Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday Night Challenge - Sunday Morning

Once again, I don't receive my Saturday Night Challenge until the next day!

Here is Randy's Challenge for this week:

"It's Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun! Even though I'm on vacation, I don't want you to miss having some genealogy fun even if I'm away from home having fun in my "real" life.

Here is your challenge for tonight (or whenever you read this):

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook."

And here is my response:


1] Mary Faudree Bean [my grand mother] - 1897-1975: lived in Monroe County, WV except for a period of about 8 years when she lived with our family in Norfolk, VA.

2] Walter Beane [my Dad] - b. 1937 in Monroe County, WV; has lived and moved around the globe during 22 years active duty in the military; back in WV since he retired in 1976.

1] Henry Dreher, Jr. [my grandfather] - 1902-1977; born in Jefferson Co., KY and lived most of his adult life in Floyd Co., IN.

2] Irene Banet Dreher [my grandmother] - 1906-1988; lived most of her life in Floyd Co., IN; spent the last 10 years of her life in Monroe Co., WV

3] Lois Dreher Beane [my mother] - b. 1938; born in Floyd Co., IN, but lived and moved about quite a bit due to her career in the Women's Army Corps [WACs] in the 1950's, and then married to a career military man. Has lived in WV since 1973.

So all total, I have known 5 of my ancestors. Four of whom I have actually lived with.

Mine is a rather short list! I am interested in knowing who will have the most ancestors!!!

Let's hear from everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waddya Mean It's Not Tuesday???

Okay, okay! So, I goofed! I woke up this morning thinking it was Tuesday, and posted my "Tombstone Tuesday" post! And so, having now realized it's actually Wednesday, I post my "Not So Wordless Wednesday" post as I should! [Hey, give a girl a break!]

18 October 1891
A Day and Night of Bloodshed and Excitement at Clifton Forge
A White Man and a Black Killed in the Affray and Three Blacks Afterward Taken Out of Jail and Hanged by the Populace.
CLIFTON FORGE, Va., Oct. 17. -- The inhabitants of Clifton Forge have been aroused to the utmost excitement to-day by one of the most tragic occurrences that has taken place in the town for many years, In fact never has there been such a fearful tragedy known in the history of the town, one white man and a negro being shot to death, and three negroes lynched.

This morning a gang of six armed, drunken negroes came into town from Big Hall mines, eight miles from here, and boasted loudly that they had come to take the place. This created confusion on the streets, as the negroes had pistols and other weapons which they exhibited freely. They walked about the streets insulting ladies and committing other outrages, and finally creating a riot.

A number of citizens decided to arrest them, but the negroes violently resisted arrest and breaking away from their would be captors, fled. A posse of town officers and citizens gave chase. When the negroes had nearly reached Iron Gate they turned and commenced firing upon their pursuers, and a battle between the posse and the rioters ensued. Philip Bolling of Albermarle county, a brakeman of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company, was killed outright at the first fire, and Frederick Wilkinson, of Bedford county, was injured seriously.

Bolling was married. Wilkinson will recover, it is thought.

The news of the shooting spread rapidly with excitement and in a short time fifty men were scouring the mountains, where the negroes rook refuge, hunting them down. All of them were captured after several hours search and a second battle on the mountains between policemen and negroes. One of the negroes is supposed to be dead from his wounds, The other four were placed in jail here, three of them having been wounded before they were captured.

Threats of lynching were heard on all sides, and the mayor prepared to defend the jail against attack, saying he was determined to frustrate the mob.

Two large mobs, numbering in all about 500, formed in the town and met at Sweetwood's store at about 10 o'clock tonight. They fired salutes and then the two combined and marched to the jail, where the prsioners taken in the afternoon had been confined.

They attempted, after firing into the jail for some time, to break open the door with a ram, but it was too strong and resisted their efforts. They then procured axes and sledge-hammers and broke in.

They took out three prsioners, and taken them to a gully about half a mile from the jail, they strung two of them up to a tree and filled them full of bullets. The third prisoner, who was a boy sixteen years old, they brought back.

It is not likely that any arrests will be made, as public sentiment justifies the deed, the conduct of the negroes and the shooting of the two white men having roused the public to an uncontrollable pitch of fury.

A fourth negro was taken out and lynched later."


My grandfather, John Bean, was living in Clifton Forge on 17 October 1891 when 6 black mine workers went on a killing rampage and were lynched by the white community for their deeds. [James Scott gained notoriety in being the black leader who was hung, along with 2 others. Their corpses were shot repeatedly by white passersby as they hung from the center of the town square. ] He recalled to his son, Walter, seeing the corpses hanging in the town square, riddled with gunshot. This event left a profound mark on John, that remained with him the remainder of his days.

National Guard were called to protect the citizenry of Clifton Forge, by Presidential order, from black retaliation, as groups of blacks were prepared to transport from Washington, D.C. by train to Clifton Forge for retribution.[This plan was thwarted by the presence of soldiers in Washington, D.C.]

The James Scott lynching has been smeared with racial overtone ever since, and even today, it is speculated upon whether the lynchings were more in retribution for the fallen slain, or for the race of the killers. [ See "Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930 (Blacks in the New World)" - W. Fitzhigh Brundage - University of Illinois Press - 1 May 1993 - ISBN: 0252063457 - pg 145-148 .]

Tombstone Tuesday

Pauline Bean
1902 - 1925

Pauline Bean was the third born child of John Monroe Bean and Blanche Uremia Crosier Bean.

During her pregnancy with Pauline, Blanche developed tuberculosis. She died less than four months after Pauline's birth. John was left with 3 small children to raise, the oldest being only 3 weeks from her sixth birthday. John made one of the hardest decisions of his life. He sent his baby to live with his brother, Sam, and his wife Mattie [Martha].

In 1907 John married Ada Burdette. And the children were reunited. John and Ada also began to have children together. But it was obvious something wasn't right with Pauline. She seemed sickly at times. At others, she was perfectly well!

Influenced by the great revivals running through the area, Pauline enrolled in God's Bible School in Cincinnatti, Ohio in 1922 at the age of 20. She attended until 1924 when illness forced her to withdraw.

Pauline's body became covered in huge boil-like lesions, as well as a deep-rattling cough consuming her energy and strength.

Pauline was so attached to her baby sister, Eloise, who was born in October 1923, that she'd lie with her, and sleep with her at night. She loved that baby so!

Unfortunately, Pauline's illness was discovered for its true nature too late. By the time it was diagnosed as tuberculosis, little Eloise had contracted it as well. She died on February 14, 1925. She is buried in the Carmel Cemetery in Gap Mills, West Virginia.

Pauline was devestated. Her body wracked with pain from the boils, she would lie and cry. Her step-mother, Ada, devestated with the loss of a son, Max, in 1923 from whooping cough, and now with the loss of little Eloise, had to set her own grief aside and care for Pauline. And she did so with such love and tenderness. I've been given accounts by several individuals, family and non-family members, of how Ada would take Pauline onto her lap as if she were a child and rock her like an infant, trying to soothe her pain and comfort her.

Pauline's suffering ended on June 27th, 1925, just four months after the loss of little Eloise. She was laid to rest right beside the baby sister she loved so much.

Pauline was my Dad's half-sister.

In 1929, just 5-days after giving birth to a baby boy, Ada died from toxemia. She and John had had 9 children together. John was once again left with a newborn infant, and other children dependent upon him. His baby boy was sent to Ada's sister and her husband to raise.

In 1935 John married Mary Faudree. My grandmother. She and John had 3 sons together, the oldest of which was my Dad.

Pauline was a special individual. One of those rare people who are not forgotten, and whose memory only enhances with time. Her family reveres that memory to this very day, even though there are only 2 family members left living who actually knew her. They were only 11 and 8 when she died.

Every year, Dad and I attend to Pauline's grave. We clean the stone, place flowers, and some kind of memento upon the grave. One year we put little porcelain dolls on Pauline and Eloise's grave. One year a resin cross.

It was Pauline's deepest desire to become a missionary, like cousin Georgie Bruffey Minter, who was an acclaimed China missionary. I often wonder if Pauline knows that she achieved her dream! She has been a missionary within her own family for many, many years now. Influencing lives for the good. Can any of us ask more from our own lives?

Pauline - 1922

The Unknown Men

A new Genea-Bloggers challenge awaited me this morning when I opened my email. The challenge was to talk about an orphan picture containing people you do not know. Provide comments on your best guess about date, place,subjects.

The above photograph isn't really a photograph. It's a negative, which I scanned, then using photo shop turned it into a "negative", thus reversing the negative process, and reversed the print and have a fair photograph. It was found in an old trunk belonging to my Uncle John, who died in 1972.

No one in the family seems to know who the three men above are, the location, or when it was taken.

My best guess?

Judging by the women in the background, their dress, hair style, etc., I'd say the photograph was taken about the early 1940's. The cut of the men's trousers would also place this about that time.

It's obviously taken in front of a farmhouse type building. Note the large veranda-style porch with gingerbread trim.

I've wondered if the men were playing a game? They all seem to be concentrating on the ground at their feet. The man in the middle appears to be standing cross-legged, which has led to speculations of "he's dancing" and "he needs to run to the outhouse!"

The area is probably south-eastern West Virginia, where my uncle spent his entire life. But that remains a mystery.

There appears to be several people in attendance to the event. Perhaps it's a family reunion? Or a church group? Maybe a community event?

I even used this photograph to assist me with a story for journalism class when I was in college. I formed an entire 1,000 word story behind what was happening here! [It made for great fiction!]

Perhaps I'll ever know what the real story is behind this photograph. Its story remaining locked for all time. Still, I'll wonder, and play my little guessing game with it. What fun these unknown men give me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Monroe Bean's

The 79th Carnival of Genealogy issued the challenge to post a blog regarding our family reunions. How fortunate for me, our biennial family reunion was just held on August 8th!And so, I humbly submit the following entry.

The Monroe Bean's

It only happens every other year. Those “odd-numbered” ones. And so, the biennial family reunion rolled around on August 8th this year.

Our family holds its roots in the mountains of West Virginia. It was here, sometime in the 1790’s that the Bean family came to settle. From William Bean [b. 1792, d. 1864] and Rachel Wiseman [b. 1790, d. 1856] comes the group of descendants who fall upon the tiny town of Waiteville in Monroe County. William and Rachel were the parents of thirteen children. Never have all thirteen lines been represented in a single family reunion.

This year I was the first to arrive at the old Waiteville school house, which is now known as the “Community Center”. At one time, the old block building held four classrooms, a kitchen, rest rooms and a basement. Today, the top floor is converted into two large spacious meeting rooms, a small gym, a kitchen and two restrooms. The basement is no longer used. It was here that my Dad went to school as a boy. It was open as a school until about 1968. It sat empty for many years until the community purchased it.

I arrived at 8:30 Saturday morning. I’ve been planning the event for several years now. [I say “planning” rather loosely, as the family members use this event as a chance to get together, eat a meal, get a door prize, and then leave. Nope, they aren’t very interactive!] My cousin, Betty, arrived only minutes after I did. And we began to set up.

We chose the smaller of the two meeting rooms to set up displays, books and mementos. I also sat up my laptop so that I could access files in a jiffy.

Next we sat up buffet tables for the meal. And family members began to dwindle in as we worked.

The heat was horrendous this summer! The temperature soared into the 90’s well before noon, and the old schoolhouse is not air-conditioned. We turned on fans, and opened doors to let the breezes hopefully cool the old building somewhat. [Note to self: next reunion, I plan to order Chinese fans to distribute to everyone!]

At a desk sat up by the front entrance, I sat Betty with a guest book, nametags, a roll of raffle tickets, and my camera. She was to get everyone to sign in [making sure to get updated addresses, phone numbers and email addresses], give them a nametag, a raffle ticket, and take their photograph. This way we have a record, in photo, of everyone who comes to our reunion. [I take the photographs and make them into a printed photo book through which is available to everyone then.]

By noon, everyone had assembled and mingled for at least an hour. We all gathered together in the main room and had Uncle Bill [92 years young!] ask the blessing over the meal. At our last reunion we did not get a group photo, so this year, after the blessing was given for the meal, I had everyone file outside onto the front steps of the building to pose for a group snapshot before we would begin to serve the meal. There were a couple of people who grumbled, but the majority felt it was a good idea. This way we caught just about everyone who attended.

Every reunion I am known for my “exotic” dishes. And this year was no different. This year I made barbecued bear haunch. Yep. I cooked a bear haunch then shredded it and smothered it in homemade barbecue sauce, made with tomatoes from my Dad’s garden. And my dessert was a green tomato cake, thanks to a wonderful recipe from Paula Deen! [No one is told what my curious dishes are, until after the meal.]

Following the meal comes our business meeting. It is here that a report is given on our genealogy, which I cover. The highlight this year was an update on our DNA project. [We’ve had absolutely no luck with our DNA testing so far. We had 3 individuals test. And our only matches have been with those 3. While all major Bean lines have tested in the US, we have not matched with any of them. Nor have we had any matches with others without the name. So, for our family, it’s been a bit of a let down.]

A report was given on the Clan MacBean, through which we associate ourselves. My cousin, Phillip, is the Vice-President of Clan MacBean. So, we always have the best reports on the Clan’s progress!

We then brought up the possibility of having our reunion last for an entire weekend. It was met with overwhelming approval! So, for the first time, our 2011 reunion will be a weekend long event!

Next, we acknowledge the oldest, youngest, and the ones who have traveled the farthest to attend our reunion. Our oldest was Aunt Margaret, at 95. Our youngest was 4 weeks old. And the one who traveled the farthest was my cousins’ daughter, Angela, who traveled all the way from London, England to attend!

This year I presented certificates and gifts for the Family Matriarch [Aunt Margaret – 95 years young!]; Family Patriarch [Uncle Bill – 92 years young!]; and Perpetuator of the Bean Name [Jidaya Beane – born 4 weeks earlier]. Yeah, just a little twist on the old acknowledgments.

Lastly we nominated and elected new officers. My cousin Phillip became Vice-President. My aunt, Vivian, was re-elected as Secretary/ Treasurer, and I was elected as the first female President of our Bean Family Reunion Committee; a post for which I am honored to hold.

I presented two door prizes this year. One was a “Remembrance Book” for a person to fill out and give to their family. It was won by very special aunt, Mildred, who is 85. I was so glad to see her win this book. The other prize was a family genealogy book, for an individual to fill out all of their genealogy. My cousin Darrell’s wife, Robin, won this prize. [Robin is never seen without a smile for everyone! If she’s ever down, in over 30 years, I’ve never seen it!]
After the meeting, we all broke off into little groups and mingled.

Attending for the first time were descendants of our Sarah Bean line. Four sisters, with whom I’ve been corresponding with, attended from Utah, Colorado, and two were from New Mexico. [On Sunday, Dad and I gave them a tour of Monroe County, so that they could get a feel for the area, and see some of the highlights for our family.]

Also attending was one descendant from Archibald Bean’s line. And the remainder of the group, including me, were from the William Bean, Jr. and Margaret Smith Perkins line.

All total, we had 64 attendees. That’s 10 more than our last reunion. [My goal had been 75. We compromised with “almost” reaching that amount.]

Since I have been planning the event, I have tried to integrate games and a party atmosphere. It’s gone nowhere. But I’m hoping with our weekend long event that I can actually get people to participate!

The group began to dissipate about 5p.m. And I hated to see everyone leave. For me, it had been like Christmas! I had anticipated the event for months. And I was certainly not let down!

And you can bet, I’m already at work planning the next reunion! I can’t wait for 2011 to get here!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Night Challenge - Sunday Morning

As always, I get my Saturday Night Challenge from Randy on Sunday Morning!!! [My Daddy always told me I'd be late for my own funeral one day!]

The challenge this week:
This week is a "Genealogy Scavenger Hunt." Remember doing a scavenger hunt as a kid? Going door-to-door looking for specific items on a list and the first one back with everything got the prize? Sometimes the neighbors didn't speak to my folks for a week afterwards!

I digress... for this Genealogy Scavenger Hunt, there are no prizes, just the reward you get for finding something useful or interesting (or not...):

1) Is there someone on your list of 16-great-great-grandparents that you don't have a census record for, and for which one should be available? If you have all of your great-great-grands (or they are not on the census records), what about your great-grands, your grands, or your parents? What about siblings of your great-grands? What about your spouse's family lines? Go find at least one!

2) Tell us about it in your blog, comments to this post, or comments in Facebook. While you're at it, give us a source citation for your census finding too (you do make source citations, don't you?).


And so, I go a searching for Samuel Parkin, my great-great-grandfather. [One of those 16-great-great's.] Samuel is my paternal grandfather's maternal grandfather. [Uh.... does that makes sense???]

Samuel was born 21 April 1778 in Virginia. And he died 19 January 1854. To date, the only Census record I have been able to uncover for him is the 1850 record. Even though he spent the majority of his life in Greenbrier County.

Samuel has been known to have had a variety of spellings for his last name: Perkin, Perkins, Parkin, Parkins. All of these leave me with no census records.

I have searched over the vast records of,, and To no avail.

I've tried playing wildcards, in hopes that some indexer just misspelled the last name. To no avail.

I've tried using abbreviations for his given name: Sam, Sam'l, Saml, Sammy, etc.... Again, to no avail.

I tried contacting other researchers to see if they had located Samuel in any other Census records. Again, no one else seems to have had any more luck than I.

Until this challenge. [This really taught me to go back periodically from now on and re-research my sources!!!]

While I still have not located Samuel on the 1840 Census, I have uncovered him, thanks to this challenge, on the 1830! I kept looking, and low and behold, I also have uncovered the 1820 Census!

While he should have been in the same location in 1810, I have not located him there as of yet, but I feel certain that with continued effort, I will uncover the remainder of his census records!

In 1820 Samuel is found in Greenbrier County, Virginia.
Roll: M33_132/ Page 187/ Image 163
Lewisburg, Greenbrier, Virginia
Samuel Perkins FREE WHITE MALES <10 = 2
26 - 45 = 1
26 - 45 = 1
# of Persons in Agriculture = 3
All other persons not taxes = 8


In the 1830 Census he is once more found in Greenbrier County.
Roll: 190/ Page 197/ Line 10
MALES <5 = 1
20 - 30 = 1
70 - 80 = 1
FEMALES <5 = 1
20 - 30 = 1


I had given up on ever finding these records!

Thanks Randy for this challenge! WHAT A GREAT WAY TO START THE NEW WEEK!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

COG - "Smile for the Camera"

The next Carnival of Genealogy challenge is to produce a school photo of ourselves and write an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem, a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article regarding the photo. Here is my submission.
The Texicanwife
Through A Young Girl's Eyes

A pretty, brown-eyed lass
With all of life in store
Wanting to grow up fast
She longed for so much more!

Back bent with hair turned gray
She says she’s seen it all
Dream’s that have gone astray
Pictures on a wall.

And yet, in the mirror’s reflection
Time’s price was well spent
For upon inward inspection
She knows where the young girl went.

Hidden way down inside
The young girl peers back
The dreams have never died
Held taut and never slack.

A love most rare and dear
A home to call one’s own
Family and friends so near
Where has the time flown?

Through eyes of youth she stares
At a woman grown old and gray
Passion and love stand still there
Forever and a Day.
- Texicanwife 08/18/09


Happy Birthday Crystal!

Tombstone Tuesday

Joseph Wiseman is my great-great-great grandfather. He served during the American Revolution in Pennsylvania. He was married to Elizabeth Bateman. The couple came to finally settle in what is now Monroe County, West Virginia [at the time it was Greenbrier County, Virginia.] Here they raised their family, and helped to begin the oldest church west of the Alleghany Divide, the Old Rehobeth Church, in what is now Keenan, WV.

Joseph and Elizabeth had 11 known children. Joseph and Elizabeth [Bateman] Wiseman are buried at the northwest corner of the Old Rehobeth Church in Keenan, WV. As I stated, it is the oldest church west of the Alleghany Divide. Their son John even preached there for a while. The church is a log building, nestled in a little valley depression. It was even defended against Indians when first built [notches cut in the logs for muzzles of long rifles can be seen in the building].

Monday, August 17, 2009

Texting While Driving

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with genealogy.

One of my pet peeves are those individuals who either make cell phone calls or who attempt to text while driving. PLEASE, if you do this, know someone who does, or if you have a teen, watch this video. Make them watch it.

WARNING: graphic images. Not suitable for children under the age of 15.


Some Exhibition Visitors Never Leave

The Toronto Sun ran an interesting story yesterday. The Canadian National Exhibition's (CNE) guide, Steve Collie, says that some visitors to the exhibit never leave.

Strange noises and apparitions are seen - and heard - in Exhibition Place, says archivist Linda Cobon. "Most are in the archives," at the General Services building.

This exhibit is filled with mementos, photos, record books, documents, models, posters and diaries. There have been many odd sights and sounds reported by security staff, and by archivists as well.

Most reports of odd happenings do occur at night. They include:

* Footsteps.

* Faint echoes of girlish giggles.

* A strange, dark spectre dubbed "the Man in Black".

* Sounds of a "party, men and women talking, glasses clinking", Cobon reports.

* A perpetual night watchman, who goes about checking doors and clinking his keys. Film archivist Christina Stewart saw him on her first day and later recognized him from a file photo. "I think he was welcoming me," she said.

* Two security officers reported two soldiers who vanished before them.

* Voices in the horticulture building, which was used as a temporary morgue in 1949 when 119 victims died on the SS Noronic liner that burned and sank at the Toronto Ferry Docks.

Canadian author John Robert Colombo will deliver talks there on Tornoto and Canadian hauntings August 27th and September 3rd.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday Night Challenge - on Sunday Morning!

Last night Randy Seaver gave his Saturday Night Challenge. And as always, it's Sunday morning before I get the chance to read it!

Here's the challenge:

1) Answer these questions:

* What is your UGG - your "Ultimate Genealogy Goal" for the genealogy research that you wish to leave to your heirs, descendants and the genealogy community?

* How long do you think you have left to fulfill this ultimate goal?

* Are you prioritizing your time adequately in order to achieve this goal?

* If not, what should you do to achieve the goal?

* Will you do what you need to do?

So, for Randy, and everyone who chances to read my response, here it is:

1] My UGG - "Ultimate Genealogy Goal - has been to publish a fully documented set of genealogy books - in paper and digital format - of my own ancestry, my husband's ancestry and for the Dreher and Banet names. [Oops! Did I just steal Randy's goal??? Not really. It just so happens that our genealogy goals are very similar! The difference is that I have already published a fully documented genealogy books on my Dad's family, the Bean's. I'd like to update it now. And do a complementary book on each of the lineal branches of this family: Faudree's, Perkins, Wiseman's.]

2] I think that I have a good 35 - 40 years left to finish my task. [My mother's grandmother lived to the ripe old age of 98! My Dad's family is well known to live into their 90's! I'm 50 this year, so I feel I have adequate time to accomplish my goals. Providing I do not procrastinate!]

3] I have not prioritized my time adequately in order to achieve my goals. If I'm lucky, I also spend about 5 - 10 hours a week on my own work.

4] To achieve the UGG, I SHOULD stop blogging, stop spending time on Facebook and GenWise, reading blogs, etc. I should begin to set a determinate amount of time daily for my genealogy research business, and a determinate amount of time on my own research! [I currently get started on a project, and end up spending hours and hours without a break daily! Sometimes going for 20 hours or more before stopping!] My hubby is only home on weekends, and as my children all live away, I have all the time I choose to spend on my own pursuits.

5] Will I do what I need to do in order to achieve my UGG? Maybe. I will probably stick to it some days. But when I get caught up in someone elses research, or reading my favorite blogs, I will most likely digress and spend time on my other areas.

I agree with Randy. This wasn't exactly a "FUN" challenge. But I do agree that it is a necessary one. We need to keep track of our goals and our progress to reach them.

Now, I do believe I have 50 more genealogy blogs to read this morning. Better get started....later on my UGG!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

NARAtions Blog Posting

NARA has a new blog!

NARAtions began posting on the 12th.

Their initial blog states:

"Welcome to NARAtions, a blog about online public access to the records of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). (Yes, we know the proper spelling of narration contains two r’s, but we couldn’t resist the pun!)

We hope to hear from NARA researchers and anyone interested in the Archives on topics related to online access and historical research in general. The plan is to post questions periodically and encourage you to share your opinions, ideas, and stories with us. We will also post news items about descriptions or digitized archival materials available online."

You'll definitely want to follow this blog!!!

Surname Saturday

Patrick Henry
"Give me liberty, or give me death!"

I've been married to the most wonderful man in the world since 1998. He does have a rather unique name, however.

Johnnie Henry.

Yes, Johnnie is his real name, and not a nickname. However, it has caused a bit of consternation now and again.

Like, once he was pulled over for a traffic violation [speeding], and the trooper asked him to sign his "John Henry" on the ticket. Johnnie proceeded to sign "John Henry" to the document.

"Very funny, son" the trooper remarked, until he saw Johnnie's drivers license.

Or the time we made an appointment with a minister to perform our wedding. We went into Virginia, obtained our marriage license, and I called a local minister to perform the ceremony. We set the date, and he asked for our names: Cynthia Beane and Johnnie Henry. "Is this some kind of joke?", he asked. I assured him I was most serious! And he proceeded to set the appointment. On the day of our wedding, we showed up with most of my family at our side, and one close friend, for the private ceremony. We waited and waited. No minister showed! Finally we called him at home and he rushed to the church. "I guess I forgot to write it down in my date book!", he exclaimed. "What were your names again?" When I reminded him of our names he told on himself, "Oh! You weren't joking were you!"

When we began researching my husband's genealogy about nine years ago, we were fairly stymied and started with nothing more than his father's name. [Johnnie's mother and father were divorced when he was 2 years of age, and he never saw his father again.] It took a bit of work, but we finally located his father's whereabouts. We were a bit late, however. Johnnie's father, Joe, had passed away in 1993. We later found his father's parents, William having died in 1965 and Emma in 1985.

It didn't take us long to locate William in early census records, and work our way back from there. We soon located other researchers and were able to take the Henry name back quite a way. Having grown up in the historic areas of Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia, I had wondered if there was a tie to Patrick Henry, the famous statesman who gave the "Give me liberty or give me death!", speech.

After a bit of work, just a couple of years ago, we discovered that there is indeed a tie.

Johnnie's 6th-great-grandfather was William Henry [1709-1769], and Patrick Henry's father was John [1704-1773]. The two were brothers. Which means that their father, Alexander [b.1674, Scotland] is the common ancestor. So, Johnnie's 7th great-grandfather, and Patrick Henry's grandfather, were one and the same individual.

It appears that William's line went through South Carolina and into Virginia. From here they migrated into what is now West Virginia [Monongahela County]. And from there they migrated further west into Kentucky [Johnnie's great-great-grandfather, John]. And here the family pretty much remained.

Since I grew up fairly living in the lap of history, and especially Patrick Henry memorabilia, I was so excited to find this link! No other Patriot shows more dedication to the building of this great country than does that of Patrick Henry. Others were just as influential, but none more so.

What a history worth knowing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Penny

What Is That?

This has nothing to do with genealogy. But it does have something to do with our family. Please watch it with open heart and mind. We may all have to deal with something and someone similar one day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not So Wordless Wednesday

This beaver-skin hat has quite the tale to tell.

This hat was owned by my great-great-grandfather, William Bean.

William Bean was born in 1792 in Baltimore, Maryland. At the tender of age 12 [actually exactly on his twelfth birthday], he was placed for indenture. He was to be trained to become a blacksmith, as well as learn the studies needed of every young man in

In 1813, at the age of 21 he was released from his indenture, and
married the lovely Rachel Wiseman.
The couple produced 13 offspring. And William went on to become a prominent gentleman in the farming community of Monroe County.
In 1864, with the young men away at War, William, at the age of 72, was part of a home guard that was left to protect the women and children, and preserve what they could of the farm community.
A group of renegade deserters had been looting farms and homes locally, and in this county [where both Union and Confederate armies were welcomed, due to the status of the new state of West Virginia] these men were wanted by both Northern and Southern armies.
On this occasion, the renegades stole laundry from a woman's wash line. William went to round them up. Enough was enough!
William tracked the thieves into Wiseman's Hollow and to a cabin there. When it became obvious the men would not come out, William entered the cabin to bring them out. When he opened the door, one of the men shot from the loft of the cabin. The shot struck William in the top of the head.
The deserters escaped.
William's body was brought to his home on Pott's Creek, where he was layed out and prepared for burial. The hat he had been wearing when he was shot was brought home with him.
The date was January 1st, 1864.
William was buried in the little family cemetery just across the field from his house. It was here he had buried his wife, Rachel, and his daughter, Nancy. His daughter-in-law, Amanda, was also buried here. As were at least two of slaves, Andrew and William.
The day following his death, a posse caught up with the deserters who had shot William. The posse was incited over the death of their friend. Justice was swift. They lined the men up against a shale bank, pronounced them guilty, and opened fire with their pistols.
Sometime before the turn of the century [1900] a legend had been born regarding old William's beaver skin hat. It was said that if anyone ever put it on they would die very shortly afterward.
"Remember cousin so-and-so? He put it on and he died two days later!"
Everyone knew "Someone" who had tried it on, and had died within a few days.
Uncle Bill [who is 92 years young] just told me that when he was a young boy, the hat had been in the home and he had picked it up, determined to try it on. It was quickly snatched from his hands and he was sternly warned to never put it on his head, or allow anyone else to!
The hat today is as you see it above. The beaver skin worn smooth and faded from black to a worn brown. The blood stains on the front of the hat are quite noticeable. The bullet hole at the crown of the hat is also easily identifiable.
The hat is owned by a direct descendant of William's. Her intention is that it will become housed in the local museum on her demise.
She keeps it securely locked away in a closet, where no one can place it upon their heads.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FGS Annual Conference - Sep 2-5, 2009

Press Release
For Immediate Release – Time Sensitive

1 August 2009

It’s just one month till family historians convene in Little Rock!

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference is set to take place this September 2-5 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Based at the Statehouse Convention Center in the exciting Rivermarket District, this event is drawing genealogists, historians, librarians, and archivists from all over the United States and beyond. You can still join them for four full days of learning more about genealogy, finding cousins, seeing how much is online, seeing how much is not online, figuring out how to get the most out of records, determining what archives or libraries have the answers, helping your genealogy society, and spending some money in the large Exhibit Hall. There will be almost 200 educational sessions. Don’t let this event pass you by.

The Arkansas Genealogical Society is the host for this event that has previously been in Boston, Seattle, Phoenix, Fort Wayne, Davenport, Orlando, Philadelphia, Austin, St. Louis, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Rochester, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and places in-between. You will be hearing about this event for years to come and will feel sad if you weren’t a part of it. It’s a place to meet authors, lecturers, librarians, archivists, and bloggers whose names you will recognize.

Registration Deadline
August 26 is the last day to pre-register for the conference online or by mail. It is also the deadline to reserve your spot at the luncheons, gala banquet, or the special Night at the Ballpark. There may be only a few extra tickets available at the conference registration on Tuesday, September 1st for these events.

Onsite Registration
Tuesday, September 1st is the first day pre-registrants may visit the FGS/AGS registration booths on the lower level of the Statehouse Convention Center to pick up your name tag, tote bag, CD syllabus of lecture handouts, miscellaneous goodies, 20 door prize tickets, and begin the networking. Not pre-registered? No problem. There will be a line for just that task. You may register for one day or the full conference. Registration opens at 2:00 p.m. and runs until 6:00 p.m. on that day. It reopens at 7:00 a.m. on September 2d.

Exhibit Hall
What will you find in this hall on Thursday-Saturday? Aisle after aisle of booths featuring books old, new, and rare; genealogy software and hardware and demonstrations; preservation supplies; genealogical and historical societies; ethnic organizations; libraries; archives; maps; gifts; genealogy professional organizations; DNA companies; popular magazines; scholarly journals; databases; continuing education opportunities; author book signings; publishers; hotels from Salt Lake City; and places to sit, rest, and network with other registrants. The Hall is also open to non-registrants.

Door prizes
Many of the vendors in the Exhibit Hall will be giving away conference door prizes. Each registrant will receive 20 door prize tickets with your conference name tag and syllabus CD at the registration booth. The ticket will ask for your name, mailing and e-mail addresses and phone number. Bring along some of those address labels you have sitting around or print some up before you leave home to save some writing. Each participating vendor will have a box labeled for door prizes. Each attendee chooses which door prize box to drop their tickets in depending on the door prize being given. Some will have more than one door prize drawing during the three Exhibit Hall days. The names of the winners will be posted on a bulletin board in the Exhibit Hall. If you are a winner, all you need to do to claim your prize is to revisit the specific vendor’s booth.

Conference sessions to be recorded
Many of the conference sessions will be audio recorded and available for purchase on CD. Listings of those sessions being recorded will be available at the conference. Jamb-Inc. will be doing the recording and will have a booth where you can make your on-site purchases. The CDs will also be available after the conference from Jamb-Inc. but mailing fees will be charged.

Last minute Conference Information
Be sure to read the Conference News Blog during August and even during Conference Week to learn last minute details, reminders, suggested things to bring along, types of clothing to wear, and detail on special items. . Some exciting special announcements will be made in the next couple of weeks on the blog!

See you at the conference,

Paula Stuart-Warren
National Publicity Chair
2009 FGS/AGS Conference

Carnival of Genealogy 78th Edition - Pony Picture

The challenge for the current COG was to post a photograph of ourselves, or a family member, posing for a pony picture. Well, I'm afraid that never happened for me. No pony pictures! Or for my sister!

Where, oh where to locate a photo of a family member on a pony?
Then I recalled the visit from my Aunt Ethel, in 1988, just before my grandmother passed away. My Mom [Ethel's sister] and Dad lived next door to me at the time. Dad had a lovely riding horse named Sandy. Aunt Ethel, who was 64 then, said that when she was a child she had always wanted her picture taken with a pony. And when there was a traveling photographer who made the rounds near their home she had begged for her picture to be taken. The Depression was in full-swing then, and there wasn't an extra penny to be had, much less the $1 to cover the cost of a photograph.
So, to fulfill her dream, Dad sat his cowboy hat on her head, and she climbed atop 'Sandy', Dad's horse. And I took the snapshot to commemorate the event.
And so, 60 years late, but taken nevertheless, Little Ethel Dreher got her wish.

Here's the photo I took of her.

Today Ethel is 85 years young, and still going strong!

Tombstone Tuesday

This is the story about the cemetery and tombstones nearly forgotten in the woods. It is the story of my great-great-grandparents, William and Rachel Wiseman Bean.

The Bean Cemetery is located near the tiny hamlet of Waiteville, WV. In order to reach this little burial place, one must park their car on the edge of the one lane road and hike across a wide open field to a dense stand of trees and woods. It is here that you will find William and Rachel's final resting place.

For over 100-years the little cemetery sat. It's tombstones slowly deteriorating and breaking away with decay and disrepair. Until 10-years ago when the family placed this new memorial tombstone for our ancestors.

We know there are several more buried here, as evidenced by the broken stones that remain.

On Sunday, August 9th, I visited this tiny little cemetery for the first time.

I photographed 10 stone markers. And I counted 11 mounds and depressions that were indicative of grave sites.

I located pieces of the old wire fence that once surrounded the cemetery, as well as the rotting fence posts that have long ago fallen over and are swiftly becoming a part of the forest floor.

The cemetery was covered in small trees that have grown there since my Dad was a boy. He recalled the open area then, with a few large trees surrounding the graves. Now trees grow right through the grave sites.

I saw deer scat, and counted 4 squirels scampering through the trees while we were there.

Standing on the hill, as I looked to the south, I could clearly see the old homestead. I could see why my great-grandparents would want to be buried here. Overlooking their beautiful log home.

No one alive today knows who is buried in which grave. And, as I have stated, the 10-grave stones that remain are worn with time and if there was ever any engraving on them, it is lost to time. Still, we do know that William and Rachel are buried here. Rachel died in November of 1856, less than a month after her daughter Nancy, both with a fever of unknown origin. Son Archibald's first wife, Amanda died in this area, and was buried here, about 1852. Daughter Emily, and her husband, Thomas, [d. 1889 and d. 1888 respectively] are also believed to be buried here. And William is buried here [d. 1864]. I can also account for 3-slaves who were buried here as well.

This is a beautiful spot.

The property has long ago left family hands, and is now owned by a hunters co-op. They will not allow us to do any more improvements on the cemetery. That includes a protective fence.

My heart breaks that one day, no one will know where this little slice of history is at. The forest will either encroach completely. Or the property sold yet again.

It is the protectiveness within me that despairs. These loved ones are my past. They are my core. And I am helpless to protect their final resting place. I despair that the family let this land slip from them.

As I stand here, breathing in the warm summer air, from this mountain side, I feel at home. So at home.

I speak to William and Rachel now. "Rest in peace. Know that your future continues with the family. We are growing. And we are stronger than ever. Rest. Rest in peace."

Madness Monday - August 10, 2009

Mary was born on June 3rd 1897. She was one of the younger children in her family [there were ten all total].

Mary had about an eighth grade education. Once she was past 21 her prospects for marriage looked slim. She was a rather tall woman, and a bit hefty in size. So, she learned sign language and began teaching the deaf.

At the age of 38 she became a housekeeper for a widower. He married her a short time later.

John was born in 1866, so he was quite a bit older than Mary. As a matter of fact, his eldest daughter, Rita, was born the year before Mary had been born. John already had been the father of 12 children, by 2 wives who had predeceased him. Those children, all grown except for one, did not call her step-mother. Instead, they chose to call her "Aunt Mary". If Mary felt slighted by the fact, she never let on about it.

In 1937, at the age of 40, Mary became a mother for the first time. A baby boy. Then in 1939, at 42, she had another son. And in 1943, at the age of 46, Mary had a third son. By then John was 77 years old.

In 1946, the youngest child, Roy, developed appendicitis. The family lived in a very rural farm area. By the time they realized a doctor must be sought, Roy's appendix had burst and he died just 2 days later in the hospital. I have been told that John never got over the death of Roy. I know for a fact that Mary didn't. She never spoke about him without her eyes welling with tears.

In 1954, at the age of 88 John passed away, leaving Mary a widow with 2 teenaged sons.

Mary remained in the home John had purchased for her until 1965 when she went to live with her oldest son and his family. It was here that Mary sometimes spoke to me about her past.

It was so funny to hear her tell about giving birth to her sons: "The doctor put me on a table with a round hole cut out of it in the center. A galvanized bucket was hung under the hole, and it caught the baby when it was borned." [Mary's babies were all born at home. So, there was no such contraption.]

I never heard her call John anything except "Mr. Bean". I suppose his being 31 years her senior, she felt she should show him respect. I've asked Mary's eldest son if she ever called his father anything except, Mr. Bean. His response was that she most often called him "Dad" or "Daddy".

I remember Mary telling about a time when John cut her hair. "He shingled it for me. His scissors slipped and he just about cut my ear off! It bled and bled and bled!" Her eldest son confirmed this story. He said the tip of her ear was cut badly, and John like to never have got the bleeding stopped!

Mary told about the time when her oldest was once dressed in a lovely white sailor suit, and the family was preparing to go out. She couldn't find him, and went looking about the farm for him. In his lovely white sailor suit he had waded in the mucky pond nearby. The suit would never come white again. It was the first "whippin'" he remembered getting.

Mary's mind began slipping even before she went to live with her son. They didn't call it Alzheimer's back then. It was politely called "hardening of the arteries".

I remember Mary smelling strongly of lilac bath powder, which she used to powder her white sneakers to keep them always looking clean, and smelling fresh. Her hair was thin, and she wore tiny pin curls about the edges to frame her face.

Mary had been diagnosed with tuberculosis when a young woman, and had spent time in a sanitorium for recuperation. The family had to sterilize their dishes with each and every wash every single day afterward. They routinely had TB tine tests and chest x-rays.

In 1973 the family moved back to Mary's home state in West Virginia. I think she sometimes realized she was there. But for the most part, Mary would sit for hours by herself. Just sitting. Neither doing anything, nor wishing to.

Mary became very withdrawn. And had to be reminded to eat.

In the fall of 1974, it was evident Mary was failing. She became nothing more than skin stretched over bone. Her color went to a sickly gray. And her flesh would fall away when bumped.

On her deathbed, in the hospital, Mary recognized her eldest son, and her youngest granddaughter. She knew no one else.

Mary slipped quietly away on January 1st 1975.

The saddest moment of my life was when her son watched the hearse carrying her body pass by the house on the way to the church for her funeral. I've known him my whole life, and I never knew his heart to break like that. His sobs tore through me like nothing else ever has.

At the cemetery, as they layed her body in the grave, I fell into the arms of one of the women from our church. I sobbed, echoing those of her son.

You see, Mary wasn't mad. She had her moments of eccentricity. Remember, they called it "hardening of the arteries".

No, Mary wasn't mad. She was Mary.

My grandmother.

"Undertaker, undertaker, oh undertaker please drive slow, For this lady you are carrying, Oh I hate to see her go!" [Will the Circle Be Unbroken - lyrics by The Stanley Brothers].

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday Night Fun!

Saturday night Randy Seaver's put forth his next challenge. Unfortunately, since I was away at my family reunion, I didn't get a chance to see that challenge until just a few minutes ago!!! As my Grandpa Dreher used to say, "Girl, you're always a day late and a dollar short!" To which I'd reply, "Better late than never, Grandpa!"

Here;s Randy's challenge:

"Do you have a pedigree chart that shows you as #1 and goes back five generations? If not, you should make one! Fire up your software program and create a report and save it (you'll see why in am inute!).

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it - this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.

5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post."

So, for Randy, and my readers, here are my great-great-grandparents:

[1] William M. Bean - b. 18 Sep 1792, Baltimore, MD; d. 1 Jan 1864, Wiseman's Hollow, Potts Creek, Monroe, West Virginia [Unknown]
[2] Rachel Wiseman - b. 23 Apr 1790 Rockbridge County, Virginia, d. 7 Nov 1856, Potts Creek, Monroe, Virginia [English]

[3] Samuel PERKINS - b. 21 Apr 1778 Virginia, d. 19 Jan 1854, Ft. Spring, Greenbrier, Virginia [English]
[4] Elizabeth Tuckwiller - b. 8 Nov 1779, Greenbrier County, Virginia, d. 28 Jul 1867, Ft Spring, Greenbrier, West Virginia [English]

[5] Richard C. FAUDREE - b. 1834, Halifax, Virginia; d. 1 Jan 1902, Sweet Springs, Monroe, West Virginia [German]
[6] Mary Margaret Wickline - b. 1831, Monroe County, Virginia; d. unknown [English]

[7] George W. CARNEFIX - b. 1831, Virginia; d. 1865, West Virginia [Unknown]
[8] Mary Susan DAUGHERTY - b. 1834, Monroe County, Virginia; d. unknown [English]

[9] Gottleib DREHER - b. 1830, Germany; d: Jan 1893, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky [German]
[10] Sarah HUNSINGER - b. 1829, Germany; d. 15 Sep 1900, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky [German]

[11]John BENZEL - b. 11 Jan 1835, Prussia; d. 18 Jan 1899, Bedford, Bedford, Indiana [German]
[12] Wilhelmina LAMBRECHT - b. 25 May 1835, Germany; d. 7 Mar 1924, Bedford, Bedford, Indiana [German]

[13] Isidore BANET - 27 Sep 1832, France; d. 30 May 1901, Floyd Knobs, Floyd, Indiana [French]
[14] Rosalie SPRIGLER - b. 25 Jul 1836, Floyd Knobs, Floyd, Indiana; d. 23 Feb 1904, Floyd Knobs, Floyd, Indiana [French]

[15] Joseph EVE - b. 11 Jan 1829, France; d. 8 Jan 1892, New Albany, Floyd, Indiana [French]
[16] Annette [Unknown] - b. 12 Feb 1840, Indiana; d. 1 May 1870, Floyd County, Indiana [Unknown]

And my dominant nationality? Remember the "Heinz 57" joke? That's me in a nutshell!

Here are the stat's:

Unknown: 18.75%
French 18.75%
English: 31.25%
German: 31.25%

And where do your ancestors come from???

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bean Family Reunion

Tomorrow is our Bean Family Reunion. This reunion is held every two years. And it only lasts for an afternoon.

But I'm hoping I can change things a bit.

Tomorrow I fully intend to petition for our reunion to be held for an entire weekend beginning with our 2011 event. Lasting from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.

Our little reunion is held in the mountains of West Virginia. In the very rural county of Monroe [where there is literally not a single stoplight in the entire county!]. In the very tiny hamlet of Waiteville, where there is neither store nor post office.

This once bustling community was literally carved out of a tiny valley in Virginia. Peter's Mountain is the state line for as far as it runs, except for Waiteville. Waiteville at one time was reknown for its virgin timber and mineral ore. And then shortly after 1910 that all changed. The timber was cut out. The ore ran out. And the railroad, which had been used to haul out both, tore up its tracks and left. Up until the 1970's there was a single store which also housed the little post office. Today, these individuals have their mail delivered by the Union postal carrier. And either go into New Castle or Pearisburg, Virginia, or into Union, West Virginia for their groceries. [No late night trips to grab a snack!]

But it's from this tiny place in the mountains that my heritage is layed.

About 1790 came an Irishman who had served as a Loyalist in the American Revolution. He received several land grants. One rather strange grant was for a tract of land near Waiteville known as "Stoney Creek". This is a mountainous range of land that was literally carved through the mountains thousands of years ago by the swirling waters of the creek that continues to flow through. The steep, stony walls lining this valley [more like a passage!] makes one pause and wonder why anyone would want so much land here! Perhaps at that time trapping would have been good here? Who knows.

To this Irishman and his bride were born 2 sons. John and William. And then, suddenly in February of 1804, John is placed in indenture. His father is gone. We don't know if he died or what happened to him. The same year, in September, William is placed for indenture as well.

The next year, the mother is found on the personal property list as a widow. Amount owed is listed as "nothng atall". Under possession "just her clothes and spinning wheel". And then she disappears from history.

The following year, the property on Stoney Creek is sold for back taxes.

And then, in 1813, William is released from his indenture. He has reached the age of majority. Just 2 months after that release, he marries the daughter of a prominent family within the country. The following year they have their first child. And William begins to purchase property.

William brought a suit against the former owner of his indenture, and obtained a large financial settlement. Family legend states that there was actually a 3rd brother to John and William, and his name was Roy. He was younger than William. And shortly after the 1804 indenture, Roy ran away and was never heard from again. [I've not found any record to prove this however. Many others have also searched.]

With his new found gains, William purchased even more property. By 1836, when his last child [the 13th] was born, he was considered quite the gentleman farmer, and owned over 1600 acres of land in the valley.

It is the descendants of these 13 children who meet every two years in the very same valley.

We meet the last standing school house for this community. It was here that my Dad went to school as a young boy. Just 3 rooms and a kitchen. At one point it handled grades 1-12. In its last years of function, it handled grade school only.

Our hope is to "camp out" in this remote area for our weekend long reunion in 2011.

But tomorrow, we begin at 10 a.m. and last till about 5 or so.

Of my 5 children, I had hoped for 3 to arrive. One has already let me know, they won't be there. I still have hope for the other 2. My husband, a long-haul truck driver, is doing his best to get here. We still don't know if he'll make it or not.

One cousin was due to arrive today. She phoned to say she'd missed her flight by 24-hours. A date mix up.

Another cousin called, and has to work. Another, fell in her yard and literally broke her neck! [She'll recover, but it's going to take time!] And yet another is sick. Two have health problems and can't be here. And one has moved too great a distance away for him to be able to get here [financial constraints].

Still, we're hoping for a crowd of about 75.

I am so looking forward to tomorrow! Even knowing that not everyone can be here, I am so excited! It's like the eager anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve! I can hardly wait!!!

I'll let you all know how it goes!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hedrick - Shepherd Reunion Attended

On Saturday, August 1st, Dad, Uncle Bill and I attended the annual Hedrick-Shepherd Reunion. This small family event takes place in the tiny community of Fort Spring, in Greenbrier County West Virginia. While our particular Bean family line does not extend directly into this familial group, we do share common ancestors. Samuel Perkins and Elizabeth Tuckwiller.

I had hoped to attend this event for years, but it seemed every year there was some kind of obstacle to prevent it. This year was just right.

We planned to arrive immediately after the noon meal was finished. Uncle Bill is 92, and the summer's heat was scorching. We didn't want to expose him too long to that.

The drive over from Dad's home to the Mount Vernon Methodist Church in Fort Spring was fascinating to say the least. I sat in the back seat and listened as Dad and Uncle Bill talked of the days when Uncle Bill was a young boy. [There's 20-years difference between Dad and his brother, Bill. They come from a rather large, extended family. My Grandpa Bean was born in 1866, the year following the Civil War's close. He didn't marry until he was 30. He and his first wife, Blanche, had 3 children. Sadly she died shortly after the birth of the 3rd child from tuberculosis. Left with 3 small children, Grandpa remarried. Ada and Grandpa had 9 children. Poor Ada wasn't given proper pre-natal care. She died from complications following the birth of the 9th child. Lastly, Grandpa married my grandmother, Mary. This wasn't until his children were all grown. He was already an old man of 69. Grandma was a spinster. She was 38 when they married in 1935. Two years later, when Grandpa was 71 and Grandma 40, they had their first child together. My Dad. They went on to have 2 more children between then and 1943. Yep, Grandpa was 76 when his last child was born.]

As we drove through the steep mountain road that lead from Ronceverte to Fort Spring, Uncle Bill told of how his older brothers and he used to haul wool from their farm in Union to the railroad depot in an old Model T truck through this very same trace. He recalled sitting on the wooden floorboards on the return home. His brothers sat on sacks stuffed with straw. He was teased when he would yell out because his posterior would get pinched between those floorboards as they creaked and gave with the rolling motion of the truck as they went around the curves in the road.

Mount Vernon Methodist Church is a site to see! As you approach it, it sits high on the hill, away from the road. The "old" cemetery at its back. The new cemetery sprawling out before it.

The church itself was started in 1846. My great-great-grandfather, Rev. Samuel Perkins, was instrumental in getting the church started, and was in fact its first minister, as well as having the distinction of being the first member to be buried in the cemetery there [in what is called the "old" cemetery now]. Born in 1778, he died in 1854. His wife, Elizabeth Tuckwiller Perkins [1779-1867] buried at his side.

The days festivities were being held behind the church, beside the "old" cemetery, under the picnic shelter. While Dad parked the car, I assisted Uncle Bill to walk to the shelter.

We were instantly greeted by one of the several correspondents I have had over the years from this family. She was quick to make us feel right at home, and above all else, welcome. We were introduced to a score of people, many of whom I feel I have known for a long time! Yet, too many for me to keep names and faces straight!

Following a short business meeting, this group held a silent auction to help raise funds for the annual reunion. I purchased a lovely framed quilt square. The quilt square was handmade more than 100 years ago. And the handmade chestnut frame was made from reclaimed lumber from an old tool shed that had stood on the property until January of this year. It's a lovely piece which now hangs in a place of honor in my living room. I also purchased a rough draft of Ralph Hedrick's "William G. Shepherd Family Story and Genealogy 1778 - 1970", which he later published. A true treasure!

We learned that the fence surrounding the old cemetery had been torn down by vandals in January of this year. They had also stolen boards from the old tool shed [from thus was the frame to my quilt piece made]. The individual responsible was finally apprehended and prosecution is in progress.

All in all, we didn't stay but a short 2-hours for the reunion. But it was an event I truly enjoyed!

Now... this Saturday [the 8th] we attend our own Bean Family Reunion! I can hardly wait!!!

Cyndi Beane Henry
Walter "Buster" Beane
William "Bill" Beane
Listening raptly to a speaker tell about the Hedrick-Shepherd family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Roadblocks and Breakthroughs

I was recently given a request from my husband's niece, asking me to help her locate her biological father's family. She knew very little information to assist me. Except that she thought her father had been adopted.

And so, I went off in search of this man. While I found several listings for him in the Texas Public Records, none were up to date or recent.

Then our niece told me she thought she had two half-brothers. She gave me a couple of names to go on.

So, I found their addresses, and proceeded to write my very professional, but simple letter of explanation of who I was, what I was doing, and for whom. I sent these out with a postage paid reply envelope inside. And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

In the meantime, I began to pore over records in the Texas repositories. Here I located our nieces mother's marriage to this gentleman. As well as two other marriages for him. I also located the birth of the two half-brothers. And there were some not-so-flattering newspaper articles regarding this gentleman's behavior in the past twenty years or so. But there wasn't a clue as to who his biological family was.

I had the names of his adoptive parents. And so I began to play with their names, and this gentleman's rather unusual middle name. "Alberg". I wondered if there was a chance it had been his mother's maiden name? Or perhaps his father's?

I was rewarded with finding that the last name of Alberg was his adoptive mother's middle name. Hmmm. Was the name given to him on adoption? Did he already possess that name when he went to this family?

I continued to dig. Hoping beyond hope to find some breakthrough.

I did discover that Hazel Alberg came from a rather large family. This is noted in the 1910 and 1920 Census for their area. Hazel had 4 sisters and 3 brothers. This meant the possibilities were wide open!

And so I began the tedious task of tracing out each one of these individuals. All the while, working solely on a hunch.

I discovered that between 1921 and 1930 Hazel's parents both died, and left the children as orphans. The oldest 2 were grown and married, and helped to take in as many of the younger children as possible. Hazel went to live with her older sister, Alice, who was married to Roy Burch. I found Alfred, who was born in 1911, living with his mother's brother, Charles Tingue. Two of the younger children, Nettie and Emma were living with a family named Whiting [I am still trying to determine if there was a familial relationship or not]. And the two "babies" Eva and Bob, are unaccounted for at present.

I kept working on a hunch, and began to fill out as much as I could on these children and their descendants.

And then it happened. A small letter with 2 names, and a newspaper article from 1990 arrived in the mail. One of the half-brother's wife answered my letter!

Two names were in the letter. Alfred Alberg and Mary Belle Hurlburt. These were the parents of my niece's biological father. The newspaper article gave me further information on his mother's family, so that I was able to continue that research, leading back to 1818 with the Hurlbert's. And Alfred Alberg? I had been following a hunch, and had been already uncovering the facts for the correct family all along!

I learned a very valuable lesson in working on this project. When you have a hunch, or feel a need to follow a certain path, go ahead and do it. You never know! You just might be on to something that will break through those brick walls and lead you right to the facts you need most!

Tombstone Tuesday

Wow! I've had trouble the past few days trying to post here, or to my commentary site, The Grassroots American. Every time I would hit the POST button, I would be told there was an error. So, here I am attempting once more. Let's hope this time it works!!!
I found several images of tombstones that I thought would be perfect for today's Tombstone Tuesday post. But when I came across this "USED TOMBSTONE" for sale, I knew this was the perfect post! Don't you just love "...perfect for someone named Homer HendelBergenHeinzel"?
I can only imagine the story behind this one!