Saturday, January 11, 2014

Honoring My Cincinnati Matriarch: Getting to Know Granny, My Great-Grandmother Anna Lue Barrow-Heath Part I


I was pondering on the thought of why I love genealogy. What is my passion you might ask? What sparked my curiosity? What drives me to research hours upon hours? Well it all began as a simple school assignment and through time has evolved into a hobby and ultimately my purpose. Many family members from across the states call me the "walking family tree" given my wide range of knowledge of our ancestral ties to the south as well as my ability to run down the family tree backwards and forwards without looking at a single piece of paper. I call it “my purpose” in life to help bridge the gaps between our Ancestors and present generations. My journey to the online world of blogging began with my membership in the African American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research Facebook group and the support of the Tribe. Granny, this one's for you.
My Great-Grandmother, who I affectionately called Granny, on my maternal Grandmother's side is Anna Lue Barrow-Heath. She was the fourth of eight children born on March 8, 1913 to the union of Irvin Barrow and Annie Elizabeth Hunter Nelloms (Grand Annie). For Grand Annie See The Hunter-Nelloms Connection. Granny is my Cincinnati family matriarch, and the first family member I interviewed about our family's southern roots.


In 1988 on one of many visits to my Grandmother’s house, the family was all together which included my Mom, Joyce, her sisters Aunt Darlene and Aunt Sherry, my Great-Grandparents, Mitchell Heath and Anne Lue Barrow, and of course my Grandmother, Jessie Mae who I loved dearly and spent every weekend with listening to old Sunday worship services while sitting on the porch. To some, one may ask what teenager did that. And I would respond by saying, well I did. We were all gathered on the first floor of the house. You see, Granny and Granddaddy lived on the first floor and Grandmamma lived on the second floor. But anytime we were all together, the gathering place was on the first floor. The conversation somehow migrated from what was on television to Granny and Granddaddy’s childhood years in Georgia. Granny always talked about her Papa and Grand Annie. Granddaddy on the other hand did not like to talk much about his parents (more on the Georgia Heath lineage later). It was this conversation Granny talked about where she was born.


Granny used to say she was born in Atlanta, Ga. In fact, on her obituary my Grandmamma had written her was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Irvin and Annie Barrow. After years of searching through the soundex indexes and the census records, I learned that Granny was born in Chambers County, Alabama along with her older siblings Jennie, Amos, and Leola. I first found Papa and Grand Annie in the 1910 Census married and living on Five Points Road #1 in Fredonia, Chambers County, Alabama (Enumeration District 0022, Precinct 6) with two of their children, Jennie Lou (born 1907) and Amos (born 1909).

1910 Census of Granny's parents, Irvin "Pete" Barrow & Annie E. Hunter Nelloms-Barrow

In the 1920 Census for Fulton County, Georgia, Granny is a little girl at age 7 living with her parents in East Point, Fulton County, Georgia (Enumeration District 161, East Point District) along with her siblings Jennie, Amos, Leola, Sarah, and Ruth. In 1920, Granny's birth place is listed as Alabama along with her older siblings. But as you notice in the 1910 Census, her older siblings are listed as being born in Georgia. This has been a mystery for the family for years.


Granny lived in Georgia and grew up East Point which is a surburb of until the family relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922 when her father received employment. Moving up north as the family down south called it. There were many migrations from the south to the north all based on better jobs and increased opportunities for the family to prosper. Upon moving to Cincinnati, Granny always stated the family was very close. She said there were many gatherings with family members who had also migrated north. But one gathering Granny always enjoyed and carried forward with her own family was Sunday dinners Granny enjoyed spending time with family and she enjoyed cooking too. Granny was famous for her fried corn, oxtails, pound cakes, and her holiday meals especially those on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Granny met the love of her life, Mitchell, and on September 16, 1928 the two were married. They only had once child, my Grandmother Jessie Mae. More to come later on Mitchell and Anna's love story and their beautiful daughter. It was my Granny who taught me about her mother, affectionately known as Grand Annie, and her father, Papa Irvin, her aunts, uncles, and cousins. She often talked about two of her favorite uncles, her Uncle Bossie and Uncle Tom, as if they lived right there in the house with her. Family meant everything to her, and I guess in a sense that has passed down through the generations to me. There are so many fond memories of Granny and I intend to pass down her legacy to family and friends alike. I learned a lot from Granny and I swear I was her favorite great-grandson. Stay tuned!
 

36 comments:

  1. It is wonderful how you were able to hear the stories of your great grandmother. Such a blessing, and now your descendants will hear the stories.

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    1. Thanks Yvette! I listened hard too! I enjoyed when my Granny talked about down south. She could tell a story and you could envision it as if you were there with her! She was a jewel and my beacon! #KEEPSHINING

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  2. Yvette is right you were very blessed to hear all the wonderful stories about your family while sitting at the feet of the ancestors who shared them with you! I got hooked on genealogy when my only child, who is grown now with a family of his own, came home from school with an "All About Me" family tree to complete in 1989. So I can certainly relate to your passion for this field! Excellent indeed!

