Author Archive: Taneya Koonce

AAHGS 2013 National Conference – Day 2

Had another great day at the Annual Conference of the African-American Historical and Genealogical Society today! This morning I did my 2nd presentation – one that discusses the potential of using WordPress for genealogy.  If you know me, you know I love WordPress, so I was more than pleased to spend the time sharing it with attendees and answering many questions.  I have uploaded my slides and my handout for your reference if interested.

After my presentation the family and I attended the lunch session and had the opportunity to hear Ms. Ashley Bouknight speak. She is the Assistant Curator at the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, and gave a presentation about the former enslaved persons of the estate and what is known about them.  Some very interesting information. I visited the Hermitage in January with the kids and learned a lot then. I still have some follow-up I want to do about one of the former enslaved in particular, so I’ll need to reach out to Ashley!

Ashely discusses the Hermitage

Lunch was a serving of crusted salmon, chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Quite tasty.

yummy lunch

meeting Marsha – she too has family connections to Craven County NC!

The conference planning was done in large part by our Nashville AAHGS Chapter officers Chajuan and Pamela. They did a wonderful job and were acknowledged for their efforts by AAHGS President Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis.  They definitely deserved it!

Chajuan and Pamela receive much deserved acknowledgement

And, look who had her picture taken with Mrs. Carrie Gentry!  Mrs. Gentry is celebrating a birthday tomorrow and Kaleya’s is Wednesday.  Everyone sang happy birthday to Mrs. Gentry and Tamela asked everyone to also wish Kaleya a happy birthday – how kind!

I had such a great time overall. As my first genealogy conference I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone. Perhaps next year I will actually be able to go and attend sessions!  Thanks everyone. :-)

AAHGS 2013 National Conference – Day 1

Today has been a great day – I attended my 1st genealogy conference! Well, my first physical attendance at one. I’ve been doing my family history research for about 8-9 years now and have not had the fortune of ever attending a conference in person. My family and work schedule is quite demanding so I don’t often get away. :-)

But, the 34th National Conference of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society is being held here in Nashville this weekend and I have two presentations on the roster.

Today, I presented on using RSS Feeds for Genealogy – and it was a great turnout! There were lots of great questions – and, I know the material was new for a lot of the attendees so I tried diligently to be as explicit as I could be in defining RSS feeds, how they work, and how you can use a feed reader to cull information from multiple sources online.  My slides are available below (note – if you can’t see the embedded document, click here).  I also have a handout you can download.

RSS Feeds for Genealogy: News & Information Brought Directly To You by Taneya

I also had the opportunity to meet several people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know from online blogging and that was surreal! Renate, Shelly, Nicka, Angela, & Toni – it was so nice to meet you all!

Taneya, Shelly & Renate

Toni, Angela, Nicka & Taneya

And, on top of that, I even met a DNA cousin to BOTH Kalonj and I. Margie has DNA matches to both of us so we are double special. :-) Margie and I still have work to do to see if we can find our common connections, but the hunt is most of the fun now isn’t it! Notably – Nicka is also a DNA cousin to Kalonji.

Margie & Taneya

All in all, a great few hours this afternoon. I’m headed back tomorrow to present about using WordPress for Genealogy and I am very much looking forward to that session as well.

How to Get on Genealogy Roadshow (Or Not)


Last night, PBS aired the 1st episode of their new series, “Genealogy Roadshow.”  The first episode is now online for viewing if you missed it. The first episode was filmed here in my hometown of Nashville, TN and my husband and I actually auditioned for the show, though we didn’t end up making it on. Throughout the favorable response I’ve seen online since the show aired, I thought I would share our experience as it may shed some light on the process. Of course, others may have insight too!

Being Approached

Back in April, I received an email from one of the show producers who found me through my blogging.  She introduced the premise of the show and asked if I would be interested in submitting a genealogical case for the show. I was flattered and thought it would be cool so contacted her for more info.

The Genealogical Mystery

From the very outset, the show casting calls made it clear that they were interested in solving genealogical mysteries – particularly ones that were compelling. I get it of course – it’s a television show after all! I don’t happen to have any big “mysteries” in my family tree that I felt would be particularly newsworthy, but there were a couple in Kalonji’s.  We presented two different stories – 1) seeking the father of Kalonji’s bi-racial great-grandfather Champ McClellan and 2) investigating the potential that one of Kalonji’s 2nd great-grandmothers was related to Meriweather Lewis of Lewis and Clark.  The producer asked me several questions about the family tree – wanting details, dates, and names for these people.  Easy enough to do since I keep all of our family tree data online on our website.

The Audition

Within a week or two, Kalonji and I were doing a video audition for the show via Skype! That was way cool. The producer recorded us telling our stories and why were were interested in seeking out the answers to these genealogical mysteries. With lots of prompting to be animated (remember, this is television) :-). I guess they wanted to make sure they had people who were interesting to see and not going to be deadpan throughout filming. Can’t blame them for that! Our video was then shared with show producers.

Genealogist Contact

A week or so after the audition, I was then contacted by a professional genealogist who was hired to investigate. By this point, it became quite apparent to me that Genealogy Roadshow was interested in pursuing the Meriweather Lewis connection as all her questions were about this story.  We spoke for about 20 minutes while she confirmed the details she’s received from the show and I sent her the link to our family tree website.  Great!

Filming

Belmont Mansion

The Nashville episode of the show was filmed here in town on June 30th at the Belmont Mansion.  Unfortunately, we were not selected for the show but I never received confirmation one way or another until I just never heard from them by the time filming started. I guess this was just miscommunication from the show producers, which honestly left me a bit disappointed, but I’ll chalk it up to the way things work in television. Social media was all abuzz the day of filming about them being in town.

After filming, the show producers confirmed that I should be getting a packet of what research they did compile – they explained that they were not able to find enough prior to the show. So, I am hopeful that in that research there may be things that even I didn’t know.  As for being on the show – “c’est la vie” – it wasn’t meant to be, However, in these past few weeks as the show has been nearing air date, I had become increasingly excited about it and seeing the stories of those that did make it onto the show. I was able to watch it online last night and thoroughly enjoyed it! I am very much looking forward to seeing the rest as well. I am truly excited for all those that did learn more about the mystery stories in their families. :-)

 

 

 

Do RSS Feeds Puzzle You?

Then you need to sign up for my upcoming, free webinar – “Genealogy News at Your Fingertips: From RSS Feeds to Digital Magazine Platforms.”   I was honored to be selected to do this webinar as part of the Southern California Genealogical Society’s 2013 Jamboree Extension Series.

rss feed icon

The focus of the webinar is to guide you through the myriad of options you have for getting online genealogy news content delivered to you – with a specific emphasis on how to understand and take advantage of RSS feeds — you know, the mystery behind those orange icons you see all over the web.

It has been my experience that they are widely underused and I’d love the opportunity to explain just how great they are.  Google’s decision to kill Google Reader this summer helped make more people aware of what an RSS feed is but I think this will be a great opportunity to continue and help people understand them.

The official description for the webinar is below:

RSS feeds are powerful mechanisms for having online content delivered directly to you. With the plethora of genealogy sites available online, the information river can often seem overflowing. In this session, you will learn what RSS feeds are and how they are used, understand why they are beneficial to you as a web consumer and a web publisher, and survey the different types of RSS readers available – including the newest trends of magazine-style content delivery systems for aggregated news. Whether on your desktop or on-the-go, you can make online information work for you!

The presentation will be on Saturday, October 5th at 12pm central time. You can sign up at the SCGS website. It will be archived, but the archive is only available to SCGS members. Hope to *see* you there!

 

 

Another Successful Family Connection Thanks to Ancestry.com

Just last month I shared a successful connection story to a cousin of mine due to those Ancestry shaky leaves. Well, I’ve had another connection thanks to Ancestry and I’m so grateful!

One day when I logged online, I saw that someone had been working on my first stepfather’s family tree, Donald Garner, and the she too shared the last name. I contacted her and was pleased to know that she was indeed part of his family – a cousin.  Donald and my mother were not married long – not quite two years, but I do remember him. He also had a daughter whom would come and spend time with us from time to time.

the 4 of us in Charlotte, NC circa 1990

After Donald died, we lost connection with his family but after making contact with Donald’s cousin, who informed my stepsister that I was hoping to find her, today we became Facebook friends and had some time to catch up by phone – yeah!

picture of Donald

I am looking forward to getting to know her again and getting to know her family. :-)

Idea for Collaborative Genealogy – Easier Edit Options!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you may know that I am a huge proponent for collaborative genealogy – specifically, platforms for working on family trees and genealogical information via shared tools where multiple contributors work together.  Well, I recently stumbled across Wikipedia’s Visual Editor and it’s awesome! I have contributed to Wikipedia many times in the past, but have always abhorred having to use the Wiki markup language. However, their Visual Editor program is nice because it makes editing much more “WYSIWYG” or “what you see is what you get.”  As stated in the video below, it

..makes writing for Wikipedia like writing a paper for class or sending an email..

