I find it hard to write or talk about my parents. The funny thing is that I did not really know my father. My half siblings, no relation to him, knew him better. After his death in 2001 I came to know him better, although I had not seen him since 1980. And my mom…well, she was a difficult person to show love to because she was a difficult person to show love. Even through all the anger, there has always been an overwhelming feeling of love for her.
James “Jerry” Vernon Louie was born December 24, 1947 in Lexington, Mississippi to Edna Mohead/Moorehead and John Louie. He was a Vietnam veteran. From my half siblings, on both sides, he liked to make people laugh. He also wrestled with his own depression. The latter played a part in his alcoholism. Still, I heard he was gentle and reflective.
Irene “Punch” Virginia Roberson was born March 8, 1931 in Greenville, Mississippi, although she was raised in Shelby. Her parents were Fannie Mae Pearl and Willie Roberson. She was superstitious, ambitious, and strong. She liked to laugh and spoke her mind. And she fiercely protected her children.
I honestly am not sure how important genealogy would have been to them. I get the feeling that my dad would find recent ancestors more interesting than those beyong three generations, and my mom would be more interested in romanticizing certain parts. I sense they would be more interested in the “now” and not the “then.” I respect that and understand where that comes from.
Our past, this includes our ancestors’ pasts, shapes what comes from our DNA tomorrow. No, I do not believe that we have no control over our destiny, but I do believe we are influenced by what came before us whether we realize it or not. I do not only do genealogy for my ancestors. I also do it for myself, my current relatives, and my descendants.
We came from someone, not something. We are going somewhere.
I am still trying to place the puzzle together. My main genealogy goals of 2014 are as follows.
1. Where does our Louie line lead/ Where was the first Louie who stepped into the New World from?
2. Who were Ben Moorehead’s (Mohead/Morehead) parents?
3. Who was Webb Roberson’s (Robinson) father?
4. Was great grandpa John Louie’s wife (my great grandma) Lenora Howard or Elnora Davis?
5. How do I fit into the Turner/Ivey/Sledge clan?
6. Do I belong in the Yancey/Bartlett/Thornton/Graves clan?
Effie Wilson was my great grandmother. She was born in about 1875 and spent most of her life in the counties of Claiborne and Jefferson, MS, in the Delta. In 1920, she had 10 living children. They were Nancy, Willie, Lillie, Rachel, RT, Ibby/Abby, and Esther (later in life she would go by Estelle). They were all fathered by Willie Shorter. Her other children, Mariah, Frankie, and Fannie (my grandmother) were all fathered by Howard Pearl. Effie’s mother was Abby/Ibby Tilgman and Whylie Wilson, and her siblings were Wiley, Thomas, Robert, Whylie, Bettie, Jane, Henry, Lucy, Ibbie, Ida, Ollie, and Charley.
Effie, born a Wilson, became a Shorter, then a Pearl, a Shorter again, and a Smith (via Robert Smith). There may have been some other name changes along the way. Following Effie through the decades on the census was interesting. I always knew when I had found her because she was always with her kids. She had enough of them with her for me to know that I had the right person. In a few censuses, her mom was with her.
I have not heard any oral stories about Effie. In fact I did not know her name until I was 26. I have one picture of her, which I also saw when I was 26. Effie, you have not been forgotten. I hope your life was filled with joy and laughter.
I traced my Roberson line to the counties of Scott and Bolivar in Mississippi. Webb Roberson was my great grandfather, and he was born in 1863 to Mary. I do not know Mary’s last name, but she was born in Georgia. Willie Roberson was my grandfather and Webb’s son.