29 September 2012

"Open to the Public"

     Hopefully I'm not annoying anyone with my multiple posts regarding the upcoming closure of the Georgia Archive, but it's an important topic.  Our Governor promised to keep the Archive open, but is now saying that it's something he'll try to do this January.  Considering the Archive will close at the end of October, I don't consider that keeping it open.

     I've created a few images over the last few weeks that I've posted on Facebook. If you don't follow me on FB you might not have seen them. If you like, feel free to share these and encourage people to sign the petition here.


Upcoming: Georgia Family History Expo

     I'm getting excited about the upcoming Georgia Family History Expo this November 9th and 10th. This will be the third year this event will be held at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia. I've been invited to be an Official Blogger this year, which is very flattering.

     Let me tell you why I'm so excited about this year's expo:
  • The Keynote speaker. Robert S Davis.  This guy is smart and entertaining. I sat in on one of his classes last year and I plan to do so again this year. 
  • Low Price. For only $69 (before October 9th) this two day event is very affordable. Both my mom and sister are planning to attend.
  • Socializing.  It's fun to get out and meet other genealogists. They have ideas, tips and stories to share. Who knows, maybe we're related? You might find that you miss a class when you get caught up chatting.
  • The Classes.  It's going to be hard to pick classes. Topics range from geologically or ethnically specific to organizational tips. From new technology to old handwriting analysis. From source citation to DNA for genealogy. Each year there are new classes on new topics.  I might have to split up my group to cover multiple classes in the same time period.
  • The Exhibitors.  This year I really need to find time for the Ask-the-Pros booth. There will also be big companies such as expo sponsors Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, as well as local societies and businesses. Interestingly, the soon-to-be closed to the public Georgia Archive will have a booth there. 
     And that last note, about the Georgia Archive, is one reason why I think that it's important for anyone who can attend to do so.  It looks like, despite our best efforts, that the Georgia Archive is going to close at the end of October.  We need people to turn out to the Expo this year to show that Genealogy = Money for the state of Georgia.  The higher the turnout, the more we show our government that access to the Georgia Archive is important to the citizens of Georgia.

     I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again this year!

Meeting New Cousins

Closure Notice in the lobby
Mom at the Georgia Archive

     Yesterday I went to the Georgia Archives for the second time this month.  Normally I can't get to the archive more than two or three times a year, thanks to their limited hours. There are two reasons that I've gone twice lately: first, they're going to be closed within a month so I have to get the research time in while I can; second, I was invited to meet some cousins that I found via DNA matches.

     These are the first cousins I've met that I found via DNA (not counting Tonia, whom I'd already met before we found our shared DNA).  Stephanie and her mom, Virginia, are my cousins on my dad's side of the family.  I'm also related to Virginia's Aunt Kat.  We aren't exactly sure of the connection, but it's likely through the Craft family in Granville, NC.  Stephanie is also a blogger, writing Digging Up Your Family.

Mom and Stephanie
     Stephanie, Virginia, my mom and I met at the Archives Friday at 10am. They'd never been there before, though they had been to the National Archives next door.  We decided to start with the microfilm records.  Although we all have family in Georgia, they aren't connected to each other nor did they live in the same locations.

     I've never seen so many people at the Georgia Archive as I did yesterday. All of the "good" microfilm readers (aka the electronic ones with with computers and printers) were taken when we got there and a number of the older hand-crank models were also in use.  Even more interestingly, the computer desks were swamped as well, which isn't something I've seen before.  I would estimate that there were at least 50 people there researching when we arrived at 10am.  When we left for lunch a little after 1pm the sign in sheet was 5 pages deep.

     I found some documents for my ancestors in Lincoln and Elbert Counties, but was really excited to make a family connection. I hope that we'll all be able to meet up again soon, though it likely won't be at the Georgia Archive.

     Unfortunately, they are still slated to close after November 1st. However, this date is a Thursday - a day they aren't open anyway. The last day for research at the Archive is currently scheduled to be October 27th.  Our Governor, Nathan Deal, did say that the Archive would not close, but so far it doesn't look like he's going to keep his word. It's important that we keep the pressure on our politicians. If you haven't yet, sign the petition, join the facebook group, and contact the governor, the sos and your local representatives today to tell them to keep the archive open and retain the staff.

Mom, Me, Virginia, Stephanie

25 September 2012

The DNA of a First Cousin, 2x Removed

     I logged into my AncestryDNA account today to a happy surprise: a suggested 2nd cousin DNA match!  And I recognized the username (blacked out below) as my Waters cousin. My first cousin, 2x removed to be exact.

Here's what our match page looks like:

     AncestryDNA has predicted that we are 2nd cousins. Considering that we are 2x removed, this is probably a logical prediction.  I would love to be able to look at our match in more detail, but there really isn't anything else to do with this match at this point.

     I hadn't know that my Waters cousin had taken a DNA test and I'm very happy that she did. I had tested her brother's Y-DNA over at Family Tree DNA to find the origins of our male Waters family line. I had been thinking lately of upgrading his results to the Family Finder test. Hopefully now I won't have to!

     I say hopefully, because ftDNA has number of features that Ancestry.com's DNA does not. Unfortunately the AncestryDNA test does not offer a number of features that allow me to evaluate our match. I can't download my raw data, I can't see how many centiMorgans of DNA my cousin and I share, I can't view our DNA on a chromosome chart and I can't see which DNA matches in my list match the one's in my cousins' list.  I can do all of these things at ftDNA.  Hopefully, Ancestry.com will update their DNA features soon and I won't have to purchase an additional test.

20 September 2012

Georgia Archives Closure Update

     Yesterday Governor Deal held a photo op to sign the "Georgia Archives Month" proclamation. Between 75 and 100 folks showed up to show support for the Georgia Archives and speak out against its closure. After receiving a copy of the first 10,000 signatures from the online petition, the governor announced that the archive would not close.  No details were given and, in conversation with one of the attendees, the governor indicated that he had no control over the seven employees being laid off.

     The governor's comments are promising, but we don't yet have anything in writing.  The fight is not over.

     Even today, there was an upsetting article in the AJC about a $4.5 million dollar Lake Lanier resort being funded by the state.  And the Secretary of State reported that he had not know of Gov Deal's statement in advance. He seems to indicate that he's made his cuts and it's up to the Governor to find the funds when he said, “If he funds it to keep it open, that’d be great.”  I'm not expecting much from our SOS.

     We need to continue to put pressure on Georgia's politicians until the funding for the Georgia Archive is written into the budget. Sign the petition, join the facebook group, and contact the governor, the sos and your local representatives today.  Also, there is talk of taking up funds to assist the laid off employees. Keep an eye on the facebook page for more updates!

18 September 2012

How the Georgia Archive Has Helped Me

     I have visited the Georgia Archive about 6 times since my first visit back in February of 2011.  I really wish I hadn't waited so long to visit the archive, as it's been invaluable for extending my family tree.  Some records provide one simple fact, others provide great insight into the lives of my ancestors. Here's a list of what I've found, which I would not be able to find online:

Tilman Albea Homestead
  • Deeds - 16
    • Craft, Evans, Britt, Logue, McCurley, Outz, Quattlebaum
  • Homestead Records - 4
    • Evans, Britt, Albea
  • Tax Records - 16
    • Albea, Craft, Alexander, Powell, Shiflet, Britt
  • Wills - 6
    • Craft, Powell, Alexander, Cash, McCurley
  • Church Record Books - 3
    • including deeds, baptisms, membership lists, etc
    • Albea, Britt, Barfield, Boatright
  • Minute Book Records - 3
    • Albea
  • Marriage Records - 4
    • Craft, Waters, Britt
  • Estate Records - 3
    • Boatright, Albea
  • Civil War Pension - 6
    • Craft, Powell
    • assorted lists for soldiers and widows
  • Maps - 1
    • Lincoln County
  • Death Certificates - 1
    • Boatright 
    • years which are not online otherwise cost $25 dollars via mail
  • Personal Affidavits - 1
    • Craft
     Almost as important, but which I cannot pin a number on, are the numerous documents which I know do not not exist in a particular record collection. It's always disappointing not to find a record, but it's still valuable information.

     I'm just one person and this is just what I've managed to find. Duplicate my finds by the thousands of people who visit the archive every week. 

     I think back to some of my most exciting finds, when I was literally bouncing in my chair in front of the microfilm reader. The Secretary of State wants to take away those moments from his citizens. It makes me sad. 

     Let's all do what we can to tell the politicians in Georgia that our state archive is important to us. Sign the petition, join the facebook group, and contact the governor, the sos and your local representatives today.

Another Albea DNA Match!

     I woke up yesterday to an email from a Family Tree DNA match, telling me that we were related through the Albea family.  The match, Patricia, was the Great-Great Granddaughter of Tilman Albea and Julia Glaze. This couple were my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandparents, which makes us 3rd cousins, 2x removed.

     Patricia shares DNA with me, my mom, my half-brother, one uncle, and my great aunt. She does not match the other uncle that I tested.

     Here you can see the DNA segments (of at least 5 cM) that my mom (right) and I (left) share with the match. Mom and Patricia are 3rd cousins, 1x removed. They share an extra segment on the 15th chromosome that I don't have.


     Here's the DNA my Great-Aunt Ree shares with Patricia. They are 3rd cousins, but actually share less DNA than Patricia shares with mom and I, who are more distant cousins.  The DNA she shares is consistent on the 8th chromosome, but otherwise different from what Patricia shares with my mom and I.  Thus, my mom's father must have had more and different segments of DNA in common with Patricia in order to pass it on to my direct line.

     This is the second match that I have found in which our most recent common ancestors were Tilman and Julia Albea.  I want to compare what segments of DNA each of the matches shares with my family and see if there's any DNA in common.

     This is a closeup of my Mom's 8th chromosome. The blue segments represent the DNA she shares with Patricia and the orange is the DNA she shares with our other Albea match.  They share a small, exactly similar, 3.24 cM segment of DNA with each other and with my mom.  I'm excited to see the DNA we have in common.  This was a difficult family to research and these DNA matches are helping to back up my paper trail.

14 September 2012

This Is Our Archive, This Is Our History

     Above is a page from a book at the Georgia Archive. It is the 1857 Georgia State House Journal, which lists my 4x Great-Grandfather, Willis Craft, as House Representative for Elbert County, Georgia.

     My ancestors have been in Georgia since the mid 1700s and the Georgia Archive is filled with the records they left behind. I've made some amazing discoveries while flipping through books, browsing stacks and scrolling through microfilm.

     But it isn't just about me. The Archive is good for the state. I only have to drive an hour to get to the archive, but it does require me to top off my gas tank and buy lunch in the area.  There are others who base vacations around their visit, staying at hotels, eating meals and visiting other attractions while in the area. And then consider businesses like professional researchers, scholars and teachers, lawyers, etc, who use the archive for their business. Their companies will suffer due to the lack of access.  And that's not even mentioning the hard working employees of the Archive who will be loosing their jobs. Closing the Georgia Archive will only punish the state and its citizens.

     And that's just the financial impact. What about the other consequences? The Archive also serves as an inspiration and a symbol. It's amazing that these historical records have been maintained. It says a lot about our state and country that we value our past so much and that we understand that value. These records are priceless. And we're about to lock them away, maintaining only the legally required access. What message does this send to future generations? Lock up the history, it doesn't matter.

     The Archive is run by the Secretary of State, abbreviated SOS. Pretty appropriate, huh?  Our SOS, Brain Kemp, says that he "will fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia."

     We must all do our part to let our government know how strongly we feel about maintaining access to the Georgia Archive. Sign the petition, join the facebook group, and contact the governor, the sos and your local representatives today.

13 September 2012

Georgia Archive Closing to the Public

GA Archive
Please sign the petition to keep our Georgia Archive open.

     Driving home from work today I heard this on the radio: after November 1st, the Georgia Archive will be closed to the public. Those wanting access to the records will need an appointment.  Currently, they are only open Friday and Saturday from 8:30-5:00pm.

     There is no information regarding this change on the Archive's website.  I was waffling on whether or not to make the hour long drive tomorrow to do some research; I guess I better go while I can. I'm sad to say that, while extremely disappointed, I'm not really that surprised.


Response to my email from the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp:
    "Dear Ms. Craft, 
    Thank you so much for taking the time to contact our office about the eminent public closure of the Georgia Archives. First, let me assure you that this was a measure of last resort. 
    The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has required that our Office further reduce its budget for the upcoming year by 3% ($732,626). As has been the case for the past two years in this challenging budget environment, these cuts do not eliminate excess in the Agency. They require the Agency to reduce services to the citizens of Georgia. 

    We have tried to protect the services that the agency provides in support of putting people to work, starting small businesses, and providing public safety. Furthermore, the elections functions of the Agency are mandated by state and federal statute, making budget reductions illegal. [in response to my, admittedly snide, query of elections, which are also run by the SOS] 
    While Archives does provide a great service to the citizens of Georgia, the department only generates a fraction of the revenue that it costs to operate. We simply do not have the money to keep it open to the public, but will honor open records request and make sure we are always in full legal compliance. 
    I will fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored so the people will have a place to meet, research, and review the historical records of Georgia. I would ask for your help in this matter by contacting your state legislators and asking them to restore funding to the Georgia Archives. If you do not know how to contact your legislators, you can locate them at here: http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/FindLegislator.htm 

    Brian P. Kemp 

    Jared S. Thomas, Press Secretary"

  • Article on Atlanta Business Chronicle
  • Article on WSAV TV.
  • Article on Augusta Chronicle.
  • Article on WSBradio.

10 September 2012

Great-Grandaddy Mack, the Jitney Driver

     I recently found a new city directory listing for my Great-Grandfather, Vary "Mack" Huyler in 1928 Columbia, South Carolina.

     His job title, "jitney drvr," struck me as funny. What did it mean? A search turned up this image from Fulton County, Georgia sometime in the 1920s:

     So my grandfather, at age 25, was driving this taxi/trolly combo. Meanwhile, others are still driving around, literally using horse power!

     By next year's directory, he'd moved on.  He moved a lot and the next listing I have for him is his 1937 social security application, at which time he was working at a cotton oil company in Augusta, Georgia.

     From the 1928 directory, I also learn his address: 1419 Jefferson.  I was able to find the address on google maps. He was living in a shotgun house:

     Mack's travels make him hard to track down, but I am finding, him piece by piece.

08 September 2012

Wiki Loves Monuments USA: A Photo Contest

    If you've logged into Wikipedia recently, you might have seen the banner across the top of the page announcing the Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 Contest. I assume that many other genealogists are like me and interested in history, so this contest is probably of interest to the geneabloggers community.

     The general gist of the contest is to upload a photo of a location on the National Register of Historic Places List. By doing this, you will be adding your photo into a database of freely licensed images of our nation's historic places. There aren't too many rules to the contest, but you can read them here.

     Having visited a number of locations on this list, I already had some eligible photos on my computer. For example, the photo below of the John Fox House in Lexington, SC.  When I uploaded the photo, only one other location in Lexington County had a photo.  Now most of the locations have a photo. It looks like the contest is accomplishing its mission!


03 September 2012

A Day At The Cemetery (in photos)

     Atlanta's Historic Oakland Cemetery is having a contest using Instagram. It's a simple enough contest: take photos during September using Instagram and tag them with #OCATL. The photos should: "be taken of and inside Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA. Photographs should highlight distinctive elements that differentiate and identify Oakland Cemetery, featuring outstanding aspects of the art and architecture, gardens and landscape, and wildlife." Ten photos will be chosen and the winners will receive tickets to the 2012 Capturing the Spirit Halloween Tours.

     I visited Oakland today and here are my photos. My favorites are the one of the gate, the yellow flower and the gazebo.  You can click through to see larger versions of the smaller photos.

01 September 2012

Lora and Otis' Confusing Marriage

     I'm working on filling in some details on the collateral lines of my Barfield family tree. I've been searching online newspaper records for vital record announcements and found a few about my Great-Great Aunt, Lora Myrtice Barfield Neal. The records I've found, combined with other records, have gotten me pretty confused.

     First, I found a marriage announcement in The Augusta Chronicle:

*     *     *
     Mrs. W. L. Barfield of Graymont, Ga., announces the marriage of her daughter Lora to J. Otis Neal on August 4. The marriage was solemnized in Aiken, S. C. with Judge J. E. Parker officiating. The bride and goom will be at home to friends at 416 Crawford avenue.

     Lora's mom reported her marriage in 1938 and the couple lived at 416 Crawford Ave, presumably in Augusta, Georgia. I do find it interesting that they were married in Aiken, and not Augusta.

     Next, I found an obituary for Lora and Otis' infant daughter:

NEAL - Died at the residence, 416 Crawford Avenue, June 14, 1941, at 12 a. m., Elizabeth Neal, infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otis Neal. Prayer services will be conducted at the graveside in West View cemetery this (Saturday) afternoon at 4 o'clock. Elliott Sons, in charge.

     It was very sad to find this obituary, but it did provide some information.  The couple were still at 416 Crawford Ave and their daughter was buried at West View Cemetery. I don't currently know where Lora is buried, so this might be a clue.

     These two documents combined also tell me that Lora and Otis should be living at the Crawford Ave address during the 1940 Census. And this is where it gets confusing. Here's the 1940 Census for that address:

     It's the Neal family at the correct address. And there's Otis. But there's no mention of Lora and Otis is listed as single.  It's even more confusing because Lora is not with her mother either: 

     So what happened between the marriage announcement in 1938 and the death of their infant in 1941? Where was Lora in 1940? Any Barfield cousins reading this who have any answers?


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