Monday, May 30, 2011

Greenville 2

More Swamp Rabbit Trail:

Greek Culture Day on Main Street:

The West End of Greenville

 (where Shoeless Joe Jackson, the old Coca Cola Plant, and the Cigar Plant
figure prominently)

Shoeless Joe Jackson


Permanent sidewalk art

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Surname Saturday: John Sims and Samuel Rebecca Hendricks

John Sims
b. 12 Nov 1859, Collin County Texas
d. 11 Feb 1937, Thalia, Foard County, Texas
& Samuel Rebecca Hendricks
b. 14 Nov 1861, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
d. 13 Jun 1944, Thalia, Foard County, Texas
m. 18 Nov 1880, Merkle, Taylor County, Texas
|--John Lewis Sims
|----b. 11 Aug 1882, McKinney, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 5 May 1961, Ector, Fannin Co., Texas
|--& Bessie M. Bridges
|----b. 18 Jan 1886, Whitfield County, Georgia
|----d. 2 Jan 1919
|--Effie Sims
|----b. 1883, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|---& George Nash
|--Cassie Biannica Sims
|----b. 9 Apr 1886, Texas
|----d. 6 Nov 1975, Abilene, Taylor, Texas
|---& Elva Lewis Berry
|----b. 20 Apr 1884, Crockett County, Tennessee
|----d. 6 Mar 1968, Merkel, Taylor County, Texas
|----m. 1906
|--Lillie Cleveland Sims
|----b. 14 Jan 1889, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 26 Aug 1957, Merkel, Taylor County, Texas
|---& Fred Atlee Baker
|----b. 14 Dec 1886, Johnson County, Texas
|----d. 2 Feb 1950, Merkel, Taylor County, Texas
|----m. 30 Dec 1906
|--Jessie Rose Sims
|----b. 27 Feb 1893, Texas
|----d. 15 Mar 1961, Vernon, Wilbargar County, Texas
|---& Grover Cleveland Phillips
|----b. 16 Feb 1884, Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee
|----d. 6 Jun 1964, Thalia, Foard County, Texas
|--Robert Lee Sims
|----b. 18 Oct 1895, Texas
|----d. 31 Jul 1975, Wichita Falls, Archer, Texas
|---& Blanche Estelle Randolph
|----b. 12 Apr 1895, Texas
|----d. 7 Nov 1980, Wilbarger County, Texas
|----m. 17 Jun 1922

This is the family of John Sims, son of Margaret Leek Brinlee (sister of my great-grandfather Hiram Carroll Brinlee, Jr.) and Robert Brown Sims, and Samuel Rebecca Hendricks. I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

The Junk in My Yard

No, this is not a rerun of my old Memory Monday post, “Junk in Our Yard.” This is something different.

You ladies out there who are reading this (and I admit that I don’t know enough about the male psyche to address this to the guys reading this): Do you ever find yourselves saying something or doing something, and then coming to a somewhat frightening realization that compels you to say, “OMG, I am turning into my mother”?

Well, I have had the genealogical equivalent of that. Only it wasn’t my mother.

Let me back up.

After a looooong week at work, I was looking forward to a long weekend - finally, some extra time for research! And after the NGS Conference in Charleston, a lot of tasks have started to pile up....

What would I do? Work on the Brinlees? Add some death certificate images to my trees on Ancestry? Work on my Genealogy Toolbox on this blog or on Weebly? Transcribe more of the Floyd lawsuit and add it to my Reunion notes? Or write up my “Surname Saturday” post....

I liked the prospect that I could pick and choose among these activities. You know, tweak my family tree in Reunion. Fix up a source citation or two.

I got to musing about my approach to research and all the associated activities (blogging, working on a website, organizing files, etc.).

And then it hit me.

OMG. I am turning into ... my father.

Oh, yes. You can read about him and the junk he kept in our yard here.

He loved to tinker. Sometimes he even got the stuff to run. But usually not.

Oh, there were some sweet pieces there - a shiny chassis (nothing else), some (now) rare cars, some really nice individual car parts that didn’t go with anything he had....

And he would go out, look at them, think what pieces he needed to go with them, go down to Dan and Martha’s gas station to talk about working on them and see if Dan knew where he could get the right parts.... (You can read about that here.)

Or he would clean a part, maybe replace some rusted nuts and bolts, hammer out dings....

And it’s all so exactly like what I do with my family tree.

My family tree is my “piece of junk” that I like to tinker with.

Now, before you get all indignant that I consider my family tree a piece of junk ... NO, I do NOT!!! But I am definitely a tinkerer, and I have just realized it.

I do get parts of it “running” (complete data input or transcription projects for some families).

But at the same time I do flit from one task to another, depending on my mood. There are “parts” strewn all over my desktops - the computer desktop and the physical desktop. And piles of “manuals” on my bookshelves.

It’s not that Dad couldn’t put together something that ran and worked. Once he built a functioning tractor from junkyard parts. (Though why we, who lived in the suburbs at the time and had a suburbs-sized yard, needed one, is another matter.)

Similarly, there are areas of research where I have really pulled out all the stops and done the necessary follow-up. But there are also so many loose ends, so many documents that have not been transcribed and analyzed, so much ... junk that doesn’t run.

And I understand why Dad did what he did now. Carpentry was his vocation. He was good at it and he made a living at it. Vehicles - tractors, cars, motorcycles - were his avocation. He was also good at that. But he did it for enjoyment, and deadlines and lists of tasks that MUST be accomplished can be the death of enjoyment.

Although I aspire to being an outstanding amateur family history researcher, it is important that it remain a source of pleasure and even relaxation.

But, to be honest -

There are just too many cars in my yard right now.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow Friday Newsletter: 27 May 2011

I will start this post off with an apology. In one of my NGS Conference posts I asked a question, then left the people who posted their answers hanging without the correct answer.

The question? “What crop accounted for more than half of the South’s agricultural output in the 1850s?”

The answer: Corn. (The reason - the lucrative livestock industry.)

This Week in Genea-Blogging:

Two for Salt Lake City

Becky Wiseman of kinnexions and Carol of Reflections from the Fence are having one of those ideal genea-experiences: researching in Salt Lake City and getting to share it with a kindred spirit! And check out Carol's method for refiling film at the FHL in "The Easy Way to Refile Film, Salt Lake City."

And now four genea-bloggers have met up: Becky found Cheri Hopkins and Ruby Coleman - the You Go Genealogy Girls - at the Family History Library! See "What a Delight They Are!"

And speaking of “two”

I love it when great genea-minds team up - and we have another Dynamic Duo in our midst: Laura from It’s All Relative and Jenny Lanctot from Are My Roots Showing? Wishing you ladies great success in your endeavors. I’ve thought of doing this myself, but I know that I am at a point of really low self-discipline and wouldn’t want to “bring the team down.”

Thanks for the reminder!

An announcement was made during NGS Charleston that some major South Carolina collections (South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964 and South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977), but I had not gotten around to looking at them until I saw Marilyn Reed Thompson’s post “Digitized Treasures” at Samuel and Mary Clark Reed of Barnwell. She is correct in her assessment that this is really big - from just casual browsing I have found files of a couple of “allied families” to my Moores, including mentions of my ggg-grandfther Samuel Moore. Thanks, Marilyn!

One of those resources you must never overlook...

Findagrave. Susan Petersen at Long Lost reminds us, “Are You Making Full Use of Findagrave?” Information and photos are continuously being added to the site, so unless you check regularly, you may miss something!

What is family?

Christopher Shaw raises some interesting questions at Diggin’ for Family about covering the lines of adoptive parents in our research in “Blood is not Always Thicker when it comes to Family.”

Why digitized and micofilmed records are not enough

is discussed by Michael Hait at Planting the Seeds in “Are my sources original? Who cares?” This week Michael also continues his series on source citations with “Source Citations: Why Form Matters, part two” and “Source Citations: Why Form Matters, part three.” He begins with a review of recent blog posts on the subject and discusses the points raised in these posts.

Amy Coffin asks

“Should I Join My Local Genealogy Society?” at We Tree. Check out the reasons for her positive answer.

She takes genealogy seriously - very seriously

Do check out Katie O.’s post on “When a Family History Nerd Gets Married: The Bachelorette Party” at You Are Where You Came From. There’s definitely hope for the younger generation.

Having a little bit of conference withdrawal?

Check out Cheri Daniels’ slide show of the NGS Conference in Charleston in “Sun, Surf, and Surnames” at Journeys Past.

This week I started following these blogs:

Reflections on Genealogy

Claiming Kin

Diggin’ for Family

Forget-Me-Not Ancestry

Green Eyed Look-a-Like

Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy

Onward to our Past

Search Tip of the Day

The Heritage Files

Theories of Relativity

The Genealogy Geeks

My Research Week

This has been another great week for genea-angels and angels of other types. First, Jay Odom sent me information on a mystery relative. I continued to exchange Norman information and photographs with my cousin Rebecca. And a wonderful (but anonymous) genea-angel did a lookup and copied some information for me (thank you!).

Please don’t let anything happen for a while to cloud up my rose-colored glasses.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I Learned Wednesday: 25 May 2011

Cousin bait works.

It really does pay to do those “Surname Saturday” type posts.

When I write these posts, I try to include a section on “information I am still missing,” or sometimes it may be a little mystery that is connected with the family being featured. And last week a wonderful gentlemen stepped up and sent me an e-mail to answer my question about Lora Mae Scott, the only daughter of Leander Scott and Elizabeth Ann Brinlee (my grandfather’s older sister). I thought she must have died early, but she survived to marry and have a family. And this genea-angel sent me an obituary for one of her sons as well as an article showing that she had attended a birthday party for her stepfather in 1934. Thank you, Jay Odom!

Both articles have a lot of names, and I have figured out many of the connections, but not all. I do know that one of the names shows up as the undertaker on the death certificate of Lora Mae's son-in-law.

I find Lora Mae on the 1900 census twice - once with her mother and stepfather and once with her husband Joseph Duckworth. I also find her on the 1930 census with her mother and stepfather, although her age is incorrectly given as “9”. Her relationship to her stepfather Harve Mulder is given as “adopted daughter.” (Previously I could not figure out who this was, even though her first name is given as Lora and the relationship is correctly stated.) So far I have not found her on the 1910 or 1920 censuses. On the 1910 census, her twin sons are shown living with her parents, and on the 1920 census, one of the sons and her daughter are shown living with her parents; I do not know yet where the third child was in each case. More work to do....

By 1917, when her husband Joseph Duckworth has registered for the World War I draft, the couple must have separated; he lists his wife’s name as Georgia.

The main thing that led me to believe in Lora Mae’s early death was that on the 1910 census, the children born/children still surviving figures for her mother Elizabeth were 8 and 7, and I knew that the other seven children were still living at this time.

There is something else that is strange - on Family Search, I found Lora Mae Scott indexed to the death record of her son Roy Duckworth - but her name did not appear anywhere on the death certificate. So perhaps on the “Feedback” feature people are entering additional information? I notice on the record page (not the image) that her name is in bold.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Surname Saturday: Family of Robert Brown Sims and Margaret Leek Brinlee

Robert Brown Sims
----b. 18 Nov 1825, Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi
----d. 5 Jul 1889, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
& Margaret Leek Brinlee
----b. 12 Feb 1834, Red River County, Texas
----d. 4 Dec 1910, Vineyard, Jack County, Texas
----m. 15 Sep 1856, Collin County, Texas
|--Houston Sims
|----b. 25 Feb 1858, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 7 Oct 1859, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|--John Sims
|----b. 12 Nov 1859, Collin County Texas
|----d. 11 Feb 1937, Thalia, Foard County, Texas
|---& Samuel Rebecca Hendricks
|----b. 14 Nov 1861, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 13 Jun 1944, Thalia, Foard County, Texas
|----m. 18 Nov 1880, Merkle, Taylor County, Texas
|--Robert Brown Sims Jr.
|----b. 6 Apr 1862, Texas
|----d. 1 Jan 1948, Cooke County, Texas
|---& Lenora Ella Howser
|----b. 6 Mar 1870, Missouri
|----d. 18 Jan 1971, Golden Acres Nursing Home, Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas
|----m. 15 Nov 1894
|--Mary Ann Sims
|----b. 19 Aug 1863, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 24 Mar 1900, Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma
|---& James Edward Brinlee
|----b. 3 Apr 1864, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 11 Feb 1908, Pauls Valley, OK
|----m. 21 Oct 1884, McKinney, Collin County, Texas
|--Laura Jane Sims
|----b. 28 Jul 1865, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 5 Jun 1944, Anna, Collin County, Texas
|---& Thomas Holmes “Tommy Homer” Stephens
|----b. Jan 1867, Texas
|----d. Oct 1906, Indianola, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma
|----m. 22 Aug 1888
|--George Sims
|----b. 27 Jan 1867, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|--Benjamin Sims
|----b. 1 Jul 1874, Stony Point, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 28 Jan 1944, Vineyard, Jack County, Texas
|---& Mary Jane Thetford
|----b. 7 Aug 1880, Texas
|----d. 21 Jan 1949, Jack County, Texas
|----m. 11 Feb 1906

This is the family of Robert Brown Sims, son of Robert Sims and Nancy Nichols, and Margaret Leek Brinlee, daughter of Hiram Carroll Brinlee Sr. and Elizabeth Ann McKinney.

Daughter Mary Ann married her first cousin James Edward Brinlee, who was the son of my great-grandfather Hiram Carroll Brinlee Jr. and his first wife, Diza Caroline Boone.

Son George is a bit of a mystery. The story goes that when he was about 18 to 20 years old, he left on horseback with a couple of other men. The other men returned after a few days with his horse and saddle but without him. They claimed that they had bought the horse and saddle from him but did not know where he went. He was never seen by his family again.

Conference Swag

In the vendors' hall at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, in addition to lots of great freebies, there were some excellent items for purchase among the many book and tech vendors. I tried to be a good genie and not buy too many things; in this I was successful ... until near the end of the Conference. Below are some of the items I brought back:

Abstract of Deeds: Greenville County, SC, Books Q&R (1828-1835) by Dr. A. B. Pruitt

Military Bounty Land, 1776-1855 by Christine Rose

History of Old Pendleton District, South Carolina with a Genealogy of the Leading Families of the District by R. W. Simpson

Historical Sketch & Roster TX 5th Cavalry Regiment Partisan Rangers from The Confederate Regimental History Series

And on the third day I finally gave in and bought it:

In addition, I have an entire Conference bag full of: a very heavy syllabus, newsletters and other publications of various local genealogical societies and associations, fliers from various companies, various other hand-outs, and lots of tourist brochures from the Charleston and Greenville areas as well as Wilson and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Now I need to take another vacation so that I will have time to read all of these goodies!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Identify Troublemakers on Your Blog

Have good friends/followers/readers who will let you know when they get the warning message from Blogger.  Seriously.  I was able to access my own blog, but this was a bad thing, because I received no notification from Blogger/Google indicating that there was a problem.  Last time this happened, Jenny Lanctot of Are My Roots Showing? notified me (and sent me a copy of the message identifying the culprit) and this time Barbara Poole of Life from the Roots informed me and forwarded the message to me so that I could see what was causing the problem.

Thank you to these two good genea-blogger friends and to the friends who have let me know that everything is OK now. 

My "Blogs I Follow" Blogroll Has Been Removed

For the second time in the last couple of months, a blog on my blogroll has been found to be a source of malware and the warning then shows up for my blog as well.  I loved having a blogroll, and may gradually restore it some day, but for the time being I want to be extra cautious.  I hope that it is now safe to post comments here, and hope that some brave reader will try it so that we can make sure that my blog is safe.  Thank you, Barbara of Life from the Roots for alerting me to this problem!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Post-Conference Letdown

Post-conference letdown. I did not experience it. Because today, 15 May, was a perfect day.

Today we left Charleston and headed toward Orangeburg to meet my second cousin once removed, Rebecca, and her husband Danny.

I am so proud to be related to these people, both genetically and through marriage. We got a running start in exchanging information, and didn’t let up the pace for two and a half hours. Rebecca and I did a “fast talking” data swap: family stories, what we had found in research, and as much incidental information as we could pack in between all of that. Stu and Danny talked about their areas of interest. Our (Koehl) daughters observed and laughed. Daughter #1 later confided to me, “Mom, you and Rebecca have the exact same body language; it’s so funny to watch the two of you together.”

Rebecca is a first-rate researcher and brought a pile of copied documents with her to give to me. Prior to becoming really active in genealogical research, she obtained some bootcamp-intensity experience in going through courthouse records, and the stuff she had shows it. My friends, she brought me a goldmine. Not only lots of records, but also several family reminiscences. This branch of the family, the last one I found in that exciting first year of research, is really starting to come alive for me. I am so excited about the prospect of having Rebecca to exchange information with. I was initially disappointed when, after I found this branch of the family, I saw that it has been well researched. But Rebecca and I have some ideas on some of the broken off branches....

After saying farewell to Rebecca and Danny, we headed for Greenville. As we approached Main Street and familiar landmarks came into view, I realized that I was smiling and could not stop. I roused the girls from their slumber and started to point things out: “Look, here is Main Street; see how the trees shade it over?” It was the last day of Greenville’s annual art festival, Artisphere, and we could see a long line of tents along the street near our hotel.

Right after we had checked in and checked out our room, we headed down the stairs from the hotel to the Reedy River below and Falls Park. It was as beautiful as I remembered it. I had hoped that the girls would like Greenville and turned around to see their expressions: they were as enchanted as Stu and I had been on our first visit! We stood on Liberty Bridge, a long, curved pedestrian suspension bridge. At one point we watched a pair of jugglers on the rocks in the river below juggle and toss pins to one another (some landed in the river, but were confined to a small pool between rocks).

We walked over to the art festival, visited some of the booths, and spoke to craftsmen and artists from all over the United States. We checked out a bit more of the park and then walked down Main Street toward the far end to eat at our favorite Japanese restaurant in Greenville. The food was as good as we remembered it. Daughter #2 stated that she wants to live in Greenville some day. On the way back we spotted three of the legendary little bronze mice of Greenville that can be found along Main Street if you look carefully.

After dinner we showed the girls Linky Stone Park, the children’s park under the overpass that we visited last time, and they were enthralled. We spent a good bit of time playing the musical instruments (bells, percussion, and an instrument made with PVC pipes (difficult to describe, but there is a small round opening in the top of each one, and if you quickly pop your hand on the top of it, it will produce the musical note with which each pipe is labeled).

There were still many people out walking and enjoying the fountains: families with little kids who splashed through street-level fountains, artists, bicyclists, and lots of people with their pets, including a guy walking his rabbit. I stopped to talk with him for a while to see how his rabbit takes to all of the people (quite well) and told him about our daughters’ second-grade teacher and the beloved rabbit she often brought to the classroom with her.  He admitted that he has really spoiled his beloved rabbit, but I noted that she is certainly well behaved in public.

Here are a few pictures from our first day in Greenville:

Jugglers on the Reedy River

Some of the falls on the Reedy River

Rabbit out for a walk

Mouse with hat next to statue of Nathaniel Greene

View of Linky Stone Park

Bells in Linky Stone Park

"PVC pipe organ"

[This was written yesterday but not posted until today.]

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day Four at NGS Charleston

Once again I did not have my camera with me, so I am just going to put up a picture of the model of the H. L. Hunley that is located in front of the Charleston Museum. This was what the Hunley was previously thought to look like, but it was proven incorrect when the Hunley was brought up from what had been its resting place on the sea bed for over 130 years.

Today I learned a second lesson about attending genealogy conferences - do not miss the closing/general session of the conference. I found out the good way (by attending), not the bad way (by not attending).

The main presentation, “The Hunley: Where Science and History Come Together to Tell Time,” was delivered by Senator Glenn F. McConnell, Chairman of the Hunley Commission. This presentation all by itself was worth the price of admission to the conference (and there were many first-rate presentations at this conference). Senator McConnell is a compelling speaker and is passionate about this subject, and the subject itself has an absolutely amazing story. Although I knew the outlines and the outcome of the story, McConnell had me and many others on the edges of our seats and received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end.

Before this presentation, Jay Verkler of FamilySearch spoke. He focused on the importance of Ancestry going public to the genealogy community, which he believes will attract even more investors to companies that provide genealogy-related services. He also invited people who are interested in giving presentations at RootsTech to look at the website to see what members of the public have said they want to hear. He praised and thanked everyone who has been working on indexing (since 1 January, 300,000 plus indexers, 800,000,000 more records, and many Wiki articles). He said that FamilySearch is working on tweaking the filtering of search results so that people will not have to click so many times and recommended that people come back to check at least every month for new databases and additional material.

Presentations: First presentation - Craig Scott’s “Confederate Prisoner of War Records.” Scott guided us through the complexities of finding these records. While the taking of prisoners started almost immediately, formal protocols for what to do with them, how to exchange them, etc., did not, and the records are quite spotty for a while. Scott explained the differences between the various microfilm series dealing with this subject, as well as what precisely the conditions for paroles and exchanges are. He also pointed us to possible sources of information on categories such as “Galvanized Yankees.”

The second presentation I attended was “Roll Call: New Sites and Sources for Military Records and Research” by Curt Witcher. With his characteristic energy and enthusiasm, Witcher gave us a pretty thorough enumeration and explanation of various sites that may prove helpful. While some of these sites are familiar to us, there are a few ins and outs he pointed out that can help us delve deeper into what these sites have to offer.

Third presentation - Elizabeth Shown Mills’ “Identity Crisis: Right Name, Wrong Man? Wrong Name, Right Man?” She demonstrated how interesting, frustrating, and yes, amusing different naming systems can be and came as close as I have seen to providing a systematic listing for the causes behind name changes, alterations, variations, and so on. If you are a name geek/language geek, these things are truly fascinating, and they are also helpful for anyone doing genealogy.

Fourth and final presentation: John Philip Coletta’s “The Country Courthouse: Your ‘Trunk in the Attic.’” This was a good general outline of ways to find out what particular courthouses contain - both the records that they should contain and what they actually contain. The first half covered the sources we should turn to to find out about the courthouse before we visit, and the second half dealt with the types of records that will ideally be found there.

At the end of this presentation, I said goodbye to the other remaining genea-bloggers, Jennifer Woods and her daughter Ellie (be watching for Ellie - she is very talented, and I hope we will soon be seeing some of the results of her creativity). Ginger, Linda, and Cheryl had been with us for the previous presentation and had left for different venues. It was wonderful to be able to share experiences, information, and ideas with all of them, and I hope we can all meet up again at another convention.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day Three at NGS Charleston

Today was another great day, though it was a short day for me at the Convention. Instead of my early morning cup of coffee for breakfast (and a hastily grabbed and eaten pretzel later on), I skipped the eight o’clock session and had a nice leisurely breakfast with my husband at the hotel.

Presentations: Today I attended only the 9:30 and 11:00 sessions. 9:30 was Brent Holcomb on “South Carolina’s Vital Records and Substitutes for Them.” The situation is certainly complicated - some places kept certain records in earlier years; some did not. A marriage license may have been obtained in one county but the marriage may have taken place in another. And so on.

The next presentation had been at the top of the list I made of presentations to attend: Elizabeth Shown Mills on “Problem Solving in the Problem-Riddled Carolina Backcountry.” There are a mountain’s worth of problems created for the researcher by various factors in this part of the Carolinas. One of the most interesting facts we learned was that men who lived in this area during the Revolutionary War may be found serving for other states; South Carolina and Georgia units often had to recruit men from North Carolina and Virginia, making it hard to predict where men from these states served at various times.

Goodies: Bought just one more book - the only Greenville deed abstract book that I didn’t have.

Fun: In the afternoon I went back to Charleston with my family. First we went to the Aiken-Rhett house. This is a house where the operative word is preservation, not restoration. That means walls and ceilings with peeling surfaces and old furniture in various states of repair. It is quite fascinating - you can see what the original wallpaper looked like, some of the actual furniture used by the family, and so forth.

Aiken-Rhett House

Next we went to the Charleston Museum. An enjoyable and easy-to-do place. Neat stuff: skeleton of a baleen whale, dinosaur skeletons, early Native American artifacts, period clothing, and much more. My daughter and I tried on hoop skirts.

From there we took the free trolley to Poogan’s Porch to eat - the perfect end to the day. My daughter enjoyed taking pictures of a charmingly brazen little sparrow who knew a soft touch when he spotted one - and shared some crumbs from our delicious biscuits.

Poogan, on whose porch we ate

Poogan's Porch

The Bird

Day Two at NGS Charleston

Well, finally, after being off of Blogger for a day! So I'm a day late (and many dollars short by now).

There are no pictures for today’s post. Because my family took my camera to take pictures at Fort Sumter. Not that they don’t have other options - they all have cameras in their phones. I don’t. (That’s why the other Geneabloggers christened my phone as “the dumb phone.”) So no pictures. Not that I’m pouting or anything.

Presentations: The first presentation I attended was Brent Holcomb’s “South Carolina Colonial Records.” I am amazed at how much he knows about every possible record, place name, and so on in South Carolina. It’s one thing to do all those transcriptions and abstracts, but to remember so much is amazing!

The next presentation was Helen Leary’s “Ancestors in Hiding: How to Help Them Emerge from Statistical Census Returns.” Although the venue, Ballroom A, continued to have sound problems which prevented a number of people present from hearing a lot of the presentation, what we could hear was a great example of using every last bit of information, even from sources that some people think are “useless” - this exhortation was voiced again and again by different presenters. One consolation for not being able to hear parts of Helen Leary’s lecture was that the syllabus summary is excellent. And I love her humor!

By the time Elizabeth Shown Mills made her presentation on “Analyzing Deeds and Wills: I See What It Says, but What Does It Mean?”, the solution to the sound problem was found: combine a body mike with the lectern mike. The subject sounded as though it would be somewhat dry, even with ESM as the presenter, but it was quite dynamic and had us all on our toes trying to figure out what kind of information/evidence was contained in some of the obscure legal terms and formulas.

I attended Thomas W. Jones presentation on “Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your Ancestor’s European Origins” to help my research on my own family as well as my husband’s more recent immigrant family and was not disappointed. When Thomas Jones talks about “casting a wide net,” he is definitely not kidding! So you know how we sometimes get into discussions about getting sidetracked by collateral lines? Well, that’s a good thing!

The last session I attended today was Jim Isom’s presentation on “Carolinians Settle the South” - and he wasn’t kidding. Jim’s lecture dealt with a lot of the whys and wherefores of migration as well as with demographics - all subjects that I love. If you have that Carolinas to wherever (TN, GA, AL, MS, LA, and TX) phenomenon among your ancestors, this is a great lecture. And we got a pop quiz: “What crop accounted for more than half of the South’s agricultural output in the 1850s?”

Fun: Well, eating at Wendy’s can be fun - especially when you find some genealogy blogging friends to have lunch with! I met up with Liz Tapley Matthews and her friend (after delivering a lunch to my under-the-weather daughter in our hotel room nearby), and we all got into conversation with the lady at the next table over (not attending NGS). Funny how much genea-peeps like to talk....

Goodies: I was very good. I did not buy a single book. I just bought one item.

A Flip-Pal.

Okay, so I didn’t wait until Christmas. But I have a good reason! You see, I’m going to meet up with the Norman cousin mentioned in the previous post on our way to Greenville. She lives in Orangeburg! And she has lots of pictures. We are so excited.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day One at NGS Charleston

My first day at the NGS Conference was fabulous and mind-blasting, and it followed a wonderful evening at the Genealogy Bloggers’ dinner hosted by FamilySearch.

Last year at FGS in Knoxville I learned my lesson - never skip the Opening Session. And this year’s Opening Session did not disappoint. It started out with the Charleston Police Pipes and Drums marching into the auditorium to “Scotland the Brave.” They performed several pieces and were followed by the Knights of Columbus as honor guard for the flag and a lovely young student from a local school who sang the National Anthem as beautifully as I’ve ever heard it sung. Several awards were given and there were a couple of drawings (paid NGS Conference in Cincinnati, a week at a hotel in Salt Lake City, and a genealogy tour in Salt Lake City).

Charleston Police Pipes and Drums

Oh, yeah, the “big news,” which my more technologically with-it fellow genealogy bloggers have already tweeted, is that NGS 2013 will be in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The first opening session speaker was David Ferriero, Chief Archivist of the United States; he was followed by Buzzy Jackson, author of Shaking the Family Tree. Some bullets from Ferriero’s presentation were:

  • There were 5000 attendees at NARA’s genealogy fair this year.
  • He outlined the complete reorganization along the lines of a Five Year Plan that NARA is in the process of carrying out, which has been dictated by several circumstances: the need to adapt to new technology and new tools, to reach out to the public through social media (NARA has 11 blogs, 29 Facebook pages, a YouTube site, and is on Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare, and has created an Online Public Portal for public access to digitized records), and to improve employee satisfaction in an agency that used to be known as one of the worst to work for in the US Government.
  • There are a number of initiatives for a customer-based organization, such as a Research Customer Support Unit, a new unit for developing online content, etc.

When Ferriero opened the floor for questions, most of them had to do with the launch of the 1940 census. “Has it been indexed?” - “Sort of.” “Do you have the server capacity?” - “Yes; after all, I have a lot of experience in launching websites without testing server capacity” (referring the the crash of the New York Public Library system within three hours of launching due to unanticipated demand).

Buzzy Jackson proved to be a wonderful speaker, with much that the audience could identify with. She refers to herself as an “accidental genealogist” who knows what it’s like to start from zero. She was full of praise for the people in the Boulder Genealogical Society who helped her get started and for the Jackson cousin who provided her with so much information on the family - and who, it turned out, was in the audience - the two had met in person for the first time today. (Have to interject here that I just received an e-mail from a distant cousin last night who has read my blog and learned that we will be going to Greenville after Charleston - she lives sort of on the way and we are going to try and meet up.) Buzzy had many fascinating anecdotes and I do not want to blab them all, but I just have to mention one remark that cracked me up and that we can definitely identify with - describing her visit to a remote, neglected graveyard:

“And then we saw the Welcome sign for genealogists: ‘No Trespassing.’”

As we all left at the end of the session and headed toward the Exhibit Hall, we were serenaded by a Gullah choir who were quite amazing. Among other songs, they sang “Give Me That Old-Time Religion” and “Amazing Grace.” We were absolutely entranced, and many sang along and clapped in rhythm.

Gullah Choir

Possibly the main highlight of FGS Knoxville was meeting my fellow genealogy bloggers and getting to hang out with them some. That has been even more applicable here in Charleston. I was able to reconnect with Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details, Kimberley Powell of, and Paula Stuart Warren of Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica, and also met Ginger Smith of Genealogy by Ginger, Jennifer Woods of Climbing My Family Tree, Liz Tapley-Matthews of My Tapley Tree, Cheryl Cayemberg of Have You Seen My Roots?, and Audrey Collins from The Family Recorder. (Oh, and I managed to get too involved in talking and missed meeting Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.) It has been delightful sharing experiences with these people, and on top of that there were many excellent conversations with people at the booths and other people I met there. One of my favorite experiences was finally meeting DearMyrtle, who is truly one of the great ladies of genealogy and blogging.

Presentations: Today I attended “Finding Fathers: Bridging the Generation Gap” by Elizabeth Shown Mills and “When Sources Don’t Agree, Then What?” by Thomas W. Jones. Expectations were high; both delivered; what else can you say?

Goodies: So far, so good - meaning, I haven’t totally lost control and so far have bought only four books. I did look at the Flip-Pal and I picked up a brochure and order form, but at the price (and considering how much we have spent already), I may still wait until Christmas to get one. One really neat freebie for conference attendees is a card with a code with which we can access free for a year. I hope to put it to good use and to blog about what I am able to find on the site.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some News from Family Search

Tonight I had a great time at the Bloggers' Dinner hosted by FamilySearch at Jim 'n Nick's BBQ. I'll report more on this later, but for now wanted to include some news from FamilySearch on new online resources that will directly impact my own research; the first concerns South Carolina records:

"FamilySearch's newest South Carolina collections are South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964, and South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977."

FamilySearch has also introduced a South Carolina section to its free online research wiki. Using the information from the wiki, patrons can quickly find out what other historical records exist by county and where."

The second announcement concerned Civil War records:

"FamilySearch announced the release today of hundreds of millions of online records at the National Genealogical Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. The collections include service records for both the Confederate and Union armies, pension records, and more. Some of these records have been available for some time but are now being added to as part of this project. Here is a sampling of what is available:

* Arizona, Service Records of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863
* Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929
* Civil War Pension Index
* Louisiana Confederate Pensions 1898-1950
* Missouri Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers' Home Admission Applications
* South Carolina Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers (NARA M267)
* South Carolina Probate 1671-1977
* South Carolina Probate Records, Files, and Loose Papers, 1732-1964
* United States, 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows
* United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904
* United States, Union Provost Marshall Files of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866
* United States, Union Provost Marshall's File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861-1866
* U.S. Civil War Soldiers Index 1855-1865
* U.S. Navy Widows' Certificates, 1861-1910 (NARA M1279)
* U.S., Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914
* U.S., Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
* Vermont Enrolled Militia, 1861-1867"

FamilySearch is also calling for volunteers to take part in a multi-year project to index even more Civil War-era records.

In Charleston

St. Matthew's Church (Lutheran)

A baby bird my daughter noticed hiding in the undergrowth
in Marion Square

The old Kress building


St. Michael's Church (Huguenot)

Courthouse Square - Confederate Memorial Day ceremony

Inside The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Remains of the original sea walls of Charleston
under The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

St. Phillips (Episcopal)

The Circular Church (United Church of Christ)

Building of the Daughters of the Confederacy