Author Archive: Taneya Koonce

Finding A Cohabitation Record

Last month over the Memorial Day weekend, I attended the 45th annual reunion of my McNair family in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina. I was honored to be asked to speak to the family during the family church service on that Sunday.  It was such a great experience! I put together a presentation to distribute to family.

As I was preparing, I did additional clean-up on my family tree. Now, over the past several months, I’ve been adding info to FamilySearch Family Tree in my goal to ensure my research lives beyond me. Well, I was so pleased the week prior to the reunion to see an FamilySearch alert for my ancestor, Mariah Wimberly, in a collection of North Carolina marriage records.

So, I click to see the image and lo and behold, her cohabitation record to Rufus Tannahill pops up! I’d known about the existence of the cohabitation record for many years but had not seen the actual image.  In 1995, Dr. Barnetta McGhee White published a 3-volume index of the extant cohabitation records from across the state, and that is where I originally learned of the entry.  But, to actually see the record and be able to read it in it’s entirety is amazing!

It reads: “Before me, E.D. MacNair, Justice of the Peace for said county this 24th day of April AD 1866 appears Rufus Tannahill and Mariah Wimberly the said Rufus and Mariah having been lately slaves but now emancipating and acknowledge that they cohabitate together as man and wife and that such cohabitation commenced on the 11th day of Dec AD, 1859 given under my hand this day and year above written.” — E.D. MacNair (JP)

Rufus’ name in this record is Tannahill, but he would later change it to McNair. The Justice of the Peace is Edmund Duncan McNair Jr. and I suspect his father to have been Rufus’ slaveholder. This is a great record to have found indeed!  If you’re interested in searching for cohabitation records, they are part of the North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 collection at FamilySearch.

Willie Thomas Walker

At the family reunion one of my cousins shared this photo with me. It is a picture of Winnie Willis Walker. Winnie was this grandmother’s cousin, but she was also married to my 2nd great-grandfather, Anthony Walker. Anthony was her 2nd marriage – her 1st marriage was to Isaac Thomas Willis.

Many thanks to my cousin. What a great picture to have! 

45th Annual McNair Family Reunion

Each Memorial Day Weekend my maternal grandmother’s family comes together for the McNair Family Reunion in Plymouth, North Carolina.  This year, is the 45th year and I’m so pleased to be going again! My first time going was last year. Initially, I’d planned to do a whole series of blog posts about the trip, but that didn’t happen :-)

This year, I’m especially excited because the Reunion Committee has asked me to speak and share the family history! So, I’ve put together a handout to share with everyone and on Sunday morning I’ll give an overview of the family tree and information I’ve gathered in my research. As I was working on the handout, I created a graphic to illustrate the children of the couple from which we are all descendedRufus and Mariah (Wimberly) McNair

I’m sharing this picture on our Family Facebook group and am going to try and tag as many of the family as we can to the child that is their ancestor.

It’s going to be a great weekend and I am looking forward to seeing family again. Happy Memorial Day!

2nd Cousin Connection!

Yeah for 23andMe! Today I had a new connection – a 2nd cousin for Kalonji’s grandmother, Frances.  Frances passed away in August at 89 years old, so we are especially grateful for this new cousin.  Her match wrote back to me today and  told me who her grandmother was and I was quickly able to recognize her grandmother as a sister to Frances’ grandmother, Matilda McGhee Coleman.  The sister of mention here is Fannie, as shown below. 

In the 1880 census, Henry and Matilda were living in Talladega, Alabama with 5 daughters – Fannie, Alice, Matilda, Lou, and Saidee. At present, I have no family information for any of the girls except Matilda, as she is Kalonji’s direct ancestor, but I look forward to now learning more about Fannie. This is a lesson on how important it is to capture relatives of our direct ancestors, for had I not had Fannie in the database, it would have taken me longer to make the connection. 

1880 Talladega County, AL Census

The new cousin shared 3.5% of her DNA with Frances, so falls in line with 23andMe’s predicted relationships for that amount of shared DNA. And, since the connection is already confirmed via the paper trail, I will be able to label their shared DNA specifically to Henry and Martha. Anyone else who has a match at these locations can then be connected to them as well. I am so excited to have connected and am looking forward to learning more about her family!

 

RootsMOOC – Week 1

This past week, I’ve had a most glorious time getting stared with the free online genealogy course, RootsMOOC.  If you haven’t heard of it, you must go check it out for it’s not too late to join! Currently, there are more than 3300 people who have signed up and the 1st week has been exhilarating!

This week, we have focused on introductions and we have such a great diverse group of people represented – from those just beginning their genealogy, to others who have many years of experience. The interactions alone among us all have been educational. I have really enjoyed reading the intros and seeing where people are from and where they are researching.

On behalf of the NCGenWeb Project, for which I am an Assistant State Coordinator, Webmaster, and coordinator for several county sites, I was looking for an opportunity to foster discussions for those with NC-research. I was humbled when the course organizers asked me if I’d be willing to organize a Facebook group to run in parallel with the course. What a great chance to really get involved! So, I set up the group, have some great colleagues helping with it’s administration, and so far we have more than 500 members in the group. More details are on the NCGenWeb blog.

I also created an editable Google Map so course participants can pin their research locations and that’s been fun to view also. We have people researching all over the place.

If you are enrolled in the course, please come join us over at Facebook. Today, the first content modules were opened up, so it’s time to get started with the work!  😛

 

Sneak Peek of New FamilySearch Pilot Tool

I have to share this cool news! For the TNGenWeb project I’ve done a blog post about a new beta version of a tool that FamilySearch is making available. The new tool (once it is out of beta) will make it easy to index their image-only collections “on-demand,” as well as creating an opportunity for online data collections to be indexed in FamilySearch.  You have to check out the blog post! I’ve also done a short video demo (using Google Hangouts on Air) to show how it’s used.

