Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Countdown to FGS 2011 - Don't Worry, You Won't Be Alone

Only one more week until FGS 2011!

Earlier today Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist posted We Were All First Timers Once and Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog made newcomers planning to attend FGS 2011 an offer they should not refuse in An Offer You Can Refuse (But I Hope You Don't). Since I was fairly recently a first timer, I thought I'd add my two cents worth. 

FGS in Knoxville last year was my first genealogy conference. Attending a conference was something I'd wanted to do for a long time but I was hesitant because I would have to go alone. When I found out that FGS 2010 would be in Knoxville - a simple two-hour drive for me - I decided I had to give it a shot. 

Now it helped that I had started a blog around the first of the year and had been communicating online with other bloggers. I at least knew the names and faces of a few people who would be in Knoxville but I'd never actually met any of them.  

Here's how things went:
Wednesday evening, after spending most of the day researching at the East Tennessee Historical Society, I decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant (alone). It was relatively empty when I arrived but before the waitress could take my order, two ladies who were seated at a nearby table asked if I was there for FGS and invited me to join them. This became par for the course. Every morning at breakfast someone either asked me to sit with them or I asked when someone else appeared to be alone. One morning there were four people at my breakfast table and each one of us was traveling alone from different parts of the country.  

There was a planned GeneaBlogger meet-up on Thursday morning shortly after the Exhibit Hall opened and that was when I first met several other bloggers. As luck would have it, someone from that group was in almost every session I attended for the rest of the conference but when they weren't I struck up a conversation with whoever happened to be sitting nearby. 

I spent three days in Knoxville and never sat at a table for one in a restaurant or felt alone in a session. 

Genealogy is a powerful common bond. You know how your family and friends look at you when you try to talk about it? Well, no one at a genealogy conference will give you that look. So. If the only thing holding you back from attending a genealogy conference is the concern about going by yourself - don't give it a second thought. Go. You will not be alone for long.

Oh, one more thing. Last August I wrote FGS - My First National Conference a few days before heading to Knoxville. If you check the comments you'll see that Sheri and Amy both left encouraging comments for this newbie. Thanks ladies.

Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for FGS 2011.

Wordless Wednesday - Brother

My only brother is having a birthday in a few days. 
It's been a long time since we could ride a rocky horse together.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday!

This cute baby is having a birthday today.

I'm not saying how old she is but this picture was made almost 90 years ago.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Dick and Rhea Hankins

Elmwood Cemetery, Springfield, Robertson County, Tennessee

Overview of Hankins Plot

Thomas R. Hankins
Feb. 13, 1881
Jan 11, 1965

Thomas Richard "Dick" Hankins; son of Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty.
Birth year on stone is incorrect. Dick was born in 1880 as he was listed as a 4 month old in the 1880 census living with his parents.

Edith R. Hankins
Sept. 26, 1883
Aug. 25, 1959

Edith Rhea Jackson Hankins; daughter of William H. Jackson and Susan Pope; wife of Dick Hankins.

Dick and Rhea lived in Birmingham, Alabama during most of their marriage but Rhea was originally from Springfield. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Countdown to FGS 2011 - Friday's Schedule

Only 16 more days until FGS 2011

I still haven't finished the plan for my post-conference research trip or given much thought to what I need to pack. It's a good think I work best under pressure. 

At least I have an idea about sessions I want to attend. Friday looks like this:

8:00-9:00 - After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans - Amy Johnson Crow, CG

9:30-10:30 - Somewhere in France: Researching WWII - Tony Burroughs, FUGA

11:00-12:00 - Researching Your Indian Wars Ancestor before the Civil War - Craig R. Scott, CG 

2:00-3:00 - Using "Correlation" to Reveal Facts that No Record States - Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA

3:30-4:30 - Tracing Scots Irish Ancestors - Dean J. Hunter, AG, CG, FUGA

5:00-6:00 - Lessons from a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates - Debra S. Mieszala, CG

The full conference schedule is available on the FGS website as is a brief bio for each speaker

Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for FGS 2011.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Countdown to FGS 2011 - Thursday's Schedule

Only 20 more days until FGS 2011!

