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?  

25 August 2016

Libraries On My Bucket List

I Love Libraries.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love the new discoveries I always find in libraries.

For some reason, I have been writing bucket lists of many different things: places to go, people to see, etc.  Today I thought I'd share some of the libraries located in the United States that are on my bucket list of libraries.  These libraries made my list not only because of their holdings that are of interest to me but because of the buildings themselves.  In no particular order:

Located in Baltimore, Maryland the library opened in 1878.  It has five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies, which rise dramatically to the skylight 61 feet above the floor.

An eight story, concrete structure located at the head of a canyon near the center of the campus. The lower two stories form a pedestal for the six story, stepped tower.

I Love, Love, Love this library!

I have been a member of DAR since 2007 and have never been to our library.  Heck I have never been to Washington, DC!

Now this is the kind of study environment I can learn to love!

I know I am missing some great libraries out there.  Which ones are on your bucket list?

17 August 2016

Academia vs. Genealogy

Sheri Fenley
Homework for 17 August 2016

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 18: Genealogy? In the Academic World?” Seriously? Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation and Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-18-genealogy-academic-world-seriously : accessed 14 August 2016).
For this assignment, I decided to cruise the internet to see who else had something to say on the subject of Academia vs. Genealogy Research.  I found  this topic is nothing new.  In addition to the many articles published by Elizabeth Shown Mills in many different publications, others have voiced their opinions including some other well known genealogists.  While their voices are being heard, there still is a long way to go before historians, archivists and other academia can co-exist with genealogists without the “us vs. them” mentality.
In October 1949, Milton Rubincam published an article in “The American Archivist” entitled “What the Genealogists Expect of an Archival Agency or Historical Society.”  You can find the article here:
In the article Mr. Rubincam says:
"Genealogy is a very serious business, not only for those professional genealogists who earn their livelihood by its means, but also for those avocational genealogists who seek to show the influence families have exerted on the course of local, national, or even international history."
Genealogy as an Academic Discipline by Jill Morelli. Ms. Morelli asks some very important questions that we need to seriously consider.
A very well written and interesting article by H. Daniel Wagner in the AVOTAYNU Journal (The International Review of Jewish Genealogy) entitled “Genealogy as an Academic Discipline” can be found here:
There is one paragraph in the lengthy article that stood out to me.  It suggests taxonomy (the branch of science concerned with classification) for genealogy:
“The various problems and methods of modern genealogy lend themselves to an incorporation in a classification of subfields within the following double framework: The first subfield of modern genealogy, termed macrogenealogy, or global genealogy, involves issues and tools relevant to genealogy as a whole, such as the development of improved mathematical models for the study of human migration or of backward or forward population growth, generic tools to facilitate merging and comparing databases, or genetic research techniques designed to trace the ancestors of homo sapiens. The second subfield, microgenealogy, may be subdivided into two areas of investigation: (1) confined microgenealogy, the genealogical investigation of a specific surname or family, the local history of a town, and so on, and (2) unconfined microgenealogy, a broader genealogical research field focused on a wider area, people or phenomenon (for example, 19th-century Irish migrations, Sephardic genealogy, stability of Chinese surnames through time) on the effects of specific large-scale historical events (the Holocaust), on genealogical myths (do European royal families descend from King David? Do specific families from Alsace descend from Charlemagne?). Such classification is far from being strict, however, since some issues have a mixed character: Generic research tools, such as mitochondrial DNA, that "belong" to the field of macrogenealogy may be used to investigate microgenealogical problems such as the ancestry of Kohanim. This categorization of genealogy into subfields could possibly serve as a rough guide in future teaching curricula and genealogy textbooks.”
Susan Tucker is an archivist at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University.  She created a webpage entitled “Archivists and Genealogical Researchers: A Bibliography” and you can find it here:
Ms. Tucker defines the wepage for us:
“This bibliography is an ongoing project centered around ICA's Committee on Outreach and User Services. Special attention is paid to genealogical researchers, who -- worldwide -- make up a consistently large proportion of the users of most archives. Abstracts have been added for selected articles, those that deal specifically with family history or those that are insightful to the study of archival attitudes towards genealogy.”
I found two articles that discuss the issue at hand at jstor.org.  You must have a subscription to access the articles which I have.  For those that don't have access to the site, I included a short abstract of each one.
Duff Wendy M. and Catherine A. Johnson.  "Where is the List with All the Names? Information-Seeking Behavior of Genealogists." The American Archivist 66, 1(Spring/Summer 2003): 79-95.
ABSTRACT: Until the 1990s, archivists gave very little attention to studying the results of the user studies that have been conducted in the last decade. Genealogists are one of the most frequent users of archives. This paper involves in-depth interviews with ten genealogists. The findings stages of genealogical research, how genealogists search for their use, the knowledge required, and the barriers they face.
Redmann, Gail R.  "Archivists and Genealogists: The Trend Toward Peaceful Coexistence." Archival Issues 18, no.2 (1993): 121-132.
ABSTRACT: Throughout history, genealogy has often been maligned, misused, and misunderstood. However, over the past twenty years, practitioners of both genealogy and history have shifted their focus and have adopted similar methods of study. These changes have altered the traditionally negative view of archivists toward genealogists, with many in the profession not only accommodating genealogists but actually welcoming them to their institutions.
There was one article I was unable to read because I don't have access to the New England Historical Genealogical Register, but I will be going to the library to hunt it down:
Macy, Jr., Harry. "Recognizing Scholarly Genealogy and Its Importance to Genealogists and Historians." NEHGR 150 (January 1996)
The last item of interest I found is a website that encompasses both worlds:
Family Genealogy and History Internet Education Directory ---- Wiki
Professional, worldwide humanities and social sciences mega portal, connected directly to numerously related sub-sets having billions of primary and secondary database resources; information that provides family history and genealogy records. This website is educationally constructed to reflect the process used when actually doing practical genealogy and family history research. It is the generational historian's approach to the study of the history of families worldwide, establishing comprehensive evidence based family studies within and about the lines of descent from the researched ancestry.

25 June 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Where Was My Family in 1866?

Randy Seaver over at GeneaMusings is the place to be for genealogy fun on a Saturday night.  This week the challenge is to locate where all of your family was living in 1866.

I haven't played along since well . . .since forever!  This looked like fun so here is where my family was in 1866.

2nd great grandparents Gerhard Befort & Anna Maria Stecklein were living in Obermonjou, Samara Volga, Russia.

2nd great grandparents Johann Adam Ernst & Anna Maria Kemper were living in Marienthal, Saratov Volga, Russia.

2nd great grandfather John Fred Borgstadter was living in Hitzhausen, Germany.

2nd great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Hobrock was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents), Henry Hobrock & Mary Erk and her 2 sets of grandparents (my 2 sets of 4th great grandparents) Christian Hobrock & Gertrude Erk and Valentine Thron & Margaret Beier all in Beardsville, Cass County, Illinois.

2nd great grandfather Louis Ernst Besson was living in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany.

2nd great grandmother Sarah Jane Solomon was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) James Arthur Solomon & Angeline Fulton in Moultrie County, Illinois.  Her grandfather (my 4th great grandfather) Peter Solomon was living in Clark County, Illinois.

2nd great grandfather Joseph Payne Skillman was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Josiah Payne Skillman & Lavinia Thomas Wilson in Pleasant Hill, Cass County, Missouri.

2nd great grandmother Sallie Davis Wilson was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Berry Wilson & Catherine Elizabeth Rees and her grandmother (my 4th great grandmother) Mariah Fristoe Rees in Georgetown, Pettis County, Missouri.

2nd great grandfather Earnest Francis Sheern was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) James Sheern & Ann Emily Leseure in Allamakee County, Iowa.

2nd great grandmother Jennie Delaney was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Daniel Derondo Delaney & Ellen Collins in Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas.

2nd great grandfather George Wesley Harris was living his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) H.A.T. Harris & M.A.F. Bess, his grandparents (my 4th great grandparents) Peter Bess & Sarah Beam, his great grandfather (my 5th great grandfather) Boston Bess and his great grandmother (my 5th great grandmother) Mary Ann Wacaster Beam all in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  His grandmother (my 4th great grandmother) Mildred Naylor Harris was living in Surry County, North Carolina.

2nd great grandmother Minda Ellen Wallace was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Samuel Wallace & Nancy Brown in Yadkin County, North Carolina.

2nd great grandfather William Campbell Berry II was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) William Campbell Berry I & Mary Ping and his grandparents (my 4th great grandparents)  Bolen Green Ping & Sophia Barnes all in Des Moines County, Iowa.  His grandfather (my 4th great grandfather) John P. Berry was living in Mahaska County, Iowa.

2nd great grandmother Laura Cordelia Robinson was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) David Robinson & Margaret Bowman in Des Moines County, Iowa.