Learn more at http://tngenweb.org/blog/familysearch-pilot-indexing-extension/.

 

 

Recording Family History

For some time now, I’ve given though to recording my family members talking about their memories. However, I’d not taken the time to look into how I could record phone calls. For me, phone calls are going to be the best chance I have of making it happen.  Last week, one of my geneabuddies, Brenda, posted on Facebook about tapes she rediscovered of her mom telling stories and I thought it was about time I actually do something to start my own recordings.

So, I did and found that I can record incoming cell phone calls using my Google Voice account. Sweet! Not only that, I can start and stop the recording as I wish and the file can be downloaded as an mp3 file.  With this information in-hand, I called my mother and asked her to let me record her telling a story. Just yesterday, she found out something about her mother that she hadn’t realized via a Facebook friend who grew up in the same housing community as my mother. I also recorded mommy talking briefly about where she grew up in NY. I slightly edited the mp3 files and then used Windows Movie Maker to add her voice as a track to a video slideshow of pictures to compliment the information.

Yes, it’s a rough 1st attempt, but I just think this is the coolest thing ever! I am going to definitely have to do more of these!

New Blog Design for 2015

Every now and then, I like to change up the theme I use here on my blog. Last year, I skipped my update, but it’s been bugging me for awhile now, so I finally updated it. The new theme of choice is called “Leather Diary” and I like it! The theme layout gives me more additional width for my individual posts and I like the floating menu on the right side of the screen.  It comes with several color options and I’ve chosen a nice, bright green. Very upbeat!  I also like that it comes with social media widgets across the top – this makes it easy for you to connect with me all over social networks.

new design for 2015

 

The mobile view is nice too! This is what it looks like from your smartphone. The tablet view is very similar, just a bit wider.

mobile view

 

The old design wasn’t bad at all – it was just time for a change. So, if you are reading this via an email or RSS subscription, click through to see the updated design. Thanks!

Blog design from 2013-2015

If you’re interested in some of my past updates, you can my following past posts:

If you are reading this and you blog, do you periodically update your theme? Or, is it just me?? :-)

My Genealogy Do-Over

Late last year, Thomas MacEntee announced his new genealogy journey for the year, a genealogy do-over, and I loved the idea! The Genealogy Do-Over is an opportunity to re-visit your research processes and work diligently to improve upon the foundation you’ve created. So, as I enter my 10th year of serious genealogical research, I too think it’s time for a genealogy do-over. However, I’m taking a very decided focus to my do-over. 

What is that focus you ask? Well, in my do-over, I am specifically interested in making sure that my work is preserved in FamilySearch Family Tree (FSFT). I’m a huge FSFT fan. The model of having one profile for each person is one find extremely appealing given the amount of genealogy research I do for others and for people I encounter in my volunteer work with the USGenWeb project. I’ve blogged about my rationale for why I like FSFT before and my philosophy remains the same.  

Last year, I ensured a few generations of my direct ancestors were represented in FSFT, but as I want to broaden that to all of my researched individuals, I realized I needed a more efficient approach for comparing my research against FSFT. To do this, I’ll be using RootsMagic (RM) to work in tandem with FSFT and taking advantage of the fact that RM has great options for matching and syncing individuals in your genealogy database to FSFT. While I’ve used RM off-an-on since I started doing genealogy, I’ve not steadily used it, nor had I ever learned how to use it with FSFT. Now I know. :-)

Now, my primary genealogy database is a web-hosted one for which I use TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Site-Building and I’ll continue to have that be my primary database. My RM database will be used solely for syncing with FSFT.

Thus, my route for my genealogy do-over will consist of the following:

  • download my gedcoms from my TNG site for import into RM
  • use RM’s “groups” to tag everyone as “not reconciled” with my website
  • as I match & sync with FSFT, ensure that photos & documents I have for each person are added to FSFT, and then use RM groups to tag person as “reconciled with my website”
  • from this date forward, any research will be noted in my TNG database and additionally added to my RM database for syncing with FSFT

Undoubtedly, this new process will take awhile to complete, but I feel this is necessary step for ensuring the research I do is shared with others and preserved for long-term access. Plus, along the way, I get the added benefit of reviewing my research and making updates and corrections as needed. 

Thanks Thomas for the inspiration! 

 

 

 

Meeting a DNA Cousin

Taneya & Shannon

Okay – so, not a cousin of mine, but a cousin of my daughter’s. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Shannon Christmas today as he was in town speaking at an event on African American genealogy at Andrew Jackson’s home, the Hermitage (you can read more about the event here). 

My husband, Kalonji, shares DNA with Shannon’s maternal uncle and paternal grandfather. How about that! Kalonji shares DNA with both sides of Shannon’s family.  Shannon and I still have work to do if we are going to have any hope of figuring out the shared ancestor, but 23andMe predicts Shannon’s uncle to be about a 4th cousin. This would mean the common ancestor is about the 3rd great-grandparent level. We have a possible hope at triangulation since another 23andMe tester matches both Kalonji and Shannon’s uncle in this same spot too.

green is where Kalonji matches Shannon’s uncle on Chr. 7; blue is where Kalonji matches the other 23andMe user (that user also matches Shannon’s uncle in this spot)

I’ve long followed Shannon’s work for genetic genealogy. So, no matter if we find the connection or not, Shannon’s family now and it was a pleasure to have a chance to meet him!