Posts Tagged ‘Traveling for Genealogy’
by Sherry Stocking Kline
January 26, 2010
This tombstone is located in a Smith Family Cemetery in or near the Temple Hill area in Barren County, Kentucky. (there are several Smith Family cemeteries in Barren County.) It is a small family cemetery, but I would guess there might be as many as 20 or 30 burials there.
The cemetery was located behind a farmhouse, and the whole area was overgrown with tall grass. One clue to note is that someone (probably on Memorial Day given the plastic flowers are only slightly faded) had placed flowers on their grave. So most likely they have living children or grandchildren in the area.
1857 – 1936
1860 – 1940
While I suspect Lute and Sabina Smith may be family, I haven’t verified it yet, and I hope that can be part of this year’s adventures. I think Sabina is a very pretty name, one that I’d never heard before, and if it truly is unusual, that should make sorting her out of the other Smith’s easier. The name Lute doesn’t seem that common, either.
My next steps when I start working on this couple will be to check on the census for them, get a copy of their obituaries, will(s), and perhaps even give the local funeral homes a call as that has worked well in the past. Those are my first steps.
If it looks like there is a family connection, I will also contact the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, as they have several family histories there, along with miscellaneous family information, and see if perhaps they have a family history for the family there that I can use as a springboard to use to locate the documents that would verify relationships.
We were at this cemetery 5 July 2005, looking for our own family burials, but we did not find any names in the cemetery that we knew to be our kin. We had my mother with us and were trying to locate her grandfather’s homestead.
We did not find my mother’s grandfather’s homestead, but were able to locate her great-great grandfather’s homestead about three miles on past this farmstead. Unfortunately, my ancestor’s Smith cemetery had already been returned to farm ground.
The tombstone of J. Thomas and Nancy A. (Smith) Harrison is just down the road a few miles in the Caney Fork Baptist Church cemetery. They may (or may not) be related to each other.
Warner LaRue Jones Tombstone. Warner was born in Kentucky to Willis and Martha Ellen Smith Jones.
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 written for Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – December 2008 (and just in case Santa is reading this, I’d still like to have this in my Christmas Stocking!) If you’ve ever been at a cemetery, library, or family gathering and wished you had your whole family tree in your shirt pocket or purse, you may want to ask your favorite Santa to leave the Pocket Genealogist Software in your Christmas stocking this year. Laura Phillips and her husband Kevin are the developers, owners, and tech support people for the Pocket Genealogist, a nifty little software package that will let you carry around up to a quarter million family members (plus photographs) on your PDA or smartphone, support GPS latitudes and longitudes, calculate dates, Soundex, add data, and search for individuals or places.
Carry Your Family Tree with You…
Phillips said that her husband, Kevin, got frustrated while trying to organize his family tree information to go on an out-of-state trip to visit family. He wanted to carry his whole family tree on his PDA (personal digital assistant) and leave his laptop at home. “He couldn’t find a program that would do what he wanted it to do,” said Laura Phillips, business manager and self-proclaimed “dummy tester” of Northern Hills Software’s Pocket Genealogist, “his standards are pretty high. So he put together a program to do what he wanted it to do.”
Software works on Windows Mobile Smart Phones & PDA’s
According to Phillips and the www.pocketgenealogist.com website, the software will run on any Windows Mobile Software, and depending on your PDA’s memory, the program can hold up to a quarter million individuals, allow you to view photographs, calculate those tricky ‘how-are-we-related anyway’ questions, and enter data for transfer back to your desktop computer. “You won’t get a free cell phone that is capable of running this software,” Phillips said.
Decide What Uses Before You Buy!
So before you buy a phone or PDA, you need to decide how you want to use it and what software you want to run and then purchase the smart phone or PDA that will do what you need it to do. Phillips said the Pocket Genealogist won’t work on IPhones, Blackberry’s or PDA’s that use the Palm Operating System. (Phillips said that the Gedstar Pro software program will work with Palm Operating systems.) Besides English, Pocket Genealogist supports nine languages and will import directly from Legacy Family Tree without conversion to a GEDCOM. Phillips said that it also “works with anything that adheres to the GEDCOM standard, including Family Treemaker, The Master Genealogist, and Roots Magic
Desktop In Your Pocket?
“We try to mirror the experience that you have with your desktop,” Phillips said, and added a reminder to software users to “back up” their information. “Your system is getting hauled around everywhere,” Phillips said, “so it’s important to back up your PDA’s information, just as you would a desktop computer.” Phillips said that Pocket Genealogist is very easy to navigate and has a very low learning curve, making it easy for new users. “I’m considered the dummy tester,” Phillips said, “if I can read the manual and make it work, we figure anybody can.”
by Sherry Stocking Kline
First published “The Family Tree” column in Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine – May 2004.
Before you hit the road this summer with ancestor files tucked into a suitcase and your favorite family tree program loaded onto your laptop, be sure to make one more stop at the library.
Librarians and volunteers experienced in searching for and finding lost ancestors can help you locate resources locally, so doing your homework before you head out the door can save you a lot of time when you get to your destination.
“Some of the information you need may be here at the library,” said Michelle Enke, City Historian, Wichita Public Library, “we have all of the Kansas State and Federal Census, and the complete 1930 census for Oklahoma.” Enke added that other states’ census are available; check http://www.wichitagensoc.org/ for other records and microfilm.
According to Enke, a helpful new tool for Kansans is the Kansas Library Card. The library card will give you access to the Heritage Quest website where you can find U. S. Census images, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), and more than 25,000 genealogy and history books.
Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society Library is another “must stop” for before-you-go research. According to volunteer Sue McGuire, MHGS has many out-of-state books, more than 600 quarterly newsletters from different states and counties, county histories, and family genealogies.
Search the on-line catalogs of your destination libraries and check on-line at FamilySearch.org for books and resources that you might be able to order at your library or at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 7011 E. 13th and read ahead of time.
To speed up research in all libraries, learn the Library of Congress numbering system used in academic libraries and the Dewey Decimal numbers for the state/city/county area(s) that you wish to research, Enke said.
“The Dewey Decimal number for Wichita, Kansas is 978.1861 all across the nation,” Enke said.
Before you leave home, make sure that you have the addresses and hours of libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries that you wish to visit. It’s also a good plan to call the Chamber of Commerce in your destination areas, get their hours, addresses, and ask for the names and phone numbers of the local funeral homes.
Both Enke and McGuire rely on Everton’s “Handybook for Genealogists” to get courthouse and library contact information. Enke added that another important resource is the “International Vital Record’s Handbook” listing where each state’s vital records are kept.
And before McGuire or Enke hits the highway they take the information super highway to the USGenweb site to find state and county information.
“Each county web site is different, but many have library addresses, lists of books, courthouse hours, and maps/directions to the cemeteries,” Enke said.
“I prepare as much as possible,” Enke said, “I use the library, the Internet, make phone calls, ask questions, and I make sure that I have my ancestor’s names, dates, and places. It saves time and effort once you get there.”
Before she leaves home, McGuire makes a list of what she wants to find: obituaries, marriage records, land and court records, etc., packs her family group sheets and creates a what-happened-when-family-timeline to double check facts when she arrives at her destination.
“My husband and I spend a lot of time on our summer travels going to cemeteries and courthouses,” McGuire said, “I’ve been to Missouri and several places around.”
“You always have something to search for,” McGuire said, “that’s all a part of the fun of it.”