Tag Archives: genealogy



I want to send some special (((THANK YOU))) vibes to Thomas MacEntee, the Founder of GeneaBloggers.com, and all the excellent genealogists from that online community who stopped by say hello, or who connected with me via Google Friend Connect this weekend!

This blog along with 18 other newly-discovered genealogy and family-history related blogs were featured at Geneablogger.com for May 21, 2011. Can you guess who topped the list? It was ClaimingKin.com! I am very excited about being a part of this community!

So to all the wonderful new friends I’ve made at Geneablogger.com this weekend (be sure to check out these great genealogists below) . . .

Diana Ritchie @ Random Relatives

Gini @ Ginisology.com

Greta Koehl @ Greta’s Genealogy Blog

Dr. Bill @ Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

Elizabeth O’Neal @ Little Bytes of Life

Jasia @ Creative Gene

. . . THANK YOU so much for the well wishes and taking the time to connect with me online. I will be visiting your blog communities very soon!

Sunday’s Obituary: Carey Blanton (1838-1891)


Colorado Citizen, August 27, 1891
Blanton, Carey
Eagle Lake Item

Carey Blanton, one of our best freedmen, died at his residence in town last Saturday night, after a long illness. Carey was an honest faithful and industrious darky and will be missed by the community.”

I truly appreciate Gina Hefferman, the Texas Archives State File Manager, and all the volunteers who donate their time transcribing records and contributing to the Texas USGen Web Project! As a result of their work, I was able to locate the obituary for my maternal great-great-grandfather – Carey Blanton – that appeared in a local county newspaper via the Colorado County TexGen Web Project where over 11,000 obituaries are now online!

Carey Blanton is my great-grandmother, Carrie’s father who was born into slavery around 1838, but died a Freedman on August 22, 1891 in Eagle Lake, Colorado Country, Texas.  Though the obituary above is not very flattering with regards to calling him an “industrious darky,”  – it is, what it is, and those were the times in which he lived. But despite the reference to his race and physical features, he was a man of “good character” and appreciated by those in the Eagle Lake community.


Source Citation

“Obituary of Carey Blanton,” Colorado Citizen, Columbus, Colorado County, Texas, Tuesday, November 18, 1922, Eagle Lake Item section, available in print and available online at <http://www.txgenweb5.org/txcolorado/obits/obits_b/obitsb1b.htm#Blanton,%20Carey>, accessed 10 April 2011.

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

Who Do You Think You Are?

Friday evening (2/4/2011) was the start of NBC’s second season of, Who Do You Think You Are?, a series that follows some of today’s high profile celebrities as they embark on a journey of self-discovery while tracing their family trees. According to the producers,  this series,”celebrates the twists and turns of a great nation and the people who made their way here in search of freedom and opportunity.” The eight celebrities featured this season are: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Vanessa Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Catrall, Lionel Richie, and Ashley Judd.

Tonight’s premiere centered on the beautiful and talented Vanessa Williams and the journey into her past revealed “… the courage to break barriers — as she did becoming the first black Miss America — runs in her family.”

This was the first time I saw this series and it was GREAT! Just as Vanessa’s journey began in the cemetery where her father was buried in 2004, I also find visiting cemeteries where my ancestors are buried offer great leads in my family’s research. Whenever Vanessa felt her heart racing, felt like crying, experienced joy, surprise, sadness, and pride about the accomplishments of her ancestors, I felt those emotions right along with her —  and they weren’t even my relatives – LOL! I could relate to how she felt because of what it meant for our ancestors to be slaves, or free persons of color prior to the civil rights era in this country. I will never forget the overwhelming emotions that came over me when I held in my hands for the first time a photo of the plantation house where one of my ancestors worked as a cook and caretaker of the plantation owner’s children.

I agree with US Weekly when they refer to Vanessa Williams’ family history, “…worthy of an epic miniseries” and I look forward to all the other celebrity tales that awaits us! So if you checked out tonight’s episode of, Who Do You Think You Are?, share your thoughts. If you watched last season’s series, let me know which celebrity feature was your favorite.



As you know, my genealogy road trip on January 1st was the result of my 2011 New Year’s resolution to return to genealogy and from some new information I uncovered about my grandfather (Joseph Chapple) and his parents (Louis and Carrie Blanton Chapple) in Ancestry.com. That road trip was very enlightening and provided me with more leads into the lives of the Chapples living in Houston, Texas during the early 1900’s.

Another online resource that I turned to after my road trip was FamilySearch.org. According to the website, FamilySearch.org is the largest genealogy organization in the world that has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for 100 years. This official website is the ministry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are committed to helping people connect with their ancestors because they ” … believe that families are meant to be central to our lives, and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life.”

Well, I am very thankful for and to LDS for their commitment to preserving family history at FamilySearch.org. Because of their work, I learned that my grandfather wasn’t the only child born to my great grandparents as my mother and others believed all these years. A simple search of my great grandparents’ names resulted in me downloading, for free,  the death certificate of my grandfather’s little brother (my uncle) – Lewis Blanton Chapple. According to this certificate, baby Lewis was born October 19, 1910 and  he died at home (815 Schwartz Street in the Greater 5th Ward area of Houston) from congestion of the lungs on December 9, 1910.

Click to View!

This new information provided two important puzzle pieces with this family:
1) My grandfather wasn’t the only child of Louis and Carrie Chapple, but he was their only “living” child through the years;

2) When the 1910 US Census was taken in April of that year, this family was living in Freedman’s Town and Carrie was in the first trimester of her pregnancy with my uncle Lewis. But this death certificate verifies that this family had moved later that year to the 5th Ward area where their second child died from health complications. Knowing when this family moved is significant because it tells me exactly when they arrived in the 5th Ward area which is the community where my mother was born by mid-wife, lived, and thrived as a child, teenager, and young adult!

So consider making FamilySearch.org a part of your genealogy research this year and beyond too!

If you have the surname — Chapple–falling out your family tree (especially if they lived in the Houston area) let me hear from you because —  I’m Claiming Kin!


Source Citation

“Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JF3Y-CJW : accessed 04 Jan 2011), Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910).

Saulnier Street, Houston, Texas

My New Year’s Day 2011 Roadtrip

My New Year’s Day 2011 consisted of a fabulous soul-food meal prepared by my mom, and a quick road trip across town to a community where my maternal grandfather,  Joseph Chapple, and great-grandparents, Louis & Carrie Blanton Chapple lived around 1910.

Last week on Ancestry.com, I was able to download and review a copy of the 1910 United States Federal Census that gave specific details and valuable information about the lives of my grandfather and his parents at that time. [1]

Chappel Family in 1910 Census

One bit of information that was responsible for my road trip today was that it listed their physical address in Houston back in 1910. To determine which side of town their house was located, I typed the address into Google’s search field, and Trulia.com, a real estate search engine, came back with a description and photos of the shotgun house that sits exactly in the location where my grandfather lived, and it is for — SALE!


Saulnier Street, Houston, Texas

According to the description provided by Trulia.com:

This Single-Family Home located on Saulnier Street is in the Fourth Ward neighborhood in Houston, TX and zip code 77019. The average listing price for Fourth Ward is $279,916. This house has two beds, one bath, approximately 713 square feet, was built in 1928, and list for $124,999.

This description of the house and location of their community was just the information I needed to fill in the gaps about how my grandfather and his parents lived at that time. The Fourth Ward community where they lived was called Freedman’s Town and was one of the first and oldest and black neighborhoods in the city of Houston. According to the Texas State Historical Association, black settlers selected that area of the city which ran southwest of downtown along the southern edge of the Buffalo Bayou because it was inexpensive and White citizens didn’t want to settle in that area which was like a swamp and prone to flooding. Black settlers paved the streets of Fourth Ward with bricks that they made by hand. Because of segregation, black settlers had to create their services and utilities throughout the community. Many blacks worked as tradesmen, day laborers, or in the service. My great-grandmother worked in the service industry as an excellent cook for a boarding house in the downtown area, and my great-grandfather was a tradesman who assembled, maintained and repaired piping systems for a gas company.

In 1910, 17,000 blacks lived in the Fourth Ward area making it the center of black cultural and professional life in the city. [2] But my road-trip today in 2011 depicted a community that has become the poorest black area in the city. But despite this neglected community, investors seem to be pumping lots of capital in this ward again as expensive lofts, condos, and townhomes are on the same blocks with dilapidated and boarded up shotgun houses.

So if you have the surname — Chapple–falling out of your family tree (especially if they lived in the Houston area) let me hear from you because — I’m Claiming Kin!


Source Citation

1. Year: 1910; Census Place: Houston Ward 4, Harris, Texas; Roll: T624_1560; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0071; Image: 30; FHL microfilm: 1375573.

2. Wikipedia. (2013, July 12). Fourth Ward, Houston. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Ward,_Houston