Sunday, February 28, 2010

Where Have Our Contact Buttons Gone?

When accessing Greta's Genealogy Bog today I first noticed that it took one to two minutes for the page to load. Then when I went to the "Layout" page only the top section would appear; it took another minute or two for that to load.

I googled various word combinations having to do with blog problems and finally found some advice to check Activity under Window. That revealed that the problem involved the Contact Button. It was then that I noticed that my blog no longer showed the Contact Button. I visited several blogs that I remembered having these buttons, and none of them appeared to have it any longer, either.

What's up?

Update: Today (Monday) the Contact Button seems to be working and the blog seems to load OK. Not sure what happened. Some type of Blogger maintenance maybe?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday 26 February 2010

It has been a busy and exciting week.



Still working on the Elijah Norman family. Also completed an eight-part series on “Mystery Normans and Source Citations.”

I love that some of my “Norman men” have names like Jewell and Fay.

GeneaBloggers Games

GeneaBloggers rock, and so do these games! This has been so much fun: cheering one another on and trying to learn new things, get things organized, and collect those source citations! Bravo to the organizers for making this so enjoyable!


Karen at Karen About Genealogy has eloquently voiced some reservations about WDYTYA in “Why I’m Not Excited About WDYTYA.”

Congratulations to all of the bloggers who were named to Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs list. I am so honored to be in the company of writers whose work I admire.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Final Tally for the GeneaBloggers Games

The GeneaBloggers Games have been lots of fun, but I have to wrap up a couple of days early because I probably won’t get a chance to do any more or even use the computer for the next few days.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite activity, but setting up a memorial page on Footnote as well as joining Findagrave and adding transcriptions and photos were something new and I am excited about doing more along these lines on both sites. For five of the challenges I reach my goals, and for Challenge 4 I exceeded my goal. The two best aspects of the Games were cheering one another on and learning new things.

Here are the results:

Challenge 1: Cite Your Sources! – 50 new source citations, Platinum medal

Challenge 2: Back Up Your Data! – Task A, Bronze medal

Challenge 3: Organize Your Research - Tasks A, B, D, and E – Diamond medal

Challenge 4: Expand Your Knowledge - Tasks A, B, C, D, and E – Platinum medal

Challenge 5: Write, Write, Write! – Tasks A, B, C, D, E – Platinum medal

Challenge 6: Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness – Tasks A, B, F, and G – Diamond medal

Best of luck to my fellow competitors in reaching their goals!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 11 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Finally completed Task A for Challenge 2: Prepare a comprehensive backup plan for your digital research files and a security plan for your hard copies and photos.

To sum up: I wrote a checklist for the monthly backups (flash drive, LaCie, and Mozy-type service for my genealogy program and genealogy folder plus uploading all new photos to a photo service) and a To Do list for centralizing and storing my hard-copy photos and documents.

I need to buy a good scanner and scan my photos. My photo albums, loose hard-copy photos, and old negatives could occupy an entire room all by themselves. The older family photos are all in the same waterproof container, but all the photos we have taken over the past 30+ years (plus some old negatives) need to be consolidated into one location better than they currently are.

I would like to solicit recommendations on the following:

1. A good scanner

2. Online data storage/backup service: Mozy, Google Docs, or ?

3. Online photo service: Flickr, Picasa, or ? (I have a Mac, if that makes a difference.)

Phew. Even thinking about all of this makes my head hurt.

Thank You

Well, I came home today and the letter from Diane Haddad was still in my inbox. So it’s real.

Diane’s letter was actually not the first e-mail that hit my eye. I saw several e-mails that contained comments from Greta’s Genealogy Bog, and that’s when the news first hit me. So I actually learned through the comments.

And that’s the way it often happens, of course. Because we GeneaBloggers do spend a lot of time talking back and forth. Come on, most of you know it – we love to talk, even if it is in writing.

That’s why I love my blog. I don’t read it, of course, except for when I have to read over what I’ve written. I love it because it’s like my virtual back fence. I go to the Blogger reader (based on the Follow function) that is on the dashboard first, and then (true confession time) I go to that list that extends so far down the left side of this blog and click on the other articles I have not yet read. I apologize if that list makes this blog slow in loading, but I like it that way. Yes, this is a much more primitive way to do my blog reading, but it somehow makes the experience more immediate to me; it really does feel as though I’m “talking over the fence.”

And how I enjoy that experience. So many times I’ll read something another blogger has written and have a shock of recognition or an outburst of vehement agreement – “Yeah, what (s)he said!” – or think “I can really use that information” or “Gosh, I never thought of that before.” We do not have to explain our obsession to other GeneaBloggers; they “get” it. They “get” that insatiable desire to know – about our ancestors, about what happened – and to make sure that these souls who contributed to our existence are never forgotten.

In candor, there are so many times that I read something another GeneaBlogger has written and think “I wish I had written that!” The breadth and depth of talent among Geneabloggers is amazing. Maureen Taylor perceptively added to the list of 40 a sampling of more fantastic GeneaBlogs, and I can think of a bunch more that never fail to inspire me and often make my day. I am so humbled to be on Family Tree’s list of 40, but then I am humbled everyday when I read what my fellow GeneaBloggers have to say.

Thank you, Maureen for your lovely article, thank you Diane Haddad and Family Tree Magazine, thank you to everyone who voted for me, and thanks to all my Genea-buds out there who make life ever so much more interesting!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 10 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Finally added the last two source citations I needed to reach 50 for a platinum medal for Challenge 1 (hooray!)

Wrote more on my comprehensive data backup plan (Task A for Challenge 2) but did not complete it, yet.

Memory Monday: Babies Got Rhythm

As parents, one of our greatest joys is to see our children enjoy or take an interest in something that is near and dear to us. In our family, one of these common parent-child interests is the love of music. There is some variation in tastes, but our daughters have surprised my husband and me in how much of “our” music they like.

As I watched some of the babies and toddlers in church this morning sway with the music of the liturgy, it reminded me again of the pure delight of seeing a child entranced by music. Little children do not put on a “music face” and listen with still dignity; rather, they jump into the music itself with abandon, their faces alight and their little bodies bouncing, swaying, or even hopping and running around like a dervish.

In Memory Monday: Playing Dress-Up there are a couple of pictures of my daughters doing the “Ugg-a-Wugg” dance while watching Peter Pan (the “People Peter Pan” with Mary Martin). This bouncy song from the musical was perfect for bopping along.

I noticed my daughters’ response to music even when they were little babies in the crib, but it was when they were walking and could “dance” that the fun really began. Our older daughter, who thought that the moon was actually a person because it had a face, surprised us one evening when we had gone out on our deck by yelling “Hi, Moon! I dancing for you!” and starting to hop and bounce; we called this particular dance the “butt-bounce.”

Taking our daughters to the Scottish Games was a highlight of the summer. Both of them loved the pipes and drums, the singers, and the Celtic harp competition, which was one of the things that inspired our younger daughter to choose the harp as her instrument. We particularly remember one summer at the games when our older daughter was two and a half. A large group of people had stopped to listen to some of the pipers, and B was so entranced that she danced around and around, hopping and kicking, jumping and waving her arms. Many in the audience eventually ended up watching her, and the pipers graciously continued to accompany the frolicking of the little whirlwind. Earlier in the day, when we had just arrived at the Games, she looked around in amazement at all the men dressed in kilts. “There’s a bagpipe! And there’s a bagpipe! Bagpipes all over!” When she wore the plaid skirt outfit shown below, she would proudly announce: “I a bagpipe!” Both daughters loved to put on “dance shows” for us to the accompaniment of pipes and drums or other Celtic music such as the Chieftains.

Bagpipes all over!

I a bagpipe!

Over the years I have enjoyed the late afternoon hours when my daughters would be practicing their instruments – B on the piano and E on the harp – as well as the music recitals, the dance recitals, and watching various types of musical entertainment with them. But the most pure enjoyment came from those unguarded, uninhibited moments of absolute abandon and absorption in music when they were so very, very young.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 9 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Today I closed in on the Platinum Medal for Challenge 1, Cite Your Sources, by adding 15 new source citations. Only two more to go. Would have finished it today but Ancestry was not cooperating.

Started my Comprehensive Backup Plan for Task A of Challenge 2. Just barely.

