Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Ramblings

I've just returned from worship today. Our pastor is wonderful, and his message today was very uplifting. Only a few more hours until the launch of a new ministry for our teens with which I'll be working. It's called "Exalt!" and will involve praise and drama teams. I will be working with the praise teams.

I stopped at O'Charleys on the way home to grab a bite to eat. I ordered the black and blue salad, but I kind of feel that I was cheated on the blue part. The blue cheese crumbles were so fine inside the dressing that you couldn't even see them. If I had not tasted the flavor, I would not have known they were there. The steak was cooked as ordered and was tasty, although it was definitely not the best grade of meat available. The bacon crumbles were almost overpowering. I think I would have preferred their omission. I guess that it just wasn't like the black and blue salad I would have made!

My feet are beginning to recover from those concrete floors at the FGS Conference in Knoxville. I think that they'll be fine by next weekend.

I spent yesterday scanning 297 pages of documents that I photocopied on a recent research trip. I will be using these documents along with some other materials already in my possession and some research yet to be done to create an account for future publication. I'm just not sure yet how far into the future it will be, but I will be writing, documenting, and looking for any gaps in the narrative as I go.

I think it's about time for the Sunday afternoon nap! My cat has already begun his.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FGS 2010 Recap

I'd love to provide you with a nice long recap of the FGS Conference in Knoxville, but I expect that I would put most of you to sleep if you heard my recap. My duties as audiovisual chair kept me putting a lot of miles on my feet during the course of the conference. I was able to spend a little over four hours on Tuesday at the McClung Collection of the East Tennessee History Center, providing expert assistance for researchers. During "Focus on Societies" Day, I presented Organizing Your Society's Library and Archives. During the main part of the conference, I presented Appalachian Resources of the Appalachian College Association and Alabama Ancestral Sources. I was honored to have the author of one of the resources I mentioned as a general source in attendance at that last session. It was fun to meet a few genealogists that I only knew through Facebook, and it was fun spending time with so many that I only see once or twice each year. Everyone seemed to enjoy the restaurants on Market Square. I don't know if it still holds true, but I know that at one time Knoxville was said to have the most restaurants per capita. I think several of them were enjoyed by conference participants. It was exciting to have so many people enjoying this area. Participants also really seemed to enjoy the outing to the Museum of Appalachia. There was plenty of time to network while enjoying music and Appalachian heritage and culture. It will take my feet a couple of weeks to recover, but the conference was a huge success, so I guess the foot pain was worth it. I'm now back at work so I can get a little rest!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Evolving Reading Tastes

I spotted this meme over at the Should Be Reading blog:

Have your reading choices changed over the years? Or pretty much stayed the same?

They are not talking about differences between childhood and adulthood, but the reading choices that you make in adulthood. I do plan to comment a bit on my reading choices in my later elementary, middle, and high school years and how they evolved into some of my adult choices and then how my tastes have (or have not) changed.

In my later elementary years, I was hooked on the Hardy Boys series. I loved to follow Joe and Frank and all their sleuthing adventures. I basically loved any other book that involved a nice light mystery, although I never really read Nancy Drew. My brothers had owned some of the Hardy Boys series so I started with them and never really switched to Nancy. In fact, one of my classmates (who died earlier this week) was collecting the Hardy Boys books and often loaned his copies to me to read. As an adult, this love for the light mystery developed into a love of the cozy mystery. It's still one of my favorite genres -- but only if it is well-written. There are so many new cozy series that are developing right now that just are not that interesting or well-written. I guess that you could say that I'm more discriminating in series and know that I can't possibly read them all so I only read the ones which really appeal to me.

Beginning in middle school and lasting throughout high school, I developed a strong love for the "romantic suspense" genre. Some were marketed as "Gothic" novels, but the ones I really liked did not have (or at least I didn't notice) connections to the Occult. Most involved a woman who ended up at a country estate (or larger somewhat historic home). There would be something strange and life-endangering and the heroine would be both attracted to and frightened of a man whom she thought might be the one behind the problem. The first book I read in this genre was Phyllis Whitney's Window on the Square. I believe I was in about the fifth grade when I stumbled upon this book. I began reading other books by Whitney. Then I discovered Victoria Holt and others who wrote similar books. I checked them all out of our public library. This was back in the days when you signed the book cards. I used to looks for certain names on the cards to know if I might like the book. This genre has almost disappeared (or at least I only see a handful of books in the review sources). In my adulthood, I think this particular taste evolved into books (especially mysteries) that were set in English country estates and even into books that evoked English village life. (I think I enjoyed the setting the most about the romantic suspense books.)

During high school, especially during the summer months, I received huge quantities of Harlequin and Silhouette romances that had their covers removed. I know now that these had been reported as being destroyed, but I was a voracious reader, and it kept me occupied. I would often read two a day. I never was a huge fan of the romance, but I loved the settings -- Greek Islands, coastal locations in the U.S., Hawaii, etc. As an adult, I rarely read the romance. I'm not even a huge fan of "chick lit." What I do enjoy is a good travel narrative! I also enjoy reading books set in a variety of places.