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    1. I forgot to mention that is a lovely picture of your grandmother -- she was a beautiful woman!

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    2. Thanks so much Liv! She was the rock of the my entire Cincinnati family on all sides! Loved by everyone! This is one of my favorite pictures of her. She was a foxy lady!

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  3. Dante, I'm sure that you know by now that you were definitely chosen to do this ancestor work! Your Granny sounds like she was just as beautiful as her picture. I enjoyed reading your story.. Looking forward to hearing more about your family. :)

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    1. Thank you Denise! I love genealogy work....it's not work but it's a rewarding experience filled with mystery, intrigue, and awesome discoveries. HONORING THE ANCESTORS IS MY CALLING!

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  4. I enjoyed reading this story. You are using your gift very effectively! Your ancestors are proud.

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    1. Thank you so much for the compliment and encouraging support!

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  5. Thank you for sharing that!! Beautiful story of your grandmothers memory.

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    1. Thank you! A beautiful story for a beautiful, loving, and caring woman. love my Granny!

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  6. Dante...the statement "walking family tree" made me laugh. My mom use to tell people, if you are looking to find someone, ask Delores. It's nice that your family recognizes your purpose in the family. Great story.

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    1. Yes Delores! I get it from all sides. I am honored and i want to be sure to do well by the Ancestors by keeping our family educated!

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  7. Dante, I'm echoing what others have said, how very fortunate you were to be able to hear those stories! Foxy lady and a beautiful story!

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    1. Thank you so much! She was a classy lady!

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  8. Beautiful story about your grandmother.

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    1. Thanks Terrance! She was the rock of our Cincinnati families on all sides! She loved everybody & everyone loved her!

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  9. Your granny was a beautiful woman, love the picture. I think it is so great that you were able hear first hand the stories from her. You certainly deserve the title of "walking family tree"! You are doing great work for your ancestors. I love how you tell their story. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your posts.

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    1. Thanks Bernita! ThisThis is my connection to LaGrange, West Point & West Vernon in Troup County & then over to Chambers County. She taught me well and I owe everything to her and her daughter, my Grandma Jessie Mae. Thanks for the support and there is more to come!

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  10. Amazing post! I enjoyed reading it and I appreciated you sharing your ancestor's story and your rich family traditions.

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    1. Thanks Angelo! Family traditions is only the beginning! Thanks for sharing in my Ancestors story!

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  11. Wonderful Dante! Beautiful sharing of Ms. Annie & your family genealogy. I always feel personally connected to the folks whose journey resembled my family -- ALABAMA/GEORGIA to CINCINNATI. Makes me feel our folks would have at some point, crossed paths. And if not in Cincinnati -- in Heaven now!:)

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    1. Yes indeed Luckie! I'm sure our past paths will link up, I can feel it! I love my Alabama/Georgia roots! The force is strong in my family......In my Luke Skywalker voice! LMBO

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  12. I can't wait to hear about her being a Only a Child! My Mom's best friend was names Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hunter. Her children still remain in Steelton Pa. Also to find out why Grandpa didn't talk much. Thanks for sharing Dante! Your Ancestors sure picked the right CHILD!

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    1. Bless you heart True! Thank you so much for sharing in my Ancestors journey! Granddaddy was something else!

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  13. This is wonderful Dante! I believe in every family there is at least one who is anointed to carry the story of their Ancestors forward ... it is obvious, you are one of those anointed. Continue to let their voices be heard and their memories persist! I am convinced, as another poster stated that our "Ancestors in Heaven", would be pleased at how our paths have crossed so many years after they walked this earth!

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    1. Thanks Janet! Our blessing is coming thru the Ancestor's journey as we are being led to reunite generations of cousins.

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  14. Yes indeed Janet! I am honored by this gift of history and purpose to bring our Ancestors full circle. I am truly blessed because of their being and sacrifices do we could have better, do better, and ultimately lead others to "better" by leading the way. I never imagined I would enjoy the blog community but I am finding my niche and I will continue to honor the Ancestors and make them proud! Thank you so much for the support!

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  15. What a blessing and Great Testament to your Ancestor's that u were chosen to tell their Story, Can't wait to read more.

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    1. Thank you Beverly for the kinds words of encouragement! I am honored to have answered their call!

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  16. It is great that you were able to spend time with your great grandmother. Looking forward to the next post!

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  17. Thanks for sharing in my Ancestor's journey! I treasure having had the opportunity to know my great-grandparents, as well as having known them and been around them up to my high school years. That is a blessing as I know so many people who did not even know their grandparents.

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  18. I really like the term"walking family tree." You certainly found your purpose sharing your family's stories. I enjoyed learning about your Granny. She was a gorgeous woman by the way.

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I'm determined to live up to the Ancestors' call as I am honored to have been chosen. I'm walking in my calling!

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  19. Oh great post now on to part two. Excited!

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    1. Thanks Paula! She indeed was an awesome woman!

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