Monday, November 30, 2009

Memory Monday: A Day in November

I had other plans for this Memory Monday.

Then I started looking through a photo album for a picture to go with the dessert recipe I am submitting to the GeneaBloggers’ Cookbook. I started to flip through to the photos from Christmas (Christmas is when we cook the dessert and eat it) and opened to some photographs from November.

November 2003. It wasn’t that long ago, but the photographs brought back memories of the day in November when we found them, memories which had started to become dim until I caught sight of their sweet faces in the photo album. We only knew them for two or three weeks, but I don’t want to forget them, so I decided to do a photo tribute to them for this Memory Monday instead of my originally planned article.

We found them at church, right outside the parish hall:

“Mom, did you see that?”

“See what? Where?”

“There was a kitten, just there, behind the ashtray urn.”

“I don’t see anything.”

“Look, it’s running behind the bushes.”

A little black shadow darted past. Then a little orange shadow followed.

I sent one daughter down to the far end of the parish hall, posted the other halfway down, and stood guard at the end near the doors. We finally captured four kittens: two black ones, one mostly brown calico, and an orange tabby. They were small and hungry. We looked for the mother cat but could not find her and could not find anyone who had seen her. Well, some people drop babies off on church doorsteps…

We left our younger daughter in our van with the four kittens and some milk in a bowl from the parish hall kitchen. My husband, older daughter, and I went to church. Afterwards the news leaked out that there were kittens in the van, so a herd of children ran over to get a look. Unfortunately, their parents were not in the market for kittens.

We took them home. Our four grown cats were not exactly delighted at their arrival. Especially Rocky, our adoptee from the animal shelter who was going to be displaced as “Bedroom Cat” for a while. For the next couple of weeks he would just have to get along with R.B., BooBoo, and Pipsqueak. We moved the kittens into our bedroom, which has a long master bathroom attached.

We cannot have eight cats. Not even five.

We spent the next three or four days in a furious publicity campaign at school and at work. At the end of that time we had homes promised for all four kittens, but would be keeping them for another week or two while the families made preparations; the very last kitten was to be driven up to New Jersey at the end of three weeks.

It was the sensible thing to do. It was not what we really wanted to do.

We will always have fond memories of the time in November when the “church kittens” visited our house.

They liked to eat a lot.

Then it was time to bathe.

And then maybe scratch…

Perhaps explore a bit…

Or get into fights…

And then be held…one at a time

Or sometimes two (one on each knee)…

Or even three …

And then it was time to sleep.

Carnival Submission Site Still Not Working

As far as I can tell, the Carnival submission site is still not working. I have received several e-mails from people who have received no confirmation of their submissions, and no notification has been sent to me for these articles, either.

If you do not receive e-mail confirmation when you submit your article, that means that I have not received notice of your submission.

For the time being, it is probably best to notify me by e-mail (with the URL of your blog) that you are submitting an article to the Carnival of Genealogy.

I am "trolling" blogs the best I can and making note of "Orphans" articles I find, but I may miss some. I apologize again for any convenience.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

GeneaBloggers’ Cookbook: Snack Bars

(Younger daughter enjoying a snack bar on Christmas morning, together with Rocky)

I first found the recipe for these snack bars back when I was in college. They’re sort of like fudge in between oatmeal cookies, with pecans in both the fudge and oatmeal parts. They are one of my family’s two favorite Christmas desserts, the other one being Bohemian Kolaches.

Snack Bars

1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Butter or margarine, softened (1 cup + 3 Tablespoons)
2 cups pecans, chopped (or more if you really love pecans)
Vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water (or in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat), mix chocolate pieces, sweetened condensed milk, and 3 Tablespoons butter, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in 3/4 cups chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove from heat; keep warm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13”x9” baking pan. Into large bowl, measure flour, brown sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, 1 cup butter, and 1 Tablespoon vanilla. With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Increase speed to medium and beat 3 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in oats and remaining nuts until well blended. Press half of dough onto bottom of baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over dough. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls to cover chocolate mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes (the original recipe had a longer baking time, but this seems to do it for me in my glass baking pan). Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Invert pan on cutting board. Cut lengthwise into four strips; cut each strip into 12 pieces.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

If you are encountering problems with the Carnival of Genealogy submission form

just send me a note (by e-mail using the Contact button at the left or in a comment on this article) with the URL for your blog and I'll include your article in my list of submissions.

Thanks to Apple and Carol for alerting me to this problem!

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Sunday afternoon update: The COG submission site still seems not to be working, so please feel free to submit articles in an e-mail to me using the Contact button on the left of the blog or in a comment, and I'll make sure you are included on the list. I sent a message to the Carnival site team, but have not received a reply yet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Follow Friday: The Carolina Crew – South Carolina Blogs

There are apparently many more blogs with connections to North Carolina than to South Carolina. (I have family lines in North Carolina as well, but I haven’t gotten that far back in my research.) So here is the surprisingly short list of genealogy blogs I have been able to find that have a significant South Carolina connection.

Begin with Craft - Valerie Craft
Branching Out through the Years - hummer
clmroots - GenGal
FamHist - Lineagekeeper
Family Matters, Moultrie Creek
Geneablogie - Craig Manson
Genealogy Frame of Mind - Karen
Genealogy Traces - Judith Richards Shubert
George Geder
I Dream of Genea(logy) - by Abba-Dad
Kinexxions - Becky Wiseman
Leaves of the Tree - Kay Haden
Lincecum Lineage - Stephanie Lincecum
Samuel and Mary Clark Reed of Barnwell - Marilyn Reed Thomson
Tess’s Tree - Tess

If you or someone you know has a blog with a South Carolina connection that you do not see listed here, please let me know (either by leaving a comment or using the “Contact” button at the left of this blog) and I will add it to the list.

