Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Day of Prayer

Tomorrow, May 1 is the National Day of Prayer. In many communities, people will be gathering on the courthouse lawns to pray for our local and national leaders. While my responsibilities at work will prohibit me from attending one of these events, I do plan to offer up my own prayer for our local leaders, for our senators and representatives, for our president, for the upcoming elections, etc. There is a song that was popular in the Southern Gospel market about a decade ago that had a line that really makes you stop and think: "Prayer changes things AND it changes me!" I won't recount all the places in the Bible that record where prayer changed the course of history. If you want to check out some of those accounts, I invite you to go to and search on the word pray, prayer, praying, and related terms. In closing, I want to share a few lines of an old hymn that we sang when I was growing up.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Home: The Late 19th Century Version

When the topic for this edition of the carnival of genealogy was announced, I pondered which ancestors and which hometowns I would be discussing. I finally decided to focus on the Stephen Taylor and Abraham L. Lantz families and their town of Oak Grove, McLean County, Illinois.

Stephen Taylor married Betsey Dearborn in March 1837 in Morgan County, Ohio. It is believed that the two of them went to Illinois that very year. Several McLean County histories mention this arrival date although I can only document that he was there before the 1840 census was taken and that he purchased land there in November 1836. The family lived very near the Woodford County border.

Abraham Lantz (who was not yet a teenager) is believed to have moved to McLean County about 1851 with his father. Abraham was born in the failed Amish settlement in Knox County, Ohio. He later lived in Holmes County, Ohio before moving to Illinois. After his parents and other family members moved to Howard County, Indiana, Abraham remained in Oak Grove where his uncle Jonathan and distant cousin Simeon Lantz also resided. He served as postmaster from 1869-1874. He owned a store for most of the years he was in Oak Grove. Oak Grove moved a short distance to what is the present town of Carlock in 1888. Abraham remained there a few more years before removing to Monroe County, Mississippi in 1896. There are a number of good maps of Oak Grove and Carlock available which show the home and businesses of Abraham. Most of these maps are copyrighted so I cannot use them here. I will, however, show some photos that I have in my personal collection relating to Oak Grove and Carlock. The color photos were taken when I stopped in Carlock on my way to the National Genealogical Society Conference in Chicago in 2006.

This was the Lantz home in Illinois.

Welcome to Carlock. Population 500.

The public library. It was closed for a very long lunch break while I was in town.

The Christian Church where Abraham & Laura attended. He had been Amish before his marriage. She had been Methodist, so they compromised.

The Denman Cemetery where many members of the Taylor family are buried.

Marker for Stephen Taylor's son Isaac who died during the Civil War of illness.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Do You Have Taphophilia? defines taphophilia as "a love of funerals, graves, cemeteries." It is derived from the Greek words ταφος (grave) and φιλος (love). In Lisa Rogak's book Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries (Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot, 2004, p. ix), she identifies four reasons persons come to love cemeteries:

  1. To learn about a town
  2. Quite refuge in summer
  3. The "feel of history"
  4. To conduct genealogical research
I suppose that the first category of persons are those persons who are interested in regional history. They want to know about the town's early settlers and people. The second category would be the people who go to the garden-type cemeteries to enjoy a nice peaceful picnic. The third category are those who feel that they are getting in touch with the past by being around old tombstones. The fourth category is where most persons researching family history come into the picture although they can certainly enjoy the cemetery for the other three reasons as well.

There is probably a category that Rogak missed. There are persons who enjoy old cemeteries because of the art on the old gravestones. If you've ever read any of Sarah Stewart Taylor's mysteries, you are familiar with her sleuth who is an expert in funerary art.

I confess I have taphophilia. While some of my family members who don't share my interest may think it's a disease, I'm sure that most of the readers of this post will think I'm perfectly normal!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Thanks to several of you who pointed out that it's really quite simple to export Bloglines subscriptions and import them into Google Reader, I now have all my feeds at Google Reader. I haven't deleted them from Bloglines yet, but I'm looking forward to checking out how well all the feeds work!

It's a Long Way to Tipperary

So far I've uncovered no Irish ancestry, but I've decided to participate in the 5th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. The call for submissions is at Small-Leaved Shamrock. My submission will roughly fit the first category. There are some very curious Irish place names. For example, Limerick reminds me of poetry. Then there's Killarney (and other places that begin Kill or Kil)--You wonder if someone actually killed someone named Arney there. Londonderry is a fascinating name and reminds me of a piece called "Londonderry Air" that used to be on every beginners' piano recital. Most of us know the tune as that of "O Danny Boy" or the gospel song "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need."" (By the way, there's an interesting story of this tune written by Michael Robinson. I haven't verified the story's reliability, but it is interesting.)

However, the town I want to write about is Tipperary. I grew up hearing about it being a long way there! The song, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," is an old World War I song. (You'll find 3 early recordings of the tune in MP3 format on that site.) I understand that the song is somewhat offensive in Ireland, but many is the person that first heard of Tipperary through that song.

Tipperary is the name of both a county and a city in Ireland. Other places in the county include Nenagh, Roscrea, Templemore, Thurles, Cashel, Cahir, Clonmel, and Carrick on Suir.

Tipperary is Ireland's largest inland county. The official tourism site includes several photos of the island as well as a video. (They gave the embed code, but it was creating problems in editing the post further so I removed it.) According to the site, the town of "Tipperary derives its name from Tiobrad Arann meaning the Well of Ara. It is a market town in the heart of the Golden Vale and it is on the main Limerick- Cashel road." The best place in town to visit if you are researching your family history is the former prison which houses the Heritage and Genealogical Centre.

I'll probably never visit this place because "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."

Non-Fiction Five Challenge

I'm sure that I can do this book challenge, so I'm signing up! Basically, a participant needs to read 5 non-fiction books between May and September. At least one needs to be a different category than the others. (I learned of this challenge via Maggie.) I'm sure several of mine will be history or genealogy related, but I've got a few others from different categories that I've been wanting to read, so I'm going to sign up. If I'm lucky, my Advance Review Copy from March will arrive from Gefen Publishing House that I obtained through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers' Program. It will fit nicely into this challenge.

May 20, 2008:

1. Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. (read May 15, 2008)
2. Webb, James. Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. (read May 21, 2008)
3. Rubin, Chana. Food for the Soul: Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating. (read May 22, 2008)
4. Maxwell, Nancy Kalikow. Sacred Stacks: The Higher Purpose of Libraries and Librarianship. (read June 30, 2008)
5. Andros, Howard S. Buildings and Landmarks of Old Boston: A Guide to the Colonial, Provincial, Federal, and Greek Revival Periods, 1630-1850. (read July 28, 2008)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On Blog Aggregators/Readers

I set up my blog feeds in Bloglines a long time ago. I've stuck to it for a long time, but I'm debating switching to Google Reader for everything. I have two "problematic" blog feeds in Google Reader now. For some reason, when I click through from Bloglines to one of Janice's posts, I get an "HTTP 403 Forbidden" message and then have to reload the page. That works, but it gets tiresom, so I've set her up through Google Reader. My other problematic blog feed from Bloglines is the well-known Knoxville blogger Glenn Reynolds known as Instapundit. About a month ago, I started getting only one to three posts a day through the feed at Bloglines. I get them all using Google Reader. It makes me wonder how many other posts I'm missing with Bloglines. It won't be fun adding all the feeds, but once it gets done. I've resisted making a complete switch, but I may make the switch gradually as I have time. By the way, I've emailed the problem with Glenn's blog to Bloglines, but they've not responded with a solution. Do they even read their comments? Can you tell that I'm growing increasingly frustrated?


My apologies for no posts the past couple of days. You know how it is -- you start entering data and citing it in your genealogy database and lose track of time. Before you know it, it's time to go to bed! At least I've been making good use of my time.

I found some research on one of the lines I'll be working on in Massachusetts that I'd somehow failed to enter into my database. It's much easier to enter it before I go so that I don't have to lug the photocopies and handwritten notes along which adds weight to the luggage! I want to make sure I don't duplicate research I've already done just because I didn't enter the information!

Blogger has a scheduled outage shortly so I'd better keep this short!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Cowboy Poem

Janice has reminded us that this is Cowboy Poetry Week. I thought it would be fun to locate an old cowboy poem to post. The following poem was the most genealogically-related poem that I could find in the cowboy poetry volume I perused. It comes from Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp compiled by John A. Lomax ( New York: Macmillian, 1919; pp. 152-153).

The Bandit's Grave
by Charles Pitt

'Mid lava rock and glaring sand,
'Neath the desert's brassy skies,
Bound in the silent chains of death
A border bandit lies.
The poppy waves her golden glow
Above the lowly mound;
The cactus stands with lances drawn,--
A martial guard around.

His dreams are free from guile or greed,
Or foray's wild alarms.
No fears creep in to break his rest
In the desert's scorching arms.
He sleeps in peace beside the trail,
Where the twilight shadows play,
Though they watch each night for his return
A thousand miles away.

From the mesquite groves a night bird calls
When the western skies grow red;
The sand storm sings his deadly song
Above the sleeper's head.
His steed has wondered to the hills
And helpless are his hands,
Yet peons curse his memory
Across the shifting sands.

The desert cricket tunes his pipes
When the half-grown moon shines dim;
The sage thrush trills her evening song --
But what are they to him?
A rude-built cross beside the trail
That follows to the west
Casts its long-drawn, ghastly shadow
Across the sleeper's breast.

A lone coyote comes by night
And sits beside his bed,
Sobbing the midnight hours away
With gaunt, up-lifted head.
The lizard trails his aimless way
Across the lonely mound,
When the star-guards of the desert
Their pickets post around.

The winter snows will heap their drifts
Among the leafless sage;
The pallid hosts of the blizzard
Will lift their voice in rage;
The gentle rains of early spring
Will woo the flowers to bloom.
And scatter their fleeting incense
O'er the border bandit's tomb.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #7: The Historical Society Library

I know all of you have been wondering which library I would choose for my 7th. The truth is that there are just too many libraries out there. I hated to name one historical society library without mentioning them all because they are such great depositories of regional information. I'm going to name a few examples here, but all historical society libraries are included in this seventh tribute.

First of all, I want to mention the Itawamba Historical Society's Library in Mantachie, Mississippi. They are located in the Poteet History Center. If you are researching ancestors in Itawamba County, their library is a "must visit." They have a tremendous collection of family histories from the area. You can purchase back issues of Itawamba Settlers to complete your collection. They also have an ongoing book sale there. You can browse and find a few titles of interest for your personal library.

Another society's library I want to mention is McLean County (Illinois) Historical Society. They have microfilms of many of the older courthouse records there which you can photocopy much more cheaply than you can at the nearby courthouse. I found city directories that were extremely helpful to me which covered even small towns like Carlock where my ancestors lived. I was only able to be there for a short time, but the staff was most helpful to me during my brief visit. (I'd spent too much time tromping about the cemetery earlier! You know how that goes with genealogists.)

Then there is the "ultimate" historical society--the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I'm looking forward to another visit there this summer. The photo below was made after FGS conference in 2006. They have all kinds of wonderful resources there! You can't ignore them if you have New England ancestry. The society is located in the Back Bay area on the very trendy Newbury Street. It's not far from the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common. You can even do lunch "where everybody knows your name" or at many other great restaurants in the area. This library is also within walking distance of another great library, the Boston Public Library. Well, I must go and prepare for my visit to the NEHGS Library!

Friday, April 18, 2008

46th Carnival of Genealogy Posted

The Family Traits edition of the COG is now available. I've got it bookmarked to read later, but I must head soon to open the doors for movie night. I will say that I'm looking forward to next edition's COG where we get to talk about one of our ancestral home towns. The problem is going to be deciding which one to use! The call for that edition is at the bottom of the 46th COG!

National Library Week Tribute #6: Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library

As I write this, I'm sitting in my office at the Stephens-Burnett Memorial Library of Carson-Newman College getting ready for our "after hours" movie night. It's one of our National Library Week activities. Some people don't think of using academic libraries when researching one's genealogy. While you probably won't be able to check out a book that might circulate to a professor or student, you will be able to use most of the resources on the premises. Our library has a great collection of Jefferson County research materials. We collect materials for about 22 East Tennessee counties. In our archives are copies of church records and minutes for many East Tennessee churches since we are charged by the Tennessee Baptist Convention with the job of maintaining archives for our part of the state. We also have an emphasis on Appalachia that extends across disciplines. The materials we have in this area bring a lot of context to the environment in which one's Appalachian ancestor lived. We have a pretty good collection of Baptist materials even beyond our immediate area.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #5: McClung Collection, Knox County Public Library

The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection of the Knox County Public Library System is the best historical and genealogical collection in the East Tennessee area. It is housed in the same building with the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Knox County Archives. In recent years, the facility has expanded beyond the old customs house in which it was archived. They have renovated the older facilities as well. While I don't get there as often as I would like, I enjoy using their collection. Their materials for east Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina are quite good.

Poetry Day

Lisa asked us to share poems on our blogs today. I decided to share a VERY OLD classic--one written by King David. I'm using the King James Version from which many of us learned it in our childhood days.


The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #4: Evans Memorial Library

Evans Memorial Library in Aberdeen is a small library with a very good genealogical collection. The collection was developed over the years by W. A. Evans and by former librarian Lucille Peacock. The genealogical collection contains not only materials relating to the northeast Mississippi-northwest Alabama area, but also information on areas from which persons migrated to the area. There are a large number of family histories on the shelves as well as filing cabinets full of folders relating to the area's families. One of the most interesting collections at Evans Memorial Library is the McKnight Photo Collection. F. S. McKnight was a photographer in the area from about 1894 to 1930. I am very fortunate to have several family photographs done by this photographer among the photos handed down through the family. An index to this collection is available at Monroe County MSGenWeb. There are many unidentified photographs as well. The collection at Evans Memorial Library provides proof that a small library can build a genealogy collection that people will want to visit!

Your Thoughts Please . . .

Is blogging being made obsolete by newer technologies?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #3: Amory Municipal Library

Amory Municipal Library is where I first developed a thirst for books beyond those I had at home. Mrs. Elizabeth Wamble was the head librarian back in the days I was small. Mrs. Linda Reich was the children's librarian. I loved browsing the children's books there. I remember participating in the summer reading program and being one of the top readers. I had read so many books that it was hard to find a book in which my name wasn't on the card. Somehow I pretty much completely skipped the books written for middle schoolers and teens when I was growing up. I remember all of us becoming intrigued with Lois Duncan's Down a Dark Hall. I also remember using some of the non-fiction books for school assignments. I enjoyed the Hardy Boys books, but I borrowed those from a friend instead of the library (at least the ones that had not been handed down to me by my brothers). Around 6th grade, I discovered Phyllis Whitney. I purchased a paperback of Window on the Square at a bookstore in Alabama when my sister-in-law was in the hospital. When I got back to Amory, I went to the library where I began checking out other books by her. When I finished those, I found books with similar covers. (I know they say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I could find those Gothic romance books that way.) I had discovered that my neighbor's mother had checked out a lot of the same books that I was reading. I began looking for her signature on the cards as a means of "readers' advisory." (Remember this was back in the days before the ALA was as concerned about the confidentiality of patron records. A lot of folks looked to see who else had checked something out back in those days. People knew what each other liked to read and could often tell whether or not they wanted to read it by who else had checked it out. I miss the days of cards with signatures sometimes, but as a librarian I have it ingrained in me now that patron records should be kept confidential.) I continued to read all throughout high school. I never went into my high school library except for club meetings. Amory Municipal Library met most of my needs. When we had to do term papers, most of us learned to hit the library at a university when we were on campus to copy a few things. The Mississippi Room at the Amory Municipal Library is the place I visit most there now when I'm in town. That is where the local history materials and microfilm of older papers are kept. My high school history teacher's wife is the head librarian now. My English teacher from my senior year of high school works there some too! There are other familiar faces in the library there who have been there many years! It's a very welcoming environment.

Monday, April 14, 2008

National Library Week Tribute #2: An Amish Library in Holmes County

Many of you know that I have Amish lines that lived in Holmes and Wayne Counties in Ohio in the 19th century. On one of my trips to that area, I spent quite a bit of time in the courthouses and in the cemeteries of the area. I had gone to visit with an "English cousin" who lives in the area and has quite a bit of interaction with the Amish. She told me about an Amish library that was in Berlin in Holmes County. She made the necessary arrangements so that we could visit it. It is in the basement of a barn beside the Keim lumber yard there. Most of the books and periodicals related to the history of the Amish. It was a quite extensive collection although I'd already utilized many of the resources at other libraries. I was so surprised to find the library. I was even more surprised that they had a photocopier. It was, of course, powered by a generator rather than electricity. My cousin and I made copies of several articles. This library was a pleasant surprise on my research trip!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Kind of Thinker Am I?

Jessica apparently started this meme among the geneabloggers. Here are my results!

Your Thinking is Abstract and Sequential

You like to do research and collect lots of information.

The more facts you have, the easier it is for you to learn.

You need to figure things out for yourself and consider all possibilities.

You tend to become an expert in the subjects that you study.

It's difficult for you to work with people who know less than you do.

You aren't a very patient teacher, and you don't like convincing people that you're right.

National Library Week Tribute #1: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

This is National Library Week. I want to offer a tribute this week to several libraries that have been a part of my life. I am not going to feature them in the order of my first encounter with them. In fact, the order will be entirely random.

I chose the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County as my first library simply because it was the library of greatest importance to me when I first became serious about genealogy. I was living in the Queen City. I had heard wonderful things about the library's genealogy collection. My mom had expressed an interest in exploring the family history but she didn't really know much about doing it. I knew I had the research skills as a librarian to begin the project. I spent many hours there researching my family history. I was able to tour some of the closed stacks there with a group of librarians more than once. I would always marvel at all the items that were held by the library. I spent many hours in front of their microfilm readers reading soundex and census records. I used their collection of ship's passenger lists. That library is usually listed as one of the top ten libraries for genealogists, and I was fortunate to live there at that time in my life.

I usually used the main library because of my genealogical interests. Their fiction collection was also wonderful. I discovered many wonderful authors during my time in Cincinnati. Their non-fiction collection matched my diverse interests.

If I was spending the day at the main library, I'd usually walk down a couple of blocks to Skyline Chili for lunch. If there was a big festival downtown, I'd often go on down to where the vendors were set up and enjoy brats or other street fare. I'd always end up back at the library to finish up my day's research and to select a few books to take home to read.

I occasionally went to one of the branch libraries for a fiction book that wasn't in stock at the main library. If a book I wanted was not at one of the branches close to work or home, I'd usually use their branch delivery service to have the book delivered to a branch nearby.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is one of the city's true treasures.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It Runs in the Family

Here's the call for submissions in the mid-April edition of the Carnival of Genealogy followed by my attempt to answer it.

What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face?

Music - I sing. I play instruments. I really didn't realize it was a family trait until I got to the Thornton Family Reunion and noticed that there are quite a few of us that were talented musically. I was the only one of my immediate family members that seemed to have the skill. However, I think that I have a nephew that has inherited the music gene too! Even cousin Terry has that trait.

Food - I enjoy flavors, and I love to cook! I think this runs on both sides of the family. My mom was a dietician, but she was also a good Southern cook. I'm more adventurous than most of the family when it comes to food. The Thorntons just like to eat PERIOD. I have more gourmet tastes. Some of the family members pinch pennies when it comes to food, but I refuse to compromise taste. It means that I purchase Eggland's Best eggs instead of the supermarket brand. I purchase real butter instead of margarine. I'm picky about my coffee. I buy organic chicken because it tastes better.

Reading - I am an avid reader. I often have two or three books in process (besides reading my Bible). My maternal grandmother loved to read. My mom has taken up reading in her retirement so I suspect she just didn't read as much while I was growing up because of the demands of job and family. Mysteries are my favorite genre of fiction. I read a lot of history books. I read books on information technology trends mostly for work.

