Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not Wordless Wednesday - Margaret & Billy Hankins

Margaret Hill Hankins and her son, William Perry "Billy" Hankins, Jr.

Sunday's Memorial Day post about Perry Hankins raised questions from several people about what happened to his wife and son after Perry died from Tuberculosis before his son was one year old. 

Margaret and Perry had been married no more than 18 months when he died in 1922 and he spent most of their marriage in hospitals. It is possible he never even saw his son but, at the most, he only had a few weeks with him. 

Margaret grew up in western Kentucky in Hopkins County, as did Perry. She was the daughter of George and Ollie Hill. By 1930, she had married Arvin Garnett Bixler, moved to Franklin County in central Kentucky and had another child. From census records, it appears that A. G. grew up in Mercer County, also in central Kentucky so it is hard to imagine how they met. Based on their daughter's age (5 years old) in 1930, they probably married in 1923 or 1924. 

A newspaper clipping (name of paper and publication date unknown) saved by Perry's mother tells that Billy was in Camp Shelby, Mississippi with the Kentucky National Guard. It mentions that he was a 1939 graduate of Good Shepherd High School (which is in Frankfort) and had entered the National Guard "last spring" (possibly right after graduating from high school). The clip also notes that his father, the late William Perry Hankins, was stationed at Camp Shelby in 1917. 

A. G. Bixler died in Frankfort on 21 Jan 1953 leaving Margaret a widow for a second time. Billy provided the information for his death certificate. At some point, Billy and Margaret both moved to Florida. She was 76 years old when she died in Orange County, Florida on 8 Dec 1971. She was buried beside A. G. in the Frankfort Cemetery

I don't know if Billy married or had a family but he died on 12 Dec 1997 in Lake County, Florida. He was 75 years old. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Aunt Vashti's Birthday

Lily Vashti McCauley

Vashti & Rhea Wells

Aunt Vashti was born 103 years ago today.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day - Remembering Corporal Perry Hankins

There aren't many pictures of William Perry Hankins. The annotation on the back of this one, probably written by his mother, says it is Perry at age 15. As a carefree teenager riding his bicycle on a rural Hopkins County, Kentucky road, he could not have imagined his life would be so short. 
Perry died before his 24th birthday. He did not die in battle but his death was directly related to his military service. Tuberculosis (TB) was the cause. 

Perry enlisted in the U. S. Army on 3 Oct 1916 in Madisonville, Kentucky, served slightly less than four years and was discharged at Oteen, North Carolina on 5 Aug 1920. He spent part of the war in France, as did his brothers, Jimmy and Elvie.  
Perry (on right) with brothers Jimmy & Elvie in France 1918.

After the war, Perry was stationed at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri before being discharged in North Carolina. He is in the front row of the photo below taken there on 24 Sep 1919.
Perry - front row on right
It is impossible to say exactly when or where Perry contracted TB. The U. S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History explains that the disease was a serious problem in the French Army before the United States even entered World War I adding:
"Before the war was over, more than 2,000 men had died of tuberculosis in the Army, and thousands more had been hospitalized. The admission rate in Army hospitals averaged 19 per 1,000 strength per year. Throughout World War I, tuberculosis was the leading cause of discharge for disability, accounting for 13.5 percent of all discharges. At the end of the war, a huge and costly problem was left for the newly organized Veterans' Administration."
Perry & Margaret, 1921
Eight months after his discharge from the U. S. Army, Perry married Margaret Hill on 12 Apr 1921 in Hopkins County, Kentucky. Fourteen days later, he entered the Mountain Branch of the U. S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers near Johnson City, Tennessee for treatment of TB. He was a patient at Mountain Branch until 27 Jul 1921. 

It is unclear if Perry went home or to a different facility from there. Maybe he was at home when his son, William Perry, Jr. was born in January but before 23 Feb 1922 (when he wrote a letter to his young niece, Helen), Perry was a patient at the U. S. General Hospital #19 in Oteen, North Carolina - again for the treatment of TB. If he was at home for the birth of his son, he had precious few days with him.  

There is no indication in his letter to Helen as to when he arrived in Oteen but he was responding to a letter from her so he had been there at least long enough to receive mail. He described his view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and encouraged her and her brother to visit his infant son: 
"You and Jewell must go over and see Bill he likes to play with little girls and boys. He sure is some boy. When you see him you must write and tell me what you and little brother think about him. I think he is the stuff."  
After Oteen, Perry went to Denver, Colorado for continued treatment. The name of the facility and exact dates he was in Denver are unknown. He died there sometime between April and October in 1922. According to his obituary, he had been in Denver for seven weeks. His body was returned to Hopkins County for burial.    

Perry was the son of Thomas Leander "Lee" Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty and the brother of my grandmother, Verda Waller Hankins. The photo of the three brothers is courtesy of Rick Thorpe. All other photos are courtesy of Sue Morgan London. 

To Do: (1) Review Hopkins County newspapers from 1922 to find the date Perry's obituary was published to narrow down his date of death. The clipping shared with me by Sue Morgan London was the original saved by Perry's mother. The date and name of the newspaper are not included with the clipping. (2) Order Perry's military records from NARA.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NGS 2012 - Rambling Final Thoughts

The National Genealogical Society's Family History Conference The Ohio River: Gateway to the Western Frontier is in the books. I'd call it a great success.

Tuesday evening I attended a blogger dinner sponsored by FamilySearch. Much of the talk was about the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to create the index. Things are going better than anyone anticipated and, if current levels continue, we could have a completed index in July. FamilySearch is digitizing and loading huge numbers of other records on a weekly basis. I hope all these new indexers stick around after the 1940 U.S. Census is completed because there will be plenty of other records to index into the distant future. 

Over the course of four days, I attended 13 sessions and every one was excellent. You can't go wrong with speakers named Mills, Jones, Little, Scott, Freilich, Stuart-Warren and McDonald. If you aren't familiar with those names, check out the conference program for the sessions they presented and a brief bio. Of course, there were other outstanding speakers at NGS but I couldn't fit everyone in my schedule.

Many sessions filled up quickly leaving people shut out if they arrived 10 or even 15 minutes before they started. The photo above was the scene outside of room 206 on Saturday waiting to hear Elizabeth Shown MillsCGCGLFASGFUGAFNGS, present Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis. There were at least that many more people behind me. Lucky for me, my previous session ended a bit early so I wasn't too far from the door. If I had to pick a best session of NGS 2012, this would be it.

NGS had a conference app for the first time this year. That is a must-have for any conference these days. I don't think I looked at the printed program once and didn't even carry it with me. One feature that was missing from the app was the ability to schedule anything other than sessions - like the conference evening events or plans to meet friends for dinner. It would be nice to have everything conference related on one schedule.

FamilySearch and NGS sponsored free WiFi in the conference center and I can't thank them enough. It worked very well considering the size of the facility and the number of people using it. It didn't reach the 3rd floor where the opening session was held and I couldn't connect during one session on Wednesday afternoon. Other than that, it worked smoothly and was pretty fast - even when tweeting photos. That was a huge improvement for social media from last year when there was no WiFi and AT&T customers (like me) had no cell signal in most of the conference center in Charleston.

One of the best things about any genealogy conference is the people and that goes double for geneabloggers. It's hard to explain how you can think of people you met in person for the first time less than two years ago, or in many cases less than one year ago, as old friends. (And by "old" I mean people you have known forever.) It's one of those things you have to experience to understand.  

Then there was the drive home. Good thing I didn't need any help finding my way out of Cincinnati. Lula couldn't find a signal.*

Las Vegas is the site for NGS 2013 (May 8-11). After that, NGS is heading to Richmond, Virginia in 2014 and St. Charles, Missouri in 2015. 

*Lula is my GPS.

Monday, May 14, 2012

NGS 2012 - A Few More Shots from the Exhibit Hall

National Genealogical Society

Federation of Genealogical Societies


New England Historic Genealogical Society

See my full NGS 2012 photo gallery here.

NGS 2012 - Whirlwind Exhibit Hall Opening

If you've ever been to a large conference, you know that the opening of the Exhibit Hall can be a mob scene. NGS 2012 was no different - just look at the blurry people running faster that the camera shutter speed through these photos.

Wednesday, May 9

Click on photos for a larger view.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

NGS 2012 - The 1940 Census Indexing Didn't Stop

One of the most popular booths at NGS seemed to be the 1940 U. S. Census Indexing booth. Anyone who stopped by and indexed two batches received a T-shirt. Several times I saw a line of people waiting their turn. Even on Saturday afternoon, less than two hours before the exhibit hall closed, every seat was filled.

Saturday afternoon indexing

If you haven't volunteered for indexing, it's not too late. Check out the 1940 U. S. Census Community Project for all the details.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

NGS 2012 - Geungle Coming Soon

I took some time off from sessions on Thursday to explore the Exhibit Hall and ran into Kathryn and Chris Chapman at their Geungle booth. Geungle is a genealogy software program they are developing with a focus on the complete research process - not just a family tree. The Beta is coming in July. Sounds very interesting! 

And. Do they have a great booth or what? 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NGS 2012 - The Venue

Duke Energy Convention Center

Early Registration Pick-up Tuesday Afternoon

Opening Session on Wednesday

Overview of Exhibit Hall

Click on photos for larger view.

Monday, May 7, 2012

NGS 2012 - Getting Ready for Cincinnati

Tomorrow I'll be heading to Cincinnati for the National Genealogical Society's 2012 Family History Conference. It's just a two-hour drive from my house but I haven't spent much time in Cincinnati. Most of my experience with the Queen City has been driving through it to go somewhere else and I haven't even done that many times.

Last week I made plans to have lunch on Tuesday with an old friend who lives in Cincinnati. She recommended we meet at Rock Bottom at Fountain Square. According to GoogleMaps, Fountain Square is a short .3 miles (6-minute walk) from the Duke Energy Convention Center and two main conference hotels. The square is home to several other restaurants, the Tyler Davidson Fountain and a Graeter's Ice Cream shop. So, there are nearby food choices beyond the hotel restaurants and the conference center lunches. Great!

from GoogleMaps - click the map for a better view
If you are going to the conference and have a smart phone or tablet, you definitely want to download the NGS app. It gives you quick access to the schedule, exhibitor and speaker information, conference news and the #NGS2012 Twitter feed. It also allows you to create your own schedule by selecting the sessions you plan to attend. The room number is included for each session so there is no need to carry around the printed program. Check out the details on the conference blog.

Speaking of mobility, FamilySearch and NGS are sponsoring free WiFi in the conference center for attendees! If you've ever been to a conference without WiFi and where cell service was weak to unusable in the conference center (like it was for AT&T users last year in Charleston), you know how fantastic this is. Information about access to the network will be included with registration materials. There is also free WiFi available at Fountain Square.

I've been through the conference program several times and have most time slots narrowed down to one session. I'm one of those people who has to do that in advance or I'd end up standing in the hallway spinning in circles between every session. That doesn't mean I won't change something on the fly, I probably will, but I need to have a plan. (FYI, the conference app allows you to select more than one session for a time slot. If you're still wavering on some, you can have all of your possibilities marked for easy reference.) The handouts for my selected sessions (and a few maybes) are loaded to my tablet so I can refer to them if needed during a presentation.

Whether you are going to NGS 2012 or not, you can keep up with the latest news and happenings by following blogs and social media. The NGS Conference blog has a list of 2012 Official Blogs on the upper right hand side of their home page. There seems to be a good number of bloggers who didn't register for that designation so also check out the list at GeneaBloggers. Many attendees will be posting to Facebook and Google+ throughout the conference but Twitter will likely be the place to get the most up-to-the-minute information from NGS. Just follow the #ngs2012 hashtag. If you haven't used Twitter, this would be a great time to start. Set up an account and follow the NGS hashtag this week to get a feel for what you've been missing. Don't forget to review the official NGS Conference Social Media Policy before you start posting.

Oh and one more thing. If you are flying into "Cincinnati" for NGS, welcome to Kentucky. (The airport is in Kentucky. You knew that, right?)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - David Owens & Winifred Mullins

David Owens and Winifred Mullins were issued a marriage bond in Wilkes County, North Carolina on 16 Dec 1780. David was the son of William Owen. His mother is unknown. Winifred was the daughter of Henry Mullins and Mary (maiden name possibly Terry but that is unproven). David and Winifred moved to Rockcastle County, Kentucky along with her parents and several of her brothers between 1800 and 1810.

The exact date of their marriage is unknown. According to information provided in David's Revolutionary War Pension Application (which was filed by his children after both he and Winifred were deceased), they were married on 20 Dec 1781. At least the year of that date is questionable.

Source: Wilkes County, North Carolina, Marriages 1762-1979, Owen-Mullens, Marriage Bond 16 Dec 1780; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 May 2012).