Friday, July 31, 2009

Graveyard Tacky...

We've all seen them. We've even admired some of them.

Those tombstones that are becoming ever more popular with the crowds today, that contain portraiture of the deceased, or of their favorite hobbies, or their pets.

I've seen everything from a portrait of a new born baby to a RV etched in stone. And one lone sad stone that gave me the willies! A mother and obviously stillborn child in death's repose lying together in the coffin. ran a great article on this very thing on Wednesday.

I, personally, prefer a more "quiet" stone. The simpler the best, is my belief. I find nothing wrong with the others, it's just my personal preference.

My parents [aged 72 and 71] are planning on purchasing their stone now and having it placed now, so that when the time comes that will be one less item their loved ones have to think about. All those who are left behind will have to do is fill in the death date. They are adamant about only one thing. That it be a joint stone, and that their wedding date be included.

I even go for that.

I was impressed with this week's Tombstone Tuesday stone that I found! That particular stone was a family researchers holy grail! But it is still a bit ostentatious for my humble taste.

I've decided when I die, I'd be content with a simple flat stone with just my name and years of my birth and death engraved on it. I plan to be cremated anyway, so a simple marker for my ashes will be most appropriate.

What do you think of the current trend in tombstones?

We'd love to hear from you! You can email your responses to:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

David Ferriero Appointed as Archivist

It is reported that Mr. Obama has picked David S. Ferriero to be the Archivist of the United States. Mr. Ferriero is currently chief executive of the research library's at the New York Public Library.

Ferrerio's selection was reported yesterday by the National Coalition for History's newsletter, and the New York Times.

Ferriero succeeds Allen Weintstein who resigned in December for health problems.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

I don't know where this tombstone is located. I originally located this stone here. But that particular post had borrowed it from the Chicago Tribune's slideshow of 22 awkward tombstones, shown here.

Margaret Elizabeth Faulk Faverty's birth date is listed here as Oct. 7, 1932 in Ft. Worth, TX. What is extraordinary is that below her date of birth is listed her ancestry! "Daughter of Stone D. Faulk; Grand-Daughter of Everett Faulk, M.D. and Margaret Elizabeth Stone; Great-Grand-Daughter of George Washington Faulk and Delta Elizabeth Guy".

Below this wonderful wealth of information is listed the dates of death for all of these ancestors! And surrounding the edges of the stone are actual portraits of each of these ancestors!

The bottom half of the stone lists Margaret's biographical sketch.

This has to be one of the "wealthiest" stones I have ever seen, in regards to genealogical information! Wow!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Madness Monday - July 27, 2009

My "Madness Monday" doesn't consist of an ancestor who is driving me "mad" this Monday. But of an upcoming event!

The biennial Bean Family Reunion will be occurring on August 8th this year. I have been planning and working toward this reunion for the past two years!

This week I have been working on business announcements that must be made during the event. As well as preparing for our new committee election [we have a President, Vice-President and Secretary/ Treasurer].

As I have been typing up my notes [I have to use a cheat sheet, or I will surely forget something when making announcements!], I have been constantly interrupted! My telephone has gone on the blink, service has been sporadic, and completely disappearing at times! My scanner function on my all-in-one [printer, fax, scanner, copier] went out, and I had to search for a patch from HP for that. [Couldn't find one, so I ended up making a shortcut on my already crowded desktop to allow me to keep utilizing the scanner!] My doggie, Chica, has had little doggie diarrhea, and I have had to run to the door with her every little bit today! I received a phone call just as I thought I had made a breakthrough, and got side-tracked [but I was so happy to learn my cousin's new baby is going to be alright! The little fellow was just born on July 3rd, and had been very, very sick!] And the list goes on!!!


So, that's my "Madness Monday"! More like "whirlwind"!

And now, I must prepare to take a 2-1/2 hour drive to Lynchburg, VA to the airport there to pick up my sister and brother-in-law who are returning from vacation. They're flying in on a red-eye.

Who said life slows down to a crawl after the kids leave home???

Aw, well, you all know, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Till next time, take care!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Genealogy Networking Tools

There are several genealogy social networking tools available these days for the family researcher/ genealogist. Here are just a few that I utilize.

My all time favorite site for networking with other researchers remains the message boards on Rootsweb and Ancestry. On both of these "sister" sites, I have received numerous tips for my own family research, as well as for that of clients. I love to also look through the archives of these boards. You'll be surprised at just how often a past post will relate to your current search needs!

Of the newest tools available, I have become a fan of Genealogy Wise. Not a huge fan of Twitter and Facebook, I didn't really see how I would relate to this "social" site. But somehow, I became hooked! I joined a few groups, and receive their posts directly to my email. These are groups who have the same interests and areas of research that I have. I find the commraderie, and unique helpfulness of its members to be like nothing I have ever participated in before!

My favorite groups on Genealogy Wise are GeneaBloggers [yep, the folks who give us these great blog ideas!], footnote users, West Virginia Genealogy [where most of my personal research is performed and where I live], and Texas Cemeteries [where I perform most of my husbands research]. The uniqueness of Genealogy Wise also allows us the opportunity to be free to make up our own groups if we choose!

These make up my favorite networking sites. When positively stumped, I return to these sites, and my fellow researchers have always graciously offered their help!

Black Sheep Sunday

Allan wasn't a quiet boy. He was a hell-raiser from the moment he could walk and talk.
He stayed in and out of trouble his entire life! He drank, he smoked, and he played as hard as he lived. At one point he even left his home state just to stay out of prison, knowing full-well that if he stayed he'd be in trouble one more time. And there was the "Three-Strikes" law. He'd be gone for good.
But everyone loved him. Irregardless of the things he did, and his wild ways, there wasn't a soul who didn't love him.
Eventually his wild ways caught up with him. And Allan was diagnosed with "The Big C", cancer.

Allan went home to spend the remainder of his days at his sister's house in Texas. Where he could be near those who loved him most. And best.

Allan was my husband's only full-brother. Their mother had 7 children. John and Allan were born with her first husband, Joe. Gary and JoAnn to her second husband, Ray. And David, Sandy and Richard were to her third husband, Eddie.

The whole family gathered in the summer after Allan was diagnosed. It was a reunion to celebrate life.
At this point, Allan was undergoing chemo therapy. His head was covered by a cowboy hat (as most are in the southern part of Texas). When Allan took off his hat, his baldness was hidden by a tatoo where his hair had once been. Wild boy to the end, a big "F. . . . You" [expletive omitted] was tatooed there.
It was a bittersweet reunion. While Allan was so full of life at the time, and the reunion was upbeat, those of us who lived a great distance away knew that it was also the last time we would ever see him.
In a quiet moment that week, Allan told me he'd found Jesus. He said there were so many things he was sorry about in his life, but he knew where he was headed. It was a comfort.
Several months later the call came one evening that Allan was gone. It was so hard to think of losing him. And so we have chosen to recall the funny, vibrant man that spent that week with us at the family reunion!
A couple of years later, when the family matriarch died, Allan's ashes were retrieved, and buried at her foot. A small stone lists his name and dates. When we visit the cemetery, it still seems so unreal, and we are approaching the 10th anniversary of losing him!
But, Allan was the black sheep. And as such, the perpetual joke stands, whenever someone gets into trouble that they are "pulling an Allan".
And the old Allan quote that will last for many years yet to come within the family stands as: "It's only wrong if you get caught!"
. Allan Ray Henry [1950-2001]

The Footlocker Treasures

Randy Seaver from over at Genea Musings issued his Saturday Night Challenge last night. As usual for me, I don't see the challenge until Sunday Morning! But I always love to try to meet the challenges Randy sets forth, and this one was no different!
Randy challenges us to tell about when we've had a "dose of good genealogy luck". So, Randy, and all who meet his challenges, here is my post regarding my luck!
A few years ago, my cousin called my Dad, who has helped me in a HUGE way with our Bean family genealogy, and told him that she had a trunk that used to belong to her father. She said it was full of "junk" that Dad might want to look through.
Dad went over to her home and brought the retrieved trunk back with him.

