Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day- Enjoying The Experience of My Father

I know it has been way too long since I have been on here and I am determined to correct that, but today is not about me. It's about that father of mine. He served in the navy during World War II aboard what he calls one of the "tin cans", the destroyers that served in the Pacific at the end of the war.

I love to hear his stories, from the times when they would earn ice cream whenever one of the pilots would miss their landing on the air craft carrier so they would hurry to bring them aboard. When he was first crossing in a smaller boat to get to his ship the person who had their medical records dropped them into the ocean and he was afraid that he would have to take all his shots again. (He didn't). When he first arrived on the ship he didn't actually report to duty so for 4 months he did not have a daily job.

 When the captain found out he was awarded by being tied down in the top of the basket up in the air (for the life of me I can't remember the correct name). He did spot a torpedo, so the engines were turned off, the ship was made to lean the other way to slip by it, and then the guys at the back torpedoed it. He other adventure up there was the typhoon that came along. The captain had to send up 2 men to work to get Dad down. There are other stories that he doesn't speak of, but he does speak heatedly about the fact that when the Japanese came aboard the USS Missouri for the ceremony, the Japanese also came aboard ships across Japan to sign records of surrender, including the USS Remey. Dad has pictures of the event. It really bothers him that that is not written anywhere, history books or in Navy publications.

This is him aboard the USS Remey. Years later they were able to realize the loss of hearing he had suffered through all his life and that was continuing to diminish was related to one of the times when he needed to rush to the guns and was unable to put his gear on because of the situation. He was working one of the guns that was just below when the larger one fired and his ear immediately began to ring and lose hearing.

Today I will be going with to a Veteran's Day breakfast aboard LST 325 which was on the beaches on June 6, 1944. Our city built many of them at a riverfront that worked around the clock. Amazing the contributions by all, and I look forward to hearing the stories from others, and learning new ones from my father.

Happy Veteran's Day to All!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Tip- Don't Overlook Name Variations

While I have been off the page completing some goals of mine around my home and with my genealogy, there has been some changes in the blogging world as well. Instead of one daily theme, now there are several for each day of the week, and their explanation is at Geneabloggers. I am sure in the coming weeks I will utilize several of them, but for today, writing about one of the items I keep in my research binder whether I am working at a repository or at home is the most appropriate.

I keep a list of all the surnames that play a role in my family in my binder in alphabetical order. I also write a brief note next to some of the surnames to remind myself of their place in my family. Believe it or not, once there are 1,000 people in your database, some names get lost in the confusion.

This may seem easy enough, but do not stop there. I include all the spelling variations that I have encountered over time for each surname as well. This I consider to be critical because it can become too easy to overlook an important record otherwise. Here are some of the examples for my ancestors:

Raley- Raily, Railey, Reily, Reilly, Ryley, Reyley, Reighley, Riley

Cozart- Cozad, Cossart, Cossairt, Cozort, Cassat

Cannan- Canan, Cannon, Canon

Eckardt- Ekert, Echardt, Eckart, Eckhart, Echart, Echert

McDonald- McDonell, McDonalds

Munsey- Munsy, Muncey, Muncy

Schnacke- Schnake, Shnacke

This is a very small list, but examples for some of my surnames,and the list grows on a regular basis, which keeps the detective in me on my toes.

Good hunting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Site For Maryland/Kentucky Cousins

I was very excited today to open my email and find that a new site has been developed for those of us who have Maryland ancestors that were part of the migration to Kentucky in 1785 and beyond.

Christopher and Leslie Hielig and Chug Roberts have launched and I have to say that I am very excited about the site already. They have sections for Books, Family Sites and Sources, Genral Genealogy Resources, and MD and KY Resources.

They have already posted some very interesting articles and always direct you to other sites for further information. Anyone with ancestors in Southern Maryland or were part of the migration to the Kentucky counties of Marion, Nelson and Washington should add this to their reader. They are also very open to adding information from those of who have information to share that would benefot all of us.

I for one am looking forward to future installments.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sentimental Sunday- Teaching About Roots

I have shared some of the journey of our recent exploration of all things history, and there is more to tell, and today I want to share one of the best visual reminders of the way I was able to show my daughter the connection of our history and ourselves.  

One day we went to Annapolis. The historic area on this very hot mid-July day was absolutely teeming with activity around the harbor. There was hardly a place to park, which is a really fun adventure when you are in
Annapolis Harbor District
the car with a teenager at the wheel who is driving a van in circles and getting very frustrated in the process. (Does your teenagers refuse to listen to the subtle sugggestion that if she would only slow down and pause a moment now and then instead of going in a circle incessantly, we just might get into one of the open spaces before it filled again? After that, I had no intention of going on a harbor cruise).

The view out over the harbor was absolutely gorgeous that day, and I wish we would have had the time to really stay there and explore all that the area had to offer, but we were on our way to Baltimore by dark and I couldn't take enough time for that, but I will remember the view all the days of my life. 

However the view was not the real reason I had insisted that we get off the road and stop here despite pleas from my mother and daughter. (I will tell you why tomorrow--it is definitely a Madness Monday story). They soon understood the method to my madness, or is that the madness to my method?

Kunte Kinte is why we stopped here.

According to the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival, Kunta Kinte is one of the slaves who arrived at Annapolis aboard The Lord Ligonier ship in 1767, and is the ancestor Alex Haley so completely described in his book, "Roots" that was adapted and later became one of the biggest television events of my lifetime.

Two hours every night for 6 nights, this miniseries gripped my generation and is often credited with an explosion in genealogy. I can remember coming home from school every day and could hardly wait until the show started as my entire family sat around the television and watched. As much as it was the story of Alex Haley, it was more the story of a time in our country that I truly didn't understand at my young age at the time. I would be emotionally drained every night and full of very hard questions for my parents that night, and even more for my teachers the next day.

So here we were at Annapolis to honor Kunta Kinte and all the others who came aboard those ships. I know now in my own genealogy pursuits that I had ancestors who owned slaves and today was the day to share some of that with my daughter, and my mother as we marveled at this point and imagined what it must have been like to arrive here at this harbor aboard those ships more than 200 years ago.

Kunta Kinte- Alex Haley Memorial
In the middle of all the shops and the cars and the horns from the boats coming in and out of the harbor sits this simple, yet moving statue. Alex Haley is reading a book to 3 children of diverse backgrounds. The sign next to them says:
To commemorate the arrival in this harbor of
Kunta Kinte. Immortalized by Alex Haley
in Roots, and all others who came
to these shores in bondage and who by their toil,
character, and ceaseless struggle for freedom
have helped to make these United States.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When Ancestry Owns The World

I write this with some frustration, ok, with alot of frustration at Ancestry today, and here is why:

Today I get 2 emails from Ancestry, one to inform me that Family Tree Maker 2011  is now available for me to pre-order, and the second was to inform me that  is now the proud parents of another organization, ProGenealogist, Inc.  (I apologize for not including the links about both, but my linking skills must be frustrated as well because I couldn't get my linking to work).

Now I do understand that many of you reading this will find no problem with either event, but it just comes at the wrong time for me. Per the store Family Tree Maker 2011 comes with "more than 100 new enhancemets" including Smart Stories, improvements to their charting and reporting, additions to their timelines, and a way to rate your citation sources. Those all sound great and being a user of the 2010 software I see places where improvements would benefit my research, but it  was the statement that Family Tree Maker 2011 is going to be even more integrated with that hit my gut a little hard.