Thanks to Tracy for an Act of Genealogical Kindness

My heartfelt thanks to Tracy of The Pieces of My Past, as well as her friend and her friend's aunt, for their very generous Act of Genealogical Kindness. Tracy recognized the Tarrant name from a recent post on my brickwall ancestor Emily Tarrant Moore; a friend by that name has an aunt who has researched the family. Tracy asked the friend if her aunt would mind sharing the part of her research that dealt with the family. The aunt agreed, and I now have some material to start (and the inspiration to start) piecing together the family lines of the Greenville Tarrants.

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 8

In my research up to this point, I had learned that “Aunt Jane” Norman was:

--The mother of Jackson Norman (who married Dissie Norman, one of “my” Normans)

-- The mother of Thomas Moore (aka Tom Peat Moore, possibly the son of Michael Thomas Peater Moore, whose family had many connections to my Normans)

-- The last wife of Zera Lucern Cotton (a Civil War veteran and the husband of at least six wives)

-- Possibly the daughter of Louisiana Norman, the sister of my great-great-grandfather Joseph Madison Carroll Norman.

I was extremely curious about her and wanted to learn more, especially about her family and possible relation to “my” Normans.

The Puzzle Piece

I believed that I had enough information to search for Sarah Jane Norman on the 1870 and 1860 censuses: date and state of birth (1857 in Arkansas), possible county of origin (Montgomery, Arkansas), possible name of her mother (Louisiana), and a possible sister’s name (Nancy).

Finding her on the 1870 census was no problem. And to say that what I found whetted my appetite for more information is an understatement:

1870 US Federal Census, South Fork Township, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas, pages 7 and 8, enumeration date 24 January 1870

Line number 38, dwelling 52, family 61

Norman, Lousa Age 31 Female White Keeping house Born in Arkansas Cannot read or write

[Norman], Sarah J., Age 11 Female White Born in Arkansas Cannot read or write

[Norman], Nancy Age 9 Female White Born in Arkansas

[Norman], John W. Age 5 Male White Born in Arkansas

Here was Sarah Jane. Here was Nancy. And here was Lousa – Lousiana? She was the right age to be J.M.C. Norman’s sister Lousiana (both were born in around 1839), but that Lousiana was born in Alabama, not Arkansas.

So my next step was to try to find Lousa and Sarah Jane in the 1860 census. If Lousa had a husband named Norman in that census, she probably wasn’t “my” Louisiana Norman.

I’m not going to wait to post that information. I do have to wrap this story up!

I believe this is the same family:

1860 US Federal Census, Mazarne Township, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas, Page 86, enumeration date 13 August 1860

Line number 7 Dwelling 575 Dwelling 565

John Norman Age 28 Male Farmer Personal estate value $300 Born in Alabama
Jonann [?] Norman Age 23 Female Born in Iowa [?] Cannot read or write
Louisa Norman Age 4 Female Born in Arkansas
Sarah Norman Age 1 Female Born in Arkansas

Although there are a lot of discrepancies in the information for Sarah Jane Norman’s mother, I believe that John Norman was Sarah Jane’s father. The older sister’s name here, Louisa, would indicate that Jonann (it’s not really clear from the handwriting that that is the actual name, but that is how it has been transcribed) is probably Lousiana/Louisa. I do not know why the state of Jonann’s birth is listed as Iowa. The location, Mt. Ida Post Office, Montgomery County, Arkansas is the same as for the Lousa Norman family on the 1870 census.

And this John Norman was born in Alabama. That doesn’t mean that he was one of “my” Normans, but it doesn’t rule it out, either.

The Sources

Lousa Norman household, 1870 U.S. Census, Montgomery County, Arkansas, population schedule, South Fork Township, dwelling 52, family 61; Roll M593_59, Page: 283; Family History Library film: 545558. Accessed via

John Norman household, 1860 U.S. Census, Montgomery County, Arkansas, population schedule, Mazarne Township, dwelling 575, family 565; Roll M643_56, Page: 936; Family History Library Film: 803046. Accessed via

The Wrap-Up

In addition to the census, I used Findagrave, Worldconnect, Google, and a blog page – not exactly the basis for in-depth research, but definitely serviceable “tip lines” for pointers to an intriguing story. For now I’ve spent enough time on this detour, but I have entered the relevant information on Jackson Norman’s family in my genealogy program (he did marry Dissie Norman, after all). And when I go back to research the parents and grandparents of J.M.C. Norman in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, I’m going to keep these Normans in mind. You never know; there might be a relationship after all.

I could not find Jackson Norman on later censuses, but I did find his brother Thomas Norman and his mother Sarah Jane Norman Cotton on the 1930 census:

1930 US Federal Census, Lincoln Township, Garland County, Arkansas, E.D. 26-27, Page 11A, 5 April 1930

Line number 44 Dwelling 9 Family 9

Moore, Thomas Head Home owned Family lives on farm Male White 45 years old Male Married at age 44 Did not attend school in year Can read and write AR AR AR Can speak English Farmer Farming Employer Actually at work Not a veteran Farm number 8

Moore, Pearl Wife Female White 36 years old Married at age 34 Did not attend school in year Can read and write Ark Ark Ark Can speak English Occupation: None

Cotton, S. Jane Mother Female white Age 76 Widowed Did not attend school in year Can read and write AR TN AL Can speak English Occupation: None

The Source

Thomas Moore household, 1930 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lincoln Township, dwelling 9, family 9; Roll 75; Page 1A; Enumeration District 27; Image 657.0. Accessed via

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Ah-Ha! Moments

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has posed the following challenge:

1) Think of any number of genealogy events or moments that make you have a genealogy happy dance, an ah-ha moment, or a genea-gasm.

2) Tell us about them in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Some of my Happy Dance moments were:

Finding a death certificate on line for my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore that listed both of his parents; until that time I knew only that my maternal grandfather’s name was something like Perrin Moore.

Finding genealogy forum posts on Harlston Perrin Moore’s parents Spencer and Emily Moore that included where they had lived and the names of their other children.

Finding a message in an archived mailing list that mentioned that Bud Mathis Moore of Greenville County, SC had a brother named Spencer who “lived over in Anderson County and had a son named Commie” – that would have been Spencer’s son Commodore Worth Moore – so that I knew I had to search for Spencer’s family in Greenville.

Finding an index entry for the will of a Samuel Moore of Greenville, SC that listed his children Spencer (misspelled “Spencar”), Susannah, and Elizabeth. This listing of my great-great-grandfather Spencer Moores and his two sisters indicated to me that this Samuel Moore was my great-great-great grandfather.

Finding a Lewis family with a daughter Martha of the right age to be my great-grandmother Martha Lewis that met the following requirements: the parents were born in SC but lived in GA around the time that Martha was born (1848 – they were there on the 1850 census) but were back in Anderson Co., SC by the 1860 census so that she could meet and marry Harlston Perrin Moore. In Texas censuses from 1880 on Martha Lewis Moore’s state of birth was given as Georgia and that of her parents was given as South Carolina, therefore ….

An “Ah-Ha!” moment occurred when I finally had a trail for descendants of my great-great uncle David Floyd. My evidence indicated that David’s granddaughter Sada Crum had married a man named Robertson (one of their sons, Clyde, was shown living with her father Mason Crum on the 1920 census), but tracing the history of this family was difficult due to its disintegration and scattering. I found a “Josphes” and “Saddie” Robertson on the 1910 census as the parents of this Clyde Robertson, but in 1920 I could not find them … until I realized that the guy listed as “Seab” Robertson, when I looked at the census, was actually “Seaf” Robertson: Josephus > Seaf. Ah ha!

In a similar case, I realized that an MDL Lee on one census and a Fate Lee on the other census were the same guy: MDL = Marquis de Lafayette > Lafayette > Fayette > Fate. Ah ha!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 8 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Completed Task B for Challenge 6 – Joined Findagrave and added 12 memorials and 19 pictures.

Completed Task D for Challenge 3 – added 7 photos to iPhoto for a total of 21, added 4 photo folders on iPhoto, and moved photos into those folders.

Added 10 new source citations (Challenge 1).

Completed Task B for Challenge 4 – created a timeline for my great-great grandmother Emily Tarrant Moore at TimeToast and posted it on my blog (after figuring out why it wouldn’t post the timeline).

Completed Task C for Challenge 5 – preposted a total of three articles (Last installment of “Mystery Normans” will appear tomorrow).

This leaves preparation of a comprehensive backup and security plan for Challenge 2 to get a bronze and adding 17 more sources for Challenge 1 to get a platinum.

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 7

In the last “Mystery Normans” post I said that my next stop would be WorldConnect to sort out the Moore families for which Sarah Jane Norman and (her probable sister) Nancy Norman worked as domestic servants. That’s not quite accurate; before doing that, I checked in again at Findagrave to find the maiden name of John L. Moore’s wife Rebecca and, sure enough, the information was there: she was Rebecca Lucinda Wacaster. This information should pull up something in WorldConnect. Michael T. P. Moore, head of the household where Nancy worked, was also there.

The Puzzle Piece

Several hits came up for John Lawrence Moore and Rebecca Lucinda Wacaster; the children listed for them varied, and I looked among the sons for one that might have married Sarah Jane Norman or had a child by her. Among the married sons I did not see any connection made, though there was one son, Sanford Ezelelar Moore, who was said to have died young. Perhaps he was the father of Sarah's son Thomas Moore? Michael T. P. also showed up in these lists; he was married to Mary Catherine Kinsey. His name was spelled out: Michael Thomas Peter Moore. And one or two of the hits, the ones with the most complete and precise information, gave his name as it had probably actually been spelled – a rather unusual variant – Michael Thomas Peater Moore. Tom Peat Moore. That was the name of Jane’s older son as given on his tombstone.

There was probably a connection. Michael Thomas Peater Moore may have been Tom Peat Moore’s father. I thought this the most likely scenario, although it is possible that some other Moore male had been the father and the baby had been named for Michael T. P. Moore.

These indications that one or both of Sarah Jane Norman’s sons may have been illegitimate made me curious to learn about her mother, Louisiana Norman. Was it Joseph Madison Carroll Norman’s sister Louisiana Norman? Since I was fairly sure Norman was Sarah Jane’s maiden name, and the blog article on Zera Lucerne Cotton had mentioned that she came from Montgomery County, Arkansas I decided to check for Sarah Jane Norman on the 1870 and 1860 censuses and see who was listed as her mother.

The Source (for the spelling of the name)

David Beardsley, Moore-Brumley Family, Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project, online,; entry for MIchael Thomas Peater Moore, accessed 20 Feb 2010.

Timeline for Emily Tarrant Moore

Here is my timeline for the life of Emily Tarrant Moore (Task B, Challenge 4 in the GeneaBloggers Games). It was created on TimeToast. As you can see, there are not very many dates on it - something to work on in the future. When I only knew a year, I entered January 1 as the month and day.

(Do I get extra points because initially Blogger would not accept the post - "Tag is not closed: Embed" - so I googled the problem and found that the code generated on TimeToast needed to have some code (I can't put it here because then it still won't publish my post!) added at the end?)

Unbelievable – What Can Be Done?

Incredible … you are not going to believe this … please check out Ruther Coker Burks’ Graveyard Rabbit blog, last2cu. She made a shocking find yesterday and has a short deadline for figuring out what to do about what may very well be her great-grandmother’s tomb, left exposed by the lowering of a lake into which a developer had thrown what remained of a family cemetery back during the Depression. If any of you Graveyard Rabbits or others who are knowledgeable about these matters know what Ruth can and should do, please advise her.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 7 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Added three new source citations

That’s all for today and is typical of the slow pace this workweek. I will really have to pull out the stops to accomplish what I need to do this weekend, since I won’t have much time during the weekdays next week.

Here are my current standings, what I hope/want/need to do, and what doing all of that would yield:

Challenge 1: 23 citations (Silver)
Challenge 2: Nothing yet
Challenge 3: Tasks A, B, and E (Gold)
Challenge 4: Tasks A, C, D, and E (Diamond)
Challenge 5: Tasks A, B, D, and E (Diamond)
Challenge 6: Tasks A, F, and G (Gold)

To Do

27 more citations for a Platinum on Challenge 1
Task A for a Bronze on Challenge 2
Complete Task D for a Diamond on Challenge 3
Task B for a Platinum on Challenge 4
One more prepost to complete Task C for a Platinum on Challenge 5
Possibly Task B for a Diamond on Challenge 6

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday 19 February 2010

Not much accomplished this week except watching the Olympics and participating in the GeneaBloggers Games.



Most of my research was on Normans, and I’m not even sure some of them are related! (See my “Mystery Normans” posts.) Finished working on the Newton Leonard Norman family and have moved on to the Elijah Norman family.

Moore, Tarrant

For the GeneaBloggers Games I did a profile of Emily Tarrant Moore and a Google Maps depiction of the places in South Carolina where William Spencer Moore lived.


Read about the happy results of Becky Jamison’s Act of Genealogical Kindness at Grace and Glory.

Sara Beth at Lessons from My Ancestors shares a wonderful story about a painting in her parents’ house in “Sentimental Sunday: More Than an Old Man Praying.”

At Keeper of the Records, Joanne has written a wonderful story about pockets, her grandmother’s crewel work, and a wonderful surprise in “Threads of Time.”

Teresa Martin decides to track down the cast of characters reputed to have been involved in an outrageous crime in an 1891 newspaper article and finds … not what you might expect in “Murder, Newspapers, and Lies – Elliott County, Kentucky” on the Eastern Kentucky Genealogy blog.

Mystery Normans and Citations – Part 6

My hope was to be able to find “Aunt Jane” Norman Cotton in the 1880 census for Garland or Montgomery County, Arkansas. I would start with known surnames associated with her – Norman and Moore – and if I couldn’t find her that way, I would look for her by name, age, and state of birth, though I feared that would not narrow down the field enough.

The Puzzle Piece

No need to fear. And no need to even try more than one surname. I found her as a single woman, working as a servant in the household of John L. and Rebecca Moore, listed as Sarah J. Norman – so Norman was her maiden name.

1880 US Federal Census, Lee Township, Garland County, Arkansas, E.D. 75, Page 21, 11 June 1880

Line 1 Dwelling 186 Family 190

Moore, John L. White Male 52 years old Married Farmer GA NC NC
-- Rebecca White Female 45 years old Wife Married Keeping house Cannot write GA NC GA
-- James J. White Male 11 years old Son Cannot read or write AR GA GA
-- Rebecca White Female 7 years old Daughter AR GA GA
-- George A. White Male 5 years old Son AR GA GA
-- Henry F. White Male 5 years old Son AR GA GA
-- Pellie B. White Female 2 years old Daughter AR GA GA
Norman, Sarah J. White Female 18 years old Single Domestic servant Cannot read or write AR MS AR
Simpson, Francis E. White Female 18 years old Single Domestic servant Cannot read or write AR GA GA

Moreover, there was another goldmine on the previous page of the census: a Nancy Norman, single, age 17, working as a servant in the family of William Adner Powell and Mary Elizabeth Moore (a daughter of the John and Rebecca Moore above), and living next door to them, William Henry Monroe and his wife Eliza Ann Monroe, who would marry Zara Lucerne Cotton before Sarah Jane Norman did. And living next to them was the family of Michael T. P. Moore, a son of John L. and Rebecca Moore. His possible involvement in this mystery will be covered in the next installment. One other interesting note: at least two people in these families appear to have been ill with rheumatic fever on the day the census was taken – Nancy Norman and Michael T. P. Moore’s son Roland.

If Norman was Sarah Jane’s maiden name, her son Jackson may have been illegitimate, and possibly her son Thomas Moore as well. The reason this was important to me was to find out how these Normans might be related to my Norman families.

I figured there was a strong chance that Nancy was Sarah Jane’s sister, and I very much wanted to use this information (plus the information from the blog that Jane Norman was from Montgomery County) to see whether I could find them with their parents in previous censuses. However, even before that I wanted to look into some of the Moore family relationships. As people who have studied families in these close communities probably understand, in this little corner of Garland County at this time these large families were closely tied to one another by kinship and intermarriage: Normans, Powells, Moores, Wacasters, Kinseys, Westons, and a few others.

There was no easy way for me to tell who Jackson Norman’s father was, but I might find Tom Peat Norman’s father by looking into these relationships. Since Sarah Jane Norman had worked as a servant for the John L. Moore family, I decided to see whether or not there was any mention of a marriage of one of the sons to Sarah Jane Norman or of an illegitimate child by her.

One place I could look again was Peak Cemetery on Findagrave, since a lot of family relationships are given there; that information could be correlated with census information. However, to quickly sort out a large family, there is another place that is quicker and easier, though risky: Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project. I decided to check there first to see whether or not anything jumped out at me.

The Sources

John L. Moore household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 186, family 190; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 21; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via

William A. Powell household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 182, family 186; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 20; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via

William Henry Monroe household, 1880 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lee Township, dwelling 183, family 187; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T9_45; Page 20; Enumeration District 75. Accessed via

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 6 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Got 10 digital photos labeled and organized into folders in iPhoto; this is in addition to four I did the other day. I thought those four were the only unlabeled and unfiled digital photos I had, so I wasn’t going to count them toward completion of a task. However, I found some really cute photos of a cousin and her children and grandchildren on Facebook, so that meant more photos to add! Now I only need six more digital photos …. think I’ll go trolling on my cousins’ pages on Facebook. (Toward Task D for Challenge 3 – not completed, yet, but I might get there)

Added two new source citations (Challenge 1)

Participated in a Genealogy Carnival (“Live from Falls Church, Virginia, It’s the Third Annual iGene Awards!” at the Carnival of Genealogy, posted today!) (Task B of Challenge 5)

Not bad for a work day, but I need more source citations. (Wish I was still going through those obituaries for the Moore family – now there’s a way to pile up citations!)

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 5

I love Googling when I have distinctive names or terms to use. Zera/Zura Lucerne Cotton should bring up something … I hoped.

The Puzzle Piece

It did. Boy, howdy, did it. The hit that I zeroed in on was a page of a blog entitled “Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry: Biographies of the 1,411 Soldiers Who Served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry between the April of 1861 and June of 1864.”

The page, which was devoted to Zara Lucerne Cotton, had a lot of information on him, as did the comments on the post: they contained information on his Civil War service and a list of his six wives, at least some of whom he divorced. The last two wives were given as “a widow by the name of Eliza Ann Powell Monroe” (her married name was actually Moore) and Mary Jane Norman (actually Sarah Jane Norman), who was from Montgomery County (date of marriage 13 December 1903). The author of the post further stated: “His widow Mary Jane apparently remarried in 1907, but in 1916 she applied fore and received a pension (No. 836449; it appears that her second husband died).” One of the comments gave the last two wives’ names as Eliza Ann Powell and Jane Norman. And Eliza Ann Powell was one of the wives whom Zera Lucerne Cotton had divorced.

So one part of the mystery was solved. Zera Lucerne Cotton had married both of the women listed under the name Cotton in Peak Cemetery, having divorced Eliza before he married Jane. The writer of the comment gave Eliza Ann’s maiden name (Powell); both he and the author of the post gave Jane’s last name as Norman. So was Norman her married name or her maiden name?

I was starting to suspect that Norman was Jane’s maiden name. I went back to look at the entry for her in Findagrave, and was stunned to see a name there that I had somehow failed to see the first time: “Daughter of Louisiana Norman.”

Well, now. Not to jump to conclusions, but … Joseph Madison Carroll Norman had a sister named Louisiana. But if this was her daughter … this went too far into the realm of “either had an illegitimate child or married a man (cousin?) with the same last name” – just the same sort of thing I suspected in Jane’s case, and of course Dissie Norman had married Jane’s son Jack Norman. My head was starting to hurt.

It was time to try to track down Jane Norman’s maiden name. Was she a Norman or not? Only the 1880 census might tell.

The Source

Steve Soper, “Zara Lucerne Cotton – updated 2/28/09,” Steve Soper, “Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry: Biographies of the 1,411 Soldiers Who Served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry between the April of 1861 and June of 1864," 10 May 2008 (, and comment by Tom Cotton to the post: accessed 18 February 2010.

Since I am also referring to a comment to the post, it is necessary to mention it, but I am not certain whether to post a separate reference for the comment or put it in the same citation. Above it is shown in the same citation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 5 of the GeneaBloggers Games

4 new source citations (Event 1)

And that’s all for today. There are four more tasks that I would like to accomplish for the other events, but I need to do a lot of straight-out research and data entry so that I can add new sources – I would really like a platinum for Cite Your Sources. (Can’t believe I thought that category would be easy.)

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 4

The entries for Peak Cemetery on Findagrave had previously provided me with a lot of information on the Normans and the families related to them by marriage: who was married to whom, which children belonged to which parents, and so forth. Although we have to be careful with transcriptions such as those found on Findagrave, many of the transcriptions were accompanied by pictures of the tombstones. And I needed information on what ties my Mystery Normans had to other families in the community.

The Puzzle Piece

When I did a surname search on “Cotton” in Peak Cemetery, three names came up:

Aunt Jane Cotton, 1857-1933 (this was the Jane Norman I was interested in)

Eliza Ann Powell Moore Cotton , daughter of Poly N. Dunn and Joseph Powell, wife of Zera (Zura) Lucerne Cotton, Jan. 28, 1857-Jan. 18, 1927

Zera Lucerne Cotton , May 9, 1834-Sep. 4, 1905

I then did a search on “Moore” and found this entry:

Tom Peat Moore, Aunt Jane’s son, age 67 years, Death: Nov. 18, 1951 (the age and date of death seem to have been an addition to the information on the gravestone).

Hmm; Zera died at the right time to have left Jane Norman Cotton a widow, but it appeared that Eliza Ann Powell Moore was Zera's wife. (There’s that Moore connection again, and the Powells were a family with quite a few marriages into the Norman family.) Jane had married a Cotton after the 1900 census and was widowed before the 1910 census, so I wanted to either confirm or rule out Zera. Perhaps he had a brother. I needed to have more information on Zera Cotton, and he had a nice, distinctive name, so … time to hit Google.

The Sources, Peak Cemetery, digital image (, accessed 17 February 2010, photograph, gravestone for Aunt Jane Cotton (1857-1933), Garland, Arkansas., Peak Cemetery, digital image (, accessed 17 February 2010, photograph, gravestone for Eliza Ann Powell Moore Cotton (Jan. 28, 1857-Jan. 18, 1927), Garland, Arkansas., Peak Cemetery, digital image (, accessed 17 February 2010, photograph, gravestone for Zera Lucerne Cotton (May 9, 1834-Sep. 4, 1905), Garland, Arkansas. , Peak Cemetery, digital image (, accessed 17 February 2010, photograph, gravestone for Tom Peat Moore (d. Nov. 18, 1951), Garland, Arkansas.

Madness Wednesday: Another Brick Wall

In keeping with our turned-upside-down-schedule-due-to-the-Olympics, my posting schedule during these GeneaBloggers Games weeks will also be turned upside down. So I am posting Wednesday (which is actually tomorrow, but I am going to prepost today, that is, Tuesday) about one of my tearing-my-hair-out brick walls, Emily Tarrant Moore.

Emily was one of the first “new” ancestors that I found after I got into genealogy, and I hardly know any more about her today than I did when I first saw her name listed as the mother of my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore on his death certificate.

Emily shows up by name on three Federal censuses: 1850, 1860, and 1870. She does not show up on the 1880 census, so we believe she had died by then. Her husband, William Spencer Moore, died in 1871. I believe that Emily died some time during or before the year 1877, because that is when my great-grandfather sold the farm and moved to Texas. Emily’s age is given as 35 on the 1850 census, 31 on the 1860 census (! – her age, her husband’s age, and the ages of her sisters-in-law were all basically the same as their ages were on the 1850 census), and 57 on the 1870 census, so I have taken 1813 as the guesstimate year of her birth. I believe she was also counted with Spencer Moore in Anderson County, South Carolina on the 1840 census, but I cannot be sure it was her; there were two females 20-30 years old (Spencer’s sisters) and one female 10 to 15 years old – too young to be Emily, but it might have been a mistake.

I do not know when Spencer and Emily married. Their children were born in the following years: Preston in about 1843, Harlston Perrin in 1845, Commodore Worth in 1848, William Brewster in 1851, and Anna Jerusha in 1854. I believe that Spencer moved from Greenville County to Anderson County in 1836 (based on land transaction records), and it may be that Spencer and Emily were married by then, because at that time most if not all of the South Carolina Tarrants lived in Greenville County. If Spencer and Emily were married by 1836, why are there no children with earlier dates of birth than 1843? This is one of many mysteries about Emily that I would like to solve.

The “big” mystery would be: Who were Emily’s parents? The solution probably lies in a thorough study of the Greenville Tarrants. Emily is not listed anywhere as belonging to any of the Tarrant families, but I have seen a few gaps in lists of children that have pointed me toward a couple of good prospects.

Some time during the Games I will attempt to make a timeline for the events in Emily Tarrant Moore’s life for which the dates are known – wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 4 of the GeneaBloggers Games

Wrote a biographical sketch of my great-great grandmother Emily Tarrant Moore (Task D for Event 5) (has been preposted and will appear tomorrow)

Added 2 new source citations

(Not much accomplished today. Came home from work to find that plowing had deposited heavy, icy snow back in front of our driveway and had covered up the parking place in front of our house so painstakingly dug out by my husband. As a matter of fact, when I came home, neighbors up and down the street were “re-digging out.” The two previous plowing jobs, done by a friend of a neighbor, were much better and more helpful.)

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 3

I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would find Jane Norman and her two sons on the 1910 census. Dissie had died in 1908, so someone recognizable as her husband Jack Norman might still be around in 1910.

The Puzzle Piece

For a 1910 US Federal Census search on Ancestry, I entered “Norman” in the last name field, “Arkansas” in the state field, and “Garland” in the county field. The Norman names that showed up in the results did not include a Jane or Thomas Norman, but they did include a “Jackson W. Norman,” age 22 – and he was listed together with a Sarah J. Cotton, age 53, and a Thomas P. Moore, age 25. This was the very family that Inez Cline had referred to. Sarah J. was Sarah Jane, Thomas was the “other son named Moore,” and Jackson was Jack! When I checked back on the 1900 census to see why there was a discrepancy in Jack’s name, I could see that “John M.” was probably actually “Johnson” – apparently the census-taker could not remember his exact name. Most importantly, Jack’s marital status was given as “widowed.” As on the 1900 census, the Newton Norman family was right next door.

I still wanted to know if there was not only a connection by marriage, but also a connection by kinship to “my” Normans. Before I did any more census research, I decided to visit what I knew to be a rich source of information on the Normans and numerous members of the Arkansas families related to them. Next stop: Findagrave, specifically the entries for Peak Cemetery, Garland County, Arkansas.

The Source

Sarah J. Cotton household, 1910 U.S. census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lincoln Township, dwelling 136, family 139; National Archives Microfilm Publication, Roll T624_50; Page 9A; Enumeration District 71. Accessed via

Locations of Residence of William Spencer Moore on Google Maps

View William Spencer Moore in a larger map

You can also access the map by clicking on this link.

The Google Maps task combines two series of events, the GeneaBloggers Games and Week 7 of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy.

This was a difficult task for me, with a great deal of trial and error. I did finally end up with a map of the two known residences of William Spencer Moore in South Carolina in the My Maps application of Google Maps. It has map pins on the approximate locations and a brief description for each location, as well as title and description of the map. It's fairly basic, but I hope to be able to do more later.

One problem I had was making the locations as precise as I wanted them to be. I have some paper maps showing the location of each of these two farms within particular townships (Hopewell for the Anderson County one and Fairview for the Greenville County one), and even though I knew some of the local landmarks/orientation points (Twenty-Six Mile Creek for Anderson and Stony Creek for Greenville), I was not able to get good results for Google Maps searches for these locations. Instead, I used the nearest towns: Simpsonville for Greenville and Williamston for Anderson. I'm definitely going to have to do some more tinkering and playing around with this application.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 3 of the GeneaBloggers Games

This has been a rough day of competition for Humble Researcher. Every single point had to be fought for.

Added 3 new source citations (Challenge 1)

In the My Maps application, I created a Google Maps depiction of the two locations where William Spencer Moore is known to have lived during his lifetime. This took a lot of trial and error; you can read about it on my post, which has been preposted and should appear on the blog tomorrow. (It’s scheduled for 7:56 a.m. tomorrow – we’ll see.) (Task A for Challenge 4)

Created 20 data entries (this was actually done by Day 2, but I didn’t realize that it was one of the tasks) (Task E for Challenge 3)

Stored 22 hard-copy documents in proper places (Task A for Challenge 3)

Checked out the Ancestry tutorial page, but I had already watched most of the tutorials, so I tried the Articles Repository on Family Search. I took some notes on some microfilmed items to order from FHC for South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Could not download pdf’s of Research Guides for the various states after I downloaded one for Tennessee, so I switched to Rootsweb, then selected the RootsWeb Guide to Tracing Family Trees, and chose the City Directories and Newsletters page. This provides a helpful list of some of the main repositories of directories (central ones such as DAR and the Library of Congress here in the Washington, D.C. area) and major newspaper collections listed by state. (Task D for Challenge 4)

Some real organizational weak points were revealed today: organization of photographs definitely needs a lot of work and I need to have a systematic way of handling paper copies of maps.

Mystery Normans and Source Citations - Part 2

I mentally filed away the information on Dissie Norman’s marriage to Jack Norman and started census work for the family of her father, Newton Leonard Norman. What I found on the page where the Newt Norman family information was entered whetted my appetite for more information on Jack Norman and his mother Jane:

The Puzzle Piece

You can enlarge the image above by clicking on it. Here is the information:

1900 US Federal Census, Lincoln Township, Garland County, Arkansas, Enumeration District 31, sheet number 5B, enumeration date 8 June 1900

Line number 86, dwelling number 84, family number 84

Norman, Jane Head White Female May 1858. 42 years old at last birthday. Married. Mother of two children, of whom two are still living. Born in Arkansas, father born in Alabama, mother born in Arkansas. Farmer. Months not employed: 0. Can read, cannot write, can speak English.

[Norman,] Thomas Son White Male Dec 1885. 14 years old at last birthday. Single. Born in Arkansas, father born in Arkansas, mother born in Arkansas. Farm laborer Months not employed: 0. Can read, cannot write, can speak English.

[Norman, John M.] Son White Male Mar 1891. 8 years old at last birthday. Single. Born in Arkansas, father born in Arkansas, mother born in Arkansas.

So here is Jane Norman with her two sons, Thomas (Norman) and John M. Norman (that is how the name is interpreted in the Ancestry transcription). I found this entry several families above the Newt Norman family, and on either side there are Moore families - remember that according to Inez Cline’s “Norman Family’s History” one of Jane’s sons was a Moore. Here she and her sons are all listed as Normans. This would lead me to believe that she was not born a Norman but had married a Norman. According to Cline and according to the census, she had only two sons, so was one of these sons actually a Moore? The other son, John M., would probably be the “Jack Norman” in question. Another intriguing item was that the “M” for “married” appears to have been written over an “S”.

This was the information that set off my detective instincts. It was one thing for Cline to have listed this family as having married into the Newton Norman family, but here in 1900 the family in question is living quite close to the Newton Norman family as well as to Moore families which I knew to be connected to “my” Norman family by marriage. Norman families living in close proximity would seem to indicate the probability of kinship, wouldn’t it?

I went through my list of known sons and grandsons of J.M.C. Norman. Almost all of them were “otherwise accounted for.” J.M.C. did have a son named John; the only information Inez Cline had for him was “13 in 1880 [on the 1880 census]; N.F.R. [no further record].” Though nine years younger than Jane, theoretically he could have married her and been the father of her two sons. However, the fact that Cline had no other information on John from Norman descendants seemed to indicate that he had died young. Also, this would have meant that Dissie Norman married a first cousin. Possible, but I didn’t think it was likely.

This made me wonder whether Jane Norman’s husband and the father of Thomas and John might have been a more distant Norman relative, possibly a cousin of J.M.C. Norman.

I decided to try to find out more about Jane Norman and her sons; next stop: 1910 census.


