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.