Archive for ‘General Information’

March 28, 2019

This Blog Has Moved

This blog has moved to its own URL: Please join me there.

April 20, 2015

Ordering Slave Importation Affidavit Registers

I am no longer stocking the title Slave Importation Affidavit Registers for Nine Georgia Counties, 1818 – 1847. It’s still available for purchase through CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Please order copies through one of those sites. Thank you!

March 11, 2014

Paw Martin and Daylight Savings Time

My father often tells tales about his maternal grandparents, Paw and Maw Martin, whom he adored. They lived right next door when he was growing up, so he saw them often and has many fond memories of them.

One story Dad tells is about Paw’s reaction to Daylight Savings Time, back when it was implemented in the US. Paw refused to go by the “new” time, so anyone who wanted him to be anywhere during the months affected by DST would have to convert that time to Standard Time.

I know, this makes Paw sound like a curmudgeon, but he wasn’t; he was actually a very good man. Possibly, his attitude toward a time switch had something to do with being a farmer. Animals have clocks in their heads, not on their mantels, and when a cow’s used to being milked at a certain time, that’s the time it needs to be milked. There’s a reason farmers work from day’s light to day’s end. It has little to do with the position of hands on a clock, and more to do with efficient use of light and other resources.

Every year when the clocks change, I think of Paw and wonder if I might have inherited a little bit of his practical nature where time’s concerned.

February 26, 2014

Mailing List for Publications

I’m trying to move my publication efforts into the 21st century, and that includes deep and serious thoughts about marketing. Right now, I have four titles out (three non-fiction and one novel), with more in the works. Figuring out how to let people know when new titles are available for purchase is one of the challenges self-published writers and compilers face.

To that end, I’ve started an e-mail list for my publishing company, Bone Diggers Press. Right now, I mail flyers through the U.S. Postal Service to past customers, which can get expensive and isn’t always effective. (I secretly believe some libraries are throwing the flyers away without opening them, even those that have expressed interest in purchasing future titles.) So, I’m hoping the e-mail list will be an easier, more cost-effective way for me to communicate with potential customers.

If you’ve purchased a title from me in the past, you’re on my USPS mailing list. If you’d rather receive an e-mail, just let me know and I’ll help you shift from physical to digital notices. To sign up for the e-mail list on your own, go here and submit your preferred e-mail list.

January 28, 2014

Rabun County’s Weather, January 1899

We’re having a snow day today here at home. Interestingly enough, the weatherman predicted no snow for northern Georgia; yet, there it is: three inches of snow, and more coming down by the second.

Just for fun, I thought I’d post some excerpts from The Clayton Tribune‘s community columns for January 1899. All were taken from my published transcription of Rabun County’s early newspapers, Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 – 1899.

6 January 1899 issue:

Tiger: “We are having some very cold weather.”

Warwoman: “According to the ruling days the weather will be very favorable for out door labor up to June.”

If you’re wondering what “ruling days” is, the old-timers believed the first twelve days of January corresponded respectively to the twelve months of the year, weather-wise.

13 January 1899 issue:

Warwoman: “We are experiencing a cold snap at present, hope the weather will moderate soon and we may have a pleasant January.”

Bridge Creek: “The weather is very cold and unsettled now.”

20 January 1899 issue:

Upper Tiger: “We are having some more disagreeable weather and the roads are muddy. The overseers are trying to have them worked so that Judge Estes will not grumble when he attends court next month.”

North Chechero: “It is the muddiest time now we have had in quite a time. W. L. Carver arrived home last Friday and reports more mud and it in larger pieces.”

26 January 1899 issue:

Bridge Creek: “Mud and rainy weather seems to be plentiful.”

North Chechero: “I am glad to see nice weather again. The roads are drying out some.”

Vandiver [column] 1: “Rain and mud, no end to the mud.”

Vandiver [column] 2: “We are very proud of the beautiful weather and if it remains fair I think we will have less mud.”

So it seems that no matter what the era, people are always interested in the weather and either complaining because it’s bad or joyful because it’s not. Plus ça change…

October 16, 2013

It’s Here!

Yesterday, the mailman left a much anticipated surprise in my mailbox: the Fall 2013 issue of the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly, which contains an article I wrote, “Georgia’s Poor School and Academy Lists: An Upson County Case Study.”

The article is, loosely, a proof argument, the first one I’ve published. But it’s also a methodology. The key figure is Nettie (Alford) Jamerson, who was the daughter of Pierce Lewis Alford and Amanda (Jenkins) (Alford) Ansley. P. L. and Amanda lived in Talbot and Upson Counties, Georgia. Both died young and left no estates. Nettie’s death certificate listed two different people as her parents, and she was never located on a federal census prior to her marriage to Andrew McDonald Jamerson. So, what to do? The poor school lists were only part of the solution, but they were an important part.

Continue Reading

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.

May 22, 2013

Call for Authors: The SAGA Newsletter

The Southern Appalachians Genealogical Association (SAGA) was formed last month to serve the needs of researchers with ancestors from across that region in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Membership is open to anyone willing to support the Society’s objectives, which revolve around education, preservation, publication, and scholarship.

The Society’s quarterly newsletter will be published in February, May, August, and November of each year. The first issue is scheduled for publication in August 2013. Regular features will include member queries, member news, and news from around the region.

Longer articles are also needed. Topics of particular interest include: research in archives or libraries; using and finding specific records; methodologies and techniques for better research; genealogy technology; genetic genealogy; biographies and short case studies; and articles on the history and culture of the region (specific localities or events), as well as historical preservation activities. Ideas on other topics are welcome.

All articles should be well-documented [edit: i.e. referenced] using citation formats recommended in Evidence Explained: Citing History from Artifacts to Cyberspace (2d. ed.) by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

For more information, see the newsletter section of the Society’s web site. Contact the newsletter’s editor at

April 13, 2013

Thank You to the Genealogical Computer Society of GA

A huge and hearty thank you to the Genealogical Computer Society of GA, with whom I had the pleasure of speaking today. Y’all were a great group to visit with. Don’t forget to e-mail me if you have any lingering questions.

A special thank you to Don and Pat Thompson, who took me and my crew (Richard) to lunch afterward. We enjoyed speaking with y’all, and appreciated the thoughtful gesture.

There were a few topics we touched on, not part of the lectures but additional queries, that I wanted to follow up on for those of you who are interested.

Educational Opportunities
One subject discussed lightly at lunch concerned educational opportunities for genealogists. A list of many of the opportunities I recommended can be found on the Board for Certification of Genealogists‘ web site under Educational Preparation. I also use the web site Conference Keeper and read the blog Adventures in Genealogy Education to find additional opportunities.

Finding Professional Researchers
Several members asked questions about finding reliable professional genealogists to perform client work. Here are three sites I recommend for doing so: Board for Certification of Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists, and ICAPGen. If you need a more personal recommendation, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.

Citing Sources in RootsMagic
While we were discussing source citations and Elizabeth Shown Mills’ excellent work, Evidence Explained: Citing Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Don mentioned that RootsMagic incorporates EE into its source citation models. Since I don’t use that particular software, I’m not much help, but Randy Seaver regularly posts about citing sources in RootsMagic on his blog, Genea-Musings.

Once again, thank you for having us. I look forward to speaking with y’all again.