Born on this Day in 1844 Thacker MABLE

Birthday_Tribute_Thacker_500 copy

Thacker's past is a fragmented jumble. This mosaic of the image I use to represent him alludes to the pieces I've gathered thus far.

Thacker’s past is a fragmented jumble. This mosaic of the image I use to represent him alludes to the pieces I’ve gathered thus far.

This is the first installment of my Finding Thacker series. Thacker Mable is my great-grandfather. I only heard his name mentioned a few times growing up. Actually, it was my grandfather’s name (William Edgar Thacker MABLE) that put me on track to even find “Thack.” I will fashion the fragments I gather about him into future installments of this new series.

Granpa “Thack”. We know you were once a slave on the Mable Plantation — and that your carpentry skills made a direct contribution to the building of the ancestral Mable House in Marietta. We know that your and Grandma “Seuk’s” remains were buried at the Mable House Cemetery. This diligent Daughter is working to gather all the fragments to know more about our MABLEs.

You’re my link to this, Thacker. How did the AYCOCKs acquire your lineage? Is Frances your mother? What family is Seuk from? I get the feeling she’s right under my nose.

Follow the series:

Seeking Thacker 2: 1867

The background of the Featured Image for this series is attributed to Gary Doster’s submission to the Georgia GenWeb Project.

Sepia Saturday: Valentine’s Day

Scrap_Page_Mom_Dad_Valentines2. copy

My Sepia Saturday post for this week is about the couple who demonstrated everything I needed to know about love and marriage. My boyfriends had to be assertive yet still need my input. The man I married reminded me so much of my father . . . at first — stern, loving, soft-spoken. Anyway, it was my mother’s example I followed to care for him during his lengthy illness.

Three_Hearts copy

He called her, Sugar — sometimes, Momma. She called him, Daddy. I heard other adults address my parents as, Bill and Floretta (pronounced, “Florita”) or Flo. But I can’t recall one time when they called one another by their names around us. I wonder if it was to demonstrate to us what we were to call them?

My Daddy was a steelworker — working “swing shifts” at US Steel. When he worked midnights, we had to be extra quiet because he slept during the day. He wore plaid shirts and, for some reason, a belt and suspenders. And, as the photo shows — that man could wear a hat! Dobbs felt in the winter, straw in the summer. I even have a high school photo of him with a lettermen’s sweater and a “Big Apple” cocked ever so slightly to one side. Yeah, my Daddy was a “Dapper Dan.”

Momma was a school secretary, then a medical transcriptionist. She still managed to put full meals on the table every evening and listen to our bedtime prayers. Then we were up and out the next morning; and she always looked like she’d just stepped out of a McCall’s magazine ad. From an early age, I’ve been constantly reminded about how much I favor her. Our facial resemblance is unbelievable. And she was neat, petite, and sweeter than sweet.

While we found our parents’ spontaneous lip or cheek pecks entertaining, we were also being taught how to appropriately display affection. And there was nothing weird about it. They just loved one another and weren’t ashamed to show it. They both served as usher and choir member, respectively, at St. Timothy Community Church. And they brought us up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. My parents were married for 34 years before my father’s untimely death at age 59. I was only 20 years old. Momma remained with us for 20 years after; and did not remarry.

We used to love leafing though those photo albums with the heavy black pages and their high school yearbook. That’s where these pictures are from. I don’t have the albums — just a few pictures from them. I, obviously, have much more to share about my parents. But I tried to keep the focus on “love” for this week’s post. When I get into their individual bios, you’ll get to know them better. Happy Valentine’s Day!

See how other Sepians have been inspired.

See how other Sepians have been inspired.

Chronicles: Resurrecting My Genealogy Research

I’ve finally gotten around to resuming my family history research. And I know my research toolbox will need to be refreshed. So this blog is my genealogy commonplace and my preferred means of sharing PALMER/MABLE ancestry.

During my interim, I joined a few genealogy groups on facebook.  But I prefer to share my discoveries, along with my process, on a platform that allows my creative expression to come through as well.  Daughter will be my primary means of searching and sharing — with social media as a secondary resource. And I’m encouraged to find that my data management system was so efficient that I can actually pick up right where I left off.

Highlighted excerpt from 1940 Census

1920 Pulaski County, IL Census: Floreta [sic] V. MABLE enumerated at age 4 with her parents, William and Essie MABLE.
(Source: archive.org. Reel 393 – 1920 Illinois Federal Population Schedules – . . . Pulaski Co. (EDs 92-103) . . .

I notice many bloggers post images of the census pages. I will, more than likely, do the same at some point. And while I do have the 11×17 printouts of library microfiche scans, I’m glad that I also took the extra step of extracting these enumerations onto 8.5 x 11 forms.

I admit there’s nothing like seeing the names and details of my ancestors in the handwriting of the enumerator on the official census form (Details about my Mother at age 4 are captured on line 60.) But, in the interest of research — and to minimize scrolling — I will be referencing carefully-extracted data on my utilitarian census extraction forms in my posts. It’s the same data — just extracted onto standard-sized paper for ease of reading. Plus reading my own handwriting keeps me grounded. We can always satisfy our waves of nostalgia by viewing the actual census forms — and using them to create conversation pieces, memorabilia, and works of art.

I hope having these extracts and other documents at my immediate disposal will prompt more questions. In my analog Census Binder, I keep the slaveholder census forms behind those of my ancestors. An asterisk in front of the surname indicates data related to a slaveholder family member.

My most elusive ancestors, as of this writing, continue to be my maternal great grandparents, Thacker and Seuk MABLE. “Thack” was pretty easy to track back to 1850. And legend has it that he came into the MABLE fold when his owner, Pheriby AYCOCK of Newton County, GA, married Robert MABLE of Cobb County, GA. I came about this information in a most serendipitous manner which I will share in future posts. For now, I plan to scout out the Deed of Gift from Joel AYCOCK to Phereby AYCOCK that contains Thack’s name and search through probate records to learn more about our connection with the AYCOCKs. I don’t think Seuk was an AYCOCK slave.

I have an unfounded suspicion of who “Thack’s” mother is — just a hunch based on an observation. But we all know how that could turn out. And I have yet to locate the last slave in my paternal line.

Like countless others, I haven’t been able to track my paternal ancestor, Montgomery PALMER, beyond the 1870 census. Early in my research, I came across specific details in the (maternal) MABLE line that all but consumed my research time and efforts. Since the (paternal) PALMER line will carry the surname through posterity, I will make a greater effort to restore this surname to the same authority level for future generations.

So this is the beginning of my Chronicles series at Daughter of Slave Ancestry. I’m happy to return to ancestor sleuthing. This time I’m able to share as I go and, hopefully, pick up some virtual friends and research tips in the process.

I won’t mar my debut with what caused me to lay my ancestors aside.  For now, I’m comfortable with the realization that it happens.  I may become sentimental enough to share a few details in a future post. I’m just glad to find Thack and Seuk right where I left them.

See also: Beginnings

My Introduction to Genealogy

Today’s beginning family history researcher has many web references at his disposal — some of which I will likely add to my collection of family research tools. But, when I began my family history research back in the 1990’s, it was completely analog. I learned to start with what I knew. In my case, it was the birthdates (including year) of both parents — as well as the names of the city or town of their birth.

Constructing my first pedigree chart was easy because it included my parents in position 1. The family group sheet proved to be another useful reference. I quickly learned the importance of keeping both of these reports updated as soon as new data was discovered. After I had wrestled every shred of information from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) entries of all my known ancestors, I began working my way back through the generations with the help of pedigree charts and family group sheets.

Wilhelmina, Ella Mae, and Floretta MABLE (circa 1920; Mound City, IL)  Compliments of Jay Evans; Gary, IN

Wilhelmina, Ella Mae, and Floretta MABLE
(circa 1920; Mound City, IL)
Compliments of Jay Evans; Gary, IN

Before long, I added another tool to my ancestor detective arsenal: the US Census. I silently gazed into many a microfiche screen, scrolling to find a PALMER or MABLE surname. And when I found my mother (Floreta [sic] MABLE) at age 4 on the 1920 census (extract), that silence was grotesquely broken by the loudest gasp I’ve ever made. All eyes on the second floor of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research turned to me. Of course I was embarrassed at making such a noise in the library. But that embarrassment quickly subsided as the looks of amusement on the patrons’ and staff’s faces assured me that I was not the first to pierce the quietness in such a manner. I can’t help but wonder if my grandparents dressed their little girls up for the census. Taking care to make a good presentation is consistent with the customs of the era (1920) — when children were “to be seen and not heard”. It could also be a “Sunday Best” portrait.

The way I found out about all these tools was from the genealogy books I purchased. Many of them remain in my collection today. I quickly learned that many of the references mentioned in the first books I used did not apply to African-American genealogy. Because our history includes obstacles that are not covered in mainstream genealogy books, I found two books in particular to be of tremendous help in getting me started — to the point of finding the first slaveholder of my maternal line. They are Black Roots by Tony Burroughs and Finding a Place Called Home by Dee Parmer Woodtor. AA genealogy continues to be an exciting discovery.

Early on, I selected a genealogy software program which I still use today. I’m happy with my selection of Legacy Family Tree as the software to manage my research. With each upgrade (or discovery of a new type of data to track) I have taken advantage of software comparisons; and I’ve come away with LFT every time.

The web has many useful tools that will compliment my documented research. I have identified a few sites with reliability potential. But I am grateful to have learned genealogy before it became a popular past-time in cyberspace. Care must be taken before adding online findings in with documented data you have painstakingly obtained from county records. My aim is to make online researchers aware of offline resources. I believe them to be more reliable.

Wilhelmina MABLE was born on February 1, 1917

Wilhelmina MABLE
Born: February 1, 1917
Mound City, Pulaski County, IL
Age at Death: 68 Years

Standing:  Wilhelmina MABLE Seated:  Floretta MABLE Gary, IN  (c) 1937

Standing: Wilhelmina MABLE  — Seated: Floretta MABLE  —  Gary, IN (c) 1937

Aintee was my mother’s first sister out of four. She moved from Gary, IN to Cleveland, OH where she was employed as Head Nurse at a local hospital. She and my Aunt Dorothy were the only two out of the five girls who didn’t have children. My mother visited her just about every year; and I accompanied her a couple of times. Even though I’m the spitting image of my mother, a few have said I look like Wilhelmina.

Whenever Aintee and her husband, William SMITH (who called her, “Wilhelm” — with a hard “H”), came to Gary, they brought their humongous albino Boxer, “Duke.” That was their “child”; and we all loved him — just had to jump out of the way when he started doing what boxers do — slobberin’. Momma, Daddy, Aintee, and Uncle William played bridge while us kids munched goodies, played board games, and tried to stay out of Duke’s way. Houses were small then; and he almost took up the whole room.  He would just lay there and let us step on or over him.  Every year, I’d ride with Daddy when he took Momma to the bus station for her trip to Cleveland. One year, we drove her all the way and stayed the night before dropping her off for her two-week visit.

My bond with Aintee grew stronger when my son’s father moved to Cleveland and my son spent a couple of summers there. She made sure to spend time with him and made it her business to get to know his father as well.

My Mother and Aintee were more solemn than their younger sisters. As I advanced through my teen years, our fun conversations continued; but the topics took on a more thoughtful nature; and her tone changed to a more serious one. In retrospect, I can see she was engaging me to think. The five sisters had a very strong bond. But, Wilhelmina’s closest sister was Dorothy. Those two were thick as thieves.  I truly believe Aintee died of a broken heart two months after Aunt Dorothy’s unexpected death.

This photo of  my mother (Floretta) and Wilhelmina appears to have been taken during their early career years. Aren’t they a lovely pair? Grandmomma had two more like them and three boys, too! We called my other aunts, “Aint Dorothy”, “Aint Ella Mae”, and “Aint Bobbie.”   But there was only one, “Aintee.”

She shares her birthday with Harlem Renaissance Poet Langston Hughes, Actor Sherman Hemsley, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Actor Clark Gable, and Comedian Garrett Morris.