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Are You My Cousin?: September 2011

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Name:
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!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Apparently Someone Has Been Listening!

When I began pursuing my genealogy, I quickly learned that the spellings of names was very inconsistent to say the least.  I began keeping a log of the spelling variations I would find for each surname. I would share some of the more unusual spellings with anyone within earshot.

It would appear someone has been listening!

Recently one of the children was filling out a form asking for your mother's maiden name.  My child looked up and asked "Which spelling should I use? One "t" or two?"


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the 6 x 6 decorative tile from Esther's Place is Debbie over at Blanton Family Roots and Branches. 

Congratulations, Debbie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's The Last Day....

...to participate in the giveaway for a 6 x 6 tile from Esther's Place.  Be sure to go here and leave a comment letting me know you want to enter.  That's all.  Pretty easy, right?


Tombstones and Resumes

I thought about entitling this post :

Now Why Couldn't My Ancestors Do That?!

(I think you will see why is a minute.)

I found the historic cemeteries in Charleston, SC absolutely fascinating.   So many of the gravestones provided an incredible wealth of information on the person they represented. It like having a resume on the gravestone. For instance:


This is the gravestone for Captain James Ross, buried in the Presbyterian Church on Meeting Street in the historic district of Charleston.  The transcription of the stone is as follows:

HERE REST
The Mortal Remains of 
CAPTAIN JAMES ROSS
A native of the Town of Lerwick,
North Britain.
For upwards of Thirty Years,
He commanded vessels out of this Port,
And for the last Sixteen Years
Resided here permanently
As a Member of the Board of Port Wardens
And most of that time as its Chairman
The duties of which he discharged
Most faithfully
____________________of his existence
He was in the fullest sense
An Honest Upright and Noble hearted Man.
He died in this City
On the 8th October 1856
Aged 70 Years, 8 Months,
And 9 Days.
Justly and sincerely lamented
By a numerous acquaintance
And many sincere Friends.

This gentleman's name, age, place of birth, death dates, place of residence, and his occupation are all listed.  The information on Captain Ross's stone can also lead the researcher to other records for the city that mention him.  Records leading to other records is always a good thing.




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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Gravestones and Their Stories

On my recent trip to Charleston, SC I spent a lot of time wandering the historic cemeteries.  I was drawn by the stories these cemeteries told just by the gravestones that were there.  The artwork and symbolism can tell so much about the person (and the family) buried there.

 As I wondered the cemeteries, I wondered what I could learn about a person or family by just what was in the cemetery.  No computer look-ups. No prior knowledge of the family.  No other information than what was literally in front of me.



And that's when I found myself in front of the James and Elizabeth Ladson family plot in St. Michael's Church on Meeting Street. This gravestone in particular caught my attention.


This gravestone has six (6) Ladson children listed!  It was a bit difficult to read in the cemetery and in the photograph, but modern technology (i.e. Picasa) helped me decipher it.

  • Robert Gilmore Ladson - died 26 May 1828, aged 1 year 53 days
  • Frederick Fraser Ladson - died 29 Jun 1830,aged 4 years 6 months
  • Judith Eliza Ladson - died 2 Jul 1830, aged 9 years 11 months
  • Eliza Caroline Ladson - died 23 Jun 1835, aged 10 months 6 days
  • Charlotte Josephine Ladson - died 25 Jul 1837, aged 6 months 2 days
  • James Ladson - died 6 Jul 1839, aged 17 years
Five of the children died before the age of 10 years. All died in the early summer months.  

Why?

Here are a few of my theories:
  • Charleston, SC is very hot and muggy during the summer months.  It is also very "buggy".  (Wear bug repellent when exploring this city's cemeteries!  I learned the hard way.)  Mosquitoes and other bugs can carry illnesses.  Perhaps this was a contributing factor in these children's deaths.
  • With the young age of the the first five children listed, could there be a genetic disorder present in this family? Or at the very least, a genetic predisposition toward weak a immune system.
  • Early medicine being what is was, the children may have died from common childhood illnesses.
In addition to the six children above, Elizabeth Ladson lost at least one other daughter in early adulthood as well as her husband.  There is no doubt about it.  Life was hard for this family.  It is hoped that in the midst the grief, joy was also found.


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Esther's Place Giveaway!

If you haven't already, visit Esther's Place, my online store for heritage crafts. Just click the button on the top right sidebar to take you there.  I think you will enjoy your visit.

To celebrate the opening of Esther's Place, I am giving away one 6x6 decorative tile to one lucky winner.


How do you enter the giveaway?

So glad you asked.

Just leave a comment below telling me you would like to enter.  That's all.  Easy, right?
The contest will close on Wednesday night (9/28/11) at 11:59.  I will use Random.org to select the winner.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Genealogy and Physical Therapy

As I meet genealogists through my blog or at an event, I am always fascinated by the various backgrounds we bring to genealogy research.  I've met genealogists with backgrounds in business, teaching, law and more.

By training I am a physical therapist.  Specifically, I am an acute (hospital) PT.

Genealogy and physical therapy - an odd combination, don't you think?  Well, maybe not.

As a physical therapist, I evaluate a patient's problem, develop a treatment plan, and carry out that plan. Isn't that what I do as a genealogist?

  1. First I identify the research focus. (This would be the patient's problem)
  2. I analyze what is already known about the research question. (This would be the patient's medical history.)
  3. I determine what other information is needed. (This would be hands on evaluation of a patient's problem.)
  4. I develop a research plan to address the central question. (This would be treatment plan.)
  5. I carry out the research plan. (This would be carrying out the patient's treatment plan.)
  6. I re-evaluate the research plan and adapt it based on research findings.  (I re-evaluate the patient frequently and make adjustments to their treatment as needed.)
Whether I am working as a genealogist or a physical therapist, I use both my analytic skills and my interview/people skills. "Thinking outside the box" is helpful in both as well.




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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Genealogy Buddies

Enjoying Lunch in Charleston
This week I tagged along with DH to a conference in Charleston, SC.  After all, I couldn't resist all the history in that historic city.  I spent a lot of time wandering the streets looking at the historic houses and the cemeteries. I suppose it is a sign of genealogical maturity that I spent more time in the cemeteries than I did in the shops!

One of  the highlights was having lunch with Vicki of my ProGen study group.  We enjoyed a very southern lunch of delicious Po' boy catfish sandwiches. (If you find yourself in the South sometime, be sure and try one.)  Vicki and I talked genealogy almost non-stop.  How fun to talk genealogy with someone whose eyes do not glaze over at the mention of the word ancestor.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Esther's Place


Esther's Place is my new online store featuring custom heritage crafts designed to share your family history.  As a genealogist and the family historian, I have frequently found myself attempting to share our family history without seeing my listener's eyes glaze over.

You know that feeling, don't you?  I needed to be sneaky  more creative in sharing the family history.

Heritage Coasters and Tiles
The numerous photographs of my ancestors sparked the idea for my Heritage Coasters.  From there the ideas kept coming and the Decorative Tiles were developed.  You know what?  Friends and family ask me about the ancestors in the photograph on a coaster (or tile).  Somehow, stories with a photograph seem more real.

Coaster Featuring Cecil White Howard

So, you're invited to stop by and look around.  Simply click on the button at the top of my sidebar to go to  Esther's Place. Let me know if I can help you with anything.

Be sure to check back often.  New products are in the making!

**Esther's Place is named for my great grandmother Esther Lee Richardson Talbott (1896-1923).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Exciting Announcement is Coming...Tomorrow!


Tomorrow's the day when I tell you about Esther's Place.  Be sure to stop by to learn more.  (I think you are really going to like this!)

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meme Take 2 - Tech Savvy Genealogist

Another meme has been making the genealogy rounds.  This one involve genealogy and technology.  I first saw this one over at Long Lost Relatives.net.


The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
Feel free to add extra comments in brackets after each item
  1. Own an Android or Windows tablet or an iPad
  2. Use a tablet or iPad for genealogy related purposes
  3. Have used Skype to for genealogy purposes.
  4. Have used a camera to capture images in a library/archives/ancestor’s home
  5. Use a genealogy software program on your computer to manage your family tree
  6. Have a Twitter account
  7. Tweet daily (still working on the whole social media thing.)
  8. Have a genealogy blog
  9. Have more then one genealogy blog.
  10. Have lectured/presented to a genealogy group on a technology topic (does blogging count? Probably not…)
  11. Currently an active member of Genealogy Wise 
  12. Have a Facebook Account
  13. Have connected with genealogists via Facebook
  14. Maintain a genealogy related Facebook Page (just started one.)
  15. Maintain a blog or website for a genealogy society (Does managing the online book store at Lulu.com count?)
  16. Have submitted text corrections online to Ancestry, Trove or a similar site
  17. Have registered a domain name
  18. Post regularly to Google+ 
  19. Have a blog listed on Geneabloggers
  20. Have transcribed/indexed records for FamilySearch or a similar project.
  21. Own a Flip-Pal or hand-held scanner
  22. Can code a webpage in .html  (Not the whole thing, but I can edit in HTML)
  23. Own a smartphone
  24. Have a personal subscription to one or more paid genealogy databases
  25. Use a digital voice recorder to record genealogy lectures
  26. Have contributed to a genealogy blog carnival
  27. Use Chrome as a Browser
  28. Have participated in a genealogy webinar
  29. Have taken a DNA test for genealogy purposes
  30. Have a personal genealogy website
  31. Have found mention of an ancestor in an online newspaper archive
  32. Have tweeted during a genealogy lecture
  33. Have scanned your hardcopy genealogy files
  34. Use an RSS Reader to follow genealogy news and blogs
  35. Have uploaded a gedcom file to a site like Geni, MyHeritage or Ancestry
  36. Own a netbook
  37. Use a computer/tablet/smartphone to take genealogy lecture notes (I'm still a paper and pencil girl with this. Actually, if I physically write it down, I rarely have to go back to my notes.)
  38. Have a profile on LinkedIn that mentions your genealogy habit .
  39. Have developed a genealogy software program, app or widget
  40. Have listened to a genealogy podcast online
  41. Have downloaded genealogy podcasts for later listening
  42. Backup your files to a portable hard drive
  43. Have a copy of your genealogy files stored offsite
  44. Know about Rootstech
  45. Have listened to a Blogtalk radio session about genealogy
  46. Use Dropbox, SugarSync or other service to save documents in the cloud
  47. Schedule regular email backups
  48. Have contributed to the Familysearch Wiki
  49. Have scanned and tagged your genealogy photographs (scanned not tagged)
  50. Have published a genealogy book in an online/digital format. (Shh....it's a secret soon to be revealed.)
Are you a tech savvy genealogist?


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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Uncle Pell

I have recently begun looking at my Humphries family line.  I am only in the beginning stages of researching this line, but remembered a bit of fun oral history.  It was a common story among the older generations, and one I first heard about at a family get together as a teenager. As our family has grown and become more spread out, I expect many in my generation and those younger do not know this story.  It's a fun story and worth passing down.

This is a story about Pelham Humphries (Humphreys), nicknamed "Uncle Pell".  I tell it as I remember it when I first heard it as a teenager. I have no evidence that any of this oral history is true.  It simply is just that - a family story.

Pelham Humphries was related to Nancy Alice Humprhies, wife of John Martin Holyfield. [I'm not quite sure how.] Pelham was quite a character and a supposed horse thief.  He ended up in Texas.  Here is where the story gets interesting.  Pelham supposedly owned the land that Exxon's first oil gusher Spindletop came in on.  In theory, the family should have been heirs to this land and thus, the Exxon fortune.  The problem?  No one can prove that Pelham owned the land. And well, he may have been a shady character.

According family members, every once in a while someone looks into this story and always comes up empty.   I recently came across research an aunt did years ago.  My great grandmother White (Stella Holyfield White) was fairly straight laced and known to say she wouldn't want anything to do with the money since Pelham was a horse thief!

White, Holyfield and Humphries cousins-what version of the story have you heard?

When I googled Pelham Humphries, I was surprised by the number of hits that popped up.I actually found a number of websites and chat threads referring to this story.  Go here to read more.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Musings on a Wednesday

I have recently returned to running.  During our very hot summer here in the south, running was definitely not something I looked forward to.  (Okay, I had a lot of other excuses as well!)  Anyway....I'm back to running.  Running/walking to be more exact.

What does this have to do with genealogy?

I find when I run, my thoughts often drift toward my genealogy research.  Usually to a "brick wall" in my research.  Often I come up with new ideas for research when I am running.

A different database to check.  

A new theory - Jesse Haley might have gone by his middle name sometimes.  Brackett Owen and his son-in-law Jesse Haley may have left the area (Halifax County) only to return back.

New blog posts  like this one.

I'm hoping running will get me and my genealogy into shape.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Not So Usual

I was talking with a  friend recently recently about genealogy.  (Really, what else is there for 40-something women to discuss?)  She's someone I actually "converted" and helped get started researching her family.  We talked about her results and the records that she used.  It got me thinking about the records I use.

 Like many genealogists I use census records, land records, wills/probates.... These are what I call my "regular" records.  The record sets I start with when beginning a new search. But what about the less used records? Specifically the "not so normal records."

Here are a few that I use:

Road Records/Petitions
This is a set of records I came across at the NC State Archives.  I first posted about it here.  Road petitions presented in the county court are a great source for placing your ancestor in a particular location.  In this case, my ancestor's neighbors were listed and provided information on the neighborhood.  It is not unusual for those neighbors to be relatives.

Original Wake County Road Petition

Scrapbooks
I recently posted on some my ancestors' scrapbooks in my collection and how I use them.  These can be a treasure trove of information.  Scrapbooks add color to their lives and tell their stories when they can no longer give the voice to the story.

Elton Carr's Scrapbook

Tax Records
I have said it before, but I have to say it again.  Personal property and land tax records can help place an ancestor in a location when they do not appear in the census.  These are also helpful when trying to pinpoint an ancestor's location in between census years.

Church Histories:
Church histories are often written in anticipation of a church anniversary.  These histories can come in various forms including books/booklets or an expanded bulletin.  Photographs of ancestors can be found in these.  The genealogist can also get a sense of what the community was like and who was living in the area.  Collateral lines are often found among the fellow worshipers.

What "not so usual" records to you use?


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Monday, September 12, 2011

99 Things

Genealogy bloggers have been participating in the 99 Things meme this week.  I first saw this on Tonia's blog Tonia's Roots and at Valerie's blog Family Cherished.  I don't often participate in memes, but I wanted to get in on this one.  Tonia refers to it as a sort of "bucket list" for genealogists. I think she's right!

So, here goes....


Things you have already done or found - bold type
Things you would like to do or find - italics
Things you have not done or found/don't care to - (or that I know hasn't happened in my family).
  1. Belong to a genealogical society (three, in fact)
  2. Joined a group on Genealogy Wise.
  3. Transcribed records.
  4. Uploaded headstone pictures to Find-A-Grave or a similar site.
  5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
  6. Joined Facebook.
  7. Cleaned up a run-down cemetery.
  8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.
  9. Attended a genealogy conference. (Love these!)
  10. Lectured at a genealogy conference. Thinking about it.
  11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society/local library’s family history group.
  12. Joined the National Genealogical Society.
  13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
  14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society (I coordinate the WCGS publications on Lulu.com.  Does that count?).
  15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery. (Didn't get lost, but came pretty close!) 
  16. Talked to dead ancestors. (All the time. Makes people wonder about me!)
  17. Researched outside the state in which I live. (Mostly Virginia - My ancestors didn't get too far.)
  18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.  (Thought about it, but the big dog chained in the front yard convinced me otherwise.)
  19. Cold called a distant relative. (I did send a letter ahead of time introducing myself.) 
  20. Posted messages on a surname message board. (Frequently)
  21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
  22. Googled my name (and those of ancestors – it turns up great info sometimes)
  23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
  24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
  25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.
  26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
  27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
  28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals. (Had my own!)
  29. Responded to messages on a message board.
  30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion. I'd like to keep it that way!
  31. Participated in a genealogy meme. Yay! I just got this one.
  32. Created family history gift items: watch my blog for more coming on this.
  33. Performed a record lookup.
  34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise. Definitely on my list!
  35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
  36. Found a disturbing family secret. Not so far.
  37. Told others about a disturbing family secret.
  38. Combined genealogy with crafts.  More on this later.
  39. Think genealogy is a passion obsession not a hobby.
  40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person. (Unclaimed Persons)
  41. Taught someone else how to find their roots. (I love doing this!)
  42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure. (Don't want to think about that.)
  43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology –sometimes it’s borderline but it’s a great way to learn. I find learning new things exciting, but I do get overwhelmed after a day or two of conferences and brain doesn’t fit in my head anymore.
  44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
  45. Disproved a family myth through research. (No, we are not part Cherokee!)
  46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
  47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
  48. Translated a record from a foreign language. This would be hard - I only speak one language.
  49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
  50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
  51. Used microfiche.
  52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 
  53. Used Google+ for genealogy (still struggling with the whole social media thing!)
  54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
  55. Taught a class in genealogy. Hope to do this in the future.
  56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century. 
  57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
  58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.  (I'll get there!)
  59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
  60. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer (Does the cheat sheet at the archives count?)
  61. Have found many relevant and unexpected articles on internet to “put flesh on the bones”.
  62. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
  63. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
  64. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC – so going there someday soon.
  65. Have an ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant.
  66. Have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War. Yes to all 3!
  67. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
  68. Can “read” a church record in Latin. (have managed to decipher some, but only with a dictionary, reference book or Google) So far, my ancestors did not attend churches using Latin.
  69. Have an ancestor who changed his/her name, just enough to be confusing. (Two, in fact,)
  70. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
  71. Created a family website. (Part of my blog)
  72. Have a genealogy blog.
  73. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone. I am more than willing to suffer this problem.
  74. Have broken through at least one brick wall (but someone keeps putting up more).
  75. Done genealogy research at a court house. (Some of my favorite research!)
  76. Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center(s).
  77. Found an ancestor in an online newspaper archive. 
  78. Have visited a NARA branch.
  79. Have an ancestor who served in WWI or WWII.
  80. Use maps in my genealogy research (how can one not?).
  81. Have a blacksheep ancestor. (ahem..."Uncle Pell")
  82. Found a bigamist amongst my ancestors. 
  83. Attended a genealogical institute. Definitely on my to-do list!
  84. Taken online genealogy (and local history) courses. 
  85. Consistently (document) and cite my sources. (I'm much better about this!)
  86. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don’t live in) in search of ancestors. I can't seem to get "across the pond".
  87. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes (how many is a “few”?)
  88. Have an ancestor who was married four times. 
  89. Made a rubbing of an ancestor’s gravestone.
  90. Followed genealogists on Twitter. 
  91. Published a family history book. Just did this, but shhh....it's a surprise!
  92. Learned of a death of a fairly close family relative through research.
  93. Offended a family member with my research. At least I hope not!
  94. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.
  95. Have a paid subscription to a genealogy database. 
  96. Submitted articles for FamilySearch Wiki. 
  97. Organized a family reunion. Anyone want to help?
  98. Used Archives in countries where my ancestors originated.
  99. Converted someone new to the love of all things genealogy. Guilty as charged!
What fun to see all that I have accomplished and what all I want to accomplish!  I can't wait to get started on the "blue" list.


Thanks to all those in the blogging community who have participated.  I've really enjoyed reading these posts.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Did You....

.....find my blog?

Since I started Are You My Cousin? a couple of years ago, I have met a number of new cousins - cousins from many different family lines.  I am always amazed when a new cousin contacts me. I shouldn't be.  By now I've been contacted by a quite a few new cousins.

So I have a question for my cousins:

How did you find my blog?


Were you pointed in this direction by another family member/cousin?  Did you just google a name from our family tree?

I'm just curious....but then again, you knew that.  After all that's part of why I do genealogy!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

A Brick Wall Tumbled Down This Week

I heard from a "new" Howard cousin this week. (There seems to be a lot of us out there!) It is always nice to meet new cousins - especially when a genealogical brick wall comes tumbling down.  My new cousin shared information on Bruce Douglas.  Bruce was my great great grandfather Suggy Howard's son born out of wedlock. Until now no one (at least on our side of the family) knew who his mother was.  She has now been identified as Mary Dorcas Bradley who later married William Bradley.

 As the generations progressed there are many in the family who did not know about Bruce until I posted on him here in a post about his father Allen Suggs (Suggy) Howard.  My new cousin shared a letter history Bruce wrote when he was in his late 80's.

"This is a letter history of the ______ Bruce Douglas by any one ever heard of him. He was born 1880 July 11 near Broadway NC. My mother maried a man by the name of Bradley and left me with my Uncle and Aunt by the name of Roe Douglas and Aunt Bug Douglas. I dont remember ever seeing my mother. They my Uncle and Aunt brought me to Georgia in a covered wagon drawn by 2 mules. They went back to NC and I stayed on here. I am now 88 years old and have good health for my age. About 2 years ago I sold my Clynch County land 10150 acres for $1,300 000.00. I married Miss Lula Mizell of Woodbine GA in 1905. We had six children. The 1st boy died as an infant. I have 3 boys and 2 girls living. The youngest is 50 years old. My wife died December 26, 1959. I am in good health. I Hunt and fish. My mother lived and died near a place called Ridgeway SC. She died in 1924. I would have given any thing to of seen her. I never herd of her till after she had passed away. God Mary yes on September 2 - 1968 I placed on her grave tomb stone and slab. All so placed one on her husbands grave." 



Bruce looks amazingly like his half-siblings!

Bruce is buried in the Pine Forest Cemetery in  Homerville, GA.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Last Labor Day I wrote a post about my ancestors' occupations.  So as this year's Labor Day holiday rolled around, I again thought about their occupations.  From last year's post, it was obvious I come from farming ancestors. (That is one gene that did not get passed down.)

What new occupations did I find for my ancestors' in the past year?

Carpenter - Alexander Humphries

Overseer of the Poor - Jesse Haley (in his later life)

Plantation Overseer - William Haley

Census Taker - Columbus Holyfield

General Store Owner - Stella Holyfield White

Horse Thief - Pelham Humphries
             Okay, that's not proven, but it sure makes for fun oral history!

How about your ancestors' occupations?


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

If You Thought Genealogy Was Boring...(Part 2)

....then:
  • You've never embarrassed yourself by doing the happy dance in the public library. Fortunately, that did not show up as a YouTube video.
  • You've never introduced your cousins to the family tree - in a cemetery!
  • You've never met a gentleman in a rural cemetery early in the morning who just happens to be able to tell you stories of your GGG grandfather.
  • You've never had to "dig up" your great grandfather.  Read more about that here.
Apparently a lot of my "non-boring" experiences happen in cemeteries!  (I won't think too long on that.)

If you missed Part 1 of this series, go here to read more of my "non-boring" genealogy experiences.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Why Does My Ancestor Not Show Up On The Census?


I continue my search for my GGGG grandfather Jesse Haley of Halifax County, VA. As I have exhausted most of the records I can find on Jesse, I have turned my attention to the Owen family, specifically Brackett Owen, father-in-law and uncle of Jesse Haley. Jesse Haley often appears in close proximity to the Owen family throughout the records. Perhaps by getting to know the Owen family better, I will learn more of Jesse.

As I have shared previously, Jesse Haley cannot be found on the federal census records for 1830 and 1840.  He was paying personal property taxes in Halifax County in 1840 (actually from 1835 on).

I began my search on Brackett  Owen in the usual place.  The census records.  Brackett Owen died in Halifax County in 1844, so I began with the 1840 census and worked backward.  All fairly standard genealogy research.

Until I got to 1830.

I was unable to find Brackett Owen in the 1830 census.  He was paying personal property taxes in Halifax County during that year.  So....now I have two ancestors in Halifax County who are "missing" in the census record in 1830 with one still missing in 1840.  Just where were these men?

What causes ancestors not to show up on the census records?

Here are some of the reasons I came up with for why an ancestor might be missing from a census record.
  • A person/family may have just been missed by the census taker.  (I do not think that is the case here.  It is too much of a coincidence that both of the ancestors went missing.)
  • The ancestor may have left the area temporarily to work in the "off season" of farming.
  • Prior to 1850, if an ancestor was not the head of household, his/her name was not listed. They could be there, but "hidden" in someone's household.
  • The surname may have been so misspelled so badly, it is incorrectly transcribed. (Reading a census record line by line can be tedious, but does yield results.)
  • The ancestor may have left the area and then moved back.  
What other reasons might an ancestor disappear in the census records? 


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