Sunday, December 23, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 52

Week 52: Personal Genealogy Website. For which private genealogy website are you most grateful? Who runs the site? How has it helped your family history research? Share the link to the site as well as its highlights as a way to say thanks to those behind the scenes.

The genealogy site of Linda Sparks Starr was the first that site that I thought of:
Colonial Virginia Connections

I consider Linda a fellow researcher and a friend.  We were almost kin.  My 3 great grandfather was once married to one of her ancestors, so I guess we are step-kin.  My husband and I both had assorted colonial Virginia ancestors and the research that Linda has gathered together on this website has been very helpful to me and if you have colonial Virginia ancestors, you should probably take a look around the site.

Hey - I made it!  The whole 52 weeks!  Sort of a challenge to myself.  I plan for my posts to take a different path in the new year, but I feel really good that I was able to persevere and complete the year's 52 prompts.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 51

Week 51: States and Provinces. What is your favorite state or province for genealogical research? Who is most generous with their records? How has this helped your family history research? Share with others your tips and tricks for researching in this location.

The answer depends on where in that particular state I most need to research.  Virginia counties have a wealth of information, or practically none at all.  Pretty much feast or famine.  The counties that do have extant records usually have a wealth of tax, land, court, and probate records, most of them filmed by LDS.   The Library of Virginia website has access to so much free digital content - the land records and many Bible records, and now many of the chancery court records.  The Parish records that exist and many of the other records have been transcribed and abstracted and can be found in print in many genealogical libraries. Therefore, Virginia would be my pick - when it's not a "burned" county. Unfortunately I had family that lived in those, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 50

Week 50: Genealogy Database. Which individual database has been most helpful in your genealogy research and why? Is this database available for free or is it behind a subscription wall? What does this database include and how can it benefit other genealogy researchers?

Until recently, I would have to admit that Ancestry with its census record would have to qualify as the most useful.  FamilySearch has added so much now, and unlike Ancestry, provides the data free of charge.   I honestly couldn't do without either of them.  Both sites have such a wide range of materials and are made of such divergent databases, that something is there for nearly everyone.  The online opportunities for research have expanded so much in the last ten years, I don't believe anyone could limit their research to a single database.

Monday, December 3, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 49

Week 49: Research Location. Which genealogy research location or city brings a smile to your face? What makes this place special to you? What family history treasures does it hold for you? Why should others visit this place? 

I'd just like to daydream about a place I'd like to go to research and have never been. Russellville, Kentucky in Logan County was a place my husband's ancestors frequented for many years. They lived out side of town on the Black Lick Fork of the Gasper River. There were many second cousins and families that had also come to Logan County from Virginia just around the beginning of the 19th century. I have read so many deeds, court records, wills, and tax records about these families that I sometimes think I might recognize some of them walking down the street. I know the local genealogical society maintains a library near the courthouse. Oh, I'd love to poke around in their files and visit that courthouse!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 48

Week 48: Genealogy Society Member. Genealogy society members are a vital part of the family history community. We’ve made many acquaintances this way and we all benefit from their friendship, support and expertise. Share with us a genealogy society member that has left a memorable impression on you.

Unfortunately my own experience with local societies has been less than stellar.  However, I can honor a gentleman that I feel has contributed to his own local society for beyond the norm.  I have a friend who was married to a distant cousin.  He has been a longtime member of his local society and volunteers to research all inquiries that come to the society.  In his city he has both his society's library and a good public library and he visits both to answer the inquiries to the best of his ability.  He has spent untold hours helping others.

I have had similar experiences writing to societies far distant from where I live.  I have been so grateful to those individuals who have taken the time to search and copy records for me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My RootsMagic - New Place to Publish Your Family History

I downloaded my RootsMagice Version 6 update the day it was announced available.  I've used this software since it first came out - and used its predecessor, Family Origins.  I couldn't wait to try out the new publishing online feature.  So while I was waiting to go to my daughter's for Thanksgiving Dinner, I decided to give it a try.

The publishing feature was quick, efficient, and produces a very nice website.  Not all events publish and I noticed that sources attached to the person rather than an individual event, are not available.  I particularly liked the fact that my color coding of family lines transferred to the website.

There is no way to search other sites uploaded for My RootsMagic.  You can only view the sites if you have the URL.  Very different from most family tree websites.  Depending on your goal he uploading the website, this could be desirable, or not.  That feature certainly adds a measure of privacy.  I'm sure that if the URL to your site was published anywhere on the Interest, search engines could pick it up.

I'm sure I will be making changes - it's so easy to just re-upload, although you can make no changes on the actual website.  There is a file size limit, but I could have added much more.  I don't have many attached photos but I'm sure that would affect the file size considerably.

I suspect RootsMagic will also be making changes and adjustments over times.

I have had a web presence for over a decade, so I don't mind sharing the URL to the new site, if you'd like to take a look!

Our Family

Sunday, November 18, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 47

Week 47: Small Genealogy Vendors. Which small genealogy vendor is your favorite one to see at genealogy conferences? What does this vendor offer to the genealogy community? Why do you like visiting this vendor in the exhibit hall? Share web site links or contact information for this vendor so others can benefit from their products.

Oh, I don't want to call her a "small" Vendor.  To me, her contributions are quite large within the genealogy community.  My favorite among the smaller booths is Lisa Louise Cooke and her Genealogy Gems booth.  She offers so much to us through her podcasts and her down to earth research help books. If she's not there to greet you with a smile, perhaps her daughter will be.  Her classes and workshops are always excellent.  She has recently updated her webpage and you can find everything she does right there.
Genealogy Gems

Sunday, November 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 46

Week 46: Large Genealogy Vendors. Which big genealogy vendor is your favorite one to see at conferences? What does this vendor offer the genealogy community? Why do you like visiting this vendor in the exhibit hall?

I like them all.  The exhibit hall is my favorite part of conferences.  I honestly really don't buy much, but I certainly look around and ask a lot of questions.  My favorites are those that have drawings, neat giveaway items and something hands-on to do while you visit their booth.  That would include, I think, all of those meant by "big genealogy vendor" in this prompt.  FamilySearch.  Ancestry.  FindMyPast.  Those three are the ones I think of first.  I like the fact that they have people present to answer questions and perhaps show you a new trick or two.

But, then, the smaller vendors - the booksellers, the software vendors - can be very helpful if you have questions about their products.  There are very few booths I pass by - the exhibit hall is just plain fun!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 45

Week 45: Genealogy Speakers. Which genealogy speaker has left the biggest impression on you? What is it about that speaker that you like the most? What is his or her general focus? Does this person speak at regional or national conferences? Share why other genealogists should attend this speaker’s sessions.

I would have to say Elizabeth Shown Mills is my favorite.  She is always prepared, concise, and speaks directly to her topic - a professional in every possible way.  She could probably lecture on any genealogy topic but is best known for her emphasis on citing sources.  I particularly enjoy her sessions regrading researching men of the same name and other frequently encountered but often difficult research problems. I have had her as my instructor at IGHR in Birmingham and always attend her lectures at national conferences.  I have heard some of her sessions more than once and would listen to them again at any given opportunity.  Why I think others should attend her session?  Because, quite simply, she is the best of the best the genealogy world has to offer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 44

Week 44: Genealogy Conferences. What was your best genealogy conference experience? Why is it so memorable in your mind? Who hosted the event? What did you learn from this experience? How does it impact your genealogy research today?

RootsTech 2012!   The energy of this conference is definitely a notch above any other conference I've attended.  Perfect blend of genealogy and technology.  And to add to the excitement is the fact it is in Salt Lake City near the Family History Library.  Conferences inspire me to keep learning, not to even imagine I've found all the records of my ancestors, and to keep trying to break through those brick walls. Since it's scheduled for March in 2013 I won't be able to attend again.  Bummer.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 43

Week 43: Memorable Genealogy Moment. Think back to when you first started researching your family history. Is there a memorable early genealogy moment that stands out in your mind? Describe this event or discovery and how it impacted your research going forward.

In 1992, I had the task of cleaning out my in-law's house after they had both passed away.  Their sons worked full time - they had lived in the house over 40 years.  Things came in, nothing much had ever gone out, since they moved in.  In a desk drawer, I found a large brown envelope with a return address in Ladonia, Texas, where both my mother-in law and father-in-law had been born and it had a post mark from the 1970's.  When I looked inside, it contained information on the Wishard families - the family of my father-in-law's maternal grandmother, along with a request for information on the current family of my in-laws.

I had been thinking about doing some family research as I had a book on my mother's family and had always wondered how much of it was correct. The material in the envelope was really interesting but only had the Wishards back a few generations, along with a rather fanciful story of how they arrived in America.  The story of the early generations and the facts on the more current generations did not meet in the middle.  I love solving puzzles and certainly this qualified.

I decided to try and get in touch with the person whose name was inscribed therein and whose address was on the envelope.  I knew that not much changed in the small town of Ladonia, so I just called information and got the number of the first person with that surname.  The gentleman who answered the phone was the son of the lady who had prepared the envelope of materials.  He told me she was in a nursing home, in bad health, but mentally alert, and he was sure she'd like to know I was interested in the family history.

A few days later, I received a return phone call.  Not only was my researcher thrilled to know someone else was interested in knowing more about the Wishards and trying to continue the research, but she had directed her son to mail me additional information she had compiled during the intervening twenty years.  No one in her immediate family had any interest.

I believe finding the envelope and being able to make contact, was the beginning of how I've spent much of my time over the past twenty years.  I was able to connect the generations and document the Wishards back to the immigrant although there's still a great deal of doubt about his story. My benefactor died only a few months after I contacted her son.  Finding that big brown envelope was definitely my first genealogy serendipity.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 42

Week 42: Biggest Genealogy Accomplishment. What do you feel is your biggest genealogy accomplishment? What were the steps you took to get there, and what was the end result?

I can't say that I've had a "big" genealogy accomplishment.  Putting together my family tree has been a step-by-step and day-by-day endeavor. I've had multiple thrilling moments when I was able to hold an original document in my hand in an archives. I've had those gratifying moments when the genealogy-technogical world collided and I was able to get that report I wanted out of my software, or upload my webpage and it both looked and functioned as I intended.  I've broken through minor brick walls, but often that was done either with the aid of new-found genealogy Internet friend or genealogy work that had been done previously. Collaboration with other researchers has helped sort out some difficult problems when earlier faulty research had led us down the wrong path.  I've been very happy to have helped others connect to their families or to  helped them find records they did not know existed.  It could be that my biggest accomplishment was the day I decided to start this journey and see what I could find out about my family!  I discovered my passion which has enriched my life in so many ways.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 41

Week 41: Past Genealogy Resources. Nothing good lasts forever and that is definitely true in family history. Think of all the genealogy tools, magazines or websites that no longer exist. Which one stands out in your mind and why? Are there still archives of this tool that can be accessed by the public? Share any information you may have.

I am very sad that The Maybury Family newsletter ceased publication with the Fall, 2011 issue.  The newletters had been published by Don Collins since 1995 and have been of help to me in my own personal research of my Maybury/Mabry/Mayberry lineage, but has been very interesting and sometimes fun to read.

The website is The Maybury Family and there is a link on that page to the email address for Don Collins, as well as many other links to the research of this family and the Y-DNA project.  At the time he ceased publication of The Maybury Family, Mr. Collins was hopeful that he could combine all the newsletters on a searchable CD.  If such an event happens, and I certainly hope it does, an announcement should appear on the webpage.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 40

Week 40: Wild Card.
Is there something for which you are thankful that has not been discussed yet? Share your genealogical abundance on a personal level. How does this person/item/group/memory or other entity impact your family history?

I am the family secret - the skeleton in the closet, if you will.  The details of my birth and my father were obscured from view for the first fifty years of my life.  Oh I did know that my mother was married twice and that my stepfather had adopted me and they had my name changed - I knew all about the tip of the iceberg.

But the desire to uncover what lay below the surface is what sent me full throttle down the genealogical research path.  Little did I know how my life would be enriched by the journey - how many wonderful friends I'd make, how much history I'd learn, how many places I'd go, and that I would ultimately come to know a great deal about that other half of my family.

Of course once hooked on family research, there's no stop sign.  I have researched not only my birth father's families, but those of my mother. Then on to the families of my stepfather, but he was adopted and so there is his adoptive family and his birth family to work on for my half siblings' benefit. And my husband's kin needed proper attention so my children would know that side of their heritage. And my son-in-law's father's family because his dad asked me if I ever ran across his surname...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 39

Week 39: Society Journal or Quarterly. Share with us your favorite genealogy society journal or quarterly publication. How long have you been reading it? Which group publishes it? Why is this publication one of your favorites? How has is helped you research your family history?

This is another one of those situations where I could never choose just one. I always enjoy a good case history and someone else's success!  Their journey is often helpful regarding methodology and possible obscure sources.

I have been receiving The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, since the mid 1990's.  I have considerable New England heritage and there have been articles published during that time of subscription that dealt directly with one of my families, or perhaps illuminated a location where they lived.  If you are a member of NEHGS, the back issues of the Register are all online and searchable from their main search engine using the advanced search at American Ancestors.

I have also been a subscriber of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly - for probably almost as many years.  There is a searchable index on their website (for members of NGS) for articles in the Quarterly since 1912, as well as pdf copies of each Quarterly since 1982.  NGSQ publishes special issues from time to time - my two favorites were Evidence, Volume 87, No. 3, September 1999, with the highlighted article Working with Historical Evidence: Genealogical Principles and Standards", by Elizabeth Shown Mills, and
Jefferson-Hemings, Volume 89, No. 3, September 2001, containing the article, "Sally Hemings's Children:  a Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence" by Helen F. M. Leary.  I've had the joy of sitting in classrooms with both of these ladies at IGHR (Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research), Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.

On a more personal level and directly related to research of one of my husband's families is the Frey Family Association Journal, published by the Heinrich Frey Family Association.  The surname is found most often now as Frye or Fry. Jon Frye has been the editor of the Journal since July of 1992.  It has been published at least twice a year, although some years there were quarterly issues; I have a copy of every issue. The articles are of course, pertinent only to the immigrant, Heinrich Frey and his descendants, but are of the highest quality compared to other family association journals I've read.  Many errors in past research have been revealed, as well as new branches of the family discovered.  Anyone who researches this family would find the Journal a necessity to sort out the many faulty family trees published online [so many Frey/Frye/Fry gentlemen with the same given names have been confused], as well as understand some of the imaginative early "traditions" about Heinrich Frey that weren't quite true.  My own research of my husband's Fry lineage can be found here - many of the references in the narratives will be from this publication.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 38

Week 38: Funny Ancestor Stories. Tell us a funny ancestor story that stands out in your mind. When did you first hear the story? Do other family members tell different versions? Does this tale play a large part in your family tree?

I hadn't forgotten this week's assignment.  I'm just stuck.  Apparently my family isn't very funny!  We have the usual Indian heritage story, the three brothers story - all the common genealogical myths.  We have stories that aren't funny but have been passed down in assorted versions depending on who was doing the telling.

We do all struggle with the various forms and spellings of our ancestors names. Sometimes we aren't sure of the spelling, or the nickname, or even which was a first name and which was the middle name.  Some of our ancestors even changed their names with no legal process, apparently just a change of mind.  Or maybe relatives didn't really know what the name was.  This may not just be a problem of the past.

Thanksgiving of 1999, my husband and I went back "home" to help my Mom cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for her three visiting brothers.  The siblings, all in their late 70's, early 80's, had not all been together for several years and weren't sure they would ever be again.  [Sadly, they were not.]

Now my Mom's given names were Josie Ellen.  Her grandmother's were Josie Hays and Ellen Comstock and she had been named for them, but all her life she had gone by the blended name, JoEllen.

I was there mostly to be the chief cook but I had brought my laptop so I could show Mom and my uncles some of the genealogy I'd been working on.  

My laptop itself was an alien object in this particular gathering, but one of my uncles got close enough to look over my shoulder and tell me, "You've got your mother's name wrong!"  To which I replied that was most assuredly her name.  Now I had everyone's attention as I told them her name was Josie Ellen.  She was nodding and agreeing with me.  Her own brothers sat right there and told me that, no, her name was JoEllen and that they had always teased her by calling her "Josie" because it made her mad.  But it wasn't really her name - her name was certainly just JoEllen.

Mom and I spent considerable time explaining how she had been named for her grandmothers and that her name really, really, was Josie Ellen.  I'm not sure they were ever completely convinced.  There is a delayed birth certificate filed for her, but at that time I had not obtained a copy.  Her parents put the name Josie Ellen on that document.  But I'm not sure that would have been any more convincing.  Of course Mom always knew that was her full name - I had known that was her name since the beginning of my memories.  It was hardly a family secret.  How could three brothers growing up with her have missed that!

No wonder sometimes we are confused about named two centuries ago! Their contemporaries probably were, too.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 37

Week 37: State Archives. Which state archives repository is your favorite? Have you been there in person? What does their website offer to visitors? Share any advice you can to potential visitors who may visit the archives in the future.

The state archives that I've visited most often is the Alabama Archives in Montgomery.  I used to live about 15 miles north of that city and spent a number of hours in the Archives.  However, I moved away in 2004 and had not been back until last week.  On the Tuesday before the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) Conference in Birmingham, I took the time to spend a morning at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  I knew when I moved away, a new wing had been planned for the building, but I had never been able to see it.  Oh my!  What a wonderful facility. Everything is much, much easier to access now.  Sorry, I didn't take a photo!

I recommend you visit their website, link above, to discover what is available.  You will find links to their online databases, the county holdings, the form and instructions for requests by mail, their hours and location.  If you can visit in person, it is always best to prepare a list ahead of time for film or books you wish to see - the catalog is available online.  There was plenty of free parking in a lot across the street.  You will be able to take a laptop inside, but not in its case; also only a single file folder/notebook and pencils are allowed.  You might like to have a sweater or light jacket. Lockers are available and readily accessible for your belongings.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 36

Week 36: Ancestor Photos. For which ancestral photograph are you most grateful? Who is in the photo and how did you acquire it? Why does the photo hold a special place in your heart?

I'm late again, but I'm hanging in there with this year-long project. Had to unpack from my trip to FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) in Birmingham and a side trip to visit to my granddaughters at Mississippi State University. 

My great-grandmother lived to be 97 - I had my first child before she died so I knew her well.  She lost a daughter.  Lelia Ethel was born 18 Nov 1890 in Crawford County, Arkansas - she died at age thirteen, 12 Feb 1904. I was always told she died of an abscess in her side - whatever that might mean. As far as I can determine no death certificate was filed. Lelia was the 4th child in the family.  Grandma's first child - another daughter named Dora - had died soon after birth, but she always told me you didn't grieve for a baby who died so young like you did for a child you raised.  Grandma kept a portrait of Lelia in her bedroom and as a young girl, I was fascinated with this other young girl who never got to grow up.  The picture was likely made shortly before Lelia died.  I've never known what happened to the portrait after Grandma died and her house was sold.  I never expected to see a picture of Lelia again.

However, my Mom had lots of pictures that had belonged to her parents - Lelia had been a sister to her father.  One day in going through a box of old photos we found the following picture - grainy and faded but recognizable.
The couple is James Monroe Comstock (1860-1928) and his wife Lucretia Ellen Wood (1867-1963), my great grandparents.  Left to right the Comstock children are Ira Vard (1892-1968), Kenney Marcus - my grandfather in the bow tie - (1887-1958), Nora Hessa (1889-1973).  And standing to the outside of her mother is LELIA.  The youngest child in the center is Fanny Maude (1894-1988) who later lived with Grandma and took care of her.  She's probably about three - so that dates the picture as made about 1897-98.  There would be four more children in the family.

Lelia is buried in the Uniontown City Cemetery in Crawford County, Arkansas.  On her stone is 
"Her many deeds of kindness form the noblest monument to her memory"

And here is what appeared in the local newspaper:
From Van Buren Argus, 9 Mar 1904:
Lelia Comstock, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. M. Comstock, died February 12, 1904.  Aged 13 years.
While we mourn the loss of her sweet face, we rejoice that she has joined the angelic choir, and has left her earthly tabernacle to dwell in the house not made by hands.
Lelia confessed her faith in Christ September 3, 1902, and was baptized on September 7th.  She was a faithful member until death, and now the tired little soul, which has been afflicted for several years, but clung tenaciously to the promise of God, is now safe in the realms of bliss, where earthly sufferings are forgotten in the everlasting joys of Heaven.
J.J.H., Chairman Secretary, Uniontown, Ark.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More about FGS Conference

Those of us who blog and attend conferences usually receive and wear our Blogger Beads distributed by Thomas MacEntee.  The FGS [Federation of Genealogical Societies] Conference beads from Thomas were complimentary of Dear Myrtle.  They are a conversation starter!  When I return home, they will hang on a door knob with Blogger Beads from past conferences.  They'll be ready if I should ever attend Mardi Gras!

I was asked yesterday if I'd been blogging about the Conference ...and I had to reply that I had, but only once.  So my conscience is nagging me.

Too busy, having too much fun.  And a little brain dead from all the new information.  Best class?  All of them.  Last night - Friday night - was the big drawing of door prizes.  Really good door prizes like a registration to FGS next year in Fort Wayne, an iPad, six nights in Salt Lake City, a research trip worth $2500..  I didn't win.  No, I did not.

But I did become an arbitrator for FamilySearch indexing.  So I'll be arbitrating as well as indexing.  FamilySearch has computers set up to introduce indexing - each completed batch was a chance for a FlipPal at the drawing last night.  Their new big project is the immigration and naturalization records.

Today, Saturday September 1st, is the last day of class, last day of the Exhibit Hall.  Dick Eastman will host his EOGN dinner tonight.  There is a farewell Brunch tomorrow for those of us still around.  It's been a very fast week.

Then I'm off for a side trip to visit my two granddaughters at their University before I head for home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FGS 2012 in Birmingham

Serendipity.  The most recent weekly assignment for Abundant Genealogy was about the contacts we make and the impact that contact has on our on research.  And now this is the week of the FGS 2012 Conference in Birmingham.  And I am here.  What a perfect way to make new contacts and see your friends!

Tonight - Tuesday, Sept 28th - before the actual opening of the Conference, FamilySearch hosted a dinner and a bit of a news and status update for those of us who are Bloggers.  What a delightful evening!  I know many pictures were taken and there will be blogs that tell you all the details and many of the facts related during the brief presentation.

I just want to say this.  Thank you, FamilySearch.  For so much. For tonight's dinner, fellowship and the really neat gift.  For coordinating the 1940 indexing and bringing the whole project in ahead of time - there is no other organization that could have done so.  For your many research-help classes.  For the ever growing Wiki.  For RootsTech [oh how much fun that is!]  For microfilming and now digitizing those millions of records from past years.  For all the ongoing planning to preserve and digitize records world-wide, and make those records available to all of us.

We can give back.  165,000 volunteers helped index the 1940 census - that has dropped to about 50,000 that are now indexing the Immigration records.  Where did you go?  Just help when you can - every single name indexed is someone's family member.   FamilySearch is now accepting volunteers to help digitize the records and they can work on local projects.  Volunteers can add to the information on the Wiki.  As the Family Tree comes online - and yes, it will - there will be a need for volunteers to correct and improve the data.  We can all help - that's how we can show our gratitude for all that FamilySearch has done for the genealogy community.

If you are not attending this week, I can only say, "I wish you were here!"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 35

Week 35: Genealogy Friends.
Genealogy friends are wonderful people. Don’t you agree? Tell us about a genealogy friend in your life. How did you meet? Do you share any common ancestors or research interests?

I do agree. I'd say I have Abundant genealogy friends.  I have met them in many ways - at conferences, on message boards, from my blog and website, researching at libraries.  One of my genealogy friends was a volunteer at the local Family History Center - we saw each other weekly and realized we were working on family at some of the same places in the same time period.  I found one of her ancestors while researching my own - at a time and place she had "lost" him. That find helped her to prove his Revolutionary service. We always thought we might find a kinship, or that she might be related to my husband, but no connection was ever revealed. We are positive our ancestors were acquainted.

The most fun we had, were the days we'd travel to a nearby city where there was a large genealogy library.  We would meet and leave early enough to be at the door when the library opened.  We packed a lunch so we could run to the car and eat instead of wasting our research time at a restaurant. Took all of 20 minutes.  She still had a teen-ager in school, so usually she had a time to be back home.  We had the drive timed perfectly so we could research until the last possible moment.  The drive was about an hour and a half so we  discussed our findings of the day, all the way home.

We also attended IGHR at Samford University in Birmingham and roomed together several times.  We shared every night and it was almost like being able to take two simultaneous courses!

Unfortunately life got in the way and I had to move and our research frenzies came to an end.  If we were together today, I'm sure we'd take up exactly where we left off - describing the latest finds and picking each other's brains for ideas!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 34

Week 34: Genealogy Challenges.
Which genealogy challenge has given you the best sense of accomplishment? What was the research problem you had to hurdle? What steps did you take that led to success? Do you have any words of encouragement for others who are facing their own genealogy challenges?

Oh, I'm late this week!  But it is because I couldn't think of a single challenge.  Sometimes very small successes - that one single record - brings on the genealogy happy dance.  I've been extremely fortunate that there have been many other researchers of most of the family lines of both me and my husband's ancestry and I've been able to further expand on that work.  I've found many online friends (even distant cousins) and we've been able to collaborate and piece together our families, correct old research errors, and find previously unseen records.

I do still have those brick walls I'd like to climb over, but I can say that I have knocked down a few and I'm happy to say that I have actually knocked down a wall or two for other people researching their families when they discovered my website.

My words of encouragement would be to persevere - sometimes you might have to lay your research aside for awhile and take another look later.  But don't give up.  Be patient.  You will sometimes have to dig through a lot of courthouse records and look at many rolls of microfilm.  Really, folks, it isn't all on the Internet.  I have been absolutely amazed at times when I found that record that had been there all along and it was very obvious that other researchers had not found it ...because there was the proof in black and white, just waiting to be found.

Many of my problems have been solved when I was willing to take a broader look at an ancestor - that FAN stuff.  Look at the other Family members, the Associates, the Neighbors for clues.

Just one word of warning.  It can be very exciting to find a new connection, but please be sure it is the correct connection.  Be sure that really is your family!

Monday, August 13, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 33

Week 33: Ancestor Legend.
What is your favorite ancestral legend or family lore? Who originally told the story and what was the claim? Have you been able to prove the story true or false? What steps did you take to do so?

We had the usual Indian princess story.  Well, she wasn't exactly represented as a princess - just that one of the grandfathers in the chain had a mother who was half-Indian.  We never knew exactly where - although at one time my granddad sat and figure for awhile and then told me thought he was perhaps 1/8th Indian so my mother was 1/16th and I would be 1/32nd.  Choctaw.  If my granddad was 1/8th Indian then the generation of the full-blood would have been his great-grandfather or great-grandmother. Hints were that my grandfather's grandfather, Elijah "Tom" Comstock was the carrier of the Indian blood.

Once I began the genealogical journey, I realized that the story just didn't work.  If Tom's mother was "half Indian" as the story went, the full-blood Indian would have been back another generation and my granddad would have been 1/16th, not 1/8th.  But there was a bigger problem.  Tom's parents are well identified.  The Comstock line is just about as English as it's possible to be - descendants carry the most common Haplogroup found in the British Isles - the Atlantic Modal Haplotype.  His mother was Nancy Goodman - the most likely candidates for her parents were an Abraham & Nancy Goodman living in Maury County, Tennessee in the early 1800's. This isn't carved in stone, but they are the only viable candidates in that time and place.  Nancy Goodman had married her Comstock husband, Ephraim, in Maury Co in 1823.

Nancy Goodman had also been wrongly identified in some of the family genealogies as being from Graves County, Kentucky - the grain of truth is that some of her probable siblings lived later in Graves County, 1850's and later.  But Nancy never lived in Kentucky.  And the likelihood of her being of Indian heritage seems remote - by scant evidence, the Goodmans had arrived in Tennessee via North, then South, Carolina. The only census when Nancy Comstock appeared under her own name was 1850 and she did indeed state she was born in South Carolina.  Goodman is a very common name among British Isle folks.

The claim of Choctaw heritage didn't fit the above locations too well, not for Nancy, nor for her probable parents - they were primarily located in Mississippi.   This added to the puzzlement...  

I've had autosomal DNA testing done by both FamilyTree DNA and 23andMe.   If there was ever a single drop of Indian DNA in my body, it's gone.  I've found paper trail + DNA matches all over my family tree - some as far back as 8th and 9th cousins.  It seems unlikely that every trace of Indian DNA would have disappeared, but I'm told it could happen.

What I did discover is this, which may have influenced the family "tradition". One of my 4th great grandmothers, gg grandmother of the maternal grandfather who furnished the Indian heritage story, was Dorothy Amos Poindexter (1805-1846) whose younger brother Micajah did indeed marry a Cherokee lady in Kentucky by whom he had two sons before her untimely death.  Grandsons and great-grandsons were enrolled in Oklahoma and rightly so - because of the area where they were living they were included on the Choctaw rolls, even though they were Cherokee.  Some of Micajah's Indian descendants were denied because they claimed through a later wife and through Micajah's mother, neither of whom were Indian - they were apparently unaware of the true identity of Micajah's first wife.

Over 800 members of the vast Poindexter family applied for Indian rights but most were refused as most of the other lines could not prove their descent. Their confused and confusing testimony is an amazing read as few could even agree on the same Indian connection in the same generation.  Much of this testimony can be found on Fold3, the Guion Miller Rolls and the 1896 Dawes Applications.

I don't believe that the Indian story originated with my Granddad, although he seemed very proud of it.  It's well known in the family that old Elijah "Tom" Comstock loved to tell a good story and there does exist a letter by one of his wife's sisters claiming that Tom Comstock was said to be "part Indian".  Old Tom lived long enough to have told the story to his grandson [my Granddad].  I very much suspect the story originated with Tom.  I also believe the story actually applied to Micajah Poindexter's family - Tom may very well have "borrowed" it - he also may have been simply one of the carriers of the various Indian stories that seemed to proliferate throughout the Poindexter descendants.

I am convinced that it is all just a bedtime story.  We have no Indian heritage.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 32

Week 32: Family Memories. Records are the backbone of genealogy, but memories are the glue that hold our history together. For which memory of a loved one are you most thankful? Describe that moment in time, answering the who/what/when/where in the details. How did this memory impact your life and the way you approach family,

This is the hardest prompt so far.  Memories, oh my!  I was married 45 years before my husband passed away and his family was as dear to me as my own.  Many of our relatives lived well into their 80's, some into their 90's.  To isolate a single memory among so many seems impossible, but I do have a memory of my great grandmother that perhaps lit the flame of my desire to know much more about my family.

I used to go visit a great aunt and uncle for a week every summer.  She was my maternal grandmother's sister and he was my maternal grandfather's brother - they never had children of their own but were extra grandparents to my family.  They still lived in the town near where they were born and where his mother still lived with a widowed daughter.   I would always have a day to spend with Grandma and Aunt Maude at the old home, but mostly the time was spent with Grandma.

