Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Genealogy Records From a Mental Hospital?

I have an ancestor, James Wiley Town (Apr 1841 - 20 Dec 1921) who was born in Caldwell County Kentucky and died in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky. He was married in 1868 in Lyon County Kentucky.

I followed him through the census records and found his wife, listed as a widow, living in Lyon County Kentucky, in 1900, with all their children. Many people would have assumed that James Wiley Town had died before the 1900 census. However, I had seen his tombstone in the Saratoga Methodist Church Cemetery (Lyon County KY) which showed a death date of 1921. I wrote for his death certificate and found that he died in 1921 in a Hospital in Hopkinsville Kentucky. I've not found him in the 1900 or 1910 census records, but I did find him in 1920 as a patient in the Western State Hospital [a hospital for the mentally ill] in Hopkinsville. I then wrote to the Western State Hospital for information. Here is the information from a letter I received from them:

"Mr. John W Towns was admitted to Western State Hospital on June 4, 1901. He was 59 years of age, married and a farmer by occupation. He was committed to the hospital by the Lyon County Court. The reason for admission was given as mania and it was also alleged that he indulged in alcohol. He expired on November 20, 1921 due to Myocarditis."

They told me in the letter they had no further information, but optimist that I am, I stopped by the hospital the next time I went through Hopkinsville and asked anyway. They couldn't even find the original record that time, so I'm extremely glad I have this letter. I have not yet found the county court record where he was committed to the hospital. You never know where you'll find interesting information.

James W Town was my great grandfather. I had heard no family stories about any ancestor being committed to the mental hospital. Makes you wonder - did his wife tell people she was a widow in 1900 or was that a census taker's mistake (she's listed as married in the 1910 census); I wonder if people visited him in Hopkinsville? I called my older cousins and they didn't know he had been in the hospital either. One said she had heard that he had "gone back to Ireland but had never come back". She was a little vague on whether it was actually this ancestor in the Ireland story. Either way, this Towne family dates back to William Towne who came to this country in the 1630's from England. William was the father of two of the women hanged for being witches in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. Our James Wiley Towne is descended from Jacob, the son of that William Towne.

1850 Caldwell County KY census shows:
Elizabeth Towns 40 F 150 KY
James W 10 M KY
Robert H 5 M KY
Dicey Jones 25 M KY

1860 census shows Elizabeth b abt 1811 living with Samuel Pearce b abt 1806 and the following:
Addison Pearce 20 laboror b. Ohio
James W Town 19 laboror
Robert W Town 16 laboror
R(?) Moore 33 Male b. PA
Erminia H Moore 24 F b. Ohio
Samuel E Moore 2 male b. Ill.

1870 District 1, Lyon Co KY Census
158 159 Town, J.W. 29 m w farmer 250 400 KY
, M.E. 25 f w HKeeper KY
, J.W. 4/12 m w KY
, Elizabeth 62 f w NC
, R.H. 26 m w KY
Jones, C D 56 f w NC
Ford, Liza 61 f w NC
Freeman, Jack 44 m b farm hand NC

1880 Lyon Co KY Census
James W. TOWN Self M Male W 38 KY Farmer VT SC
Mary E. TOWN Wife M Female W 34 KY Keeping House KY KY
Willard TOWN Son S Male W 10 KY KY KY
Elizabeth C. TOWN Dau S Female W 7 KY KY KY
Sarah J. TOWN Dau S Female W 3 KY KY KY
Elizah E. TOWN Dau S Female W 5 KY KY KY
Joseph M. TOWN Son S Male W 7M --- --- ---

1900 Lyon Co KY Census:
355 373 Town, Mary E Head W F June 1845 54 Wd 9 8 KY KY TN
John W son W M March 1870 30 S KY KY KY
Morris son W M Sep 1879 20 S KY KY KY
Nola dau Jan 1885 15 S KY KY KY
J Zara son Dec 1881 18 S KY KY KY
Henry son W M Oct 1887 12 S KY KY KY
Knoth, Leonard J boarder W M May 1880 20 S KY KY KY
Knoth, Fred A boarder W M Sept 1869 30 S KY KY KY

1910 Lyon Co KY Census:
248 248 Townes, Thomas H Head M W 22 S KY KY KY [note: this is Henry]
Mary F W 64 mother M141 9 8 KY KY KY

1920 Christian Co KY Census
Enumeration District 6, Sheet number 5B, 6 Jan 1920
Western State Hospital, Palingra Precinct
Towns, John patient m w 78 M KY US US

Choose a Direction for Life in the 9th Grade?

