Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Genealogy Christmas Wish List

I just realized that Genealogy Santa was pretty good to me last year. While I didn't get the Flip Camcorder or Wayfarers in Walton County, I did manage to get everything else on my 2010 Genealogy Wish List.

Of course I have to admit that I didn't actually get the Kia Soul at Christmas time but about 6 months later when the Suzuki Forenza decided that it had had enough.

So what's on my Genealogy Christmas Wish List for 2011.

Camcorder - Since Cisco decided to exist the Flip Video business, I've decided that I would prefer a regular camcorder. As I noted last year, the size of regular camcorders has come down tremendously. As stated last year, I think a small camcorder is perfect for those times when a you need a bit more than a still shot. I just have to determine the one that is right for me and my needs so that I can tell Santa.

Wayfarers in Walton County - I still would like a copy of this. Maybe this will be the year Santa can find a copy to place under my tree.

Nook - No particular reason I need this other than I'm a gadget freak. I'm sure genealogist need a reader for something.

So there you have it. No big ticket items like last year, so I'm hoping Santa can be accommodating.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Research wise, these past few months have been pretty good. While I've not been able to peel away another layer in my lineage or been able to determine that final slave owner. I have had a few successes.

The first was being able to obtain pictures of my Great Grand Aunt's, Nunna Pierce Sims, final resting place. Nunna, is one of my maternal great grandad's, Cornelius Pierce, younger sisters.

For the bulk of my ancestors and collateral relatives, I have no clue whether there is a marker at their grave or not but I still make request because while its not a picture of the ancestor, for me, a picture of the grave and / or marker is still better than nothing. It gives you something to hold onto, to touch, and to imagine their time here on earth.

First, I found Aunt Nunna's death certificate on Georgia Virtual Vault.

The death certificate indicated that she was interred in South View Cemetery in Atlanta, GA. So, I did what I usually do when armed with such information. Yes, I immediately went to Find-a-Grave and entered Aunt Nunna's information and submitted a photo request. My volunteer went to South View twice trying to find Aunt Nunna's grave but was unable to locate the grave and stated that the cemetery had no records on file for Aunt Nunna.

Yes, I was disappointed but you know we researchers don't give up that easily, so a few months back I decided to try again except this time I wrote the cemetery and included a copy of Aunt Nunna's death certificate. Well, no wonder my Find-a-grave volunteer couldn't find her, because all the cemetery records have Aunt Nunna's first name listed as Unna instead of Nunna. Even the marker on her vault has Unna.

But I was able to determine that this was definitely Aunt Nunna based on the burial records / cards that South View provided in addition to the pictures they took for me.

The burial records indicate that Aunt Nunna's husband bought this four person plot when Aunt Nunna died in 1921. In addition to Aunt Nunna, her husband Matthew is interred with her in the brick vault. There are also two other Sims that are buried in this plot. I plan to explore them more in the future to determine exactly who they are.

I hope to be able to visit my Great Grand Aunt's grave in person one day, hopefully next year during the family reunion, but for now I'll just enjoy these pictures.

Pictures taken by the staff of South View Cemetery Association.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Days 26-31

This posts wraps up the 31 Days of Genealogy from Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy?. The daily challenges were a way to get us working on our genealogy everyday during the month of October, which is Family History Month. Most of the activities required a minimal amount of time, usually 10 minutes  or less.

The activies for Days 27 - 31 are as follows:

Days 27) Create a Google Alert - These allow you to monitor the web for interesting information. I've created a google alert for my name, my business name, and for one particular branch of my family (e.g. "Crawley genealogy"). is free, and you only need to create a gmail account (also free).  You can control how often Google notifies you (weekly, daily, immediately) and the types of items (books, video, news, etc).

Days 28) Join a Remote Genealogical or Historical Society - No matter where your ancestor lived, there's probably a genealogical or historical society at that faraway location.  Those remote societies often publish a periodic newsletter, complete with transcriptions, helpful information about resources, and in many cases, they'll do free (or almost-free) look-ups for members.  I use this feature often, with my Ontario Genealogical Society memberships, since I'm thousands of miles away in California, since I'm a long-distance member, they'll do a quick look-up for me, saving me time and considerable expense.

Days 29) Try - Not one of my favorite sites, but many people love it.  It's touted as a genealogy search engine, in my opinion, it still has a ways to go before I'll use it on a regular basis.  That said, based on your own ancestry, you may find the Mocavo search results useful. Good thing it's free.

Days 30) Find a local genealogy class and take it - No matter where you live, you can probably find a local genealogy class taught within an hour's drive of your home.  In many cases, these classes are presented at a public library, at a church or other public venue, and many of the classes are free.  Even if the class is outside your general interest area, you can still learn something.  One of the most interesting classes I took was a Chinese genealogy class, in San Francisco.  I had never heard the term "Paper sons" before, and wasn't aware of the Chinese Exclusion Act and how it impacted generations of Chinese in the U.S. and those desiring to come to the U.S.  It gave me a new appreciation of the difficulties of genealogy, and I've used pointers from this class again and again over the years.

Days 31) Create an Ancestor Display - Using a foam board, create a display for one branch of your family, complete with photos, reduced-size photocopies of documents, maps, recipes, migration patterns, interesting quotes, etc.  The goal is to create something you can share with your relatives during the holidays.  Yes, we know that many of them aren't interested in genealogy, but by creating an attractive, interesting display, you can post it on a wall, easel, stand it up on a table, etc., so, before dinner is served, your relatives will have a chance to examine the information, learn something new, and even the most recalcitrant relative may be inspired to actually open up and share some stories of information. 

