Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tracing My Mother's Paternal Side: ROUNDS of Matagorda County


I have always found it easier to trace my father's side of the family even with the few brick walls I have encountered. On the other hand, my mother's ancestry and especially her paternal side has and continues to be full of brick walls.  Recently, I have been determined after I discovered a website that I know my mother's paternal side resided, and prior to this discovery I would avoid researching this side.

I was aware that the family lived in Matagorda County Texas in the town of Matagorda, in the Lower Caney section of town.  I knew my great grandmother, Annie Rounds, lived there with her parents and siblings.

A Mother Lode - The Discovery

The age of computer technology should not be overlooked. I do agree that if something cannot be found online, if possible, these records should be found at the courthouse or university libraries that have numerous collections.  Or if there is a library-sharing program and you do not mind looking through rolls of microfilm, which is what most did before the dawn of technology, by all means do so.
My discovery came from searching online. I found a website after thinking that I'd never find any genealogical information about my family ever online - boy was I wrong! I did a search for Matagorda County Texas.  I found information about what possibly may have been Jesse Rounds, my 2 x great grandfather's, last slave owner on the 1867 Voter's Registration List, I found out who my great-grand uncles and great-grand aunts married. In addition, I found when my great-grandparents married. I was able to find information about my great-grandfather and his sisters.
This discovery made me keenly aware that the ancestors speak to you! I heard about an aunt, Onie Peters, that I never met, but heard her name over and over. I found her on the marriage records list below.  She lead me to find her. I never knew her married name, let alone that she had been married.
Matagorda County Slave Database

1867 Voter's Registration List
1870 US Census Matagorda County Texas - African American & Mulatto Families
Matagorda County Marriage Records

Newfound Fulfillment

Since those discoveries I have found it enjoyable to doing research on my mother's paternal side.  I have been able to tackle my mother's maternal side, it too fraught with brick walls, and those too have come tumbling down.  It has been so fulfilling to discover my past and to verify and document my mother's paternal ancestry.
Admittedly, I was overjoyed with what I thought might have been my 2 x great grandfather's last slave owner, who I thought was J L Thorp, but I understand now that some online indexes may have errors or that they do not give accurate information. However, I welcome the challenge to locate other owners he may have had.  I look at this as turning lemons into lemonade.


I have thoroughly enjoyed what I thought was something I wanted avoid to an activity that still fascinates me, finding my mother's paternal ancestors. I used the county website for Matagorda County that was full of information from: African American churches, slave database, baptisms, marriages, brands, that verified and documented their existence for me.  Although further research will turn up more I look forward to digging deeper.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day: Honoring My Great Uncle Isaac "Jack" Bracy

My maternal grandmother had several brothers; most were recollections of past memories because they had already passed on before I came into existence. However, the two grand uncles I did know; one lived in California and the other I met as a child in 1972 while on family road trip from California to Houston, Texas.

Born 22 May 1907, His name, Isaac Bracy, and no doubt he was named for his maternal great-grandfather, Isaac Anderson. His parents: Reverend Calvin & Julia Bracy welcomed their firstborn son!

Growing up we called him “Uncle Jack.” By this time, he was a retired school bus driver, but always had some hustle (some kind of side business). In the family, the Bracy men, were always referred to as hustlers - hardworking.  His wife Carrie, I recall, was in the hospital, but being so young didn’t fully grasp what was going on with her.  He stayed in a storefront apartment. My younger brother and I were eager to spend time with this new uncle we barely knew. He came over nearly every morning. It was storming outside one particular day - thunder and lightning. I was so scared, but I remember he came over to my grandmother's, I told him I wanted to go next door and he walked me over next door to my cousins’ house! Me and my younger brother wanted to stay with him one night so we spent the night with him. It was sort of odd because he didn't speak much, no games to play, but it was just amazing to be able to see where and how he lived.

Uncle Jack became very ill - and it may have appeared that no one could care for his needs or perhaps a bit of manipulation may have been in order. My parents drove down to Los Angeles to meet my mother’s eldest brother, who was carrying my great uncle. From there they took him up to Sacramento to my grandmother’s baby sister’s house. After she could no longer care for him, he was transported to the VA Hospital in Martinez, Calif.  I think although he was not able to speak he was glad to see his family there. Sadly, there he passed away in his sleep on 4 Aug 1978.

He was not a highly decorated soldier, but a Veteran nonetheless. He served his country in the United States Army from December 1942 to October 1945.  He was a Corporal. If I had been older when I first met my great uncle, being the family historian I am, would have asked about his service in the military, about his parents, about life growing up in rural Texas.

He is laid to rest at the Sacramento County Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Sacramento, CA.

(Photo: Grand Uncle Isaac "Jack" Bracy and his maternal Aunt Mary P. Jones)