The "trunk" was actually an old military footlocker. For anyone who was in the service pre-Korean War, you will remember those old wooden footlockers that once sat at the foot of your bunk and contained everything you owned in them!
When Dad opened the footlocker, we were met with such a treasure trove of items!
The greatest find in the old locker was probabbly 150-200 old negatives. Living on a fixed income, Dad wanted to know if there was some way I could develop those negatives cheap. So I did a little research, and we were looking at a pretty big expense. Then my dear hubby said he'd read "something" about scanning negatives. So, I began to play around with my photo program at the time, and my scanner. And, low and behold, I was able to scan the negative, reverse the images, and come out with a decent set of photographs.

John Monroe Bean, Sr.
About 1950

Above is one of the pictures we recovered from those negatives. This is of my grandfather, John Bean, Sr. This photo was taken about 1950, as he was standing at the road in front of his home, near Waiteville,WV. That house has since burned down. The woodshed is in the background of this photo.
Also in the locker were numerous receipts and bank records from both my grandfather, John Bean, Sr., and my uncle, John Beane, Jr.
Here is a promisory note signed by my grandfather, John Bean, and my grandmother, Mary.

And here is a WWII fuel ration card for my Uncle John.
The footlocker also contained funeral notices, memorial books and cards, and obituaries. For the family historian, it was like a HUGE Christmas present! We spent weeks (literally!) cataloging, scanning and copying, and filing all of the documents and mementos.
That old footlocker was the single largest dose of "luck" I have ever had in researching my family's genealogy. I have often since wished it could all be so easy! Or even that I would have a client who would show up with such wonderful treasures!
Ahhhh, but alas, finds of this magnitude are once in a lifetime!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Will Your Kids E ver Know???

Ah, remember the good ol' days?

Well, the folks over at [namely Nathan Barry] have written about '100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About'.

Here's just a few from their list I'm sure my own five children [ages 25 - 30] have no idea of:

2] Super-8 movies
4] TV channels being a 'single-digit'
6] Rotary dial televisions with nor remote control. [I add Black & White TV sets here as well!]
8] 8-track cartridges
9] Vinyl records
13] Scanning the radio dial and hearing static between stations
56] When Spam was just a meat product!
57] Typewriters
58] Putting film in your camera
59] Mailing that film away to be processed
62] Getting lost. [Hey, with GPS, why should you?]
63] Rotary-dial telephones
64] Answering machines
65] Using a stick to point at information on a wall chart
67] Phones with actual bells on them
71] Remembering someones phone number
72] Not knowing who was calling you on the phone before answering it
74] Toys without an appropriate age listed on them
76] Waiting for the television-network premiere to watch a movie after its run at the theater
78] Neat handwriting
80] Starbuck being a man
83] Kentucky Fried Chicken, as opposed to KFC
84] Trig tables and log tables
85] "Don't know what a slide rule is for..."
86] Finding books in a card catalog at the library
87] Swimming pools with diving boards
91] Having to manually unlock your car doors
92] Writing a check
93] Looking out the window during a long drive
94] Roller skates, as opposed to roller blades
96] Libraries as a place to get books rather than the place to use the Internet
99] A physical dictionary [not wikipedia]
100] When a 'geek' and a 'nerd' were one and the same

A few that I'd like to add here:
1] When buying a hamburger and a shake meant a single sized burger and a small glass of milkshake [no "super-sizes"!]
2] When we all sat down at the table at supper time, together!
3] Sundays meant getting up early and going to Sunday School and Church. And sometimes, the preacher came home with you and ate fried chicken at your house!
4] School meant starting the day with The Pledge of Allegiance and The Lord's Prayer
5] Girls wore pants only to play in. School and church you'd better be in a dress or skirt!
6] Everyone said "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir"
7] Everyone said "Please" and "Thank-You"
8]It was impolite to speak with your mouth full
9] When visitors came to the house, the TV was turned off
10] There was a single phone in the house. ONE And your time was limited, in case Mom or Dad were to receive a call.
11] There was no "Call-Waiting"
12] Dinners were cooked on the stove, not in the microwave [There wasn't a microwave!]
13] The ice-cream man came once a week during the summer. It was the only sweet we were allowed!
14] Mom cooked one meal. If you didn't like what was put on your plate, you didn't eat till the next meal!
15] Allowances meant 25 or 50 cents a week. And we thought we were rich!
16] Saving our allowance to buy something we wanted. Mom and Dad didn't buy us everything we asked for! [Heck, we didn't ask, we knew how we'd have to get it!]
17] Roller skates meant strapping a metal plate with wheels onto your sturdiest shoes, and tightening them down with leather straps and a key
18] Playing outside from sunup to sundown [no sitting in the house!]
19] Knowing that if you misbehaved while playing in the neighborhood, Mom would know about it before you got home and be waiting for you!
20] Knowing that if you misbehaved, you'd get a spanking, whether at home or at school!
21] There was no cussing [cursing] allowed in the home. Men might cuss among themselves, but never in the presence of a lady. And if a child did, it was grounds to be spanked and get your mouth washed out with soap!
22] Adults smoked cigarettes and took an occasional [social] drink. They didn't die from cancer. And there was no danger for children due to second-hand smoke.
23] We didn't wear seat belts when riding in a car [there weren't any seat belts in the car!]
24] Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a hot summer day was a sure-fired way to cool off!
25] Playing in the garden sprinklers on a hot summer day
26] Santa brought four or five toys, not a whole room full!
27] Girls didn't wear makeup before they were 16
28] Girls didn't date before they were 16!
30] Dope meant you were acting silly
31] "Hoe" was something used in the garden
32] "Family" meant Mom and Dad and a bunch of kids

Okay, that's my two cents worth added to it! What can you think of to add to the list?

What will your kids never know about???

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

They Survived The Biggest Change In America

The 77th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy asks that we write about an ancestor who survived a disaster or other major occurrence in their life.
I have chosen to write about my great-grandparents, William and Margaret Bean, who lived in Monroe County, West Virginia.

At the time of the incidents I will be describing, West Virginia was just emerging as a new state, born from the beginnings of a civil war. The Bean family were Confederate to the core, especially the old patriarch, William Sr.

Born in 1792, his father is said to have fought under Lord Cornwallis in the American Revolution, and then he took the oath and became a full patriot. He received land grants in Virginia [now West Virginia] in what was then virgin territory. In 1804, William Sr. and his brother, John, being without a father [it is believed he must have died] were placed under indenture. William was to apprentice to become a blacksmith. The indenture is dated on his twelfth birthday.

But William, who came from indenture, married a good woman, and became a gentleman farmer. He purchased lands that totaled to more than 1600 acres in the county. He was tough, but he was fair. And the locals thought very highly of him.

When this part of the state split for lack of being able to choose "North" or "South", old William wasn't phased. He was Confederate through and through.

And so he thought, too, his sons. Especially William Jr.

But William, the younger, had other plans in mind.

William became a spy for the Union Army. And as such, he was actually enlisted into the Confederate Army with locals, a kind of 007 agent! He fought in several battles nearby. And then his unit began to march to distant areas to engage the enemy. And so it was on May 11, 1864 William was taken prisoner in Hagerstown, Maryland. He was shipped to the infamous prison at Elmira, New York.

William's family labeled him a traitor when they discovered he was working as a spy, and his own father threatened to disown him, saying he'd switched sides! But William's wife, Margaret, knew this was all a ruse on William's part. She packed up what household items she'd need with three small children, ranging in ages from seven years old to only 2 years of age, into a covered wagon. She hitched a team of oxen to the wagon, and took off, across enemy lines, completely across the state of West Virginia into Ohio. She stopped near present day Johnston's Island. She didn't have long to wait.

On September 2nd William was sent to Johnston's Island. Here was the Union Prison for Confederate Officers. William spent the remainder of the war at this post. It is believed that he helped to halt a breakout planned by the Confederacy, who had sent a ship up the river to liberate the prisoners held there.

William's official records were sealed under orders of President Abraham Lincoln on April 10, 1865. This is just ONE DAY after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and only 4 days before Lincoln was assassinated.

William and Margaret moved down to Cincinnati, where on December 15, 1866 their next child was born. John Monroe Bean. John was my grandfather.

Later that very same winter [1866-1867] they moved back to West Virginia. It is said that they very nearly froze to death in freak blizzards coming back. In a family of fairly tall and robust men, John was only 5'7" tall, and weighed a mere 150 pounds. He always stated that the winter he was born the family near froze to death on their move back to West Virginia, and it "stunted my growth".

I never knew William and Margaret. William later became a US Marshall and was shot to death not far from his home in 1890 at the age of 58. A scant year later Margaret succumbed to grief and died at the age of 65.

And John? Sadly, I never got to know my Grandpa either. John was an old man before he even started his family. My Dad was the thirteenth of fifteen children John fathered. John was 71 when Dad came along. Dad got the best of John, though, I believe! As an older man, he had time to sit and talk about the past and his family. Dad would listen with open mind, and open heart. To this day, I can sit for hours and listen to Dad tell me the stories of his own father, and the family history that was passed down to him.

John passed away in 1954 at 87 and one-half years of age. That was a few [very few] years before I came along. However, I like to think that I am keeping the memory of William, and Margaret, and John, and the many, many more that I study and learn about, alive. They live in my mind as brightly and as lively as they once did in person.

When I visit the cemetery, I am often found talking to them. Oh, I get some funny looks from people sometimes. And once, I even had a lady ask me outright if I was alright or should she call someone! [I quickly said I was fine, and "no, there's no need to call anyone", then skedaddled away before she DID call someone. Someone with a little white coat and padded cell maybe! Ha ha]

I believe they know I am keeping their memories alive. And I like to think that from their home in heaven they look down and smile.

At least, I truly hope so!

Wordless Wednesday

I can't remain wordless, I hope you all know that about me by now!

The above photo is taken of Henry C. Dreher, Jr. about 1945.

Henry was born 31 December 1902 and died 17 May 1977. He was a quiet man. He'd studied to become a Lutheran minister at one point. He had a magnificent baritone voice, and often sang to me in German [his grandparents had immigrated to this country, and I understand they always spoke German in their home].

Henry was an accomplished student of literature. Self-taught that is. He spent hours poring over texts and novels. However, his favorite were the Scriptures. I don't believe I have ever known anyone with as strong a grip on the Bible as he had.

Henry stood about 6 foot 4 inches tall. He was a big man. Stocky. Full of muscles that rippled.

He was quick to speak his mind, but in such a manner to not offend a soul.

And he was a gentleman of the highest order.

So, to see my dear grandfather in this photo, acting totally silly, makes me laugh!

By the way, should you hear thunder in the southern Indiana sky tonight, it isn't the weather. Grandpa Henry is probably rolling over in his grave making noise because I had the gall to show such a photo publicly! (Sorry Grandpa! I couldn't resist!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tonight's Webinar On

If you haven't yet discovered the webinar classes on let me recommend them to you! They are the best resources around!

Tonight's webinar was titled: "European Research: Tips and Tools for Success".

The webinar was hosted by Juliana Smith, editor of Ancestry Weekly Discovery and Jana Lloyd, editor of Ancestry Monthly Update.

The webinar was recorded and will be available in a few days to review and see at your leisure on

First of all, you will need to be armed with good information before you even begin your European research project. The Internet has opened us to repositories and records like never before.

There are some basic tools and techniques that will help you.

Diving in to International Research
* What you need to know
* Learning what's available
* Overcoming obstacles
* Connecting
* Getting Help

Our first order was to take a poll:
Have you begun your European research on your family?
There were over 1,000 attendees to the webinar, and the results of the poll were as follows:
34% - Making Progress
43% - Just Getting Started
23% - Haven't Started Yet

What You Need To Know:
* Name and approximate date of birth of the individual you are seeking
* County or province of origin
* City or town is even better
* Names of other family members [this will help you locate your family member in census
records or other records]
* Other identifiers
* Occupation
* Associates
The more information you have when you start, the better off you will be.

Second Poll Question
Have you identified 1 or more of your ancestors cities or towns of origin?
Yes - 85%
No - 15%
[Wow! A great start!!!]

Sources of More Information
* Home Sources
* Diaries
* Correspondence
* Bible
* Photographs
* Heirlooms [an example was given of a woman who had an ancestors piece of lace; come to
find out, the pattern of the lace was indigenous to a particular region of Germany and enabled her to locate records for her family member!]

Sources on
* Passenger Arrival Records
* Check more than once! Check different ports of entry and dates for multiple entries into
the States.
* US Passport Applications
* Naturalization Records
* Other Unique Collections
* New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850 - 1883
* WWI Draft Registration Cards
* Obituaries
* There are more than 40 million pages of newspapers on with extensive obituary collections!
* Church Records
* Vital Records
* Cemetery Records

Tools Available
* Card Catalog
* Over 28,000 types of records available!
* Use Keyword rather than Title search terms
* Filters are available by collection and location
* For foreign languages there are helps to assist and translate documents. Interpretation tools
are also available.

Learning What's Available
* Family History Library and Family History Centers
* Through these centers you can order records from Salt Lake City on microfilm to be viewed and printed out at your local Family History Center.
* Helpful articles and tools in their online library.
* Search the Family History Library catalog
* You can perform a Place Search to limit to the area you want to search
* Genealogical Word List to help with foreign languages

Resources Available
* Cyndi's List
* World GenWeb Project
* Translational aids
* Adresses
* Research Guide
* Links to repositories
* Geographical Information
* Links to other online resources
* Online queries and sometimes records
* GenUKI
* Carpatho-Rusyn Knowledge Base
* Jewish Genealogy
* Federation of East European Family History Societies
* National Archives - Ireland

* Genealogical Society of Norway
* Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA)

Overcoming Obstacles - Language
* Translation
* and Family Search
* Online Translators - Babelfish ; Google
* Form Letters - Family Search ; Polish Genealogical Society of America
* Names - Behind The Name ; Google Names ; Polish Roots

Overcoming Obstacles - Geography
* On -
Germany, Topographic Maps, 1860-1965
Meyers Orts Gazetteer
Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
* Oddens Bookmarks
* Perry-Casteneda Library (University of Texas) - sorry I didn't get this URL, but you can catch it once the webinar is in the library on

Connect With Others
* Roots Web - Mailing Lists ; Message Boards
* Online Trees - Member Connect ; Online Messaging
* Online Phonebooks
* Use a search engine to locate directories from your ancestors country or city of origin, you
may be luck enough to locate a family member still there!
* Reference books
* Ancestry Shop
* Local Library
* Webinars in the Learning Center - Special webinars for the following research:
* Polish
* Jewish
* German
* Italian
* Irish
* English

Again, be sure to check out the webinar once it has been placed in the Learning Center.

Hanoi Taxi Retired

If this doesn't give you chills, and thrills, for our service men, I don't know what will!

The Horse Thief

The above photo is my entry for "Tombstone Tuesday". This is the only stone on this grave, so no name is actually known for this individual. This stone is located on New Santa Fe Trail Road leading out of Kansas City, Missouri.

Hmmm....perhaps that's all that was needed to be said on the stone. I haven't seen another like it!

Get the message???

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Favorite Genealogy Web Site

Genea Challenge #29 is to Write about your favorite genealogy web sites.

I actually have several favorite sites. Probably number one on mine, and many others, list is I've had a $299 membership with them for years, and will continue to do so as long as I can scrape together the money every year! The plethora of documents available on this site alone has saved me literally thousands, [I mean in the tens of thousands] of dollars in travel and research expense. That has far more than paid for the yearly membership cost! For anyone who is unable to travel to the source, I highly recommend this site!

Another site I have used over and over is Footnote. This is another pay site. But I have obtained military records for Civil War era family members, and client research, that I was unable to retrieve when sending to NARA for! And this site just keeps right on growing and expanding! The clarity of their scans at times far-exceeds even that of Ancestry! is another pay site. But it literally paid for itself in the very first day that I purchased it! My husband's family has a very notorious "Old West" outlaw in it. I would have had to travel to Texas and Oklahoma to get copies of the newspaper articles that were printed about him back in the day. And then, I would have had to have known which papers to research, or spent days and days in local libraries searching through microfiche! However, in one single afternoon I was able to uncover over 40 articles on this old rascal! What a find! I wouldn't be without this site!

I am a big fan of Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. Whenever I hit a roadblock, and don't know where to turn to next, I inevitably head over to Cyndi's List. And I would feel safe in saying that 9 out of 10 times I go there I am at least headed in the right direction when I leave. Cyndi has literally THOUSANDS of Internet sites for you to head out to check on research material. What a treasure!

Family Search is another great site. While I haven't had alot of luck in utilizing their numerous family trees that are posted, they have often guided me in knowing what area I should be researching, or in giving me clues on how to continue my research. Family Search has also been quietly expanding, and adding numerous records to their site. As a big Texas researcher, I was especially pleased when they added the Texas Death Certificates to their site!

West Virginia Division of Culture and History has a wonderful WV Vital Research Records site. Here you can find Birth, Death and Marriage records for most all of the counties in West Virginia. Many dating back to 1800 and moving forward into the 1960's. The majority of my personal research has been in West Virginia and Virginia, so this has become my personal treasure trove!

The Library of Virginia is another hidden treasure for those researching Virginia ancestry. Here I have uncovered Land Grants, and Bible records for my own family, and many I've been researching. While the site does not allow you to print off these documents, it does allow you to order them at a modest fee. And believe me, there's nothing like holding these documents i your hands!

I have also become a huge fan of genealogy blogs. Most of them I receive daily in my news reader [I utilize NewsGator]. There's a few without an RSS feed, and those I go to directly, having saved them in my "Favorites" folder.

I am especially fond of Dick Eastman's Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Dick offers his free daily newsletter [usually having more than 5 posts per day!!!]. And he offers a paid subscription which includes the free and a weekly newsletter that when printed out will make a small book! [Last week's was over 30-pages!] [Incidentally, I don't recommend printing it out! How about saving it instead, and reading it later? You can save the Plus Edition in a PDF format, and view it at your leisure.]

I also like the blogs. These are very informative. You won't find them any better!

And I could go on and on! [I think I subscribe to about 125 genealogy blogs!]. But for a really good over view of genealogy blogs, and to get a great insight to writing a genealogy blog, you can't find a better reference than GeneaBloggers. Here you'll find a comprehensive list of blog sites. [If you look close enough, you'll even find the ol' Mountain Genealogists listed!]

Hope you've enjoyed my tour of my favorite genealogy web sites. This is only a small taste of the many I utilize on a daily basis. But these, as far as I am concerned, and in my humble opinion, are the BEST!!!

Madness Monday - July 20, 2009

I was at such a loss as to what to write for my "Madness Monday" blog!

But, alas, I finally came up with the one single "Madness" for this Monday!

As nearly everyone is aware of by now, GenealogyWise went live a little while back. I was thrilled to become a part of the community! And so I quickly signed up for "friends", and was soon joining a whole "gaggle" of the many, many groups that caught my eye!

I have had a blast each day waking up and seeing the many new threads of discussion take shape and form. And to learn what the many other researchers on the site have to share with me! The wealth of information combined on the site is equivalent to falling into a vat of the best Swiss chocolate ever made! [Can you tell I'm a choco-holic?] It's undeniable pleasure!

But, GenealogyWise has become my downfall lately as well! As pleasurable as the site is, I find myself falling behind in my work with clients, and my own research, as well as neglecting my housework! [Thank goodness my kids are all grown and I have an empty nest! Can you imagine my poor neglected family if not? And my hubby is a long-haul truck driver, so he's only home on weekends. And he's not too particular about the housework, just as long as I make homemade Tex-Mex, since he's from south of San Antonio, TX. and LOVES Tex-Mex.]

Yep, you might understand my dilemma. I'm so engrossed in the various threads of discussion that my email box gets overloaded with comments and discussion, and I am flipping back and forth between screens to read the various threads, and then a group will deliver a challenge, and I must hasten to visit that group and discover what new and exciting fun is awaiting me, and, and, and......


I find myself living onthe GenealogyWise site!!!

HELP!!!! I've become a GenealogyWise addict!

Okay, there's got to be some kind of therapy or psychoanalysis to help me break this habit! Right??? Someone tell me there's something that I can do!!! Right???

Aw, heck, I'm here all alone with my computer, and the internet, and this is a lot more fun than sitting in front of the tv and munching on popcorn or ice-cream. So, maybe GenealogyWise isn't so bad for me after all!

Definitely won't make me gain weight! And that's....

...a GOOD THING!!!

And that's my Madness Monday blog post!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

World's Oldest Man Dies

The world's oldest man, at 113 years of age, has died.

Henry Allingham was the last WWI RAF survivor.

USA TODAY stated: "He went to war as a teenager, helped keep flimsy aircraft flying, survived his wounds and came home from World War I to a long — very long — and fruitful life. "

One a very few WWI veterans remain living worldwide. There are none surviving in France, only one in Britain now, the man believed to have been Germany's last surviving soldier has also passed. In America only one WWI veteran remains alive, Frank Woodruff Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia.

Henry Allingham, we salute you!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bones Lead To Miami Graveyard

When Enid Pinkney was a little girl in the 1940's, her grandmother told her about a cemetery near Miami in the area once called Lemon City.

Pinkney's grandmother was apparently correct. Bones of at least 11 people, and perhaps many, many more, have been unearthed in excavation for building 3-towers for afforadable senior housing.

Pinkney is now a 78-year-old activist and civic historian and is heading an effort to memorialize those persons buried in the old Lemon City Cemetery.

The Charleston Daily Mail has an excellent article covering this news.

The Charleston Daily Mail article ends with this quotation from Pinkney:

"These are the people who helped to make Miami what it is. They laid the foundation for what we have. They were pioneers," said Pinkney. "This is so typical of what happens to black people. It's like you get eliminated, discounted, disrespected and when something like this happens, it's almost like it's your fault that the city doesn't have a map to prove you existed."

Ancestry Bling...

The new Carnival of Genealogy challenge is out. And this time, we are to post on our blog a photo of an ancestor and their "bling". Or if we don't have a photo of the ancestor wearing their bling, a photo of the bling.

Well, I come from simple, hardworking farmers. And sorry to say, their hasn't been much bling in my ancestral past! [At least not in the last 200 years or so!]

But there has been one simple piece of jewelry that was reported to have been owned by my great-great-grandmother. I haven't been able to find proof of that. However, I do know for a fact that it was owned by my great-grandmother, as she is the one who passed it on to my mother. And a few years ago, my mother gave it to me.

This is a photograph of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Frank [Francis Isidore] Banet and his sweet wife, Adeline Josephine Eve.

Adeline was born to Joseph and Annette Eve on February 11, 1867 in Floyd County, Indiana. She was the youngest of at least six children. The "bling" in question is said to have once been owned by Annette, and then passed on to Adeline. My mother once took it to be appraised, and the jeweler told her it was definitely mid-19th century, which would mean that it easily could have been originally owned by Annette [b. 1840, d. 1870]. Again, there is no proof that she was the original owner.

In the early 1950's, Adeline passed this on to my mother. Adeline was the only grandmother my mother knew, her paternal grandmother having passed away six years before she was born. Mother was so attached to Adeline, that on Adeline's death the family waited to tell Mother about it, because they knew Mother would not be able to get to Indiana in time for the funeral. [Mother was stationed with the WAC's in San Francisco, California, and couldn't have got leave in time.]

Adeline was 91 years old when she died on November 5, 1958. I was born the following November 4th, and I believe that was some consolation to Mother over her loss of Grandma Banet.

The "bling"? I don't believe there's a photograph of great-grandmother wearing this necklace. If there is, I haven't seen it. However, here is a snapshot I took of it.

