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  My first response was you can do that now?  You will need an account for this to work. 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 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 through the "Add Media".  To Add Media on you first download the image from Fold3 to your desk top.  Go back to 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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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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Copyright (c) 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How To Begin Honoring The Ancestor Collective

If It Walks, Talks, and Looks Like A Duck.  It's a Duck!
Many of our ancestors came to this country by small boats or ships.  But where did they land?  After landing where did they live?  How many came over and how old were they? 

Yet other ancestors were already here.  Whey did they come from? 

What are their names?  How did they live their lives? 

What role (ripple affect) does their collective DNA have in our lives?

Way to often I hear:  I only want to know about my specific Indian Heritage and only on my father/mother side.  Another common comment is my Grandmother was an Indian Princess.  Usually these comments end with they want proof to a tribal enrollment because they believe they have an entitlement to what they perceive are benefits from being enrolled in a tribal nation.  But what this boils down to  is they don't hear the truth if something is found that contradicts what they believe.  These so called benefits are not really that great.  There is also no such thing as an Indian Princess.  These are topics for another article.    

My approach to Showing Gratitude Across Generations, means honoring the collective.  Not just one family side, or bloodline, tribal affiliations.  Without the whole collective we wouldn't be here today, whether it is Native American, Irish, German, Dutch.

We will not find our ancestors if we start looking for the name of the ship without finding the ancestors and to tracing their steps.  We also will not find our ancestors just by looking only for the Indian Princess or trying to change or force a piece of history into a context that doesn't exist. 

We first begin our research at home.  Our first step is talking to our relatives:  parents, grandparents, aunts, grand aunts, uncles, grand uncles etc.  (Remember to tape record your visits.  You will not remember everything talked about.)  Don’t procrastinate, people don’t live forever and our elders are quickly transitioning to their next phase.  If you haven't gotten the stories before they cross over, then those stories go to the graves.  

Writing letters letters and making phone calls to various organizations can also be very helpful to finding clues.  Please note that it is common curiosity when writing letters, to include a self-addressed stamped envelope for their reply if you want a reply.

Once you have talked to your relatives, you are ready to play detective.  Every trade including Genealogy has it’s tools.  There is also a wrong and a right way to do research.  

When documenting family history the number one rule is to start with yourself and work outwards by recording on a pedigree chart your parents and the direct lineage of all the elders both living or deceased. 

Starting in the middle to look for an immigrant without knowing any family history on them or looking for a non-existing Indian Princess will make it more difficult to fitting the pieces together. 

Genealogy is like a giant puzzle that you are fitting pieces to.  If pieces don’t fit,  you either cannot use them at all or they are just not in the right space.  You, must look around for the other pieces that fit in the right spot and not force a round peg into a square hole.

A perfect example of this is a story that we were related to Betsy Ross, the American flag maker.  Evidence showed that our relationship did come from a Ross family but it wasn't Betsy Ross, she was a Griscom before marrying into the Ross family.  Betsy Griscom's father was William Griscom.  There were no issues from her first union with John Ross, he was killed by a canon misfire a few weeks after marrying.  A puzzle piece that some family members continue to hold on to that just doesn't fit.  

In genealogy we must call it by the correct name, if it walks, talks, and looks like a duck.  It's a duck.

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Copyright (c) 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Welcome to Showing Gratitude Across Generations

I am Joyce Rheal

I have been an active genealogist since 1985, developing a specialization in Native American genealogy. I have traced and documented my own ancestry to 485 AD - and beyond

Welcome to my Genealogy Blog, I will be posting articles very soon.

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Copyright (c) 2014