On June 5, 2013, I received a text from my 2nd cousin–once removed, Vickie Young-Walker. I discovered Vickie and her family from research on the Sterling side of my family. Vickie wanted me to ask my father if he knew the VEAL Sisters who attended Mckinley High School in Baton Rouge, La., my father’s Alma Mater. Vickie stated her dad’s sister, Pearl Young, married their father, Charlie Veal, Jr. I relayed the message to him and he confirmed the association. He told me he knew 2 of the 5 sisters, Gwen & Charlene, as well as their father, Charlie. His mother told him he was related to them on her father’s side, but he wasn’t sure how. The next thing I know, I’m passing text messages back and forward between the two of them for the next hour.
All I knew about my grandmother’s dad, Montgomery Mckinley and his side of the family was his father’s name (Stewart Mckinley), his mother’s first name (Alice), and 6 of his siblings: Gerly, Louisiana, Leslie, Rosalie, Jessie Lee & Susie. My father helped me with some of their descendants, but that was it. I accessed Ancestry.com and found a tree posted with Pearl Young, Charlie Veal and his mother Annie Moncree, but I also saw my Sterling cousins and my great-great grandmother, Lizzie Taylor (Vickie’s grandmother)…?!
Now I’m really intrigued.
Vickie gave my contact information to Gwen and she called June 7th. Gwen referred me to her 1st cousin, Byron Richardson and we spoke twice that day. The second time, we spoke with his 90 year old mother, Thelma Eby Richardson on the phone. We talked for nearly two hours and she solved the puzzle. Cousin Thelma said her mother, Annie Moncree and Alice Mckinley were sisters and their mother’s name was Anne Jenkins. They also had a brother named Ben Moncree, Jr & a sister named Easter (married name: Matthews). Thelma knew my father, grandmother, great-grandfather, Montgomery and all of his siblings. Even more astonishing, she knew the Sterlings and the Taylors on my great-grandmother’s side of the family (Montgomery’s wife Essie B. Taylor Mckinley)!!! She also said Montgomery had another sibling named Mae Alice Mckinley who married Ben Parker and had a daughter named Louise B. Parker. When told of this, my father confirmed it and said there was another daughter named “Viola.”
Yesterday, I found my original notes from an interview with Essie B. and my grandmother 22 years ago. I didn’t realize that above Alice’s name, I wrote two more names with no reference to relationship: “Anna” and “Esther.” Although misspelled (Anne & Easter), apparently, I had their names already, but after 22 years, I couldn’t remember why I notated those names. Thanks to Thelma, I now know. I also documented Montgomery’s father’s siblings above his name as well: Edna, Richard, Gerly, Mary, & Johnny. I didn’t realize I had these names!!!!
I’m very excited now because all I knew was a first name–“Alice” and nothing else. Thanks to my cousin Vickie for asking about Mckinley High School graduates, Byron and his mother Thelma, I’ve busted through another brick wall!
Update: I found the death records for both Alice and her sister, Easter because Thelma remembered when Alice died and she told me Easter died in New Orleans. The records both show their maiden name was MOORE. Their father was Gordon Moore of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.