Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reviewing March Goals

I don't know where my mind was when I set these goals for March. I can't imagine how I completely forgot about the NCAA Tournament but it just did not register when I created this list that I had hours and hours and hours of basketball to watch this month. 

A few days ago, it occurred to me that I needed to do a monthly review post. Considering the last time I had given goals any thought was very early in March, it's surprising there are any check marks on this list. At a glance, it doesn't look too bad until you realize that the big items are what did not get done. Oh well, there is always April.


Process September research from Pope County, Illinois, Livingston County and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  
    • I worked on this a little but it is a long way from finished. 

Attend 2nd Saturday Family History Workshop sponsored by Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Genealogical Society. 
    • This month's topic was "Navigating Wildcat Turf: Conducting Research at the University of Kentucky" presented by Cheri Daniels. This was a very timely topic for me since, while preparing for my trip to Salt Lake City, I found that a few books on my list are available at UK's library.
Attend three Legacy Family Tree Webinars (Even got in an extra one.)
    • Are you Ready for the 1940 U.S. Census Images? with Thomas MacEntee (3/7)
    • Navigating the new Census Tools in Legacy Family Tree with Geoff Rasmussen (3/9)
    • DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics with Ugo Perego (3/21)
    • Digital Writing Tools for Genealogists with Lisa Alzo (3/30)
Complete and submit Lesson #6 of the NGS Home Study Course. 
    • Assignment #1 is finished (but that was done before March). Still need to complete Assignments #2 and #3.  

Write a research plan for identifying the parents of William Taylor (a brick wall, 3rd great-grandfather). 
    • Started but not completed. 
Write at least 8 blog posts.
    • Barely.


Clean-up 15 sources in genealogy database.
    • Completed 16.
Start adding/cleaning up metadata in genealogy photos.
    • Completed 289 photos. That's not a drop in the bucket but it is a start.
I know there is still technically another day and a half left in March but there is more basketball this evening. And tomorrow I'll either be too happy or too distraught to work.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Maternal Direct Line "Brick Wall"

"How far back can any of you take your direct female line?" That is the question someone asked this week on the Rockcastle and Laurel County, Kentucky Facebook group page. I gave a quick answer but thought it deserved a closer look in honor of Women's History Month. 

Starting with my maternal grandmother my direct female line is: 

(1900 - 1978)
(1882 - 1968)
(1839 - 1908)
(abt. 1802 - bef. 1860)
(d. aft 1860)
(d. 1849)

Felicia Lewis was my 5th great-grandmother. I have no idea when or where Felicia was born or who her parents were. She married Edward King in January 1767 in Wilkes County, North Carolina and died on 20 Nov 1849 in Ashe County, North Carolina. Edward died there 49 years earlier in 1800. They had 10 children but only two survived Felicia.

All of that information comes from Edward's Revolutionary War Pension application which was filed in Rockcastle County, Kentucky in 1851 by his children, Mary King Mullins and John King - the only two who survived their mother. 

This is one of those "Brick Walls" that may only exist because I haven't done any work at all so it's about time to at least create a few research "to do" items. 

Next steps:
  1. Download and review Edward's 129-page pension file from Fold3 (as opposed to the 7-page copy from Heritage Quest that I have).
  2. Check for Will/Probate Records for Edward and Felicia in Ashe County, North Carolina. (The pension file indicates that Mary's husband, Spencer Mullins, was administrator of Felicia's estate so there should at least be a record for Felicia.)
  3. Check for Edward and Felicia's marriage record in Wilkes County, North Carolina. (According to pension application, no record could be found in 1851.)
  4. Review Wilkes County, North Carolina records for anyone named Lewis.
If you have any connection to Edward King and Felicia Lewis, please e-mail me

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Aunt Harriet

The topic for the 116th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene is "Picture/Story for Women's History Month." March is Women's History Month and we will once again honor a woman from our family tree by featuring her in the COG. This time we will do so by starting with a photograph and telling either the story of the photo and/or a biography of the woman pictured." 

Harriet Ramsey Proctor - 1844-1915
This is a picture of Harriet Ramsey Proctor. I'm not sure who wrote "Aunt Harriet" across the top but it was likely either her niece, Martha Ann Taylor Riickert, or Martha's daughter, Rosie Riickert Thompson, since Rosie's son shared it with me several years ago. I don't know when or where or why this picture was made but I do know a little about Harriet. 

Harriet's childhood was probably more difficult than that of the average child growing up in rural Rockcastle County, Kentucky in the mid-1800s because both of her parents, Thomas and Rhoda Ann Lavender Ramsey, died when she was very young. 

