Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Adventure Than Anticipated

It's Labor Day weekend here in the U. S. There are lots of festivities, observances, and of course sales going on. So when my husband informed me yesterday that he was going to take our boys canoeing and camping today, I saw it as an opportunity. For a day filled with shopping you ask? Oh no no dear reader. I went down to Lincoln County, Tennessee in search of ancestors and answers.

Lincoln County sits right at the border of Alabama in Tennessee. It is very rural by today's standards. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like when my ancestors lived there. Fayetteville is a sleepy little town in Lincoln County where the cars still park on a diagonal around the town square. It isn't difficult to imagine how it must have looked 50 years ago. By the time I arrived it was a little before lunch time and I was slightly hungry. However, I was also eager to look at what I had come for so I decided to eat later. This would prove to be a mistake.

My first stop was in Fayetteville-Lincoln County Library. I was pleasantly surprised by the library. It has two floors with a genealogy room on the second floor. I walked into the Genealogy Room and was greeted by the volunteer, who asked what I was looking for.  She helped me locate the book I had come for (about the Jobe's), and then we got to talking. She gave me a bunch of oral history on the current Jobe's that live in the area, and showed me on a current map where the old Jobe place used to be and warned me about a speed trap in the area. I also got the numbers of "the two Jobe boys" who still live in the area. Based on census records and deeds I suspected my Jobe ancestors must have lived very near where Lincoln, Marshall, and Bedford counties meet. After looking at the map I discovered I was correct.

The unexpected find today was a book on the Luttrell's. My Luttrell line is out of Knoxville, so it wasn't on my radar to look for them in Fayetteville at all. Even better, this book was published in April 2013! The author had included her email, Facebook name, and her website on the back of the title page. Yes!! It even had a few interesting citations in it too. At this point I realize time is getting away from me. It's 4 o'clock and the Civic Center and Museum closes at 4:30. So I grab my copies and get to the Civic Center by 4:08. It's closed for the day. Grrr. I also realize that I never had lunch, I'm hungry, and there are no restaurants open. Maybe I'll find something on the way out of town.

Out of town turns into country just about immediately. I'm going a different way out than how I came in. I want to go to a cemetery and see that house the volunteer was telling me about. As I am traveling along this rural road I make a cool discovery:

I'm curious about what is down the road but I have a cemetery and a house to find. Plus I'm still hungry. After driving down a couple winding country roads and minding my speed for the warned speed trap, I find the Talley Cemetery.

You know you have done a lot of research in an area when you recognize surnames on mailboxes while you are driving along. Anyway, as I pull in there are a few things that occur to me at once. It has just rained lightly which will make for a wet tromp through the cemetery, and I could use a restroom. Classic. I'm also getting hungrier. These concerns are soon replaced by my concern over possible snakes, ticks, and chiggers. The cemetery is surrounded by pastures and I soon realize... cows.

At any rate, there are a few people I'm looking for at the cemetery. They are already on Find A Grave, but I want to see where they are in the cemetery, who they are placed with, and who else is around them. In particular I'm interested in Jane Jobe. Her gravestone on Find A Grave doesn't look old and I want to check it out in person. Then I find her.

Well, crud. Her stone looks newer than I thought it would. I start to think about how I can find the paperwork for this stone. I plead with her to help me find some answers to a particular problem. I realize I'm talking out loud. The cows ignore me. Meanwhile, I wander around the cemetery taking photos for Find A Grave requests and finding my ancestors. By the time I'm done, I'm dripping with sweat in the 90 degree humid heat. My legs feel itchy from the bugs. I'm ready to find the old home the volunteer told me about. So off I go and then suddenly there it is:

And it's for sale:

As I get out of my car to take these photos, some guy in a bright red pick up honks at me. Great. I vaguely wonder if he has a sandwich. I'm really hungry now. I haven't eaten since breakfast. As I tromp through the front yard I worry about snakes and ticks. This place appears abandoned. I turn to make my way back to the car and walk through a massive spider web. Now I'm doing that "I just walked through a spider web dance" on the front lawn of this 1858 Antebellum home. You know the dance..... it's where you're sort of jogging, turning in circles, and waving your arms all around over your head. My list of worries now includes; snakes, ticks, spiders, and an imminent arrival of the sherif to investigate the crazy woman on the front lawn of the old house for sale. For the next couple of hours I will be finding and picking off cob web from my person. Oh joy.

Time to find food. I'm driving.... and driving.... still driving. While driving I'm passing a lot of cafes and restaurants. So what's the problem? They are all abandoned and the properties are for sale. I pass a place called, Coon Den Lodge. What?? I'm too hungry to turn around and investigate, plus I still need a  ladies room. 

After what seems like forever, I get to the highway and to a restaurant. I'm too hungry to go home and make something. I must look a site. The whole drive I've been raking my hands through my hair to get off stray webs and I'm paranoid that every skin tickle is a spider, tick or chigger. When I sit down and order, I give a whole new meaning to inhaling food. I think I scared the waiter. I don't care, I'm just that hungry and I've had an ordeal. If I weren't so food deprived I'd order a drink, instead I order dessert to go. Now that I've eaten I just want a shower.

Overall I discovered quite a bit today. I still need to evaluate it all. Some things I learned? Next time pack boots and snacks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FGS 2013- A Recap

I admit it, I wasn't very diligent about blogging this trip. I'm sorry. The Allen County Public Library was a huge distraction and staying at a hotel farther away from the conference center was an added obstacle. By the time I made it back to my hotel in the late evening, after being gone since the early morning hours, I was exhausted. So I'll give you a rundown of the sessions I did attend.

Thursday marked the opening of the exhibit hall, which is always cause for a lot of excitement. I had a few things in mind to purchase this trip. My first purchase was a magazine from the publishers of Family Chronicle titled, Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors. It has a good overview of events and gives suggestions of others sources to read.

The first session I attended was Craig Scott's Records of Forts and Posts. This was a very good session. Craig as always is extremely knowledgable about military record groups at NARA. It's amazing he can keep track of them all! I learned that their were two kinds of people in forts; people who ran the fort and the regiment in the fort. I had never thought about it in this way, but it makes sense. Regiments move around, somebody has to stay at the fort and maintain it. Craig went on to discuss textual records, search strategies, finding a post, and information that would be found on various records.

Next, I attended Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens session on Finding a Needle in the Haystack of Territorial Papers. I learned a little about the Territorial Papers at IGHR at Samford this past summer in the Understanding Land Records class. As you might imagine this record set deals with territorial land purchases. It is an interesting group of records, but there is no guarantee that your ancestor is mentioned in them. However, that doesn't mean that their neighbor, brother, or cousin isn't in them so it doesn't hurt to check it out. Elizabeth also mentioned Record Group 28 that has the Records of the Post Office Department. Somebody had to deliver your ancestor's mail, or maybe it was your ancestor!

The last session I attended for the day was Huguenots in New Amsterdam and Early New York presented by Karen Mauer Green. If ever you want to learn about Huguenots then Karen's lecture would be an excellent choice. Although my Huguenot ancestors did not settle in New York it doesn't matter. The background history is the same and the research methodology can still be applied. Karen gave historical background information and told us that there were two waves of French Huguenots to New York. She also showed us examples of how many variations there could be to one surname in the records. It seemed that this was the result not only of the ancestor but of the person/institution who was creating the record. The possibilities were mind boggling.

Friday and Saturday morning I ended up in the library researching. I had planned to attend a couple of sessions during that time, but I was lucky enough to find a truckload of information about my ancestors. Although I didn't win any prizes or giveaways, I still felt like I won the information jackpot. Saturday afternoon I attended two sessions. The first was, Obtaining the 20th Century Military Records From the National Records Center by Patricia Wall Stamm. I have a WWI veteran and I would like to order his file from the Records Center. Patricia did a good job of explaining the history of it, the fire that consumed the old location, the procedures of the new location, and what records are available. I always hear people complain about the length of time it takes to get records from this repository, and I was aware that they get a lot of requests. However, I didn't realize that the Records Center receives somewhere between 5,000-6,000 requests per day. Per day. How crazy is that? Now wonder it takes them a while. Not only that, priority is given to urgent requests that come in. For example, a veteran who is still living and needs his records for hospice assistance, etc.

The very last session I attended was another of Craig Scott's on The Indian Wars. He told us there were four periods of Native American conflict, and reviewed the conflicts that fell into those time periods. Again, many record groups were discussed and what you would find in them. He referred us to the Mitchell Map on Google. I love maps so I was pretty excited about that mention. There are so many records for this particular subject it is dizzying. Needless to say, if your ancestor took part in any Indian War, then you have a lot to work with even if your ancestor is not mentioned directly.

Other conference news that you have probably heard about by now is that a new version of Family Tree Maker will be released in September, the next FGS conference will be held in San Antonio, and the one after that will be held with RootsTech in Salt Lake City. During the conference there was a big push to raise money for Preserve the Pensions of 1812. The money raised will be used to scan these documents and put them online at Fold3. There were a few companies that pledged to match the money raised at the conference and this all added up close to 1 million dollars in all, with the matches included. Pretty impressive.

I had a great time and met some interesting people. It is always fun to see your friends, talk shop, get ideas, ask for advice, and hash out a problem or two. For a week you get to live in a genealogy bubble, and it's pretty amazing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FGS 2013- The Kick Off

I arrived here in Ft. Wayne on Tuesday and I've been slightly remiss in not filling you in. I'm staying at a hotel that is about 5 miles from the conference center, but it feels more like 10. The shuttle times that the hotel is providing are slightly strange and somewhat constricting. Note to self: Don't stay this far away from the main conference action again, unless I have my car.

On Tuesday night I attended the blogger dinner hosted by FamilySearch. They announced that Diane L. Loosle is the new Director of the Family History Library. After dinner we were shown an example of a new feature to some of their libraries throughout the world, which are the Family History Discovery Centers. These are places that you can conduct oral interviews, say with granny, and it will be recorded on video. This video will be saved on a thumb drive which you get to walk away with. The cost is only $8.00 US. I think this is a pretty neat concept. For attending the dinner FamilySearch also gave us these cool solar chargers that have a flashlight feature.

Wednesday I was going to catch a little extra sleep in the morning, but then realized that I needed to catch the last morning shuttle at 7:30. So I was up bright and early. I sat in on Cyndi Howell's (from Cyndi's List) opening session. She discussed society websites and made some really good points. Your society should take a really good look at their website and determine if the information on it is; current, informative, linking to other useful sites for research in the area, and visually pleasing. She went on to discuss examples of sites she has seen that haven't been updated since 1998, or that are so visually busy that it is difficult to take in what the society is about.

After Cyndi's session I headed over to the Allen County Public Library. It is chock full of genealogists. I have a list of research items that is near absurd so I got busy. Overall it was a strange research day for me. The people I was searching out remained illusive, while other ancestors elbowed their way forward. How did this happen? I would turn to pages in any given book looking for a particular person, and out would pop another ancestor I hadn't planned on looking for on this trip. It is always strange when this happens, but I roll with it. Instead of standing in the ever growing line for the copiers I used the Genius Scan app on my iPhone. I can scan an image, save it as a PDF or JPEG, and then save into DropBox. It does a pretty good job and it saves me time.

Last night I also attended a social at the Botanical Gardens. It was very pretty but slightly warm. The line for food was surprisingly slow moving. They had music there and three raffles. I didn't win, but was happy for the people who did. They were excited and that's always fun to see. I was able to catch up with friends, meet new people, and talk genealogy. A perfect evening.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sometimes It's All About Timing

There are times that certain ancestors grab my attention out of the blue. I can't explain how this happens or why... it just does. A couple weeks ago I started thinking about Ann M (Berryman) Fry. She was married to George Fry whom I blogged about here. They were only married a few years when Ann died, leaving behind two sons one of which was Tyree Curtis Fry, my gg grandfather. I always wondered how Tyree got his name and where it came from. I also wondered about Ann. Where did she come from? Why haven't I looked into this sooner, and what is making me think of it now? So I suddenly decided to do a little digging on Ann.

I found Ann listed in the 1860 Platte, Clay County, Missouri census with her father Charles Berryman as head of the house. There were a couple children listed, Ann is 14, but no mother. Next I checked the 1850 Gallatin, Clay County, Missouri census, where the mother, Manerva Berryman, is listed. My hypothesis is that Manerva died sometime between the two census years. What made me gasp though, was the name of Ann's brother listed in the same census, Tyre C Berryman. Apparently Ann named her second son after her brother. In my search I discovered this same brother would also move (follow Ann and her husband?) to Colorado. I was unexpectedly touched by this. As far as I can tell this is the only sibling that moved to Colorado. What makes this especially powerful is that Ann became ill in Denver and died in 1873 before any of them settled onto the land there. Her brother easily could have gone back to Missouri where the rest of the family stayed, instead he remained.

After this nugget of information was found I turned to Find A Grave. Sadly I couldn't locate a grave on the site for Manerva/Minerva. It either hasn't been posted yet, or it has been lost to time. I did however find the grave for Charles Berryman. He died in 1864 and appears to be buried in an obscure family cemetery, Eberts Cemetery, located on somebody's farm in Clinton County, Missouri.

Find A Grave, Find A Grave Index, 1836-2011, digital images ( accessed 25 July 2013), photograph, gravestone for Charles H. Berryman (died 1864), Clinton County, Missouri.

The photo was posted just 1 month ago on Find A Grave! How is that for timing? Some may say it was luck, coincidence, or just diligent researching. A Roman philosopher, Seneca, said "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." While I do agree with this to a point, sometimes it's all about the timing too.