Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Three Aunts: Nobody’s Fools

Of course I had more than three aunts. Aunt Joy, Aunt Rene, and Aunt Johnny, however, were the aunts with whom I had the most contact when I was growing up because they had the biggest roles in helping to raise me. Each of them helped to keep our extended family together over the years through common sense, patience, and the willingness to “be there” when they were needed.

I have already written about my Aunt Joy, but there is plenty more to tell. I just wish I could remember some of her pithy sayings. If someone was acting foolishly, she had a tart and witty way of encapsulating that foolishness that everyone would always remember (except me, it seems). She was straightforward in speech and would “tell it like it is.” So I think of Aunt Joy’s brand of common sense as being the forthright brand, representing the virtues of courage and honesty.

Aunt Rene was the patient and stoic aunt. She could give a good tongue lashing when it was warranted, but she really put up with a lot. There were a few times I had to live on my own at home when I was a teenager, but I knew that I could go to Aunt Rene if I needed any kind of help. Rene never acted as though she was doing anything special when she helped someone out; to her, that was just what people did.

Aunt Johnny was a person whose overflowing kindness naturally stemmed from her strong faith in God. She was a role model not only for her own children but also for extended family. There are people who criticize religion on the basis that so many who claim to be religious are hypocritical and do not live their faith. This argument never worked on me because I had living examples to the contrary: Aunt Johnny and her family did not just talk the talk, they walked the walk.

My mother’s siblings and their spouses grew up during the Depression. The financial status of all of these families could be described as “poor to middlin’,” so they did not have any cushion of wealth to fall back on; they had to scrabble from year to year just to make ends meet. And yet they always had the ability to help others out while they were going through hard times. Many of my aunts and uncles did many kindnesses over the years that I will always be grateful for. It took years for me to fully realize what a treasure this extended family is, both in the acts of kindness themselves and in the lessons I learned from them. All of my mother’s brothers and sisters are deceased and almost all of their spouses are as well. Through e-mail and Facebook my cousins and I are in contact, sharing pictures and memories and trying, often in vain, to recall what we can about our parents. Minor resentments, grudges, and memories of failures and foibles have long since disappeared, giving way to sympathy for and gratitude to our parents and our parents’ generation. If there is any single thing that is a blessing of getting older, it is this shift in attitude. Thank you Aunt Joy, Aunt Rene, and Aunt Johnny.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Names, Places & Most Wanted Faces

Many thanks to Geneablogie for this great meme. Many people are very generous to offer assistance with brick walls. In this spirit, I am going to look carefully at all of these lists posted by fellow genea-bloggers to find common names or places, and I will try to keep those names in mind when I am doing research in the relevant areas.

Surnames and locations:

Moore: South Carolina (Greenville and Anderson), Texas (Dallas and Baylor)
Lewis: South Carolina (Anderson), Texas (Dallas, Wilbarger)
Brinlee: Texas (Collin, Fannin, Red River), Oklahoma (Atoka, Garvin, Oklahoma), Kentucky (Christian), possibly Virginia (Rockingham)
Smith: Tennessee
Floyd: Texas (Dallas, Baylor), Illinois (Greene, Jersey), New York, Vermont
Tarrant: South Carolina (Greenville)
Poole: South Carolina (Anderson)
Dalrymple: South Carolina (Anderson)
Norman: Texas (Hunt, Fannin), Alabama (Talladega), Arkansas (Garland)
Sisson: Texas (Hunt, Fannin), Alabama (Talladega)
Finley: Illinois (Greene, Jersey), South Carolina
Matlock: Texas (Dallas), Kentucky (Warren), South Carolina (Pendleton)
Clark: Kentucky (Warren), South Carolina (Pendleton)
Dyer: Kentucky (Warren), South Carolina (Pendleton)
McKinney: Texas (Collin), Kentucky (Christian), New Jersey
Harris: Kentucky (Warren), Pennsylvania

Most wanted ancestors: parents of Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith, born ca 1868 in Tennessee; parents of Emily Tarrant, born ca 1813 in South Carolina; wife and parents of Samuel Moore, born 1756-1765, died 1828 in Greenville, South Carolina; parents of George Floyd, born 1807 in Vermont; mother of George and Hiram Brinlee (their father may have been John T. Brindley of Kentucky and their mother may have been his (unknown) first wife).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: J.V. Brinlee and Air Force Class

Here is a picture of my father, Junior Varnell "Barney" Brinlee, with his Air Force class. He is the second one from the right in the front row; the picture would have been taken in the early 1950s. My husband says that the aircraft you see in the picture is a B-47 Stratojet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Holidays Then and Now: Memory Monday

[Yes, I can read a calendar and see that today is Tuesday. I wrote this yesterday but did not get a chance to post it until today.]

I love Amy’s list of 52 blogging prompts and when possible (when I haven’t done them already or am not planning to do them later) I like to combine them with some of my regular features or ongoing series. I had originally planned to write about family pets for Memory Monday this week, but Blogging Prompt #7 – “Share your holiday traditions” – was too good to pass up.

The problems started when I attempted to recall what my family did on these holidays when I was a child: Christmas has plenty of memories associated with it, but the remaining holidays mostly evoke rather underwhelming memories or draw complete blanks. This is in contrast to what my husband, children, and I currently do, so of course I could write about more recent experiences, but some of those actually require more thought and organization and may be better timed closer to the actual holiday. So, I thought I’d do a brief survey of childhood holiday memories (or lack thereof) with some contrasting and comparing to what my family has done in recent years.

New Year’s – I remember very little; I think my parents usually went out to parties on New Year’s Eve.

Valentine’s Day – A big deal at school, not so much at home (there may have been chocolates some years). And I do remember that in 4th grade there was a furtive exchange of “special” valentines with a certain boy.

Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays – These were both school holidays in California. I was shocked when I discovered after moving to Texas that Lincoln’s birthday was not celebrated there.

Easter – This does bring up a few more childhood memories. For one thing, I have fond memories of my mother putting her considerable sewing skills to work on creating my Easter outfits every year: elaborate dresses, often of organdy over a satin lining, with fancy collars, sleeves, and rosettes, a hat she would decorate with ribbons and flowers, matching socks, gloves, and patent leather shoes. And there were the much-anticipated Easter baskets, though I learned that I had to protect my turf against raids by my father, who had quite a sweet tooth. Although my mother must have taken me to church (little chance of getting my father or brother to go), it was mostly a secular holiday.

For my family now, Easter is a major celebration. As a matter of fact, for us, today is “Clean Monday,” the first day of Lent, or the Great Fast (one of the customs of the Eastern churches that differ from those of the Western churches). Technically, Lent actually started yesterday at sundown, when we attended Forgiveness Vespers. I hope to post more on Lenten and Easter traditions in the coming weeks.

Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day – These are a blank to me as far as my childhood is concerned. When our children were younger, we often attended local parades on these days.

Fourth of July – This one, I am rather shocked to say, also draws a blank. It may be that my family never did anything special to observe this holiday, and school was out so there were no special craft items or activities to mark this holiday. My husband and I took our daughters to local fireworks displays for a number of years; the two best shows were actually put on by friends’ families. There’s nothing like being up close to those fireworks, especially when they are – reverent tones, please – “fireworks from Pennsylvania.” Virginia and Pennsylvania must have different codes, and apparently the ones from Pennsylvania are more exciting – at least that’s what my family believes.

