28 February 2011

William Albea's Mortgage - Amanuensis Monday

I had a very difficult time tracing my Albea family line. I knew for certain who my Great-Great Grandfather was (William Anderson Albea), but had no clue as to who his parents were. The 1880 census gave me three possibilities of the approximate age. Even once I had William's death certificate and I "knew" his parents were Thomas and Sarah Albea, I couldn't find any record of this family in census records. Eventually I was able to piece together a family, though I never found William and Thomas on any documents together. The following mortgage record, however, changes that. It is signed by both W. A. Albea and T. T. Albea. And although this is not proof of a relationship, it's still nice to see their names together.

$35 Georgia Lincoln County
Lincolnton Ga, May 15th 1899

On Oct 15th after date I promise to pay Jno M. Wright or aider Thrity five and 0/100 Dollars, value received, with interest from maturity at the rate of 8 per cent, per annual, and all costs and attorney's fees incurred in the collection of this debt, and to secure the payment of this note and said costs and attorney's fees, if any incurred in its collective. I herby create and give to said Jno M. Wright, his heirs and assigns, a full and completed mortgage lien on the following property, which is my property and is mine ??. To Wit: one Black & White spotted cow, name "Tena" 2 years old, also all my crop corn & cotton, now planted up and growing on my farm in Lincoln county, GA, under cultivation on ?? belonging to Mrs T. T. Albea, none of this crop is subject to rent except 2 acres, and further to secure this debt, I for my self and family expressly waive and ?? all right, claim or benefit of homestead or exemption of personatly whatever, as against this debt and all costs and attorney's fees incurred in its collections, in any property now owned or heareafter acquired by me. And I direct that all payments made by me to said payee or holder of this note, be applied first to any unsecured debt I may be due & said payee or holder of this note and the balance if any to the debt decured hereby. I agree to pay all costs and attorneys fees incurred in the enforcement of this mortgage costs and fees living made a ?? of the laws and collectible ?? it of this debit is not paid at maturity. I authorize said payees or holder of this note to take possession of said property of said property, by himself or agent and after advertizinging the same, if p??, for two days.. and if realty for twenty eight days, in the papers in which sheriff's sale of said county are advertised, to sell the same at public auction to the highest bidder, make Title? and deliver possessions to the ?? ?? and from proceeds pay himself and all costs and attorney's fees incurred by him and pay ones surplus if any to the person entitled to the same.

Witness my hand and seal This 15th day of May 1899.
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of J W Carttedge CSC LC

W. A. Albea (seal)
T. T. Albea (seal)

Recorded May 29th 1899
J W Carttedge CSC LC


24 February 2011

Cutest Map Ever!

     I went down to the Georgia Archive again today. I really wish I lived closer and gas were cheaper, but every trip is worth it. Today I remembered to take my flash drive and was able to save 1GB worth of microfilm scans to it. I concentrated on finding deeds and mortgages for my Albea ancestors that I'd located in an index last time. These documents still confuse me and I've yet to find one for my ancestors that has a plat or map drawn on it, which I would love to see.

     However, I did find what is possibly the cutest map (plat) ever. I was browsing through the "Georgia Cities" card index and found a random note saying a map of Lincoln County was located in drawer 119, box 10. Here's the map, complete with little trees and houses and a river. I look at this drawing and think that my Great-Great-Great Grandfather lived on a farm nearby and would have visited these streets.

Lincolnton, Ga - 1854

23 February 2011

Kathy Wingard, 1950-2011

San Diego, California - Kathy L Wingard, 60, passed away on Sunday, February 20th. She was born 29 August 1950, the daughter of William "Bill" and Evelyn Wingard. She is survived by her partner, Teresa Loughlin; a stepmother, June Maree Wingard of Flowery Branch, Georgia; two brothers, William O. Wingard, III of Fairburn, Georgia and Michael Williams, also of Flowery Branch.

18 February 2011

1910 Census "Improvements"

    According to Ancestry.com, their "1910 U.S. Census is looking better than ever," thanks in part to "clearer, crisper images." Reading this, I browsed through images for my ancestors to see if the images really were improved. I came up with mixed results.

The Good:

The Not-So-Good:

     So I see my Hyler family image is much improved and easier to read. I'll be replacing the old image with the new one. However the second image, of the Smith family, has gone down in quality. The new image is grainy, lighter and, in my opinion, harder to read.  I will not be saving this new image.

     Although it's nice that Ancestry.com is trying to improve their images, they have actually decreased the quality of some. Isn't there anyone reviewing these "improvements" to make sure that the end result is an actual improvement over the original?

16 February 2011

Betty was Born November 7th... or was that the 8th?

     Depending on the document you're looking at, my grandmother, Betty Huyler Albea, was born on either November 7th or 8th of 1931. I have four different documents with birth dates for her, with two documents supporting each date. Here are the documents:

Birth Certificate:

Birth Announcement:

Bible Record:

Death Certificate:

     From what I understand (mom, correct me if I get this wrong), Betty always gave her birthday as the 7th. She said she was told that she was born late at night, but certainly before midnight. However, the hospital recorded her birth later than it actually occurred. And the newspaper announcement would come directly from the hospital records.
One the other hand, the bible record follows the family tradition of the 7th. And the death certificate quotes the date Betty always used.

    In this situation, we follow the family tradition of November 7th over the original birth certificate. Usually birth certificates are considered to be one of the best and most accurate documents available. However, this situation shows that any document, even the most "primary" ones available, can be suspect. Heck, my birth certificate spells my middle name wrong. 

15 February 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Looking Into the Past

     I've wanted to try this technique for a while: photographing an old photo in its contemporary location. There's a group on Flickr devoted to this technique, called Looking Into the Past.

     Today I drove out to the Bethel Cemetery in Smyrna, Cobb, Georgia with copies of old photos and re-photographed them. I remember when we were first looking for the graves of my Great-Great Grandparents, Leverett & Louise Waters, that my grandmother said that they were buried "way out in the country." Well, Smyrna might have been "country" in the 1950s, but it's well developed today! Thanks to that, there's some interesting contrast in these photos.

     This first photo is just about perfect. It's of my Great-Grandmother, Ruby Waters Huyler, and her father, Leverett Waters. They are standing by the grave of Louise Waters, Leverett's wife.

Ruby & Leverett at Waters Family Grave

      I couldn't seem to get this photo just right, though you still get the idea. This is in the same location, but from the other side. This is Leverett and Louise's grandaughter, and Ruby's niece, Sandra Waters.
Sandra at Waters Family Grave

13 February 2011

My Take On WDYTYA: Tim McGraw

     I watched the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are on Saturday afternoon, having missed the original airing due to work. I have to say that I did not enjoy this episode as much as I did Vanessa Williams',  though I did still think it was a strong and compelling story.

     After thinking about it, I've decided that the reason I found this episode lacking compared to the prior one is for one reason only: the multi-generation jump. In this episode Tim McGraw goes from finding out the names of his Great-Grandparents, to jumping back four or so generations all at once. I understand why they did this: the older generations in his family had a very compelling story that was supported by some amazing documents. But the generation jumping just made me feel disconnected.

     I think a large part of this is due to the way genealogists usually do their research: one generation at a time, often at a rather slow pace. We search out multiple documents and family stories and, over time, get to know our ancestors. Rarely do we come across instant family trees, like the one presented to Tim McGraw in this episode (or at least when we do, we have to do our own research to prove validity).  So for me, this generation jump creates a dis-connect. With the way the family tree was presented, I felt more like I was watching a history documentary about random historical figures, rather than the family of the main subject. I felt an equal disconnect with last year's Brooke Shields episode.

     I hope that most future episodes of WDYTYA do not feature these jumps, though I do understand why they do them.

11 February 2011

Help with a Deed?

     I recently visited the Georgia Archive and found a deed for my ancestor, Tilman Albea. This is the first deed that I've dealt with and I'm a little very confused by the legal language. Maybe someone can help me understand it?  First, here's the deed:

Tilman Albea Deed

I've transcribed it the best I can here. If anyone can fill in or adjust this, please do!

Lincoln County

This Indenture made this the 11th day of June in the year Eighteen hundred and sixty six, between Tilman Albea of the County and State aforesaid of the first part, & John L Wilkes of the same place of the other part. Witness thou That the said Tilman Albea for and in consideration of the sum of five dollars to him in hand paid by the said John L as well as for the securing this payment of note herein after ?? has granted, sold, alined, and conveyed, and by these presents doth grant, sell, alien, and convey it onto the said John L Wilkes, his heirs and assigned a certain tract of Land in said County known as the Tillery Place adjoining lands of E F Lyon, William Albea and Daniel Clary containing one hundred ten and a half acres more or ??? and one Bay Mare Colt. To have and to hold to said lot of Land & said livestock, to the said John L Wilkes his heirs and assigns in fee ??. And the said Tilman Albea, wife & his heirs Executors and administrators shall the above pre?? press?? & other property unto the said John L Wilkes his heirs, Executors and administers & assigns, forever so warrant and defend? by virtue of these present, Provided ?? that if the said Tilman has heirs executors or ?? shall pay unto the said John B Wilkes his executors, administrators and assigns the ?? of a certain promesory note made by the said Tilman Albea, payable to the said John B. Wilkes or bearer hearing date the 1st day of October 1861 and due one day after date together with all legal interest that ?? the deed on the same and ?? that may be incr? by the said John L in collecting the same. Then as well this deed as the said promissory described? to be uterly paid otherwise to ?? of for?

For witness the said Tilman albea, has hereunto laid his hand and seel the day and year above written.

In presence of
C N Sowther
Alexander Johntson Clerk

Tilman X Albea
his mark

$218.00 One day after date I promised to pay J L Wilkes or Bearer the just sum of Two Hundred and Eighteen Dollars for Value, This the 1st day of October 1861

Tilman X Albea
his mark

Next, I found this article in a newspaper. It's dated 11 Nov 1873, but is clearly the same piece of land.


So, if anyone can help me figure out what's going on here, I would really appreciate it.

08 February 2011

Wait... You're Not Supposed to be Buried There

     According to my Great-Great-Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Meetze Hyler's,  obituary, she was buried in the Mt Pleasant Lutheran Church cemetery and was a life long Lutheran. So then, why is she actually buried in the Beulah Baptist Cemetery. And why can't I find the Mount Pleasant Church?

     The answer: hydroelectric power.

     Thanks to a fellow researcher, I now know that the land that was the Mt Pleasant cemetery is now under Lake Murray (SC).  Reviewing the wikipedia page for this lake, I see that "93 graveyards containing 2,323 graves" were moved when the area was dammed up in the late 1920s. It seems that some of my ancestors were among those moved.

     This is actually somewhat common in this area. I know that in Georgia there are no natural lakes. All lakes are man made and usually require the destruction of a populated area. The cemeteries in these areas must be moved. So, here's a tip: if you're trying to find a cemetery and can't, but there's a lake nearby, you might want to start looking for your ancestors in a different location. And there will be records of the removals, so check with the local government for the records.

07 February 2011

Pine Grove Church Register

     I discovered the following information at the Georgia Archive by random chance. I was looking for estate records and found the Pine Grove Methodist Episcopal Church Records on the same roll. According to The History of Lincoln County, Georgia, my ancestor, Thomas Albea, was a prominent member of this church and was at one time the superintendent of the Sunday School. This Sunday School is said to be the oldest continuing one in Georgia.

     My Great Great Great Grandfather, Thomas Albea, eventually left this church to help found Bethany Methodist just a few miles away in 1899. As you can see in these records, he received his certificate (of good standing) in 1898 when he left.

Church Register
of the

   Pine Grove   

Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

   Jan 1895   

Register of    Pine Grove    Members

       Name / Baptism / By Whom Recieved / Certificate

     William H Albea / 1861 / Goodman Hughes / ---
     Mahala V Albea / 1861 / Goodman Hughes / ---
     Thomas T Albea / 1861 / Goodman Hughes / Oct 1898
     Hattie L Albea / 1897 / Rev E G Dunnigan / Oct 1898
     George E Albea / 1897 / Rev E G Dunnigan / Aug 1898
     Nina Albea / 1897 / Rev E G Dunnigan / Oct 1898

pine_grove_1 pine_grove_2pine_grove_3

05 February 2011

My GGGG Grandfather was a Democrat

     Of note to anyone doing Georgia Research: A new collection to the Digital Library of Georgia is the Athens Historic Newspapers Collection (spanning 1827-1922). Athens, Clark, Georgia is only about 40 miles from Elberton, Elbert, GA, the home of my Craft ancestors.  I didn't think I'd find much in these newspapers, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

     I had a little trouble getting started, technically speaking. The Digital Library displays results using DjVu, which is made for Windows. I had to download the DjVu plug-in and Firefox to use the site. Even then, I was unable to download or print my results and had to take screenshots. But I did turn up some results!

     My GGGG Grandfather, Willis Craft, was a member of the Georgia State House of Representatives from 1857-1858. I didn't really know anything about his time in office, and was curious to find out more. My findings in the Athens Newspapers have helped me discover a few additional facts. First, Willis Craft was a Democrat. It's the same Democratic Party that exists today, though there are some changes to it. Also, he was running against the American Party, which would be defunct in a few years. Second, I learned that he was on the Judiciary Committee (I'm not yet sure what that entailed).

     I'm curious to find more information on how elections were run during this time period and how Willis was elected to the State House. Anyone know of any resources for this?

     Here are two of the articles I found:

news_craft_willis_1857a news_craft_willis_1857b

04 February 2011

My Day at the Georgia Archive

     Today I visited the Georgia Archive for the first time. I found a few things that I was interested and found out that they didn't have a few things that I was looking for.

     This is the Georgia Archive (which you might recognize from the Spike Lee episode of Who Do You Think You Are).

GA Archive

     Located just off of I-285 in Morrow, it's really easy to get to. It's also right next door to the National Archives SE branch. And I mean that literally. If the GA Archive played really loud music in the middle of the night, the National Archive would bang on the wall and tell them to "turn that racket down!"

     Anyway, when we entered the Archive the reception desk was right in front of us. There was another desk attached to the side where we sat down to fill out our researcher forms. This allows us to read the policies (no pens!) and receive our free card that we wear the entire time and that identifies us. We were able to put all of our "banned" items in a free locker (take the key with you) and followed the directions around the corner to the research room.

     The research room was guarded by a security guard, who made sure we didn't have any pens and had us sign in. We then went into the research room, that looks just like any other library - except that nothing was labeled! You know how library shelves usually have catalogue numbers or subjects listed at the end of each shelf? Not here. You just have to start at a random point and figure out which direction the decimals are flowing. At the GA Archive, the Georgia books are at the back, far end of the shelves. To get us started, I grabbed a few Lincoln County, Georgia book for mom to look through while I headed over to the microfilm side of the room.

     I have to say, I was confused. Like the bookshelves, there was a distinct lack of signage in this portion of the room and I didn't know how to start. I saw lots of microfilm machines and two long rows of shelves, labeled only with numbers. How would I find the film I wanted? I had to ask an archivist, who explained the system to me. One set of files is set up much like a card catalogue or inventory list. They're organized by type or location (ex. GA Counties Jefferson - Gwinnett or GA Tax Lists). On each card is a title and extremely short description of a film, as well as the drawer number and then box number where the film is located. From there you help yourself to the film and find a machine.

     I started by looking at Elbert and Emanuel County wills. I have two specific ancestors that I hoped to find wills for, as well as others that it would have been nice to find one for. Unfortunately, I didn't find a will for anyone. But at least now I know they're not there. I next looked at Lincoln County Estate Indexes for my Albea ancestors. There I found success, with a document where my GGG Grandfather indentured himself to purchase land (more on this later). From there I picked topics at random that struck me and continued to find small discoveries. Nothing dramatic or brick-wall breaking, but enough to make the trip worth it. Mom reading microfilmI also picked a few films for mom to browse through.  Look at her - hard at work!

     Also on the microfilm side of the room were the General Name Files and Vertical Files. The Name Files are available online and give extremely brief biographical information on folks, mainly politicians. I double checked the card for my GGGG Grandfather Willis Craft, who had been in the state House, but didn't find any more information than what was already online.

     The Vertical Files consist of random bits and pieces of material that might interest genealogists. I browsed church and cemetery records before checking the surname files. I found some great stuff in the Craft Family folder, in which a researcher wrote an affidavit about the previously mentioned Willis Craft who "had always understood that he was the son of John Craft, an early settler of Elbert County, Georgia." Great stuff!

     I made a number of photo copies (20¢ for the copier, 30¢ from microfilm) and will be transcribing the documents over the next few days. I hope to go back next week or the week after, my work schedule permitting. There's still a ton of stuff I didn't get to.

02 February 2011

My First Family History Center Visit

FHC     Today I finally visited the local Family History Center for the first time. With the FHC located only three miles from my house, I'd been procrastinating, but finally visited today with my mom.

     This particular location has a dedicated entrance for the FHC at the back of the main building. There was a sign next to the door and a call button for someone to come let us in.

     The main room for the FHC was only about 10 feet by 10 feet and had four computers along the walls. When we entered, three of the computers were in use.  It appeared that there were two volunteers/instructors there, but they were both helping others. When we said that we'd never been before the folks looked a little concerned. It was clear that they were helping folks who had no experience even reading a census form. They were obviously worried that we would need the same level of help and they were already busy with others.

receipts     At that time though, an elderly lady came in. She said that she usually worked there on Tuesday and was up there to help someone else, but could help us until that person arrived. We told her that we were already experienced with genealogy research and wanted to order some microfilm. She walked us through that and we chatted a bit. She said that she was very surprised at how busy they were today and that often there were no researchers there at all. It also turns out that she had attended the Family History Expo and we chatted about some of the classes we'd attended.

     Due to how busy they were, I was unable to find out what, if any, materials they had on site. I did notice the microfilm room, which had between four and six machines, with two of them in use by other researchers (so that's six other folks up there doing research total). The three rolls of microfilm that I ordered will be ordered tomorrow and I was told to expect them in two to three weeks. Hopefully when I go back, they won't be as busy and I'll be able to learn more about the materials that might be available onsite.

Wordless Wednesday - Not Anymore!

     I've previously posted this photo on Wordless Wednesday, which was fitting because I didn't know who the men in the photo were. I was 99.9% certain that they were the sons of William Barfield and S Frances Boatright, but I had no idea which man was which. Here's the photo:

barfield men

     But now their identities have been revealed! Yesterday I was contacted by a distant cousin who is the daughter of one of the Barfield men in the photo. That makes her my 1st cousin, twice removed.  But it also turns out that she's related to me through my Evans family line, which also makes her my 2nd cousin, once removed. I had to sketch out the family tree to understand the connection.

     I think it's pretty neat that we're connected in two different ways.  She's going to mail me some additional information. I'm especially interested in what she knows about the John Evans and Leila Craft family, which is a different branch of the Craft family from my direct paternal line (though they do both go back to my 5x Great Grandfather, John Craft). Fingers crossed!

01 February 2011

Who Were Mary Harris' Parents?

     Mary Harris married John Miller. The couple lived in Edgefield County, South Carolina and can be found there in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. I know Mary's maiden name from the death certificates of two of her daughters, Alice and Silvestra. I found a record for a marriage between John Miller and Mary Harris in Edgefield County, SC on 9 Oct 1845 in an index on Ancestry.com.

     And that it, that's all I can find on Mary Harris Miller. I haven't been able to find a death date, which also means that I haven't found an obituary or headstone. I haven't been able to find any records that would tell me who her parents were. And that's not good, because the Harris family is the line that I'm closest to matching with on a FamilyFinder DNA match. Both myself and the other researcher have Harris families in Edgefield County, SC during the mid 1800s. So I really wanted to find Mary's parents.

     Part of the problem is that Mary never appears in a census with her parents. There wasn't an easy answer. I decided to start with the 1840 census and look for Mary. Of course, Mary would not be recorded by name, but rather by a tick mark. Hoping that the family had not moved, I pulled up all the Harris families in Edgefield County, SC in 1840. There were 20 results. I then narrowed down the results by seeing which families had appropriately aged females in the household, which left me with three options: David, Joshua and Wesley Harris.  So which of these men, if any, was Mary's father?

     Knowing that Mary was living with her husband by 1850, my mom suggested looking at the 1850 census for each man and seeing if the female child was still living with them. Wesley was nowhere to be found, but this step eliminated David from the running. But what about Joshua?

     Looking at Joshua Harris' 1850 census, everything seemed to click. The children and their ages matched up, allowing that some of the girls had married and left home. But the kicker? Looking at a list of Mary's children compared to Joshua's family. Can you see it?

Joshua Harris, 1850
Mary Miller, 1860

     Mary named her first child Joshua and named one of her daughters Sylvesta. It would be very likely that she named her children for her father/brother and sister. 

     I started searching for Joshua Harris online and quickly came across a family tree that stated that he had a daughter named Mary who married a John Miller. This tree stated that Joshua was the son of George Harris, who also had a son named Craven Harris. Tada! My DNA connection on this family line has traced their family back to a Craven Harris. If this information is true, I've just made my first genealogy connection via DNA.

     Unfortunately, further searching turned up multiple variations of this family. There seem to be three versions that have been copied and pasted into about 50 different trees. None of them match my information. So, anyone still reading this: Do you think my research looks sound so far? Can you see any errors? 

     I'll continue to research Joshua and Mary and hope to find proof of the connection. I hope that this turns out to be correct and that I've made my first DNA genealogy connection.


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