Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Genealogical Christmas Present to Myself

I love receiving packages. Right before Christmas, the North Carolina Historical Publications Shop had a sale on many of their titles. I decided that I couldn't go wrong by purchasing their publications in light of how much North Carolina research in which I'm now involved -- either for others or for myself.

Here are the titles I ordered:

William P. Cumming - Mapping the North Carolina Coast: Sixteenth-Century Cartography and the Roanoke Voyages
Russell S. Koonts - North Carolina Petitions for Presidential Pardon, 1865-1868: (An Index)
Alan D. Watson - Bath: The First Town in North Carolina
Alan D. Watson - An Index to North Carolina Newspapers, 1784-1789
A. R. Newsome - Records of Emigrants from England and Scotland to North Carolina, 1774-1775
Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. & Sallie W. Simpson - Whaling on the North Carolina Coast
Catherine W. Bishir - The "Unpainted Aristocracy": The Beach Cottages of Old Nags Head
Alan D. Watson - Bertie County: A Brief History
Edward W. Phifer, Jr. - Burke County: A Brief History
David Stick - Dare County: A Brief History
James W. Wall - Davie County: A Brief History
S. Kent Schwarzkopf - A History of Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains: Exploration, Development, and Preservation
Lawrence Lee - New Hanover County: A Brief History
Alan D. Watson - Onslow County: A Brief History
Joe A. Mobley - Palmico County: A Brief History
Lindley S. Butler - Rockingham County: A Brief History
Roy Parker, Jr. - Cumberland County: A Brief History

I'm very happy with my genealogical Christmas present to myself. As I was adding them into LibraryThing, I discovered that the author Diana Gabaldon had the title about emigrants from England and Scotland as well as a book on North Carolina county formation. I was excited to see that such a popular fiction author had "genealogy" books in her library!

November & December

November and December were extremely busy months for me. I really just didn't have time to blog. I can't promise that I'll be much better this next month. We got the news a few days before Christmas that my mother has a form of stomach cancer. They will be operating next week to remove part of the esophagus, the upper part of the stomach, and then rejoining them together. She's going to have a long recovery period, and I appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

SNGF: Most Memorable Halloween

Tonight's Saturday night genealogy fun question is to tell about a memorable Halloween. I'm going to attempt to do that and am hoping that I'm not mixing more than one year in my memory, but I think I am not. My most memorable Halloween would have been the year that all of us neighborhood kids actually managed to con enough parents into taking us out trick or treating that we spent most of the night engaged in Halloween activities. We started out in our own neighborhood. We went house to house up and down the streets of the Love Subdivision. Love Subdivision was so-named because it was built on the site of the former Love's Cow Pasture. The little white house at the corner of Boulevard Drive and Hatley Road had been the home of the Loves, according to my Mom. Our home was built in 1959. I'm sure a few of the houses in the subdivision were a little older than ours, but I really don't know when the subdivision began. I guess I've just come up with a question to research that will add a little to the background of one event in our family's lives.

After we went there, we talked my Mom into taking us to Easthaven subdivision. A lot of our school friends lived in Easthaven. My Mom would only take us to the "safe" neighborhoods, and this was one that she deemed to be so. After we got back, we talked another Mom into taking us to the Meadowbrook subdivision. We had a lot of friends who lived in that subdivision as well.

Our next stop was the East Amory Community Center. This particular year is the only year that I really remember going to the "carnival" going on there. There was a cake walk. I won a caramel cake. We bobbed for apples. I believe they had a haunted house in one of the rooms there. I think you could "fish" for candy and other things like that. We didn't stay a really long time there. However, there was one house that David and Delores wanted to go to. It was a house that I'd never trick-or-treated at before so I really didn't know what to expect when we knocked. Mrs. Hodo opened the door. She lived across from St. Andrews Methodist Church on Town and Country Lane. She invited us into her home which was dark and eery. I remember that she had us hold our hands in a dish. The texture of the item in the dish was "gross" to a youngster in the late 1960s. She told us it was eyeballs. (They were really peeled grapes.) I began to wonder what was in store for me. I was scared. She continued to take us through her incredibly spooky home which even had a casket with a skeleton. I wanted nothing more than to get out of there and fast. Delores, however, kept insisting that we stick with it because the reward at the end was worth it. I had my doubts that anything could be worth the fright we were getting, but I was too scared to leave the others in my group so I stuck with it. At the end, Mrs. Hodo took us into her kitchen where she had candy apples or caramel apples as our "treat." To be honest, I think I still wasn't sure that the fright I'd had was worth it when I would have just as soon gone to another house or two on that street and received candy instead.
However, I will admit that the apple was good.

That was my most memorable Halloween as a child.

Music, Music, Music

The theme for the Carnival of Genealogy is Musical Instruments.

Musical Instruments!
Do you play a musical instrument or did one of your family members? What instrument did you or they play? If no one in the family played an instrument, tell what is your favorite instrument or band and what is your least favorite one.

I do play several instruments. I began playing the piano when I was in the second grade. My first piano teacher was a lady named Mrs. Price. I really don't remember much about her. I only took from her one or two years. I later took piano lessons from Margaret Oliver who had been my elementary school music teacher until her retirement. All of us loved Mrs. Oliver. I remember the year after she left that we had a young music teacher named Miss West that we really didn't like that much. She just didn't measure up to Mrs. Oliver's standards. I took piano for several years from Mrs. Oliver. Something I've been told since I've been doing genealogy is that Mrs. Oliver's husband was part of the Oliver family who had lived in Cades Cove when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created. I really want to research his family when I get a chance since I live so close. Many records will be in Knoxville or at the park library in the visitor center. I never knew him because she was a widow when I first met her in elementary school. When the opportunity came to take from a pastor in a nearby town who played beautifully by ear arose, I took lessons from him. He was an excellent teacher, and I learned more about accompanying and techniques from him than I'd learned up to that point from my previous teachers. After he went to the mission field, I did take from one other lady, but that was short-lived because I was learning nothing from her that I couldn't do on my own.

I also play the organ. When I finished my seminary studies, I went to work for a church in Nashville, Tennessee as a director of children's education. The organist had a habit of running late on Sunday evenings because of his job selling musical instruments in one of the mall stores. I began going into the sanctuary and practicing during breaks during the day and with extra time on my lunch break. One night the organist wasn't there by 6 p.m. so the pastor had me play. I was scared to death since I really had not played the organ that much, but I made it through the service fine. I continued to practice and gained some confidence before I had to do it again in the next week or two. I still play the organ about once a year for a service.

Band was a big thing in Amory, Mississippi where I grew up. We joined the band in the 6th grade. There was never a question of what instrument I would be playing. I had been given my sister-in-law's flute and piccolo. When we got to the 8th grade, we had to audition to be able to continue in the high school band. Our high school had traditionally received all superior ratings in the band contests, so it was a big deal to be able to continue. My sister-in-law died of cancer during my middle school years. I still have her flute and piccolo. I did get a newer flute when I got into high school. I think that I can still play the Panther Fight Song and the Stars and Stripes Forever by memory on the piccolo. The disadvantage of playing the piccolo during marching season was that your fingers on your gloves had to be cut way back. During those Christmas parades where the temperature was below freezing, that was a rather frigid experience on those metal keys.

I also should not neglect to mention that the voice can be a musical instrument. I sing a lot. At one time, I might have said that I sing "all the time." I generally sing tenor in our church choir. I sing tenor or alto in ensembles. I have been known to sing soprano, baritone, and bass as well. I can't hit really high notes, and I have to use a technique I learned from a bass singer to hit notes below a certain point to reach them, but I can stretch that range an extra half octave lower with that technique if needed. The tenor range is the most comfortable for me.

