MS Roots

December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Holiday Foods

The Hill family loves to eat. The holidays only gave us an excuse to gorge ourselves without guilt.
There were the holiday get-togethers. These were small events where we usually had ribs and macaroni and cheese with a variety of snack foods. I liked these little parties because my mom made my favorite party food – shrimp dip with crackers.
Then there was the Christmas Day Meal – Turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, black-eyed peas and cabbage with those pre-lined rolls. The desserts were my mom’s specialty – Mexican wedding cookies, German chocolate cake, banana pudding and egg custard. (Egg custard is my least favorite dessert of all times)
My Birthday – I was born on Christmas so in order for me to feel like I wasn’t missing a birthday just because it was Christmas, I had a birthday cake. This was usually something with lots of frosting and candy flowers and chocolate ice cream.
Just thinking about those days, makes me feel over full. Today we still enjoy eating but we have fewer parties and fewer gorging opportunities. That probably has something to do with the fact that my husband and I don’t cook.


September 18, 2011

Evidence Should Direct Research

As I put the final touches on my presentation for the AASIG meeting, I was preparing my conclusion slide and there were bullet points about handling sensitive information. I felt, though, that something was missing. This presentation was also about the research process. In my efforts to find my grandfather’s family, I searched the same records over and over again because I was looking for what should have been there based on family tradition. I didn’t let the evidence lead my research.

My first mistake in the process was the initial family Bible entry. My grandmother had written that the parents of LC Hill were John Lacy Hill and Rosie Sampson. On the next line she had written her parents as James Wright and Sallie Seals Wright. Notice the difference in the notation? I didn’t until later. I should have questioned the difference in the name of the wife. As I looked over other of my grandmother’s records, a married woman is always written with her maiden and married name. In the case of a cousin born before his mother’s marriage, his mother is listed with only her maiden name and the full name of the father. I didn’t pick up on grandmother’s subtle way of saying that there was not a marriage.

In my census research, I was so caught up in looking for an intact Hill family, that I didn’t look for individuals. Had my initial census search involved an individual rather than a family unit then I wouldn’t have missed the 1900 census showing Rosie Sampson living in the home of John Lacy Hill.

In the end, I of course realized that there were two families of John Lacy Hill one legitimate and one illegitimate. I added to my presentation that researchers must be unbiased in their research and in their conclusions. Yes, some family traditions may be proven inaccurate. However, the truth is far better for future generations than continually perpetuating misconceptions.

September 5, 2011

Speaking about John Lacy Hill

Filed under: Dallas Genealogical Society,Hill Family,Oktibbeha County, MS — by tmailhes @ 3:22 pm

I’ve chosen the subject of my talk on September 17, 2011 for the African American Special Interest Group of the Dallas Genealogical Society. I will be speaking about John Lacy Hill and how to delicately handle family secrets.

Our family tradition holds that my grandfather’s father was John Lacy Hill. My grandfather’s SS-5 letter, delayed birth certificate and death certificate affirm this. I also have the death certificates of Granddaddy’s sister and two brothers listing the same set of parents – John Lacy Hill and Rosie Sampson.

Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Well here’s the thing. John Lacy Hill was married to Ellen Edgar at the time. He and Ellen had several children of their own. And another thing, our family’s surname was recorded as Sampson in the census records and the Educable Children’s Listing.

Breaking the news – I originally shared this information with my dad and my aunts and uncles. They told me that I had to be wrong. They always knew the names of their grandparents. But they admitted that they had never met their grandparents or knew anything about them except their names. They also admitted that they had never met any cousins with the surname – Hill.

Reaching out – Eventually, my dad and aunts and uncles came to believe my version of the two families of John Lacy Hill. Armed with confidence, I went in search of the Hill family. I was looking for the parents of John Lacy and met a researcher who was related to John Lacy. Again, I was told that I was wrong and that I must be looking for another Hill family. I thought, really? It’s been a hundred years, can’t we just look at the evidence?

Going it alone – At this point, I have moved past the “outside” family stigma and am researching my Hill roots. It’s hard to show in a database, but I continue on. I am still searching for other Hill researchers to share information. If you know any with ties to Oktibbeha County in Mississippi, feel free to share with them.

July 26, 2011

First to Get Pension – L.C. Hill

Filed under: Hill Family,mississippi family history,Oktibbeha County, MS — by tmailhes @ 4:47 am

L.C. Hill receives first pension check for 41 years of service

The picture above was published in our 2000 Family Reunion book.  To date, I have not found the newspaper from which it was taken.  The article is transcribed below:

FIRST TO GET PENSION – L. C. Hill (R), employee of Co-op Creamery and Dairymen, Inc. for 41 years, receives his first pension check from John Moore (L), assistant manager of the industry’s Mississippi Division. Hill is the first employee of 700 at Dairymen Inc. to take advantage of a new pension program offered by the company. A & M Dairy in Starkville is a subsidiary of Dairymen, Inc.  (Staff Photo – Brumfield)

L.C. Hill is my grandfather.

July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday – Leroy Hill

Filed under: Hill Family — by tmailhes @ 1:11 pm

Daddy says that this outfit matched in the 70s

June 26, 2011

Mid-Year Refocus Part 1

Filed under: Hill Family,Oktibbeha County, MS,Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 3:53 pm
Tags: ,

Once again, the little family history corner of my living room is a mess. There are papers and books stacked haphazardly in the corner. My projects are swirling around in my mind but I haven’t put them in my OneNote notebooks! So this week, I’m going to get re-organized, re-focused and get to work!

The Hill Family – I want to thank everyone who sent me emails about the Hill Files to nowhere. I really feel energized again about this leg of my journey. I am going to Mississippi in a few days and have already called my aunt and cousin to review some of the clues I received from other family historians. Also, on my task list is to order the birth certificate for my grandfather’s sister, Dina Hill. I never ordered it because I had her death certificate. Then I thought, she is the only child that could possibly have a birth certificate filed near the time of her birth because she was born in 1919. Well after the state requirement for birth certificates! I’m giving it a shot.

The Wright Family – I haven’t explored the Wright family at all. I will continue to collect stories and set up some time to begin record searching once I get to a stopping point with the Hill family.

Rosie Sampson – The mysterious matriarch of the Hill family. I have the List of Educable Children for Oktibbeha County which lists a Rosie Sampson with parent/guardian Neal? Sampson. A definite next step is to locate Neal Sampson in the census. I am waiting for FHL film for marriage records. I believe that she married Otis Ratley/Ratliff in 1919 or 1920.

My goal for today is organize this information in my virtual notebooks and set up my task lists and not to get off track! I’m paying my daughters 50 cents per hour to file and catalog items so we should be able to accomplish this today.

June 15, 2011

The Hill Files to Nowhere

Filed under: family history,Hill Family,Oktibbeha County, MS — by tmailhes @ 8:10 pm

I have come to the end of the research that I can do from home regarding the Hill Family. I have so many relatives that have given me their stories and I have come to the conclusion that we don’t know anything about our family.

The Hill Surname – My grandfather was born L C Sampson (according to the 1910 Census). His delayed birth certificate and SS5 letter record his name as L C Hill. His mother, Rosie Sampson, didn’t marry his father. Was there a (in)formal adoption? Is there an official name change document out there somewhere? Is our last name, Hill? I don’t know. My relatives don’t know. Regardless of name, I moved on.

Dina Hill’s Obituary – My great aunt Dina passed away last year. She left written instructions for her obituary. It listed her father as Elijah Harris and her mother as Rosie Sampson. It also listed a brother named Sampson Harris and a sister named Lacy Harris. Who are these people we all wondered. We questioned each other and thought maybe she was confused at the time of her death. Now I know that we are the confused ones.

Jesse Hill – The patriarch born in Virginia. When did he arrive in Mississippi? Where are the other Hills? Is there something in the names he chose for his sons – Romulus and John Lacy?

Now, I wait for a day that I can spend in the archives in Mississippi. I’ve looked at marriage records and death certificates. What can I try next?

