Friday, December 28, 2012

Where Did You Get Those Eyes?

Cooper, Kay. Where Did You Get Those Eyes?: A Discover It Yourself Book. New York: Walker, 1988.

A dated introductory genealogy book for children that is probably not going to draw any young person into genealogical research.  (2 stars)

Sorry! Today's review is not a favorable one, and there isn't even a cover image to go along with it.  The book I borrowed had a red cloth binding.  However, we know that not every book published is a winner. This is one of those examples.

This is part of the Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

An Unlikely Royal Family Tree

Peterson, Andrew. An Unlikely Royal Family Tree: The Ballad of Matthew's Begats. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007.

While I liked the idea of a children's book based upon the genealogy of Jesus, this one left a bit to be desired. The phrase "he had" was over used, and sometimes in an effort to make things rhyme, things became a bit awkward. The book was conceived as a song and later put in book format. Some annotations were made, but they are nothing that is going to grab a child's attention. The illustrations are better than those of many Christian children's books, but they are not outstanding. I really recommend just getting a children's version of the Bible and reading the account from the Bible to a youngster rather than using this book. There was a CD with the song sung included with the book. It's very acoustical.  (2 stars)

This is a special Christmas day posting for the children's book and genealogy series.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Avram's Gift

Blumberg, Margie. Avram's Gift. Ill. by Laurie McGaw. Bethesda, Md.: MB Pub., 2003.

Mark does not want the photo of his great-grandfather Avram of Russia hanging outside his room. His grandfather tells Mark the story of Avram and his father's immigration from Russia to the United States. A special shofar's horn is part of the family's heritage that plays an important part in this story.  It is nice to see the change that his grandfather's story brought about in Mark's way of thinking.  (3.5 stars)

This is part of the Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Family Tapestry

Yamamoto, Barbara Maley. Family Tapestry: An Examination of Family Histories, Immigration, Personal Choices, & Heredity. Ill. by Mary Lou Johnson. San Luis Obispo, CA: Dandy Lion Publications, 1998.

This is a collection of reproducible handouts designed for teaching students in grades 6-8. The handouts cover topics relating to social studies, primarily in the study of family history and immigration, and biological aspects of DNA. The book was published in 1998 and as such does not reflect much of the current genealogical understanding of DNA. Most of the information is not really incorrect, it could just be supplemented by some newer material to add to the foundation built with the biological understanding of DNA. The activities provide some great prompts for discussing family history with children of this age. Although the handouts are licensed only for single-classroom use, the book could be used as a workbook in another setting or at home for a child showing interest in his family history.  (4 stars)

This is part of our Friday series on children's literature and genealogy. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Cathedral Windows

O'Donohue, Clare. Cathedral Windows. New York: Penguin/Plume, 2012.

This novella, featuring Nell Fitzgerald, centers around 3rd grade teacher, Charlie. Nell is teaching the schoolchildren of Archers Rest piece together quilt squares which will be used for quilts to be sold as fundraisers. When Charlie's home catches fire and it is determined to be arson, suspicion turns to Charlie. Nell is determined to prove that Charlie is innocent so that he can enjoy a Merry Christmas. While it's not great literature nor is it meant to be, it does provide a nice escape with a happy ending which is what many readers want around the holidays. Many people would love to be part of a community such as Archers Rest where people love you unconditionally. I received this as an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Two Continents, Four Generations

Hays, Peter and Rozen, Beti. Two Continents, Four Generations: One Hundred Years, Two Stories. Ill. by Carlos Manuel Diaz Consuegra. 1st English ed. Fort Lee, N.J.: Panamerica Editorial, 2010.

Louis has a school assignment about his family history. He has no interest in his assignment, but his mother becomes very excited as she recalls the story of her Jewish grandfather's immigration from Poland to Brazil just before Poland is captured by the Nazi and his family's escape from Poland just in the nick of time.  The story alternates between 1939 and 2004. The historical portions of the book work far better than the present. The present simply does not flow and is not very plausible.  This one can be skipped by most readers unless the family has a similar migration pattern.    (2.5 stars)

This is a part of our Friday series on children's literature and genealogy. Please note that his book was originally published as Dos continentes, cuatro generaciones in May 2009.  If you have a Spanish speaking child, this story might be useful.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Mother's Pearls

Fruisen, Catherine Myler. My Mother's Pearls. San Rafael, Calif.: Cedco Pub. Co., 2000.

This is the story of a string of pearls that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, identifying each female ancestor in the piece of jewelry's chain of ownership over the years. The illustrations are one of the best features of this book that is certain to please a young girl and have them asking questions about their own female ancestors.

This is part of the Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

G Is for Giles County

I had several options for the letter G, but I chose to use Giles County, Tennessee so that I can blog about a location in the Volunteer State.

The Mosley family came to middle Tennessee from Wilkes County, Georgia. At first, they lived in Bedford County. By 1830, they were in Lincoln County. Then in the 1840 census, they are residing in Giles County. 

Sometime around 1840, Walton Harris found his way from Kentucky down to Giles County. The family tradition says that he was on a cattle drive and stopped to water the horses when he saw Margaret and fell in love with her, returning to become her husband after the drive was completed. This is one of those legends that is difficult to prove but there is a bit more detail attached to the story than I've outlined here which proves that something similar happened or that the family is really good at storytelling.

Walton and Margaret continued to make their home in Giles County until sometime after 1855 when they moved to Itawamba County, Mississippi. Their son Charles Newton Harris returned to Giles County a few years later where he lived out his life, dying in the community of Cedar Grove.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

F Is for Fawn Grove

There used to be a lady named Phyllis Harper who wrote for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (the Tupelo, Mississippi newspaper).  Phyllis wrote a column that was one of my mom's favorite portions of the newspaper. In her column, she wrote about her beloved Fawn Grove, the town in which she grew up. Mom related to Phyllis' description of life in Fawn Grove because the experiences related by Phyllis were so similar to mom's own life. As I began to trace forward my mother's maternal grandmother's line, I discovered that Mom's first cousin once removed on that Harris line lived in Fawn Grove. Finding a family tie to Fawn Grove was special for my mom.

I found a wonderful tribute to Phyllis Harper at  She was the subject of an oral history at University of Southern Mississippi.  Her obituary has also been archived online.

Phyllis did publish a cookbook entitled Country Cooking with Just a Spoonful of Sophistication which mom owned. I also have a copy of this book. I really wish that someone would take the time to publish some of her columns in book form so that I can once again enjoy my visits to Fawn Grove through her writing!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

E is for Essex

What is now present-day Essex, Massachusetts was the home of some of my Perkins ancestors. Back then, it was known as Chebacco Parish and considered part of Ipswich.

The present town's web site is at

I wasn't able to visit Essex on my last trip to New England, although I did manage to visit Ipswich. I have, however, appreciated some of your blog posts about Essex and its environs. Heather Rojo had a post about the shipbuilding industry there a couple of years ago.

There is a 1782 list of householders of Chebacco Parish online at It was transcribed by Kurt Wilhelm. Many surnames present on the list appear in my family tree:  Perkins, Andrews, Burnham, Story, Cogswell, and Eveleth.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Casper and Catherine Move to America

Hasler, Brian. Casper and Catherine Move to America: An Immigrant Family's Adventures, 1849-1850. Ill. by Angela M. Gouge. Introduction by Barbara Truesdell. Afterword by M. Teresa Baer. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press, 2003.

