Monday, August 31, 2009

Calling All White Family Researchers

I am embarking in earnest on researching my White family genealogy. My White family is from Surry County, NC and appears to be there back into the early 1800's. Thomas Jefferson White (1851-1922) was my great-great grandfather and Joseph Pearson White (~1802- ~1881) was my great x3 grandfather. So, if anyone out there is also researching this White family (or just has some information), I'd love to hear from you.

As I've begun research on this family, I've discovered the Wilmoth family of Surry County figures into the White family lines as well. Joanna Wilmoth Lyons White (wife of Thomas J. White) and her mother Joanna Barrett (wife of William Richard Wilmoth) have both piqued my interest. Joanna Barrett is said to have been born in Ireland and immigrated to America probably as a young women. So, when did she actually immigrate? What port did she enter? How or why did she end up in Surry County, NC? All questions I hope to answer.

I'm excited to research the White family. I'm also a little intimidated. White was and still is a very common surname. Keeping the lines straight could prove challenging. Researching the women of the family will prove interesting as well. This will be my first experience researching immigration and naturalization records.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Focus and Goals

Focus. I often find myself trying to focus on too many research projects at one time. Focusing on too many things at one time and not seeing anything clearly. Or focusing on a research question and being distracted by other interesting facts that I find along the way.

My research into the Howard/Harward family is a primary example. I often post on this family as they have been a focus of my research. There are still many questions on this family that I want to answer. Not all of the questions will lead back down the ancestral line, but will fill in the interesting pieces of their lives. A question from a cousin here, an unidentified picture there, an ancestor I can't quite place in the tree.... all lead me down a genealogy trail. But which trail first? And once started, how do I stay on the trail? The answer is : GOALS.

I have recently been writing goals for my genealogy research. I have found that this has kept me better focused. In the past I have relied on memory to pick back up where I left off on a area of research. I know...a classic mistake by a newbie! But no more (at least not as much!). I have goals written for a couple of the family lines I am researching. During the last few weeks, researching based on these goals has enabled me to make quite a bit of progress filling in missing information on my more recent ancestors.

Researching based on goals is not a new concept. In fact, my children learned that very concept early in their school years. Let's hope they remember their lessons better than their mother did! I'm off now to review my goals......

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Too Many Williams

Too many William Harwards were living in Wake and Chatham Counties of NC in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Sorting them all out has been a recent research interest of mine. Little did I know that I was delving into an area of genealogy known as cluster genealogy. The concept of doing cluster genealogy is exciting, but overwhelming at the same time.

First there is William Howard (Harward) who is the first Howard/Harward to show up in Orange County, NC (now Wake County, NC) in 1767. He is found in the registration of deeds documents for Orange County, NC as buying land from Joseph Barbee. He is believed to have died sometime around 1804/1805. This is based on a deed in Wake County, NC in 1805 where James Haward buys the other heirs shares of William's land.

Next there is William Harward (II) who married Keziah Beasley. He may have been the first William's son. Estate records in the NC Archives have his death in 1819. Among his heirs was a minor child also named William.

Next is William Harward who was married to an Edy (Unknown). In the 1850 census, he was age 61 and living in Chatham County, NC with his wife and three of his children, one of whose name was William (of course). It's possible he was the son of James.

The given name William filters further down several collateral lines into the mid-1800's to later 1800's. These gentlemen fall outside my time frame of study, so I have made note of them, but not studied them.

I would like to say that in today's computer world I have stumbled on a high tech way to track these men named William. But I can't. I track and trace the Williams the old fashion way. I study the records and then with pen and paper put the data in paper chart form. Eventually, I do plan to put this information in a higher tech form.

Fortunately the Harward family was not hiding. The family members show up frequently in census records, land records, war records, and estate papers. They did live on the border of Chatham and Wake Counties, so checking both counties has provided much information. I have high hopes for success as I try to sort through all the Williams.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Deltiology--The study and collection of postcards.

I learned today that I have a new hobby. ( I hear the groans in the background!) During the last few years as I have studied my family history and genealogy, I have come into the possession of a number of vintage postcards. Some are blank, but many are letters to and from my ancestors to each other as they shared their lives. I have a lot of fun looking through the postcards and thought it would be fun to share them from time to time with my readers. I am also participating in my first blog carnival hosted by A Canadian Family . The theme this month is Water.

Above is a postcard of the Bridal Veil Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a blank card on the back and one I believe my mother collected on one of her family vacations when growing up. I love the colors on this card. As I sit in the "dog days of summer" in NC, I imagine the coolness and quiet of the Smoky mountains. A mountain vacation sounds good.......


A Modern Day Mystery

I have had the pleasure of using my genealogy skills to solve a modern day mystery. A friend of mine told me the story of a box of pictures that her brother found on the side of the road about 9 years ago. He picked the box up concerned that someone had lost family photos. Unfortunately, my friend's bother passed away before discovering the box's owner. My friend kept the box for about 7 years, always hoping to find the owner and to be able to reunite a family with their photos. Learning of my interest in genealogy, my friend asked me if I might be able to track the family down. I eagerly agreed to try.

I started by sorting the box of photos and photo albums. Immediately, I found the local address where the original family lived from the box lid as well as the original photos owner from a photo album. (I'll call her Elizabeth for sake of clarity and yet privacy of her family.) Turning to the Internet and more specifically to, I learned that the woman who belonged to the photos had died in the 1990's and her mother (who lived with her) was no longer in the area.

At this point, I returned to the box and again re-sorted its contents. This time, I found an envelope addressed to the Elizabeth's mother. Inside was a Christmas card signed from Elizabeth's sibling and family. I returned to the Internet and looked up the return address from the envelope. Success! The family still lived at the same address in New York state. I called the phone number with no success. I repeatedly got an answering machine, but was unsure how to leave the kind of message that would make sense.

Snail mail was my next step. I wrote a letter to the family detailing the box and how it came into my possession. I provided all my contact information. Weeks went by before one morning I received an e-mail from NY inquiring if I still had the box. A few e-mails back and forth were followed by a phone call one Friday evening. Elizabeth's brother called me and was astounded that anyone had actually picked up the box of photos much less saved them all these years. As we talked, he told me the story of Elizabeth and her love of photography. Elizabeth had been in the military and later worked in advertising. Her mother lived with her. She unfortunately died of cervical cancer at a young age. When her family cleaned out Elizabeth's home after her death, they took with them all the family photos and special mementos. The box of photos that my friend's brother picked up all those years ago, was indeed not wanted by the family. I learned that the photos were of people the family did not know and held no special meaning for Elizabeth's family.

While the photos were unwanted photos, Elizabeth's brother was amazed and grateful that someone would be concerned enough to rescue a box of unknown photos and track down the owner. I have enjoyed the opportunity to put my genealogy skills to the test and solve this modern day family history mystery.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

With This Ring ...

This is the marriage certificate of Cecile Clara White and James Lester Howard. They were married on 10 Jun 1939. I found their certificate in a box of their pictures. Until I read this I did not know why they were married in Danville, VA instead of Greensboro where they lived. If anyone knows the reason, please let me know!

This second picture is actually a page attached to the marriage certificate folder. Interestingly, the advice in 1939 still rings true in 2009. Here are the highlights:

How to Perpetuate the Honeymoon

*Continue your courtship.

*Do not assume a right to neglect your companion.

*Have no secrets that you keep from your companion.

*Make the best of the inevitable.

*Keep a lively interest in the business of the firm.

*Start where your parents started.

*Avoid debt.

*Do not both get angry at the same time.

*Do not allow yourself to ever come to an open rupture.

*Study to understand your companion's disposition, in order to please and avoid friction.

*Gauge your expenses by your revenues.

Posted by Picasa
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...