Grand Genealogy Journey: My Kansas City Families

The Gines Family

My closest relatives in Kansas City would be in the Gines family, descendants 0f Richard and Sylvia Gines of Shreveport, Louisiana, (who, as far as anyone knows, never set foot in Kansas City).  Two of Richard and Sylvia’s  sons, William Edward Gines (1898-1955) and Henry William Gines (1903-1980) left Shreveport in 1920 and headed for Kansas City.  Why they left Shreveport and how they got to Kansas City is unknown to me.

“Eddie” Gines, as my grandfather was known, left his baby daughter, Grace, in the care of his mother, Sylvia.  But he apparently brought to KC with him one Sarah Green, also of Shreveport, whom he married in 1920 in Kansas City.  No documents exist as to what happened in their marriage, but in the 1930 census, Eddie is living with Annie Florida Corrine Long, and their two  sons, Richard Edward Gines (1926-1996) and Perry Wesley Gines (1928-1985).  They had four more children, two boys (Alfred and Kenneth) and two girls (my mother, Lillian, and Delorise).  I could find no marriage license for Eddie and “Flo,” and once was told cryptically by a relative, “There probably isn’t one.”

Eddie Gines was a gregarious man who could and would talk to anyone about anything. After having worked at a fine hotel in Shreveport, he found similar work in Kansas City.

Most of Eddie and Flo’s descendants remained in the Kansas City area or nearby.  I wrote about Grandpa Eddie in Faces & Places, March 2006, and My Favorite Photograph, August 2008.

Henry William Gines married Ora Mae Wilkerson in Kansas City on December 22, 1934.  Records in  Shreveport show that Henry had been married to a woman named Corrie Mae Simmons. What became of her and that marriage, I do not know. Henry and Ora had three children, twins Frank (1935-1999) and Henry (1935-1993), and a girl, Sylvia.

The Long Family

As previously noted, my grandmother was Annie Florida Corrine Long, daughter of  Rev. James William Long (1866-1945) and Mary Elizabeth Johnson (1870-1946).  The Rev. Long and his wife had fifteen children, some extremely long-lived and others who survived a very short period after birth.  The Long children were:

  • William Henry Long  (1889-1990)
  • Theodore Roy Long (Feb 1891-Oct 1892)
  • Clarence Long (1892-1970)
  • Benjamin Franklin Long (1893-1953)
  • Luther T. Long (1894-1896)
  • Julius Walter Long (1897-1970)
  • Christina Alta Long (1898-2002)
  • Rosetta Bell Long (1900-1994)
  • Annie Florida Corrine Long (1902-1986)
  • Mary Beatrice Long (1905-1921)
  • “Baby Boy” Long (lived for two days in February 1907)
  • David Long (Nov-Dec 1908)
  • Rafael Matthew Long (1910-1988)
  • James Robert Long (1912-1977)

What accounts for the number of lengthy lives and the number of premature deaths in the same family? It’s difficult to know. Here’s what the available death records show:

David Long died of pneumonia.

“Baby Boy” Long died of intestinal hemorrhaging.

Luther Long died of whooping cough.

Mary Beatrice Long died of tuberculosis.

From Missouri State Archives, Missouri Digital Heritage Collection, Pre-1910 Births and Deaths at and Missouri State Archives, Missouri Digital Heritage Collection, Missouri Death Certificates, at

James William Long was a Baptist preacher who began his career as assistant pastor at Kansas City’s well-known Paseo Baptist Church and later pastored the Sunrise Baptist Church.  Folklore has it that at the time, Sunrise Baptist was on the west side, straddling the Kansas-Missouri state line. Supposedly, the pulpit was in Missouri and the congregation in Kansas.

What makes that story plausible is that the Longs lived on the west side at 27th and Wyoming, a location barely more than 50 feet from the state line.

I wrote about my misadventures in trying to identify James William Long’s parents and siblings in The Wrong Longs? May 2007, and The Right Longs, May 2007.  I analyzed the mistakes in Evidence, Hypotheses, and Analyses, May 2007, and You Say Regetha, I Say Rozetta, May 2007.

The Johnsons

No family has given more joy of discovery and yet more frustration at the same time as the Johnson family.   James William Long’s wife, Mary Elizabeth, was the daughter of Ezekiel Johnson (1847-1933) and Sarah Gilbert (1849-1880-85?).  Ezekiel, “Grandpa Zeke,” has given me the joy; Sarah, not so much.

I discovered that Zeke was born a slave in Clay County, Missouri,  and that his mother’s name was Harriet Mitchell.  His father likely was Clay County businessman and church leader Daniel Carpenter (1825-1920). Either Harriet or Zeke himself was at one time owned by a man named Emmons Johnson,  a Kentuckian who moved to Clay County, Missouri, with so many other of his Blue Grass fellows.  In 1864, Zeke, all of seventeen years old, ran away from his then-owner, Henry Wilhite, and joined the 18th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry.  H saw action at the decisive Battle of Nashville and throughout Tennessee and North Carolina, before being mustered out i n 1866. He returned to Clay County and married Sarah Gilbert on September 5, 1867. I’ve written about Grandpa Zeke a number of times, including How Grandpa Zeke Collected a Bounty on Himself, July 2009.  My mother actually met her great-grandfather when she was a year old. he died shortly thetrafter.  There supposedly exists a photograph of him holding my mother, but I haven’t found it yet.

Now Sarah Gilbert is my most elusive ancestor.  I have found virtually nothing about her other than the 1867 marriage record and her listing with Zeke in the 1880 census.  I presume she died sometime between 1880 and 1885, because in April of 1885, Zeke married a woman named Rena Neal, and Sarah is no longer to be found in any census records, city directories, or any records that I have found.  Family lore says that she was an Indian, but I’ve never been able to substantiate that either.

I’ve written a lot about Sarah Gilbert, hoping that someone will know something about her.  See:

The Elusive Sarah Gilbert, October 2007

Once Again, There are No Easy Cases in Genealogy, August 2007

Sarah Gilbert Johnson: A Trip to Kansas, A Step Forward, March 2007

The Lost Families–Part II, September 2006


2 Responses to “Grand Genealogy Journey: My Kansas City Families”

  • Ciera says:

    Excuse me I meant I meant to put that Ora Mae Wilkerson is my grandmother mother sorry I had names mixed up I spoke wit her this morning and read what I found to her and she said this is correct so please contact me if anyone gets this at my email please

  • Ciera says:

    Hello my name is Ciera Donald I am the granddaughter of Sylvia Gines now Jones she is the daughter of Henry Gines and Sarah Wilkerson I was looking for some family history and come upon this please contact me at the email sent if u want to know more info Sylvia is the only living sibling left of her brothers the twins uncle bill and uncle frank. Thanks!!

September 2010
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