Discovering Great Grandpa
My father died in 2006. When he died I had so many unanswered questions about his family. My mother, who is still living, began to hear my unending questions about her family. I’m sure she got a little irritated at first. I wanted to find her relatives. I also wanted her to tell me what my father had told her about his family. I wrote down every story and everything she could remember.
For a year I got nowhere. Then I watched African American Lives. I saw both series. I watched them over and over. This year, I have found more relatives that I had in the two years I’d been searching.
My most excitement came about 2 months ago. I decided to try to find information on my father’s mothers family. I always thought their name was McKinney. I tried hard to find my father’s first cousin. No success. I knew he lived in Florida in the 1970′s. I decided to call the Jacksonville Public Library (main branch) and speak with their reference department. I asked them to search the city directory for my cousin. They couldn’t find it. I was dumbfounded. I knew he should be there. I told the reference librarian that he owned a cleaning business. She said she didn’t see anyone with the spelling McKinney; but she did see someone with the same first name but the last name was spelled McKinnie. I was so excited. I knew that that was my cousin. I had been spelling the last name incorrectly. I went back to ancestry.com and looked up my grandmother with the new spelling.
I always knew that my father grew up in Liberty County, GA. I found my grandfather and grandmother, my father and his siblings in the 1920 census for Liberty County. I thought that they just happened to move there during that time. I found my father as a baby in the 1910 census with his parents, in Appling County, GA, as the only child. After I found out my grandmother’s maiden name was spelled McKinnie, I was able to locate her in the 1900 census for Liberty County, GA. She was about 5 years old. I also found out the name of her parents; something my father never knew. Kine and Anna McKinnis (that is how the census record reads). This was like gold to me. I never knew their names. I was so touched to be able to know this part of my family. It also helped me see how my father ended up in Liberty County as a boy. This was home for my grandmother. I had no idea my family had been in this county for that long. My cousin, grew up there as well. His father, my grandmothers brother,spent most of his life in neighboring Long County (which used to be part of Liberty County). I live in Liberty County, so this means a lot to me.
I am still searching for more about my great grandfather, Kine. He was born in 1861, which means he is a likely candidate to have been a slave. According to his son’s 1930 census information, Kine was born in North Carolina. I’m now working on trying to figure out how he ended up in Georgia. The search continues; but it continues with a smile. A relative who once was lost, has now been found.