The story of the Hasler family's migration from Switzerland to Greene County, Indiana in the mid-19th century is passed on to a member of the current generation. An introduction offers commentary on oral histories and an afterword offers tips on pursuing more information through genealogical research. The information in the afterward is fairly general, and I was a bit disappointed that no mention was made of passenger list records and that the census example used was a published abstract rather than a microfilm or digital image copy. Still, this is a book which should create genealogical interest in younger persons.

This is part of the Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Hymns and Songs

I wanted to share a few of the hymns and songs that I remember being sung in church around Thanksgiving.

The first is "Come Ye Thankful People Come."  Here's a YouTube clip that uses Hymn Charts arrangement of the song:

I found an interesting article about the author Henry Alford at

The second is "We Gather Together." Here's a YouTube clip of Celtic Women performing it:

I also remember this song from the early 1980s called "Thankful on My Knees." There's a YouTube clip here that is probably the original recording with just some still pictures added:  Even though some of the lyrics are dated because the current news anchors and news items are different, it echoes a sentiment that I've felt often as this Thanksgiving approaches -- "Who decided that it's wrong to be a people under God?"  Certainly the early Pilgrims showed their gratitude to God for the safety in crossing the Atlantic and for the harvest in that first Thanksgiving. Sometimes I get the idea that what people want today is not "freedom of religion" which would give one the right to practice his religion, but "freedom from religion" which limits the ability to practice one's religion. There are ways that it reminds me of the horrors and atrocities that were committed during the Holocaust era although I don't think we are to the extremes yet that Hitler and his followers practiced.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, let us be thankful to our Creator God for his wonderful provisions for us. Let us be thankful that we have been able to "gather together."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Does an Old Textbook Have to Offer?

As a librarian, I have the opportunity to browse through many resources that come into our library either new or as a part of a gift collection.  Today's blog post is about such a resource.

The book that arrived is:

Wagner, Philip L. and Mikesell, Marvin W., eds. Readings in Cultural Geography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

This book was likely used as a textbook in the 1960s, but it is a collection of readings that were deemed worthy of study by students taking a course in cultural geography at that time. As a book of readings, it included articles written by various persons that were compiled by the editors. The readings were generally not written specifically for that book but were things for which they obtained permission to reproduce.  Many universities still do something similar to this through a course pack which is usually sold through campus bookstores.

One of the articles in this book caught my attention.  The article is entitled "Types of Rural Settlement in Colonial America." The author was Glenn T. Trewartha. It first appeared in Geographical Review, vol. 36 (1946), pp. 568-96.

The article takes a look at the way towns and villages were settled in various parts of the country.  There are lots of maps illustrating it that would be extremely useful to persons who had early settlers in the United States. Like most scholarly articles, the bibliographical references (generally in footnote form) are useful for exploring specific aspects covered in the article in greater detail.

Although my library won't be keeping the book, I'm going to be making a copy of the one article for my own use.

Some other articles in the volume of interest to genealogists are:

  • "Louisiana House Types" (by Fred B. Kniffen), pp. 157-169 - shows typical homes for trappers, oystermen, farms, etc.
  • "Generic Terms in the Place Names of the Northeastern United States" (by Wilbur Zelinsky), pp. 129-156 - describes the use of terms such as "Run," "Notch," "Gap," and even "-ville" in geographic location names.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

D is for Dime Box

Dime Box is a small location in Lee County, Texas. I have to admit that its unique name made it a wonderful choice for this feature. My great grandmother's brother John Harris moved his family to this location back in the 19th century.  There's an article in Texas Escapes Magazine online about Dime Box. There's a photo of the town's monument, a giant dime in a box, on this blog post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cherokee Names

We've been in the midst of downsizing our reference collection. In the process, I've been touching just about every book to make a decision about whether the book remains in reference, is withdrawn, or is relocated to storage, the circulating stacks, or some other location in the library (such as government documents or special collections).

I came across a book yesterday that had been cataloged with Native American history, but it was really a book designed for those researching Cherokee ancestors. I decided to leave it in Reference but to move it to a location where genealogical researchers will come across it.

The book was:

Garrett, Sandi. "A.K.A." (Also Known As). Spavinaw, OK: Cherokee Woman Publishing, 1993.

The book opens with a description of some of the various rolls upon which the Cherokee may be listed. The heart of the book is a listing of Cherokee names and English equivalents. For example, "Ah-Wih-Guh-Gah" means "Deer in the Water."  If your English name was "Scalp Eater," your Cherokee name was "Sko-Hi-Has."

I know that when I am researching in northeast Mississippi records, the first pages in the deed books are filled with the Indian names of Chickasaw persons as the lands were given to the white settlers. I would find such a book of Chickasaw names interesting, and I'm sure that those in Cherokee areas will find this fascinating for the same reason, even if they do not have Cherokee ancestry themselves.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hostess & the School Lunch Box

When I was in elementary school and even middle school, I usually took my lunch with me to school.  Our family never used Wonder Bread, but the kids across the street ate nothing but Wonder Bread. Our family tended to use Sunbeam for the white bread. At some point, other types of bread began to be more available, and we began to purchase wheat bread in addition to the white bread. Eventually all of us preferred the wheat bread so we rarely purchased a loaf of white bread at all.

We had one of those commercial bakery thrift shops in town that mom called "the bread store." I don't remember who ran it, but I do know that we often purchased the "day old" bread as mom called it.

Typically I would have a sandwich in my lunch box. It might be peanut butter and jelly. It might be bologna. It might even be turkey, ham, roast beef, or tuna salad.

There would be a little bag of chips also. We'd get those at the bread store too because they would have packages with at least a dozen little bags of chips in them. Mom would usually get the variety pack, so it might be Fritos corn chips one day, cheese curls one day, Lay's potato chips one day, and Doritos another day.

Then, there was the Hostess snack cake. They had these at "the bread store" too. My favorites were Ding Dongs (or King Dons as the packaging sometimes said). I have to admit that I inherited the chocolate gene from my Swiss ancestors. I would sometimes have those Sno-Ball cakes that looked much better than they tasted. Once in awhile, I also had a Twinkie, but they were never my favorite snack cake. Most of the time, I got a Ding Dong for dessert!

I was sad to hear of the demise of Hostess this past week. I haven't eaten a Twinkie, Ding Dong, or Sno Ball in years, but the thought of never tasting them again has made me want to relive the experience. Unfortunately the stores are all sold out. Then I thought about copycat recipes that abound on the Internet. I suspected that there were copycat recipes for almost every Hostess product. It turns out I was correct.

If you get an urge to relive your childhood lunch snacks, perhaps these links will help you.

Ding Dongs:
Sno Balls:
Wonder Bread:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

C is for Carlock

Carlock, Illinois was the home of Abraham and Laura (Taylor) Lantz before they made their way to Monroe County, Mississippi. Abraham was postmaster of Carlock for awhile, running the post office out of his store. In fact, the desk from which he ran the postal operations is still in the family. My uncle Bud had it for many years. His son Tom had it for awhile. My niece has it now.

