Friday, December 31, 2010

Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Education

Genealogy education is everywhere these days. There are "how-to" books and websites on a wide variety of topics. Many societies have workshops and seminars throughout the year. There are on-line classes and webinars, regional and national conferences and even college classes. There is really no excuse for not becoming a better genealogist.

Education Goals:
1. Attend at least six 2nd Saturday Family History Workshops.
The Kentucky Genealogical Society and Kentucky Historical jointly sponsor a monthly workshop held at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. There are 2 one-hour sessions each month. The Kentucky Technology in Genealogy Users Group also has a presentation each month following the 2nd session. I have been attending these sessions as often as possible for a few years and will continue to do so. (BTW, the workshops and technology group presentations are all free.)

2. Attend the Kentucky Genealogical Society Annual Seminar in August.
This one-day event usually features a nationally known speaker and is also held at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.

3. Attend NGS 2011 Family History Conference May 11-14 in Charleston, SC.
This will be my 1st NGS conference.

4. Attend FGS Conference September 7-10 in Springfield, IL.
If there's a goal on this education list that I might not make, it's probably this one. Scheduling may be a problem but it's still on the table for now.

5. Attend Atlanta Family History Expo November 11-12.
I'm so glad that the 1st Expo in Atlanta last month was such a success that Family History Expos decided to return to Atlanta in 2011.

6. Start the NGS Home Study Course.
Now, just to be clear, I intentionally said "start" here. Completing the full course will almost certainly take more than a year and I'm not likely to even get started for several months. There really are some other project that I need to complete before starting this one so the goal is to get started before the end of 2011.

You may have noticed that I've become a conference junkie. I attended my first national conference just a few months ago (FGS in August) and now I want to go to every one that comes along. (I'm still bummed that I couldn't work in RootsTech coming up in February.)

Genealogy Goals for 2011 is a series. Other posts in the series are:
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Overview
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Research and Writing
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Maintenance

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Research and Writing

Research is the basis for everything else when it comes to genealogy so setting a few solid research goals should be a no-brainer. I have to admit that I've never really done this before - at least not in writing. Since I've never set research goals, you know I've never set writing goals either. There are several ideas floating around in my head (some of them have even been started) so maybe writing it all down will actually result in, well, results. 

Research Goals:
1. Find Theodocia and the child - at least continue searching.
My grandfather married Theodocia Smith on 13 Jan 1897 in St. Clair County, Alabama. They had one child and were no longer together by 1902. I have no idea what happened to her or their child. I don't even know if the child was a boy or girl. Now I have many direct line brick walls and Theodocia isn't even related to me but this is still the #1 mystery I'd like to solve.      

2. Review direct line families to identity missing information.
You can't research unless you know what you need to find. Blogging has helped me to find some of the holes in my research. Something as simple as writing a Surname Saturday post about a particular family shows not only what dates, places, documents and records I have for that family it also shows what I don't have. Rather than waiting to simply run across the holes, I'm planning to review each direct line family starting with my parents and working back. The result of this exercise should be an actual research plan for each family. The goal for 2011 is to complete this process for each direct line family through my great-great grandparents. That will be 15 total families for the year.

3. Order FHL microfilm for places I'm unlikely to visit anytime soon.
Here's another confession - I've never ordered one single roll of Family History Library microfilm. This can now be done through the library at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort so that's the facility I will use. They are basically closed until March but that should give me time to make some progress on item #2 which will identify the records I need.

4. Hit the road for research.
Who doesn't love a research trip? There are several places I'd like to go this year but the top three are: the Georgia Archives, Laurens County, South Carolina and the North Carolina Archives. Of course, I'd really like to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne but, realistically, 2011 may not be the year I can work those trips into the schedule.

Writing Goals
1. Write research reports for brick wall ancestors.
How many times this year did I hear a speaker recommend writing research reports to yourself? I've lost count but it's finally sinking in that having the details of every place I've looked, every possibility I've ruled out and every lead that still needs to be followed all in one document would be a valuable tool in trying to get past a brick wall. It's not that I don't have this information. It's that it is scattered all over the place from notes in my database to digital copies of records to scraps of paper. I have some brief overviews posted on my website under Most Wanted but they don't include the level of detail that's really needed. The goal  is to complete 6 brick wall research reports.

2. Write bios for direct line ancestors.
I've started doing a short version of this as Surname Saturday posts but they are more of a summary than a complete bio. These can at least be outlined as the review listed as item #2 under research is done but I doubt 15 can be completed. Six seems like a more realistic goal for the year.

3. Blog more about research challenges and successes.
Writing about research was one of the main things I had in mind when I started blogging but I just haven't done much of it.

4. Write a book.
Don't get too excited. I'm not going completely crazy. I've intended for a long time to do a mostly photographic book on the Ramsey Taylor Cemetery in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Most of the people buried in this small family cemetery  were descendants and relatives of my gg-grandparents, James F. Taylor and Margaret Ramsey. I actually made the pictures two years ago but there are a few that need to be redone and there is also some research to be done on the few non-relatives buried there. Some of the headstones are already really hard to read and it won't be long before many more are in that shape so I'd like to preserve the information before it's too late.

As I was writing this, it occurred to me why I've had trouble finishing projects like these in the past. I have always felt like everything had to be done at once - like with reviewing families to see what is missing or writing the brick wall research reports. Having so many individual items to do made it seem impossible to complete everything. Here's hoping that setting goals to finish just a small number of them during 2011 will be the key to actually making progress.

Poster by footnoteMaven

This segment of my Genealogy Goals for 2011 was written for the 101st Carnival of Genealogy - "My genealogy research/writing plan for 2011" hosted by Creative Gene.

Genealogy Goals for 2011 is a series. Other posts in the series are:
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Overview
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Education
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Maintenance

Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Overview

Let me start by saying that I'm pretty good at planning and starting projects. The problem is I'm terrible at finishing them. There, I said it. 

No matter how committed I think I am, something more interesting comes along and my attention shifts, especially when it's things like reorganizing files and cleaning up sources or research that's going nowhere. I'll dump those kinds of projects for pretty much anything. Heck, that happened this week when I wanted to finish this series on goals but got side tracked by an email from a previously unknown cousin who knocked down a brick wall and then, after blogging about that, heard from a second previously unknown cousin related to that same line. You know I'd rather be digging into that than writing about goals but I'm trying to control myself. (This is progress.)

I probably should be making a New Year's Resolution to finish one thing before starting something else. Well, that's never going to happen so no sense even pretending this might be the year. That would be as ridiculous as saying I'm going to clean up my office and keep it that way.  Instead, I'm going to try listing my goals here and maybe I'll be shamed into finally making some progress with those projects that keep getting pushed to the back burner. (Although I've already told you I'm a failure at completing projects so how much more embarrassing can it get.)

My genealogy goals for 2011 break down into four categories - research, writing, education and maintenance. It's going to take a few posts to cover everything and I can tell you right now that it will probably look like I'm biting off more than I can chew. There's a good chance I am but I'm retired so I have the time. I just need to start making better use of that time. (Sounds like that should be another resolution if I was going to make resolutions.) Maybe having an actual list of goals will be the thing that finally gets me focused enough to make some serious progress. It can't hurt.

1st up will be research and writing goals later today.

Setting Genealogy Goals for 2011 was last week's challenge for 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy. Better late than never.

Genealogy Goals for 2011 is a series. Other posts in this series are:
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Research and Writing
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Education
Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Maintenance

Monday, December 27, 2010

1st Blogoversary!

I can't believe it's been a year!

I started kicking around the idea of starting a genealogy blog in the fall of 2009. I was finding more and more blogs that I enjoyed reading but I wavered back and forth between "I want to blog" and "What am I thinking? I can't do that." On December 27th I was in one of the "I want to blog" phases and before I knew it, I'd set up this blog and written a short 1st post

I had two main goals at that time.
1. Feed short stories about the family history to my family. You know them - the people who get that glazed over look in their eyes when you talk about your genealogy research for more than 3 minutes. 
2. Get in shape (writing wise) for some bigger projects down the road. Writing is definitely not my best event. Years of writing computer specs for system changes wrecked havoc with any writing skills I might have ever had. 

I'm not sure how successful I've been in meeting those goals but starting a genealogy blog was one of the best ideas I've ever had and I'm glad every day that I didn't talk myself out of it. I can't say enough about how great it is to belong to this wonderful, welcoming and supportive community of genealogy bloggers. Even though I was reading several blogs before I got started (that number is in the hundreds now), it never occurred to me that other bloggers would read my blog. That actually still surprises me today but I appreciate it very much. 

This has been a rough (non-genealogy) year and sometimes I think blogging has helped keep me sane. (If I am sane.) If it weren't for the daily blogging prompts, I might not have made it to this blogoversary. I hadn't intended to rely so much on those themes but, when I wasn't capable of concentrating enough to even think of a subject, I could at least find a headstone and family photo to post each week and that kept me from simply quitting.

It seems like I got started just as genealogy blogging was about to explode. According to the e-mail Thomas sent when I registered with GeneaBloggers on January 1st, there were over 800 genealogy blogs on the list at that time. That number has almost doubled this year and now stands at over 1500. At the Family History Expo in Atlanta last month genealogy blogging seemed to be the biggest buzz. I don't think it's a coincidence that in the following three weeks there were 122 new blogs added to the GeneaBloggers list. It won't surprise me if the total number doubles again by this time next year.

I want to say a special thank you to everyone who has ever left a comment here or on Facebook. That encouragement means a lot and even though I know that I'm still not very good about commenting at other blogs. I always mean to go back and leave a comment later but the reality is if I don't do it at that moment it doesn't get done. I'm going to do better in year two.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This Week in the Family History - December 26 - January 1

26 Dec 1797 (213 years ago) - Edward Dobyns married Sarah Mott on 26 Dec 1797 in Richmond County, Virginia. Edward was the son of Edward Dobyns and Amony (maiden name unknown). Sarah was the daughter of Randolph Mott and Nancy Ann Walker. [4th great-grandparents, Hankins line]

30 Dec 1743 (267 years ago) - Edward Dobyns was born in Richmond County, Virginia. He was the son of Charles Dobyns and Sarah Nash. [5th great-grandfather, Hankins line]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What Did You Get?

