I’m into recycling – sorting stuff, saving wraps for young people and not so young people who need 500 lbs. for a bench, and knowing what to throw out. But my recycling interest started when I was a kid.

Recycling was a way of life when I was a kid. My parents grew up during the depression. They didn’t throw out anything because it might be needed. We talk about upcycling today, but that was recycling back in the day. Did you ever watch the show, McGyver? He could make a paper clip do extraordinary things. That is why you saved stuff that might be useful. But there came a time when it was wise to declutter. My mother would pack our red wagon with newspaper and fabric (she was a seamstress). We would then walk to the junk man. He would weigh the wagon fully loaded and then weigh it empty and pay us for the paper and fabric.

Kids were looking to earn a few cents too. The way we did that was to pick up soda bottles that had been discarded along the street. When you bought bottles of soda you were required to make a depost on each bottle. We would then take those bottles to the little grocery store in our neighborhood or the supermarket and turn them in and we would get the deposit. We could either save the money or buy cupcakes or other snacks.

Recycling is ingrained in my nature.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

World War II Letters

I haven’t written much lately. The pandemic and my knee surgery zapped my energy. But one thing I have been doing is scanning my father’s letters to my mother during World War II. Dad was drafted in 1942 and was stationed in Georgia then he moved on to Washington DC. Mom was working for the War Department and then ended up in Washington DC as well. They didn’t know each other long when they were married in DC. Dad shipped out shortly after and didn’t return until January 1946. So far, 200 letters have been scanned. This doesn’t include the V-Mail that was sent.

The scanning has been slow. Sometimes I read the letters and sometimes I don’t. Dad served in North Africa in the 2nd Armored Division and then moved on to England, Belgium, France, and I think he may have made a stop in Holland based on a souvenir he sent home. Dad included photos, souvenir post cards, money from a country and he tried to make the stories interesting but it couldn’t have been easy. Letters were read by an officer who made sure no details were passed on to friend or foe. One letter was written on USO letterhead and the logo included “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”

Unfortunately, I don’t have the letters Mom wrote to Dad. If I had had the opportunity to read the letters many years ago, I could have asked some questions. I am very glad she saved them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Remembering Fathers

This genealogist has a father, a father-in-law, and many forefathers. How do you honor all of them?

I will add a link here to read about my father, Joseph Grassi, and a link with a short story about my father-in-law, Robert Wilderman

Remembering them on this Father’s Day.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More on the Early Kirksey Family-A Brick Wall

These early Kirkseys are very perplexing. The first mention of the family I am researching was in 1750 in Bladen Co., NC. Edward requested a survey be made of a piece of property containing 300 acres and the identifying description was “Cherry Old Field.” In 1755 the deed was recorded and at that time he appeared on a tax list with two males. In 1768 he sold the property to Isaac Kirksey. The property was now in Chatham Co. NC as the county line had changed from Bladen to Orange to Chatham. There was no acknowledgement of a dower’s right. He disappears from the scene.

There is Christopher, Gideon, Isaac, and Elijah.

Christopher was born around 1734 and his children were born between 1771-1790.

Gideon was born between 1731 and 1734.

Isaac who died in 1778 had two sons and one daughter and one son on the way. Their ages ranged between 1770 and after 1778.

Elijah, he lived in Iredell Co. NC. It seems he was born around 1765 and was married to Prudence McGregor. He died in 1822 and there is an estate document in Chatham Co. NC. Mathew was the administrator and a George was mentioned in the probate papers.

Do we know exactly who these Kirkseys are on the 1790 census?I feel confident about Gideon, Isaac and Christopher.  Is William Gideon’s son?  and is James, the Isaac who died in 1806?  His estate didn’t reflect a family so who are the males and female shown on the census form?  Christopher’s family shows 8 males and 5 females, therefore, perhaps 7 sons and 4 daughters.  Who I have are E. William, Jehu, Christopher, Elisha, Isaiah Mark.  E. William’s children were born after 1790.   Is it possible that Elijah who married Prudence is the son of Christopher?   Is the Christopher who died in1800 in Edgefield the son of Elijah?   

Posted in #52Ancestors, genealogy, North Carolina, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Barnet Lee Kirksey

Barnet Kirksey better know as Barney was a farmer in Taylor County, Georgia. He is listed in the Bible as Barnet but someone changed it to Barney. He was born 16 January 1876 to Andrew Jackson Kirksey, known as Grandpa Jack, and his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth Dickson Griffith, known as Grandma Betty. Barney married Ida Philmon on 10 December 1899. They had five children Robert Barnes, Claude Jackson, Nora Elizabeth, Horace Lee better known as Dick, and Helen Gray. Their first son, Robert Barnes was born deaf and that must have been devestating to this young couple.

name change in the Bible Record

Barney never purchased his farm but worked on a farm owned by G.C. Smith. My mother, Helen, told me that he was educated but did not like to read. When I found his draft registration card, I found out why. It mentions that one eye was out but my mother never mentioned he was blind or missing an eye so she must never have known. Also, it was amazng that I found his record in the draft registrations because he is not indexed on ancestry. I scrolled through the records with the surname and there he was. So always look through records if your ancestor doesn’t show up in the index.

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

The photo below was taken in 1942 – Ida, Helen, and Barney.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

In Nora Byrd’s Kitchen

The summer’s found me traveling from Queens, New York to Macon, Georgia to visit my Aunt Nora Kirksey Byrd. There were no cousins in New York but there were five us during the summers in Georgia. On certain days, we would pile into the car and head to the Farmers’ Market. Aunt Nora would select bushels of ears of corn, snap beans, butter beans, and black eyed peas.

