30 August 2008

The Problem With Pauline - Part 6

We are back in Boise Idaho and Helen Hunt aka Pauline Sanford. I had enlisted the services of a volunteer to find what she could about Helen Hunt at the Idaho State Historical Society. I was delighted to get a copy of Helen's will and some court documents from her probate. While it certainly adds needed information to our story, I am convinced that this is not the ENTIRE probate file.

October 20, 1917 Helen's will was filed in the Probate Court with Mary McGenley and Charles Koelsch swearing that they were present when Helen made and signed the will. November 2, 1917 the Probate Court issued a Certificate of Proof of Will and the Facts Found. Here are the best bits of Helen's will:


1. Dated July 31, 1909, Helen first requests that all of her just debts and funeral expenses be paid. Then why did Pauline's brother John have to pay for the funeral costs? Helen didn't leave him a dime!


2. Helen leaves $500 to each of her four nieces - Frieda, Helen, Marie and Kathryn ( all daughters of her sister Ada Markgraf).


3. Helen leaves the remainder of her estate, real and personal, to her two sisters Ada Markgraf and Minnie Herhold to share and share alike. She "nominates" sister Ada to be the sole executor of her will. Ada must have declined being the executor because also on November 2, 1917 Cyril A. Prouty is appointed as administrator of the estate. Cyril is the husband of Freida Markgraf, Pauline/Helen's niece.


4. And lastly she revokes any and all previous wills in particular one dated 8 February 1905. I would like to see the previous will, I wonder what was in it that she specifically recants and declares it null and void.

Coming up next: Pauline/Helen the Real Estate Tycoon.




29 August 2008

Looking Through Rose Colored Glasses

Well they're not really rose colored but there are quite a selection to choose from over at footnoteMaven's place, Shades of the Departed, in her regular series "Friday From The Collectors". Pay close attention, has the fM revealed her identity to us?


Becky Wiseman over at Kinexxions has her thoughts on it. She has also posted some photos of women in glasses as a tribute to fM. I think that is such a good I idea, so good that I am going to borrow it from Becky. I have only one, the lady is a bit younger and the photo a bit newer than fM usually collects but I offer it up anyway:


27 August 2008

The Problem With Pauline - Part 5

When I left off with the last post, we found out that Pauline Sharon Sanford is one and the same person as Mrs. Helen Hunt, widow of George B. I find it very interesting that the name of Pauline Sharon’s husband is George B. Sanford and when Pauline is Helen Hunt she is the widow of George B. , especially since George B. Sanford doesn't die until 1928.


For the moment, let's leave Pauline/Helen in Boise, Idaho. Let's use the "Way Back" machine and look in on Dr. George B. Sanford's life after he married Pauline.


At the beginning, this is what I knew about George Sanford:

1. He was born in New York about 1842
2. He is a dentist
3. He lived in Osage Mission, Neosho County, Kansas in 1875
4. He married Pauline Sheern/Sharon on 7 October 1875 in Osage Mission, Neosho County, Kansas

A search of the 1880 US Census finds Dr. George B. Sanford, a dentist, is a married 40 year old man residing at 620 Main Street, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. He lives in what appears to be a boarding house with 5 other men. No Pauline here.

Next to land records, old newspapers are one of my favorite things to use as a source. I just love them. Back in the "Olden Days", it was customary for the local newspaper to report on the public and private lives of the community. Dr. George B. Sanford was no exception. George must have had a successful dentistry practice. In 1886, He took out ads in "The Kansas City Star" giving himself the distinction of being "The Painless Dentist". Over the years he morphs into simply providing dental services without pain.




George evidently does have some free time from his practice. In 1880 George visits the State Fair :






George also has some problems with his employees. For your reading enjoyment from "The Kansas City Star" , 15 June 1894:










I have searched high and low for George B. Sanford in the 1900 US Census. He should be in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.



1910 US Census enumerates George B. Sanford in Kansas City, Ward 6, p. 297, sheet 6A and in the 1920 US Census in Kansas City, Ward 7, p. 4, sheet 4B.



Although Pauline does not appear to be living with George, he maintains contact with her family who moved to Kansas City around 1883. When Pauline's sister Ada marries to Rudolph Markgraf April 5, 1890 George serves as a witness and identifies himself as Ada's brother-in-law. He does the same for Pauline's other sister Minnie when she weds Frank Vestal September 16, 1898. He continues this relationship with Pauline's family up until at least 1920. Ada and Rudolph Markgraf's daughter, Kathryn died at the age 14 on August 19, 1920. George Sanford is named as one of the many who attended the funeral services.



I finally catch a couple of breaks. I had slowly but surely been going through the 1880 Kansas City census page by page looking for Pauline. I have found one person of interest so far.



1880 US Census, Missouri, Jackson County, Kansas City, p. 5 (penned), p. 39A (stamped), hh #25 -Pauline Ames, age 26 and an actress is living at 423 Walnut Street, just a few blocks from where George Sanford is living. I need to check this Pauline out a little closer.



Then, after hours of looking at roll after roll of microfilm of the Kansas City newspapers I find this little nugget dated 17 August 1882:









I know, I know... It does not identify George or Pauline by first name BUT - after all we have learned about these two individuals, it sure sounds like it could be them. I need to contact the court in Kansas City and find out if a divorce was filed for anyone with the name of Sanford for the years 1880-1885. I sure wish I could go to Kansas City and look for records myself. I just know that the answers I am looking for are there!

26 August 2008

Fenley Takes Home More Than Gold!






I reached all the goals I set for the games and have earned 4 medals:



1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - PLATINUM



2. Organize Your Research! - DIAMOND



4. Write, Write, Write! - DIAMOND



5. Reach Out and Perform Acts of Genealogical Kindness! - PLATINUM



I have won more than these beautiful medals. I have become part of a community of like-minded individuals who are collectively striving for the highest level of truth and accuracy in their research. This community cares about the quality of research that they will be leaving behind for future generations. I have stepped way out of my comfort zone in the area of social networking (you know, making friends and playing nice with others) and have found that it's not as intimidating as first thought.



24 August 2008

Show And Tell - 55th Carnival of Genealogy

(click on photo for larger image)



Is this like a "If you show me yours, I'll show you mine" kind of deal? (Randy Seaver should appreciate that bit of humor)






Straight off the top of my head, the first thing that came to mind is a photo collage that I made of 6 (yep, count em six) generations of my maternal line. I made it after I was finally able to locate the 6th generation.



Starting at the top left hand side of the collage you find my 3rd great grandmother MARGARET DILKS ROBINSON. Margaret was born 16 May 1839 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to Arthur Dilks and Margaret Bowman. The Dilks family lived in Moon Township (a suburb of Pittsburgh) near the Ohio River. She met a blacksmith from Ireland, David Robinson, fell in love and they were married 28 August 1855. Margaret and David had nine children, all of whom lived to adulthood. After David died on 21 October 1895, Margaret went to live with her youngest daughter, Margaret who had married Carl Metz. Margaret died at the age of 96 in Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa on 28 October 1935.



A little tip here: I found the names of Margaret's parents in the 1925 Iowa State Census. On the 3rd page of the census, the enumerator is instructed to ask the names and places of birth for the parents of each person in each household.



