Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Fact-Checking Books and Other Published Sources

I recently read a blog post that concerned one of my ancestral towns in North Mississippi. In the post, the author cited a published book on the town's history. Unfortunately many persons with answers who lived in the town (now a ghost town) raised concerns about the information in the book as they first read it. My paternal grandmother was one of those persons who could tell you everything about everyone and how they were related, but she could also tell you about area history. My dad and my mom both commented "that's wrong" several times as they read the book. I read an excerpt to someone else who was familiar with the area's history who also made comments about errors in the book. None of these then living individuals ever resided in the town of Cotton Gin Port, but their grandparents did. They had heard stories all their lives. I found things where evidence did not add up as well. While I still own and consult the source, I treat it with skepticism and try to find other sources to back up the author's conclusions.

When the blog (which I'm hoping has been removed due to the erroneous information) stated that the area was part of Marion County in Alabama until the state line was surveyed in 1821, I knew the author had not fact-checked and had accepted the information.

Why? I had ancestors living in Cotton Gin Port at the time, and I knew they were enumerated in Monroe County, Mississippi, and not in the Alabama Territory as the statement on the blog about the area's history would lead the reader to believe. I took the name of the "first settler" mentioned in the blog post, plugged it into the 1820 census search, and found him in Monroe County, Mississippi, not in Alabama Territory.

I am sometimes guilty of accepting too much that is published in local histories of towns and such as "facts" without verifying the sources. I sometimes accept the information as true, even when I know they sometimes contain errors. This means I need to go back and locate other sources that support the information contained in them. In some cases, I found documents such as city directories, Fire Insurance maps, and deeds to support the book's information. In other cases, I just assumed those were available without really checking. This means I'll probably be generating a longer "to do" list on some of the old research I'm reviewing.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Religion in North Carolina

Every once in awhile, you stumble across a collection so rich that it just begs to be shared! Such was the case last weekend when I ran across a collection on Internet Archive called "Religion in North Carolina." Partner institutions for the project are Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University. The collection's description states "the materials in this collection include local church histories, periodicals, clergy biographies, cookbooks, event programs, directories, and much more."

At the time I'm writing this post (in advance), there are 6,222 items in the collection. That's pretty amazing. The collection has seven collections within it. I will list each and give a few examples of materials included.

Meetings, Proceedings, and Conference Reports (2727 items)

Minutes of the Buncombe Baptist Association of Buncombe County, 1931-1940
Minutes of the United Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North America, 1930
Minutes of the Salem Presbytery

Church and Religious Body Histories (1102 items)

Henry R. Mathis. Along the Border: a History of Virgilina, Virginia and the Surrounding Area in Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties in Virginia and Person and Granville Counties in North Carolina.
Winnie Wills Broglin. Antioch United Methodist Church, Hot Springs, North Carolina: Built on Faith.
Adelaide I. Fries. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina: volume II, 1752-1775.

Newsletters, Newspapers, and Serial Publications (1520 items)

Zion's Landmark (vol.  33, 1899-1900)
American Jewish Times-Outlook (1961-1962)
The Primitive Baptist (vol. 6, 1841)

Ephemerals: Cookbooks, Event Programs, and Directories (368 items)

St. Peter's Episcopal Church (Washington, N.C.) Keys to the Kitchen
O. Norris Smith and Rebecca H. Smith. Family Burying Grounds and Abandoned Church Cemeteries in Guilford County, N.C. and Immediate Environs
Dedication Service of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Creech Road, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sunday, August 28, 1977

Clergy Autobiographical and Biographical Materials: Journals, Testimonies, Etc. (152 items)

M. W. Williams and George W. Watkins. Who's Who Among North Carolina Negro Baptists with a Brief History of Negro Baptist Organizations
C. T. Thrift. Robert Paine. Methodist Bishop: a Great North Carolinian, Person's Greatest Son
S. C. Ray. I'm Glad I Stayed, 1949-1979

Theosophy, Philosophy, Psychology & Religion (77 items)

Claude E. Spencer. Periodicals of the Disciples of Christ and Related Religious Groups
Alva Washington Plyler. What Western North Carolina Owes
James O. Kelly. Essay on Negro-Slavery

Sermons of North Carolina (111 items)

R. H. Morrison. Funeral Sermon of the Rev. John Robinson, D.D., Late Pastor of Poplar Tent Church, Preached at Poplar Tent, February 22d, 1844
C. Daniel Crews. What It Was, Was Jesus: for the 250th Anniversary Service of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church, Wait Chapel, Wake Forest University, Sunday, November 16, 2003
W. A. Harper. The Spirit of Elon College: An Excellent Spirit

The list above is a mere drop in the bucket of what is available via this resource. I've tried to include materials from many denominations and even from Judaism.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thou Shalt Not Accept Shaky Leaf Hints Without Reviewing Them

In the last week or so, I began reviewing additional shaky leaf hints at Ancestry for some of my more recent ancestors. I was appalled when I looked at the family trees that included my ancestor James M. Thornton.

Let's look at some of the erroneous information I found.

Erroneous information: James M. was born in Georgia. 
Fact: James M's Civil War (Union) pension file gave his birthplace as Jefferson County, Alabama. Censuses consistently listed James M.'s birthplace as Alabama.

Erroneous information: James M. was in the 1880 Lincoln County, Tennessee census.
Fact: James M. was enumerated in Franklin County, Alabama in 1880. [See 1880 United States Federal Census, Franklin County, Alabama, population schedule, Newburgh, Beat 8, SD 1, ED 95, p. 627B, family 35, lines 9-15, Jas. M. Thornton family; digital image, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4JJ-N64 : accessed 23 Apr 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 13.] Those who accepted the Lincoln County, Tennessee census are likely accepting it because James M.'s first wife's name was Lucinda. However, she died in childbirth in 1855, and their son Cape was reared by his maternal grandparents. The James enumerated in Lincoln County was born in Virginia instead of Alabama.

Erroneous information: James M. Thornton descends from the Dozier/Mark/Luke Thornton line of Virginia. These trees list James M.'s paternal grandparents as William Thornton and Clarissa Vice.
Fact: Y-DNA testing of descendants shows James M. Thornton's descendants are from the South Carolina E group whose common ancestors appear to be Thomas Thornton and Martha Boykin of North Carolina. (Dozier is part of the Virginia A group.)

Other mistakes were also found. For example, one person said he died in the Armory in Splunge, Mississippi. As a native of Monroe County, I got a big chuckle out of that one. Splunge does not and has never had an armory. The person obviously meant the town of Amory which is in that part of the county. However, James M. lived in the community of Splunge which was really a bit of a distance from Amory. Persons living in Splunge would have traveled to Amory when they needed to travel by railroad or when they needed items they could not get in the local community.

I never accept the tree hints. I do, however, review them for hints AFTER I've worked through the hints given and made certain I have all the census records and checked other sources for key pieces that might be missing such as marriage records, birth and death records, cemetery records, etc. I then take any hints I find to see if those can be documented. Most of the time my own research and documentation has already uncovered the hints, or I can easily disregard hints because someone has added something that is very obviously erroneous, such as the parents being born after the child.

Always check shaky leaf record hints also to make sure they apply to your ancestor. Recently I was reviewing shaky leafs on a different line on which I was working. I got 3 hints on this particular person. None of the hints were records for the individual on whom I was working. I searched and found the right records rather than accepting the ones given. In fact, I had to switch from Ancestry to Family Search to give me two critical records proved my own research was on the right track.


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Monday, April 25, 2016

Delicious - a social bookmarking site

Several years ago, I discovered Delicious, a social bookmarking site. I found it to be very useful in managing all those web sites we want to revisit. It was purchased by Yahoo! and earlier this year the site received a major (and long overdue) overhaul.

For each site you want to remember, you add a link title and the URL. You then add tags to help you remember the things you find helpful on the site and can even add your own description.

Here's a sample of a few things I have tagged "genealogy":

A few of my Delicious bookmarks for genealogy.


I don't just use it for research sites. I also use it to help me remember things I want to see or places I might want to eat when I do research trips or conferences.

I haven't scoped out Fort Lauderdale restaurants (as of the time I'm writing this post) for NGS 2016, but here are a few of the ones I gathered for the 2014 conference in Richmond.

A few restaurants I gathered in preparation for NGS 2014 in Richmond.

While this isn't my complete list of tags, it will show my most common ones.

My most used Delicious tags.

You can also sort that list alphabetically to make it easier to locate a tag.

I did, however, mention that it is a "social bookmarking" site. Users may follow other persons. (For any of you wanting to follow me, I'm "tnlori.") I also "pin" things to Pinterest, but Delicious is great for sites that are not "pinnable." Also, I've been using Delicious much longer because it pre-dated Pinterest.

Another genealogist and I once collaborated on a project involving research in multiple states. We intended to produce an article, but we lost interest after research I did proved the "interesting item" from another state was not the same man as the person in the two main states. The two of us used delicious to handle various online content items the other researcher would want to see. We used a common tag for our project. We could see items in each other's feed.

Delicious also has the ability to make a link "private" where only the person bookmarking the link sees it.

Other social bookmarking sites, such as Diigo, exist. Pinboard, which used to be free, now charges an annual fee for their service. I have not updated my Diigo account for several years although I visit it from time to time. I'm sure that my Pinboard bookmarks disappeared when I failed to pay the annual fee. Delicious is my favorite, especially with its new look and feel.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - 23 Apr 2016

Randy Seaver has asked us all to reminisce with 6 questions about our childhood this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Without further ado, let the fun begin!

What was your first illness as a child?

I honestly have no idea. It was probably something pretty simple like strep throat. I do, however, remember the outbreak of Chicken Pox that went around my classmates in about the third grade.

What was the first funeral you attended?

I am sure I went to almost every funeral that occurred in the family, regardless of how young I was, unless Mom took me to Nanny's house while they went. I really think it was for one of Pappaw's brothers, or maybe for someone in the church. My maternal grandfather died when I was eight at our house, but I had been to many funerals by the time he died. I remember how we used to always sit around the funeral home pretty much all night with the families on the night before the funeral and then attend the funeral the next day. I even remember when the funeral home caught fire. (I was a little older then, but we all went to watch the fire.)

What was your favorite book as a child?

Finally an easy one! I loved the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. While most people would say Little House on the Prairie was their favorite, I preferred Little Town on the Prairie. If you want to go to an even earlier age, my favorite book as a preschooler was There's a Mouse in the House. It was one of those little books you picked up at the dime store. It wasn't a Little Golden Book, but it was a similar series.



What was your favorite class in Elementary School?

I loved our second grade reading class with Mrs. Green. We had little reading groups that we got to name ourselves. I was the leader of the "Popcorn" group. A close runner-up would be third grade math class with Miss Davis. She was so fun!

What was your favorite toy as a child?

My mom always kept me well-supplied with dolls. In fact, my dolls were the envy of at least one of my neighbors. I would have to say that "Baby Tender Love" was probably the one I played with most because my friend Delores also got one that year. My Aunt Daisy sewed outfits for my dolls. My sister-in-law Sandy also made quite a few as well. I'm sure my mom even made a few.



Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn?

I took swimming lessons from one of Dr. Moore's twin daughters at the Amory Municipal Swimming Pool. I actually became a very good swimmer and often won the races at church camp!




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My Sanborn Connection

Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy posted about her connection to John Sanborn of New Hampshire. On her Facebook post, she asked if her Facebook friends were descended from John, and my reply was "yes."

I thought it might be fun to include my line from John here. It would take "forever" to write a documented post so I'll leave documentation of the individuals and their parentage for future posts. I have not done extensive work on the Sanborn line, and I did learn the exact location in England where John was born from Heather's post! It's a post I've "pinned" for future reference.

Generation 1.
John Sanborn (son of John Sanborn and Ann Batchelder): born abt 1620 Brimpton, Berkshire, England; died 10 Oct 1692 Hampton, New Hampshire. I'm descended from his first wife Mary Tuck, daughter of Robert Tuck and his wife Joanna.

Generation 2.
Joseph Sanborn: born 13 Mar 1659; married Mary Gove 28 Dec 1682; died abt 1722, Hampton, New Hampshire.

Generation 3.
Abigail Sanborn: born 1 Apr 1686 Hampton, New Hampshire; married Ebenezer Dearborn 7 Oct 1703 Hampton, New Hampshire; died 26 Feb 1768 Hampton, New Hampshire.

Generation 4.
Benjamin Dearborn: born 13 Aug 1713 probably Chester, New Hampshire; married Susanna Colcord 31 Oct 1735; died 15 May 1772 Plymouth, Grafton County, New Hampshire. (County was formed in 1771.)

Generation 5.
Samuel Dearborn: born 15 Apr 1745 Chester, New Hampshire; married Abigail Ward, daughter of Rev. Nathan Ward and Tamasin Ireland Ward, 22 Jul 1777 Plymouth, Grafton County, New Hampshire; died 22 Jul 1833 Plymouth, Grafton County, New Hampshire.

Generation 6.
Nathan Dearborn: born 4 Sep 1785 Plymouth, Grafton County, New Hampshire; married 1 - Sarah Seeley 6 Feb 1812 Washington County, Ohio; married 2 - Lucy Perkins 26 Sep 1813 (probably in New Hampshire - there's a story about their wedding trip by horseback that is widely circulated); died 22 Feb 1847 Malta, Morgan County, Ohio. (I'm descended from Lucy.)

Generation 7.
Betsey Dearborn: born 4 Sep 1818 Malta, Morgan County, Ohio; married Stephen Taylor 8 Mar 1837 Morgan County, Ohio; died 12 Mar 1899 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma Territory.

Betsey Dearborn Taylor, abt 1881


Generation 8.
Laura Lucy Taylor: born 25 Apr 1854 McLean County, Illinois; married Abraham Lowden Lantz 15 Feb 1874 McLean County, Illinois; died 25 Sep 1922 Monroe County, Mississippi.

Generation 9.
Irving Lee Lantz: born 19 Nov 1885 Oak Grove, McLean County, Illinois; married Gillie Mae Hester 5 Aug 1917 Monroe County, Mississippi; died 5 Sep 1971 Amory, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Generation 10.
Dorothy Ann Lantz: born 30 Aug 1924 Monroe County, Mississippi; married James Thomas Thornton, Jr. 17 Mar 1946 Amory, Monroe County, Mississippi; died 22 Mar 2010 Amory, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Generation 11.
Me!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Traveling in the Tardis to Meet Thomas Duke

Elizabeth O'Neal over at Little Bites of Life has invited all genealogy bloggers to take a ride with the Doctor in the Tardis to meet one of our ancestors. It may surprise most of you that I am choosing to go back to the 19th century instead of further back in time. However, I could think of two ancestors that might be able to steer me in the right direction to continue pursuing their lines--W. Daniel Phillips and Thomas Duke. Thomas Duke is the one I chose because I know the next step will be in North Carolina, a state in which I visit the archives on a regular basis.



Who was Thomas Duke?

Thomas Duke was born 3 May 1828 1 in Virginia.2 Family tradition states that his father was Benjamin Duke and that his mother was Elisha? Parker. Much of this information is based on the fact that his daughter Berniece Estelle "Bennie" Duke was named for his father and on the fact that his son James Parker Duke's middle name came from Thomas' mother's surname. The name Elisha was passed down through daughter Martha Virginia's descendants. Thomas was orphaned. We do not know exactly when. Some of his grandchildren who never met him report stories about Thomas working on a tobacco plantation of relatives in North Carolina, leading to the inevitable family story that this was the Washington Duke family. No evidence for that connection has been located. It seems unlikely since Washington was not born until 1820 himself and did not gain his fortune until after the Civil War.3 It does, however, seem possible Thomas moved to Mississippi from North Carolina. Thomas allegedly came to Monroe County, Mississippi with a Knowles family. The only Knowles family in Monroe County in 1850 is a Benjamin G. Knowles family.4 Both Benjamin and his wife were born in Rhode Island. He was a merchant. Although no apparent connection with Thomas is evident in Monroe County records, Benjamin Knowles resided near families associated with Nancy Allred's family. He arrived by 1850 as he is enumerated twice in that census--once with the Isaac N. Rogers family in the Eastern division of the county5 and once with the Lyles J. Parchment family in the Western division.6 In 1860, he is enumerated with the B. G. Doughtry family in the Western Division of Monroe County in an area served by the Aberdeen post office.7

Thomas married Nancy Malinda Allred 15 August 1867 in Monroe County, Mississippi.8 They had five children. Berniece Estelle "Bennie" Duke was born 5 July 1868.9 Martha Virginia Duke was born 16 December 1870.10 James Parker Duke was born 12 February 1873.11 Joseph Thomas Duke was born 3 January 1876.12 Myrtis Duke was born 9 July 1883.13

Thomas and his family are enumerated in township 12 of Monroe County in an area served by the Smithville post office in 1870.14 By 1880, he and his family are residing in the Cotton Gin Port area of Monroe County.15 Thomas died 18 May 1894 at the age of 66 and is buried in the Greenbrier Cemetery in Becker, Monroe County, Mississippi.16


What Question(s) Do You Need to Ask Him?

  1. Where in Virginia were you born?
  2. When did you move to North Carolina?
  3. When and where were you orphaned? Who were your guardians?
  4. Tell me about growing up -- what you did, your friends, your education, the places you lived.
  5. Who was your father? Where was he born? Who were his parents?
  6. Who was your mother? Where was she born? Who were her parents?
  7. Tell me any family stories you remember your parents or relatives relating to you.
  8. Tell me about how you came to Monroe County and any stops you made along the way.
I'm certain that his answers would spawn additional questions. He would probably think I'm a pretty nosy outsider. I doubt he knew what an oral history project was. Fortunately the University of Mississippi admitted women in 1882 so I might be able to pull off my time-travel venture as an oral history project. While I have not researched it, I doubt that the Industrial Institute and College (now Mississippi University for Women) included such programs as history when established in 1884. Mississippi State University was found as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant university. No date for the first admission of women at it has yet been located.


Is There a Problem You Can Help Your Ancestor Solve?

None that would make sense to resolve in that period of time. Family tradition states he was somewhat crippled. Most thought it was due to an injury received during the Civil War. Although a William T. Duke served in Captain Berry's Company of the Mississippi Infantry Reserves in the Battle of Harrisburg (now Tupelo), Mississippi, this individual with the rank of sergeant died in the battle.17


Will You Reveal Your True Identity to Your Ancestor?

I doubt it. It would be too mind-boggling.


Will You Bring Your Ancestor to the Future to Meet His Descendants?

Why? It would not serve a useful purpose.


Little Bytes of Life



FOOTNOTES

1 Greenbrier Cemetery (Becker, Monroe County, Mississippi, off Old Highway 25), Thomas Duke and wife marker; read and photographed by Lori Thornton, abt. 1992.
2 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Eastern Division, p. 16, dwelling 114, family 121, line 19, Thomas Duke; National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 378. The birthplace Virginia is consistent in other census records.
3 Duke University. Rubenstein Library, "Washington Duke (1820-1905)," web page, (https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/uarchives/history/articles/washington-duke: accessed 13 Apr 2016).
4 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe Co., Miss., pop. sch., p. 16, dw. 114, fam. 121, line 19, Thomas Duke.
5 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe Co., Miss., pop. sch., Eastern div., p. 7A (stamped), dw. 99, fam. 105, Benj'n Knowles family.
6 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe Co., Miss., pop. sch., Western div., p. 178, dw. 361, fam. 361, line 4, Thomas Duke.
7 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Western Division, Aberdeen post office, p. 470, dwelling 304, family 304, line 38, Thomas Duke; National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 587.
8 Monroe County Mississippi Marriages (1821-1921), s.l.: s.n., n.d., vol. 2, p. 149; Evans Memorial Library, Aberdeen, Mississippi. Copy of marriage record from Monroe County marriage records is in possession of Lori Thornton. It appears to be on a page ending 48 in the marriage record that covers that period of time. I failed to note the marriage record and page number at the time the copy was made in the early 1990s. The bondsman was John Martin, and the license was issued 13 Aug 1867. It was performed by Franklin Finney, a Minister of the Gospel. A discussion concerning the evidence for Malinda's first name is located in my earlier blog post, "Brick Wall: Thomas Duke."
9 Greenbrier Cemetery, Becker, Monroe Co., Miss., Bennie E. Duke marker.
10 Greenbrier Cemetery, Becker, Monroe Co., Miss., Martha V. Duke Moss and William R. Duke marker.
11 "U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,"digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Apr 2016), card for James Parker Duke, order no. 873, Local Board, Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi; citing United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives and Records Administration, publication M1509, roll not stated.
12 "U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Apr 2016), Joe T. Duke, no. 427-90-2724; citing Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.
13 Greenbrier Cemetery, Becker, Monroe Co., Miss., E.G. and Myrtis Betts marker.
14 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Township 12, Smithville post office, p. 196, lines 22-24, Thomas Duke household; National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 741.
16 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Cotton Gin Port, SD 1, ED 125, p. 36A (stamped), sheet 15, dwelling 123, family 123, lines 1-6, Thomas Duke family; National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 658.
16 Greenbriar Cemetery, Becker, Monroe Co., Miss., Thomas Duke and wife marker.
17 Jim Taylor, "Captain Berry's Company, Reserves," Jim Taylor's Home Page, web page, (http://www.datasync.com/~jtaylor/1MSRH.htm : accessed 13 Apr 2016).

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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Reading Up a Storm






Gates, Eva. Reading Up a Storm. New York: New American Library/Obsidian, 2016.

Lucy Richardson, Bodie Island's librarian and sometimes sleuth, sees some unusual lights minutes before seeing a boat in distress. She calls the Coast Guard who rescues the couple. However, the man turns up dead the next day. Stephanie, a Raleigh attorney, is on a leave of absence to care for her invalid mother. The deceased turns out to be Stephanie's father. As Lucy and the local law enforcement investigate, plenty of motives and suspects turn up, even though the man has resided elsewhere for a long time. I really enjoyed the Outer Banks atmosphere on this one. I want to go back and read earlier installments and the next one too. Libraries, lighthouses, cats, and North Carolina -- what's not to like about this combination? This review is based on an Advance Reader's copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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