30 September 2008

Extra! Extra! 57th COG

Newspapers can be a wonderful source of family history information. Share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper.Articles, advertisements, obituaries, classified ads, photos... all are fair game if they appeared in a newspaper. What did you learn about your family from this information? Was the information accurate? How did you learn about this information... online search? Perusing old newspapers? A clipping saved by a relative?

It's too bad that this carnival didn't happen a month ago. I could have used my Pauline news paper articles. Just as well, my Delaney family is another of my very favorite families and I have been neglecting them.
Daniel Derondo Delaney ( I just adore the name) and his wife Ellen Collins are my 3rd great grandparents. In an earlier post I wrote a biography about their eldest child Michael Delaney.
The newspaper article I found is about Michael's eldest son Frederick George Delaney.
Fred and his 2 brothers, Carl and Daniel, had all entered the banking business at the same time.
A first cousin to their mother, J. W. Thompson, was the president of the 1st National Bank and of Citizens National Bank. The boys all moved to Taloga, Dewey County, Oklahoma where a new branch of their uncle's bank was opening. From the article below, it appears that Fred was quite a catch. It is in the neighboring county of Custer, the town of Thomas that this article comes from. Or should I call it an advertisement?

28 September 2008

Phreaky Photo Challenge

Colleen McHugh over at Orations of OMcHodoy has issued a challenge to all genea-bloggers: go to Yearbookyourself.com and create one or more photos of yourself using their graphic interface. Then create a post of your phreaky photos and Colleen will roll them all up into one big post!
This was really fun to do. Thanks Colleen for the diversion and the break from writing. Some of the photos didn't come out very good because I couldn't get my face into the template they provided straight. So I am only showing the ones that don't make me look like a mutant space creature.

The years I "posed" for these photos are:
Top Row from left to right - 1952 1962 1964
Bottom Row from left to right - 1974 1990 1996

25 September 2008

My Education - Past, Present & Future

I've had a few people (more than 1) ask me about my structured education. From 2003 to 2008 I totally immersed myself in education. I looked for any opportunity to gain experience.


Monterey Peninsula College - Karen Clifford, AG offers 4 semester long classes - Family Research Studies I - IV. These are 3 unit courses. All 4 semesters are completely online classes. We had an assignment every week, reading every day, discussions everyday. And Tests. Pop Quizzes, Mid Terms and Finals. Ms. Clifford is a wonderful teacher and expects her students to learn the very basics so that you get to a point that you don't even think about things, you just do them. As for Ms. Clifford's credentials:
Karen Clifford, A.G., is Founder and President of Genealogy Research Associates, Inc. She is an Instructor in the Associates Degree programs in Library Science-Genealogy and Computers at Hartnell College (Salinas, California) and Monterey Peninsula College (Monterey, California).
Although an Accredited Genealogist in Midwestern States Research, she specialized for years prior to that in Southern States and Scandinavian Research. She has authored several family histories and national textbooks including Genealogy & Computers for the Complete Beginner; Genealogy & Computers for the Determined Researcher; Genealogy & Computers For the Advanced Researcher; and Becoming an Accredited Genealogist..
Karen currently serves as Vice-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and President of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA). In 1999, she was the Director of UGA's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is a member of the California State Genealogy Alliance, Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, New England Historic Genealogical Society and was the founding President of the Monterey County Genealogy Society. She was Director of the Monterey California Family History Center.
She has received the FGS Award of Merit.

You go to classes in kind of a virtual classroom and "talk" with classmates daily. Up to this point, I was self-taught and thought that I knew quite a bit. I began with the first beginner class and I have to tell you, I did not know as much as I thought I did. I am so glad I found these classes. I learned from one of the best in the field and had the best classmates. In fact there were 7 of us who started in class I and continued through all 4 semesters. We still meet every February in Monterey for lunch and a reunion.
The price was right and you will come away from this class a much better genealogist - California residents pay only $20 per unit plus, your student body fees and your books. MPC website - http://www.mpc.edu/Pages/default.aspx Over in the left hand column is a link for distance learning. Click it and the classes you want are LIB60, LIB61, LIB62 and LIB63.

The National Genealogical Society has a home study course that is very good. I am glad I completed the classes at MPC before taking these courses. The Home Study Course - American Genealogy is another great option. My personal opinion is that you really must choose the option to have your work graded. It costs more but well worth it. You'll find the information here:


Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Genealogy Nirvana. One week usually in the first couple weeks of June. Once you have some experience under your belt this is the place to be to get your genealogical groove-on. See my previous blogs about Samford for the experience of a lifetime. The website for IGHR is:



In August 2006 I attended the week long Family History Conference at Brigham Young University. This is similar to any major conference - tracks of 1 hours lectures all day long. Well over 150 lectures to choose from over a 4 day period. I stayed in the dorms and ate in the cafeteria at BYU to save money. My first time away from home by myself and I learned so much. Most of the people who attended were Mormons. I am not Mormon and if you thought my Samford Experience was funny, you should have heard the stories about this one.

