I moved on to researching Rona Bell Owens after hitting a brick wall on her brother, James Dular Owens. I had hoped that Rona would be an easier research subject than the rest of her family had proven to be, but that just wasn’t the case.
My first research encounter with “Aunt Roney” occurred when I discovered her in the 1910 and 1920 Randolph County census records living with her parents and brothers. I used these records to give her an approximate birth year of 1907. Unfortunately, she was born before birth certificates were mandatory in the state of North Carolina and I did not know her married surname in order to search for her death certificate. It was around the same time I hit this minor roadblock that I took a trip to Flemington-Oak Grove Cemetery in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina to look for the burial sites of Rona’s dad and brothers. I never found markers for her relatives, but I did find one for Rona.
According to Aunt Roney’s tombstone, she had married a Pankey. I was able to use this information along with her dates of birth and death to track down her death certificate at the New Hanover County Register of Deeds. Aunt Roney’s death certificate confirmed she was born to Calvin Wesley Owens and Sarah Jane Williamson in North Carolina. I took note of her husband’s name, Daniel James Pankey – knowing I would need it to locate a marriage record for the couple. I also noted that her date of birth is listed as 8 Feb 1908 rather than 1907. The record further told me that Aunt Roney died on 4 Jan 1958 at James Walker Memorial Hospital from cancer of the uterus and she was buried on 6 Jan 1958 at Oak Grove Cemetery.
After finding the name of Aunt Roney’s husband, I threw myself into trying to find a marriage record for the couple. I have been looking for these records for years and my searches continue to be fruitless. My next hope was that I’d be able to confirm their marriage through census records. However, nothing is ever as easy as we’d like for it to be and I have not yet located my Aunt Roney and Uncle Dan in census records as a married couple. Luckily, I was able to confirm their marriage and their movement over the twenty year black out period created by lack of census and marriage records, by tracking down the birth records of their children. The birth records indicate that the couple moved from Richmond County to Anson County and back before finally settling in New Hanover County around 1941.
I currently have no further information to share on Aunt Roney, but I am still looking. If anyone has anything they are willing to share, please contact me.