When I arrived, Grandma, then in her mid 80's, would be sitting at the kitchen table sipping her coffee from the saucer, not the cup.  This is an old country habit - a quick way to cool the coffee - pour it into the saucer and then drink  from the saucer.   She was the only person I ever saw actually do that and it was very fascinating to a 10-year-old whose own Mom would probably slap her away from the table if she dared drink from a saucer!

Now by age 10, I was already taller than my tiny great-grandmother who probably never weighed as much as 95 pounds.  Yet she had delivered eleven babies without benefit of hospitals - that was fascinating, too.

After Grandma finished her coffee, she would always take me back into the living room which was furnished in bits and pieces of furniture reminiscent of horse-hair Victorian and always very dark to keep out the Southern heat. She would take me to a picture on the wall.  It was a picture of her family about the time her first two grandchildren had been born and included her long dead husband, nine of her children, the spouses of the older children and the babies.  I was to tell her who each person in the picture was and how they were related.  As the majority of the people in the picture were still living and were still in that small town, or they trekked back home every April for Grandma's annual birthday party, this was easy to do.  I have a copy of that picture now and of course, none of them are living now. Honestly - it doesn't seem that was 60 years ago and counting.

Then Grandma would be ready for the rocking chair in the corner of her bedroom where she spent most of her days and tell me stories about her family.  Hanging on the wall across from her rocker where she could look at it often, was a portrait of her lovely daughter Lelia, who had died at age thirteen.  Other than her first newborn that lived only five days, that was her only deceased child.  Her first story was always to tell me about Lelia and how a mother could never recover from such a loss.

Grandma lived to be almost 97, although both her frail body and her mind failed her in the last years.  Maude lovingly cared for her there in her bedroom until she drew her last breath.  I think as a link to such a long-ago past along with the deep feeling of love and pride in her family, Grandma provided me with that burning desire to know more about all those who had gone before.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 31

Week 31: Cousins. One of the best experiences in family history is meeting with new cousins found through your research. Tell us about your favorite cousin meet-up. How did you discover each other? Where did you meet? What type of information was exchanged and how did it benefit your research?

In the early 1990's when I really had begun to research in depth, I found a second cousin via the Internet that I had never met:  Lucy Jane Hays. [I won't identify her married name here for the sake of privacy]  We share great-grandparents, John Jefferson Hays and Philena Josephine "Josie" Allen.  Her family had remained in Arkansas for much longer than mine had so I had so we had never crossed paths.  I had posted queries about the Hays family, particularly John Jefferson's parents, in several places, and Jane, as she preferred to be called, emailed me.  

The Internet was a new place in those days and we both had quirky dial-up connections.  But with persistence we were able to start a correspondence and combine our efforts in trying to unlock the mysteries of the parentage of John Jefferson's parents.  His father was Elias B. Hays [born in four different states according to various documents] and his mother Martha Frances Crutcher.  Elias's mother was the widowed Delitha Hays when we find the earliest records of the family and that's as far back as the story goes.  We believe Delitha was born in North Carolina and her son Elias most likely born in Tennessee, but they were in Tippah County, Mississippi by 1840. Twenty years later we still don't know anymore about Delitha's husband or Martha Frances's parents beyond the fact that her father might have been a Martin/Mastin Crutcher living in Tippah County at the same time..

I had lots of information about the Allen side of the family and Jane had all the data on her aunts and uncles and many cousins, as her Hays father had been one of a family of fifteen children.  We had great fun with the exchange of material as well as proceeding with the Hays family quest. Jane and her husband traveled to some of the locations involved as they lived nearer than I did; I was better at finding and dealing with the microfilmed records. We managed to uncover lots of data about the descendants of Elias and Martha Hays.  Jane's paternal grandmother's West family had come from Logan County, Kentucky where my husband's Hadens had lived and I was able to help Jane with that research some, too. I can remember when we could hardly wait to open each other's email to see what had been found.  We did get to meet in person, but only once.

Unfortunately Jane now suffers from Alzheimer's.  Her husband and loving caretaker, who has also been an avid researcher has attempted to continue the quest, but there have been no new leads for several years now.  The county in Mississippi where the Hays family was living by 1840, has had a major loss of records due to the Civil War and we just seem to be stuck there.  We did have a near Y-DNA match, but unfortunately that gentleman cannot go back in research as far as we can and we have been unable to get the respective families in the same state - so even technology isn't helping yet.

If you look at the labels on this Blog, you will seen the Hays Family link. You are welcome to read more about our Hays research there.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 30

Week 30: Genealogy Serendipity. Every genealogist has tales of surprise findings or coincidences when climbing the family tree. What is your most memorable serendipitous discovery? Did it involve ancestors in your tree, living folks or both? How did this surprise affect your research and does it still impact you today?

I already had a lot of information on my family tree when I began researching seriously and in depth, but almost nothing on my husband's family.  Helping to clean out his parents' home after they died and discovering some many interesting letters and documents, led me to really begin the journey.  Our families had arrived in Arkansas by very divergent paths.

As I delved deeper into the past, I discovered that our families had lived near each other in Missouri before the Civil War and that both had arrived there from Kentucky.  The trail led eventually led back to the same county - Goochland - in Virginia and the families had some of the same neighbors.  I often teased my husband that we were cousins.

His 4th great grandmother was Ann "Nancy" Johnson who married William Haden, 1775, Goochland, and recorded by the local Anglican minister, Rev. William Douglas - now transcribed in the book known as The Douglas Register.  She was baptized same place, so I also knew her parents names, Joseph Johnson and Sarah Harris.  In the baptism record she was listed as Ann - the marriage record had Nancy.  I had Haden family information showing either name.   A third party put me in touch with a longtime Johnson researcher who had considered the infant Ann to be a mystery - he wasn't sure she had lived to grow up.  I assured him she was the bride "Nancy" - he was little embarrassed to have missed that as he had noted the marriage record early in his research, likely before he knew Nancy was the common nickname for Ann.  He was thrilled to have this little problem solved.

However, the researcher also knew and shared the name of Ann Johnson's paternal grandmother - and had the paper trail - and she was Mary Pledge, wife of John Johnson.  As soon as I saw the Pledge surname I knew.  I was going to discover that I had married my distant cousin.  And I found it - Mary Pledge was a sister to my 7th great grandfather, William Pledge.

It's probably been 15 years since I made this connection.  My husband, my best friend, and my cousin and I were married 45 years before he passed away in 2004.  Sometimes I think this one find was worth every hour and every penny pored into genealogical research over the past 20 years!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 29

Week 29: Organizational Tools. Which organizational tool or tip is your favorite? How did you find it? How does this tool or tip assist in your family history research?

Sigh, I wish I had one.  Other than the organization found within my genealogy program - RootsMagic5 organization is sadly deficient.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 28

Week 28: Mistakes. Genealogy research mistakes are wonderful learning experiences. They can be blessings when they show you how to improve your genealogy research. Which genealogy research mistake in your past has provided the most benefit to your present? How did you discover the mistake and what steps did you take to correct it? Sharing about these experiences will help others who are figuring out their own ancestral paths.

There were two articles printed in a local newspaper that suggested my great-grandmother's brother Nat had stated his grandfather had been in the Revolution - and was Ethan Allen.  Nat Allen was a very old man and the time lapse didn't add up.  Allen is a very common name.  

I also had copies of an application for DAR that had never been mailed on this same line that indicated the Revolutionary ancestor was named Moses Allen of Dutchess County, New York - a place Ethan Allen had likely never been or certainly had never lived.  Using the old application, I obtained the proof documents on the generations of this family and discovered that the application was very correct.  

I also discovered that the genealogical society in the county where the newspaper articles had appeared had been mailing out to various persons who had inquired, that Ethan Allen was Nat Allen's ancestor and including copies of these newspaper articles.  So I sent them an article for their newsletter and copies of my research for their local files. 

I have blogged about this before and that blog can be read here:
Not Descended From Ethan Allen!

Monday, July 2, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 27

Week 27: Genealogy Publications. Genealogy publications are great for education and entertainment. Which one is your favorite? Who is the publisher? Why do you like this publication? How has it enhanced your own family history experience? Share any details you want potential readers to know about including features, articles, style, etc.

There are so many and I enjoy reading them all.  My very favorite is a family surname newsletter - one that is no longer being published.  Don Collins started a newsletter on the Mabry/Maybury/Mayberry [and other spellings!] family in 1995, published quarterly.  It was first titled The Mabry Family but was changed to the spelling The Maybury Family in 2005 after more about our English ancestors became evident.  Through the years Mr. Collins always printed interesting family stories and the progress of the Y-DNA study, keeping all of us up to date on new discoveries.  He has also published two books on the family.  Mr. Collins ceased publication of the newsletter with the Fall 2011 issue.  I miss it!   Some back issues can still be obtained by writing to Mr. Collins and he still maintains a webpage with Maybury family information:  The Maybury Family

Friday, June 29, 2012

Found Myself in the 1940 CENSUS

I was born 4 January 1940 so anticipated finding my little baby self in the 1940 census.  I had an address from my birth certificate in Nashville, Tennessee.  I used that address and Steve Morse's wonderful website and found the Enumeration District some weeks before the Census we released. I was already an indexer for FamilySearch so I thought I was good to go.

I manged to get on one of the websites late evening of April 2nd and went straight to that ED in Nashville - I found the address and it was obviously an apartment house.  Alas and alack!  My parents and I were not to be found. I could only conclude that perhaps they moved into a larger place to accommodate me.  Hoping it was nearby, I viewed every page of that ED, and the one before, and the one after it.  Nada, nothing.  Would have to wait for an index.

I have indexed some 8500 persons in the 1940 census to date.  Most of those in the state of Tennessee, but never did I download a page for Davidson County, or any part of Nashville.  I watched for any of the sites to post Tennessee with an index - I read several Blogs that follow the progress.  Somehow I missed the first announcement when posted Tennessee.  I was away most of May and didn't read the Blogs too closely during that time.  However, this morning in a recap of what sites had what states posted, I realized that Tennessee was indeed available on Ancestry.

I FOUND IT.   Apparently nowhere near the first apartment, but living in a three-family dwelling was my little family.  The circled x revealed that neither my father nor mother had given the information; two other ladies in the building had, so perhaps one of them "filled in the blanks".  Almost every entry had an error - but of course I know we hadn't been in that place long so possibly they just didn't know us very well.  But one wonders why they would presume so much.  They did spell the last name correctly - Adamson.

This is such a good example of why any researcher must use multiple sources for their information.  There are so many things I could have interpreted so wrong from this census.

Here are the errors:
     My father's given names were Weymouth Donald, but he was called "Ernie" [no, I've no idea why - my mother left him within a year or so].  His given names are listed as Wm. F.  Not even close.  Yes - I have his birth and death certificates - and other census and voter's records from California.  I know his name.
     My mother's name was JoEllen - they do have her as Joe Ellen.  In indexing, I've discovered that many people spelled the feminine Jo the same as the masculine Joe.  Her name was actually Josie Ellen, named for her two grandmothers - my maternal grandmother, who named her, told me.  I was lucky enough to have this grandmother until I was age 33.  And, yes, I've found her in 1940 - living in the very house I expected to find her in, along with my granddad, and three of my mother's brothers.
     My name is Karen Kay and my mother always called me by both names until after she married my stepfather.  Some of my older relatives called me Karen Kay their whole lives.  My birth certificate plainly says Karen Kay. On this census, I am "Kay B."  For "baby"?  Who knows?
     My father is listed as age 23 - he was 25.  Mother is listed as 22 - she was 24.  I am 3 months which is about right, since the enumerator was there on April 3rd.  Again, I know these facts from other records.
     My father is shown with 2 years of high school - no, he graduated - he played basketball in high school.  My mother's brothers knew him and told me this.  Mother is shown with 1 year of high school, but she had gone to college three years, long enough to get her teacher's certificate and had taught for a year before she married.  Yes, I have corroborative information.   Interesting that everyone else in the household, including the two ladies who had given the information, had only an 8th grade education.  Maybe they just couldn't conceive higher education.
     We are all given the birthplace of Tennessee - but I'm the only one who was born there.  Both of my parents were born in Crawford County, Arkansas - as were all their parents, and some of their grandparents before them.
     My parents are said to have been living in the "same place" in 1935. No, they weren't even married until 1939.  My mom was likely in college at Arkansas State, Russellville, Arkansas in 1935.  My father was living with his married sister in Chester, Crawford County, Arkansas - his mother has died and his father gone to California.
I did get something new from this census.  They were paying $10 a month rent.  My father is listed as working as a clerk in a dry goods store - I had never known this.  He later moved back to Chester and worked for many years as a concrete finisher.  Mother had worked for 16 weeks as a restaurant waitress - she worked while she was pregnant with me.  She had told me that herself.  It has been a horrible experience as my mother was painfully shy at that time in her life, but they needed the money.  No pregnant teacher was allowed in a classroom back then - and not in Arkansas even when I was in school in the late 1940's and 1950's.

And, would you believe I was one of the two selected - on line 66 - for additonal information.  But there was nothing else to say about a three-month-old!

Monday, June 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 26

Week 26: Genealogy Apps: Which genealogy app has made your family history experience easier? Who makes the app and what does it do?  Share with others the details so they can learn about the app, too.

I haven't discovered any particular app that helps me - I just enjoy having a smart phone.  I have used it to listen to podcasts while I'm out walking and then recorded ideas to check on when I'm back home at my computer.  It's a great camera - works in the cemetery and works just as well to photograph documents in the library.  I have taken notes when I had no paper and pen handy.  I can keep up with my genealogy correspondence and read my favorite blogs when I'm way from my computer.

I'm a little late with posting this Blog - my neighbor cut my cable while laying sod and I was without TV, Internet, and land line phone for three days.  But thanks to my trusty iPhone, I was never "out of touch"!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 25

Week 25: Genealogy Database Software: Database programs have revolutionized the way we store and record our genealogy. Which one is your favorite? What are some of the tools and perks of the program that enhance your family history research? Share a link to the company website or vendor so others may learn more about this product.

RootsMagic is the BEST in my opinion.  I started using Family Origins way back when - the other program I had tried was a resource hog and crashed my computer at every turn.  I have stayed with the developer Bruce Buzbee through all the mutations to RootsMagic 5.  Every edition gets better.  Here are my personal reasons for recommending it:

1.  It's intuitive to use.  The main pages look like genealogy - family group sheets or pedigree charts.  And, although there are options and menus, the pages seem relatively uncluttered.  Although it does have a lot of bells and whistles, you don't have to use them all.  A beginner can do well with the free version.

2.  There's always help.  The support files in the program are well written and clear. The Webinars are free online.  Support is excellent should there be a problem.  It's easy to report possible bugs or recommend ideas for future updates.  Updates are provided free until a new version comes out - even then updates are inexpensive compared to some other programs.

3.  It does a good job of preparing html files to upload to my website.  Not everyone cares about this feature but it's very important to me.  

4.  Reports can be prepared in pdf to send by email to inquiries in a very short time.  Because I have a web presence, I do get requests for additional information.  I'm happy to share but prefer to do it as pdf.

5.  Files from other programs, FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy, PAF, can be imported directly into RootsMagic without having to use GEDCOM which is imperfect at best.  I have compared this feature [direct vs. GEDCOM] and it's amazing how much better the information transfers directly.  I realized how inadequate GEDCOM really is with today's robust programs.

6.  If you are LDS, this is likely the very best program for syncing with their family trees - which will someday be made available to the general public.

