Archive for August, 2013

August 30, 2013

The Unordinary

Michael John Neill recently discussed Accurately Searching for my Ordinary Ancestors. A couple of his remarks were really spot-on, including this one:

The search for those records can take a lifetime, even in the era of the internet. It’s not just about the search for some obscure document that makes a connection or finding as much material as possible. Genealogy is not the accumulation of capital. It is about stitching documents together, fleshing out the unwritten clues in the records, and weaving the written and the unwritten together into a story that is based upon sound research, sound methodology and yet is engaging to the reader. The difficulty for those who strive to accurately document their heritage is that many of those who lived their lives outside the bright glow of fame do not always leave the amount of records that makes telling their story easy.

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August 29, 2013

Editors Edit

We’re in the beginning stages of production for the second issue of The Appalachiana, the quarterly newsletter of the Southern Appalachians Genealogical Association (SAGA). I already have two articles for the upcoming issue, one of which is ready for print. The other is undergoing revisions based on editorial suggestions. When I finished marking up the draft, I thought, as I always do, that the author would be pretty ticked at all the red ink. Fortunately, I’m dealing with an experienced author who understands the editorial process.

The way I see it, my editorial hat contains several tricks, including maintaining a consistent style across the entire publication, finding holes in the article that need to be filled, and, above all, helping the author take a so-so or good article and make it really great. The main objective is to have a newsletter that readers will find useful and interesting. The best way to do that is to have well-written articles, and to achieve that goal, I must pull out my red pen and edit.

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August 28, 2013

Two Upcoming Programs at the Gainesville Branch, Hall County (GA) Public Library

On Friday, 13 September 2013, Hall County Public Library will host Sitting Up with the Dead beginning at noon. The library closes to the public at 5:00 p.m., and no one will be admitted to the program after 6:00 p.m. Researchers will have the opportunity to explore the Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy and Local History Collection all night long with library staff members and fellow researchers. Program details come with the warning that the event is not for beginners or the faint of heart. The cost is $12 per registrant, which includes a boxed dinner, beverages, and a snack. Registration forms are available on the Hall County Public Library web site. Fees and the registration form must be received by Monday, 9 September for all participants.

On Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 6:30 p.m., the Hall County Public Library will host Basic Building Blocks of Genealogy for “first time” genealogists. For more information, call (770) 532-3311 ext. 116.

Both events will be held at the downtown Gainesville branch of the Hall County Public Library system.

August 24, 2013

Who Was Margaret E. Carpenter, First Wife of Henry Harrison Dills?

I have many, many recent ancestors from Macon County, North Carolina, and because those ancestors tended to live near one another, there’s a lot of overlap between families. Henry Harrison Dills and his wife, Henrietta Rosette Nichols, are cases in point. H. H. was an elder brother of my ancestor Samuel Marion Dills; both were sons of Henry and Susan (Stratton) (Furr) Dills. Henrietta was the daughter of Wesley and Susan (Nichols) Nichols, and the niece of my ancestress, Amy (Nichols) Ledford.

I’ve been working on H. H. and Henrietta’s family, and while doing so, I retrieved the records of H. H.’s first marriage. Fortunately, there are three different records for this marriage: the marriage bond, the marriage license, and the minister’s return, all part of Macon County’s loose marriage records as held by the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh.

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August 23, 2013

This Week’s Readings

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Thorndike, Maine: Center Point Large Print, 2012).
There’s too much going on around here for any serious reading, but I managed to finish this book earlier in the week. I learned quite a bit about the current research into personality traits like introversion and extroversion, including their physiological bases. Quiet didn’t change my life; I’m not melodramatic enough to assert that, but it did give me quite a great deal to ponder. This is especially true in regards to my own son, who is more outgoing than I am and not nearly as shy, but still an introvert.

If you are an introvert, or if you live or work with one, then please take the time to read Quiet.

Association of Professional Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, June 2013.
My copy of the June issue of the APGD came in a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t have time to do anything more than skim through it until yesterday. I was particularly interested in “A Peek Under the Umbrella: Life as a Professional Genealogist,” a collection of articles written by several top-notch professional genealogists, including practitioners with advanced degrees and/or credentials. Each discussed different aspects of being or becoming a professional genealogist, from the pre-Internet days of research, to the necessity for diversifying one’s skills, to the impact of credentialing on one’s career, and a few things in between.

I also noted the overwhelming number of new APG members, which took up about a page and a quarter. From discussions I’ve had with other genealogists, I gather that this is only one sign of the number of people who are surging into the profession. Only time will tell if this is a positive development for the field.

August 18, 2013

A Sunday Walk Around the Blogs’s Expert Series includes several noteworthy recent additions:

The History Blog shares a German officer’s photo record of World War I, a collection of photographs taken by Walter Koessler, who later immigrated to the United States.

The National Archives is holding a free virtual genealogy fair! Thanks to Angela Packer McGhie at Adventures in Genealogy Education for getting the word out.

August 16, 2013

I(ntrovert), Genealogist

I’ve been trying to post a list of my genealogy readings on Fridays, but this week I want to share a book that is related to genealogy only by chance. I ordered Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain through Inter-Library Loan because I’m an introvert (yes, really), and being an introvert has a devastatingly negative effect on my career. Yes, really.

The first section of Quiet deals with the “Extrovert Ideal,” that is, the emphasis our society places on extroversion, and the many assumptions that follow because of this emphasis. Extroverts are seen as natural leaders. Their ideas are followed more frequently not because they’re right, but because they’re assertive and talkative. Extroverted people are seen as more attractive, more intelligent…just more. Not because of their character or anything tangible, but simply because of their outgoing nature.

Introverts, on the other hand, are negatively labeled in just about everything, and I can attest to this from personal experience. If I had a dollar for every comment my parents made to me about speaking up in public, finding a “real” job (working with the public, naturally), being more like my sister (the brilliant, beautiful, outgoing teacher and coach with an active social life and tons of friends)…

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August 9, 2013

This Week’s Readings

Genealogy-related reads over the past week.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Good Genealogical Writing,” originally published in OnBoard 4 (May 1986): 16; available online through the Skillbuilding section of the Board for Certification of Genealogists web site. I love the BCG web site, because it has some really useful educational tools, including reproductions of articles that appeared in past issues of OnBoard. I read all of those articles when I first discovered the web site (and continue to read “new” articles as they are added), but I also periodically review the articles I’ve found to be most useful, including this one.

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August 7, 2013

The Appalachiana, Vol. I, Issue 1, August 2013

The first issue of the Southern Appalachians Genealogical Association’s quarterly newsletter, The Appalachiana, has just come out. Many people put much work into making the newsletter a reality, from the authors to members of SAGA’s Publications Committee and Board of Directors. We’ve put the Table of Contents for this issue online. Our feature articles include:

  • The Georgia Archives Endures, by Michele Simmons Lewis
  • Research at the East Tennessee History Center, by Sue Ann A. Reese
  • Exploring the 1906 Eastern Cherokee Applications, by Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt
  • From the Experts: Two Writing Tools for Managing a Research Project, by Julie Cahill Tarr

All of the contributing authors did an excellent job, and we thank them for their patience and commitment to this project.

August 6, 2013

Now Available: Rabun County, Georgia, Writs, 1836 – 1859

I’m very pleased to announce the release of my newest book-length project, Rabun County, Georgia, Writs, 1836 – 1859. This book covers early Superior and Inferior Court records that have never before been published, and that are not microfilmed. The only way to access these records is by viewing the originals, which are located in the Clerk of the Superior Court’s office in Clayton.

In spite of the title (which was taken from the titles of the original bound record volumes), this publication includes many different kinds of court records, including: complaints or petitions, affidavits, acknowledgments of service, executions of writs, receipts, confessions of judgments, answers, pleas, verdicts of juries, bonds, counterclaims, and, of course, writs (e.g. subpoenas). The covered court cases were primarily civil in nature.

By using these writ and other records in conjunction with extant court minutes, dockets, and other court records, one can gain a more clear and detailed picture of the nature of court proceedings, as well as the activities of one’s ancestors.

Rabun County, Georgia, Writs, 1836 – 1859 is hardcover, 6×9″ with 334 + x pages, with a glossary of legal terms and an every-name and subject index. The cost is $30 plus $3 shipping and handling. Orders postmarked on or before 21 August 2013 receive a $5 discount off the total cost of the book. To order, e-mail me or write to: Dawn Watson, P. O. Box 292, Rabun Gap, GA 30568.