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June 18th: Exploring Your African American Genealogy

On Sunday, June 18th, AAHGS Nashville is participating in a series of events hosted at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as part of their Juneteenth Celebrations.

Join us at 2 pm as we present a 1-hour genealogy workshop, followed by individual consultations from 3-5pm.  If you have already started your genealogy research, come with as much prepared information as you have as that will help us offer you more specific help and advice.

Use the button below to register.  We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Sunday’s Obituary: Nettie Langston Napier

James and Nettie Napier langston3
James C. & Nettie (Langston) Napier

From the September 29, 1938, issue of the Tennesseean.  Nettie Langston Napier was the daughter of John Mercer Langston and Caroline Wall Langston.  Caroline’s family will be discussed in our upcoming June 3rd meeting – Passing for White: Researching the Invisible Color Line (see meeting details).  Be sure to join us to learn more!


Colored Death Notices: NAPIER

Died Tuesday, September 27, 1938, at 10:25pm at a local infirmary, Mrs. Nettie Langston Napier, wife of James C. Napier, one of Nashville’s leading citizens.  Mrs. Napier was the daughter of John Mercer Langston, member of the 51st and 52nd Congresses of the United States from the Louisa County District of the State of Virginia.  For the past 60 years, during her entire married life, she has been active in the religious, civic, and social movements in this city.  Her friends are legion and they grieve and sorrow with her aged husband.  She leaves two nephews, John Mercer Langston of St. Louis, Mo., Carroll Napier Langston, of Chicago, Ill., and a grand-nephew, Carroll Napier Langston, Jr., a graduate of Oberlin and now a law student at the University of Michigan; two nieces, Nettie Langton Lee and Nettie Langston Harlan of Washington, D.C.  She also leaves a nephew, Dr. J.A. Napier, a dentist of Nashville, and his sisters, Mrs. Ida Napier Lawson of Hartford, Conn., Mrs. Willie Napier Gomez of Havana, Cuba, and Miss G. Beatrice Napier of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Funeral services will be held Friday, September 30, 1938, at 2pm at Howard Congregational Church, the following ministers officiating: Dr. Thomas Elsa Jones, Rev. Richard Ewing, Rev. Henry Allen Boyd, and Rev. W.S. Ellington, and others.  Active pallbearers: Dr. J.A. Napier, Messrs. C.N. Langston, E.L. Price, A.G. Price, M.G. Ferguson, L.S. Headen, Prof. C.E. Van Horne, and N.S. Holiday.  Honorary pallbearers: All members of the Board of Directors of the Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Company and trustees and directors of the Y.M.C.A.  W.H. McGavock in charge.


 

Wedding Wednesday: Floyd Conner & Mary Young

On this day in 1907, the Nashville Globe newspaper reports on the marriage of Floyd Conner and Mary Young [1].

The notice appeared in the “Columbia Notes” column of the newspaper. After a bit of quick research, I learned that Floyd & Mary’s marriage license was issued April 13th, 1907 and they were married April 14th, 1907 in Columbia, Maury County [2].

In 1910, Floyd and Mary are still living in Columbia and as of yet have no children [3]. This additional newspaper article may also be about Floyd, which states that he was a pastor of the A.M.E. church but was not feeling well at the time [4].

I then learned that Floyd T. Conner passed away March 21, 1920 at only 33 years old of bronchial asthma [5]. He is indicated as being a widow, thus suggesting that Mary pre-deceased him. I wonder what happened to her? Perhaps additional searching will shed light.

Back issues of the Nashville Globe, Nashville’s African-American newspaper, have been digitized and are available online for the years 1907-1918. The Nashville Metro Archives has an index of obituaries published in the paper during the same time period.  Have you found something of interest about your family in The Globe or any other historical newspapers? If so, we’d love to know about it – please share!

Have you found something of interest about your family in The Globe or any other historical newspapers? If so, we’d love to know about it – please share!


[1] “Untitled.” [Marriage of Floyd Conner & Mary Young].The Nashville globe. (Nashville, Tenn.), 17 May 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86064259/1907-05-17/ed-1/seq-2/>

[2] “Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8TR-8TT : 21 December 2016), Floyd Conner and Mary Young, 14 Apr 1907; citing , Maury, Tennessee, United States, Marriage, p. , Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville and county clerk offices from various counties; FHL microfilm 1,011,568.

[3] “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MGX7-DZ5 : accessed 15 May 2017), Floyd Conner, Columbia, Maury, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 122, sheet 20B, family 306, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1513; FHL microfilm 1,375,526.

[4] “Untitled.” [Floyd T. Conner ill]. The Nashville globe. (Nashville, Tenn.), 23 March 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86064259/1917-03-23/ed-1/seq-5/>

[5] “Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NS53-C4L : 25 May 2014), Floyd T. Coner, 21 Mar 1920; citing Cemetery, Columbia, Maury, Tennessee, v 39 cn 142, State Library and Archives, Nashville; FHL microfilm 1,299,720.

 

Historical Marker for Rev. Pharaoh H. Benson

At its meeting in October 2016, the Tennessee Historical Commission approved 4 new historical markers for the state. One of the newest additions was a marker for Reverend Pharaoh H. Benson.  Rev. Benson (1841-1905), was a former slave who was the founding pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.  He was ordained by Rev. Nelson G. Merry.

Yesterday, I went to Mt. Nebo, located at the corner of Clifton Avenue and 26th Ave N, to take a picture of the marker.

I also did a little research on the family. Pharaoh and his wife Ellen would have at least 12 children, of which only 4 were alive by the time of the 1900 census.  Their daughter Jane married William Henry Fort Sr. and their son, William H. Fort Jr., has a scrapbook of his time at Fisk university that has been digitized by the Tennessee State Libary & Archives.

Many thanks to all those involved who helped make this historical marker possible.  It is a great testament to continuing the quest to preserve African-American history here in Nashville.  If you are interested in keeping up with the work of the Historical Commission, you can learn more about them on their website where you can also sign-up for their periodic newsletter.

A Day of Discovery

Yesterday, the LDS Family History Center in Franklin, TN hosted a wonderful day of genealogy presentations as part of their Family Discovery Day Event!

Franklin Family History Center

The day began with a welcome and introduction by Murray Johns, a member of the Franklin TN stake presidency.  After his introduction, the day was divided into 3 segments, each offering multiple tracks of genealogy & family history instruction and education.

Murray Johns welcomes participants

Example topics included – understanding why Mormons do genealogy research, using DNA for understanding ethnic origins, leveraging deed books & non-population schedules, getting started on FamilySearch.org and using Family Search Family Tree, breaking brick walls & military research for African American genealogy, writing your personal and family history story, using cemetery and grave records for research, and more!

a sampling of the day’s activities

Representatives from local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Williamson County African American Heritage Society, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society, and the Friends of Tennessee State Library & Archives, were also available to provide information.  AAHGS Nashville also represented and shared information about our organization too.

Our chapter president, Chajuan, begins the process of transferring her family tree into FamilySearch Family Tree
AAHGS member Taneya with Tina Jones of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County

The Family History Center plans to conduct another Family Discovery Day next year, so keep an eye out for future announcements.  We also include regional happenings on our Calendar, so be sure to check that list from time to time for upcoming events.

Many thanks to the Franklin Family History Center for a wonderful day of learning and education!

Meeting Recap: Music History & Genealogy of Jefferson Street

Many thanks to our guest speaker yesterday, Mr. Lorenzo Washington of Jefferson Street Sound, for a wonderful presentation about the history of music along Nashville own’s Jefferson Street.

Mr. Washington has long been a part of the music scene on Jefferson Street and during the meeting yesterday shared his reasons for establishing the “Mini Museum” at Jefferson Street Sound at 2004 Jefferson Street. The goal is to preserve the musical legacy of Jefferson Street and in this endeavor, Mr. Washington documents and shares information about the many clubs that used to reside on the street.

Of particular note, Mr. Washington created this genealogy tree to showcase the interrelationships of the music clubs. The two side branches, representing Maceo’s Club and New Era Club – both of which were located off the main Jefferson St. corridor. Then, along the trunk of the tree are the others which were on Jefferson proper – Prices, Club Baron, Black Diamond Club, Club Stealaway, Good Jelly Jones’ place, Fisk (for the Jubilee Singers), Fireside Club, Brown’s Diner Club, Del Morocco Club, and Tennesse A&I (for the many musicians that came from the school).  Along the trunk, specific locations are mapped too, and the leaves of each branch highlight some of the many names associated with each location.

We learned so many insights! For example, the first Jefferson Street musician to have a hit single across the country was Gene Allison with “You Can Make It If You Try.”

I have not visited the museum, but will definitely make plans to do so now. I recommend you do so too – you will be in for a treat.  Thank you Mr. Washington for the work you are doing to preserve this segment of Nashville African American history!

 

April 1st Meeting: Music History & Genealogy of Jefferson Street

The city of Nashville has a long-established and well-known history of music. The musical underpinnings of the city reflect a rich and multi-layered tapestry of sound, to which our guest speaker, Lorenzo Washington, is no stranger. As the owner of Jefferson Street Sound & Museum, Mr. Washington is highly dedicated to preserving the internationally-known musical legacy of Jefferson Street – a mecca of the Nashville jazz, blues, and R&B music scene from the 1930s-1970s.

Join the Nashville chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society in the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library for our April 1st monthly meeting at 9:30 am as we hear Mr. Washington share with us his passion and drive to preserve the musical history of Jefferson Street. For those with a genealogy interests, come learn about a different type of genealogy as Mr. Washington details the musical “tree of life” and interconnections of the Jefferson Street music scene.

After the meeting, we welcome you to ask questions about your own family history, or spend time at the library doing research; AAHGS members and a collection of genealogy books will be available to aid you. Please RSVP to let us know you are coming. The meeting is free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you there!