Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FGS 2011 Announces Official Bloggers

I love genealogy conferences but I didn’t know that until last August. FGS 2010 in Knoxville was my very first genealogy conference. I was addicted by the end of the first day so imagine how thrilled I am to be one of the Official Bloggers for FGS 2011!

I’ve had FGS 2011 in Springfield, Illinois on my calendar since before I got home from Knoxville. I made hotel reservations months ago and have scoped out a couple of places on the road between here and there where I can do some research on the way home. Well, they are between here and there if I go a slightly different than direct route but research is never really "out of the way" - is it?

Looking at the list of Official Bloggers leaves me a bit in awe. They are some of the best-known and most popular genealogy bloggers around and I don't know how I could be on a list of any kind with them. I will be working extra hard to try to live up.

If you happened to read my recent blogging about NGS there is one thing I can tell you right now that will be much improved at FGS. There will be more pictures and better pictures. I left the "big" camera at home on that trip in favor of the "little" camera that fits in a pocket. I decided long before leaving Charleston that I would not make that mistake again.

According to the countdown clock in the upper right corner of my laptop screen, it's only 3 months, 5 days, 10 hours and 15 minutes until I leave for FGS 2011. It will be here before we know it so if you are planning to go but haven't registered yet run on over to the conference website right now. Remember the deadline for getting the early registration discount is July 1st.

Disclosure: As an official blogger, I received free registration for FGS 2011 and a ticket to a social event. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Honoring 1st Lt. Orin Taylor

“SERVED WITH RANGERS – Lt. Orin E. Taylor, son of William R. Taylor, was killed in action in Italy, January 31, 1944, according to information received here from the war department. Lieutenant Taylor was a graduate of Lawrence high school and had been overseas about a year.”

This clipping, saved by my grandmother from an unidentified Kansas newspaper, doesn’t begin to tell the story of Orin’s life or his death. Even before I became interested in genealogy, I was intrigued by the family stories about my mother's cousin who was killed in World War II.  

Orin Edward Taylor was born on 13 Nov 1919 in Leavenworth County, Kansas. His parents, William Robert “Bill” Taylor and Nellie Frances Ready, had been married there on 21 Mar 1917. Orin and his younger brother, Verne, grew up in Easton Township near Kansas City.

Orin enlisted in the U. S. Army on 1 Apr 1941 at Ft. Leavenworth. According to his enlistment record, he had attended one year of college and worked as an automobile service man since graduating from high school. One thing Orin had never done was meet his paternal grandfather and the rest of his father’s family from Kentucky.

Bill Taylor was born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky but moved to Kansas with his mother and her family after his parents divorced when he was very young. Growing up, Bill believed his father was dead. That's what his mother had told him but just before she died she told Bill the truth – his father was alive and living in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. By the time Orin joined the Army, Bill had been making yearly trips to Kentucky to visit his father and other family for about 10 years but Orin had never gone with him. (You can read Bill’s story in a previous post – The Long Lost Relative.)

Orin with a few Kentucky relatives
(including my mother - young girl in front)
For whatever reason, Orin decided he wanted to meet the grandfather he had never known and the rest of his father’s family before reporting for duty. He made the trip alone from Kansas to Kentucky where his grandfather, John Taylor, and the rest of the family welcomed him just as they had his father 10 years earlier. I have heard stories about Orin’s visit all my life and, no matter who was telling the story, it was always clear that everyone fell in love with him on that short visit. Even though the United States hadn't yet entered World War II when Orin enlisted in the Army, I've often wondered if he made that trip because he had some premonition that he wouldn't have another chance to meet them.

Without Orin's service record, it's impossible to know where he spent most of his time in the Army. By the time the 4th Ranger Battalion went ashore near Anzio, Italy on 22 January 1944, he was a 1st Lieutenant serving as one of two Platoon Leaders in Company E. Orin was killed nine days later.

The location of this photo is unknown.
 It's almost certainly not from Anzio.

Orin was buried in Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery.

[Headstone photos courtesy of Find A Grave volunteers, Ed n Edna Lane, who several years ago not only filled my request by taking and posting photos of Orin's headstone but also e-mailed me copies of the photos.]

See the U. S. Army Center of Military History site's Anzio 1944 page for more information about the Ranger's operation at Anzio.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Surname Saturday - Finney

John Finney and Agnes Munford

John Finney was born between 1775 and 1781, probably in South Carolina in the area that is now Laurens County. His father was almost certainly the John Finney who fought in the Revolutionary War and died at the Battle of Cowpens.

Agnes “Nancy” Munford was born between 1775 and 1784, possibly in South Carolina but that is not certain. She was the daughter of Hugh Munford.

John and Nancy were married before 1800. They were listed in the census in Laurens County in 1800 and 1810 but haven’t been located yet in 1820. They had seven children, six daughters and one son. John and Nancy apparently separated for a time in 1819 as there is a deed record showing that John Finney deeded property to David Gamble for alimony to his separated wife. Their six daughters were listed in this record – including Anna who was married to David Gamble. Their son John was not mentioned in the alimony deed. John died between 1820 and 1825 (the years his will was written and probated). It is unclear if he and Nancy reconciled prior to his death but she was mentioned in his will written a few months after their separation. John’s will mentions his son, John, and his six daughters. The daughters were all listed with the surname Finney even though at least some of them were married when the will was written.

Children of John and Nancy:
Anna was born about 1799. She married David Gamble on 16 Mar 1814 in Laurens County and they had 10 children. Anna died in Feb 1877 in Heard County, Georgia and was buried there in Adamson Cemetery.

The other children were John, Elizabeth, Mary "Polly", Sarah, Peggy and Martha. I am just starting to research this family so do not have any information beyond names for these children.

John and Nancy were my 4th great-grandparents through their daughter, Anna. For sources and additional information, click on the links above. Some of the information in this post (as indicated) has not been proven and some is new information, which I only recently obtained. There are no sources listed for the new information at those links. If you have a connection to this family or have any questions, leave a comment here or e-mail me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beyond Southern Hospitality - My Experience in Laurens County, SC

On my way to Charleston for NGS, I stopped in Laurens County, South Carolina for a research day and I stopped again on the way home. My 3rd great-grandparents, David Gamble and Anna Finney were married in Laurens County in 1814 then moved to Heard County, Georgia between 1830-1840. I’m just starting the process of proving their parents and grandparents so all I had to go on was census records for people in Laurens County with these surnames, some deed and will abstracts from a couple of books I’d found in nearby libraries and some leads from online trees as to how these people all fit together.

When I stopped at the Laurens County Library on the trip home, there were two local ladies in the genealogy room when I arrived. They struck up the usual conversation – asking where I was from and what families I was researching. When I rattled off Gamble, Finney, Ewing and Munford one of them said she had some information on the Gamble and Ewing families although she was not actually related them. She had an ancestor’s sister who married a Gamble and had thought at one time that her Adair line might have a connection to the Ewing family because they were constantly appearing as witnesses in each other’s records.

Mary (as I’ll call her from here on out) said she should go home and get her notebooks for me. Next thing I knew she was gone but she returned in a little while with two notebooks. (Did I mention that she doesn’t live in the town where the library is but 11 miles away?)


Now that was a very nice thing to do but Mary didn't stop there. She insisted that I not interrupt what I was doing in the library to look at her books right then. She already knew that I was spending the night in Laurens County (turns out in the town where she lives) so she insisted that I take her notebooks back to the hotel with me and she would pick them up the next morning before I left town.

We exchanged phone numbers and before she left Mary asked if I had been to Duncan Creek yet. When I told her I had not been, she said she would just take me out there the next morning when she came to pick up her notebooks. Scotch-Irish settlers founded Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church in 1752 and, apparently, my ancestors were among them or arrived in the area shortly thereafter. Some of them were buried (without headstones) in the cemetery there. In addition to the church and cemetery, the families all lived in that immediate area so I was definitely interested in taking the drive.

When I got back to the hotel and started looking at Mary’s notebooks, I was glad I brought my travel scanner. I saw right away that I couldn’t “waste” time looking at what was there because I needed to copy as much of it as possible. The notebooks were full of land records for Gambles and Ewings and some of their neighbors along with Mary’s hand written notes, which included her analysis of the records. I decided to scan the documents and photograph her notes in order to have a shot at getting through everything. It only took 6 ½ hours.

When Mary arrived at my hotel the next morning, she brought copies of a couple of other things she thought I should have. One was a copy of Rev. War John Finney’s estate papers. According to Mary, Rev. War John Finney was the grandfather of my Anna Finney. She also brought a 1987 article from The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research regarding a 1779 petition of the Little River Regiment in support of James Williams. Now I am not connected to James Williams (as far as I know) but Mary thought I’d be interested in the petition because it was signed by four of my ancestors!

Unfortunately, it had rained all night and was still raining the next morning when Mary came by to pick up her notebooks so we passed on the Duncan Creek trip. It’s going to take some time to sort through everything I brought back from Laurens County and to piece these families together. I can't thank Mary enough for her help which went way beyond southern hospitality. Mary said she was just glad she ran into me because she'd always thought that someday someone related to these families would come through Laurens County looking for the information she had accumulated.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

NGS 2011 - Wrap Up

The last day of NGS 2011 was a week ago today and here I am still writing about it. What can I say, there was a lot going on and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Most of the classes I attended were not just good they were outstanding. The North Charleston Convention Center was a nice venue - except for the issue of cell service in and around the building but that's on AT&T (more about that in a minute).

This was my third conference since becoming a GeneaBlogger and each time I've met people that I felt like I already knew because of this wonderful on-line community. I’m even starting to see “old friends” that I’ve met at previous conferences. I won't try to name everyone I met because I'd be sure to leave someone out. I know there were many bloggers there that I didn’t have an opportunity to meet but I especially enjoyed hanging out with Greta, Liz (and her friend, Donna), DearMYRTLEGinger, Cheryl and Jennifer (and her daughter, Ellie). If you haven’t seen Ellie’s video about NGS you must check it out.

Thursday I wrote about what seemed to me (and others that I talked with) to be a conflicting social media policy at the conference. There was an immediate response from NGS and lots of other comments so if you read the post but didn’t read the comments, you should probably check that out. Apparently, an oversight in updating the scripts used for announcements before each session is what caused the confusion. Some people have mentioned that they take “turn off” to mean “silence” when it comes to cell phones these days and it appears that was what NGS meant but how do you really know someone’s intent? I initially thought the same thing but after hearing it over and over and never hearing any mention of silence it started to feel like they meant what they were saying. Hopefully, announcements will be clearer in the future.

The only real problem at NGS was cell service in the convention center and that certainly was beyond the control of conference organizers. AT&T customers rarely had a signal inside the building and often not even in the parking lot so that pretty much negated the questions about whether or not we could use social media during sessions. I felt really sorry for a vendor in the Exhibit Hall who had bought an iPad with AT&T service specifically for the conference and it was completely useless to her.

Things started out fine in the opening session but, once we left the Performing Arts room, AT&T service took a nosedive until Saturday when it improved but still wasn’t available everywhere. There may have been a spot or two in the building where there was sporadic service but for the most part the building was an AT&T dead zone. Between sessions, you would see people next to the windows and even out in the parking lot holding their phones over their head trying to find a signal. It just shows how attached we all are to instant communication and if it hadn’t been so frustrating, it might have been funny.

This was my first NGS conference but hopefully won’t be my last. I’m already looking forward to Cincinnati in 2012 since that’s only a couple of hours from home. In the meantime, there is FGS in September and Georgia Family History Expo in November plus I have RootsTech 2012 on my wish list.

