"Ancestors never die until there is no one to call their names." ~ An African Proverb

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Laura Ann Ware Neal

In anticipation of the AAGSAR #BLOGFEST 2014 I wanted to reintroduce my family history blog and welcome any new readers who love family history or genealogy. I dedicated this to all of my African American ancestors and family who have guided me through my life journey. I was inspired to become a genealogist after seeing the picture on the left of my second great-grandmother Laura. It’s the oldest picture I have of any family member on either side of my family. My grandfather had this picture hanging on his bedroom wall for as long as I could remember. She has the same eyes as my grandfather, and I would stare into them trying to figure out what she was thinking when this picture was taken. There is no identifying information on the photo, and I could certainly try to date when it was taken by her clothing. As I got older, I felt compelled to find out more about her, her family, and everything in between.

Laura Ann Ware was born around September 1853 in Madison County, Georgia. The state of Georgia did not maintain vital records until after 1919, so I had to confirm an approximate date of birth from census, marriage, and death records.

In the 1870 census Laura would have been at least 17 years old. The only federal census I could find that showed her living in Madison County lists her in the household of Jeremiah and Martha Deadwyler. All of the children have the last name of Deadwyler, although I have no documents that support that Laura ever used that name. The date of the census is August 4th, 1870, so Laura would have still been single.

On December 4th, 1870, Laura was married to Asbury Neal in Madison County, Georgia. On this record Laura’s maiden name is shown as Ware.

In 1880, the census shows the Neal household still living in Madison County. Asbury and Laura Neal are living with their children Martha (8), Arthur (6), William (4) and Gabriel (2).

The 1900 census lists the Neal household in Banks County, Georgia. I believe the boundary lines for the county changed and that the family still lived in the same place as in 1880. Asbury and Laura are now the parents of 11 children: Willie (23), Mary (18), Francis (16), Savanah (13), Samuel (11), Roy (8), Lonnie (5), Charlie (2), and Gabriel (21). I am still curious why Gabriel was listed at the bottom of the list when the rest of the children are in age order. It suggests he is a step son or son-in-law. When I follow Gabriel to his death in Ohio in 1946 his father is listed as Asbury, but his mother is “unknown”. This also suggests that Laura was not his biological mother. Martha Deadwyler is also living in the household listed as mother-in-law.

1910 is the last census Laura is listed in. She and Asbury are in the household along with Roy (18), Lonnie (15), Charles (13), and Martha Ware the mother-in-law. I thought it was interesting that Martha is now using the Ware surname. She is widowed, so perhaps she is using her maiden name as it is shown on Laura’s death certificate.

Laura passed on October 5th, 1922 from uremia poisoning. She was buried in Hurricane Grove cemetery, and her father Russ White is named as the undertaker. Her spirit lives on in all of her descendants, and I am proud to have a photo reminder of the strength and bravery that she must have had.

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11 responses

  1. I enjoyed reading your post and especially hearing what was your inspiration for learning about your family history. I too was inspired by an old picture. For me it was of my maternal great grandmother and the picture hung on the wall at my grandmother’s house. I did the same thing, stared at her face and especially her eyes and wondered, Who was this woman? What was she like? Thanks for sharing Laura’s story.

    January 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    • RootsGenie

      Thanks you for reading Andrea! I am fascinated by old photographs, and I love seeing all the new ones posted during #BLOGFEST!!

      January 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

  2. Tiffiny, I want to welcome you and Laura Ann Ware Neal to AAGSAR and to the world of genealogy blogging! Your research into her life is nicely done and I especially like all of the various documents you used to back up your research too!

    I wish you continued success with your research this year and years to come!

    January 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    • RootsGenie

      Thank you so much for everything! I wish you the same and I know we will be keeping in touch to share our success!

      January 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      • It was truly my pleasure and you bet we will keep in touch. We are genea-buddies for life!

        January 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

  3. Tiffany, what a wonderful post. Welcome to the blog world! I’m so glad that you are here.
    My family comes from the same area in Oklahoma and Texas. I will be watching for a connection! 🙂

    January 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    • RootsGenie

      Thanks for visiting, Denise, and how exciting that we have folks from the same area! I have really enjoyed reading about my ancestors life in the South. They were very interesting and motivated people. I will make sure I follow your blog as well for updates!

      January 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

  4. msualumni

    Hi there! Thank you for reading my blog Reclaiming Kin. I’m glad to meet a new face on this journey of discovery. About your family: I would bet that your family were enslaved by Asa Deadwyler. If you check, he is living in Madison Cty in 1870 with $5000 worth of real estate, a tell-tale sign of former slaveholder. The confusion over the name is probably the practice of calling slaves by their former owners. Find out who Asa’s father was, find that man’s probate files, and I’ll bet you’ll find a list of slaves. All the black people nearby wearing that odd name, Deadwyler, also signals slaveownership. Hold onto your hat because this is the part that gets really interesting;)

    January 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    • RootsGenie

      Thanks for visiting msualumni! I have been reading your blog for quite some time and I enjoy your informative posts. And you’re right about the Deadwyler surname. They were the first family that I researched as possible slave owners. No luck yet, but I keep searching. By the way, I am the one who emailed you a while back regarding possible relatives you had in Milwaukee. I finally got the blog up and running again, so I hope you stop by often. Let me know if I can be of any help in your search up here as well!

      January 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

  5. Tiffany,
    Great post! I especially luv the picture of your 2nd great grandmother. It’s something about her eyes…:) You took us on a journey of discovery that is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story.

    January 11, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    • RootsGenie

      Thanks for visiting, Joann! I love old pictures and I am excited to share Laura’s journey!

      January 11, 2014 at 11:53 pm

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