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.