Now that I’ve been home a few days and finally finished writing about the conference, it’s time to dig into all of the research I did while I was in South Carolina. No doubt there’s a blog post or two in there somewhere.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fort Sumter National Monument

Before leaving Charleston the day after NGS 2011 ended, I joined Liz of My Tapley Tree ... and its Branches and her friend, Donna, for a tour of Fort Sumter. It was a perfect day for the boat ride out to the fort. Here are a few pictures.

More photos from NGS and Ft. Sumter can be found here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NGS 2011 - Conflicting Social Media Policy

Long before heading to Charleston I found the official conference Social Media Policy on the NGS website. (Note: Twitter hashtag has already been updated for 2012 but this is the same policy that was in place for 2011.) This was going to be my first conference with a smart phone and I was really looking forward to using Twitter to send updates about the conference and to follow others who were attending so I was glad to see that NGS was embracing social media. At least it seemed like they were.

Their official policy stated "NGS does permit and encourage the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging at the conference as a way to summarize, highlight, excerpt, review, critique, and/or promote the presented materials, syllabus materials, or the conference in general . . ."

Imagine my surprise when session after session we were told to "turn off" cell phones and all other electronic devices. The announcement varied but almost every session I attended made an announcement anywhere from a simple "turn off your cell phone" to a detailed announcement of all the specific devices that should be turned off. Occasionally there was an added statement to the effect of "if you have the syllabus on your laptop or other device you can leave it on as long as you aren't using it for anything else." Some speakers even prefaced this information with "we have been told to announce . . ." which sounded a little like "this isn't my idea." There was no question about the intent of these announcements. They did not mean "silence your cell phones but feel free to use social media to promote the conference."

So what does this mean? Did the conference management fail to read the official social media policy? Did the official social media policy really mean "we encourage the use of social media as long as you don't actually use it during a session?" Does NGS not understand that social media is most effective as an event is happening? People aren't going to wait until after the conference day is over to go back to their hotels and tweet out numerous updates about things that happened throughout the day one right after another. People at home trying to follow along want to know what's happening as it's happening not hours later. Instant information is the whole point of social media. You can't say you encourage it and then tell everyone to turn off every device that could be used for it.

I hope NGS comes to a better understanding of social media before 2012.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NGS 2011 - Day 4

Saturday started with a General Session. I gave some thought to skipping it for some extra sleep but I'm really, really glad I didn't. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who considered sleeping in on Saturday because it was a pretty small crowd compared to the opening session on Wednesday. All I can say is anyone who was at NGS and didn't go to this session seriously missed out.

Jay Verkler, President and CEO of FamilySearch (the sponsor of this session), kicked things off talking about the Civil War Era Records Project and the push to get those records indexed. Click on the link for more information about what records are available and how to volunteer to help get them indexed. FamilySearch also gave away a trip for 2 to Salt Lake City to a lucky attendee.

The main event for this session was "The Hunley: Where Science and History Come Together to Tell Time" presented by Senator, Glenn F. McConnell, President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina State Senate and Chairman of the Hunley Commission. It was clear throughout his presentation that Senator McConnell is passionate about this project and very proud of what they have accomplished (as he should be). I admit to knowing very little about the Hunley. I basically knew it was a Confederate submarine that sank during the Civil War which means I really knew nothing.

The Hunley didn't just sink. The Hunley sank three different times over a six-month period. Twice she was recovered and sent on another mission trying to free Charleston from the Union blockade. On 17 Feb 1864, the third mission took place and the crew succeeded in sinking the USS Housatonic but something went wrong on-board and she sank for the final time. The bodies of crew members lost the first two times had been recovered and buried each time the Hunley was raised but the third crew remained buried at sea until she was raised 136 years later on 8 Aug 2000.

During the excavation process, research was done into the lives of each crew member and forensic experts have even reconstructed their faces. Senator McConnell closed his presentation by introducing us to the final crew of the Hunley. Amazing! For more information, visit The Friends of the Hunley website.

