27 September 2010

"And That's How We Got Married" - Amanuensis / Memory Monday

     My parents were married on 20 Oct 1978 in DeKalb County, Georgia. A little while back, I asked my mom to tell me what she remembered about her wedding.  Here's what she had to say:


Valerie: It's June 16th, 2010. Uh, this is Valerie Craft, talking to my mom, Ruby Albea Craft. I wanted to ask you a few questions about when you and Dad got married. Um, you know, about your wedding day and where it was, what'd you wear, how'd you feel, was anyone, you know, what guests you had. That sort of thing.
Ruby: Well, we didn't have any guests so I'll answer that one real easy. But, um, we um, had decided to get married, but we didn't want to have a big wedding, so we just went down to the courthouse and got married.
Valerie: Which courthouse?
Ruby: Uh, we went down to DeKalb Courthouse. And I remember we parted somewhere and we had to walk a-ways to find the, um, the courthouse. And we just went, and uh, you had to go and apply for your license. And then you had to wait a couple of days because you had to go get a blood test. So we went to, uh, DeKalb Hosp - uh, DeKalb Medical Center. And you could go into uh - through the emergency room, even though it wasn't an emergency. But that's where you went in through to get your blood test. And they do blood tests for marriage license. And then we had to wait to get the blood test back. And then you had to take the blood test to a doctor, to get the doctor to sign off on it, for some reason. Even though he's not the one that did the blood test. And uh, then you have to take all that down to the, uh, Courthouse. 
     And so when we took all that down to the Courthouse and we got our license. And then, uh, we asked them, they said there was a judge there in the building, that we could just go to the judge's chambers and get married there. So that's what we did. And uh, we just had a very private ceremony. I just wore a skirt and uh, little um, summer top, and your dad was wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt . Which is what he usually wears for everything. And uh, we got married and we were very happy and, uh, just really excited. And it was just a beautiful day. And uh, it was October but it wasn't cold. And uh, that's how we got married: we just went down to the courthouse and got married.

     I also asked my Dad what he remembered about their wedding.  In his usually taciturn way, he simply stated that they had gone down to the courthouse and got married. However, he did surprise my by being able to remember the outfit that my mom was wearing.

24 September 2010

I Want Sirius Black's Family Tree

     In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry visits his godfather, Sirius Black's, ancestral home. The walls in one of the rooms are devoted to the family tree, going back hundreds of years. Although Sirius' family is full of muggle hating, You-Know-Who supporters, with all the decent people blasted off... but I'm still envious. What genealogist wouldn't love to inherit this amount of history?

     As @GravestonedPug tweeted this evening, many of us have felt the urge to cover an entire wall of our living room, office or bedroom with "Super sticky Post-its, photos, push pins, string, maps..." My dream would be to paint an entire wall with Chalkboard Paint. I'd then paint on a swirly family tree chart that I could fill in with vital stats, documents and photos. Can we say ginormous family tree? Ahhh... bliss!

23 September 2010

Thanks Thursday - Edward's Obituary

     In breaking down my Albea family brick wall, I utilized collateral lines to uncover information. Even though I have now broken down this particular brick wall, I'm continuing to research the collateral lines to flesh out my research.  Recently, I utilized Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness to request some obituaries. One of those requests was for my GGG-Uncle Edward Albea's obituary. Thanks to volunteer, Bob D'Angelo, for sending me this obituary from the Tampa Morning Tribune.

Edward Albea - Obit

22 September 2010

FamilyTree DNA - Population Finder

     FamilyTree DNA has added the Population Finder feature to their Family Finder DNA test. According to their FAQs, the Population Finder matches your DNA against samples from different ethnic groups to match you to seven different continental groups.  Inside those groups are a small number of subgroups (ie Europe could be divided into Northeastern, Southeastern, Russian, etc).  This new feature was announced a while ago, but had been pushed back. I was very excited when I saw that my results had been posted, but in the end found my results to be rather anticlimactic: 100% European.  I don't even have a European subgroup... But, this is still a Beta program. I hope that as the program grows, I might see more detailed results.

     Here are my results:

Whose Funeral Is This? Pt 2

     A little bit back, I posted some photos of a funeral. These photos belonged to my maternal grandparents, but no one knew who the deceased was. I thought that I'd take the photos apart and look for clues.

     Well, the first clue is what the type of photo these are. They were in with photos of similar size and physical compensation, such as one of my grandmother as a child, dated about 1937. They are also black and white. If I had to compare them to other photos in my collection, I'd say they are closest in composition to the postcard style of photos.

     Moving on the elements in the photos, you can partially see the deceased's face:

     So, this is a man, he has a full head of hair (side part?) and seems to be of slim or average build. It seems to me that this isn't an old man. If I had to guess, I might say he was anywhere from 30 to 50.  He was dressed in a suit, but from this angle it's hard to pick out any details about it.

     Next, I looked at the different elements in the room where the viewing is being held.

     First, looking at the walls, we can see some sort of circular wall moldings. This is not the sort of thing that you would find in a home, but looks like just about every funeral home that I've ever been to.

     Also in the room are a number of lamps. The tall floor lamp on the left is much like a lamp that we have in our home that had belonged to my Dad's Aunt Ollie. We had it refurbished and the repair guy said that it dated from the late 30s to 40s. So, I'd guess that this funeral took place no earlier than the 1930s, but could have been as late as the 1950s. Who knows when this funeral home might have updated their decor?

     Next, there seem to be a large number of flowers. It seems that this would be a large number of flowers today, and might have been considered an even larger number of flowers in the past. There are also a large number of wreaths, with can be rather expensive.

     I wonder if the coffin might give clues as well? I bet it would, but I'm at a loss as to uncover the information.

     Next, the final photo:

     This photo, taken at the cemetery, offers a number of clues as well. In looking at the trees lining the cemetery, it looks like there are leaves on the tree, so we can probably say that it's mid/late spring, summer, or early fall.

     Next, there is a recently dug grave next to the person being buried in the photo. Grass is growing on the grave, but the shape of the grave is still distinct from the other ground around it.  I'd guess that this grave could be between one month to one year old.  Could this be a spouse?

     You can also see a headstone behind the grave of the person being buried. It's possible that this might be a family marker, or a grave for another individual buried in the next plot. But if it were for a non-family member, why would the flower arrangements seem to frame the stone? I'm leaning toward this stone being a marker for the family plot.

     Finally, we have a strange, double canopy going on. I'm not sure what the lower canopy is - I've never seen this before.
     Well, even after evaluating these photos, I'm still not able to identify who the deceased is.  Looking through my database, I just can't find anyone who fits these clues. But, as my research continues, I can keep these photos in mind. Maybe one day I'll be able to say whose funeral this is.

21 September 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Albea

     Rachel Johnson, wife of Thomas Albea, is buried in the Mount Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery in Harmony, Iredell, North Carolina. A helpful volunteer got this photo for me, via findagrave.com, but were apparently unable to find the grave of Thomas. Considering the condition of Rachel's stone, I'm not surprised.  Rachel and Thomas were the parents of Tilman Albea, my GGG-Grandfather, who lived in Lincoln County, Georgia.

12 September 2010

GA Archive Hours Reduction

     I have to be honest, I have yet to make it to the Georgia Archive, which is about 2 or 3 hours from home, depending on (horrible) Atlanta traffic. I spend too much time researching online and not enough getting out to 'real world' repositories. Actually, I plan to take off a week of vacation at the same time as the ATL family history expo to do extended genealogy research. I hope to make a trip to the Archive, maybe stay overnight to take advantage of their somewhat limited hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 8:30 am - 5 pm.

     Well, I'll have to plan a bit more carefully now, as the hours at the Georgia Archive are changing.  Now, instead of being closed two days a week, they will be closed for four days and open only for three.  Here's the notice they posted online:
"Effective October 1, 2010 the hours available for public visitation to the Georgia Archives will change to Thursday through Saturday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. This is an unfortunate action we must take to meet the difficult budget environment facing all State Agencies.
With the reduction in public hours the Archives staff will now be deployed to fulfill different functions on different days. When the Archives is open to the public, most or all employees will serve the public in the Reference Room. When the Archives is closed to the public, most or all of the employees will work with state agencies to bring records into the Archives, catalog them, and shelve them. To provide better and timelier service for research requests outside the core duties of the State Archives, i.e. genealogy requests, a list of other sources of information can be provided. In this way the Archives will maintain its critical functions with reduced staffing."
The Georgia Archives identifies and preserves Georgia's most valuable historical documents. Whether you love history, or simply want to know how we serve the citizens of Georgia, we invite you to explore our web site or visit us in the City of Morrow, located just south of Atlanta. We look forward to serving you!

11 September 2010

Where Were You... 9/11

     Today is one of those days when you will probably hear the phrase, "where were you" a lot.  This is a phrase that gets used often to inquire about someone's memories of an historic or cultural event. Sadly, today the question will be a sad one: Where were you on September 11th? This is where I was:

     In the fall of 2001 I was a senior in high school. Many people say that senior year is the best year, and for me this was turning out to be true.  Senior year meant no more science class (!!!), easy math (or at least I found it to be so) and a bunch of slack classes. I also had a good circle of friends and, despite not being especially outgoing, was attending the occasional social event. But then, suddenly, everything changed.

     On September 11th at 9:30 am, I remember walking through the hallways from my English class in the 600 hallway to my period as an aide for my technology teacher, Mrs. Hill, in the 300 hallway. In other words, I was walking from one side of the school campus to the other. I noticed that something was going on when I was about halfway to my classroom. Teachers were clustered in groups and talking in the hallways, which was abnormal. A large amount of classrooms had their televisions on, which was even more strange.  There was also a strange feeling building - like a tension. The students were all recognizing that something was going on, but most of us hadn't yet figured it out. This classroom change, this shuffling of students and teachers throughout the school, would be the time that the news would spread of the tragic events unfolding in New York, DC and Pennsylvania. When I walked into my third period classroom the lights were off and the television was on. Mrs. Hill was standing in the middle of the room, simply watching the news. I asked her what was going on and she told me that airplanes had flown into buildings in New York. 

     I don't remember if she said that it was the World Trade Center or not, but at that moment it wouldn't have made a difference to me either way. I'd never heard of the World Trade Center. I'm from Georgia and, aside from being born neighboring county's hospital, I have lived in this county my entire life. I have never been on an airplane. I have never traveled any further north than North Carolina - and in 2001 I hadn't even traveled that far!  The tallest building that I have even been in is probably about 30 stories, so a building of 110 stories is an inconceivable height to me.  I did not immediately grasp the magnitude of the events occurring on 9/11. It wouldn't be until I heard about the pentagon that I had a landmark that I could relate to and could understand that the terrorists were attacking symbols of America.

     I spent the rest of the school day watching television. Moving from class to class, almost every teacher postponed their lessons. They wanted students to observe a moment in time that, they said, would impact our lives. With my classmates, I watches as the twin towers fell. News networks ran conflicting stories over what had occurred at the pentagon - was it bomb or another plane? Later in the day, another plane was discovered to have crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Immediately, this event was seen as a victory in a day of terror and loss.  All air traffic in the country had been halted. All local colleges and any high profile landmarks were being closed as well. 

     Before the day was over, it was being said that this would be "our Pearl Harbor." I think that the senior class as a group, out of the entire student body, felt the most impacted by the events. The teachers were looking at us and knew that, as we turned 18, we would be the generation that responded to these events. They knew that these events would lead to war and that some of their students would be the soldiers who fought. Some classmates had already decided to join the military, others declared that they would now be signing up. Everyone wanted to go give blood and do something to help. But in that moment we were helpless to do anything.

    School let out at 2:10 pm and students headed home where we would turn on our televisions and continued to follow the tv coverage. Seeing individual people, covered in dust, helping others, walking across bridges to escape a city under attack - these are the images that stick with me. Although I don't know anyone who was in NY, DC or PA that day, I saw the faces of strangers. I saw the signs with the photos of the missing and I stayed tuned to news coverage to see who would be found. But really, very few ever were.

     Shortly after 9/11, my sister, a few friends and I attended a memorial event at the local mall. Songs of hope and remembrance were sung, inspirational speeches were given, ribbons were worn, and thousands of balloons were released. Each year similar events are held throughout the country as we pause to remember these tragic events. I hope too, that we remember the small bits of goodness that came from those events. The country came together as one. I have never felt so much that I was an American, that we as citizens were united and that together, we could withstand anything. 

05 September 2010

I'm Registered for the Expo

     Today I registered for the Atlanta Family History Expo. "Atlanta" is something of a misnomer, as the event is actually being held in Duluth, Georgia, 30 miles north east of Atlanta and 5 miles from my house (!!!). 

     I first found out about the expo back in the spring and have been waiting impatiently ever since, though I figured that I'd wait until closer to the event to register. Today my sister emailed to let me know that the agenda had (finally!) been posted, so it seemed like a good time to register. 

     Looking at the class list, I'm already finding classes that I'd like to attend. Right now the agenda is very sparse, but there eventually going to be over 100 classes to pick from.  The current schedule is mostly filled with Ancestry.com and Family Search classes, many of them centered on German Research. I'm looking forward to seeing more classes become available and planning my schedule. The expo hall should be awesome as well - there are over 170 vendor booths available for exhibitors.  

     I've been to two other expos at the Gwinnett Center before (scrapbooking & bridal). This is a rather large  complex with lots of (free) parking that's right off a major interstate. For out-of-towners, this area will be very easy to navigate. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in November! 

03 September 2010

Getting Schooled

This Friday, I'm highlighting a non-genealogy blog written by my sister: Getting Schooled.  Here's how she describes it: 
"I am attending Georgia State University and am enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. I start student teaching half days on August 30th at Sweetwater Middle School. I am also taking three classes this semester. I decided to create a blog to talk about my student teaching experiences. Just a way for those I know to see what I am up to and how my learning experience is going."
Though only a few days old, I'm already finding this blog an amusing and thoughtful looking into her new world as a student teacher. Check out her blog and consider following - I think you'll enjoy it!


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