14 July 2017

The Slave Name Roll Project

About the project - from their website:

During Black History Month in 2015 a Facebook group of Genealogy Bloggers began the Slave Name Roll Project with five contributions. The project objective is to record information about named slaves whenever and where ever they may be found so that African-American genealogists and family historians may break through the wall that is the 1870 census. Documents such as wills and other probate records, bills of sale, court cases and newspaper advertisements for run away slaves are often rich sources of information.

They ask when submitting a contribution you follow these guidelines:

Please include the following information:
  1. Name of the enslaved (usually only a given name)
  2. Name of the slave owner
  3. Source of the information (will, estate inventory, court case, deed, etc.)
  4. Date and location of the source information

Currently, they have over 500 submissions from 25 states including Washington, DC and from four countries:  Bahama Islands, Great Britain, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

I came across a probate record from Shelby County, Tennessee that named 47 slaves.  Not only did it name them, it also gave their ages and grouped them as families in the probate inventory.  I sent it to their website and hopefully it will be published soon.

I also have created a new page here on my site that is full of links to research your African American family history.  All of the links will take you to records or educate you on how to find the records.

Look for the tab at the top of this page "African American Research."

Have a great weekend!

13 July 2017

Treat Yourself To Fun For Under $20

While browsing at the Library of Congress and the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) websites, my eye caught sight of their "STORE" tab.  

So I took a few minutes to see what I could see.  Well ok, I took more than a few minutes but it was for research for this blog post.

While each website has a multitude of really neat things to buy, there were a few I thought were fun and in some weird way maybe could help with the work I do every day.

Looks like a block of wood.  It could be helpful when you have writer's block.   Just looking at it would make me think "OK, you have really resorted to this?  Get writing!"

What a cute old library card catalog box.  Useful to me because believe it or not I use index cards ALL THE TIME.  In fact I need to write a blog post on how and why I use them. See - this gift to myself is already working and I haven't even bought it yet!

Just because.  And it is on sale.

Do you lend out books from your genealogical collection?  This personal library kit can help you keep track of where your books are and annoy the person who borrowed the book all at the same time.

Coloring books and such for adults is all the rage now, why not a poster size map of the United States?

11 July 2017

Genealogical Vocabulary Words and Phrases

This past month, client projects and researching my own family history had me looking up words and phrases I wasn't familiar with.  I thought I'd share a few of the more interesting ones with you.

Dilling - a baby born to older parents.

Recital - a general term used most frequently in deeds to describe the reason that a contract is being drawn.  It may indicate a relationship between the parties involved or a relationship with a previous owner.

Willow Bench - a share of a husband's estate enjoyed by his widow, besides that which was held jointly.

Purchased Court - a session not on a regular court schedule.  The costs of this session were paid for by either the plaintiff or defendant rather than the government.

Writ of Inquiry - an order to the sheriff which directs him to determine, with the help of a jury, damages which cannot have a dollar and cents value placed on them.

Eaton Code - in 1657,  this practical interpretation of biblical law was published in London.  Each household in New Haven, Connecticut was required to own a copy.

Writ of Venditioni Exponas -  an order to a sheriff to sell goods of a person who owes the court money.

Cohabitation Record - usually found in a county office which states the legal married status of emancipated slaves.  These records were made at the end of the Civil War.

Window Peeper -  the district tax assessor.

Nugging House - brothel.

Witness Corner or Witness Tree  -  a surveyor's mark.  A tree or rock on which is carved a reference plus the initials "w.c." to the corner of a tract of land.

Court of Errors - this was the highest court in the state of New York from 1784-1846, when it was abolished.  Its records are held by the New York State Archives.

Timber Right - to own the trees, but not the land upon which they grow.

Sufferer's Land -  land in Erie County and Hudson County, Ohio given to citizens of several Connecticut coastal towns whose property was burned by the enemy, with the assistance of Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War.  

Woods Colt  -  a child born out of wedlock.

Cordon Bleus - children of a relationship between a black woman and a Frenchman.  These children were usually wealthy enough to have been educated in France, but were not accepted by either black or white society.

In Terrorem Clause - the statement in a will which says that a person may or may not do a certain thing or he will be disinherited.

Every day I learn something new.  Have you come across words or phrases in your genealogical research that had you scrambling for a dictionary?

10 July 2017

California Statutes - A Lesson Learned From Judy Russell

Judy Russell, "The Legal Genealogist", tells us over and over again about state statutes and the gold mine of genealogical information they may hold.  You can read about a few of her finds HERE, HERE and HERE.

Well,  I was hooked immediately and started a new project - abstracting genealogical information from the California Statute Books.

In the 1883 Statutes of California, I found only one item of interest:

Chapter 68, page 294

$25,000 payment to James Saultry, ex-Guard at the State Prison at San Quentin for personal injuries namely the loss of both arms while in the discharge of his duties under the orders of his superior officer.

I had to know more about this man and his horrible accident.  What happened?  Was there a prison riot and he was maimed?

Checking the newspapers I found that in 1883, James Saultry had fired a cannon for the 4th of July festivities at San Quentin Prison, the cannon backfired and he had both of his arms blown off!

Another newspaper article I came across was his obituary from the Saulsalito News, 17 August 1888:

Town Trustee James Saultry died at his residence last Monday.  For many years Mr. Saultry has been identified with the interests of this Coast, being an active and energetic man.  In 1883, while employed at San Quentin, he had the misfortune to have both his arms blown off while firing a national salute on July 4th.  In March of the same year, the Legislature passed a relief bill, granting him a pension for the remainder of his lifetime.  Some $25,000 was invested in 6 per cent bonds and he has since drawn the interest on that investment.  He leaves a widow and three children, the eldest being 8 years and the youngest 14 months.  Mr. Saultry was highly respected by all who knew him.  Flags throughout San Rafael were lowered as a mark of respect to his memory.

Again from the Sausalito News, 29 March 1889:

The widow of the late James Saultry has been allowed the interest on $20,000 during  her lifetime.

Not able to let the story go quite yet, I searched California probate records and census records and learned the names of his wife and children.  

Wife:  Margaret Hayes born 1840 in Ireland
Step-daughter: Catherine Maria Tietgen born 1877 in California
daughter: Mary Josephine Saultry born 1881 in California
son:  James Henry George Saultry born 1883 in California
son:  John Joseph Saultry born 1887 in California
son:  Atwell Robert Saultry born 1889 in California

I was able to reconstruct and entire family from just one man's name in an obscure old book that recorded California statutes.  I absolutely love genealogical research.  Thank you Judy!

11 May 2017

NGS Conference - Happy, Happy, Happy!

I am so happy I made the decision to attend the National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Not only are the classes wonderful but seeing old friends and meeting new ones has been just the kick I needed to get my genealogy mojo back.

Left to right:  Leslie Carney, Cheryl Hudson Passey, Amy Johnson Crow, Amy Urman and me.  Thanks to J. Paul Hawthorne for taking the photo!

Jay and I share Wilson and Faulconer ancestors from Bourbon County, Kentucky.  We are on a mission to get them straightened out!

I met some new friends:  Ari Wilkins, Claudia Breland, Luana Darby, Shelley Bishop.

Ari is a library associate at the Dallas Public Library which is where Lloyd Bockstruck worked for many, many years.  I adore that man!

I hope to see more old friends tonight at the ProGen Meetup and the APG Meetup:  Annette Burke Lyttle, Angela McGhie, Barry Kline, Roger Moffat, Michael Hait.

Speaking of Progen, I was told today that they have formed the class of ProGen 33!  I am so proud to be an alumni of the very first ProGen class back in 2008.  If you have not completed this course, run as fast as you can to their website and sign yourself up.  It is an 18 month long commitment, but you will be glad you did it!

01 May 2017

North Carolina Here I Come!

Next week at this time I will be in Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference.

It's been some time since I attended a national conference and I am so excited to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.

What I am really looking forward to is boosting my genealogy mojo.  Doing research for clients is pretty much a solitary venture.  By the time I realize what a vacuum I've been in, my genealogy mojo is in a very sad state indeed.  I am sure that a week of immersion into all thing genealogy will do the trick. 

Most all of my ancestors came from North Carolina.  Surry and Wilkes counties in the north and Lincoln, Gaston and Cleveland counties in the south.  I am hoping to spend some time in the North Carolina State Archives and State Library.

Hope to see you at the conference!

30 January 2017

Proof Summary - GPS Study Group Homework

Genealogy Proof Standard Study Group
Homework Chapter Five - Writing It Up
Sheri Fenley

Reference: Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case 4th Edition Revised, (San Jose, California: CR Publications) 2014.

For this last assignment, we were asked to write a proof statement, a proof summary or a proof argument.  I chose to write a proof summary.

Who were the parents of Nancy A. McGee who was born 6 January 1846, married Remalih A. Brisendine 27 September 1863 in Putnam County, Missouri and died 18 January 1911 in Webster County, Missouri?

R. A. Brisendine, Nancy's husband, was the informant on her death certificate.  He named her father as Andrew J. McGee but did not know where he was born nor did he know the name of her mother.

Nancy's death certificate stated that she was born 6 January 1846 so the 1850 census would be the first one she should appear in.  She was found living in the household of her parents, Jackson and Phebe McGee, and siblings William (18), Thomas (17), Reuben (14), John (9), Jackson (7), George (5), and Sarah (2).  All of the children were listed as being born in Indiana.

In 1860 Nancy (14) is living in the household of her older brother William McGee (27) and siblings George McGee (16) and Sarah McGee (12).  Nancy and her siblings are all born in Indiana.

A marriage record was found for Jackson McGee and Phebe Carmichael who were married 10 May 1832 in Monroe County, Indiana.

A probate record was found for Sterling Carmichael in Monroe County, Indiana, which names as one of his heirs "Phebe McGee, late Phebe Carmichael who intermarried with And McGee."

Death certificates were found for Jackson McGee, Jr., John McGee and William McGee (siblings of Nancy).  All name their parents as Jackson McGee and Phebe Carmichael.

The parents of Nancy A. McGee Brisendine were Andrew Jackson McGee and Phebe Carmichael.

Missouri State Board of Health, death certificate no. 5046, Nancy A. Brisendine (1911); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Jefferson City.
1850 U.S. census, Effingham County, Illinois, pg 11 (penned), dwelling and family 48, Jackson McGee household.
1860 U.S. census, Chariton Mills, Liberty Township, Putnam County, Missouri, pg 12 (penned), dwelling 88, family 70, Wm McGee household.
Ancestry.com. Indiana, Marriage Index, 1800-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Works Progress Administration, comp. Index to Marriage Records Indiana: Indiana Works Progress Administration.
Ancestry.com. Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, Monroe County, Order Boof D-F 1847-1852, pg 422.
Missouri State Board of Health, death certificate no. 22120, Andrew Jackson McGee (1911); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Jefferson City.
Missouri State Board of Health, death certificate no. 29907-a, John R. McGee (1917); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Jefferson City.
Missouri State Board of Health, death certificate no. 15166, William Alexander McGee (1923); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Jefferson City.

23 December 2016

Memories of Christmas - 1960's

Sharing some of my fondest Christmas memories seems like the best way to get out of the blue funk I've been in lately.  So here we go!

My mother had one of these for me and each of my brothers. I don't know if she still has them.

One of the many Christmas shows my family would watch on TV - Andy Williams Christmas Show. This show introduced me to Donny Osmond.  10 year old girl - huge crush - posters on my bedroom walls - you get the picture.

I remember these type of ornaments on our tree.

One of the best Christmas shows for children of all ages - Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  My favorite songs from this show are "It's The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year" and "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas."

Another one of the best - I love the song "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and then the whole village of Whoville singing "Welcome Christmas."

Truth be told, I really didn't care for this classic until I was a young adult.  The song "Christmas Time Is Here" was kind of depressing to me for some reason.

Another annual Christmas show we watched together as a family was the Bing Crosby Christmas Show.

Yet another favorite - I love the part of the song that goes  "Thumpity thump thump, thumpity thump thump, Look at Frosty go. . ."  I can clearly remember marching around the den just like the kids in the show were doing.

Here's another annual Christmas show my family watched.  It wasn't until I was in my teens that I began to appreciate what the Bob Hope USO Christmas Shows meant to all the service men and women deployed overseas, away from their loved ones during the holidays.

Are you a child of the 1960's?  What are some of your Christmas memories from that era?

17 October 2016

I Finally Got One - A Black Sheep Ancestor!

For years I have been reading genealogy blogs and shared in the excitement when the author discovered a famous or infamous ancestor.  For years I have had a bad case of ancestor envy.  Well last night I was cured when I discovered the reason for the early death of my 2nd great grandmother's brother.

My 2nd great grandmother is Laura Cordelia Robinson, the daughter of David Robinson and Margaret Dilks.  David and Margaret had met and were married in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  After the birth of Laura, the Robinson's moved to Dodgeville, Franklin Township, Des Moines County, Iowa.  David was a blacksmith and established his own business soon after they arrived.  The Robinson family grew to include 9 children  by 1882.

This story is about the 5th child, the exact middle child - George Robinson.  George was born 19 January 1871.  What prompted my interest in this sibling of my 2nd great grandmother was the fact that he had married in April 1907 and died in September the same year at the age of 36.

In small communities when a person dies before their time it usually makes the newspapers.  I started hoping for an explanation.
At the age of 24 George's father David Robinson died.   It is just a few years after that George starts to go astray:

April 1896 - The post office in Dodgeville is robbed of $50 in stamps.  The postmaster is John Beckman.  Under suspicion is George Robinson who lived with his family less than a mile away.  Because the business was a post office, a reward of $100 was offered by the federal government for any information about the incident.

29 April 1898 - After a long investigation by officials,  an indictment by the federal grand jury was brought against George Robinson for the 1896 post office robbery.  George Robinson cannot be found.

25 June 1898 - John T. Beckman of Dodgeville was beaten and robbed of $50 and his pocket watch just as he was closing his business for the evening. Beckman gives a description of the suspects.

19 November 1898 - E.W. Johnson of West Burlington noticed a stranger loafing around the place at 6:30 pm.  Upon closer inspection, Mr. Johnson recognized the man as George Robinson and knew of his reputation and assumed that he was up to no good.  Mr. Johnson called the police who stopped and searched George Robinson because they had a tip that he was one of the men who had beaten and robbed John Beckman in Dodgeville last June.  They knew that Robinson's family lived in Dodgeville and that he had disappeared right after the assault on Beckman.  Brought in for questioning about the Beckman robbery, George was searched and a the list of items found with him are:
Colt 38 caliber revolver
1/4 pint of nitro-glycerine
box of dynamite caps
1/4 pint black powder
soap, candles & rosin
5 drills
skeleton keys
key nippers

In order to keep George in custody until Mr. Beckman could arrive to identify the suspect and further investigations made, George was charged with vagrancy and given 30 days in jail.

10 January 1899 -  George Robinson is taken from the Burlington jail in Des Moines County and brought to Keokuk in Mills County and held to the federal court.  Bail was set at $500 and friends of George Robinson paid the bond and he was released the same day. The next day a man named Jud Minard, who was a very important witness in the case against George Robinson, was found dead - a victim of poisoning.

11 January 1899 - In Hastings, Mills County, Iowa Mr. & Mrs. Clark and their farm hand were victims of a home invasion by four men.  The robbers got $4.30 in cash and a silver pocket watch that belonged to Mr. Clark.  Mrs. Clark had purchased it only a month before as a Christmas present.  After the robbers tied up the residents of the house, they went to the kitchen and made themselves at home cooking a meal.  About 1:00 am the robbers hopped a train.  They were seen by freight men who recognized the robbers from wanted posters.  George Robinson was captured when the train made the next stop.  A silver pocket watch was found on him that matched the number and description of the watch on the books of the jeweler who sold the watch to Mrs. Clark.

9 March 1899 -  George Robinson is sentenced to 17 years at the penitentiary at Fort Madison.  His cohorts also received the same sentence.  The judge said that the men were the worst desperados ever captured in the county and he was making an example of them by handing out the maximum sentence.  Of Robinson, the judge said he was "a bad man whose petty thieving and desperate character made him a terror to law abiding citizens."

