My Father Search Series update: Meet my grandmother Queen Ester Carter

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”--The Alchemist quote

I am still overjoyed by the flood of support from you and others as I continue this intriguing journey in search of the family of my biological father. The response to my Father's Day blog on HoustonBelief.com has been overwhelming and inspirational. The exclusive cover interview I did with Hurt 2 Healing magazine for their June edition has received just as much love. (You can still own a copy by clicking here)

Both have become the wind pushing me to find any of my relatives connected to my deceased biological father Joe McCray. Last week I went to one of the Houston Health & Human Services offices to obtain his death certificate. They would not give it to me because I lacked certain background information about him. I admit I got slightly discouraged but not defeated.

A friend suggested I call the Houston Chronicle and see if they would have his death on file in their obituaries. I called and the representative on the phone told me they have an advanced search online but it only goes back to 1989. One problem, my father died in 1988. "Are you serious?” I thought. The person on the phone then suggested I go to the public library and search through the newspaper's microfilms for it.

I went to the library and I obtain more than that!

I went to the genealogy department of that particular library and was granted access to their AncestryLibrary.com account. Good thing I still have an active library card because I had to use it to login in. (smile) I ended up being there for nearly two hours.

The librarian assisted me in finding out the exact date my father was born. In that search we would discover the names of two persons who could be my grandmother and grandfather. Yes! Then we found out I possibly have two uncles. Yes!

To be sure, I wanted to run the names of the persons by my mother to see if it would jog her memory, because she had yet to remember any of their names.

I called my mother and said "Does the name Queen Ester Carter ring a bell?"

Her response was "Uhm that name sounds familiar. Where do I know that name from?"

I said, "I believe that would be the name of my grandmother."

She said, "Oh My God...Yes! That is her name."

It was verified. My grandmother is Queen Ester Carter who passed away in 1999 according to death index records. The above photo of her with three of my siblings was taken years before I was born. My mother found it, scanned it and emailed it to me. That's her. Look at that beautiful dark-skinned woman!

According to birth index records and vital statistics, my grandfather’s name is Joe McCray, Sr. My two uncle’s names are Larry and Curly. So if you include my father’s name that would make them Larry, Curly and Joe! Yes, similar to the three stooges. LOL! My mother remembered meeting both of them and she recalled one of them being named Larry. Here is a picture of my father (right) and one of my uncles below.

Further research shows that my grandfather and uncles are still alive and I was able to find the last address that my grandmother resided at the year she passed.

I have much more to share and I am a few more steps closer.

Allah-Willing, I will keep you updated after my next moves.

(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad further on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook)


  1. Wow, youve done really well on your search so far - congrats! I wish you nothing but luck in your future searches.

    I am going to be doing a genealogy/photography project soon, and Im going to be posting some of my results on my blog soon, so please come by and check it out!

  2. Be blessed brother I'm so happy for u!

  3. "Both have become the wind pushing me to find any of my relatives connected to my deceased biological father Joe McCray."

    He continues through our Brother Jesse, when one dies, those of his seeds still remains, thus we continue, and we see them again. :)

  4. “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” What a beautiful quote...and seems so fitting for the successes you have had on this journey thus far. I wish you continued support and blessings on this quest. Your strength and tenacity is inspiring!

  5. Brother Jesse, I, too, am interested in learning more about my ancestry. In your above piece you mentioned that you were able to use the libraries ancestry account...was there a fee to use their account? Is it a common practice for libraries to let patrons use that? Think I'll be paying a visit to the library on Monday...smile
    Thanks for sharing your story...it's definitely helping others in their journey...including me!:-) Peace, Sister Kadara (Rochester, NY)

  6. @LolaGets Thank you for the comment and I will be sure to follow your blog updates on your journey!

    @MissCarter Be blessed as well and thank you

    @Cliff I appreciate that.

    @Cheymarlymom Thank you for your continued support! I am blessed to have met you via Twitter.

  7. @SisterKadara

    I am happy you have the same desire! To answer your questions, no maam there was no fee to use the services, all I needed was an active library card. The only thing I paid for was to print the documents out. According to the library I was at, these services are open to the public upon request so I hope you have the same access in Rochester.

    Let me know how I can be of assistance in any way else!! Best wishes.

  8. Yoke: Amen... You are really Blessed !!


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