The serious looking woman in the center of the top row is my 2nd great grandmother Laura Cordelia Robinson, the second child of David and Margaret Robinson She was born 12 June 1862 In Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Around 1868, The Robinson family moved to Dodgeville, Des Moines County, Iowa. Laura met and married William Campbell Berry on 19 September 1880 in Des Moines County, Iowa. In 1900 W.C. and Laura Berry were on the move. First to Jackson County, Kansas and then to Allen County, Kansas where they lived in several different towns. Over a 20 year period they lived in Moran City, Le Harpe, Iola, Humboldt and Elsmore. After William died on 13 July 1921, Laura remarried to Christian Ermel on 1 July 1925. Christian died 1 January 1950 and Laura went to live with one of her youngest daughters. She died at the age of 89 on 15 April 1951 in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas and was buried in the Highland Cemetery near Iola, Allen County, Kansas.



My great grandmother, Hazel Bertha Berry is on the top right side of the collage. Hazel was born 15 July 1896 in Franklin Township, Des Moines County, Iowa. Hazel was a very short woman, 4 1/2 feet tall. She married Hillary T. Harris on 4 November 1915 in Allen County, Kansas. H.T. Harris was 6ft 5in. My mother told me that in every photo they ever took, H.T. is always sitting and Hazel is standing. My mother also shared a fond memory of Hazel with me. My mother remembers spending all day on Sundays at her grandparents house. Hazel could always be found (or heard) in the kitchen cooking at the stove or at the sink doing the dishes belting out old gospel songs with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth (hmm, this must be a genetic trait). Hazel died at the age of 69 on 24 June 1965 at her home in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas.



The lovely young woman in the bottom row on the left is my grandmother Maryellen Harris. Maryellen is the only child of Hillary T. Harris and Hazel Bertha Berry. She was born in Bronson, Bourbon County, Kansas on 29 September 1916. After Maryellen graduated from Garnett High School in 1934, she and a girlfriend went to Topeka and became "Harvey Girls". Darrell Kenneth Skillman was a year behind Maryellen at Garnett High School. When he graduated the following year in 1935, he went to Topeka and brought Maryellen back home and they were married 4 November 1935.



The eldest child of Darrell K. Skillman and Maryellen Harris is my mother, Darlene Mary. Or as I like to call her "Mummy Dahling". And last, but certainly not the least, is yours truly. Recognize the party hat?


So there you have it 6 generations of my direct maternal line. Good thing I don't have a photo of my 4th great grandmother, I would hate to break up a 6 pack!

Submitted to the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy

23 August 2008

My Tallies for the Games


The Genea-Blogger Games officially ended today at noon o'clock. I am proud of myself. I accomplished so many things. And the biggest thing of all? Starting this blog and starting to actually write. Mega-thanks to Miriam, Thomas and Kathryn for setting the whole thing up and to footnoteMaven for the Games logo and medals designs. I would still be procrastinating if it weren't for participating in the Games.

My accomplishments are as follows:

1. Go Back And Cite Your Sources!

I completed 30 citations on this post and another 20 citations on this post.

50 citations = PLATINUM MEDAL


3. Organize Your Research!

I completed Events A, B, C, D and E on this post.

Completion of 5 Events = DIAMOND MEDAL

4. Write, Write, Write!

I completed Event A here.
Event B - I went to the Genea-blogger's Picnic over at Bill West's place and I submitted a photo and story to footnoteMaven for her I Smile For The Camera Carnival.
I completed Event C on this post.
Event D - My ancestor biography can be found here.

Completion of 4 Events = DIAMOND MEDAL

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

I completed Events A, B, D and E all here.
I completed Event F here.
I finished off the category with Event C here.

Completion of all 6 events = PLATINUM MEDAL

My cheering section told me "You Go, Girl!" So I "Got Up and Went!"

Genea-Blogger Games - Final Day of Competition



OK, here it is, the last event I need to get the Diamond Medal in the category
Write, Write, Write! a biographical about one of my ancestors and for the category Go Back And Cite Your Sources! the last 20 citations I needed.



MICHAEL DELANEY and the WINTERBOTTOM SISTERS - LILLIE and ABIGAIL

Michael Delaney is the eldest child of my 3rd great grandparents Daniel Derondo Delaney and Ellen Collins. Daniel and Ellen were born in Ireland. Daniel in County Kerry and Ellen in County Cork. They were married 3 December 1849 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Buttevant County Cork, Ireland. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaney’s arrived at the Port of New York on 8 January 1851 aboard the “Elizabeth Bentley”. By September of that year they had made their way North to Lockport, Niagara County where Michael was born 3 September 1851.

Daniel was a stone mason but upon arrival in America, he found himself a contractor to the railroads. Daniel had a team of men that graded the land where the new tracks were going to be laid. He must have been a hard worker and good at his job. The New York Central Railroad line from Lockport, south west along the southern shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio and south west even more to St. Louis Missouri, lines up neatly with the Delaney family’s migration westward.

In 1862 the Delaney’s are in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri where Daniel enlists in the Union Army. In 1867 the Delaney’s are in Lawrence, Kansas where Daniel once again takes up contract work for the railroad, this time for the Central Branch Missouri Pacific Railroad.

The family migrated north to Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas where we find Michael Delaney is now 19 years old. Michael worked alongside his father in railroad construction until the line was completed in Waterville in 1879. Daniel and Ellen decided to move south to Elk County, Kansas. Michael and and a younger brother George, elected to stay in Marshall County. George went north about 35 miles to the town of Axtell.


In 1879 Michael purchased a mercantile store from J. E. Peters. He owned and operated this store until he sold it in 1907.


On 29 April 1880 in Waterville Township, Michael married local school teacher Lillie Winterbottom, the daughter of Daniel and Matilda Winterbottom. Michael and Lillian had three sons: Frederick George Delaney born 1 April 1881, Daniel Derondo Delaney born 27 August 1886 and Carl Andrew Delaney born 7 August 1888.

All three boys moved to Taloga, Dewey County, Oklahoma and all three worked as bankers for the 1st National Bank. A first cousin to their mother, J. W. Thompson, was the president of the 1st National Bank and of Citizens National Bank. In 1917, all three boys registered for the draft during World War I. All three were shipped overseas to serve their country. Only two of them returned. Daniel Derondo Delaney was killed in action in February of 1918. His widow Maud and son Roger Delaney survived him. Daniel was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville. Frederick came back to his job as a banker and married Daisy Hvare. They relocated to Ventura, California and had three children: Fred George Delaney, Mary A. Delaney and Lillian Patricia Delaney. Frederick died in Ventura, California 7 April 1965 and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville. Carl married Ethel Florence Mc Elhaney and moved to Paradise, Butte County, California where they had one son Carl Roderick Delaney. Carl died 29 August 1976 in Paradise and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville.

Lillian died on 31 May 1893 and Michael remarried to her sister Abigail Winterbottom on 25 June 1895. Michael was an active member of the community, as the following list will confirm:

*Appointed Postmaster of Waterville 1888 - 1893 and again 1897-1913
*Elected as Mayor of Waterville and served two terms
*President of the Waterville School Board for seventeen years
*Chairman of the Waterville Township Central Republican Committee for twenty years during which time he also served as a delegate to district and state republican conventions.
*Vice president of Citizens State Bank
*Served as treasurer for the Riverside Cemetery Association

*Served as treasurer for Sutton Lodge No. 85
*Served as a member of the City Council of Waterville
*Supreme Treasurer of the Triple Tie Benefit Association for fourteen years
*A member of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows
*A member of The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for 55 years
*First President of Waterville Telephone Company
*Member of the Modern Woodmen of America
*Organized the construction of the new City Hall in Waterville
*Member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
Michael died 1 May 1938 in Waterville and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.



