Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday's Child ~ Me and You ~ An Open Letter To My Birth Siblings

My Dear Siblings,

Hello, my name is Dawn and I am looking for you! I have six paternal half birth siblings our father was Harry. I am also looking for my three maternal half siblings, our mother was Barbara.

Some of you may know of me and some of you may not. I believe our respective parents met in Florida sometime in 1960 and married in 1961. Unfortunately, there was an issue as to the legality of the marriage documents and whether not Harry was still legally married. They went their different ways and Barbara learned she was pregnant with me. I don't think that Harry knew I existed.

I was born in Florida in the summer of 1962. I was adopted by a great couple, who gave me a wonderful life and are great parents. I have known I was adopted for as long as I can remember. I began my search for our respective parents and you in the summer of 1980. My search has been a long one and I can only hope that perhaps I may finally be at the end of this search.

I have often wondered about all of you over the years. Do we look alike? Do I resemble our father or our mother? Do we have the same mannerisms? Do we like the same things? I would love to connect with all of you but time may be running out. I know that at least eight of you are older than me with my paternal siblings were born probably in the late 1930's to about 1950 and my maternal siblings were born probably in the mid 1950's to mid 1960's.

Sadly, Harry passed away in 1984 in South Carolina never knowing that I was looking for him. I found Barbara in 2011 and at the time she was living about an away from me here in SC. I was able to thank Barbara for her courageous decision to have me and put me with a good family. To let her know that she made the right decision and that I had a great life. Sadly, Barbara didn't want a relationship with me, I guess I brought back to many bad memories. She passed away in 2014.

It is not my intention to disrupt your lives or to cause any of you pain. I only wish for the opportunity to learn about our shared heritage. I want to learn our shared family stories and where I come from. I want to explore the possibility of having a relationship with all of you. I want the opportunity to learn about you and for you to learn about me. 

I understand that you may wish to have DNA testing done to prove my relationship to each of you. In an effort to find our respective parents and you, I have already taken two an autosomal DNA test through and a mitochondrial DNA test through FamilyTree DNA which will certainly confirm my maternal siblings. I am happy to provide this information to the genetic specialist of your choosing.

I also understand that you may prefer an intermediary rather than direct contact at this time. This can easily be arranged. I am happy with whatever makes you comfortable. 

In the top left hand corner of my blog my contact information is there. There is also a Contact Box on the left hand side too. You can also contact me by email or on Facebook: 


With love from your sister,


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday's Child ~ Open Letters

I am starting a new series today, Wednesday's Child ~ Open Letters. This will be a series of letters addressed to each of my birth siblings. I am asking my wonderful genea-community to please share these posts, especially if you are in South Carolina where I believe most of my birth siblings live. #cartersiblings2016

Dear Richard,

My name is Dawn and I am your half sister. I was born in Florida in 1962 and my birth mother's name was Barbara Williamson at the time I was born. I found Barbara in 2011 and she died in 2014. She didn't have a lot to say about our father Harry, other than to tell me his name, where he was born (Charleston, SC). According to Barbara, she and our father went their separate ways before she knew she was pregnant with me. I am pretty sure that Harry didn't know about me.

I have always known I was adopted. When I turned 18, I wrote to the governing authority for adoptions in Florida and requested my non-identifying information. I learned that our father's name was Harry and that I had at least five older siblings through him. I was also told that Harry was a former merchant marine.

I am sure finding out about me at this stage in your life is a big surprise! It is not my intention to disrupt anyone's life or their family. I am not looking for money, or anything of that nature. All I want is to have a chance simply to get to know you and my other siblings. I will understand if you do not want to do this but I do hope that you will consider the possibilities. I would really appreciate a family medical history and possibly copies of family pictures.

I have always been curious about biological families and it no wonder than genealogy is very big part of my life. I am curious to know if I look like any of you or someone else in our shared families. 

You can reach me by email at You can also leave a message in the comments of this blog, The Other Side of Scarlet or fill out the contact form on the left hand side of the page. I am on Facebook, Dawn Williams-Kogutkiewicz and you can send me a personal message there as well

I am hoping I will hear from you soon!

Your sister,


A picture of me at about six months old. personal collection

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Jefferson and Sabra Jane (Smoak) Carter

While in Charleston last week I decided to see what I could find at the cemeteries where I knew some of my Carter's are buried. My first stop was Bethany Cemetery located at 10 Cunnington Street. As it happens, it is right in front of the lovely Magnolia Cemetery which is on Huguenin Avenue however there is entrance from Cunnington Street.

