Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time Traveling

I was doing some time traveling last night. I recently ordered a book written by Faye Royster Tuck with a collection of articles on Halifax County, Virginia. Most of the information was taken from “the Chancery Court cases (loose papers) which are mixed in with the Halifax County Judgments.”
Imagine my delight to learn that one of my ancestors, Sarah Everett Dodson, was reported to be the prettiest woman in the land. She was the mother of my third great-grandfather, Bird Hardy, born in 1793. This was not gleaned from official court records, but a family manuscript written in 1859 that I was previously unaware of. After 20+ years of researching, I seldom find whole previous unknown lines. Instead, little tidbits like this are a joy for me to uncover.
A good deal of my family lines trace back to Halifax County, Virginia and roots have a way of becoming entangled with other families after a while. Members of the Watts family, for example, were in the county from the beginning of its formation in 1752 and descendants continue residence there today, over 200 years later. My great-grandfather, John Willis Watts, was born there in 1860. So while Mrs. Tuck did not always discuss my particular family lines, there was enough to keep me up pretty late last night. The book contains a myriad of information including early churches in the area, records on free black families in the area and maps and surveys of places long gone. I spent hours studying the latter to go back in time and find the neighborhood where some of my family lived.
The author wrote in a preface, “I hope you will enjoy it and love it the way I love books.” I want to tell her that I loved it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GeneaBlogger Wisdom

I love how geneabloggers share the same passion for family history. Here are some gems of wisdom about the craft I've run across in my reading:

“We may think writing about ourselves is boring or egotistical but stop and think how excited your descendants would be to find a journal or dairy that their great great grandmother (you) wrote.”

“There are so many things to love about genealogy: the thrill of research, the fabulous social aspects and cousin connections, the OCD satisfaction to be found by filling in all the little boxes, the feeling of power and competence in mastering the neat genea-gadgets and genea-apps (OK, this one doesn’t apply to me), the educational and scholarly aspects, and the opportunity to indulge our artistic side in writing and scrapbooking.”

“As genealogists we are passionate about the past but we also need to be equally passionate about the present. By writing up the present we leave behind a trail for our own descendants.”
“Spending my time with dead people is awesome.  They never send dumb chain emails or make you sit through three-hour meetings in windowless conference rooms.  They don’t sexually harass each other, and you never have to fire them and then help them clean out their desks.  Dead people rock.”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reflections On My Dream

The beginnings of my other post Once I Had A Dream was written in the early 90s. I guess I was destined to write a blog before they even became popular.  Just before I started Wisteria, I was going through my desk drawers and found some boxes of old diskettes of mine which included some old genealogy writing I had done. I had completely forgotten about them. Or maybe somewhere in my mind I remembered without realizing it consciously since it’s somewhat serendipitous that I ran across these old writings at around the same time I launched this blog. I mentioned that in my dream I had a book that held the answers to my genealogy problems. You know what the name of that book was? Wisteria.
Because I’m not one to jump on the new technology bandwagon as quickly as others, it so happens that the computer I have now still has the capability of reading those old diskettes. So I took the time to transfer the data from those old diskettes to a jump drive. Jump drives are probably not quite the latest technology but at least I have moved up a decade or two in my current data storage.
I was perusing through Kerry Scott’s ClueWagon blog the other day and was reading her post on smacking her 1995 self. I was reminded of my dream stuff because that came from MY 1995 self. (And Kerry, if you’re reading this, I fall in the purple ink category.) You can’t read her posts without laughing out loud half the time. It’s just kind of embarrassing when that happens in the library, though. Anyway, her post talked about the "atrocities" she committed as a genealogy newbie. We’ve all done it. I was particularly pleased to read that even the Queen of Citation herself, Elizabeth Shown Mills, was once a lowly peasant in the land of genealogy (click here to see her comments to one of Kerry’s other posts). As a mother, I could relate to the experiences of both Kerry and Elizabeth, when they discussed juggling the demands of young children while trying to find dead people.
But time stands still for no one. And just as our children grow and learn new skills, so do we.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friend of Friends Friday

William Hardy and Sarah Ann Fulcher (the daughter of Phillip Fulcher) were married in Calloway County, Kentucky on 14 May 1835. [1]
Both William and Sarah were named as trustees in the will of Briant Downing.  Briant wrote his will on 15 November 1862 and it was recorded in court on 25 February 1863.  Besides a bequest of his buggy to Phebe Lewis, the rest of the will entailed his desire that all his slaves be set free.  His slaves were:  Polipus and Ann his wife and Ellen, Winnie, Pad, Brooks and Caph their children.  They were to remain on Briant's farm until arrangements could be made to move then to a "good and healthy" place in some free state unless an act of Legislature let them remain there free.  Briant left quite a bit of property for their benefit, including household furniture and a crop of tobacco.  He desired that the remainder of his perishable property be sold and be equally divided among his heirs in law.  He appointed William and Sarah A. Hardy trustees to carry out the conditions of his will in regard to his slaves and also appointed William Hardy and N. C. Brandon as his executors. [2]
[1] Don Simmons, compiler, Marriages of Calloway County, Kentucky 1823-1846 (Melber, KY: Simmons Historical Press, 1983).*
[2] Laura Willis, transcriber, Calloway County, Ky. Wills & Administrations Volume Three, pp. 68-69 (Melber, KY: Simmons Historical Press, 1995). Original can be found in Calloway Co, KY Will Bk. C, p. 264.
*Publications from Simmons Historical Press can now be accessed through See

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Once I Had A Dream

Once I had a dream that I was working on my genealogy and I was so frustrated because I couldn't find an ancestor.  I decided to check in the back of the book I was reading for the answers.  In my dream, genealogy was like a textbook problem, with the answers in the back.  Oh, how I sometimes wish that were true!
Take the case of my Goode ancestors.  My second great grandmother, Martha Susan Hardy died in Christian Co, KY in 1915.  Her death certificate listed her parents as Anderson Sizemore and Sarah Goode, both born in Halifax Co, VA.  From the Genealogies of Kentucky Families [1], I found mention of Anderson Sizemore and his wife Sarah Goode on page 350. This article related that Sarah's father was John Goode, with the following additional facts in a footnote:
-John Goode married (secondly) Elizabeth Cole in 1809 and died in 1814. 
-Daniel C. Goode was guardian of John's children William H., John, Mary, Nancy, Susannah and Jemima.
-Richard Tuck was guardian of John's children Lucinda & Daniel C. Goode.
-John's widow Elizabeth married Thomas Evans before 1831.
-John Goode was the son of William Goode & Mary Glidewell (daughter of Nash Glidewell of Halifax Co, VA). 
This was wonderful news for extending the line, since I had found William Goode's pedigree going back to John Goode (1620/30-1709) of England in the Compendium of American Genealogy [2]. I ordered a microfilm copy of the book entitled Virginia Cousins by G. B. Goode from the Church of Latter-day Saints Library in Salt Lake City [3].  From the very first page, I was fascinated by all the wonderful information on my ancestors.  The book listed ten generations further back than John Goode of England!  What a find, I thought.  I happily perused the pages, following my line of descent:  John of England, Joseph, Daniel, William, and there on page 72, my John.  But wait, something was wrong.  The book had John of William listed as having died at Norfolk in 1804.  The book went one generation further on John, but listed just one son, Daniel, b. ca. 1780-1800.
I consulted the numerous addenda at the back of the book and on page 470, I found a John Goode b. abt. 1780 who enlisted in the VA Militia and d. 27 Aug 1814.  His wife Elizabeth married Thomas Ivin before 1833 and she lived in 1859 near Red Bank, Halifax Co, VA.  This matched the information from the Genealogies of Kentucky Families, but the Virginia Cousins author placed him on another branch of the family.  It was also noted that on page 484 in the addenda, Daniel C. Goode is listed as son of John who died at Norfolk in 1804.  Daniel was also a soldier in the War of 1812 and died 15 Mar 1815.  He married Polly Griffin (daughter of William Griffin) and she lived in Lynchburg and applied for pension in 1853.
Well, unlike my dream, looking in this book, or even the back of the book, did not yield the answers I was looking for. Without a book of answers, I (and other researchers) had to prove for ourselves that John Goode, father of Sarah Goode who married Anderson Sizemore, was the son of William Goode and Mary Glidewell and died 27 Aug 1814. 
On reflection, this was probably better since I had to search hard for the answers and learned a lot in the process. I eventually wrote an article published in the Southside Virginian magazine [4] about the research and proof I uncovered that verified John Goode’s identity. I was also able to honor this ancestor by submitting this proof to have his name engraved on the war memorial for Halifax County, Virginia. 
War Memorial in Halifax Co, VA

[1]  Stewart, William C., "Stewarts," Genealogies of Kentucky Families from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society and The Filson Club History Quarterly, Vol. O-Y, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981), 350-352. The original article was serialized in 1963.
[2]  Virkus, F.A., editor, The Compendium of American Genealogy, First Families of America, Vol. 1. (Chicago, IL: The Virkus Company, Genealogical Publishers, 1930), 182.
[3]  Goode, George Brown, Virginia cousins : a study of the ancestry and posterity of John Goode of Whitby, a Virginia colonist of the seventeenth century, with notes upon related families, a key to southern genealogy, and a history of the English surname Gode, Goad, Goode, or Good from 1148 to 1887 (Richmond, Va. : J.W. Randolph & English, 1887). FHL microfilm 1321168 Item 2.
 [4]  Westfall, Dawn, "Goode Family Information," The Southside Virginian, A Journal of Genealogy and History, Vol. XIII, No. 2 (1995). This journal is no longer in publication.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Genealogy Meme

My new blogger friend, Lisa Swanson Ellam, had this genealogy meme posted on her blog, The Faces of My Family. It is originally from Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions. I thought it would be fun to participate.

The list should be annotated in the following manner:

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (color optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

1.        Belong to a genealogical society.
2.        Researched records onsite at a court house.
3.        Transcribed records.
4.        Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
5.        Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents).
6.        Joined Facebook.
7.        Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.
8.        Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
9.        Attended a genealogy conference.
10.     Lectured at a genealogy conference.
11.     Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
12.     Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
13.     Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
14.     Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
15.     Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
16.     Talked to dead ancestors.
17.     Researched outside the state in which I live.
18.     Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
19.     Cold called a distant relative.
20.     Posted messages on a surname message board.
21.     Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
22.     Googled my name.
23.     Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
24.     Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
25.     Have been paid to do genealogical research.
26.     Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
27.     Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
28.     Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
29.     Responded to messages on a message board or forum.
30.     Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
31.     Participated in a genealogy meme.
32.     Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
33.     Performed a record lookup for someone else.
34.     Went on a genealogy seminar cruise.
35.     Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
36.     Found a disturbing family secret.
37.     Told others about a disturbing family secret.
38.     Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
39.     Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.
40.     Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
41.     Taught someone else how to find their roots.
42.     Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
43.     Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
44.     Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
45.     Disproved a family myth through research.
46.     Got a family member to let you copy photos.
47.     Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
48.     Translated a record from a foreign language.
49.     Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
50.     Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
51.     Used microfiche.
52.     Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
53.     Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
54.     Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
55.     Taught a class in genealogy.
56.     Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
57.     Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
58.     Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
59.     Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
60.     Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
61.     Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
62.     Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
63.     Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
64.     Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
65.     Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
66.     Visited the Library of Congress.
67.     Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
68.     Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.
69.     Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
70.     Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.
71.     Can read a church record in Latin.
72.     Have an ancestor who changed their name.
73.     Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
74.     Created a family website.
75.     Have more than one "genealogy" blog.
76.     Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
77.     Have broken through at least one brick wall.
78.     Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
79.     Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
80.     Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
81.     Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
82.     Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.
83.     Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
84.     Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
85.     Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
86.     Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
87.     Use maps in my genealogy research.
88.     Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
89.     Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
90.     Visited the National Archives in Kew.
91.     Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.
92.     Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country).
93.     Consistently cite my sources.
94.     Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors.
95.     Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
96.     Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
97.     Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
98.     Organized a family reunion.
99.     Published a family history book (on one of my families).
100.  Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
101.  Have done the genealogy happy dance.
102.  Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
103.  Offended a family member with my research.
104.  Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.