I am loving the Visual Editor and would love to see something like it implemented on the FamilySearch Wiki and at WeRelate. Other genealogy-based wiki’s would also benefit. I contribute to FamilySearch now as it is and they do have a visual editor option, but it works differently and I think Wikipedia’s Visual Editor approach is a great model for how FamilySearch Wiki could be improved to make it even easier for people to share what they know.

Do you contribute to FamilySearch or WeRelate? Do you think it would be great to have edits work like Wikipedia’s Visual Editor?

Those Shaky Leaves Really Work

Today has been a great day. I have been able to be in contact with a 2nd cousin of mine for a branch of my family for whom we have lost contact. And, she found me via those great Ancestry shaky leaves! Practically just like the commercial below: :-)

She shared with me that she was watching TV and an Ancestry commercial came on. She’d had a tree set up some time ago, but she’d not pursued it until the past couple of days after seeing the commercial. She logs on, checks out a leaf, and up pops my tree where she saw that I had her grand-father, Frank Robinson in it.  A few email exchanges later and we were chatting it up on the phone. And I am absolutely thrilled.  Her grandfather Frank, was a brother to my grandfather Herman, so we are 2nd cousins. Frank and Herman were the 2nd and 7th children respectively or our great-grandparents, Lewis Robinson and Lucinda Lennon Robinson.

I am hoping that from speaking with her, we can re-establish contact with some of the other family members. We’ll have to see. But at least we now have details on family my  mom hasn’t seen in close to 40 years. Yeah!  We are making plans to possibly meet in November.  Ancestry leaves FTW.  😎

Did I Find Lovey’s Family?

Yeah – Another potential family tree revelation from a 23andMe match! A few days ago, I was looking at one of my matches family trees and noticed he had the Boston surname on his tree. Boston is a surname in my family – one of my 3rd great-grandmothers was named Lovey Boston.  To date, I don’t have a lot of information about Lovey  — she was born around 1821,  started cohabitating with Prince Walker about 1836 and they lived in Plymouth, Washington County, NC.   Lovey and Prince would go on to have at least 8 children – their son Anthony being my direct ancestor.

From 23anMe, I learned that my match (we’ll call him EW), and I share DNA of African origin. He matches my mother, my maternal uncle, and myself at the same segment.  He has a 2nd segment in common with my uncle.

EW matches me where it’s dark blue, my mom where it’s green and my uncle where it’s light blue.

EWis a descendant of David Boston and wife Elizabeth of the Free Union “Piney Woods” community of Martin & Washington counties in NC.  In fact, of EW’s ancestry, 3 of his 3rd-great-grandparents were children of David & Elizabeth. At first, I was not sure how Lovey could connect, but a cousin of EW’s (we’ll call her ER) spotted people in my Lovey Boston descendancy chart that she recognized and by looking at her tree, I could see connections more clearly. One of Lovey’s daughters was the second wife to a man named Peter Moore.  Peter Moore’s first wife, was a sister of ER’s 3rd-great-grandmothers.

I’m still working on how Lovey may fit into his family tree, but right now, my current theory is that Lovey may have been another one of David & Elizabeth’s children.  Given her approximate birth date, it makes sense for her to be positioned there generationally, and it is at about the right number of generations back for our match prediction of the 4th cousin range. If Lovey was indeed one of their children, EW and I are 4th cousins exactly.  Of course, Lovey could be a niece of David’s too. Who knows?

In fact, I found a picture of one of David & Elizabeth’s documented daughters, Elizabeth Boston Brooks on the Piney Woods Project blog. Martha would have been a grand-niece of Elizabeth’s if I figured this out correctly.

Do you think Elizabeth looks like my great-grandmother Martha?

If indeed Lovey is part of David’s family then she has quite an interesting family background.  According to the book “Disciple Assemblies of Eastern North Carolina” by William James Barber (1966), David was the founder of the Piney Woods Community.

I have much more research ahead of me! But, I am so pleased to have connected with this Boston family and their many descendants!