Picture if you will - Me, the pack-a-day smoker, caffeine/coffee 24/7 guzzler, short skirts and my favorite bathing suits - who shows up on the appointed day only to find that my welcome kit did not include a "How you must behave and what you cannot wear when staying on campus you stupid Catholic Girl" brochure.

I wasn't allowed in the cafeteria or the library or any building on campus without the proper attire. I have no problem playing by any rules as long as I know what they are in advance. My guess is that the organizers assume that all the attendees are Mormon. Well I informed them that I was not and that for future conferences - this issue should be addressed so that know one has to go through what I did. I said it as nice as I could but damn it I was hungry and they wouldn't let me eat!

I won't bore you with the details (hee hee), but thank goodness my teacher - Karen Clifford was presenting lectures at the conference and also lived nearby. When she heard of my misfortune of being mis-informed, she came over to my dorm with a weeks worth of appropriate clothing for me to borrow. Bless her little heart. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.

Once I got over the ugly first day, I was glad I stayed. I attended lectures by Kory Meyerink who is such a genea-legend and a very nice man to boot! I highly recommend that you attend this conference Mormon or not. There is a wealth of information to be had for the taking.

I also take advantage of every local and semi-local genealogy events that I possibly can. The California State Archives in Sacramento has a yearly Family History Day. This free event, the 9th annual, will be October 11, 2008 - 8:30AM to 4:00 PM and the link can be found here:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/level3_famhistday.html I am going to this great event - anyone want to join me?


Joining your local genealogical and/or historical society is very useful in your education.

Volunteers are needed everywhere. Here is my list:

I am the registrar for my local DAR chapter

I am the editor (until we can find somebody) of my local gen. society newsletter.

I was on the team of transcribers from the Missouri State Archives who brought you the online Death Certificates. I also transcribe land records for the MSA.

I am a transcriber for the Immigrant Ancestor Project over at Brigham Young University. I transcribe passenger lists, but have been working on the East India Company Writer's applications for the last year. I love this project.

I am indexing books from the DAR library for their database. And I transcribe member application for the Descendants Project for DAR.

I transcribed the headstone inscriptions for every cemetery in the county of Poweshiek and part of Pocahontas County, Iowa for their Tombstone Project at Iowagenweb.

I am a volunteer for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness for San Joaquin County. I look up obits for people who do not live in the area.

I do all of these things for the experience but mostly to give back to the community. I cannot begin to tell you about all the people who gave freely of their time to help me along. The price of their help? Pay it forward and volunteer your time to help an individual or the community.


Currently I participate in 2 different online study groups. One is the ProGen study group. The participants were divided into into groups and using the book by Elizabeth Shown Mills "Professional Genealogy", we spend about two to four hours a month participating in group discussions, "homework" assignments and the peer review process. When we formed this study group our mission was and still is:
"This group will require a certain level of dedication and effort from its members in order for the whole of us to reach our unified goal, which is to achieve a higher level of efficiency and competency as professional genealogists."

The other I participate in is the Transitional Genealogists Study Group (TGSG). We were again divided into groups and meet once a month in an online chat. In this group, an NGSQuarterly (or other) article is read by the group at least 3 times prior to meeting. Then based on that in-depth reading and analysis we discuss whether the author proved their point. It is great exercise for creating and analyzing proof summaries and narrative genealogies, both elements of the certification packet. It is this last point that is especially meaningful to me as I am trying to get my portfolio finished and sent in before the end of the year.


Your education is never really over. It is an ongoing process. New ways of accessing records, someone discovers a brilliant method of research to share with the world, new technology to use in our research, the list goes on. I feel certain that I finally have a good solid background in genealogical and historical research. With that solid base I have been able to add different techniques and creative thinking to create my own unique way of getting the job done.

It Must be Genetic

6th Edition of Smile For The Camera

Show us that picture that never fails to bring a smile to your face! An amusing incident, a funny face, an unusual situation. Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that tickles your Funny Bone and bring it to the carnival. Admission is free with every photograph!

I almost did not participate in this edition. I did not have a photo I thought funny when I looked at it. Until I got an email from my very own "Mummy Dahling." It seems that she read my post on setting goals. The email contained no words, only this photo.

I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants! I'd better tell you a little about "Mummy Dahling" so you can be in the groove of it. My mother is a lovely woman, a little uptight, a lot of prim and proper and can give Martha Stewart a run for her money. I have never seen my mother without makeup on, her hair done and dressed as the occasion is befitting. Her motto is when you look good, you feel good. Sent me to ballet classes, Wendy Ward Charm School, and the list goes on. I have never lived up to her expectation of "class".

Until this photo arrived, I never thought my mother had much of a sense of humor. I am sure that the photo came without words from her so that if I ever wanted to discuss it with her, she could claim she didn't have any idea what I was talking about.

For those who didn't read my post on setting goals here is a quick explanation of why I find this so funny: I rode on a kiddie ride in front of a grocery store - my mother is trying to show me that she kinda of did the same thing before I was even born.