Now, let's take a look at some of my reading tastes as an adult. In my early adult years, I read a vast amount of Christian fiction. It was a fairly new genre at the time, because prior to that most Christian fiction was a somewhat fictionalized biography of some Biblical character. I guess that I had read Eugenia Price books in high school, but I really think the birth of Christian fiction as a genre occurred with the publishing of Janette Oke's books. I used to read lots of Christian fiction books, but I got tired of them. It was the same formula over and over, and for many of them, the incorporation of the plan of salvation at the end of the book seemed rather forced. I won't say that I've entirely given up the genre, because there is an occasional Christian writer who writes well. If a plot sounds like something I would enjoy, I might give the author a try, but I'm not likely to give them a second chance if the writing does not measure up. It's just not a genre that I frequently read.

As far as mysteries go, I am much more diverse in my reading. I still don't really like hard-boiled novels, but I do like police procedurals as much as the cozy featuring the amateur sleuth. In recent years, I've begun to really enjoy some of the Scandinavian mysteries that are increasing in popularity with American readers. British ones are among my favorites.

I've always had a love for history. As an adult that love has increased. I read far more true histories now than historical novels as I did several years ago. I guess I'd rather make sure that the facts are there and properly documented!

I've also become more adventurous in my reading. Part of this is because a friend and I regularly exchange books. She has introduced me to some wonderful authors, and I've introduced her to some as well. The two of us decided to participate in some of the LibraryThing challenges. To complete some of the challenges, we are stretching our boundaries and discovering books that we otherwise would never have discovered. We both discovered a wonderful Canadian book called Mrs. Mike that is reminiscent of some of the prairie romances that are set in America. We've discovered other Canadian authors that we would not have discovered otherwise. The Europe Endless challenge encourages us to find a book set in every European country. We're really stretching in the boundaries here! Do you know how difficult it is to find books set in some of the smaller countries? The 1010 challenge encouraged us to read 10 books in 10 different categories for 2010. I have enjoyed this challenge and the discoveries of new authors. One of my categories is "Caribbean." I've read or will read books by authors such as Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, and Andrea Levy that I otherwise might not have discovered.

I've discovered that I like diversity in my reading. I've got a huge to be read pile of to-be-read books with Asian (including some of the Asian Middle Eastern countries). I'm making Asia one of my categories in 2011. I had gotten turned off by mysteries featuring archaeologists a few years ago. (It was probably the presence of one snake too many. I really don't even remember now.) However, I've rediscovered these, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Many of these are some of the better-written mysteries out there.

So, yes, my reading has evolved over the years, but it has also stayed the same. I just have a more mature reading pattern that involves books written at more mature levels as well as those that are more "fluff."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cite Your Sources

I just noticed an obituary on a genealogy blog copied and pasted from either or from the electronic edition of a newspaper which published the same version. The blogger did not include a link to the original location, nor did she include a source citation for where she obtained the item. The blogger is not giving credit where credit is due and is, therefore, guilty of plagiarism. As often as we hear the three words, "Cite your sources," in genealogical circles, you would think that the proper documentation would have been automatic.

I also just noticed a post by another genealogist who wishes that she had not shared information with another genealogical researcher. Why? Because that person had posted the information and photos shared without proper attribution. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard this sentiment echoed. I'd be a rich person. CITE YOUR SOURCES, people, CITE YOUR SOURCES.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

William Terrance “Terry” Thornton (1939-2010)

We have lost a beloved educator, storyteller, and blogger. Terry was my second cousin once removed. His parents were Garfus Sherman Thornton and Letha Doris Hollingsworth Thornton. He was born and grew up in the Parham Community of Monroe County, Mississippi. He has immortalized this area through his blog, “Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi” and through his columns in the Monroe Journal bearing the same title. He graduated from Hatley High School and the University of Mississippi. He served as principal of Amory Middle School at one time and later went on to be a professor at Troy State University in Alabama. He retired to Rinnie, Tennessee, near Crossville. (He always did like those hills.) He later returned to Mississippi to be nearer his family, residing in Fulton in Itawamba County, just north of his beloved Monroe County. Terry’s wife Betty, sons Teb and Jim, and brother Sherman survive him.

Terry was a born storyteller. He loved to relate stories of the family. Several years ago, he started a newsletter for family members called “The Thornton News.” It was sent to all descendants of Richard Thornton and his elusive wife Agnes. [We’ve since determined that Agnes’ surname was Branum or Barnum.] In one of the earlier issues of that newsletter, he related why Monk Thornton had to move to Georgia. It was very entertaining. He also related the story of the “worm” (a moonshining term) that he later shared on his blog. We all looked forward to his contributions.

