Monday, January 31, 2011

Digital Files Reorganized! - Part 1

One of my genealogy goals for 2011 was to reorganize my digital files and move them to Dropbox by the end of January. DONE!!!! 

This chore has been finished since the 21st and, so far, I'm happy with it. My previous file structure was by type of record and then broken down by the four surnames of my grandparents. I can’t explain why that ever seemed like a good idea but it must have years ago when I set it up. I've wanted to change things for a long time but dreaded doing it because everything was already backed up to Mozy and thousands of files were linked to sources or events in my Legacy Family Tree database using that structure.

Most of the time I use my laptop but I also have a desktop and a netbook. Trying to keep everything sync’d between all three has been a huge headache and the result was that only the laptop really had everything. A big reason for this reorg was to solve that problem by moving all of my genealogy files to Dropbox. If you aren't familiar with Dropbox it is a product that backs up your data and syncs it between all of the computers you set up in your account. You can also access your data through their website from any computer and from your smart phone.

I have been using the basic 2 GB Dropbox (which is free) for a year or so but mostly as a clearinghouse to transfer files to the other computers or to share large numbers of files with other researchers. I only kept a few things (like backups of my Legacy database and a spreadsheet of login info for all accounts) there permanently. I have now upgraded to the 50 GB option at a cost of $99/year. I think the convenience is going to be well worth $8.25 a month.  

I’m not going to say much about the new structure because I think how you set up your files is a personal choice. What works for one person won’t work for someone else and everyone needs a system that will work for them.  I now have folders for every direct line couple with subfolders for their children who aren’t my ancestor. I also have folders for categories like Research (subfolders for each surname), Cemetery Photos (subfolders for each Cemetery), Locations (subfolders for specific locations), Forms, Website and Blog just to name a few. So far, I like this much better than my previous set up.

Luckily, most of the actual file names did not have to be changed so re-connecting the records in my Legacy database was not nearly as much trouble as I had envisioned. When you move files that are linked in Legacy, it loses the connection but once you re-link just one file from it’s new location, Legacy will find all the other files in that particular folder. Bottom line, you do not have to relink every single file, just one file in each new folder.

In order not to have thousands of unlinked records to reattach in the end, I did the relinking as I went along. Once I moved everything for a family (or several families if they didn’t have many files), I relinked a file in each new folder and then ran the “Test All Multimedia Paths” report in Legacy (Options > Customize > Locations) to be sure everything was in order. When I had to rename a file, I relinked it immediately while I still remembered it's previous name.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.  

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Mozy, Legacy Family Tree or Dropbox. However, if you click on the Dropbox link and sign up for an account, I will get some free space (500 MB) added to my Dropbox account but so will you (250 MB).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Surname Saturday - Jackson

Samuel W. Jackson and Lavinia Malone

Samuel W. Jackson was born about 1797 in North Carolina. His parents were Coleby R. Jackson and Charity (maiden name unknown). Samuel almost certainly had siblings but I don't know any of their names. 

Lavinia Malone was born about 1801 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of John Malone and Gracie Eaves. She had seven brothers and one sister.

Samuel and Lavinia were probably married sometime before 1818. The location is unknown but Jasper County, Georgia and Rutherford County, North Carolina are two possibilities. At any rate, they were living in Jasper County in 1820. By 1830 they were in Meriwether County, Georgia and by 1840 had moved again, to Heard County, Georgia. They had seven children, three sons and four daughters. Samuel worked as a carpenter and a farmer.

Lavinia died about 1863 and Samuel about 1871. Lavinia probably died in Heard County but stories told by some of his descendants say that Samuel died and was buried in Little Rock, Arkansas where he had gone to build a house. 

Samuel and Lavinia's children:
Charlotte T. was born in Nov 1818 in Jasper County on either the 3rd or 15th. She married William Washington Lanier on 22 Oct 1835 in Meriwether County and they had 11 children. Charlotte died in 1892 on either 26 Sep or 20 Oct and was buried in New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery, Fredonia, Chambers County, Alabama.

John Coleman was born on 7 Jan 1820 in Jasper County. He married Sarah Elizabeth Hill Smith and they had eight children. John died on 19 Jun 1898 in Randolph County, Alabama and was buried in Roanoke City Cemetery in Randolph County. 

Lee Roy was born on 26 Oct 1826 in Meriwether County. He married Lucinda Gamble and they had eight children. Lucinda died and Lee Roy married Nancy Caroline Smith. They had three children. Lee Roy died on 19 Mar 1904 and was buried in Ephesus Cemetery, Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

William L. was born about 1833 in Meriwether County. He died in 1862 in Virginia while serving in the Confederate army. 

Charity Ann was born on 25 Apr 1835 in Meriwether County. She married Benjamin Franklin Caswell and they had two children. Charity died on 1 Aug 1906 in Heard County.

Nancy Elizabeth was born on 28 Feb 1839 in Heard County. She married Seaborn Henry Adamson and they had six children. Nancy died on 9 May 1926 in Heard County and was buried there in Adamson Cemetery at Glenn.

Grace Amanda was born about 1843 in Heard County. Nothing further is known about her.

Samuel and Lavinia were my 3rd great-grandparents through their daughter, Charlotte. For sources and additional information, click on the links above. If you have a connection to this family, leave a comment here or e-mail me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

23 and Me Results - 614 Matches in Relative Finder

That's right, I have 614 Relative Finder matches. I was just hoping to get a few. 

I ordered the 23 and Me test around Thanksgiving when they started the big sale but waited three weeks before finally getting psyched up to spit. My kit arrived at their lab on December 18th and the initial results, which included my Maternal Haplogroup, came in on January 24th so it took just over five weeks. My main interest is in the Relative Finder part of the test and those results became available 2 days later on the 26th.

Relative Finder is basically a list of people who are predicted to be your cousin based on shared DNA. They provide a predicted level of relationship - like 4th cousin - but can't tell you how you might be cousins. That's up to you and the people you match to figure out. 

614. Seriously.

One of the first things I realized was that I should have been studying about this whole process while I was waiting for the results. Since I didn't do that, I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out where to start. I still need to do a good deal of reading but here's how I decided to approach things - at least for now.

Your profile can be set to either private or public. If you make it public you control which items you make public. Since I want to make connections with these potential cousins, I decided public was the way to go and included my name, country of birth, country of residence, ancestry, and, most importantly, family surnames. I added every surname I know through my 6th great-grandparents and even included some possible names for brick walls that are unproven.  

Even though my profile is public, I still have to contact the people I match to see if they are interested in comparing family trees. Some people use 23 and Me for the health related part of the tests and they have no interest at all in the genealogy parts so there is no expectation that all of my 614 cousins will want to play "Who's Our Common Ancestor?" with me. Since I have a website with most of my data I decided to add a page that might be useful in sorting out these relationships. I listed the same surnames that I included in my 23 and Me profile and added a link to my closest ancestor with that surname. I also included a list of some of the places where my ancestors lived. That page is here.

The other thing I decided was to start by contacting the people on my list who have made their profile public and listed some of their surnames. I'm thinking they are likely to be the most motivated to figure out their connections. I did send one contact yesterday to someone who didn't meet that criteria because at 3rd cousin they are the closest predicted relationship and so were first on my list.

The thought of trying to figure out how I am related to 614 people is starting to seem like an impossible task. Heck the thought of trying to figure out how I am related to 25 people sounds pretty daunting. How can you even do that? I mean lets say I match with someone and we figure out we have a common ancestor. Is that then definitely the reason we matched or is it possible that we have some other common ancestor that one or both of us do not know? Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about this process.

This is going to be a long term project. If anyone has experience with 23 and Me's Relative Finder, I'd love to hear any advice you have.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Look Closely

When we analyze a record we need to really examine it. Closely. Very closely. Here is a good example of why we should do that.

I've been wandering around in Ancestry trees today looking at trees that have my 3rd great-grandparents Stephen and Rachel Hopkins of Hancock County, Tennessee and later Harlan County, Kentucky. I keep seeing the same mistake over and over again. Almost every one of the 40+ trees I checked have given them a daughter named Ellen who was born about 1838. The problem is they did not have a daughter named Ellen. Unlike many of the other errors floating around the web, I can actually see how this one got started.

Let's take a look at the 1850 census for Stephen and Rachel's family.

See that 12 year old named Ellen? It certainly looks like Ellen at first glance and if you had no idea about Stephen and Rachel's children you might not have any reason to doubt that this was Ellen. When I first saw this record, I already knew that they had a daughter named Eliza (my 2nd great-grandmother) and I was confused as to why she wasn't listed with them in this census - until I looked closer. 

Start with the 2nd l in Ellen. That's actually the tail of the y in Sally listed on the previous line. If you look even closer, you will see there's a dot in the middle of that y which indicates the 3rd letter of the name that looks like Ellen is really an i and not an l. The next letter that at first appears to be an e is actually z - see the tail of the z between the o and h in John on the line below? And that last letter that could have been n is obviously an a when compared to the n in John. The name is Eliza, not Ellen. But don't stop there. This could still be considered questionable so let's move on to the 1870 census.

Of course, nothing is ever easy so this record is a bit hard to read but the 4th person in this household is 23 year old Elisa. Apparently the census taker didn't like the letter z because her sister Elizabeth listed above her is spelled Elisabeth. And there is yet another point of confusion with this family. Some people seem to believe they couldn't have had daughters named both Elizabeth and Eliza (but they did, there they are in the same census record). Many of those trees with Ellen in them have Eliza's children tied to Elizabeth (who by the way went by Betsey and had two children of her own who are rarely seen in Ancestry trees but I've personally met some of their descendants).  

Everything is not always clear at first glance so we really need to pay close attention when analyzing records. 

More of Eliza's story can be found here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Titus Fox's Revolutionary War Pension File - Part 2

This is a continuation of the transcription of R3724 - Titus Fox - NC. Part 1 is here.

