Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not Going to the FGS Conference?

I'm not able to go either. Admittedly, I'm a little envious of those that are able to attend. Going to conferences is a wonderful way to connect with other genealogists, talk shop, view merchandise in the vendor hall, and attend lectures to expand your genealogical knowledge.

So what will I do instead of going to the conference? Well, my four-year-old will finally start back to preschool, so that will free up a little time. I need to continue on my organization projects around the house. Those have been a frustration of starting and stopping. My computer is going to the computer doctor to be "cleaned." I'm hoping this means I won't be without a computer for the whole week. If it is, I can catch up on my reading.

I'm an avid reader and am in the middle of Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills. It is an historical novel that is a fascinating study in the lineage of a slave couple's daughter, and her children. At times it can be a little difficult to keep straight of the many different people in the novel. Fortunately, there are several lineage charts to refer back to when confused. If you have any Creole, French, African American, or Louisiana heritage you may find this book very intriguing on a personal level. Even if you don't have any ancestors with these heritages, this book required an amazing amount of research that is impressive. As mentioned above it is written by Elizabeth Shown Mills who, in the in the field of genealogy, is highly respected and has many accolades. She will also be speaking at the FGS conference. So if like me,  you can't attend, at least you can read her book.

*I have not been hired to endorse this product in any way. However, I have provided a link for the product below.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday-Annie Fry

I don't know much about my ggg grandmother, Anna/Annie Fry. I know she married my ggg grandfather, George W. Fry in Missouri and they had two sons. The youngest son was born in 1871 and is my gg grandfather. Through family members that I have only exchanged emails with, I found out that Annie died around January 1873 in Denver, Colorado. Nothing else is known.

So the other day, after lunch my son wanted to watch a movie (one that we have watched together countless times), and I decided to amuse myself with Find-A-Grave while I sat next to him. I plodded through a list of ancestors and had a hit. Annie Fry! The gravestone is not in the best of conditions. It is located at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. I was very excited to see that an age was listed on the gravestone. This means I have an approximate birth date now.

There are other ancestors of mine that are buried in Colorado. They are listed on the Find-A-Grave website with no photo. I've requested for a volunteer to take one. We'll see what happens.

Isn't it funny how there are times you can reach such frustration in your research trying to find clues. Then you come across some very unexpected clues or answers that makes it all worth it. This was one of those times.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is Your Ancestor In My Ancestor's Pension File?

While analyzing the Luttrell pension file, I couldn't help but wonder if Hugh had provided an affidavit for somebody else. This in turn got me thinking that maybe somebody would love to know about their ancestor's affidavit in the Luttrell pension file.

During my series on "Rachel Luttrell and Her Widow's Pension Woes," I mentioned just a few people but there are many more. Some of these people provide excellent statements about their own lives, regarding where they were living during a certain time, occupations, and their social lives. So I've decided to list the people who provided affidavits for Rachel Luttrell.

The list will first state the person's name, age, place, and date affidavit was given. Some gave more than one affidavit, which will be in parentheses.

Chas E. Spedden, age 49, Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri; 25 March, 1892.

A.B. Brock, age 58, Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri; 29 February 1892.

R.J. Morrison, age 58, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 2 May 1889. (2 pages)

Fritz Klocksen, age 46, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 24 August 1888. (2 pages)

W. C. Human, age 52, Delta, Shoshone County, Idaho; 8 June 1889. (2 pages)

W. J. Hutton, age 43, Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri; 10 September 1888.

E. J. Falwell, age 70, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 19 September 1889.

Wm. H. Longshore, age 48, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 23 August 1889.

Allen L. Swain, age 48, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 23 August 1889.

G. C. Chaney M.D., age 45, Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas; 25 April 1890.

Philip Polling, age 51, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 23 February 1891. (2 pages)

Judge Thomas Henley, age 63, Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri; 10 September 1888.

Mrs. Manda Schmuck, age 65, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 12 October 1888.

Geo. W. Barton, age 63, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 12 October 1888.

Ferd Brother, age 55, Bunker Hill, Macoupin County, Illinois; 16 March 1889.

W. J. Renfro, age 37, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 2 October 1889.

John Obrine, age 36, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; no date recorded.

W. S. Wallace, age 24, Hiattville, Bourbon County, Kansas; no date recorded.

Amanda Reed, age 57, Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas; 24 June 1890.

Sarah Keyser, age 49, Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas; 24 June 1890.

Christine Daniels, age 65, Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri; 23 April 1890.

M. J. Salter, age 57, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 9 March 1891.

Alfred Carpenter, age 30, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 9 March 1891.

David W. Thurston, age 58, Pawnee Station, Bourbon County, Kansas; 23 February 1891.

Sarah Williamson, age 47, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri; 27 April 1891.

If you think this is your ancestor then please contact me and I will happily scan the page and send it to you via email.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday-William O'Neil Perkins

I was wandering around the Old City Cemetery near Downtown Franklin one evening, when I came across this gravestone. I don't know who William O'Neil Perkins was, but I thought this was one of the coolest gravestones I've ever seen.

It also has a wonderful inscription. One that any family historian or genealogist would love to come across. Not only are the usual dates of birth and death indicated, but the place of birth and death are listed (both Franklin, TN), and his parent's names.

I found the details on this gravestone fascinating, and became very curious about William Perkins. This was not an inexpensive stone to create. Possibly William was wealthy. I also wondered why a standing tree without limbs? Was William a craftsman, farmer, or logger? Would these occupations generate enough money to commission a gravestone like this?

So I decided to do a quick look up of the census from Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. The 1870 census states his occupation as "Speaker of the House of Rep[resentatives]." Wow. Okay, so I looked up the 1880 census and William's occupation is listed as "Magistrate."

It seems William O'Neil Perkins did very well for himself and was a man of some clout during his time. So that at least answered the question about his income/wealth. However, it still doesn't answer why a gravestone sculpted into a tree. For that I will probably have to do more digging.

Meanwhile, I thought you might get a kick out of a pretty neat gravestone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rachel Luttrell and Her Widow's Pension Woes-Part 8

Rachel would finally receive her pension after numerous affidavits, and years of convincing the government. The affidavits would state that Rachel was indeed Hugh L. Luttrell's wife, that the surviving minor children she had were his as well, that neither had been married before, and that his illness was a result of participating in the Civil War. I would imagine she felt somewhat relieved for many reasons. The ordeal was over, she could support herself and her children a little easier.

Eventually Rachel would remarry, and lucky for me, the certificate is in the pension file. Why would this be in the pension file you may wonder? Well, Rachel still had a child, James Creed Luttrell, who was a minor when she remarried. James was still entitled to receive his minor's pension until he came of age on 17 May 1897. As a result, Rachel had to deal with just a little more red tape, although it wouldn't be nearly as difficult as the first time around.

Deposition of Claimant, 30 July 1888, Rachel Luttrell, widow’s pension application no. 376,452, certificate no. 329,279; service of Hugh L. Luttrell (1st Lieut. Adj., Co. C, 8 MO S.M. Cav., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.  A copy of Jones-Luttrell marriage certificate.

Rachel Luttrell would marry Lewis W. Jones in Vineland, Pueblo County, Colorado on 19 February 1893. Census records show they would eventually move to San Luis Obispo, California, as would her children. Rachel Luttrell Jones died on 14 August 1912. I like to think the rest of her life was a little easier and filled with much joy and happiness. I hope it was.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow Friday- Are You My Cousin?

There are a number of blogs I enjoy reading for various reasons. Some are just pure entertainment, some educational, some have really good stories, and then others are thought provoking.

This week Lisa's blog Are You My Cousin? had two topics that got me thinking. First, Lisa is having a Postcard Bonanza on August 31st. I collected postcards as a kid and still add to it from time to time. I love looking at old postcards, and in the past Lisa has posted some really nice ones.

The topic Lisa blogged about today was how distracting genealogy can be. There have been a couple of times things have gotten burned, because I had a sudden thought related to genealogy and had to jump onto the internet. Or a few times I've been thinking through a particularly tough ancestor, that I didn't hear what my husband was saying to me.

Mostly the genealogy distraction gets me through my workouts. I went for a 3 mile run today. It was more challenging than usual, as I underestimated the heat and humidity outside. So I thought about my research and what needed to be done. I made a mental "to do" list. It's long. I also thought about the blogs I want to write and BCG certification. At some point I realized I needed to write down this "to do" list and then the run was over.

So as Lisa posed, "Genealogy might be to blame for..." What is your answer?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mission Organization-Part 1

I've been busy these past two weeks getting organized and as a result haven't blogged as much as I would like to. Some people go crazy spring cleaning every year. For me, I go crazy with end of summer cleaning.

In the spring the weather is too nice for me to stay inside. The end of summer it is just kind of gross with heat and humidity. I live in the South after all. So I've been clearing off my desk (an endless battle), and going through last year's school papers for my boys (writing samples, artwork, etc.).

However, my biggest project is cleaning out the inbox of my emails. I subscribe to various different genealogy lists and blogs. This means I get a lot of emails everyday with wonderful conversation threads, and suggestions of online resources and sites to help others with their research. When I got back from vacation I decided my inbox had reached critical overload. I'm embarrassed to admit I had over 700 emails in my inbox. Time to do something about it.

It has been on my "to do" list to create a word document to store all of these suggestions. Some people have suggested making a folder to put the emails in, or to bookmark them. This wouldn't work for me, as it would get dumped or marked and forgotten. As I've gone through these emails I have cut and pasted sites or sources under appropriate subject headings alphabetically. Then I type a few words of further description if needed. I've been working on this for two weeks now. However, if I'm wondering about map resources or say where to find information on old cars... I've got a list to use that is easy to find.

I still have some more emails to go through, but I've made a lot of progress. My inbox only has 49 messages in it now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Land Platting Workshop with J. Mark Lowe

Yesterday I attended a land platting workshop presented by J. Mark Lowe. I have a very basic knowledge of land platting from taking the NGS course. This means that I can use a protractor and plot the dots/corner descriptions (Metes) and the distance between them (Bounds). By taking this workshop I was hoping to expand on this knowledge, and I wasn't disappointed.

First we received some nifty new tools.

The round one is a land measure compass and the bottom is a ruler that has measurements in tenths to an inch. Both the land measure compass and the ruler are much more detailed than my protractor and ruler that I've used at home. It made platting much easier.

Next we discussed how to establish a scale. This was a new concept for me. I'm not the greatest with math and it takes me a little longer to process math problems than other folks. However, once I understand the formula I'm good to go. There were also calculators supplied, which was a tremendous help. The scale we were using was 1 inch = 121 poles. I should probably mention here that "back in the day" land surveyors used measurements called chain, link, pole, rod, perch, furlong, mile, and acre to record the measurements of property or land. Some of them may sound very random, but they were and are precise measurements that still hold up today. It wasn't just any old chain or rod laying around.

Before we started platting deeds, Mark gave us a worksheet to abstract from the deed, the direction, distance and description. This is extremely helpful. Rather than platting and abstracting the data at the same time from the deed, you can just go down the list of directions/descriptions checking them off as you go. For example, here is one example of a single description from a list of about 23 that I was platting:

N 45* W   120 poles   (conversion is) .99 inches   (description or Metes) White Oak on Sulphur Creek

Once we completed platting out a set of directions we were able to trace what we plat onto a piece of mylar, and place it over the property on a published map. It was really cool to see this, especially if all the work you just did matched. Now just imagine the thrill of being able to do this for one of your own ancestors!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rachel Luttrell and Her Widow's Pension Woes-Part 7

Of Rachel's 7 children only 4 would reach adulthood. I think of this and it just makes me sad. This was not an uncommon circumstance for women in history by any means. I can't help but wonder, "How did they cope with this?" Just to lose one child would be devastating and life altering, so I just can't imagine losing 3.

In the 1870 Osceloa, St. Clair County, Missouri census Hugh and Rachel Luttrell are listed along with their 3 month old daughter, who has no name. Perhaps she was sickly and they held off naming her. At any rate, I don't think she lived much past this time, as there is never a mention of this child again that I have found.

The pension file records the information of two other daughters that died at a young age.

  • Mary E. Luttrell born 16 April 1879 and died 12 March 1880. 
  • Dicy Anna Luttrell born 17 February 1883 and died 13 May 1888.
Dicy's death would come two years after Hugh passed away, while Rachel was dealing with all of the pension mess, and trying to support the rest of her children on her meager income. Rachel's only surviving daughter would be my gg grandmother, Sarah Louise Luttrell.

When I read this or come across other ancestor stories that are similar, it certainly puts my own "problems" into perspective. Although I never knew Rachel, I admire the strength of character she must have had to live through all of this.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday-Felix Gunter

A couple of months ago my husband was biking with our sons into Downtown Franklin to get some ice cream. As he passed the Old City Cemetery he saw this tombstone and recognized the name Gunter. Knowing that anything having to do with the surname Gunter interests me he took a photo.

For one reason or another, even though this cemetery is practically in our backyard, so to speak, I've never been in it. There is a larger cemetery across from it that I have checked out. Believe me, the irony does not escape me. I've spent hours researching Gunters, and my husband comes home from a 30 minute ice cream outing with a photo of a Gunter gravestone. Geez.

Anyway, I don't know if Felix Gunter is any relation to my Gunter line or not. However, I'm itching to find out who he was and what he was doing here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Post Vacation Musings

Well I'm back from a lovely vacation with my family in the Bahamas. We all have a nice island glow and some very fun memories. I didn't think too much about genealogy while I was there, after all it was vacation time. However, I did wonder about my ancestors and their vacations.

Most of my ancestors were farmers. So I would imagine they didn't vacation much. Who else would take care of their farm? If I had to guess, Sunday would be their day off. That day was most likely spent at church. After services they probably caught up with their neighbors. Perhaps in the spring or summer, after church, the family would picnic by a creek. Well, this is what my imagination spins anyway.

I'll probably never know if they went on vacation or not, unless I'm lucky enough to come across a diary (unlikely). There is a chance I could stumble across a mention in a newspaper (possible). Fortunately, for  genealogists, people have always been curious about what other people are up to. Regardless of the phrase, "Mind your own business," these details were printed in the local paper for all to be privy to, discuss and gossip about. It is still entertaining to read today and some of it is quite funny. If you ever have a chance, I encourage you to look at the social section of a paper in the 1800's. It's like reading a tabloid without the photos!