Day 27: This was something I had already done. I've set up Google Alerts for my name as well as for ancestral surnames.

Day 28: I'm a member of the East Georgia Genealogical Society, which covers all the known counties in which my maternal ancestors resided. I'm also a member of Martin County (NC) Genealogical Society which covers the geographic area of my paternal ancestors.

Day 29: I think I've tried the Macavo site before and didn't particularly care for it. That being said, I did try it again. I'm still not sure about the site. Unfortunately, I can't quite put my finger one what I don't like about the site. I'll put it in my arsenal of tools but not sure if it will be the near the top of the list of things I use.

Day 30: By doing a quick search of my local library's event calendar, I learned that there is a one day class next month, November 12, 2011, at the Mint Hill branch of our library. The title of the class is Find Your Ancestor & Learn About Yourself.

Day 31: This is a great idea. I've done similar things in the past like create a family tree for my my mother and my aunts as Christmas presents. Last night, I really didn't have time to create the foam board display. For me, this is one of those activities that would have taken longer than 10 minutes, so hopefully, after I finish up a few craft projects, I can create this. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Days 19 - 25

During the month of October, which is Family History Month, I'm participating in Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy? 31 Days of Genealogy. The daily challenges are designed as a way to get us working on our genealogy each day during the month of October. Most of the challenges only require 10 minutes to do.

The challenges for Days 19 - 25 are as follows:

Days 19) Start a family Health History, using your pedigree chart.  Note the causes of death of as many people on the chart as possible, looking to identify any trends that may be passed down generation to generation.

Days 20) Write a quick 5-min story about one of your ancestors.  Send it, along with a photo, to a local genealogical society for their newsletter, or even to your local newspaper, as they're always looking for fresh content.

Days 21) Look for online obituaries for your relatives.  Do an Internet search for the city where they died, to determine the name of the local papers, then look for an online obituary archive.

Days 22) Create a blog for one branch of your family.  If you already have a blog, create a new one.  Blogs are free on sites like,, etc.

Days 23) Backup your family file to, which is a FREE cloud storage site.  You can upload files, documents, videos, music, etc., and access the information from any computer, Mac or PC.  You need to backup your family files at least once per month.

Days 24) Create a "Passwords File" which includes all the Internet passwords for the various accounts you have online.  This needs to be either placed with your final instructions (for use after you die), or instructions where the file resides on your computer.  Without passwords, your heirs will not be able to access any family files/information you've posted online.

Days 25) Make plans to attend at least one regional or national genealogical conference next year.  It's never too early to start planning.  Groups such as the FGS, APG, Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS), NGS, International Black Genealogical Summit, RootsTech, Ontario Genealogical Society (Canada), Ohio Genealogical Society, etc., are just the tip of the iceberg.  Check out their Web sites and start making plans to participate in one or more of these.

Day 19:  While doing my research, I've often noted, mentally, what my ancestors died from but I've never taken the time to do a formal genogram. Since for me, this activity feels like it may take a bit longer than 10, I plan to work on it later in the week when I have more time.

Day 20: What a great idea! This ties in with Lisa challenge from Day 3, which was to work on your genealogy gifts by writing the life history of one  ancestor. Since I'm already working on my paternal great grandfather, Peter T. Everett, for the Christmas gift, I've decided to also use him in submitting an article to the Martin County, NC Genealogical Society.

Day 21: This is something I do at least once a week trying to find obituaries for ancestors as well as more recent relatives. Usually, I find myself doing this on Tuesdays when I'm trying to find something to post for Tombstone Tuesday.

Day 22: Currently, I have two blogs documenting my research / search for my ancestors. The first is of course this blog, Georgia Black Crackers, which documents my search for my maternal ancestors, and the other is Conversations with my Ancestors, which documents my search for my paternal ancestors.

Day 23: I think I've heard of but have never bothered to check it out. After listening to the video on Dropbox, I think this is exactly what I need. Currently, I have genealogy information on my desk top and lap top as well as a couple of flash drives. Many times I've driven myself mad going back and forth between the laptop and desktop to retrieve files.

Day 24: I've created a password file for my financial information and actually have some of my genealogy passwords within that file. However, thanks to this exercise, I created a totally separate file for all my genealogy passwords.

Day 25: Since it will be in my home state, one conference that I'm planning to attend in 2012 is the 33rd Annual National Conference of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society, Oct 4-7. I would also like to attend at least one month meeting of the East Georgia Genealogical Society as well as the Martin County, NC Genealogical Society.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Days 15 - 18

After finally getting caught up on all the daily challenges from Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy?, I quickly fell behind, again. The daily challenges are a way to work on your genealogy each day during the month of October. Since the challenges require a minimal amount of time, Lisa touts they can be done in 10 minutes, even if you get behind, you can catch up quickly.

The challenges for Days 15 - 18 are as follows:

Day 15) Explore Genealogy Blog Finder  Their collection of topics is wide-ranging and covers such items as famous folks, Jewish, genetic genealogy, podcasts, obituaries, and oh, so much more.  Find something new and exciting, or add your own to the mix.

Day 16) Learn how easy it is to print your entire family pedigree on one huge piece of paper.  On OnePage you can download their software (Mac or PC) and use it to create the chart. Once you've tweaked it, copy the PDF file onto a thumb drive and take it (or email it) to your local copy center to have it printed on a huge poster.  OnePage Genealogy is free and is easy to use.
Days 17) Enroll in an online genealogy course with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Whether you want to go for your PLCGS certificate, or just brush up on one or two courses, these classes are high calibre and very affordable.  Classes are conducted online, where you can interact with your instructor via phone or online.  Check out their catalog at:

Days 18) Download a free trial of a different genealogy software program.  You may love the one you've been using all this time, but each program has its features and benefits, as well as shortcomings.  Mac users are lucky in that they can run Mac programs or PC programs, using PC emulation software such as Bootcamp, VMWare Fusion (my favorite) or Parallels.
Check out this site, for a side-by-side comparison of Mac and PC genealogy software programs:

Day 15: I went to the Genealogy Blog Finder site. One of the first things I did was check to see if my blogs were listed there. This blog, Georgia Black Crackers, was listed among the blogs, but my other blog, Conversations With My Ancestors, was not. So, the first thing I did was submit a request to add Conversations with My Ancestors to the list.

I also checked out other blogs on the site. In my eyes, I see the Genealogy Blog Finder as another resource in keeping up with the various blogs. I also use Google Reader and see the two complimenting each other.

Day 16: This is a great idea and something I've always envisioned doing this for a family reunion. So, I've started to work on and tweak this, so that I can hopefully present it at future family reunion(s).

Day 17:  After several attempts, I was unable to access the National Institute of Genealogical Studies website. Hopefully, later today, I will be able to access it.

Day 18: I currently use Roots Magic. I also have Family Tree Maker, which was my first genealogy software program. Even though I already have 2 software programs, I decided to download the free version of Legacy Software. I've heard several of my fellow bloggers talk about Legacy, so I decided to check it out. Will report back later on my experience with the software.


Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Days 13-14

I've been participating in Lisa Lee's, Got Genealogy?, 31 Days of Genealogy. These are projects to get us working on our genealogy each and every day during the month of October, which is Family History Month. Most of the projects can be done within 10 minutes.

The projects for Day 13 and 14 are as follows:

Day 13) Transcribe or re-transcribe a written document.  Have an old military, land, immigration or other record?  Take the time to transcribe the entire document, or, re-transcribe one you already transcribed years ago.  

Day 14) Order a microfilm from the Mormon Family History Library ONLINE. It's a new feature, at, and the films will be sent to your local Family History Center (FHC), but it makes it much easier to order the films, using a credit card or you Paypal account.

Day 13: I've not gotten this project accomplished, yet. My goal is to work on it this weekend.

Day 14: I recently discovered that microfilms can be ordered online. I've had 3 sitting in my cart for a while now and needed this prompt to go ahead and order them. I'm so happy that the ability to order microfilms has finally been put online. The Family History Center that I go to isn't on any of my usual routes, I often find myself driving there just to order. It will be so much nicer to be able to order on line and just go when the microfilm finally arrives. It may not add up to a huge time savings but as they say, every little bit helps.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

National Black Genealogy Summit, Fort Wayne, IN - Oct. 20-22, 2011

The National Black Genealogy Summit will take place October 20 - 22, 2011 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne is home to one of the nation's most comprehensive collections of genealogy records, and an excellent source of documents pertaining to Black genealogy in particular.

The three-day conference will feature a number of nationally-known genealogy and research experts, and a wide variety of workshops for everyone from beginners to experienced family researchers. The event is sponsored by the Indiana Genealogical Society; the Friends of the Allen County Public Library; and

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Day 12

The project for Day 12 of Lisa Lee's, Got Genealogy?, 31 Days of Genealogy is as follows:

Day 12) Bundle some or your scanned images and documents into CDs or DVDs, burn the, and send them to family members.  In case of a natural disaster, if your computer hard drive dies and you don't have a back up, by sending these documents to other family members, you have a better chance of recovering them.

This is something I've been meaning to do for awhile but keep saying I'll get to it "tomorrow." An although it sounds like this is what I'm doing again, I really am putting this on the schedule for Friday, since it's not something I had a chance to work on today due to working on a few craft projects today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - Day 11

Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy? has designed some fun ways to squeeze a little genealogy in every day during the month of October, which is Family History Month.

Today's activity is 

Never use an ISP-related email address for your genealogy.  What I mean by that is that if your email address ends in "@aol," "," "," etc., if you ever change your ISP (and you will, eventually), people trying to track you down will have a difficult time doing to.

I've had access to the Internet now for 10+ years and during that time I've changed Internet services providers at least 5 times. After change #2, I decided to forgo the ISP-related e-mail. I first signed up for a yahoo account. Within the the past 5 years, I added Gmail.

Going with a non-ISP email was the best decision I ever made. I got tired of trying to notify everyone of the change whenever I switched providers. Now I can change providers as often as I want without ever giving up my e-mail address.

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - Days 8-10

For the month of October, which is Family History Month, I've been working through the daily activities that Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy?, has devised to get us working on our Genealogy. Lisa touts that these activities can be done in 10 minutes.

Due to getting slightly behind on reading my e-mails, it was a few days into the month before I realized that Lisa was doing this. As a result, I've been trying to catch up by doing several of the activities each day.

The activities for Days 8-10 are as follows:

DAY 8) County Courthouse Day
 It may be Saturday, and even though your county courthouse is closed, the internet is open 24/7.  Spend a few minutes looking to see what online databases and resources your county courthouse has available.  Pick a county where one of your ancestor lived, and do the following searches:
Buncombe County, NC register of deeds  (customize this search with YOUR county)
… registrar or deeds
… recorder
… court recorder
… courthouse or court house
… clerk

Each county is a separate entity.  Some offer oodles of online information, some offer none, and they constantly change.  Even if you've looked before, look again.  If you find something useful, be sure to bookmark it.

DAY 9) Public Library Day
 Just like county courthouses, public libraries may or may not offer information useful to genealogists.  One neat trick I've found is that if I search for public libraries in the county where my ancestor, the search results will include any county public libraries found along with all of the cities within the county that also have their own public libraries.  Try search for, say, "wayne county michigan public library" and you'll get a list of libraries in Detroit, Westland, Garden City, and others, along with a map of where each is located.
You can also go to, which gives an alphabetical list within each state, which may be helpful.
Some public libraries offer free research assistance, the Richland County, SC public library will do free lookups of obituaries and will scan the images and email them to you (for free), the Indiana State Library has free genealogical databases online including marriages, newspaper indexes, military records, etc., and you don't have to be a member to access this information.

State, county and local libraries are a great start, but be sure to look for college and university libraries, private, genealogical, historical society and ethnic libraries.  For example, a search for "african american libraries" or "jewish library association" will provide dozens of links of such libraries all over the U.S. There's a ton of information out there – go find it!

Day 10) Join a Genealogical or Historical Society
Even if you're not a professional genealogist, if you want to become one, the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is a wonderful place to start ( You can join for as little as $35/year, which entitles you to the quarterly journal (APG Quarterly), or for $65/year you'll get full voting rights, discounts to genealogical conferences, will be listed on the APG's Web site and can attend APG meetings.  One of the hallmarks of the APG is their commitment to high research standards, to ensure that all APG members conform to their Code of Ethics.

If your ancestor lived in a faraway county, there's probably a genealogical or historical society there, and you should consider joining.  Most provide a quarterly journal of local information, and being a member, I've found the ones to which I belong more than happy to help me with look-ups and tips for trip planning… even a free place to stay when I came to town on a research trip.  You know how the old saying goes, "You can never join too many genealogical societies."

Day 8: I research primarily in Georgia (maternal lines) and North Carolina (paternal lines). For the counties that I research in Georgia, I don't find much online for the individual counties but I do make full use of Georgia Virtual Vault, which has a considerable amount of information online. In North Carolina, my county of focus has primarily been Martin County. A lot of old deeds and even more recent deeds can be found at the Martin County Register of Deeds Remote Access Site.

Day 9: While I've not done it often, I have employed local libraries in the areas that I research. Most often I write, but I've also visited them if I'm in the area. I appreciate Lisa providing the site to find the listing of Public Libraries. Until now, I did not know of this site.

Day 10: I've already joined a few genealogical societies. I've joined the local ones where my ancestors lived, East Georgia Genealogical Society (EGGS) and Martin County (NC) Genealogical Society. I've also joined the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Depending on funds, I'm also planning to join the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS).

And with this post, I'm finally up to date on the daily activities. So far, I've really enjoyed the activities. Thank you Lisa for coming up with this idea.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - Days 4-7

For Family History Month, Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy? has devised a series of fun activities and projects to get us working on our genealogy every day during the month of October. Most of the activities will only require 10 minutes of your time.

Today, I worked on the activities for Days 4-7 in an effort to get almost caught up on the daily activities.

The activities for Days 4-7 are as follows:

DAY 4) Consanguinity Loops
Take two minutes to view my "Consanguinity Loops" video and get a better understanding of how two people are related, so that you can explain it at your next family reunion.  View Video
DAY 5) Facebook Groups
If you're not already on Facebook, you're missing out on an incredible resource of information.  Find relatives, discover new information about your family, find photos, etc.  JOIN FACEBOOK.COM TODAY.

If you're already on Facebook, search for new groups to join and join them.  Do a search for:

You get the idea.  Once a member of these groups, you can ask questions, post answers, share interesting Web sites, etc.  The more you reach out, the more information you'll find.

DAY 6) Order a Social Security Application ONLINE
If you haven't already tried it, this new, convenient service, is fast, secure and reliable, and costs less, because you don't have to pay for postage, paper and an envelope.  Plus, the desired SS application arrives faster than a mail request. $27 for each request.  BOOKMARK THIS URL:

DAY 7) Subscribe to Dick Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter
Dick Eastman has been around since before the beginning of recorded time, and when it comes to computers, genealogy and all things technology, he's your guy.  His award-winning newsletter offers free and premium  ("Plus", only $20/year) versions, and both are jam packed with interesting and useful information.  Sure, you could probably spend countless hours trying to find half the stuff you'll find in just one of his online newsletters, but he's the expert at finding information and making difficult topics easy to understand.  Eastman's newsletter is a must-have for all genealogists.  Subscribe today.

Day 4: Depending on the cousin chart used, I tend to have no problems understanding the chart but trying to explain it to a person who use happens to want someone to explain once removed and twice removed, etc. can be a bit daunting.

Lisa's Consanguinity Loops approach is easy to understand. So, the next time I attempt to explain cousins to someone, I will use Lisa's loops approach and see if eliminates the glazed over eyes.

Day 5: I've been on Facebook almost from the moment that I renewed my research back in 2009. Although I was hesitant in joining Facebook, I'm glad that I did. I've discovered and gotten to know some of the descendants of my great Uncle, Will Hosch, via Facebook.

There are also some great genealogy groups. One that I joined recently is DNA Tested African Descendants. Other groups include East Georgia Genealogical Society, Inc (EGGS), Georgia Genealogy Network, and Haplogroup L3.

