Archive for February, 2012

February 27, 2012

Tidbits and Updates

It’s been a busy few months here in the Watson household.

We just ended basketball season. My sister is the head coach of the local high school varsity ladies basketball team. In the past four years, the Lady Cats have won 88% of their games, gone to State tournies all four years, and reached the Elite 8 three of those years. A phenomenal program. We try to get to every game, or as many as is possible. Those Lady Cats put on a heck of a show and we sure are proud of each and every one, coaches and players alike.

On the book end, Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 – 1899 is at the printers. I hope to have proofs in my hand within three to four weeks, and the finished product for sale another three or four weeks after that. For those who are interested, I’ve already put up an index of death notices and obituaries published in the three newspapers covered by this book.

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February 26, 2012

A Sunday Walk Around the Blogs

This week instead of featuring posts or articles from various places around the Internet, I wanted to highlight several blogs I try to keep track of.

Planting the Seeds is written by Michael Hait, a certified genealogist whose specialties include the Mid-Atlantic states and African-American genealogy. Michael generally uses his blog to discuss professional issues, but anyone who would like to grow as a researcher will find much useful information, including a series of discussions on methodologies.

Judy G. Russell is the Legal Genealogist, and she usually blogs about just that: the legal aspects of genealogy. For instance, Fi. fa. Fo Fum! helps genealogists decipher the abbreviations used in historical court records. While you’re visiting Judy, be sure to congratulate her on becoming a certified genealogist.

The Clue Wagon is the product of Kerry Scott, a Midwestern genealogist with a wicked sense of humor. Her front page reads, “My name is Kerry. I like dead people.” My favorite two posts are 7 Reasons Why the Zombie Apocalypse Would Be Good for Genealogists and In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much the Entire Genealogist Establishment. The latter describes a genealogy drinking game. Sprite recommended.

Finally, I wanted to highlight a very new blog by a genealogist who literally cut her teeth on historical records. Rachal Mills Lennon is a Southern genealogist whose blog is linked to her professional web site, Finding Southern Ancestors. Rachal’s blog has only three posts (so far!), but all three are excellent examples of how to solve difficult Southern research problems. Two of those three place Nancy (Justice) Wade with her correct husband using records from the old Pendleton and Spartanburg Districts in South Carolina, localities from which many Rabun County families came.

I hope y’all take the time to poke around on these blogs. They are all well worth the reading time.

February 26, 2012

Cemetery Sunday: Bradshaw Cemetery (aka Old Smyrna Church Cemetery), Towns Co., GA

The weather here has been relatively warm and sunny, so on a recent Sunday, we took the Jeep out to a cemetery described by our local Probate Judge, Lil Garrett, as the Bradshaw Cemetery.

There are two ways to get to this cemetery: the hard way and the harder way. When taken together, these two entrances form a loop from our home in Clayton (Rabun County) out Hwy. 76 toward Hiawassee, across Upper Hightower Road through Forest Service land (with the road name changing at least once), making a bridgeless crossing of the Tallulah River back into Rabun County, and then connecting with Hwy. 76 to get back home.

You can go in from either side and come back out the same way, but we opted to take the whole loop, beginning with the more difficult way in: Out Hwy. 76 to Upper Hightower Road, which gradually goes from a paved two-lane road into a one lane road before it hits dirt. The road tilts steeply upward just after the pavement ends, with gullies in the road at least three feet deep and sharp rock jutting up from the road bed. It continues in this manner for three or four miles, with narrow curves, sharp drop offs, and grades steep enough to have me holding my breath. We didn’t measure the mileage, but I do know that we were going at idle pace for at least thirty minutes before we found the road to the cemetery.

That road was thankfully short and relatively smooth. We parked at the end of it and walked the rest of the way in. You can see why from the picture below.

The recommended parking area for the cemetery.

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February 16, 2012

Three Upcoming Programs for Georgia Researchers

Georgia genealogists have three opportunities to learn and grow as researchers in programs to be held in March and April of this year.

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February 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: More Photos, Van’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Elbert Co., GA

As previously promised, below are more pictures of markers from the Van’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Elbert Co., GA. These were all taken in late May 2011.

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February 12, 2012

New Name, New Look, Same Genealogy

If you popped in to read a post and thought you might be at the wrong place, relax. I’ve just been redecorating.

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February 9, 2012

Paying Back, Paying Forward

Note: This post was written during the holiday season of 2011, but not published due to the hectic schedule of the author during that time.

This is the time of year for gift-giving and thankfulness, and it brings to mind two of the main reasons why I spend so much time sharing transcribed documents and helping others with their research.

When I was just beginning to research my family, I had no clue where to turn for help. There were no classes or lectures available nearby, and the local library and historical society shunned genealogists (but, curiously enough, not historians, our kissing cousins). I was, however, very fortunate to know several other historians and genealogists, people who helped me, one way or another, whether they knew it or not.

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February 8, 2012


A new program in genealogical research was announced recently. The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, aka GRIPitt, is a week-long program similar to Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, to be held annually each July at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This summer, GRIPitt will offer four courses:

  • Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper with Paula Stewart-Warren
  • Advanced Research Methods with Thomas W. Jones
  • Beneath the Home Page: Problem Solving with Online Repositories with D. Joshua Taylor
  • German Genealogical Research with John T. Humphrey

The course leaders are widely known genealogical researchers, lecturers, and authors, and are joined by other distinguished members of the genealogical community, including Clair Bettag, Rick Sayre, Pam Stone Eagleson, and Pamela Boyer Sayre. Elissa Scalise Powell, another well-known face, and Deborah Lichtner Deal serve as directors.

Although 2012 is GRIPitt’s first year, one course, Tom Jones’ Advanced Research Methods, filled within minutes of registration opening. The other three courses still have space, most likely not for long.

As time moves on and GRIPitt becomes more popular, I expect other courses will be added, possibly as counterpoints to IGHR’s offerings or in response to trends within the discipline. Whatever direction GRIPitt takes, the opportunity to tap into the minds of some of genealogy’s brightest stars is a welcome one.