24 January 2014

Learning More at the DAR 101 Workshop

     Only shortly after attending my first DAR meeting last Sunday, I attended a DAR 101 Workshop for new members yesterday.  I learned a lot about the DAR, though maybe not as much about the chapter as I'd like.

     The workshop was at 6:30 and started with a dinner of soup, salad and sandwiches.  I approached the registrar and was able to sign my application and hand over my check for application and membership dues.  I'll note here that joining the DAR is not inexpensive; the check I wrote was for $157.  Going forward, yearly dues are currently set at $72 ($25 Chapter, $10 State, $37 National).

     The main portion of the workshop was conducted by Camille Baxter, a State officer (I don't remember her title).   She gave a really great overview of the history and organization of the DAR.  I learned that they were founded in 1890 by an act of Congress, only a few months after the Sons of the American Revolution decided against female membership; they were responsible for finishing the Washington Monument after the national government failed to finish it; they helped restore the Statue of Liberty in 1976; they founded and still support a number of schools, many of them founded in rural areas in the early 1900s; members have logged over 1 million hours of volunteer service this year (the year starts/ends in May).

     I feel like I learned a lot about the DAR as a whole, but not necessarily about the chapter that I'm joining.   Both Mrs Baxter and the chapter Registrar spoke some about the different committees and their purposes, though not in great detail.  We were provided with a link to a website that detailed the committees.  They stressed that all members (Daughters) have a variety of interests and talents, and that there is something for everyone.  As the Registrar put it, "the DAR is what you make of it." They want all members to be active and involved.  And really, that's my goal in joining the DAR: getting active and involved with something - getting out of the house!   There are a few committees that interest me, and I think I'll ask about them at the next meeting.

     Another thing that they spoke about, which I was wondering about, were the ribbons and pins (insignia) that the members wore.  In order to wear them, you have to be at a DAR event, and you must be wearing the right cloths: business/church dresses and pants suits.  The Registrar was joking about having to stop by Office Depot on the way in and covering her insignia up with her scarf while she was there.  You can start ordering your insignia as soon as you have a member number, and the basic starter ribbon and three pins is about $200. From there, you can purchase insignia for a number of things, including making donations, completing certain amounts and types of service, for holding offices, etc.  The cost of the pins does add up and, as they jokingly said, the DAR stands for Dollars Are Required.  But, it does seem like it takes a lot of service to earn the insignia, so they can be meaningful.  I also got the feeling that you weren't expected to purchase any of the insignia if you didn't want to (although I assume that if you start going to state and national conferences, that would change).

     I'm still learning about the DAR, but I think it's going to be something that'll be good for me... if a bit expensive.

20 January 2014

Attending My First DAR Meeting

     Yesterday, I attended my first ever DAR meeting. If you remember from previous posts, I first met with the local DAR chapter's Registrar in December.  Between then and now they had a meeting (while I was on vacation in Colonial Williamsburg), in which I was voted in as a prospective member.

     The meeting was held in a ballroom at a senior living center.  There were 10 tables with eight chairs each and just about every chair was filled.  The crowd was a mix of women and a few men (who mostly seemed to be husbands) aged mostly from 80s to 40s, with some in their 30s and a few others in their high 20s.  At 29, I was certainly one of the youngest attendees, though not the absolute youngest.

     They had a member sign in sheet (which I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sign or not) and name tags, including blank ones for visitors.  As I was standing, looking around, the woman who had come in behind me started talking to me and we sat at a able together; she was a prospective member as well.

     The meeting started with a prayer, pledges to numerous flags, and some other things that I'm not quite sure what they were.  There was then an induction ceremony, where three applicants became members.  They also mentioned names of all of the prospective members, and there seemed to be somewhere around 25 women who were in the process of joining.

     Each meeting features a speaker, and this meeting was Jim Anderson, who spoke about Scottish Heritage and the Highland Games held each year in Stone Mountain Park.  It was quite informative and made me want to look into my Armstrong family and attend this year's Games.

     After the presentation there was a break for snacks, which was quite an impressive spread of finger sandwiches, fruits, veggies and desserts.  The meeting continued, touching on a number of topics specific to the chapter.  They will be hosting the state conference in March, and are looking for volunteers, nominated delegates to the conference, took up a collection for book donation to the National DAR Library, and other things.

     I was able to speak with the Registrar again, and she had me sign my application.  Boy was she in demand!  With 25 women in the process of joining she has to always be in the middle of something.  Both before and after the meeting, there always seemed to be one or two people waiting to speak with her.

     I picked up a good amount from this meeting about how this DAR chapter works, though I'm sure to learn more details at the New Member Workshop this Thursday.  For one thing, I'm curious about different committees.  I know that they have some for lineage and scrapbooking, but I get the feeling that there are a lot more.  The Registrar has already mentioned that I might want to join the lineage committee, based on the paperwork I supplied for my application.  I'm looking forward to Thursday and learning more about the DAR and this specific chapter.

Mom (52 Ancestors)

     I'm participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge in Ahnentafel order, so week three is about my mom.

