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!