My Family Tree
"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, the other is wings." ~ Hodding S. Carter

My parents came from large, close-knit farming families who scraped through the Civil War, Reconstruction, The Great War, The Depression, and through World War Two.  They made sure we knew all of our cousins and spent time with our grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  They taught us family history.

My mom was the custodian of our family information, kept in small notebooks and on scraps of paper, bound together with rubber bands.  She added notes to the backs of photographs and kept them in a dedicated bedroom drawer.  Her work, though never cataloged, has been invaluable to me.

Now that I have more time on my hands, I hope to make a decided effort in searching family history and, on this page, finally, publish what I have in a concise format, used easily by who will take up the family history after me.

On this page you will find a number of links to family photo and story pages.  They are works in process, so, please excuse the mess.  Much or my information is sensative and not posted here.  This is just a strawman.

If you are a member of the family and wish to add something to this page, I would appreciate the help.  I am definitely looking for collaborators.  Contact me via e-mail.

Emmette Conwell was a farmer and Postmaster for the Geiger Alabama area. He and wife Myrtle once ran Neel Eats, a small restaurant in town owned by his brother Mal.

Myrtle Wicks Williams was a housewife and raised five children.

Emmette died in 1949 of a heart attack at the young age of fifty-four.

Myrtle, continued to live in Geiger until 1981, dying at eighty-one.

They are buried at Soul's Cemetery in Geiger.

Neel-Williams Photos

Barnie Emmett was a farmer and store keeper for Yellow Front Stores in Havanna and Geiger Alabama. When those stores closed, he ran his own country store and farmed a small garden in Berry Alabama.

He was married to Evie Leigh Johnson, who worked in the stores, and, as a housewife, raising three children. Evie jarred all of the vegetables that Barnie grew in his garden.

Barnie died in 1972 of a heart attack at the age of seventy.

Evie passed away in Birmingham, where she lived with her daughter, Juanita, in 1999, at the age of ninety. Both are buried in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

Lee-Johnson Photos

All I know about Joseph Dennis is that he was the son of a Syrian immigrant, whose actual name was Choueri Sawaya. Joseph ran a venetian blind business in Fairfield, Birmingham.

He married Nell Thompson and had a girl, Barbara, named after his mother.

Nell was a bit of a bad girl and had Bill by another man, Earl Holland, to whom she had been engaged before marrying Joseph.

We confirmed this with DNA testing (Barbara and Bill show totally different geographical areas) and with conversations with Bill and Barbara.

Earl may have also had a child with Nell's older sister, which is what caused the Earl and Nell breakup.

One story has Nell's sister lying about the situation to get Nell to break up with Earl. Earl, a barber and traveling preacher, must have been a rascal.

Joseph and Nell broke up for a while, but stayed together and are buried together at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham.

Dennis-Thompson Photos

All I know about these folks, is that Mr. Bragg worked at US Steel most of his life and was some kind of engineering genius.

I have asked Syl's brother EB if he can send me all he has and he says working on it.

Kady is also working with her sister on what she has.

The Bragg family has a very extensive library on line.

Bragg-Terry Photos

Emmette grew up in Geiger Alabama, joined the Army during World War II, was Signal Corps assigned to the 8th Army Air Corps. a signal repairman. After the war, he received his BS from Livingston State and taught high school while running his own radio repair shop. He was hired by Southern Railway as a signal maintainer and became a Supervisor of Communications for the company. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and 33rd Degree Shriner, former Worshipful Master for his Lodge. Emmette died in 1991 of cancer.  He was 68.

Juanita grew up in Moundville, Hanana, and Geiger, married Emmette right out of high school, and raised three boys. She worked for the University of Alabam in Birmingham in payroll, managing the Monthy Salaries. Nita died at 87 in 2015 after suffering from Alzheimers and dementia. She was a former president of the PTA at Kennedy School and a Member of the Evening Star.

They were members of 67th Street Methodist Church in Birmingham and members of the Concordia Club. They are buried together at Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Trussville, Alabama.

Neel-Lee Photos

 

William Edward was born and raised in Fairfield, Alabama until joining the Air Force, where he was a Mechanic and Crew Chief on the F84 jet fighter. After the service, he became a Real Estate Agent and worked for the Jefferson County Zoning Board.

He married Sylvia Terry Bragg.

Sylvia was a house wife and raised three children. She and Bill were active and founding members of Doctrinal Studies Church in Roebuck.

Sylvia died of Pancreatic Cancer in 2016 at the age of eighty-two.

Bill died in 2016 at the age of eighty-seven.

Dennis-Bragg Photos

John was born in Grove Hill, Alabama and raised in Birmingham. He was career military, working after retirement at Virginia Military Institute. He married entirely too early, had a daughter, then divorced in 1980. He doesn't talk about this. He married Kady in 1981, which made all the difference in his life.

Kady raised their two children, alone, while John played Army. She is amazing at everything she does, cooking, decorating, event planning, and is adored by everyone who knows her.

John is a lucky boy.

Neel-Dennis Photos

Neel-Spring

Miller-Neel

My DNA Geo-Map

Kady's DNA Geo-Map

Neel Family Bloodline

Family Stories

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