Thomas was a blacksmith and the family lived in a two-story house on the corner of Main Street in Mount Vernon. Rhoda Ann was a widow with two young sons when she married the much older Thomas in 1839 in neighboring Lincoln County. That was Thomas' third marriage and he had an adult son from his first marriage. Together Thomas and Rhoda had two children, Margaret and Joe, before Harriet was born on 19 May 1844, probably in that house on Main Street. 

The exact dates that Rhoda Ann and Thomas died are not known but Rhoda died before 1850 and Thomas around 1852. By the time Harriet was eight years old, they were both gone. I don't know what happened to Harriet, Margaret and Joe immediately after Thomas died but they surely went to live with a relative since they were 12, 10 and 8 years old. Margaret married in 1855; Harriet and Joe were living with their half-brother, Tom Lair, in 1860. Tom's wife, Patsy, was Thomas Ramsey's niece so they may have taken in all three children after their father's death.

Tom and Patsy Lair both died before 1870. In that census, two of their daughters and Harriet (who was now 25 years old) were living with Patsy's parents. Patsy's father, Frank Ramsey, was Thomas Ramsey's brother so he was Harriet's uncle. 

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, Harriet became a live-in housekeeper for John J. Proctor and his mother, Millie. John was 42 years old and his occupation was shoemaker. On 4 April 1883, Harriet and John Proctor were married but their marriage lasted less than ten years because John died on 20 December 1892. They had no children.

In the 1900 and 1910 census, Harriet was a widow, living alone. Her sister, Margaret, died in 1892 and her brother, Joe, in 1901. Harriet died on 13 March 1915 and was buried beside her husband in the Ramsey-Taylor Cemetery. She was 70 years old. 

The Mt. Vernon Signal noted her death on March 19: 
"Aunt Harriatt Proctor died last week of cancer. She had been as sufferer from that awful disease for many months."

It seems like Harriet was a sufferer of great loss throughout her life. 

Sources can be found at Harriet's page on my website. Harriet's sister, Margaret Ramsey Taylor, was my 2nd great-grandmother. Photo from George Frederick Thompson.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The BIG DAY is Almost Here!

That's right. It is just 12 more days until the NCAA Basketball National Championship Game! I'm holding my breath and hoping the Kentucky Wildcats get there. I really want #8. Go Big Blue!

Oh, I almost forget. There is a little something else happening on April 2nd that is probably of more interest to most of the people reading this (if anyone is still reading). The 1940 U. S. Census will finally be released! It seems like we have been talking about this day for years so it's hard to believe it is almost here. 

The 1940 U. S. Census will be released as free digital images. No microfilm, no paid subscription. That may sound too good to be true but it is true. However, there is one little catch. There will NOT be an index to all those images - at least not on opening day or any day in the very near future. 

Don't worry. There is an index coming. How soon it is ready depends on all of us. 

The 1940 U. S. Census Community Project is set up and ready to start indexing but they need volunteers. If you haven't already done so, please go there right now and register. If you are an indexer for FamilySearch then you know the ropes and are ready to hit the ground running. If you have never indexed before, trust me, it's not hard. By volunteering you are not committing to an amount of time or a particular schedule. Index as much as you can as often as you can. Every little bit will help. 

If you register now, download the indexing software and complete a practice batch simulating indexing the 1940 U. S. Census, you will be entered to win one of three VISA gift cards valued at $100 or $50. Follow the instructions in Weekly Contest - Week of March 19 on The 1940 U. S. Census Blog to be eligible to win.

Some societies have joined the indexing project so you might want to check with your local or state organizations about joining their efforts. I know the Kentucky Historical Society is participating. Check out their blog to find out how to get linked up with them. If you are new to indexing, they even have some classes.

Many researchers are creating lists of people they want to look for and trying to narrow down which Enumeration District they will likely be in but I'm not bothering with that right now. I already know that there is no way I will find the people I want most without the index. The faster we get this thing indexed, the faster we will all be finding those records we want most.  

Disclosure: As member of ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a Kindle Fire. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

How I Use in My Genealogy Database

Last week, Susan Clark of Nolichucky Roots started a discussion about genealogy database software in her post Getting Down to the Basics by asking "What is it you use the program for? Specifics, I beg of you." I made a couple of comments to Susan's post but I think a little more detailed answer to that question might be a good starting point for helping me figure out my genealogy workflow. That is something I've been thinking about since I attended "A Report Card for the Genealogy Software Industry" last month at RootsTech. 

My genealogy database software is Legacy Family Tree  and I'm using the latest version of the Deluxe Edition. The number one thing I use Legacy for is to organize and track my data. I function best when everything is in one place. Of course, I have a structure of folders that hold specific records, documents and photos but I link almost everything to my database in some way. If you ask me what I have on someone, I go straight to my database.  

Legacy has the usual date and place fields for birth, marriage, death and burial information. I use "Events" to document most everything else. I rarely use the "General Notes" or the Birth, Death and Burial notes because I like Events better for several reasons but mainly because it's easier for me to see at a glance what I have (and what I don't have). Each event has its own notes section so using them does not limit the ability to write a narrative. Events allow me to add photos and records to individual pages on my website. I create Events for things many people would say are not really events - like headstone photos. Events can be private so all those little (and big) things that I do not want to share with the world can still be included in my database which means I don't lose track of them.

I use "Research Notes" sorta like a junk drawer in the kitchen. They are messy and you never know what might be in there. If I see something online that I need to look into, get information in an e-mail from someone researching a common line or am working on a theory about some relationship, it is all thrown into "Research Notes." Sometimes I add explanations for why I believe something is right or wrong but I'm getting away from that habit in favor of having analyses/conclusions in their own Event. 

I use the SourceWriter templates and attach images, PDFs and Word documents to my sources. I know my digital filing system well enough to find anything quickly but if I'm already in Legacy and looking at a source, viewing that source document is only a couple of clicks away. 

"Search" and "Tagging" are tools that I use often. I can't begin to cover all the ways I've used these tools but an easy example of Search would be if I'm going to visit a cemetery and need to know who to look for, I run a search and create a report. I have four tags that I consider permanent. I don't put living people on my website so I start with my four grandparents generation and go back. I have a tag for people who go to the website, for people in more recent generations (mostly living people) who do not go to the website and for people in "research trees" who also do not go to my website. The fourth permanent tag is for "End of Direct Line" which tells me I don't know one or both parents for that ancestor. There are nine tags so that leaves me five to use as needed.  

Did I just say "Research Trees?" I do not set-up separate Legacy databases. Everything goes into the same one but people whose relationship I haven't yet proven are not attached to the main tree in my database. (By "everything" I mean research I am doing, I don't download online trees and add them to my database.) When I was working on identifying the parents of my 2nd great-grandfather, John R Petty I had a good candidate for his father (John Petty) so I added him to my database as an unlinked person. As I researched him and his known children, I added their data just as I would for people I know belong in my tree. Eventually, I had enough indirect evidence to make the case that the older John Petty was John R.'s father and I linked them together in my database. Since I had added the data for this whole branch of the family as I went through the research process, everything was there. If I can't make a connection to someone I'm researching, I leave them in my database with all of their data so that I know I've already been down that road or in case something comes along later that proves the relationship.     

One more major function I want to cover is the "To Do List" but that needs to be a separate post. (Hopefully coming soon.)

Keep in mind that these are some of the ways I use Legacy because that is what works for me. To get the most out of any software, you have to learn what it can and cannot do and then determine what features, functions and procedures best fit your style. The bottom line is you bought the software to help you so use it in a way that does that. 

Disclaimer: I have no connection to Legacy Family Tree software. Everything here is based on my personal experience and my opinions. I bought version 6 of Legacy and received a free upgrade to version 7 when it was released several months later because that was the offer to everyone at the time I made the purchase. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Petty Brothers Reunited After 44 Years

J. F. Petty of Harrisburg was reunited last week with his brother, Perry Petty, of Atlanta, Ga., whom he had not seen in 44 years. Cobden relatives joined in the celebration which was held in Harrisburg Sunday.
J. F. and Perry were the sons of a Confederate soldier who was disabled by wounds he received in the Cixil [sic] War. Due to his illness and the death of their mother, the boys were separated making their homes with relatives. 
J. F. Petty went to Madisonville, Ky, 44 years ago from Atlanta, Ga., to live with his oldest sister, Mrs. S. A. Hankins, who is now 73 years of age. A few days ago his son, C. L. Petty, was in Madisonville and went to see his aunt, Mrs. Hankins, who was ill.
Here he met his uncle, whom he had never seen, and brought him and Mrs. Hankins to Harrisburg to bring about the reunion of the brothers. Frank Petty of Cobden, son of J. F. Petty, was notified of the arrival of his uncle and with his wife and baby joined in the happy reunion at Harrisburg Sun[day.]

This newspaper clipping arrived in my inbox Saturday. It came from a 3rd cousin who recently found me because of a series of posts I did last year about our shared 2rd great-grandfather, John R. Petty. John R.'s three children mentioned in the article were John Franklin Petty, Oliver Perry Petty and Samantha Angeline Petty Hankins. John Franklin was the cousin's great-grandfather; Samantha was my great-grandmother.

I'm very happy to have this article but I'm greedy - I so wish it told a little (or a great deal) more of the story.

The name of the newspaper and the date of the article are unknown but it was surely from a Harrisburg, Illinois paper. The approximate date is a little less definite. Samantha said she was born in April, 1861 so if she was 73, this reunion was about 1934 and the brothers hadn't seen each other since about 1890 when John was 16 and Perry 21. The tone of the article seems to imply that they were younger when they were separated

The Petty children's mother, Margaret Thomas Petty, died in Hopkins County, Kentucky on 28 Jul 1876. By 1880, Samantha was married and still living in Hopkins County. An older brother, Henry Milton, also lived in Hopkins County. John Franklin and four of their other siblings were living in Coal Mountain, Forsyth County, Georgia with Margaret's sister, Mary, and her husband, James M. Echols. Oliver Perry was also living in Forsyth County but in Cumming with James and Angeline Tribble, listed as Oliver P. Tribble, adopted son. From all indications, Perry always went by Petty - at least as an adult, so it is unlikely there was a legal adoption. I have no idea why Perry was living with the Tribbles instead of with his aunt, uncle and siblings but he apparently had a long-term relationship with them as one of his sons was living with the Tribbles in 1900 after the death of Perry's first wife. 

At any rate, we know that John and Perry were in the same county in Georgia in 1880. At some point, John returned to Hopkins County, Kentucky to live with Samantha and her family. That was definitely before 1897 when he married Lizzie Givens there and based on this article was as early as 1890. 

And then there are the questions this article raises.
  • It says "the boys were separated making their homes with relatives" but I haven't found any connection to the Tribbles. Were they somehow related?
  • Had it been 44 years or even longer since Samantha had seen Perry? 
  • Did the siblings who lived in Georgia remain close as adults?   
  • Did Samantha and John ever see any of the other children after they were separated?
  • Did any of them have contact with their father after he left Hopkins County?
  • Did they know about their half-brother who was born after their father re-married in 1878?
No matter what you find, it just leads to more questions.   

Clipping courtesy of Steven Petty with special thanks to Todd Johnson for scanning and sending it along with several photos.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Motivation Monday - March Goals

Why is it that no matter how much you do, there is always more to be done? Time to get busy with March goals.

  • Process research from Pope County, Illinois, Livingston County and Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  I actually visited these places in September on a slightly out of the way trip home from FGS 2011 but I was really busy for the next few months after that with a cruise, another research trip, a family wedding, the holidays .  .  . 
  • Attend 2nd Saturday Family History Workshop sponsored by Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Genealogical Society. This month's topic is "Navigating Wildcat Turf: Conducting Research at the University of Kentucky." 
  • Attend three Legacy Family Tree Webinars
    • Are you Ready for the 1940 U.S. Census Images? with Thomas MacEntee (3/7)
    • DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics with Ugo Perego (3/21)
    • Digital Writing Tools for Genealogists with Lisa Alzo (3/30)
  • Complete and submit Lesson #6 of the NGS Home Study Course. (And that will finish up CD #1.)
  • Write a research plan for identifying the parents of William Taylor (a brick wall, 3rd great-grandfather). Well over a year ago, one of my male Taylor cousins did a Y DNA test that seems to refute the popular opinion of who William's parents were. Since I have never subscribed to popular opinion when it comes to William's parents, that doesn't really surprise me but there is a ton of research to be done here. For one thing, I don't know how valid the pedigrees are for the other guys in the Taylor DNA group.   
  • Write at least 8 blog posts.
  • Clean up 15 sources. This is one of those things I really want to do but other things are much higher on my priority list and much more fun. I still have a few hundred sources that were created long before Evidence Explained was released, some even before I cared much about sources at all. This won't really make a dent but I have to start somewhere.
  • Start adding/cleaning-up (yes, I've started this project before) metadata to genealogy photos. There are over 6,000 photos in that collection so this will be a long term project. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Papa

John William "Will" McCauley was born 137 years ago today.

Will (center) with sons, John and David (abt. 1942)

Will and David (on leave from the Navy in 1944)

Will and David (1951)