24 December 2009

A Very Merry Christmas

For Christmas I got a new scanner (we open presents on Christmas Eve since I have to work on Christmas). It has an attachment to scan slides and negatives. I started scanning tonight, beginning with a series of slides from my brother's birth. I'd tried scanning these slides before, to less than desirable results. This time, however, I was more than pleased with the results. Here are the results, with no editing on my part (aside from rotation):

Allen & Ruby

And here's what I had before from a regular scanner:

18 December 2009

The Christmas Bear Stocking (Advent Calendar - Day 18)

my stocking Every year for Christmas I've used the same stocking. It's a bear wearing a santa hat and red overalls. The overalls make up the storage area and can be filled front and back. His arms are curled up and create hooks to hang things from.

From what I understand, my mom went shopping with her mom when we were babies to pick out new stockings for all the kids. My mom picked out these stockings, but my grandmama didn't like them. She felt they weren't big enough. Grandmama was always looking out for her grandkids.

As I mentioned in my post about letters to Santa, when we were little we would hang our stocking on the hutch, as we had no fireplace. When we moved into our current house, we started hanging them on the fireplace mantle. Our Christmas list went into our stockings and Santa's Elves would come by and pick them up. On Christmas morning, our stockings would be full of candy and small toys. And I mean full!

Even after Santa stopped bringing us presents, he continued to fill our stockings. The photo on the right is of my stocking three years ago.

A few years back, we bought stocking for our parents. We try to put a few small things in them each year - though I've never done as good a stocking for them as they do for us.

christmas 1990

17 December 2009

The Nativity (Advent Calendar - Day 17)

This nativity scene was painted by mom. We put it up every year.

the nativity

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying
in a manger.

16 December 2009

Oh, the trauma! (Advent Calendar - Day 16)

I don't remember much about Christmas in public school. We never had any plays or pagents, but we did do arts and crafts. We made angles out of paper bags, etc. But by the time I was in middle school we weren't really allowed to have Christmas related activities at school, because the county was sensitive to offending non-Christians. So, it was "winter break" not "Christmas break."

Probably the most well known "Christmas at school" story happened at nursery school. Our first was the La Patite in Lilburn. My siblings and I attended along with my cousins. I remember getting ready for a christmas party one year and making paper chains. I stapled my finger! I don't remember much of the party however - it's probably a suppressed memory.

The kids all got up to sing a song (I think, "Santa Claus is Coming To Town"). I guess I didn't want to and was kinda freaked out. I was crying - sobbing really. But I think I sang the song through the tears. But it's what I did during the song that's humorous today.

Here's what our group looked like at the begining. I'm the girl with the long hair in the snoopy shirt and black leggings at the far right. I don't look very happy do I?

Now, by the end of the song:

Hmmm... what happened to my pants? I was so freaked out that I pulled on my pants legs until they turned into shorts.

One possible contributing factor to my actions: I'm alone. The arrow points to my twin sister - all the way over there!?! And my cousins are circled. Why was I alone? I was never a very independent child - why did they do this to me?!? I think I'm still traumatized. And notice that I'm staring right at the camera, obviously sobbing. Mom! A rescue might have been in order! Poor little me...

A Christmas Carol


My favorite Christmas Carol is probably 'O Holy Night.' This song has always felt positive and joyful for me and I'm always moved when I hear it. It's also a song I've heard often. The Macy's (Rich's) Great Tree in downtown Atlanta is always lit to the singing of this song. The tree is lit on the highest note near the end of the song.

The actual Carol is longer, but here's the version we sing:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

15 December 2009

The Digital Library of Georgia

A great resource for those researching ancestors in Georgia is the Digital Library of Georgia. This is a free resource from GALILEO, which is part of the University System of Georgia. The DLG offers a wide variety of collection in reference to Georgia's history and culture.

The DLG can be searched via keywords or browsed by topic, time period, county, institution, media type, or alphabetically. Some of the collections appear to be links to other sites (such as Georgia Virtual Vault or different universities) and others are hosted at the DLG. Some of the great collections on this site include:
There are hundreds of collections available via this website. If you have ancestors in Georgia, you're bound to find something of interest here.

14 December 2009

Fruit Cake - Friend or Foe (Advent Calendar - Day 14)

A guest blogging appearance from my mom, to discuss Fruitcake:

I never knew, growing up, that some people just didn't like fruit cake. It was just a given that at Christmas time fruitcake was in the store and we always got one. I remember it was the Old Fashion Fruit cake. It's been a long time since I had any fruit cake so I told Valerie that in honor of the blog today, we would just have to run down to Kroger's and get one. I remembered it had very distinctive label with white, black and red and said OLD FASHIONED on the label and I would know it when I saw it. Sure enough there it was. Several displays filled with old fashioned goodness. The name is Claxton's Old Fashioned Fruit cake and little did I know that it is made right here in Georgia in the town of Claxton.

I don't know when Mama quit buying fruitcake but I do remember she made one once. It turned out to be quite expensive because of all the candied fruit she had to buy. You couldn't find a container with all the different fruit mixed up. And then there were nuts also. And you had to have rum. We were a non alcoholic household but she found out she could use non alcoholic artificial rum flavoring. It didn't actually go into the cake, she poured it into a little glass that sat down in the hole in the center of the cake and sealed it up in a tin so the flavor would seep in. I don't think it turned out like Mama expected but I thought it was good.

Valerie read the label and we found out the fruitcake is best when chilled so it is in the fridge now. Maybe that's why some people don't like fruitcake. Maybe they just don't know to chill it. And that brings up another point. . . Why do people re-gift? Why give someone something you don't like. Do they really think "WOW! What a great gift! I think I'll give it to someone else!" I have never re-gifted fruitcake but then I've never given it as a gift either. I know my kids just don't eat things with nuts in it. They don't like the crunch. Kenny, my husband doesn't seem to care for fruitcake either so it looks like this one will be all mine. Maybe I'll call my sister and find out if she likes fruitcake. Maybe we'll start a new tradition and share this one. Of course if she doesn't I have a feeling it will keep a long time in the fridge.

So how do you feel about fruitcake?

One Day Later, Seven Years Younger

One of the most valuable resources for Genealogists are census records. Thanks to our national government, the names, ages, relationships, etc., of our ancestors were recorded every ten years. In many instances, these documents are the only proof we have that our ancestors existed. And, because they are a primary source, we tend to view them as mostly accurate or even as 100% true. I know I'm sometimes guilty of trusting too much in census records. Well, until today that is.

I'm currently researching my Evans and Partain ancestors of neighboring Hart and Elbert Counties of Georgia and Anderson County, South Carolina. My 4x Great-Grandparents, John H J and Lucy Maria Partian. I had recorded them in the 1850 census some time ago, but was reviewing their records in order to trace their children. While looking for their son Asa, I came across an alternative 1850 census listing for him. Click, Click. I was suddenly looking at a duplicate census listing for the entire family in 1850. I opened both up side by side:

Although the names are slightly different, it is the same family. The names of the family are the least of the inconsistencies however.
  • John and Lucy Maria are suddenly seven years younger
  • Benjamin and Sarah Adeline have switched orders in chronology
  • They're both younger
  • Asa and Lucy are younger
  • John Hubbard is older
  • Not shown, the family's property is worth $100 less
All of these changes - in only one day! The first image was record on October 8th and the second was recorded six pages later on October 9th. The census taker was the same man both times - William Steele. That I can tell by a quick look, none of the family's neighbors are repeated.

I have to wonder: why was the family recorded twice and why the differences? Why would the same census taker record the same family twice? At first I thought that perhaps the later entry was recorded as a correction to the previous one. But, when compared to the 1860 census, the first record seems more accurate. But how could the same man visit the same family in two days and not realize that he was recording them again? Dad says he must have been drunk. Another option is that he didn't actually go to the house to record the information. Maybe he came across someone on the property who gave the information, never reaching the house. Then, the other day he went to the house and didn't realize he'd already recorded the family. If he didn't see the home one day (or both) and saw different people when he questioned the family, he might not have realized what he'd done - especially given how different the information is on each listing.

Regardless of how it happened, this family stands as a good example of why census records cannot be taken as 100% proof of a family record.

13 December 2009

We're Almost There (Advent Calendar - Day 13)

"Weeee're almost there, we're almost there...
We're almost there, we're almost there..."

"Stop - be quite! Mom! make them stop"

"Weeee're almost there, we're almost there...
We're almost there, we're almost there..."

This was the wonderful music that our parents got to listen to as we traveled on Christmas. Each year on Christmas day we drove to my maternal grandparents house, 30 minutes away from home. We spent the mid-day and early evening there, having dinner around 2 or 3pm (or whenever most everyone had arrived).

When we turned onto the the street that led to our grandparent's house, my sister and I would begin to sing, "We're almost there." Those were the only lyrics. They drove my brother nuts! Thus the song had to be sung louder and with more giggling.

Old Film

There's a drawer in the hutch that's completely devoted to photos. There are photo albums, baby books, school photo packets and loose photos. There was also a small bag of undeveloped film rolls, all about 15 years old. I say 'was,' because we had those photos developed.

It cost a little bit of money, but it was worth it. We didn't know what might be on the film, but I had some hopes: Christmas photos and photos from our 5th grade class trip to Space Camp. Well, guess what? That's what they were! Also included were photos from my sister's eye injury, the neighbors, and a few random shots.

Now, not all of the photos came out well. Many of them were taken by my sister and I (about 12 years old) and the photos had been slightly damaged with age. However, I feel that it was worth it to have the photos developed.

I was disappointed in one thing: from our class trip, only about 6 photos came out. Viewing the negatives, however, seems to indicate that we could get a few more photos from the roll. I have good information that I'll be getting a scanner for Christmas that will scan slides and negatives (squee!!!). Otherwise, I might send the negatives off to another film processor and see what they come up with.

Here are a few of the photos we got:

. .
. .
. .
Space Camp

12 December 2009

SNGF - Wish List

For tonight's SNGF, we've been asked to give a genealogy database that we'd like to see made available online.

For myself, I'd love to see the Elberton Star and Hartwell Sun newspapers go online. These newspapers cover neighboring Elbert and Hart Counties, GA from the late 1800s on. These newspapers have been microfilmed and can be accessed (that I know of) in their native counties. I do not see them available through family history libraries (but I could be searching wrong?). I've had helpful volunteers look up obituaries from these newspapers for me, but I don't want to burden volunteers with hundreds of look-up requests. If these two newspapers went online, it would be a goldmine for me.

08 December 2009

Daniel's Service (Hello DAR series)

For my application to the DAR, I'm tracing my lineage to Daniel Boatright/Boatwright. Quite a few other researchers have already proven his service in the Revolutionary War. Thanks to this, my application process will be much easier.

The DAR has Daniel's service description as "WIDOW REC LAND GRANT IN GA 1827." I found a transcript of the recipients of the land draw on the USGenWeb Archive Project. You can see Margaret and Nancy Boatright, Daniel's widow and child. Margaret is listed as "w.R.S.", or Widow of Revolutionary Soldier.

As far as my application process, I received a record copy in the mail on Saturday from the DAR. However, it was not the copy that I had requested. It followed the wrong lineage. I sent the DAR an email and they responded yesterday to say that they would send the correct copy. Hopefully I'll receive that soon. Once I have that, I plan to contact a local DAR chapter to discuss my application.

07 December 2009

Happy Birthday Sarah

Sarah Frances Britt Craft would have been 84 years old today. Happy Birthday to a spunky, tell-it-like-it-is, hold nothing back, there's a coke in the fridge and a candy bar in the drawer, Granny.

craft_sarah Sarah Frances Britt Craft Sarah Britt Craft - 14 years old
craft_thomas_sarahSarah Britt Craft Wayne, Gary & Sarah Craft

Sarah Britt Craft

06 December 2009

Dear Santa (Advent Calendar - Day 6)

As children, we always believed in Santa Claus. He was a jolly guy who we met at the mall just before Christmas, and then visited us to deliver presents. Letter to Santa - 1990We really looked forward to his visit and we did a lot of prepping for it.

Although for me today the Christmas season starts on/the day after Thanksgiving, when I was a kid it started when they JC Penny's catalogue arrived. My sister and I were so excited when the Christmas Penny's catalogue came in the mail. There was a large toy section in the middle and we would spend hours every day poring over the pages and picking out toys. We loved to look at the dolls, games and even the science kits We made our Christmas lists mainly from the Penny's catalogue and from toys we saw advertised on TV. We generally asked for a few "big ticket" items, as well as some smaller toys.

These lists would be written up and put in our stockings a few weeks before Christmas. christmas 1990The stocking hung on hooks from the hutch when we were in the duplex and didn't have a fireplace. Santa would then send his elves to pick up our lists overnight. We were sometimes disappointed because the elves didn't always pick up the lists on the first night. But mom would re-assure us that the elves were just very busy and she would... oh, uh... they would pick up the lists as soon as they could. We would then wait expectantly for Christmas morning.

We did visit santa at the mall sometimes, but it was really about having our picture taken - not about telling him what we wanted. By this point the elves already had our lists! I don't remember meeting Santa much, but I understand that it was often a spur of the moment thing. We saw Santa when we saw him - whenever we happened to be at the mall and have money for a photo. We didn't really plan it in advance as an event like I see many families doing now. Thus, the NASCAR t-shirt and Burger King crown in one of my favorite photos.


05 December 2009

Surname Saturday - Albea

Albea - pronounced All-bee

This is the surname of my maternal line. It's not a very common name, but it's not extremely rare. You might have heard of the name, but more than likely, you haven't. And most folks don't know how to pronounce it. I've hear "Al-be-uh" a lot.

The Albea family has proven hard to trace. I know for a fact that my Great-Great Grandfather was William Anderson Albea who was born on 15 April 1872 in Lincoln County, GA1. He married Nina Sprouse in 1895 and their children were: Sara Everlena, Johnny, Melvin Anderson, Charles Vernon, Martha Louise, Henry Paul, and Coleman Albea. William died on 3 Aug 1936 in Greenwood (City), South Carolina1. His obituary references his siblings as Nellie Love Albea Ivey, Elbert Albea and Edward Albea2.

His parents have eluded me. According to his death certificate, they were Thomas Albea and Sarah Porley/Corley. I cannot find this couple in any census. However, based on census records, I believe that this line might descend from Tilman Albea and Julia Ann. In 1880, there are "Willie Albea" and "Eddie Albea" living with Tilman and Julia Ann as grandsons. In the next district over, there is a Thomas Albea listed as a widower.

Since I've hit a brick wall, I decided to research the name itself. My great-aunts had told me that they had been told that the name was spanish. I googled "Albea translation" and discovered that Albea is a form of the verb albear, which means to whiten or to turn white. So, albea means he/she whitens. This supports the idea that Albea may be a spanish surname.

Next, I headed over to publicprofiler.com to see how the name is distributed today. Once again, the results seem to prove the theory that this is a spanish surname.

From here, I'm going to try and research William Albea's siblings and see if I can find more information on their parentage through them.

1. “Standard Certificate of Death for Wm. A. Albea,” File No. 12612, State of SC Bureau of Vital Statistics State Board of Health, http://www.flickr.com/photos/genealogyphotos/360049200/.

2. “Obituary for William A. Albea,” The Greenville News, Greenville, Greenville, SC, 4 Aug 1936, pg 11.

04 December 2009

Google Streetview vs. Bing Streetside

Microsoft has a new map program: Bing Maps. It's much like Google maps and even has its own street view, called streetside. Although this app is still in Beta, it looks pretty promising. Much like when Google's streetview first started, streetside is very limited in coverage. But, from a quick review, the images available are better than those from Google.

For example, viewing Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta from Memorial Drive SE:



I could go into detail about how to use Bing maps, but if you are familiar with Google maps, you'll figure it out quickly. Just click on the little blue man at the bottom middle of the screen and you can take it from there.

I'm hoping that Bing maps might provide new views or clearer images of areas I'm looking for. Also, a little competition might encourage Google to improve some of their images.

03 December 2009

How to get more from the GA Archive's Virtual Vault

A wonderful website that I've mentioned before is the Georgia Virtual Vault at the Georgia Archive website. There's are a whole lot of free digitized records available online for genealogists.

The amount of content can be a bit of a hindrance though. Many of the records are not indexed, or have only an image of an original index. Finding these records can be time consuming and difficult to find a second time. Well, don't search - save it. Researchers can use the "Favorite" function to save their documents so that they don't have to search for them again. You can even make a webpage out of the documents. Just make sure that your browser is accepting cookies and you're ready to go.

When you find a document, you will see a few options along the top of the image, just above the toolbar. These options include "Add Document to Favorites" and "Add Page to Favorites." In most cases, you'll want to save the page, not the document. If you save the document, you'll have to re-find the image from the entire collection again - and what's the point of that?

Now, view your favorites page, by clicking the link at the top of the page. You can see all of the documents that you've saved and have a few options of what you'd like to do with them. You can create a slideshow, re-arange or remove them, or create a webpage with them.

I saved my documents as a "page source/html" and I simply upload the document to my web host and, voila - I can share my favorite documents from the GA Virtual Vault. See it here. But what is the benefit of a webpage like this?

Well, for me, it's about having all of your documents right there for to find, linked to their original source, in a way that can be presented to others. Sure, I go ahead and download a copy of the image, but sometimes I miss the source information or make a mistake. Or perhaps the file disappears or becomes corrupt. Because I've created these favorites I can go right back to the document with it's original source without having to search for it. Also, I can very easily share my finds with others.

I really think this is a great way for the GA Archive to share their documents in a way that preserves their historical context and help with source citation. I'm looking forward to using this tool more thoroughly in the future.

Some improvements I'd like to see: the ability to rename a document and the ability to organize favorites into folders or sets.

O Christmas Tree Ornaments (Advent Calendar - Day 3)

Santa the Pooh One of my favorite parts of Christmas is putting up the tree and, specifically, putting up all of our old Christmas ornaments. My favorite is Santa Pooh Bear. I've always loved Winnie the Pooh and Santa. So... perfect combination!

Now, I called these "old Christmas ornaments" and for me, they are (but for perspective, this is old for me, the 25 year old). Many of these ornaments are ones that my parents would put on their Christmas trees as children. I guess when they left home, they took some of the ornaments with them.

I didn't realize how many of these ornaments were from my parent's childhood until I started putting together a Christmas photo book last year (see it here). From those photos I picked out bells, glass balls, wooden figures and more that we hang on our tree now.

Ornaments from the photos below go up on our tree every year. Really, if we took a photo of the tree every year, it would be very difficult to figure out what year it was. A few things change over time, but the ornaments mostly stay the same. We put up the tree tonight and it looks almost exactly like the one in the bottom right photo. And, if you look closely in the photos below, you can find Santa Pooh Bear is some of the photos.

Part of the reason I love these ornaments is that each one has it's own story. Some were gifts, other remind my parents of their childhood; some are from my own childhood; many give hint to popular culture; many of these ornaments could be considered family heirlooms. I look forward to pulling them out every year and adding to the memories.

christmas albea11
Allen at Christmas 1979 kids at christmas - 1991

01 December 2009

FamilySearch Indexing, You Confuse Me

I've been trying to be more active indexing with FamilySearch Indexing, especially since The Georgia Archive is asking for help indexing their 1928-29 death certificates. I always find that it's easier to transcribe local documents, because you're more familiar with the names of cities and popular family names.

But, FamilySearch Indexing is confusing me. I'll go along for a while, requesting a batch of GA death certificates just fine. The only problem is that I can only download one batch at a time. Then, all of a sudden, GA death certs aren't listed as a project. As I switch views between "preferred projects" and "all projects," I notice that the list changes. Every time I switch, I see different projects, with different projects being given the "highest priority" tag. What's going on? Finally, the GA death certs re-apear. Yay! But when I try to download a batch, I'm told that there are no batches available. Grr.... How are batches not available when it's a high priority!?

So what I'm wondering is: is this a glitch or is this on purpose to keep indexers from staying with one project?

Here are some screen shots, in order, of what I saw when looking at my batch choices.


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