I posted this entry and then removed it. I'm really not into posting personal entries because I'm so afraid my words won't convey what I really mean. I'm a math person and tend to list thoughts instead of putting pretty words around them. That has gotten me into trouble in the past. I "think" pretty words around all my listed items; I just don't "write" them. I was asked to repost it, so I am.

When I was teaching high school, the 9th grade students were expected to decide whether they were following the technical path or the university path. The technical path gave them class choices in a more job related flavor. They also received the basic classes that would, after graduation, get them into a community college if they wanted, but it was thought that these were kids who were going to focus on a job right out of high school, rather than being "college material". Are we nuts? Who knows the potential hidden in a 13 year old. College is NOT the answer for everyone, but everyone DOES need to prepare for a job. Maybe a better solution would be to make those "technical courses" available to ALL kids, and then some of these "college material" kids who get into college and realize it was a big mistake, might have an alternative to follow. I'm one of those who tried to guide all my kids into the college path, because they were all intelligent, we could afford it, and our culture said that's the way we should do it. I have one that's found material success in a career he seems to enjoy and he did it without completing his degree. I have one who is doing extremely well as a student and will be a senior next year at a university. She has a direction and goals. I have another son who has chosen an alternate path. He's wanting to do what we all say we want. He wants to make the world a kinder place, a more sane place, a place less focused on the bottom line. He's hitchhiked across the country; he's travelled to Alaska, Turkey and Greece; he's worked in an after school day care; he's done landscaping; he's tried the college "thing"; he's now going to apprentice himself to a farmer and learn the "art" of his ancestors. Our ancestors didn't have a lot of money, but they had a family nearby. Our ancestors knew how to grow their own food and build their own shelter. It was hard work for them, and I'm sure they thought they wanted "more" for their kids - for their kids to not have to work so hard and to "have more". Does having more make us happy. All those careers we have that we can't wait to leave. All those people who are already wishing it was the weekend when you see them Monday morning. Why do they do a job they hate? I know we HAVE to do jobs we hate sometimes to pay the bills and to put food on the table, but the ideal is to do that in a way that we're happy doing, NOT stay in the awful job for 30 years. We can't all be forced to choose a lifetime career at an early age. Sometime we take a job to be able to eat, and look for inspiration while we're doing it. Being an apprentice to learn organic, family farming is a good thing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Non-genealogy Day

I interacted with living descendants today and this past weekend, instead of dead ancestors. The big ball game was in Memphis (Univ of Memphis vs University of TN), so we had two of our kids and a boyfriend of one in town. Everyone wore Memphis blue except the orange attired boyfriend. I think a good time was had by all. Math majors should be able to estimate, but I invited all the local family over for chili Friday night and ran out of chili before our niece and her family even arrived. I caught her, by phone, in the line at McDonalds (buying nuggets for the two year old) so she went ahead and bought dinner for her whole family!! I guess I owe her one... AND I need to buy a bigger crockpot. My two nephews stayed with me today while their mom helped a family member in the hospital, so maybe keeping a 2 month old and a 2 year old most of the day is partial payback for no chili!!! Our son went home today, taking back his 3 cats we'd been catsitting while he was out of town the last 4 months; our daughter and her boyfriend (and their puppy) left yesterday; the nephews have gone home. It's certainly extremely quiet here tonight. Makes me reflect. Moms can be annoying to their kids (no matter their age). I can remember my mom saying "you won't let me do anything for you"; and those words came out of MY mouth yesterday. They're so much like I was. Wish we could pour all the knowledge of the mistakes we've made into their heads, but I guess they need to learn it all the hard way, just like we did. Life is awfully short. I wish they all lived closer. Oh well. Life goes on.....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I found these two "certificates" that were issued to my dad during World War II. One was for crossing the 180th Meridian 3 August 1945 while on the USS General H.W. Butler. The second was given to him while in Okinawa 1 December 1945 for Foxhole Fraternity. I did an internet search for any other "Foxhole Fraternity" certificates and found the term used only to apply to the parents of teenagers, however I found quite a few sites with certificates for crossing the 180th Meridian (International Date Line):

Friday, February 22, 2008

Terrorists and the Cold War

During the 1960's, we had disaster drills while in school, much like the students have today. I found some interesting artifacts from the 1960's. My mother attended a Civil Defense Preparedness class. These pictures are of her completion certificate for the class, the card she had for a quick check of emergency rules, and a brochure, which was probably from her class. Anybody remember CONELRAD RADIO?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One of our Daniel Atchleys

This document was one of those great finds in a little folder in the genealogical library in Sevierville TN. This Daniel Atchley has been confused in several genealogy postings by others with his father, Daniel Atchley. This record made it clear that THIS Daniel Atchley was a brother to our Amos Atchley who moved to Arkansas.

Sevier County TN Court Record:Case #278

To the Honorable O P Temple Chancellor presiding at Sevierville, Tennessee.

Your Orator J T Trotter, a citizen of Sevier County Tenn humbly complaining, showeth unto your Honor, that about the year 1861, Daniel Atchley departed this life, intestate, in Sevier County, seized and posessed of 22 acres of land, lying in Sevier County District No 7, comprising two small tracts of cleared land, containing about 17 acres adjoining the lands of your orator and heirs of Sarah Atchly and a small tract of wood land, of about five acres adjoining the lands of your Orator and C Hardin.

Your Orator further showeth that the following named brothers and descendants of brothers, and sisters, are the only heirs at law, of said intestate, and inherit the above described lands, viz;

  • Seth Atchley a brother and citizen of Arkansas.
  • The descendants of Jesse Atchley a deceased brother, to wit: two sons Enoch and Calvin, and six daughters viz: Martha who married A. Price, Derusha, who married Thos. Hawkins, Delila who is dead leaving an only child M A George,Lucinda who is dead leaving three children viz: John Trotter, Jesse Trotter, and Minerva Harris
    (formerly Trotter), who married Wm Harris, Rachael who is also dead leaving five children viz: Enoch Denton, G T Denton, Elizabeth Denton, Calvin Denton and Mary Bean (formerly Denton) who married _____ Bean and Minerva Davis (formerly Atchley) who married Josiah Davis, all the descendants of Jesse Atchley dec'd are citizens of Bradley Court except Calvin Atchley and Josiah Davis and wife Minerva who are non-residents.
  • The descendants of Joseph Atchley also a deceased brother of said intestate are as follows to wit: Wesley, William, Joseph, Martha who married Jacob Parrott, Amy O who married Thomas Langston and Rebecca who married William Atchley, all citizens of Sevier County and Penelope who married Elijah Nichols both of Jefferson County and all being sons and daughters of said Joseph Atchley dec'd.
  • The descendants of William Atchley also a deceased brother of said intestate are as follows to wit: three sons Pleasant, Clabourne and James and one daughter Mary H who married Benjamin Langston, all citizens of Sevier County, but the interests of said James and Clabourne in said land belong to Orator.
  • Mille, a deceased sister of said intestate left but one child, Minerva, whose interest in said land belongs to your Orator.
  • Mima Maples a deceased sister of said intestate left six children viz: Preston Maples, Jackson Maples and Mary Newman (formerly Maples) who married ______ Newman, who is dead, all citizens of Bradley County and two sons whose names and residences are unknown.
  • Joshua Atchley another deceased brother of said intestate, left the following children viz: Daniel Atchley, a citizen of Bradley County and William and Nancy, who married _____ Hickman, non residents and probably others, but their names, number and residences are unknown to your Orator.
  • Martin Atchley another dec'd brother of said intestate, left a son, Joshua Atchly, a citizen of James County and other children whose names and residences are unknown to your Orator.
  • Amos Atchley a deceased brother and
  • Alice Moore a deceased sister of said intestate, each left children but your Orator has not been able to acertain their number, names or residences.

Your Orator has made diligent inquiry and the above are all the heirs of said Daniel Atchley, whose names and residences he has obtained.

He states, that on account of the small quantity of said land and the large number and inequality of interests therin, it will be impossible to partition the ??? in the usual way and that it will be manifestly to the interest of all parties to sell the same for partition.

[........ the names are repeated etc etc.]

A later paper in the file:
Be it remembered that on this 13th day of April 1874 this cause came on to be finally heard
before the Hon O.P. Temple Chanceller.....[J T Trotter bought the land!!]....[J T Trotter seems to be a sibling of Sarah Trotter Atchley - maybe there was a conflict of interest there?]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Zachariah Worley - Transcript of Revolutionary War Pension Application

The National Archives
Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files

Pg 207

State of Tennessee Smith County On this 25? day of September 1832 personally appeared before the County Court of Smith County now sitting Zachariah Worley a resident of Smith and State of Tennessee aged 70 years last June who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of congress passed June 9th 1832 That he enlisted in the army of the United [sic] in the year 1779 in February with Sergant [sic] Ellison dont recollect what regiment was under Col Buford of the Virginia line under the following named officer. That he enlisted in the service of the United States in February 1779 in Powaton County State of Virginia from there he marched to the edge of Pennsylvania there met by Col. Porter? and sent back to the South reached Petersburg Va in July. There he was taken sick

Pg 223

and placed in the Hospital and remained sick until it was to late for the season to march. He was under Capt Wallace while at Petersburg and also Col Buford. In the year 1780 in the month of February one hundred and forty of the soldiers with myself under Capt Howard was marched in to South Carolina near Munk Corner there met by Col Washington then we dodged about as we could until Col Buford came up with the ballance of the regiment then I was placed under my old Capt Wallace we were then marched from this place down to Santu Run SC and there we remained until the troops at Charleston was taken prisoner from Santu Run the Company that I was in retreated to the place called the Hanging Rock South Carolina we had a battle where we were attacked by Col Talton and his soldiers and we were there defeated had orders if defeated to mitt [sic] at Hilsboroug N Carolina and out of about 500 there was only

Pg 236

104 got there. I then was marched from Hilsboroug to Richmond Va and there I was taken to a Country Store until my time was out making the time I served as a regular one year and Eight months in the United States Army. I recd a discharge but have not got it now. My name is to be found on the Roll of the Virginia troops in the wares? office as I have seen men that told me they saw it after I was discharged I then came to my Farthers house in Bedford County Va where he had moved to while I was in Servise. Then afterwards in the month of February 1781 in Bedford County Va there was a call for men to join Gen Green for six weeks. I then volinteered under Capt Gwalkin Maj John Callaway and Col Charles Lynch all of whom I was acquainted with. I was marched to Gen Greens army at Gilford Court House and there I was in the Battle of Gilford. I have no documentary evidence know of no person whos testimony ?? he? can f?? to prove his servis.

Pg 243

He hereby relinquishes(?) any claim whatever to a pension or any bounty except the present and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any state.Sworn to and subscribed this day and year aforesaid.

[signed] J Pickett clk [signed] Zachariah Worley

And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states.

I Jonathan Pickett Clerk of said Court do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Zachariah Worley for a pension. In Testimony where of I have herewith set my hand and seal of office this 4th day of September 1832 and 57th year after Independence.
[signed] J Pickett clk?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But Which Daniel Atchley is MY Daniel Atchley

On my husband's side of the family, it seems that his Sevierville Tennessee ancestors (early 1800's) believed strongly in carrying on family names. It often seems to me that every male Atchley felt obligated to name a male child Daniel. It's also some great coincidence that they all seem to be about the same age too!!

MY family seemed to have a John P Gray obsession. Not just John Gray, mind you, but John P Gray.

My Holloway family seems to have found a way to differentiate between all the Jim Holloways in the county in the mid to late 1800's. This isn't helping me much genealogically, but it seemed to help them, as listed in a letter provided to me by a cousin (the notes in parenthesis are also from the letter):

1) Sour Jim
2) Negro Jim (dark complected)
3) Squirrel Jim
4) Gallon Jim (sold whiskey, dry goods, groceries and hardware)

It's hard enough to figure out what the real names were for Fannie and Dicey and Clint [they were Mary Frances, don't know yet, and Chittenden].

Then there was Willard Oliver Towne, who went by Willard for the first half of his life in Vermont and after the move to Ohio, decided to go by Oliver.

There were all those years I searched for Wiley Jones (not that Jones isn't hard enough on it's own), then I found where he witnessed the will of a friend as Thomas Wiley Jones. Now I need to go back and look for Thomas Jones in all those "Wiley places".

That's the fun of this hobby though isn't it?

Monday, February 18, 2008

African American Lives 2

African American Lives 2 is the name of a series of shows that is currently showing on our local PBS TV station. I stumbled upon the show the other night and was very impressed. Here is the link to the PBS info on the show. I hope you're able to find it on your PBS lineup, as it's an excellent show on genealogy, dna and tracking families, white and black.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Didn't See THAT Coming & Other Surprises

I found this picture in a group of old pictures. It's supposed to be Connie Bell Oliver (1908 - 1952) , one of my first cousins once removed. I thought it was such a "cute" picture of her apron and bonnet and the fence. I then scanned in the picture, and it became obvious that she's shooting a gun. It's not a big deal, it was just such a surprise. Maybe I should scan in even more pictures and see what's "hidden" in them.

My maternal grandfather was Elwood Gray. He had a twin brother named Fred. They were born in 1884. I found the following in the Lyon County Kentucky Criminal Court Records:

17 Aug 1903: Elwood Gray was fined $10 for running a horse on the highway.

18 Aug 1903: Fred Gray was fined $20 for "disturbing religious worship".

I wonder what the story was behind that wild weekend?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Free Software

In my presentation the other night, I mentioned that some of the software I use is free. I decided to put together a list of the free software I actually use and discovered that I use a LOT more free software than I thought. Here's my list, with a little description of how I use it, and a link to the site where it can be downloaded:

1. PAF - Personal Ancestral File - Genealogy and Family History Program
2. Picasa - Picture organizer and editor
3. Ad-Aware - anti-spyware
4. CutePDF - create a PDF document from any other type of document
5. Spybot - anti-spyware
6. Folder Marker - Lets you change the color of the folder icons; great for organizing
7. iTunes - For reading Podcasts and downloading music
8. Google - I can't say enough about all the applications I use from Google. It deserves it's own list. Here's the link for a list of available applications, and then I'll tell you which ones I use often

  • Google Desktop - find files in an instant - unlike the Windows equivalent
  • Google Earth - Satellite images of the world
  • iGoogle - The opening window(s) in my browser contain news, genealogy blogs, weather and other things that are important to ME. Customized desktop.
  • Maps - directions, maps and times to get anywhere
  • Calendar - For keeping (and sharing if you want) family birthdays, appointments. And it's accessible on my iPhone.
  • Gmail - It's my default mail application. I get NO SPAM on my gmail account. Also very easy to manage mailing lists.
  • Picasa - Organize photos and make fairly sophisticated changes to the pictures. You can't clone out the trashcan you forgot to move from you picture, but you can change lighting and do MANY great things.
  • Blogger - This blog is through Blogger

9. PowerToys - Microsoft provided "extras" - I use the calculator and TweakUI
10. AVG - FREE anti-virus software. I use this on an older Windows 98 system. I actually use Nod32 on my everyday systems. Nod32 is not free, but I changed to it from the Norton's and MacAfees because of the system overhead those packages were placing on my computer. AVG has been a great free anti-virus package
11. Stickies - stickie note creation for your computer screen in any color and not just yellow. Place lists or reminders on your screen. I have five of them on my screen right now. -

The next two applications are not used every day on my system. I have downloaded them and played with them, and am impressed with them. These are two office product suites. Both contain word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentation packages, very similar to the MS Office Suite of products (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access and PowerPoint), however, these are FREE. I generally use MS Office "just because".
12. Open Office
13. Star Office - part of the Google Pack

Friday, February 15, 2008

Of Course It's True - It Was On Her Death Certificate! - NOT

For twenty years I looked for Marguerite Goodall and Will Guinn. I had a death certificate of their daughter, Lady Clara Guynn. The death certificate showed Marguerite Goodall and Will Guinn as the parents of Lady Clara Guynn and also showed Memphis as her birth place. Lady Clara Guynn was born in 1876 and was my mother-in-law's grandmother. After twenty years I finally decided to use the strategy that I preach to others: If you can't go forward on your direct line, drop back and follow the information for siblings of your direct ancestor. I worked dilligently for months, tracing siblings and finally tracing them, geographically, to the place where they probably died. I wrote successfully (and unsuccessfully many times) for death certificates on these siblings of Lady Clara Guynn. Remember, I'm looking for the parents of these siblings. Lady Clara was a middle child in the group of children, so she was likely to have the same mother as the oldest and/or the youngest siblings. I had a funeral program that contradicted Memphis Tennessee as the birth place for Lady Clara, and listed Nashville Tennessee as her birth place.

Here's what each death certificate said for each sibling:

1) Certificate of Olin Guynn shows his parents as Mart Guynn and Margaret Nanny.
2) Certificate of Ida Guynn Kizer shows her parents as Mart Guynn and Jimmie Nannie.
3) Certificate of Lizzie Guynn shows father as Mart Guynn and mother as Martha Nanny.
4) Certificate of Lady Clara Guynn Worley shows her parents as Will Guynn and Marguerite Goodall.
5) Certificate of Miles Albert Guynn shows his dad as Mark Guinn and his mother as unknown.

After looking at the above info, I felt pretty sure that Nanny/Nannie should be the last name for her mother. I decided to start looking for a Guynn/Guinn connection to a Nanny/Nannie anywhere in Tennessee. I searched many indexes and the following indexed entry caught my eye in the IGI:

Martin Gevin married Mary Nanny 21 Jun 1861 Davidson TN (IGI Batch M519142 1838-1863; source # 0200295 Film)

I had seen Guynn/Guinn written as Gwin before, and I started rationalizing: If you place a "v" and an "i" together, they could look like a "w"; second rationailzation: If you abbreviate Margaret as Marg, that might be transcribed as "Mary"..... So I wrote for the originals from Davidson County, and as the Genealogy Guys often say (on their podcast): I did the genealogy happy dance when the papers arrived.

Here's what the papers showed: Martin Gwin married Margaret Nanny in Nashville, Davidson County Tennessee 20 June 1861.

So, I guess there are several things to learn from this:
1) Do the "drop back and follow the siblings" routine sooner than 20 years,
2) Keep a creative open mind when reading transcribed indexes: These guys wrote Geven for Gwin, Mary for Margaret and June 21 when it clearly shows June 20. HOWEVER, they DID have the Martin and the Nanny part right, so it was enough to trigger my interest.
3) Question information that you can't verify, even if it's on official records.
4) Remember the difference between primary and secondary sources.

The person who gave the "Goodall" information on the death certificate was a granddaughter of the deceased. The only explanation I can think of for the Goodall name is that maybe Margaret remarried and I just haven't found it yet..... benefit of the doubt and all.... As far as the Will Guinn instead of Mart Gwin, I think his name was actually William Martin Guynn/Gwin/Guinn, but I've not found any other reference to the William/Will part of the name. I think it all goes into the category of "what was she thinking (or drinking)?

Talking Tooooooo Much

You can probably tell that I enjoy talking... and talking..... about my favorite subject - genealogy. I presented a workshop last night on "Getting Started in Genealogy". It was held at the Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center (GRHGC) [in Germantown Tennessee]. It's a small library, but we had an overflowing crowd in attendance. The attendees had LOTS of questions and showed lots of interest. I knew I'd put a LOT of information into my presentation, and I knew I might glaze a few eyes toward the last 1/3 of the presentation, but I thought I'd stayed within my time frame of two hours. WRONG. I had to quickly click and click and click through the last 1/3 of the slides AFTER the 2 hours was up. Sigh. Guess I'll go in and cut out quite a bit or make it into more than one presentation. There's just so much I want beginning genealogists to know. I guess I'll have to give it in smaller doses. I asked for suggestions as to other workshops they'd like, and some of the suggestions were: 1) organizing all the information you collect, 2) using, 3) hands on internet searching, 4) site visits to local repositories/archives, 5) how to use the GRHGC. Some of those workshops are already planned, and the others are great ideas. What a great genealogical community.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oath of Allegiance

Having southern roots, I knew that Confederate soldiers had to sign an Oath of Allegiance after the Civil War. What I hadn't realized was something I discovered yesterday.
I've been finding some remarkable documents on FOOTNOTE.COM all this week - from their collection of scanned documents from the National Archives. Last night I was going through the documents related to my husband's Revolutionary War ancestor, Zachariah Worley. I was reading through his pension application from September 1832. I was mesmerized reading his account of his march from Virginia to Pennsylvania to South Carolina to North Carolina and back to Virginia. I read of his capture and his release and then another enlistment of six weeks. After the death of Zachariah in 1837, pension request documents appear for his widow, Milley Dewitt Worley. THEN I found what I hadn't realized. She had been granted the pension, but the pension was taken away with the outbreak of the Civil War. She was living in Smith County Tennessee while receiving the pension, and therefore had to reapply in 1866 after the Civil War, and in order to, again, receive the pension she had to sign the above document, an Oath of Allegiance, to the United States and to the Union. I guess I should have realized that this would have been the case, but it just hadn't occurred to me. One other interesting thing about the above document (that's page 2), is that on page 1, she's shown to be 100 years old. I think some of the math may be off on that, as she's shown as 74 in the 1850 census, 90 in the 1860 census and now 100 in 1866.
Some of the other interesting reading in the documents was the statement of a Mr Shepperd that he had attended her wedding in Virginia - that he'd been working in the tobacco fields and had walked out of the fields to attend the wedding. This Mr Shepperd later married Milley's sister, according to the document. Mr Shepperd's family had also moved from Virginia to Smith County Tennessee.
The pension documents gave dates for Zachariah's birth, marriage and death and a death date for Milley. It mentioned children, but didn't name them. It mentioned that Milley was living with Benjamin Davis, in Smith County Tennessee, when she applied for her pension. He turned out to be her son-in-law, and knowing his name was the key to finding her in the Smith County census records, because in the 1850 census, Milley was listed in his household as Milley, but NOT as Milley Worley. She was just listed as a member of the Davis family, so she had been indexed as a Davis. In the 1860 census I found Milley in the Benjamin Davis household, but she had been indexed as Mila Warley (Okay. I might have found that one on my own).
What fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learn Something New Every Day

I actually DO try to learn something new every day. Yesterday I was at the Tennessee Genealogical Library where I will be giving a presentation tomorrow (Thursday) evening on "Getting Started in Genealogy". I was at the library to make sure I knew how to connect their projector to my laptop. It seemed to work fine, but I was trying to adjust a few things, so eventually it didn't work at all. After an hour or so, I grabbed the library computer guy and he showed me that within PowerPoint, under SLIDE SHOW/SET UP SHOW, if you have the projector connected to the second monitor output on your laptop, you can choose DISPLAY SLIDE SHOW ON.... and it will give you a list, which includes MONITOR 2. A simple checkmark in that box and my presentation appeared just fine. If your projector is not connected you won't get those choices. Now I hope it works as well tomorrow night!! I guess I have more to learn about PowerPoint.

Today I was talking with some cousins in Kentucky and discussing a DNA study we have recently joined. I was able to share with them quite a bit of information on their ancestry, and it's always such a joy to hear the interested questions they ask and the wonder in their voices when some piece of information about an ancestor is heard for the first time. The thing I learned from the conversation was that one of the people I was speaking with (a wife of a cousin) was the sister of my mother's best friend. I had either forgotten that or had not known it. I was excited. I have quite a few pictures of her sister that I'll pull out and send to her.

Yesterday I received calls from a couple of folks who had wanted to attend my presentation tomorrow night, but had other obligations (I didn't ask, but it IS Valentines Day!!), and were wondering if we'd be presenting it again soon. Neither person had a computer, but one of them had started their genealogical research a few months ago and had access to computers at their local library. The other person was a total newbie to genealogy AND computers. Those are the enthusiastic people, who love to learn, that I love to speak with.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Tennessee TV - Southern Routes

I discovered the Memphis version of the Tennessee Crossroads TV show. Tennessee Crossroads covers mainly the Nashville area, although it will cover some Eastern and some Western Tennessee (and sometimes southern Kentucky) places. WKNO (the Memphis PBS station) has a show that I discovered tonight called Southern Routes. It covers Memphis, western Tennessee and the show tonight had a segment on New Madrid Missouri. I love these kinds of shows - it's our heritage.

Website for the show:

Property Records Made the Connection

I was able to tell that the Garrett Gray who was in Virginia was the SAME Garrett Gray who had been in Fauquier County Virginia. I was able to tell that the Willard C Town who bought land in Caldwell County Kentucky was the SAME Willard C Town who had lived in Coshocton County Ohio. I didn't have census records to correlate ages, spouses or children because the Garrett Gray document I used was from 1798. Willard C Town appeared in Kentucky in 1840. Both of these events were before the 1850 census that is always so much help to us. I didn't have marriage records or wills, so what did I have that proved to me that these were the same people? I had property deeds. Study your property deeds. Here's what I found.

Garrett Gray: 22 Jan 1798 District of Ninety Six. John Cannon and Elinor, his wife to Garret Gray, late of the County of Fauquier, VA 100 L sterling.........

Willard C Town: After his father "went west" and never reappeared in Ohio, Willard sold his part of his father's land to Cephas Parker, who then sold it to another member of Willard's family. When Willard C Town then purchased land in Caldwell County Kentucky, guess who witnessed this purchase - Cephas Parker. He and his family had moved with Willard C Town to Caldwell County Kentucky.

Deeds are wonderful things!!

Tennessee Crossroads

If you're interested in Tennessee history, crafts, artisans and places, there's a TV show that might interest you. I TIVO this show and really enjoy it. It's called Tennessee Crossroads and is shown on our local PBS station. Each show has three or four segments covering places, people or things of interest in Tennessee. If you're not in Tennessee, you can watch some of the segments online here: (Click on "all episodes for last 12 months) If you ARE in Tennessee, I recommend you find it on your local station and catch ALL the episodes.

Finding Living Individuals on the Net

I read a great suggestion, that hadn't occured to me, in a Kim Komando newsletter (technology interest newsletter - ).

We lose touch over time with old friends, and would like to find them. I've used the usual phone search sites and alumni sites, but the suggestion in the newsletter was to place the full name and location of the person you'd like to find in your blog or online web page. The reasoning behind this is that people often "Google" themselves, and content on blogs is searched by search engines, including Google. I'm going to try it right now, and will let you know if it ever brings results. My husband was a military brat and moved often as a child. He developed few long term friendships because of the moves. He attended Biloxi High School his junior year (1966) and Pensacola High School his senior year (1967). He had a very good friend that I'd like to find for him. His friend was Norman E. Clarke. He played the accordian (it was the 60's!!). I'll type his name in other ways to help any search engine: Norman Clarke, Norman Clark.

Well, that's the 21st century version of a note in a bottle.....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fun Things I Found This Week

I'm descended from Thomas Chittenden (1729-1797), the first Governor of Vermont. His daughter Beulah (1764 - 1821) married Elijah Galusha (1757 - 1783). Elijah Galusha was a captain in the Revolutionary War. I found a document today that mentioned both, Thomas Chittenden and Elijah Galusha. It was my most interesting find on since joining the pay site. I've also found revolutionary pay records for another ancestor, Garrett Gray, on the site. These are among the records that has copied from the National Archives. The son of Elijah Galusha and Beulah Chittenden Galusha was Elijah Galusha (1780 - 1854). This Elijah Galusha provided the supplies needed by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The supply records for this event are listed on a free site ( ) which shows excerpts from the journal kept by Lewis and Clark.

Another ancestor is found in online records. He is Jacob Towne. He is the son of William Towne. Two of the daughters of William Towne (and sisters to Jacob) were Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Estey. Those names should be familiar to researchers, as two of the women who were hanged for being witches in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. Jacob appears in various court records of the time.

Those are the easier ancestors to trace. Most of the others were farmers, brick layers and barrel makers (among other occupations). They were born, married, had children (a BUNCH of children), divorced (one or two) and died without much paper work being generated. I've seen Civil War era letters written by a great great grandfather to two of his sons who had been captured during the civil war; I've seen property records tellling me that the property was inherited from a deceased father and brother; I've seen very few wills; no diaries. I want to know the "whys" and the "whats". Where was a family during the two missing consecutive censuses? Where were they between Virginia and kentucky? Why did they leave South Carolina? Why did they leave New Jersey?

ALL my family lines have been in this country since the 1600's or early 1700's. I started genealogy (in 1977) with the goal of tracing all my lines back to their arrival in this country. That's a whole lot harder than it sounded when I started. I've travelled to courthouses all over the south and up and down the east coast. I've written letters. I've met new "cousins" over the years by letter and by phone. I've joined historical societies. I really want know more about these people than names and dates. My cousin emailed me the other day and asked me if my daughter was still afraid she'd inherited "the nose" (long and pointed) from our family. That was what he remembered about his last meeting with her. I told him that the college age daughter was now more worried that she'd inherited the family "rear end"!!! What did I get from all these people? Did I get more from the one who was forced to enter a mental institution than from the one who had thirteen children and listed herself as a "weaver"?

I'm still looking. I'm still learning. My daughter is becoming interested and is taking a class with me at Samford this summer. How much fun is that!!! I'm teaching a class this week on "Getting Started in Genealogy" for our Genealogical Society. I think passing on our knowledge and enthusiasm is important. You're IT. Pass it on!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tennessee Genealogical Society 2008 Upcoming Events

These presentations will all be held, either, in the Tennessee Genealogical Society classroom, or next door at the Pickering Center. Address: 7779 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN.

February 14 7pm: How to Get Started in Genealogy - by me, Debbie Atchley

February 24 3PM Our Trees Your Trees, Using Photoshop Elements to Restore Old Photos - Vince Hughes

March 8 10AM African-American Genealogy Research Workshop

March 13 7PM A repeat of the Using Photoshop Elements to Restore Old Photos Workshop - Vince Hughes

March 30 3PM Using the Internet to Search for Family History Information - Vince Hughes

April 5 - 10AM Membership Meeting with speaker Jerry O Potter, speaking on The Sultana Tragedy: America's Greatest Maritime Disaster

April 10 - 7PM Meet the Author - Dr John Harkins discusses his new book: Historic Shelby County

April 20 - 3PM A History Special - The "Murkin Files" How James Earl Ray was Caught - Vince Hughes

May 3 - 10AM A History Special - Davey Crockett - Speaker Joe N Bone

Natchez Trace Program

In today's Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Trace Presents History Program

Robert Bruce Smith will present the history program "William Johnson: Witness to a Vanished Natchez World" at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo (Mississippi).

Smith will focus on Johnson's life as a free black barber and diarist living in Natchez during the antebellum period.

The talk is free. The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center is at mile 266, just north of Barnes Crossing.