Halloween – Not a real holiday, but it was a big deal for me and for my children when they were younger (even now my younger daughter enjoys doling candy out to the neighborhood kids). I do remember one Halloween spent traipsing behind my older (by 8 years) brother and his friend when they went trick or treating. They had longer legs, more energy, and much bigger bags (and the friend successfully conned me out of a lot of my candy), and the houses were set rather far apart on our street. It must have been then that I learned the benefits of going for quality over quantity in trick or treating (something my daughters instinctively knew – they only ever bothered with one half of our street, and couldn’t wait to get back and play with their friends and attack their stashes).

Thanksgiving – A few memories of wonderful meals, with the quantity and variety of dishes farm more extravagant than our regular fare, especially when we went to visit my mother’s relatives in the Los Angeles area, with every family contributing one or more dishes. These were the occasions for family stories to be told and retold. Most of the cousins paid little attention (a cause of considerable regret among us now): the teenage cousins were “too cool” for that and we among the junior cousins were more interested in playing with one another.

Christmas is the only holiday that was as big a deal when I was a child as it is now (though in different ways), so there will be other posts devoted to that holiday.

One additional holiday I remember from my teen years in Seymour, Texas was “Fish Day,” which you can read about here. As you can see from the description, it was the first day of fishing season when businesses and schools were closed down as everyone headed out to the lake. We members of the Seymour High School band didn’t exactly get the whole day off from, though, since we marched in the Fish Day parade.

So I don’t know whether or not my daughters will have more vivid holiday memories than I do, but experiencing these holidays with my children has made them more vivid for me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

OK Guys, I Still Love Y'All, or: What Happened to My Followers?

Didja ever come in to work one morning and turn on the computer, only to be confronted with the screen that says, “Update completed. You may now log on.” You know what that means, right? It means disaster. It means that nothing is going to work properly. Fresh update = "We haven’t had time to get all the bugs out and of course we put all this new stuff in without checking for compatibility, so you can basically forget about accomplishing anything today.”

In similar fashion, I signed into my blog this P.M. and noticed a precipitous drop in my followers – OK, for my small numbers that means a handful, but still, it was noticeable. I was pretty sure I hadn’t stupidly hit the wrong button to block anyone and moderately sure I hadn’t said anything to offend any group and besides, some of the “missing in action” were faithful followers. So I went to Blogger Help, selected “Known Issues for Blogger,” and put “followers” in the search box, which brought up the following message, dated today:

“You may have noticed that the count of your public Followers has decreased over the last few hours. [Darn tootin’, I did.] We are in the process of integrating with Google Friend Connect. [Oh, joy.]

There are a few users that already use both Blogger Following and Google Friend Connect. To avoid linking the profiles of Blogger and Friend Connect users without their permission, we have set these users to "anonymous". They are still following privately and will able to make themselves public again.

After the official launch of the Friend Connect integration, we will communicate with the affected users and instruct them how to reset their relationship to public. To reiterate: the number of Followers has not changed, and we believe that the launch will improve the visibility of your blog and community. We will post more details on Blogger Buzz as the launch approaches.”

I think that this “integration” does not affect me as a follower, since I am not on Google Friend Connect, so if your blog is on Blogger and you have the follower function you should still see R.B. Koehl trying to catch that balloon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Number 21 - A New Obsession

Well, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has a lot to account for, as far as I’m concerned. He’s gone off and got me started on a new obsession. Number 21. It started off as “innocent” Saturday Night Fun for him, but it’s turning into Sunday search, search, search for me. Well, OK, I’m actually having fun.

Number 21 on my ahnentafel list is Martha R.S.C. Monk, who was my great-great-grandmother and the first wife my great-great-grandfather Joseph Madison Carroll Norman. The other Norman researchers I am aware of refer to her as Rebecca, which could be correct based on her initials. Her name is given in the marriage records for Talladega County, Alabama:

Joseph M. C. Norman married Martha R.S.C. Monk on 4 December 1851 in Talladega, Alabama by John Hubbard, M.G.

The only other documentary evidence I have seen of her so far is on the 1860 census:

1860 US Federal Census, Northern division, Talladega, Alabama, 26 Jun 1860

Line 5 520 1

J. C. Norman 26 M Farmer $150 $230 AL
M. Norman 23 F AL
E. Norman 4 F AL [Cynthia Ann]
H. Norman 2 F [sic] [William Henry]
L. Norman 1 F AL [Leathy]

Joseph Madison Carroll Norman is reported to have had 26 or 27 children (I can account for 21) and three wives. Rebecca apparently died before 1870, possibly as early as 1862. Other researchers have attributed 7 children to her; I have Cyntha Ann, born 1856; William Henry “Jack”, my great-grandfather, born 15 March 1858; Leathy L. (may stand for Lucinda), born 1859; Josephus James “J.J.,” born 1 May 1861; and Thomas F., born 1862. The other two may have died in early childhood.

Rebecca’s parents may have been Silas Monk and Nancy Dunn. I have seen claims that that Rebecca Monk married an Ervin Roden, although I have also seen some doubts among those same researchers on that score.

So the history of Martha Rebecca Monk, my #21, seems to be pretty murky, with hard facts few and far between: one entry for a marriage and one scant census record. That doesn’t seem right. I am starting to feel that familiar itch to find our more about her. To be continued….

P.S. Randy asks whether we can recite all of our eight great-great grandmothers. Unfortunately, I cannot. That’s because another one of my obsessions, my great-grandmother Susan Elizabeth Smith Bonner Brinlee, is my great brick wall and I don’t know who her mother was.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Featured Family Friday: Alfred Byrum Floyd and Kate Clara Bass

Alfred Byrum Floyd was the youngest son of George Floyd and Nancy Finley. He and my great-grandfather Charles Augustus Floyd were the two Floyd sons who remained on the original Floyd land, so this is the other Floyd family about which Floyd researchers have the most information.

The following is an excerpt from the biographical sketch appeared in the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Illustrated), published by the Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois in 1892:

“Alfred Byron Floyd, a frugal, enterprising farmer and one of the county’s law-abiding and progressive citizens, was born in Illinois, in 1848, and while an infant was brought to Texas by his parents, with whom he remained until he was twenty-eight years of age. He then engaged in farming and stock raising for himself, in which business he has since continued. After the death of his brother David, he purchased his farm of the heirs, at once took possession, and this has been his home ever since. In 1876 he was married to Miss Katie Bass, a native of Texas and daughter of D. S. and Emeline Bass….”

The land referred to appears to have been purchased from David’s widow Zillah and her third husband, Eli Lovett, in 1897.

