28 April 2011

Civil War Profile: Elijah A Dorn

     The following is a profile of one of my Civil War ancestors. What was their life like before, during and after the war? Where did their sympathies lie? How did they feel about the war?


     In 1860, Elijah Andrew Dorn was recorded on page 34 of the Saluda Regiment, Edgefield District, South Carolina census. Along with Elijah were his wife, Elizabeth (Ouzts), and children, James W, Frances, Catharine, Sarah A, Preston B, George and Bettie. This census was taken on 2 Jul 1860. Only the day before, on the July 1st, my GGG-Grandmother, Mary Jane "Mamie" Dorn, had been born (Only those born by June 1st were recorded).

     Elijah was a farmer with real estate valued at $2,000 and personal estate valued at $1840. According to the 1860 agricultural census, Elijah had 120 acres of land. He had 3 horses, 5 milk cows, 4 cattle, 9 sheep, and 16 swine. The family reported growing 60 bushels of wheat, 200 bushels of corn, 100 bushels of oats, 6 bales of ginned cotton, 30 pounds of wool, 20 bushels of peas and bean, 11 bushels of irish potatoes, 50 bushels of sweet potatoes, 150 pounds of butter, and 12 gallons of molasses. It seems like the family is cultivating a wide variety of crops and produce. Comparing Elijah's farm to those of others on the same page, he looks to be the owner of a small to average sized amount of land. And who helped Elijah with work around the farm? Three slaves. The Dorn family appears to own two female slaves, age 75 and 14, and has hired a 25 year old male slave from another owner.

     Although Elijah probably did not relished the thought of going to war, he likely would have supported the new Confederate Government. Even though he owned only a few slaves, they were part of ensuring the financial stability of his family. He was still somewhat young and would likely have added slaves to his farm as finances allowed.

     War broke out on 12 April 1861. Elijah's wife, Elizabeth, had died only two months prior. Left with eight small children, there would be no way Elijah would go to war... yet. Elijah soon married his second wife, Martha E Prater. She was his next door neighbor in the 1860 census, only 17 years old to his 32. Martha was only 7 years older that her oldest step-child.

     With a new wife to watch the children (including a new baby with Martha), Elijah enlisted in the war in March of 1863. He became a private in South Carolina's 2nd Artillery Regiment, Co K. In August of 1864, he was transfered to SC 2nd Cavalry, Co I (also known as Edgefield Hussars according to the Family Search Wiki).  Documents indicate that he was still with his unit in December of 1865, though they do not say how he left the service - did he stick it out until the war ended a few months later?

     Elijah survived the war and returned home to his wife and children, still living in the Saluda area of Edgefield County, SC.  Things have changed a bit for the Dorn family. Formerly the owner of 120 acres valued at $2000, Elijah's now has 230 acres, now valued only at $700. He still has much of his livestock,  but the family is producing less in the way of crops - very reduced levels wheat, corn, and oats, cotton, wool and butter, valued at $500. Elijah might still have his land and materials, but it looks like he's having a harder time making a profit from it than he did prior to the war.

     Elijah died in 1903 in Saluda County, South Carolina. He was buried in the Dorn Family Cemetery, his grave marked with a military headstone.

Elijah Andrew Dorn

25 April 2011


     My new personal family history website, BeginWithCraft.com, is now live.

     I took the plunge and bought a domain, web hosting and the site building tool, The Next Generation in Genealogy Site Building. It's still a bit of a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely.

24 April 2011

An Easter Photo.

     One of my favorite Easter photos; this is my Granny (paternal grandmother), my sister and I. I don't know which one I am. I always loved getting to wear a special dress for Easter.

easter with Granny

22 April 2011

My Most Wished For Genealogical Records

     A little less than a year from now the genealogical goldmine that is the 1940 census will be released. It will be online just as soon as it's available for the public. But there are so many records that aren't available online, records that require travel, money and long waits to acquire.

     This is a list of the top 5 record databases that I would love to see placed online and would help my genealogy research the most. (Note that most of my ancestors lived in Georgia and South Carolina for the past two hundred fifty years or more, so my wants are mostly limited to these states.)

  • USA Navy Records. There are so many Army records online - what about the other branches of the military?
  • South Carolina Marriage Records, 1600-1930s. Many GA Marriage records are already available through Ancestry and FamilySearch
  • SC & GA Divorce Records. If I can see the beginning of the marriage, I'd also like to see the end.
  • SC & GA wills, 1600-1930s. There are some SC wills online via the SC Archive, but I'd love to see more and also wills for GA.
  • SC & GA land records. All types: deeds, plats, homestead exemptions, mortgages, etc.

     For now, I'll have to send off for Family History Center Microfilms (that take about six weeks to arrive) or travel to libraries, archives and courthouses. 

20 April 2011

Keeping a Genealogy Journal

     I recently started keeping a genealogy journal. In the past, I have been an active scrapbooker, but have fallen out of the hobby in the last few years. However, I still feel the need to be artistic on occasions. To that purpose, I decided to have a sort of scrapbook journal.

     I picked up a variety of items from the Ditto line from Hampton Art. They have a great collection of items specifically for creating scrapbook journals. I'm recording research strategies and big finds. Here's what I ended up creating:

16 April 2011

Civil War Profile: William A Craft

     The following is a profile of one of my Civil War ancestors. What was their life like before, during and after the war? Where did their sympathies lie? How did they feel about the war?

     In 1860, William A Craft was 20 years old and living with his parents, Willis and Martha Craft, in the Elbert District of Elbert County, Georgia. He was working as a farmer, likely alongside his father and siblings. His father was also listed as a farmer, with real estate valued at $4500 and a personal estate valued at $16,670. Such a high personal estate value indicates slave ownership.  Willis owned 10 slaves: male: 60, 35, 27, 12, 12, and 9; female: 60, 15, 15, and 9.  These slaves would have cost a lot of money and been important to the family's finances. Likely, this family would have wanted to defend their way of life.

     On 4 March 1862 in Elberton, Georgia, William enlisted in the 15th Georgia Regiment, Company F. Having been married in late 1860, William is leaving behind a new wife. Did they know that she was almost two months pregnant with their first child? Clarence Craft would be born in August.

     According to this newspaper article, William was at the Battle of Malvern Hill in Virginia that July. There, he picked up a bible he found. He apparently carried the bible with him throughout the rest of the war.

     From November 1862 to February of 1863, William was recorded as Commissary Sergeant Protem, in charge of distributing equipment. From August to December of 1863 William is listed as absent without leave. By July, William was back with his unit. Finally, William is recorded as a prisoner of war as a member of the Army of Northern Virginia, having been present for the surrender at Appomattox. From there, he would have likely directly returned home.

     In 1870, William is back with his family in Elbert County. William is farming, though not on his own land. In addition to his wife and three children, there are two other people living with the family: a young black male, age 11 and a 26 year old female school teacher.  The boy's name is hard to ready, but might be Seaborn or Seabold Gains. This eleven year old boy is working as a farmhand, when only a few years prior he would have been working as a slave. Do his parents live nearby or does he even have any? Is he having to make his own way in the world at such a young age?

     In 1887 William purchased land from his brother, John. However he lost all of his land in 1900, unable to make payments. That year, William applied for a pension for his service during the war.  Apparently William had suffered a stroke and remained partially paralyzed. He was trying to farm, but wasn't achieving enough success to support himself and his wife.  William did receive his pension, which his wife continued to draw until her death in 1938.

14 April 2011

Taking The Test: 23andMe DNA

     Today I received the DNA test I ordered from 23andMe on Monday during their DNA Day sale. I purchased two DNA tests: one for my mom and one for myself.

    I knew that this testing process was going to be a little different from the FTDNA test that I previously took. For this test, you actually spit into a small funnel attached to a tube to collect a DNA sample. It was a somewhat strange experience and took me a few minutes to complete. Next you close the lid, which releases a liquid into the collected saliva. Then you shake it up and put it back in the box. I was happy to see that the return shipping box was pre-paid. I'll be going by the post office tomorrow to drop off the test. I'm looking forward to receiving these results and hope to find some new cousins.

     Also today, Family Tree DNA announced their DNA Day sale when they hit 10,000 likes on Facebook. I found this sale to be very disappointing (see their Facebook Page for details).  They are offering discounted prices on many of their tests, but the discount is less than I thought. The sale that they had for hitting 5,000 "likes" on facebook offered lower prices than this sale (it was 40% off certain tests). I'm very glad that I purchased the 23andMe test. Also, I'm a little concerned that the sale announcement seems to be listed only on Facebook. They might have an email planned for tomorrow, but right now you have to be involved in social networks to know about this sale. I hope they aren't going to start ignoring more traditional communication methods.

13 April 2011

Civil War Profile: Thomas T Albea

     The following is a profile of one of my Civil War ancestors. What was their life like before, during and after the war? Where did their sympathies lie? How did they feel about the war?
     Thomas T Albea (1845-1905) was my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. He was the son of Tilman Albea and Julia Ann Glaze and appears to have spent his entire life in Lincoln County, Georgia. [Note: He should not be confused with his cousin, Thomas H Albea, about 5 years his senior, who enlisted in 1862] 

     At age 4 Tomas appeared on the 1850 census of District 52, Lincoln County, GA with his family. His father, Tilman, is a "planter." In the 1850 slave census of the same place, Tilman Albea is shown to own five slaves: males aged 20 and 6; females aged 36, 4 and 1. In his father's will, dated 1843, Tilman was supposed to inherit "a negro boy named Ivey." Is he the older male slave record here?

     When Thomas was 14 he appeared on the 1860 census of Samuels District, Lincoln County, Georgia, again with his parents and siblings. His father is listed as a farmer, on land valued at $1400 with a personal estate of $500. At this time Tilman owned only one slave, a 15 year old black female. In 1858, Julia Albea was willed her choice of slaves from her mother, Mary Glaze. Julia was to pick either Issac or Jinney. Is this one lone slave Jinney? What happened to the five slaves that Tilman owned ten years ago?

     Thomas was only 15 when hostilities began on 12 Apr 1861, only about 200 miles from his home. Coming from a family of slave owners, I would assume that Thomas and his family were supportive of, or at least sympathetic toward, the new Confederate States Government. There is no proof that his father, Tilman, fought in the war. He was at home in 1864 for a re-districting census and would be invaluable to a farming family during this time. 

     Thomas' brother, William H Albea, did enlist for the Civil War. In fact, William enlisted on July 14 1861, only four months after the war began.  Thomas was now the oldest son at home, probably wondering how long the war would last. Was he anticipating or dreading a long war that would cause him to join the military?

     Thomas T Albea joined the fight in August of 1863. At the time of his enlistment, Thomas was only 17 years old, about two months from turning 18. It seems that Thomas very much wanted to fight and could not wait until he was of age. He is listed on muster rolls for Co. I, 3rd Georgia Cavalry State Guards in Captain Walton's Company. He "joined for and enrolled" on 4 Aug 1863 in Lincolnton, GA for a period of six months. I found this curious, as all other enlistments I've seen were "for the duration of the war." The website Georgia Cavalry Units, states that this regiment was only organized for a six month period starting in August 1863.

     After this six month period, Thomas re-enlisted on 2 Feb 1864. He was placed in Captain Maxwell's Regular Light Battery. Very quickly, he appears on muster rolls for  Captain Barnwell's Battery, Georgia Light Artillery. According to the website Georgia Artillery Units, "this company was organized on 12 March 1864 and served temporally as Co. C, Maxwell's Battalion, Regular Light Artillery." Records show that he was absent in May and June, sick; present all other months of 1864. There is no record of his service after December 1864.

     Thomas married in 1867 in Lincoln County. He, his wife, Sarah Corely, and their infant daughter Hattie appear in the 1870 census of the 79th District of Lincoln County, Georgia. Thomas is a farm laborer with no real estate and personal property worth $150. Is he sharecropping or does he have a more desirable fixed rent crop contract? They are also living with Elizabeth Crawly, who is listed as a domestic servant. I think this is likely Sarah's sister (Corley/Crawly) and that she worked for a wealthy family in the area.

     Looking at Thomas' parents, Tilman and Julia Albea: In the 1870 census, Tilman is mis-transcribed as William. Of course, Tilman is no longer a slave owner. He does still own his own land, which is given as a value of $650 (vs $1400) and personal property of $600 (vs $500). Julia herself is listed as owning land valued at $450 (willed to her by her mother in 1858).  The combined value of the couple's property is similar to what it was before the war.

     Overall, it seems that Tilman and Julia may have come through the civil war unscathed - at least on paper. It's highly possible that even staying at home the family witnessed the fighting.  Their property could have been damaged or stolen by the union, or taken by the confederacy to support the war effort.  But in the end it looks like this family made it through better than many others. Both William and Thomas came home from war, as did other cousins.

     Finally, what happened to the family's slaves? In the 1870 census, there are only 12 black people listed in Georgia named Albea. All of them live in Lincoln or neighboring Wilkes county.  Albea is not a common surname, and there were only three Albea families living in Georgia at the time (a trio of brothers). Those old enough to have been born into slavery were almost certainly owned by them.  There are a number of Jennies of the right age and gender, and a number of Isaacs, but none named Albea or Glaze. It's difficult to know where the slaves mentioned in Mary Glaze's will went.

12 April 2011

No Turning Back

Fort Sumter, 2010
     One Hundred and Fifty years ago, artillery fire was exchanged at Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. A US army Major had taken control of the Charleston, South Carolina fort and refused to leave when the new Confederate government told him to.  On April 12, 1861, the Confederacy attacked, which eventually lead to the surrender of the Fort. The first battle of the Civil War ended with a Confederate victory and no fatalities.

     That I know of, all of my ancestors were living in the South when the war broke out.  Many of those ancestors ended up fighting in the Confederate Army. Two ancestors died in service, as well a many uncles and cousins. I can't really know their personal thoughts on the war, but they did actively take part.

     I will be presenting profiles on many of my Civil War era ancestors in the coming months, highlighting all parts of their lives. Here's a list of my known Civil War soldier ancestors (I assume that there must be more that I have yet to prove):

  • William A Craft (1840-1909)
  • John F Powell (1846-1920)
  • Wiley Powell (1819-1864) killed
  • Thomas T Albea (1845-1905)
  • Nathan W Hyler (1835-1903)
  • Franklin E Leaphart (1834-1865) killed
  • Richard T Smith (1829-1920)
  • William W Sprouse (1840-1905)
  • Elijah A Dorn (1827-1903)

10 April 2011

DNA Day Sales - I'm Going A Little Crazy Right Now

    I previously posted about considering testing my autosomal DNA with 23andMe. I've done this with Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test already, but I'm always looking at new avenues of research. One person commented and suggested I wait until April 15th, which is National DNA Day, because the DNA testing companies offer sales. I decided that this was an awesome idea and have been waiting (impatiently) for said sales.

     During this time, I've actually made a new cousin match through my Family Finder test. I'd thought that it would actually benefit me more to have my mom take a FF test herself, that way I could divide my results between maternal lines (that match her) and paternal lines (those that don't).

     Family Tree DNA has announced on their Facebook page that if they reach 12,000 likes on April 15th they will have a "special promotion." Who knows what this could be. Their last sale was 40% off most of their tests (so FF would be $120). I'm also wondering if they can make 12,000 likes by then. There are only so many people interested in genealogical DNA testing who are on facebook.

     And now 32andMe has made my purchasing decisions a little more difficult. They announced today that they would be having a DNA Day sale tomorrow (read about it at the Your Genetic Genealogist Blog).  This sale would give a FREE test, requiring a $9 a month subscription for the next 12 months. Sounds great! But, I would want to test both my mom and myself. So $18 a month for the next 12 months. (I'm a little concerned about what happens to my info after 12 months if I don't renew?)

     It's really quite evil. This is a great deal, but they jumped the gun! I don't know if Family Tree DNA will have a sale as well. If they had one for Family Finder, I would only have to buy one test. But what if I pass up 23andMe's sale and FTDNA doesn't have a sale or it doesn't work for Family Finder?

     I don't think I'll be able to pass up a guarantee for an unknown likelihood.

08 April 2011

Craft Family in 1901

     While away on a genealogy day trip, I received an email about the very family I was looking for. Actually, the email was about the very grave I was looking for. I have some clues about the grave, but no exact location just yet. However, thanks to the email, I still came out good in the end.

     The woman who emailed me is a previously unknown second cousin, once removed. She has a private family tree online at ancestry.com. Included in her tree was the following photo (shown with permission). It show my Great-Great Grandparents, George Robert and Effie V (Powell) Craft and their four oldest children: Lillie Mae, Maurice Lamar, Bennie England and Claud Frank.  I love the house in the background, the hat in the yard and Effie's dress.

Bennie & Sally Ruth Evans Craft

    I can recognize my Great-Grandfather, Bennie, 
the little boy on the far left from this photo that my 
Aunt gave me. My mom also pointed out that 
Bennie does look a lot like my dad.

07 April 2011

The Powell Family of Elbert County, Georgia

     I found this photo in the book "Powell: Wiley and Mariah" by Clifford R Hill and and David M Powell, located at the Elbert County Public Library. In front are my GGG-Grandparents, John Franklin and Frances Emma Taylor Powell. In the middle row, my GG-Grandmother, Effie V Powell Craft is the third from right.  I'm trying to figure out when the photo was taken.  (John died in 1920)

Powell Family

06 April 2011

In Which I Am Chased By Dogs

     Yesterday I went on a road trip to Elbert County, Georgia, which is about 80 miles from where I live. My Craft family ancestors lived here from at least 1800 until my Grandfather moved away in the early 1950s.  I hoped to find two new graves, visit some previously known ones, see my Great-Grandparent's house, and go to the local library.  I won't go into too many details but will hit the highlights... and this'll still be long!

     First: Gas is way too expensive but I tracked it and I got 29.7 miles per gallon. I'll consider that a win.

     Second: It's not an adventure until you get lost at least once. Though with my sister's GPS were never actually got lost - we just ended up doing some things out of order.

     Third: My Great-Grandparent's former house. I don't know who lives there now, but they have a little Chihuahua type dog that likes to chase cars down the road. It's a small house, but when I showed the photo to my dad he confirmed it was the correct one.

     Fourth: Rock Branch Baptist Church. Apparently my Craft ancestors were considered part of the "Rock Branch Community" of Elbert County though they were a five minute walk from Hart County. I'd been to this cemetery years ago, before I realized just how many of my ancestors were buried here. This time I got all the headstone photos (I hope). Here, I'm posing with William Anderson Craft's grave.

     Fifth: The Elbert County Public Library. They have a pretty darn good genealogy section (and a bathroom!). They had a book about the Craft family, but it seemed to be some random OK/AR branch that had nothing to do with me. I did find a few books on the Powell and Taylor families. One of these is a book available on Google in "snippet" view, so it was nice to be able to see the whole book. I was also hoping to use the library records to find the grave of Willis Craft (1809-1874). I think he's buried on his old land. The library did have a cemetery book with a map showing his grave, but there weren't any roads in the area on the map. Given my time constraints, I figured I'd try to find the grave another day.

     Sixth: Montevideo is pronounced Mount Video.

     Seventh: Craft Road. We headed back to my Great-Grandparent's house which sits on a road named after them. I got out to pose with the street sign. Apparently I took too long and the dogs across the street took offense. I had eight (8!!!) dogs heading toward me so I ran back to the car (where everyone else already was). Apparently the look on my face was priceless.

     Eighth: We went to Cokesbury UMC where my Great-Great Craft Grandparents are buried. I was also hoping to find the grave of an infant G-Uncle, but no luck

     Ninth: The Georgia Guidestones. This was the touristy part of our trip. These are some random stones put up by an anonymous person with some strange message about population and nature. I think they just found the price of granite in "the granite capital of the world" too hard to resist and decided to have some fun (joking). They're pretty neat.

     Tenth: The email waiting for me at home. But that's another post because this one is too long already!

03 April 2011

A Sign of the Times

     Inside my Great-Grandfather's funeral condolence book is a cemetery plot deed for his first wife, Ruby Waters Huyler (he ended up buried next to his second wife two states over). She was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia in 1953. At this time and in this place Jim Crow was king. This document highlights the way that segregation was a big part of life in the south.

     Looking over the deed, you can see that there are eight rules regarding burial in this cemetery. Rules one and two: White Only. I'm really curious about when these rules were changed. 1964? After?

     Here's the deed:

Greenwood Cemetery - Deed

02 April 2011

A Year From Now I Hope To Find

     A year from today the 1940 Census will officially be released. According to the National Archive, "The digital images will be accessible at NARA facilities nationwide through [their] public access computers as well as on personal computers via the internet."  I know that April 2, 2012 will be a busy day for Genealogist, excited to start looking for their ancestors [note to self: take a vacation day]. And, as The Armchair Genealogist recommended, it's best to be prepared.

     Here's my list of searches that I'll be doing first, once the 1940 census is available. I'm most interested in looking for individuals who would have dealt with life changes during this time, or those that I couldn't find in the 1930 census.

  • Grandmother, Betty Huyler. Betty was born in 1931, so this will be the first census she appears in. And I have no idea where I'll find her. Is she with her mother and step-father, or will this be one of the times when she was left with her grandparents? Or perhaps 1940 is when she was living in the children's home? Oddly, I'm hoping for the last, because I'd really like to find out more information about the children's home, which Betty didn't even know the name of.
    • Great-Grandfather, Mack Huyler. I couldn't find Mack or his soon to be wife, Ruby Waters, in the 1930 census, which was taken a year before their marriage. Mack left home in 1932 and claimed to have spend 15 years as a hobo. He could be anywhere! Though I do know that he requested a SSN in 1937 while living in Augusta, GA.
      • Grandmother, Sarah Britt. Sarah grew up in Emanuel County, Georgia, but at some point moved with her father and other relatives to Elbert County, Georgia. Which location will she be at in 1940?
      • Great-Grandparents, Nathan and Ledora (Barfield) Britt. This couple "separated," with Nathan remarrying later. I hope that the 1940 census might give me some insight into the timeline of their marriage. If they are living apart at this time, will they be listed as married or divorced? Where will their children be?
      • Grandfather, Thomas Craft. In 1939 Thomas left his CCC post in North Carolina and returned home to Elbert County. Probably. Will he be living with his parents? Or perhaps his uncle, Paul Craft? I know that Paul was a witness at Thomas's wedding and that Thomas worked as a sharecropper on his uncle's farm, ultimately purchasing the property. I'm very interested in the location of Paul's farm in the 1940 census. 
      • The children of Milton Waters. Milton was the brother of my Great-Great Grandfather, Leverett. I've had trouble researching this family beyond this generation, as well as trouble with Milton who died at an unknown date, possibly between 1920 and 1930. I think I've found his children in 1930, but can't confirm it. I'm hoping to have better luck locating Ben, Ida and Marie Waters in the 1940 census and, through them, find more information on Milton. 
           Some aspects of the 1940 census will provide more insight into the lives of our ancestors than ever before.
      • Who Told? This census will tell us who provided the information for each family. This will help determine how accurate the information is.
      • Education Level. This census moves beyond indicating if each person can read or write. This year requests the highest grade level completed.
      • Employment. Due to the Great Depression, there are a lot of questions about employment, from simple to detailed.
      • 14 & 40. A number of questions from previous years are missing from the general questions (ex. birthplace of parents), but two individuals on each page will be asked more detailed questions about their parents, language, marriage and veteran status.


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