The body of the cross is made of gold, in two pieces: a front and a back. An antiques jeweler told me it was "handmade". Carefully pressed in a mold. Then the two pieces placed together. The back is devoid of any ornamentation. The front has a "pressed" feathered designed on all arms of the cross. The indentation in the center holds a very tiny diamond. It is considered a "large chip", but without cut facets.

As for monetary worth, I've had an estimate of $750 - $1,000, with a possibility of it going higher at auction, simply because of the "handmade" factor.

As for sentimental value? This cross pendant is priceless! Each time I wear it, I feel my great-grandmother near.

My mother suffered a brain-aneurysm with debilitating stroke in 1995. She has days her memory is good, and others she can't recall a conversation from one moment to the next. But undoubtedly, each time I wear the necklace and visit her she becomes so excited about seeing her grandmother's necklace. "Oh, Cyndi, you're wearing my grandma's necklace!"

In 2006 my son's fiancee wore the necklace during their wedding, as her "something old". She had tears in her eyes when I placed it around her neck. Now, that same sweet girl is about to bless us with a granddaughter. It is my hope to one day place that pendant around my granddaughter's neck. And perhaps, one day, it will be passed on to her granddaughter.

And so, "Annette's Cross", as we've come to call the pendant, will one day soon be passed to her great-great-great-great-granddaughter.

I think she would be happy to know it. And I think she gives us her blessing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shifty Powers - And Easy Company

This was forwarded to me and I knew I had to forwarded it - read to the very end.

We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.

I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem ." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing."
Roberto Clemente

Some Things Take Us By Surprise

Yep, this was one of those images I was not prepared to look at this morning.

Michael Jackson's name appeared today in Genealogy Bank's SSDI listing.

We all miss you Michael!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This unusual tombstone in the shape of a pyramid caught my eye. It is located in North Bergen, New Jersey.

There are more tombstones that I found on while doing some research this morning. As well as some really interesting epitaphs!

This is one of my all-time favorite local stones. This very small stone is located at New Zion Union Church Cemetery, in the little village of Waiteville, West Virginia.

William Duncan was married three times in the course of his life. First to Susanna Miller in 1844. Susanna died in 1857. Then in 1858 William married Jane Wiseman. Jane died the following year, in 1859. Then William married Mary Thompkins Thurmond in 1863. They were married 40 years before Mary died in 1903. William had outlived all three of his wives. Being a prudent man, William had buried the three women beside one another in the cemetery. They are laid out in the shape of a "T". When William died in 1906, he was laid to rest at the juncture of the three graves, and now the group made a large cross shape. This tombstone was erected at the juncture of all 4 graves, and on each face of the stone, facing each of the individual graves, is their specific inscription: William L. Duncan, Nove 13, 1821, July 13, 1906; Susanna Duncan, Oct. 11, 1824, April 6, 1857; Jane Duncan, Died 1859; Mary Duncan, 1824 - 1903.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy - 76th Edition

Carnival of Genealogy - 76th Edition

My Summer’s As A Child

I know it may sound like a foreign language to the kids today, but back when I was a kid, when school let out for summer, it didn’t mean endless trips for summer vacation. It didn’t mean sleeping late every morning and then spending the day either in front of the TV, the PlayStation or GameBoy, or on the computer [those things had not been invented yet; computers were the size of our house, not something we had in the home!]. We had television, don’t get me wrong! But there were a total of 4 channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS. Cable TV hadn’t come along yet. Heck, Sesame Street had never aired yet, either!

No, when school let out for those long summer months, we got on our bicycles and we rode through our neighborhood. That old bike became the horse when we played ‘Cowboys and Indians’. It was the get-away car when we played ‘Cops and Robbers’. And it made for some fun sessions when we found out we could play tag on bikes, too!

When we weren’t riding our bikes, we strapped on our roller skates, tightening the leather straps, and cinching them onto our shoes with a key. [Oh, yeah, roller blades were a long distant invention, as well!]

We didn’t wear helmets when we were on our bikes. And we didn’t wear them as we skated. No knee or elbow pads either. Guess we lived dangerously.

We went out the door, usually by 9 a.m. at least, and we didn’t come back in until the streetlights came on. That was the rule for everyone! Mom’s liked it best that way.

If we were hungry or thirsty, whichever house we were playing at, the Mom just made an extra peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, and poured an extra cup of Kool-Aid. One day we’d all be gathered at Debbie’s house, the next at Jimmy’s, and the next we might be at our own house! Mom’s liked it best that way.

Some of the Mom’s began to work once the kids started to school. And the other Mom’s in the neighborhood kept a respectful eye out for those poor kids whose mother had to work. Yeah, it was real tough for us. I’m surprised we didn’t all end up emotionally scarred for life! You know, being passed from maternal figure to maternal figure that way. But then, Mom’s liked it best that way.

I was one of those poor kids. My Mom waited until my sister and I were both in school, and then went off to join the working forces. In the summer months we were one of those kids that was “semi-watched” after in the neighborhood. Yep. We didn’t mind our “p’s and q’s”, and not only did Jimmy or Debbie’s Mom take care of us right then and there, but we got it when Mom got home as well! Yep, you got it, Mom’s liked it best that way.

Twice a week Mom left us a dime each, and when we heard the faint bells of the ice-cream man coming down the street, we would rush to grab our dime and head for the sidewalk where we waited impatiently for him to stop on our block.

I grew up in a naval seaport town. And during the hot days of summer, we longed for the cool Atlantic waters to cool us off! During the week, we turned on the water hose and connected it to the lawn sprinkler. There we’d run back and forth through the spray, and cool ourselves off. On Saturday’s, Mom would pack a picnic basket full of sandwiches and Kool-Aid, and off we’d head for the beach. [I still think my sister and I learned to swim before we learned to walk!]. Mom would spread her blanket on the beach, and off the two of us girls would head for the water. We’d swim and play in the water until we were no longer little, pink girls, but wrinkled, reddened prunes! Many times we’d return home and we’d be sunburned and tired from a full day in the sun. Yep, Mom liked it best that way.

We didn’t have air-conditioning back then. I don’t recall a single house having an a/c. Shopping centers and stores did. We didn’t get our first mall until I was about 10-years old. This was in Norfolk, Virginia, and it was the Military Circle Mall, considered the largest for the east coast at the time it was built. By the time I was 13, Mom would drop us off there on a Saturday morning and pick us back up that afternoon. It was a safe place for us to spend a day. Yep, Mom’s liked it best that way.

Usually, once or twice per summer, we got into the car and made the long trip to Indiana to visit my Mom’s parent’s. Until I was about 8 or so, the Interstate system hadn’t been completed, and what would now take about 15 hours to drive, back then took a good 2 ½ days to drive. We usually drove to my aunt’s home in West Virginia, and then on to Indiana the following day. It was quite the tiring trip. But it was so worth it. We always had so much fun at my Grandma and Grandpa Dreher’s. They lived in the country and we got to play in fields and woods and explore paths and lanes from sunup till sundown. I think Mom liked it best that way!

Hours were spent fishing, or swimming in the creeks. Playing with cousins who were seen only once or twice a year. And being completely spoiled by grandparents who were the best in the world! Yeah, I’m pretty sure Mom liked it best that way!

The places where we used to go when we visited my grandparents are all gone now. Houses and stores are in the fields we once walked and played. The house where Grandma and Grandpa lived is gone now. A more modern home sits there.

I went back to the old neighborhood where I grew up a few years ago. The houses are all still there. And the one I grew up in still sits there on the corner where it did back then. It was a new home when I was a kid. Today it’s not aged so well. The paint was peeling, and the roof appeared bowed and sagging in places. The sidewalk was cracked out front. And the tree Mama and Daddy had planted was cut down.

I went to the beach where we’d played as kids. It wasn’t so big any more. The shoreline depleted by houses and stores. There was a fence around the swimming area to keep the public from moving onto these “private” areas.

My husband and my daughter and I walked the shoreline and picked up seashells. Before we got back to our car my daughter was already complaining about missing her time with her PlayStation.

The only way to go back to those areas and those times now is in my memory. And so, every now and then, I’ll close the door to my bedroom, lie back on the bed, close my eyes, and I go back to those summers of childhood.

I see Eydie, my sister, in her little sun suit, playing on the beach. And there’s Mama, lying on the blanket, soaking up the sun [without sunscreen no less!]. And I feel the salty air blow through my curly hair as I stand on the beach and just take it all in. I breathe deeply and smell the ocean, and I know I am home! Oh yes, I think I like it best that way. Most definitely, I like it best that way.

Madness Monday

I am not being driven "Mad" this Monday morning, nor do I have a "Mad" ancestor to post about.

What I do have to post about this day is something that should make EVERY American "Mad" today. Angry!

We've all heard about the debacle that occurred recently in Illinois where a group of individuals had not only dug up bodies in a cemetery, but removed all valuables from the graves, dismembered corpses, and re-sold the grave plots for burials of others [read about it here], but now we have learned about another farce occurring. This time in Oxford, Alabama.

And it involves my nemesis, WalMart!

Folks, in Oxford, Alabama a group of construction workers are at this very moment digging away an Indian mound that has rested in the same place for about 1500 years. Now, the Indian community states it is a burial mound. As such, it should never be disturbed!

But the good town council of Oxford states the Indian mound was never used for anything but send "smoke signals".

A cemetery of any kind cannot be disturbed without local legal approval. And because the town council has "approved" this mound for removal, the good construction crew has been removing the mound, bit by bit. Until now, there is really very little left of it. [You can read what the AP had to say about this here]

What makes this even more tragic, is the fact that this mound is being removed for none other than building, yep, you got it, yet another Walmart store! A Walmart store!!!

I urge you to take a moment and go take a look at this blog, Deep Fried Kudzu. I want you to see first hand what Walmart has done to this very sacred Indian mound!!!

Now, I want each of you to work with me. Work with each other! Let's begin to blackball Walmart stores!

I am here to tell you, Walmart is the largest owned corporation in the United States. It has moved its way into small towns across America, and has made us feel like we can't get by without them! They are literally holding us hostage with their products!

Friends, you may have to travel a little bit further to purchase what you want. You may have to spend a few pennies more for an item. But if buying from a company such as Walmart means we have to bend to buying from a corporation that manipulates and destroys, is it worth it? Each time we purchase an item from Walmart, we are saying we approve of Walmart's actions.

Don't you remember the law suits against Walmart? Remember the women and children who are exploited in third world countries to make Walmart goods?

It's time we stand up America!

Let's start purchasing from companies who are upright and moral! Let's start purchasing from companies who sell American made! Let's start purchasing from companies who are here not just to make a profit, but who also believe in providing us with a service!

Let me give you an example of MY experiences at Walmart!

In May I was coming out of our local Walmart when I was stopped by a woman asking directions to a Wendy's. As I was giving her directions, a man stole a bag out of my shopping cart! Right in front of the doors to the store!

Two weeks later, as I was putting my groceries into my car, a young boy tried to steal my purse off my shoulder!

Now, I realize that it wasn't Walmart's fault for either of those incidents. And the store personnel were polite and helpful to me in those situations. The problem is that, I've lived here for almost 40-years and never had a problem at any of the other stores like at Walmart!

I have also noted that customers are frenzied when they come into Walmart. They are rude, obnoxious, and will literally run over you with a shopping cart if given a chance. In our other stores, and we live in a small community, there is none of that attitude!

As if that is not enough to make one pause and wonder.... let me tell what happened this past Friday alone.

I was waiting in line to pick up a prescription at Walmart. Just as I came to the head of the line, an elderly woman cut in front me and went to the counter. The clerk totally ignored me, and waited on the other customer. A gentleman in line behind me stated in a loud voice, "I'd be throwing a fit about that if I were you!". I answered in an equally loud voice, "It isn't worth it. If they can live with...." The clerk gave us both a nasty stare.

After procuring my order, I then went on to the electronics department where I wanted to pick up ink cartridges for my printer. Now, in our small community, Walmart just so happened to be the only store that sold the printer I wanted when I purchased this particular model. It is also the only store that sells the particular ink cartridges that are needed for it! Well, don't you know they seem to sell out very quickly on this type of ink cartridge. And Friday was no exception. So, I stepped up to the clerk at the counter in the electronics department and asked when I could expect them to get more in. That clerk stated "I don't know. I don't usually work back here. I'm just running the cash register. I'll see if I can get someone to help you."

After waiting for what seemed a good 10-minutes or so, and wondering if I should just move on, a young man [very young, looked like he was 18 if he was a day!] asked if I was the one wanting help for ink cartridges. I told him my dilemma. "Well, what number of cartridge did you need?" So I told him I needed a black HP901. [The HP901 comes in black or tri-color, the number is the same for both cartridges.]

This pimply-faced, obnoxious little boy then proceeded to inform me that I must think I was real cute because he could see the HP901 was a color cartridge! I said, "Well, if you knew the electronics department, you'd also know that the HP901 also comes in black!"

I have seldom ever lost my temper with a clerk. But I did on Friday. This boy goes on to call me "Stupid" among other things. I ended up saying things a lady shouldn't have said. Much less losing my temper. But I was so upset when I got home, that my husband called Walmart and spoke to the manager regarding the incident. The manager said she couldn't "imagine" such a thing occurring, but she would look into it.

This isn't an isolated incident.

And if you think the Indian mound in Oxford, Alabama is isolated, rest assured it is NOT!

It's time we start paying attention to whom and what we are putting our money into in this country! And believe me, Walmart is not a company I will be investing another single dime into!

This is my opinion. And this is my "Monday Madness".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday Night Challenge

Randy Seaver is at it again! Giving us yet, again, a wonderful challenge for blogging! This time, Randy has challenged us with the idea: "Decide what year and what place you would love to visit as a time traveller. Who would you like to see in their environment? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?"

I don't have to think very hard for this one!

If I could go back in time to any time, I would go back to 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia [now West Virginia]. And I would have a little visit with William and Sarah McBean, and their sons, John and William [and maybe Roy?].

William and Sarah McBean are my gr-gr-gr-grandparents [my Dad's side]. I'd ask William who his parents were, and where he came from! This is my biggest brick wall.

Sometime between 1803 and 1804 William dies and his widowed wife puts their sons up for indenture. Son, William, is my gr-gr-grandfather. He is indentured to be a blacksmith apprentice on his 12th birthday. As an adult he became a gentleman farmer, and quite the wealthy gentleman for the times. He went on to marry Rachel Wiseman, and one of their many children was also named William. That William is my gr-grandfather.

William marries Margaret Perkins. And among their many children is born John Monroe Bean, my grandfather, in 1866.

John is in his 30's before he marries the first time. He goes on to marry 3 times, his first two wives dying tragically [one from tuberculosis and one from complications of child birth]. He fathered a total of 15 children, the last 3 being born after he was in his late 70's. It is from this last marriage that my Dad was born.

Needless to say I never knew my grand father. He passed away in 1954, just a few years before I was born.

But it is my gr-gr-gr-grandfather that stumps me, and has stumped the past 3 generations as well!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Favorite Genealogy Software

This weeks GeneaBlogger challenge is to write about our favorite genealogy software. So, with that in mind I submit the following:

I have been using Family Tree Maker [FTM] for the past 3 years. I have to admit, though, most practicing genealogists, professional or otherwise may laugh, because before that, I was perfectly content with the free PAF software that I downloaded many years ago on Family Search. [It did all of the major things I required of it!] The only problem that I found with the old PAF software was that when a jpg, gif or tiff file was attached to a file, it was just that. Attached. And if you ever moved your image file for some reason or other [as say when you change computers], your image was then "lost", because the pathway had been removed. You then had to go "find" your image, and re-attach it to the file.

Then in 2006, when I renewed my membership, I was also offered a tremendous savings on purchasing the FTM program.

I have been sold on that ever since!

Family Tree Maker basically takes care of all of my needs. I am able to import and export with tremendous ease. I seldom ever import any type of files however, especially gedcom's. I prefer instead to enter all information, even on large files, by hand. I can then make sure of any errors [especially blatant ones], as well as get a feel for the persons I am working on.