Alfred Byrum Floyd
b. 1848, Greene Co., IL
d. 8 Jul 1913, Dallas County, TX
& Kate Clara Bass
b. 9 Jun 1860, Texas
d. 5 Jul 1959, Dallas County, TX
m. 22 Sep 1876, Dallas County, TX
|--Lillian Emma Floyd
|----b. 10 Jan 1878, Texas
|----d. 7 Jun 1932, Lancaster, Dallas County, TX
|---& Lewis Edgar “Lu” Diceman
|----b. 10 Mar 1870, Canada
|----d. 20 Dec 1964, Dallas, Texas
|----m. 1898
|--Leslie D. Floyd
|----b. 1 Dec 1878, Texas
|----d. 3 Oct 1950, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
|---& Kathryn Rich
|----b. 19 Jun 1898, Texas
|----d. 4 Jul 1963, Dallas County, TX
|--Lela O. Floyd
|----b. 5 Mar 1880, Texas
|---& Ralph R. Moffett
|----b. 21 Apr 1878, Texas
|----d. 27 Jun 1926, Dallas County, TX
|----b. 5 Sep 1882, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 4 Mar 1883, Dallas County, TX
|--Essie Mae Floyd
|----b. 17 Nov 1884, Texas
|----d. 12 Jan 1951, Dallas, Dallas County, TX
|---& Pat Garrett Lowrey
|----b. 25 Dec 1882, Wilmer, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 15 Jun 1956, Wilmer, Dallas County, TX
|----m. 1909
|--Vera N. Floyd
|-----b. 19 Feb 1888, Texas
|---& Thomas Lowrey
|--Stella E. Floyd
|----b. 16 Jul 1890, Texas
|---& Elmo Louis Ferguson
|-----b. 8 Oct 1888, Lancaster, Dallas, Texas
|----d. 9 May 1957, Denton, Denton, Texas
|----m. 1907
|--Willie Joe Floyd
|----b. 1893, Texas
|---& Charles Steele
|--Charles Alfred “Charlie” Floyd
|----b. 5 Feb 1895, Texas
|----d. 7 Jan 1973, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, CA
|---& Mary Alice
|----b. 19 Dec 1891, Missouri
|----d. 13 Jan 1974, Sonoma, California

There are still gaps in my information on this family, so I would welcome any additional information and would be happy to share what I have with descendants and researchers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

To FB or Not to FB

Notwithstanding a recent move that seems to be a backing down on the part of Facebook, it appears that many users, including Genea-bloggers, are deactivating or at least considering deactivating their Facebook accounts.

I probably won’t be one of them. Not that I disagree with those who do – their beef is legitimate, and I agree that Facebook has bungled this issue in a major way. And I’ll probably be a little less free in posting some of the documents I have been transcribing. But Facebook is a good fit for me. Not that I’m one of those people with 100+ friends (or, as in the case of my daughters’ generation, 500+ friends!). As of last count, I have 30 friends. That’s family (husband, one of my daughters, in-laws, cousins), friends, schoolmates, and comrades from the genea-blogging community. These are all people I want to keep up with, to know what and how they are doing. And most of them are more diligent about FB-ing than e-mailing, so this works for us. A few are the other way around, and we e-mail. I still love getting what I have come to call a “real” letter, i.e., a nice e-mail that in length and content resembles the snail-mail letter of old.

I’m not one of those people who makes a lot of status posts (“Greta is … clipping her toenails.”), but I do like to share some things – a good visit with friends or family, a productive Graveyard Rabbit expedition, or a sighting of bald eagles. And I definitely want to hear from my college daughter – through checking out her FB page, posting, or IM’ing with her on FB. That’s another thing I like about Facebook – it appeals to younger and older generations, is not too “old-fogyish” for young people or too “skanky” for older people. I also post some of my favorite ethnic music clips from YouTube there to share with friends and to listen to myself when I am on the computer.

I’m not a professional genealogist or in some other profession that can benefit from networking, so the only thing I get from this type of networking is the pleasure of contact and correspondence – the social aspect – and, as a side benefit, an educational aspect as well. Lacking a professional need, I have been reluctant to subscribe to Twitter – I’m not saying I won’t eventually, especially if I feel I’m missing out on something - but corresponding and blogging keep me pretty busy. On top of that, I have problems with that whole 140-character limit thing.

Last August, when we had completed the college application and selection whirlwind and my research was beginning to take off again, I made a decision about how to share my research. I decided that there would be three levels:

1. The most general outlines would be published in a blog, through which I hoped to contact other people researching in the same areas and other bloggers who would share their experience and expertise. If people who read my blog wanted to receive more information on my research than I posted on the blog, they would have to contact me. If they don’t feel like contacting me, they are welcome to the information they find there nonetheless.

2. Somewhat more detailed information, particularly document transcripts, and family pictures would be posted on Facebook to share with family and friends and some of the distant cousins with whom I have been sharing research on a regular basis.

3. The really detailed information is shared with those among my family who are “really into” genealogy and with my regular “research buddies” through e-mail, as it was before.

I really love sharing genealogical research, both in the form of telling my relatives about what I have found, and actually working on problems together with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th cousins. With a blog, people can take your information without contacting you and sharing what they have. With e-mail, I cannot always remember whom I have told and what, I can’t be sure that all the people I’m writing to are really interested, and I have to keep up with their e-mail addresses. So, without taking the place of blogging or e-mail, Facebook is a convenient “middle way” to share – it is a “window of possible interest” without being as invasive as e-mail or as broadcast-y as a blog. The photos-sharing part in particular has really taken off among my group of cousins.

Then there are certain groups I enjoy participating in – Genea-bloggers, Grave Mappers, Unclaimed Persons, and my high school band group.

Of course, Facebook could still screw all this up. The issue of ownership of content is not going to go away. I am glad that dissatisfied users are making their discontent felt one way or the other and I do plan to voice my criticism. And I’ll be keeping an eye on what I do post; I’ll probably return to e-mail for some of the meatier and juicier stuff.

[Note - immediately after I posted this I found a Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Group on FB. Hmmm ... must mull this over.]

Kreativ Blogger Award

JoLyn of The Mount Timpanogos Graveyard Rabbit has graciously awarded this blog with the Kreativ Blogger Award, and it is now my turn to pass the award on to seven bloggers whose posts I enjoy reading:

1. Professor Dru of Find Your Folks

2. Judith Shubert of Genealogy Traces

3. Andrea Christman of Family Tales

4. Ginger Smith of Genealogy by Ginger's Blog

5. Janet Iles of Janet the Researcher

6. Cindy of Everything's Relative

7. They That Go Down to the Sea

Be sure to visit all these blogs!

Here are the procedures connected with the KreativBlogger Award:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those sites on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

The genea-blogging community is a wonderful group, both in talent and generosity.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Memory Monday: Our Edsel

My family owned an Edsel. There, I’ve said it. And I’m proud of it. Sort of.

I was going to call this article “Our Car Wreck,”but first I had to explain the background and the particular car that was involved, our Edsel, and soon realized that it was more about the car than the wreck.

Below is a picture of my mother and our dog Pierre, standing in front of the Edsel, taken in the driveway of our house on Lankershim Street in Highland, California. I think the picture was taken in around 1963. The color was what I think of as the classic white and … metallic blue-green? I’m not sure what to call it (may have to consult a Crayola-64 box), but I believe anyone who saw an Edsel of this color can remember it.

The Edsel brings back mostly pleasant memories and inspires some pride because to me it represents my family’s brief interlude of prosperity at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s. It was the most reliable car I can ever remember my family owning.

“Mostly pleasant memories.” I remember receiving one of only a few “belt hidings” my Dad ever gave me when it was discovered that in a fit of boredom during a long car trip I had etched a tic-tac-toe game on the metal interior of a rear door.

The wreck, however, was not that unpleasant or frightening. Oh, there were a few seconds of sheer terror, but the rest was not so bad. In the early 1960s my Uncle Bill returned from a Navy tour in the Pacific with presents for my family, including a pair of beautiful kimonos for my mother and me and a set of china dishes. However, we had to go pick the china up at the pier, so this involved a freeway trip to one of the Los Angeles piers.

I don’t remember much about the Southern California freeway and highway system, but I do remember that it was confusing and intimidating (at least to my 5-year-old mind). My mother was driving and had brought me and the teenage daughter of a neighboring family (perhaps to read directions?).

The long and the short of the matter is that my mother drove up an off-ramp. To quote the article from the San Bernardino Sun Telegram:

“Two cars smashed headon on the San Bernardino Freeway near Rialto Ave., at 8:12 a.m. yesterday, welding the car fronts together and sending four persons to the hospital with minor injuries.

The cars were a total loss, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Treated at St. Bernadine’s Hospital were Mrs. Madelyn Brunlee [sic], 2967 N. Pico Ave.; Doris Donaldson, 2987 N. Pico Ave.; Mrs. Shiralee Waterman, 17688 Granada Ave., Fontana; and 9-year-old [sic – I was 5] Greta Brunlee.

The CHP said Mrs. Brunlee got on the wrong side of the Freeway by driving up the 6th St. off-ramp.

She had driven all the way to Rialto Ave. without realizing her error, a highway patrolman said.

At Rialto Ave. she met the car, driven by Mrs. Water;man, coming north in the inside traffic lane.

Wreckers had to cut the two cars apart after the searing impact.

The CHP said Mrs. Brunlee suffered knee injuries, the Donaldson woman suffered lacerations, the Brunlee child had chest pains and Mrs. Waterman was treated for facial lacerations and shock.”

Here is the picture that accompanied the article:

The reporter leans a bit toward drama at the expense of accuracy: our last name was misspelled, my mother’s first name was misspelled, my age was given incorrectly, and perhaps the CHP was in error in evaluating the amount of damage done, but the Edsel was repaired to driving condition. As a matter of fact, the other picture was taken several years after the accident.

It was a matter of wonderment and a little bit of pride in later years that the Edsel had emerged the “victor” in this Clash of Titans, and we always attributed its survival to the solid construction of the Edsel. Of course, on my mother’s part this was always mixed with a bit of chagrin at having been at fault in the accident, though she always pointed out that there was no sign on the off-ramp to indicate what it was or to warn drivers not to enter, whereas immediately after the accident such a sign was erected there.

So, all in all, I am proud of our Edsel. It may not have been one of the high points in automobile aesthetics, but it was reliable and performed well, even after a pretty good crunch-up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Found the Recipe!

In my post on Family Food, I reminisced about a fantastic candy made by my Aunt Rene and later also by my mother, mostly at Christmas time. Yesterday I decided to do some “extra special” cleaning in some places that … um, well … I don’t clean very often. Like the corner of the dining room next to the bookcase that’s hard to reach for various reasons. And there was a pile of (very dusty) boxes for 3x5 cards, i.e., a bunch of my old recipe boxes. I suspected one of them might hold the longed-for recipe, and sure enough, I quickly found the recipe.

And what was the name on the recipe for these mouth-watering delights? … “Candy Balls.” So here’s the recipe, folks.

Candy Balls

Mix together 1 stick oleo, 1 can Eagle milk, 2 boxes powdered sugar, 2 cans coconut, 4 c. pecans; chill 2 hrs. Take out & roll into balls. Rechill. Melt in double boiler 2 packages chocolate chips, ¼ lb. paraffin. Stick toothpicks into balls & dip them into hot chocolate. Rechill. Dip them over as long as there is any chocolate left. For variety, dip balls into cherry juice before dipping in chocolate.

Now if I can just find Photo Album Number 4.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Live from beautiful Falls Church, Virginia: It’s the iGene Awards!

I’ve only been on the genea-blogging scene since August 2008, but I’ll attempt to plumb the depths of my scant oeuvre…

Best Picture: The stylish costume piece, “Doll Brinlee and Nina Pounds,” narrowly loses to the gritty realism of Hiram, Lizzie, Austin, and Odell Brinlee, presented in a contender in the winner in the Best Biography category, My Brick Wall: Susan Elizabeth Smith Bonner Brinlee. I treasure this picture of my great-grandparents and great uncles and will always be grateful to the second cousin who sent it to me.

Best Screenplay: All the contenders were multi-part productions: the three-part Getting Hooked by Genealogy, two-part Descendants of David Floyd?, and the winner, the two parter Finding a New Family and Alice Floyd Ezell Bibb. The winner was a tragedy wrapped inside a detective/mystery story. When the story starts, the researcher realizes that there must have been an unidentified daughter in the Caswell Floyd family, but does not realize that she had actually “found” that daughter once before. And as for the tragedy, although I know family researchers encounter untimely deaths often in their research, it seemed that every new piece of the puzzle brought another tragic event with it. This family truly touched me and I was glad I found them and could tell their story.

Best Documentary: My Playhouse, for the amount of detail and associated memories it brought up – it was often the center of an imaginary world inhabited by my playmates and me. Writing this was a reminder that space to play in may be more important than a variety of toys as an inspiration for imagination and creativity.

Best Biography: My Brick Wall: Susan Elizabeth Smith Bonner Brinlee, starring Lizzie Brinlee, a beloved figure in the fabled Brinlee clan. Small scraps of known information, tantalizing clues and hints, formidable research obstacles, and an enduring family mystery are interwoven in this work.

Best Comedy: I Totally Stole This, a “derivative yet amusing slapstick,” “reminiscent of the old one-reelers, yet oddly evocative of post-modernist sensibilities…, revealing minimalist aesthetics in its simplicity and forthrightness.” (The director deflects charges of derivation, claiming it is merely an homage to the masterful stylings of the original produced by Janet the Researcher.)

I want to thank every single ancestor I know of (reads huge list), the many genealogy blogs that have inspired me (reads long list), my family and friends (reads another long list), and last but not least (sounds of people snorting awake and some scattered applause), Jasia at Creative Gene and the Academy of Genealogy and Family History, for making these awards possible. Thank you, thank you. (Blows kiss to audience.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Featured Family Friday: Caswell Floyd and Mary Miller

Caswell Floyd was the second youngest of the five sons of George Floyd and Nancy Finley. A few things are known about him among the Floyd researchers I am aware of (we are all descended from Charles Augustus Floyd, the second oldest brother), but there are still gaps. Caswell’s middle initial was “B”, and on one census his name is given as “Biankin.” This is a sort of “mini-mystery” among Floyd researchers, as we have never seen this name elsewhere and wonder if this is what it actually was.

Floyd researchers knew of five sons (George Albert, William Henry, Joseph Ira, Ollie B., and Charles Alford), and I found two additional children, Alice Floyd and Alvin Cletus Floyd. There were apparently two more children who died in early childhood.

Caswell and Mary are buried in Kleburg Cemetery, Kleburg, Dallas County, Texas. According to cousins Pat and Jim Dodd, “Caswell was a deacon in the Christian Church here on the Geo. Floyd land that was partitioned to him in 1867. After he sold the land to Charles A., he moved to Kleburg and became a Church of Christ preacher. (Church of Christ broke away from the Christian Church in about 1887 - 1st one in Texas was in Lancaster, TX.).” After Caswell’s death in 1890, Mary remarried to a Charles A. Long and had son Emmett, born 24 Feb 1893, who married Pearl Hall.

Caswell Biankin “Cass” Floyd
b. 1845, Greene Co., IL
d. 26 Oct 1890, Kleburg, Texas
& Mary E. Miller
b. Jan 1848, Illinois
d. 1916, Texas
|--George Albert Floyd
|----b. Mar 1870, Texas
|----d. bef 1900, Texas
|----& Ella America Dowdy
|----b. 8 Feb 1874, Texas
|----d. 6 Sep 1923, Kleburg, Texas
|----m. 4 Jun 1890, Kaufman Co., Texas
|--William Henry Floyd
|----b. 14 Jun 1873, Texas
|----d. 5 Dec 1942, Kleburg, Texas
|----& Anna Laura Myers
|----b. 10 Nov 1876, Daviess Co., Indiana
|----d. 12 Apr 1911, Kleburg, Texas
|----m. 1894
|----& Winnie Beatrice Prewitt
|----b. 8 Sep 1886, Texas
|---- d. 9 Feb 1932, Kleburg, Texas
|--Joseph Ira Floyd
|----b. 31 Aug 1875, Texas
|----d. 21 Jul 1948, Kleburg, Texas
|----& Minnie A.
|----b. 4 Mar 1880, Texas
|----d. 13 Dec 1963, Kleburg, Texas
|--Ollie B. “Bee” Floyd
|----b. 8 Jan 1877, Texas
|----d. 16 Apr 1957, Kleburg, Dallas Co., Texas
|----& Evalena “Lena” Osborne
|----b. 30 Aug 1883, Tennessee
|----d. 12 Dec 1958, Kleburg, Texas
|--Charles Alford Floyd
|----b. 7 Feb 1880, Texas
|----d. 5 May 1922, Kleburg, Texas
|----& Reina Hildebrand
|----b. 1889, Texas
|--Alice Floyd
|----b. 26 Jan 1882, Texas
|----d. 17 Oct 1918, Kleburg, Dallas Co., Texas
|----& Thomas Ezell
|----b. Feb 1869, Alabama
|----d. bef 1910
|----m. 1898
|----& Thomas Henry Bibb Jr.
|----b. 4 Nov 1868, Holmes Co., MS
|----d. 17 Oct 1918, Kleburg, Dallas Co., Texas
|----m. 1904
|--Alvin Cletus Floyd
|----b. 7 Feb 1888, Kleburg, Texas
|----d. 28 Dec 1970, Roswell, Chaves Co., New Mexico
|----& Essie Maples
|----b. 3 Mar 1890
|----d. 13 Mar 1977, Roswell, Chaves Co., New Mexico

I would welcome any additional information on this family and would be happy to share the information I have with descendants and researchers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Moore Cousins to the Rescue

This week I am grateful that two of my distant Moore cousins, George Moore and Mary Newton, got in touch with me to get an update on Moore research. It confirmed their interest in my research (and reassured me that I don’t bore them when provide them with news on the latest items I’ve found) and encouraged me to really get going on my Descendants of Samuel Moore project.

George provided me with the transcript he has of the will of Bud Mathis Moore, brother of my great-great-grandfather William Spencer Moore. There were two items of particular interest, and they gave me the necessary clues to fill in information on the two daughters of Bud Mathis Moore on whom we have the least information, his two oldest children: Elizabeth Moore, his only child with Elizabeth Brashier, who died a couple of weeks after her daughter Elizabeth’s birth, and Sarah Ann Moore, his oldest child with Martha Brown Coulter.

Up to this point, almost all that was known about Elizabeth Moore were a couple of items from a brief history of the Family of Bud Mathis Moore written by James Furman Moore: her date of birth (1827) and the fact that she had married a James Bayne. I tried to find her and James starting with the 1850 census in Greenville, South Carolina (she did not appear with Bud and Martha and would have been old enough to have been married), but could not find them, even trying various spellings of the name Bayne. I tried to find Elizabeth from her first name and age, but I believe that turned up too many hits. My guess was that they had moved out of Greenville and possibly out of South Carolina. Bud Mathis Moore’s will mentioned daughter Elizabeth Bain and also gave “the land on which George Bain now lives” to one of Bud Mathis Moore’s sons. To look for a Bain family with these two names in Greenville I checked the Bain GenForum and found them; George Bain would have been James’ brother. The post also clued me in to the three censuses on which James and Elizabeth can be found; on the 1850 Greenville census their last name is given as Bains, and on the next two censuses they and their children are in Alabama. So from these three censuses I have something to start with.

George also pointed out that daughter Sarah Ann was not mentioned in Bud Mathis Moore’s will. This was curious. In all the censuses (1850 through 1910) that Sarah Ann appears, she is always living with family members. J. Furman Moore’s history indicates that she was married to a James Moon. Her name on her tombstone is Moon and on some censuses she is shown was Sarah Moon, widowed, and others she is Sarah Moore, single. My original assumption had been that Sarah had married James Moon early on and become a widow before the 1850 census, but the omission of her name from the will spurred me to look more closely at the census listings – Bud Mathis Moore died in 1856, and perhaps she was looked on as a single woman who would not be expected to be living on her own. My mistaken assumption, and the fact that the Moore and Moon names are often confused on the census, had kept me from carefully putting the census information together: from 1850 to 1880, she had been Sarah Moore, single, and from 1900 to 1910 she was Sarah Moon, widowed. She had married after 1880 and become a widow before 1900! Originally I had never thought of her marrying in middle age, but that could have explained her omission from the will. I looked for a James Moon on Findagrave that might fit the bill: born around the same time as Sarah, died after 1880 but before 1900, and possibly married before he married Sarah. Bingo – there was a James Moon born 1818, married a Mary Ashmore (who died right after the 1880 census was taken), and died in 1897. Of course, he’s still just a “candidate” for Sarah’s husband, but at least there is something to look into.

These two are the only children of Bud Mathis Moore for whom we had little information, so these developments have really given the research some momentum. So to my Moore cousins: thank you George and Mary!

(I hope that Thankful Thursday can be a (semi-)regular feature wherein I write about various advances in my research, but be forewarned, it's likely to be counterbalanced by some Moaning Mondays and Woeful Wednesdays.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Lil, Neil, and Pete Moore

Here is a picture of my mother's younger sister and brothers, Lillian "Lil", Charles Neil, and Floyd Melburn "Pete" Moore. Don't they look a little bit like the Lil' Rascals?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Memory Monday: Family Food

This article will be a two-fer: both part of my Memory Monday series and an entry for weekly blogging prompt #6: “Let readers in to your kitchen. Discuss your family’s favorite foods. What was a typical Sunday dinner in your childhood house? What did grandma make that had you coming back for more? Were there any dishes that the dog wouldn’t even eat?”

As it so happens, I had intended to write about family food a couple of weeks ago, but when I heard about the death of Aunt Joy, priorities were changed and the subject was postponed. Speaking of Aunt Joy, as I mentioned in that article our favorite dish was Boozy Fruit Salad. Aunt Joy also thought I was old enough to learn how to cook, so she taught me some of the basics of cooking; the main dish I remember learning from her was mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes may seem like a simple dish, but good mashed potatoes are another thing altogether). I also have fond memories of my grandmother Sallie Brinlee’s wonderful breakfasts, which I wrote about in Visiting with Grandma Brinlee.

The first dish that came into my head when I got the idea to write this article was an incredibly delicious candy made by my Aunt Irene, my mother’s next-youngest sister, who gave my mother the recipe. The candy is associated with Christmas in my memory, which is probably correct, because this candy is very labor-intensive to make. The problem is that I cannot remember the name by which we referred to this candy; it is probably something like chocolate pecan balls. I thought for sure that the recipe would be in my mother’s old recipe box, but I went through all of the recipes in there and could not find it. As I remember, the candy consisted of a small ball made out of condensed milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, and pecans dipped in chocolate and paraffin. These calorific little confections were so incredibly delicious that it was nearly impossible to eat just one. It was difficult to hide them, because in the warm winter weather of Texas/Southern California, it was best to keep them in the refrigerator. I remember going to great pains to calculate exactly how many I could sneak from the refrigerator without it looking like some s-e-r-i-o-u-s filching.

So, along with Missing Photo Album Number 4 (one of my mother’s old photo albums that I cannot find), the mysterious candy recipe will continue to haunt me until I find it.

With the exception of a few special treats and holiday foods, food was generally not a very exciting item in our house; my father was a meat-potatoes-boring vegetable or salad kind of man, and did not even care much for fried chicken. Memorable foods included: divinity fudge and any cake with my mother’s white icing on it (both items that benefited by the dry climate of northeast Texas and the San Bernardino desert), her Christmas fruitcake (a back- and arm-breaking production that she taught me how to make), and tuna gravy on toast (which was actually what we ate when we had to save money, but it was a treat to me). The most disgusting dish I can remember was my mother’s stewed tomatoes, which included bread and sugar. The less said the better.

After my parents divorced and my mother and I moved to Texas, she got more adventurous in her cooking, and I think we began to enjoy our meals more. As I leafed through her recipe box, I noticed a number of the recipes had adjectives such as “Mexican,” “Italian,” and “spicy,” something which would not have been served in our household when I was little. When I went off to college, my roommate taught me how to cook, and we would find interesting recipes (a lot of which included eggplant, a favorite of mine) to prepare. Together with out boyfriends, we put together some decent meals and even invited a couple of professors to dinner. I would take recipes home to Mom that didn’t include any ingredients that couldn’t be purchased in our small town grocery store. The biggest change I remember was that we ate a lot of dishes with mushrooms.

I did discover one truly wonderful food while I was still in high school: kolaches. Almost anything called “kolache” is delicious, but these Bohemian (Czech) kolaches are close to heavenly. Bohemian kolaches are the puffy yeast dough kind with various fillings (cream cheese, poppyseed, prune (known as lekvar in some places), or other type of jam) rather than the crispy tube or star pattern type more common among the Slovaks (different part of Texas) and Rusyns. We were on a band trip to Houston to perform in a big State Honor Bands concert (we were the class AA Texas State Honor Band that year), and someone’s grandmother had sent along a basket of these heavenly clouds. The memory of the one kolache I ate haunted me for years, until I found a good recipe for these kolaches in the Joy of Cooking cookbook my mother bought for me for Christmas; I knew it was the right recipe when I saw that it called for lemon peel in the dough – that is what makes the dough taste so wonderful.

Here is my mother’s recipe for “Easy No-Cook Divinity”:

In small mixer bowl, combine frosting mix (Fluffy white Betty Crocker dry mix), 1/3 cup corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 cup boiling water. Beat on highest speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large mixer bowl; on low speed, blend in 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar gradually. Stir in 1 cup nuts. Drop mixture by teaspoonsful onto waxed paper. When outside of candies seem firm, turn over. Allow to dry 12 hours or overnight. Store candies in airtight container. Makes 5 to 6 dozen candies.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

High School Years (courtesy of Genea-Musings)

Thanks to Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings for this one.

1. What was your school's full name, where was it, and what year did you graduate? Seymour High School, Seymour, Texas, 1972.

2. What was the school team nickname, and what are/were your school's colors? Panthers, maroon and white.

3. What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it? Don’t remember the name (perhaps “Panthers’ fame shall ne’er be broken”?), but I can still sing it, and if you want to hear it, watch The Last Picture Show (1971). They needed a school song that sounded really corny (this tune was a common one), so we copied the music for them and sent it over.

4. Did you have a car? How did you get to and from school? No car. Sometimes I walked, sometimes my mother drove me.

5. Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school? Were you considered a flirt? Not really. No. No.

6. What social group were you in? Nerds and geeks, especially band nerds.

7. Who was/were your favorite teachers? Ms. Gilbert and Ms. Greeley in English, Mr. Eakins for math, Miss Sperberg for band, and Miss Brown for history and government. I liked a lot of my teachers there.

8. What did you do on Friday nights? Mostly hang out, except in the fall , when the band played at the football games.

9. Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom? I think so (can’t remember very well).

10. Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion? No, I live too far away (but I like to hear about them).

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Floyd Family Legend

This legend will probably sound familiar to a number of people whose family research includes Civil War-era ancestors: Two of the Floyd brothers fought in the Civil War, one on each side, and after the war they never spoke to one another again, even though they farmed side by side on neighboring farms. This is the same story that numerous Floyd and Moore family cousins have heard many times. The version I actually remember hearing from my mother involved "two of your great-grandfathers." Of course, I was only about 5 or 6 when I heard it, so it may be my memory that is at fault.

One of my goals in doing family research, ever since I started about three years ago, has been to look into various family legends. I did not expect most of them to be absolutely true, but I thought there might be an element of truth in at least a few of them. I realized that this particular legend fit one of the common myths found among family lore, so I did not have high expectations of confirming the legend. What I have been able to find out about the Floyd brothers so far neither confirms nor refutes the legend, but it does make it appear unlikely that whatever feud or ill feelings that may have existed between any pair of the brothers did not fit the precise scenario described in the legend. At this point, there is insufficient information on the lives and fates of some of the brothers to come to a definite conclusion.

The Floyd (and Moore) cousins that I know are all descended from George Floyd's son Charles Augustus Floyd, as am I. We all assume that he is one of the brothers involved, and he did fight in the Civil War. If we assume the other brother involved also fought in the war, that would mean it had to have been either David or Henry Oscar; Caswell and Alford were too young. The problem is that neither I nor other family researchers have been able to find any record of Civil War service for David or Oscar, either in Confederate units or Union units. That does not mean that they did not serve; it just means that we have been unable to find a record so far. The one mention of Oscar during that time frame indicates that he died in Scott County, Illinois in the spring of 1862. If this is true, this may have something to do with the idea that one brother fought for the North. However, this also indicates that he died during the war, so there could have been no question of a feud after the war.

David Floyd, on the other hand, apparently survived the war, as in 1867 he is listed as a witness to his brother Charles' wedding and receives 70 acres in a partition of his father's land in that same year. By 1870, however, he does not appear on the census and his wife has remarried, so some time in between he must have died. If he did fight for the Union, perhaps there is a grain of truth in the story. Or perhaps he did not fight at all, and was resented by his other brothers. However, he would seem to have been on good terms with Charles, since he was a witness at his wedding.

Any other scenario would have to involve either Caswell or Alford, but it could not have both brothers having fought in the war. I would rule Alford out because he and Charles were apparently involved in business deals together in later years. Some time after the war Caswell sold his share of George's land to Charles, so that would seem to rule him out as well. However, Charles lost a great deal of land and money when he could not make the payment for Caswell's land and lost a huge area of land he had pledged as security. Perhaps this led to some sort of ill feelings, and there have always been stories of scraps between Charles' sons and Caswell's sons. However, Caswell no longer lived next to George.

Ultimately getting closer to any resolution of this mystery will require sorting out the Civil War service (or lack of service) of David and Oscar and possibly finding additional evidence of relations among the surviving brothers after the war. If I assume that there is a bare minimum of truth in the legend, the elements that went into its formation may have been the location of Oscar's death during the war and the fighting between Charles' and Caswell's sons.

Friday’s Featured Family: George Floyd and Nancy Finley

The Floyd family is the Illinois branch of my family tree and the first set of great-grandparents (George and Nancy's son Charles Augustus Floyd and Angeline Elizabeth Matlock) and great-great-grandparents (George Floyd and Nancy Finley) that I learned about, thanks to my cousin Paul, through whom I became acquainted with the Floyd family research of my second cousin Eunice Sandling and through her with additional research done on this family by Jim and Pat Dodd. I have to admit, it was awfully hard to find new information on this family. I located a couple of new children for George and Nancy's son Caswell Floyd (covered in the articles Alvin Cletus Floyd and Essie Maples, Finding a New Family, and Alice Floyd Ezell Bibb) and some descendants for son David Floyd (Descendants of David Floyd? – Parts 1 and 2) as well a brother for George back in Illinois, Henry Floyd; I believe Henry's presence was known by the other researchers but they had nothing to connect him to George, but later I found a land deed connecting the two as well as a marriage certificate for George and Nancy.

The Floyd family came with several legends; one seems to have been known by all the Floyd descendants and is covered in the next article. Another is recounted in the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Chicago, Illinois: 1892, Lewis Publishing Company), which is the source of a lot of the information we have on the Floyds: "The grandmother of our subject [Charles Augustus Floyd, so this could have been George Floyd's mother or Nancy Finley's mother] was captured by the Indians, was held in captivity for several years, and was rescued, at a great expense, by her father." Publications of this type, while often containing a lot of material that may be of historical and genealogical interest, are usually largely vanity publications in tone and content and are generally not the most reliable sources of information. Another source of information was a family Bible that was apparently in the possession of my grandmother Eula Floyd Moore at one time.

Here are the outlines of what Floyd researchers know about the George and Nancy Floyd family. George Floyd was born in Vermont in 1807 and as a young man went to Illinois in around 1830, most likely after spending a few years in New York in between. The account in the Memorial and Biographical History makes no mention of Henry, but I think it is likely the brothers went together. On 30 November 1834 George married Nancy Finley, said to be the daughter of a John Finley of South Carolina. In 1846 George went to Texas and took a headright in Peters' Colony in the Dallas area and in December 1848 he returned with his family to settle there. They had five sons (to be covered in detail in separate articles): David Harriet (ca 1836 IL – ca 1867-8 TX), Charles Augustus (1840 IL – 1894 TX), Henry Oscar (ca 1843 IL – ca 1862 IL), Caswell Biankin (1845 IL – 1890 TX), and Alfred Byrum (1848 IL – 1913 TX).

Nancy Finley died on 5 February 1864 and George married a second time to Elizabeth Baines (maiden name unknown), a widow with a daughter named Maud. George and Elizabeth had two daughters, Mary Etta and George Harriett (if you are thinking that this family likes to give boys girls' names and girls boys' names, you are right, although I believe Harriet(t) must have been a family name). George Floyd died on 11 March 1880 and is believed to be buried next to Nancy in the Floyd-Taylor Cemetery in Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas.

I would welcome any additional information on this family. In particular there are several members of the family about whose fates I have no knowledge: Henry Oscar Floyd (other than his reputed death in Illinois), Elizabeth Baines Floyd (no date of death, though she was still alive in 1900), George and Elizabeth’s daughter Mary Etta), and Joe and Hattie Floyd Boyer’s sons Willie and Eugene.

George Floyd
b. 29 Sep 1807, Vermont
d. 11 Mar 1880, Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas
& Nancy E. Finley
b. ca 1816, Greene Co., IL
d. 5 Feb 1864, Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas
m. 30 Nov 1834, Greene Co., IL
|---David Harriet Floyd
|......b. 1836, Illinois
|......d. 1867
|---& Zilla Ann Kelly
|...... b. Jun 1839
|......d. 9 Jan 1914, Sipe Springs, Comanche Co., Texas
|......m. 23 Dec 1858, Dallas County, TX
|---Charles Augustus Floyd
|......b. 28 Jun 1840, Greene Co., Illinois
|......d. 4 Mar 1894, Dallas County, TX
|---& Angeline Elizabeth Matlock
|......b. 18 Nov 1847, Bowling Green, Warren Co., Kentucky
|......d. 11 Oct 1916, Dallas County, TX
|......m. 13 Jan 1867, Home of T.H. Taylor, Texas
|---Henry Oscar Floyd
|......b. 1843, Greene Co., IL
|......d. 1862, Scott County, Illinois
|---Caswell Biankin “Cass” Floyd
|......b. 1845, Greene Co., IL
|......d. 26 Oct 1890, Kleburg, Texas
|---& Mary E. Miller
|......b. Jan 1848, Illinois
|......d. 1916, Texas
|---Alfred Byrum Floyd
|......b. 1848, Greene Co., IL
|......d. 8 Jul 1913, Dallas County, TX
|---& Kate Clara Bass
|......b. 9 Jun 1860, Texas
|......d. 5 Jul 1959, Dallas County, TX
|......m. 22 Sep 1876, Dallas County, TX

George Floyd
b. 29 Sep 1807, Vermont
d. 11 Mar 1880, Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas
& Elizabeth J.
b. Aug 1829, Missouri
m. 1867
|---Mary Etta Floyd
|......b. 1867, Texas
|---George Harriett “Hattie” Floyd
|......b. May 1869, Texas
|---& Joe Boyer
|......b. Jun 1861, Tennessee
|---|---Willie F. Boyer
|---|......b. Jun 1894, Texas
|---|---Eugene H. Boyer
|---|......b. Sep 1896, Texas

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Totally Stole this Idea ...

from Janet the Researcher. The link to the Warning Sign Generator is in her post.

Smile for the Camera: Doll Brinlee and Nina Pounds

(Photograph kindly provided and privately held by Gale W.)

“The word prompt for the 10th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Costume? No, not as in Halloween. Costume as in dress in general; especially the distinctive style of dress of a people, class, or period. Show us that picture that you found with your family collection or purchased that shows the costumes of the rich to the not so rich, from the civil war to the psychedelic sixties. I know you have them, so share. Admission is free with every photograph!”

On the left is my great-aunt Elizabeth Ann “Doll” Brinlee and on the right is Nina Pounds. Doll Brinlee was the oldest daughter of Hiram Carroll “Dink” Brinlee and Eliza Caroline “Disa” Boone. Doll was born in 1866 and looks fairly young in this photograph, so I would guess it was made in the mid- to late 1880s. Her oldest daughter was born in 1884.

The first thing that strikes the viewer are the hats, but notice also the gloves and boots – Doll’s appear to be laced up and Nina’s appear to be buttoned up. My question for the experts out there is: Are these more likely to be Doll’s and Nina’s own duds or were they perhaps provided by the studio?

Doll was my grandfather Lawrence Carroll Brinlee’s older half-sister. Her mother was a great-granddaughter of Daniel Boone. (Yes, I know that’s a common myth among families with the name of Boone, but in this case it’s the real deal and easy to show. Besides, no glory to me – my grandfather’s mother was my great brick wall, Susan Elizabeth Smith Bonner Brinlee.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Tips: County Formation Maps

As usual, I’m providing a tip on something I’m sure most of you have at least seen and possibly also used. However, in the slight chance someone hasn’t seen it or has forgotten about this resource, I thought I’d mention one of my favorite tools, the (animated) county formation map.

Most of us have probably had to deal at one time or another with the issue of changing county boundaries. In these cases, the county-level resources we use depend on the dates of residence of our ancestors. For instance, for my Floyd and Finley families in Illinois for the years spanning 1807 to 1860, I need to check both Greene and Jersey County records. One way to find this out can be to check county-specific sites such as Genweb sites, but a quick way to do this when you need to is to bookmark a couple of sites: Historical County Lines and the Family History 101 county formation map site where you can quickly refer to them. And if you are a visually oriented person or just a map geek, the latter site in particular is a lot of fun. The really neat thing is that you can choose the time frame you are interested in, progress through the years at your own rate by clicking, or press “play” for the full automated map show.

Please tell me that I am not the only one who has sat and watched the animated map for all 50 states.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Memory Monday: Mementos from my Mother's School

The other day I was reading a post entitled, “School Souvenir from Old Bosna School” on Becky Jamison’s blog Grace and Glory. At first I felt some envy, because I have so little from my parents’ schools, but as I began to give some thought to it, I realized that at least in my Mother’s case, I actually do have a few things: pictures, some class lists, and even a map in the books Salt Pork to Sirloin: The History of Baylor County; a couple of pictures of what remains of my mother’s school (called Corn School); and a couple of cards with a pasted flower design that my mother made, probably in first grade.

Here are the cards:

Mom’s name is written on one side: Madelene Moore – the spelling was actually Madeline. Written on the other side of one card in Mom’s handwriting is: “I made this in school when I was a little child.”

Here are a couple of pictures, generously provided by my cousin Vernetta Mickey, of the foundation and cornerstone of Corn School, which was located in Bomarton, Baylor County, Texas, and attended by my mother and Vernetta's father, Horace Floyd. Our parents lived on adjacent farms; my grandmother, Eula Floyd Moore, and Vernetta’s grandfather, King David Floyd, were brother and sister and used their inheritance money to purchase side-by-side farms here in 1917.

I cannot reproduce the pictures from Salt Pork to Sirloin, but here is what Volume I has to say about Corn School:

“Corn No. 17, 1908-1940

The Corn School District when first organized in 1908 consisted of the Cartwright School and the Miller Creek School. The Corn School house had two locations, both of them were in or near the south part of the Portwood Hart Ranch in the southwest quadrant of the county.

… In 1921-22 the school had 72 pupils but from then on the enrollment began to decline and in 1940 it was annexed to the Bomarton School District.”

Corn School must have gone up to the 8th grade; after that I believe students would have attended Bomarton High School. My mother quit after the 8th grade; she had to wait until early December each year to start school because she had to help pick cotton until then and it was difficult to have to try to catch up year after year. I believe her younger brother Pete, the third youngest of 11 children, was the first to graduate from high school.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lessons Learned Sunday: “Working” the South Carolina Death Records

My big genealogy project of late has been compiling as complete as possible a list of the descendants of my third-great-grandfather, Samuel Moore of Greenville, South Carolina. It is an ambitious undertaking, but the Moores are a primary research focus for me, and I hope this database can serve as a basis for future research to expand the line back in time. The work is certainly familiarizing me with South Carolina state resources as well as Greenville and Anderson County Resources. One of the best tools for working this line is a database that was added to Ancestry relatively recently, South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955 (or at least the images of death certificates in that database are a new addition).

I stated previously that I would try to use “Lessons Learned Sunday” as a feature to write up what I learn from my mistakes in genealogy. So far I have not exactly had a “Duh!” experience with these records, but there definitely is a learning curve aspect in using them in combination with other tools to the best effect. Some of the other resources I am using are the “usual” Ancestry databases (censuses, etc.), the Greenville County Library System obituary index (an extremely useful and much appreciated tool) combined with a Greenville researcher who will copy and mail obituaries for a reasonable fee, Findagrave and Genweb cemetery listings for South Carolina, and several genealogies provided by other researchers for partial branches of this family.

My approach with the SC Death Records database has been not only to look up individual names (this is done automatically by Ancestry in a search localized for South Carolina), but to use the database separately, varying the items input for searching. Sometimes this means just putting a last name and a county (usually Greenville, but they didn’t always stay there). For the last name Moore, that brings up a lot of names. However, going through all of the hits paid off. The first hits to appear often have only the last name, and most of these are infants. Of course, I also wanted to find any children who died young, but none of these fit that bill. However, one of the death certificates had several items which fit Susan Moore Blakely – parents, dates of birth and death, and the informant was her son, James Moore Blakely. There was only one thing missing – her name! So the people indexing the certificates had simply put in the name of her father, (B. M.) Moore. Had I not looked at all these certificates, I would never have found her death certificate. I have also discovered that sometimes names are input backwards, so that may be a trick to try if I get desperate.

These death certificates can then be used to order copies of obituaries. The Greenville Library obituary index provides names and the date and page of the Greenville News on which the obituary appears. In the case of common names, knowing the date of death helps to narrow down which one is the correct obituary so that I don’t have to order all the obituaries with the name in which I am interested. I also use this obituary index in a similar manner, inputting only the last name or even an unusual first name to make sure that I get as many family members as possible. (Inputting a woman’s maiden name in the first name field will often pull up her obituary under her married name – a convenient way to find out who some of the daughters in a family married!) The obituaries I order based on what I find in this index then often provide additional names to be looked up in the South Carolina Death Records and Greenville Library obituary index, so there is a sort of circular aspect to this method.

Because I am constantly moving back and forth from database to database, I know that I am often missing things as I do this. Therefore, when I am “done”, I plan to go back over the obituaries and the death certificates (I have downloaded the images) and double-check all the information. It’s a lot of work, but the Moores are worth it!

Here is Susan Moore Blakely's death certificate - with no name:

Saturday Night Fun: Sixth of sixth

Here is the sixth photo in my sixth folder (! - Moores-Genealogy) in iPhoto: my Uncle Pete and Aunt Johnny Moore. To Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, thanks for the idea!