I cannot imagine how much more they can be connected. I already get the infamous "shaky leaf" on my family members whenever I open FTM 2010 and when I want to look for some records I have the choice between connecting into Ancestry since I have a subscription, and going onto the internet. Now the description tells me that I will be even more connected to Ancestry and other members.

I have  been trying to decide lately whether I want to stay with Family Tree Maker or go to one of the other programs, such as RootsMagic and Legacy, but I just can't decide. I am pleased that FTM is improving their product and I am sure I am going to like most of them if I decide to purchase the software.

I just wish that Ancestry would surprise me and send an email that says something like this:

"Great news!!! You have been a great customer for the past several years, and since we have taken so much of your money, we thought we would send you some upgrades to your Family Tree Maker program.....just because.  By the way, we,, will keep our evergrowing domination of the internet world off your program in the process, allowing you to decide when you need our help."

Now---for the other issue, acquiring ProGenealogists, Inc. For those of you who do not know, Ancestry has a service known as ExpertConnect which allows researchers around the country to provide client work ranging from answering  questions, picking up records at repositories, to very intensive research of multiple generations of the clients family. ExpertConnect has been up and running for over a year and I like the process overall, but now I question what role acquiring this company and the researchers that have worked for them is going to have on those who are providing services on ExpertConnect.

I know that not every single record that exists for my ancestors is connected into Ancestry. There are courthouses, libraries, relatives with photos and Bibles, and friends that can tell all kinds of stories about their relationships with my relatives.

I am just wondering when we can expext the announcement that Ancestry has taken over the Family History Library, or the National Archives.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday- The Star Spangled Banner

This is not the usual entry for Treasure Thursday, but I think the story below will explain it all.

One of the locations we went to on our trip this recently held a special place in our heart for several reasons, but the most important is due to the patriotism of my father. He loves America, and wears a pin every day of his life that is of the flag. He actually wears two- one is a lapel pin, the other a large button, and I do not know what I would do if I ever saw him without them.

He also holds a great respect for our national anthem, and not only stands with respect, but with hand over his heart, will sing every word when so many around struggle to remember the song or cannot follow the tune for various reasons. I have learned that if I start the song at a lower key I can sing the higher notes at the end. Besides, whose daughter can stand next to their patriotic father and not follow suit?

Given this, when I was researching for this trip and learned that Fort Mchenry was in Baltimore and right in our pathway on this trip, how could I miss putting it on our agenda?

Fort McHenry is actually built in the shape of a star at a point on the edge of the Baltimore Harbor in the Chesapeake Bay several years before it played such a role for Francis Scott Key.

Francis Scott Key was a lawyer and was in the Baltimore Harbor aboard a ship while the British were bombarding Fort McHenry in 1814 for over 24 hours. The smoke in the air was so thick that no one witnessing the battle had any idea who had actually won the battle for hours until dawn came and the flag of this newly developed country was flying over the fort. This inspired Francis Scott key to write what would become our National Anthem.

After watching a slide presentation that explained in further detail the story, the anthem began to play as curtains opened at the vistor center, showing the flag flying over the fort. It was an emotional moment for us, both in knowing what that battle meant to America, but more what as I thought of my father, the man who wears the flag proudly every day of his life.

Sometimes the treasure is in our hearts. This day it was for all of us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shame on Me!!! (But What Else Would We Expect)

I don't know what made me go back and look, and I almost wish I had not now...........

I missed my own One Year Anniversary.. (bummer).

I actually started this blog with a very perky welcome to the world on July 1, 2009. July 1st-- i didn't even miss it by a few days, but more than a month. I will blame the darn health problems this spring and summer that were miserable, but next summer I am putting on a bright pointy hat, blowing up some balloons, and singing til the face in the moon starts to crack under the strain.

For now, thank you to all of you over this year who have stopped by to take a look, leave a comment, encourage me, or give me help with the technological side of blogging. I have more to learn from you, so don't go anywhere---I would be lost without you crazy people!!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Arlington Cemetery

This is not my ususal Tombstone Tuesday entry, and you will quickly see that in the photographs attached. One of the places we went while we were on our quest to "see history" was Washington, DC, and who that loves genealogy can stay away from the most decorated cemetery in the United States that honors our soldiers. Bringing it even more to the heart of my daughter was the realization that she had a relative buried there.

It didn't matter on this trip how close to her the relative was, I just wanted to bring the reality of the events from her history books into her personal space and make them touch her heart in new ways that would help her to hold onto the memories as the years went on, and this was one of those special stops. Of course, as it was most of the time we were gone, the temperature was at least 96 degrees that day, but it did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm as we entered Arlington.

In case you did not know this, if you have a family member buried there, you can go to a special desk inside the visitor's center to get the directions to their location, get a pass to put in your windshield, and are allowed to drive into the cemetery inside of walking. This even allowed us to park just feet from many of the famous stops inside Arlington as we went along in search of my mother's relative, who proved to be a bit elusive. The map we received did not match the eventual location, but the zeal of my daughter in finding him and his wife (didn't know spouses could be buried in Arlington until this)  quickly made up for the errors in the map.

While she went charging down the road from the Kennedy's in her mission to find them, I happened to find the location of Admiral William (Bill) Halsey, who was the commander of the Pacific Fleet during World War II when my father was serving in the Navy.

    George Clint Martin
    Indiana  Lieutenant
    US  Navy   Worl War I & II
    October 14 1885
    July 30 1970 

His Wife  Edith Agnes                                              
August 11 1885
June 28 1962


 William Frederick Halsey
 Fleet Admiral Unites States Navy
  1882- 1959
  His wife
  Frances Grandy Halsey
  1887- 1968

No Words

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Family is Always a Blessing!

I was the surprise in our family, a baby that came when my siblings were in the end of middle school and early high school. My father was also the youngest son of 11 children in his family, and as a result in timing and circumstances, many of the members of my family were gone either before I was born or when I was very young. As a result I had very little or no memory of any of my grandparents. When I would ask questions about any of them and was met with the answer of "I don't know," my intrigue and my frustration would increase. I believe that is what led me into genealogy. Well- that and my intense curiosity and love of detective work coupled with the success of snooping around long enough in our home until I found some old family photos that amazed me.

Since there was such an age difference, it was more like being a single child, or else my brother would wish on his part, considering the ways I came up with to do my best to disrupt his dates that I was either forced or invited on, I never knew which. Either way, I never grew up with a gaggle of family around me, so these days are extra blessings for me.

Today I met a new cousin of mine. By new cousin, she is technically my second cousin on my father's side of the family. She found me one day because of this blog when she entered the name of our Great-Grandfather, Israel McDaniel into a search engine and my blog came up. I was so surprised to hear that was how she found me, but also so thrilled. atoday we met for breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel. She happened to be in town for a family reunion on the other side of the family.

We could have sat there for hours, and I wished we had the time to do so. After exchanging emails for the past few months, this morning felt like a homecoming. Funny how that happens! We have already discussed meeting again, and I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the family.

I met another cousin about a month ago on my mother's side. She had found me while doing some research on the Raley line on Ancestry and my tree came up, beginning a year of emails back and forth as we worked to find some answers for her and to connect the dots. She lives out west and came to Evansville on a research jaunt with her sister on the way to Kentucky for further research on the family. We met at Willard Library and enjoyed the time together, as we looked for information that helped to break through some walls in her line. My health prevented us from spending more time together, but even a few hours was a treasure.