I started my cemetery search with Jefferson C. Carter and his second wife, Sabra Jane Smoak. Jefferson is my biological great grandfather. Jefferson and Sabra were married between 1900 and before 27 April 1910, which is the date of the 1910 US Census. Jefferson and Sabra are listed as married on this census.

I had little trouble in finding Bethany Cemetery the office was easy to locate. I went into the office and asked the gentleman inside if he could point me in the right direction for the plot of Mr. Jefferson C. and Sabra Jane (Smoak) Carter. He went to a small closet full of file cabinets and found a burial card for Jefferson.

 Dawn Kogutkiewicz, Personal collection

As you can see the burial card has a lot of information. The place of death, date of death, cause of death and date of burial all match his death certificate. It also lists his name, his gender, race and age. It also gives the name of the funeral home, the health officer, the superintendent as well as the section in which Jefferson and Sabra are buried and the lot number. I didn't think to ask for Sabra's card but it is on my list for the next trip!

Next the gentleman took me to a set of maps (the size of blueprints) and flipped through them until he found the one with Jefferson and Sabra. Below is a picture of the map.

 Dawn Kogutkiewicz, Personal collection

As you can see, the caretaker is pointing at the spot where Jefferson and Sabra are buried. He was kind enough to take me straight there and told me that the easiest way to remember where they are is that they are buried next to the only dirt road in the cemetery! As it turns out, Jefferson and Sabra are in a perpetual care plot that is fairly large for just 2 people. However, there is another couple buried in the plot, James Daniel and his wife Nina Hendricks Carter. I believe that James is the son of Jefferson and Sabra but I am still working to confirm the connection between them.

 Dawn Kogutkiewicz, Personal collection

Above is a close up of the tombstone for Jefferson and Sabra complete with dates. Oddly enough across the way from my great grandparents is another family I am connected to as well but I will save that for another Tombstone Tuesday.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Found My Birth Father's Funeral Notice!

I was in Charleston last week and decided to do some genealogy during my free time. I have been looking for my birth father's funeral notice for years now with no success. I decided to give the Charleston Public Library a try to see if they may have it and sure enough they did!

The image is not great and is not scanning well so I have decided to transcribe it here instead. The funeral notice was published in The News and Courier (Charleston, SC) on the 24th of March 1984 on page 13.

"Harry R. Carter
Harry R. Carter of [private address], Summerville, a bail bondman and  paralegal, died Friday in a local hospital.
The funeral will be at 4 p.m. today in Stuhr's North Area Chapel. Burial will be in Riverview Memorial Park.
Mr. Carter was born Feb. 27, 1916, in Walterboro, a son of Postell Carter and Josephine Bessinger Carter. He was a Baptist and an Army and merchant marine veteran of World War II.
Surviving are his wife, Anna Lee Hay Carter; four sons, Richard Carter of Charleston, Johnny Carter of Tennessee, David Carter of Columbia and Mike Carter of Charlotte, N.C.; four stepsons, Joseph Amell and Gregory Amell, both of Summerville, Steve Amell of Goose Creek, and Benjamin Amell of Clemson; two daughters, Eugenia Goodman of San Antonio, Texas, and Donna Chaplin of Ravenel; four stepdaughters, Lucy Williams, Carol Lines, Nancy Barnhill, all of Summerville, and Joanne Ulmer of Florence; a sister, Lucille Houser of Orlando, Fla; and 15 grandchildren."

Since my birth father died in 1984, I have my work cut-out for me in trying to find my half siblings especially since all of this information is now 32 years old and I have been searching for 36 years now,  I only hope that I am not too late in my search to find and meet my brothers and sisters.


"Harry R. Carter", funeral notice, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), 24 March 1984; online index and image, Newsbank ( : 8 June 2016); this image and index is through online library subscription only; Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Do I Look Familiar Friday? # 3

I am a day late with my monthly post for my series, Do I Look Familiar?. My little grandson has had the croup and I was helping take care of him so Mommy and Daddy didn't have to lose time from work. 

However, this is my photo for June. It was the first day of 4th grade, August 1971. I had just turned nine years old a few weeks before on July 21st

Do I look familiar to you? If so, please contact me! You can find my contact information in the upper left hand corner of my blog in the box "Are We Related? ". You will also find my DNA kit number for Gedmatch (#A435226), my Family Tree DNA kit (#B16054) and a link to my public DNA tree on Ancestry. Note that my Ancestry DNA tree does not show sources but I can provide them if necessary.

This is part of my monthly column, In Do I Look Familiar Friday?. I will be posting pictures of myself on the first Friday of every month at various ages in the hope of finding my 7 older half siblings and 1 younger half sibling that I know of. 

Thank you for stopping by!
Photo Credit: Personal Collection