March 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy – Illness and Injury

Or How My Career as a Hand Model Ended
After my mother passed away in the Spring of 1990, my family struggled with our new roles in our new lives. Caregiver had not been assigned. I was the first to understand that this much needed role had been overlooked.
My younger brother and I were home alone. We were arguing about something and I got so mad that I tried to punch him with my right hand. I missed. Towering over me he laughed and hurled another insult at me. To catch him off guard, I punched him with my left hand. This time, I connected. It was a hard punch to the sternum. So why was I the one writhing on the floor in pain? Apparently, I didn’t know how to curl a fist and you shouldn’t punch someone in the sternum who is wearing football pads.
The pain that was shooting through my hand was unbearable. I sat there crying and screaming. My brother didn’t know what to do. We called my dad at work. His response was that he was at work and he would take care of it when he got home and that we shouldn’t be fighting anyway. My brother pulled out the big medical book that was on the shelf. We iced my hand and waited.
My father took me to the hospital at about midnight. He worked the 3pm to 11pm shift. They told me that my pinkie finger was broken and basically there was nothing that could be done. I had a little metal splint put on. To this day, the tip of my pinkie on my left hand points downward.
I always tell my brother that if he ever makes any money, I will sue him for ending my possible career as a hand model. I tell my dad that was so not the way mom would have handled the situation.
My bent little finger is my reminder that people love differently not less…just differently.

January 23, 2011

52 Weeks Personal Genealogy and History – Home

I moved into the house I call my childhood home during the Winter before I started 1st Grade. It was a ranch style house in a new subdivision of Jackson, MS called Presidential Hills. All the streets were named after Presidents and we lived on Warren Harding Drive. (Warren Harding was the 29th President infamous for the Teapot Dome Scandal.)

The houses looked much the same with neat front yards, obligatory pine trees and boxwood shrubs. Rarely, did we ever play in the front yard. We always played in the backyard and knew how to turn the hinge on neighbor’s back gates to get in and see if anyone wanted to come out with us.

Family parked in our driveway and entered the house through the utility room. The utility room was a small room that housed the washer and dryer, floor freezer and my father’s Fingerhut purchases. The man was obsessed with appliances. He would use them for a while and then they would go to the utility room, where he stored them for later use. The “later use” moment never came.

Everyone else parked on the street and entered the house through the sitting room / dining room. This room was always, always immaculate. It was furnished with a beautiful sofa and settee, large hand-blown glass lamps, formal dining room table and china cabinet. It always smelled like potpourri. Even though my father would tell my mom that she shouldn’t be so particular about that room and that a house was supposed to lived in; you could tell how proud how he was when there was a get-together at the house and someone would say that the room was so pretty. “Oh yea, Toni did all this. She keeps this room looking nice.” Of course we never allowed in the room except for parties, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning.

My favorite room was my room. It was me unadulterated. Pink walls! White four poster bed and white desk. My bedspread was floral with pink and green flowers. I grew up in that room and didn’t ever grow out of it. If my husband would agree, my bedroom would still be pink.

My dad and my step-mom moved out the house about 6 years ago. When we travel to Mississippi now, I always think that I’m going to see my dad because home is in old subdivision of Jackson.

January 15, 2011

Surname Saturday – The Disappearing Sampsons of Oktibbeha, MS

Sampson is an English surname with French origins. Currently, the largest concentrations of Sampsons in the US live in Rhode Island and Vermont. There is a smaller concentration of Sampsons living in Montague County, Texas.

Rosie Sampson is my paternal great-grandmother who lived in Oktibbeha County, MS during the early 1900s. Little else is known about her. To date I haven’t found any “cousins”. And my father says that he doesn’t remember any Sampsons living in their community.

I have found Rosie in census records, alone. No parents. No siblings. The only other Sampsons near her during the time period was a woman and daughter living in the home of a son-in-law.

I have found a Rose Sampson listed in the Enumeration of Educable Children – 1885. She is listed with several other Sampson children – Dennis, Prince and two other names that are unreadable. The adult name is Neal Sampson. I have not been able to locate census records for the others listed with this Rose Sampson.

Questions abound with the Sampson family. Where did they come from? Where did they go? Where are they now?

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