Family Newsletter Friday: 27 November 2009


Norman research has been interesting this week, and it has actually been a fairly productive week, the holiday notwithstanding. I have reached the part of the Inez Cline history where there are more gaps, but I can fill in some of these gaps.

Found Thomas Wiley Huff (finally) in the 1920 census; Ancestry family trees do not cite this census – he’s sort of hidden. He is bunched together with several of his children in Baylor County, Texas (my own home town – this is through my moms’ family, but the Normans are from my dad’s side): Thomas Joseph, Benjamin Wylie, and William Franklin’s widow Emerit Thurman Huff are all there together with their families. (I was able to use the Salt Pork to Sirloin: History of Baylor County books to help research this family.)

What I’m really enjoying is working with Texas Death Certificates (from Family Search Record Search) again – they contain so much information. Luther M. Huff appears to have been born the day after his father (William Franklin Huff) died of pneumonia and smallpox. Charlie Wylie Huff, son of Thomas Joseph Huff and Myrtle May Carter, died of tuberculosis in 1935 at the age of 28.

Some of these Norman families are in Texas – lots of information; some in California – quite a bit of information; some in Oklahoma – not so much. I wish there were more resources for Oklahoma; there are also a lot of Brinlees there.


Found out this week that Vickie Everhart of BeNotForgot and I are related! We are something like 8th cousins, with Christopher Clark, son of Sallie Ann Moorman and Micajah Clark, as our common ancestor.

Many thanks to TCasteel at Tangled Trees for the tip on the 50% savings on Footnote subscriptions for Black Friday! I took advantage and have finally subscribed!

Featured Family Friday: William T. Sisson and Margaret Jane Lambert

William T. Sisson
b. ca 1826, Georgia
d. 12 Feb 1894, Talladega, Alabama
& Margaret Jane Lambert
b. 1839, Alabama
d. bef 1875
m. 30 Nov 1858
|--Samuel N. Sisson
|----b. 1862, Alabama
|--William A. Sisson
|----b. 1864, Alabama
|--Thomas Timothy Sisson
|-----b. 2 Nov 1865, Alabama
|----d. 15 Aug 1930
|---& Elza Jane McLaughlin
|----b. 21 Mar 1873, Alabama
|----d. 24 Nov 1973
|----m. 19 Dec 1889, St. Clair Co., Alabama
|--Jessie Daniel Sisson
|----b. 10 Sep 1869, Alabama
|----d. 12 Aug 1952, Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas
|--& Jennie Reece Denison
|----b. 1 Sep 1881, Tennessee
|----d. 28 Jan 1921, Floydada, Floyd Co., Texas
|----m. 15 Apr 1896, Leonard, Fannin Co., Texas
|--John H. Sisson
|----b. 1873, Alabama
|--Amanda Ella Sisson
|----b. Feb 1874, Alabama
|----d. 1966, Talladega, Alabama
|--& Robert L. Nabors
|----b. 14 Dec 1872, Alabama
|----d. 21 Nov 1927, Alabama
|----m. 20 Jan 1894, St. Clair Co., Alabama
|--Mary Emma Sisson
|----b. Feb 1874, Alabama
|----d. 1950, Alabama
|--& Green L. McCurry
|----b. Jan 1872, Alabama
|----d. 1936, Talladega, Alabama
|----m. 25 Dec 1901, Talladega, Alabama

This is the family of my great-great-grandfather, William T. Sisson, and his second wife, Margaret Jane Lambert. Margaret Jane must have died some time between February 1874, when her youngest children Amanda Ella and Mary Emma were born, and October 1875, which is when William Sisson married his third wife, Susan Caroline Tant. It may be that she died shortly after the twins' birth.

I would like to know the fates of sons Samuel, William and John. William (“Billy”) is shown on the 1880 census with the Joseph M. Norman family; William’s half-sister Sarah Jane would marry Joseph Norman’s son William Henry. I have found a couple of candidates who might be John Sisson but cannot confirm that they are the right man.

Jessie Daniel Sisson moved to Texas some time in the 1890s, as did William Henry and Sarah Jane Sisson Norman. The other members of this Sisson family seem to have remained in Alabama.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can use the “Contact” button on the left side of this blog to get in touch with me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Call for Submissions for the 85th Edition of the COG: Orphans and Orphans

(Many thanks to footnote Maven for once again creating the perfect poster for the subject of the Carnival of Genealogy.)

I am thrilled to be hosting the 85th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The topic, “Orphans and Orphans,” can be interpreted as follows:

The first type of orphan refers to those ancestors or relatives who lost their parents when they were young.

The second type of orphan would be those siblings or cousins of our ancestors who could be called “reverse orphans.” They are the relatives who, for whatever reason – death at a young age, never having married or had children, or having children who did not survive to provide descendants – have no direct descendants of their own, so it falls to us, their collateral relatives, to learn and write their story.

Submit your blog article to the Carnival of Genealogy using the Carnival submission form. If you have any questions, see Jasia’s “FAQs About the Carnival of Genealogy,” which contains complete instructions for submitting a post, or you can use the Contact button on the left side of this blog to contact me.

I look forward to reading your submissions and hope that we will see some first-timers for this edition of the COG!

The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2009.

Note: As noted in the comments, there have been some problems with the Carnival submission form site. If you do encounter any problems, just send me a note using the Contact button on the left and I will make sure that your submission is included.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Off-Topic Tuesday: Fiddlesticks!

Not the exclamation, the fiddling technique (starts half-way through the clip). This is Cape Breton style; Acadian, Cajun, bluegrass, and a few other fiddling traditions also feature this technique.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Memory Monday: My Monsters

Memory Monday: Scary Movies details my childhood love of horror movies and notes that a particular source of terror was The Beast With Five Fingers.

The Beast headed the gallery of imaginary Monsters who terrified me in those fuzzy minutes between lights out and sleep. My overactive imagination attributed all kinds of horrible forms and supernatural powers to these nighttime creepers, but there were some limitations as to what and where they could be.

1. Monsters did not live under my bed. They might sneak into my room and creep under my bed to hide, but it was not their usual abode. And if a monster was very large, well, he obviously couldn’t fit under there.

2. Monsters did not take animal shape or resemble animals in any way. Animals weren’t scary, though large and ferocious ones might be intimidating.

Monsters tended to take near-human form. They might be horribly scarred, like the Phantom of the Opera (not Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, but more like Lon Chaney) or they might just be parts of humans: that creeping hand, a scary head, or a guy that gave The Beast With Five Fingers a run for his money – the Circle-Running Half-Man. Or, there might be some resemblance to a clown.

Scariest of all were the monsters I couldn’t quite see. They were the ones, I was certain, who crawled into my room at night after the lights went out.

And my little kid’s eyes could see some monstrous shapes in some pretty mundane things. So I had to make sure that my room contained nothing that could morph into a monster in the half-light. That meant, right from the get-go, nothing with a remotely creepy appearance, even in full light – no clown dolls or sock monkeys for me, thank you.

But even the most innocuous or beloved item could turn into a sinister specter in the shadows. My child-sized Saucy Walker doll (Memory Monday: Favorite Toys) was a particular problem. She was usually perched on the little rocking chair next to my bed. And whether she was in profile or full-face, she was scary in the dark. I could not hide her away for fear of hurting my parents’ feelings, and covering her with something only heightened the fright factor. So, I would have to keep getting up and adjusting her until she didn’t look scary any more. Then there were things like brushes, chotchkies, and small toys that could cast shadows resembling gnarly hands. They had to be adjusted, too.

Somewhere between all this getting up and adjusting and getting up and trying to sneak a peak at late-night movies earned me the reputation of an inveterate night creature. Funny how parents seem to be intolerant of that sort of thing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Follow Friday: Begin With Craft

Begin With Craft is one of the blogs that I am careful to read every post in. For one thing, Valerie and I share an area of research – South Carolina (Anderson and Greenville counties) (Georgia is her other major area of research). For another, she attacks her research and recording of family memories from every possible angle, thereby providing a good model to emulate. As I read her transcriptions, listen to her recordings, and watch her videos of family stories, I realize that I should be adapting my scattershot approach and including these things in my own research. Some examples: a post on a family home that includes both a picture and a floorplan of the house; posts of period maps of the areas where her ancestors lived; posts including images of various charts and historical documents; and recipes. And there is candor and humor in many of her “memory posts” (Vexations of Childhood).

Valerie is an excellent source of news on some of the latest databases/search resources (I read first about the new DAR online search on her blog) and she is very proficient in technical areas as well; she uses Reunion, Flickr, and a number of other technical resources that she writes about in her posts. If you are engaged in Georgia and/or South Carolina research or just like to see how to take a good, comprehensive approach to family research, Begin With Craft is definitely a blog you should be following.

(In a future Follow Friday I hope to create a “South Carolina list” along the lines of the “Texas Team.” I’m not sure yet whether I’ll try to do it as a separate state or lump it together with North Carolina and Georgia, the way the Special Interest Group is organized in my local genealogical society.)

Family Newsletter Friday: 7-20 November 2009


Returned to working on the enormous Joseph Madison Carroll Norman family. I had been working on some of the children when I got in touch with other Norman researchers and was given a copy of the Inez Cline history. My approach is to be back to square one (i.e., the first child with known descendants, Leatha Norman) and use the Cline history plus my other resources.

Data Backup Day (November 1)

Something I forgot to include in a previous post – How I Spent Data Backup Day (and did this before I realized it was the first of the month, Data Backup Day):

1. Cleaned out e-mail folders.
2. Cleaned out photo files – all photos that had not been added to iPhoto were added and the folders were then cleaned out.
3. Discarded various old files that are no longer needed.
4. Backed up blogs.
5. Backed up Reunion files to USB and LaCie disk.
6. Backed up “Genealogy” folder to USB and LaCie disk.
7. Backed up photos in iPhoto to USB and LaCie disk.

Featured Family Friday: Obediah Victor Sisson and Sarah Jane Carpenter

Obediah Victor Sisson
b. 18 Sep 1852, Alabama
d. 25 Feb 1913
& Sarah Jane Carpenter
b. 30 Jun 1844
d. 31 Dec 1927, Talladega, Alabama
m. 17 Sep 1874, Talladega, Alabama
|--Henry Turner Sisson
|----b. 6 Jan 1879, Alabama
|----d. 26 Dec 1945, Alabama
|--Annie Belle Sisson
|----b. May 1880, Alabama
|----d. bef 1930
|---& Wesley Edgar Clifton
|----b. 28 Oct 1879, Alabama
|----m. 25 Jun 1904, Eden, St. Clair Co., Alabama
|--James P. Sisson
|----b. 1 Feb 1882, Alabama
|----d. 13 May 1912, Talladega, Alabama
|--Lena Sisson*
|----b. Feb 1884, Alabama
|---& William S. Gilbert
|----b. Mar 1876, Georgia
|----d. bef 1910
|----m. 26 Aug 1897, St. Clair Co., Alabama
|--Lena Sisson*
|----b. Feb 1884, Alabama
|---& William Isaac Burgess
|----b. 17 May 1884, Alabama

This is the family of my great-grandmother Sarah Jane Sisson’s brother, Obediah Victor Sisson. I was happy when I found the man I knew as Obediah V. Sisson listed on the 1910 census as Victor O. Sisson. This provides some evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the father of Obediah’s mother, Jerusha Elizabeth Neely, was Victor Neely. Obediah’s father was William T. Sisson. Obediah’s sister Margaret married a man named John E. Carpenter, who was most likely a relative of Obediah’s wife Sarah Jane Carpenter.

I would like to find out the fates of Lena Sisson and her two husbands, William S. Gilbert (they divorced), and William Isaac Burgess.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can use the “Contact” button on the left side of this blog to get in touch with me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kreativ Gratitude: My Secret Genealogy Ambitions

I write the following as a sincere "thank you" to Sherry Stocking Kline of Family Tree Writer (a very informative and entertaining blog - check it out if you haven't already) for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I was so entranced as I read her "Seven Things" ('cause she sounds like my alter ego) that I was inspired to reveal some of my Secret Genealogy Ambitions.

(Much of my genealogy research for the better part of the past year has consisted of dutifully adding Normans to my database and transcribing Moore family obituaries. It’s good work – I’m happy to have the information – but sometimes I get a little bleary-eyed. And when I get bleary-eyed, I start to get distracted. And when I get distracted, I start to get silly. Right now it’s genea-fantasies, the more outrageous, the better):

* To be rich enough to order birth, death, marriage, will, and land transcription books to my heart’s content, without the guilty feeling that I shouldn’t be spending so much money.

* To win a “Blog Makeover,” with Thomas Macentee of GeneaBloggers and Destination: Austin Family covering the technical aspects, one of our talented digiscrappers such as Vickie Everhart of BeNotForgot working on presentation of family photos, and someone such as Leslie Ann Ballou of Ancestors Live Here handling blog design. (And, yeah, Sherry, some of that Photoshop stuff.)

* To have an un-researched line that doesn’t have a super-common surname such as Smith, Moore, or Lewis.

* To take The Ultimate Genealogy Fantasy Road Trip, occasionally joining up with convivial genealogy travelers such as the You Go Genealogy Girls Cheri Hopkins and Ruby Coleman, or Linda Hughes Hiser of Flipside, or Carol of Reflections From the Fence, or Becky Wiseman of kinnexions.

* To have the money, time, and proximity to the venue to be able to attend some of the major genealogy conferences. (I missed two recent conferences that were not too far from my own back yard – FGS in Philadelphia in 2008 and NGS in Richmond in 2007.)

* To be able to do that Google Earth for Genealogists thingy that Pamela and Rick Sayers do where you can superimpose historical maps on Google Earth maps.

* To get a response to every e-mail I send out to contact the people who posted messages on my family lines long, long ago and to have everyone who has found their family lines on my blog to actually contact me.

That’s all I can think of for now. Guess it’s time to get down out of the clouds and back to that enormous Norman family. Now let’s see if we can find the maiden name of my third cousin twice removed’s first wife….

Again, thank you for the award, Sherry, as well as for the inspiration.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks to Louise at Our Twigs for Kreativ Blogger Award; and 7 Things, Goofy Version

My sincere thanks to Louise Bernero at Our Twigs. She was kind enough to honor me with the Kreativ Blogger award, which really lifted my spirits at the end of a long day. You should definitely check out her blog, and when you do, open up the full-size version of her profile photo; it’s lovely. I also apologize for not including her among the Texas Team of genea-bloggers; that has now been corrected.

As called for and to show my gratitude, I am posting Seven Things About Me: Goofy Version.

1. I have a Doctor Who scarf.

2. I got the scarf at a science fiction convention.

3. I can bend the last joint of my fingers without bending the other joints.

4. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 31.

5. My Christmas ornaments include a "Texas Christmas Wreath" made of barbed wire.

6. In college I camped out on the steps of the Kennedy Center overnight to get tickets to performances of the Bolshoi Opera.

7. There is an incredible amount of catnip in my house. (Not because we buy so much; mostly we always put some in our cats’ Christmas stockings – go ahead, snicker – and they usually get some from our catsitter for Christmas. Rather because we give them so little: R.B. is already so brazenly naughty without the added inhibition-suppressing properties of catnip; BooBoo is already a bug-eyed loon, especially when he has that little red laser-pointer dot to chase; and Pipsqueak has her grungy little catnip bag that she tokes up on every day.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Nice Thing

Genea-Musings’ Randy Seaver’s latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is probably the easiest ever:

1. What is the Nicest Thing another genealogist did for you, or to you, in the last week or so? (If you have no examples for this past week, go back in time - surely someone has done a nice thing for you in recent years!).

It seems various genea-friends (some I know and others I have never even met, not even online!) are doing something nice for me at least once a week, and some weeks are real bonanza weeks. In addition to this last week I’d like to mention some kind favors done for me in recent months.

Just this last week Linda Hughes Hiser at Flipside nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. The lovely comments and words of encouragement that people leave on this blog are also Nice Things.

Then there is Tipper at The Blind Pig and the Acorn who posted an article by Ethelene Dyer Jones in which I recognized a family name; Tipper kindly put me in touch with Ethelene to confirm that there was indeed a family connection.

This last week I posted a list of Texas-connected genea-bloggers. I should have mentioned that two of them, Vickie Everhart of BeNotForgot and Patti Browning of Consanguinity, had volunteered to do look-ups for me in their local area when they learned that some of my family lines are from there.

I have mentioned in a number of posts how people have generously sent me information and family pictures; recently some of my Norman relatives – Pat D. and Chuck G. – sent me some photos of relatives I had never seen before, including my first photo of a great-great-grandparent (the prolific Joseph Madison Carroll Norman). The pictures you may have seen on this blog of my distant Brinlee relatives were provided by ace researchers Gale W. and Edna S.

The South Carolina researcher, Kelly O., who has been providing me with those many Moore obituaries will often find a death certificate or related article on a relative that she will just add into the bunch without charge; she has also given me valuable information on obtaining membership in the DAR and other societies.

My cousin Carolyn L. has provided me with many wonderful family stories. I have received many useful pointers and much encouragement from my fifth cousin through the Lewis line, Gayle H. When I first got into genealogy, the generosity of my third cousin Jo Ann S. with both information and photographs left me humbled, and I have tried ever since to emulate her generosity when I meet “research relatives.”

These are just a few of many examples. This kind of generosity ultimately serves the noble goal of increasing our knowledge. One bit of information may provide the clue to another researcher that helps break down a brick wall. One picture can mean the world to someone who has never seen a picture of that relative before. One word of encouragement can keep a discouraged researcher “in the game” to make new discoveries that can then be shared. The cumulative impact of an act of kindness cannot be overstated.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What the Carnival of Genealogy Means to Me

The following post is submitted for the 84th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

The first Carnival of Genealogy I ever participated in was the first one for this year, and the subject was New Year’s resolutions for genealogy research and blogging. “This is a good idea,” I thought. “It will be a reminder and a prod to do what I need to do with genealogy.” To keep my goals within the realm of the attainable, I made only two resolutions: to transcribe more materials and to become more technically proficient at blogging. Then, at the last minute, I added “commit one memory a week to paper [which] will show up on the blog for ‘Memory Monday.’”

That last-minute resolution was the most successful of the three and ended up being one of the main recurring features of this blog. And it has resulted in something that I would never have accomplished otherwise: writing down my own life story for my family and descendants. Despite all the best intentions, this is something I never would have done. On the other hand, it has always been easier for me to break large tasks down into smaller ones. And by taking one small subject, event, or memory at a time, I have been able to focus on making that account more immediate and, I hope, more “memorable.”

The theme of my first Carnival of Genealogy entry was significant because it has helped me to set research goals and plan and focus my research more effectively. Even COG topics that deal with the actual stories of our ancestors’ lives compel us to try to write up research results in a way that will be interesting and appealing, rather than just a dry enumeration of facts. It’s not enough just to find the information on our ancestors; we have to pass it on and do it in way that will engage our readers, make them reflect, and make them want to know more.

Not every post I have submitted for the Carnival of Genealogy has been as artfully written as I would have liked, but all in all, I have a sense of accomplishment when I reflect on what I’ve written over the course of the past year.

There have been 12 Carnivals of Genealogy in which I have participated (clicking on “Carnival of Genealogy” under “Labels” below will bring them all up). I enjoyed writing all of them and wish I could have participated in more Carnivals. My favorites were probably My Three Aunts: Nobody’s Fools, Uncle, Uncle – William Henry Lewis: A Little Man Who Stood Tall; Tinner Hill: Desegregation, Graveyards, and My Fireplace; My Mother, the High School Graduate; and More on the Fiddling Moores.

My favorite part of each Carnival of Genealogy is reading all of the different posts on the same subject. The variety of approaches taken by the different genea-bloggers is astounding: heartfelt memories, poems, spoofs, cliffhangers, you name it. This reflects the infinite possibilities of writing about our families. It reveals the truth about family history: it is fascinating.

It just so happens that the next Carnival of Genealogy is one that I will be hosting, and I am honored to wind up my first year of participation in the Carnival of Genealogy this way. The topic I have chosen is one that is near and dear to me: “Orphans and Orphans.” The first type of orphan refers to those ancestors or relatives who lost their parents when they were young. The second type of orphan would be those siblings or cousins of our ancestors whom I think of as “reverse orphans.” They are the relatives who, for whatever reason – death at a young age, never having married or had children, or having children who did not survive to provide descendants – have no direct descendants of their own, so it falls to us, their collateral relatives, to learn and write their story.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Follow Friday: The Texas Team

A Land of Deepest Shade - Stephen Mills

ABT UNK - Amanda

All My Ancestors - Debra Osborne Spindle

All My Branches, The Graveyard Rabbit of South Denton County – Wendy Littrell

BeNotForgot – Vickie Everhart

Beyond Fiction – Ken Spangler

Blanton Family Roots and Branches – Debbie Blanton

Bluebonnet Country Genealogy - Ruth Stephens

Blue Eyes and Blue Bonnets

Branching Out Through the Years – hummer

Consanguinity – Patti Browning

Family Stories, Texas Family Stories, Family Stories in Stone – Caroline Pointer

Family Tales – Andrea Christman

GeneaBlogie – Craig Manson

Genealogy Traces – Judith Richards Shubert

Herstoryan – Herstoryan

Kinfolk News – Regina

Linsecum Lineage – Stephanie Lincecum

Moore History - Deep in the Heart of Texas - Laura Leigh

Mopsie Rabbit's Cemetery Memoirs - Mopsie Marilisa

MyFamilyRootsRunDeep – Life Goes On

Our Family History - Dana Huff

Our Twigs - Louise Bernero

Stephen's History and Genealogy - Stephen Mills

Texas History & Genealogy Blog - Teri

The Graveyard Rabbit of Wichita County, Texas - Robin

The Hopes and Dreams of a Texas Grandma – Tina

The Internet Genealogist – Leah

TransylvanianDutch – John Newmark

Untangled Family Roots – Amy Crooks

We Tree – Amy Coffin

Where I Come From - Robin

Wood County, Texas Genealogical Society Bulletin

In Today’s Follow Friday I would like to feature the “Texas Team” of genea-bloggers. I was almost going to call this group “The Texas Mafia,” simply because we Texans seem to be everywhere in the genea-blogging world. My initial criterion for inclusion in this group was a strong focus on Texas research, but it was hard to figure out exactly what level of involvement in Texas research made it “strong,” so perhaps we could just say there is a strong Texas connection. That also covers people who currently live in Texas (such as Patti Browning of Consanguinity) but do not have much or any genealogy research that involves Texas. I am sure I have not included all genea-bloggers with a Texas connection, so if you have that Texas connection and do not see your name here, please add a comment or contact me using the “Contact” button on the left and I will print a post with corrections and additions.

I was also going to write up a brief description of each of these blogs (some I have reviewed before: Judith Shubert’s Genealogy Traces , Amy Coffin’s We Tree, and Patti Browning’s Consanguinity), but it turned out that the group is larger than I thought, so I’ll try for individual posts for each blog on Follow Friday.

I have to admit that I feel so honored to be among this group – there are so many talented writers, storytellers, artists, and even techies in it. I will try to refrain from making the claim that it’s a Texas thing, but it won’t be easy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Uncle Neil

Charles Neil Moore, 20 February 1925-21 June 1996

Kreative Blogger Award

Many thanks to Linda Hughes Hiser at Flipside for this award, and congratulations to her for receiving it – she richly deserves it for her very entertaining and well-written blog.

I am now supposed to list seven things about myself and pass the award on to seven other bloggers. I’m going to rush “into print” with my nominations first (because I always seem to be late with that part) and will add the “seven things” part later.

My nominations are:

1. Leah at The Internet Genealogist

2. Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life

3. footnote Maven at footnote Maven

4. Caroline Pointer at Family Stories and Texas Family Stories

5. Herstoryan at Herstoryan

6. Elyse Doerflinger at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

7. Tina Lyons at Tina’s Genealogical Wish List

OK, it took me a few minutes to come up with them, but here are the seven things:

1. I love my immediate and extended family (that includes our cats).

2. We put bird feeders and a bird bath in our yard this year and I cannot believe how much I am enjoying watching the birds.

3. I am a 100% language geek.

4. I love to garden and could play all day in the dirt.

5. St. Nino of Georgia is my Patron Saint.

6. Genealogy may be one of the things that helps to keep me sane (and there is some dispute about that).

7. I have tons of ethnic music on my iTunes/iPod.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Smile for the Camera: Travel

Well, no one is actually smiling in this picture. That’s because no one is in it – except for our poodle, Pierre, and you can’t see his lopsided doggie grin. Of course, there is always the much-ridiculed Edsel face with its goofy-doofy grille grin. That’s what made me smile when I saw this picture today. I was looking for pictures of our trip to Death Valley and at first thought that this was one of those “disposable” pictures with nothing much in it. Then I caught sight of the Edsel. It was like seeing an old friend.

The Edsel is the only car I remember my family taking on vacations. You can read about it in Memory Monday: Our Edsel. It was also the car that we drove to Texas in; that trip is described in Memory Monday: Visiting with Grandma Brinlee. My mother, father, and brother took turns driving over the long stretches of highway through California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas during that long-ago Christmas vacation. It was particularly painful for my father, who was suffering from a slipped disc that had been misdiagnosed as kidney problems. After learning the hard way that Pierre could not ride in the back seat due to carsickness, my parents allowed him to ride in the front seat the rest of the way.

The car trip had some exciting, if not downright scary, moments. When we were driving from New Mexico to Texas, I seem to remember some winding roads, and it had been snowing. All of a sudden I heard my mother screaming: “Cow! Cow!” Apparently my dad, tired after a long stretch of driving, had spaced out with his eyes open, and did not realize that a cow was on the road straight ahead. At the last minute he swerved off to the side and into a snow drift. No damage was done to the Edsel or to its occupants, so Mom took over at the wheel and we continued on our way. Later a favorite family joke was to point and yell “Cow! Cow!” when someone could not see what was in front of them.

On the trip to Death Valley we went with some friends of my parents, Frank, Marge, and their twin boys. The guys slept outside in the tent and truck and Mom, Marge and I slept in the trailer. The Edsel was a good car for travel through the desert, because it never overheated.

I cannot remember what ultimately happened to our Edsel – whether it was sold off as a victim of our declining fortunes or was kept long enough so that it could be honorably “put out to pasture” at an advanced age. I hope it ended up with someone who appreciated it.

Submitted for the 15th edition of Smile for the Camera, hosted at Shades of the Departed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Memory Monday: The School-Year Calendar and Agrarian Society

I apologize in advance for the fact that today’s Memory Monday post is going to be half-rant, half-memory (specifically, what I remember my mother telling me about growing up on a cotton farm and why she quit school after the eighth grade plus my memories of reading the “Little House on the Prairie” books to my daughters).

Disclaimer: Although my children attended private school up through middle school, my family did experience the unpleasant aftereffects of the transition of the local public elementary school to a year-round school calendar. The neighborhood families who had school-age children with whom our children played – most of the parents were our personal friends as well – all ended up moving away, most of them out of state. Despite the active involvement of several of these families in the discussions leading up to the change (all of the families in our immediate neighborhood opposed the switch, though there were some in the larger neighborhood who supported it), the “tide of change” won out. Our neighborhood was never the same after that.

This is not a debate of the merits of year-round school. I am aware that there are both advantages and disadvantages to the system, and where you stand tends to depend on how the new schedule would impact your family. Second disclaimer: My own high school back in Seymour, Texas (which still has a strong rural/agricultural component) has gone over to the new system. According to one of my friends there who is a teacher, many students like it because they like being inside with air conditioning during the hot summer months (and Seymour gets very hot in the summer) and because there is not much to do in Seymour during the summer. I am a holdout for long summer stretches of idleness and alternative forms of learning, both for practical and admittedly nostalgic reasons.

There is one point that is inevitably raised in the debates on this system, however, with which I take issue: “The current nine-month September-to-June calendar is based on the rhythms of an agrarian society (and since we are no longer a predominantly agrarian society we no longer need it; in fact, we are so beyond it).”

This is not true. Based on my mother’s experiences, on the experiences of several other farmers and farming families I have known, on the numbers I have read in the censuses (in the column “Attended school any time since Sept. 1 [of the previous year]/Attended school (in months)” on the 1900-1930 forms, and even on some fictional accounts of rural life (such as the “Little House on the Prairie” series, which includes accounts of the author’s days as a schoolgirl and as a schoolteacher), not only is what we call the “traditional school calendar” not dictated by the work cycles of farm life, it is very much out of sync with them.

Even if the current school-year calendar may have been appropriate to certain agricultural cycles in certain places at certain times, there has always been a lot of variation in these cycles, depending on the location and local climate, the type of farming (crops grown, animals bred and raised, scale), local population concentration, type of terrain and accessibility of towns in different types of weather, and a number of other factors.

Based on the above sources, the “nine month” figure itself does not seem to hold up. The most common numbers I have often seen in that census column, at least for farm families, are three and six months. Often schooling appears to have been scheduled for the “down times” of the farming cycle: winter, when little or nothing grows and no animals are born, and parts of the summer, after planting and before harvest.

In my mother’s case, she and her brothers and sisters had to help pick cotton up until early December. This meant that they had to play “catch-up” every year, and by the end of the eighth grade, my mother was simply tired of doing that. (See My Mother, the High School Graduate.)

The debate on year-round versus traditional school calendars should be based on the advantages and disadvantages that would be experienced by the families and should avoid appeals to the yearning for a “progressive” move away from the old, rural way of life toward urban modernity. It’s time to give this tired old fiction a rest.

T’aint so and t’wasn’t ever so.

End of rant.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Newsletter/Follow Friday 6 November 2009 – A Great Genealogy Week!

This is my first attempt to combine two Friday features, Family Newsletter Friday and Follow Friday. Previously I have included a few notes on some items of interest from other blogs, but really wanted to have a regular feature for reviews and occasional “Best of” posts.

And this week the subject of “Follow Friday” has a connection to one of my two pieces of “good genealogy news”:

Dyer (Floyd-Matlock-Clark)

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Blind Pig and the Acorn, when a name jumped out at me: Bluford Dyer. Tipper, the author of the blog, had included a story (which I highly recommend reading) entitled “A Mother’s Love Defied the Bonds of Death (A Mountain Story),” by a lady named Ethelene Dyer Jones. In it Ethelene mentions her brother Bluford Dyer. Well, I have a 5xgreat-grandfather by that name. It is a rather unusual name. If it were Buford Dyer, perhaps it might just be a coincidence, but Bluford? I didn’t think so. I wrote an e-mail to Tipper, who put me in touch with Ethelene. We compared notes, and it turns out we are cousins. Moreover, we just may be cousins twice over, because the two Dyer siblings that we descend from married two Clarks (Bolin and Elizabeth) who appear to be siblings. This was not the only interesting information I learned. It turns out that Ethelene writes a wonderful column called Through Mountain Mists: Early Settlers of Union County, Georgia, for The Union Sentinel, a newspaper published in Blairsville, Georgia. The column deals with the stories of these people and their way of life, and the archives of this column can be found on GenWeb. And she is the first cousin of Watson Dyer, who wrote the Dyer Family History. It’s sort of like being related to genealogy royalty!

Readers of my blog will be aware that I am something of a cheerleader for the genea-blogging community, and I think this instance is strong evidence supporting my enthusiasm. Not only does writing the blogs help to put us in touch with other researchers, but reading them does, too! So if you are writing posts for your own blog or reading the blogs of others, don’t feel guilty for not doing “real research.” You never know where you may find a vital clue or the person who has a lot of information on your family.


I love having a “History Husband.” I finished transcribing and entering the information from the obituaries from The Greenville News dealing with descendants of Samuel Moore of Greenville (d. 1828). The very last obituary to be transcribed was that of Claude Bryant “Skip” Adair, the husband of Jeanette "Steve" Stephens, a second cousin once removed. His obituary noted that he had been a member of the Flying Tigers, aka the American Volunteer Group, a group of American pilots recruited to defend China against the Japanese during the early days of World War II. My husband found this exciting news and asked me what the fellow’s name was. When I told him, he said, “Oh, yeah,” as though the name was familiar and left the room for a few minutes. When he returned, he was carrying three books: Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and his American Volunteers, 1941-1942, by Daniel Ford; Ding Hao: America’s Air War in China, 1937-1945, by Wanda Cornelius and Thayne Short; and Sharks Over China: The 23rd Fighter Group in World War II, by Carl Molesworth. Trust my husband to be able to come up with a set of reference works on just about any military history subject.

I hope to post soon on the information provided in these books on “Skip” Adair; there is also a little bit in one of them on his wife (my relative), Mary Jeanette “Steve” Stephens Adair.

[Last-minute update as I was writing this post: My husband found a couple of wonderful websites with information on and pictures of Skip and Steve:'s/bio-adair.htm and Fascinating!]

Follow Friday: The Blind Pig and the Acorn

I am sure quite a few of the people who read this blog are familiar with Tipper’s The Blind Pig and the Acorn: Bloggin’ About My Appalachian Heritage, but for those who are not, I’ll just say that it is one of the best blogs around. Tipper writes with wit and style about Appalachian history, heritage, and folk ways. It’s difficult to select my favorite subject, but I’d say Appalachian vocabulary and music are way up there. Of course, there are all the stories and descriptions of growing and preparing food, and Appalachian sayings, and… Let’s just say that every post is a gem. And, as a fantastic added bonus, there is a Pickin and Grinnin in the Kitchen (by Paul and Pap) playlist at the top to help create the proper atmosphere. Go give The Blind Pig and the Acorn a try - you’ll only need to read one post, and you’ll become an addict, uh, devotee, just as I am. And who knows, you might just meet your fourth cousin twice removed, just as I did.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Irene, Lillian, and Madeline Moore

Lora Irene Moore (Rainwater), Lillian Mozelle Moore (Ford), and Grace Madeline Moore (Brinlee).

Based on the ages shown at the bottom, this picture was taken in 1929.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Memory Monday: Scary Movies

Why do most little kids enjoy being frightened? Not truly frightened, of course, but Haunted House Frightened or Scary Movie Frightened. Those were states of fear that were not inspired by anything actually existing, but rather by seeing something scary on TV or at the movies or by participating in a created scary scenario such as a haunted house or a Halloween lawn display (you know, the ones with mummies, Frankensteins, brains-in-a-box, etc.).

I was a total scary movie addict from an early age, and many of my friends were, too. We must have enjoyed that adrenalin rush. The movie did not have to have high production values to have its intended effect – heck, Frankenstein’s Daughter scared the living daylights out of me. Yet, some classic horror movies – Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and the Bela Lugosi Dracula movies – did not scare me at all. I remember that TV Guide used to describe them as “melodramas,” and this was probably a better description. Still, they were fascinating, too, especially Elsa Lanchester’s hair as the Bride of Frankenstein.

My best bet for catching a horror show was on the Early Show, since I was not allowed to stay up past 7:30. But the Early Show rarely featured anything higher on the Fright Scale than the Frankenstein/Wolfman/Dracula/Mummy classics. And the “horror” movies shown during the day on the weekends were mostly Creature from the Black Lagoon caliber – So Not Scary.

The Real Scary Stuff was either on the Late Show (or even better, the Late, Late Show) or on Chiller Theatre at 10:00 on Saturday night. When my parents were home, this was an impossible dream. Not only would they never allow me to stay up late, but they had no interest in horror movies.

The nights when my big brother Don babysat me were another matter. If these movies were on TV, Don would be watching them. And especially when his friends came over to watch TV with him, there was at least a small chance that I could sneak into the living room behind the sofa and catch a peak.

I would wait until the lights were turned off and the smell of popcorn wafted back along the hall to my bedroom. This meant that Don and his friends were absorbed in the movie and in eating. Then I would creep down from the bed and out into the hall, where I slithered, down on the floor next to the wall, until I reached the living room. The trick was never to let the textured plastic bottoms on the feet of my Dr. Denton’s touch the floor, because they would make a loud, sticky sound that would immediately give away my presence. It was therefore necessary to creep along on my hands and knees, with my toes pointed backward so that only the soft flannel came into contact with the floor.

After I finally made it to the living room, I moved extremely slowly and attempted to position myself perfectly in the corner so that I could see the TV screen without being seen.

There were many great horror films that I viewed in 5-, 10-, and maybe even 15-minute segments. Because that’s how long I usually remained undetected. At least Don’s friends usually pled the case for letting me have a handful of popcorn before I was sent back, crestfallen, to my bedroom.

There was one truly scary movie (well, it scared me) that I remember seeing on the Early Show: The Beast with Five Fingers. No other scary movie affected my behavior for such a long period of time. For months after viewing it, every night at bedtime, I was very careful to pull the covers up over my chin. Because you never know when a disembodied hand is going to crawl up on your bed and try to strangle you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lizzie Smith Timeline

The following is the timeline I will be using to find local resources (newspapers, court records, etc.) for researching my #1 brick wall, Susan Elizabeth "Lizzie" Smith Bonner Brinlee. I hope to obtain additional information so that I can "tweak" it a bit, but these are the basic outlines:

4 April 1868: Birth of Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith in Tennessee (state from US Federal Censuses 1910, 1920, 1930 and Susan E. Brinlee’s Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension, day and month by hearsay from family Bible, now believed to have been burned, and year based on age reported on marriage license of H. C. Brinlee and Mrs. S. L. Bonner).

1885/1886: According to the 1930 census, Lizzie first married at the age of 17; I would guess this happened in Tennessee. [According to Tennessee marriage records, a W. T. Banner married a Lizzie Smith in October 1886 in McMinn County, Tennessee.]

3 December 1891: Lizzie marries Hiram Carroll Brinlee, Jr., in White Bead Hill, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma.

29 January 1893: Son Lawrence Carroll Brinlee born in String Town, Atoka, Oklahoma (Paul’s Valley is given as his place of birth on his WWI Draft Registration Card).

8 June 1895: Daughter Cordelia Lee “Cordie” Brinlee born in Oklahoma.

25 June 1900: Hiram appears on the 1900 US Federal Census for Britton Township, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma Territory; Lizzie and the children may be living with him.

1902: The year Hiram and Lizzie may have moved from Oklahoma to Texas, as reported by Lizzie on her Confederate Widow’s Pension Application.

6 April 1904: Son Austin Franklin Brinlee born in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas.

23 September 1908: Son Cecil Odell Brinlee born in Collin County, Texas.

4 May 1910: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Justice Precinct 2, Hunt County, Texas.

22 August 1913: Hiram Brinlee files Confederate Soldier’s Application for a Pension in Grayson County, Texas.

30 January 1920: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Farris, Atoka Co., Oklahoma. Hiram had died on 20 January, but the census-taker must have been following the instructions, which indicated that “individuals alive on 1 January but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted.”

27 July 1925: Lizzie files her Confederate Widow’s Pension application from Collin County, Texas.

10 Sep 1929: Lizzie writes a letter requesting assistance with her Pension application; the location is given as Leonard, Texas (Leonard is in Fannin County).

21 April 1930: Lizzie appears on the US Federal Census living with her son Austin in Fannin County, Texas.

29 July 1958: Lizzie dies in Plano, Collin County, Texas. She apparently had lived for some years with her youngest son, Cecil Odell, who signed the application for her mortuary warrant and her death certificate. Her death certificate indicates her stay in Plano as “several years.”