Day 6: I've ordered several Social Security Applications online. When compared against request that I've mailed in, I do get the application faster.

Day 7: I've been a subscriber to the free version of Dick Eastman's newsletter for awhile. I decided to go ahead and upgrade to the Plus version because often times I've found myself wanting more.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Genealogy Christmas Gifts and 31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time

In honor of October being Family History Month, Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy? has devised some great ideas and activities that will have us working on our genealogy every day during the month of October. The activities can be done in as little as 10 minutes.

Since I'm a little behind on the daily activities, I'm hoping to get caught up by doing 2 - 3, maybe more, of the activities each day.

The third activity (Day 3) that Lisa has us doing is

Start Working on Your Genealogy Holiday Gifts
No excuse, you have plenty of time to write the life history of ONE of your ancestors, cite it (sources are a MUST), format it, pretty-it-up, print it and get it gift wrapped in time for the holiday season in December.  You don't have to write the story of your entire family … just pick one or two ancestors, and tell their story.  If you keep it in historical context, it will make your story more compelling and those who receive it will be more inclined to keep it around for future generations.

What a great idea! Lisa even gives an example from her own family. 

The thing I like about this project is that for those of us who one day plan to pen the history of our families, it's a great starting point to begin that process.

For this project, I've selected two ancestors, one from my maternal side, great grandfather Cornelius Pierce, and one from my paternal side, great grandfather Peter Everett.

Since I've already done a PowerPoint presentation for Grandpa Cornelius, I'm hoping that one will come together quickly.

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time - Day 2

October is Family History Month and Lisa Lee, Got Genealogy?, has
devised a clever way for us to squeeze a little genealogy in every day this month.

Since I missed reading this earlier this week, I'm a little behind on the daily activities and am trying to get caught up. So, you might see a few posts from me today as I try to catch up.

The exercise / activity for Day 2 is as follows:


This FREE Web site makes it easy to find interesting Web pages, photos and videos that you probably wouldn't find on your own.  You can create your preference of "interests," and StumbleUpon will go out and find other Web sites, photos and videos that include that topic.  In addition, if you login using your FaceBook credentials, whenever any of your FB friends "likes" a particular Web site in StumbleUpon, you'll be notified.  StumbleUpon makes the Web a much smaller place, and increases the likelihood that you'll find new information you probably wouldn't have found on your own.

I've seen some of my genealogy friends using StumbleUpon but never really understood it or knew exactly what it was until doing this activity.

I set up an account on StumbleUpon and selected my interests. I then searched on some of my interests. Although not genealogy related, I came across an interesting recipe posted in one of the blogs at for Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites. By the way, I am a Tarheel.

And although I've seen this before, the first thing that came up when I did a search of genealogy was a cousin chart which had been posted at Los Cuatro Ojos

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days of Genealogy - 10 Minutes at a Time

October is Family History Month and Lisa Lee, Got Genealogy?, has
devised a clever way for us to squeeze a little genealogy in every day this month.

Since I was a bit behind on reading some of my e-mails, I didn't realize that Lisa was doing this until yesterday. So, I'm going to have to play catch-up for a few days.

Lisa's activity for Day 1 of the 31 Days of Genealogy is as follows:

Speling Dusn't Cownt
The first Golden Rule of Genealogy is "Speling Dusn't Cownt," mainly because, back in the day, most folks could barely read or write, plus spelling standards weren't what they are today.  Can't find a missing ancestor? Perhaps his/her name was just misspelled, so today's task is to "re-spell" their name based on the following tips:
a) N = U or V
 - In cursive writing, the lower-case letter “n” often looks like a lower-case ”u,” and there are, quite literally, thousands of instances on, alone, where these surnames have been mis-transcribed. Names like ANDERSON, HANSEN, JONES, LANHAM, HENDERSON, MONTGOMERY, STONE, etc. can become Auderson, Hausen, Joues, Lauham, Heuderson, Moutgomery, and Stove.

 - Reversed consonants account for far more unfindable relatives than most people even imagine. In many cases, it’s just due to bad spelling, but in others, it’s poor penmanship or sloppy transcription. Pronounced, bor-DOE, has a Soundex code of B630, sharing that Soundex code with surnames like:
Broadway Barto
Brodie Bort
Beard Brett
Barrett Breed, etc.
However, if the middle consonants (“r” and “d”) were reversed, the name would be Boudreau, pronounced BOO-droe or boo-DROE. Boudreau has a Soundex code of B360, sharing that Soundex code with surnames like:
Bowater Bowder
Butter Bywater
Bader Batter
Beaudry Beiter, etc.
With a Soundex search, you are searching within one unique Soundex code, so even if you do a Soundex search for Bourdeau, you can’t get from BOURDEAU to BOUDREAU using Soundex. It will never happen. So, you decide to do a wild card search for Bourdeau. You might try:
Bo*deau, etc.
Because the middle consonants were swapped, it’s going to be next to impossible to get from Bourdeau to Boudreau using a wild card search, either. Can’t find your missing relative, try swapping middle characters.

 - If a name is mispronounced, chances are, it will also be misspelled. Some surnames commonly mispronounced:
GROSVENOR - The “s” is silent, but this name is often mispronounced as GROVES-ner.
WOOLSEY - This surname is often mispronounced as WOOS-lee.
LAHSER - Anyone from the Detroit area is quite familiar with Lahser Road (LA-sir), but for decades, it’s been mispronounced as LASH-er.
MAUGHAN - Both the “g” and “h” are silent, making the correct pronunciation MAWN, but it’s often mispronounced as MAWG-in

JULET - I used to work with a delightful man named Tim Julet. Assuming his surname was French, I pronounced it, zhoo-LAY, only to find out that it’s actually of German origin, and pronounced joo-LET, just like it’s spelled. Too funny.
LEICESTER - I’m going out on a limb here, but I think the correct pronunciation of this is LISS-ter, rather than the commonly used LIE-ces-ter.