After the demise of the newsletter, he eventually turned to blogging to share his stories – not just with his own family, but with others as well. His gift of relating a story made his blog a favorite of many. He had a following, not only in the blogging community, but also in the “Hill Country” area. He was asked to share his stories with the readers of the Monroe Journal (a merger of the Amory Advertiser and Aberdeen Examiner). He did so in a biweekly column as long as he was able to continue.

Visitation will be Wednesday, 11 August 2010 from 5-7 p.m. (CDT) at E. E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory, Mississippi. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, 12 August 2010 at the funeral home with burial in Lann Cemetery following. [Terry shared a photo of his pre-need marker on his blog (complete with a bagpiper).]

Memorial gifts may be made to the Itawamba Historical Society of which he was a member. Address is P.O. Box 7, Mantachie, MS 38855.

His obituary and online guest book for those wishing to express condlences to the family are available here:

One more quick memory: Terry loved his catfish from Pickles on the Hill in Amory! He would have to stop there every chance he got!

Quick Update on Terry

William Terrance "Terry" Thornton died last night. E. E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory, Mississippi is in charge of arrangements. There will be an online guest book for folks to send their condolences to the family. More later.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pray for Terry

Many people in the genealogy community have appreciated Terry Thornton's Hill Country of Monroe County (and the predecessor). I've been struggling with whether or not to say anything or not, but I feel compelled to ask everyone to add Terry and his family to their prayer list. He's terminally ill and has only a short time to live. Terry & I have a common ancestor in James M. Thornton (1825-1913).

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cooling Off in East Tennessee

It's hot in East Tennessee. Many genealogists will be coming to this area in less than two weeks and might be looking for a way to cool off. I've come up with a solution -- tour a cave. In the Townsend area, you will find Tuckaleechee Caverns. It is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The temperature is 58 degrees year-round (even when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees as it has all this week). Another options is Forbidden Caverns. Located east of Sevierville near the community of Chestnut Hill, these caverns are also 58 degrees year-round. They are open daily except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the months of April through November.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Books Featuring Genealogy

Last night, Bill West from over at West in New England mentioned in his Facebook status that Danielle Steel's new novel "features a heroine tracing her genealogy to solve a family mystery." The book entitled Legacy will be released 28 September 2010 according to I don't normally read Danielle Steel's novels, but this is one that I'll be sure to check out of our library. The publisher's blurb even mentions that the heroine makes discoveries at Salt Lake City's renowned Family History Library.

I think that seeing this blurb really made me miss the Rett MacPherson cozy mystery series featuring Torie O'Shea. It's been a couple of years since Rett came out with a new novel in the series. I always eagerly awaited the next installment. When I noticed there were no forthcoming installments of the series on either the publisher's site or the author's site, I emailed the author awhile back. Her response indicated that she was spending her time on other things and not writing a novel at the present time. I was very sad. I keep hoping that she'll resume the series, but as the time passes so does the likelihood of that happening.

Over the years, there have been a number of short series featuring genealogists and several stand-alone or individual novels in a series featuring persons on a quest for their family's story. There are a number of sites online which list many of these titles although some are becoming slightly dated. I just wish that we had a current cozy mystery series that provided some escapist reading for those of us who enjoy family history. I hope someone will undertake the challenge of writing such a series. In the meantime, I will just have to enjoy books such as Danielle Steel's upcoming mystery (which I hope is well-done) to get my "fix" on genealogical escapism!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Two Weeks Until FGS

Two weeks from today, APG will be holding its Professional Management Conference in Knoxville, and two weeks from tomorrow, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference begins with its Focus on Societies Day. Many librarians have already pre-registered for the COMPLETELY FULL Librarians' Day which will be held at the Hilton on that day. All of us here in East Tennessee are looking forward to greeting all of you who are coming! I spent a good part of the afternoon at the Knoxville Convention Center ironing out a few last minute details with their wonderful staff. After that, I ran over to the East Tennessee History Center for a few minutes. I noticed that the museum gift shop is really filled with things that genealogists will enjoy purchasing! I stopped by Coolato Gelato which is just across Gay Street and barely down in the next block from the History Center to enjoy a small hazelnut gelato. On a day with a heat index of 103, the gelato really hit the spot! (Of course, I enjoy their gelato any time I have an opportunity to do so!) There's also a French Market Creperie, Lenny's Sub Shop, and the S & W Grand Cafe in this block. Knoxville's Market Square is actually a block nearer the convention center and offers many dining opportunities. Market Square Kitchen is known for its soups, but offers sandwiches and other foods as well. The Tomato Head is a local favorite. The offer vegetarian entrees as well. You can build your own salad at Trio Cafe. When you walk in, get one of the menu slips and pencils and circle the ingredients you want on your salad. They have other menu items as well. If you are in a Latin mood, try La Costa. It's gaining a great reputation and a strong following. In the hot weather, Rita's on Market Square is a popular place. They serve Italian Ice and Custard. Oodles Uncorked is another restaurant in Market Square. Be sure to check out the Market Square District Association page for more information on restaurants in Market Square and on Gay Street as well as other merchants in these areas.