SOURCES:
1. “The Famine Immigrants, Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York 1846-1851“, Glazier, Ira A., Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland 1985, pp. 493-494
2. “A Pictorial and Family History of Waterville, Kansas”, Bicentennial Committee of 1796, pp. 247-249.
3. “Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons”, Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1912, pp. 502-503
4. “A History of Marshall County, Kansas - It‘s People, Industries and Institutions”, Forter, Emma, B F. Bowen and Company, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1917, pp. 201-202, 368-369, 415
5. “An Affair With The Past, From the Otoes to the Astronauts”, Guise, Byron and Eulalia, Marysville, Kansas, 1987
6. Parish Register, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland
7. “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Thursday, May 5, 1938, Section A, p. 12, Obituary for Michael Delaney
8. “The Ventura County Star”, Ventura, California
9. “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Friday, June 9, 1893, p. 3, Obituary for Lillie W. Delaney
10. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Daniel Derondo Delaney. Serial no. 45, order no. 7652

11. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Carl Andrew Delaney, serial no. 1223, order no. 15, Draft Board 31
12. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Fred George Delaney, serial no., 21, order no. 587, Draft Board 7
13. 1930 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 7B (penned), Michael Delaney household #230, dwelling #224
14 “History of the State of Kansas”, Cutler, William G., 1883, A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.
15. Daniel D. Delaney (Pvt. , Co. E, 7th Reg., Missouri Calvary, Civil War), Invalid Pension File No. 202.017, Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington DC

16. 1920 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B (penned), Michael Delaney household #153, dwelling #149
17. 1880 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B, Michael Delaney household #110, dwelling #107
18. 1885 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, pg. 10, line 21, Michael Delaney household
19. 1900 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Twonship, p. 245 (stamped), sheet 4A (penned), Michael Delaney household #96, dwelling #99
20. 1895 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 17, line 1, Michael Delaney household
21. 1910 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 11B (penned), Michael Delaney household #138, dwelling #137
22. 1905 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 9, line 1, Michael Delaney household
23. 1915 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 2, line 18, Michael Delaney household
24. Delaney Family Headstone Photos, Riverview Cemetery, Waterville Township, Marshall County, Kansas, photos in possession of author.

21 August 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different



Just as I am on a roll with Pauline/Helen, a distraction pushed it's way into my day.

About 3 years ago Sorenson Molecular was starting a DNA database project. I volunteered to participate. I was sent a kit in which to submit my sample. It was so easy. I just swished a pleasant tasting fluid around in my mouth for a couple of minutes and spit it into a container. I mailed it back to Sorenson's along with a "proven" 4 generation pedigree chart. At the time, the results were not available to the participants, but were used in comparing random DNA data collected from around the world.

A couple of months ago I get an email from Sorenson's:

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is excited to announce that your personalized DNA results are now available from the Sorenson mtDNA database, through a special offer made by GeneTree, a family networking website. Eligible participants may obtain their mtDNA-HVI, II, III results and pedigree information
To be eligible for this offer you must have requested an SMGF participation kit prior to October 23, 2007 and returned your kit prior to Dec 31, 2007.


Today I received the results. I am excited but I am not sure what I am excited about!


16189 C T
16193.1 C -
16193.2 C -
16311 C T
16519 C T
73 G A
263 G A
295 A C
309.1 C -
309.2 C -
315.1 C -


Test Results for the range 15968 to 16569 and 1 to 584

MtDNA Haplogroup: R
MtDNA Subgroup: B4c


I spent the better part of the day trying to understand what these results mean. Here is what I found that explained in the plainest of English:


mtDNA Haplogroup R Summary

Haplogroups M and N, appearing about 63,000 years ago, represent two branches of haplogroup L3. Haplogroups M and N encompass the entire mitochondrial genetic pool of all non-African populations.

Approximately 60,000 years ago, haplogroup N diverged, giving rise to haplogroup R.

While haplogroups M, N, R and their branches are found throughout southern Asia, eastern Eurasia and Australasia, only high level haplogroup diversity within N and R are found in
western Eurasia.

The N superhaplogroup has been characterized as pan-Eurasian. Haplogroup N is one of the two major trunks emerging from the original African root, and dates to approximately 65,000 years ago. Interestingly, several sub-haplogroups of the N cluster—haplogroup N1 and derivative lineages—have been detected in the Near East, suggesting either early divergence near the root of haplogroup N or subsequent migrations back towards western Eurasia following the original dispersal into east Eurasia. Future work will further document the historical distribution of this root haplogroup and closely related haplogroups within the N cluster.

Okaaayyy, Am I to understand that I am Haplogroup R and come from Eurasia?

Maybe a mistake has been made.....I have blonde hair and blue eyes and while I tan very nicely in the summer, my skin is basically white.

Is there anyone out there that can help me out here!

Genea-Blogger Games - Write, Write, Write!

Category #4 Write, Write Write!
Event A
Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog.

It took me a very long time to even start my own blog. Writing for me is extremely difficult. I worry so much about using just the right words I end up rewriting until I get so frustrated I just quit. It wasn’t until I returned from Samford this last June that all everything changed for me. A couple of people asked me to tell them all about my trip. I just started at the beginning and 1 page turned into 2 and 2 into 5, etc. I wasn’t getting so stressed out about how I wanted to write, I just wrote what I wanted to say.
You probably are not going to find Harvard University scholarly type writing about my research on my blog. It is my hope that as you read about my research, you will feel like you are right there with me.

Game Tallies

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - I need to complete 20 more

3. Organize Your Research! - I completed 5 events for the Platinum Medal.

4. Write, Write, Write! - I have one event left - to write a bio of one of my ancestors.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! - I completed all 6 events for the Platinum Medal

The Problem With Pauline - Part 4

Before I go any further with Pauline, I need to introduce you to the cast of characters.

Pauline’s parents - John Philip Sheern/Sharon and Mary Brice
Pauline’s siblings - Thomas Eugene Sheern/Sharon
John J. Sheern/Sharon
Joseph Francis Sheern/Sharon
Ada Kathryn Sheern/Sharon
Winifred “Minnie” Sheern/Sharon

Ada is married to Rudolph Markgraf. He is an accomplished architect. They lived in Kansas City, Missouri. They have 4 daughters:
1. Frieda who marries Cyril A. Prouty
2. Helen who marries Gustave Wolf
3. Marie who marries Eugene Rainey
4. Kathryn who died at age 14

Minnie married 3 times and lived in Kansas City, Missouri:
1. Lyman C. Hughes
2. Frank Vestal
3. Werner Herhold

On the day before I received the death certificate of Helen Hunt, I found yet another article in the Idaho Statesman dated June 13, 1908. Well, not really an article. It was 1 sentence in the society gossip column:

“Mrs. Mary Sharon and Mrs. Minnie Vestal are guests of Helen Hunt.”

Well it looks like Helen Hunt knew Pauline’s mother and sister.

The next day the death certificate for Helen Hunt came in the mail. OMG! Helen is Pauline! On the certificate it states:

Name of Father: J. P. Sharon
Name of Mother: Mary Brice

Well I need to get more proof. The death certificate gave the name of the funeral home: Summer Funeral Home in Boise, Idaho. The nice lady in the office sent me a copy of the file via email. Hurray, no waiting! The file consisted of 1 sheet of paper, but oh what an important piece of paper. Here is some of what it told me:

Date: 13 September 1917
Name of Deceased: Helen Hunt
Charge to: John Sharon
Address: c/o Mrs. A. C. Prouty
Order given by: Dick Childs
Name of Father: J.P. Sharon
Name of Mother: Mary Brice
Total Cost: $58.00

Well, Well, Well. The plot thickens. The name Dick Childs should ring a bell. In the article about the death of Helen Hunt, it mentions that a neighbor had noticed the fire and called for help. Only a surname was given - Childs. The John Sharon who is responsible for paying the bill must be Pauline’s brother John because her father John had died 11 years previously. Mrs. C. A. Prouty? Well that is Pauline niece Frieda, the daughter of her sister Ada. Just a note : John Sharon had to make 3 payments to pay off the bill.

One more document I needed to convince me was the cemetery record. Oh and it was a good one too. The funeral home record told me that Helen/Pauline was buried at Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise, Idaho. Another phone call and another email later and I had all the proof I needed. It identifies the deceased exactly
like this:

HELEN (PAULINE SHARON SANFORD) HUNT

OK, Now I have a thousand and one questions here are a couple for starters:
It appears that Pauline/Helen’s family knew that she used both names as well as her neighbor. Why? For what reason?

It appears that Pauline/Helen was financially well-off, extremely well-off. Why did her brother have to pay for the funeral? Poor man had to make 3 payments over a year’s time to pay it off. Why didn’t Pauline/Helen’s estate foot the bill?

20 August 2008

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


The James Arthur Solomon Family

James and Angeline Solomon and their 13 Children

Jonathan Creek, Moultrie County, Illinois

@1883

From left to right, back row:

John Fulton Solomon, Peter D. Solomon, James Arthur Solomon [my 3rd great grandfather], Sarah Jane Solomon [my 2nd great grandmother], Angeline Fulton Solomon [wife of James], James A. Solomon, Jr. [baby] and Walter Isaac Solomon

From left to right, front row:

Mary Elizabeth Solomon, Amy Angeline Solomon, Permelia Isabelle Solomon, Barnabus W. Solomon, Alice June Solomon, Maggie Mae Solomon, George Washington Solomon and William Solomon.

The Problem With Pauline - Part 3

So, things are starting to get interesting with this case. In the last post, I told you that I had found a little two sentence mention in "The Annals of St. Paul" that said Pauline Sharon Sanford had burned to death In Boise, Idaho. According to the Boise, Idaho newspaper a woman did indeed burn to death in her home on 13 September 1917. A woman by the name of Helen Hunt.

HHHmmmm What are the chances of two women burning to death in their home on exactly the same day and in exactly the same place? I'd say slim to none, when pigs fly, when hell freezes over, ....well you know what I mean.

I ordered a death certificate for this Helen Hunt from Ada County, Idaho. I knew that I had a couple of weeks at the very least before I received it so I decided to do a little sleuthing on Helen Hunt. I started by reading the newspaper article more closely. This is what it told me:

1. That Helen was the proprietor of the Ada rooms in Boise for many years.
2. That Helen was quite the social butterfly up to about 2 years before her death.
3. That it was thought she had a considerable amount of property.
4. That she had 1 relative - a niece who lived in Boise.
5. That she had relatives "in the east" who had been notified of Helen's death and no funeral arrangements would be made until they heard from them.
6. That Helen had a neighbor named Childs and one named Ward.
7. That Helen had become a recluse" ... with no company but her 150 thoroughbred chickens and her old horse which she drove to town about once a month."

First I ordered film from the Family History Library for the Boise city directories for 1917 and previous years back to 1902. Again, this would be another wait.

Next I went to http://www.genealogybank.com/ and searched for Helen Hunt in Boise, Idaho. A society girl like Helen must have made the paper a couple of times.

Helen did make the paper more than a few times. The first article I found in the Idaho Statesman dated November 5, 1905 had this headline:

"Mrs. Lizzie Ziegler Declared Not Guilty - Acquitted by Judge Stewart of the charge of keeping and maintaining a Bawdy House on Grove Street"

It seems that Mrs. Ziegler, the proprietress of the Ada Rooming House was arrested and charged with running a brothel. The defense called in over 20 witnesses to testify as to Mrs. Ziegler's character. Mrs. Helen Hunt was one of them.

In 1906 there are quite a few articles in the Idaho Statesman that star Mrs. Helen Hunt. Helen was living in a cottage on Grove Street (right down the street from the Ada Rooming House) and it seems that a fire broke out. Helen made it out safely, but the place burned to the ground. It also appears that Helen was in the middle of a deal to purchase the cottage when she found out that the man who sold it to her did not have legal title to it. Funny How the place went up in smoke when that tidbit of information was made public.

Helen must have became the proprietress of the Ada Rooming House in 1906 because another article in the paper in October of that year tells us how poor Helen was a victim of fraudulent money. It seems a boarder at the Ada House had paid his rent with counterfeit money.

In November of 1906 Helen is back in court according to the newspaper. This time the case is about 2 men who are accused of having sexual relations with 2 underage girls. These incidents are purported to have taken place at the Ada Rooming House where the 2 underage girls were living.

Helen Hunt also appeared in another part of the newspaper on several occasions. I found her in the column that listed significant real estate transactions that had occurred in Ada County. Wait until you hear this!

From 1905 to 1917 Helen Hunt purchased over $750,000 worth of property in Boise. These properties were prime pieces of real estate. All in the downtown area. Here are just a few transactions:


1. H.C. Wyman sold to Helen Hunt Lot 5 Block 22 originial townsite - $2200
Helen Hunt gave in part payment the south half of Block 16 Brumback
addition valued at $1000 and paid the balance of $1200 in cash.

2. W. E. Pierce to Mrs. Helen Hunt the west 10 feet of Lot 11 and the east
40 feet of Lot 10 in block 22 of the old townsite adjoining the present quarters
of the Deaf, Dumb & Blind School at Eighth & Grove Streets - $7500.

3. Warranty Deed - J. M. Neil & Co. to Helen Hunt, lots 7 and 8, Block 108, original townsite, for $3000.



Remember this is between 1905 and 1917. Where did Helen get the money to make these kinds of transactions. Isn't it highly unusual for an unmarried woman in that day and age to be involved in top dollar real estate dealings?


Well, Helen Hunt appears to be a society girl alright. Are you thinking what I am thinking?

19 August 2008

Terry Thornton wants to get to know us

Terry Thornton over at Hill County of Monroe County wants to get to know us and vice versa. He has issued a challenge to all of us bloggers to get to know each other. He wants to know what 3 blogs have you written that you consider to be The Brightest, The Breeziest and The Most Beautiful.
Make your way over to Terry's blog, he has a special format he wants you to use for this challenge. Deadline for submissions: Saturday, September 27th at midnight.

I am going to take the challenge, are you?

Pauline Post 2

I finished the 2nd part of the "Problem with Pauline". I had started the post August 8th. So when I finished it, the post was put in chronological order. I can't figure out how to move the post to this date so I am putting the link here:

http://sherifenley.blogspot.com/2008/08/problem-with-pauline-part-2.html

55th Edition COG


footnoteMaven has just announced the 55th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy. The topic will be "Show and Tell". Write about an heirloom, a special photo,a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.
Deadline for submissions is 1 September 2008.

17 August 2008

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 7 and Day 8


Well we have reached the halfway point in the games. I have checked out the competition and I can tell you that everyone seems to be running neck-in neck - a 38 way tie.

I was busy with other projects the last couple of days. Important projects like trying to win back my top ranking on Word Whomp over at Facebook. Damn you Colleen, this means war! LOL

I also completed 2 new member applications for my DAR chapter. Then I had to read (4 times!) this month's article for the genealogical online study group I participate in. Oh, then I had to write my report for the San Joaquin Genealogical Society's upcoming board meeting. So you see, I was actually getting some work done.

My standings in the Genea-Blogger Games as of Day 8 are as follows:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

I have completed 30. I need to do 20 more to reach my goal of a platinum medal.

3. Organize Your Research!

I have completed 5 of the 6 events and have earned the platinum medal.

4. Write, Write, Write!

I am going for a diamond medal in this category. I have completed events B -participate in a blog carnival and C - prepare several posts in draft mode and pre-publish. I still need to finish events A - write a summary of what my blog is about and D - write a biographical sketch of one of my ancestors.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

I previously completed events A, B, D, E and F. I needed to complete event C -invite other genealogists to join Facebook. I invited several people from my area that are interested in family history and research to join Facebook. So far I haven't seen any of those people at the Facebook site but I shall keep nagging gently nudging them in that direction. So, with this last event completed I am taking the platinum in this category.


And now back to Word Whomp!

16 August 2008

I Smile for the Camera - Do You?


5th EDITION
Smile For The Camera ~ A Carnival of Images


The word prompt for the 5th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Crowning Glory. Show us those wonderful photographs of hairdos and maybe even a few don'ts. Don't limit yourself to just hair fashion through the ages, got a great photograph of a hat, helmet, bonnet, or some other interesting headgear? Share!
The deadline is 10 September 2008 at midnight. footnoteMaven always throws a great party, don't miss out on this one!

I am at Alltop too!


Well I'll be darned, I just received an email from the people at Alltop.com :

Over the next few days you may notice that visitors to your site came from Alltop.com because we added your site to http://genealogy.alltop.com/ .

Hey fM - I'm a Cool Kid too!

Fourth Edition of Smile for the Camera


footnoteMaven has posted the Fourth Edition of Smile for the Camera at Shades of the Departed. This is the first time I have participated in this wonderful carnival and I wasn't alone. 40 bloggers participated sharing their most cherished photos. I can't wait for the next edition.

15 August 2008

Music to my Ears

Tim Abbott of Walking The Berkshires has started a great meme asking readers to list the 10 most important music albums of their teenage years:http://greensleeves.typepad.com/berkshires/2008/08/the-soundtracks.html








































1. the B 52's

2. Carole King - Tapestry

3. Styx - The Grand Illusion

4. Elton John - Goodbye Yellowbrick Road

5. David Bowie - Young Americans

6. Fleetwood Mac - Rumors

7. Heart - Dreamboat Annie

8. Box Scaggs - Silk Degrees

9. Bad Company - Straight Shooter

10. Led Zepplin - Physical Graffiti

11. Eagles - Hotel California

Well, ok I chose 11. There were a kazillion more but these came to mind first.

14 August 2008

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 5 and Day 6


I was able to complete a few more events in the last two days.

3. Organize Your Research!


A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc. archival-quality where appropriate.


While I was working on my "Problem With Pauline" I made 10 surname files for collateral members of this line and filed documents into them.


Then back to my Delaney family, I did the same for 10 different surnames.



5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!


F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society.


I renewed my memberships with the San Joaquin Genealogical Society and DAR

Summary of the completed events of competition:
1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - 30 citations completed. I have earned a Gold Medal.
3. Organize Your Research! - I have completed events A, B, C, D and E. I have earned the Platinum Medal.
4. Write, Write, Write! - I have completed B and C. I have earned a Silver Medal.
5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! I have completed A, B, D, E and F. I have earned the Platinum Medal

Comments Update

Thank you to all who responded to my comments post. I now have a better understanding of how things work in the blog-world.

12 August 2008

No Comments?

One last post for the day. I am new to the Genea-Blogger's world so maybe the observation I am going to make is just my naivety. The counter that tells me how many people have visited my blog tells me that over 100 people have come to my blog to give me a look-see.

100 people and not a one of them left a comment on any of my posts. Is this a normal occurrence? 100 people and not one had an opinion about my writing. Should I not take this personally? Do I need to understand that their silence doesn't mean that they did not enjoy the posts?

I guess I am nervous about being on the porch with the Big Dogs. I know that there is lots of room on the porch, but I want to share that big juicy bone they have as well.

Let me know if I am turning into a whiner.

Genea-Blogger Games - Day 3 and Day 4


WOW! After all the posts on Samford and Pauline, I am pumped and raring to go. I had no problem completing quite a few of my events during Day 3 and Day 4.

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - I entered 20 new sources into my database for my Delaney family and while I was at it I re-entered another 10 so they would be properly cited. Daniel Derondo Delaney is my 3rd great grandfather and one of my favorite ancestors.

4. Write, Write, Write! - I participated in I Smile For The Camera Carnival by submitting a photo and article about my father. I also went to the Genea-Bloggers picnic over at Bill West's place and submitted an article. I prepared in a draft mode a series of 6 posts about my experience at Samford. I set it up so that the posts would publish one after another every 3 hours.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! - I do this on a daily basis already.

1. I am a RAOGK volunteer for San Joaquin County, California.

2. I transcribe records (most recently death and land records) for the Missouri State Archives.

3. I transcribe records for Brigham Young University’s Immigrant Ancestor Project - currently I am working on writer’s petitions which are applications for entrance into the East India Company College. These are all dated from the 1830’s.

4. I am the registrar for El Toyon Chapter NSDAR at the local level and at the national level I am a Lineage Research Lookup Volunteer and I index books for the DAR Library.

5. I am trying to be the editor of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society’s newsletter. The previous editor had to retire and I was appointed to take over until another editor can take over.

6. I transcribed the WPA Graves Registration for the entire county of Poweshiek, Iowa and part of Pocahontas County, Iowa.

I am really in shape for this event and had no problem completing 4 out of 6 events:

A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog. I left comments at Brenda Dougall Merriman’s blog - http://brendadougallmerriman.blogspot.com/ and at Brian Nichols’ blog The Mad Genealogist - http://familyhistory101.com/

B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks. I joined 2 networks - Life in Possum Holler - http://cebillingsley.blogspot.com/ and What’s Past is Prologue - http://pastprologue.wordpress.com/

D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. As stated above, I do this daily.

E. Participate in an indexing project. Again, as stated above, I have several ongoing projects that I work on almost daily.

Summary of the first 4 days of competition:
1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - 30 citations completed. I have earned a Gold Medal.
3. Organize Your Research! - I have completed events B, C, D and E. I have earned Diamond Medal.
4. Write, Write, Write! - I have completed B and C. I have earned a Silver Medal.
5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! I have completed A, B, D and E. I have earned a Diamond Medal

11 August 2008

Sheri Went To Samford - The Final Part

FRIDAY, JUNE 13TH


For blondes who live in California, any time the 13th falls on a Friday we are given a legal holiday. Trying to remember and avoid every superstition known to man will make our heads explode. This is what I thought might get me off the hook for speaking to the class. It seems that this law is not known in Alabama and therefore did not apply.


I was not having a good start to my day. I had not made the correct calculations and had smoked my last cigarette the night before. I got more than a few funny looks as I was walking down the hill to the cafeteria for breakfast looking up into the sky and saying, "Just take me now and get it over with!"


The morning was getting worse. I was working on a legal holiday, they had run out of spiced apple oatmeal in the cafeteria, and I was drinking coffee without a cigarette.



Walking through the parking lot to my classroom to meet my fate, an angel pulled up in her car. Why, it was Ms. Martha from my class, Ms. Martha who sat in the front row of my class. I must have looked really bad. She asked what was wrong and when I told her she took a quick look around and said, "Hurry quick and get in the car." Bless her little heart, Ms. Martha took some back road, got me to the mini mart and back to school in time for me to have a smoke and for us to get to class on time. PLEASE NOTE: Ms. Martha does not smoke, she did it for me out of the kindness of her heart which I blessed earlier. I am forever in your debt, Martha.



OK, so maybe the day was getting a little better. Maybe I could really pull this presentation off without speaking "blond-ese" and maybe I could show them that not only do I love research but I also am pretty darn good at it. After all, I was wearing my favorite fluorescent Hawaiian print dress and lime green sandals. My mother always told me when you look good, you feel good.


Somehow my presentation was scheduled as the last one. Everyone before me had PowerPoint things and laser pointers. I agonized all morning about how I was going to do this. I finally tore a piece of paper out of my notebook, wrote on it and waited. When Birdie called my name, I dragged myself up to the podium, held up my piece of paper that said, “The Problem with Pauline,” and proceeded to tell the class about my research.


I did this with a classroom of new friends, some new found confidence, and a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 5

I am not a writer nor do I play one on TV. I had intended this to be a chronological accounting of my experience, but each time, as soon as I posted one part I realized that I had left something out. So to continue with that theme….I forgot to include this about Dr. Debbie Abbott - She was on my scary list too. She was also a part time student in the Land Records class and sat next to me in the back of the room (this is were that “sitting in the back of the class was a good thing” comes in). Being the new kid in school I had no idea who she was at the time, but I had a check mark in the scary column by her name. She has a PhD. When Birdie introduced her she stood and walked to the front of the class and gave me a little nod. Boy was that ever a “duh” moment for me. I dug in my bag for the bottle of white out and took her off the list.
FYI - My basic formula for the Scary List : Librarian = Scary, PhD = Very Scary, Elizabeth Shown Mills = Very, Very Scary.


THURSDAY, JUNE 12th
Today we had Birdie all to ourselves for almost the entire day. When it comes to land, the records they produce, maps and how to plot them - Ms. Holsclaw reigns as the Queen in my book. She took us through (what she likes to call) mini-case studies to teach us how to plot maps from the calls in survey descriptions and how to use that information to find our ancestors. We got into our groups again and Birdie gave us a hands-on case to solve using multi-partitioned deeds. The manner in which Birdie Holsclaw teaches her classes lets you know that she started out in the genealogical field just like everyone else - a novice who through hard work and a genuine love of her profession put her at the top of the field today.



After break was when IT happened. We heard a deep rumbling sound. Ann Staley said it was thunder and the rain would start soon. I told her that I had just come in from outside and the sun was out, sounded like a motorcycle to me. She went to the window and peeked out the blind and said “Oh, it is a motorcycle” and started to turn away from the window, she looked out the window again and said “OH MY GOD, IT IS A MOTORCYCLE AND CLAIRE IS ON IT!” We just about fell all over ourselves rushing to the window. I’ll be damned, there she was, Claire Bettag, wearing a skirt mind you, riding shotgun on a Harley, waving to us with the biggest grin on her face. I didn’t know Claire liked to ride. She did not have a single visible tattoo as most “Motorcycle Mama's” are known to exhibit. Maybe things were different in the East than out West . For more information on this historic event or to get on the waiting list to be Claire’s roommate next year, please contact her directly.


An update on this: After receiving permission from Claire and Sam Rosers I am delighted to present this photograph of this memorable event.














Our 6th and final guest speaker was Carolyn Earle Billingsley, PhD. Ms. Billingsley was on the Scary list, but I had bought her book and after the first few chapters I had erased her name. Her topic was “Kinship Theory and Migration.“ Her explanations of how and why people migrated as groups made such perfect sense to me. I highly recommend her book. She was very entertaining and skilled at getting her points across. I may be wrong but I got the feeling that she and I both march to the beat of a different drummer. This is a very good thing.


Before I could leave for the day Birdie asked me how long my presentation would take. Presentation? Yes, how long was it going to take and would I be using a PowerPoint presentation or would I need an overhead projector? I just about passed out. I thought she had wanted maybe a written paragraph or two about my work. OMG, I don’t have a laptop, much less any of those other things she mentioned. I had to sit down. I told her that the answer was none of the above. She smiled sweetly and said OK, an oral report 10-15 minutes would be just fine. OMG, I needed to have a smoke.


Samford has a tradition of holding a lovely banquet the last night of our stay. I am sure that anything you wear would be OK, but most wore something a little dressier than daytime wear. I went to the dorm to get dressed and made it inside just as the sky opened up and let us have it. It rained cats, dogs, sheep,elephants, you name it. I have since heard that the rain is traditional on banquet night . I had brought a lovely conservative pants suit just for this occasion. The pants were hip-huggers with large bell bottoms - white with black flowers flowing down the legs. The food was wonderful as usual and the speaker, Paul Milner, was entertaining. I was having a hard time concentrating. I was still trying to make myself understand that I am going to talk to people, while standing in front of the class. Talk to them like I knew what I was doing.





I got back to the dorm and went to bed dazed and confused but with a smile on my face.

Sheri Went to Samford - Part 4

I promised to let you know what lesson I had learned from the unfortunate incident in the previous post - The lesson is to get a better hair cut so there is no possibility of ever having a rat’s nest on top of my head. Moving on….

WEDNESDAY JUNE 11TH

Here is where I had planned to skillfully weave yesterday’s ending and today’s beginning. It was my intention to bedazzle you with my brilliance so that I would not have to tell you that I overslept and was 2 hours late to class. But I don’t know how to do that, so I won’t.

When I finally made it to class, Birdie was again asking for volunteers to consider giving a little presentation about their research on Friday. I felt so bad about being late (and was still groggy) I walked right up to her and volunteered. Don’t forget this part; you will need it later.

Guest Speaker #4 was Mark Lowe. Mr. Lowe was not on the scary list. Last year I had downloaded a recording of a lecture he gave at a FGS conference.His voice in person sounded just like the recording; therefore, he was not scary. Mark’s presentation was great. Although this was not a hands-on exercise, it was a case study. “In the Parlor or Dining Room: Marriage on the State Line” was about one man, one house, three counties and two states. For those who haven’t heard this lecture, I don’t want to give away too much. Mr. Lowe is a very experienced researcher. When a student asked him how long it took to go through all the deeds for the case, he revealed that he had some connections that allowed him special privileges in the county courthouse. (Being sworn to secrecy I cannot explain any further, but if you have the chance you could casually ask Mr. Lowe about a few special keys on his keyring. You did not hear this from me.)

Lloyd Bockstruck was Guest Speaker #5 and he was on the scary list. First, he is a librarian and second, he is a librarian. I don't know about anyone else, but our local librarian was someone you did not want to mess with while you were in her territory. One little giggle or whisper was all it took for her to give you that look (you know the look - peering over the rim of her glasses, her mouth looking like she sucked a big old lemon). This of course was in the olden days when libraries could afford to have librarians. Mr. Bockstruck is not scary, he is extremely intelligent and a gentleman in every sense of the word. His lecture covered different methods of discovering a married woman's maiden name using guess what? Land records!


The last speaker for the day was Karen Mauer Green. Ms Green gave us a wonderful presentation on a case she recently finished. It involved researching 6 taverns in New York to find find the original owners. She used what she called an "Interdisciplinary Approach" to tackle this large project. There was a slide show of the taverns that accompanied her talk. I really enjoyed this unique presentation.

I had a very busy evening after dinner. I went to the library on campus to do a little research in their Special Collections. Samford has a great library. The Special Collections house an extensive Irish Collection. On the same floor is the computer lab which is in an enclosed room and then an area with about 25-30computers with internet connection. I used these computers to type up a few reports.

Katherine Hopkins (who took me shopping Sunday evening) saw me at the computers and nonchalantly whispered to me that she received an email which gave her some privileged information - Macy's was having a midnight madness sale! Did I perhaps want to join her, she asked? I arranged to meet her back at the dorm.

When I came out of the library I noticed immediately that something was different. There was a breeze and it was almost chilly. There were also some of the largest and blackest clouds in the sky that I had ever seen in my life. I got as far as the cafeteria before I started with the "Hail Mary's". A bolt of lightening that Zeus himself must have thrown filled the sky. I hurried a little faster to my room. The deafening crrraaccckk of thunder that shortly followed made me scream for my mommy. I made it up that hill to the dorms from the cafeteria in less than 5 minutes. I have seen and heard storms before, but nothing that would have prepared me for this. Going to Macy's did not sound like such a great idea.

The evening was not lost, however. Fortunately I remembered about a little soiree' that I had been invited to. It was held on the prestigious 2nd floor of Chi Omega. Those rooms have new flooring, a towel rack in the bathroom, and no cobwebs in the corners. I am really glad I went. Margo and Ann and Stacey I already knew from class, and Katherine joined us as well. I met some new faces: Amy, Beth and Mary. I didn't get their last names. I had come very close to a complete meltdown earlier what with the storm, and I was doing good to remember my own name. The refreshments they served were quite varied: Cheetoes, Pork Rinds and something called a soy chip that reminded me of the movie "Soylent Green."


Later in my room, exhausted from the day, I didn't even look at the clock to see the time, but when I closed my eyes, I had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went to Samford - Part 3

As genealogists we are always running into problems and have to use our skills to solve them. Sometimes we collaborate with other genealogists to solve them as I will now demonstrate.
I left out a very important event that happened on Sunday. My roommate had become ill and couldn't make it down to the cafeteria for dinner. I mentioned this to some people on the shuttle bus and a wonderful lady, Katherine Hopkins from Tennessee, offered to drive me into town to get the roommate something to eat. She went above and beyond the call of duty by taking me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a coffee pot. I would not have made it through the week without it. I cannot even get myself dressed without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. I gave the coffee pot to Katherine when it was time to go home so she could donate it to her church. I had a problem and Catherine helped me solve it. See how nicely that worked out?

(Note to self and pat on the back: Nice job of working that in. Katherine should forgive me for omitting her part of the story and I do not make myself appear quite the strung out, caffeine addicted junkie that I really am)

An aside: I am working hard on my "image" ever since the regent of my DAR chapter popped in at my home to bring me some papers. She found me in the backyard, my hair pulled up in a bun that looked like a rat's nest, in my bathing suit and flip flops, cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth, stereo headphones on top of the rat's nest, rocking out to Stevie Ray Vaughan while mowing the lawn. No, please don't even try to picture this in your head. If you do, I cannot be held responsible for any mental health issues that you may develop. I only share this unfortunate event with you because there is a valuable lesson to be learned here and as soon as I figure out what it is, I will get back to you.

TUESDAY JUNE 10th
Before our guest speaker, Birdie says that she needs to know who will be giving a presentation on Friday morning. She had emailed us before we arrived and asked us to share a case we have worked on that involves land records with the class. Remember this part of the story; it becomes very important a bit later. Elissa Powell, from Pennsylvania, is our second guest speaker. She shared one of her own actual case studies to illustrate how to correlate records using the Genealogical Proof Standard. Elissa was not on my "Scary" list. This is because I had already met her online. I participate in an online study group (they do NOT know that I am blonde) that is made up of people who are serious about becoming professional genealogists. Elissa has been very generous with her time and knowledge and sits in on our discussions whenever time permits. Whenever I see Elissa she is always smiling, she has a great sense of humor and you can tell you that not only does this lady know her stuff, she truly enjoys her job. This is a fairly new concept that is extremely difficult for some people to grasp - having a job that you love.

(Note to self: Need to get a job so I can start the loving)

She gave us a great hands on exercise in which the class was divided into groups to solve the case. Deb Deal, Ann Staley, Margo Fariss Brewer and Stacy Anderson and I were Group 4. Our group worked so well together, I could have sworn that we had done it a million times. All of these ladies have been coming to Samford for years as well as many other genealogical events throughout the year. These ladies were great and they even liked my outfits. One of them even told me that not many people can wear that shade of magenta and get away with it.

(Note to self: Magenta does go with orange, keep the outfit)

Each group was given pieces of the problem and then had to report our findings and how those findings tied into the other group's findings. I learn new things best visually. When I cannot picture something in my head, good visual aids are a must for me. Maps are key to finding the answers for a lot of land problems. Looking at pedigree charts fixes a person's place in a lineage in my head. Elissa provided great documents like those above to use as clues to help the groups along. I think the purpose of this assignment was not so much finding an answer to the problem as it was to show us how to interpret the records properly, what records are available and where to find them and the importance of developing a research plan.

Dr. Debbie Abbott was our 3rd guest speaker. If you haven't ever had the opportunity to attend one of Dr. Debbie's Lectures - find a way to make it happen. Her topic was completely new to me - Using land, tax and census records to find the owners of a slave family in Kentucky. Using a real case study that she recently completed for her pastor, she showed us step by step the records she used, why she used them and what that record told her. If you pay close attention and interpret a document correctly, it will tell you where to look next in your search.Dr. Debbie had us divide into groups and like Elissa, gave each group documents that she used. Each group had different documents to analyze and then report their findings. I am so glad I paid close attention to the background information she gave us before she handed out the documents. All of us have seen a page from a deed book before. It is pretty straightforward: It records a date, grantor, grantee and a reference to where you can find the original documents. I have not had an opportunity to research a case that involved slaves before. Did you know that in the deed books if the grantee was only referred to by their given name (no surname)more than likely is was an owner granting that person their freedom, not land? After Dr. Debbie explained this to me it made perfect sense. Slaves were property and when property is transferred from one person to another it is recorded in a deed book.

I am fully aware that one person cannot "know it all", but the value of knowing a little bit of everything is priceless. Since I was becoming familiar with the time of day known as 9:00 PM, I went to bed and had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 2

Monday, JUNE 9TH

At an hour of the day that I did not know existed (6:00 AM) I dragged my behind out of bed so I could peel the bed sheet off of it (my behind, that is) and get ready for the day. Now I could have said that my eyes popped open at the sound of the alarm clock and as I leapt out of bed ready to greet the new day, blah, blah, blah. But you and I both know what a big fat lie that would be! There is a nice air-conditioned shuttle bus available to take you where you need to go on campus. Upon checking the schedule for the morning departure times I came to the conclusion that it would not work for me. It is perfect for those perky; "early bird gets the worm" kind of people who can make it out the door in time. For those of us who are perhaps a tad cranky upon arising, do not like worms, and are fond of our snooze buttons, the walk from the dorms to the cafeteria is downhill and if the wind is blowing in just the right direction it is a very short 5 minute walk. I would recommend taking the shuttle on any return trip to the dorms until your body acclimates to the heat and humidity. No amount of wind, blowing in any direction, is going to get you up that hill without your calves screaming in pain that first day. Oh, did I forget to mention earlier that the campus at Samford is a kajillion acres of rolling hills?

I am used to 100 degree summers here in Stockton so the heat was not a problem for me, and neither was the humidity once I learned how to breathe without absorbing excess moisture and drowning. Having breakfast with a couple of hundred fellow genealogists is worth getting up for. The food served in the cafeteria is very tasty. I do not like grits but have a tip for new people on how to make friends and fit right in - scoop some of those grits onto your plate and surround it with some more of the local favorites. You are allowed to eat all the food you want, so get an additional plate of food that you are more accustomed to and voila’ - instant friends. Beware however of meat that appears to be a chicken fried steak - it is catfish in disguise and does NOT go well with spiced apple oatmeal. At 8:30 a.m., I walked to my classroom and feel silly admitting that I was very nervous. All the bright, perky, worm-eating people were already there. I took the last remaining seat in the back row (which as I will later relate was the best seat in the house) and tried not to call attention to myself.

(Note to self: - Wardrobe color and selection DO matter. - Save the fluorescent lime green mini skirt for day 3 or 4.)

Birdie Monk Holsclaw was the instructor for Land Records Case Studies. I felt at ease as soon as she began the class. She provides a stress-free learning environment. This is a term we use in California. It is meant to encourage blonde girls to get an education. It basically means that blondes are capable of learning and that previous theories of an overload of information does not make your brain explode, as first thought.

I knew the basics of land records, but Birdie taught me how to use them more effectively. She gave me tools I had never thought of using before to make those kinfolk connect. I am the registrar for our local DAR chapter and need to make sure that applications for membership that I send in are well documented and verifiable. Many times that magic piece of paper in which someone declares…”to my son/daughter…” does not exist. I learned from taking this course that different pieces of evidence, when analyzed and correlated properly, can present a convincing argument for the case you are trying make.
Claire Bettag was up next. Now I have to explain something here. I had done a little snooping to find out about the instructors I would be learning from. Claire was one of a few that scared the hell out of me. I just knew that she would be able to take one look at me at say, “Aha! You’ve never been to Washington DC; you’ve never filled out a slip of paper with all those numbers on it to request a single case file from NARA.”

(Note to self: Preconceptions are a bad thing to carry around.)

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Claire is not scary at all! Claire gave us a wonderful presentation on the use of Private Land Claims. She made sure that no one was getting left behind in the class. She didn’t move on until everyone’s questions had been answered. She is just as passionate about teaching and sharing her knowledge as I am about learning.

I was in bed that evening at another time that I did not know existed - 9:00 pm. I learned so much, my head did not explode, and I had a smile on my face.

Sheri Went To Samford - Part 1

I was fortunate enough this year to attend the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon my return home I wrote an essay about my experiences at Samford and posted it as a series to the APG mailist at rootsweb.com. Now that I have my very own blog, I am going to put my essay here for your reading enjoyment

SATURDAY, JUNE 7TH and SUNDAY, JUNE 8TH
Birmingham, Alabama

My flight from California was smooth and fast; after a mere 30-minute layover in Houston, I arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, about 2:30 PM. I have never seen a place as green in the summer like Birmingham. Birmingham sits at the bottom of the lower Appalachian Mountain Range. Everywhere you look are low, tree covered, rolling hills.

My roommate had arranged for us to stay with a shirttail relative of hers because we could not check into the dorms until Sunday. We went to dinner at a Chinese buffet called Aunt Lisa's where the only Chinese food I saw were the fortune cookies we were given as a parting gift when we left. I was promised dinner and a show and was not disappointed. In the Winn Dixie parking lot was a group of musicians who get together once a month and play. One of the band members appeared to be under the age of 65, the other 11 were not. There were three women (one played a bass fiddle that was 3 feet taller than she was). A total of 1 mandolin, 1 fiddle and 1 bass fiddle and 9 guitars. They played everything from old gospel favorites to Elvis. In addition to wonderful music was a car show (Southern definition of a car show: A group of 3 or more newly washed vehicles that are NOT trucks parked next to one another). Dancing was an option that a few people took advantage of.

The next morning was a church service that I still do not know how to explain. Finally, after church but before we were dropped off at Samford, I had another dining experience that I feel I must share - The Waffle House. There is a Waffle House everywhere in the south. The places are no bigger than my bathroom at home so I am assuming in order to serve the masses of people who frequent the establishment, having one on every corner is not over-doing it. I had hash browns that were smothered, covered, diced, chopped and some others things that one can have done to their food. As you tell your waitress all the different ways you would like your food to be assaulted, she repeats your request to the cook shouting your preferences across the room.

I was finally here. Samford University is one of the most beautiful college campuses I have ever been on. We arrived about an hour early and the place was so quiet and empty. I was assigned a room in the Chi Omega House, room 11, in the dungeon, er, I mean basement, right between the laundry room and the janitor's closet. The window was at sidewalk level and I can give a detailed report on the latest fashion in shoes for any who are interested.The room itself did not have any comfort from home. I was told this ahead of time, but they really meant it. I brought what I could, given the limitations imposed on me by the airlines. I believe that there should be an award given to anyone who can pack clothing for 7 days, linens for your bed (including a pillow), towels,books, reading lamp, alarm clock, and a snack or two into one (1) suitcase no larger than a tote bag (Note: see airline company for exact measurements) and weighing no more than fifty (50) pounds. I brought all of the above and weighed in at 49 ½ pounds and did not win a prize. Imagine my disappointment.

After settling in, we are treated to the daily special in the cafeteria. I have to admit that the food is very tasty and there is a good variety of items to choose from. A quick orientation followed and we were cut loose with orders to report for class the next morning.

I endured this first 24 hours in 98 degree weather with 98% humidity and a smile on my face.

The Games - Day 1 and Day 2








I devoted both Saturday and Sunday to organizing a box of old photos I forgot that I had. I scanned each of them and put into folders on my computer. After scanning I placed the photos into large acid-free envelopes according to family groups and surnames. I bit the bullet and actually tossed some of these photos into the trash because they were too blurry, or a picture of someones foot, etc. In all I kept 75 of them. I want to share just a few of them.
















About a month ago, I wrote a series of posts to the APG maillist about my experiences at Samford University while I was attending the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research. In one of those posts I told the readers that I was working hard on improving my image after the regent of my DAR chapter popped in for a visit one Saturday morning. She found me in the backyard. I was mowing the lawn wearing my bathing suit and flip-flops, my hair up in a bun that looked like a rat's nest, ipod clipped to said bathing suit, headphones on top of rat's nest and to complete the ensemble - a cigarette hanging out of my mouth! When I came across the photo on the left, I had to smile. There I am with my aunt mowing the lawn. I have become such a fashionista since then.


The middle photo was taken about 1919 in Altoona, Wilson County, Kansas. The little boy on the left is my grandfather Darrell Skillman and his brother Paul is on the right. Look closely at the wheels on the tricycles, they have no rubber on them. No wonder they look so frustrated.

The photo on the right was taken about 1939 in Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas. It is a great example of "Street Photography". Photographers would snap pictures of people as they were walking around town and try to sell them the print. The photographer of this photo made a sale. This is my Grandfather Darrell Skillman and my grandmother Maryellen Harris Skillman and my mother in the middle.