Lantz Home/Store in Carlock, Illinois.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Gramma War

Butcher, Kristin. The Gramma War. Victoria, BC: Orca Books, 2001.

Annie's world is turning upside down. First, she has to give up her room so that her aging grandmother she hardly knows and who is a chronic smoker can move in with the family. Then she has to give up her pet gerbils because her grandmother doesn't like them. Then her favorite teacher becomes ill and she's going to be stuck with a substitute she dislikes for the remainder of the year. The last straw comes when a re-enactment society she'd been looking forward to joining on her twelfth birthday disbands. At her new teacher's suggestion, her parents enroll her as a member of a genealogy society for kids her age. She is surprised to find how much she enjoys it, and she discovers her grandmother has lots of information to offer. She learns a lot about older people as well as about family history in this novel.  Recommended for older elementary and lower middle school age children.  (3.75 stars)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

B is for Berks

Berks County, Pennsylvania was home to many of the families on my Amish family line. The Historical Society of Berks County's photo gallery is worth exploring.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A is for Amory

Amory is the town in Monroe County, Mississippi where most of my ancestors' families eventually settled in or near. Amory is actually a relatively new town. It is celebrating its 125th birthday this month, having been founded in 1887 when the railroad bypassed the nearby town of Cotton Gin Port. The little town of Cotton Gin Port packed up and moved. The town was actually named for a Bostonian, Mr. Harcourt Amory.  I'll refer you to the city history on the City of Amory's web site.

Looking South on Main Street in Amory, early 20th century

Old Amory Opera House

Happy 125th Birthday, Amory!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dad in the Navy in World War II

Yesterday, I used a photo of my grandfather in World War I. Today, as many things are closed in observance of Veterans Day, I wanted to use a photo of my Dad in his Naval Uniform from World War II and a photo of his ship.

J. T. Thornton, U.S. Navy, World War II

Supply Ship

The ABCs of Ancestral Home Towns

As I was reading blogs over the weekend, I spotted a very clever series of posts by one blogger on the ABCs of her ancestry. (I wish I could remember which blog it was. I'm saying "her," but it could have been a male blogger. I'm pretty sure it was female though.) After I'd closed out my blog reader, an idea hit me. I decided not to quite copy her idea, but to adapt it for my purposes by limiting my ABCs to places that my ancestors or their offspring (cousins, etc.) lived.  This series will begin Tuesday. I will probably only do about 3 letters per week so that I have room for some other posts as well.  I know it will be difficult to choose between towns in some instances so I foresee repeating this series at some point using different places.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

Pappaw, my paternal grandfather, is the man in the middle. World War I.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

On colds, bad backs, and earthquakes

I apologize for the silence much of this past week. I really had intended to add some entries about various genealogical things, but I really wasn't feeling well. I didn't feel well when I went to work on Monday. By Tuesday morning, I was running a fever and really sick. It was one of those things that just has to run its course and which medicine only treats the symptoms. Just as I was beginning to feel better Thursday afternoon, I prepared to sit down, and before I got down, my back went out. I had never had this happen before, but I instantly sympathized with everyone who has ever had it happen to them. Somehow I managed to make it through work Friday, although when I went in, I doubted that I could manage to stay the whole day between the residue of the cold and the back. I was able to stand when I needed to do so and move to a better chair when I needed to do so. I enlisted student workers to do my bending and lifting for me. With the support of the couch, my back was doing better. This morning, it started hurting again, but I could tell it was more muscular this time and that I needed to just get some more support behind it. I sat down to watch the UT Vols game, and as I was sitting down, I felt the earth move under my feet. It wasn't long before the USGS identified the epicenter as Whitesburg, Kentucky with a magnitude of 4.3. I will say that Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with reports of the earthquake at least 20 minutes before USGS ever posted a thing.  Now, I don't know about you, but I'm almost afraid of sitting down. If it can bring on a bad back and an earthquake, what else can sitting down bring on?

Friday, November 09, 2012

One Tiny Twig

Rhema, Dan. One Tiny Twig. Ill. by Michael Leonard. Louisville, KY: Mesquite Tree Press, 2003.

Emily Twig's 14th birthday is coming up. She is given a very special present -- some family heirlooms. These send her on a quest to learn more about her ancestors.  She partners with her grandfather to learn more. She visits a cemetery and learns to rub tombstones, a practice that is somewhat controversial. She then checks the local archive where she locates her ancestor on a census and discovers his country of origin. On a trip to Ellis Island, she finds his passenger list. Between she and her grandfather, they are able to locate many of their Twig ancestors.  Some of the explanations she is given are overly simplistic. She really didn't have to travel all the way to Ellis Island (even when the book was written) to locate the passenger list. Still, it's a great book to interest younger persons in researching their ancestors.  (3.5 stars)

This is part of the Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Are We Cousins?

Yesterday at work, I received an obituary notifying me of the death of our college/university's president's mother. (We're in the midst of a name change.) Her obituary identified her maiden name as Allred. When I first saw the obituary, it identified her birth place as Auburn, Mississippi. I knew that Auburn was a small community outside of Tupelo, but I quickly discovered that there is another Auburn in South Mississippi, and that is the one from which she hailed. My line is somewhat brickwalled at two brothers, James and Isaac, who were in west Tennessee/Mississippi/Alabama. I've been unable to identify their parents although I've seen the parents identified as all four sons of Solomon Allred who is believed to be the progenitor of almost all Southern Allred lines. A quick Google search which took me to the Allred Family Roster site leads me to believe that their line has already been matched up to Solomon. I suspect that I'll eventually be able to call our university president, "Cousin". I'm just going to have to spend some time digging through some early 19th century records to see what can be discovered about my own line before I can do it.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Back From West Tennessee

I had a great time speaking to the Tennessee Genealogical Society this past Saturday in Germantown, Tennessee.  They had a great turnout even though there were quite a few other events competing for genealogical attention. I know a few people were running back and forth to a DAR meeting in the middle of the seminar.  It was great to meet a lot of new folks and renew acquaintances with some others. Connie gets the prize for driving all the way from Evansville, Indiana to hear me speak. I was quite surprised! Thanks also to those who drove over from Little Rock to hear me.

Before I left home, I identified about an hour's worth of work that I needed to do at Tennessee State Library & Archives in Nashville, so I stopped along the way and did that in about 50 minutes. I had to renew my card there as it had recently expired.

Thanks very much to everyone at TGS for the great hospitality extended to me during my stay.

Friday, November 02, 2012

We Interrupt This Program . . .

Remember those old messages we used to get when breaking news interrupted our regularly scheduled program on television? Well, it's not really breaking news, but I was out of readily accessible children's books pertaining to genealogy or something of interest to genealogy, so I'm taking a break this week from the children's literature and genealogy Friday series while I take time to locate a few books that I can use from other places. I had hoped to visit another area library's children's department before I reached this point, but my schedule lately has just not permitted me to do so. I'm hoping to resume the series next week, but it could possibly be November 16.

In the meantime, if you are going to be in the Memphis area tomorrow (November 3), stop by the Tennessee Genealogical Society's seminar to meet me! It's at the Pickering Center, 7771 Poplar Pike, Germantown from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle

Chamberlain, Ava. The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder, and Madness in the Family of Jonathan Edwards. New York: NYU Press, 2012.

Chamberlain has done an incredible job reconstructing the life of Jonathan Edwards' grandmother Elizabeth Tuttle from a few existing records and a microhistorical approach. By studying the rest of the family and the community in which she lived, we are able to learn much more about the woman she was or might have been. Edwards' grandfather was granted a divorce from Tuttle in the state of Connecticut which had some of the most liberal divorce laws and remarried a short time later. This is a very well-done book and should serve as an example to researchers on how to incorporate aspects of culture, laws, social history, and the like to bring a person to life. This review is based upon an advanced reader's e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  (5 stars)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Christmas Garland

Perry, Anne. A Christmas Garland: A Novel. New York: Ballantine Books, 2012.

It's nearing Christmas soon after the siege at Cawnpore in India. A guard has been killed and an Indian prisoner has escaped. A well-liked orderly named John Tallis is blamed for the death because he is the only person lacking an alibi. A very young Lt. Narraway is chosen to defend him. It's an almost impossible case. The investigating officer doesn't like his arrest, but sees no other viable suspect for the crime. Will Lt. Narraway be able to free the orderly for Christmas and give the unit back the gift of a well-liked member of the medical staff. Although the time period is the 19th century, the setting of this novel is quite different from Perry's Monk and Pitt series. I would have liked a little more background of the events that led to the unit's being in the area incorporated into the narrative as well as a little more information on the lieutenant's background before coming to this specific location in India. I'm uncertain as to whether this is a stand alone or the beginning of a new series for Perry. I would probably read additional installments if they do become available. This review is based on an electronic galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review. (3.5 stars)

Eleven Pipers Piping

Benison, C. C. Eleven Pipers Piping. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012.

Rev. Tom Christmas (also known as "Father Christmas") investigates when one of his parishioners turns up dead after a very snowy Burns Day dinner which he attended. There's some delay in getting investigators there. Although it appears to have been natural to most persons present at the dinner, there's still some suspicion about the circumstances of the man's death which turns out to be well-founded. The book is written with an occasional letter from one of the household staff to her mother interspersed in the narrative. Whether it is because I had not read the earlier installment or for other reasons, I never really connected to the characters in the book. There was a list of characters in the front which was helpful because of the number of persons in the narrative. I felt that the narrative was unnecessarily wordy in places and that the writing could have been tighter. Careful editing could have reduced this book from almost 500 pages to about 350 which is much more typical of this type of book. This review is based on an advanced e-galley received courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.  (3 stars)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Revisiting My Genealogy Database

One of the unexpected outcomes of my recent DNA testing with has been filling in some holes, especially on non-direct lines, in my genealogy database. I knew that I had some holes that needed to be filled because I had data that was still primarily in notebooks or file folders. I kept thinking I would pull those folders and notebooks out, but I just never did.

The primary means of connecting with your matches with Ancestry DNA is via the Ancestry trees. I knew that I needed to begin one for my family and properly document it. I didn't just want to import my whole GEDCOM. I wanted to force myself to take a look at what was being entered and to make sure that my data was clean and properly documented before making it publicly available. My tree is still listed as private, but I've now attached what is there to my profile so that people can see that I've got something there. What is there at this point will not be that useful to people, because I've only got data through my gg-grandparents there with documentation complete for grandparents. I'm working on their parents and siblings at the moment and taking those lines forward as much as possible. Then I'll slowly go back a generation at a time, working on the forward lines also. I suspect that putting those "forward" lines in are what will help me connect with others.

I've already been quite surprised at how much new data is available for some of my cousins that I did not have. I've been able to add marriage dates (or at least marriage license dates) for some, where I only had a name of spouse. Some have given me an estimate of the spouse's birth date which I might not have had from the family sources I had acquired over the years at reunions. Of course, I'm attaching records to the Ancestry family trees. I need to go back and add some of my sources to the grandparents' generation. I've done it for my parents. I will slowly add those things into the record. They are in my Rootsmagic database for the most part. It's just going to take time.

In the meantime, I've actually prepared ahnentafels from each of my grandparents so that I can share these with "matches". The ahnentafels have birth, marriage, death dates and locations but no sources. It makes it quick for people to see if they can spot a match. It's not 100% ideal, but it does accomplish the purpose of identifying relationships until my database is back to a place where it will be useful for some of the distant cousin matches.

This task could become overwhelming as I've got thousands of people in my current genealogy database. However, I'm not going to delve as much into some of the collateral lines as I have in my main database where the families are not related. I'm trying to focus mainly on the descendants of my actual ancestors, including spouses where known.

It's a nice way to clean up my database and expand my knowledge of some ancestors or descendants of ancestors that I haven't visited in a long, long time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Family Tree

Ayres, Katherine. Family Tree. New York: Bantam, Doubleday, Dell, 1996.

Tyler Stoudt has the strictest 6th grade teacher this year. She finds out that most of the year will be spent working on a family tree project that will be tied to just about everything else they study. There's only one problem. Tyler has no one besides her father. Her mother died before she was born. She's never met any of her grandparents. She knows her father's nationality is "Deutsch" and that her mom was "English." Imagine her surprise when she finds that her Dad's family was Amish and shunned him when he married her mom who was from Massachusetts. Tyler works very hard on her family tree and pieces together a lot of information. Of course, Tyler's project brings about some happy outcomes in regards to her family life as well. This is a great book to interest kids in genealogical research. Because I have Amish ancestry as well, I understood the differences in that culture more than some readers might. My one minor quibble with the book is that Tyler's Amish family was from Germany, and although some Amish families were in Germany, most of my Amish ancestors were Swiss. I would have preferred for the author to have made the Amish Swiss with perhaps a brief migration through the French Alsace region to show that "Deutsch" does not necessarily mean German. Still this is a good book to use with about 4th to 7th grade children who show an interest in genealogy or that you would like to gain an appreciation for it. 

By the way, it really doesn't go into a lot of methodology but relies more on interviewing relatives. It's really just a book which will perhaps give them enough information to get started. A parent or grandparent who has some experience could easily steer the child in the direction of more and better resources as the child is ready.

This is part of my Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Do You Need Diacritics and Letters from Other Languages?

If so, publisher E. J. Brill has made available the new "Brill Fonts" as a downloadable package.  More than 5100 characters are available in this package. There is an End User License, but it's freely available to those accepting the license's terms.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Three More Autosomal Matches

It had been about a week and a half since I last reviewed my matches at Ancestry DNA. To my great surprise, I had over a dozen new matches to review. (Well some were not easily reviewable because of the lack of a tree at Ancestry or because the tree was private. I have to confess that my tree is not yet linked and is private as I just started it when I got the results and saw how useful it was. However, I refuse to make mine live until I can have a fully documented one. I've got about 5 generations in there at the moment, but I'm taking the time to make sure that my own RootsMagic software is up to date. I'm manually entering the tree at Ancestry. Sometimes I have to add a generation or two back so that I can match the data to everyone in the family. Although I like the ability to link the record to everyone in that record. I'm also discovering errors in other people's research where they've linked a wrong record to someone. I ignore those. I'm also largely ignoring the matching member trees. I'm not adding the trees so that my tree is taken over by work I haven't conducted, but I am sometimes reviewing them to see what types of documentation they have. So far, I've uncovered nothing I didn't already have, but then I'm working on the generations closest to me.

Of the dozen or so new matches I discovered, I was able to identify he common ancestor (or in one case the ancestral line) on three.

On the first new match, Ancestry predicted that we would be 4th to 6th cousins. I found our common ancestor was Gabriel Fowlkes (the Immigrant) who was born about 1696 probably in Denbighshire, Wales. We appear to be 7th cousins twice removed. So much for the 4th to 6th range. I didn't spot any other possible match.  I'm descended through Gabriel's son Col. Gabriel Fowlkes; the other person is descended through his son Joseph A. This is my paternal grandmother's father's line.

On the second match, Ancestry predicted 4th to 6th cousins. This was more accurate as I found that we were double fourth cousins once removed.  It's one of my Amish lines off my mother's father's side. Common ancestors are Christian Lantz & Maria Hertzler and Jacob Yoder & Mary Keim. I'm descended through Levi Lantz, son of Christian & Maria and Barbara Yoder, daughter of Jacob Yoder & Mary Keim. These two married. The match was descended from Christian & Maria's son Jonathan and Jacob & Mary's daughter Anna. By the way Levi and Jonathan were apparently very close to one another as they both moved from Ohio to McLean County, Illinois together.

The third match is one that Ancestry predicts to be 4th to 6th cousins as well. The problem is a brick wall that is shared by many of us on this Thornton line. My earliest proven ancestor is Richard Thornton b. abt 1790 in SC; married Agnes Barnum 16 May 1817 in Franklin Co., GA; d. 2 Nov 1862 probably in Fayette County, AL. It could have been Winston or even Walker because he lived so near the county lines, but his home was in Fayette. Birth date is based on census. The marriage and death dates (and even the maiden name) come from the mother's pension file that Agnes filed when her son Martin died fighting for the 1st Alabama Cavalry USA in Nashville.  The other person is from a line that Y-DNA has proven to be a match for our line in the South Carolina E group. Years ago when I first began researching the family history, Dad had made a comment that he thought there was a line of Thorntons that had gone to South Mississippi to which we were related. Well, apparently the one who went there was William Stallworth Thornton (b. 8 Jan 1792 in Abbeville, SC; d. 2 Nov 1878, Heidelberg, Jasper Co., MS) who married Elizabeth Walker.  This person identifies the father of William as Eli Thornton (b. 1752 Orange Co., NC; d. 1819 Edgefield Co., SC) who married Mary Davison. The father of Eli is identified as Thomas Thornton (b. 1709 Isle of Wight Co., VA; d. 20 Apr 1762 Perquimans Co., NC). [By the way, Perquimans County is probably erroneous as the place of death based on other research I've seen which is better documented.] One of our DNA matches also took the family back to Thomas and Martha, although his book identified Thomas as  Jr., Thomas' wife as Martha Unknown, and his mother as Martha Boykin. The author of the book, Kenneth William Thornton, had told me that he believed his earliest generations were probably erroneous. There was a series of three articles published in 2008 in North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal which was entitled "Descendants of Matthew Strickland" written by Forrest D. King, CG. In the second installment, published in the August 2008 issue (vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 219-252), there is a section on "Daughter of Thomas Boykin and their Strickland Husbands." In this section, Forrest identifies the Thomas Boykin who married Martha as the Jr. with his father being the Sr. with an unknown wife. The article does show strong ties between the Thornton, Boykin, and Strickland families. I have had autosomal DNA matches with persons showing all three surnames in their pedigrees. So what does this mean? It means that there is hope in resolving the Thornton brick wall. I'm going to begin trees for our various DNA matches, especially the ones going to this one and to another match I had earlier through a Jamima Thornton, daughter of William Thornton who married Mary Lula Woolsey, whose father was said to Abraham Thornton who married Elizabeth Martin, who is identified as the son to Thomas and Martha by the researcher whose autosomal DNA matched. There's one other person over on 23 and Me with a tree that matches the Thornton line. I've got some Boykin surname matches that I probably need to pursue as well, but I can do that as I get these lines back to the Boykins in my own research. I think it's time for the Thornton brick wall to come crashing down! Hopefully these DNA match discoveries can do it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Angels at the Table

Macomber, Debbie. Angels at the Table. New York: Random House, 2012.

Macomber's holiday installment brings back her angelic characters Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy along with their new apprentice angel, Will. At the annual New Year's Celebration in Times Square, the angels' meddling brings together Lucie and Aren a bit prematurely. It's love at first sight, but then things begin to go awry. She's about to open a new restaurant. He works for a newspaper although he's not allowed to tell anyone other than family members what his job is. Lucie keeps searching for his byline but it never appears. Will the meddling angels ever learn their lessons so that the two can finally come together? This is a nearly perfect holiday read. It's got humor, great characters with their own issues, and the reader knows that it's certain to have a happy ending in spite of the angels' mistakes. I have a little of a personal issue with the portrayal of the angels; however, this is not something which will bother all readers. In spite of that issue, I still found myself enjoying the novel. This review is based on an Advance Uncorrected Proof provided through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.  (3.5 stars)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Amis Mill Eatery

Last night I decided to go visit the Amis Mill Eatery in Rogersville that some of my church friends had been raving about on Facebook -- at least I thought it was in Rogersville. It was really out in the boondocks. It took some winding around some nice hairpin turns on the mountainside to get there.

I saw that they had catfish on their menu. Since I had not had decent catfish since I'd been in East Tennessee (I did grow up in Mississippi--the catfish capital), I decided to try that as a test of how they measured up. I will say that they have the best catfish in East Tennessee that I've tried to date. It doesn't live up to Friendship House in Monroe County, Mississippi which is the "gold standard" as far as I'm concerned. However, it was quite crispy. I think the problem was probably with the catfish itself. Mississippi has catfish on farms. This was probably a channel catfish where the flavor is not quite the same.  However, I do believe that it lives up to its reputation for food quality. I saw several families from our church there.

The drive there was nice. There was color on some of the trees in places. I loved the pastoral scenes between Russellville and "Rogersville." There were some very interesting church buildings that would make great photos. I'll have to go back sometime when I can take my time going there so I can be a photobug!

The above photo shows the waterfall across the road from the Amis Mill Eatery.

Friday, October 19, 2012

We Rode the Orphan Trains

Warren, Andrea. We Rode the Orphan Trains. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

This is a nice collection of stories of some of those who rode the orphan trains who were still alive around the turn of the 21st century. The experiences were varied -- some were placed in good homes; others were less fortunate. The Children's Aid Society paid annual visits to those who were placed to make sure they were well-treated. If they were not, they were either sent back to an orphange or placed in another home. This is a great book to let children, especially those who had ancestors who went through the experience, know what it was like for those who rode the trains.   (4 stars)

This is a part of the Friday series on children's book and genealogy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tennessee Genealogical Society Seminar

I'll be speaking at the Tennessee Genealogical Society's Seminar on November 3 in the greater Memphis area.

Here's the link to the event on Facebook:

Schedule of the day:

9:00-10:00 am  Alabama & Mississippi Resources - An overview of Alabama and Mississippi research.

10:00—10::30 am  Break (Refreshments)

10:30-11:30 am  The Basics of DNA for the Family Historian - An overview of what one can learn about their family history through Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA results.

