Archive for September, 2010

September 19, 2010

That Little Connecting Dash

A few days ago, I attended the funeral of a long-time family friend. It was a lovely service, for all that death was involved, but it stuck out in my mind because of something the preacher said. Much of the information on our tombstone is beyond our control, our name, our dates of birth and death. But we weren’t there to discuss those things; we were there to talk about the one thing we could control: the life represented by the dash connecting the start of our life and its end.

That dash encompasses a lot of ground. It defines who we are, much more so than our dates of birth and death. Yet many genealogists reduce their ancestors’ lives to those two dates, with little regard for what happened in between save for the birth of their progeny, specifically the connecting ancestor. In the rush to push lineages as far back in time as possible, the very things that made our ancestors who and what they were are lost: the day-to-day activities, their religious affiliation, the labor of their hands and heart, the nature of their character. They are no longer vibrant individuals woven integrally into a thriving network of family, friends, and neighbors, but a name on a piece of paper with two small dates attached.

Ignoring the connecting dash, the largest portion of an ancestor’s life, can lead to a loss of identity which can, in turn, foment a serious crisis in one’s research. The inability to define an ancestor as an individual, an individual who was a thriving member of his or her community, is one of the primary causes of brick walls, from the ancestor with a common name, to the one who seems to appear out of thin air, to the grandmother whose maiden name is missing.

As genealogists it is our duty to remember not the sweeping spans of history, the movements, the wars, the politics, but the individuals who lived that history. Our ancestors were a part of the past, but they were not defined solely by history’s grand moments. They loved and lost, toiled and worshipped, fought and bled, daily and in a quiet way that history has long forgotten. And yes, they were born and they died, but that is not the sole function of a human being, nor is it our sole capability. That little connecting dash between the dates on a tombstone is what makes us who we are. Forgetting that, we lose not only our past but ourselves, for who will remember us when we are gone and little remains of our lives but a stone monument faded with time?

September 7, 2010

Step by Step #6: Roy S. Teague’s Parents, Part 1

After a long break to make ready for the FGS 2010 conference in Knoxville, and then to recover from the trip and catch up on other work, it’s time to resume our study of the ancestry of Roy S. Teague and Hattie (James) Teague Watkins. We’ll begin with Roy’s parents. To summarize what we know about Roy’s parents and siblings to date:

  • Roy was enumerated in the 1930 US census, Clayton, Rabun Co., GA, next to Lina S. Teague (a widow, born about 1875), and four of her children, namely Faye C. Teague, Lucy Teague, Louie Teague (who was divorced), and Reba Teague.1
  • Roy was buried in the same plot as Lina H. Teague, C. C. and Faye T. Barron, Paul C. Teague (Roy’s known son), and Louie and Fannie Q. Teague.2
  • Roy’s obituary does not name his parents, but it does give his brothers as Louie Teague of Clayton and Grady Teague of Pontiac, Michigan; his half-brothers as Ulyus Teague of Rabun Gap and Melvin Teague of Canton, North Carolina; and his sisters as Mrs. Faye Barron and Mrs. Lucy P. Ramey of Clayton, and Mrs. Felton Sullivan of Tallulah Falls.3

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September 6, 2010

Fairfax Genealogical Society’s 7th Annual Fall Fair

The Fairfax Genealogical Society (Fairfax Co., VA) is hosting their 7th Annual Fall Fair on 30 October 2010 at the Springfield Hilton in Springfield, VA. This day-long event features nationally-recognized genealogist Loretto Dennis Szucs, co-editor of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy and author of They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins, amongst others.

Topics for this day include: What’s New at; Hidden Sources; Dead Men Do Tell Tales; and The Ancestry World Archives Project.

For more information, see the registration page.

September 4, 2010

GGS General Meeting, 2 October 2010: Expanding Your Genealogical Horizons

On 2 October 2010, the Georgia Genealogical Society will host a four-session event, Expanding Your Genealogical Horizons: Using Easily Accessible Resources to Increase Your Success at the National Archives, Southeast Region in Morrow, GA.

Sessions include a three-person panel on “Hiring a Professional Genealogist”, something I would recommend all genealogists attend, professional and hobbyist alike. Other topics will be: Using GPS technology [etc.] to locate and mark historical sites and graves; PINES and WorldCat; and Heir Property.

Cost of the event is $25 for GGS members and $35 for non-members. The program runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is not included.

For more information, see the Calendar of Events.

September 2, 2010

NGS Family History Conference 2011: Where the Past is Present

Put it on your calendars now: registration for the National Genealogical Society’s 2011 Family History Conference opens 1 December 2010. The conference will be held next year from 11 – 14 May in Charleston, SC. While information on specific lectures is not available to the public at the moment, the conference blog does offer some preliminary information on the various tracks being offered, including one called the “Military Track” which will offer a series of lectures on various conflicts from the “Revolutionary War […] into the twentieth century.”

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September 2, 2010

OBCGS Fall Genealogy Workshop, 18 September 2010

On 18 September 2010, the Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society will hold its annual Fall Genealogy Workshop at the Simpson Lecture Hall on the AB Tech Campus in Asheville, NC, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This year’s theme is Family History in Your Pajamas: Genealogy on the Internet. The cost is $20 per person, which includes lunch and a set of handouts. To guarantee lunch and handout availability, please register in advance.

For more information, see the workshop’s registration page.

September 1, 2010

21 January 1943: Outrage Over the Cessation of the WPA Hot School Lunch Program

A recent search for an obituary led to the discovery of an entire issue of The Clayton Tribune (Clayton, Rabun Co., GA) devoted to a pressing problem: the loss of the hot lunch program in local schools. The issue included several articles written by the editors and local concerned citizens of note, as well as letters sent in to the Tribune from parents, students, and other community members. The published letters ranged from one or two sentences to several paragraphs; some appeared to be excerpts of longer letters, including the following:

It provides many necessary food elements which the children would not otherwise get. The Free Lunch Project is a great help to many children who cannot afford to pay. –Mrs. Hattie Teague1

Hattie was amongst many parents who were concerned about malnutrition and the availability of hot lunches for their children during the coldest parts of winter.

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1. “What the Parents Think About the W. P. A. School Lunch Room”, The Clayton Tribune, 21 January 1943, Volume XLVIII, Number 3, 7th page, 3rd column.