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Are You My Cousin?: March 2011

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Hair Styles - Then Or Now?

The hair is the richest ornament of women. ~Martin Luther




Are these hairstyles not fun!  They are the featured spring hairstyles in the 1965 edition of Woman's Day. Is it just me? Or do you see these styles at the local mall, too? (Okay, maybe not the "curl cluster".) It does seem that hair fashions have come full circle.


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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Year Was 1965.....


Vintage magazines can be so fun.  I have several that were saved from the trash when a library was doing some spring cleaning.  The one above is from April 1965.


This is the February 1965 edition.


What an adorable cover for this March 1965 edition of Woman's Day.

These two women's magazines continue to publish today.  As a wife and mother, I have read and enjoyed them over the years.  Funny,  as I look at the vintage stories, the interests and concerns of women today don't look so different. (The hair styles don't look that different either!  More on that in another post.)

Why 1965 editions?  It's the year I was born (and yes, I'll let you do the math).  Does that mean I'm vintage, too?  Don't answer that.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tweets from 1860 (?)!

Our ancestors knew how to tweet (?)! Well, not really, but a clever historian at the NC Archives is giving a voice on twitter to North Carolinians who lived during the Civil War. LaRae Umfleet is tweeting the actual words from our ancestors from historical sources including letters, diaries and other records. Along with each tweet is a link to a blog that contains the actual passage where the words are found.  The tweets appear on the account (at)CivilianWartime.

This is an effort to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I like that through tweeting, this project shares words and thoughts of ordinary people living in a confusing and unsettling time. What a great way to share history with technology focused generations.

To read the original article in The News and Observer, go here.

This is enough to make me consider signing up for twitter. 

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Friday, March 25, 2011

A Little Mystery Solved

I have known since early into my research of the Howard (Harward) family that James Harward (1760-1840) was in the home of Daniel Parham in the White Oak District of Wake County, NC for the 1840 federal census.  (James died in Sep 1840). I have just never known why.  Who was this Daniel Parham?  Was he a son-in-law? Grandson-in-law?

Thanks to a Parham family researcher, I got the clue I needed this week. It turns out Daniel Parham was the son-in-law of James' second wife Rachel Belvin Harward.  Daniel was married to Rachel's daughter Mary from her first marriage.

It's nice to have another piece or the puzzle in place.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Do You Share Your Family History?

Lately I have been wondering the best way to share the family history I have been gathering over the past few years. I want to share not just the names and dates of our ancestors, but the family artifacts, photos and, stories. My collection has grown quite large. I certainly enjoy blogging about our ancestors (and will continue to do so!), but with the amounts of information I have gathered on both my maternal and paternal lines, I have begun to wonder if there is another way to share as well. Is it time for a book? (I don’t believe I actually wrote that.)

My question to fellow genealogists out there is this: What are some of the ways (other than blogging) that you share you genealogy with your family?

To my cousins out there: What would like to know about our family?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Who Am I? I Am Who They Were....


I am a:

• Wife
• Mother
• Daughter
• Granddaughter
• Aunt
• Niece
• Cousin
• Homemaker

I wear many labels. I wear many of the same labels that my female ancestors did. Am I really any different? I expect if I could talk to my female ancestors I would find we are not really so different. We may have lived in different economic times. My ancestors were full time homemakers. I work outside of the home. My great x3 grandmothers wore sun bonnets, I wear sunglasses. I have technology at my finger tips. My great x3 grandmothers had laundry at their (chapped) fingertips! I have “servants” known as my washing machine and dishwasher that help me cook and clean. Some of my ancestors had actual servants to help cook and clean.

Despite the differences in our lives, I cannot help but think all of us in our particular point in time were (are) after the same things in life: a well run home, a healthy and happy family and time to enjoy family and friends. I am proud to be counted among them!

The women pictured above are: Hattie Elliot Richardson (great-great grandmother), Mattie Maddox Howard (great-grandmother), Esther Richardson Talbott (great-grandmother), Stella Holyfield White (great-grandmother), and Cecile White Howard (grandmother).

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Friday, March 18, 2011

I Just Love a Good Map

Over Christmas I received Google Earth for Genealogy, Vol 1 and 2. This is a great CD set developed by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems. Lisa’s CD’s showed me how to use Google Earth to map my ancestors. Yes, I probably could have figured it out on my own, but Lisa showed me the ins and outs of Google Earth is a simple and organized format. I always like simple and organized.


So, I gave it a try……



This is the Google Earth map I made for my GGGG Grandfather George Howard/Harward of Lee (then Moore) County, NC. Mapping the approximation location of George’s land showed me where he was in relationship to other important landmarks to my ancestors.


For example, see that yellow pin showing George’s location? It may be difficult to tell, but he lived on the Wake, Lee (then Moore) and Chatham County lines. He really was not all that far from the other Howard/Harwards of Wake County.

See the yellow pin for Baptist Chapel Church? That was originally land belonging to Tillman Thomas that was later given by a Thomas/Howard descendant to build a church building. George’s son Caswell married Tillman’s daughter Mary Adline Thomas. It turns out they were neighbors.


Buckhorn Dam? That was built on the Cape Fear River after George’s time. The Maddox family owned land on that part of the river and attended Moore Union Christian Church (another yellow pin). The Maddox and Howard families intermarried through the generations.

Oh my! I’m starting to see that Google Earth for Genealogy and cluster genealogy my help to break down a brick wall!

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Monday, March 14, 2011

I Have a Confession

I have something to confess.


I have not always been good at documenting my sources used in my genealogy research.

Early in my genealogical research I would get carried away with each new piece of information I would find. I would read it, analyze it and move on to the next piece of the puzzle. Oh, I might write down a note about where the information or document came from, but often I skipped over the information needed for a full source citation.

Now I am on a journey to correct my past mistakes. I am returning to my earlier research to correctly cite my sources. This undoubtedly will cause some backtracking, but that’s okay. Lessons will be learned.

Whew! I’m glad that’s out.

Does anyone else have a genealogical confession?

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Family Friday: The Locket


This is Esther Lee Richardson Talbott's locket.  The monogram is faint, but has her initials ELR engraved on the front.  I expect the locket was a gift from her parents, though I cannot know for sure.  Based on the faded monogram and the condition of the clasp, Esther treasured her locket and wore it often.

Inside the locket is a picture of Esther as an adult. If you look closely you can see Esther is actually wearing the locket in the photo. I actually have the orginal of this photo hanging in my home.  After Esther's death, I believe the locket eventually was handed down to her daughter Elma Talbott.  Perhaps Elma placed the photo of the mother she lost as a young child inside the locket.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Genealogy and Children

I got started in genealogy as a “little” project to do with my children (one elementary and one in middle school at the time) one summer. The bug bit and we were off. Mostly my children wanted to find out what country we were from and if we were related to anyone famous. Finding a family full of farmers who seemed to have always been here (i.e. America) quickly caused their enthusiasm to wane. No one famous popped up in our family tree. For the most part our ancestors appeared to be from England or its surrounding countries.


Until…… one Memorial Day weekend.

My son innocently asked if we had any ancestors who fought in a war. It was difficult to be nonchalant, because on the inside I was jumping up and down with excitement. Why, yes, we do have ancestors who fought in a war. I quickly told him about his great x 6 grandfather James Harward who fought in the Revolutionary War out of Wake County, NC. I then took him to the site of the original Wake County Courthouse where the troops gathered before marching off to war. (It’s now a condominium complex with an historical marker in front.) I could see him trying to process that he was standing where his ancestor stood 200+ years before him.

Our quick journey that day into the family history was just that: quick. It was simple. It was relevant at that moment. He learned about his ancestor that day, and I learned how to share family history on his level of interest.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I Research Genealogy

I am often asked “Why do you do genealogy?” Sometimes I get the odd comment like, “My aunt used to do that genealogy stuff. She would bore us to tears talking about all those great greats!”


It appears I have become one of those “aunts”. While I am sure I have never seen any tears of boredom in the eyes of my family with the tales of our ancestors, I have seen the occasional glazed look come across their faces. I like to think they are just pondering the latest tidbit of information I have offered up.



Back to the question: Why do I do genealogy? Well….lots of reasons. Here are my top three reasons:


Genealogy is like a puzzle. I have always liked putting together puzzles and solving the many mystery books I have read over the years. Genealogy is like the puzzle that comes in a box without the actual picture on it. There is no indication of size or number of pieces involved. Genealogy is the ultimate puzzle.

Genealogy brings family closer. I am not just trying to sound like a Hallmark card. It really does bring people closer together. Early in my genealogical pursuits, I spent time with my aunt (my grandfather’s sister). She shared many stories with me about people I had only heard of in passing as I grew up. She showed me the land where our family lived and farmed and the churches where they worshipped. She introduced me to new relatives. All the while she told me stories, and I learned to know her. I learned to appreciate the children she and her siblings were and the adults they became. We continue to share a wonderful relationship.

Genealogy lets me meet new “cousins”. Each new cousin I have met, leads to me to another. I can share our family history, but they add the color to the our family’s story.

Why do you do genealogy?

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