Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Camera Found in Lamar Co., Ala.

A camera was recently found in Lamar County, Alabama on Matthews Road near Vernon. The camera was smashed, but the card is still readable and contains many photographs taken in cemeteries. If you are the owner, please contact the Lamar County Genealogical & Historical Society.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Who or What Sparked Your Enthusiasm for Genealogy?

Who or what sparked your enthusiasm and passion for genealogy? In my case, it was my Mom. Mom had always wanted to know more about her grandmother's family. She had even made a trip with her mom once to the courthouse in the middle Tennessee county from which she knew her family had come to Mississippi prior to her birth only to be told that all the records would have been lost due to a courthouse fire in 1865.

I'm not really sure what I thought when I first decided to see if I could find additional information for her, but I certainly didn't dream that I'd develop the passion and enthusiasm for genealogical research that I did. I was living in a city that had one of the top ten genealogical library collections in the country at the time. History had always been my favorite subject in school, even though I didn't major in it in college. I think I thought I'd find the answers for her and move on with my life. What happened is that I quickly became so engrossed in the study of my family that I moved from one line to another too quickly, a bad habit of many beginning genealogists.

I also made the mistake of beginning with poor genealogical software. This was back in the days of smaller hard drives and 5 1/4 inch floppy disks. I had a freeware program that allowed the input of basic information and 10 lines for notes. I was an academic and realized that I needed to cite my sources, but how could one do that properly in 10 fixed-width lines? I also had many other things I wished to include in the notes. I developed a short-hand for my sources, but the truth was that I had to go back to paper copies of notes for many of them. Even today I still come across old entries in my genealogical database that I have to fix as I discover them and as time permits.

I'm sure I also made other errors when I first began my genealogical research. I know that I jumped to a few conclusions about who an ancestor's parent might be before I had really performed that "reasonably exhaustive search" that standards require. In fact, there are probably things out on the Internet that I posted long ago (as recently as 9 or 10 years ago) that I would cringe to discover now. I've made the observation to other genealogists that I wish I had time to go back and review the data and conclusions on each of those lines. I never seem to have time to work on my own families any more. That's okay though, because I've discovered a lot of families that are much more interesting than my own in the process. I know one genealogist that sets aside a few hours each weekend to work on her own families. Maybe one of these days I can budget that time for myself but since I still have a regular job, the weekend is my only time to do a lot of things, and I'm very involved with church activities which takes most of Sunday.

I spent last night working with a most interesting church record from the 1820s. It was a case of church discipline. I hope to one day take the research plan I developed and turn this one into a full-fledged article for publication. This person definitely broke several of the ten commandments!

I'm glad that my mother was curious about her family. If she had not been, I may have never discovered the wonderful world of family history and genealogical research.

Who or what sparked your enthusiasm? Feel free to comment here or leave a link to your own blog post sharing the answer to that question.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Keeping Busy

I've spent a lot of this month to date trying to get caught up on things. The 2010 FGS Conference is coming up in August, and I've been doing a lot of work in preparation for it. We'd love to have you come visit East Tennessee then!

I also went to North Carolina Genealogical Society's Spring Seminar on April 10 in Wilkesboro. Mark Lowe was the featured speaker. We all had a great time of learning and of visiting with genealogy friends that we don't get to see as often as we'd like.

This past week has been filled with extra rehearsals for our choir's spring musical, "Savior: Jesus Messiah." We presented it last night. I heard a lot of positive comments from people who had attended.

There is lots to do this week as well. I've got a book that I need to finish reading so that I can get the review written by the end of the month. I've got an indexing deadline for Christian Periodical Index that is also looming for May 1. I've got a self-imposed deadline for another project this week. I've got some other deadlines for mid-May. I'm working on five to six presentations that will be made at various conferences this summer. (The 6th one isn't confirmed yet but will probably take place in July.) One of those may be repeated at another venue.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Greater Vision in Knoxville this coming Saturday night. This will be Chris Allman's first weekend back with them. Chris was their original tenor. I can't wait to hear those guys together again!

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Odds & Ends

As I was reading the blogs that I have in my feeds, I came across a book that someone had just purchased. It was entitled Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? Like any other genealogist, my reaction was that I would have much preferred the book without the subtitle. It would have been much more interesting if it had been a probate court dispute.

I've been reading on Facebook and on blogs about the UPS man visiting all my friends who pre-ordered the iPad. So far, most seem to be opting for WiFi but not WiFi + 3G. I will admit that I'm a little envious! As I read some of my newspaper feeds and saw photos of folks standing in line awaiting their iPad, I was certain the folks who pre-ordered theirs were smarter!

One of the blogs I read is entitled Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Yesterday, they had the most marvelous family story and recipe for Easter Pie Palmiers. The story and recipe were shared by Cleo Coyle, author of a series of books set in coffee shops. I thought all my genealogy friends would appreciate the story!

Speaking of food, I love lemon. I love blueberries. I love scones. I may just have to try these.

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Rough Month

I had really intended to be better about blogging, but the circumstances of last month interrupted my resolution. Many of you know that my Mom had called me about 2 or 3 weeks before my spring break and said that she and Dad were tired of being cooped up in the house and wanted to go somewhere during my spring break. I began to look for places along the Gulf Coast where I could find a room with furniture comfortable enough for them but which would allow us to bring along my cat (because Mom would have been upset if she hadn't get to see her grandcat). I settled on a place in Fairhope, Alabama on the Mobile Bay but very near to Gulf Shores. We went down on Sunday the 14th after going to their church and to the country club to eat lunch. We ate that evening at a place I'd found on the Internet with great ratings that was not far from Fairhope. We didn't try to do a lot Sunday night because I knew that the drive down was pretty exhausting for the two of them. On Monday, we did quite a bit. After breakfast, the elevator was broken so I had to take the stairs up to the third floor and get everything we needed for the day out. We began our day by heading to the Fairhope Pier. They have a very nice park right on the bay. I walked to the end of the pier, but Mom and Dad stayed close to the car. It was a bit chilly for them. After that, it was still too early to head to the shops downtown so we headed to Burke's Outlet which was open. Mom found several clothes. She'd lost a lot of weight in recent months and was just beginning to rebuild her wardrobe. We found several things that she could use. Then we headed to downtown Fairhope. Fairhope is a unique little town. The Indie-Bound affiliated bookstore was incredible. I purchased a book on the history of Baldwin County, Alabama (which I still haven't had a chance to read). I poked my head in several other stores. Before long, it was time for lunch. We had chosen Panini Pete's which has been featured on the Food Network. It really was worth the hype. Mom and I shared a sandwich. I ended up getting to try a bite of Dad's too. Both were great. As we were heading back to the car, there was a local TV station crew filming along the sidewalk. Mom and Dad walked in front of the cameras and ended up on the evening news that night. I saw the cameras and walked behind them. We headed back to the hotel, hoping the elevator would be repaired so Mom and Dad could get some rest before heading to Gulf Shores for the evening. When we got there, the elevator repair crew was there, but they still did not have it in working order. We decided to just take the scenic route to Gulf Shores. We headed down the scenic route along the bay, stopping at the Punta Clara Candy Kitchen in Point Clear. We knew from previous trips that we would want some of their pralines, but I also fell in love with their margarita pecans and had to get a bag of those as well. Mom and Dad picked up some pecan brittle and white chocolate covered pecans in addition to their pralines. We headed on down to Gulf Shores. We drove around a bit and enjoyed the beach. That evening we ate at Lulu's, a restaurant on the Intercoastal Waterway owned by Jimmy Buffet's relative. I don't remember what Dad had, but Mom & I shared the mahi tacos. I'm glad that it was good because we went early and still had to wait an hour for seating. Fortunately they had benches, a gift shop, etc. to make your wait more comfortable. That was the last meal Mom was able to eat. She began to get sick on the ride home. It really started out as just phlegm that she was spitting up. The next day, we planned to take it easy in the morning since Mom had not been feeling well the night before. We went down to breakfast, but Mom couldn't hold anything down. I had discovered that I'd somehow missed one of the shops that I'd wanted to visit to pick up a gift for a friend. We had planned to go. Around mid-morning, Mom suggested that I go on without her because she had a feeling that she wouldn't be able to go. I stopped and picked up a 7-Up on the way back to see if she could hold it down. That didn't work. My cousin who lived in nearby Daphne was picking us up for lunch to take us to the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. We decided to leave Mom in the hotel and that we'd just bring her nephew up to visit her when we came back. After he left, Mom still was having trouble holding anything down. She and Dad took naps. While they were napping, I went out. At the Dollar Tree, I purchased a bucket that Mom would be able to use to spit up in if we were in the car. At Winn-Dixie, I purchased some pre-made Jello, hoping she could hold that down. When I got back, she tried. I looked at her and said that we needed to get her to a hospital where they could get her rehydrated. I gave her the option of the St. Thomas Hospital in Fairhope which was about 2 blocks from the hotel or of checking out of the hotel and driving back to Mississippi. She didn't want to mess up the vacation and was going to settle for Fairhope, but I reminded her that they would be admitting her. She then decided to go back to Amory. We checked out at 6:30 p.m. (after Dad & I made a quick run to Wendy's for supper) and got the car loaded. We got back to Amory at 11:45 p.m. where I delivered the cat to their house and quickly repacked a suitcase so that we would only have items Mom needed in the suitcase we were taking to the hospital. We got to the hospital a few minutes after midnight. At first, even the doctors at the hospital thought we'd get her rehydrated and she'd go home. Later they thought that perhaps the esophagus had narrowed where it meets the stomach so that she couldn't hold things down. One of the surgeons was going to take a look at that Thursday morning, but after Mom took a turn for the worse in the wee hours of Thursday morning, that was no longer an option. They had to do tests which did not require her to undergo anesthesia. We moved her to ICU. The doctor told me Friday morning that the ultrasound showed that Mom's cancer had returned and spread to the liver. There was nothing that could be done. He didn't think she'd ever leave the hospital. I pretty much stayed at the hospital except to run home for a quick shower from then on. Her state of health continued to deteriorate, and she went home to be with the Lord at 4:33 a.m. Central Time on Monday the 22nd. I was with her the last 10.5 hours. The funeral was on the 24th. I look forward to seeing my Mom again in heaven!

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