Wednesday, May 30, 2018

An Impressive Member of the FAN Club

Most genealogists recognize the acronym FAN popularized by Elizabeth Shown Mills. For those not acquainted with the term, FAN represents your ancestor's friends, associates, and neighbors.

Micah Taul, then clerk of courts in Wayne County, Kentucky, granted marriage bonds on 22 Jan 1811 to two couples. The bondsman for Charles Harris to wed Dicey Davis was John Harris, believed to be his father. The bond states Dicey was "of age" and that Charles' parents were present and consented. The other marriage that day was Joseph Mays to Nancy Davis. Presumably Nancy was Dicey's younger sister for John Davis, presumably their father, consented to that marriage. Nicholas Banes served as bondsman. Mays' parents also consented according to the record.

I wondered who Micah Taul was. Born in Maryland in 1785, he moved with his parents to Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1787. His admission to the bar at the age of sixteen in 1801 is notable. He began serving as county clerk that same year. He served as a Colonel in the War of 1812. He served a term as United States representative from 1815 to 1817. He later moved to Winchester, Tennessee where he practiced law and eventually to Talladega County, Alabama where he owned a plantation near Mardisville. Taul's son Micah later served as Alabama's Secretary of State.

Taul wrote memoirs. The originals no longer exist, but they were serialized in the Register of Kentucky State Historical  in 1929 and typescripts are available at University of Kentucky and Appalachian State University. Appalachian State's special collections contain letters from a Taul descendant.


Find A Grave, database with images ( : accessed 28 May 2018), memorial for Micah Taul (1785-1850), memorial no. 25309452, citing Taul Family Cemetery, Mardisville, Talladega County, Alabama; memorial created by Bill McKern, 16 Mar 2008.

"Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 17 May 2018), Charles Harris to Dicey Davis and Joseph Mays to Nancy Davis, 22 Jan 1811, Wayne County, Kentucky, FHL film 005773126 > image 172 of 707; citing record at Madison County Courthouse, Richmond.

"Memoirs of Micah Taul," Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, vol. 27, no. 79 (Jan. 1929): 343-380; vol. 27, no. 80 (May 1929): 494-517; vol. 27, no. 81 (Sept. 1929): 601-627. 

"Micah Taul," Wikipedia ( : accessed 28 May 2018).

Micah Taul Papers, 1848-1978. Belk Library, Appalachian State University, W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Collection 170. 2 folders. At the time of writing, the special collections web site did not load. Information obtained from Worldcat ( : accessed 28 May 2018).

Monday, May 28, 2018

Why I Became a Genealogist

In the mid-1980s and from 1989-1999, I lived in Cincinnati. At that time the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's collection often appeared in top ten lists of genealogy research facilities in the United States. I always loved history and often saw lots of people researching their family histories as I used the main library.

On one visit home to Mississippi, my mother and grandmother (Nanny) discussed a trip they made to try to find out more about more about Nanny's grandfather Walton (or Walter) Harris. Nanny believed he came from Clinton, Kentucky, or at least that relatives resided there. The family story states he drove cattle to somewhere around Starkville, Mississippi. He stopped to water his horse and the cattle at the Mosely farm in Giles County, Tennessee where he met the woman who became his wife. She and a couple of female friends or relatives sunbathed in view of the men. After the cattle drive, he returned to the farm, taking her as his bride, never returning to Kentucky. I decided to try researching the story, hoping to locate Walton's parents in Kentucky.

Driving cattle from Hickman County, Kentucky, home of the town of Clinton, to Starkville, Mississippi by way of Giles County, Tennessee did not seem a likely route, and early efforts to find a family there which fit known data about his family from other censuses failed. I spotted Clinton County, Kentucky and wondered if Nanny confused the town and county. Clinton County was established in 1835, more than a couple decades after Walton's birth. However, its parent counties held relevant records. I built a case for his parents, based largely on naming patterns. I know I was a newbie researcher and that my case did not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. I occasionally work on that line, trying to poke holes in my theory, but so far the conclusion reached remains viable.

It appears I inherited more DNA from Walton's wife than from him, but other cousins whose kits I manage hold valuable clues. My matches indicate a connection to the family, but those of cousins hold more matches showing a relation. I look forward to a day of research at Kentucky Department of Archives and History in a couple weeks when I look for additional things to incorporate in my proof argument.

The search for Walton's family ignited an enduring passion for genealogical research. I always did love jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, and the mystery genre. Genealogy releases my inner sleuth!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Taking Time To Blog

Life sometimes gets busy. I do not take time to find things to blog nor do I take time to write posts. Early blog posts here did not always include full citations because I did not know how to create footnotes on a blog. It adds time to the creation of blog posts because of the complexity of creating the HTML coding. I want to include citations when needed (and sometimes when not) to ensure adherence to genealogy standards.

Lately book reviews filled my blog. They will continue to be part of it. I need the outlet to fulfill requirements for advance review copies. However, I do not want reviews to become the main thing here as I allowed. After reflecting, I decided on an action plan to reclaim the blog for its intended purpose. I resolve to blog three times weekly about something genealogical or historical in nature. Sometimes the post may take the form of a book review, but I hope most book reviews fall on Tuesdays. I hope to post most other non-genealogy reviews on Thursdays or Saturdays. However, book reviews coincide with book release dates set by publishers. Most fall on Tuesdays, but exceptions exist.

The new plan presently includes genealogy or history posts scheduled to appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I may include posts other days if I regain the momentum I once possessed. If I'm on vacation or otherwise out of town, the posts may include something about a place I visit or a genealogical reflection on a person associated with the place.

If I fail to keep up with this schedule, hold me accountable! Ask "What's up?" or in some way let me know someone reads and misses the posts. This will encourage me to get back on track. Thank you, readers, for bearing with me.

The Blogger privacy notice only appears when an IP originates in EU countries or if you change the domain to a European one. After I figure out how to use the new pages feature on the updated blog template, I will add one of my own as well. However, it covers the only cookies and such. I removed the "followers" element from the sidebar to increase privacy of readers. I did not know if readers could opt out, so I decided to be safe.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Better Off Read

Page, Nora. Better Off Read. New York: Crooked Lane Books, 2018.

A library with a 75-year-old librarian who still drives a bookmobile (and speeds while doing so)? The set-up for Nora Page's new series features that implausible scenario. The mayor of Catulpa Springs, Georgia,somewhere just north of the Florida state line, wants to do away with its tree-damaged library, its bookmobile, and its librarian. An antiquarian book collector and library friend's death turns suspicion to the man's neighbor. Cleo doesn't believe it and sets out to investigate. Not even Rhett Butler the cat could redeem this book. Far too many characters appear too quickly without sufficient development to sort in the reader's mind. A low-level officer related to one of the characters seems to be the main police officer investigating rather than police detectives or the man referred to throughout the book as "Chief." The conversation-intensive narrative likely appeals to a younger audience while the septuagenarian librarian tries to draw older readers. Unfortunately as someone who recently dealt with aging parents, I question how a town could afford insurance to allow an elderly woman known to speed to drive a bookmobile. While the story does improve as the book goes on, it fails to redeem itself and leaves the reader dissatisfied. I received an advance review copy from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Bats in the Belfry

Lorac, E. C. R. Bats in the Belfry. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2018.

Bruce Attleton and Mr. Debrette disappear about the same time. Friends and family believe Attleton went abroad, but his luggage and passport turn up in a London studio called the Belfry. Inspector MacDonald investigates. Searchers find a mutilated body in a cleverly disguised location. Although slight doubts about its identity surface, it turns out to be Attleton. Blackmail, affairs, imposters, and more add to the plot. While the book itself suffers from being dated in writing style, the mystery's plot could probably still do well as a movie. It commands the attention of the reader. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.