Needlework - My aunt Daisy could make the most exquisite handcrafted items. My mom always wished that she could tat and smock like her older sister. Mom was a good seamstress but she didn't possess the same level of skill that her sister did. I know that needlework and sewing were essential to know back in the older days. I limit my needlework to counted cross stitch. I'm not nearly as talented in this area, but it's a great stress-reliever when I do attempt a piece. I'm hopeless when it comes to sewing. I have a sewing machine, but I'm not very good at it. I remember singing on one of my college's teams one year. The seamstresses were running behind on getting our outfits done on time for our first appearance so they decided to let us hem our own skirts. I sewed both sides of the skirt together in 2 places, making a place for 3 legs. I think they quickly ripped the hem out and got the seamstress to do mine. They decided I was hopeless when it came to a needle and thread!

Carpentry - The Thornton men seem to be pretty skilled in this area. My paternal grandfather worked as one. Dad was good at things like this. One of my brothers also enjoys making things. I even have a niece who is skilled in this area! I didn't inherit this gene. If I had, I would have floor to ceiling bookcases in my den!

Big Ears - You can spot a Thornton a mile off because they have big ears! (They stick out a little too.) When Cousin Terry published The Thornton News, he developed a slogan that talked about the beautiful women and the men with big ears.

Perhaps the family trait of which I'm most happy:

Christianity - We tend to be very active in our churches. Cape & Bennie Thornton were active in the Christian Church in Cotton Gin Port, Mississippi when they lived there. My Lantz family started out Amish. After Abraham Lantz married a Methodist (Laura Lucy Taylor), they began attending the Christian Church in their Illinois community. They continued that alliance after they moved to Mississippi. Many of the family members have now joined the Baptist and Methodist Churches. (I attend a Southern Baptist Church.) Several have studied for ministry and served in churches.

Reading Roundup 4/12/08

April 19-20, 2008 are the dates for the Civil War Living History weekend at Ramsey House in Knoxville. Read about the event at KnoxViews.

I can't wait for Smokey Mountain Breakdown to post the photo that goes along with these tasty-sounding sweet potato fries. (The recipe calls for sesame seeds and Cajun seasoning.)

Suitable for Mixed Company has a post with lots of interesting links -- a history of America's first hospital and a look at one of those stories that gets passed around the Internet with links to a 1912 sermon from which it was likely taken. (Did you notice my use of "my punctuation mark" -- the dash?)

Amory, Mississippi's Railroad Festival starts on Thursday. I was in middle school when the first of these was held. I remember Steam Train Maury Graham's visit to an assembly at our school that year. We were all able to take train rides along the old Mississippian Railway. I got to ride at least twice that year. I see that there is no hobo parade this year. I've heard a rumor that this may be the last year for the festival. I hope that's not the case. Every town needs a festival of some sort -- and with Amory's railroad heritage, it seems fitting.

National Library Week Challenge

The 50th annual National Library Week is April 13-19. Most of you know that I'm a librarian, so I'd like to challenge all bloggers to do at least one blog post as a tribute to libraries during the week. I'm sure we'll have a very diverse group of posts from all of the creative bloggers out there! You don't have to be a geneablogger to participate. (All bloggers welcome.) If you don't blog, feel free to leave a comment here as a tribute to libraries.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Scanner

Do you ever get frustrated when you can no longer use a perfectly good piece of technology just because it won't work with newer operating systems? That's exactly what happened with my scanner. I have a very good flatbed scanner that I cannot use with my new Windows Vista laptop just because HP didn't create a driver that would extend the life of that product. It was and still is a perfectly good scanner as long as I use it with XP. I guess I replaced my scanner and printer at the same time! (There's nothing wrong with the printer either for that matter.) However, the only scanners that can be easily found are the all-in-one variety. I know that I will miss some of the flatbed functionality for some things, but I will still be able to use the old scanner with my XP computer. My new scanner/printer is a Canon. (I refused to buy an HP since I'm mad at them for not creating a Vista driver. I know that Canon probably didn't upgrade all of their drivers either, but it's frustrating to have to spend more money on a peripheral device when your old one still works fine!)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Which Punctuation Mark Are You? (Sorry - I couldn't resist this one)

You Are a Dash

Your life is fast paced and varied. You are realistic, down to earth, and very honest.

You're often busy doing something interesting, and what you do changes quickly.

You have many facets to your personality, and you connect them together well.

You have a ton of interests. While some of them are a bit offbeat, they all tie together well.

You friends rely on you to bring novelty and excitement to their lives.

(And while you're the most interesting person they know, they can't help feeling like they don't know you well.)

You excel in: Anything to do with money

You get along best with: the Exclamation Point

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy - 45th edition

The 45th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is all about cars. So . . . start your engines . . . and head over to Jasia's to read it. I think I'll be able to get into the family traits topic for the 46th carnival a little more! The call is at the end of this edition's post.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Civil War - Where Were My Ancestors?

My closest relatives fighting in the war were in Mississippi, Alabama, and Illinois. I'm going to start with the obvious Illinois ancestors. My first comment is that my Lantz family was Amish and did not participate in the war. They were in McLean County, Illinois at the time. My great-great grandfather moved to Howard County, Indiana sometime during the war; however, my great-great grandfather stayed in Illinois.

The Taylors were also in Illinois. Laura Lucy Taylor had two brothers who fought during the Civil War. Isaac and Otis both fought in the Battle of Vicksburg.

This is the Illinois memorial at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Isaac's name can be found about 3 from the bottom in the next to the last section on this panel.

Otis' name is in the middle of this panel. It is third from the bottom in the last column of that section.

Isaac became ill on the journey back from Vicksburg and died in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

This is the receipt for Isaac's corpse . It has to be one of the most interesting documents in my genealogical collection.

Now, for my Southern ancestors. I'll start with the Thorntons who also fought for the Union. Actually, some of them fought first for the South and then for the North. I will say that it tends to make life interesting when you lived in a part of the country that was noted for its Union sympathies but the Southern recruiters were forcing the men into service for the South. This has been well-documented in many books about this region in this time, but one of the most readable accounts is called Tories of the Hills by Wesley S. Thompson. It is a somewhat fictionalized account, but contains a great deal that is historically accurate. My cousin Terry has blogged about this very thing. I also blogged about this and the results of Henry M. and Martin V.'s Civil War pension files. I haven't blogged James M.'s pension file summary, but the best summary was written by my cousin Terry in an issue of the now defunct Thornton News that he and I swapped turns editing. It, of course, was much more interesting while he was editing it.

My Aldridge family was also in the Fayette County, Alabama area. The only Aldridge in my family that I have found to have enlisted did so for the Confederate cause. Whether he was forced to enlist or did it of his own volition, I do not know. Some of us have speculated that the Civil War may have created a rift between the Aldridges and Thorntons. However, we cannot prove that. We only know that James M.'s son by his first wife Lucinda Aldridge who died in childbirth was reared by his maternal grandparents and that his children by second wife Nancy Lay seemed to know very little about "Cape" for some time. There's a story to this, but I'll save it for some other time.

My Fowlkes family was in the Cotton Gin Port area of Monroe County. Half-brothers of Josiah Fowlkes (who was born in 1861) fought in the 14th and 43rd Regiments in the Mississippi Confederate cause. Many of the other Fowlkes listed in Mississippi's confederate units are related, although not as closely.

My Hesters were in the Lost Corner or Cason area of Monroe County. My great great grandfather John H. Hester fought for the 2nd Mississippi Cavalry's Company F.

This is the military marker for John H. Hester at the Hester Cemetery in Monroe County, Mississippi.

Mary Ann Harris Hester's brother Charles Newton Harris fought for Mississippi's 12th Cavalry. He lived in Tennessee when he filed for a pension and when his widow was granted hers. His Civil War Questionnaire has been published and is available in libraries which have this book of that state's questionnaires.

This was submitted for the "Where Were You?" Carnival.


Newspapers have long been a great genealogical resource; however, the newspaper, as we know it, is dying. Here's an interesting article from the New Yorker about the demise of the newspaper.

So, what are the three things that you would miss most if newspapers ceased to exist, and what do you think would "replace" these things?

I'll attempt to answer my own question, but I invite others to express their opinion in the comments or in a blog post of their own. (Please share the link to your post in the comments.)

  1. Obituaries - I think that funeral homes provide links to these and that many will be archived on They will only be free for a short period of time. After that we will pay a small fee to access them. There are obituary projects out there, but most have been very limited in their success. These projects are only as good as the volunteers. Coverage tends to be very spotty--some areas have great volunteers; others don't. Ultimately, I think with its feeds coming from funeral directors is going to be a better solution.
  2. Marriage & Birth Notices - In this category, I'm also including those anniversary notices which are often printed with the marriage notices. The marriage notices have provided some wonderful photos of the bride and sometimes the groom over the years. The birth notices, supplied by the hospital, will give date of birth and the parents' names. Marriages can still be located in county records offices. Births can be located with state offices. (I refuse to be more specific because different states call these different things.) Some hospitals already offer birth information on their web sites, but it's often fairly secure. I think that some of the photo functions can be replaced by Web photo albums; however, if an individual is in charge of editing his/her own album, we all know what is going to happy if the divorce comes along. I don't think I have a good solution outside the permanent records in governmental offices, and many of these come with so many restrictions that it makes it difficult to obtain the information. Newspapers have been very helpful to many researchers when record access is limited.
  3. Small Town News Complete with Photos - I will miss the small community papers for the articles about the community itself--which students were in the county spelling bee (along with their photos), the officers of the local garden club (complete with photos), the scholarship recipients (with their photos), the new bank manager (with an article about his past experience and his photo), etc. The big town papers sometimes print this information in brief form, but they rarely have the intimiate photos of the small town paper. They rarely get down to the minute detail that the local papers have. I think that most of this information will likely move to blogs. The schools (and school organizations) can easily create their own blogs that tell how the band did in the recent competition, provide a picture of the band marching in the parade, show the students who competed at the state level for FBLA, show the officers of the club, etc. Community organizations can get in the act with their own blogs. The local bank can place the press release on its own website or provide a blog with news to its customers. To be as effective as the local newspaper, community blogs need to be linked to each other so that folks get a comprehensive report of the community. Blog rolls are perfect for doing this.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Wiki for Lesser-Known Individuals

Biographicon has some potential for genealogists wishing to write biographies of their ancestors which are documented and can be shared with others who may also edit the articles. Sources can (and SHOULD) be included. I'm always a little hesitant to share information on living persons because of the problems in this day and age with identity theft and because of privacy concerns. However, I can see some value in using this resource to collaborate with others in writing a biography of a shared ancestor.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Obligatory Car Post

I will admit that this is one of the least exciting carnival topics for me. I'm just not one to get excited about cars. I want a dependable car that gets me to where I need to go. In fact, as I searched through my photos, I decided that if it weren't for a couple of nephews that I wouldn't have had any photos of my first two cars. I located no photos of the other three cars I've owned, including my current one!

This green 1976 Toyota Corolla was the car in which I learned to drive. I loved that little car. The pickup truck was a Dodge Ram, and it was my dad's.

My next car was a 1979 Dodge Omni. The "bottom" fell out of this one while I was in college so it didn't really last but about 5 years.

After that was the car that least fit my personality--a hand-me down Ford LTD. I think it was a 1980 or 1981 model. I don't really know. It was an ugly pastel blue color.

I was really glad when I finally purchased a 1989 Toyota Tercel. I had it for about 9 years. It was a blue color, but a nice shade of blue--kind of a slate blue color.

I currently drive a 1998 Honda Civic. It's a blue also. I really wanted red, but they didn't have red on the lot so I got the blue one because I liked the interior better than the interior of the green one.

The above was my favorite family vehicle--not the Honda CRV, although I do like that, but the "Minnie Winnie." Brumley wishes he could go camping again in it, but we no longer have it.

This is a better photo of it. Dad is sitting outside.

Here's Brumley enjoying his camping trip! This concludes this post submitted for the Carnival of Genealogy.