Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Old Trinity Cemetery, York, SC

Spotted during a recent research trip to York Co., SC. This beautiful old cemetery is located across from the McCelvey Center on Jefferson Street in downtown York, the county seat.

August 30, 2010

10 June 1943: Colored Selectees and 18 Year Old Registrants

Local newspapers can have the most interesting items. While searching for an obituary for a man who was supposed to have died in April 1943, I found two small tidbits in The Clayton Tribune, the newspaper covering Rabun Co., GA. Both were on the front page of the 10 June 1943 issue (Volume XLVIII, Number 23).

The first item, located in the third column, was titled “Five Colored Selectees Leave Rabun”:

The following named colored selectees left Clayton on Tuesday morning, June 8th, at 8:25 o’clock for Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia, where they will receive armed forces examination [sic] and those who pass will be inducted into the branch of service for which they are found best qualified. After being sworn in they will be granted fourteen day furloughs.

The five men were: Richard Hammonds, Donald Penland, Beamon Chavers, Jesse William Larry, and Mack Edward Moore.

The second item, found in the fourth column, was entitled “18-Year-Old Registrants”. There was no explanation, only names along with other identifying information (some of which is not listed here): Boyce Fred Irvin Scott, Tallulah Falls, white; Daniel Griffin, Clayton, “col.”; Henry Edgar Owens, Satolah, white; Carlton Barton Smith, Tiger, white; James Hoyt Ramey, Tiger, white; Andrew Jackson Wilbanks, Tiger, white; David Cleo Davis, Clayton, white; Marvin Sam Shook, Clayton, white; William Joe T. Key, Clayton, white.

Various other issues included letters from local soldiers and small items on placements into new units. Unlike now, local papers were once a font of gossip and other news items of only local interest, and so they can also be a wonderful source on the day-to-day lives of our ancestors.

August 20, 2010

FGS 2010 Conference, Day 3

Today was a long day. We left the hotel at 7:15 a.m. and didn’t return until after 8 p.m. Whew! Here’s an overview:

  1. The Five Civilized Tribes of the South and Their Genealogical Records by Russell P. Baker
  2. Planning ‘Reasonably Exhaustive’ Research by Thomas W. Jones
  3. “I’ll Fly Away”: Using Souther Church Records in Genealogical Research by Russell P. Baker
  4. African American Families: Using Manuscripts and Special Collections by J. Mark Lowe
  5. The Genealogical Proof Standard in Action by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  6. County Land Records by Christine Rose

Tom Jones and Christine Rose have many credentials which I have not added here, in part because their postnomials are as long as their names. But be aware that, like Mills and Lowe, they are Big Names in genealogy circles. I had never before had the honor of listening to lectures by Mr. Baker, but now that I know he’s on the lecture circuit, I will make a point of trying to attend another lecture in the future.

Also today was the APG luncheon, with guest speaker Elizabeth Shown Mills, and the War of 1812 reception, featuring Dr. George Schweitzer in full Minute Man regalia to raise awareness and funds for NARA’s War of 1812 pension digitization project. I could not find information on NARA’s site about this project, but to learn more about this records set see Genealogical Records of the War of 1812 by Stuart L. Butler

August 19, 2010

FGS 2010 Conference, Day 2

Today was a great day at the conference. The exhibit hall opened up with a wide variety of vendors and societies represented. Best snags: a free t-shirt from FamilySearch and a handful of free records guides from NARA. Today’s classes:

  1. Southern States Migration by David G. Dilts
  2. National Genealogical Society Luncheon with speaker Jeffrey L. Haines
  3. Poor? Black? Female? Slave? Southern Research Strategies by Elizabeth Shown Mills

The last class was two hours, and I have to say, the hype about Mrs. Mills is absolutely correct: her session was well worth the wait.

I skipped the last class so that I could return to the exhibit hall and study a BCG application portfolio.

Tomorrow is a full day, beginning with classes at 8 a.m., running through the APG luncheon (at which Mrs. Mills is the speaker), more classes until 6 p.m., door prize drawings until 7 p.m., and the War of 1812 reception to end the evening.

I apologize for the alphabet soup. As I was discussing with my research buddy and roommate for the conference, genealogists live in a world of acronyms, just like other fields do. Please click on the links to learn more about these wonderful resources.

August 18, 2010

FGS 2010 Conference, Day 1

Just to clarify before I start this post, yesterday was the unofficial start of the FGS conference with the Association of Professional Genealogist‘s Professional Management Conference (APG PMC). I did not attend that, so today is the first day of the conference for me.

And as it happens, today was also the “focus on societies” day, with a wide variety of classes offered that were geared toward historical and genealogical societies. I attended five clases:

  1. Firing Up the Next Generation of Genealogists! (Chuck Knuthson Memorial Lecture) presented by Julie Miller, CG
  2. Developing a Society Website and Blog: Technical Issues by Amy Johnson Crow, CG
  3. Tips for Planning a Successful Seminar by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG
  4. Organizing Your Society’s Library and Archives by Lori Thornton, MLS
  5. Magnify the Reach and Impact of Your Society’s Expertise by Diane C. Loosle, AG, CG1

After the last class, I had the privilige of being involved in a lengthy discussion with Ms. Loosle, Paul Milner, J. Mark Lowe, and a young woman whose name I never caught about the FamilySearch Wiki, the focus of that particular class. Mr. Milner and Mr. Lowe were guest speakers during that lecture, and it was interesting to hear their perspectives on the FamilySearch Wiki, how it works, and how it can aid societies and individuals in building a community of knowledge.

The day ended with an outdoor supper, and a performance by Sheila K. Adams and her son Andrew. Mrs. Adams is a balladeer and story teller. Her down home stories, taken from her own life and lives of generations past, are a bittersweet reminder of a way of life that has nearly been trampled out by modern “progress” and movement of native families out of the mountain areas.

Tomorrow: a lecture by the renowned Elizabeth Shown Mills, and the National Genealogical Conference luncheon.

* * * * *

1. The postnomials defined: CG = Certified Genealogist (earned through the Board for Certification of Genealogists); AG = Accredited Genealogist (earned through ICAPGen); MLS = Masters of Library Science, also sometimes seen as MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science).

August 4, 2010

Caveat Emptor

Genealogy as a hobby has exploded within the past few years, thanks in large part to the advent of Internet research, and especially to Internet databases containing genealogical material in digital form or as indexes or transcriptions. With the onset of’s Expert Connect and other online third party genealogical research services, this large group of newcomers also has a way to connect with professional genealogists who can either guide the hobbyist through the research process or who can provide for-pay services to answer tougher problems1.

Unfortunately, the rise in genealogy’s popularity has also precipitated a rise in professional genealogists who do not have the skill, training, and education to actually perform research-for-hire. At the same time, the proliferation of free and for-pay online databases has led to a generation of hobbyists who lack the basic skills necessary to differentiate between a skilled genealogist and an untrained one, not because these hobbyists aren’t intelligent but because they do not know that there’s more to genealogy than Googling a name. Most Internet genealogists simply do not understand the realities of research. For instance:

  • Some estimates place the amount of genealogical material available online in any form as less than 5% of all available physical material
  • There’s a large difference between conducting a search for a name in a record, and conducting research into a genealogical problem (the latter includes the former, but it also includes placing the target ancestor in context with his or her community, analyzing each document in various ways, and synthesizing the body of evidence)
  • Most Internet family trees (and many published ones, for that matter) have not been proven with solid documentation and are therefore unreliable

And so on. This may sound like a harsh indictment of those new to the field, either as hobbyists or professionals, but it isn’t. Rather, it’s a warning to hobbyists to be cautious when hiring a professional, and especially when hiring one sight unseen. The old maxim caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware) applies here as it does everywhere. And while many professional genealogists may not intend to defraud their clients, there’s no reason for the purchaser of such services to be a victim. Below are a few basic steps to take before hiring a professional.

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August 3, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: The Warren Clint James Family Plot at Antioch United Methodist Church Cemetery

As promised, here are the photos of the James family plot at Antioch United Methodist Church Cemetery in the Warwoman community of Rabun Co., GA. They are presented here in the order they’re found in the cemetery, from right to left as described in the post Step by Step #5: Hattie (James) Teague Watkins.

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August 2, 2010

Step by Step #5: Hattie (James) Teague Watkins

Our previous research on the Roy and Hattie (James) Teague family revealed very little about the female half of this couple. To date, we know the following:

  1. Hattie James was born about 1906 in Georgia; both of her parents were also born in Georgia1
  2. She married Roy S. Teague in 1924 in Rabun Co., GA; the marriage was performed by M. H. James, a Justice of the Peace2
  3. She and Roy were living in Clayton, Rabun Co., GA, with three children in 19303
  4. They had probably seven children during the late 1920s through the 1930s4
  5. Between 1937 and 1967, Hattie remarried to a Watkins; she was still living as of the latter date5

What we haven’t found in our research is any record connecting her to her parents and possible siblings. While she and Roy were married by M. H. James, we have no clue who that person was or how he might otherwise be connected to Hattie. We don’t know when she died, or who her second husband might have been, nor can we even say for certain that she was the mother of all of Roy’s children. With so little to go on, how can we learn more about Hattie, and in the process extend her lineage backwards?

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August 1, 2010

A Sunday Walk Around the Blogs

Copyright Issues from Ask Olive Tree. A reader asks about the copyright of a letter written by her deceased great-uncle.

Handwriting from iPentimento. Handwriting analysis. Interesting post.

Ordering FHL microfilm from your home from Relatively Curious About Genealogy. What will they think of next?

Slave Letters from Reclaiming Kin. A small glimpse into a little-known resource.