State of Kentucky
Hopkins County

On this 14th day of September, 1853, Before me, James A. Nisbet an acting Justice of the Peace within and for the county and States aforesaid, personally appeared Jesse Fox who, being sworn according to law, on his oath makes the following declaration for the purpose of obtaining the benefit of any act or acts of the Congress of this United States granting to the children of deceased Revolutionary soldiers a Pension, to wit:

That he is the legally appointed administrator upon the estate of Elizabeth Fox, widow of Titus Fox, late of the county and State aforesaid, who was a Private soldier in the lines of the army of the United States in the war of the Revolution. That application has heretofore been made for a Pension, and to the evidence on file with said application he refers for proof of service, identity, etc. He further declares that the aforesaid Titus Fox died in the county and State aforesaid on the Twenty first day of June one thousand eight hundred and twenty five; That his widow, the aforesaid Elizabeth Fox, died in the foresaid county and State on the Twenty fourth day of September one thousand eight hundred and forty five, aged about seventy eight years. leaving the following named children, to wit: Allen Fox, aged fifty years; Jesse Fox, aged about forty seven years; Daniel Fox, aged about sixty five years at the time of his death five years ago, Mrs. Amelia Meredith, aged about seventy years; Mrs Mary Sisk, aged aged about fifty three years' Mrs. Malinda Matthews, aged about forty four years, Mrs Sarah Hankins Mathews, aged about fifty six years at the time of her death about three years since; and James Fox, aged about fifty three years at the time of his death some four years since. He further declares that the said Titus and Elizabeth Fox were married in Wilkes County North Carolina, about the year one thousand seven hundred and eights. That her name before her marriage to the said Fox was Elizabeth Wright.

Jesse Fox
Elizabeth Fox decd

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 12th day of September 1852
James A. Nisbet J. P.

Titus' will does not name all of his children so the list provided here by his son, Jesse, is the only solid documentation for Titus and Elizabeth's children. Jesse being listed as Administrator of his mother's estate made me realize that I don't have a copy of Elizabeth's will or probate record. That's been added to my To Do List.

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme at GeneaBloggers encouraging family historians to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. It was created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Surname Saturday - Lanier

James Lanier and Polly Smith

James Lanier was born about 1785 in North Carolina, the son of Nathaniel Lanier and Mary (maiden name unknown). He married Polly Smith on 29 Jul 1810 in old Randolph County, Georgia which was renamed Jasper County in 1812. (Current Randolph County, Georgia is a different location.) Polly's parents are unknown.

James and Polly were living in Jasper County in 1820 but had moved to Meriwether County by 1830. They apparently lived in Meriwether County for the remainder of their lives. James and Polly both died sometime after the 1850 census but exact dates and burial places are unknown.

James and Polly's children:
William Washington was born on 15 Mar 1813 in Jasper County. He married Charlotte T. Jackson on 22 Oct 1835 in Meriwether County. They had 11 children and William died on 11 Feb 1892 (or 28 Jan 1892) in Chambers County, Alabama.

Cynthia was born about 1814 in Jasper County. She married Robert M. Leverette on 19 Jun 1849 in Meriwether County (according to index of Georgia Marriages at Family Search). There were three children listed with Cynthia and Robert in 1850 but they all seem to have been born before they were married so it's possible they were Robert's children from a previous marriage or that the year of their marriage is incorrect.

Frances was born on 22 Jul 1815 in Jasper County. She married Robert Newell on 16 Apr 1837 in Meriwether County. They had five children and Frances died on 17 Aug 1901 in Randolph County, Alabama.

Nancy was born about 1819 in Jasper County. She married William Bryant on 17 Jul 1845 in Meriwether County. They had two children.

Mary was born about 1820 in Jasper County. She married Franklin Cullens on 15 Feb 1845 in Meriwether County.

James J. was born about 1825 in Meriwether County. He died on 19 Jun 1847.

John Henry was born about 1835 in Meriwether County. He married Louisa Bess there on 26 Aug 1854. They had four children. John married a second time to someone named Curry (her first name is unknown). They had three children. John died about 1910 in Marion County, Florida.

Some people list a second daughter named Cynthia born about 1832 for James and Polly. There was an 18 year old listed as Sintha A. Lanier living with them in the 1850 census. Their daughter Cynthia was 35 years old in 1850 and living with her husband so this was not her. It doesn't seem likely that they would have named another daughter Cynthia when the older one was still living so it's unclear to me who this younger Sintha was.

James and Polly were my 3rd great-grandparents through their son William Washington. Click on the links above for sources and additional information. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Roberts/Old Freedom Cemetery

Roberts/Old Freedom Cemetery is located in Rockcastle County, Kentucky on Freedom School Road which is off of Hwy 150 just west of the intersection with Hwy 461 in Mt. Vernon. (The GPS coordinates for the cemetery are 372025.264N - 0842328.872W.)

My 2nd great-grandparents, Matt and Celia Owens, are buried in this cemetery along with other Owens and Mullins relatives. The list below is not a complete cemetery inventory but is simply a list of the markers I have photographed. Links are to those photos.

Wesley Alfred Owens (Matt & Celia's son)
William L. and Wilmoth Lofton Owens (Matt's brother)
George Calvin Owens (Wm. L. & Wilmoth's son)
Harriett Herrell Owens (George C.'s wife)
Ardora Owens Cummins (Wm. L. & Wilmoth's daughter)
Marshall and Nancy Jane Mullins Owens (Wm. L. & Wilmoth's son)
Montie Owens (George & Harriett's daughter)
Walter Owens (George & Harriett's son)
George Mason Owens (Marshall & Nancy's son)
Mollie A. Hamm Owens (Marshall & Nancy's daughter-in-law)
Burton "Dock" Owens (son of Burton & Lavincy Riggs Owens)
Malvina Collyer Owens (Dock's wife)
Robert, Jasper & Eva Owens (Dock & Malvina's children)
Bluford H. Cummins (husband of Mary Frances Mullins)

Instead of posting individual tombstones each week, I've decided to feature a cemetery once or twice a month. I'll set up photo galleries for each cemetery at SmugMug and also add the tombstone photos to Find A Grave (if there isn't one already posted there).

All photos © 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 Linda McCauley. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Titus Fox's Revolutionary War Pension File

Elizabeth Wright Fox filed a Revolutionary War Pension application in 1844 based on her late husband's service. This transcription is the first two pages of record R3724 - Titus Fox - NC.

State of Kentucky
Hopkins County
On the 12th day of March 1844 personally appeared before the Court for the County aforesaid Elizabeth Fox a resident of the said County of Hopkins and state of Kentucky aged seventy eight years who being just duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress passed July 4, 1836. That she is the widow of Titus Fox who was a private in the army of the revolution that during the whole of his service in the United States his residence was in Wilkes County North Carolina. Previous to her marriage with said Titus Fox she had long been acquainted with him her residence not being more than four miles from his. That she recollects he was gone from home in the service of the United States for three months she thinks this happened occured between one & two years before her marriage with said Fox in this tour she always understood that he was a volunteer and that the service was mostly in the lower part of South Carolina in the neighborhood of Charleston. The said Fox and herself were married on the 25th day of August 1780. And about one week after their marriage the said Titus Fox started another tour in which he was gone about two months during this tour the battle of Kings Mountain was fought. He was not in the engagement he belonging to a corp of infantry who did not arrive on the ground until a few minutes after the surrender of the British he was in hearing of said battle.

The next tour of any considerable length occurred in the winter of 1781-1782 in this he was gone over two months the precise time she cannot state during this tour her first child was born which happened on the 2nd January 1782. She thinks in this tour of service he went to Deep river (in North Carolina she thinks but is not positive). She further states during the period of the above tours or perhaps afterwards he was frequently gone on short tours against the tories sometimes a few days sometimes a week or more. She cannot state with any certainty the names or grade of the officers under which he served. She however recollects the names of some of them but their grade or the tours in which they commanded she cannot state. These are some of their names. Benjamin Cleaveland who was always called Colonel. William Lewis Micajah Lewis Joel Lewis Samuel Johnson she thinks he was Captain. Richard Allen when she first knew him he was called Captain afterward Major and after that Colonel.

She further declared that she was married as before stated to the said Titus Fox on the 25th day of August in the year seventeen hundred and eighty that her husband the aforesaid Titus Fox died on the 22 day of Jun 1825. And that she has remained a widow ever since that period as will more fully appear by reference to the proof hereto annexed.

Sworn to and subscribed on the day and year above written before the County Court for the County of Hopkins in the state of Kentucky as aforesaid.

Elizabeth Fox
[signed by mark]

One thing that jumped out as I was transcribing this record is the fact that Elizabeth lived within four miles of Titus before they were married. I don't know Elizabeth's parents so that information could prove helpful in identifying them. I also realized that I don't have a copy of Titus and Elizabeth's marriage record. The index at Family Search gives the date as 18 Aug 1780 but Elizabeth says here that it was the 25th. Possibly that record dated the 18th is a marriage bond. Titus should have a service record but so far I haven't located it. It almost certainly exists because he has descendants who have been accepted in the DAR (and he is not flagged as needing to have his service re-verified). Maybe the names Elizabeth gave here of men he served under will help me to find Titus' records. These things have all been added to my Legacy To Do List.

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme at GeneaBloggers encouraging family historians to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. It was created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cars - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History #3

In 1972 I got my first job and bought my first car. It was a used 1967 Chevelle Malibu and I loved it. For some reason I don't have a single picture of that car but it looked like the blue one in the picture below except that it was pale green. 

'67 Chevelle Malibu vs. Chevelle

Photo courtesy of aresauburn™'s photostream at Flickr

I only had that Malibu for a little over a year. Not because there were problems with it but because a man in his late 70's ran a stop sign and totaled it. His excuse for running the stop sign was that his glasses fogged up and he couldn't see. So I guess he thought hitting the gas instead of the brake was the thing to do in that situation because he came flying out of a side street and I didn't even see him coming. Of the four people in the two vehicles (two in each), he was the only one not hurt. Luckily no one was seriously injured although at times my left knee might disagree with that almost 40 years later.

I can't remember how much I paid for that car but I think it was a little over $1,000. I do remember that the brand new 1974 Malibu that replaced it was $3,500. Over the years I've had several other cars but I've never loved another one. 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is a series of weekly blogging prompts created by Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog to encourage researchers to write about their own lives. Details can be found at GeneaBloggers

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestral Name List Roulette

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

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?
3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."
4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.
5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!
My paternal grandfather, John William McCauley, would be 135 years old. 135 divided by 4 = 33.75, rounded up to 34.

Number 34 on my Ahnentafel Chart is my 3rd great-grandfather, Samuel W. Jackson. I don't know much about Samuel, not a birth date, marriage date or death date, but here's three things I do know. 

1. Samuel was born in North Carolina - at least that's what the 1850 and 1860 census records show.

2. In 1830 Samuel, his wife and children were living in Meriwether County, Georgia and were listed in the census next to James Lanier. James was the father of William Washington Lanier who married Samuel's daughter, Charlotte T. Jackson. William and Charlotte were my 2nd great-grandparents. 

3. By 1840 Samuel and his family had moved to Heard County, Georgia. Charlotte and William were married by then and also made the move.

For sources and additional information, click on the link about for Samuel.

Ancestor Approved

I've been negligent in thanking a couple of bloggers for giving me the Ancestor Approved Award. So thanks go out to Michelle at The Turning of Generations and Karen at Genealogy Frame of Mind.

This award was started by Leslie Ann over at Ancestors Live Here. I recently passed this award on to 10 other bloggers here.

Thanks again ladies.

Surname Saturday - Taylor

James Francis Taylor and Margaret E. Ramsey

James Francis Taylor was born on 8 Jul 1830 in Garrard County, Kentucky. He was the son of William Taylor and Martha Ramsey. The family moved to neighboring Rockcastle County sometime between 1840 and 1850.

Margaret E. Ramsey was born on 15 Nov 1840 in Rockcastle County. She was the oldest of three children born to Thomas Ramsey Jr. and Rhoda Ann Lavender. Her mother died before Margaret was 10 years old and her father died by the time she was 12.

Jim and Margaret were married on 11 Oct 1855 in Rockcastle County. Jim was a wagonmaker as a young man but spent the most of his life farming. Jim and Margaret lived on their farm between Mt. Vernon and Renfro Valley where they had 11 children.

Margaret died on 23 Jun 1892 and Jim on 10 Jun 1894. They were both buried in Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery near their home. Neither of them have a marker in the cemetery.

Jim and Margaret's Children:
William Thomas was born on 11 Aug 1856. He married Mary Elizabeth Fletcher on 7 Jan 1880 and they had four children. Tom died on 2 Feb 1904 and was buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Josiah Love was born on 20 Dec 1858. He married Mary Alice Kirby on 19 Jul 1888 and they had eight children. Joe died on 13 Feb 1921 and was buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Martha Ann was born on 10 Jun 1861. She married George W. Riickert on 25 Dec 1887 and they had six children. Mollie and George moved to Madison County, Indiana between 1900 and 1910. Mollie died there on 14 Jun 1923. She was buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

John Cook was born on 25 Dec 1863. He married Sarah A. Ramsey on 8 Jun 1885. They had two children before she died in 1892. John then married Margaret Frances Warren on 22 Aug 1894 and they had one son before divorcing a few years later. John next married Emma Jane Owens on 16 Jan 1900 and they had three children. John died on 7 Sep 1953 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.

Rhoda Nell was born on 19 Apr 1866 and died at the age of 27 on 5 Oct 1893. She was never married and had no children. Rhoda was probably buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery although there is no marker to prove that.

Margaret Lula was born on 31 May 1868. She had one daughter and was later married to Francis Preston Fralick on 15 Sep 1917. Lou died on 8 Feb 1940 and was buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Robert Burke was born on 14 Aug 1870 and died on 11 Aug 1948. Bob was never married and had no children. He was buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Milton J. was born on 17 Feb 1872. He married Jane Sowder on 7 Aug 1901 and they had three children. Milt died on 3 Jan 1928 in London, Laurel County, Kentucky where he was taken to the hospital after being hit in the head with an axe by a neighbor. Milt was buried in Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Alford was born on 7 May 1875. He married Susie P. Leffew on 13 Nov 1898 and they adopted a son. Susie died in 1942 and App later married Edith Powers. App and Edith lived in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky where he died on 17 Jun 1968. He was buried there in Resthaven Memorial Park.

Susan was born on 6 Aug 1877 and died just a few days before her 5th birthday on 26 Jul 1882. She is probably buried in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery. There is no marker to prove where Susan was buried but it's very likely that she was the first person buried in what became the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Nancy Lair was born on 4 Nov 1880. She married Henry T. Harrison on 20 May 1915 and they adopted a daughter. Nannie died on 8 Jan 1959 and was buried in Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery.

Jim and Margaret were my 2nd great-grandparents through their son, John Cook Taylor. Click on the links above for sources and additional information. 

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Happened to Theodocia? Part 4

Continued from Part 3

If you have not read Parts 1 through 3, this is not going to make any sense. Heck, it might not make sense even if you have read them.

