27 November 2010

A Witness to History (CoG: There's One in Every Family)

Written for the 100th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy for the topic, 
"There's One in Every Family."

     Today, thanks to technology such as radio, television, the internet, cell phones and more, we witness history every day. We instantly know about a new discovery or advancement, a tragic event or one to be celebrated. But in the past the only witnesses to such an event were the people who were actually there. Everyone else would have to wait days, weeks or even months to learn what had happened. Looking back through the family tree, everyone can find someone who was witness to some historical event or movement. In my family tree it's my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, William A Craft, who was in Appomattox, Virginia for surrender of the Confederate Army and the end of the Civil War.

    William joined the Confederate Army in Elbert County, Georgia as a private in the 15th Georgia Infantry Regiment, Company C. He was joined by his brothers, John F and Willis M Craft. According to the National Park Services Civil War Soldier and Sailor System, the 15th was part of the Patomic District and later was part of Benning's Brigade with the Army of Northern Virginia.  This regiment fought in battles such as Chickamauga, Knoxville, Petersburg, Gettysburg and Manassus. According to a short news piece published in the Augusta Chronicle in 1938, William picked up a bible off the battle field at Malvern Hill (Henrico County, VA). The bible has been passed down through the family for generations as a family heirloom (not my line, unfortunately).

     Many families have multiple ancestors who fought in the Civil War, but what stands out about William is how he ended the war. Not only did he make it home after the surrender - but he was at the surrender. Now, I highly doubt that a lowly private was actually anywhere near the big-wig generals or the actual surrender, but he was in Appomattox, Virginia as part of the Army of Northern Virginia. He was among the first to learn of the end of the war. He would have received rations from the union army. He would have received a parole that allowed him to return home to his family. He might have been the first to tell others of the end of the war. William was a witness to history.

22 November 2010

Elizabeth Meetze Hyler Obituary - Amanuensis Monday

   The following is the obituary of Elizabeth Meetze Hyler, the wife of Nathan Washington Hyler of Lexington County, South Carolina.  It was published in The State newspaper on 7 June 1910.

Mrs. Elizabeth Hyler
Special to The State.
    Lexington, June 6 - Mrs. Elizabeth
Hyler, widow of Wash Hyler, and one
of the oldest residents of this county,
died at her home on Hollow Creek
this morning at 3 o'clock, having
reached the ripe old age of 84 years.
    Mrs. Hyler was one of the most
loved women of her community and
her death has caused much sorrow,
she having been widely known
throughout her section.
     The deceased is survived by three
sons, Rufus, John and Henry Hyler,
all well known men of the county.
She was a member of the Lutheran
church and was active in religious af-
     She will be buried tomorrow morn-
ing at 10 o'clock in Mt. Pleasant
churchyard, with funeral services by
her pastor, the Rev. O. C. Peter-

     It's interesting to note that she, and many of her family, are actually buried in the Beulah United Methodist Church Cemetery in Gilbert. According to their website, they have been in place since 1896. I've also been unable to verify if the Mount Pleasant Lutheran Church in Saluda even has a cemetery. So I'm not entirely sure what happened between the obituary and the burial or after, that provided the incorrect information. 

21 November 2010

Family History is a Coloring Book

     As I wrote yesterday, I had recently been sent scans from a family history book that detailed the Swiss-German origins of the Huyler / Heiler family. At the beginning of the section is a note that anyone wanting more information should contact the Whitaker Family Association. I've been busy working non-stop since Wednesday and hadn't had a chance to look for this group. However, my mom had free time yesterday to start searching.

     She found the website of Wilford Whitaker, the great-grandson of Priscilla Heiler, the daughter of Hans Conrad Heyler, who was the brother of Bernhard Heyler, Sr., my eight-times great-grandfather. My mom had done a search on GoodSearch.com for the name of the book, Broad Bay Pioneers, the author and the name Hyler. This returned the following result:

     Mom was very excited to see this book, which is written from the perspective of Priscilla Hyler Robinson and tells the story of her family's journey from Switzerland to Germany and then to Maine (then Massachusetts) in America. Priscilla's grandson, John Robinson, converted to the Mormon church and moved west with them. It is thanks to this family, their memories and research, that I'm now finding all of this information on my ancestors.
     I have sent an email to the address on the website, and hope to hear back soon from these very distant cousins.

20 November 2010

Surname Saturday - Huyler, Revisited

     I've wrote about the Huyler family on a previous Saturday. I wrote that the family was said to be German and different spellings include Hyler, Heyler, Heiler, Hoyler, Hoiler, Hiler, etc. Recently, I decided to focus my research on this family and broaden my research net.

Pages 198-199     I started by taking my mom's suggestion and contacting the authors of other online family trees that cover this family. Of the six researchers I contacted, I've heard back from three. Two said they couldn't help me, but another's response prove very useful. He stated that he had been researching the family for a number of years and has/had documents from visiting archives. He didn't appear to be able to send me these documents, but he did scan some pages from a book he owned and sent them to me. They consisted of a compiled family history of the Hoyler, Hoiler family of Wossingen, Baden, Germany, originally of Neftenback, Zurich, Switzerland. The book is Broad Bay Pioneers by Wilford W Whitaker.

     As with many of these compiled genealogies, there are very few sources given. I really never know how accurate these genealogies are, but at the very minimum, this book will act as a guide for my future research. At the very best, I now have a complete genealogy of this family line back to the mid 1600s. Here's the information from the book, as well as my personal research:

1. Ulrich Heiler
b. Switzerland
& Magdalena GrĂ¼ter

2. Bernhard Heyler Sr
b. Switzerland
d. 1707, Wossingen, Baden, Germany
& Barbara Honyssen
d. 19 Aug 1707, Wossingen, Baden, Germany
m. 27 Jul 1680, Andelfingen, Zurich, Switzerland

3. Berndard Heyler Jr
b. 1688, Switzerland
d. aft 1753, Dutch Fork, Lexington SC
& Anna Barbara Vogel
m. 28 Apr 1716, Wossingen, Baden, Germany

4. Johann Michael Heyler
b. 4 May 1723, Wossingen, Baden, Germany
d. 30 Nov 1772, , Lexington, SC
& Hannah Catherine Morlokin
b. abt 1725, Baden, Germany
d. aft 1773, South Carolina
m. abt 1751

5. Bernard Barnet Hoyler
b. abt 1761, Irmo, Lexington, SC
d. 25 Aug 1825, Irmo, Lexington, SC

6. Gabriel Hoyler
b. abt 1794, Irmo, Lexington, SC
d. aft 1860
& Abigail Gartman
b. abt 1805, South Carolina
d. bef 1860
m. 27 Jan 1825, , Lexington, SC

7. Nathan Washington Hyler
b. 9 Aug 1835, , Lexington, SC
d. 30 Nov 1903, , Lexington, SC
& Elizabeth Rachel Meetze
b. 4 Jan 1826, South Carolina
d. 6 Jun 1910, , Lexington, SC
m. abt 1855

8. John Willis Hyler
b. 23 Jun 1861, , Lexington, SC
d. 11 Apr 1949, , Richland, SC
& Ida Leaphart
b. 30 May 1863, , Lexington, SC
d. 26 Jul 1952, Eau Claire, Richland, SC
m. abt 1883

9. Vary Americus Mack Huyler
b. 2 Apr 1903, Columbia, Richland, SC
d. 23 Nov 1976, High Point, Guilford, NC
& Ruby Lee Waters
b. 20 Dec 1911, Shawmut, AL
d. 26 Sep 1953, Georgia
m. 2 Jan 1931, 394 Cameron St SE, Atlanta, GA

10. Betty Dolores Huyler
b. 7 Nov 1931, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Fulton, GA
d. 1 Oct 2005, Decatur, DeKalb, GA
& Roy Vernon Albea Sr.
b. 20 Aug 1926, Greenwood, Greenwood, SC
d. 13 Sep 2005, Eastside Heritage Center, Snellville, Gwinnett, GA
m. 1 Feb 1947, Greenville, Greenville, SC

15 November 2010

100 Batches Indexed

    Yesterday I indexed a few batches with FamilySearch Indexing. A little later I was checking my email and noticed that I had received a message from them. Apparently, I had indexed my 100th batch! Here's part of the email I received:

Dear Valerie,
    You have reached a significant and rare milestone: the completion of your 100th batch with FamilySearch indexing. The completion of your 100th batch places you into an exclusive group of top indexing volunteers. We want to thank you for your ongoing efforts and recognize this significant achievement.
    Your efforts, combined with the efforts of other volunteers, have now made more than one billion records available online at FamilySearch.org, where they are accessed by people around the world who are searching for their ancestors. Each week dozens of these people send us messages of appreciation for your efforts.
    We join these people in expressing our sincere appreciation for your efforts in reaching 100 completed indexing batches and recognize the significant contribution you are making to FamilySearch indexing.

     It's exciting to realize how much indexing I've done, though at the same time it doesn't seem like nearly as much as I could have done. I am, unfortunately, inconsistent in my indexing habits. I'll have to try a bit harder and see if I get an email at 200 batches!

14 November 2010

Great Time at the Atlanta Family History Expo [Guest Blogger]

     I had a lot of fun at the Family History Expo over the weekend. Although I am not a genealogist I still found out a lot of interesting things, many of which will help me understand exactly what Valerie is talking about regarding her research.

The most informative lecture I went to was Traditional DNA Testing and Beyond – The Next Revolution in Genetic Genealogy by Elise Friedman. I went to this one alone, as Valerie has done DNA testing and explained it to me however, I can't say I really understood her. This was an info packed lecture that was a good overview of the information. I couldn't explain DNA testing to others but, I "get it" better now. Especially the differences between the different types of testing.

My favorite class was Family Roots Travel: How to Connect With Your Heritage Through Travel by Adam Glenn. Valerie, my mom, and I have done a little genealogy traveling, so this wasn't all brand new information. The presentation was really well put together and even when I already knew something this lecture put a new spin on it or emphasized a new aspect. I got some great tips that I will definitely be able to use! This class was straight to the point and easy to understand and also went at a good pace. Unlike some of the other classes, I did not feel that this one was trying to fit too much information into the time allotted.

Another class that I really enjoyed was An Introduction to AncestralHunt.com by Bernie Gracy. This one is about a new site/product called AncestralHunt.com. It's not a database platform, data source, or ancestral mapping service. It seems like it is more of a community where people can place their family trees and compare them geographically to help break down their brick walls. It is a community based collaborative place for people to share and help each other. Sounds really neat, and they are looking for beta testers. I signed Valerie up :)
Me. Valerie, our Mom.

Overall Thoughts
One thing I would suggest for future expos is to have more info/products geared towards Georgia research. I attended one class on the South which did not mention Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi or other obvious "southern states" but did talk about Delaware. It was a little frustrating. The Expo may want to focus more on Georgia or other local states more in the future.

Overall I was impressed by the Expo. Everything was very well organized and there were plenty of offerings. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had lots of fun.

13 November 2010

Finding A Focus

     When I look at my family tree, I find that many of my families don't go back further than ancestors born around the late 1700s and early 1800s. Only three of my family lines cross the ocean and go overseas in the late 1600s and early/mid 1700s. Why? Because I've concentrated on the "easy" ancestors - the ones who appeared on the 1850 census or left behind common vital records. I've only spent a little bit of time in libraries, I've never researched in an archive and I've never requested film from a Family History Center. But, I think it's time for a change.

     I learned a lot from the recent Atlanta Family History Expo, and was really inspired to push myself and make some new discoveries. I have come to the conclusion that in order to do this, I should concentrate on one family line and stick with it for the majority of my research time.  This way, if I don't find a record right away, I'll look for something else for this family line, instead of jumping around all over my tree for something "easy."

Me and my Grandmama, Easter 2005
     So I asked my mom, what family should we concentrate on? Her response was immediate: the Huyler family. Her reasoning was that this was the first family that we had ever "broken down."

     My grandmama, Betty Huyler Albea, never knew her paternal grandparents. She didn't even know their names and always wished that she did. One of the first records that I ever requested was her father's social security application. This document provided the names of his father: John Willis Hyler and Ida Leaphart. My Grandmama didn't believe in crying, but she was very emotional upon seeing this document and finally learning her grandparent's names. It's one of those moments that you think back on and that make my research worthwhile.

     I'm going to start researching they Huyler family by creating profiles for each individual: what I know and what I don't. For example, every other generation seems to change the spelling of the name. Is it Huyler, Hyler, Hiler, Hoyler, Heyler, etc? What documents am I missing? Which resources have I failed to utilize? I want to challenge myself and accomplish something new. I'm confident that I can do so.

12 November 2010

Atlanta Family History Expo: Day 1

     I just got home from day one of the very first Atlanta Family History Expo. I'm dead tired and have a pounding headache, but I'm looking forward to ending tomorrow in the exact same condition!

Keynote Introduction by Holly Hansen

     I spent most of the day in classes, including ones on topics such as writing, vital records, southern land records, and church records. The classes were each an hour long, but felt like only half an hour. They were all jam-packed with information and I wish they'd been longer to fit more info. However, each class provided a syllabus with extra information and links. My mom and sister took some of the same classes as well as different ones. They also made an effort to visit all of the vendors - and so far I've only visited four.

     Tomorrow, I have two "must attend" classes (DAR & NARA), but will otherwise try to fulfill my "Blogger of Honor" duties, which I didn't do much of today. I'll be on the 9:30am Social Media Q&A panel, along with the other bloggers. Also, I will remember to bring my computer charger so that my computer won't die like it did today. I also had issues sending photos from my phone today. I tried to send two but they never arrived.... maybe tomorrow!

Above, me, in a class
Below, my mom and sister in the expo hall

Welcome to Gwinnett

     Just a quick 'Hello!' to everyone who plans to attend the Atlanta Family History Expo today and tomorrow in my home county of Gwinnett. I think this is going to be a great event, both fun and educational. I'll be attending with my mom and sister, both of whom follow my research and will help me on occation. I'm also looking for a few of my co-workers to swing by. For any new folks I meet, I appologize in advance for immediately forgetting your name and which blog you write... sorry, I've got a terrible memory!

     For those of you interested in following the expo via the internet, I recommend that you follow the twitter hashtag #FHExpo. Also, check out the Lanyrd event here (I'm not too familiar with this site, but it already looks awesome). Depending on how my day goes, I will be tweeting (@ValerieC84) and I might be doing some quick live blogging. I will more likely do a post a the end of the day.

    See you soon!

10 November 2010

Visiting the Kenan Library

     Today, I visited the Kenan Research Center in Buckhead (Atlanta), which is part of the Atlanta History Center.  I'd never been to the library before, though I've been to the History Center Museum and historic houses a number of times. From searching WorldCat and Google Books, I had found a number of books that I wanted to see that are located at the Kenan library. Before going in, I also searched their online catalogue to look for additional books and resources. One of those is Garrett's Necrology, which I had been meaning to view for some time.


    So this morning I went over to the Library. The traffic in Buckhead is evil - pure evil - just like always. Once at the Altanta History Center, I parked in the deck that's used for the museum. The building for the library is just to the right of the museum, with multiple signs point the way. Once inside the building, I asked for further directions at the desk and headed into the library. I signed up for a research card at the front desk and verified that I'd read the policies. Then stored my purse and "banned items" in a free locker. I took my computer and cell phone with me. 

    Inside the library there are (at least) three areas: the Reading Room, the Microfilm Room, and the Genealogy Room. Thanks to the dewey decimal system, this library was set up just like any other, aside from the fact that all books of genealogical importance have been placed in a separate room (as shown in the photo).  I browsed the books for Georgia and South Carolina that I had been looking for, as well as others that I found along the way. I didn't make any great discoveries, though I did find some interesting facts on a few relatives and made copies of some of the information.

     I also browsed the microfilm selection. They had the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as some other small Atlanta papers. There were also Fulton County marriage licenses and random  records from other counties. I finally got to browse the Garrett Necrology, which has an index online. Although I was disappointed to learn that the records I was interested in were not for my relatives, it was nice know that I could now disregard those.

    So overall not an earth-shattering day of research. However, it's nice to have been able to look at some books and records that I've wanted to look at for a while now. Personally, it was something of a good thing for me - I dread doing new things and going new places on my own. But, that's what I did today and it wasn't the end of the world. :) 

08 November 2010

Thomas Craft in the CCC (Pt 2) - Amanuensis Monday

    I previously posted the first two pages of my Grandfather, Thomas Craft's, Civilian Conservation Camp documents. Below is the next page.

(see how to request this information for your ancestor at http://www.ccclegacy.org/research.htm)


Company 1499     Camp NC SP-3, Albemarle, N.C.     Date April 26, 1938
I accept reenrollment in the Civilian Conservation Corps for the period ending at the discretion of the United States between For a period of not less than six months under the same conditions as my previous enrollment.
Thomas S. Craft [signature]
(Enrollee's signature)
Reenrolled this 26th day of April, 1938
Signature Paul Hannah
Paul D. Hannah, Capt. 39th. Inf. Res.
(Name, grade and organization, typed or stamped) Company Commander.

___[next section, same page]___

Company 1499 Camp NC SP 3 Date Apr 1 1999 [stamp]
 accept reenrollment in the Civilian Conservation Corps for the period ending at the discretion of the United States between illegible under the same conditions as my previous enrollment.

Thomas S. Craft [signature]
(Enrollee's signature)
Reenrolled this [illegible] day of [illegible]
Alan M Eldridge [signature]
Alan M. Eldridge
1st Le. 323d Inf.
(Name, grade and organization, typed or stamped) Company Commander.

___[next section]___

From 12/18/36 to [??/1?/3?] under [illegible]. Department 1499th Company at Albemarle, N.C.
Type of work cook Manner of performance Very satisfactory. [scribble]
[marked out] xxx [illegible] per paragraph 2 S.C. 184 Left Company 1499
Sept. 10, 3[?] Last paid [illegble] [illegible] No. F/S, 193[?]
accounts of L. [illegible] for clothing and equipment $1.[??] [scribble] for AWOL on [blank]
$[blank] ; for AWOL on [blank] , $[blank] ; per R H dated [blank] ; [blank] ; due CCC store [blank]
Company, $[blank] Due Company fund [blank] ; Company $[blank] [illegible] , $[blank] I have not
[illegible signature] [illegible] Co. [illegible]

Thomas Craft - CCC Camp

01 November 2010

Interviewing the Aunts, Pt 1 - Amanuensis Monday

     This is short video from last Friday's interview with my paternal Aunts, June and Charlotte. In this segment, they talk about where the family lived when they were children, as well as some of the amenities they did - and did not - have. If you have any trouble understanding what they're saying, I've posted a transcript below the video.

Charlotte: The reason is, we lived on the line, the county line. 
Valerie: Ok
Charlotte: And I think the house was half and half. And the bedroom half was in Hart County [Georgia]. Somethin' about - like that. So my birth had to be registered in Hart County. 
Valerie: Ok
Charlotte: But we actually lived in the Rock Branch Community down in Elberton. And, always, we lived several different places. Like, we lived - uh, like when I was born it was only a two room house. We lived in several little two room houses that Daddy [Thomas Craft] rented. And then Daddy started renting the farm from Uncle Claude, and then eventually bought it. 
Valerie: Oh, ok.
Charlotte: But he didn't own it long before he sold it and he - we moved to Stone Mountain [Georgia]. When I was seven [1948] And - and it was me and June and Wayne then. And uh, uh... So I remember when we lived in the house with Aunt Frances [Craft Adams].
Valerie: Ok
Charlotte: It was a big house and she - they lived in half and we lived in half. 'Cause I gave everybody measles and chicken pox. 
Valerie: [laughing]
Charlotte: All the kids. And uh, uh... So, lets see, there was at that time - like I said there was three of us and Aunt Frances -  I think she had three at that time.  But yeah, it - you know - And I remember we lived in the house with them and then we moved to what you call a shotgun house. Just a little long house. It was a little bit bigger than two rooms. Um, then we moved from there - I don't remember what  - June won't probably remember what road that was on. We moved there to Huff - what was then Huff Road, which has since been renamed to somethin' else. 
Valerie: Oh, ok.
Charlotte: And, and we lived on Huff Road 'til I was in eighth grade. I was 13 I think. 12 or 13. 13. And we moved to Tucker [Georgia].
Valerie: Ok.
Charlotte: 'Cause Mama and Daddy promised - they - we knew what they were lookin' for a house. I mean, we lived in this house... uh, it... when we moved there we had no water. Daddy had - Daddy would take big trash cans - the big metal cans - and go up to the store and fill 'em up with water. Then Papi [maternal grandfather, Nathan Britt] built-dug a well in between us and the neighbors so we could both use it. And then eventually we got running cold water into the kitchen of the house. But we had no bathrooms.
Valerie: And this is on Huff Road?
Charlotte: Huff Road.
Valerie: Ok
Charlotte: June! What's Huff Road called now?
June: Spring Vally I think it is...
Valerie: Spring Vally?
June: Yeah
Charlotte: And all we had was...
June: Somethin' Vally
Charlotte: All we had was a path up the hill to the outhouse. 
June: Yeah
Charlotte: So I was 13 and June was 11 before we had a house with, with an inside bathroom when we moved to Tucker. 
June: Mama was pregnant with Kenny...
Valerie: Ok, ok.
June: ...when we moved to Tucker.  
Charlotte: Yeah, he was born in - when we lived in Tucker. I think she went back to Stone Mountain to have him though.
June: Yeah, she did.
Valerie: He, he said he was born in a hospital. 
June: Uh-hu
Charlotte: Yeah, the little white hospital up on the hill then. 
June: No, uh - the only time I remember me and Charlotte fussin' about who was goin' to wash dishes was the day we got runnin' water in the kitchen. You remember that? 

I'm Going Too! [Guest Blogger]

     Hello! My name is Sarah (Valerie's sister). I don't have any experience with genealogy besides watching Valerie research for the past seven plus years. However, I am going to go with her to the Atlanta Family History Expo. So, I thought I would write a little bit about my thoughts and expectations.

     Although I don't do any research of my own, I follow Valerie's genealogy research. I find any pictures, physical documents and artifacts especially interesting. 

     When I got married Valerie began documenting my husband’s family tree. Much of the information was there already, but she was able to fill out the information a little more with documents and records. Recently she made a family tree for me though Ancestry.com. You can also see some other pictures on the table below which include some pictures of my parents and grandparents.

     So, given my interest in history and genealogy (but not doing the research myself) I am attending the Atlanta Family History Expo with Valerie as a sort of assistant. I want to help her take notes and keep track of any information she obtains. When there is more than one class that she wants to go to, I will be able to go to those for her. Maybe help her live blog from the Expo. I also hope to help her mingle and network with other genealogists. 


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