This week's mission from Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings is:

"What gift that you received for Christmas is your favorite for genealogy purposes? Book, magazine, hardware, software, website subscription, research time - what was it, and how will it affect your genealogy research?"

I got the ultimate genea-wish granted for Christmas. A brick wall came down!

My favorite genealogy related gift came from a stranger in the form of an email on Christmas day. In a blog post on 1 May 2010 about my Weeks line, I mentioned that James Weeks "married Delinda (maiden name unknown) bef 1811 in Warren County, Ohio." That was over six months ago but today that little blurb paid off big time. 

James Weeks and Delinda (maiden name unknown to me until today) were my 4th great-grandparents. I've never found so much as a tiny clue as to Delinda's maiden name. James and Delinda lived in Livingston County, Kentucky and Pope County, Illinois. James died about 1827 and Delinda then married Elisha Shaw in Pope County.

According to the email, Delinda was the daughter of Nehemiah Younger. Not only did the sender provide her father's name, he outlined information in Nehemiah's probate record (filed in Washington County, Pennsylvania) that identifies his daughter as Delinda Weeks, wife of James Weeks. There's apparently a document in the probate record (notarized in Pope County) that shows James and Delinda Weeks appointed Job Weeks as their attorney. Job was James' father so there's no doubt this is the same Delinda Weeks! (BTW, James and Delinda's oldest son was named Nehemiah.)

I've already e-mailed the Washington County, PA Historical Society about getting a copy of Nehemiah's probate record.

[Turns out James and Delinda were more likely married in Ohio County, Virginia.] 

Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas tree

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Image © wolfavard via Flickr under Creative Commons License.
Merry Christmas graphic from Christmas Graphics Plus.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mattie Bennett and Lem Hester

Welcome Baptist Church Cemetery, Cullman County, Alabama

Mattie Bennett
Feb. 15, 1863 - Jan 27, 1952

L. Z. Hester
July 11, 1884 - June 1, 1930

Martha "Mattie" Bennett was the daughter of John T. Bennett and Martha L. Gamble. She was also the twin sister of Mary "Mollie" Bennett Hester. Her date of death on this headstone may be off by one day. The Alabama Death Records Index at Family Search shows the day as the 26th, not 27th (but I don't have an actual copy of the death certificate yet).

Lem Z. Hester was the son of Warren Hester and Mary "Mollie" Bennett (and Mattie's nephew). His date of death is also incorrect on his headstone. According to the Alabama Death Records Index, he died on 7 Jun 1935. 

John Bennett and Mollie Bennett Hester are buried beside Mattie and Lem. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This Week in the Family History - December 19 - 25

19 Dec 1774 (236 years ago) - Edward Dobyns was born in Richmond County, Virginia. He was the son of Edward Dobyns and Amony (maiden name unknown). [4th great-grandfather, Hankins line]

20 Dec 1716 (294 years ago) - Samuel Luther died in Bristol County, Massachusetts. Samuel's parents are unknown. [8th great-grandfather, Hopkins line]

25 Dec 1863 (147 years ago) - John Cook Taylor was born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. He was the son of James Francis Taylor and Margaret E. Ramsey. [great-grandfather, Taylor line]

25 Dec 1885 (125 years ago) - James Arton Hopkins married Lucinda Howard in Harlan County, Kentucky. Jim was the son of Stephen Wolfenbarger and Eliza Hopkins. Cindy was the daughter of John Covey Howard and Mary F. Morris. [great-grandparents, Hopkins line]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog Caroling - The Boss Is Coming To Town

logo by footnoteMaven

Most of the traditional Christmas standards have already been covered in footnoteMaven's Blog Caroling so I decided to rock.

Tombstone Tuesday - Frances Lanier and John Sheppard

Oakwood Cemetery
Lanett, Chambers County, Alabama

Wife of John Sheppard
June 12, 1859 - Feb 2, 1955

Died 1897

Frances was the daughter of William Washington Lanier and Charlotte Jackson. She was married 3 times and John Sheppard was her 2nd husband. Two of their 3 children died young and are also buried in this lot.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Week in the Family History - December 12 - 18

13 Dec 1705 (305 years ago) - Hugh Cole married Martha Luther. Hugh was the son of Hugh Cole and Deborah Buckland. Martha was the daughter of Samuel Luther and Mary (maiden name unknown). [7th great-grandparents, Hopkins line]

16 Dec 1780 (230 years ago) - David Owens married Winifred Mullins in Wilkes County, North Carolina. David was the son of William Owen. Winifred was the daughter of Henry Mullins and Mary Terry. [4th great-grandparents, Taylor line]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Surname Saturday - Owens

Madison Crawford Owens and Cecilia Owens

Madison Crawford "Matt" Owens was born on 4 Jun 1836 in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. He was the youngest of 3 children born to Alfred Owens and Rebecca Mullins. 

Cecila "Celia" Owens was born on 27 Apr 1839 in Rockcastle County. She was the 9th of 10 children born to Wesley Owens and Louis A. Mullins.

Matt and Celia were married on 7 May 1863 in Rockcastle County and lived their entire lives there. Matt was a farmer but also worked as a tavern keeper when he was younger (probably before he and Celia were married). Matt and Celia lived in the Freedom community where they raised 6 children. A 7th child died in infancy.

Celia died on 18 Nov 1908 and was buried in Roberts/Old Freedom Cemetery. Matt died on 21 Mar 1920 and was buried next to Celia. 

Matt and Celia's children:
Elizabeth was born on 3 Jun 1865 in Rockcastle County. She married Alfred Gillis Craig on 4 Feb 1880 and they had one son. Elizabeth died on 5 Mar 1937 but the location is not known. Even though death certificates had been required in Kentucky since 1911, one can not be found for Elizabeth. Her husband had died in Rockcastle County in 1905 and Elizabeth lived with their son after that in Rockcastle and Garrard Counties. She was buried in Lawrence Proctor Cemetery in Rockcastle County.

George Washington was born on 6 Dec 1866 in Rockcastle County. He married Sibbie Jane Hamm on 1 Feb 1888. They had 3 children and were divorced before 1898. Sibbie Jane was married twice more but George never remarried. George died on 12 May 1950 in Rockcastle County and was buried there in New Freedom Cemetery.

Sarah A. "Sallie" was born on 25 Jan 1868 in Rockcastle County. She married Mack Fount Craig (brother of Elizabeth's husband). Sallie and Mack did not have children. She died on 9 Nov 1945 in Rockcastle County and was buried in Lawrence Proctor Cemetery.

Wesley Alfred was born on 29 Apr 1872 in Rockcastle County. Wesley never married and had no children. He died on 10 Jan 1934 in Rockcastle County and was buried next to his parents in Roberts/Old Freedom Cemetery.

An unnamed daughter was born on 1 Feb 1874 in Rockcastle County and died there 12 days later. Her burial location is unknown.

William David was born on 5 Apr 1875 in Rockcastle County. He married Ida Belle Owens on 19 Apr 1895 and they had 5 daughters. Dave died on 16 Jun 1953 in Rockcastle County and was buried in New Freedom Cemetery.

Emma Jane was born on 16 Apr 1882 in Rockcastle County. She married John Cook Taylor on 16 Jan 1900 and had three children. Emma Jane died on 17 Mar 1968 in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Matt and Celia were my 2nd great-grandparents through their daughter, Emma Jane. Click on the links above for sources and additional information. 

Related Surname Saturday Post:
John Cook Taylor and Emma Jane Owens

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award - x 2

The Ancestor Approved Award was started by Leslie Ann over at Ancestors Live Here in March and made the rounds through the blogging community at that time. Lately it's making a comeback and I've been given this award twice in the past few days - by Long Lost and Nolichucky Roots. Thanks ladies. I enjoy both of your blogs very much. 

Recipients of this award are to list 10 things they have learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened them and then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud. 

I made a list of 10 things I'd learned back in April so you can check it out here

There seems to have been a explosion of new genealogy blogs lately - 122 added to the GeneaBloggers list in just the past three weeks. My list of 10 bloggers are mostly newcomers to the genealogy blogging community. 

Welcome to the party:

Jennifer - Climbing My Family Tree
CJ - All About GEN...
Liz - My Tapley Tree... and its Branches
Shelley - A Sense of Family
Suz - The Hunt for Henrietta
Jamila - Arkansas Roots: The Stories of my Family
BookChickJen - Digging under my family tree...
Gayle - Genealogy Dragnet
Jen - Jen's Genealogy Pages
Amanda - The Historian's Family

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Nathanial Rufus and Melissa Lanier Adamson

Hillview Cemetery Annex
LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia 

wife of N. R. Adamson
May 21, 1854 - Aug 8, 1927

Feb. 12, 1854 - Aug 3, 1946

Melissa was the daughter of William Washington Lanier and Charlotte Jackson.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Dec 5

Outdoor Decorations


It's hard to see the front door but it's wrapped in aluminum foil and ribbon to look like a Christmas present and there were lights in the greenery around the window. The local newspaper ran a contest for best outdoor decorations that year and we (actually Mom) won so I'm guessing that's why we posed for a picture in the front yard. It must have been pretty warm in Kentucky that December since only the baby is wearing a coat - Mom and I are even in short sleeves.

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. I won't be participating every day but you can click on the badge to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

This Week in the Family History - December 5 - 11

11 Dec 1741 (269 years ago) - George Goodloe died in Caroline County, Virginia. George was the son of Henry Goodloe and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) and the husband of Diana Minor. [7th great-grandfather, Hankins line]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Surname Saturday - Howard

John Covey Howard and Mary F. Morris

John Covey Howard was born on 6 Mar 1806 in Knox County, Kentucky - probably in the part of the county that later became Harlan County. He was the 3rd of 10 children born to John "War Jack" Howard and Mary Risner. 

John Covey married Matilda Brock, daughter of James Brock and Elizabeth Osborn, around 1827. They had 11 children and Matilda disappeared before 1850. Her fate was never discovered but John Covey divorced her within a year or two of her disappearance. Shortly after the divorce was approved, John Covey married Sarah "Sallie" Saylor. They had two children and were also divorced. 

Mary F. "Polly" Morris was born about 1830 in the Watts Creek area of Harlan County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Littleton Morris and Martha "Patsy" Mark.

John Covey and Polly were married on 10 Mar 1856 in Harlan County at her parents home. They had 7 children and Polly also had a daughter prior to her marriage to John Covey so between them they had 21 children. The family lived in the Harlan County community of Wallins Creek where all of their children were born and John Covey made a living farming.  

John Covey died on 20 Nov 1899 at the age of 93. Polly was living with daughters Cindy Hopkins and Sarah Brock in 1900 and 1910. She apparently died before 1920 as she was not listed with any of her surviving children in that census. 

John Covey and Polly's children:
Idress was born in 1856. She married John C. Howard in Harlan County on 13 Oct 1873 They had two children and were divorced before 1880. Idress died before March, 1889.

Cova Henry was born on 12 Jul 1857. His name may have been Covey Henry but Cova is the spelling on his headstone. He was listed as Henry in all records. Henry married Hannah Elizabeth Scott in 1878 in Harlan County and they adopted one daughter. Henry died on 9 Feb 1931 and was buried in Old Creech Cemetery at Wallins Creek.

Arimenta I. was born on 22 Mar 1859. She died before 1870.

Sarah S. was born on 15 Sep 1861. She married Elijah Brock on 21 Oct 1880 in Harlan County. They had no children. After Lige died in 1933, Sarah went to live with her sister, Lucinda, in Ohio and they returned to Wallins Creek in the 1940s. Sarah died there on 16 Jan 1958 and was buried in Old Creech Cemetery. 

Lucinda "Cindy" was born on 16 Feb 1867. She married James Arton Hopkins on 25 Dec 1885 and they had 10 children. Cindy died on 16 May 1957 at Wallins Creek and was buried in Morrow Cemetery in Warren County, Ohio.

Madison was born about 1870. He died between 2 Mar 1889 and 14 Feb 1891. 

Bobby didn't live long enough to show up on in a census records. Not even an approximate birth year is known for him so it's unknown where he falls in the birth order of John Covey and Polly's children.

John Covey and Polly were my 2nd great-grandparents through their daughter, Lucinda. Click on the links above for sources and additional information, including John's and Polly's other children. If you have a connection to this family leave a comment or e-mail me.

Related Surname Saturday Post:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Dec 1

The Christmas Tree

Over the years our family has had a wide variety of Christmas trees - short ones, tall ones, real ones, artificial ones (including the famous Silver Tree). There were many beautiful trees. And then there was this one. 

This was Christmas 1963 (I think). I'm not sure who picked this tree when my brother, sister and I went out with Daddy to cut down our own Christmas tree. Doesn't it make you wonder how pitiful the trees we passed on had to have been?

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. I won't be participating every day but you can click on the badge to read Christmas memories posted by other GeneaBloggers from now through Christmas Eve.

Wordless Wednesday - Cindy, Jim and Lula Hopkins

Cindy, Jim and Lula

Lucinda Howard and James Arton Hopkins had 9 sons. Lula Mae was their only daughter.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - John T. Bennett and Mollie Bennett Hester

Welcome Baptist Church Cemetery
Cullman County, Alabama

Mollie Hester
Feb. 15, 1863 - Aug. 10, 1932

J. T. Bennett
Feb. 7, 1831 - Mar. 15, 1910

John T. Bennett was born in South Carolina, the son of Lewis and Teresa (maiden name unknown) Bennett. He married Martha Gamble and they had 9 children. Mollie Hester was John and Martha's daughter, Mary "Mollie" Bennett Hester. After his wife's death, John lived with Mollie and her family. 

John's date of death on this headstone is probably incorrect since he was listed as living with Mollie and her family in the 1910 census taken on April 15 but it's the closest thing to a date of death that can be found for John. Mollie's date of death is also incorrect according to Alabama Death Records she died on 15 Mar 1933.

It appears that this headstone is fairly new - certainly it wasn't set up at the time of John's or Mollie's death. There is a matching headstone next to it for John's daughter and Mollie's twin, Mattie Bennett (who died in 1952) and Mollie's son, Lem Hester (who died in 1935).  

EDITED: 8 Dec 2010 to add information regarding Mollie's incorrect date of death.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Week in the Family History - November 28 - December 4

1 Dec 1861 (149 years ago) - James Arton Hopkins was born in Mulberry Gap, Hancock County, Tennessee. He was the son of Stephen Wolfenbarger (maybe) and Eliza Hopkins. [great-grandfather, Hopkins line]

1 Dec 1884 (126 years ago) - Verda Waller Hankins was born in Hopkins County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty. [paternal grandmother]

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surname Saturday - Petty

John R. Petty and Margaret E. Thomas

John R. Petty was born about 1836 in Tennessee. The exact location and the name of his parents are not proven but his father was possibly the John Petty who lived in Bradley County, Tennessee in 1860 and 1870.

Margaret E. Thomas was born about 1836 in Georgia. She was the daughter of Jesse Thomas and his wife, Rebecca (maiden name unknown). The Thomas family lived in Murray County, Georgia in 1840 and 1860 and in Lumpkin County in 1850. Margaret has at least 7 siblings including brothers named William, Oliver P. and Daniel W. and sisters named Mary and Nancy.

John and Margaret were married on 20 Sep 1857 in Whitfield County, Georgia. They were living in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1860 when the census was taken. The oldest two children had been born by that time. They had moved to Dalton in Whitfield County, Georgia by April, 1861 when their daughter, Samantha was born and lived there until about 1867 when they went back to Tennessee. The exact location is not known but it was likely the McMinn/Bradley County area. They were in Logan County, Kentucky in 1870 and had probably been there since 1869. Sometime between 1870 and 1874 they moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky.

Margaret died on 28 Jul 1876 in Hopkins County. John's fate is unknown. In 1880, most of the minor children were living with Margaret's sister, Mary Thomas Echols (and her husband, James), in Forsyth County, Georgia. 

Children of John and Margaret:
Melissa A. was born about 1858 in Tennessee. She was listed with her parents in the 1860 and 1870 census but nothing further is know about her.

Henry Milton was born on 3 Apr 1860 in Tennessee. He was living in Hopkins County in 1880 after his mother's death and apparently never married. He was 20 years old and listed in that census as an inmate of the poor house. Henry died on 9 Apr 1893, probably in Hopkins County.

Samantha Angeline was born on 3 Apr 1861 in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia. She married Thomas Leander Hankins on 14 May 1879 in Hopkins County. They had 7 children and Samantha died on 7 Jan 1944 in Hopkins County. She was buried there in Grapevine Cemetery.

Mary "Molly" was born in 1865 in Georgia (probably Whitfield County). She married Benjamin H. Hawkins and they had 5 children. Molly died in 1891 when her children were still very young - the oldest about 11 years old and the youngest only 1. She is buried in Friendship Cemetery in Forsyth County, Georgia.

Daniel Boone was born on 4 Apr 1867 in Georgia (probably Whitfield County). He married Mary Rebecca Cornelison and they had 7 children. He died before 1944, maybe on 26 Nov 1932. At least, there is a Daniel B. Petty who died in Fulton County, Georgia on that date. (Still need the death certificate to determine if it is this Daniel.)

Joseph Bunyan was born on 20 Apr 1869 in Kentucky. He married Fredonia "Donie" Cagle and they had 13 children. Joe died on 10 Apr 1937 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia.

Oliver Perry was born on 23 Jan 1871 in Kentucky. He married Vada L. Bramlett and they had 4 children. Vada died in 1899 and he later married Eliza Duckett. Perry and Eliza had 6 children. Perry died on 5 Feb 1943 in Fulton County, Georgia.

Nathaniel was born about 1873 in Kentucky. Nothing further is known about him.

John Franklin was born on 15 Sep 1874 in Hopkins County, Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Ann Givens and they had 3 children. John died on 30 Jun 1943 in Harrisburg, Saline County, Illinois.

W. O. Petty was born on 5 Jun 1876 in Hopkins County, Kentucky and died there just a few weeks later on 30 Jun 1876. 

John and Margaret were my 2nd great-grandparents through their daughter, Samantha Angeline. Click on the links above for sources and additional information. If you have a connection to this family leave a comment or e-mail me.

Related Surname Saturday Post:
Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Lillie Lanier and James H. Dixon

Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Section 17, Lot 319

Dec. 25, 1893 - Jan. 23, 1987

New York, PFC 327 BN Tank Corps
World War I
March 9, 1892 - Oct. 13, 1951

Lillie was the daughter of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett and was born in Chambers County, Alabama. The birth date on her headstone is almost certainly incorrect. Based on other records she was more likely born on 25 Nov 1891. James H. Dixon was Lillie's 4th husband.

Click on links above for sources.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Week in the Family History - November 21 - 27

23 Nov 1879 (131 years ago) - Isabella Jane Goodloe Hankins Yates married Thomas DeVault. Janie was the daughter of John Emerson Goodloe and Eliza Ann Dobyns. She had previously married Albert Hankins and Thomas Yates. [2nd great-grandmother, Hankins line]

23 Nov 1915 (95 years ago) - Elizabeth Angeline McCauley was born in Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Liz was the daughter of John William McCauley and Verda Waller Hankins. [aunt, McCauley line]

25 Nov 1891 (119 years ago) - Lillie Vashti Lanier was born in Chambers County, Alabama. Lillie was the daughter of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett. [grandaunt, Lanier line]

26 Nov 1974 (36 years ago) - James Bailey Hankins died in Carlsbad, San Diego County, California. Jimmy was the son of Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty. [granduncle, Hankins line]

26 Nov 1904 (106 years ago) - Lula Mae Hopkins was born in Brodhead, Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Lula was the daughter of James Arton Hopkins and Lucinda Howard. [grandaunt, Hopkins line]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Wolfenbarger

Stephen Wolfenbarger and Eliza Hopkins

Let me start by saying I have absolutely no proof that Stephen Wolfenbarger was the father of Eliza Hopkins' children but that's the family story. I do know for sure is that the story doesn't exactly match what can be proven.

The story passed down through the family is that Stephen and Eliza were married in Hancock County, Tennessee, had two sons and then Stephen was killed during the Civil War. Eliza and the boys lived with her parents until she re-married in 1866 and moved to Indiana, leaving her young sons with her parents. Since the boys were raised by their Hopkins grandparents, that's the surname they used.

Records tell a different story.

Stephen Wolfenbarger was born about 1838 in Virginia. He was probably the son of Wilkerson and Milly Wolfenbarger - at least, there was a 12 yr old Stevin Wolfenbarger listed in their household in the 1850 census in Hancock County. In 1860, Stephen Wolfenbarger and an apparent wife named Margaret were listed in Hancock County in the community of Mulberry Gap. He was 22 so is probably the "Stevin" living with Wilkerson ten years earlier.

Stephen was indeed killed during the Civil War. He enlisted in Company K of the 19th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry on 22 May 861. The exact date and place of his death is unclear but his Muster Roll dated May 14, 1863 lists him as "killed in battle."

Eliza Hopkins was born on 22 Feb 1837 in Claiborne County, Tennessee in an area of the county that later became Hancock County. She was the 6th of 11 children born to Stephen Hopkins, Jr. and Rachel McFardan. Eliza had two sons born in 1860 and 1861 in Mulberry Gap. Stephen and Rachel along with most of their children moved to Harlan County, Kentucky sometime between 1861 and 1865. Eliza married Ephram Simpson there on 11 Oct 1866 and moved to Indiana. Eliza left her sons with her parents and probably never returned to Harlan County. She died on 16 Jan 1912 in Epps, Butler County, Missouri and was buried there in Sparkman Cemetery.

Now some researchers have taken the name Margaret from that 1860 census and created a person named Margaret Eliza Hopkins as Stephen's wife (you will find her in some online trees) but there was no such person. The truth is that Stephen married someone named Margaret and was almost certainly never married to Eliza although marriage records from this period have not survived in Hancock County so that can't be absolutely proven. Since Stephen did die during the Civil War it's entirely possible that he was just a good candidate to be named the father when the boys started asking questions. After all, he wasn't around to deny it and the family had moved away from Hancock County by the time the boys would have been old enough to ask questions so there was no one around to refute the story. It's entirely possible that the boys didn't even have the same father. Another telling piece of this puzzle to me is that Eliza Hopkins (not Wolfenbarger) married Ephram Simpson in 1866. Why would a widow with two small children have reverted to her maiden name?

Eliza's (and maybe Stephen's) children:
William Columbus "Lum" Hopkins was born 13 Jan 1860 in Mulberry Gap. He was married three times and had 19 children. Lum died on 11 Jul 1947 in Gratis, Preble County, Ohio and was buried in Germantown Cemetery in Montgomery County, Ohio.

James Arton "Jim" Hopkins was born 1 Dec 1861 in Mulberry Gap. He married Lucinda Howard on 25 Deb 1885 in Harlan County, Kentucky and they had 10 children. Jim died on 5 Jan 1933 in Harlan Township, Warren County, Ohio and was buried in Morrow Cemetery in Warren County.

Eliza was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, James Arton. Click on the links above for sources and additional information. If you have a connection to this family, leave a comment or e-mail me.

Related Surname Saturday post:
James Arton Hopkins and Lucinda Howard

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Long Lost Relative

There may not be one in absolutely every family but certainly many families have a long lost relative, especially if you go back a few generations. William Robert Taylor was a long lost relative through no fault of his own. Bill spent many years of his life not even knowing that he was lost to a big part of his family.

Bill's parents, John Cook Taylor and Margaret Frances "Fannie" Warren, were married in Rockcastle County, Kentucky on August 22, 1894. Bill was born on May 16, 1895 and was their only child. His parents divorced when he was just a toddler. Fannie and Bill moved in with her parents and John remarried in 1900. Sometime shortly after the 1900 census was taken, the Warren family decided to move to Kansas. Fannie and young Bill went along with her parents, her brother, two of her sisters and their families. 

According to family stories, John chased after the wagons as they were leaving Rockcastle County begging Fannie not to take his son away but he couldn't stop her. It would be 30 years before John again saw his son.

Bill grew up in Leavenworth County, Kansas believing that his father had died when he was a baby because that's what his mother told him. Fannie eventually married Jerry Logsdon, a widower from Pulaski County, Kentucky with two sons. Jerry had lived very near the Rockcastle County line and the area of the county where Fannie's parents lived so it's quite possible that he was a long time friend of the family and had moved to Kansas with them.

The years passed. Bill married Nellie Frances Ready on March 21, 1917 in Leavenworth County and they had two sons, Orin Edward and Verne K. Bill's mother died before 1930 and on her death bed she told Bill the truth - that his father had not died all those years ago and was probably still living in Rockcastle County.

Bill & John, abt. 1951
Bill returned to Rockcastle County about 1931 for the first time since he was a little boy on that wagon heading to Kansas. He traveled by train and didn't try to contact his father before making the trip. When he got off the train in Mt. Vernon he asked about John Taylor and someone gave him directions to John's house. 

John had no idea what had become of Bill. He didn't know where Fannie had taken him or even if he was alive or dead but when he answered the knock at his door that day he took one look at the man standing there and said "That's my boy."

Bill was welcomed into the Taylor family with open arms. He learned that he had five half-siblings, four sisters and one brother. His sister, Emma, wrote the following about meeting Bill:
"I did not see him till I was 30 yrs. old. He came to visit Papa. We were so glad to see him and he felt as much like a brother as my whole brother, Hartford, did. He came back every year after that and was home when Papa died."
Bill did indeed come back every year to visit until he was into his late 60's/early 70's and no longer able to make the trip. Besides his Taylor family, his mother also had relatives still living in Rockcastle County and Bill would see them as well. Even after his father died in 1953, Bill continued his annual visit and always stayed with his step-mother, Emma Jane. Bill's sister, Emma, also visited him in Kansas a few times.

Bill died on July 7, 1975 in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas and was buried there in Memorial Park Cemetery. Fortunately for Bill and his family, he found his way back home and didn't remain a long lost relative.

Poster by footnoteMaven
This was written for the 100th Carnival of Genealogy "There's One in Every Family." 

John Cook Taylor was my great-grandfather. His daughter (and Bill's half-sister), Emma, was my grandmother. I remember Uncle Bill visiting every summer during my childhood and hearing the stories about John chasing the wagon, Fannie's confessing and John recognizing Bill when he showed up at his door from my grandmother and others in the family. For other sources, click on the links above for Bill, John and Fannie.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Researching in Troup County, Georgia

Legacy Museum and Troup County Archives
LaGrange, Georgia

This week I made my 2nd visit to the Troup County Archives. I arrived before the library opened so spent a few minutes looking through the museum on the 1st floor. Since it was just a few days after Veterans Day their exhibit honoring Troup County veterans was still on display. It was quite an accumulation of photos, uniforms and other memorabilia covering most of the 1st floor space.  The photos below are just a part of the exhibit.

The research library is on the 2nd floor of the building. You couldn't ask for a more helpful and knowledgeable staff. If you have Troup County ancestors but can't visit LaGrange, check out the Troup County Archives website. They have searchable cemetery records, marriage records and deeds among other things. Images are even included for the marriage records and deeds.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Vashti and Liz

Vashti McCauley Wells and Elizabeth "Liz" McCauley Carver

Liz died 7 years ago on 20 Nov 2003.

Photo courtesy of Bettie Gamblin Hendricks

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Hettie Lanier McRae

Salem Cemetery
Salem, Lee County, Alabama

Hettie Lanier McRae
May 29, 1878 - Oct. 31, 1944

Hettie Eugenia Lanier was the daughter of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett. She married Virgil Slocum White on 27 Nov 1898 in Monroe County, Mississippi. They had 7 children and were divorced between 1910 and 1920. Hettie married William McRae before 1920. She died in Salem.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Week in the Family History - November 14 - 20

14 Nov 1720 (290 years ago) - Freelove Mason was born in Swansea, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Freelove was the daughter of Joseph Mason and Elizabeth Barney. [6th great-grandmother, Hopkins line]

15 Nov 1749 (261 years ago) - Nathaniel Lanier was born in Brunswick County, Virginia. Nathaniel was the son of James Lanier and Mary Cooke. [4th great-grandfather, Lanier line]

15 Nov 1818 (192 years ago) - Charlotte T. Jackson was born in Jasper County, Georgia. Charlotte was the daughter of Samuel W. Jackson and Lavinia Malone. [2nd great-grandmother, Lanier line]

15 Nov 1840 (170 years ago) - Margaret E. Ramsey was born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Ramsey, Jr. and Rhoda Ann Lavender. [2nd great-grandmother, Taylor line]

16 Nov 1760 (250 years ago) - Charles Dobyns died in Richmond County, Virginia. Charles was the son of Daniel Dobyns and Elizabeth Godson and the husband of Sarah Nash. [6th great-grandfather, Hankins line]

16 Nov 1861 (149 years ago) - Houston G. Hankins died in Christian County, Kentucky. Houston was the son of Barnabas Hankins and Sarah Fox and the husband of Mary Weeks. [3rd great-grandfather, Hankins line]

18 Nov 1908 (102 years ago) - Cecilia "Celia" Owens died in Freedom, Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Ceila was the daughter of Wesley Owens and Louis A. Mullins and the wife of Madison Crawford Owens. [2nd great-grandmother, Taylor line]

20 Nov 1849 (161 years ago) - Felicia Lewis King died in Ashe County, North Carolina. Felicia's parent are unknown. She was the wife of Edward King. [5th great-grandmother, Taylor line]

20 Nov 1899 (111 years ago) - John Covey Howard died in Wallins Creek, Harlan County, Kentucky. John was the son of John Howard and Mary Risner and the husband of Mary Morris. [2nd great-grandfather, Hopkins line]