22 September 2008

Getting To Know Me, Getting To Know All About The Educated Genealogist

Terry Thornton over at Hill County issued this challenge well over a month ago. I have been trying to hold off until the last minute to submit my entry because I only started my blog a couple of months ago and wanted to try and write more posts.

I had intended to start this blog months ago. Frustration was getting the better of me. It was 1988 when I started my research. The last five years I totally immersed myself in a structured, formal education. Finally I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge to perform historical and genealogical research on a professional level. The only thing I am missing is a job. I feel like I am "all dressed up with no place to go!"

Then I became a genea-blogger. What better way to show the world who I am and what I can do. I tend to see the humorous side of things, sometimes at the wrong times. But life is way too short to be mad, angry, pout, be a gloomy Gustine.. well you know what I mean. For instance, at a DAR council meeting recently, right after we sang the Star Spangled Banner, something came over me and I said, "Play Ball!" I swear, I only whispered it to the lady next to me (who coughed up her mint). I meant no disrespect, just trying to get myself psyched for a full day of business meetings. Maybe this is why people do not even look at my research and case studies - if I am such a goof then it must reflect my work.

Well nothing can be further from the truth. I tackle every new person, place or thing head on. Every report or lineage application I have ever done gets the best I have to give. I hope that by reading my blog people come away knowing I am 100 percent committed to becoming the best genealogist and researcher. I have worked and studied very hard the last five years to become not just a genealogist, but to become a board certified genealogist and if I can quit blogging long enough, I will get my portfolio sent in by the end of this year.

So almost two months since I began and I have written 55 posts. "Whatever shall I choose?", she says in her very best Scarlet voice.

A. The Brightest - I was going to choose my Pauline/Helen series, but I am not finished, I am not satisfied with the ending, but until I can get to Boise, Idaho and Kansas City, Missouri it remains an open case. Instead I am choosing the very first posting I ever wrote in my entire life - "Sheri Went To Samford". If it weren't for that article, I wouldn't be here today.

B. The Breeziest - I am choosing "A Primer on Setting Goals and Reaching Them." I still laugh til it hurts when I think about the look on my son's face when he saw me on the ride in front of the grocery store.

C. The Most Beautiful - This one has to be my submission to the 4th Edition of I Smile for the Camera - Ace of Hearts. It's been over 20 years since my daddy died. There are times when I think of him that I can't remember what he looked like the last time I saw him. Writing about my father helps keep him alive for me.

"Getting to know me..." is only one song from my all time favorite musical "The King and I." I just adore Yul Brenner's pointy ears!

My favorite is entitled "Shall We Dance?" It's kind of the way I see the world, I'm always ready to give it a whirl!

21 September 2008

The Workshop - Day 2

Did I mention how smoothly the workshop went yesterday? No? Well it went like clock -work.
Today was a different story.
The focus and draw was how and where to search online with hands on experimenting for attendees. The library had given us the computer lab room especially for this. As I entered the library for today's session, I was taken aside and told that the internet server for the library crashed.
There was a slide show presentation by a library employee on how to use ancestry.com from the library so I had her start her show. The library version of ancestry.com is different than the one I access from home with my subscription. The group shared their experiences about online searching and seemed like they were happy with the program we did have available.
The turn out was just as good as yesterday. 28 people. Half of them had been at the workshop yesterday and the other half were new faces.
Then I let them ask any questions they might have on any topic pertaining to genealogy. The group today was a regular United Nations. Philippines, Canada, Japan, Samoa - all of them wanted to know how they could find records from those countries. I really didn't know where to find Samoan records online or Japanese or Filipino records. So I suggested that they google it. I tried to encourage the genealogy mantra - Start with what you know. The best part was that most stayed to mingle and chat with each other afterwards for at least 30-45 minutes!

I was worried about disappointing the people because they were not getting the program that was advertised, but they all seem like satisfied customers when they left.
Again..I am so pleased with myself I can't stand it.
Yippee Ki Yeah and cha-cha-cha!

20 September 2008

The Workshop - Day 1

This won't take but a minute of your time. Are you sitting down? That's ok, you may remain standing because you'll be out of your chair when you hear that 32 people showed up to the genealogy workshop I did this morning. That's right 32.

I am so pleased with myself I just can't stand it!

32 may not sound like a very large number, but when I was hoping for just one, 32 is a kajillion to me.

I still have tomorrow's session so I won't jinx it by writing any more about it, but will have a full report for you tomorrow.

(So she whispers softly to herself, "Yippee Ki Yeah, Cha cha Cha!")

15 September 2008

A Primer On Setting Goals and Reaching Them

When I was about 35 years old, my best friend Suuz and I decided we needed to set some goals to achieve before we reached the age of 50. It seems like it was only yesterday that we we riding on that mechanical bull at Jack's Rodeo Bar and Grill having that very serious discussion of what we wanted to be or have accomplished by that ominous, dreaded age. My eldest son called me this past July to inform me that he was celebrating his 30th birthday. Despite my best efforts, he refused to believe my statement - "If he is now 30 years old, then I couldn't possibly be his mother. It isn't mathematically possible because I am only 27." He wasn't going for it, and so my quest for goal achievement was on again.

I surprised even myself when I pulled out that bar tab from Jack's to have a look at my list that had been written 15 years ago . We had each 10 items to experience, try or accomplish by age 50 and I had only 1 left.

While I refuse to divulge the entire list, I will share 2 of the goals that I reached.

I had never been horseback riding. Neither had Suuz and being best friends she also had added the same item to her list. At the age of 40, we went to Half Moon Bay, California and rode horses. Well I really don't think the one I rode was a horse, I still think it was a donkey. Suuz still insists that it was a horse, just a short one. She told me that I should have been more appreciative of the stable owners consideration in matching the horse to my height. There was a group of about 10 of us and once we were all mounted, a guide led us to the beach. I was a little disappointed that we weren't moving as fast as they appear to in the movies, but I told myself that maybe that was special effects or something.

The "horses" were very well trained. All of us in a straight line, nose to tail, without having to tie them together. Once at the beach I was supposed to get the thrill of a life time. Each of us were to leave the posse, one at a time and race the "horse" down a stretch of beach. I sat there waiting for my turn, envisioning myself galloping down the beach in the surf, my hair flying behind me....

Here's why I am convinced my "ride" wasn't a "horse". The first five of us that went down the stretch did so exactly as I had imagined. My "horse" must have been either mentally or physically challenged (or both). There was no galloping. There was no hair flying. There was no "being one with the horse" and bouncing up and down in perfect rhythm.

I had gently used my heels to encourage it to move along and the damn thing turned around and bit me and then (to add insult to injury) WALKED down the shore line for 100 feet, stopped and threw me off his back. Imagine my disappointment.

He we are 10 years later and I had one goal left to achieve - I have never, ever been on a motorcycle. Suuz says that the one I paid a quarter to ride in front of the grocery store does not count because it never left the merry-go-round it was welded onto. While I was really bummed that it wasn't a sanctioned ride, it did bring my youngest son and I closer together. He just recently finished up with a year of therapy and group counseling. He happened to pull into the grocery store parking lot the same time I was riding in my merry-go-round motorcycle. He tells me now that he is a much stronger person and that he knows I was only expressing my love for him when I was shouting at the top of my lungs, "I'm Kristopher Fenley's Mother!" while enjoying my ride. In fact it is my youngest I have to thank for making the arrangements for me to reach my final goal before I turn 50 -

I really need to get ahold of Claire Bettag and see if she wants to "motorcycle-pool" next year to Samford!

There really is a genealogical purpose to this posting. Set goals for not only for yourself but for your research projects as well. Make the time limit you set realistic enough that you can achieve them with a little effort and imagination.

I have to go, my son paid the guy for a 30 minute ride and I still have 10 left.

12 September 2008

I Have Become Link Color Challenged!

I must be having an extremely blonde moment and am in fear of putting the "brain explosion" theory to the test. I have tried 6 ways to hell and back to make the links on my last post the color BLUE. Only the last 2 links held the color, the rest refuse to change even when I brought out the whips and chains! Help me Mr. Blog Wizard!

Elizabeth Hearts The Educated Genealogist!

Elizabeth over at Little Bytes of Life has bestowed upon me the "I Heart Your Blog" Award.

I cannot begin to tell you how much this means to me. There are really people out there reading my stuff and they like it! (OMG - I'm starting to sound like Sally Fields!)

The award comes with a few strings attached -

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog

2. Link to the person who gave you the award

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4. Put links to those blogs on yours

5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve nominated.

Elizabeth gave the award to a few of my favorite blogs that I read every day already:

Destination: Austin Family

West In New England

Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi


So I shall select some of the ones I read everyday without fail that she didn't have on her list. In no particular order they are:


Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog

Shades of the Departed


Orations of OMcHodoy

Walking The Berkshires


AnceStories: the Stories of My Ancestors

My Paternal Surnames

As you will see from the list below, I have not been as successful in researching the father's side of the family as I have with my mother's side. I am sure this is because most of this side of my family immigrated much later (mid to late 1800's) than my mother's side (mid to late 1600's)

BEFORT - My 2nd great grandfather is Gerhard Befort (1832-1906) I descend through his son John then through Edmund (my grandfather) through Stanley (my father). The Befort's are from Obermonjou, Samara, Russia. They are Catholic German Russians from the Volga River Valley. Gerhard brought his family to Munjor, Ellis County Kansas in 1878.

BORGSTADTER - My 2nd great grandfather is Fred Borgstadter (1853-1929) I descend through his son Henry through his daughter Myrtle. Lincoln County, Kansas. Fred immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 from Germany.

BESSON - My 2nd great grandfather is Louis Ernst Besson (1865-1939) I descend through his daughter Emogene. Louis immigrated to the U.S. in 1884 from Germany.

HOBROCK - My 4th great grandfather is Christian Hobrock (1810-1890) I descend through Henry - Elizabeth. Christian immigrated to the U.S. in 1847 from Germany. Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois

THRON - My 4th great grandfather is Valentine Thron (1810-1893) I descend through his daughter Mary. Valentine immigrated to the U.S. in 1844 from Germany. Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois

SOLOMON - My 4th great grandfather is Peter Donnalson Solomon (1798-1867) I descend through his son James through his daughter Sarah. Illinois - Clark and Moultrie Counties.

WOMACK - My 7th great grandfather is Thomas Womack (1672-1732) I descend through Abraham - Abner - Camilla. Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. Abner Womack is the patriot ancestor I used to become a member of the DAR.

FULTON - My 5th great grandfather is Isaac Fulton and I descend through his son John Bennington then through Angeline. Kentucky and Illinois.

My Maternal Surnames

Below you will find a list of my maternal surnames and short descriptions. It just dawned on me that another reason I have this blog is for others to hopefully make a connection.

SKILLMAN - My 8th great grandfather is Thomas Skillman (1639-1699)and I descend through Thomas-John-John-Christopher-Josiah-Joseph-Fred-Darrell. Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky are where most generations lived.

BEEKMAN - My 9th great grandfather is Wilhelmus Beekman (1623-1717) I descend through Gerardus - Christopher - Christopher - Catherine. New Netherlands and New York.

SHEERN - My 4th great grandfather is James Sheern (1792-1857) and I descend through James-Earnest-Pauline. Vigo County, Indiana and Kansas and Oklahoma are where they have been found.

DELANEY - My 3rd great grandfather is Daniel Derondo Delaney (1825-1904) who immigrated to the U.S. in 1851 from Ireland. I descend through his daughter Jennie. The Delaney's lived in New York, Missouri and Kansas.

WILSON - My 5th great grandfather is Henry Wilson (1754-1848) and I descend through his son Lewis and then through his daughter Lavinia. Bourbon County, Kentucky

REES - My 6th great grandfather is Reverend Joseph Rees (1732-1795) and I descend through Ephraim - Thomas Prince Earl - Katherine Elizabeth. Virginia and Missouri.

FRISTOE - My 7th great grandfather is Richard Fristoe (1715-1778) I descend through Daniel - Thomas - Mariah. Stafford County, Virginia and Missouri.

LESEURE - My 5th great grandfather is Antoine Leopold Leseure (1742-1811) I descend through Joseph - Ann Emily. The Leseure family is from Nancy, France and Ann Emily is my immigrant ancestor coming to the U.S. in 1844.

HARRIS - My 4th great grandfather is Lewis T. Harris and I descend through H.A.T. - George - Hillary - Mary Ellen. North Carolina, Iowa and Kansas.

BERRY - My 4th great grandfather is John P. Berry (1788-1869) I descend through - William Campbell - William Campbell - Hazel. Kentucky and Iowa.

PING - My 5th great grandfather is William Ping (1780-1850) I descend through his son Bolen Green then his daughter Mary. Kentucky and Iowa.

ROBINSON - My 3rd great grandfather is David Robinson (1828-1895) who immigrated from Ireland in 1843 to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. I descend through his daughter Laura Cordelia. Pennsylvania and Iowa.

DILKS - My 4th great grandfather is Arthur Dilks (1807-1870) I descend through his daughter Margaret. New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

BESS - My 7th great grandfather is Sebastian Bess (1680-1761) I descend through - Sebastian - Peter - Boston - Peter - Mary Ann Frances. Lincoln County, North Carolina.

BEAM - My 7th great grandfather is John Teeter Beam (1732-1807) I descend through - John - David - Sarah. Lincoln County, North Carolina

HEYL/HOYLE - My 8th great grandfather is Peter Heyl (1710-1781) I descend through his daughter Katerina and his son Michael. Lincoln County, North Carolina

CARPENTER - My 7th Great grandfather is Christian Carpenter (1720-1800). I descend through his son Peter and Peter's daughter Polly. Lincoln County, North Carolina.

COX - My 7th great grandfather is John Cox (1727-1805) I descend through his daughter Susanna. The wife of John Cox is Margaret Morris whose brother Robert signed the Declaration of Independence.

NAYLOR - My 7th great grandfather is Batson Naylor (1729-1769) I descend through Batson - Benjamin - Mildred. Maryland and North Carolina.

RHODES - My 8th great grandfather is Hezekiah Rhodes (1660-1715) I descend through Hezekiah - Epaphroditus - Mary. Virginia is where my Rhodes family come from.

DELLINGER - My 8th great grandfather is John Philip Dellinger (1706-1783) I descend through his daughter Margaret. Lincoln County, North Carolina.

10 Books I Have Used in the Last 6 Months

The 56th Edition Carnival of Genealogy - 10 Essential Genealogy Books in My Library

I have 10 bookshelves that each have 5 shelves. All ten are crammed full of books I use for my research. Unfortunately, the bookshelves are not in the same room as my computer. Here is where I have a stack of books and periodicals that is as tall as I am. Writing this post for the COG ended up being a very good thing. From that stack of books, I have selected the ten that I have used the most in the last 6 months. The rest of the stack of books I re-stacked on top of the bookshelves in the other room!

The ten I have used the most - in order of how I pulled them from the stack:

1. "Evidence Explained - Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" by Elizabeth Shown Mills

2. "Professional Genealogy" - edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills

3. "The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual" - by the Board for Certification of Genealogists

4. "Becoming An Accredited Genealogist" - by Karen Clifford, AG

5. "History of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods" - by Sister Mary Brown - This book is full of early Vigo County, Indiana history and parishioners of the Catholic Church at St. Mary of the Woods. My Sheern and Leseure families are here.

6. "Communities of Kinship - Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier" - by Carolyn Earle Billingsley

7. "Land and Property Research in the United States" - by E. Wade Hone

8. "The Researcher's Guide to American genealogy" - by Val Greenwood

9. "Adventures of a Tramp Printer, 1880-1890" - by John Edward Hicks - Bordellos and saloons and their occupants in the Old West era Kansas City

10. The National Genealogical Society Quarterlies - I have every one of them from 1982 to present and am constantly referring to them

09 September 2008

County History Books - Checking the Facts

Most of us have an ancestor who made the pages of a county history "mug book". Most all of us know that said ancestor paid to have their biographies published in said books. Providing that said ancestor did not go overboard embellishing his life story, there is a wealth of information to be found.

My 3rd great grandfather is Hillory Asbury Taylor Harris, who always went by his initials - H.A.T. Harris. He married Mary Ann Frances Bess, who went by her initials M.A.F. Harris and I can't help but think that he married her for her name. She must not have thought it very clever to be known as M.A.F. because whenever family refers to her she is called "Duck".

But I digress ... In 1880, " History of Poweshiek County, Iowa" was published by the Union Hist. Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. On page 790 is the biography for H.A.T. Harris:

HARRIS, H.A.T.—Washington Twp— Farmer and stock-raiser, section 33, P.O. Searsboro. Was born October 9, 1835, in Jonesville, Yadkin county, North Carolina, where he remained until he was eighteen years of age. He then went to Trinity College, Randolph county, same State, where he remained for six years, after which he became principal of Pleasant Home Academy, which position he filled for two years. He then took up the work of missionary in that State, which he followed for three years, his average traveling per year being 350 miles. It was said of him, while on his missionary duties, that he did more work than any other of the conference; but as his health failed him he was obliged to give it up and follow something else. In the year 1869 he moved to his present location. He was married, in 1860, to Mary Ann F. Bess, a native of North Carolina. Their family consists of six children: George W., Bessie, Flora, Jenette F.C., Evan D. and E. Jurishua. Lost two: Lewis and Ada. His farm consists of 142 acres, all under cultivation.

Let's check the facts, shall we?

1. Born 9 October 1835 in Jonesville, Yadkin County, North Carolina - H.A.T.'s death certificate, obituary and headstone all confirm the date, however, Jonesville in 1835 was in Surry County, North Carolina. Yadkin was formed from Surry County in 1850, after the census of 1850 was enumerated. In 1850 H.A.T. is enumerated with his grandparents (Benjamin and Mary Naylor), mother (Mildred Welborn) and step-father (Harrison Welborn)as living in the South Division of Surry County, North Carolina. But when this biography was written, Jonesville most certainly was in Yadkin County.

2. At the age of 18, went to Trinity College, Randolph County where he remained for 6 years. - This one required a bit of research. H.A.T. was 18 years old in the year 1853. In that year the only university in Randolph County was Normal College which had been granted a charter in 1851 and the privilege of granting degrees in 1853.

It seems the College experienced financial problems shortly thereafter. To keep the school operating, the trustees agreed to provide free education for Methodist men in return for financial support from the Methodist church , and in 1859 the transformation was formalized with a name change to Trinity College. In the here and now, 2008, this college is now known as Duke University.

At this point I had no idea what flavor of religion he had chosen for himself, but looking at #4 below tells me that it is possible he was Methodist and if so might have taken advantage of a free college education. I wanted more than a probability, so I contacted the Duke University Archivist, Thomas Harkins and asked him if student records were extant for this time period. Mr. Harkins was extremely helpful and a very nice man. His reply informed me that H.A.T. was indeed a student at the college. From Mr. Harkins - "H.A.T. Harris was in the fourth division, or first year, of the "English department. Students in that department took mathematics, English literature, natural sciences, and several other courses, but did not take the Latin and Greek that were part of the "Regular," or classical, curriculum. He attended 1853-1859, but there is no record of him receiving a diploma."

Well two for two. H.A.T. Harris was at college for 6 years.

3. Became principal of Pleasant Home Academy, which position he filled for two years -

I will be honest here and tell you that I didn't even try looking for Pleasant Home Academy first. I instead decided to locate him in the 1860 census and then look for his place of employment.

I found him in Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina, living with his wife "Duck" in the home of her parents, Peter and Sarah Bess.

HARRIS, H. A. T., age 26, Minister Methodist Episcopal, value of personal estate $130, b. Surry County, N.C. , married within the year.
HARRIS, MARY A. F.,age 18, born Lincoln County, N.C. , married within the year

Well this corroborates #1 and #2 as well as #4 below.

Lincoln county did have a school called "Pleasant Retreat Academy" which was chartered in 1813 and was in operation until after the Civil War. The school was not owned by the Methodist Church but it was definitely Methodist flavored. In 1908 the school building was given to The Daughters of the Confederacy and turned into a memorial hall. In the book "The Annals of Lincoln County" by William L. Sherrill, A Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, pub. 1937 - Mr. Sherrill advises that records no longer exists pertaining to the teaching staff.

From the information I have, there is an extremely good possibility that H.A.T. Harris was indeed a principal for the academy.

4. He then took up the work of missionary in that state which he followed for 3 years - H. A. T. Harris was in fact a Methodist Minister. A search of marriage records for Lincoln County, North Carolina show that he performed marriage ceremonies from 1863 until 1868. Thinking that he must have been ordained or licensed or have some kind of credentials from the Methodist Church. I contacted yet another friendly archivist from the Western North Carolina Methodist Archives. Nancy Anderson, the head archivist is a saint. She responded to my email the very next day with this information:

We have some information on H.A.T. Harris. He was a preacher in western North Carolina between 1861 and 1869. From 1861 until 1866 he was a preacher of the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1866 he was involved in the meeting that set up the Virginia and North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. (This was the northern branch of Methodism. Most southern Methodists were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South or Methodist Protestants.) If he moved to Iowa in 1869, he would have accepted as a member of the Methodist Church there, which was the Methodist Episcopal Church. During the Civil War he was in the area of Lincoln County as a Methodist Protestant. In 1862 he was assigned to the Cleveland Circuit, which is located in Cleveland County near Shelby and King’s Mountain, but which also probably went east to the Catawba River. In 1863 he was assigned to the Catawba Mission, which would have included Lincoln County which is bordered by the Catawba River to the east. The designation of Mission went to those areas where there were not many Methodist Protestants, and some financial aid was provided until they got on their feet. In 1864 he was assigned to the Catawba Circuit. It didn’t stay a mission very long and was never a mission to any ethnic group. In 1865 he was without appointment at his request, and in 1866 he withdrew from the Methodist Protestants. In 1867 he was admitted as a minister to the Methodist Episcopal Church. His appointments from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1867 and 1868 were in Wilkes County in the northern part of North Carolina. In 1869 he was appointed to the Yadkin Circuit, which is the county adjacent to Wilkes County. This information confirms that H.A.T. Harris was preaching in Lincoln County during the Civil War. I don’t have any means of getting any more family information. Just a thought, which I have no proof of. Many of the marriages he performed might have been of freed slaves, who under slavery were not allowed to marry. Several of my sources of North Carolina history have mentioned that as soon as marriage was legal for the freed men, many couples presented themselves for marriage. I have a list of his appointments from a data base that I can send you. I also have a description of the 1867 Methodist Episcopal Conference that he helped set up.

One little paragraph in a county history book led me to this treasure trove of information. Have you checked the facts on your ancestors?

08 September 2008

A Tribute to Audrey

I received some sad news this morning. A wonderful woman named Audrey Peterson passed away this morning. She had been on dialysis for many years. In just the last few months her health failed quickly.

Audrey was president of our local genealogy society for well over 10 years. She was passionate about genealogy. When I became the registrar for my DAR chapter, Audrey came to me with a huge box of papers and told me that she had been trying for 25 years to become a member. After looking through everything she had, I solved her problem and Audrey became a member just this last April. It meant the world to her and I am so grateful that I could do this small thing for her. Audrey was a very special lady and I will miss her very much.

In May of this year I wrote a small article for the San Joaquin Genealogical Society newsletter about this. I think Audrey would be pleased to see her Abbott's on the World Wide Web.

May 2008
WE ALL HAVE THEM…those brick walls that we bang our heads against. In this new column, we will take problems that have been submitted by members and show you how we solved them, brick by brick.

Our first case, “Too Many Abbotts,” comes to us from our SJGS President, Audrey Peterson.

The year is 1790. The place is Hancock County, Maine. The problem? There are three men with the name Reuben Abbott living in the area. Which Reuben belongs to Audrey? Audrey wanted to become a member of a lineage society so identifying the correct Reuben Abbott was crucial to linking her family together. She needed to link Reuben Abbott to William Abbott to Moses Abbott.

Family tradition handed down to Audrey was firm in the belief that her Abbott family lived Hancock County, more specifically in Sullivan Township, for generations. In fact, it wasn’t until after 1940 that her direct line moved away from the area. The problem was that all the other Abbott families never moved away from the area either. Compounding the issue was their fondness for the names Reuben, Moses and William - every Abbott family in the area had them in every generation!

She had all of the birth, marriage and death records that were available for 4 generations. She also had an Abbott family genealogy that had been done for a distant cousin that happened to include part of her direct Abbott line. The last piece of information she had was a copy of a plat map for Sullivan, Hancock County, Maine, dated 1803. It was with this plat map that I was able to help Audrey.

The plat map showed that a Reuben Abbott Sr., Reuben Abbott, Jr. and Moses Abbott all owned land right next door to each other. Audrey’s family genealogy said that Reuben, William and Moses Abbott had made several land transactions on the same property over a ten year period. The author had cryptic footnotes for each of the four transactions he mentioned.

I needed to see those land records with my own eyes, so my next step was to find the Hancock County, Maine website (http://www.co.hancock.me.us/) and the Registry of Deeds department. A wonderful surprise awaited me there. The county had put digital images of almost all their deeds online in a searchable database. After registering and obtaining a password, I entered the site. For this particular site it was absolutely free to register, search and view the documents. To print a copy it will cost you $3 per page.

I am all set to find Audrey’s Abbotts. But as I took a closer look at the search page , my jaw dropped to the floor. Oh No! In order to search this site you must have a book/volume number and page number of the document you wish to see. I almost gave up when something clicked in my head. Remember those cryptic footnotes I mentioned in the family history? They were numbers like this (53:80). Bless his little heart; the author was citing a book and page number.

Well the rest was a piece of cake. Each of the deeds clearly stated the relationship of Reuben Abbott (father) to William Abbott (son) and Moses Abbott (grandson) as well as naming each of their wives.

Brick walls are not insurmountable. Go back and review all the information you have on your problem family, sometimes we have what we need and don't realize it at the time.

07 September 2008

Into The Frying Pan.....

Boy oh boy have I jumped right into it. I am a member of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society and the El Toyon Chapter DAR. A couple of months ago both groups along with the Stockton Public Library decided to have a genealogy workshop for beginners. I said, "Wow, that would be great!" and they said, "We're glad you think it's great - you put it together." Me and my big mouth.

I think I have done well, for not knowing what the hell I am doing. I have a date and a place and an outline of what activities are planned. The library printed flyers, I have a few volunteers. I even have a volunteer that has a PowerPoint presentation!
(Read the last "Sheri went to Samford" post to find the humor in this.)

Here is the final product:

Family History Weekend at the Library!

Chavez Central Library
Stockton, California

SEPTEMBER 20 & 21, 2008

Saturday - September 20th
10 am to 11:30 am - A series of 15-20 minute presentations introducing the basics of genealogical research

11:30 am - A guided resources tour of the library - special collections, local history, genealogical collection

Noon to 2:00 - One on one assistance available from our many knowledgeable volunteers

2 pm - Family Legacy Workshop with Linda Weaver Clarke

Sunday - September 21st
1 pm to 4 pm - Researching online - 12 computers all with Internet access and subscription to ancestry.com an overview of basic search strategies

Even if only one person shows up I will consider this a success. It will be one more person on their way to discovering their family history!

Check Out Colleen Fitzpatrick

Randy Seaver over at Geneamusings has posted his weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs. There is one on his list that I completely agree with. Blaine Bettinger of the Genetic Genealogist has done an interview with Forensic Genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, Phd, part one and part two. Thanks to Blaine for a great interview.

I just adore Colleen Fitzpatrick! Over on her
website,she holds a weekly photo contest that quiz masters (I am proud to be one!) must use all of their skills to try and figure the answer. I am there every week and of those that I have answered, about 75% of them I got right. Put your skills to the test and see if you can earn the right to become a quiz master too!

06 September 2008

55th Edition COG - Show and Tell

The posts are all in for the 55th Edition Carnival of Genealogy and Jasia has them all for you over at Creative Gene. Over 50 wonderful entries are sure to keep you busy reading for some time. Everyone's family has a story to tell, I and just love reading about them all!

03 September 2008

Crowning Glory

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?

Well have I got a hat for you! Pay no attention to that silly looking 13 year old girl with the crooked glasses who just had her confirmation. It was 1970 and I didn't know any better. The real star is the Monsignor's chapeau. See that open space in the middle? Where the Virgin Mary is? Well, I distinctly remember there being a different picture in there, several different pictures.
I think it was one of those "Saint of the Week" hats. You know, he rotated the photos according to the Catholic Ecclesiastical Calendar.

I'll bet on the weekends, he puts his fishing license in there.
(I am so going to hell for this one!)LOL


George Wesley Harris and Minda Ellen Wallace
Top photo taken c. 1908 Allen County, Kansas
Bottom photo taken c. 1939 Allen County, Kansas
My maternal Great Great Grandparents