Jane Norman household, 1900 U.S. Census, Garland County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lincoln Township, dwelling 84, family 84; National Archives Microfilm publication, Roll T623_59; Page 5B; Enumeration District 31. Accessed via

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 2 of the Geneabloggers Games

Here are my statistics for the second day:

Added 7 new source citations (Challenge 1)

Created Memorial Page on Footnote for my great-great Uncle Preston E. Moore (This was fun. I am definitely setting up more pages like this on Footnote!) (Task C for Challenge 4)

Created a surname visualization using Image Chef (Task E for Challenge 4)

Created a Surnames I Am Researching page for this blog (Task E for Challenge 5)

Filled out and mailed membership application for Collin County Genealogical Society (Task F for Challenge 6)

My Surname Visualization

Once upon a time I tried to use Wordle, but I could not get the image to show up on my blog. I also tried this time around to use Word It Out for the GeneaBloggers Games, but that didn't work either. Apparently I have to do some sort of screen capture thing to get the image, and Daughter #2 did tell me how to do that, but I have decided to do the easy thing: use Image Chef, which gives you the option of saving the image to your desktop. Full disclosure: I have used Image Chef before to make a surname visualization that I posted on this blog. This is a new one, but I do not know whether it counts for the tally.

The figure is supposed to be a star, but to me it looks a bit more like a little guy with shoes on.

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 1

The 2010 GeneaBloggers Games started right after I encountered a “little mystery” in my Norman research (mentioned in the previous Family and Friends Newsletter Friday). Since at the end of each day of the Games I have been and will be claiming a new source citation total for the day (for Event Number One, Cite Your Sources), I got an idea about posting a little bit each day about the mystery and discussing how each source I cite (one per day for this mystery) moves the solution of the mystery along, as well as discussing how the source should be cited and why. This will prove that I am actually doing some source citations and will also enable me to discuss a very complex mystery in “bite-sized” pieces.

The Puzzle Piece

The following appears in Inez Cline’s “Norman Family History” as the information for Dissie Dulcina Norman, oldest child of Newton Leonard Norman and Rebecca Dulcina Weston: “b. Aug. 5, 1891 d. Oct. 9, 1908 m. Jack Norman, son of Jane. Her other son named Moore. No issue.”

This is the only mention I have seen that Dissie was married. No mention is made on other online family trees or on the Findagrave entry for her. Since her last name remained Norman and she died relatively young, it must not have occurred to anyone, especially if they have not seen Cline’s work. So, the question immediately arises: Was this Jack Norman related to Dissie? Norman is a common name, but still, it’s quite a coincidence.


My source for the first day is the one that has turned into the backbone for my Norman research, Inez Cline’s “Norman Family History. “ Immediately below the title and author lines is the following: “(with help of descendants).” While some of the information is based on records research, a good bit has obviously been taken from interviews with Norman family members. The article covers what is known about the life of Joseph Madison Carroll Norman and contains a list with basic dates and information on his descendants. Since it is known that J.M.C. Norman had 26 or 27 children from three wives, that means quite a few descendants, so a lot of work must have gone into getting all the facts and figures as accurate as possible. Cline may have been helped considerably by the fact that for many years the Norman family had an annual (or biannual) reunion on the grounds of a local church in Garland County, Arkansas (my Uncle Billy Jack remembered my grandmother Sallie Norman Brinlee and her sister Mollie Norman Watson attending these reunions).

From what I have been able to find out about the family from other documentary sources (and I had done several months’ worth of research before receiving the “History”), Cline’s “Norman Family History” does well for thoroughness and accuracy. The major exception that I am aware of is for the family of J.M.C. Norman’s son Joseph James Norman; she has only five children listed for him, whereas from numerous sources I know that there were at least 12.

Issues of type of document and provenance: I received two different copies of the “History” from two different Norman cousins. One was a scan and the other was a Word document which appears to be OCR’d from the former. A page is missing from the scan but not from the Word document; however, there appear to be a few name misspellings in the Word document resulting from the OCR process. At first I believed that the document was an unpublished manuscript, but when I noticed that the page numbers went from 61 to 74 I realized that it must have been a published article, so I did a Google search, which revealed that it was published in The Record 1975 of the Garland County Historical Society. Since I have only copies of the article but not the original publication in which it appeared, at this time my information on the article and periodical may be incomplete. For one thing, I do not know whether Cline’s sources were originally included with the article; they do not appear on the copies that I have.

Here is what I am able to put together for my source citation:

Cline, Inez E., “Norman Family History,” The Record 1975, Garland County Historical Society: 61-74.

(I am counting this as a new source citation, because I had been using the author-title shorthand and had not researched the type of document it is. This is therefore a more complete citation, though it will probably have to be amended when I am able to locate a copy of the periodical.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 1 of the Geneabloggers Games

Here are my statistics for the first day:

Added two new source citations (Challenge 1)

Backed up this blog (Goes toward Task C of Challenge 2)

Organized 48 (!) digital files: Moved files into proper folders, created new folders, consolidated and cleaned out extraneous files from folders. My computer desktop was messier than I thought it was…. (Task B for Challenge 3)

Wrote a post "A Bit About Greta’s Genealogy Bog" (Task A for Challenge 5)

Started following 11 new blogs, either using the “Follow” feature or adding them to my blogroll, and added 7 blogs to follow on Facebook. Also wrote a “Follow” post ("Follow Saturday - Patten Genealogy") on my blog (Task G for Challenge 6)

Wrote a comment on two of the blogs (Task A for Challenge 6)

Follow Saturday – Patten : Genealogy

My selection of the blog featured in this “Follow” feature is based in part on an inadvertent omission. I had meant to mention John Patten’s article, “Restricted Web Searching” on Patten : Genealogy, in my last Family and Friends Newsletter Friday but forgot to include it.

John is Australian and has both Aboriginal and colonial ancestry; he writes that the surprising thing is that his Aboriginal ancestry is better documented than his European ancestry.

In the article I mentioned John brings up the recent decision by Murdoch News not to allow Google to index its websites and makes some good points about our reliance on Google as “a universal font of knowledge, and one that is too easily trusted” and our “illusion of universal record.” So, while it is important to know how to make the best and maximum use of such a powerful search tool, it is also important to be aware that there are still many things that are on the web that cannot be found through this means and to figure out alternate routes to find them.

John is one of the “younger generation” of GeneaBloggers and has just had a new addition to his family: son Tiriki, who was born on January 21. Congratulations, John, and we look forward to hearing more from you on Patten : Genealogy.

A Bit About Greta’s Genealogy Bog

Greta’s Genealogy Bog has a statement of purpose at the top left, so I will not duplicate that. Instead, here are a few items about the blog and the kinds of features, links, and information you will see here.

I am not a professional genealogist or even one who has achieved the level of an advanced amateur. As the logo for the blog states, “Obsessed by genealogy since 2005.” In September of this year I will reach my 5th anniversary in genealogy and in August this blog will reach its second anniversary. I would describe my status as that of a keenly interested amateur somewhere around the advanced beginning or beginning intermediate stage. When I do learn something about the research process – new (for me) methods, sources, etc. – I like to share that information, even though it may not come as news to the more advanced researchers.

You will see two tabs at the top of this page entitled “The Texas Team” and “The South Carolina Crew.” These pages contain lists of blogs with Texas or South Carolina connections. Lower down on the left side of this page are various research-related links, including lists for Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Illinois, and Arkansas. I hope to add to these links during the GeneaBlogger games. I also hope to add a page with a list of families that I am researching; for the time being, it will probably only contain families about whom I have written on this blog, with additional families to be added later.

Regular Features

Memory Monday: I started Memory Monday in January 2009 in fulfillment of a New Year’s genealogy resolution. Ideally, in the course of our genealogy research we should not forget to write down our own memories for future generations, and these posts are my effort to do just that.

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday: This is a newer feature which includes a summary of research I have done during the previous week, a few items on posts of interest on other blogs (not a roundup such as those on Genea-Musings, Apple’s Tree, or Transylvania Dutch, but rather just a few things that I found interesting or amusing), and often an “Off-Topic” part covering areas that interest me: music, language, my cats, gardening, birds, or local events.

Featured Family Friday: This feature is, I admit, mainly “cousin bait.” It does provide some basic information on the families I am researching; the main purpose, however, is to have other people who are researching the same families as I am find this blog through a search on those names and, I hope, get in touch with me. There is a Contact button at the left of this blog, and I invite other researchers and anyone else who wishes to contact me to use it.

Transcription Tuesday: This is also a new feature that I have started in order to chronicle and share my efforts to fulfill another New Year’s genealogy resolution – transcribing various genealogy-related materials that I have acquired.

Follow Friday: An occasional feature - writing about other genealogy blogs - that I really enjoy. It does not appear every Friday, but the Family Newsletter often contains "Follow" features.

Wordless/Wordy Wednesday, Madness Monday, Treasure Chest Thursday: These are a few other GeneaBlogging themes that appear on this blog occasionally rather than regularly. I also participate in carnivals and blogging prompts when possible.

Since I am attempting to take advantage of my participation in the GeneaBloggers Games to improve my research and blogging skills, some of these features may not appear during the next couple of weeks but will be resumed later.

I welcome all comments, either directly on the blog or through the use of the Contact button on the left.

Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games – Game Plan

Carrying the flag for Greta’s Genealogy Bog in the 2010 GeneaBloggers Games is Humble Researcher. For any success she may achieve in the Games, HR credits the highly skilled and hardworking coaches of the GeneaBlogging community, led by Head Coach Thomas Macentee of Geneabloggers.

The flag carried by HR represents the United States, where she lives, the United Kingdom, where many of her ancestors originated, and Georgia, a country whose language she enthusiastically studies.

HR is a relatively junior athlete in these Games. Although she has a couple of documented strengths, in other areas she is either unproven or known to have weaknesses. She is not expected to be a top finisher, but we believe she will make a respectable showing and gain valuable experience in her first GeneaBloggers Games!

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

Goal – Platinum medal
Athlete rating – Not a top contender, but not too bad for a newcomer

HR has been doing this one fairly consistently in her Reunion genealogy database and will continue it with her current research, so it should be fairly easy to reach 50 citations. She states that she will go back to her earliest entries to make sure she sourced all of them, and since she occasionally uses a “shorthand” source citation form in the program, she will create a file with the citation numbers that contains a proper, fully expanded citation for those sources.

2. Back Up Your Data!

Goal – Bronze medal (Outside possibility – gold)
Athlete rating – Flabby

This is HR’s weak point and the area of her most modest ambitions; in these Games she says that she is “only going to put her toe into the water. “ She has done one recent backup of all digital data and has most of her loose pictures in waterproof containers. A major scanning effort awaits the purchase of a high-quality scanner. She will write up a backup plan, publish it on the blog, and ask for recommendations and suggestions on accomplishing the goals of the plan and improving it.

3. Organize Your Research!

Goal – Diamond medal (Outside possibility – Platinum)
Athlete rating – A strong contender; rarely the leader of the pack, but usually among the leading pack

Most of her genealogy books, binders, hardcopy files, and digital files are fairly well organized and are kept together in a single location (hardcopy photos being the major exception). However, she has a few odd files, notes, and pieces of paper here and there, there is always more organization to be done on digital photos, and she can add some metadata to her digital files (and a few of those digital files are still “loose” on her computer desktop). Be careful not to let those little stray pieces trip you up, HR!

4. Expand Your Knowledge

Goal – Gold medal (Outside possibility – Platinum)
Athlete rating – An unknown, no known racing record, but could be a dark horse

Given enough time, she could probably achieve a platinum in this category, but she has admitted that she needs to be realistic. She has used Google maps but has not yet tried to post a map on her blog. She has created a timeline for an ancestor, but has not yet tried any of the timeline applications. One thing that she claims she would really like to do is create one or more memorial pages on Footnote, so this will be an incentive to do so. She also loves to read the tutorial pages on various genealogy sites, so this will be an enjoyable task. Known failure: She has created a Wordle, but did not succeed in saving and posting it (though a different application did work for her). So … it will be interesting to see what success she has with this category.

5. White, Write, Write!

Goal – Platinum medal
Athlete rating – Has kept in shape, strong hopes

This is one area where HR has kept in training. According to HR: “Whoodathunkit? A year or so ago, I would have thought that regularly writing and posting would be one of the least likely things for me to accomplish, but in the supportive atmosphere of the GeneaBlogging community, that assumption has been turned on its head. I had already planned to do several of these tasks; possible difficulty – prepublishing posts.” We’ll see!

6. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Goal – Gold (Outside possibility – Diamond)
Athlete rating – Has experience in some areas, but this is a multiple-skill (decathlon/pentathlon) event, so best hopes are to place

She has some practice in the “following” blogs part, but is inexperienced in some of the other areas. Joining another genealogy society was already in her plans for this year, so this should give her a start.

That wraps up our “Up Close and Personal Interview: Humble Researcher’s Game Plan” here in Virginia.

Let the games begin!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday 12 February 2010

The “Snowbound” Edition of the Newsletter will be especially long this week.



Lots of research got done this week. I finished up with the Sudie Norman/William Cannon/Mitchell Blackburn family, started and completed inputting for the Martha Rebecca Norman/Enoch Fuller family, and moved on to the Newton Leonard Norman family.

There is a little bit of a Norman mystery brewing. Next to my Normans in Arkansas on the 1900 census I found a mysterious woman named “Aunt Jane” Norman whose last (or maybe not) husband was Zura Luzerne Cotton, a real character in his own right. Jane may or may not have been related to my Normans – that is the main mystery. Both of Jane’s sons appear to have been illegitimate. One – Jackson Norman – married Newton Norman’s daughter Dissie Norman, who died young. Because Dissie's last name remained the same, most researchers (except for Inez Cline) appear to assume that she was not married. Jane’s other son – Thomas Peat Moore – appears to be the illegitimate son of one of the sons of John Lawrence Moore and Rebecca Lucinda Wacaster, a family with several ties of marriage to my Normans. Jane is shown as a servant for this family and her sister Nancy is shown as a servant for another branch of the family on the 1880 census. It’s complicated but intriguing; I may write a series on this one.


Nancy’s My Ancestors and Me featured a discussion of differences in approach between men and women: Do women go in more for collateral lines in genealogical research than men do?

Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets and Wood County Texas Genealogical Society have been added to the Texas Team (you can visit this spiffy new page by clicking on the tab at the top).

Hilarious video on the pitfalls of oral history (Discrepancies in Memories and Oral History) on Professor Dru’s Find Your Folks. Raise your hand if conversations like this have happened in your family. I thought so.

Carol from Reflections from the Fence demonstrated why Grandma has bragging rights! Also check out her post “Time Travel, Date, April 1, 2082.” When you’re hot, you’re hot! Actually, last I heard, Carol is all wet. No, really!

I got to be a cheerleader this week on SNGF. Terry Thornton, you rock. (BTDubs, did the Hill-Hogs win?) (Sorry I missed the end of the game; had to go play on the defensive line for another team!)

Off-Topic: In Defense of the Passive Voice

There is a deeply held conviction among many speakers of English (Americans? – I do not really know how the British feel about this issue) that the passive voice is a major no-no in writing.

Don’t Strunk and White advise against it (“Avoid the passive voice”)? Doesn’t almost every high school English teacher and college writing instructor advise against it? Don’t all the “female empowerment” types expressly advise women to avoid using the passive lest they be taken for waffling wimps?

This rant was occasioned by an article I found on my AOL page Tuesday morning: “Liz Christman, Enemy of the Passive Voice, Who Rocked Some Jaunty Hats,” by Melissa Henneberger on Politics Daily. Her subject was obviously a lovely and admirable lady. But I would so have been on the other side of the “Passive Voice Wars.”

The passive voice is real. It’s legitimate. It’s not going away. And I am speaking up in its defense.

Yes, there are times when a passive construction can be clumsy. So can an active construction. Clumsy constructions should be avoided.

Yes, there are times when the passive sounds evasive or wishy-washy. That is to be avoided – unless you do wish to be evasive or wishy-washy. You know, sometimes we simply do not want to come across with the force of an umpty-ton truck.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. There, see – a straightforward saying. Does writing “The founders of Rome did not build the city in a day” make the proposition any more forceful? No, it does not. In fact, it deprives this laconic bit of wisdom of a lot of its original impact. (Confession: This example was provided by a colleague who is also a defender of the passive voice.)

The “Rome” example points to a pitfall that often besets translators who endeavor to avoid the passive voice: In order to eliminate the passive voice, it is necessary to add an actor to the sentence, even if it is only the impersonal “they.” And guess what? Adding information in a (non-literary) translation (other than connecting words that simply do not exist in the source language) is a bad translation practice. It’s right up there with omissions and paraphrases.

There is a principle of narrative flow and cohesion at stake. The ability to choose either active or passive constructions gives us greater latitude in preserving the theme-rheme (also known as topic and comment) order of sentences so that one sentence flows logically into the next one. In translations, converting sentences from passive to active often means reversing this theme-rheme order. This leads to the type of disjointed and choppy prose that is the mark of a bad translation. (Ugh, please tell me why the spelling function in Microsoft Word does not recognize “rheme” as a legitimate word?)

Whew. I just had to get that off my chest. Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Seeking Shelter (and Food) in the Storm

Almost wordless ... Wind and snow do not stop the birds...

For context, front view and side view (the snow is up to about 3 feet on the crepe myrtle):

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Transcription Tuesday: Continuation of Susan Caroline Sisson’s Pension Application

Below is the transcription of the rest of Susan Carolina Sisson’s Confederate Widow’s Application for a Pension. It has very little additional information, though it does indicate that she possesses no property (she may have passed it on to her children). It also indicates that she moved to Coffee County, Alabama in November 1922; perhaps that was the time that daughter Edna moved to Georgia with husband Reuben Mulkey. Susan also indicates that husband William T. Sisson’s initial application for a pension was rejected because he owned too much property at the time to qualify.

[Fourth page]

Post offices Elba, Alabama, R#4.

Years Came here to Coffee County in November, 1922.

Also state when you moved to Alabama Have been here all time.

When and where did your husband enlist in the service of the Confederate States or State of Alabama? Don’t know….Records in Pension office show this.

To what branch of the service did he belong? Pension records show this.

What was his rank? Pvt.

Give number of his Regiment Don’t remember. Letter of his Company ____

Name of his Colonel Don’t remember. Records in Pension office will show.

Name of his Captain …Don’t know this.

Was he wounded? _____ If so, in what battles? Records there show.

State whether he was ever captured no. Where None When___
Or imprisoned No Where None When

And when discharged from prison none.

Where and when did he quit the service of the Confederate States and under what circumstances? Honorably discharged at end of war.

Was he paroled? none. Have you his parole? none.

Was he ever on the pension roll of this State? Yes.

If so, give county in which he drew pension Talladega County, Alabama.

Did he ever draw a pension from any other State? none. If so, give name of State _____ and County _____ and years _____.

Was any application for pension in this State ever made by him and refused? was drooped [sic] on account of having too much property one time. If so, in what county was he then living and what year did this occur Talladega County.

County Don’t know. Year, reason He had too much property at that time.

Give below the schedule of your property:

Real Estate Value

None Acres in None County $ ____
Description of improvements None at all.

[Fifth page]

Household Furniture None.
Hogs None.
Horses and Mules None.
Cattle None.
Sheep None.
Goats None.
Watches and Clocks None.
Jewelry None.
Paintings None.
Libraries None.
Pianos and Organs None.
Shares of Bank Stock None
Shares of Stock in Companies or Corporations None.
Investments in Bonds None.
Mortgages None.
Money in Bank None.
Money elsewhere None.
Merchandise None.
Other property or Investments None.


What is your yearly income from rents, interest or other investments? None.

The above statements are true and correct.

Signed this 9th day of April, 1923.

(Signed) Susan Caroline Sisson + her mark

State of Alabama,
Coffee County.

Personally appeared before me ___ a ____ in and for said County Coffee, whose name is signed to the foregoing statement and who is known to me, who being by me first duly sworn, deposes and says that the answers made to the foregoing questions are true and correct to the best of her knowledge and belief.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 9th day of April, 1923.

J. M. Stokes
J. of P.

[Sixth page]

Tax Assessor’s Certificate

D. C. Marley, Tax Assessor for Coffee County, hereby certify that the assessed value of property real and personal, as shown by assessment book of year 1923 assessed to Susan Caroline Sisson amounts to None.

Witness my hand this 9th day of April, 1923.

D. C. Marley
Tax Assessor Coffee County

[File card]

Order Number _____

Widows Blank for Reclassification under Section 11, as amended by acts of legislature approved October 5th, 1920

Application of
Susan Caroline Sisson

Widow of
Wm. T. Sisson

State of Alabama,
Coffee County

Filed in the office of the Probate, Judge this 11th day of April 1923.

Filed in office of Commission this ___ day of ____ 192_.
J. A. Carcely
Judge of Probate

Monday, February 8, 2010

Memory Monday: Waiting at the Gas Station

Parents sometimes enjoy talking to other adults. There are actually times when they would rather be doing that than spending every last free minute in the incredibly stimulating company of their children.

Little children tend to be unaware of this fact.

I certainly was. I could not imagine why my parents felt compelled to spend hours and hours in conversation with other adults: their siblings, our neighbors, the people they worked with, the cashier at the grocery store, the meter reader. It seemed as through a huge chunk of their lives was eaten up by discussions of the most boring subjects imaginable.

Most of the time this did not bother me and I did not even take any notice, because I had something to amuse myself. I was either at home or in some other context where I had things to entertain me – toys, TV, other kids (friends, schoolmates, cousins, or some other poor kid with the yappy parents who were deep in conversation with my yappy parents), or even some sort of interesting setting that held my interest such as a toy store, garden, or construction site (I liked to play with all the extra wood bits).

But sometimes there was no escaping the dire consequences of this endless penchant for mind-numbing gab. Sometimes it would happen when I had to accompany Mom on errands (utility offices were a notorious bore; see Running Away).

But most often it occurred when Mom was busy elsewhere and I was in Dad’s care for the day. Instead of doing neat dadly things – I would have been happy to hang out in his workshop – he felt the need to go visiting with two of his closest friends, Dan and Dan’s wife Martha.

And Dan and Martha were some of the nicest people ever; they would ask how I was, offer me food and drink, and praise me to the skies. Dan and Martha owned a gas station. If you were a construction/cars/tools kind of guy like my Dad, Dan and Martha’s gas station was Mecca and Heaven all rolled into one. For me it was Hell. Because there is where I so often had to confront The Great Enemy: Boredom. Boredom just sits and waits in dull, grimy settings such as gas stations to pounce on his hapless young victims.

It’s not that I didn’t fight the enemy with every resource I had at my disposal: daydreaming, begging for chocolate sodas from the ancient soda machine, watching the numbers change on the gas pumps, or even, in desperation, people-watching.

But after an hour or two sitting on the cracked brown leather of a backless stool in the gas station office, the fidgeting started. Then the eye-rolling. And finally, kicking the stool rungs and sighing. After a while Dad would finally get the message, but the goodbyes ate up even more time.

I have been paid back for that impatience many times over by my own children. Their special weapon is the expression of desperation and shocked incomprehension at my life-destroying, record-breaking gabfests.

But things change. I knew my older daughter was growing up when one Sunday at church I interrupted my participation in a deep conversation with fellow parishioners to remind my daughters, “Time to go down to Sunday school class,” and Daughter #1 turned to me with that pleading expression they use and said, “Can’t I skip Sunday school today? I want to stay here and listen to you guys.”

Heh, heh. Revenge is sweet. “Not today. Maybe some time when you’re older.”

Two New Pages Added to This Blog!

I'm so excited - I actually accomplished a technogeek thing today (thanks to Thomas Macentee's easy-to-follow instructions on GeneaBloggers) and added two new pages to Greta's Genealogy Bog: The Texas Team and The South Carolina Crew. These pages contain lists of blogs that have a Texas or South Carolina connection. If your blog has that connection and you do not see it on the list, let me know in a comment to this post or by using the Contact button on the left of this blog and I will add it. The South Carolina Crew in particular could probably use an update. The next page to be added will probably be a list of the families that I am researching.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy – Challenge 6, Online Databases at the Public Library

On to the latest of 52 challenges for improving our research skills posed by Amy of We Tree. This one I have known about for quite a while. The closest library to me is the Falls Church City Public Library. I have been accessing Heritage Quest using my library card there for almost as long as I have been doing genealogy and had already been using it for several months before I signed up for Ancestry. I still go back to the census images on Heritage Quest when the image is poor on Ancestry; sometimes it is better and sometimes not. Even when the image is not much better, an image may appear very dark on one of the services and very light on the other, and between the two you may be able to figure out what is written. PERSI is also available through Heritage Quest and I sometimes use it for that.