Looking for Grosvenor relatives, it would be wise to act as though the silent “s” isn’t even there, and try to track them down as though the name was spelled GROVENER or GROVENOR, and also look for them with the hard "s.".  How far a leap would it be for a sloppy clerk to change GROVENOR to GOVERNOR? Not hard at all.

For today's task, try re-spelling the names of your missing ancestors using the above tips.

Using the above tips from Lisa, I once again tried to locate my 2nd great grandfather, Jasper Pierce, on the 1870 Federal Census. Although, I'm fairly confident that he's just not enumerated on the 1870 census, I still try to locate him on it. I have tried some of the techniques that Lisa mentioned and have been unsuccessful but am giving it another try, so I used various spellings of Pierce such as Pearce and Piers. I tried reversing the i and e, I tried leaving the final e off, and for the fun of it I tried reversing the r and c but so far I still wasn't able to locate Grandpa Jasper on the 1870 census.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Surname Saturday - Perkins

A line in my family tree that I continue to neglect is that of my Rome Ancestors

For the time being, I’m still focusing on trying to penetrate the 1870 brick wall of Jasper and Jane Pierce, 2nd great grandparents via my maternal grandmother, and the 1870 brick wall of my 3rd great grandparents, Frank and Venus Everett, via my paternal grandmother. However, when I’ve temporarily exhausted ideas of where to turn next to bring those walls down, I usually begin to focus on other areas of my tree, wondering what became of the various collateral lines.

One of those collateral lines is Great Grand Aunt Penny Rome, my granddad’s, LC Hosch, maternal aunt.

Aunt Penny was one of my Great Grandmother’s, Sally Rome Hosch, younger sisters. Aunt Penny married Wesley (Wes) L. Perkins in Walton County, GA on 22 March 1894.

The 1900 Federal Census, which was the first census after they were married, shows them living in Walton County, GA with the following children: Ruf, Ennis, Wayman, and Maud.

The 1910 Federal Census shows them still to be living in Walton County, GA.

Aunt Penny and Uncle Wes now have nine children: Rufus, Ennis, Wayman, Maud, Calvin, Clifford, Annie, Ophelia, and Ruth M.

After the 1910 census I lose track of Aunt Penny, at least in Walton County, GA, but thanks to Ancestry’s shaking leaves, I’ve long suspected that Aunt Penny migrated to Arkansas. About a year ago, I saw the shaking leaf. My first thoughts were it had to be Aunt Penny. It was just too much of a coincidence that there was a Wesley and Penny Perkins on the 1920 census living in Pulaski County, AR, who were born in GA around the same time as Aunt Penny and her husband Uncle Wesley Perkins and whose children had the exact same names as those listed on the 1900 and 1910 censuses for Walton County, GA and who were also born in GA.

As I focused most of 2010 on trying to bring down those monumental 1870 brick walls on the lines mentioned above, I put Aunt Penny on the back burner. Recently though, my curiosity with regard to Aunt Penny was aroused when I came across another tree on Ancestry that contained the suspected Aunt Penny and unlike a lot of trees I come across on Ancestry, this one actually made sense. As this could possibly be one of my Great Grand Aunt’s descendants, I desperately wanted to make contact, but I needed to be sure that the Penny Perkins that appeared in the 1900 and 1910 censuses in Walton County Georgia was indeed the same Penny Perkins in 1920 Pulaski County Arkansas.

I initially thought about sending away for the SS-5 Application of a Wayman Perkins who died in 1980 in Conway, Faulkner, AR. This could possibly be her son but I decided against ordering the SS-5 and instead went a different route after finding what appeared to be Aunt Penny listed in the Arkansas Death Index. This Penny Perkins died in 1937. As death certificates usually cost less than SS-5 applications, I checked out the Arkansas Department of Health website to get all the particulars on ordering a death certificate. Per the website, death records that are more than 50 years old can be released to the public. Thankfully, this death certificate met the criteria. The cost for a death certificate was $10.00.

When Aunt Penny’s death certificate arrived the week of Sept. 12, 2011, I had literally forgotten about my request for her death certificate. I was excited and didn’t even wait until I got in the house to open the envelope. Sometimes, before you even open an envelope of requested documentation, you just know you’ve scored one for the ancestors. This is how I felt as I ripped open the envelope containing Aunt Penny’s death certificate. Never the less, I still braced myself just in case the information I sought, the names of her parents, was not on the death certificate.

There it is. Her dad is Wyatt Rome. The informant was her son Calvin Perkins. I’m so thankful that Calvin knew the name of his grandfather, my 2nd great grandfather. I’m also grateful that he saved his 1st cousin twice removed the expense of having to write for an SS-5 application.

Now that I’ve confirmed the relationship, my next step is to contact the owner of the tree, and try to connect with this forgotten / unknown branch of the tree. Hopefully, I’ll finally be able to record a successful reaching out experience. So far, I’ve not had much success in this department. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's Child

Everyone was excited to welcome him into the world, especially one of his big cousins (that would be me), but we never got a chance. Prior to his birth, he became entangled in his umbilical cord.