Following the general session there were four more regular sessions left at NGS 2011. I attended these.

In "The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames" Thomas W. Jones explained how to build an ancestor's identity in order to distinguish between people with the same name. Main points included: (1) focus on identities, not names alone; (2) use relatives, neighbors and associates with unusual surnames when possible; (3) leave no stone unturned - be prepared to review large numbers of records; and (4) reconstruct a family by reviewing all records in the location for the surname.

Barbara Vines Little explained in "Convincing Your Audience: How to Construct a Proof Statement" that a proof argument is needed when no specific record exists and your conclusion should be made based on the sum of all evidence (whether negative or positive). She also advised that care must be taken to ensure each item in a proof argument is valid and backed up by documented evidence.

"Identity Crisis: Right Name, Wrong Man? Wrong Name, Right Man?" presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills covered situations when your ancestor's name doesn't match from one record to another. Helpful tips: (1) signatures on documents can be used to sort out people with the same name; (2) names & spellings on land records are much more reliable than census records.

For the very last session, I selected "Debunking the Myths Surrounding the Military Personnel Records Center" presented by Patricia Walls Stamm. I had less than satisfactory results with two sets of records I requested several years ago so I hoped I might learn some tips about re-requesting those. I was also interested in learning if it's possible to obtain records for relatives that I don't meet the relationship requirement for when they have no living descendants to request their records. The biggest thing I learned in this session is that archived military records are open to the public which means the relationship requirement does not have to be met to obtain those records. Records are archived 62 years after a veteran retires, is discharged or dies so that means I can request the WWI records for several of my grandparents siblings who have no living descendants after all - unless, of course, their records were lost in the 1973 fire. Since 80% of records for Army personnel discharged between 1 Nov 1912 and 1 Jan 1960 were lost in the fire my chances of actually getting their records are pretty slim.

That wraps up the sessions I attended at NGS but I'm not quite finished. I'll be back later with some final thoughts about the conference.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NGS 2011 - Day 3

After a long day on Thursday, I skipped the 8:00 session on Friday. That is the only day that I didn't make the first session and considering how much I hate getting up early, that's really amazing. I had planned to attend "Reporting the Facts: Record as You Go" presented by Pamela Boyer Sayre. I heard it was very good so I'm sorry I missed it but I seriously needed the extra sleep. (Conferences are great but they are also exhausting.)

The four sessions I attended on Friday were:
"The Genealogical Proof Standard: What It Is and What It Is Not" presented by Thomas W. Jones was another outstanding session. Some of the points Dr. Jones made were: (1) no genealogy source comes with a guarantee of accuracy; (2) just because 2 or more sources agree doesn't make them correct; (3) timelines, tables and maps are good tools for comparing and contrasting information; and (4) unresolved conflicting information is incompatible with proof.

Elizabeth Shown Mills explained in "Problem Solving in the Problem-Riddled Carolina Backcountry" that the usual research approach of identifying the area where an ancestor lived, identifying the sources available in that area and looking for the ancestor in indexes and databases doesn't work with backcountry families prior to the twentieth century. She pointed out that topographical maps are necessities in backcountry research because people traveled to the most accessible location to do business and that might not have been the county seat of the county where they lived.

"Turning Information into Biographical Events: How to Build Historical Context" presented by John Philip Colletta was one of my favorite sessions. Dr. Colletta took a marriage record and used census records, deeds, maps, a city directory and pictures to locate the exact location of the wedding and determine how the couple was connected to the person who lived at that residence (they were not related). He even used the local newspaper to determine what the weather was like that day. Some of the methodology he used was: (1) gather the ancestor's biographical facts; (2) inspect the facts thoroughly; (3) accumulate other sources related to the event; and (4) examine these in light of local history - social, cultural, political, geographic, economic, etc.

In "Framing the Problem for Field and Overseas Research" David Rencher advised that you can't do everything you want in one research trip (unless you can be gone for an unlimited amount of time) so you must identify your desired outcomes and frame the objectives for achieving those outcomes. If you want to stand on the land your ancestor's owned then your frame would be different than if your goal is to extend your pedigree chart several generations.

Next up is the 4th and final day of NGS.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NGS 2011 - Day 2

Thursday was a really long day. I arrived at the conference center about 7:30 a.m. and didn't leave until after 8:00 p.m. (except for a quick lunch break). Here's how I spent all that time.

Brent Howard Holcomb's "South Carolina's Colonial Records" was full of information for anyone with early SC ancestors (like me). One of the biggest things I learned is that the South Carolina Department of Archives and History's website has indexes of State Land Grants Plats 1784-1868 and Wills 1782-1855 among other things. Check out their On-line Records Index.

Helen Leary presented "Ancestors In Hiding: How to Help Them Emerge from Statistical Census Returns." She is a legend and her presentation lived up to that status. She pointed out that many researchers are missing out by not paying attention to the "extra" columns on the statistical census. My favorite comment: "You can't depend on ancestors to age 10 years between censuses."

"Analyzing Deeds and Wills: I See What It Says But What Does It Mean" was the second of the four sessions presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (Yes, I went to all four.) This was probably my favorite session of the entire conference. Instead of using actual records, she created a will and a deed that had elements commonly found in those records (but not necessarily all in any one record) to illustrate her points. Among the points she made were: (1) every document tells a story but sometimes it's a puzzle; (2) "Trustee friend" was a legal term and doesn't rule out a relationship; and (3) variations in name spelling in a will and signature indicates a scribe wrote the will, not the person themselves.

"Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your Ancestor's European Origins" was also the second of four sessions presented by Thomas W. Jones. (I also went to all four of them.) To identify your ancestor's origins it's necessary to study records of your immigrant ancestor, his family, collateral relatives and his neighbors.

I skipped the 5th session of the day and spent that time in the Exhibit Hall and relaxing a bit in a comfy chair in the hall waiting for the two later sessions I had selected.

Next on my schedule was "NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course Roundtable" with Patricia Walls Stamm. I have received the 1st CD in the course and started the first lesson but haven't completed the assignment yet so I was interested to hear what people had to say about the course. There was a good cross-section of people at various levels of the course present so it was an interesting discussion.

And last but not least was "Making Technology Work for Genealogists: Tools and Gadgets that Maximize Your Time" presented by Anne Roach. There was a great crowd for this session considering it was 7 - 8 p.m. One of the gadgets shown was a solar charger from Solio. Much of the focus was on text-to-speech, speech-to-text software and uses - like reading records and letting the software transcribe them. Anne tweeted links to most everything she discussed so you can find that information on her Twitter page.

My use of the camera seemed to pretty much come to an end after the first day but I forgot to add this next one to the post for Day 1. The Plantation Singers were drawing such a crowd outside the Exhibit Hall during the grand opening that I had to stop by later to get close enough for a picture. Click on the link to visit their website and even hear clips of them singing.

Day 3 coming soon.

NGS 2011 - Day 1, Part 2

Here it is Saturday and I’m still writing about Day 1 on Wednesday. The Blogger outage gives me a good excuse for being so far behind but the truth is I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything posted Thursday night anyway just because I was so tired. Speaking of the Blogger outage - it seems my first post, NGS 2011 - Pre-Conference, got lost in the shuffle but I'll re-post it soon.

My last NGS post left off when the opening session was over and the cell signal problems started so here’s a look at the rest of the day.

Immediately following the opening session, the Exhibit Hall opened.

Family Search was busy right from the start.

Archives.com was also very busy - giving away those free membership cards for remainder of the year.
There were three sessions for the rest of the day starting at 11, 2:30 and 4. I attended two sessions then spent the last time slot in the Exhibit Hall.

The sessions I attended were:
“Finding Fathers: Bridging the Generation Gap presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This session dealt with how to track males who either disappeared or just showed up when conventional research hasn’t resulted in answers. Some of the key points were: (1) the earliest proven place of residence usually holds the best clues to someone’s origin and birth family; (2) to move a line forward or backward we often have to go sideways; and (3) track down all descendants of the ancestor and the descendants of his siblings.

“When Sources Don’t Agree, Then What?” presented by Thomas W. Jones. Dr. Jones advised that you should never ignore a conflict. In trying to resolve conflicting information, it’s helpful to group the information by item and show the source for each piece of date. Explain conflicts and how conclusions were reached. If a conflict can’t be resolved, say so.  Best advice - Genealogical proof isn't a vote, the most censuses in agreement don't win!

Both of these sessions were in Ballroom A which was the biggest classroom. The photos below show what it looked like before Mills' presentation started and the crowd was pretty much the same for Jones' session.

In front of me 
Behind me

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NGS 2011 - Day 1, Part 1

Just in case there is someone reading this post who doesn't know what "NGS 2011" is - it's the National Genealogical Society's 2011 Family History Conference and it's being held in Charleston, South Carolina May 11th - 14th. 

There may have been a lot of people around here who needed a little extra sleep this morning since we had a very loud thunderstorm between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. I felt like I'd just gotten back sleep when the alarm went off at 6:00 (probably because I had just gone back to sleep) but the Opening Session was worth the effort it took to get moving early.

Lower Level when the crowd was still arriving.
Upper Level
I haven't heard an attendance number but you can get the idea that there are a lot of people here. A large number seem to be first time attendees - at least it looked like it when we all stood up.

The conference was opened by the Charleston Police Pipes and Drums. A representative of Archives.com (who sponsored the opening session) gave a brief update about their goals of adding more records and made two big announcements. First, they give a $1000 grant every month to an individual or society for a project of historical significance and will be awarding a grant to someone here at NGS this week. Applications can be picked up at their booth in the exhibit hall. Second, they are giving free memberships for the remainder of 2011 to everyone who comes by their booth. Needless to say they were busy later when the Exhibit Hall opened

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, talked about the "Transformation of NARA." Researchers now arrive at the National Archives with cameras and scanners and WiFi is available at Archives I and II. He encourage everyone to leave comments on the NARA blogs to give them feedback on records that are online and things we'd like to see. He said there are 130 million NARA records currently online with partners Ancestry, Family Search and Footnote. Information about the 1940 census was obviously of great interest to the audience as most of the questions he was asked dealt with it. He said the 1940 Census will launch on NARA's website on 2 Apr 2012, that they will have enough servers space to handle it and that the census is "sort of" indexed.

The final speaker was Buzzy Jackson, author of "Shaking the Family Tree: A Writer's Perspective on Turning Research Into Writing." If you've read her book, you already know she's funny. When she first started genealogy research, she couldn't find her own marriage record. She'd only been married six years at the time so this led her to speculate that she was not descended from type A individuals. She confessed to considering breaking into her aunt's house to get to her grandfather's Bible because her aunt wouldn't let her touch it. She talked about a couple who helped her with her Jackson line when she was getting started. That couple is here and they met for the first time here at NGS. Her main advice - "write it down."

I should mention that several of us were Tweeting away during this opening session but about the time it ended, so did our cell signals. I spent the rest of the day frustrated about it but what can you do? I started picking up a signal around the time I left the conference center this afternoon and based on some later Tweets, a few others did as well. I hope that's a good sign for tomorrow. We'll see. If you're following along on Twitter and there's not much activity, you'll know why.

It looks like Day 1 is going to need a Part 2 but that won't be coming until tomorrow night. And speaking of tomorrow, I may have over-scheduled myself as I have sessions selected starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending and 8:00 p.m. Too much? Probably - but I really want to go to all 7 sessions.

NGS 2011 - Pre-Conference

Note: This was originally posted on May 11th. It was lost during the Blogger outage on May 12th and is being re-posted on May 14th.

I left home on Sunday and spent a couple of days researching in South Carolina on the way to Charleston. The research discussion will wait until later because there is way too much going on at NGS and I'll be lucky to keep up with that over the next few days. I'm already a day behind.

I arrived in Charleston Tuesday afternoon, checked into the hotel and walked over to the convention center to pick-up my registration packet.

Later I went to Jim N' Nick's Bar-B-Que for a blogger dinner hosted by Family Search where I saw a couple of "old friends", Greta Koehl and Ginger Smith, and met several other bloggers including Liz Tapley Mathews,Jennifer Woods and Cheryl Cayemberg for the first time. Also in attendance were several Family Search staff members. I won't try to name them all because I'll miss several but Greta, Ginger and I enjoyed dinner with Cullen Brimhall. 
Front: Greta, Cheryl; Back: Ginger, Jennifer's daughter, Jennifer, Liz, Linda
Paul Nauta and David Rencher gave a brief presentation about some of the things happening with Family Search including two big announcements involving Civil War and South Carolina records.

The release of hundreds of millions of online Civil War records including service records for both the Confederate and Union armies and pension records was announced today. About 10 million of these records have already been indexed but there are many more that still need to be done so head over to Free Access to Civil War Era Records to not only check out the records but to find out how to volunteer to index some of them.

Family Search had added hundreds of thousands of digital images of South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964 and Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977. These records can be browsed now on their website.

You can read the entire press releases about the Civil War project and South Carolina records at GeneaPress.

Other things going on at Family Search:

  • 141 free online courses available - check them out here. If you can't make it to a conference, you can have your own private conference on a variety of subjects anytime you want with this resource.
  • Since January 2010 Family Search has added over 1.5 billion new names, over 800 million records and 219 million images!
  • Family Search plans to add over 200 million images per year!
  • RootsTech 2012 will be held in Salt Lake City February 2 - 4. I've had my calendar marked since those dates were announced after RootsTech 2011. You can register now for the latest updates at theRootsTech site.

That about covers Tuesday. Wednesday will be coming up soon. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Surname Saturday - Malone

John Malone and Gracie Eaves

John Malone was born on 14 Sep 1778 in Virginia. His parents have not been proven but his father may have been either Robert or John Malone who were in Rutherford County, North Carolina as early as 1779.

Gracie Eaves was born on 10 Nov 1780 in North Carolina, probably Rutherford County. Her parents were Burwell Eaves and Izza Malone. It's likely that Izza was related in some way to John Malone.

John and Gracie were married in Sep 1800 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. They had 9 children born in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia as the family moved several times. They were in Meriwether County, Georgia by 1840. John and Gracie both died there - Gracie about 1855 and John between 1860 and 1870.

John and Gracie's Children:
Jones was born about 1800.

Lavinia was born about 1801 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. She married Samuel W. Jackson and they had seven children. Lavinia died about 1863, probably in Heard County, Georgia.

John was born about 1804. He died on 2 Sep 1829 in Butts County, Georgia.

Burwell was born about 1805. He married Mary Leverette on 5 Apr 1825 in Jasper County, Georgia. Burwell died on 26 Sep 1831 in Pike County, Georgia.

Spencer was born on 25 Sep 1812 in South Carolina. He married Evaline Parker on 25 Apr 1831 in Butts County, Georgia and they had seven children. Spencer died on 29 Apr 1897 in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas.

Robert Lewis was born about 1814 in South Carolina. He married Mary Ann Fuller on 25 Apr 1836 in Meriwether County, Georgia and they had nine children. Robert died about 1854 in Meriwether County.

William B. was born about 1817. He died on 16 Sep 1839.

Ledford Bayles was born on 1 Sep 1821 in Jasper Count, Georgia. He married Melissa Ann Mitchum and they had four children. Ledford died on 10 Oct 1855.

Frances S. married William G. Crain on 13 Apr 1837 in Meriwether County, Georgia.

John and Gracie were my 4th great-grandparents through their daughter, Lavinia. 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