1907 - September - After serving only half of his sentence, George Robinson was released from prison for time served and good behaviour.  On Labor Day evening in Burlington a safe in a saloon was blown open and $150 in cash taken.  A few days later the Miller Meat Market was robbed.  A week later the Middletown Bank was broke into.  Robbers attempted to blow the safe but were unsuccessful.  Police are almost certain it is the work of the gang that George Robinson is a part of

14 September 1907  - Three men were discovered in the act of blowing the safe in the office of the Leisy Brewing Company Burlington, Iowa.  All four got away but not before one of them was shot by police. The next day a doctor was called to a house to tend to a man who had been seriously hurt.  Seeing it was a gunshot wound, the man was brought to the hospital and the doctor immediately reported it to the police.  The injured man was George Robinson and the police knew him well.  Surgery was performed and the bullet removed which matched the calibre of bullet fired from the police officer's gun.  George Robinson died a few hours after surgery.

17 December 1907 - The other two members of the gang - Eddie Stoops aka Teddy O'Brian and Jack Nolan are captured in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.

24 June 1908 - Eddie Stoops and Jack Nolan had warrants out for their arrest before the safe blowing in September 1907.  In Greenville, Texas the two had broken out of jail, held up a farmer and nearly killed a deputy sheriff.  After being arrested in December 1907 in Ottumwa, Iowa they were transported back to Texas.  It was there that the two men received money from friends in California.  With this money they hired a leading criminal attorney named Adams who forced an early trial before authorities could secure the presence of the farmer and the deputy sheriff.  The two witnesses disappeared shortly after Stoops and Nolan received the large amount of money.  So Stoops and Nolan each got 3 months in the county jail instead of a life sentence in prison.

4 September 1908 - Almost year since the shooting death of George Robinson and one of his brothers - Frank Robinson - is found dead in the park apparently he committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid.  In one of his pockets was a scribbled note:  "My wife says there were others better than me."  The newspaper commented: "Its a rather queer coincidence that the brother should end his life do near the anniversary of his brother's violent end."

Ingesting carbolic acid, an antiseptic, was a common method for suicide in the early 1900s.  

16 September 2016

Get Your Chuckles Here

There are over 3000 genealogy blogs out there today.  Most of them are very good - a few are exceptional.  They all are trying to tell a story.  

There are a few bloggers out there that have the ability to tell a story and make you laugh until you cry or snort your morning coffee out your nose.

Today I am going to gift you with the names of a few of these bloggers and my favorite posts they wrote. You are welcome.

The We Tree Genealogy Blog is written by Amy Lenertz.  She was Amy Coffin back in 2011 when she wrote the post "If Genealogists Ran Hollywood."  Today she is the author of another very funny blog called "Amy Dorene Writes Stuff"  and on the more serious side she is the owner of Raincross Information Services.

Chris Dunham is another very funny guy.  I am still in mourning because his last post to The Genealogue was back in December 2012.  Chris describes himself as "the descendant of a surprisingly large number of ancestors. Turn-ons: transcribing, cemetery-hopping, and girls with big GEDCOMs. Turn-offs: stingy town clerks, open graves, and girls who don't give sources."  One of my favorite posts is "A Contrary Code of Conduct."  And you won't want to miss reading his famous "Top Ten Lists."  I did find out that Chris is the author of four genealogy blogs about the state of Maine: Maine Genealogy, All Things Maine, Maine Genealogy Archives and Oxford County Genealogy Notebook and one about New Hampshire - New Hampshire Genealogy Archives.

Everyone knows about Thomas MacEntee the genealogy ninja.  But did you know that he really is a very funny guy?  Back in February 2010 on his blog "Destination: Austin Family" he wrote a post called "Failed Genealogy Television Shows" that will have you rolling on the floor.

That same month and year, my good friend Donna Pointkouski, the author of "What's Past Is Prologue" wrote the article that inspired Thomas to write his - "If Genealogists Ruled The Television Networks."

Although not a genealogist, Kate Theimer is as funny as an archivist can be.  On her blog - "ArchivesNext" she wrote a post about a collection of Twitter comments called "The OverlyHonestArchivists Tweets"

Kerry Scott is the Queen of Wit.  Her blog - "Clue Wagon" is one of my favorites and a few of the best posts (in my opinion) are:  "Words Are For Chumps. Winky Face." and "In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much The Entire Genealogical Community." 

So there you have it.  I am certain that I have missed some Lulus.  Do you have a favorite to share with the rest of us?