My favorite instruments are probably the tenor saxophone or the oboe. I love the tenor sax on jazz tunes. Actually I like any saxophone. I love the oboe on classical.

I love music. I've been told that my Cockrell family ancestors were very musical. Bob Franks wrote an article about the musical talents in his Cockrell branch which is from the same family as mine. I'm happy to say that one of my nephews is also very talented musically. He plays guitar and piano.

Odds & Ends

About a week and a half ago as I was working on FGS stuff during fall break, my computer suddenly "turned off." It appeared to be a power issue, and when I couldn't get it to come back on after about an hour, I decided that I'd better try to go to Knoxville and get a new power cord. I wasn't sure it was the power cord, and I certainly had no previous symptoms to indicate that I'd had an issue with it. When I got to Best Buy, I decided to go to the Geek Squad counter just to get them to check to see if another power cord would work before I purchased a new one. The "geek" looked and said he was pretty sure that it was the jack into which the cord plugs that was the issue. He tested my cord and determined that nothing was wrong with it. He was pretty sure that the jack could be sauntered and recommended someone at Shields Electronics to do it. I had just enough time to get it to Shields before they closed for the day. I was given an estimate of two days because of computers ahead of mine with the same issue. When the tech there got to it, he discovered the jack was actually split in two and would need to be replaced. The replacement wouldn't arrive (due to the weekend) until the following week, but he thought it would arrive Monday and that he would be done by Tuesday. When he got the jack replaced, the computer still wouldn't power up so we realized that the jack was probably not the big issue (although it did need to be replaced) and that the motherboard was the problem. No warning -- just gone. I had him take out the hard drive and put it in a case so I could get to everything easily. I also had an online backup of all my files. I'm thankful for that. I had to use an old computer that has a tendency to overheat as a backup while I was without my usual machine. I also was very grateful for my iPhone which was my most reliable computer at the time! I now have a new computer with Windows 7. I've managed to get most of my software reinstalled on the new computer. I am still trying to locate my download of Paint Shop Pro's latest version's installer file. I know that I put that on either a CD or a USB drive, but I can't find it at the moment. In the meantime, I'm trying some of the free graphics editing programs out there. I downloaded Gimp, Photoscape, and Picasa. I'll see how I like those. I really don't want to pay another $70 if I can't locate the installer file. I have my product code!

Now . . . there were some interesting developments while I did not have a reliable computer to use. Many of you know that I enjoy reading. I've been pondering a Kindle purchase for some time. Sony has improved its ebook reader in the last few months, but Barnes & Noble has just come out with the Nook also. I think all of these are interesting. Right now, I've got an ebook reader called Stanza that is an iPhone application. I'm able to download public domain books with it for free. I have also learned that there is a Kindle application for iPhone which is very intriguing. One of these days, I'm sure I'll bite the bullet and get one, but since I had to purchase a new computer 1.5 years before the planned replacement, I simply can't afford one right now.

Another interesting development is the announcement of's interactive census. How many times have those of us researching on wished that we had a similar feature rather than just the "corrections" feature? At the same time I'm excited about the interactivity of this, I'm also concerned that we'll end up with a lot of problems by persons who jump to erroneous conclusions. These would be the same types of errors that many online trees have. I specifically think back to a case in which most of the data on my Harris family was incorrect in Ancestral File. One brother had lived apart from the rest of the family and really had not kept in touch with his brothers and sisters who had moved on from the family's earlier residence (where he remained). The person who had submitted information was from this brother's line. The erroneous conclusions were reached because the person was searching for full names instead of initials which had been used by the enumerator for the census in which wrong conclusions had been made. While I realize that we will be able to interact and correct those errors, the fact that they may be there before we realize that they are there concerns me. I just don't go back and review online censuses that often. I tend to print a copy for my personal records which is filed for future consultations. If I'm not at home, I may look at an online census using the citation in my database. You also have to realize that until the last few years, most of my census research was done on microfilm. I have tons of print-outs which predate and HeritageQuest census records. I even still have those 1880 CDs that the LDS issued. About the only time I've used those in the last few years though has been to consult an image which was hard to read in the other sources.

I need to get back to work. I'm working on FGS stuff and on a presentation I'm making in North Carolina next weekend. I also need to write a blog post for the carnival later today. I haven't participated in a long time, and I need to get back on track!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blowing Off Steam

Recently I've been attempting to follow a discussion that has been occurring among members of a professional organization to which I belong. It's a trend that I've seen in other professional organizations to which I belong when voting migrates from a paper ballot that is mailed out to an electronic ballot. For years, members have been content with the brief sketches provided in a publication about each candidate. When the balloting moves to an online situation, those persons are no longer content with basic candidate information. They want to know more -- including the position each candidate would take on any individual position. (The suggested lists of questions were really somewhat amusing to read because many were "petty" questions that had nothing to do with the candidate's qualifications to serve in elected office.) I really disagreed with their statement that we knew nothing about the candidates. By having attended national conferences in that field, I knew each candidate who was running for an office, and I knew which ones I thought were the best persons to serve the organization. I also think that the committee responsible for elections did an excellent job of screening potential candidates for the positions. I think most of those listed as candidates would do an excellent job in advancing the organization. I know that in tough economic situations that it is sometimes not possible to attend a national professional conference each year, but when I see persons who claim to know nothing of the candidates, I question whether they've ever attended such a conference to enhance their own professional development. I have been purposefully vague on the discipline because I've seen the same thing repeated in others. I don't want to single out any organization because this statement applies to multiple ones to which I belong.

Has it been 6 weeks?

I just noticed that it has been six weeks since I've posted anything here. My apologies to my readers. Sometimes life just gets busy! I managed to say "yes" to something that has taken most of my free time during that period. Things will get slower in about another month, but in the meantime, I'm afraid my posting will continue to be erratic as I compile some information needed soon and attend to a couple of other duties with this new responsibility.

Monday, September 07, 2009

FGS 2009 Is History

The 2009 FGS conference has come and gone. It was sad to say goodbye to friends, but my cat appreciated seeing me when I finally got home shortly before midnight last night. A lot of people have already blogged their conference experiences. I won't bore you too much with my experience which was quite different than most of the others simply because I was presenting and also working. I'm sure that I must have walked 10,000 miles each day. That may be a slight exaggeration, but my feet sure felt that I had! Little Rock had an abundance of places to get good food at a reasonable price within walking distance of the conference. Saturday night I ventured further afield with some genealogists who drove to the Whole Hog Cafe where I had some barbecue. When I came back, I hung out with a friend in her room for awhile before heading down to the hotel's piano lounge to hang out with my fellow genealogists. We stayed there until after midnight which must have been really hard on those with early flights on Sunday. Since my flight wasn't until 4 p.m., it wasn't a hardship for me. I've done as little as possible today so that I can be rested for my return to work tomorrow.

Make plans now to attend the 2010 FGS Conference in Knoxville. It will be held August 18-21.

Save the Library of Michigan

At last week's Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Little Rock, we were made aware of an online petition aimed at keeping the Library of Michigan's collections in tact. A governor's order is set to go into effect on October 1 if the legislature does not act quickly. You do not have to be a resident of Michigan to sign this petition.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

SNGF: Ancestors I Met

Randy has challenged us to name the ancestors we had an opportunity to meet in tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Since I don't want to name living ancestors, I will omit my parents, but that is 2.

The only others I met were my 4 grandparents. That's what I get for being born so long after my brothers!

Paternal Grandparents:

James Thomas "Tom" Thornton (1893-1977). He lived in Monroe County, Mississippi his entire life.

Nona Josiah "Jodie" Fowlkes (1894-1974). She lived in Monroe County, Mississippi her entire life as well. Interesting story of how she got her middle name. Her father died the night before she was born so she was named for him.

Maternal Grandparents:

Irving Lee Lantz (1885-1971). He was born in McLean County, Illinois and moved to Monroe County, Mississippi in late 1896. He actually did not have a "real name" but the family just called him "Mose" or "Moses." Before he moved to Mississippi, he named himself after a traveling salesman who came by his father's dry goods store in Carlock.

Gillie Mae Hester (1893-1993). She lived in Monroe County, Mississippi her entire life. She was a twin, but her twin Lillie Faye died at nine months of age. "Nanny" as all of us grandkids called her had been kicked in the eye by a horse as a child, and there was noticeable damage around her eye area from that childhood injury. She lived a long life, but she didn't quite make it long enough for Willard Scott to recognize her.

So - I met a total of 6 of my ancestors. That's fewer than Randy. My older brothers only met one of their great grandparents, but both were probably too young to remember the encounter as they would have been aged 2 years 5 months and aged 5 months respectively.

I'm glad Randy's genealogy fun was quick and easy tonight because I've got to finish the laundry and get started packing. My presentations for FGS are all finalized. I hope to meet some of you. I'll be the one running around most of the time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Discovering a New Web Site Today

First of all, let me say that this is my 1000th blog post! I never dreamed that my 1000th blog post would be about a Web site and how I discovered it, but here it is!

As I was driving home from church today, I got behind a SUV (or it may have been a mini-van -- I honestly don't remember) that had a most unusual back window. Sprawled across the back of it was a URL, a huge tree, and 4 gravestones. The gravestones are enough to catch the attention of almost any genealogist. [The four markers on the back of the window contained 3 men who are dead and whose bones remain interred and One who only needed a borrowed tomb for a short period of time before He rose again! He wasn't there long enough to have a marker.]

Naturally, I had to check out the Web site when I got home. It is called and is a cemetery photographing project. It presently offers photographs of 205 cemeteries in six states -- California, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. From the FAQ, it appears that they are charging for the site but will be providing free access at Family History Centers and to persons who submit headstone photos. What they call "core information" will be free even though there would be a charge for viewing the photos. I'm really not sure that a fee-charging cemetery photo site will be around for long when there are other places online where persons may view photos for free. I did look at one photo, and the quality of the image did not appear to be high enough for me to want to pay to access others.

I really don't know much about the site or the persons operating it other than the fact that they were driving down Highway 11E in front of me today. The site really appears to have been neglected recently as the most up-to-date note on the progress blog is over a year old.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Heritage Festivals

As I was reading through some news feeds that came into my blog reader today, I noticed a story about a Heritage Fest. I will not name the location or the newspaper in which the story appeared because this is not a post about that locality or that paper's coverage of that event at all, but more of a reflection on what a Heritage Festival should be. However, it appeared to me that the festival had very little to do with heritage. As presented in the story, all of the events seemed to have more to do with the present than with the past or with American culture rather than ethnic heritage. There were a few accompanying pictures which seemed to collaborate the conclusion I had drawn.

I began to think about things that I might expect in a Heritage Festival. I will start with what I perceive to be the purpose of such a festival. A heritage festival should either connect one with the early settlers of an area or celebrate the ethnic heritage of the settlers of an area.

How can one achieve the purpose? Let's look at a few ideas.

Live demonstrations - I've seen people demonstrate the various jobs that people might have had in settlement periods. Someone might show how a blacksmith made horseshoes or other items. Another person might demonstrate how a grist mill operated. (This, of course, is assuming that there is a preserved and operational mill in the area.) Someone could demonstrate older methods of farming and planting. Someone might show spinning. Another might demonstrate making lye soap. Quilting, needlework, etc. could also be demonstrated. A demonstration of a one room schoolhouse could also be included. There are many other methods to achieve this.

Speakers - Speakers could provide talks on various subjects related to everyday life, to the history and settlement of the area, to the ethnicity of the area, etc. Of course as a genealogist, I'd like to see one of the speakers address the subject of finding one's own family history. Speakers could also include storytellers who can relate the heritage of the area in an entertaining manner.

Drama - A play based on the settlement of the area or about one of immigration to the area could certainly be a huge hit with the crowds.

Rides or Transportation Exhibits - Wagon rides, train rides, stagecoach rides, or horseback rides would be appropriate for many areas. Places near bodies of water might want to offer a few more options involving old ships and boats, rafts, ferries, etc. If making the ride available will not work out, at least make some exhibits available.

Exhibits - Exhibits of farm implements, old needlework, quilts, old artwork, medical implements (and maybe even leeches), spinning wheels, early laundry items, old cookstoves, animal hides, historic hunting equipment, historic portraits and photographs, things people might have brought from the "old country," etc.

Food - No festival is complete without food! Have foods that the settlers of an area or the ethnic immigrants to the area might have eaten.

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it does provide a few options that might have truly made the festival into one which truly celebrated heritage.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

StoryCorps is coming to the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference: Make your reservation today!

StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening, is coming to 2009 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 2-4.

By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share, and is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are as Americans.

To learn more about StoryCorps visit their website. <>

Visit the FGS Conference Blog for full details on making a reservation.

One important reminder -- Wednesday, August 26th is the last day to register online for the conference. You may still register at the door beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1st. Visit FGS' website at to register.

Genealogical Spam?

Lately I've been receiving some "newsletters" from a company called [I am not going to make the link active for reasons which can be deduced from reading the remainder of this post.] I've been to a number of national conferences and never recall seeing them at one of these conferences. (That doesn't mean that my memory is not failing me, but I really don't recall seeing this company present.) According to their newsletter which offers mostly publications which one are available from, they are headquartered in Dover, Arkansas. Since they are located in the same state as this year's FGS conference, I would expect to find a legitimate company listed among the exhibitors for the Little Rock conference. Were they on the list? No. The "slight" discount they are offering (for one title it is about 3%) is not worth the risk of doing business with what appears to be a company of questionable reputation. I've located comments on this company dating back about 5 years calling into question their "spamming." The general consensus seems to be that this company harvests e-mail addresses of persons interested in family history and "spams" them with their newsletters. I think I'd prefer to do business with a company that I trust. I'm more likely to trust a company which exhibits at a national conference. Spamming me with unsolicited e-mails advertising products (even products in which I may have an interest in purchasing) is not going to cause me to purchase them from a company about which I know nothing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Has My Personality Changed?

Several of my Facebook friends had taken a quiz that was based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I've taken the real MBTI probably at least a half-dozen times (usually in a group setting), and my result has always been ENTP. Just for fun, I decided to take the Facebook quiz which is shorter than the actual MBTI questionnaire. To my surprise, I got a different result this time. I tested as an ENFP. That's only one marker difference, but when I'd actually taken the real questionnaire the last time (about 10 years ago), I had been a fairly strong "T." Needless to say, my result caught me by surprise. I remembered from some of my counseling classes that persons do sometimes differently, but it's usually on the markers that are borderline and not on one which tested fairly strong. I decided to take the quiz again just to make sure that I was really marking the way I would really react/feel. Once again I tested as ENFP. I began to question whether the quiz makers had omitted some of the questions that would affect my result. I had seen other people commenting that they usually tested as a T but had tested as an F this time. I went to the Myers-Briggs web site and read the T vs. F description. I saw myself more in the T than the F description there, but I could certainly see some F there. I contemplated taking the full version of the test online, but being the frugal person that I am, I decided it wasn't worth about $60 to determine if the Facebook quiz was flawed. I did, however, have one last recourse. I remembered that I still had an MBTI book from the late 1980s upstairs that discussed each personality profile in depth. I read through their description of T vs. F and decided that I really probably matched slightly better with an F than a T now. I read through their descriptions of both ENTP and ENFP and decided that I more closely resemble an ENFP than an ENTP nowadays. I guess people do change! In my case, I suppose that I've "softened" a little bit. I guess that having more empathy never hurt anyone, so I'll just go ahead and be happy with my result. Now (with my most recent MBTI results in mind) - which new genealogy project should I tackle before completing the others I have started?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

East Tennessee Regional Preservation Conference

In today's mail, I got a brochure for a local conference that looks quite interesting. It's called "East Tennessee Regional Preservation Conference 2009." This year's theme is "The Peaceful Side of Preservation." For those of you who don't know it, this is a play on an advertising campaign that the region around Townsend in Blount County and Wears Valley in Sevierville have. In that campaign, they advertise that they are the "Peaceful Side of the Smokies." It appears that Knox Heritage is the main sponsor for the conference. Registration for the two day event which will be held September 18-19, 2009 at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend is only $30 and includes a full year's membership in the East Tennessee Preservation Association. I'm quite excited about Friday's presentation on the town of Jonesborough. This is Tennessee's oldest town, and they've done a good job there in making that area come alive through preservation of both buildings and traditions such as storytelling. Saturday afternoon there is a workshop called "An Archaeological Perspective on Historic Cemetery Studies" which should be very interesting as well. These are just a couple of the sessions offered. The $30 for the conference and membership seems like a real bargain! (By the way, the student rate is $20.)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

SNGF: 16 Great-Great-Grandparents

Randy has posted our Saturday night genealogy fun question(s):

1) List your 16 great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.

5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

Here are my 16 greats:
  1. James M. Thornton (b. 16 Mar 1825, Jefferson Co., Ala.; d. 27 Aug 1913, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  2. Lucinda Aldridge (b. abt. 1826-27, Alabama; d. 4 Sept 1855, Fayette Co., Ala.)
  3. Thomas Duke (b. abt. 1828-29, Virginia; d. 1894, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  4. Nancy/Nora Malinda Allred (b. 3 May 1843, prob. Shelby Co., Tenn.; d. 27 Nov 1926, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  5. John E. Fowlkes (b. 3 Nov 1818, prob. Monroe Co., Miss.; d. 21 Aug 1862, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  6. Elizabeth Parish (b. 17 Sept 1823, Virginia; d. 25 Oct 1896, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  7. William David Phillips (b. abt. 1835-36, Alabama; d. Unknown)
  8. Mary Elizabeth Fowlkes (b. 29 Mar 1843, Monroe Co., Miss.; d. Unknown)
  9. Levi Lantz (b. 21 Jan 1811, Mifflin Co., Penn.; d. 23 Apr 1887, McPherson Co., Kans.)
  10. Barbara Yoder (b. abt. 1817, Centre Co., Penn.; d. 14 Feb 1870, Howard Twp., Howard Co., Ind.)
  11. Stephen Taylor (b. 28 Feb 1814, Marietta, Washington Co., Ohio; d. 20 Jun 1881, Hudson, McLean Co., Ill.)
  12. Betsey Dearborn (b. 4 Sept 1818, Malta, Morgan Co., Ohio; d. 12 Mar 1899, Oklahoma Territory (buried in what is now Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Co., Okla.))
  13. John H. Hester (b. 28 Dec 1812, South Carolina; d. 14 Nov 1879, Monroe Co., Miss
  14. Nancy Cockrell (b. 1 Feb 1825, Greene Co., Ala.; d. 11 Feb 1907, Monroe Co., Miss.)
  15. Walton A. Harris (b. 12 Nov 1812, prob. Wayne Co., Ky.; d. 24 Aug 1897, Itawamba Co., Miss.)
  16. Margaret Mosely/Mosley/Mozley (b. 15 May 1822, Bedford Co., Tenn.; d. 14 Feb 1902, Itawamba Co., Miss.)

Of these sixteen, two are Amish and of Swiss origin. All others that I have "back across the pond" are British. It appears that the Hesters are of British Isles origin, but I cannot rule out German. Most people claim that the immigrant Fowlkes was born in Denbighshire, Wales, but it appears that they may have been in London before coming to America and no records supporting the Welsh origin have been found. It is possible that some of the brickwalled lines are of Scots-Irish origin, but nothing has been proven, and an English origin is also possible. It is, therefore, impossible to do a percentage of ethnicity calculation because of the difficulty of researching Southern lines. I can say that I'm 1/8 (or 12.5%) Swiss based on my 16 great-grandparents. I can also say that I'm more than 50% English. I will make no claims on the remainder. Maybe I should just say that I'm 100% American as all of my lines were in the United States before we became a nation and because all of my great-grandparents were "born in the U.S.A." (Someone should write a song!)

Choosing a Y-DNA Testing Company

Many of you know that I've recently assumed the role as administrator of the Thornton Y-DNA Project. In the short time in which I've been administrator, I've already encountered several people who have regretted their choice of DNA testing companies. Why? Because they chose what they thought was a good deal on a DNA test.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You need to consider what your goals are when selecting a Y-DNA testing company. If your goal is to find matches with others having your same surname, then you need to find out which company that project is using.

The Thornton Y-DNA project uses FamilyTreeDNA. This decision was made years ago. Since that time, many other companies have come onto the scene. It's tempting to test with one of those when the price looks better. The problem is that by testing with another company, you have missed out on joining the surname DNA project and having your results in a common database for comparison. There are some options out there like Y-Search which allow persons who have tested with other companies to compare results and upload GEDCOMS, but it still does not make one a member of a surname project. FamilyTreeDNA will not put the results from other testing companies in the surname project databases for quality assurance reasons. (They, of course, have provided Y-Search as a comparison tool, but they still encourage persons who tested with other companies to have tests redone at a discounted rate. The link is available at Y-Search.) I would be remiss if I did not point out that FamilyTreeDNA does offer a Genographic Project conversion option which allows one to join a surname project in the process of transferring data.

Most of the DNA testing companies run specials from time to time. Be on the lookout for one of these great deals. Many of the project administrators will post this information to their project web sites (so keep checking those sites). Some will also post to messages boards or mailing lists if they are allowed to do so. (It's probably a little difficult to promote a FamilyTreeDNA test on a message board or mailing list hosted at competitor Ancestry, so you might want to check GenForum for those notifications.)

If you plan to join a surname project, get your Y-DNA testing done by the company they have selected. Don't make the mistake others have made by going with what outwardly appears to be a good deal but might not provide the desired outcome of your testing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

2009 East Tennessee History Fair

At the East Tennessee History Center , Krutch Park , and various downtown sites

August 22, 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The East Tennessee Historical Society will celebrate our region’s history in a big way in Downtown Knoxville. On August 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., bring your friends and family to join in the excitement. Activities will include a living history timeline, historical and genealogical groups from our 35 counties, live traditional music, historical craft demonstrations, storytelling, children’s activities including Davy Crockett’s birthday party, trolley tours to downtown’s historic homes, old movies at the Bijou Theatre, Market Square Farmers Market, tours of the new exhibitions Voices of the Land: the People of Tennessee and Mountain Splendor: Art and Artists of the Great Smoky Mountains, 1850-1950, and much, much more. The event is free to the public.

The East Tennessee History Fair is sponsored by the Knoxville Central Business Improvement District (CBID) and Clayton Bank and Trust. The East Tennessee History Center is located at 601 S. Gay Street , Knoxville 37902 . For more information call 865.215.8824 or visit Look for more to come on this event in Newsline and future emails.

Monday, July 27, 2009

FGS Conference Press Release

Only a month left till genealogists descend on Little Rock!

In just a month, genealogists from all over the United States and beyond will be getting together in Little Rock for four full days of learning more about genealogy, finding cousins, seeing how much is online, seeing how much is not online, figuring out how to get the most out of records, determining what archives or libraries have the answers, helping your genealogy society, and spending some money in the large Exhibit Hall. Don’t let this event pass you by. The Arkansas Genealogical Society is the host for this event which is the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You will be hearing about this event for years to come and will feel sad if you weren’t a part of it.


The syllabus consists of most of the lecture handouts and each registrant receives it on CD at the Conference. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the syllabus in addition to the syllabus on CD you must order it no later than August 1st. It will also be online before the conference but some prefer to have the full paper copy at the conference. Just order it online at when you register for the conference. If you have already registered, go back to the registration page and add the paper syllabus for $20.00 using the PIN number you received when you registered.

Door prizes
Many of the vendors in the Exhibit Hall will be giving away conference door prizes. Each registrant will receive 20 door prize tickets with your conference name tag and syllabus CD at the registration booth. The ticket will ask for your name, mailing and e-mail addresses and phone number. Bring along some of those address labels you have sitting around or print some up before you leave home to save some writing. Each participating vendor will have a black box labeled for door prizes. Each attendee chooses which door prize box to drop their tickets in depending on the door prize being given. Some will have more than one door prize drawing during the three Exhibit Hall days. The names of the winners will be posted on a bulletin board in the Exhibit Hall. If you are a winner, all you need to do to claim your prize is to revisit the specific vendor’s booth.

Conference sessions to be recorded

Many of the conference sessions will be audio recorded and available for purchase on CD. Listings of those sessions being recorded will be available at the conference. Jamb-Inc. will be doing the recording and will have a booth where you can make your on-site purchases. The CDs will also be available after the conference from Jamb-Inc. but mailing fees will be charged.

Last minute Conference Information
Be sure to read the Conference News Blog during August and even during Conference Week to learn last minute details, reminders, suggested things to bring along, types of clothing to wear, and detail on special items. Some exciting special announcements will be made in the next couple of weeks on the blog!

See you at the conference.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enjoying a Quilt Show

The American Quilter's Society held a show in Knoxville this past week. It ran from Wednesday through Saturday. I decided that it sounded like a fun thing to do. When I was younger, one of my sisters-in-law used to enter quilts into the Mid-South Fair in Memphis. She or her mother would often win first place. Many of today's quilts are more artistic than traditional quilts. That's not saying that the quilts that our great grandmothers made were not works of art. It's just to say that many of today's quilts are meant to be displayed on the wall and not cover a bed! At the show yesterday, I saw many examples of fine quilting -- both by hand and by machine. I'll have to admit that I'm partial to the hand quilting. The exhibit hall was full of displays of quilting machines. Every time I passed one of these machines, I thought of how much I preferred something that had been hand-quilted.

There were a number of interesting quilts. There were several exhibits by societies who had challenged members to compete with a certain theme. Many of these also had a certain fabric which had to be incorporated into the quilt. It was amazing to see how some of these executed their themes and to see how different each person used that fabric. Two of my favorite quilts were in the society challenges. One was a wall hanging of a poodle that had a window behind it. It was sort of whimsical, but was very cute. It had a lot of pinks in the quilt. My absolute favorite quilt was one which someone had used to tell the story of their family. There were birth dates, marriages, and other events included in the quilt. The quilter had done a great job recreating her family tree in a form that can be treasured by generations to come.

My biggest regret is that photography was not permitted. It would have been nice to have photos of some of those quilts on display. Many of them were for sale at prices that were beyond my budget although I would not have minded owning several of the ones that were on sale!

Oh - and my favorite order of arrangement of quilts was in one of the booths that was selling quilt patterns. They had patterns for various college sports teams and had finished products for many teams from the SEC and ACC on display. They had my two favorite teams side by side: University of Tennessee and Duke University! That vendor won brownie points!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Night Fun: 11 July 2009

Randy at GeneaMusings devises a Saturday night fun meme in which I rarely participate. However, this week's question interests me, so I decided to participate.

It's Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun after your frustrating week of finding phantom ancestors in online family trees and trying to keep up with everybody on Twitter, Facebook and Genealogy Wise.

Here is your assignment for this Saturday Night (if you decide to accept it, of course - you can't have fun if you don't try):

1) Let's go time travelling: Decide what year and what place you would love to visit as a time traveller. Who would you like to see in their environment? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

2) Tell us about it. Write a blog post, or make a comment to this post, or on Facebook, or in Genealogy Wise.

Now, let's see . . . the first thing I have to decide is if I'm going to go with the obvious and ask questions of a brick-walled ancestor or if I'm going to interview one of my more illustrious ancestors. I actually think that I'm going to go with someone that I think is a little more interesting and might have answers and a very interesting story about the brick wall on his line since he's not quite so far removed from it. You see, Stephen Taylor told some interesting stories about his life and adventures in The Good Old Times in McLean County, Illinois which is available full-text in Google books. You'll find his account starting on page 839 and running through page 845.

Stephen's father died too early for him to really hear very many stories first-hand, but he lived near relatives and associates who probably told him all about his father, grandfather, and about their journey to what was then Ohio County, Virginia. His mother and father were married in Washington County, Ohio. The family lived in nearby counties. Stephen himself married in Morgan County. My question to Stephen sometime around the year 1840 would simply be a very open-ended question: Tell me about your Taylor family. He was residing in McLean County, Illinois by that time. Now, I'm taking a chance by asking him that because he could go just about any direction he wished, but being the storyteller that he appears to be, I'm sure that I would get some stories that would help me to positively match his father Stephen who was born in 1780 in New York with the correct Isaac Taylor, his grandfather, who was born ca. 1750. I have a sneaky suspicion that Isaac was born in the Berkshires and migrated along with the Rathbones down to Ohio County, Virginia by way of New York. It's really a shame that I've been unable to locate any service records for his father Stephen who supposedly enlisted in the war of 1812 "at the last call for volunteers" and died of disease in Detroit.

Thoughts on Genealogy-Specific Social Networking

This week we heard about a new social network that is specifically designed for those researching family history. The network is called Genealogy Wise or GenealogyWise. (They originally did not have a space, and now they do.) It's really not officially debuting until July 17, but hundreds of folks researching their ancestry have already flocked there.

My initial reaction was, "Why would I want another social network that I would have to visit on a daily basis that limits itself to only one group of my friends?" After signing up for the site out of curiosity, my initial reaction remains unchanged.

I am unimpressed with the "groups" which seem to be nothing other than queries for the most part that are already handled well by genealogy message boards and mailing lists. I have to admit that I started one group just so I could see exactly what administrative options were present. I am absolutely unimpressed with many of the undocumented family group sheet style posts that are being posted to the groups.

I joined one group on the first day. About the second day, there were about 20 people who were members of the group. I decided to glance through the membership and see how many were members of the corresponding state society and of APG. I was the only person signed up for the group who was a member of either. That told me something about this new social networking site because I knew it had been advertised to professional genealogists.

This social network is sponsored by FamilyLink. I've seen it reported on other blogs that they are paying some people to generate content. Unfortunately it is being buried under the deluge of queries being posted.

I really prefer Facebook for social networking because most of my genealogy friends as well as friends from church, high school, college, and other parts of my life are members. If I want to post a query, I'll do it on a message board.

Am I leaving GenealogyWise? Not yet. I'm not saying that I won't in the future. I'm giving it a chance. At the moment, it is not useful for me.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cataloging Your DVDs Online

I took a couple of hours today to try out two DVD cataloging sites. I used to belong to DVDSpot, but the developers of that site took everything offline in October 2007. I had located a couple of alternatives, but I'd never gotten around to testing them out. I decided to take a box of DVDs and try my hand at cataloging them on the two sites.

The first site I tried was DVD Count. This site's developer had been a DVDSpot user and needed a solution to manage his own DVDs so he developed one. I was hoping for more similarities with DVDSpot, but I found this site a bit clunky to use. I found myself manually having to enter about 10% of the titles in the portion of the box that I added to this site. One of the things that I really disliked about the entry form is that it defaulted to Afghanistan as the country. I accidentally forgot to change one of my manual entries, and there was no way to edit my error. I did like the detail that was included in the entries; however, it was a bit uneven because many of the entries were made by other users who provided varying levels of completeness to the record. I really don't blame them for skipping many of the fields because to a non-techy person, many of them were daunting and probably seemingly irrelevant. There was a place to add a cover image as you added entries.

The second site I tried was DVD Corral. I loved the ease of adding items. Their database seemed much more complete, but I also noted that some titles came up with incorrect titles. For example, Greater Vision Live at First Baptist Atlanta came up as Live at First Atlanta. Greater Vision wasn't even listed as performer and the word "Baptist" was omitted. There was no way to edit this. There was also no way to manually add an entry. You were prompted to send a message to the webmaster about the missing title, but that's kind of frustrating. There needs to be a way to edit an entry, and there needs to be a way to add an entry.

Online DVD cataloging sites are just not as friendly or as social as some of the book cataloging sites like LibraryThing. I think Tim and his crew need to come up with DVDThing! I'm not completely happy with either of the sites I used today.

Amusing Headline of the Day

If it took them two days to figure out that they'd even had a 2.0 earthquake, I hardly think that it ROCKED Loudon County.

Friday, July 03, 2009

ABC Book Meme

For this meme, you list a favorite book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. If you don't have a book for a letter (such as Z or X) than you can substitute a favorite book that simply has that letter in the title (ex. The Lost City of Z or Hot Six by Janet Evanovich). However, you can only do this a maximum of 3 times. (Z, X, and Q. But not Z, X, Q, and V.) Books can be of any genre from fiction to non-fiction to poetry to textbooks. (via Boston Bibliophile)

I decided to try to do mine with all genealogy and history titles. It was actually difficult to try to stop with just one title per letter in many cases! I was glad that I had my books cataloged in LibraryThing where I could sort by title. I only had to take advantage of the substitution rule for the letters X and Z. (I did have a book in my library that began with a Z, but it was a children's book called Zoo Book and did not fit with my genealogy/history theme.)

A: Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources by Alice Eichholz

B: BCG Genealogical Standards Manual by Board of Certification for Genealogists

C: Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Grants and Patents by Nell Marion Nugent

D: DNA and Genealogy by Colleen Fitzpatrick

E: Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills

F: First Alabama Cavalry USA: Homage to Patriotism by Glenda McWhirter Todd

G: Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose

H: Handybook for Genealogists by George B. Everton

I: Inheritance in Colonial Virginia by Barbara Vines Little

J: John A. Quitman: Old South Crusader by Robert E. May

K: King Phillip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict by Eric B. Schultz

L: Library of Congress: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research by James C. Neagles

M: Map Guide to the U. S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide

N: North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History by Helen F. M. Leary

O: Obituaries in American Culture by Janice Hume

P: Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Q: Quest for Power: The Lower Houses of Assembly in the Southern Royal Colonies, 1689-1776 by Jack P. Greene

R: Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood

S: Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750 by J. Revell Carr

T: They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record by John Philip Colletta

U: Understanding and Using Baptismal Records by John T. Humphrey

V: Vital Records of Hampton, New Hampshire: To the End of the Year 1900 by George Freeman Sanborn

W: War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict by Donald R. Hickey

*X: Essex County Deeds, 1639-1678, Abstracts of Volumes 1-4 by Essex Society of Genealogists

Y: Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England by Lisa Wilson

*Z: Lantz Family Record: Being a Brief Account of the Lantz Family in the United States of America by Jacob W. Lantz

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Different Point of View

Most of the time when I have read fictional books about the Japanese-American internment experience during World War II, it has been from the point of view of one of those interned. Jamie Ford offers us a different perspective in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The hotel is the Panama Hotel in Seattle, Washington where restorers discover belongings left behind by some of the Japanese-Americans who were evacuated. Henry Lee, a Chinese-American, sees someone bringing out a parasol that he is certain belonged to Keiko Okabe, his very special Japanese friend from school. Back in 1942 he and Keiko had been very special friends even though his father, a Chinese businessman, had a very strong dislike for the Japanese. Henry goes into the hotel where he locates, with the help of his son, Keiko's sketchbook and a record that had meant a lot to Keiko and himself. This is Henry and Keiko's story, told from Henry's perspective. It shows the reader that the Japanese were not the only ones affected by this dark chapter in American history. After a stay at a temporary camp, Keiko's family was relocated to Minidoka in Idaho. Although this book was fictitious, the Minidoka War Relocation Center was a real place. The site is now part of the National Park System. Chapter 9 of Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites tells about Minidoka in great detail. Although it is named Minidoka, it was actually nearer Jerome. Friends of Minidoka also has some interesting historical information on this facility. Their further reading page lists several resources that would be useful for persons researching ancestors who were relocated to Minidoka. I located a map on this site of war relocation facilities. I know that I have read books set in Manzanar in California and Topaz in Utah. I think the thing that surprised me most is that two were located in Arkansas. This might be an interesting topic to pursue when I'm in Little Rock for FGS if I have time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Save Money and Register for FGS Before July 1

It once seemed to be in the distant future. The countdown clock has been ticking. The Federation of Genealogical Societies and Arkansas Genealogical Society Conference "Passages through Time" will be here in just over two months!

July 1st is the very last day to register at a discount for this conference and save big on a full conference registration. It is only $175.00 if you register by then. Divide that amount by four full days of conference activities with all those lectures to choose from and it is a educational bargain. If you register after that date, it will cost $50.00 more.

Go to and register online with the easy to follow directions. If you print the registration form and mail it in, be sure it is postmarked on or before July 1, 2009. If you are registering online you may do that using your Visa, Master Card, or Discover charge card. The system does not accept debit cards.

Of course, registrations will be accepted after July 1 but the discount will be gone. Register now and join other family historians, professional genealogists, librarians, archivists, and writers from Arkansas and states all over the country at this genealogical, educational, and networking bonanza.

For the latest on conference happenings, tourism, transportation, and many other items, visit the Conference News Blog at

Enjoyable Music

Most of you know that I have quite eclectic music tastes, but I've really been listening mostly to classical music lately. I was listening to Mississippi Public Radio on my return from the Department of Archives & History in Jackson the other day when I heard Tom Manoff's review of the selections we were about to hear. I enjoy Rachmaninov so I was delighted to learn that the upcoming selections were some of his piano preludes. They were going to be performed by Steven Osborne. They played about half of the 24 Preludes on the CD. I really can't say enough good things about Osborne's performance of these pieces. I must say, however, that I was disappointed earlier today when I went to the iTunes store and did not find this album. Classical music is so hard to find because so few retailers stock it. If iTunes doesn't offer it soon, I'm sure that I'll be ordering the CD from an online source because this is one that I know I will listen to over and over again! I highly recommend Steven Osborne's Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes. (Just in case the FTC is reading this: I have not been compensated by any party for this review. It's just the opinion of one person who heard something and really liked it.)

Remembering Farrah

I've always loved detective shows, and when the first episode of Charlie's Angels aired in 1976, I became an instant fan of the show. There was the mysterious Charlie whose face we never saw, but we all knew that actor John Forsythe provided the voice. I think we all had the intro to the show memorized:

Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy. And they were each assigned very hazardous duties but I took them all away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie.

One of those three little girls was Jill Monroe, who was portrayed by Farrah Fawcett-Majors, as she was then known. After her break up with the 6 Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors), she dropped the Majors and went by Farrah Fawcett. I honestly don't know which of the three angels I liked best, but I do know that I had my hair "feathered" like Fawcett's at some point. I was very upset by Fawcett's early departure from the show, but I came to like her character's sister Kris Monroe (played by Cheryl Ladd) within a very short time. I enjoyed Fawcett's forced guest appearances the season after she left.

I remember seeing one or two movies with Farrah Fawcett after her departure from Charlie's Angels, but they did not capture me as did her role as a private investigator.

I miss the days of good television, and I'd love to watch a few episodes of the first couple of seasons of Charlie's Angels to watch Jill, Kelly, Sabrina, and Bosley do a little investigating.

Thursday's Picks

Here's a round-up of some finds:

I got a chuckle out of the opening sentences in this article in the News-Observer: Maybe North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue should consider joining South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in Argentina. Her polling numbers have already headed south.

Duke basketball note: Prayers for the family of Elliot Williams. We hate to see him go.

Book note: Lesa reviewed Driftwood Summer. A bookstore in a 200-year-old cottage. The setting alone has me sold!

Summer reading lists: Rebecca Blood, one of the earliest bloggers and author of The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog, has a round-up of summer reading lists. By the way, I still use some content from this book when teaching about blogs and blogging. See this excerpt on Weblog ethics from her book. Speaking of the reading lists Rebecca highlighted, I found a few interesting books on them. Nancy Pearl's list included Narrow Dog to Indian River which is about a couple of folks who are in the 70s who took a narrowboat down the Intercoastal Waterway. Their adventures sound exciting enough that I might try to get this from a library. Summer House by Nancy Thayer made the list by Buzz Sugar. It sounds like it involves family relationships and involves a house on Nantucket that has been in the family for a long time. I'm not usually a big fan of "chick lit," but the family angle gives this one an appeal.

One more reading list: For those going to FGS/AGS in Little Rock who wish to read some fiction set in Little Rock, the FGS blog has a list. I have a friend who has begun a themed approach to reading. She likes to read books about places she is going to visit during that month or the month before the visit. Some of you may wish to read about Arkansas during August!

As I was driving back from Jackson on Tuesday, I heard a debate over the pronunciation of Cuyahoga River. Some pronounce it with a short o as in the word "hog." Others pronounce it with a long o as in the word "hoagie." I will have to admit that until I heard some of the NPR folks pronouncing it with the short o on Monday afternoon as I was driving from Jackson to Hattiesburg that I'd never heard it pronounced that way. They were commenting on the river fire in 1969. I lived in Cincinnati for a total of 12 years, and I think that all the news folks there pronounced it with a long o. Apparently they did an informal survey, calling several government offices and the libraries and historical societies in the Cleveland area on Tuesday and came up with a fairly even split on the pronunciation. When I saw this post on the pronunciation of Appalachian, I was reminded of the other debate. Needless to say, this post was created in reference to the pronunciation of the trail that the South Carolina governor had led his staffers to believe he was hiking. I have heard it pronounced both ways, but since I live in Appalachia now, most of locals pronounce it with a short a, so I believe that is the correct pronunciation.

Great Appalachian photo: I love this fog picture.

Another book note: I had seen Dr. Kessler's book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, among some book notices received at the library. This extended review and summary in the New York Times is interesting.

Ohio Libraries: Amy alerts us to a threat to public library funding in Ohio. As someone who resided in Cincinnati for twelve years, I'm very concerned about this issue. I was a heavy user of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in those years. I hate to think how their wonderful genealogical collection would be impacted by such a drastic cut in funding. I loved having a great regional branch near my home as well as a couple of other branches where I could pick up fiction to read. Many of the titles were available at only one or two branches in the system, but I could have them delivered to one of the branches nearer my home. One of the things I have missed most about Ohio was the wonderful public library! I remember my first visit to Morristown's public library. It was so woefully inadequate for my tastes in reading. I knew very quickly that I would have to begin purchasing books. In fact, I regret having disposed of many books in my personal fiction collection before moving. The public library in Ohio met all my needs, but I was short-sighted in thinking that Tennessee's public libraries would compare. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that up to half of Cincinnati's branches may close if the governor gets his way. As Amy says, "Save Ohio's public libraries." Lesa also mentions the situation in Ohio. (Actually, Lesa's first post on the subject is here.)

A Taste of Summer: Nicole's strawberry pie is making me hungry!

Bookshelves: I think I'll pass on the upside down approach.

More book notes: Maggie has reviewed The Heretic's Daughter which is on my to-be-read list. Since my 8th great grand-aunt Mary Perkins Bradbury is one of the accused witches, I have read a lot more about this period of history, both fiction and non-fiction. Sage has a post at "Musings" about The Cape Fear by Malcolm Ross. Sounds like an interesting read for those with North Carolina roots. Ann Arbor District Library alerts us to a couple of new books on herb gardening. I no longer live in the Midwest so one would be limited in its usefulness to me, but the other one sounds promising. I usually keep a few herbs growing in a container garden.

Chris alerts us to a free month's trial of Images of America. This is an Alexander Street database based on the popular series of photographic books by Arcadia Publishing. I love this series of books and own several of them!

18th and 19th century gardening: J. L. Bell alerted me to a wonderful blog on 18th and 19th century gardens. Check out the other blogs J. L. mentioned via the link on his name. Several are worth a look!

Louisiana obituaries online: Paula alerts us to the availability of a new database of Louisiana obituaries from New Orleans Public Library.

Historic House workshop in Alabama: Birmingham Public Library and Jefferson County Historical Commission are teaming up to offer a workshop on researching historic dwellings. It will be held July 18, 2009, and it is free. You don't even have to register! If I lived a little closer, I would definitely attend this one!

Furniture: I'm always in need of more bookshelves. Kim found an interesting sofa that appears to be a great way of adding a few extra shelves!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Researching in Jackson

I spent the last couple of days researching at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi. I had a list of items that I wanted to find, and I made it through that list. My biggest disappointment is that the Mississippi History bookstore in the building was closed this week for inventory. They lost sales, but I saved money because I am sure I would have found some items that I would have purchased. My second greatest disappointment had to do with their microfilm reader/printers. They had none that would scan to a computer so a digital image of the file could be saved in spite of the fact that the archives are in a brand new state of the art building. It makes no sense to me why they are using reader/printers that are about 10-15 years old in a new facility. I enjoyed talking with the volunteer who was staffing the media reading room on Monday. You could tell that she was very enthusiastic about researching her own genealogy. She also told me of the plight of her own genealogical society. Membership is in decline, and it is very difficult to get people to stand for office. I wish that I could count on my fingers the number of times I've heard that same story, but I don't have that many fingers. Societies need to adapt to the twenty-first century. What worked in the 1960s and 1970s doesn't work today to attract new members. I shared with her about the FGS conference in Little Rock in the fall. She said that her society used to be a member of FGS but no longer was. I assured her that one's society didn't have to be an FGS member to attend the conference. I think that society and many others just like it could benefit from some of the workshops aimed at society management. I did have a successful trip. I've been trying to figure out why my mom's great grandmother said that she was married in 1835 on her confederate widow's pension application when the marriage certificate says 1844 and neither she nor her husband were residents of Mississippi in 1835. I found out that Mom's grandfather's brother died a year earlier than his tombstone states. The tombstone says 1941, but the death certificate says 1940. I just happened to run across his death certificate as I was looking for another person. Those were the major discrepancies that were found but easily resolved because one record was created at the time of the event and the other later. There were many other records that I would have liked to browse, but I knew that I had only a limited amount of time. Next time I will be able to tackle a few more things. I'm really surprised that I made it all the way through my list of things I wanted to accomplish on that trip. I usually end up with at least one or two things that have to be saved for the next trip! I ran into a nasty storm on the way back to my parents' house in Amory. It was extremely windy. The severe thunderstorm warning that was issued right after I got through the worst of it indicated that the winds were up to 60 m.p.h. I certainly think some of the gusts could have been in that neighborhood.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Facebook: Some Applications are Seriously Flawed

I've seen a few Facebook applications lately that need new statisticians. There's one application that supposedly answers the question "How common is your birthday?" I've seen answers varying from 1% to 6% for the persons who have taken this quiz. There are 366 possible dates. Only 365 of those occur each year. One of those occurs every 4 years with the exception of certain millennial years. 1/365.25 = approx. .2738%. In other words, I'm skeptical that anyone's birthday is even 1%.

Then there is one that calculates how common one's last name is. When you consider all the surname possibilities in the world and the amount of people, do you really think that something other than a very common surname such as "Smith" would garner more than a 1% share of surnames, yet I saw a fairly uncommon name with 2% just moments ago.

It's obvious that the people who can't spell when they create the online Facebook quizzes are also the ones who are computing the statistics for some of these applications.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday in Mississippi

I arrived in Mississippi on Monday. It's hot here. I knew I was in trouble when the weather forecasters were saying something about temperatures being near the century mark. It might not have been so bad, but my car's air conditioner was not working properly. I have an appointment with the Honda dealer for servicing tomorrow. I hope the problem is whatever the cheapest solution will be -- maybe freon?

Needless to say I'm trying to work out of Mom and Dad's house until the auto A/C is working a little better. I do have to make some trips to some courthouses and other repositories and to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History while I'm here, but I'm not in a hurry. I'm making good progress on one of the projects for this trip. The other project mostly involves visiting a courthouse to gather additional documentation so it's on hold until Friday.

Now . . . a few of my favorite recent blog posts:

I love roses and Amy has done a great job of capturing the beauty of the roses near Rye, New Hampshire.

I have really enjoyed most of Monica Ferris' needlework mystery series. Monica offers her readers some tips on saving money on their needlework hobby. I will have to admit that I prefer non-DMC and Anchor fibers, but I am trying to go to my "stash" more often these days when I do stitch. I think my favorite part of her post is where she tells how she came about writing the series and admits to errors in her first book. The store which served as inspiration for Betsy's store in the series is in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and I'm looking forward to visiting it next summer when the Association of Christian Librarians' conference is in that area.

Speaking of stitching, I first knew about Taneya when she was more into stitching than genealogy. She had created a wonderful database of cross-stitch magazines. I rejoiced with her when she developed a passion for researching her family. Taneya shares with us a wonderful "find" that she made as a result of a connection made through another genealogy blog.

All of us have had that moment when we see hope in cracking one of our brick walls only to have some additional evidence come to light which casts a little doubt on the subject. Craig shares with us his Gines/Gimes/Simms situation.

I love books. Dick Eastman points us all to a great site for finding used genealogy books -- It was featured slightly beforehand at Lifehacker.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bookstores Meme

Boston Bibliophile created an interesting meme about bookstores.

What's your favorite bookstore?
I love a lot of bookstores. I have two favorites in Knoxville. One is Borders. I know that is boring, but our Borders is actually better than the Barnes & Noble. My other favorite is McKays Used Books & CDs. I'm going to have to include some stores that are not bricks and mortar in my response though. At the genealogy conferences, I love browsing Craig's Heritage Books display. I do also occasionally order online from him. I probably use more than any other bookstore.

Have you ever traveled out of state or out of the country, just to visit a particular bookstore?
When I lived near a state line, I frequently shopped at bookstores on the other side of the state line.

Have you ever gone on a date to a bookstore? Would you consider a bookstore to be a romantic place?
I can't think of a date that only involved a bookstore. I have been on dates where we stopped for a short time in one. Romantic? I guess that depends on the company.

What's the latest you've stayed out at night at a bookstore?
Hmmmm . . . I'd say I've left Borders close to their closing time before which is 11 p.m.

Do you like to go with friends or by yourself?
All of the above.

What would your dream bookstore be like?
Lots of regional histories from various parts of the country, great mystery section, genealogical records books, good cookbooks section, good piano music selection, and other things as the mood strikes me!

What's your favorite specialty bookstore and what does it specialize in?
Heritage Books - Genealogy, of course.

Have you ever worked at a bookstore or wanted to? Do people ever mistake you for a bookstore employee and ask you questions as you browse?
I've never worked in a bookstore, but I'm a librarian -- and yes, I do get questions about books as I browse, but some of those are from people who know me from the library.

Do you like bookstore cafes? Would you consider a bookstore a social destination as opposed to strictly a retail destination?
Love them. I almost always get a specialty coffee to drink while I browse.

What's the silliest thing you've ever done in a bookstore? Ever been kicked out of one?
I've never been kicked out of one. I can't think of anything really silly I've done in one.

Four Days of Genealogy Know-How

Actually 4.25 days if you count the activities on the day before one of the genealogy extravaganzas of 2009. The Federation of Genealogical Societies and its local host, the Arkansas Genealogical Society, invite you and your readers to beautiful Little Rock this September 2-5 for this Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists. Previous host cities have been Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Fort Wayne, and Orlando. Almost 200 lectures, workshops and other presentations await your inquiring mind. What else will you find at such a conference? Many of the countries top researchers, speakers, vendors, archivists, librarians, editors and others in the field of genealogy will be converging on Little Rock eager to share their genealogical knowledge and experience. The conference theme is “Passages through Time” and you will come away with the energy and knowledge to take you through time to research your ancestry with up-to-date techniques, records, and databases.

Register by July 1, 2009 and save $50.00
off the full conference registration. Your full conference registration provides entrance to all lectures during the full four days except for a few with an extra fee. Hear speakers from all around the United States. Ask them questions, learn from your fellow genealogists, figure out ways to find Grandma Griffin’s marriage record, purchase books, CDs, software, maps, databases, memberships, and come away with a renewed energy that can only be found at such a conference. Learn about military, land, school, tax, county, court, probate and other record types. Learn ways to get around brick-wall research. You will receive tickets that enables you to participate in door prize drawings. A conference tote bag and a CD containing the handouts from 99% of the lectures is also yours. If you wish this material in paper form, that is available for a low fee.

Registrants to date are coming from all over the U.S. and some from Canada. This conference has topics for everyone no matter how long you have been doing genealogy. Wednedays’ Networking Luncheon will have some tables designated for specific discussion topics including genealogy bloggers, Arkansas research, military research, Tennessee research and others.

For more details visit and keep up-to-date on conference news, tips, previews, and more at See you in September! Be a part of the more than a thousand registrants who will be attending.