Drawbacks.  As yet there is no dedicated MAC version.  I understand it runs very well when you add dual operating systems (Windows) to a MAC.   No iPhone/iPad app yet - but it does have the Roots-Magic-To-Go which runs the entire program and your files off a flash drive on any computer, a very neat feature.  It does not sync with any of the online family databases - but, in my opinion and after using FamilyTreeMaker to sync with Ancestry, this is so far, a plus.

You can find RootsMagic 5 right here:      RootsMagic 5

Sunday, June 10, 2012

52 Week of Abundant Genealogy - Week 24

Week 24: Genealogy Events: When it comes to genealogy events, our cup runneth over lately. There are so many fabulous family history events being held across the globe. For which one are you most grateful? Is it an annual event or a one-time thrill? Who runs the event? Why is it special?

My best genealogy experiences ever were the years I was able to attend IGHR, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Studies at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. I learned so much and I would recommend the Institute to anyone at any level of expertise in researching their families. The most fun genealogy event for me was the RootsTech Conference last February - the combination of genealogy and technology was outstanding. I'm excited that I get to go to Birmingham the end of August for the FGS Conference - one of my favorite national conferences in one of my favorite cities. No way to pick a favorite. Just send me to a genealogy or family history event and I'm certain to enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 23

Hey!  I've passed the halfway point and I'm still posting the Week's fun.  I doubted I could stick to this when I started...

Week 23: Family Traditions: For which family tradition are you most thankful? How did the tradition start? Which family members have been responsible for keeping the tradition alive and how has it shaped your own family history?

Our Family Tradition has long been to change the traditions!  A good example would be that all the children of my maternal grandmother always tried to make the trek back "home" for Christmas. This was an expected and required trip.  I usually go to the home of one of my children instead - it's much easier for a single person to travel during the holidays.  And we don't all live near each other as in days past.  We do have the tradition of a big Christmas dinner - but the food changes from year to year.  Each of my children's households follows a bit different celebration and they do have some small traditions within their families that they generally perpetuate. However, all of us feel free to adjust to the occasion!  One consistent tradition that has persisted from my household to theirs is that we all overstuff Christmas stockings with small wonderful treasures and surprises.  
I would have to say that our family tradition at Christmas is to express the love we have for each other.  That is our constant.  We have a strong family and I believe one of the reasons is that we are able to adapt as time and situations change.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 22

Week 22: Family Recipes: Family recipes are about more than just food. They provide sights, smells and memories of family history. Which family recipe are you most thankful for? Who was the first person to make it, and how was the recipe handed down through the generations? Has the recipe stayed the same all these years?

I've done this before!   Here is the link....

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 21

This is published several weeks after the assigned dates - I'm playing catch-up!

Week 21: Ancestor Tales of Hardship: In genealogy, there are plenty of clouds in the form of sad stories and hardships faced by our ancestors. These tales should not be forgotten because descendants can learn from them. Share with us a particular ancestor’s hardship story. How did these events impact your life?

My ggg grandmother Rebekah Poindexter (Jones) Brown survived the Civil War and lived to be 89 years old, dying in 1912.  Rebekah married before her 14th birthday.  She gave birth to 15 children, but buried six of them as infants or toddlers.  The Brown family lived in southwest Missouri and the War really began there with guerrilla attacks as early as 1860 and didn't end for a number of years afterwards.  This was truly an area of neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother.   Her first born son was shot off his horse on the way to the corn mill and died on his 20th birthday in July of 1860, leaving a new bride and unborn daughter.   In the summer of 1863, Rebekah's husband and 15-year-old son were in the wagon on the way to the blacksmith shop and a neighbor (and Union-sympathizer) shot both in the back.  The killer went to her home and told her she could go bury her dead and he would be back to burn her out.  She took her older children, and they buried their two loved ones in a common grave.  The remaining neighbors were too frightened to help.  Rebekah then loaded the children in the wagon and left for Texas - her youngest child was barely a year old. Two of the teen-age daughters died the summer of 1864 while the family was in Texas - probably of typhoid.   After the War, Rebekah returned and rebuilt her house on the foundation of her burned-out home.  Rebekah and her husband had been giving each child 40 acres of farmland as they married, and she went back to the plan.  She had actually taken her original deeds with her to Texas and was able to have them re-registered at the new courthouse - the old one had been burned twice during the War.  She continued farming until she was aged and then she rotated living several months at a time with her children's families. Only two of her children outlived her.

Nothing in my life has ever compared with what Rebekah went through. What a strong woman she was.  I, too, have lost a spouse - but he wasn't murdered in the prime of his life.  My children and grandchildren are all living productive and happy lives.  I can't worry about life's small disappointments when I stop and think this woman was my ancestor and her blood runs through my veins.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 20

I've been away on the back-to-back Legacy Cruises.  Then had a granddaughter graduating.  It's been a busy few weeks.  I'm going to double up a bit on the posts to catch up!

Week 20: Social Media: Which social media tool do you appreciate the most? Has it increased your circle of friends? How has it benefitted your family tree?

I've tried.  Oh, I have!  But I really don't get a lot of the social media such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, although I have tried them all.  I do enjoy keeping up with friend and family contacts via Facebook.  I've seen recent pictures of niece and nephews that live far away.  I've been able to keep up with college-age grandchildren and their fun and activities.  I cannot say that my circle of friends has increased, but I have made contact with friends from the past.  I can't say that there has been any particular benefit to my family tree or my research.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 19

Week 19: Blog Series: For which blog series are you most thankful? Who writes the series and how has it helped your genealogy blogging experience? Be sure to include a link to the series so others can join in the fun.

The Legal Genealogist - a relatively new Blog has proved to be helpful and interesting. Our ancestors seem to have been beset by almost as many legal tangles as we must deal with today. I enjoy the writing style of this Blog as well as the advice.  And, although most of the posts deal with legal issues, I've also appreciated those dealing with DNA.  The author Judy G. Russell is my distant cousin recently discovered through autosomal DNA testing and I share her pain in trying  to convince family members to cooperate by donating a simple cheek swab!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 18

Week 18: Historical Books: This week we’re going to shine the spotlight on other historical books that benefit the genealogy field. Do you have a favorite book that falls in this category? What makes this book special to you? How can other genealogists benefit from its content?

On this 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, I will have to mention A Very Brilliant Affair:  The Battle of Queenstown Heights, 1812, by Robert Malcomson.   This well written account of the opening round of the war and the Battle at Queenstown Heights uses firsthand accounts from both sides of the conflict.

It was of special interest to me because my direct ancestor Peter Buell Allen is mentioned numerous times in the book and his participation in the battle described.  Allen was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 20th Regiment and was captured, although later released.

A Very Brilliant Affair is a fascinating account of the beginning of the three year war called by some, the Second War of American Independence.  If you have an ancestor that took part in this war, you would likely gain a new perspective from this book.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

1940 Census Indexer

1940 First Indexer Award        

The displayer of this badge certifies that he or she is a proud indexer of the 1940 Census.

1. Name: Kay Haden
2. First Indexed: 2 April 2012
3. First Batch: Oregon
4. Favorite experience: The first one - just knowing I was taking part.
5. I learned about this award from the blog of: The Ancestry Insider (
If you want to help index, visit

Award Rules To earn this award you must index or arbitrate at least one batch of the 1940 Census. Once you have submitted a batch:

1. Copy this entire post, including the rules.
2. Replace the answers to the questions.
3. If you wish, replace the badge with a different size or background. Pick from the choices at
4. Post on your blog.
5. Display the award with pride alongside other awards and badges on your site.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 17

Week 17: How-To Book: For which genealogy how-to book are you most thankful? Who wrote the book and why does it stand out in your eyes? Is the book currently available? How can other genealogists benefit from its content?

My first thought was The Source; A Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs & Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. My copy is the revised edition, 1997. Ancestry republished the book in 2006, and it is available in major book stores for about $50.00 Even though this is not a new book, there is so much content that will never be out of date. Copies can be found in most libraries with any sort of genealogical department. It was not designed for Internet sleuthing - this is more of a basic instructional tool for what and how to research and how to make use of what you find. The book is useful for both a beginner or an advanced researcher.

The Source is important to me for two reasons. I like having the book at my fingertips for reference. But then is also has sentimental value. Sandra Luebking taught the first genealogical instructional class I attended and in many ways was my mentor.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 16

Week #16 – Tech Toys.   Genealogists love their technology toys! Which tech gadget do you appreciate the most? How has this tool enhanced your family history experience? Would you recommend it to others?

I am a late-comer to the magic of iPhone!  I purchased mine in January when a cell phone contract expired - finally.  Here are just a few uses.  I can use it to listen to podcasts about genealogy while I'm walking, and then record reminders to myself about the new ideas I've heard.  I can record family interviews.  I can take photographs of everything from book pages to tombstones.  I can make notes of research tasks to take to the library.  I can access my family files on Ancestry or MyHeritage. I can access my books on my Kindle Fire - many of which are genealogy related.  When I'm away from home, I can still read my email and respond to inquiries about my genealogy posted online.  I used the RootsTech app extensively when I attended the conference in February.

I don't yet own an iPad but I will when my mini-notebook is obsolete, because I'm sure I could do all of these tasks on a larger screen!  However, it will not have the portability of the iPhone.

I would definitely recommend a smart-phone as a genealogy research helper.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 15

Week 15: Volunteers: Tell us about a volunteer you appreciate. What does this person do for the genealogical community? How has he or she touched your heart?
This is your chance to show some love for those who selflessly give their time to family history.

I just want to recognize and salute all of the volunteers who are indexing the 1940 Census.  No other project of this size has ever taken place by so many volunteers of the genealogy community.  I think it is astounding that so many people have agreed and are working feverishly even as I type this post - just to make it easier for all of us to find our ancestors, or ourselves. Pats on the back to all of you [myself included] and keep up the good work!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1940 Census

I certainly don't want to be left out of the discussions regarding the 1940 census.  Here is my experience to date.

I am a FamilySearch indexer and I did index three pages (120 names) on the first day - April 2.  They came online late in the afternoon.  My goal is to index at least three pages per day for the month of April.  I'll be away most of the month of May without computer access so I'll index more during April if at all possible.  I'm just picking whatever state pops up first - because my own states of interest - Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas - aren't available.  I was already an indexer, but these images are clear and readable - they are a pleasure to index.

Now, I was born in January of 1940 so I should be in this census.  The Instructions were to include those born prior to 1 April 1940 so that would be me.  I had the address of an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, that was on my Birth Certificate in January.  So early-on I went to the Steve Morse website and found the Enumeration District for that address - only one choice.  I was ready!  None of the sites had Tennessee available on April 2nd.  By Tuesday, the 3rd, Tennessee was up and I hurried to that Enumeration District.  Alas, alas - I found the address [obviously an apartment building which I expected] in a very short amount of time and the surrounding addresses reflected the block I had found through Google maps and Steve Morse's website.  No question this matched the address on my birth certificate.  But my parents and myself weren't there anymore.  Looks like they moved soon after my birth.  I'll have to wait for an Index for Nashville.  So sad!  I'll probably be clicking through that whole Enumeration District and those surrounding, as I have time - hoping they did not move far.

The success story.  My husband was born in early 1939 so should be age one in the 1940 Census.  I didn't know for sure, but believed his family was living in Ladonia, Fannin County, Texas in 1940 - by the next year they had moved to Arkansas.  Without doubt his grandparents and great-grandparents were living in Ladonia, in 1940.  On Tuesday, April 3rd, I saw that Fannin County, Texas was up on and had only a single Enumeration District - 74-21.  Not surprising - I've visited this little town many times.  Was bigger then than now, but never largely populated.  There were only 36 images.  On 3B there they were!  My mother-in-law and father-in-law, my husband's older brother, age four, and one-year-old Robert D. Haden.   A poignant moment - my husband passed away in 2004 - the others deceased several years earlier.  From that small family only my husband's younger brother - not yet born in 1940 - is still living.  They were renting a house at 80 Church Street in Ladonia.  The next time I go back I can probably find the very house - and I'll be checking Google Earth.  My father-in-law was driving a truck for a wholesale vegetable company.  I happen to know that was his father's business - they grew a lot of sweet peppers and onions.  My husband's brother, when consulted at the time of his birth, had suggested they name my husband "Onion Plant".

With only 36 images for the whole town, I quickly found my husband's Haden grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as the families of two great uncles on the Haden side.  I found several cousins of my mother-in-law's family but surprisingly her parents aren't there.  However, they were farmers and it's likely they are in another Enumeration District outside the town - they have always been elusive in the Censuses.  I found Dr. Sam Fry who delivered my husband - rather he arrived just after the birth.  He was my mother-in-law's uncle on the maternal side.  Dr. Fry failed to note the baby's name on his birth certificate - years later when we ordered a copy, we discovered my husband was Baby Boy Haden.  Would you believe I own the antique oak hall tree that stood in Dr. Fry's reception area?   Dr. Fry had no children and when he died, his sister, my husband's maternal grandmother, inherited that piece of furniture and later gave it to us because of the very curious connection to the good doctor.

I have work to do - I did not download all of the above images and I'm sure in my haste to view the pages, I missed other people I'll recognize when I take the time.  My husband's families, both maternal and paternal, lived in this little town for over a century.  I also have two counties in Arkansas to visit....

Happy hunting to all of you!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 14

Week 14. State and National Societies: Last week we paid tribute to local genealogical and historical societies. This week we’re going to think bigger. For which state, provincial or national society are you most thankful? What makes this society special? How do the publications and events of this group assist in your family history research?

Hands down, the answer would have to be the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.  I joined perhaps twenty years ago so I could have access to their mail lending library.  At the time I was living in Alabama and although I had access to excellent libraries, they had little to offer in the way of materials from New England or New York where most of my mother's families had first landed after crossing the big pond.  Nothing made me happier than a new delivery of books!   I used the lending library until it was discontinued.

Their website - American Ancestors - is now what those boxes of books used to be.  They continue to add more and more databases and publications and it seems that I find new treasures almost every time I visit the site.  Their own publications The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register and American Ancestors:  New England, New York and Beyond are always read cover to cover.  I have found my families in these publications, but I've also learned a great deal about the research process.  The NEHGS promotion of the Great Migration study has also been valuable to me - not just because I had ancestors who were part of that migration, but because of all the information that has been provided regarding that time period.

I have been privileged to visit the NEHGS library in person.  Wow!  That may have been the most wonderful four days of my twenty-plus years of research.    I would almost move to Boston  ...except this Girl-Raised-In-the-South would likely not survive a Boston winter.

So ....a huge THANKS to NEHGS for being there!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 13

Week 13. Local Societies: Local genealogical and historical societies are the lifeblood of genealogy. Members and volunteers give their time and money to preserve local history and promote family history. Tell us about a local society for which you are thankful.

My best experiences with local societies hasn't been "local" in the sense they were where I live, but local to the places I research.  I have written a number of local societies in different states over the past twenty years, seeking information about an ancestor, and most of them have gone above and beyond to help me.    In several cases, I have received names and addresses of other researchers of the same family, as well as copies from local histories or manuscripts the society may have in its collection.  Prices for copying have always been very reasonable.  So many have been helpful that I would not dare to list them for fear I'd forget one!

I think this is a resource often overlooked in this computer age - especially by newer family researchers.  Sometimes local societies have a web presence, but I believe in many cases their web presence doesn't fully represent their holdings.  The contact information from the web is great to have and I always recommend beginning with a letter containing a specific inquiry - not a general "please send all you have on the Smith family" because the person answering your inquiry is undoubtedly a volunteer with limited time.