The following year, his great grandmother, my grandmother, would be interred beside him. Growing up and even now, I've always imagined that my grandmother was taking care of him in the after life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

“The Help” in my Own Family – The Stories of My Mother and My Aunts

I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett as it was this month’s selection for the book club that I am a member of. I hope to also be able to see the movie before it leaves the area.

Especially in the African American community, the emotions with regard to both the movie and the book have run the gamut of emotions, from anger to a sense of pride.

For me personally, I definitely fall in the pride camp. Like so many others, when reading the book, my thoughts turned to “The Help” within my own family. I think it’s the genealogist in me.

Growing up, I heard many similar stories as those depicted in The Help, and I don’t have to travel very far along the ancestral path to encounter them, because at various points in their work lives, my mother and her sisters were The Help. Surprisingly, to the best of my knowledge, my grandmother was never “The Help.”

The following are remembrances from Aunt Marie’s and my Mother’s days as “The Help.”


The bulk of Mom’s time as “The Help” was during the summer months while she was home from college, which would be the mid 1940s and at times in her early work life, she would fill in for one of her sisters.

My mother had good and bad experiences from that era in her life as well as those that fall some where in between.

When one of the central characters, Aibileen, of The Help is accused of theft, I was reminded that my mother went through a similar situation. In one family that my mother worked for, the wife, Mrs. Cook, was an alcoholic. You can see where this is leading already, can’t you? Mrs. Cook would get so drunk that she would forget where she put her money. One day when she was in a drunken stupor, she, of course, accused my mother of taking her money and threatened to call the police. My mother, while somewhat shy and reserved, could and can also be a bit feisty and told her employer to go ahead and call the police because they wouldn’t find anything on her.

While Mrs. Cook didn’t call the police, she did call her husband, who came home, surveyed the situation, asked mom a few questions, and returned to work. Apparently, he didn’t believe his wife’s claim. Eventually, Mrs. Cook found her money but by then my mother had had enough and told her that she didn’t need the job and wouldn’t be back. And for as spirited and standing up for herself as my mother was, underneath she was trembling and terrified and she arrived back home in tears where my grandmother asked her “What’s wrong with you?” Through tear filled eyes, my mother told my grandmother what had happened.

The irony of all this is that Mrs. Cook called my mother, apologizing profusely, and begging mom to come back. Mom’s response was “No. I’m not coming back.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Mrs. Bruce. With Mrs. Bruce, mom and her sisters were baby sitters as mom likes to put it and from the way mom reflects on Mrs. Bruce, that term is probably the most accurate description of the work they did for her. Mrs. Bruce always wanted one of the Hosch girls and if she couldn’t get one of them, then she would just stay home that day and look after the children herself. The Bruces also paid the best.

Aunt Marie

Of all my aunts, four altogether, I think it’s the story of Aunt Marie the oldest of my aunts that can cause anger to well up inside me. Not so much for the system under which she toiled but for the mind set it created in her.

During her work life, Aunt Marie worked for some of the famous people from my hometown, the O. Max Gardner family from whence one of the governors of North Carolina came. As the socialites of my hometown, the Gardners did a lot of entertaining, which means they served alcoholic beverages. Being deeply religious, Aunt Marie didn’t feel comfortable serving the alcoholic concoctions and would always ask her coworker if she would take care of this duty.

Aunt Marie toiled as “The Help all of her working days, which extended well into the 1970s, even after other opportunities opened up. Her younger sisters were always trying to get her to no longer be “The Help” but I don’t think Aunt Marie was ever able to envision herself as anything else. That being said, at the end of her days as “The Help” and when it was well past time for her to retire, she finally said no more. You see at the end of her work life, Aunt Marie no longer had her own transportation as her car had been totaled in a wreck. By this point in time, her last employer was only using her one day a week anyway. So her employer calls and wanted her to come out but wasn’t willing to provide transportation, so Aunt Marie would have had to pay someone to get there. Whatever the pay was at this point, it wasn’t worth all the trouble, so Aunt Marie told her she wasn’t coming out. Truth is Aunt Marie was just probably tired and worn out.

After reading “The Help” and once again reflecting on the era and times of those who came before, I can say I’m thankful that my mother didn’t meet a worse fate from the accusations leveled against her. I’m thankful that while Aunt Marie never envisioned herself as being anything other than “The Help” that she was still able to hang on to bits and pieces of herself by refusing to serve alcohol. I’m thankful that my mother and all my aunts, even Aunt Marie, knew that this wouldn’t always be the way, if not for themselves, then most certainly their children or grandchildren would know a different life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy, Week 33 - Nicknames

Week 33: Nicknames. What was your childhood nickname, and what was the meaning behind it? You can also discuss the nicknames of other family members, both past and present.
This challenge runs from Saturday, August 13, 2011 through Friday, August 19, 2011.

My mother was a stickler that no child of her's would have a nickname. Momma hated and still hates nicknames. In spite of her best efforts to keep the nickname demons away, I still managed to acquire a couple of nicknames. Both were given to me by my maternal aunts.

The first of the nicknames  was Maybelline, given to me by my Aunt Frances. I acquired the nickname due to my long eyelashes. Aunt Frances used to always tell me that I would never need to wear mascara.

The second nickname, Chitty, was given to me by Aunt Lucille. Chitty come from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. After having seen the movie when it came to my hometown, my mother made me a dress based on the character Jenmima.. From then on,  when when ever Aunt Lucille saw me, she began calling me Chitty

Monday, April 25, 2011

Madness Monday - Regrouping

For those that read both of my blogs or keep up via Twitter or Facebook, you know what kind of year this has been already with the passing of my father last month. As a result, I actually thought of taking a break from my research and my blogging. However, even though right now I'm doing both the research and the blogging sporadically, I've come to realize that returning to the research and the blogging helps me cope.

On my maternal side, which is the focus of  Georgia Black Crackers, I've not done much this year in the way of research or blogging. With everything that was going on with dad, it seems my focus for this year was and still is the paternal / North Carolina ancestors.

The other thing that has slowed the research on the maternal / Georgia ancestors is I feel like I have run out of ideas to at least begin chipping away at that monstrous 1870 brick wall. But I've got to return to the hunt because that wall isn't going to come down on its own. So the push to find the last slave owner of my 2nd great grandparents, Jasper and Jane Pierce, begins, again.

The first thing I plan to do is revisit the 1870 and 1880 census, which I will discuss, hopefully, in my next post.

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Talented Tuesday

I've decided that instead of featuring just the ancestors in my blog that I would try to incorporate some of the current generations in my blog also. After all, one day their descendants might one day wonder about their ancestors. So, my goal is to feature some of my talented younger cousins as part of Talented Tuesday.

This is just the beginning and right now I don't have much material, so I'm depending on family members who  would like to be featured to provide me with material for this weekly meme.

The first of my younger cousins that I would like to feature is a descendant of my Grand Uncle, Willie Hosch. Graham Hosch, the younger (his granddad is also Graham and is my mom's first cousin) is my second cousin once removed. I've never actually met Graham. In fact, while I have met his grandfather Graham, I don't ever remember meeting Graham the younger's mom, my second cousin, even though we grew up probably less than 100 miles from each other.

Well thanks to Facebook, I've had the opportunity to connect with a lot of my Grand Uncle's descendants, which is how I learned about my talented cousin Graham. Last month, I had the opportunity to see some of Graham's artwork which was on display as part of the "With These Hands" Black History exhibit at the Rowan Museum in Salisbury, NC.

The pictures included in today's post were taken by the owner of this blog on 13 March 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

I am honored to have received the One Lovely Blog Award from Karen of Genealogy Frame of Mind and Cyndi (aka Texicanwife) of Mountain Genealogists. Thank you so much.

The recipient of the One Lovely Blog Award is to

  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
I've not kept up with my blog reading during the past few months so this may be a little tough but I'll give it my best effort.

My choices for the One Lovely Blog Award are

Saturday, March 12, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy, Week 11 - Illness and Injury

Week 11: Illness and Injury. Describe your childhood illnesses or injuries. Who took care of you? Did you recuperate in your own bed, on the couch in front of the television, or somewhere else?

This challenge runs from Saturday, March 12, 2011 through Friday, March 18, 2011.

I was rarely ever sick as a child. I never had any of the usual childhood diseases for my era. You read that right, no chickenpox, no measles, and no mumps. Even when mom thought I had finally contracted chickenpox or measles in junior high, it turned out not to be the case. To this day, I've not experienced the delight of those childhood diseases, and I definitely don't want to experience them at this point in my life.

While I rarely ever got sick, whenever I did it tended to be weird stuff. First there was the aforementioned time that mom thought I had the measles or chickenpox. That episode was one of the few times I got to stay home from school due to illness. You see as only the second generation that really had a chance for education and with both of my parents being teachers, I didn't get to stay home for any and every little thing and I have the perfect attendance awards to prove it.

Back to the suspected measles or chickenpox. After two days of being home and feeling like my head was going to explode with every move I made, mom finally hauled me off to the doctor. The verdict was we don't know what it is but it's definitely not the measles or chickenpox. In college, I would have a similar episode minus the pounding headache and again, it wasn't measles, chicken pox, or the shingles, which my best friend and roommate thought it was. Years later I learned since I had never had chicken pox, there was no way it could have been shingles.

What other strange things have happened? Constipation. Yes, that's another you read that right. Constipation in an of itself isn't terribly bad except in my case, I had two episodes in my young life (elementary school) that if the folks hadn't called the doctor, I probably wouldn't be here now to tell you about them. The first episode was the worst. None of the usual remedies (enemas, laxatives, prune juice, Castor Oil) worked. The main thing I remember is being in my bed for days, not wanting to eat, and whenever I did it would just come right back up. After about two days of this, my parents were worried and for some reason I remember dad being more worried than mom. My doctor basically lived at the end of our street and came almost as soon as mom called. Without being graphic, let's just say that the blockage was removed with my doctor's assistance. He told my folks that it was a good thing they called when they did and that none of the usual things would have ever worked. After my second near fatal episode, I was sent to the hospital for x-rays to see if there was anything wrong. My doctor told the folks there was nothing wrong and that I was just being lazy. How dare he? Anyway just in case (I think my doctor was already tired of removing the blockages), I was put on a prescription for the problem for the remainder of elementary school years after which I never endured another episode of near fatal constipation. As added precaution, mom also made sure I had a tablespoon of Castor Oil each morning as well as a glass of prune juice each day.

Outside of my usual bouts with colds and the accompanying bronchitis, which I still have to deal with, there were no other serious illnesses that I remember from my childhood.

As far as injuries, I had the usual dings and scrapes that come with being a child but nothing like broken bones. I think the worst was when I jammed my thumb when daddy was trying to teach me how to roller skate.

So there you have it, an almost idealistic childhood from an illness and injury standpoint.


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy is hosted by Geneabloggers and was created by Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog.