19 April 2010

Monday Memories - From "Cousin" Sandra

My maternal Grandmother's cousin, Sandra, sent me a few memories that she remembered about my Grandmama, Betty Huyler Albea:
"As I told you, we were a close family and usually lived near each other. When we lived in College Park , Betty, Roy and the children lived just a few blocks from us. I was about the only one they would let baby sit. Betty couldn't drive, so we would load up the kids in the station wagon, go to a back road with no traffic and let Betty practice driving. Once in July I drove us to the drive-in theatre. It was a stick shift and I was so nervous trying to keep it from rolling back on the car behind me. We had to wait in line a while and we were all burning up it was so hot, then we discovered one of the boys had turned the heater on full blast !"
"I also have a sad memory of Betty. I was young when Aunt Ruby died, but I will never forget the day of her funeral when Betty came in and saw her mother. She fainted and Roy picked her up like a baby and carried her out."

17 April 2010

SNGF - Timeline Charts

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun "mission" is to create a timeline chart using our genealogy software.

Personally, I really enjoy the weeks when the ideas force us to explore our genealogy software. I've looked at the timeline chart function in my software program (Reunion) before, but never spent any time figuring out how to really do anything with it. So, I decided to explore my software's timeline functionality and make a five generation timeline chart.

It's an easy process. First, mark everyone that you want to show up in your chart. This just means that you click a little box on each person's page. Next, go to "Create" on the file menu and select "Timeline Chart." Everyone is automatically sorted by birth, but you can sort by death, age, etc. I very easily changed the colors of each person to match others in their generation. Next, I added "Perspective Events" that I had previously loaded into the software (see how to do that here). In this case, I chose US Presidents. I expanded the chart a bit and moved some of the presidents over a tad to make them all fit. To save this chart, simply "Save As," just as with most any other document.

I ended up with a chart that very nicely shows five generations of my family. You can see that the first person, William Britt, was considerably older than others of that generation. Otherwise everyone else just sorta flows, with small gaps to indicate generational changes.

16 April 2010

Follow Friday - AnceStories

     When I started my genealogy blog a few years ago, I spent time actively searching for other genealogy blogs to read. One of the first blogs that I found myself really reading was AnceStories.  This blog, recently recognized by Family Tree Magazine as a "Top 40 Genealogy Blog," is filled with great research tips, advice and news, as well as personal research stories.  Lately, I've been following the "52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases" series. This is a must read series that pulls together a fantastic list of online genealogy resources by state.  If you're not already following this blog, you should start today.

12 April 2010

Recognizing Handwriting

     When viewing original documents, it's often handy to be able to identify who's handwriting the document was written in.  For example, the family Bible that I mentioned receiving on easter. The Bible was handed down from mother to daughter. If I were able to identify whose handwriting was whose, I would have a better idea of the accuracy of the record.

     I've decided to create a handwritting "key." I'm going to find handwritting examples of all of the relatives that I can. I will then be able to compare these samples to different documents.  Here are some samples I've already collected:






     As you can see, my sources come from many different places: lists, recipes, returned checks and checkbooks, greeting cards and letters, etc.  I'm trying to obtain at least two samples from each person, understanding that many people write differently depending on the formality of the documents and for other reasons. Also, I like to try and find a sample of each person's signature.  I hope that by collecting these samples now, I'll save myself time and a guessing game in the future.

09 April 2010

Ancestor Approved

     I was recently awarded the Ancestor Approved award from fellow genealogy bloggers, Mavis Jones of Georgia Black Crackers and TCasteel of Tangled Trees. Thanks to both of these bloggers for the award!  As part of receiving this award, I'm supposed to list 10 things that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me.  Here's my list:

  1. My maternal Grandmother never knew who her father's family was. Being able to tell her the names of those grandparents was very humbling.  
  2. But she knew absolutely everything about her mother's family - and had the documentation to prove it!
  3. My direct ancestor, Willis Craft, served in the GA state House of Representatives.
  4. I was very surprised at the musical ability of the maternal side of my family - and that their instruments are still around and in the possession of my "cousins."
  5. Despite having been told that our family is Irish, German, English, etc, I can show all branches of my family were living in the US during the US Civil War and for many years prior. To me, that makes my family American.
  6. It's both surprising, nice and frustrating that all of those families lived in GA, SC and FL throughout the generations and for their entire lives.
  7. I have a "Rosie the Riveter" Aunt in my family tree.
  8. My paternal Grandparents were survivors: Pawpaw survived WWII and together they survived both a tornado and a fire destroying their homes. 
  9. The number of children that a single man could have is huge, especially when he had multiple wives. I'm looking at you and your 19 (proven) children Reuben Boatright!
  10. There is a wonderful online community of genealogist just waiting to help anyone - you just have to ask!

05 April 2010

An Easter Discovery

For Easter, I went to the family dinner at my Aunt June Albea's house. She's recently moved into a small, but very cute, shotgun house in Atlanta and has had to downsize her possession. Those possession she kept but didn't have a place for were sitting out in bins, which she invited us to go through. She pulled out a Bible from among a box of photos and handed it to me, asking if I wanted to look at it. Of course I did!

Opening the cover, I saw that it had been

"presented to my
Mrs Louise Waters
By-husband L. E. Waters.
presented to my daughter
Mrs. Alma Underwood
by mother
Mrs. Louise Waters

In the back of the Bible are a few pages for recording family information. The first page lists information for Leverett and Louise (Smith) Waters. Their wedding date is given as Jan 1902 in Atlanta. I actually know this to be incorrect, though somewhat close to the actual Dec 1900 date found on their marriage record. I'm not truly surprised by this error though. The Bible was given to Louise in 1945 - that's 45 years after the event.

Louise & Alma's Bible The next page in the Bible lists the couple's children. This page is written in at least two different handwritings and with multiple pens. I believe that more of this information was written at the time of each event (after 1945).

One very interesting fact on this page is for Ruby Lee Waters, my Great-Grandmother. Ruby was married three times, twice to the same man. I had a vague idea of when the re-marriage occurred, but now I have a date: 20 Dec 1947. This date is consistent with city directory information.

Also, her birthplace is given as Shawmut, AL. I'd seen her birthplace listed as "Scharmont, AL" on her daughters birth certificate, but had been frustrated because that wasn't a real place. With this new spelling, I've been able to locate the city of her birth: an Alabama / Georgia border town near I-85.

This Bible stands as a great example of how documents like these aren't always correct. Many of the "facts" were written long after the event occurred. On the other hand, there are many facts listed that were likely written at the time of the event (or at least around the same time). I'll have to judge each listing individually to decide on its validity.

03 April 2010

Surname Saturday - Waters

The Waters family is one of my "1881 Brick Walls." By this I mean that this is one of many of the families in my tree that I have trouble researching because my ancestor was born in 1881 and had left home by the 1900 census. In the case of this family, I can't even find my ancestor, Leverett Waters, in 1900 - though I have found his mother and step-father.

I've done a great deal of research on Leverett, which I won't go into again since I wrote about it here. I've also done research on his mother (here and here), but cannot find his father, whom I have multiple names for.

So, I decided to see about getting help researching this family. I posted my problem family on Ancestry.com's expert connect and was able to hire a professional genealogist to help me. She's going to evaluate my research and then build off of it. To start with, I've purchased two hours of research and can add more if things look promising. She'll be doing the research today and I should hear back from her in about a week.

Hopefully soon, this family won't be a brick wall - or at least this generation won't be!


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