That means I should be giving some serious thought to my post-conference research but before I start working on that plan, here is a look at how I'm planning to spend Thursday, September 8 in Springfield. 

8:30-10:00 - Opening Session and Keynote Address - Keynote Speaker, David S. Ferrier, Archivist of the United States

10:00 - Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

11:00-12:00 - Illinois Migration and Settlement Patterns - Rev. Dr. David McDonald, CG

12:15 - Luncheon - Get Off That Fence and Start Writing, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) Luncheon - Pat Richley-Erickson (DearMYRTLE)

2:00-3:00 - Immigrant Cluster Communities: Past. Present and Future - Lisa Alzo

3:30-4:30 - The Case of the Disappearing Dude - Debra S. Mieszala, CG

5:00-6:00 - Going Beyond the Bare Bones: Reconstructing Your Ancestors' Lives - Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA

6:00-8:00 - Exhibit Hall - Society Showcase and Door-prize Drawings

The full conference schedule is available on the FGS website as is a brief bio for each speaker. Don't forget, Saturday, August 20 is the last day to pre-register or purchase 
tickets for events, luncheons and workshops.

Other Countdown to FGS 2011 posts:
Wednesday's Schedule 

Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for FGS 2011.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Indictments in the Goebel Assassination

Continued from An Assassination in Kentucky 

On 18 Apr 1900, The Morning Herald in Lexington, Kentucky reported the names of ten men indicted the previous day for complicity in the murder of Governor Goebel - five as principals and five as accessories before the fact. The principals were Henry E. Youtsey, James Howard, Berry Howard, Harlan Whitaker and Richard Combs. The accessories were Caleb Powers, John L. Powers, Charles Finley, W. H. Culton and F. Wharton Golden. 

Berry Howard was the son of my great-great-grandfather, John Covey Howard, and his second wife, Sarah "Sallie" Saylor. John Covey was married three times and Berry was the 12th of his 20 children. My great-grandmother, Lucinda Howard Hopkins, was the 19th of those 20 children and Berry’s half-sister. Berry was apparently quite popular within his family considering that five of his siblings, including Lucinda, named a son Berry.

Berry's prosecution in the Goebel murder is not a story I ever heard from my grandparents or anyone else in the family. My grandmother documented a great deal of family history in a fill-in-the-blanks type family tree book but there is not one word about Berry’s involvement in this case. My mother doesn't even remember hearing about it before I stumbled on the information several years ago.

This article refers to Berry and another principal, Jim Howard, as cousins. I have seen that mentioned in other articles and publications but was unaware of a relationship. An article dated 10 Dec 1901 cleared things up. Berry told The Morning Herald, "If I am related to Jim Howard at all I do not know of it." It is entirely possible that there was a distant relationship but any suggestion that they were cousins seems based strictly on their name and that they were both from "the mountains." Of course, Berry’s statement did not stop anyone from continuing to call them cousins.
The statement in this article that Berry and Jim were "mountain feudists" also may not be entirely accurate in Berry's case. Jim and other Clay County Howards were involved in a feud with the Baker family there. Jim was even prosecuted for killing one of the Bakers, although his conviction was overturned prior to Goebel's murder. Around 1889, a feud erupted in Harlan County between the Howard and Turner families but I haven't seen any evidence implicating Berry in that feud even though one of his nephews was the ringleader of the Howard side. Of course, there is that family story that says Berry went to Missouri in 1894 with a saddlebag full of money trying to buy that same nephew's freedom when he was about to be hanged. If that happened, Berry was unsuccessful in his efforts because the hanging took place (but that's another story).


To be continued .  .  .  .

Click here for an easier to read PDF version of this article.  

Forester, William D. Flatland Election Thieves and Mountain Bushwhackers. Harlan, Kentucky: Forester, 1999

Kentucky. Lexington. The Morning Herald, 1900-1901.

Pearce, John Ed. Days of Darkness; The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1994. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Countdown to FGS 2011 - Wednesday's Schedule

Only 29 more days until FGS 2011!

Things get started on Wednesday, September 7 with Society Day. Choosing which sessions to attend at a conference is always a challenge for me. Usually more than one draws my attention in every time slot which is why I study the program and settle on a tentative schedule before leaving home. If I had to decide everything on the fly, I might end up standing in the hallway with my head spinning around.

This is my schedule for Wednesday:
8:30-9:15 – Plenary Session: How Will Our Society Survive? Do We Alter, Mutate, Modify, Shift or Switch – David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

9:30-10:30 – But It’s My Family: Copyright Issues for Genealogists – Cath Madden Trindle, CG 

11:00-12:00 – 21st Century Marketing Techniques for Genealogists/Genealogical Societies – Thomas MacEntee

2:00-3:00 – Effective Editing and Writing – Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

I’m leaving the rest of the afternoon open for now. If I don’t have time to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library on Tuesday I’ll probably do that Wednesday afternoon. Plus I don't want to burn out too soon. This is a four day event and I tend to get information overload if I don't take a few breaks from sessions.

The full conference schedule is available on the FGS website as is a brief bio for each speaker. Don't forget, Saturday, August 20 is the last day to pre-register or purchase tickets for events, luncheons and workshops. 

Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for FGS 2011.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Know Why We Have So Many Brick Walls

Maybe I should rephrase that. I know why I have so many brick walls and you may have them for the same reason.

It all finally clicked for me yesterday while listening to Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, at the Kentucky Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar “Clearing Your Genealogical Hurdles.” Now this was not the first time I had heard a speaker talk about reasonably exhaustive searches and the other points of the Genealogical Proof Standard. It was not even the first time I had heard it from Mrs. Mills. Heck, I have books on the subject that I have actually read.

For some reason, when she was discussing reading through hundreds of un-indexed records yesterday, it finally hit me that I have brick walls because I am lazy. It takes hard work, seriously hard work, to break down a brick wall. It is so much simpler to say, "Oops, brick wall, I'll move on to someone else who is easier to find." And all too often, that is exactly what I do. Does anyone else fall into that trap? Yeah, I thought so. 

Even without my revelation, I would say the KGS Seminar was a big success. It was a larger than usual crowd, no doubt due to the speaker. Here are a few points from the four lectures presented by Mrs. Mills.

Genealogical Problem Solving: Professional Techniques for Everyday Success: This session covered thirteen important techniques for success that on the surface sound simple but “the devil is in the details.” Things like “there is more to a book than the index.” Names listed in an index may have been influenced by what the indexer thought was important. Presence of an index does not necessarily mean every name in the book is there.

Proving “Oral History”: How to Find the Truth About a Family Story: “There is no such thing as The Gospel According to Grandma.” Oral history goes astray for a variety of reasons including "human memories are not perfect." Use the details of family traditions as clues to find the paper trail back to the earliest form of that tradition in order to evaluate its accuracy. Did it start with someone who witnessed an event or did the story seem to develop 100 years after the fact?

In a Rut? 7 Ways to Jump-Start Your Research: “Be a critical thinker” and “accept reality, don’t demand a smoking gun” are two those seven ways. A critical thinker analyzes and questions everything and considers what is not there. Sometimes there simply is not a document (or smoking gun) that proves a point but that does not mean it can’t be proven.

The Genealogical Proof Standard: How to Build a Case When No Record States the Answer: Create an action plan starting with an assessment of what you have - identify the problem and reappraise prior conclusions. Before you can complete the research, you must identify all relevant records not yet used. And that means ALL records, not just the ones available online or on microfilm or nicely indexed.

I heard this fourth lecture last year at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Knoxville but that did not make it any less interesting yesterday.

Case studies are my favorite part of lectures. Mrs. Mills does a great job of explaining standards and practices a good genealogist should employ then she blows you away with amazing examples of how she started with a seemingly hopeless problem and found the answer by putting those standards and practices to work. If you have an opportunity to hear her, do not pass it up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Fun Day at KGS Annual Seminar

The speaker at this year's Kentucky Genealogical Society Annual Seminar was Elizabeth Shown Mills. She graciously agreed to a photo with three GeneaBloggers.  

Linda McCauley, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Tina Lyons and Deborah Andrew

Tina's blog is Gen Wish List
Deborah's blog is The Sum of All My Research

(Special thanks to Deborah Campisano for snapping the photo with my camera.)

I'll be back later to talk about what I learned today.