Archive for October, 2009
by Sherry Stocking Kline
Published in October 2002 in the Wichita Eagle “Active Life” Magazine
When people start to climb their family tree they often hope to find royalty, presidents, or founding fathers, but imagine the surprise of two Wichita women when they found out their ancestor was a Salem witch.
Ardith Ott was in Salt Lake City researching her family tree when she made a surprising discovery.
“I was looking at my Bixby/Byxbe line,” Ott said, “and I found out that this woman who was hung as a Salem witch was one of my ancestors.”
Your Famous Ancestor May Show up in Books, Plays, or Movies…
As Ott soon learned, when your ancestor is famous (or infamous) your family information may be included in history books, show up on the front pages of newspapers, and be documented in trial transcripts. And your ancestor and the events surrounding them may be turned into books, movies, and plays, and your ancestral home be turned into a tourist attraction.
Ott’s ancestor was Rebecca Nurse, accused of witchcraft in March, 1692, tried, found innocent, re-tried, found guilty, excommunicated from her church in Salem, and hanged on July 19, 1692.
At first, Ott said she found it amusing to tell people that her ancestor was a Salem witch.
“I thought it was pretty funny when I discovered it,” Ott said, “until I read more about it; then I felt guilty for laughing. She was a victim.”
“My ancestor was hard of hearing,” Ott said, and would turn her head like a deaf person, so her accusers said that she was communicating with a bird in the rafters.”
Forty Friends Testified to Her Character…
Ott added that Nurse had almost forty friends, neighbors, and family members that testified to her character and innocence, and the Salem Witches Web site at the University of Virginia, said that seventy-year-old Rebecca Nurse was an elderly and respected member of the Salem Village community.
Betty McGehee, member of Associated Daughters of Early American Witches and a 14th great-granddaughter of Rebecca Nurse, said she joined the association to educate others that the people accused were not practicing witchcraft but were victims of the superstitions and hysteria of the times.
McGehee said that three of William Towne’s daughters, Rebecca Nurse and her two sisters, Sarah Cloyce and Mary Easty were also accused of witchcraft. Mary was hung in September of 1692 and Sarah was acquitted after spending months in jail.
What Started it All?
You know how when you tell a story sometimes it grows out of bounds,” Ott said.
“It was just a form of hysteria, and it all started with a couple of mischievous girls who started blaming everybody for something that went wrong,” McGehee said.
Tales of Voodoo and Witchcraft Fueled the Fire…
Fueling the hysteria, McGehee said, was a man who blamed the witches for the birth of a two-headed calf, and a couple of little girls that fell on the floor in church and claimed that Nurse had cast a spell on them. Adding fuel to the fire were the Barbados-raised servant girl Tituba’s tales of voodoo and witchcraft.
Research since then has indicated that some of Nurse’s accusers were individuals involved in land disputes with the family. Individuals who benefited from the Nurse’s death and the family’s problems.
Another possibility, according to “Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics and History” by University of Maryland Historian, Mary Kilbourne Motassian, was that exposure to a dangerous grain mold called ergot may have caused some of the strange symptoms people reported, symptoms that included nausea, temporary blindness and deafness, and hallucinations.
According to Dick Eastman, journalist for Ancestry Daily News at www.ancestry.com, “By the end of May 1692, two hundred accused witches were in jail, and twenty men and women were hanged, crushed to death, or left to die in prison…..” (map of witchcraft accusations can be found here.)
The Graves Were so Shallow…
Ott’s research uncovered the fact that her ancestor was thrown into a grave on Witch Hill with other witches, graves that were so shallow that the dead people’s hands stuck up in the air.
Nurse’s sons recovered her body and buried her in an unmarked grave. Nearly 200 years later her descendants erected a monument to her memory, listed the names of those who came to her defense, and inscribed the monument with a poem written especially for her by John Greenleaf Whittier.
Ott and her family visited her famous ancestor’s home, Salem Village, viewed the diorama, and the monument that her descendants erected to her memory.
Infamous Ancestors More Interesting?
“It’s nice when your ancestor’s were good people,” Ott said, “but when you find something unusual, that makes it more interesting.”
On Daryl and Laura May Jones’ Stone:
Daryl M. Sr
May 30, 1908 to June 32, 1999
Jan 28, 1913 to Oct 25, 1980
Married Aug 20, 1932
Daryl and May were my Aunt and Uncle.
I did not know that May was not her first name until I read her obituary.
May died from leukemia, though she lived many years after she was diagnosed.
Daryl and May had three sons, Daryl Jr, Dale, and Gaylon. Dale and Gaylon are deceased and Gaylon is buried next to Daryl and May.
On Gaylan Jones’ Stone
Gaylan R. Jones
August 26, 1943
July 2, 1979
Dale was cremated and his ashes spread over the ocean where he loved to fish with his wife, Bonnie, who is also deceased.
My Uncle Daryl was an engineer without a degree. If he needed a piece of farm equipment, or needed something fixed or added to, he could most generally make it or fix it, and other farmers came often to have him fix or weld their equipment. After he retired from farming at age 70, he spent more time doing what he loved, which was ocean fishing near Aransas Pass, Texas.
Grew up on a Farm near Milan, Kansas…
Growing up on the farm near Milan, Kansas, Daryl was an excellent horseman, and trapped for furs to help the family income. He attended one year of college at Wichita State University, but there was no money to further his education, so he traveled to California, worked in the aircraft industry, and came back to the family and farm where he married May.
He could have done well in college and afterward, but I can’t imagine that he would have been any happier than he was farming, living on the farm, and growing crops and building and welding things for himself and others.
The following challenge comes from Randy Seaver of http://www.geneamusings.com/
Hey, genealogy fans – it’s Saturday Night – time for more Genealogy Fun!
In honor of Surname Saturday (the new, official genealogy blogging prompt for Saturdays), let’s consider this, assuming you accept the challenge to play along (is it Mission Impossible?):
1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database – in your ancestry.
2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.
3) Okay, if you don’t have a really good one – how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?
by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 24, 2009
Because Most folks laugh when I tell them my maiden name, Stocking, I picked an ancestor from that side of the family.
When folks asked me how to spell my maiden name, I’d say “Just like you wear, just like it sounds.” When my brother was in high school, his friends nicknamed him “Sox” a name that stuck with him, and after he graduated and I entered high school a few years later, my friends called me “Sox” as well.
The ancestor’s name that I’ve been curious about ever since I read it in the family history book, was Deacon Samuel Stocking, son of George and Anna Stocking who immigrated from Suffolk, England on the ship Griffith in the 1630′s, and traveled to Hartford, Connecticut with Thomas Hooker’s party. George became one of Hartford’s founders.
According to family records, Deacon Samuel married Bethiah Hopkins on May 27th, 1652. A quick Google search brought his will to light in several places on the internet. Awesome, considering 10 years ago, it was only available in one place.
My question has been, was Deacon Samuel his name, or was Deacon his church title? And I realized when I re-read the wills, one after the other, (for what was NOT the first time) that George’s will refers to his son Samuel, not his son, Deacon Samuel.
So surely Samuel’s “Deacon” is a church title. On the other hand, Deacon Samuel’s will does refer to him as Deacon Samuel, sen.
So, while I think the question is answered tonight, I’d be happy to hear comments from those with more experience.
A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records: Hartford district, 1635-1700
By Charles William Manwaring
Stocking, George. He died 25 May, 1683. Invt. £257-09-00. Taken by Nath. Willett, Tho. Bunce, John Easton. Invt. in Middletown taken 8 June, 1683, by Nath: White & John Warner.
Court Record, Page 73—6 September, 1683: An Inventory of the Estate of George Stocking was exhibited in Court. Adms. to Samuel Stocking.
Page 78—18 December, 1683: This Court haveing viewed that presented as the Last Will & Testament of George Stocking in the circumstances of it, together with what George Stocking hath declared to George Stocking & Capt. Allyn, & his declaration of his will in part contradicting, doe Judge that the will presented is of no value, & therefore the Court distribute the Estate as followeth: To Samuel Stocking, £100; to Hannah Benton’s children, £41; to the wife of John Richards, £41; to the wife of Samuel Olcott, £41; & to John Stocking, who hath lived with George Stocking, his grandfather, for some years, the remainder of the Estate, being £34, we distributed to John Stocking; and desire & appoint Marshall George Grave & Thomas Bunce to make this Distribution. (See Will, Vol. III.)
Stocking, Deacon Samuel sen., Middletown. Died 30 December, 1683. Invt. £648-08-08. Taken by Giles Hamlin, William Ward. The children: Samuel 27 years of age, John 23, George 19, Ebenezer 17, Steven 10, Daniel 6 years old, Bethia Stow 25, Lydia Stocking 21 years. Will dated 13 November, 1683.
I Samuel Stocking of Middletown do leave this my last Will & Testament : I give unto my loveing wife Bethia Stocking my whole Homestead lying on the both sides of the Highway with all ye Buildings thereon thereunto belonging, with my whole Lott in the Long Meadow, with my Lott at Pistol Poynt, & half of my Meadow lying on the other side of the Brook, that part of it that lyeth next to the Great River, with all my Meadow Lands at Wongunk, together with all my Stock & Moveables; these I give my wife during her Widowhood, and upon marrying again I Will to her £4 yearly to be raised out of that Estate which I have agreed to my son Daniel Stocking.
I give to my son Samuel Stocking my whole Allottment upon the Hill between the Land of Lt. White and Israel Willcox, only excepting 6 acres adjoining to the Land of Lt. White, which I give to my daughter Bethia. Moreover I give to my son Samuel the remaining half of the Meadow over the Brook, with 10 acres of the Swamp adjoining to it. I give him my whole Allottment at the Cold Spring on the west side of the Way to Hartford. I give to him, sd. son Samuel, the whole of my Lott at Pipe Stave Swamp, with the half of my Allottment next unto Wethersfield Bounds, with the halfe of my Lott at Pistol Poynt, upon his Mother’s decease.
I give unto my son John Stocking the whole of the Land and Buildings at my Father Stocking’s decease bequeathed me by his last Will, within the Bounds of Hartford. I give unto my daughter Lydia my Lott lying next unto Thomas Ranny’s, and butting upon ye Commons West and Dead Swamp East, with a good Milk Cow, to be delivered her within 12 months after my decease.
I give to my sons George & Ebenezer all my Lands on the East side of the Great River, to be equally divided between them, excepting the y2 of my Great Lott next unto Haddam Bounds.
I give to my son Steven my whole Lott upon the Hill, bounded upon ye Lands of Thomas Rannie North, the Commons East, West & South, with my whole Allottment in Boggy Meadow, with all my Meadow & Upland in the farther Neck, giving the Improvement of the Boggy Meadow unto my son Samuel till the abovesd. child is of age to inherit.
I give to my son Samuell (Daniel, see original paper on File) my whole Homestead lying on both sides of the Highway, with my Lott in the Long Meadow, with half my Lott at Pistoll poynt, with ^ of my Lott lying on the West side of the way as you goe to Hartford, adjoining to the Land of Anthony Martin on the North, the Land of Thomas Ranny South, the Highway & Commons West.
This I say I give to my son Daniel, that is to say, the West end of it, the other halfe of sd. Lott to be to my son Samuel. These aforementioned parcells of Land as specified I give to him my sd. son Daniel & his heirs forever, with the other halfe of my Lott next Weathersfield Bounds.
I give to our Pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Collins, £3, my son Samuel to be sole Executor.
After the decease or marriage of my wife, my Estate to be equally divided amongst my children. I desire Mr. Nath. White & John Savage sen. to be Overseers. Witness: Nath: White, Samuel Stocking Sen.
John Savage sen.
A Codicil, without Change of the above, signed 25 December, 1683.
Court Record, Page 85—6 March, 1684: Will proven.
By Sherry Stocking Kline
October 20, 2009
Warner LaRue and Carrie Breneman Jones, my grandparents…
Warner LaRue Jones was born in Kentucky. Probably Barren County, to Willis Washington and Martha Ellen Smith Jones on March 13, 1880, and died in Sumner County, Kansas on November 1, 1947.
Carrie Esther Breneman Jones was born (I believe in Nebraska. I do not have all of my info here where I can double check), to Constantine “Tom” Breneman and Salinda (Rose) Breneman on Aug 15, 1876, and died Sept 13, 1956.
They are both buried in Ryan Township Cemetery, Milan, Sumner County, Kansas.
My grandmother, Carrie Breneman Jones, was gifted at painting & hand crafting things…
I never got to meet my grandfather, and I was young when my grandmother died. But I remember that she was extremely gifted at hand crafting things, crocheting beautiful doilies, and pretty doll clothes. She taught herself to paint when she was already a senior citizen, and painted very life-like pictures of animals, particularly our families’ registered Ayrshire cattle.
We visited her often, and how I wish I had been old enough to ask the many questions that I now have!
Here is a photograph of their young family. My mother is the youngest child in this photograph, and there was one more child, Fern, born later. Fern died from pneumonia when she was sixteen, and is buried next to her parents.
My grandfather, Warner Jones, loved his favorite team of mules!
I can’t resist adding one more photograph that I just love! Wish I knew the name of the mules, but my mother told me that my grandfather loved those mules very much!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 19, 2009
It may sound crazy, but the best fishing trip I ever went on was nowhere near the water and we didn’t catch any fish.
It All Started With a Garage Sale…
It all started with a garage sale. (I do love garage sales.)
Driving by a garage sale late one Saturday afternoon I begged my son to stop so I could feed my garage sale fix. (no, I have no pride and he was driving so I begged, maybe even offered a bribe.)
I knew we were too late in the day to get first choice on the good stuff, but we were prime time for getting bargains on the I-don’t-want-to-box-it-up-and-keep-it leftovers.
Sitting there amidst a lot of stuff we didn’t want was what looked like a really nice fishing reel. I picked it up, checked it out, and laid it back down.
Which immediately prompted an offer from the owner of the garage.
So I snapped up the fishing reel. When we got back home, my son and I immediately went to my mom’s home to show off our ‘treasures.’
“Looks like a nice reel,” she said, “but it needs new line.” And she, being the veteran of years of pond, river, lake, and ocean fishing, knew what she was talking about.
Take it To Your Uncle Daryl…
“Take it to your Uncle Daryl,” she said, “he can put new line on it and get it ready to go for you.”
So I did. My Uncle Daryl Jones, Sr. was pretty much a ‘pro’ at fishing. Whether it was pond, river, creek, lake, or ocean, he’d fished them all, and he usually brought home the fish that the rest of us call “the one that got away.”
He looked the reel over, allowed that it was an “o.k.” reel, and that I had gotten a pretty “o.k.” deal, kept it, and promised to put new line on it and get it back to me soon.
A couple of weeks later he called me up and asked me if I had a little time. He had an hour to kill while my Aunt Elsie, got her hair done.
“Sure,” I said, and when he knocked on my door an hour later my fishing reel was now attached to a pole.
And Not Just Any Pole…
Not just any pole, but the one that his first wife, my Aunt May, who had passed away, had used to catch a shark in the Ocean near Aransas Pass, Texas, where they and my mom and her husband used to spend their winters fishing and being winter Texans.
Awesome! I was thrilled, and moved to tears, and I tried to talk him into keeping it. But he wouldn’t have it.
“At my age, it won’t be too long before someone will have to put my things in an auction,” he said, “I’d like for you to have it.” (Fortunately, it was some time yet before he passed on.)
Nothing would have it but that he give me an on-the-spot fishing lesson. So out the door we went to his little Toyota pickup, put down the tail gate, sat down, and he began to show me the right way to cast and reel in, cast and reel in.
That day is a Golden Moment in my memories…
It was fall, and the air was fresh and clean and just crisp and cool enough to need a light jacket. The trees were turning gold and red and even the dust motes in the breeze were golden with reflected sunlight.
We sat there, uncle and niece, on a pick-up tail gate in my driveway, dangling our feet, talking about fishing and memories, and casting out up and down the street as if we were actually on a lake, and bonding.
Casting out and reeling in, and hurrying like mad when a car turned down my dead-end street and threatened to run over our ‘catch.’
And enjoying being family on a beautiful fall day.
My Neighbors Thought We Were a Brick Shy of a Full Load…
There’s not a lot of traffic on my street, but I’m sure the neighbors and the occasional ‘foreigner’ (car that didn’t live there) that drove by that day had to be certain we were ‘a brick shy of a full load’, but I didn’t care.
I learned a lot that day, not all of it about how to fish, and the most important thing I learned was to tuck golden memories like this one into my heart to keep forever.
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Or How Many Descendants Does my Roderick and Frances “Fanny” Great-Grandparents Have Now?
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – A Family’s Increase
By Randy Seaver
Click here for Randy’s original post.
Hey, genealogy fans, it’s Saturday Night! Time for some Genealogy Fun!
Your task, if you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music), is to:
1) Pick one of your four great-grandparents – if possible, the one with the most descendants.
2) Create a descendants list for those great-grandparents either by hand or in your software program.
3) Tell us how many descendants, living or dead, are in each generation from those great-grandparents.
4) How many are still living? Of those, how many have you met and exchanged family information with? Are there any that you should make contact with ASAP? Please don’t use last names of living people for this – respect their privacy.
5) Write about it in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments or a Note on Facebook.
How Many Descendants Do My Great-Grandparents Roderick and Frances “Fanny” Stocking Have Now?
by Sherry Stocking Kline
October 18, 2009
My Great-Grandparents were Roderick and Frances “Fanny” Stocking. Roderick was born in Butler, Michigan on Dec 25, 1853, and his wife, Frances Hitchcock, was born November 9, 1858 in Crescent City, Illinois.
They had four children, all sons, Elmer, Ralph, Roderick Porter, and John.
Elmer had nine children, one of which died at birth.
Ralph adopted three children, one died young.
Roderick had three children, one son and twins, a boy and girl. He died young. He was electrocuted while working on high lines. Electricity was fairly new to the area then, and people often did their own wiring, and so accidents happened.
John and his wife did not have any children.
Generation 1 - 4 children – all dead (Roderick Remine’s Children)
Generation 2 - 15 children – 12 dead 3 alive
Generation 3 - 33 children - 4 dead 29 alive
Generation 4 - 39 children - 3 dead 36 alive
When I printed this report out and looked at it, I was shocked that I had so many new entries that needed to be made in my Family Tree Program.
91 members to generation 4, and I think there are at least 30 more individuals that could be added. It has been quite some time since I’ve sent out questionnaires to the families and asked them to fill them out.
We plan to have a family reunion next summer, so it looks like I certainly have my work cut out for me! Now I’ve got to get busy and get those questionnaires sent out so that I can learn just how many descendants Great-grandma and Great-grandpa Stocking really do have!
by Sherry Stocking Kline
published in the Wichita Eagle – August 2007
For Christmas of 1984, J. P. Buellesfeld ‘s great-great uncle gave him a black, leather-bound journal.
Buellesfeld was so impressed with the gift and the fact that his great-great uncle, head of the history department at Washburn University, had been keeping a journal for 45 years that a few months later he began keeping his own journal.
Every Single Day…
Twenty-four years later, he’s still doing it. Every. Single. Day.
In fact, the journal has become so important to him that he keeps notes throughout the day in a notebook at his investment office, then takes the notebook home, and uses it to write in his journal.
For Buellesfeld, it is a matter of documenting the happenings in his life, his family’s lives, and those of his close friends. As someone who has taught and is fascinated by history, it’s also his way of documenting world happenings.
Writing in a journal can be fun, informative, and according to Buellesfeld, help settle future arguments.
Journaling Can Promote Good Health …
It can also promote good health. According to research conducted at Southern Methodist University writing in a journal for a few minutes each day about what has happened and how we feel about it can help promote emotional well-being, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.
There’s never been a better time to start your own journal. It’s easy to find how-to-do-it books, and when you type “journaling” into Google there are 3 million plus “hits” to help you get started.
Every bookstore has a selection of journals, hard-backed, paper-backed, and beautiful leather-bound versions; some have themes, such as nature or inspirational, and many include questions and inspirational quotes to get you started.
To personalize your journal, Lori Ritchie, www.writersdigest.com, suggests that you add your favorite prayers or verses, the lyrics to your favorite songs, share your family history and family tree information, and record important events. Ritchie also suggested you add a table of contents to your journal and devote a page telling how it was acquired.
What Should You Journal About?
You can journal about everything you do or only one area of your life.
Going on a trip? Take along a traveler’s journal.
Are you a New Grandma? (Or Grandpa?) Fill out a journal about your life and your hopes and dreams for the new grandbaby.
Want to grow in your faith? There are journals with daily Bible verses and questions to stimulate thought and spiritual growth.
Grieving a loss? A grief journal can help you through your journey of recovery.
Just Remember That it’s Your Journal…
It can be anything that you want it to be, a place to document daily happenings, the story of your family’s life, or a secret place to write down your emotions, share your goals and dreams, and unload your daily cares.
Journals don’t have to be leather bound, and they don’t have to be fancy, a simple spiral notebook or a word document on your computer or laptop will do.
Use whatever works for you, and whatever allows you the freedom to express yourself.
What Goes into Buellesfeld’s Journal?
“Everything. I put everything in there,” Buellesfeld said, adding that “Once you do it everyday for 24 years it becomes an obsession.”
Buellesfeld said that his journal is absolutely more about his personal life than his business. While he hasn’t decided what provision he will make for his journals after his death, he said that many make provisions to keep their journals private for a number of years.
“Every night, and I mean every night, no matter how tired I am, I write in that journal.”
by Sherry Stocking Kline
written October 13, 2009
George W. Smith was my great-uncle, though I hadn’t a clue who he was or even that he existed until I read a biography that was published about George, his Civil War Service, his marriage, and his family, including several generations.
When I read it I was pretty sure he was ‘kin’ and research proved that to be the case.
I owe the person who put the biography into the book a huge debt of gratitude, because his sister, my great-grandmother, Martha Ellen Smith (a twin) married my great-grandfather, Willis Washington Jones. And if there’s anything more difficult than locating a Jones’ needle in a haystack, it’s locating one who married a Smith!
The stone I photographed as his wife, and that I am uploading here, appears to be a second wife of George W., though I have not verified that.
I have not gone back to Barren County to finish sorting out all the many threads I still have hanging, though I need to, as perhaps one thread or another will lead me over or through my brick wall, which is, who is the father of Willis Washington Jones?
The following is George’s family’s biography:
BOOK – BARREN COUNTY KY Genealogy & Biography
Vol II Editor Thomas Westerfield
Genealogical Reference Co
P.O. Box 1554
Owensboro, KY 42301
GEORGE W. SMITH was born in Sullivan county, Tenn., on the 17th of February, 1840. His father, Charles A. Smith, is also a native of Sullivan County, Tenn., born March 1, 1818.
He married Miss Virginia Hawley, whose parents were Virginians, and who died in the year 1872, leaving eight children – four sons and four daughters – of whom five are yet living, George W. Being the oldest survivor; after him follow Sarah A. (Smith), Nancy (Harrison), Mary (Foster) and Martha (Jones).
Charles A. Smith has followed farming during most of his life, in connection with which he worked at the blacksmith’s trade; he is a resident of Barren County; his age about sixty-seven years; he is hale and stout and seems to have lost but little of the vigor of former years. He is a son of Calvin Smith, of North Carolina, who was of Welsh extraction, and was married to a Miss Allen, a distant relative of Col. Ethan Allen, of Revolutionary fame.
Calvin Smith’s father was a veteran of the war of 1776, and held the rank of captain. James Hawley, the father of Mrs. Charles A. Smith, was of French descent and belongs to one of the highly respected families of Virginia. He was a teacher by profession, and later in life a farmer. His father, Francis Hawley, was a Virginian, and served in the war of the Revolution.
George W. Smith was reared on a farm and received a good common school education. In 1861 he enlisted in Company E., Ninth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, Federal, and served until December, 1864, rising to the rank of sergeant; he was engaged in the battles of Perryville; Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Dalton, Kennesaw, Lost Mountain, Resaca, Atlanta and Jonesboro.
After he returned home, with the small capital of $600 he began farming, and through industry and perseverance, he is now the proprietor of 230 acres of good land. His farm is in good condition, Well kept and improved, with good buildings and orchard of 1500 trees.
He was married, on the 8th of November, 1866, to Miss Julia Harrison, of Barren County. To this union have been born eleven children: Anna D., Martha R., Charles S., Horace G., Lulu, Reuben, Daisy, Garfield, Arthur, Mary P. And Ora. Mr. Smith is a member of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Smith holds to the Methodist faith.
Her parents, Reuben and Martha (Sanders) Harrison, were of English parentage, and by birth Virginians. Politically Mr. Smith is a Republican, but does not engage actively in politics.
Oops! In my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post I listed this church as the Temple Hill Baptist Church. I did not check my notes before making this post, and it wasn’t until I looked at this church sign that I went “Wooops!” So I will make the changes on my Saturday post as well! We had a wonderful time “cemetery stomping” with our new cousins, Dennis and Nancy (Bertram) Bush here.
The following is from Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings website! Thank you, Randy!
Yes, it’s Saturday Night, and time for some Genealogy Fun!
My friend, Leland Meitzler, posted his Top Ten list of “Most Satisfying Genealogy Events” yesterday – and it’s a good list – please read it and respond to it if you want to.
For today’s SNGF, if you choose to participate (cue the Mission Impossible music!), please:
1) Tell us about one (or more) “Satisfying Genealogy Moments” from your family history and genealogy research. What was it, and how did it make you feel? You can make a Top Ten list if you want to!
2) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on this post, or make a comment on Facebook, and tell us about your “moment in time.”
The Day the Genealogy Serendipity Angels Smiled!
by Sherry Stocking Kline, October 10, 2009
My Number One favorite all-time Genealogy Experience was one of those “ahhh moments” when Serendipity and the Angels smiled on us.
It was July of 2005, and my husband and I were leaving soon to visit our son in Illinois, and we were taking my mom who was 93 at the time, to Barren County, Kentucky for a day or two and try to locate my Mom’s dad’s childhood home.
I did some research before I left. I re-checked on library hours, wrote down addresses, packed up a notebook (and laptop), and called the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center in Glasgow, Kentucky to talk to the wonderfully helpful woman I had spoken with on a previous occasion.
I nearly hung up the phone…
I nearly hung up the phone when I learned that the woman who had been so warm and friendly before was not working.
That would have been a mistake.
I sighed to myself, decided to take a chance, re-state my facts and share my story with the woman who had answered the phone.
“I’m looking for information,” I said, “about my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Willis Washington Jones and his wife, Martha Ellen Smith and her parents, Charles and Virginia Hawley Smith.”
There Was Dead Silence…
There was dead silence for at least three heartbeats.
And then she said (and here I still get goosebumps) “Charles and Virginia Hawley Smith are my great-great grandparents, too.”
“Oh. My. Gosh.” I thought.
“Hello, cousin!” was my astonished reply. The genealogical angels had not deserted me; they had given me a wonderful gift!
My brand-new cousin’s name was Nancy Bertram Bush, she was ‘into’ genealogy, and she invited us to give her a call when we got to Glasgow.
A couple of weeks later, we were in Glasgow. I stopped at the courthouse, looked up some land records, and learned more about my great-great grandfather Smith’s land holdings.
When we arrived at the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, I gave Nancy another call and we were in luck, she was home.
Nancy Had a Gift for Mother…
She hurried over to the Center to meet us, (and a nicer new cousin I can’t imagine meeting). She brought along a treasure, a photograph of my mother’s grandparents (complete with the names) that had been mailed back to the family from Kansas and presented it to my mom.
Mom had never seen photographs of her grandparents and when we brought the photograph home, we were able to identify Willis and his wife Martha in two other photographs that we had.
Nancy offered to take us around Barren County with her husband to try to locate the former home of Willis and Martha Ellen. We went up hill and down dale, we stopped at one family farmstead that had Smith family buried there, and we tramped through tall grass to record names and take photographs, but this was not our destination.
Our next stop proved to be the home of Charles and Virginia Hawley Smith, and we were able to visit with the family and see the land and outbuildings, some of which might have actually been standing during Charles & Virginia’s time.
The Family Cemetery Had Been Returned to Farmland…
Thanks to researching cemetery books we already knew that their family cemetery had been returned to farm land, which was disappointing.
Next we stopped at the Caney Fork Baptist Church and cemetery and walked through the cemetery and paid our respects to cousins, great-aunts and great-uncles.
When we watched my mother get out of the car and in her words “stand on the land her father had played on as a child” and look around and see “where he came from,” it was a meaningful moment for us all.
We were grateful we were able to help her do this.
Thank You, Cousin, Nancy…
It was with deep sadness that we received word about two years ago that our new-found cousin, Nancy Bertram Bush, had suffered a heart attack and passed away.
Thank you for a wonderful Genealogical Moment in Time, cousin Nancy.
by Sherry Stocking Kline
First published in the Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – April 2002
Getting Grandpa to talk about the “good ole’ days” really isn’t as hard as you might think. All you have to do is set the stage, bring along some props, and be prepared with plenty of questions.
Pat Gaddie grew up listening to her Grandpa Sam tell his Irish jingles, share stories about blue racer snakes chasing him through fields, and the wagon trip he made in 1902 when he was eighteen and his family moved from Tennessee to Oklahoma.
“He lived next door to us when I was small,” Gaddie said, “and when I was eight or nine years old, he used to tell stories to entertain me.”
How to Keep Them Story Telling…
Not everyone enjoys reminiscing, but if your Grandpa (or Grandma) does, here are a few tips to keep them story telling.
Decide what you want to know, make a list of questions, then ask the most important ones first.
What’s your priority? Is it facts, figures, dates, and places, the who begat who and where or when, or is it the stories that you want to hear?
Are there family legends that you want to verify or clarify, or do you want to hear how he proposed to Grandma, laugh about the night he and his bride were chivareed, or see D-Day through his eyes?
Set the stage.
Old photographs and family memorabilia are great memory triggers, and can prompt a flood of memories, so bring out the high school play bills and yearbooks, wedding photos, and photographs of the plane Grandpa flew in the service. When he shows you the photo of his first car, be sure and ask him about the job he took to pay for it.
Take field trips to old schools, cemeteries, and other meaningful places, and travel to Grandpa’s hometown and drive by his old schoolhouse. You may learn who put the snake in the teacher’s desk, the story behind Grandpa’s nickname, and more.
Remember that Grandpa’s dates may be approximate, as he’ll likely remember events as happening “the year of the big blizzard, the summer of the drought, or just before Beverly was born”.
Bev Malone interviews older family members to flesh out stories and verify the information.
“The best way to get the stories flowing about family members is to ask about people and things, not personalities,” Malone said.
Make sure your cameras, and audio or video recorders have fresh batteries, and take along spares. If you need an extra memory card for your cameras (or film) be sure to take that along, too.
“Recorders can make people nervous,” Malone said, so she breaks the ice by asking, “Do you mind if I tape this? My brain can’t keep it all in my head.”
Take notes, just in case technology lets you down, and transcribe your notes as soon as possible.
Need help with your list of questions?
There are books that can help, such Emily Anne Croom’s “Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook” with questions tailored for different decades in history, and Janice T. Dixon’s “Family Focused” with question lists and suggestions to help you conduct interviews and gather information.
What’s Dixon’s advice in “Family Focused” to interviewers?
“Be relaxed, don’t interrupt, don’t contradict, and don’t ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no.”
“Keep the flow of conversation going,” Dixon said, “you can go back and ask questions later.”
Gaddie cherishes and shares her Grandpa Sam’s stories with her family, a process that can add valuable information to your research as well as give you new questions to ask.
With a little planning, the next time you visit Grandpa, you may learn more about your grandfather, your parents – perhaps even yourself.