Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living....

Surnames: Calaway, Dunn, Evans, Johnson, Lindsey, Rollins, Short & Williams

States: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Genealogy Is Not Just the Past....Its the Present Too!

When you are into genealogy, some might think it is all about our past.  Not so, or not for me & others.  You'll find sometimes you have to go forward to be able to go back.  I know we've all seen the tips & hints for when we are just starting out working on our family tree.  They all pretty much tell us to start with ourselves & go backwards from there.  And I agree, I'm just saying don't limit your research only to the past.  If I had done so, I would never have been as blessed as I was to have found several 2nd cousins that I have made a connection with through genealogy. Not only have they've been helpful in filling in some blanks but I love making a connection to those who are the sons/daughters of my ancestors.  Getting to hear their stories about my great aunts/uncles is such a joy.  And when there are photos to be shared?  Can't get much better than that, can it?  Maybe now you will be able to put a face to someone who was otherwise just a name in your family tree. So yes, when you get stuck or even start to get bored with your researching, & that does happen to all of us at one time or another, try finding some living relatives that you might have out there.

About 7 years ago I found the first 2nd cousin through a message board on Rootsweb genealogy web site.  Her mother & my mother were 1st cousins.  Sadly by this time though my mother's health was going down & she didn't get the chance to meet her second cousin.  But in finding that first 2nd cousin (once removed) we were able to help one another on the family tree.  She'd have information I didn't have & vica versa.  Also neither of us had had any luck in being able to go further back than our great grandfather.  But with us working together, we finally were able to break down that brick wall & add to our records.  I can remember the first time we got to finally meet one another & boy we all knew we were related the instant we saw the others.  Let's just say the Johnson gene runs strong in us all.  :-)

Then about a year ago I found another 2nd cousin.  This cousin had no idea he even had any relatives on his Dad;s side.   He knew his father was born & raised in Arkansas but said his father never talked about any relatives.  There were two brothers of his Dad that he knew of, but no one else.  Even his two sister-in-laws knew nothing of any other relatives.  Finally after talking to him on the phone & emailing him some family photos of his Dad, his mother & his siblings, there was no doubt left that we were related.  I had one photo of a family reunion that included his Dad & his twin he wasn't born yet, he wasn't in the photo.  Later he told me that photo is what clinched it in his mind that we were related.  Needless to say that for him, at the age of 75, was quite a surprise for him.  :-)  We've communicated by phone 3 or 4 times now & have formed a good relationship.  Its been nice to learn about his Dad, as I never got to meet him.

Let's see I guess it is almost a year now that I found one of my 1st cousin's son.  Then by a stroke of luck, I was able to find my 1st cousin's brother's son as well.  Within a year & a 1/2 I was able to find two 2nd cousins.  Both had lost touch with their Dad's side of the family for one reason or another.  But no longer.  :-)  Matter of fact one of them is planning on coming here for their vacation to meet several of his new found family.  Both 2nd cousins thought they were pretty much alone, no longer.  :-)  Not only do they have a bunch of 1st cousins but several 2nd cousins now to add to their family.

The tip I leave you with is:  Just don't restrict your research only to your parents & past generations.  Search for those who might still be here in the present as well.  And may you be as blessed as I was in my finds.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where Have I Been?


Gosh, please forgive me for not having updated my blog in such a long time.  I know, I'm a bad person & it wasn't good of me to have just let this blog stagnate like that.  My only excuse is I'm not one who "likes" to post about them selves.  Even on my personal Facebook page, I rarely post anything personal.....I tend to share those cute little photos, cartoons etc. & even at that I don't do it very often.  But as I felt like talking genealogy today, I thought I ought to come over here & write up a post about what has been going on.

This past year I have made leaps & bounds in my family research.  Let me see if I can remember what all has happened.  First off, my great grandmother Annie "Calaway" Lindsey has been a brick wall since I started working on my family genealogy.  I've looked on nearly available database/web site on the Internet in trying to find out when/where she died.  She was no where to be found & it was driving me crazy.  Then one day, & before you ask me, no I can't remember how I came upon this web site, but it was for Tennessee records!  I knew my grandparents had lived in Memphis at one point, matter of fact that is where my mother was born.  Plus, I also knew one of my great uncles & most of his family lived there.  I took a chance & keyed in her name for the Shelby County death certificates.  Lo & behold there she was!!!  You would have thought I had won the lottery!  FYI:  For anyone else who might have had folks living in Shelby County, TN, here's the web site that helped me break down her brick wall......may it work as good for you as it did me:  Shelby County, TN Records

Another good find was finding my great uncle's youngest son!  Oh I guess it has been a while now but one day I found an obituary for his oldest son who had passed away within the last few years.  In his obituary, it mentioned that he was proceeded in death by his twin, but was survived by his younger brother.  The obituary gave this living brother's current city of residence.  So little ol' detective me, Googled his name & the city listed in the obituary.  Yep, you got it, it found him!  I wrote a letter explaining who I was & how I had found him.  It was a couple of weeks later that his wife sent me an email asking me for a phone number....I always include a SSAE as well as my email address for their convenience.  I sent it to her & come to find out, before they got my letter they had NO idea that his father even had an extended family, one that they knew nothing about!  Seems once my great uncle left here & moved to another state back in the early 1900's, he basically left his family behind & didn't speak of them.  He did keep in touch with a couple of brothers, but that was it.  To be fair to him, their mother was NOT a very nice person & I have a feeling it was her that he wanted to forget about.  Anyhoo, it took this new found 2nd cousin a bit to feel comfortable with me, as he just didn't know if he should believe we were truly family or not.  His 2 living sister-in-laws kept telling him that we weren't because their husbands never mentioned any family still out there, yet I was able to tell him names/dates of his family, as well as send him photos of our families.  One photo that I sent was a BIG family reunion the relatives all went to back in 1940 & there in the photo was his Dad & his twin brothers as young boys.  So now I have a newly found 2nd cousin.  :-)

I've got a couple of more stories to tell, but I think I'll wait till another day for those......

Happy hunting everyone & please, no matter how thick or how tall that brickwall is, don't give up!

Later, Debbie

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Can Teach Old Folks New Things Believe It or Not......

I cannot believe how stupid I've been when it comes to navigating the Latter-day Saints genealogy web site "Family Search" .  For years I've used their site in my research.  I have to admit though, I never had much luck in finding things on there.  And that is because I would just basically key in a surname, a first name & hit "search".  Of course, I would get a gazillion results.  Luckily I had figured out the bit on using the filters early on.  But the problem with filters, either I still had way too many showing up in the results, anything over 100 or so was just too many in my book.  Or it would only give me about 3....that is just as bad as getting thousands in the results. 

Then for some reason one day last week, I scrolled down the main search page & that is when I noticed you could search by country!  Really?  Hmmm, I must check this out & sure enough there at the bottom of the list of countries was USA.  Alright, now we're talking.  I clicked on USA & a new list pops up.  A list of ALL of the collections they have on order of the states.  This is so neat & quite helpful.  At a glance you can see, for example, if they have any birth collections for TX & if they do if what they have is a copy/photo of the document or if it is just an index.  If you see a collection you want to search, you just click on it & it will take you to that collections search form.  So much simpler & quicker to search for something now.  By finally discovering this nifty way of searching on Family Search, I have found several marriage records that I was lacking in my files.

Maybe by telling you all about how slow I was in figuring this out, it will save someone else time & effort. 

HELPFUL TIP:  You might have notice that "Family Search" doesn't have ALL of the census' available for viewing & they will want to send you to a sister paid site (i.e. Ancestry) to see the census'.  At first it used to really gripe me to no end when I ran across this.  That is till I figured out that I could head over to my county's library web page, connect to Heritage Quest through them & 99% of the time get what I needed.  FYI:  If you have a library card, you "should" be able to connect to either Heritage Quest or Ancestry through your local library's web page.

Later, Deb

Friday, September 17, 2010

Past From a Recipe...

I normally don't follow the schedule for the "Daily Blogging Prompts", but I see where today is "Family Recipe Friday" that is pretty cool.  I like that one a lot.  My first thought was, what would recipes have to do with genealogy.  Then in thinking about it for a bit, genealogy isn't just about dates & names, it is about our past, right?  And how we try to tell the stories of what our ancestor's days were like, what their occupations were, who they were, etc.? 

Among many things, my Mom was known for her cooking, I don't know of a person who didn't associated cooking with her.  She just had a certain knack with it, so much so that she could take a can of veggies & make them taste like a dish you'd get in a 5 star restaurant.  And really, she wasn't a fancy cook, just a down home cook from the South.

One of my favorite meals that she'd make was her homemade soup.  It couldn't get any better than that in my book.  Of course if we were sick, she'd make it then.  But on that first cool crisp day you'd get in the Fall, we knew her homemade soup would be on the dining table ready for us to dig in.  :-)  Besides her homemade soup, we'd always ask her to make her dressing, peach cobbler, speghetti sauce -- well the list goes on & on.  Thankfully before she passed away, I was able to learn how she made them all.  Yes, I had to learn, cause you see, Mom didn't use recipes, it was a bit of this, some of that & a whole lot of love that she would put into every meal. 

So yes, I can see where recipes can be part of our genealogy.  When I think back to the days when families worked hard out in the fields, I'm sure they looked forward to a favorite recipe their loved one would spend time in making for them.  Or those Sunday dinners that the family gathered around for.  Yep, recipes are definitely part of our history, as those recipes have been handed down from one generation to the next generation. 

Mom's Homemade Soup


Roast (be sure to get one with good marbling)
salt/pepper to taste
1 medium onion
2 regular cans (or 1 large) of tomatoes
1 regular can of corn 
2 cloves of garlic
4 -5 medium potatoes
Handfull of dried broad flat noodles (optional)

1.  Salt/pepper both sides of a large roast & then sear it in a bit of oil in a large heavy pot -- drain off the excess oil after searing
2.  Add approximately 8 cups of water....or till the water level comes up to about an inch from the top of the pot
3.  Boil roast (covered) on medium heat till done.....about an hour to an hour & a half - take it out & let the roast cool for a bit so you can shred the meat
4.  Dice up a medium onion & add to the water you cooked the roast in
5.  Cut your tomatoes into bite size pieces....add to the pot, along with the juices
6.  Add the can of corn (w/juice) -- I like the white shoepeg corn best
7.  While that is cooking, shred your roast -- add back into the pot
8.  Peel & slice 2 cloves of garlic....add to the pot
9.  Peel & dice into bit size pieces approximately 4 medium potatoes....add to the pot
10.  Let the soup cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, then do a taste test, you will need to add salt to your taste
11.  About 8 minutes before your potatoes are done (folk tender), add the dried broad flat noodles & cook till tender

FYI:  I never was that crazy about the noodles, so I just leave them out.

If any of you do try Mom's homemade soup, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  And psst?  It is extra good with a pan of cornbread!  :-)

Later, Deb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award....

OK, I'm a terrible person....its been eons since my last post & I am thoroughly ashamed of myself for letting it go this long without posting. Especially since Joan of Roots n' Leaves was kind enough to give me the "Ancestor Approved Award". I believe I am supposed to ......list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlighten you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud. Hmmm, that's going to be kinda hard for me I think, but here I go.....

1. In reading some old letters that my maternal grandfather wrote to his soon to be 2nd wife, well let's just say he was quite the romantic guy. Who would have guessed. lol

2. In reading those same letters, I discovered that even though he left school in the 4th grade (due to having to go to work to help the family out) he was a very smart man. And I'm very proud of him & what he accomplished in his life-time.

3. I found out the reason why my own father left school in the 10th grade. My grandmother & grandfather could not afford to send both him & his sister to school. So to give his little sister, who was 8 years younger, the chance of an education he quit school. And to the day she died, she never forgot what a sacrifice he made for her.

4. Through out the years, we had always been told that my maternal great grandmother Lindsey was a Pentecostal preacher. So of course when I found a couple of photos of her holding a book in a prominent way in these photos, I just took it for granted that she was holding a Bible. Wrong! Turns out, after looking at the photo with a magnifying glass, it is a dictionary that she is BOTH photos. I'm going to say the photos had to be taken several years apart. Just why she wanted to be holding a dictionary, I don't have a clue.

5. Also, I have been quite surprised at the number of female relatives who have gotten married around the age of 15 - 16. Yet the males in the families tend not to get married until they are in their 30's a lot of the time. You'd think they must have had been married before, but so far I haven't found that to be true.

6. OK, speaking of marriages, it has been hinted within the family that my paternal grandfather had a child before he married my grandmother. (((pssst, we'd always heard he was a bit wild, you know? lol))) Then one day I was talking to my older sister & that subject came up. That's when she mention that Granddaddy "had" been married & divorced before meeting our grandmother. She had seen the divorce papers. Whoa! OK, now that was news to me. And the kicker of all of that? I found out in my research that yes, he had been married before, not once but TWICE before meeting our grandmother. lol

7. I discovered that every time I find where some relative died at birth, or at a very young age, I just want to cry. It just saddens me to know that they didn't get to experience life that we often take for granted.

8. My Aunt Helen had 3 sons who joined the military back when WWII & the Korean War was going on. I'm very proud of their military careers. One even went on to work for the CIA. One was a MP & a sharpshooter. And one had such a hard job that he was required to perform in the war, yet he was a very gentle man. I would love to know more about their service careers, but sad to say they are gone now. I am very proud of all of my relatives who served in the military.

9. And for me, it is always heart breaking to disprove those family folklores that have been passed down through the generations. Sometimes you just don't want to tell anyone of your findings. ***sigh***

10. Then lastly, in a way, it saddens me that I never got to meet all of these people that I have discovered in my research. I often wonder what their thoughts were, what their lives were like, what did they do for fun, what did they look like, etc..... And I think that "is" why I do genealogy, so they aren't forgotten.

WOW That wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. :-) Now I know I am supposed to pass this award on to 10 more people, but since I am SO late it doing it, I think I'll pass on that. Just know I am honored to receive the award.....thanks Joan! Heck, it humbles me to know that anyone even follows my Blog. And I promise I'm going to try & do better with my posting.

Later, Deb