Theodocia Lanier does not show up anywhere in the 1910 census so finding her parents and trying to trace her from there seems like the only way to find her. So far, that has not worked either. We know that the only Theodocia Smith found in the 1880 census in Alabama who could be my Theodocia cannot be her. We also know that George Smith, the apparent signer of the marriage bond for T. J. and Theodocia, had a daughter named Leila who married a Lenier/Lanier, had a child and then was no longer with her husband by 1910. Even though that matches the scenario for T. J. and Theodocia, there is the pesky problem of the different name.

We also know that George Smith and his wife had two children who were not living with them in 1900 so there were potentially two other daughters who could be Theodocia. One of George and Annie's children died between 1900 and 1910. That child may or may not be one of the two unidentified children.

The index for Alabama Deaths 1908 - 1974 at Family Search identifies Rosie Anne Miptans who died on 9 Nov 1914 in St. Clair County as the daughter of George and Annie E. Smith. She was born about 1872 in Blount County, Alabama, which is where George's family lived. That makes Rosie Ann one of the two previously unidentified children but not the one who died between 1900 and 1910.

George Smith still seems like the best lead. He's really the only lead at this point. George must have had some kind of relationship with either T. J. or Theodocia. Why else would he have signed their marriage bond? Since he shares a surname with Theodocia it is most likely the relationship would have been with her.

In addition to continuing to look for George and Annie's 5th child, I need to start researching George's family, particularly his brothers. George was the son of Elliott and Margaret Smith and was probably born in Blount County, Alabama which borders St. Clair County. Elliott and Margaret had several sons so, if Theodocia wasn't George's daughter, maybe she was his niece.

I'll keep looking.

What Happened to Theodocia?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Happened to Theodocia? Part 3

Continued from Part 2.

Since the only Theodocia Smith who looked like a possibility didn't work out, let's move on to George Smith who signed the marriage bond for T. J. and Theodocia. This is where things get complicated.

In the 1900 census for St. Clair County, Alabama there was a George T. Smith living in Branchville. (The actual census record shows he's in Precinct 5 but says that's Branchville.) Since this was just three years after the wedding, he seems like an excellent candidate to be the bond signer. (This could be why George Smith's middle initial in his signature on the marriage bond looks like a T to me.)

Living with George in 1900 were his wife, Annie, and three daughters (all three single and born in Alabama). Florence R. was age 27, born in March 1873. Leila A. appears to have been first listed as 26 then changed to 16. Her birth month and year was September 1883, which matches the age of 16. Georgia Ann was 13, born January 1887. Annie was listed as the mother of five children (all living) so there were two other children living elsewhere. Maybe one of them was a daughter named Theodocia. If only it was that simple.

George T. Smith's 1910 census record shows him still in St. Clair County, Alabama but in the Oldtown community instead of Branchville. His wife, Annie, was listed as the mother of five children but only four were living so one of their children died during the past 10 years. Also living with George and Annie was a daughter and grandson - Leallie and George D. Lenier. Leallie was a widow, age 33, mother of one child. George was 10 years old and born in Alabama. Even though she aged from 16 to 33, this is the daughter named Leila A. from the 1900 census record. Hmmm, Lenier/Lanier, that's interesting.

This family remained in St. Clair County. Lee Ila Lenier married George Meredith there on 13 May 1917. There is not a marriage record for Leila Smith marrying anyone named Lenier or Lanier or anything else.  St. Clair County's records are intact for the time period. There are no marriage records during that time for anyone named Lenier and the only Lanier was T. J.

George Dewey Lanier registered for the WWI draft on 12 Sep 1918. He was listed as 18 years old, born 30 May 1900 and working as a coal miner for Alabama Fuel and Iron Company. His nearest relative was listed as Mrs. Lee Allen Merideth so this is Leila's son. George's birth date is probably a little off. If he was born in May 1900, he should have been listed with his mother in the 1900 census taken in June. 

In 1920 George and Leila Meredith were living in the Friendship community with George's three children from his 1st marriage, their son, Carl (age 1), and Leila's parents, George T. and Annie E. Smith. Dewey G. Lanier was living in the Moody community in a boarding house run by Audrey Payne. He was listed as 20 years old, single, born in Mississippi [interesting], working as a pumper in a coal mine. Nothing further has been found about Leila's son George Dewey Lanier (or Dewey George Lanier).

Leila was still living in Friendship in 1930 with her husband, two of his sons and their son, Carl. George Merideth died in St. Clair County on 15 Nov 1957 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery next to his first wife. 

Leila Merideth died on 1 Jul 1967 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama at the North Alabama Nursing Home. She was buried in Bethel Cemetery in St. Clair County. Mrs. Margaret Shea of Birmingham provided the personal information for Leila's death certificate. Since Russellville is over 100 miles from Birmingham, Margaret was probably not a nursing home employee so may have been a family member.

Obviously the name difference makes it seem impossible that Leila was Theodocia, especially since there are records listing a middle initial for each of them that rule out someone named Leila Theodocia or Theodocia Leila. On the other hand, some of the matching information makes it seem almost impossible that Leila and Theodocia were not the same person. What are the chances that George Smith had two daughters (or a daughter and some other relative close enough that he signed her marriage bond) who (1) both married a Lanier between 1897-1900; (2) both had only one child and the child was born around 1900, possibly in Mississippi; (3) both were no longer with their Lanier husband by 1910?

There is still a little more ground to cover with this story.

Continued one more time.

What Happened to Theodocia?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Happened to Theodocia? - Part 2

Continued from Part 1. 

According to the marriage record, Theodocia was "of age" at the time of her marriage to T. J. in 1897 which means she was probably born before the 1880 census was taken. (Of course, it's also possible that she was born after 1880. That would certainly explain why she's so hard to find.)

The only Theodocia Smith of a reasonable age who shows up in the 1880 census in Alabama (searching Ancestry) is the two year old daughter of John J. and Margaret Smith in Clay County. She would have been born about 1878 and would have been about 19 at the time of the marriage to T. J. Lanier. Clay County is southeast of St. Clair County with Talladega County between them so she looked somewhat promising.

John J. and Margaret Smith were still in Clay County in 1900 with seven children in the household. Theodocia wasn't listed but 22 year old Lazinker T. (born March 1878, single) was. The owner of an Ancestry tree that includes this family told me that this Theodocia's full name was Theodocia Lazinker, that she married James Andrew Beck in 1901 and that she had only one child who was born in 1906. 

The index of Alabama Marriages 1816-1957 at Family Search shows that James A. Beck and Theodosia Smith were married on 15 Jan 1901 in Clay County. James and "Theo" were listed in the 1910 census with their 4 year old daughter, Annie L. They had been married for 9 years, 1st marriage for both, and Theo was listed as the mother of only one child so that all seems to validate the information from the Ancestry tree. James and Theo were living near John J. Smith in 1920 and right next to him in 1930. (I had completely missed that because she was listed as Theo instead of Theodocia. Shame on me.) No other children show up in those census records for James and Theo. Theo L. Beck died on 8 Nov 1962 in Clay County. 

To summarize:
1. Her name was Smith when she married Beck in 1901 so no indication of a previous marriage. 
2. My Theodocia was definitely still with T. J. in Mississippi in September, 1900 and was possibly still there until 1902. Going on the definite date of September 1900, for this to be her she would have had to get a divorce, move from Mississippi to Alabama, and remarry in less than 4 months time. That seems like a stretch.
3. She apparently did not have a child born before her marriage to Beck (unless the child had died by 1910). 

So, it looks like this is not the Theodocia Smith who married T. J. It's a good thing there is one more person of interest. Or is it?


What happened to Theodocia?
Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Happened to Theodocia? - Part I

That is the question that keeps me up at night. I'm starting to think that I have looked at the "facts" in this case for so long that I can no longer be objective about it. It's quite a tangled mess of possibilities that all seem to be impossibilities but I'm going to try to explain things and see what you think. 

Thomas J. Lanier and Theodocia Smith were married on 13 Jan 1897 in Branchville, St. Clair County, Alabama. Both were "of age" and had never been married. George Smith signed their marriage bond along with the groom. George's middle initial is D in part of the form probably completed by a clerk at the courthouse. His middle initial is not so clear in his signature. It looks more like a T than a D to me but I might have been influenced by census records (I'll get to that later). 

T. J. and Theodocia moved to Monroe County, Mississippi with his family later in 1897 or sometime in 1898. They had one child but I have no idea if it was a girl or boy. The child was probably born in either St. Clair County, Alabama or Monroe County, Mississippi but all I know for sure is he or she was born before September 1900. 

T. J. and Theodocia should have been listed in the 1900 census living near his parents, Joseph and Nancy Jane Lanier. But they weren't. Or maybe they were, just with completely wrong names.

Listed right after Joseph and Nancy Jane's household is a James Thomas living with his wife, child and brother. Obviously, the name is wrong but the household breakdown is at least interesting. James Thomas was listed as a farmer, age 25, born April 1875 in Alabama. His wife was Elizer Thomas, age 21, born May 1878 in Alabama. She was the mother of one child. Their son, George D. Thomas was one year old and had been born in Dec 1898 in Mississippi. Also living with them was James' brother, Lee Thomas, who was born in May 1880 in Alabama.

Could this be some kind of big mistake by the census taker? T. J. and Theodocia had been married for 3 years by this time but the Thomas' 2 years is close. T. J. (full name Thomas Jefferson Lanier) was born in March, 1875 in Alabama so the birth info is also close. T. J. didn't have a brother named Lee but he did have a brother named George Washington Lanier who was born in June, 1880 in Alabama - again the birth info is close. Both T. J. and George were listed in their parents' household in this census but they listed all of their living children, regardless of where they lived. It's definite that two of the daughters listed as single and living with them were both married and living in other places and that is likely for a 3rd daughter. They even listed T. J. as single even though he was definitely married.

Another thing that is odd about this Thomas family is their connection to Alabama (just like the Laniers). Almost everyone else living anywhere near Joseph and Nancy was born in Mississippi. Yet here is this household where three people were born in Alabama but their son's household, that should be listed next to them, isn't listed in the census at all. And don't forget about this child named George. There's another one later in this story.

One thing I know for sure is that T. J. and Theodocia were no longer together after 1902. By 1904, T. J. was living in Kentucky and had re-married but Theodocia and their child haven't been located. The logical theory would seem to be that she returned home to her family in Alabama. The problem is, I can't find her family because I don't know who they were. 

Only two possibilities for Theodocia and her family have been identified and there are problems with both of them. 


[Note: James, Elizer, George and Lee Thomas have not been located in later census records.]

What Happened to Theodocia? 
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Monday, January 3, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Record for Nehemiah Younger

On Christmas Day I received an email from a Younger researcher (and I cannot thank him enough) advising that my 4th great-grandmother, Delinda Weeks, was the daughter of Nehemiah Younger. I had no idea what her maiden name was or who her father was so I was very excited. The sender also told me that the proof could be found in Nehemiah's Will and Probate records from Washington County, Pennsylvania and even emailed me copies of the records. 

This is one page from the probate record showing that Delinda and James Weeks authorized Job Weeks to act on their behalf in collecting her inheritance. Nehemiah's Will also notes that Delinda was married to James Weeks and that he was the son of Job Weeks but this is the page that leaves no doubt that Nehemiah's daughter, Delinda, was my Delinda. In addition to knowing that James' father was Job Weeks, I also know that James and Delinda lived in Pope County, Illinois before moving across the Ohio River to Livingston County, Kentucky. 

Know all men by these presents that we James Weeks and Delinde Weeks his wife, formerly Delinde Younger and Daughter of Nehemiah Younger deceased of the County of Washington and State Pennsylvania have ordained, constituted and appointed our trusty friend, Job Weeks, our true and lawful attorney in fact in our names and for our use and benefit to ask, demand and receive all money or property that may be legally coming to us from the Estate of Nehemiah Younger her Father & do hereby authorise our said Attorney to pay any receipt or receipts that may be necessary upon the reception of such money or property to the Executors of the said Deceased Nehemiah Younger and to do anything that we could legally do in and about the promises were we personaly present ourselves, with power of substitution. And we do bind ourselves our heirs [??] forever to notify and confirm whatever our said Attorney may legally do in and about the promises as fully and simply as if transacted by ourselves in person. In testimony, wherof we have hereunto set our hands and affixed our Seals this fifteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one.

James Weeks
Delinde Weeks
[both signed by mark]

State of Illinois
Pope County
Before me personally appeared the above named James Weeks and Delinde Weeks and acknowledged the above power of attorney to be their act and did for the purposes there in mentioned. Given under my hand and seal this 15th day of February 1821 at Golconda, Ill. 
James E. Willis

[Note: Her name is spelled Delinda in Nehemiah's will and other documents but appears to be spelled Delinde in this document.]

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme at GeneaBloggers which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. It was created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Genealogy Goals for 2011 - Maintenance

After covering research, writing and education goals, it's time to think about the grunt work. This is the stuff that is sooooo easy to push to the back burner and forget. Well, maybe not forget, there's always that little nagging voice in your head, but it's not that hard to ignore.

Maintenance Goals:
1. Re-organize digital files.
I haven't been loving my current file structure (which apparently made sense to me several years ago when I set it up but not so much anymore) for a long time. In addition, it's next to impossible to keep files updated and sync'ed on a desktop, laptop and netbook. I think I've decided on a better structure and a solution to keeping every computer updated (Dropbox). Once it's all done, I'll talk about the details. This job is already in progress and needs to be completed by the end of January.

2. Clean-up information and add events for certain people in my database.
I switched to Legacy Family Tree software almost three years ago but I still haven't updated every person in my database to take advantage to some of the features. (I told you back at the start of this series that I'm terrible at finishing things.) Mostly this entails creating specific events for information that was previously just in notes. In my defense, most people have been done but there are still a few hundred left. The good news is they are tagged so I know who needs work. The goal is to complete 10 people each week. 

3. Clean-up sources.
In June 2008, Legacy released version 7 of their software which included source templates based on Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. You guessed it. I still haven't converted all of the old style sources to the new format - there are 551 of them left. The goal is to convert at least 10 sources each week. 

4. Scan everything that hasn't been scanned.
That probably sounds like a bigger job than it really is. I have always scanned records or anything that's just a few pages and I quit printing records that could be downloaded years ago. What hasn't been scanned is mostly copies of pages from books and legal size documents. There are about 300 legal size pages from court cases to be scanned and several notebooks full of the other documentation from books or hard copy reports received from other researchers. The goal here is really to become completely digital. I can hear the gasping. I won't actually throw away all of the paper but I do intend to store it in the basement and free up some space in my office. 

5. Print out all information in my database.
That probably sounds like a conflict with becoming completely digital but there's a purpose for these printed reports. I wrote "Preserving Your Research for Posterity" in July and came to the conclusion that I really need to have a hard copy of my data. As usual, I started this project off with a bang and printed everything for my paternal grandmother's line by the end of August. That means I've completed roughly 1/4 of this project. 

Whew, I'd better get some rest. I've got a lot of work to do in 2011.

Genealogy Goals for 2011 is a series. Other posts in the series are: