Friday, June 29, 2007

Carnival of Ice Cream

I scream; you scream; we all scream . . . for ice cream.

The Carnival of Ice Cream is up at Musings of a Mainah. Melissa has done a great job with this one. Hopefully there will be a few more than "4 servings" before long.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Mysterious Franky Davidson

Franky Davidson, the second wife of Andrew Capus Thornton, has always been somewhat of a mystery to Cape's family. They married late in 1880, and he married Berniece Estelle "Bennie" Duke in 1887. Our best guess is that the mysterious Franky died in childbirth. The above document is our only clue as to who Franky was. A. J. Warnick (or Warnix) appears to be the Andrew Warnic enumerated in the 1880 census for Cotton Gin Port, Monroe County, Mississippi, along with his wife Nancy and a sister-in-law Francis Davis whom we assume to be Franky Davidson. There is an 1886 marriage in Monroe County, Mississippi for A. J. Warnick to a Mary E. Finley. If this is the same person, did Nancy die? There is an 1879 marriage in Blount County, Alabama for an Andrew Warnick to Nanna Davidson. This couple does not appear in the 1880 Blount County census. It is possible that this is the family in question, especially since both Nancy and Francis are said to have been born in Alabama.

There is a Francis L. Davis in the 1870 Sanford County, Alabama Census living near Detroit which is not very far from Monroe County with presumed parents of J. H. and Elizabeth Davis. Is this the mysterious Franky? If so, where is Nancy? If the marriage in Blount County is correct, why would a person from western Alabama go to eastern Alabama to marry?

So . . . the search continues for the elusive Franky Davidson.

1880 U.S. Census, population schedule, Monroe County, Mississippi, Cotton Gin Port, Andrew Warnic household, S.D. 1, E.D. 125, p. 34, dwelling 92, family 92; NARA micropublication T9, roll 658;, accessed 28 Jun 2007.

1870 U.S. Census, population schedule, Sanford County, Alabama, Twp. 12, Range 15, J. H. Davis household, p. 344, dwelling 18, family 18; NARA micropublication M593, roll 39;, accessed 28 Jun 2007.

Alabama Marriage Collection, 1800-1969, online database available from, accessed 28 Jun 2007.

Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935, online database available from, accessed 28 Jun 2007.

My apologies to Elizabeth Shown Mills if I haven't quite got the above citations up-to-par. My cat is sitting atop your wonderful citation style manual called Evidence: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian and the quick card too. I know better than to disturb him!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

American Baptist Register of 1852 Obituaries

Alvie Davidson has begun posting the American Baptist Register of 1852 Obituaries over on his blog. He's planning to post a letter a day until it is complete. He managed to get A-C posted today!

In Search of the Missing Gravestones

Volunteers went wading to try to locate some gravestones from a Sandwich, Massachusetts cemetery which a mid-twentieth century historian claimed had been tossed in a pond in the 1880s.

Comments on "The Family Tree, Pruned"

There's an article in the July 2007 issue of Smithsonian that is getting a lot of attention among professional genealogists. It's written by Richard Conniff and is entitled "The Family Tree, Pruned." The attention that is drawing is largely based on the examples the author utilizes to reach a conclusion that "genealogy is bunk." The author cites a quotation by Elizabeth Shown Mills regarding the genealogy business which many professionals immediately recognized as being out of context. The author seems to think that all genealogists are seeking royalty in their ancestry. I never expected to find any royal ancestors in my family tree. I still don't have confirmation of any because I'm focusing on American research until such a time that I can realistically do the travel required to adequately research my ancestors to the other side of the big pond using as many original resources as possible. While I'll admit it is kind of neat to be able to say that you are very distantly related to someone who is well-known, it's never been the goal of my research. I'm more interested in genealogy from the aspect that it brings history to life for me. The Salem Witch Trials are much more interesting to me now than they were when I was in school because I can now identify with my 8th great grand-aunt who was one of those convicted in 1692 but managed to escape death and lived until 1700. I can read the Scarlet Letter in a new light knowing that some scholars believe that Rev. Stephen Bachiler and one of his wives were the inspiration for Hawthorne's work. I think about what it was like for my ancestors who lived in the Boston area in 1635 and experienced the horrendous hurricane there. I learned more about the Civil War by finding a Union ancestor who served in an Alabama regiment than I'd learned all through my school years. I've also deconstructed a few family legends. For example, it was tradition in my mom's family that they were related to Zachary Taylor, the president. I discovered that while we were related to a Zachary Taylor, the brother of my great grandmother, we were not related to the president. What is interesting to me is the fact that our Zachary must have donated to women's suffrage because there is a signed form letter from Susan B. Anthony among the family's possessions. I'm less impressed by the letter's author than I am by learning about the cause in which he believed. I'm intrigued by the fact that some of my ancestors were aboard the same ship to America that Roger Williams was. I wonder how their time spent with him influenced them and occasionally find evidence that they may have been influenced to a greater extent that I'd first believed. I've learned historical facts from different regions because I've found ancestors in those places. A few years ago, I had never heard of Block Island, but now I can tell you quite a bit about it because I discovered one ancestor who was among its first settlers. The author also seemed to use the exception of the lady who was so obsessed by getting DNA evidence to support a conclusion that she staked out a fast-food restaurant to obtain a specimen. All of the DNA studies that I've seen require the consent of the person whose DNA is being tested. My brother volunteered to be tested. I would never dream of testing someone who was opposed to it no matter how vital I thought that person's testing was to a genealogical problem's resolution. While there are some folks out there who fit the stereotype found in this article, those with whom I come in contact at the national conferences subscribe to a higher standard in their efforts and will love their ancestors regardless of who they are and what they have done.

Genealogical research to me is not meaningless or bunk. I'd like to make one other observation from the article. Conniff commented on a study by scientists which came to the conclusion that there is a common ancestor for all persons between 2000 and 3500 years ago. BINGO! This is an argument for creation and the great flood of Genesis. Noah is that common ancestor because the only persons aboard were Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives.

Update - Michael John Neill on the topic.

Update 2 - Randy Seaver on the topic.

Update 3 - Genealogy Gifts has created a new T-shirt line in response to Conniff's article.

Update 4 - Bill West on the topic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Amy . . . on Libraries

I loved Amy's post about libraries and wanted to share it with all my librarian friends who read this blog!

One Hot Summer Day

Several years ago, I was in Holmes County, Ohio during a very hot week in the summer. I believe it may have been near the 4th of July. As we were driving through the countryside, we stopped at the Ashery Country Store near Mt. Eaton which is a very nice little store that sells bulk goods, baked goods, cheeses, deli meats, etc. On that day, they were making homemade ice cream outside the store. The thing that I remember most is the dog that was standing nearby to lick up all the ice cream that was sliding off the cones. One little boy held his cone out for the dog to lap up. The dog apparently knew he wasn't supposed to partake because he looked at it longingly and didn't indulge. However, when a little slid to the ground later, the dog lapped it right up!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Knoxville & Electro-Turkish Baths

My favorite local columnist is not featured in a mainstream paper, but instead his articles appear in the MetroPulse, an alternative paper which has just been purchased by E.W. Scripps. The columnist is Jack Neely. He writes articles on interesting things from Knoxville's history. This week's column on Electro-Turkish Baths is no exception to his interesting topics. There is also mention of an early vegetarian restaurant which fared better than its contemporary counterparts in the city.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

DNA & the Amish

Thanks to the Meme going around, I've discovered a wonderful post by The Genetic Genealogist about the Amish and DNA. There is an interesting summary of results for the Yoder project. My Yoder line is 25126 in the numbering system utilized by the Yoder Newsletter. This is derived from the book Amish and Amish-Mennonite Genealogies by Hugh F. Gingerich and Rachel W. Kreider. This is one of the must-have books for those of us with Amish ancestry. Thanks, Randy, for choosing The Genetic Genealogist as one of your five thinking bloggers.

Thinking Blogger - Tag, You're It

I've been tagged by Janice at Cow Hampshire as a Thinking Blogger. This is a meme that is going around the blogosphere. I'm honored by the award!

The rules for the meme are straightforward...
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think;
2. Link to the original post at The Thinking Blog, so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme; and
3. Optionally: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ graphic with a link to the post that you wrote.
So now, for the 5 blogs that make me think (and I'm having to work very hard to keep from duplicating the ones that Janice and my cousin Terry whom she also tagged haven't tagged even though there are lots of options out there):
1. Southern Byways - I love SP's take on all things Southern.
2. The Recliner Commentaries - I met Dennis several years ago at an ACL conference. He mostly comments on current events.
3. Seldom Wrong, Never in Doubt - I had the opportunity to work with Jon years ago when CCU was still CBC&S. He was a thinking professor then, and he's still thinking!
4. Sandusky History - This is a great blog dealing with the history of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio by the Library Archives.
5. Blogging Cat - I never cease to be amazed at how similar Muddy and my cat Brumley are.
Thanks to all of these bloggers and many others for making me think.

Interesting Article in Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Descendants of slaves and slave owners bond with one another.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I think most of the folks in my class were intrigued by the Boston Tea Party the first time we heard about it in elementary school. Janice has an excellent post about New Hampshire tea.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Steamer Found in Lake Erie

A steamboat which sank in 1850 has been found in Lake Erie. Are there any genealogists out there besides me that wish they'd post a passenger list of those aboard when it sank? I just wonder what they'll recover there besides the wine and cows?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ACL 2007 Workshops

LibraryThing was down when the workshops for it were scheduled. I felt sorry for the presenter who had to rely on PowerPoint backup, but at least he had that! They were having a bookcover pile contest while it was down. We considered having a pile of librarians who were trying to access librarians while it was down and submitting that, but we didn't!

One of my colleagues and myself have talked several times about the workshop that showed how one library is using Facebook to reach its students where they are. I believe that we'll all be talking about how we can utilize Web 2.0 technologies to reach students in the coming academic year.

Another very interesting workshop was the one on customized toolbars which allow one to search things such as the library's online catalog, databases, and citation style guides. I'm already trying to figure out what we would need to include on one for our students. The presenters did tell us that it took time to develop them because of the code involved, but it is so useful that it will be worth the time.

I went to two cataloging workshops--one on authority control and one on metadata. I was very pleased with the direction the authority control presenter took. She approached it from the how it is changing and is likely to change perspective rather than it being a "how to" workshop. I know there were some in attendance who were looking for something a bit more hands-on, but having experience in the area, I was grateful for a more futuristic approach. The metadata was a good review for me of some of the skills that I'd been taught at a workshop back in about 2000. I really had not utilized this except in one digitization project since that time, and it was helpful to see the core elements of metadata for libraries once again.

The picture book update was great! This is the workshop where we get to pass around a lot of picture books which came out in the previous year. It's always interesting.

Networking Night at ACL

I didn't take a lot of photos of people at ACL this year, but here are a couple from Wednesday night's "Networking" event.

This is a photograph of the "photography" group.

This was the largest group of the evening--the games group.

Thoughts on Indexing

I just finished indexing my 4,500th record (1900 census) for Family Search Indexing. The last batch included a lot of first generation immigrants with their children. As I saw the countries of origin of these immigrants (Ireland, Germany, England, and Scotland mostly), I couldn't help but think about their journeys across the Atlantic, and the difficulties they must have faced. I was amazed that some of the Germans married the Irish in such a short amount of time after reaching America. (The census gives the year or immigration, and one could tell that the parents came at separate times by that date. The age of the oldest child often helps estimate the marriage date.) I also noted that some of these persons had lived in Canada at one point because the oldest children were sometimes born there and also had immigration dates. I wondered if these immigrants were happy that their children (or at least the younger ones) were born as Americans? Did they have families back in the old country? How often did they hear from them? What was it like for them? Did they ever reconsider their decision to move to America?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Very Nice Cat Picture from Amy


Stories of the Secret City

The Atomic Heritage Foundation is placing materials online relating to the history of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home of the Manhattan Project. Stories of children, veteran stories, and a blog are already online. It is hoped they will place the recorded stories of the earliest residents which were collected this weekend online as well.

Genealogical Discussion at ACL

On Thursday at lunch, several ACL members who were pursuing their own genealogy or helping library researchers with theirs met. A quick round-up of some of the resources mentioned at our roundtable discussion.

Must-Have Books for Identifying Records
The Handybook for Genealogists, 11th ed. (Everton, 2005)
Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Ancestry, 2004)

For Native American Research
Lennon, Rachel Mills. Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians Prior to Removal. (Genealogical, 2002)

Paid Databases

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Ordering Pension Files from National Archives

Christian Publishers Just Don't Get It

One of the events at this year's Association of Christian Librarians' Conference was a publisher's forum with representatives of Kregel, Zondervan, Baker, and Eerdmans speaking as panelists. It became very clear to the librarians that although the publishers stated that our libraries were very important to them that when push comes to shove, they just don't understand the digital revolution in libraries and are doing nothing to serve our needs. A few of them have a few downloadable books available, but these seem to be marketed to individuals rather than to libraries because they require different platforms. Libraries are more interested in having electronic books available which can be read in a web browser by their patrons and which require no additional software installation beyond Adobe PDF which is usually already available. They aren't interested in software which requires special readers or devices in order to read them. These publishers seemed very much mired in the print world of the 1960s and early 1970s rather than in the 21st century. I believe that if these publishers don't quickly get into the 21st century, that they are going to cause their own demise. Several of them kept making an excuse about "being fair to the authors" in regards to royalties; however, if publishers such as Oxford University Press are doing it, there is no excuse why those models cannot be studied and an acceptable one established. There is also one other thing that was disturbing to many of the librarians in attendance. It was clear that the publishers didn't understand how books are used by academics. They did not seem to appreciate the fact that many persons use only portions of books in electronic formats. Do they not realize that the same thing has been going on for years in academia? If a researcher is seeking information, they may only use one chapter or a few pages that they've located using the index in the back of the book. Most researchers do look at the context to determine if there is additional information relevant to their work as they utilize the information. They don't really take it completely out of context which is what the publishers seemed to think happened if the entire book was not read. It is hoped that the four publishers present and other publishers in the Christian book industry will move into the 21st century before they are replaced by publishers who publish electronically and will print on demand as needed. The model is already out there. An few upstarts could come along and revolutionize Christian publishing if those not already in the industry don't take the lead.

Historical Newspapers

Genealogists are always looking for historical newspapers for their family history research. One project that is digitizing some of these is Chronicling America which is hosted by the Library of Congress. The site has a database of newspapers published from 1690 to the present as well as some scanned images from 1900-1910. A June 15 press release states that the site now has 310,000 pages. The project is in beta.

Love This Idea

One of the blogs I have in my feeds is that of the Lane Public Library in Hampton, New Hampshire. One may wonder why a Southern girl reads a blog from New Hampshire, but the reason is quite simple. I have ancestors who lived in Hampton for many years, mostly during the colonial period. Lane Public Library has done a great job putting many items online for those of us researching our Hampton ancestors. As many of you know, I'm also a librarian so I'm interested in books and reading. They've just come up with a summer reading game for adults where readers will read their way through all 50 states. It's a great concept. The rules are quite simple. It doesn't matter if the book is fiction or non-fiction, as long as it relates to the state. You just have to read one per state. They have prizes for every 5 books read. They even offer reading suggestions for each state.

What to Keep, What to Pitch

Fort Wayne News-Sentinel has an excellent article on sorting through family memorabilia. The article features comments by Curt Witcher of Allen County Public Library.

Eating in Boston - ACL 2008

On my flight home, I was browsing the latest issue of American Way aboard the airplane. I came across a review of eateries in the Boston area entitled "The Boston Eat Party." Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger has been on my wish list of restaurants to visit for awhile. It's one of those that I just didn't have time to visit on my trip late last summer.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Quincy - ACL 2008!

Eastern Nazarene College Campus, Host of ACL 2008

John Adams' home

John Adams' library

John Adams' birthplace

John Quincy Adams' birthplace

More Previews of ACL Boston 2008

A few more photos to preview Boston.

The Old North Church

Interesting Architecture

A must-stop for all the genealogists in the bunch who have New England ancestry -- the NEHGS Library

Boston Commons

Harvard Yard

Those who were at ACL 2007 know that this is where we "pahk our cah"

Looking Forward to ACL 2008 in Boston

These are just a few photos showing what we have to look forward to with ACL 2008! These photos were made late last summer when I visited Boston for another conference.

Steak & Lobster at Legal Seafood

Boston Public Library

A Dunkin Donuts on Every Corner (almost)

Trinity Episcopal Church & the John Hancock Building

Paul Revere's House

Grand Rapids

Gerald R. Ford Museum

Holland State Park (Holland, Michigan)

Dutch Village (Holland, Michigan)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Association of Christian Librarians

On Saturday (the 9th), we flew into Grand Rapids. After attending church on Sunday morning, I spent most of the rest of the day in metings. Monday was my "tourist" day until the conference began that evening. We went to Holland to visit the Dutch Village and to Holland State Park so that we could see the lighthouse. The conference's opening reception was held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Tuesday night was "trivia night," and I was fortunate enough to be part of the winning team. We got to wear stickers on our name badges the rest of the week to designate us as the champs. Wednesday night was networking night. At first I tried to join the "travel" group, but when we decided to travel to the local ice cream establishment, we discovered we had all flown and no one had a car available. I ended up joining the "knitting" group. However, no one was knitting, and it ended up being an all craft group. I did take a photo of the photography group at one point. I don't want to comment on specific workshops and sessions attended in this message but will save it for a later post. I will post a few photos soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Society Membership

There's been a blogosphere thread lately regarding the declining membership of many genealogical societies. A strong online presence can be the key to survival for many. Creative Gene has a good post on the topic.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dumplin Creek

Please let this be true! It sure would be nice to have a short drive to Dumplin Valley instead of an hour long (or more) drive to get out to West Town Mall area or further out to Turkey Creek for decent shopping. I'm already coming up with my wish list of stores!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Worthless Message Boards and Mailing Lists

I have gotten fed up with the Rootsweb mailing list and Genforum message board for a certain county in which a lot of my ancestors lived. Why? Because there are some resident data collectors there. Now, I know that they are trying to be helpful; however, they are causing more harm than good. How is that? It's because the data that they are collecting is not documented. They can't tell you where they got it. Sometimes it came from an undocumented GEDCOM file. Is the data they are collecting correct? According to local experts, they have connected wrong individuals with the wrong families in at least half, if not 60% of the cases. Here's how these data collectors operate. Someone posts a query to the county. Instead of waiting on someone who is really researching that family to post a reply based on their research (which is documented), these data collectors go to their database, find an individual that matches at least part of the query and report back with a family group sheet or short descendants report with names, dates, spouses, and SSNs from the SSDI. These data collectors are people who've never grown to appreciate true family research. The "head data collector" lives all the way across the country from the county in question. As far as the people with the historical society and the persons who have worked in the county courthouse for years know, he has never set foot in the county. Why is he even collecting the info? What does he really plan to do with it?

If that isn't enough, there is one guy who posts current obituaries all the time to the message boards. The bad thing here is that the privacy of living individuals is being compromised. Some would argue that they are already online at the papers; however, most newspapers only keep that info available online for a short period of time after which it is either removed or after which it is moved to the paid archives. There's a reason for this. If I am really interested in an obituary, I'll pay the $3 to get it if I missed it during it's free period. I've done that very thing. Furthermore, there is a potential copyright issue here. Some newspapers claim copyright to obituaries; others don't. The reason some don't is because the info in them comes from family members so they actually say that the family owns the copyright or that it is based on facts which can't be copyrighted. The problem here is that there are some things which are more creative in an obituary which are not necessarily common knowledge so it's not necessarily free of copyright. There is widespread copyright infringement on this message board. Genforum was contacted a few years ago about the problem but refused to do anything about it. Now their message board is totally useless. All that is there are undocumented family group sheets and current obituaries. People who are truly looking for real help will not find it through those channels because all they'll receive is poor research. The true researchers quit visiting years ago. In fact, when the true researchers visit the county, they often comment on the worthlessness of Genforum for that county. It's truly a sad state of affairs.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Obituary of the Living Room

It's here in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.

Fighting on Both Sides in the Civil War

My Thornton family of northwest Alabama has the distinction of having fought on both sides in the Civil War. For those who don't know, there was pocket in northwest Alabama's hill country that shared sentiments with the Union during this period. They fought secession. Many persons who did not want to fight for the Confederacy were forced to do so or imprisoned. Some of them complied with the Confederates and took the first opportunity to escape and eventually go sign up with the other side as possible. Whether that is the case with my Thorntons or if their sympathies just changed, I do not know, but I do know that there is evidence of two of my great great grandfather's brothers having changed sides.

The brothers were the sons of Richard Thornton and his wife Agga (although sometimes it is seen as Agnes). We do not know her surname, but the family was closely allied with the Aldridge and Johnson families of the area, and it is possible that she belonged to one of those. It is unfortunate that the Thorntons lived in an area which suffered so many courthouse fires. I've often joked and said that they personally set those courthouses afire to make it difficult for their descendants to find out anything about them.

Three sons of Richard served with the 43rd Alabama Regiment, Company H, CSA. These were Henry Marshall Thornton, Martin V. Thornton, and David Franklin Thornton. All the brothers were mustered in on May 10, 1862 in Walker County by W. H. Lawrence and were to serve for 3 years. Less than one month later, on June 6, 1862, David F. and Martin V. are reported to have deserted at "Tusk, Ala." which I interpret to be an abbreviation for Tuscaloosa. Henry was left at Lexington, Ky. on October 5, 1862. He is listed as a prisoner who was arrested Oct. or Nov. 17, 1862 and shipped Nov. 18, 1862 to Louisville, Kentucky. The confusion over his arrest date is because two documents differ on the date. He was sent from Louisville aboard the Steamboat Mary Crane on November 29, 1862 via Cairo, Illinois to Vicksburg, Mississippi as part of an exchange of prisoners. He is said to be 5 ft. 10 in. and 27 years of age. He was given furlough from Jackson, Mississippi on Christmas Day 1862 and presumably never returned to his post as he joined the 1st Alabama Cavalry USA in March 1863.

Henry Marshall Thornton, Martin V. Thornton, and their brother James M. Thornton all enlisted in the 1st Alabama Cavalry USA. Martin V. actually joined in Decatur, Alabama on July 8, 1862. (It was actually a Tennessee unit comprised of Alabama members at the time it was organized and when Martin joined. It later became the 1st Alabama.) He died on November 10, 1862 and is buried in the Nashville National Cemetery. Henry M. and brother James M. travelled to Glendale, Mississippi where they joined the 1st Alabama on March 23, 1863. Henry was promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 1863 and died 3 December 1863 in Corinth, Mississippi. His effects were sent home with his brother which would have been James M. James M. (my great great grandfather) was mustered out on December 22, 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee. He served as a teamster during his enlistment.

It is interesting that Henry M. did not desert the Confederate ranks when Martin and David did. He is the only one who was married and had children, so he may have feared for their safety if he were to leave. It is also possible that he did not have the same opportunity for escape that his brothers had. It is interesting that David managed to avoid arrest by the Confederates without joining the Union. James M. was probably not around when the others were forced into service with the Confederates or managed to escape to some of the hiding places in the area.

Henry's widow married a gentleman named Moses L. Johnson who was the son of Price M. Johnson and Nancy Kizziah Aldridge in 1869. Moses filed a claim (for a mule for which he received $140) with the Southern Claims Commission that indicates he was arrested by the Confederates in October 1862 and imprisoned in Columbus, Mississippi. After 5 months, he escaped and made his way home by cutting through the floor of the prison. He joined the 1st Alabama Cavalry USA around September 1863 when he and others from the area made their way to Glendale, Mississippi to join. He served until 1867 where he received an honorable discharge from the Union Army.

David F. Thornton, compiled military record (private, company H, 43rd Alabama Regiment, Infantry), Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, available online by subscription at, accessed 31 May 2007.

Henry M. Thornton, compiled military record (sergeant, company A, 1st Alabama, Cavalry), Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, micropublication M276. (Washington, DC: National Archives.) [photocopy ordered from National Archives and in my personal files]

Henry Marshall Thornton, compiled military record (private, company H, 43rd Alabama Regiment, Infantry), Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, available online by subscription at, accessed 31 May 2007.

James M. Thornton, compiled military record (private, company A, 1st Alabama, Cavalry), Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, micropublication M276. (Washington, DC: National Archives.) [photocopy ordered from National Archives and in my personal files]

James M. Thornton file, no. 606.498, pension file. (Washington, DC: National Archives). [photocopy ordered from National Archives and in my personal files]

Martin V. Thornton, compiled military record (private, company A, 1st Alabama, Cavalry), Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, micropublication M276. (Washington, DC: National Archives.) [photocopy ordered from National Archives and in my personal files]

Morton V. Thornton, compiled military record (private, company H, 43rd Alabama Regiment, Infantry), Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, available online by subscription at, accessed 31 May 2007.

Moses L. Johnson, Southern Claims Commission Approved Claims, 1871-1880: Alabama, micropublication M2062. (Washington, DC: National Archives), roll 9. Available online via subscription at, accessed 31 May 2007.

Nancy J. Thornton file, no. 774214, widow's pension file, (Washington, DC: National Archives). [Photocopy ordered from National Archives and in my personal files]

Todd, Glenda McWhirter. First Alabama Cavalry, U.S.A: Homage to Patriotism. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1999.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Why Do They Make Packages So Hard to Open?

I'm so tired of packages of things that are hard to open. It's bad enough if you are trying to open one of those bubble sealed hard plastic packages that you have to have a pair of scissors to open and even then it doesn't cut easily. Now HP has decided to put its printer cartridges in an indestructable laminated paper that refuses to tear. When you expect to be able to just rip a package open, you now have to go in search of a pair of scissors. I often wonder how some of our senior citizens ever manage to get any of these packages open.

Criminal Offenses

Earlier this week I visited the Monroe County, Mississippi Circuit Clerk's office. A group of us who were researching families in that county had stumbled across the amazing number of prostitutes enumerated in the 1860 census for the town of Aberdeen. Beside two of those was the notation "now at court". (Thanks to members of the Association of Professional Genealogists for help in deciphering the exact wording since it was rather cramped on the census.) Being the basically curious person that I am, I just had to find the court case for Martha Inman and Lucinda Hill. I was short on time that day, but I went through the criminal docket books for the period and didn't find them listed. I also read through the civil dockets just in case they were there instead of in the criminal dockets. I'll have to pick up that search on another date. Of course, there are other court options to consider as well. I just went to the one that I thought most likely.

However, I really didn't waste my time because if I hadn't gone through those criminal dockets I might have never known that my 2 great-grandfather and great grand-uncle were such scandalous criminals. Okay, that's not exactly the truth. I'd expect just about anything from this family back in the 19th century or even part of the early 20th century. However, I'd never have known about this specific incident. (It's also possible that it is my 3rd great grand-uncle and first cousin 4 times removed; however, it is more likely to be the ones who are closer kin based on what I know about the two families.) What was the charge? They were caught "hunting on the Sabbath." I'll go back when it's cooler to examine the case more closely because the records are in the attic of the courthouse, and I learned a long time ago that I don't do Mississippi attics in the summertime! Not even for a charge this juicy!