11:30 am-1:00 pm  Lunch Break You can enjoy lunch at one of the nearby restaurants or you may bring a bag lunch. Drinks will be furnished on site.

1:00-2:00 pm  Researching Your Baptist Ancestor - Learn about the history and
types of records created by Baptists and where these records are located.

2:00— 2:15 pm  Break (Refreshments)

2:15-3:15 pm  Exploring Your Ancestor's World with Maps - Learn why maps were created and how they can be utilized in your research. Find print and electronic maps for your ancestral research.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Did Your Ancestor Read?

Have you ever wondered exactly what your ancestor (assuming he was literate) might have read?  If your ancestor lived in the Southern United States prior to the Civil War, there is a great bibliography which may give you an idea.

Gilmer, Gertrude C. Checklist of Southern Periodicals to 1861. Boston: F. W. Faxon Co., 1934.

My Mississippi farmer might have read Southwestern Farmer which is described as "a weekly journal designed to improve the soil and the mind." (p. 90)

My Alabama ancestors might have read Soil of the South which later merged into American Cotton Planter to form American Cotton Planter and the Soil of the South. (p. 67)  I'm pretty sure that most of my Alabama lines avoided the temperance magazine/newspaper published in Tuscaloosa called Crystal Fount.

The checklist also contains many denominational publications, especially those published by the Baptists.

My Southern Methodist ancestors were most likely to read Methodist Review which began publication in 1847. (p. 41)

There should be similar guides to materials from other parts of the country.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Curious Funeral Custom

As I have been working on moving many of our Reference books to circulation or storage, I came across a rather interesting English funeral custom in one of the books.

"Burials are customarily laid in the grave facing east--the direction of the rising sun and of Jerusalem--though clergy are still sometimes buried the other way round, so as to be ready to preach to their congregation at the General Resurrection. This, it was believed, would begin at the eastern end of the graveyard (which was hence the most favoured place for burial) and continue in a sunwise direction to finish on the north (or Devil's) side, which in many parishes was thus abandoned to strangers, criminals, and suicides--if indeed, these last were admitted at all to consecrated ground, and not buried at crossroads to confuse their vengeful ghosts."*
While I knew that it was common in many places to bury criminals and suicides outside the gate of the cemetery in many places in America, I had never given much thought about the actual placement of the graves. I began to think of the Hester Cemetery in Monroe County, Mississippi where I know that some of the burials were originally outside the gates for that reason and later enclosed to minimize vandalism. They are not on the north side. The ones I know of were all on either the south or western sides. I guess that custom didn't continue in America.

Are burials still facing east? In the cemeteries with which I am most familiar, most of them are. What about clergy members? Are they opposite? I simply don't know.

This certainly gives me some things to ponder at my next cemetery visit.

* Charles Kightly, The Customs and Ceremonies of Britain: An Encyclopaedia of Living Traditions, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1986), pp. 120-121.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Missing My Friend Marcia

Genealogists in Birmingham, AL - 2010

I got the sad news this weekend that my friend Marcia Rice had passed away. I was looking for a photo of her among my photos, and this was the first one I ran across. The above photo was taken one night in Birmingham in 2010 after a full day at IGHR. The waitress offered to take the photo so I actually was in the shot! Marcia is the third one from the front on the right. (I'm just in front of her.)

I'm trying to remember at exactly which conference Marcia and I first met, but I honestly don't remember. I remember eating with her while she was at the FGS Conference in Knoxville.

Marcia & Mark talk to one another at NGS in Charleston.
Marcia, Beverly, and I roomed together at the NGS conference in Charleston, South Carolina. That was an adventure. I remember that there was a walk with a bridge between the convention center and the hotel. Marcia would wear her little hat with a headlamp at night to make sure she could see the path. We had a great time at that conference. I tended to stay up a bit later visiting in the lobby than Marcia and her sister did, but we all had a great time and a good visit.

We, of course, saw each other at various conferences through the years and have kept in touch via Facebook.  I was so happy that she was able to come to FGS this year in Birmingham this year. Now that I've received the sad news of her passing, I'm even happier that I got to spend a bit of time with her at that conference.  A couple of weeks ago, she made a comment about not having decent barbecue within 500 miles of Coos Bay. I asked her if she was coming to Knoxville to get some. (Everyone still raves to me about the BBQ we had at the FGS conference there.) She had replied back that it sounded like a good idea to her, so I've been looking forward to her visit. When I last spoke with her on Facebook, she was at the airport awaiting her flight to Canada to see her daughter and her daughter's family. I didn't know that would be the last time we ever "spoke" here on this earth. I'm missing a great friend, and my heart goes out to Beverly and to the rest of Marcia's family.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tongue of the Prophets

Earlier this week, I cataloged a book that fascinated me. I don't have time to read it right now, but it's one that I want to read. It's a biography of a Lithuanian Jew named Eliezer Ben Yehuda who is responsible for "resurrecting" the Hebrew language.

St. John, Robert. Tongue of the Prophets: The Life Story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952.
I'm looking forward to reading it when I have an opportunity to do so.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Great Ancestor Hunt

Perl, Lila. The Great Ancestor Hunt: The Fun of Finding Out Who You Are. New York: Clarion Books, 1989.

Perl has written a book that could interest some children in genealogy through the story she tells. However, the story may be misleading to some readers who think that the portraits used to introduce the subject in the beginning are their actual ancestors. She also tells the story of the Irish potato famine and immigrant plight to try to interest the readers. If you are looking for a book that will teach a child how to get started in genealogy, this is NOT the book. Other than a family group sheet and an appendix describing a few other resources, there is nothing there. Ultimately, there are better books out there to arouse the child's interest while teaching them a few basics. There are also better books to tell the stories of immigration and the Irish potato famine as well. If your library's genealogy collection for children is limited and includes this one, use it. Just be aware of its shortcomings and find ways to supplement the book.  (2.5 stars)

This is part of my Friday series on children's books and genealogy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm 9% What?

Earlier today, I received my Ancestry DNA results. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the limited usefulness of their results without the chromosome data to accompany it. Since I had been tested earlier by 23 and Me earlier, I can attest to that fact.

When I tested with 23 and Me, my results showed that I was 100% European. While my Ancestry DNA results do not disagree with that, they certainly provided a quite unexpected surprise, but there are also some interesting questions raised about the accuracy of the Ancestry DNA origins interpretation by the matches I have discovered.

Ancestry showed my ethnicity as:

87% British Isles
9% Persian/Turkish/Caucasus (present-day Georgia, Arminia, Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan)
4% Uncertain

At first I wondered if my Amish ancestry from Switzerland was showing up in this strange 9% category. I looked. There was one potential match there among those tested. The person was in the 5th to 8th cousin category, and I found no common line among the ones I quickly reviewed. I'll have to explore the match a bit more because I'm curious.

I then began looking through my British Isles matches. To my surprise, I found a couple of my Amish matches showing up as British Isles. How did those Yoders, Hartzlers, and Reichenbachs (or Rickenbachs) end up showing up as being of British Isles origin?  Most of them made their way from Switzerland to France (Alsace Region) to Pennsylvania.

I've found a definite match on an Aldridge line. I've found potential Davis and Taylor matches as well. None of those surprise me as being British Isles in origin.

I'm still quite puzzled about that 9%.

My surnames back to the gg-grandparent level:
Thornton - British Isles, probably from the northern part of England near the Scottish border
Lantz - Swiss (Amish)
Fowlkes - British Isles (Welsh)
Hester - probably British Isles although my uncle always wanted to claim it was German
Duke - probably British Isles
Phillips - British Isles (although this is a brick wall for me)
Taylor - British Isles
Harris - probably British Isles
Aldridge - probably British Isles
Allred - probably British Isles
Parish - probably British Isles
Yoder - Swiss (Amish)
Dearborn - British Isles (England)
Cockrell - British Isles
Mosely - British Isles

When I add a generation, I have these names to add: Barnum, Parker, Hertzler, Keim, Rathbone, Perkins, (possibly) Hunt, Pridgen, Davis, and Murry/Murray. All of these are British Isles or Swiss. If I go back another generation, all the names are likely British or Swiss. Although one could possibly be French. Sure - there are a few unidentified ancestors (mostly female) but it's still odd that I have a 9% match, especially when the Swiss are showing as British.

I'm wondering if everyone has such puzzling results. I certainly wish I had more matches on this 9% ethnicity. I also wish I could make a definite match; however, the results state that I may be unable to determine the match at that distance of relationship. I can certainly try though!

Now, I'm off to study some more matches.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sabbath Rest

This past week has been extremely tiring for me. I needed a little rest from all my labors of the previous week.  There used to be something called the Sabbath rest principle. It came from the Old Testament.  The first mention of it is in the creation account in Genesis 2:2, 3. The verses read: And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.(NKJV)  

In Exodus 16, we see the people of Israel preparing for and taking a break from their travels and manna gathering.
22 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” 24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. 25 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.”
27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. 28 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? 29 See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (NKJV) 

In the midst of the Ten Commandments, the principle is reiterated with the command to keep the day holy.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11, NKJV)

The Sabbath rest principle continues to be found throughout the book of Exodus and is found in many other Old Testament books and in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. I especially like Exodus 31:17 which gives us the benefit of being refreshed by our rest. (It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.; NJKV)

Whatever happened to this principle? It seems that today, everyone is busy 24/7. We don't take time to "wind down." We end up so weary and tired. We are not taking time to renew ourselves. It makes us lose the energy we need to accomplish the tasks set before us on many other days.

Up until the last 50 years or so of America's history, "blue laws" were pretty commonplace. For those of you who are not familiar with that term, they were Sunday closing laws which prohibited certain types of businesses from operating on Sundays. No one is exactly sure why they were called "blue laws." Some claimed that these laws were printed on blue paper. However, many historians question this claim. Others believe the "blue" part comes from the "bluenose" connotation associated with their strict moral standards. This is the explanation commonly accepted today. Whatever the connotation, many of the blue laws are either no longer on the books or are not enforced. The exception, of course, is in regards to sales of alcoholic beverages in some locations.  Even these blue laws are falling in some places.

The Sabbath for Jewish persons typically falls from sundown Friday night until sundown on Saturday. Christians usually observe Sunday as their Sabbath. We all need a Sabbath of rest. My tiredness of this past week merely reinforced this principle for me. I had worked too many days in a row without a break. Yesterday, I took that break by taking a nice relaxing drive through the mountains and visiting some places I enjoy. I realize that this drive violated the distance one was allowed to travel in the Old Testament, and I realize that some of the commerce in which I engaged on my trip also violated it. However, I did get a rest. I was able to revel in some of God's creation. Today is Sunday. I've participated in worship services this morning at my home church. I will be working with our youth choir, participating in the evening worship, and participating in a rehearsal for our Living Christmas Tree this evening.  

Are you taking a rest so that you may be refreshed?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples

Everyone has been talking about apples. They are "in season" right now here in East Tennessee. I decided that I needed to visit Sevier County today so I could go to my two favorite apple places as well as to spend a little time just getting away.

The first stop was the Apple Barn in Sevierville.

I wanted one of their apple pies. (I actually bought a box of 4 and managed to only eat the one I wanted right then. I had one later for supper. The others will be for tomorrow.)

As I was driving between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, I noticed how low the mountain streams were. It's a bit higher at this point because of the rapids, but you could easily walk across on the rocks in most places.

There's no better place to purchase fresh apples than Carver's Orchard in Cosby. They have a restaurant there too and sell other produce as well. (I prefer to get my dried apples at the Apple Barn.)

Happy Birthday ALA!

As I was looking through a reference book with dates of persons born on particular days, things that happened on that day, and holidays or saints' days celebrated on a particular day, I discovered that October 6, 1876 was when the American Library Association was founded.*

The source mentioned three individuals who founded the association in the city of Philadelphia--Melvil Dewey (better known for his Dewey Decimal System of arranging or classifying books), F. W. Poole [sic - it's W. F. standing for William Frederick] (better known for indexing periodical literature), and Charles Cutter (better known for those little numbers that go under the Dewey Decimal Classification number that allow us to alphabetize by author (or title) under a number).

I thought it would be fun to locate the trio in the 1880 census.

Melvil Dewey is age 29, living with his father-in-law Benjamin D. Godfrey, on Otis Street in Newton, Massachusetts. He's listed as an editor.

Godfrey, Benjamin D., W, M, 68, --, without, Mass., Mass., Mass.
Godfrey, Anne A., W, F, 60, wife, keeping house, NJ, NJ, NJ
Dui, Melvil, W, M, 29, son-in-law, editor, NY, Conn., NY
--, Annie, W, F, 30, daughter, at home, Mass., Mass., NJ
Godfrey, Lydia B., 24, daughter, s. teacher, Mass., Mass., NJ
Watson, Ralph, W, M, 20, hired man, farm laborer, Bermuda, --, --
Douglas, Kate, W, F, 22, servant, --, Prince Edward Island, --, --
Callaham, Mary, W, F, 40, servant, --, Ireland, --, --

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Ward 3, Newton, p. 73A-B (stamped), s.d. 60, enumeration district (E.D.) 475, sheet, 36, dwelling 319, family 345, Benjamin D. Godfrey household; digital image, ( : 2 Oct 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 546.

We find William F. Poole in Evanston, Illinois in 1880.  He is listed as a librarian. We know from many other sources that this was at the Chicago Public Library.

Poole, Wm. F, W, M, 58, --, Librarian, Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Fannie, W, F, 46, wife, keeping house, Penn., N.Y., Conn.
--, Annie, W, F, 22, daughter, at home, Mass., Mass., Penn.
--, Mary, W, F, 20, daughter, at home, Mass., Mass., Penn.
--, Wm. F., Jr., W, M, 12, son, at school, Mass., Mass. Penn.

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Evanston, p. 256B (stamped), s.d. 1, enumeration district (E.D.) 217, sheet 4, dwelling 51, family 51, Wm. F. Poole household; digital image, ( : 3 Oct 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 201.


Charles Cutter is in Winchester, Massachusetts in 1880. His extended family is living with him. He is listed as the librarian at the Athenaeum in Boston.

Cutter, Charles A., W, M, 43, --, Librarian (Athenaeum, Boston), Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Sarah F., W, F, 41, wife, keeping house, Mass., Eng., N.H.
--, Louis F., W, M, 15, son, at school, Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Philip C., W, M, 13, son, at school, Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Roland N., W, M, 11, son, at school, Mass., Mass., Mass.
Bradbury, Charles W., W, M, 48, brother-in-law, traveling salesman, Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Louise A., W, F, 43, sister-in-law, at home, N.H., Eng., N.H.
Cutter, Charlotte A., W, F, 64, aunt, at home, Mass., Mass., Mass.
--, Cordelia, W, F, 65, mother, at home, Mass., Mass., Mass.
Costello, Winnie, W, F, 35, servant, servant, Ireland, Ireland, Ireland
Callahan, Mary, W, F, 22, servant, servant, Mass., Ireland, Ireland

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Winchester, p. 86B (stamped), s.d. 60, enumeration district (E.D.) 385, sheet 64, dwelling 621, family 632, Charles A. Cutter household; digital image, ( : 3 Oct 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 539.


Here are the ALA founders from 1880. I may have to be a bit nosy. I'm now curious as to whether the younger Mary Callahan in Charles Cutter's household is related to the older one in the household with Melvil Dewey. I also want to know if Charles Bradbury is descended from Mary Perkins Bradbury, one of those convicted as a witch in 1692, although she managed to escape.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors

Taylor, Maureen Alice. Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

This book, intended for a juvenile audience, is a good book to use with young people who are just beginning their genealogical research. Some parts of the book are dated. No one talks about "Usenet" any more. USGenWeb has moved to a different web address. has greatly expanded, and its description just doesn't show how important it is as a paid site. Some web sites are no longer in existence. Other sites such as FamilySearch which are not mentioned are of great importance. However, this book makes points throughout it that a beginner needs to hear. Always document your sources. You may need to research the background of some things in order to fully understand them. You may need help with records for immigrant ancestors if they are in languages other than English. Even though I wish Maureen would update this for today's researcher, it is still helpful. The stories told should keep the reader's interest.  4 stars.

This is a part of my Friday series on Children's Literature and Genealogy.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Frisco

The Frisco Railroad (also known as the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company) played an important part in the history of the town in which I grew up. When the railroad came through, the town of Cotton Gin Port (in Monroe County, Mississippi) became a ghost town virtually overnight. The people relocated to what became known as Amory.  I found a very interesting article by Martin M. Pomphrey on the railroad in one of the books we've been relocating at work. While the article is too short to tell me much about the railroad's influence on my home town specifically, it does provide an overview of the railway and contains a map of its routes in 1980. Incidentally, it no longer went to San Francisco at all. It only went to Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Pensacola and Birmingham were its eastern destinations.  Amory was the half-way point between Memphis and Birmingham on the railroad, and there were a lot of persons employed by the railroad who resided there through the years. As you look at the censuses from various years, you can glimpse a bit of its importance as an employer. There were certainly members of my extended family employed by the railroad, and I've often been fascinated by Fred Veregge's Frisco Railroad site.  More recently, the Springfield, Missouri library has digitized some of their special collection on the Frisco.  The  article by Pomphrey includes a bibliography of unpublished documents in smaller archives as well as published sources. It also notes that the corporate documents are in the St. Louis Mercantile Library. 

The article's full bibliographic citation is:

Pomphrey, Martin M. "St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company." In Bryant, Keith L., ed. Railroads in the Age of Regulation, 1900-1980. (Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography). New York: Facts on File, 1988. pp. 379-380.

It should be noted that there are similar articles on other railways in the book that list the same types of resources. What a valuable tool for researching ancestors who worked for the railroads!

It should be noted that there is another volume in the series that covers the 19th century:

Frey, Robert L., ed. Railroads in the Nineteenth Century. (Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography). New York: Facts on File, 1988.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


It's amazing what you can learn from dictionaries of various sorts. We all know that spelling was not standardized for quite awhile so we will always find variations on spellings, particularly in early records.  I knew that the state of my birth, Mississippi, meant "Great Water" and that its name came from the river. However, I did not know that "One of the earliest records of the name is that of Messipi in 1666."*  Now all those schoolchildren who have been trying to spell or pronounce the state with only one set of s's can try to claim that they are trying to revert to an earlier spelling or pronunciation of the state.

* Adrian Room, Cassell Dictionary of Proper Names (London: Cassell, 1994), p. 354.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Fever Season by Jeanette Keith

Keith, Jeanette. Fever Season: The Story of a Terrifying Epidemic and the People Who Saved a City.  New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2012

The yellow fever epidemic of 1878 in Memphis, Tennessee was one of the worst epidemics in our nation's history. This book chronicles its journey up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the Bluff City. The author has included more information on mosquitoes than most historical accounts include. She notes that no one knew the cause of yellow fever until the late 1890s and that most believed that creating sanitary conditions would thwart the progress of the disease. She has made extensive use of newspapers and archival and manuscript collections in her research. She has even utilized a few genealogical sources in her treatment of the subject. Her account is very readable and personal. She includes a great deal of information on the press in Memphis at the time. She includes a great deal of information on medical personnel from other cities responding to the crisis in Memphis and how it affected them. Her treatment puts the outbreak into its contextual history, making the book very informational for anyone wanting to read an account of what the city itself was like at that time.  She also notes the response of other regions such as St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati to the yellow fever outbreak.  Persons interested in the outbreak in Greenwood, Mississippi of the same year will also find useful information in the volume. Her acknowledgments mention that Wayne Dowdy, a noted West Tennessee historian, reviewed an early form of the publication. Highly recommended for anyone interested in 19th century epidemics, Southern history, or the Memphis region. This review is based on an electronic galley copy provided through NetGalley for the purpose of review..

Monday, October 01, 2012

Interesting Resource for Study of Place Names

A couple of days ago, I mentioned an ongoing project at work to prune our Reference Collection. A lot of the materials are just being relocated to a storage location or to the regular circulating collection. The resource I'm featuring today is going into storage. It can still be used by persons, but a staff member will have to pull it.

Barnhart, Clarence L., ed. The New Century Cyclopedia of Names. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1954.  3 vols.

[v.2, p. 2178]

Jefferson City. [Former name, Mossy Creek.] Town in E Tennessee, in Jefferson County, NE of Knoxville, in a zinc-mining area: manufactures of iron, and cotton and wool textiles. It is the seat of Carson-Newman College. 3,633 (1950).

[v.2, p. 2840]
Mossy Creek (môs´i). Former name of Jefferson City, Tenn.
Why did I choose these entries? Quite simply to show that some dictionaries which include place names may include former and/or latter names of places.  If I had an ancestor who fought in the Battle of Mossy Creek and did not know that Mossy Creek was now Jefferson City, this would be a good means of learning that fact.  It also gives me a brief profile of the community as it existed in the 1950s.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

If My People . . .

Music has always been an important part of my life. I grew up going to church, and I loved to sing. I began playing the piano when I was in the second grade.  Each year, our family would attend a family camp in Oklahoma. Janet Hudson led the music for the children most years. She was a pastor's wife from Ohio when I first knew her although her family later moved to Northern Kentucky. One of the choruses that she taught us to sing was taken directly from the Bible.

If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked way; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I've learned other tunes to that verse since my first encounter with it in my early elementary years, but it's a song that I'll never forget.  It's also a Bible verse that I will never forget.  It's also a verse that I hope America does not forget!