I can also save most image files without problems. And the image is saved right to my FTM program. If I export my gedcom, for any reason, I don't have to export images as well. They are already within the file.

Sources are easily entered for just about any kind of input I may have. And I love the way Endnotes prints out all of my sources numerically when the file is printed out. This makes for ease of my clients in actually seeing each of the sources with no difficulty.

Reports are printed quite well. I still like to prepare my own reports, as well as the program generated ones when working for a client, however. The program generated reports appear a little stilted, and have no personality. You can, however, insert comment as you want, and can still go with just the computer generated one if it's your thing.

The ability to print "Books", makes this program unique when you are preparing reports for clients. For my personal clients, I always use this function. Each page I then slip into an archival sleeve, and then into a binder. This gives my client the look of a professional print, without the high cost of taking it to a printer, or collater.

I love the scrapbook pages. These can also be added in your "Book". These print your images at thumbnail size. These give clients the chance to actually see the document, photo, etc. that you accumulated while working on their ancestor. [Hint: I always burn these images full-size to a CD so that clients can then print them out if they choose. Unless pre-arranged before hand, I always print these "mini-images" for clients. It allows me to discount my services, and yet with the CD gives the client the ability to still have a full-page document if they choose.]

There are numerous ways to view a family, descendency, or pedigree with FTM. And more tools than I could safely mention without fear of forgetting any!

The Help function is unbelievable. I've used it more times than I count!

But one of my favorite features is the "Web Search Resources" button. Simply click this button, below any individual's entry, and the program will automatically connect you to and begin a search for matches. [You do have to have an Internet connection first!] This has saved me more time than I can possibly tell you about! Results are brought up within the program, and you can click on any result and be taken to and view the record or document it pertains to.

FTM may not be everyone's favorite. And I am sure there are many other programs that do as much, if not more, for other researchers. But for my money, and my experience, Family Tree Maker has served me well. And as my Grandpa always said, "If ain't broke, don't try to fix it!"

Until next time!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Hallowed Ground of the Cemetery

I recently came across the following quote on USGenWeb. It pretty much spells out how we, as genealogists, both professional and non-professional, feel about cemeteries.

" Wo, to him who can trample down without emotion the grass of the church yard, and who breathes not within his heart a fervent prayer at sight of those tombs, where so many affections, so many hopes are swallowed up, and many we will hope are at rest in the Lord. The only thing certain is the destruction of the body, and the immortality of the soul; for that frail body, dust and forgetfulness. For the soul, a celestial dwelling where it will enjoy eternal happiness, if it has not betrayed the purpose of its mission, in the course of its short pilgrimage on earth. Yes! tread lightly in the cemetery; there kneel in that place consecrated to grief and meditation. It seems impossible, even to approach such a spot without the soul being benefited; it will probably awaken some holy recollections of childhood or some warning of the shortness of life. What a volume are those tombs; how eloquently do they speak to the heart, at least to those who understand their language --how forcibly do they announce the nothingness of terrestrial things! Yes! it is in these pages, traced by the hand of death, that we may study and learn the necessity of virtue -- If man approached more frequently the resting place of the dead he would not remain so indifferent to the mild voice of conscience.
-The Democratic Banner, Guyandotte, WV, Thursday, 7 May 1874"

I noted with great sadness on Memorial Day when my 72 year old Dad and I attended to our family graves that the grass had not been cut recently at the cemetery. There were stones that were crooked or broken. Even my own grandparents stone had been knocked from it's base by a riding lawn mower and requires us to provide the repair.

We noted the hundreds of tombstones that lay without adornment. Not a flag or a flower in site.

We spent over an hour at one of our cemeteries. While there we noted only a single couple. We introduced ourselves, as they were visiting a grave just one row beyond my great-grandparents. The woman told us her 92 year old mother was in the car. They had driven up from Virginia to visit her familiy's stones. Her mother was originally from the little town my Dad was. They encouraged us to stop by their car and speak with the woman. And so we did.

What a pleasant visit we had! The sweet, fragile looking woman was sharp-witted and bright. She clearly remembered my Dad's family. Even his father, who passed away in 1954.

We visit three cemeteries on our yearly round. In the little cemetery at Gates, near Keenan, WV, we saw not a single visitor. There was evidence that others had been there in their flowers and flags on the graves. But no one there as we were. At the second, Carmel Cemetery, in Gap Mills, we saw 2 other cars. And as I said, at the last, in Waiteville, the lone other car.

What has happened to the respect we once had for the cemetery?

There was a time when families went to the cemetery in the spring, and again in the fall, to clean the graves and do any maintenance needed on tombstones. When I was a child, families went every Memorial Day to pay tribute and provide maintenance and care for the grave. [We don't have perpetual care in the little cemeteries where I am from. Many here are family cemeteries. Others church owned. Some do good just to get the grass cut a few times during the summer months.]

Families today do not take the time to teach their children about those who are buried there. The children, in turn, have no respect for those who have come and gone. Much less for their final resting place.

Heaven help us when we stand before our maker and we are found guilty of not respecting those who have paved the way for us! I feel it is my obligation to my ancestors to provide their final care.

I am sure that I get some very strange looks from people as I visit my families graves. I find myself talking aloud to them. Even those that passed away before I was ever born or thought of! My favorite place to sit and talk is to my great-grandmother, Margaret, and to my grandfather, John. Great-grandmother died in 1891. And my grandfather died in 1954, a few years before my birth. But I have studied them so carefully that I can almost smell them!

Great-grandmother was a bony woman who worked like a man! I can see that in her. She would put in a full-days work, yet still have the tender touch of a loving mother as she tucked her little ones beneath soft, thick quilts at night. This is a woman who took four small children, put them in a covered wagon, hitched an ox to it, and drove it from the present day Virginia/West Virginia line in Monroe County, all the way to Sandusky, Ohio! That was through enemy territory, during the Civil War! And yes, she did it alone. What a woman!

Grandfather, John, was born in 1866 in Ohio, following the War. His mother and father came back to West Virginia shortly after his birth. In a family of relatively tall men, grandfather was a short, squat 5'7". He liked to tease that the move from Ohio to West Virginia in a covered wagon during the dead of winter when he was an infant, stunted his growth. [The story was told that they all nearly froze to death before they got back to the comfort of their old home in West Virginia!]

Grandfather was faithful Christian. And a wonderful story teller. When my Dad was born to him, my Grandpa was 71 years old. So, he had the time to sit and talk to my Dad. Dad regales me now with the tales his father told him about his family. Sometimes I can hear Grandpa tell me to have faith; to just hold on; when things get tough.

Funny how these people, these people who were gone so many years before I came along, can speak so clearly to me today!

I wonder... who will listen for them to speak when I am gone? Who will watch their graves when I am no more? Who will tell their story when I am silent?

DNA Webinar Now Available For Viewing

Last night's DNA Webinar on is now archived and you may view it anytime online here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Genetic Genealogy Made Easy" - Webinar Report

This evening I sat in on an webinar titled "Genetic Genealogy Made Easy". The webinar was hosted's Darlene Odenwalder - DNA Project Coordinator, Wendy Jessen - Director of Product Marketing - and moderator for the event, and Elise Allen - Content Writer.

Elise Allen - Content Writer

Wendy Jessen - Director of Product Marketing

Darlene Odenwalder - DNA Project Coordinator

The webinar was recorded and will be available soon on for watching. Watch for posts letting you know of this!

Wendy went straight to the point: "DNA testing for genealogy works".
The goals of this webinar were:
* to make DNA testing easy to understand and how to apply your test reults to grow your tree.
* Ancestry DNA testing can continue to pay off for years
* women can benefit from paternal testing
* how to use DNA features: groups, transfer to tree and ancient ancestry

DNA lets us know who we are, or are not, related to. The individual must realize however that DNA testing for genealogy is NOT CSI! It will NOT tell you who your father is! It does not determine your ethinicity!

Elise pointed out that "genes" are passed down from parent to child. They are the blueprints to help us develop, grow, and to even stay alive every day!

Genes are found on DNA. The double helix is the molecular structure that holds this all together. We have about 20,000 genes on the double helix. These determine things like the shape of our nose, the color of our eyes, the color of our hair, etc.

Cells give morphology and character to the body and are smaller than DNA. Yet each cell has entire copy of ALL of our DNA. A complete copy of every 20,000 genes is stored within a single cell. Yet each cell is job specific!

While the webinar used a video of Chris Haley, "Roots" author Alex Haley's nephew, performing a cheek swab, I could not locate that video for a link, so instead, click here to watch a very amusing video of the process!

Sex chromosomes are different for males and females. Males have the chromosomes "XY", while females have the chromosomes "XX". There are 23 pairs of chromosomes for each individual. Chromosomes are found in the nucleus of every cell in the body!

Chromosomes determine gender. The also contain something referred to as "junk DNA". This "junk DNA" probably plays a structional role - but it DOES tell us how we're related to others. The test offered looks at a small amount of Y chromosome DNA from a male who swabs his cheek.

The lab testing looks at only specific areas of the DNA. As stated earlier in this post, it cannot determine ethinicity nor determine paternity.

Privacy is maintained by the lab at all times! When a test arrives it has a computer generated ID number [bar code] assigned to it. The name of the donor is at no time on the test sample as it is being tested! Just the bar code. WHen the testing is completed, the computer matches the ID number with the client name and the results are then forwarded back to the client [you].

Sorenson Labs, a lab well-known for it's quality and accreditation supplies all of the services for this testing.

DNA testing determine your "haplogroup", this in turn determines where your ancestor MAY have migrated from. This is NOT exact, but it is determined by "probability".

An in-depth report is given regarding possible migratory patterns of your haplogroup.
Your genetic makeup is determined in "markers", and a number is assigned to each marker.

There are some events that may cause differences in "known" relatives when tested. The scientific community calls these "non-paternal events". Old-timers used to call these the "milkman's baby", the "mailman's baby". A quaint old saying was repeated during the webinar: "Mama's baby - Daddy's maybe" [I hadn't heard that one in a long while!] will notify you of any matches they locate with your tests. You may then contact your match[es] without sharing your personal information or email by using their "Connection Service", which will send an email on your behalf to the the known match. You may then get together and share your connection at both parties discretion.

Women cannot take the Y-DNA test. This test is only for STRAIGHT PATERNAL LINES - or can only be performed by a male direct descendant of the ancestral line you are researching. For instance, I wanted to find out about my great-great-grandfather's ancestry. In order to do so, I, as a female, could not take the test. Instead, I had to use my Dad, or an uncle, or a male cousin from this line. If you are female your son cannot take the test for your ancestral line. His paternal line comes from his father.

You may wish to purchase a test for someone else to use, but you wish to follow the results. You may do so by assigning participants to the test.

What's the payoff for using a DNA test? MAKING A CONNECTION! But a true connection is a marriage of DNA and paper genealogy that will show actual relationships.

Once you have your test results, you can even attach them to your family tree!

Only females pass on the mtDNA. She will pass this on to both her male and female offspring. However, only the female will then pass it on to the next generation. Therefore, an mtDNA test may only be performed on a straight maternal line. From mother to daughter, on the ancestral line you are researching. This test is performed exactly the same as the Y-DNA test with a cheek swab.

The haplogroup in this testing is the major result of this test. You will want to match someone else with no differences in the marker, which is quite different from the Y-DNA test. [The Y test allows for variants in the markers, and can determine with great proximity the number of generations back that the two will have merged.] The mtDNA test has limitations! Matches for the test may be from as few as 5 generations back, orup to 1,000 years back! There is no way to determine how many! So it is certainly not as concise as the Y-DNA. The mtDNA is used more for weeding people out of your possibilitiies rather than adding them to it!

Once your test results are in [in about 4 weeks] join a group or start your own! There you can share pictures or other info regarding your research.

Ancestry offers the Y-DNA [Y33] for $79 or $149 [the Y46]. The latter of which is much more concise. These two tests will help you find genetic cousins. They will disprove or prove a line in your tree. And they can help you determine you ancient ancestry [haplogroup type].

My single most question was answered in the brief question and answer period following the webinar:
Can I import my test results from another company to the's database and look for matches?
The answer was yes! Just go to the DNA homepage and look for the link at the bottom to transfer test results from another company.

This single hour webinar was most fruitful for the beginner at genealogy DNA or for the intermediate. I highly recommend my readers to watch for the recording of this event to be released for public watching!

Wordless Wednesday

In keeping with the Wordless Wednesday theme for the day, I'm showing you a photograph of a particular pioneer tool being demonstrated. What is it? And what is it used for? [Answer to be revealed tomorrow!]

Hint: It's used for a particular part of a house!

Tombstone Tuesday

Better late than never! [Or at least I always say so!]

I didn't get my Tombstone Tuesday entry in yesterday, due to spending a wonderful visit with my sister-in-law and 2 nieces and nephew! I hadn't seen my beautiful sister-in-law, Cheri, or the oldest niece, Lexi, in 9 years! And I had never met the 2 younger ones, Walter [my Dad's namesake] and Taylor [he being 7 and she almost 5]. Such is the problem when you live more than a thousand miles apart, and busy schedules keep you from getting together! And it was a lovely visit! [I introduced the kids to a button yo-yo, one of the pioneer toys I played with as a child, as did all of my children.]

And so, I humbly apologize for missing Tombstone Tuesday. And herewith submit my entry for the week.

This awesome tombstone is found in Chesterton, Indiana. The gent who located this marker was amazed at it, and couldn't understand what it symbolized. However, I am afraid I understand it all too well!

You think it's grotesque, you say?

Well, not if you understand it!

This depicts the poor creature who is obsessed with his Ham radio. Nearly gargoylesque [is that even a word?], he is hunched over his radio, with mic in hand.

One wonders if the Ham operator designed this tombstone? Or if his poor widow did!!! [I'd bet his widow did!]

Yep, you got it. I'm married to an avid Ham hound. I know the stance all too well! [Sorry dear! But it's the truth!]

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Generations Network Becomes Ancestry.Com

PROVO, Utah, July 6 /PRNewswire/ - The Generations Network, the world’s leading online family history resource, today announced that it is changing its name to effective immediately.

“Our company has a long and fascinating history, and we’ve been through several name changes over the years. But we started with, and it now feels completely natural to let our company once again share the brand with our flagship product,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO, “We’re proud that has developed as the defining online brand associated with family history. Alongside, we will continue to support our other brands, including Family Tree Maker,, MyCanvas, Rootsweb,, and of course, our international Ancestry sites.” is the world’s leading online family history resource, with more than 4 billion records, proprietary search technologies and an engaged community of 950,000 subscribers and more than 3.5 million active members. boasts the only completely indexed online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790-1930), the most comprehensive online compilation of U.S. ship passenger lists (1820-1960), the largest online collection of African American historical documents and the most comprehensive online collection of U.S. military records, among others.

Global Ancestry Sites
Beyond the United States, the Ancestry global network includes local country sites for the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, France and Sweden.

In August 2008, Ancestry launched a dedicated Chinese family history Web site,

Complementary Product Lines

• DNA now extends the Ancestry service into the field of genetic genealogy.
•MyCanvas, a digital publishing platform integrated into, now gives every family the ability to create completely unique, professionally printed family history books.
•Family Tree Maker(R) 2009, the No. 1-selling family history software package, is now available online and in major retail stores throughout North America and Europe.
•The redesigned site now has new features, providing families everywhere a safe, private, and free family home on the Web

The Generations Network operates through two companies; Generations Holding, Inc., which is changing its name to Inc. and The Generations Network, Inc., which is changing its name to Operations Inc. The company will refer to itself as

For more information, or to build your family tree and discover your family history, visit

About is the world’s leading resource for online family history and has digitized and put online over 4 billion records over the past twelve years. Ancestry users have created over ten million family trees containing over one billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, and more than 8 million unique visitors spent more than 4 million hours on an Ancestry Web site in April 2009 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide). For more information on and its other family history resources, visit

Web sites: