Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Embury: Living in Ballingrane

I have learned fascinating historical information about the locality and time period of my Palatine Ancestors after they immigrated from Germany.

Andrew (Andreas) Embury (Imberger) lived across the road from his niece/cousin Barbara Ruckle in Ballingrane.  To gain access to his home a visitor would have to go between two massive gate post which he erected so that he could finish off a wall of field stones to around his farm.

The Irish-Palatine children worked with their hands completing many chores which include feeding pigs, chickens; weeding gardens, carrying materials for fires, weaving, etc.  Sometimes children around the age of twelve would plough fields while driving four horses.  When there was time to play, the children would be roaming fields, climbing trees and wall stones, exploring country roads, riding this parents to market, or fishing for salmon in the Shannon River.  Music played a major part in their lives.

Historically, within twenty-five years there had been at least three or four famines but the Palatines were always prepared because of their farming skills.  Eventually the colony couldn't escape privation so learning to be frugal and thrifty had to become ingrained habits for survival.

Rev. Philip Embury eventually studied at at an English School, was the schoolmaster to this little community and he taught the elements of German knowledge.  Philip Embury was a carpenter apprentice at the Charter School in Rathkeale, while his brother John received business training.

Philip Embury had been one of Father Guier of Ballingrane promising students so he extracted a promise from my ancestor to go to Limerick with him.  August of 1752 the Methodist preachers held their first conference in Limerick.  By then Father Guier was officially appointed a Methodist minister to the Limerick Palatines.  Philip Embury assisted Father Guier and Walsh with meetings on the Estate.  Philip's religious beliefs were initially Lutheranism and because of his heritage and German Background it took him a while to deliberate and make a decision to join.  On Monday, Dec 25th 1752, Philip was twenty-four years old when his personal salvation paid off through is soul-searching prayers and he made the decision to become Methodist.

Finding interesting facts about your ancestor can be really fun.

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To Their Heirs Forever
United Empire Loyalists
pages 50 - 54, 62-69
Camden Valley, New York to Upper Canada
Author Eula C. Lapp

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Odds and Ends of Old Virginia and West Virginia

Knowing about the locality and time period of where your ancestors were, becomes very important in trying to find documentation that they were there. A good example of understanding the time period and locality is understanding the Odds and Ends of Old Virginia and West Virginia.

The records of James City County have been completely destroyed. A sheriff's tax book for the years 1768 and 1769 are the few remaining records of the residents in the county before the Revolutionary War.

Virginia was well settled by 1775. By 1800 it had 90 counties and a population of nearly a million. Until 1686 the Episcopal Church was the state church and all children, regardless of their religious affiliation was required to be baptized by the ministers of that church. Dates of their baptism includes their names, dates of birth, and the names of parents in the parish registers. Parish records for marriages, death, and burials include the same information. All church records have been preserved, some are printed, and are all available in the Virginia State Library in Richmond Virginia. Copies of the original entries may be obtained by contacting the library. This library also have Parish Registers and Vestry books from 1618-1860.

The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom was written by Thomas Jefferson and was passed by the Virginia General Assembly on 16 January 1786. It is considered the forerunner for the first amendment protection for religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

To be married, people were married by banns or by furnishing bonds. The banns were published in the parish where they lived and if the couple lived in a different parish the banns were published in both parishes. Bonds were filed in the county clerk's office but the marriage itself was recorded in the parish records.

In 1704, the Quit Rent Rolls were used as census because all who owned more than fifty acres of land had to pay the King of England rent of one shilling for each fifty acres. Counties that were not affected by this was Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Richmond, and Stafford. The 1790 census was all destroyed by fire. By using various records a list has been made available and it is called the Tax List for 1790.

The State of Virginia has records of births, deaths, and marriages from 1853 to the present. Prior to that records are found in each county where the event took place. As to the marriage bonds, some are located in the State Library in Richmond and others in the individual counties. That State of Virginia doesn't have births and death between the years of 1896 - 1912, instead these are located in the individual counties (if any remain) where the event took place.

There are some cities in Virginia that are independent cities and they maintain their own records. Check the cities as well especially the board of health offices in Alexandria, Bristol, Buena Vista, Charlottsville, Clifton Forge, Colonial Heights, Danville, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Harrisonburg, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Newport News, Norfolk, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Radford, Richmond, Roanoke, South Norfolk, Stauton, Suffolk, Waynesboro, Williamsburg, and Winchester.

In what was known as All Ohio County in West Virginia, most of the records prior to 1850 are in Wheeling, WV. Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel Counties start most of their birth, death, and marraiges records about 1853. Some marriages were recorded in Wetzel and Marshall County as early as 1846. Land records and deeds, and will were recorded much earlier. Wheeling, West Virginia has records going back to 1792 and includes marriages. Some early birth and deaths records maybe found there but since it was not a law to record these events at this time, these will be limited.

Someone wanting to do understand their own family history needs to have a love of history to begin with.

Copyright (c) 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hardships of Palatine Immigrants

Even my own family on both sides had their hardships both here in America and across the seas everything from crusades, wars, famine, plagues, and genocide attempts to wipe the family out.

The winter of 1708-09 was long and bitterly cold in the Rhineland. During the bleak evenings, as they sat huddled around their fire, many families rehearsed again and again the pros and cons of quitting their familiar homes forever.  By the beginning of aril the land was in winter's frozen grip, and most of the vines, on which depended their livelihood, had been killed.  Yet this was only the last straw.  When the kindern were asleep between the dowendecks. Parents talked sadly about the past trying years and the hopeless prospect for the future.  Ever since the war began in 1702 they had known nothing but hardship and misery.  The some aged grandfather would counter that it was worse when he was young, During the Thirty Years War.  Why in that war almost one third of the population of Germany had perished.  If only they could be free of the burdensome taxes and the cruel religious persecutions!  Grandfather would remind them that away back in 1677, William Penn had visit the Palatinate and had extolled Pennsylvania in America as a province where princes and priestcraft were unknown and a man could be his own master. 

First they would have to procure scows for the long journey down the Rhine.  Then they could take only what possessions they could carry; and they would be dependent on charity for most of their provisions along the way.   None of them could speak English.  Perhaps they would soon feel at home - Andreas Imberger had heard from an uncle in England that a year ago the British Parliament has passed a naturalization bill granting all protestant immigrant the right to become British subjects.

So the talk went on and on.  Finally, some father sat down to write cousins in the next village - letters to be carried by his eldest son - saying that he had almost made up his mind to leave his home and set out with his family for America - or at least England.  but he could not bear the thought of being forever separated from his kin; would they consider emigrating too?

Then, before an answer had come back, the night of terror arrived.  Families awoke to find their homes and the whole village in flames and the air rent with the shrieks of terrified neighbours.  The strident armies of France's Louis XIV were ruthlessly ravaging all the towns in the Lower Palatinate.  Some families were prepared for escape with bundles already tied and assigned to those who would carry the, and with plans made to meet friends in the dark at specific places.

It was in April 1709 that the first parties of refugees began to move on the great river.  (some, tragically, perished of exposure, hunger - or fright-before their friends embarked.)  The weather was still inclement.  What with local restrictions, and fee and tolls to be paid, the trip took four to six tedious weeks.  By the autumn of 109, more than ten thousand persons had made this first leg of the journey to freedom.

A few Dutch ship-owners were commissioned by the Duke of Marlborough - whom Queen Anne had made responsible for transporting the displaced Germans to England - to carry some of the refugees.  The others were brought in troopships used normally to carry the Army of the Duke, That famous ancestor of Sir Winston Churchill.

Andreas Imberger (my ancestor) on my mother's side soled from Rotterdam on May 23 and was probably at Blackheath.  But just like in America and other places, not all Londoners welcomed the Germans.  the poor resented the influx of immigrants and complained that they were taking the food out of their mouths as bread was scare after seven years of war.

From there this family immigrated to Ireland on August 8, 1709 and there were hundreds of wagons to carry women, children and belongings but the men were expected to walk about one hundred and twenty miles.  The voyage took about twenty four hours when they would find themselves in Dublin in the sea of Gaelic.

The Imbergers also known as the Embury were the original Palatine Families that settled on The Southwell Estate.

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To Their Heirs Forever
Pages 32 - 39, 41
Camden Valley, New York to Upper Canada
Author Eula C. Lapp

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Evaluating The Time Period And The Locality of Interest

It is really important to understand the time period and the locality of interest of your ancestors. Clues to how they lived or adapted can point to their culture especially if they immigrated to another country. 

It is important to remember that if you suspect they lived in a specific county, check the surrounding counties to be sure when the county lines were created.  Research the type of records that are available and remember wars, fires, natural and manmade disasters may result in documents not being available or completely intact. 

When looking for vital records search for
  • Any civil, birth, marriage, or death records? 
  • What church were in this locality during the time period your ancestors where there and did any records survive? 
  • Any church birth, christening, marriage, or burial records? 
  • What cemeteries are in the area and include public, church, and private?

Looking up census records
  • Do the U.S. Census records apply to this time period and locality? 
  • Are there any State Census records for this time period and locality? 
  • Are there any local Census record for this time period and locality?

 Probate record can be a gold mine of information
  • Were there probate records for the time period and locality? 
  • Did Probate Court records survive for this time period and locality? 
  • Probate records can include wills, bonds, inventories, accounts, distributions, etc.

Land Records

  • Where land records available for the time period and locality?
  • Have land records for the time period and locality survived?

Other Records
  • Military Records if available can provide a lot of information.  
  • Don't forget Military Records were maintained by both the Federal and State Government. 
  • Court Records will be available if your ancestor was a criminal, if involved with equity suits, orphans, or various other records. 
  • Federal Immigration Records can provide detail information, if they immigrated.  Federal Immigration records have been kept since 1820 and are at the National Archives.  Some are indexed but you need to know the port of entrance. 
  • Naturalization Records are available if your ancestors were involved with naturalization.  Your ancestor could apply for naturalization in any court of record.  Try local county courthouse first. 
  • Newspapers if any are surviving  for their time period and locality can give a wealth of information. 
  • Maps for the locality is very important especially when boundaries were created from existing states and counties.

Correspond with or visit the National Archives, State Libraries, State Archives, Historical and Genealogical Societies for the localities being searched.

Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Suggested Sources for Documenting Generations

Keep track of everything piece of information, including where you did not find any information.  Documenting your sources is important in verifying that your data is correct and it will also assist to prevent the duplication of research. 
Types of sources:

Derivative vs. Original: Original are records that have contributed to written, oral, and visual information.  Derivative are copies, abstracted, transcribe, or summarized from other existing sources. 

When documenting your sources include the following information:
  •  Author: the person or organization that authored the book, provided an interview, wrote the letter, confirmed the records for example who issued the birth, death, marriage records.  
  • Publication details is the place of publication, name of a publisher, date of publication.  Include volume, issue, page numbers, series, roll and microfilm numbers. 
  • Location of where was your source found and include web site name, urls, cemetery names, any physical place that the documentation was found. 
  • Be specific on page and entry numbers, include dates, etc. 

Suggested Sources For Documenting Recent Generations include:


Completed Birth Certificate
Birth Record
Delayed Birth Certificate
Baptismal Certificate/Record
Church Records
Newspaper Announcement
Census - State - Federal - School
School Records
Social Security Applications
Hospital Certificate/Record
Passport Application
Baby Book
Doctor and Midwife Records
Work Permit Application


Complete Marriage Record
Marriage Certificate/Record
Marriage Bond
Published Marriage Bans
Newspaper Announcement
Divorce Record
Engraved Article (Caution)


Complete Death Record
Delayed Death Certificate
Tombstone/Cemetery Record
Church Notice
Commercial Cemetery record
Mourning Cards
Professional Organizations
Funeral Home Records
Fraternal Organization Records
Coffin Sales & Burial Permits
Insurance Policy

Classic Sources

Census - Federal & State
Probate Records
Land Record
Bible & Family Records
Military & Pension Records
Church Registers & Records
Tax Records
Encounters With The Law

Contemporary Sources

Employment Record - Private, Industry
Church Personnel
Resume (Use Caution)
Mortgage or Loan Applications
Passport & Visa Applications
Business/Trade License Applications
Cemetery Associations
Letters from Town Clerks and Town Historians
Institutional (Orphanage, Prison, Police)

Problem Areas

Certificate of Failure to Locate Records
Sworn Statement & Affidavits
Records in Foreign Language
Unreadable Records


Obtain a copy of the pamphlet,

"Where to Write For Vital Records in the United States"

Publications.usa.gov at http://publications.usa.gov/

Most of the State vital records (except New England) begin about 1900.

Documenting your research leads to properly citing all your sources and leave a big trail for others to follow or not.  Keep Research logs and properly document all sources.  For more information on documenting your family history, please contact me.

Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Understanding The Relationship Chart

The relationship chart is designed so that the beginner, as well as the more experienced genealogical researcher, can quickly compute the degree of relationship from the family representative to any of their relation.

Blood relationship is divided into lineal and collateral relatives.  Lineal relative exist between persons, one of whom is descended from the other.  Collateral relatives exist between two persons who are in different lines of descent from a common progenitor.

A collateral line includes all lines other than the line through which you descend.  One's grandparent, parent, them-self, child or grandchild is a direct line, while ones' uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephew, and nieces are related collaterally.

To assist in determining relationship to any relative without the use of a chart, the following explanation is given:

  • Progenitors:  If your own name is listed as family representative, you are a son (son) or a daughter (dau) to your parents; a grandson/daughter (g son/g dau) to your grandparents; a great-grandson/daughter (g g son/dau) to your great-grandparents; and a second great grandson/daughter (2 g g son/dau) to your second great-grandparents.
  • Brothers And Sisters Of Your Progenitors:  You are a nephew (nep) or niece (niece) to your parents' brothers and sisters; a grandnephew/niece (g nep/niece) to your grandparents' brothers and sisters; a great-grandnephew/niece (g g nep/niece) to your great-grandparents' brother and sisters; and a second great-grandnephew/niece (2 g g nep/niece) to your second great-grandparents' brothers and sisters.
  • Cousins: In determining the cousin relationship to any descendant of your uncles and aunts in any degree, follow these steps:  
    • Step 1: Children of brothers/sisters are first cousin (1cou) to each other; children of first cousin are second cousins (3cou) to each other; children of second cousins are third cousins (3cou) to each other; children of third cousins are fourth cousins (4cou) to each other, etc.  In other words persons sharing teh same grandparents are first cousins (1cou) to each other; those sharing the same great-grandparents are second cousins(2cou) to each other; if they share the same second great-grandparents, they are third cousins(3cou) to each other.  Especially note that you and your cousin in any degree are both an equal number of generations from the common ancestor or from the point where your lines converge.
    • Step 2: Descendants of cousins in any degree are also that same degree of cousin relationship to you.  They are, however, designated in addition as "removed" according to the number of generations that they are descended from that cousin.  Basically a child of your first cousin is a first cousin to you, but is designated as a first cousin once removed (1c1r); a grandchild is a first cousin twice remove (1c2r), and a great-grandchild is a first cousin three times removed (1c3r), etc.  To your second cousin's children you are a second cousin once removed (2c1r); to the grandchildren of your second cousin you are a secon cousin twice remove (2c2r). To the children of your fifth cousin you are a fifth cousin once remove (5c1r), and to his grandchildren you area a fifth cousin twice removed (5c2r).
    • Step 3: A cousin in any degree to any of your progenitors is also that same degree of cousin relationship to you, but you are designated in addition as "removed' according to the number of generations that you are removed or descended from that progenitor.
Other examples:  to your father's cousin you are a first cousin once removed (1c1r); to your father's second cousin you are a second cousin once removed (2c1r); to your father's sixth cousin you are a sixth cousin once remove (6c1r).  A first cousin of your fourth great-grandfather is also your first cousin; you are, however, a first cousin six time removed (1c6r), since you are six generations removed from your fourth great-grandfather.

When listing the relationship on the one family group record, a clear distinction should be made between blood kindred and those to whom they are married.  The latter are known as "in-laws"; thus the family representative is a nephew-in-law (nep IL) to his uncle's wife, a first cousin-in-law (1cou IL) to his cousin's wife, etc.

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Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gathering Genealogical Information

The gathering stage can be a really interesting event.  Gather all of the information you can from your home, homes of relatives, personal knowledge of relatives, etc.

What kind of information are you looking for?

  • Personal knowledge of relatives cannot always be taken as "gospel" but can sometimes provide clues.  
  • Family traditions can provide cultural knowledge, there is usually some truth to them even if some of the facts have been distorted.  
  • Old letters from relatives and friends can be valuable.  
  • Diaries, journals, or biographies or other printed or published family histories.  
  • Family bibles are often worth their weight in gold with genealogical, military, medical, and various forms of information.  
  • Vital records include birth, marriage, death certificates,  Christening, baptism or other church ordinance records.  
  • Newspapers can provide a wealth of information and includes obituaries, articles, announcements.  
  • Old photographs usually provide notes made on the back of the old photos.  these can be helpful and studying the photo itself can provide clues.  The biggest problem I have in is that sometimes we just ma and sis thus not containing the full name of those in the photo.  Military uniforms may lead to various military records records and other documents.  
  • Emigration and Immigration documentation include passports, citizenship papers, and naturalization papers.

Obtaining Personal knowledge from older relative is MOST IMPORTANT.  If they are close by do pay them a visit and interview them.  Take notes, use a tape recorder or a video camera.  Don't rely on your memory.  If they live far away do write to them.  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE, people don't live forever.

During the gathering stage it is really important to ORGANIZE the information you gather include data on pedigree charts and family group forms.  Document your sources carefully.  Choose the ancestor or family line you would like to research and try to research one line at a time to avoid confusion and data crossing.


Obtain a copy of the pamphlet,

"Where to Write For Vital Records in the United States"

Publications.usa.gov at http://publications.usa.gov/

Most of the State vital records (except New England) begin about 1900.

Using the information on your family group sheets and pedigree charts, send for the birth and/or death certificates for each appropriate person.  (that is, those being born, marrying, or dying in the given time period for your locality).  The information found on these certificates may be new to you or may just confirm what you already know.  As well, you'll need these documents if you plan to apply to any American Indian Nations to show proof of you Native American lineage.

Need Help With Your Genealogy

Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Genealogy - Relationship Terms

I have been doing genealogical research since 1985 and one of the biggest needles in the hay stack I encountered was to document relationship terms that I frequently found.  

This was once a stumbling block for me so after researching the correct interpretation of genealogical records and how relationship terms were used to denote degrees of relationship, I found that sometimes these terms have different meaning than they have today.

Brother:  Besides its obvious meaning, could indicate any one of the following relationships by blood or marriage: 
  1. husband of one’s sister, 
  2. brother of one’s wife,  
  3. husband of one’s sister-in-law, 
  4. half brother,  
  5. stepbrother,  
  6. sometimes did not indicate any relationship by blood or marriage but rather used to refer to a brother in the church.

In-Laws:  “Father-in-law” or Mother-in-law” could mean step-father or step-mother.  “Son-in-law” or “Daughter-in-law” could also be step-son or step-daughter.

Junior/Senior:  Prior to nineteenth century it is not safe to assume that the use of the terms “Senior” and “Junior” refers to father and son.  SR could be used to designate the elder person of the same name in the community or JR the younger.  Keep in mind that a man known in his younger years as JR, may have been known as SR after the death of the older man.

Cousin:  Once used generally to indicate almost any degree of relationship by blood or marriage.  Early New England used to refer to nephew or niece.

Nephew:  The term derives from Latin “Nepos”, meaning grandson.  Occasionally it refers to the testator’s grandchildren, both males and females.

“Natural Son”:  The researcher should not jump to the conclusion that it denotes an illegitimate relationship.  It always indicates a relationship by blood to distinguish from marriage or adoption.

“Alias”: (Also known as)  Use of two surnames, joined by the word “alias” may indicate an illegitimate birth and that the person has joined the surname of his reputed father to that of his mother.  Other reasons for the use of two surnames:  when children inherited through their mother they used both the father and mother’s names.  Sometimes the name of the natural father, who had died, was joined to that of a stepfather.  Adoption, the original name and the name of adoptive parent were sometimes used together.

“Now wife”:  Does not always mean there was a former wife.  Could mean present wife.

Never building to much faith on the casual mention of relationship terms in early records.  Conclusions about the relationship between any two people must rest on a preponderance of all the available and documented evidence.

Need Help With Your Genealogy

Copyright (c) 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Do YOU Have Royal Ancestors?

Have you ever wondered or daydreamed that you truly descend from a long and noble line? Warriors and kings,
or clerics and academics,

The New England Historic Genealogical Society estimates that up to 50 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to King Edward III (Plantagenet)
of England, “The Black Prince”.


Lady Joyce, Viscountess Presley-Stewart
has decades of experience
researching difficult genealogies.
While she can’t guarantee to find noble or royal limbs in your family tree, she knows better than most exactly where to look!


Copyright (c) 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brian Wilkes - A Client's Success Story

Brian Wilkes has experience in genealogy, and even wrote a how to book on genealogy in 1991 before the internet,  but he still ran into walls with documentation and dead-ends as we all do.  He contacted me for consulting and explained his desire to document his Native American ancestry as his DNA had noted.   

During my consultation, I was able to teach and show him the internet tools that assisted him in breaking down those walls. 

Not only is he able to document his Native American ancestry with a Virginia tribe, which was the original goal, he also now documents ancestry to Jamestown, Virginia's nobility, and to many royal families of Britain and Europe.

My goal as a genealogist consultant is to teach individuals how to research their own ancestry thus allowing them to understand their background more thoroughly.

Need Help With Your Genealogy

Copyright (c) 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Searching For The Needle In The Haystack

The New Age Version of the Law of Attraction*  falsely teaches that if you pray for something hard enough it will magically manifest itself.  

Searching for the needle in the haystack  can be really complicated by ancestors who just do not want to be found. 

When I do research, I cannot and will not guarantee success at finding documents for any relatives.  

Why is this?  Some people made sure they left as little of a trail (documents) as they possibly could.  Other documents may have been destroyed by family members, wars, fire, other types of disasters.  Even I have had family destroy genealogical records.  Some relatives make false documents to satisfy being related to someone that is extremely prominent in history or to try to prove Native American Ancestry, when such documents do NOT exist.

For example there has been a false story about my family being directly related to Betsy Griscom Ross, the flag maker.  After digging around a lot and with other genealogist assisting me, I found that to be fabricated.  Yes we are related to a William Ross but Betsy Griscom Ross married a John Ross.  He died several weeks after they were married from a canyon backfiring.  No children were born from that marriage.  Betsy is a Griscom by bloodline and not a Ross, she later married several times in which there were children but not by John Ross. 

One of my own grandmothers have three different middle names.  Her middle name on the social security application says Loris.  Her death certificate says Lora and her tombstone says Laura.  Obviously someone never checked the sources or decided to ignore the documentation that was in existence.  From my personal knowledge correcting them would be more stressful then letting it be and documenting the changes in the family history.  Sometimes one has to decide on which battles can be won.

I like to collaborate with others so, it helps to me learn.  So again I worked one on one with other genealogists and on another family found documentation of information that the family refuses to accept.  You see back in the 60's in certain states it was illegal to intermarry in or for Native Americans to own property.  So many mixed blood families kept those customs within the home claiming it to be from another culture and any time Native American Bloodline came up they got defensive and refused to talk or flat denied it.  Portions of this my family continue to do this and deny their heritage.

There are several things or tools that are needed are: 
  • Desire to know your ancestors.  
  •  A good mind that will help to sort out errors and find proof.
  • Perseverance will help to learn how to hurdle stone walls, and disappointments.  
  • An open mind.  If you run into a dead end, don’t give up on the search.  Now you know where your ancestors were not and you know to look elsewhere.  If you learn some disappointing facts so what, remember they were people who also made mistakes. 
  • A handy notebook and a good tape recorder (don’t leave anything to your memory.  It has a way of failing at the wrong time.  
  • A camera for documentation purposes. 
  • Got to have a love for history. 
  • A passion for the truth and nothing but the truth, when a family members calls me out on something my comment to them is "show me the proof"

The gathering of information - what kind of information to look for within the home? 

Documentation can be huge in some families and almost do not exist in others.  I cannot make documents appear that either do not exist or that have not been released.  I make no guarantees that something will be found.

Your basic research should start with the “Personal knowledge” of relatives."  But the trick here is that this knowledge cannot always be taken as “gospel”  but can provide clues.  Just like on a detective show the first thing the detective do is interview witnesses.  However the verbal statements from the witnesses are not enough; they must also find the physical evidence to support the testimony.

Family traditions usually always have some truth to them though some of the facts may have been distorted over time, to impress family members and friends, or fill in the gaps to avoid the appearance of ignorance of large sections of one's own family history.

There are documents that can be searched for around the home:
  • Old letters from relative and friends.  
  • Diaries, journals, biographies. 
  •  Any printed or published Family histories. 
  • Family bibles. 
  • Vital records:  birth, marriage and death certificates.  Christening, baptism, church records, military records...
  • Newspaper clippings, obituaries, etc. 
  • Photos: it use to be a custom that notes are made on the back of photos.  You might find names, dates, places and get a feel for a time period.  For example on a photo that I have been told about states me, ma, and butch.  Generations later no one knows who they are.  People have a habit of taking feuds out on photos.  So if someone got mad at another person they would cut that person out of all the photos at some point in time there is no proof of this person.  
  • Papers relating to emigrations and immigration, passports, citizenship papers, naturalization papers, land deeds, any type of certificate, personal school records are all gold mines. 
By the way if you find an error on a public document, never change a public record or some other person’s documentation

Never take original documents with you, always have a spare updated copy

When recording information from books, bibles, etc, don’t forget to copy the title, publisher, year, or page numbers.  Trust me, you will need these for documentation especially if someone starts to question your sources.

When you get these notes, stories, books, and clues about family follow through with them.  Write letters to relatives you have been told who have records or knowledge of ancestors.  Give when you want to receive, don't just take. 

A visit to an old home place can by very rewarding.  Be sure to take your camera and take lots of pictures.  Be sure to phone ahead and let others know you are coming, this will give them time to get out notes and bibles and for them to think about what they can tell you. As well take a camera and a notebook with you to cemeteries, some tombstones can carry a wealth of information. 

Share what information you have with others, so they can give information back.  Especially with the elders, once they make their crossing the information contained within is buried with them. 

Have fun!  In the pass I have let others discourage me from researching my own family and sometimes helping others with theirs.  There negativism on what was either found or not can be draining and discouraging but I always come back. 

I love history and I especially love accurate history.  As we know many religions, people, and governments like to rewrite history to suit their own needs.  I love digging out the skeletons hiding in the closets and finding the needles in the haystack.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Using the "Save to Ancestry" On Fold3

The other day I was asked if there was a way to save documents  or pages being retrieved from Fold3 to Ancestry.com.  My first response was you can do that now?  You will need an Ancestry.com account for this to work.  Ancestry.com does offer a free limited account or you can pay for various access to an assortment of records.    So I logged into up Fold3 to find a relative and I clicked on open full record or view large, and found the green 
"Save To Ancestry Button"  .

After finding the page or document on Fold3 click on the "Save to Ancestry" button and follow those instructions.  After clicking on the button log into the  Ancerstry.com account. From that point locate the drop-down menus listing the names on the family tree.  Locate the specific name that the document or page will be attached to.  Type the name of the person that is associated with the record being attached, make sure the correct name appears on the list and then press save.
After completing this, you can then either close the window and continue searching on Fold3, or you can view the profile of the person that you attached the record to.  Choosing the second option you will go to the profile page of that person you linked to and be able to view the record.  To find it the attachment, locate the "Source Information" which will be on the right side of the page indicating it as a link citation to Fold3.  This does not add the document to the file, only the source link to Fold3.  When you click on that link, you will go back to Fold3 where that image appears.  

If you want to see the actual document image, then download it from Fold3 and upload it to Ancestry.com through the "Add Media".  To Add Media on Ancestry.com you first download the image from Fold3 to your desk top.  Go back to Ancestry.com and then click Add media and then click on the Upload Media button.  Click on Select Files and in a few seconds it will appear in a section where you can title it, change the category type to document, choose to use it has a primary photo or not, add a transcription of the document, add a date, and a location.  Then save it to the specific person you are attaching it to. 
Fold3 does have helpful vidoe tutorials located at the Fold3 Training Center and the
video to watch on how to do this specific procedure is at "Save to Ancestry" tutorial.

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Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dinner Is On The Ground

Walking Through Bones

The Old Fashion Dinner on the Grounds,
 Swafford Chapel Homecoming 1940's.
Source Bledsoe County, Tennessee
A History by Elizabeth Parbam Robnett

As Brian Wilkes states on the Four Rivers Chapter web page, "The month of February is called Kagali in Cherokee, “bony.” The crunchy snow crust makes a sound like walking through a field of bones – at least in the minds of shivering Cherokees. Those mountains get cold! It’s also a time when a few months of preserved foods combined with occasional game meats left many people undernourished, with a “bony” look. It was also the time of year when it was (and still is) easy to die from accident, exposure, or the combined effects of a life of hardship combined with a weakened state. Those who survived until the Green Grass returned counted themselves a year older."

I grew up in the mountains of Tennessee and West Virginia.  Every February, my grandmother would take the whole family to the graves of our ancestors, which were in a private family cemetery.  Amongst the ancestors, the family placed tables and chairs.  The tables were loaded with food and drinks for ALL to partake.  The food and drinks were those favorite dishes of the ancestors and family members.  One chair was left empty with a plate full of food and a cup of drink for unseen guests to join us.  As well, grandmother always placed food and drinks on the graves of the ancestors.  She always honored them regardless of their social status during life by telling stories using the word “late” in front of the names, as she was always careful not to use the exact name they used in life, since this could be considered an attempt to call them back.  We would be there for hours regardless, of the weather conditions. When grandmother was satisfied would close the ceremony and food would be left for the ancestors and "little people" as we went to warm up and continue our day.

We are the whole of our ancestors regardless of their race, circumstances and life styles.  It is a good thing to remember those who paved the way and sacrificed for us to be here today. 

Our Ceremony for the our Ancestors  
The Ancestor Ceremony usually took place within the grave sites of those family members who are embraced by mother earth.  If grave sites were not available due to travel restrictions, the ceremonies could  be conducted at a designated family member’s home.

At the Cemetery:
·    A family shrine would be erected at the cemetery, and the genealogical records, heirlooms, and photos placed upon it.  This shrine would have an empty chair placed beside it.
·       Tables and chairs would be set up at the cemetery and place settings would be set upon each grave, and an empty seat and place setting will be left open at the table. 

Within a host family home:
·       A family shrine would be created the genealogical records, heirlooms, and photos would be placed upon the shrine.  This shrine would have an empty chair placed beside it.
·       Tables and chairs will be set up within the host.  A seat and place setting would be left open for the ancestors at the table. 

The ceremony would be opened through a fire ceremony either using a fire pit or a smudge bowl. 

Honoring the ancestors
·       The ancestors were not "called back" or "summoned"; instead they were acknowledged, welcomed, and offered a place to sit if they choose to.  Calling back an ancestor meant to demand their presence either on a temporary or permanent basis, and was considered necromancy. The Cherokee call the person who does this a conjuror or didahnesesgi (he/she puts them in a coffin), as opposed to a healer. Grandmother believed those practicing sorcery were up to no good because if they call the dead back, then the dead can be manipulated into doing things that normally they would not have done.  Inviting and welcoming them was a form of respect, and as with any invitation they can refuse if they decide to. 
·       Recalling of events, preferences, stories of the ancestors. When speaking their names, we added the word “late” to the name (tsigesv in Cherokee) to avoid even the appearance of calling back the ancestors.
·       Singing of some of their favorite songs.
·       Letting ancestors know how grateful we are for everything they passed on, including  DNA codes, and that they are welcome to drop in if they feel like it any time they want.

Meal Provided
·       A meal would be provided for all attendees including the ancestors. Food is life!
·       Food offering would be left outside for the ancestors and local spirits in the form of “spirit plate”.  A spirit plate is a small sample of each of the foods being eaten.  It was placed in a bio-degradable item or just left on the ground for the little people, the ancestors, and the animals to partake of as a sign of respect and thankfulness. 
·       Full portions of food would be added to the ancestors' place settings and/or gravesites (if applicable).
·       The meal would be eaten. Grandmother called this “eating for the dead,” which sounds a little morbid.  I prefer to think of it as letting them share their favorite foods with us, as they did while still alive. 
·       When the table was set, Grandmother would announce "Dinner's on the ground," a phrase still heard in the Upland South in connection with to a church's annual homecoming covered dish, or "Decoration Day," the predecessor to Memorial Day, when the graves are cleaned and tended and offerings left.

After eating the meal:
·       A gift would also be left for the ancestors in the form of flowers or other bio-degradable items.
To close the ceremony the Cherokee version of “Amazing Grace", would be sung, or whatever might have been a favorite of one of the ancestors.  Amazing Grace, or rather, a Cherokee song using the same melody (Unethlanvhi Uwetsi), was sung during the Trail of Tears as they marched west leaving their Mountain Home and during the many funerals along the way. By the time the Cherokees reached Oklahoma, it was one song that everyone knew by heart, and became the de facto Cherokee national anthem.  Others songs sung during the Removal were "Guide Us On, Jehovah" and "At the Cross".

According to a story I was told about those who were removed to Oklahoma, one day an Elder was setting out food offerings at the graves of his family, when he was approached by a missionary. 

“Just when is it you expect your ancestors to return and eat that food you leave for them?” the missionary asked sarcastically. 

“The same day YOUR ancestors return to smell those flowers you keep leaving for THEM!” the Elder responded.

We all have our own ways of showing gratitude to our relatives. In my culture, food and drink are life. Our gratitude and obligations to our Elders don’t end simply because their bodies wear out. They live on in us, and we are the whole of them. "Dinner's on the ground!"

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