     Mom grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, one of six kids whose parents who grew up in mill villages.  Her dad, Roy Albea, was a truck driver and her mom Betty Huyler, was a homemaker.  Mom and her siblings were the first on either side of the family to finish high school, verses her parents who dropped out to work or get married.  Mom was raised with the expectation of being a homemaker as well, but when her high school engagement fell apart, she ended up getting a job instead.

     Mom started with Bellsouth (now AT&T) in the early 1970s as a telephone operator and worked her way through numerous positions with the company, ending with sales (for yellow page ads).  After 30 years she retired to help care for her parents.  I have memories of a few of the different offices she worked at, including one with a huge lobby and a glass elevator and another with artists desk everywhere, in which my uncle also worked.  Honestly, it seems like half of my maternal family worked for Bellsouth.

     If I had to pick one word that I would use to describe my mom I would say artistic.  As long as I can remember, mom has been involved in art in some way.  She used to paint ceramics, crochet and sew, she has a talent for drawing and was heavily involved with graphic design with one of her jobs at Bellsouth.  Today, she mostly scrapbooks and does other projects with her scrapbooking supplies.

     Mom is one of those people that everyone loves.  She's sweet, open and friendly and can always find something to say to a stranger.  If you don't like my mom, there's something wrong with you.  Personally, she's pretty much my favorite person in the world.

18 January 2014

Surname Saturday: C

     I've stollen this idea from Colleen Pasquale of the blog "Leaves & Branches."

     There are 4,390 people in my family tree, though only 244 of them are my direct ancestors.  On random Saturdays, I will post the surnames of my ancestors, organized alphabetically.
  • Campbell (1)
    • My 6th Great-Grandmother was Lucy Campbell.  I know of her through the Revolutionary War Pension records filed by her husband, John Cash, and later by herself and her children.  She was born about 1760 in Amherst County, Virginia and died in 1848 in Pike County, Georgia. 
  • Campbell (2)
    • My 5th Great-Grandmother was Mary Campbell (no known relation to the above mentioned Lucy).  Mary was born around 1785 in South Carolina and married Michael Garmon.  They lived together in Milton County, Georgia (now north Fulton County)
  • Cappleman
    • My 6th Great-Grandmother was Ann Catherine Cappleman, who was born around 1746 and lived in Newberry County, South Carolina with her husband, Petter Quattlebaum.
  • Cash
    • Stephen Cash was my 7th Great-Grandfather.  He was born around 1729 and lived in Amherst County, Virginia and died there in 1799.  He married Jemima Grinning.
  • Clegg
    • My 6th Great-Grandmother was Elizbeth Clegg, who married Jacob Timmerman.  She lived her life in Edgefield County, where she was born in 1778 and died in 1860.
  • Coogler
    • Regina Coogler was my 5th Great Grandmother.  She was born in 1762 and died in 1833.  She lived in South Carolina, likely Orangeburg District or Lexington County, with her husband, John Meetze.
  • Corley
    • Sarah Corley is my somewhat mysterious 3rd Great-Grandmother.  She was born in Georgia around 1843 and is believed to have died before 1880, which was when her husband, Thomas Albea, remarried.
  • Craft (1)
    • My 5th Great-Grandfather was John Craft, born around 1774 in Granville, North Carolina.  He married Mary "Polly" Moss and they moved to Elbert County, Georgia.
  • Craft (2)
    • My 4th Great-Grandfather was William J Craft, who was born about 1803 in Elbert County, Georgia.  Some researchers have him listed as the son of the above mentioned John Craft, but I have doubts (although I'm sure they are related in some way).  William married Sarah Cash (great-grandaughter of the above mentioned Stephen Cash).
  • Crapps
    • My 5th Great-Grandfather was George Crapps of Lexington County, South Carolina.  He was born around 1770 and died in 1847.  He married Barbara Crim.
  • Crim
    • Speak of the devil.  Barbara Crim, wife of George Crapps (surprise!), was born around 1777 and died in 1849 in Lexington County, South Carolina.
  • Cummings
    • Jenney May Cummings was my 6th Great-Grandmother.  She married Jeremiah Wilcher and they lived together in Glascock County, Georgia (also possibly Jefferson County, GA).

14 January 2014

150 Years Ago Today: The Death of Wiley Powell

     150 years ago today, Wiley Powell died from disease while fighting in the Civil War.  He had already done a stint in the Georgia militia 26 years prior and was 42 years old when he enlisted again. This time he was serving as a replacement for another man.  He almost certainly received payment for his service, and I have to assume that the family needed that money.

     Almost as soon as Wiley joined the regiment, he went into the hospital.  He suffered from rheumatism and tuberculosis and was in and out of hospitals throughout his service.  He was admitted to Lynchburg Hospital No 3, where he stayed for a number of months before he died on 24 Jan 1864.

     Wiley was buried at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia.  There is a cenotaph for him in Elbert County, Georgia at the Rock Branch Cemetery where many of his family are buried.

13 January 2014

Daddy (52 Ancestors)

     Ok, so I missed week one of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  But! I figured that I'd do this based on Ahnentafel numbers.  Thus, my week one is the "About Valerie" tab.  Whew... I'm covered.

     So, the #2 person on my Ahnentafel report is my dad.  I have to confess, we got a bit grumpy with each other today.  He was trying to fix my toilet and the part I'd purchased was defective.  His grumpiness lead to my grumpiness... it happens.  But the happy times certainly outweigh the grumpy times.

     My dad was raised in an area outside of Atlanta that was rural, turning suburban.  His family (seven kids!) had a well for water, but by the time he was born they had indoor plumbing.  His parents, who had been born into rural farming families, believed in hard work.  Dad started working for his father's sanitation company when he was 13 and has held numerous jobs in construction and manufacturing since then.  Many times, we've been driving and he'll say, "I helped widen this road."  Sometimes he has some pretty interesting stories about the companies he worked for and the stuff they got away with back when.

     Some of my favorite memories when I was a kid come from spending time with my dad.  He took us to the drag races a few times and I remember the noise and wearing ear plugs.  My sister and I got pink t-shirts that we're wearing in a few random photos.

     He took us fishing one time.  I don't remember where, and I can only guess that we were about 10 years old (8? 12?).  I remember stopping to buy worms and standing on the bank of the lake and casting off.  I managed to catch two tiny fish and we ate snickers bars.

     Dad is also the family chef.  He will take a recipe from the newspaper or a evan a pre-packed meal and will make it his own.  It took me a while to understand why the Hamburger Helper on tv looked so different (and very boring!) than the Hamburger Helper we ate.  He's also willing to take out an ingredient he prefers for my more picky palate.

     I love my dad and I'm glad that he is my dad.  We might have our moments, but as I said, the happy outweighs the grumpy.

12 January 2014

The Cabbagetown Photo - Then and Now

     Today I visited the location where an old family photo was taken.  The photo (see below) is of a young man standing by a car in front of a house.  My Grandmama said that this was her Uncle Milton Waters in Cabbagetown (a mill town in Atlanta, Georgia).

     In trying to find the location of the photo, I found myself with almost too many options.  Uncle Milton and his parents lived all over the neighborhood and never appear in the same home from one year to the next in city directories.  Luckily though, the addresses were confined to three streets, all in Cabbagetown.

     When I decided to go in search of the home, I did some advance research.  First, I made an assumption that if it really was Uncle Milton in the photo, he was around 15 years old.  That would place the photo around 1930.  I made a list of all of the addresses the family was listed at between 1926 and 1935 - then I looked them up on Google Maps.

     A lot of the old addresses are no more, or have been heavily redeveloped.  For example, I can pretty much disregard the address where the modern condos and high rises now sit.  Other homes are still there, but have obviously had some remodeling done.  Still, I held out hope that the house in the picture still existed.

     Next, I looked at the homes in detail on Google Maps.  There were a few key features in the photo that I used to try and identify it: the shape of the roof, the fact that it was a duplex (hard to see, but the door on the left is open), that it was built off the ground, and that it wasn't much longer than the length of the car.  I also noted that it was very close to the house on the right.

     One of the addresses, 196 Savannah Street, seemed like a possibility: it was obviously a former duplex (two chimneys and space for a second door), it was built off the ground and had the same type of roof design.  The problem was two fold: the house next door and the address.  The other house wasn't close enough, nor of the correct design.  Considering the ages of the homes, however, it was certainly possible that the other house had been renovated.  The street number was also off; this house was 193 Savannah Street.  But considering that it had been changed from a multi to a single home, it was possible that street numbers had changed.

     This could be the house - but I need proof!

    I decided to review the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Cabbagetown in 1912.  I had previously downloaded these to get an understanding of some of the homes in question and had created an overlay in Google Earth.

     I looked at the two houses in question.  The top house was clearly a duplex with basically the same design as today.  The bottom house though, the one that should have been closer, had obviously undergone serious renovation.  It had previously been a triplex, with the left/top most home pushed back.  Today, that space is a driveway, and that's what clinched it for me.  In the original photo, you can see that the porch is pushed back and that there is more siding along the right side.  Compare the original photo and the Sanborn map and you can see it.

     So today my sister and I went to visit the house and take some photos.  It really neat to walk through the neighborhood where my ancestors lived and visually connect the past and present.

Edit: I didn't mention this, but I left the photo behind on the house's doorstep, with a note saying that it was a photo of my Great-Great Uncle in front of their house.  The home owner actually blogged about finding the photo, and then found this blog post.  Read about it here: Oakdale Onward.

06 January 2014

Land Plat for the Heirs of Daniel Crapps

     This is a plat showing the land of Daniel Crapps of Lexington County, South Carolina and how it was deeded to his heirs at the time of his death in 1867.  My 3rd Great Grandmother, Julia Crapps Leaphart, had already passed away when her father died, so her land is marked (section A) for her heirs.

     I'd love to find out exactly where this land was, and there are some clues.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to identify the rivers, even using old maps.  I think if I really want to find the location, I should find deeds and estate records for all of the neighbors shown on the map.  Those might hold more geographical clues.


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