couple months. This bay or that canal was open or closed either for a few months or permanently. My mother's family were 4th generation Florida fishermen and the best place to find the fish was too often closed to fishing.

There was always a lot of politics involved, somebody wanted to build on the shore and didn't want fishing boats to block their view or sport fishermen didn't want commercial boats around. Now it's even worse with the ban on using nets in Florida waters.

One place we can fish without interference is around Cape Lookout Island off the coast of North Carolina. An ancestor, Joseph Fulford donated 4 acres of land on the Island to the US Government in 1805 to build a lighthouse.

Then in 1822 an additional l5 acres was sold to the government so they could build houses and buildings to support the lighthouse and a lifesaving station on the island.

But our ancestor put the following language in the deed:
"reserving to ourselves and our heirs the privileges of fishing on the shores of the Cape."

So unless the US Government wants to say the deed is not legally binding and return the land, we have a place to fish without interference.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm not sure I had ever heard the word Ezell before about 10 years ago. Since then I have noticed it on trucks from Ezell Trucking, a Church of Christ school in Nashville and restaurants in many different places.
I was trying to locate a marriage record for my Great Great Great Grandmother on my father's side of the family, Holly Blanchard was born May 31, 1797 in Duplin County North Carolina and died October 1884 in Taylor County Florida. She was listed in the Andrew Jackson Green family bible.

I traced her from Taylor County Florida in the 1880 census to Stewart County Georgia in the 1850 one. I then found her on the 1840 census in Duplin County North Carolina and figured she had married there.

I posted a query on a Duplin County genealogy board and a couple months later got an email from Thelma Ezell Peters in Volant, Pennsylvania. Thelma had been researching her Ezell family for twenty years and was looking for the children of Henry Ezell who lived in Duplin County. She knew there was a daughter named Holly and wrote to me sending a marriage record for Holly Ezell and Benjamin Blanchard.

We weren't sure if this was my Holly until she gave me the names of her siblings and I realized her sister Mary who married a Sutton and brother Alexander were the same ones who lived next to my Holly in both Georgia and Florida. So we were certain my Holly was one of the children of Henry Ezell and since I had documentation of the siblings, I had helped Thelma find two more of Henry's children.

Since then I have located descendants of both Mary and Alexander. One interesting meeting was in July 2008 when I was hosting a reunion for my Mother's Fulford family in Cortez Florida. I had found some Ezells who moved there from Taylor County around 1900 but had never found any of their descendants.

So who showed up at the Cortez reunion but Roy Ezell who was born and raised in Cortez. He read about the reunion in the local newspaper and decided to come by and see who he knew.
Roy Ezell had grown up near my Dad's cousin Woodrow Green and his sons but never knew he was related to them. Woodrow's wife Doris had done genealogy research on both her family and Woodrow's but never found the Ezell connection.

I had my laptop with me so I was able to show Roy his ancestor, Alexander Ezell and how he and the Green family was related.