Just late last night I was writing this Raley cousin an email about our recent trip and checking in on her. After I emailed it I opened my messages only to find that she had been doing the very same in turn, and had just sent me an email about her research trip in Kentucky and included a series of photos of the church and the church cemetery that I am dreaming of touring soon.

To believe that as a little girl I was the one who lined up all my dolls on the couch with long back stories about all of them to now where I have family from Florida to Arizona to Texas and points beyond. Isn't genealogy great!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Organizing My World- Part III

So much time has passed since my last entry regarding my organization system that I almost did not write this, but I wanted to finish what I started.

The last entry, dated June 20, focused on my family binders that contain original or copies of documents and as a result remain in my home permanently. Therefore, I must have a system I use when I do research at the repository.

I use a variety of tools when planning a research trip and I find that my steps are the basically the same whether I am going to my favorite local repository (Willard Library) or a location farther away.

I have a series of these mini binders (as does my mother) that contain quite a bit of information on all of the lines in my family. I actually have 4 binders in different colors (Silver, Burgandy, Marine Blue, and a Khaki Brown) that can be eventually based on the 4 lines, but for now I only use 2 of them.

I have purchased them as well as the forms used inside through 2 different companies: Ye Olde Genealogical Shoppe and Genealogy Shoppe. These 6 ring binders are only 5 1/2" by 7 1/2 " in size and  can contain a large amount of information, depending upon how you choose to use them. 
This is an example of the front page of  family group sheet. The back of the from serves as a checklist covering census years, vital records, military, school, homes of residence, church, land, funeral, grave markers, tax lists, and so on. In addition, there is room for me to write additional notes.

There are also other forms designed to fit inside these binders including pedigree, military, census, land, and probate. While it takes some time to enter all the information in the beginning, the reward of having easy access to all my research within a small binder that fits in my purse cannot be beaten. It also is handy when meeting new cousins.

When I go to my local repository for serious research, I take my research binder for that side of the family (colored lavendar when sitting on the shelf). Inside I have what I call a Detailed Records Checklist that I developed a few years ago listing every kind of record I could think of onto one set of forms. I have one for each member of the family. You could do the same using any number of forms, including  Loretto "Lou" Dennis Szucs top 300 Genealogy Sources which cover Internet, Home, County, Federal, State, and Misc. topics.

I also take my research goals for that visit. If I do not do that, then I find that I quickly get off topic and wander all over the place, and find myself a bit frustrated when I get home that evening, or when I look up at the clock and realize that 2 hours have passed and nothing has been completed on my list. I do keep a research log per family unit, matching my philosophy of the binders. I played around with them for awhile, but after coming home and finding that I had made copies of the same documents 3 times, I knew I had to stick to them. I do not number my documents, but instead make a note on my research log when I make copies of documents and also note which file they will be placed in for future reference.

My research binder also holds a list of all the various spellings of surnames, notebook paper, county formation guides for the states that play a role in that side of the family inside sheet protectors, research materials that are helpful from Ancestry's Red Book and/or the Family History Library, and various forms useful to me that I have obtained from several sources.

In adition I carry a pouch with post-its, paper clips, portable stapler and refills, highlighters, magnifying glass, and a small flashlight. I have been surprised at the times I have needed a flashlight to be able to read stacks in a dark corner, or when the electricity has gone out. I also carry a camera and take my laptop to places where the computer is allowed.

I used to find information, get excited, make copies, throw it into a file folder and bring it home to sit on a desk or empty space somewhere in my home until I felt like doing something with the paper pile. Now I am getting smarter, and citing my sources as quickly as I can in all the locations it belongs, and filing the papers where they belong when I get home.

After all, how can I enjoy my genealogy if I cannot refer to the information for further study and enjoyment when the time comes?

That's my process. It's not perfect, and I know I didn't include everything here, but I wanted to flesh out the process the best I could. When I started this I didn't know that so many of my blogger friends would also be writing about organization processes this summer, but I think its a good thing for all of us in order to learn from one another.

May you find a process that works for you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Love of History

My daughter recently graduated from high school, and was given the opportunity to travel to several different locations as a gift. Now I have to admit that I do not know if that gift was really for her accomplishment or for my survival of the last 12 years, but either way, I was really surprised by her answer.

She told me that she wanted to "see history."  See history. No Disneyworld, or beach, or wild location--- history. Now I have to say that history is my daughter's favorite subject in school, but studying the subject and spending time during your summer break going to see it are two diffeerent matters. However, I was silently thrilled because I knew that I had the "National Maryland to Kentucky Reunion" in Maryland in July, and now I could join her graduation trip with that reunion.

My mother and I are the active genealogists in my family, and have been so for years. I first began my quest when I was 13 (before the great miniseries "Roots", but only by a smidgen), and actually invented my own version of a family group form on the typewriter back then, and have been inventing ever since. Other members of my family are interested, and like to hear about new discoveries. I have a brother who is starting to help with some of my brickwalls through his access to another repository, but for the most part they like to see the final product, as do most of our families. After all, if everyone in my family was working on the genealogy, we would be running in so many crazy directions and crawling all over each other that my head would never quit spinning.

I will be sharing parts of this history/genealogy quest over the next few weeks, but what is the important point here is how I was able to get my daughter more invested in the binders, file folders, trips to courthouses and libraries that come with our family history.

I put locations on our itinerary that were relevant to our family and met the goal of "seeing history". Then I would remind my daughter of the relationships between the location we were visiting and our family by saying such things as "Can you just imagine what it must have been like for ..,... .... ? As each day went on, I found her getting more excited, and more interested as she saw how much the genealogy I did at home was connected to historical events ranging from the Revolutionary War to the persecution of those who were of the wrong faith in Maryland, to the beginnings of this country.

 When others might have purchased T-shirts as souvenirs, we bought copies of historical documents and coins (another hobbby of hers) and books about the history we were visiting. "April, 1865" by Jay Winik was a good one that we read out loud in the van as we drove throughout locations in Virginia visiting Civil War sites. This kept all of us more invested in the sites we were visiting.

Now that we are home, we have a full bookshelf of new history and genealogy books,and memories I will treasure forever. I am also glad that now when I discuss something about an ancestor, not only do they become more alive to me, but they also do so for my daughter.

Tombstone Tuesday George Schnacke

George Schnake
Geb 23 Sep 1853
Gest 25 Jan 1880
Alter 26 J. 4M 2T

George Schnacke is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Newburgh, Warrick County, Indiana.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Disappearing Act

I cannot believe how long it has been since my last blog entry, but severe illness initially kept me away. Thankfully, my health has improved, and just in time, since we had been planning a family historical jaunt that took us throughout the eastern part of this nation. Of course the trip also occurred during the heat wave that left us exploring our historical roots in 100 degree weather, but we made it.

Now I am home and trying to recover with laundry, research reports, and ensuring that I get the rest required per doctors orders. I am also enjoying catching up with all of you in my Google Reader. It will be good to get back to blogging and sharing some of our adventures along the way in the upcoming days and weeks.

Good to be back.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organizing My World- Part II

I know that I have left my organization entry in deep space, as well as the rest of my blog, but illness can be a cruel monster and as much as I would like to think I have complete control, we all know that there is no such wish.

Now that that is off my chest I can proceed to further discussion regarding how I keep my genealogy paper organized. I discussed in the first entry that I keep a binder for each family unit on my pedigree chart in order to maintain the information gathered about each family on my tree. I am a visual learner, so I am including several photos with this entry in order to demonstrate what I am writing:

      These are the family binders in my library bookshelf separated into two different colors to easily distinguish my two parental lines Yellow is my maternal line, and blue is the paternal one. I am planning to further divide into 4 separate color lines this summer based on my grandparent lines instead as more data is assembled, successfully sourced, and appropriately filed. The good thing is I can easily change these colors even by using scrapbook paper on the outside of the binders in the sleeves. I have mini binders in 4 colors: blue, silver, burgandy, and green, so I may stick to those, but have not made up my mind.

     The sides, front, and back are clearly labeled with the family name so that I can easily find the family of need. I also have my address on the cover in case I should accidently leave the folder at a repository.

I follow the advice of keeping records of my direct line with their parents until they get married. Once they marry, I take their marriage record and use it as the beginning of their own binder in my bookshelf.

Let's use for an example a couple that married in 1800. Their binder includes sections for their chronologies, vital records, censuses as a couple, land, military/school, everyday life, logs, etc. Their son, John is my direct ancestor. Once he married Sally I would set up a binder for the two of them. All information for the two of them since marriage is in the joint binder. Each child they had also has a separate section, labeled as above. The son or daughter born that again is my direct ancestor , would then be in his own separate binder, and on down the line.

The other children will remain with their parents. After some trial and error this became easier for me because there were too many times when documentation served joint family members. This keeps all together and my mind from going crazy trying to decide where in the world to put Document A or B.

I also have a file cabinet with manila folders for each surname. Whenever I get home from a repository or find a document on the computer I put it in the folder until I have taken the time to source the information, and note receipt off my list of missing items. This keeps me from leaving items all over the house in several locations, which is good because I have many other items that fits into that category.

This is not a perfect system. There are lazy days when I come home from the library with a pile a paper and simply sit it on the desk until later, but I no longer spend time going through piles, then going through piles again trying to find that one elusive piece of paper that I just know I have. When I am trying to figure out a birth date while on the phone with my mother, I can either check my computer program or open the appropriate folder.

I use acid free sheet protectors, and rarely take these books out of the home. I have other items that go with me. That will be part 3 of this later this week.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Changing Roles of Women in My Family

This entry was completed in part as a submission for the 94th Edition of The Carnival of Genealogy.

I love the women in my life, both present and in the past. They are courageous, admirable, beautiful, and determined. I am in awe at the events that have occurred and yet they still trod on, always at the front of the line to be the mother, the daughter, the wife, the sister, the employee, and all the million of other roles that women play both today and in the past.

As I have researched these amazing women I become more enthralled by their experiences and yet they have continued to push on as we have today. Women have no choice. They do not have they the option to "check out" of life when there were children to raise, farms to tend, and the politics of the day when these decisions meant that their famililies were going to cross the ocean or travel down the river on a flatboat or through the wilderness in a wagon due to those political or religious decisions of others.

One of the sayings that is often said in my household is "the more things change the more things stay the same." I believe that applies to my female ancestors as well. The more that I learn about them I find myself realizing that their challenges were our challenges, their sorrows, ours, their triumphs, the same as mine.

In our family I was the first one to graduate from college as we know it today. But would I have had the courage to board a ship from Germany as a widow and cross the ocean with 4 young children when I did not know the language? Despite 4 years of foreign language in high school, I still would not consider myself fluent in any way, shape, or form, yet my 3rd great-grandmother, Caroline Jung, did just that in the early 1800s.

Evansville High School (courtesy of Willard Library)
My grandmother, Jettie Weaver, was trained to be a teacher through a cooperative program between what was called Evansville High School at the time and Evansville College. She graduated after her specialized training to be a teacher and went on to teach the 6th grade in Evansville, Indiana. She taught for one year. I learned recently that she did not continue because she was smaller than the boys in her class and knew that there was no way that she could keep them under control. (Sounds very familiar to the challenges of teachers today, and my own past profession when my kids were twice my size and even if I were "shaking in my boots" I refused to let them think anything except that I was in total control. She gave up teaching and went to work in a bank in town where she remained until she got married and had a household and a family to take care of. When I read her letters and she describes her days even when she was a grandmother living with her daughter, I am amazed at all the activities she completed in a typical day. She was a well educated, well read, and an independent employed woman in the 1920s.

Another female ancestor was left to take care of 3 young, lively boys in a rented room while her husband went to work for the railroad company in Tennessee. One room! There have been days when I just prayed for the joy of watching my own television in my own room as relaxation, but this was 1 mother with 3 preschoolers in 1 room with no television, Wii, DVDs, or ipods to keep them occupied. I have to laugh out loud. My mother tells me the story of one relative that I will leave nameless here who had a 5 legged kitchen table. She used to tie each of her kids to one of the legs so that she could get any housework done.

Women Welders for the LST's Shipyards (Courtesy of Willard Library)
           One event which definitely played a role in the lives of women in the United States and elsewhere was World War II. Evansville, Indiana became one of the central areas for weaponry as it became the largest inland producer of the LST (Tank Landing Ships), assembled the P-47 Thunderbolt and tanks that were tested at the local fairgrounds, as well as other complanies that were employed to produce a number of parts for these larger service related pieces of equipment. At one point, more than 19,000 men and women worked around the clock at the Evansville Shipyard building the LSTs.
Several members of my family worked there, including 2 of my favorite aunts and a favorite uncle. In fact, a favorite family story involves my Uncle Jim. he was leaving for the Navy, but on his last shift as an electrician at the  Shipyards as he passed another relative in the family he handed them his tools for them to use.

As we all know, World War II changed the roles of women in our country forever. While many went home and back to the job of running their homes and doing so very effeciently, the needs from both the depression and the war left other households in need of the income. I know in my mother's case the struggles due to the sacrifices that families at home made for the men on the front during war time, my grandmother took in boarders during the war since Evansville needed so may workers for the plants, and my mother went to work downtown for extra income. When the war ended she continued to work, even after marriage as did many of her firends until the babies came and they needed to stay at home to take care of them. Later, once the babies were older, many of these same women went back to work on a part-time basis both out of necessity but also because they enjoyed the work.

I think it is somewhat easier to research the woemn of more recent generations since records name them more readily, but as I learn more of our history not only in the United States but beyond, I see where some areas are the same in their care for those dear to them, the importance of friendship and faith, but also know that there are other privileges that have come with time, including the right to vote, to manage our own money, and to marry when and whom we choose (at least in some cultures). Progress may have come slowly but steady does win the race, after all!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Organizing My World- Part I

I have given much thought recently to the amount of research I am wanting to complete, the ancestors I am wanting to either find or rule out in some brick wall situations, and the plans I want to develop as my family plans for a major trip through Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and North Carolina which are all areas in which ancestors and records are just waiting for me to come and find them.

My currrent organization system consists of  binders between 1 and 2 inches for each family and file folders where items are placed by surname until correctly filed in the binder. I do not place items in my binders until they have been properly cited. These binders, all black Avery at the store, are then colored with either yellow computer paper or blue paper in the sleeves so that I can quickly distinguish my maternal side from my paternal side when they are sitting on the bookshelf.

Each binder is labeld in large black letters on the outside front and outside back as well as the side so that I can easily see it from any angle when I am working  in multiple locations in my home. For example, one binder reads "Lemuel Tucker and Martha Ann Cozart." When the family binder is open, I have it divided into sections so that it reads more as a biographical folder. The sections in order are: Contents/Family Group, Personal Chronology, Vital Records, Census, Military/School, Land/Judicial, Everyday Life, Maps, Research Log Notes/Source Summary Sheets, Other, and then each of the other children that are not my direct descendants.

I really like my binders. I like that I can contain each family unit together, which helps me in my thinking and in keeping my mind organized. When it comes to my direct line, I have taken the advice I received from the book "Organizing Your Family History Search: Efficient & Effective Ways to Gather and Protect Your Genealogical Research" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (Betterway Books, 1999). In it Sharon discusses a few different ways to organize your research and I took some from here, and there, and over get the idea. But one point she made that I have well remembered is that information about your ancestors that occurred before they married should be kept with their parents, which is what I am doing. Once a direct ancestor marries another of my director ancestors, for example, when my great-grandparents Conrad Eckardt and Julia Schnacke married, records created once they married is in their joint family binder.

Of course there are exceptions to any rule. I have a personal chronology or timeline completed for each of them in the early sections of the binder, but I include ALL their life events, not just events once they got married. Although I have both a Xeroxed copy of the actual census page from Ancestry or another database and a typed transaction so all info is readable, I also have a summary sheet that lists information from all censuses. Family group sheets are in each binder and that of course includes information from not only their entire life, but generations above and below as well. 

This is becoming a rather long blog entry. I will continue this over the next few days as I explain my system. Hopefully I will give ideas to others, and encourage others to give ideas back in return.

Next entry: Futher discussion of my family binders, forms used, and some photos to use for further explanation

Third entry: My research notebooks that I take to repositories

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Railroading: A Way of Life

Indiana is often called the "Crossroads of America". Given that, it seems only appropriate that so many men in my family served for the railroad on both sides of my line.

L & N Railroad Company (courtesy of Willard Library)
One of my father's favorite stories to tell is the day he left from the train depot in Evansville to go to the front during World War II. As the train left the station it needed to slow a little further down the street, where his father, a crossing watchman was working. My father came to the window and addressed his father who was not known for open emotion. My grandfather saluted him in response before the train gained speed and headed west. What a moment that must have been.

Dad at spot of his father's stand
Last year, our family learned that the spot where my grandfather's stand stood for years was being demolished due to new interchanges on a Highway through the city. I contacted our mayor's office who in turn contacted the railroad and the demolition company and we gained permission to take one of the metal poles that the stand had been built upon as a momento both of that special day but also because of the tie it held for my father to his father, who had died many years ago. Mr. Tucker had the opportunity for a promotion that meant the family would move to Mascoutah, Illinois, but due to the pleas of his children who did not want to move, he turned down the promotion.

My father grew up at what he calls the L & NY in Evansville, a series of section houses actually placed between the tracks at the railroad company. According to the 1930 United States Federal Census for Pigeon Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana conducted on April 15 there were 18 households living between those railroad tracks with a total of 68 men, women, and children. I can only imagine how those section houses must have rocked every time a train came through.

Israel McDaniel as Watchman

My father's grandfather, John Rankin Tucker, once worked as a section worker near his home in Maunie, Illinois My father's maternal great-grandfather, Israel McDaniel, worked for the railroad in both Maunie, White County, Illinois and later in Evansville, Indiana. A cousin speaks of coming over on the train to visit Israel. His favorite activity was to put a record on his player for their listening pleasure. Israel and his wife Clyde Bell McDonald still had two sons living at home while he worked in Evansville- Roy and Harry. He would leave a list of tasks for them to do in Maunie and as he left the depot in Maunie Israel would immediately be calling down the street for his sons about these same tasks if they were not completed.

(Note: This photo is well damaged and needs some TLC to be upgraded, but I had to inlcude it in this entry)

All of those who have read the entries of the journal by my maternal great-grandfather, John James Raley, may not know that most of that was written while he was away from his family working at one his positions for the railroad. John becamed trained in telegraphy as a young man at a drugstore in Ohio County, Kentucky after attempting farming. At one point John also ran a "hotal and bar room" in Ohio County, but he always returned to the railroad.   The train companies he worked for included The Southern Express Compnay, the CO & SW Railroad Company, the Ohio Valley Railroad Company, and the Newport News & Mississippi Railroad Company. In the course of his job he and/or his family moved more than 20 times throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Indiana. At one time John moved his wife, Caroline, and their 3 young sons they had at the time into a rented room in Warrick County, Indiana while he went to work in Rilpey, Tennessee. How she was able to do that I do not know! Later, one of their sons followed his father into the same career.                   

The railroad has played an important role in the lives of my ancestors, both professionally but also in the ways that their families lived. Many memories are still shared around the dinner table at special events about these days. I am grateful for the ties that bind us all, just as the trains themselves bind us throughout the country, especially in its hey dey.

This entry was written in conjunction with The Blogger's Almanac available through

Monday, May 10, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- Raley Journal

I missed some time with this due to health issues, but wanted to come back to it. I decided to just share one story today that my great-grandfather, John James RALEY decided to include about a relative instead of more of the ancestry overall. I love the stories. I have to admit that with the recent discussions regarding copyright within our blogging community I have had to give some thought to this journal and the implications. I do know that he wrote this so that he had a history of his family, and I know that he gave it to my grandmother, but I would have to trust that people can distinguish the facts which can easily be verified through documentation (as I have for my own sourcing) from his own writings, which need to be creditied to him, so with that in mind, I would ask someone to contact me if they need further information. With that out of the way, here is an interesting story:

" Uncle Benjamin Pierce way back in the years from 1850 to 1865 was right wealthy. It was said that he was easily worth $30,000 back in those days but he died a pauper and was buried by the good people of Boonville, Warrick County, Indiana. Uncle Ben bought and paid for his coffin several years before he died and took it home and kept it under his bed in his bedroom, and sometimes in the fall of the year he would gather and hull walnuts enough to fill the coffin and take them home and put them in it. He was buried in it when he died at the age of 89 years. He bought the coffin from the people that own the coffin factory on the corner of Main and Michigan Streets, Evansville, Indiana, got in it, laid down, stretched himself out, and told the man that he bought it from that the thing was just the right size for him."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!

I celebrate my mother today as we all do in our own ways, both those still with us and those with us in our hearts.

My mother, which is what I call her most of the time beyond my understanding, is my strongest advocate and my genealogy buddy. It is with her that I share all the discoveries and the brickwalls. When I search in one record she is often across the table or at another microfilm reader searching another. The rest of the family is very interested in the answers we find and the discoveries and help where they can, but circumstances prevent them from being as involved as they would like.

One of my mother's favorite things that she likes to say is that she is the mother of three, the grandmother of three, and the great-grandmother of three.

I think that really says it all. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Saturday Night Fun- My Maternal Line

It has been a bit since I have been able to post due to illness, so I am happy to return with this as my entry, especially with Mother's Day on us.

Randy Seaver of Geneamusings fame has a weekly Saturday Night mission that he gives us, and this week it was stated as follows:  1) List your Matrilineal Line - your mother, her mother etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

Here is my maternal line:

1.   Me
3.   My mother
7.   My maternal grandmother

15. Caroline Susan (or Susannah) MARTIN  was born 12 January 1857 in Newburgh, Warrick County, Indiana. She died on 29 June 1930 in Evansville, Vanderburgh, Indiana. She married John James RALEY on 8 October 1879 in the parlor of her parents, Warrick County, Indiana. She was the mother of 5 sons and my grandmother.

31. Susanah Jung or Young was born about 1835 in Hesse, Darmstadt, Germany. She died about 1864 in Warrick County, Indiana of typhoid fever.

63. Caroline Jung or Young (we do not know her maiden name) was born about 1810 in Hesse, Darmstadt, Germany. She died in Warrick County, Indiana. Caroline immigrated with 4 children at about 1850.

We have discussed doing the mitochondrial DNA testing several times recently, but have not yet conducted this. However, we did just get the results of my father's paternal line with plans to complete the other part of the testing soon.

Look forward to posting more often soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Goals For May

May is a big month in my house as my little darling graduates from high school. After spending most of the past two weeks being very under the weather and most of today wandering the internet (although it has been very fruitful), I have decided to follow the lead of my fellow Hoosier Tina Lyons who in her blog Gen Wish List , makes a monthly list of goals publicly. 

I have a huge trip coming up in July that combines pleasure with some fantastic opportunities to explore the ancestral lands and records of my ancestors so I had better get cracking now. So goals for the month of May include:
1) Completing the mini binders on my maternal side for both my mother and I
2) Finish sourcing my surname binders and ensuring all relative materials/documents are filed appropriately
3) Plan research trip to Kentucky Historical Society this month
4) Conduct interview/meeting with a cousin on maternal side of family

Let's hope that at the end of the month I can report that these goals were achieved and maybe even a few more.

Thanks for the idea, and the push, Tina!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Slavery In My Past- Who Do You Think You Are?

I just finished watching the episode of "Who Do You Think You Are" tonight on NBC in which Spike Lee was confronted by the slavery issues within his ancestry. It also brought back to me the episode for Emmitt Smith in which he actually went to slavery blocks were they were bought and sold. Both had very diferent responses to this event in their backgrounds, yet both revealed the painful sore it leaves even today.

I can remember with shock and surprise when reading the Raley Journal that there were family members who had slaves in Kentucky. There were just a couple mentioned, and only a small number, but it bothered me. I also came across a document from North Carolina under my Cozart line which specified the sale of a slave from family member to the other.

I guess I always assumed that this part of our history would somehow magically blow over the top of my ancestors, that they would not be touched by it or partcipate in a practice that hurts my soul. But I cannot hide my head in the sand and believe that all my ancestors were pure in all their motives, or perfect in their actions, consider them above the actions of their peers, or beyond godliness. I can't expect my ancestors to be something akin to God itself - instead they made mistakes, followed crazy doctor remedies, lost their cool, married the wrong person, lost their money, got in with the wrong group, and so on.

I cannot boast of the moments when my ancestors were part of initial settlers in Kentucky, or was a French Huguenot that settled in New Amsterdam in the 1600s, without also accepting the moments when they made mistakes. Sometimes its easier to avoid to tough conversations. I am glad "Who Do You Think You Are?" encourages us to look at all the issues.

Thanks for listening

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- John James Raley Journal April 2010

A day late I know, but health has kept me to a minimum of late, but I wanted to at least write a small entry from my great-grandfather's journal today to stay focused.

So, here goes: "My mother's people, my Grandfather John Cannan was of German descent, as the way he spelled  his name would imply. Grandfather John Cannan had two brothers, George Cannan and William Cannan and one half-brother, Charles Cannan. They were all raised in Bell County, Kentucky. I do not know anything of their parents or where they are from. Uncle George Cannan, Grandfather John Cannan's brother, was born, raised, lived, and died a farmer in Bell County, Kentucky. He was near the 80th milestone of his age at the time of his death, which was on the 19th day of March, 1878, so I was told by my aunt Nancy Cannan, Uncle William Cannan's widow. I never saw Uncle George Cannan or any of his family, but I have understood from good authority that he had quite a large and interesting family of boys and girls and they are all well educated, and quite an intelligent set of folks. Some of his boys are lawyers, some doctors, and some stock dealers, and all are right well to do folks."

"Uncle William Cannan came down to Ohio County, Kentucky with grandfather when they were young men 21 or 22 years of age. I think it was about the year 1825, and bought up some 500 or 600 acres of land. Uncle William Cannan took quite a sum of money and left for the state of Illinois to buy land. That was about 1830. He was never seen or heard of by any of his people from the time he left. On one nice, pretty, sun shiney morning in the month of May 1830, up to the present time, Monday evening, July the 24, 1911, I will say that it has always been suppossed or thought that he was killed for his money. He had somewhere between $ 3000 and $ 5000 on his person when he left.."

Note:  This obviously leaves me with a family story of intrigue that must be followed up with to determine if I can find out what really happened to what would be my 3rd? great uncle William Cannan around 1830 between Ohio County, KY and Illinois.

Happy hunting!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Follow Friday- Anecstories: The Stories of My Ancestors

I love to read the blogs of my fellow writers, and have to admit that there are times when following one blog and their blogroll leads me to another blog, then to another, then another.... well you get the idea. By the time I am done I have crisscrossed the world and totally forgotten why I was on the computer in the first place. It's a good pasttime recently since I have been feeling very under the weather, but also good for those times I call "Wandering Weekends."

 Anecstories: The Stories of My Ancestors is one of those blogs I discovered in my wandering events and landed on for further exploration. Miriam Robbins Midkiff of Spokane Washington teaches Online Genealogy per her profile, and has written other blogs as well. Miriam is also the coordinator of Scanfest, an opportunity to join together at her blog and chat while scanning your important photos and documents. The next Scanfest is this Sunday, April 25, from 11am to 2pm, Pacific Daylight Time.

One of my favorite is the series called "52 Weeks of Online Digital Archives and Databases." Recently the state was Indiana, the week before Illinois. I have had several successful finds while using these databases and look forward each week to the next state, which are being posted in alphabetical order.

Miriam also has a weekly theme called "Funeral Card Friday."  Be sure to swing by and see what you may learn from her blog.

Til Next time.

Treasure Thursday- Marriage Record

Marriage Record of John Darling to Parthena Utley
19 October 1851 Gibson County, Indiana

My Paternal 4x great-grandparents

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Caroline Susan Martin

Caroline Susan Martin
Caroline Susan Martin, my great-grandmother was born 12 Jan 1857 in Warrick County, Indiana. She married John James Raley 8 Oct 1879 on the family farm in Warrick County, Indiana, and died 29 June 1930 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana. She is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Vanderburgh County next to her husband.     

Monday, April 19, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- John James Raley Journal

Some of you know that I am fortunate enough to be in the possession of my great-grandfather's journal dated between July 1911 and March 1912. John James Raley wrote about the family history under such entries that he titled "My Fathers People",  "My Mothers People", and "My Wifes Father" in the index, events in his life, including "I taught one school", Cannon's Hogs", and world events such as "Roosevelt was President", and "The Titanic.'

I started including some of his entries on this blog before I became aware of the Monday theme Amanuensis Monday that John Newark began on his blog  TransylvanianDutch Genealogy and Family History. Amanuensis definition: a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. This is an excellent idea and an avenue for ensuring that I stay focused on sharing other entries from this journal (300 pages) as well as other treasures that my ancestors left behind.

Today's entry

"I will endeavor to tell you a little something or as much as I know at least of my wife, Mrs. Carrie Raley's people, where they came from, their nationality, their business, and so on. They are German people and all of the older ones came from Germany. I cannot say that ever I saw a German person until I was in my 20th year, that was in the year 1874 on the 13th day of November. I went from my fathers up in Ohio County, Kentucky to my Aunt Cassa McCord in Warrick County, Indiana, to live with her and Uncle John Allen McCord, her husband. My wife, Mrs. Carrie Raley, is of German descent. I met her at my Aunt's, Mrs. Cassa McCord's, the wife of John Allen McCord, on their farm in Warrick County, Indiana, which is 3 miles northeast of Newburgh, Warrick County, Indiana, some time in the fall of 1874.

I went to my Aunt's on the 13th day of November, 1874, from Oho County, Kentucky, where I was raised, which is about 30 or 35 miles east of the city Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky, where I stayed and went to school to one Jessie Edgeington in the school house near old Sharon Church, made fires and fed Uncle's stock during the winter for my board, horse feed, washing, mending, and making. And the next spring, that is, on the 1st day of March 1875, I went to work on the farm for Uncle John Allen McCord. He gave me $13.00 per month and I did not have to work hard either. I had my own way about everything. I very rarely ever had to work on Saturday evening or in the rain or bad weather of any kind, as Uncle John made it a rule not to work on Saturday afternoon or in bad weather without there was something very urging.

I owned a horse and a good one too. He was four or five years old at the time. My father Jonathan Raley acted as my Guardian and at my Grandfather John Cannan's sale after his death on the 17th of April 1872, bought the Colt at $ 57.00. He was then three years old and an iron Gray. I got the Colt--$ 20.00 in money and 76 acres in land--- for my part of Grandfather's estate."

Note: John James Raley had inherited his mother, Deborah Ann Cannan's fifth of John Cannan's estate since his mother died when John Raley was only two months.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Follow Friday

Today I would like to suggest that you take a  moment to stop by and read  Greta's Genealogy Bog. Written by Greta Koehl of Virgina, she is one of the first blogs I began to follow when I made the leap into blogging world. Her continued encouragement and support is a treat and I always look forward to her perspectives on what I have to write.

Noted on her blog to be "seriously obssessed with genealogy since 2005", Greta's blog reflects her pesonality well and even includes what she calls a "Who-Hoo Wall", which is where she proudly displays her awards. (An idea I wish I had come up with I must admit). One of my favorite posts of hers was just this week when she noted her "Office Assistants". Being a fellow human who must learn to ask permission from the critters in my home in order to sit on my bed or use my computer table when the cats want to sleep or climb, I had to laugh out loud.

Some of Greta's regular features include a Family & Friends Newsletter posted on Fridays that includes notes on research, blogs, and other news, and Memory Monday. Greta was also named one of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs in February of this year. Now that is something to "Who-Hoo" about!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saying "Thank You" to Our Fellow Researchers

I went to the Tri-State Genealogical Society's Annual Dinner Meeting held at a local restaurant in Evansville, Indiana  this past Tuesday. In addition to the fellowship and meal, Harold Morgan gave a presentation titled "Evansville in The Depression." It was a great presentation and I left with several notes for some research regarding my family, as well as a some future blog entries.

My intention for attending was to become more involved in my local genealogy society. I believe that giving back to this community is important since the local genealogy world has given so many gifts to me.

I had the oppportunity to thank one of those gifts, one of those "treasures" that evening. Her name is Bettie Ann Cook. Without her dedication to the record there are several points of information regarding my family from Ohio County, Kentucky I would not know. She has co-authored/compiled several books, including :

Ohio County, Kentucky Records
Marriages and Early Consents 1799-1880 Ohio County, Kentucky
Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky
Fayette County, Kentucky Records
Fincastle and Kentucky County, Virginia-Kentucky Records & History
Kentucky Federal Court Records: District & 6th Circuit Court Order Books

Every time I have opened one of those books again to read the contents of a will, marriage, or land transaction I silently appreciate and marvel at a person who has taken the time and effort to put that information into a book for other researchers. Once I realized this person also lived in the Evansville area, I kept hoping I would have the opportunity to meet her, and was very pleased when I discovered she was in the room, so I made a mad rush to her as we were breaking up that evening.

Meeting her was a gift to me, but to Bettie the gift was hers. I can't tell you how many times she thanked me for thanking her. Bettie told me that when compiling the records for Ohio County, she would drive down every day and since she did not have a computer (these were done in 1986), all records were written by hand. I call that dedication, and the understanding that her work was important for others. She told me how much it meant to her to have someone thank her for her work, and that I "made my night and all day tomorrow too."

There are a few more members of the Tri-State Genealogical Society that received formal appreciation at the dinner:

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG of Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog fame for all of her contributions to the Tri-State Packet, our quarterly publication and the blog, called  the TSGS Cruiser

Don Counts for being a major contributor to the society blog

and Connie Conrad, who is currently indexing and organzing records in the Posey County Courthouse. She also noted Don Pierce, Deb Travers, and Vanetta McDowell as assisitng in this project.

The next time that you are at a society meeting or purchasing a book that assists in your research from the author, take an extra minute to thank them not only for all the work, but also for the gift of their research itself. (Sorry if that sounds preachy- the more researching and writing I do, the more I appreciate the gift of those who came before me).

Don Counts receiving Certificate of Appreciation for Tri-State Genealogical Society President John G. West

Connie Conrad
Harold Morgan


Monday, April 12, 2010

Marylanders to Kentucky Reunion

After years of wondering where the RALEY surname originated for my family, many of the pieces are starting to fall into place. I had known for years that many records were in Ohio County, Kentucky, which is where my great-grandfather John James RALEY was born. In fact my 4th great grandfather, Jonathan RALEY died in Ohio County, Kentucky in 1834. (There are many men in my family with the name John). Of course I did have ancestors in between who also resided in Ohio County, Kentucky as well, and several other surnames to explore on this blog.

What I did not know until recently beyond the family ties throughout the state of Kentucky was that the RALEY family actually first settled into America in the early 1700s in St. Mary's County, Maryland. I have always heard a story that our family came from Ireland with a priest. The funny thing is that I have heard this story regarding both the maternal and paternal side of John James Raley. Well, apparently there is some truth to this tale, as there is to most of them in my family when I dig long enough, or if serendipity knocks on my door, as it did in this case.

While searching message boards several months ago for my surnames, the puzzle started to form shape. My family has a strong Catholic background, and many of my ancestors were living in Maryland in the Revolutionary Era years, but were suffering some prejudice due to their faith. Additionally, they were getting frustrated with the regular plundering by the British soldiers for supplies. In 1785 a group of 60 families banded together and decided to migrate to Kentucky in order to escape years of religious frustration as well as to find some open space since the eastern seaboard was becoming more landlocked.  John Caroll, the bishop of Baltimore, also told them that he would supply them with a priest.

This began the origination of the Catholic faith in Kentucky. These families settled in Nelson, Washington, and Marion County and it became known as "The Holy Lands of Kentucky." They left Maryland,  crossed land to Pittsburgh, loaded up on flatboats and sailed downed the Ohio River to Maysville, Kentucky before crossing over wilderness to settle in their new home. Can you imagine the experience these families endured in 1785 compared to what takes us hours on a highway today? Later part of the same families migrated to Missouri and parts further west. I continue to be amazed at the fortitude of our ancestors. I have moved (not counting the college years) 4 times in my life from various parts in Indiana and each time I swore I would never do it again, and my empathy for them grows.

They have become known as the "Marylanders to Kentucky", and are somewhat researched, which is a blessing for this descendant who has enough lines with brick walls needing much attention. The best news? Every two years since 1990 descendants of these families gather together for a national reunion that travels between Maryland (the point of origination for the families), Kentucky (their main migration site), and Missouri (the last group migration point for many of the families before heading further west).

This year the National Maryland to Kentucky reunion is being held in Leonardtown, St. Mary's County, Maryland from July 16 -18. My family is going and I can hardly wait! We are turning this into a genealogy/summer vacation and plan on visiting as many other historical and family related sites as we can while we are gone. The hard part is deciding where we are NOT going to visit since we do not have unlimited funds nor time. Surnames of my line that are relative to Maryland also include Greenwell, Joy, Seale, and Neavitt. I will have to keep you updated as the days near.

In the meantime, here are some good books that discuss this band of families, and the settlement in Kentucky, including:

History of St. Marys County, Maryland by Regina Combs Hammett
The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky by Ben J. Webb
An America Holy Land (A History of the Archdiocese of Louisville) by Clyde F. Crews
Marylanders to Kentucky, 1775-1825 by Henry C. Peden
More Marylanders to Kentucky, 1778-1828 by Henry C. Peden

Friday, April 9, 2010

Follow Friday

I have not written entries for Follow Friday in the past for several reasons, but as I spend more time becoming familiar with my fellow bloggers and read their blogs on a regular basis I feel more comfortable contributing to this column. I decided that I would highlight one blog in particular this week, Tina Lyons Gen Wish List.

In addition to being a fellow Hoosier, I love her motto "Where Genealogy Goals Meet Reality." I also find her open honesty in her researching pursuits to be very refreshing. Some of the aspects of her blog that I enjoy include what she calls her monthly "shout outs" in which she acknowledges those bloggers who have taken a moment of their time to make a comment on her entries. All bloggers appreciate knowing that what they write touches others and her acknowledgement of that also gives others the opportunity to view these bloggers in return.

Another feature she includes monthly is her "Genealogy To Do List" coupled with her "Monthly Genealogy Goals In Review."   I think this is something I am going to have to begin doing. It's one thing to make a list of New Year Resolutions, but if these are not reviewed and consistently pursued then I will find myself frustrated at the end of the year.

Other recent columns of Tina's include: How I Influenced Ancestry- The Tale of Unenhanced Images- Part 2 , and her continued participation in the weekly 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy.

Be sure to mozy over there and read Tina's blog- I think you'll be hooked.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Treasure Thursday- An Unusual Entry

Although Treasure Thursday usually contains a long awaited miltary file or a photo of a item from my family that has been passed through the years, I decided to take a different take on the theme this week.

Since I have spent many hours researching this week (who has time to do anything else?), there is a site for those of us with Southern Indiana roots that is a great gift and definitely a treasure. Initially known as the Browning Genealogy: Evansville Indiana Area Obituary Search Database the site has actually grown into much more over the past few years, which I will discuss in a moment. Charles Browning was the owner of the locally owned Browning Funeral home and years ago knew the importance of genealogy to others. He would cut the obituaries from the local newspapers, then make an information card regarding the deceased person to include information from several categories including: family members, cause of death, residence, funeral home, and the name of the cemetery where they were buried. In his memory (Mr. Browning passed away in 2007), his family and others continue with his work, which includes more than 537,000 cards to date. An example for my  aunt, who died tragically in a fire,  is shown below:

There are times when the obituary is more recent and obtaining through our local newspaper costs a fee of nearly $ 3.00, yet I have located it attached to the card on this site which makes these even more of a treasure. I have even used the listings at the botom to trace other family members through time until I reached a current generation.

A recent discovery I made to the Browning information also leads to additional site called . This includes the obituary information, but also includes other databases that Charles Browning began, including one he called his People Study. I typed in my last name and found announcements regarding scholarships won when I left for college, my parents 50th and 60th wedding announcements, photos from yearbooks, announcements regarding the soldiers in my life just to start.

There is also a Business Entity Search, a Veteran database, and an Immigration Database which notes records from Warrick County for my ancestors when they went into the courthouse and announced they wanted to be US citizens. All of these databases are a work in progress and there are more records to be entered in the computer system so checking back would be beneficial, but what a fantastic gift Mr. Browning, and his family have left for people with ties to Vanderburgh, Indiana and the nearby areas.

For this genealogist, I count this as a very special treasure!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Caroline Susan Martin Raley

Caroline Susan Martin Raley, my great-great grandmother

Ancestor Approved Award- Nice Surprise

When I opened my Google reader yesterday to catch up on the blogs I like to read and folllow, I was pleasantly surprised to have a notice from Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG of Westerm Kentucky Genealogy Blog Fame, that she had passed along the "Ancestor Approved Award" my way. I am asked to list 10 things about my ancesators that have been:

Surpised By:

How entrenched my ancestors are in the early times of this country: that the Cozarts/Cossairts from France traveled to Holland before landing in New Jersey in 1662 

Discovering that my Raley/Railey line was part of the Marylanders to Kentucky migration, experiencing some religious intolerance in these early days of this country as they fought to establish their independence from England

How excited I get when the Amazon box comes in the mail, knowing I have gotten another book for my genealogy bookshelf

Humbled By:

The experiences my ancestors encountered in their lives: the tragedies of losing children at such young ages, traveling across the oceans in a quest for something they deemed better than what they left behind

My 2nd great-grandfather, Karl Martens who came to this country not knowing a single word of English yet made his way to the California Gold Rush  and made enough money to come back to Warrick County, Indiana, buy a farm, marry, and later donate land to newburgh for a church and a school
The encouragement and fantastic camaraderie of my fellow bloggers as I continue to learn all things technologically related, but more importantly, the community of support by people I have never met yet feel a real sense of kinship

How hard my ancestors must have worked, many of them farmers, without the benefits of technology

Enlightened By:

How far genealogy research has changed in the past 20 years, from the days when computers took up an entire room to the days when so many of us carry them into the repositories with us, and the ever growing expanse of information found on the internet
All the historical events that my ancestors witnessed in their lifetimes, from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to all our presidents and the great inventions
All the written records left behind in journals, letters, and poems that are our eyes into their souls, their dreams, even their fears

In addition I am asked to pass this award on to ten other blogs, which is very dificult, but since the following individuals have been so encouraging to me since I have entered this great blogging community, I pass the award on to them, in part because I look forward to reading what they have to say.

Gen Wish List
Greta's Genealogy Blog
We Tree
The Armchair Genealogist
Kick-Ass Genealogy
Heritage Happens
Elyse's Genealogy Blog
Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories
Detour Through History

One of the great experiences that has come from having a blog has been from getting to know so many of you in the blogging community. I gather strength from your continued genealogical pursuits, and look forward to many blogging events to come.