31 October 2009

Halloween Memories or Just Evil and Wicked Thoughts?

While I was at Samford attending the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research in June, my instructor, Lloyd Bockstruck revealed to the class that "he had evil thoughts" [note - this quote is taken way, way, far away out of context, but I needed an opening for this article and it's all I got right now] Well, I have to tell you that I was certainly relieved to hear that I wasn't the only one.

Over at Genea-Musings, Randy Seaver is hosting the
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -the Halloween edition. He challenges us to think about our most memorable Hallowe'en - was it when you were a child (candy, games, carnivals), a teenager (tricks and treats), or an adult (perhaps a party)?

Reading Mr. Saturday Night's memory of tricking the pastor of his church tells me that (along with Mr. Bockstruck) I am in good company when it comes to wickedness.

I have only a few memorable Halloween moments that remain near and dear to me. Like the time my ex-husband decided to attend his company Halloween party dressed as a Urine Sample. However, being the generous and giving kind of person that I am, instead of boring you with my life I present some of the most amusing costumes I have seen this year.

And people ask me where my head is

A little deviled egg

This one is for Sista Donner

This is why your parents tell you the Tooth Fairy isn't real

28 October 2009

Online Land Records In North Carolina - I Found A Goldmine!

I have just spent the last couple of hours in Land Record Heaven. Surry County and Yadkin County, both in North Carolina have Grantor/Grantee indexes online. Once I had a book and page number, I emailed the clerk in the office of the Register of Deeds for each county and ordered copies of the deeds. The cost? 25 cents per page plus postage. Hip hip hooray for me and if you have ancestors in either of these counties, then hip hip hooray for you too!

The Surry County Register of Deeds has digital images of the deed books - both the Grantor and the Grantee books and you can access them
here. It covers the years 1771 to the present.

Yadkin County, North Carolina Register of Deeds Remote Access Website has the Grantor and the Grantee books covering 1850 to present.

These sites have been a goldmine for me. I am now able to make a solid connection between 20 families that I have been researching. Some of the surnames are: HARRIS, NAYLOR, WELBORN/WILBORN, VESTAL, MESSICK, BROWN, WALLACE, HAWKINS, DAVIS and FOOTE. These families all lived in Surry, Yadkin and Wilkes counties, North Carolina from at least 1800 and from 1869 to 1875 migrated to Poweshiek and Greene counties, Iowa in groups.

Bits and pieces of information have identified most all of these families as Methodist Episcopalians who lived in the same communities in North Carolina and stayed together when they arrived in Iowa. I have marriage records and census records. I have cemetery records and probate records. But now I have the records that I feel truly and most certainly prove kinship - Land Records!

My Musical Family - 83rd COG

The 83rd COG is all about "Musical Instruments."  Do you play a musical instrument or did one of your family members?  Which instrument was it?

The photo below shows my grandmother Maryellen Harris and her parents Hillary T. Harris and Hazel Berry Harris in front of their home in Allen County, Kansas about 1921.  I was able to ask my grandmother about this photo before she passed away.  She told me that her parents were the funniest people she knew.  They just loved to act silly and that is what they were doing in this photo. 

As far as I know, neither my paternal nor my maternal side of the family produced any musicians.  This photo is as close as I can get for a submission to this COG!

Hazel Berry Harris, Maryellen Harris and Hillary T. Harris in front of their home in Osage Township, Allen County, Kansas (c) 1921

27 October 2009

Millionaire's Row - Tombstone Tuesday

"Millionaire's Row" - Stockton Rural Cemetery, Stockton, California

Some of the "Residents":

Bolen Green Ping - SNGF Most Unusual Name

. . . .And speaking of Mr. Saturday Night - time for fun and games of a genealogical nature over at Genea-Musings.    To play along, here are the rules this week:

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database - in your ancestry.
2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.
3) Okay, if you don't have a really good one - how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

BOLEN GREEN PING - The name just kind of rolls right off your tongue.  Bolen is my 4th great grandfather.  He was born 24 November 1800 in Virginia to William Ping and Mary Bullock.  He married Sophia Barnes on 25 January 1819 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. 

I hadn't really done a whole lot of research on this ancestor in quite a long time and when I pulled his file it was pretty skimpy.  So I spent a few hours this evening learning more about him and found oodles of information.  Here are just a couple of places I found him.

On February 8, 1840, the following persons met at the house of Christian Clymer, or the purpose of ascertaining the number of disciples of Jesus Christ who wished to constitute a church, viz., Williamson Trent, Nancy Trent, John R. Lines, Dicy Lines, McCormac Zion, Sally Dunham, Bolen Ping, Sophia Ping, James L. Gilmore, Sally Gilmore, Christian Clymer, Elizabeth Clymer, Aaron Lines, Jane Lines, Maryann Clymer, and Polly Berry. They agreed to bring their letters the next day and enter into a constitution upon their articles of faith, and be known by the name of the Regular Baptist Church called West Liberty.

West Liberty Church united with the Des Moines River Association of Regular
Baptists in the year 1841.

I found the above information at:
The Primitive Baptist Library of Carthage, Illinois
The Church and Family History Research Assistance for Primitive Baptist Churches in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri page can be found here

Then I found him mentioned in the "History of Des Moines County, Iowa"  which is online at Internet Archive.

"Bolin Ping came from Pulaski County, Ky. in the fall of 1839 and settled on 320 acres purchased of Levi Larkin, now a resident of Burlington.  Mr. Ping's cabin was a mile and a half  southeast of present Dodgeville."

22 October 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Saturday Night!

No, it's not Saturday yet, but head on over to Randy Seaver's place anyway and wish him a Happy Birthday!


17 October 2009

My Befort Family Increase - SNGF

Here it is, another Saturday Night and time to head on over to Seaver's place for a little Genealogy Fun. Our task is as follows:

1) Pick one of your four great-grandparents - if possible, the one with the most descendants.

2) Create a descendants list for those great-grandparents either by hand or in your software program.

3) Tell us how many descendants, living or dead, are in each generation from those great-grandparents.

4) How many are still living? Of those, how many have you met and exchanged family information with? Are there any that you should make contact with ASAP? Please don't use last names of living people for this - respect their privacy.

5) Write about it in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments or a Note on Facebook.

Well the easy part of this assignment was in making the choice. Randy asked that we use the set of great grandparents with the most descendants. On my mother's side, one set of great grands had two children and the other had only one. On my father's side one set had five children which leaves the fourth set - John Befort and Elizabeth Ernst win the prize with 11 children.

John and Elizabeth came to the U.S. as children with their families from Obermonjou, Russia and settled in the town of Munjor, Ellis County, Kansas. They were among the hundred of thousands of Germans from Russia that immigrated in the years 1876-1880. Most settled in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and the Dakotas.

My Befort family, while in Russia for almost 150 years, had settled in a village on the Volga River that was entirely Catholic. All of the settlements were established by their religious persuasion. They were extremely clannish and rarely married or socialized beyond their village. They also continued to speak German, never assimilating into Russians culture, customs or language. When they came to America, they behaved the same way. My father's generation was the first to speak and use English as the primary language.

My grandparents Edmund Robert Beffort and Myrtle Borgstadter & sons.
My father is on the far right.

John Befort and Elizabeth Ernst created the following Befort dynasty:

11 children - I have met only 1: my grandfather. I believe that all 11 children are deceased

33 grandchildren - I have met 4: my father and his 3 brothers. Out of the 33 grandchildren I know that 4 are deceased.

27 great grandchildren - I have met 6 1/2: me and my brothers, the 1/2 is a cousin I recently came in contact with and we have talked on the phone but have not met in person. I do not know if all 27 great grandchildren are living.

21 great great grandchildren - I have met 8: my 3 boys, 5 nieces and 1 nephew. As with the above, I do not know if all 21 great great grandchildren are living.

That's it. A family increase of 92 that I can track down. I would like to think that there are more out there. Jeeeze Loueeze, I have some work to do with this branch.

16 October 2009

It's National Dictionary Day!

Well I missed all but one hour of National Grouch Day which was yesterday, October 15th. The Ms. Crankypants in me wallowed in the "Vat of Crabbiness" for sixty blissful minutes.

But today is a new day and it just so happens to be yet another holiday - National Dictionary Day

National Dictionary Day is celebrated every October 16th which just happens to be the birth date of Noah Webster who was born in 1758.

Ah! Yes I can hear you asking, "How does one celebrate National Dictionary Day?" Well I have done a little research and it seems that there are really no rules. Some authorities recommend roaming around aimlessly with little party hats and noisemakers that should be blown at the first sign of a misspelling, improper use of a contraction, or other grammatical error. Others suggest you can have a good time by carrying a little red pen around with you to make on-the-spot corrections to various things when necessary.

I plan on keeping it simple - I am going to play Scrabble and use lots of big words. I have prepared a list of words that I will attempt to work into conversation throughout the day

ABSQUATULATE: v, To depart in a hurry

FLOCCINAUCINIHILPILIFICATION: n, an act or instance of judging something to be worthless or trivial

GLOSSOLALIA: n, Fabricated and meaningless speech, usually associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes

GALLIGASKINS: n, wide and very loose trousers

BATRACHOPHAGOUS - one who eats frogs

PANDICULATION - stretching and yawning before going to bed or when waking

ULOTRICHOUS - having very woolly hair

IGNIVOMOUS: adj, vomiting fire

SESQUIPEDALIAN: n, a very long word

TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA: n, an abnormal fear of the number 13

USUFRUCTUARY: n, a person who has the use of and enjoyment of something, especially property, that belongs to another

NIHILARTIKEL: n, a deliberately erroneous entry in a dictionary or other reference book

15 October 2009

Genealogical and Historical Society Membership

The 82nd COG asks: What's your favorite genealogical society? Do you belong to a society? Tell us why! Or if not, why not?

I am a member of several societies and associations of a genealogical and historical nature. In most of these organizations, I actively participate in projects, activities or serve as an officer or board member.

Here in Stockton, California I am a member of the San Joaquin County Genealogical Society. For the past 2 years I have been a board member and editor of the society's newsletter. Our society is very small - 45 members at last count. There are about 10-15 members who actively participate, but the future looks dim if we don't get revitalized. I am looking for someone to come and talk to us as a group about how to save our society. Some one who can help us come up with a viable plan of revitalizing and promoting. The society was founded in the early 1960's and has survived this long I would hate to see it die out.

Also here in Stockton I am a member of NSDAR - National Society Daughters of the American Revolution - El Toyon Chapter. I am the chapter registrar and board member and have been since 2007. El Toyon has about 97 members and we are one of the oldest chapters - 109 years old!

I joined the California Genealogical Society about 2 years ago because Kathryn Doyle made me. LOL! Ok not really. I joined BECAUSE of people like Kathryn Doyle, Steve Danko, Cheryl Palmer and Craig Manson. Schmoozing with people who live outside of my zip code has been one of the best things I have ever done.

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly Journals is the reason I keep renewing my membership with this group. That and the outstanding educational opportunities they offer have been a huge part of my quest to become a certified genealogist.

Just this year I joined the APG - Association of Professional Genealogists. I should have done this years ago. The best benefit has been the new clients that found me through the APG website.

09 October 2009

Blogging Workshop at the California Genealogical Scoiety

What are you doing this Saturday? Me - I'll be spending the day in Oakland, California visiting with some of my favorite Geneabloggers.

October is Family History Month and The California Genealogical Society has oodles of activities, workshops and seminars planned throughout the entire month.

From the CGS website, here is the description of the special day they have planned:

Thomas MacEntee

As part of a special Family History Month line-up, the California Genealogical Society announces a special Genealogy Blog Workshop on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Renowned genealogy bloggers Thomas MacEntee and Craig Manson will be on hand to share their blog expertise and have some fun.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. How to Use a Blog - MacEntee
2:15 - 3:15 p.m. Building a Genealogy Blog - MacEntee
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Blogging and the Law - Manson

Thomas MacEntee will start with the ABCs of blog use in a basic introductory demo. Thomas' second session will show how having your own genealogy blog can take your genealogy research to another dimension. Learn how to get started in this easy-to-understand session geared towards beginners. With the help of an audience member, Thomas will create an individual family history blog right before your eyes.Thomas MacEntee is a genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. With over twenty-five years of experience in the information technology field, Thomas writes and lectures on the many ways blogs, Facebook and Twitter can be leveraged to add new dimensions to the genealogy experience. As the creator of GeneaBloggers.com he has helped organize and engage a community of over 600 bloggers who on a daily basis document their own journeys in the search for ancestors.

Craig Manson

Craig Manson will end the day with a topic of interest to beginners as well as experienced bloggers: Blogging and the Law - Privacy Issues & Copyrights.
Craig is Distinguished Professor and Lecturer in Law at the Capital Center for Public Law and Policy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. He teaches administrative law and has been a lawyer for twenty-eight years. Craig began the study and practice of genealogy in 2004. He writes the popular blog,
GeneaBlogie and a weekend column called Appealing Subjects on the highly-regarded magazine Shades of the Departed. Although GeneaBlogie focuses on genealogy, he often writes about legal topics of interest to genealogists.

Geneabloggers who are members of CGS and have promised to be in attendance:

The one and only Kool, Kool Kitty

Kathryn Doyle

California Genealogical Society and Library Blog

Steve Danko

Steve's Genealogy Blog

Cheryl Palmer

Heritage Happens

And me . . . .I promise a full report and photos as soon as I return from from what promises to be a groovy day!

07 October 2009

The Last Original Besson

Florence Besson Ballew 1918 - 2009

I have some sad news. The sister of my great grandmother, Florence Besson Ballew passed away on September 24, 2009 at the age of 91. My great grandmother, Emogene Besson Borgstadter was the oldest of twelve children and Florence was the youngest. Emogene was 30 years old when Florence was born. I haven't written about this line of my family before, but now more than ever, it seems appropriate.

Between 1888 and 1918 (30 years) Louis had three wives and twelve children. My great grandmother Emogene was the oldest (her mother was Sarah Jane Solomon) and Florence (her mother was Polly Caroline Tippett) was the youngest.

All twelve children grew up on a farm in Wood Township, Douglas County , Missouri. Louis had immigrated from Germany and became an American Citizen on 3 September 1895. The very next day, he went to the land office in Springfield, Missouri and plunked down $50 ($1.25 per acre) for forty acres of land - The Northwest Quarter of the Northwest Quarter in Section 33, Township 27 , North of Range 12, West of the 5th Principal Meridian.

Sarah Jane Solomon (my 2nd great grandmother) was the first wife of Louis. She died 15 February 1897 at the age of 34. Louis and Sarah had four children together, the first was my great grandmother Emogene.

Wife #2 was Nora Ella Sallee who was only 17 years old when she married Louis on 18 September 1898. Nora gave Louis four more children and died one month after giving birth to the fourth child on 27 August 1907.

Wife #3 came along three years later. Louis married Polly Caroline Tippett on 26 October 1910. Polly gave birth to four children bringing the total to an even twelve.
I have contact with a few of the descendants of wife #2 and #3. They had some wonderful stories to tell me about wife #1, my Sarah that Louis had related to them when they were children. I'll share a few that touched my heart.
Louis loved Sarah heart and soul, he never got over her death. During their courtship he brought her a present every day. The presents were pieces of china. Sarah agreed to marry Louis but she told him only after she had a complete set of china. Louis bought Sarah a rocking cradle for their first child, my grandmother Emogene. That cradle rocked all 12 Besson children and it is still in the family to this day.
All of the Besson family are buried in Clifty Hall Cemetery in Wood Township, Douglas County, Missouri with the exception of my great grandmother Emogene who is buried with her husband in Ottawa County, Kansas. When Florence's husband died, she purchased a headstone for herself and had it engraved with her name, date of birth and the words "Youngest Original Besson." After she passed away, Florence's family flew her home and were present when the monument company came to inscribe the date of death for the Last Original Besson.

And The Moral of the Story is . . .

So my friend Betty and I decide to drive out to the Collegeville Cemetery east of Stockton, just to see what work has been done on the restoration that began last year. I wrote about this great project last month. If you missed it, you can read it here . See that white car in the photo above? Well I noticed it also and noted the location of where I assumed one needed to park their vehicle when visiting the cemetery.

When Betty and I arrived, I parked my car just where that white one did in the photo. Well OK, maybe I pulled up a little further than that white car did. I was so busy being pleased with myself for getting us there in one piece that I really didn't notice that the sprinklers were on in the orchard next to us. Not until Betty got out of the car and said that her feet were stuck in the mud.

Well I got out and walked around to her side and sure enough, she was stuck in the mud.

Me returning from a mud check on the other side of my car.

After getting Betty free, it occurred to me that if she got stuck, then could my car possibly be stuck as well?? The answer to that is Yes - Yes and can and was stuck. Good fortune was smiling on us because Betty had an emergency road service card. She called them and spent 20 minutes trying to assure them that this was a legit call. Yes we are stuck in the mud. No, it is not nor has it been raining. No the driver didn't notice that we were on a dirt road and that the sprinklers were on and made said road act like quicksand.

Betty passed the time waiting for the tow truck by snapping photos. We only had to wait for 115 photos.

Me performing a mud check on my shoes.

We were also fortunate enough to have a tow truck driver who knew better than to laugh when he arrived.

Mr. Tow Truck Driver putting a stick under the wheel to give me some traction

Nice shot of Mr. Tow Truck Drive Betty

Me narrowly missing Mr. Tow Truck Driver's truck

The moral of the story is to learn how to distinguish dry dirt from really wet and clay-like dirt.

05 October 2009

The Polls Are Open - Vote for Your Favorite Geneablogs

Are you a geneablogger? Or perhaps you just enjoy reading genealogy blogs. Last month Family Tree Magazine asked readers to nominate their favorite genealogy blog. Now it is time to vote on your favorites to make the Top 40 blogs.

Voting takes place October 5th to November 5th, and you can vote more than once. The nominated blogs have been grouped into categories, and you'll be asked to vote for a specified number of blogs in each category. Here are the categories:

1, All-around - These bloggers give you a little of everything: news, research advice, their own family stories, photos, opinions and more.

2. Personal/Family - These blogs primarily cover the blogger's own research and ancestors. Family historians write what they know and what’s important to them, so this is our biggest category.
[A completely shameless plug and a teensy bit of self promotion here - The Educated Genealogist is among the nominees in this category - I know, I know - I am as surprised as you are but hey, it's a done deal so since you're already reading my blog and I know that you'll be heading over to cast your vote anyway . . .why not put a check mark in my box. You know, only because it's there and all . . ]

3. Local/Regional - Most posts in these blogs cover resources, genealogy events and history for a city, town, state or region.

4. Cemetery - These blogs focus on cemetery research, gravestone photos and the like.

5. Photos/Heirlooms - Content on these blogs is primarily about sharing, researching and preserving family photos and/or heirlooms.

6. Heritage - Here, blog content focuses on a particular heritage group, such as African-American, Jewish or Irish.

7. News/Resources - Blogs in this category deliver a range of genealogy news and information about new resources.

8. How-to - These blogs have instructional content on genealogical resources and methodology.

9. Genealogy Companies - Blogs in this category are written on behalf of a genealogy company, and contain helpful information on the company’s products, as well as other resources.

10. Genetic Genealogy - Blogs that are primarily about genetic genealogy and family health history.

The top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a "final" round, and the editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list. The Family Tree 40 will be announced in the May 2010 Family Tree Magazine

Head on over to Family Tree and cast your vote .

02 October 2009

Damn She is Good!

I am talking about my friend Janine Smith. Janine is from the Fort Worth, Texas area, a photo restorationist as well as a genealogist. Janine does absolutely brilliant work. She's so good at what she does, she won the prestigious Photoshop User Award for Best Restoration in 2008.

I am a huge fan of Janine and her blog
Janinealogy . Awhile back, she had mentioned that she was looking for photos to use for some tutorials that she was putting together. I had just the photo for her.

A shirtail cousin of mine scanned a badly damaged tintype group photo of my 2nd and 3rd great grandparents. She told me that she thought the crap all over it was mold.

Keep in mind that my cousin scanned this on a crappy flatbed scanner and emailed to me. Janine did not have the original photograph to work with, just this copy.

She is only 1/2 the way finished, but I am so excited about this I had to share it with you now. Look what she has done so far!

It's a miracle I am telling you! For those of you who are techno geeks or want to see her little tutorial you can go over to Tip Squirrel and see magic performed before your very own eyes!

Thank you Janine!!