That’s when vacation ended and work began. She would get us seated in a circle, give us bowls and brown paper bags. We would begin snapping the beans and putting them in a bowl and the tips and strings would end up in the bag. If it wasn’t beans, we did the same with butter beans and black eyed peas by popping the open and dropping the beans or peas into the bowl and the pods into the bag.

The corn was a different story. She would husk the corn. Some of the ears of corn would be prepared for freezing and some of the ears she would scrape and make cream corn.

Nora would blanch the vegetables and then chill them in ice water and put them in pint or quart bags and she would put them in the big chest freezer to be used during the year.

What fond memories I have of hanging out with my cousins, Connie, Dicky, and Mike and my brother Joe, preparing vegetables for freezing. Today, I still enjoy scraping corn and shelling and snapping beans to use during the winter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite Photo of Lukas and Tyler

What fun it is to go out with grandchildren. My boys, Lukas and Tyler, like trains so we headed out to the Science Museum to check out the model train exhibit. They, and the children of all ages, were captivated with the trains but at the Science Museum there is always more to see. This photo is a reminder that the entire world is at their fingertips and all the opportunities the world offers is out there waiting for them to explore.


Posted in #52Ancestors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Namesakes in the Kirksey Family

There is one branch of my family that was very patriotic and a number of the family members were named after historical figures, including the founding fathers. My double great grandfather’s name was Andrew Jackson Kirksey and he had a brother named George Washington Kirksey and their oldest brother was Benjamin Franklin Kirksey.

My Andrew Jackson Kirksey was the grandson of Elisha Smith Kirksey who was born around 1783. I can make a guess as to whom his father is but it is not proven. If my guess is correct, Elisha Smith had brothers named Christopher and George Washington. The Christopher has been handed down a number of times in other branches of this family and, in fact, one was Madison Christopher Columbus and then there was a James Monroe.

This family loved their history and the founding fathers and other historical figures.

#52Ancestors, #Kirksey, #Namesakes

Posted in #52Ancestors, Kirksey | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Family Legends – Philmon or is it Filmon?

There are not too many family legends in my files but there is one that is interesting. It was told to me by Marvin Philmon who was born in 1879. His father was James Philmon. James was married twice and Marvin was the youngest of the second marriage.

Marvin told me that his father said that our immigrant Philmon ancestor who came to America in 1840 was a shoemaker from Holland. I knew that couldn’t be right because James was born in 1820 in Anson County, North Carolina and was a farmer.

When the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society had a library in Manhattan, I would visit the library and roam around the stacks of books for different states. One day I was in the Pennsylvania section and I picked up some tax record books. Checking the index I found the name Filmon in the index. Turns out there were some family entries by that name in 1740. Some of the first names were Yost and Conrad. Were they from Holland and was one a shoemaker? It is very possible they were from Holland and one was a cordwainer or shoemaker . So perhaps as the story was handed down, the father telling the story became more recent and 1740 became 1840.

One thing to remember about legends, there could be a kernel of truth in the story. You just have to find it. And is it Philmon or Filmon, it can be both and more including Philemon and don’t forget, it can be spelled with an “a” as in Philman and more.

Posted in #52Ancestors, genealogy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beginnings – Edward Kirksey – North Carolina

My surname of interest is Kirksey. We have a one name study and over a hundred members at one time or another we were sharing information. We were trying to piece together the beginnings of the Kirksey family in America and connect all the loose leaves of the family to the tree.

Edward Kirksey first shows up in 1750 in Bladen County. He applied for a survey for a 300 acre land grant. In 1752, Orange County was carved from Bladen County. In 1755 he appears on a list of tithables in Orange County with two males. Then in 1770, Chatham County was created from Orange County. Edward kept a low profile. His next and final act was to sell the 300 acres to Isaac Kirksey. The deed does not state that Isaac is his son and no wife’s acknowledgement of her dower rights appears in the document. This would indicate that he was a widower.

Living in Chatham County are Christopher, Gideon Kirksey and Isaac Kirksey and their families. There is said to be a daughter Sarah who was married to William Griffin. Here again, we have found no records indicating relationships. The early researchers believed that Edward and Rebecca were the parents of Christopher, Gideon, Isaac, and Sarah. No proof was cited. The only record we have that ties them together is the power of attorney described below.

Long time ago, in correspondence with researchers, the story was related that Edward was married to Rebecca Rickman who was said to be the daughter of Thomas Rickman. The will of Thomas was described in a post about Rebecca Rickman. The wording in Thomas’ will says his children are Christopher, Gideon, Isaac, Sarah, and Rebecca. (No last names were given, everyone else in the will had a last name. What does this mean?). Many of these early researchers said Rebecca was the mother of the four children. The 1800 power of attorney in Chatham Co. adds confusion to this story.

More information on these families can be found here:
Kirksey information page

The following is a transcript of the above Power of Attorney dated 1800 recorded in Chatham Co, NC.

Gideon Kirksey legatee of Rebeccah Richman [Rick]man alias Kirksey, Edward, John, Sarah and Isaac Kirksey heirs of Isaac Kirksey (dec’d) and his wife Mary, and John Griffin, Poel Breazeal and his wife Rebeccah, Michael Blocker and his wife Rossey, Kennon Breazeal and Hasky his wife, heirs of William Griffin and his wife Sarah (dec’d) appointed their trusty friend Christopher Kirksey attorney to collect and receive their claims against the estate of Rebeccah Rickman alias Kirksey (dec’d). Witnessed by William Kirksey, Drewry Hearn, and Benjamin Clement.

About that List of Tithables, it looks a little like David but it is Edward.

Link to Rebecca’s post

So, who is this man and what is the rest of his story?

#52 Ancestors, #Kirksey, #Rickman, #Bladen County, #Orange County, #Chatham County, #North Carolina

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment